DrPamelaAlbro

Thoughts from a Depth Perspective

Social Medi-ocre

In our social media-dominant age, where perfected images of our lives and ourselves are conveniently created with the help of just the right lighting, the optimal angle, and user-friendly filters, it is all too easy to disregard the myriad of “imperfect” iterations that get edited out along the way.

But those cuts are evidence of the less-perfected, less-manicured, less-idealized reality that is our actual lived experience. It is those imperfect images that connect us to a richer, and more neglected, community of humans…and humanness.

We are so much more nuanced and affected than the perfected images and lives we strive to portray. A reality that these idealized finished products vanquish; and with that, our membership—and even more essentially our experience of partnership—to each other.

In the end, stepping away from that perfect “selfie”…that impossible self-image…and presenting ourselves with half-closed eyes intact, might actually bring us closer to each other, to ourselves, and even to that greatest ideal of life—living!

Blurred edges, and all.

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Cupid’s Ominous Arrow

Love… such a crafty little trickster. We want it so completely! Literature, film, music, even fashion… all speak to our universal desire to love and be loved in return. And yet….

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Love and intimacy also bring up our deepest fears, our earliest wounds lodged deep in our hearts, and shield themselves for dear life…with bows and arrows upgraded and reinforced WELL beyond Cupid’s old-school arsenal…in the face of love’s promise. To be seen… to be wanted… is terrifying, as it inherits the risk of ultimate rejection and loss.

These pains are awakened with the slightest seduction of hope. A hope so ancient and primitive that our conscious minds can hardly differentiate between past and present… hope and fear. So much so, that we find ways… subtle, and sometimes blatant… to stop Cupid in his tracks, and rather turn from love’s healing embrace, than risk reliving the pain of an essential loss.

What is the face of your deepest desire? Who does it resemble in those moments when the promise of hope and love turn to the fear of an unbearable loss? When every fiber of your being demands that you take up arms against a sea of inevitable loss, and, by opposing, escape it…

Ay! And there’s the rub. For, in that terror of loss, what opportunity for a new experience of love may come?

On Being Human

This is what being human looks like
It’s clumsy
and untidy
and embarrassing
and in the way…

Strength is being human, and vulnerable, and admitting it.

It’s not about being invincible, impossibly graceful, and impeccably articulate…
It’s about breaking, looking at the mess, and putting the pieces back together in a new way.

“…because finally after all the struggle and all the years, you don’t want to any more, you’ve simply had enough of drowning and you want to live and you want to love and you will walk across any territory and any darkness, however fluid and however dangerous, to take the one hand you know belongs in yours.” – David Whyte

The therapeutic process is paved with hands. Hands extended to hold, to lead, to drag, to trail along behind. Hands to raise you up, and hands to smack you down.

These hands reach up from the depths of our fears, doubts, memories, dreams, apprehensions and triumphant imaginings, and call us by names, “Great,” “Small,” “Worthy,” and “Lacking.” We walk this process, with curiosity and reflection, in the hope of taking that one hand we know belongs in ours.

And in the end, with all the hands we hold and let go of along the way, the hand we seek… and will cross “any territory and any darkness, however fluid and however dangerous,” to take… is the hand that has spent our whole lives reaching back to us.

And calls you by your full and rightful name, “I.”

In your journey across the territory of your life, and psyche, whose hand is holding you?

Not Knowing

“Life anticipates Anticipation, and denies it.” —Lee van Laer

We don’t know what comes next… none of us do. And that’s hard. It’s not hard, it’s Impossible!
It’s Terrifying
and Offensive
and unsettles the very core of our instinct to persist, to bloom, to shine, to claim mastery, Control over… over…

Breathe…..take a deep affirming breath that presses up against your deepest fear.

And stand up and DECLARE!

Declare, because you are NOT in control. Declare, because it is terrifying! Declare, because, amidst the chaos of vulnerability,
You are…

Amidst the chaos and the terror, what are you?

Anxiety

What an interesting emotion, Anxiety is! On its face, Anxiety hearkens danger and demands flight… fear… apprehension… and even panic. It creates stress and overwhelm. Screaming, with a message to “Get out!!” it asks for nothing less than complete abandon, all ye who enter here.

However, Anxiety can also invite a more intimate experience…

What appears to act as an alarm—clearing out any space for openness or presence—by leaning in, instead of retreating, can actually become a beacon for greater intimacy with self.

While seeming to open an abysmal void—an experience of emptiness, and chaos—when we challenge the instinct to shut down, shut out, and run…  Anxiety can offer, in return, something more like a womb; nourishing and containing—a space to reflect and attune.

At its core, I believe, Anxiety seeks to invite rather than repel. In its blatant and rather visceral way, Anxiety works to vacate a space of mind, in order to create a space for self. Ultimately, Anxiety serves as a bellwether to an experience of other emotions needing to be heard, alluding to them with the simple caveat, “I’m scared to feel…”

However, when we quiet the instinct to run, and open a space of curiosity—asking simply, “What am I feeling anxious about, right now?”—Anxiety can offer a deeper experience of presence with, and awareness of, self.

When you take a deep breath, lean in, and listen closely… what experience of self does Anxiety offer you?

Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day fast approaches, I am brought to think about all of the various forms the experience of Mother can take. The experience of Mother takes as many forms as there are “children” seeking her comfort. This day, therefore, can be as much a celebration of the mother we have as a painful reminder of the mother we don’t.

Mother is our first love, even if she is our first loss. The survival of our body depends on her nourishment, and the development of our sense of self depends on her nurturance. We can be born from her, as well as to her. She can give us life, or come to us later in life. She can be woman, man, child or god. And—for better or for worse—we ultimately mother ourselves, and others, in response to her strengths and weaknesses.

But, whatever the form of your own personal experience of mother, the archetypal Mother never ceases to exist in our deepest experience of self. Whether you call her mother, friend, farmers market, nature, spa, creativity or higher self, the archetypal Mother offers a space where you can cultivate your own relationship to Mother—in honor, or in absence, of your experience of mom.

How do you connect with Mother, within or beyond the experience of mom, to draw in nourishment and nurture the self and others?

“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood where the direct way was lost.” – Dante Alighieri, “Inferno”

This quote puts me in touch with that place in the journey of our life where we find that we have lost connection with our true self—our vision and identity—a place where psyche finds its self, essentially, in a dark wood. Those moments beg something different from us; the established ways no longer work—the direct way is lost.

It is here where we are invited to re-member those parts of self that have become dis-membered, ignored, forgotten or displaced. In the dark wood of the unconscious, we have only instinct, emotion, memory and imagination to guide us. This is a time of slowing down and sitting quietly, opening the heart to hearing those voices that have gotten lost along the way.

Where do you find your self in the journey of our life?

What parts of you are seeking to be remembered?