Like a butterfly alighting on your heart
We have moved beyond
the horizons where righteous beliefs serve
the truth of who we are
seducing us instead into the illusions
of knowing where we stand in status
among the swirling of cosmic stars
galore and without end
What might it be instead
to sacrifice upon the Altar of Mystery
the smallness of identities
hinged to superiority or inferiority
separation possessions and achievements
and empty the sacred bowl of self and soul
turn it upside down
let the knowings and answers and false securities fall out
asserting your willingness to let go
of who they said you are
Drink deep this presence of the Great Unknown
swim in the wonderment of your very existence
Discover yourself falling utterly in love
just as you are
with what and who
is now right in front of you
and within you
like a butterfly alighting
on the blossoming flower of your heart
This piece was initially received (downloaded) during a talk given by Monica Wikman, Ph.D., during a Santa Fe Jung Institute presentation in concert with Guilford Dudley, Ph.D., titled Facing Climate Disruption and Extinction with Jungian and Moral Perspectives.* One of the takeaways for me was Monica’s question: “What is it to fall in love with what is right in front of you?”
I was struck that this act is one the fundamental medicines, or antidotes as referenced that evening, that I turn to for navigating the challenges of life. It’s also a fundamental practice at play in my work of supporting folks getting into the out-of-doors for self-discovery and renewal—this falling in love with the wonders and beauty that presents itself to us every time we truly open our eyes. And what better practice field for this than nature, right?
Another energy in this poem from the evening is a ceremony of personal renewal she spoke of, of holding a bowl up to the sky and ritually turning in upside down in release of what no longer serves, and so that it can again be filled with what serves and renews.
A third energy in this poem from the evening is the obvious context of ‘the times we are in,’ times when it seems ‘True Believers’ reign in politics and religion, each in service of narrow authoritarian worldviews rather than the wholeness of our beings.
A fourth energy, as if there were four directions, is the potential and invitation for transformation that embodies itself in the piece, for shedding what no longer serves and stepping into the spiral of ever greater wholeness. Truly, in this evolutionary growth, integration, destruction and creativity live as one.
The beautiful invitation, extended in the evening’s presentation and later the workshop, was to allow one’s self to ‘come as you are.’ To meet yourself there, where ever it may be, with a wholehearted embrace; discomforts and all. I find this to be a profound invitation and feel it’s energy seeking expressing in the poem as well.
May you also feel this invitation, ‘like a butterfly alighting on the blossoming flower of your heart.’
And Thank you, Guil and Monica, for this beautiful and profound presence and invitation you each carry and embody. Namaste.
“As we continue to pass scientific thresholds of no return, two major psychological issues are emerging. One is our proclivity for self-deception and avoidance — dissociation from a reality staring us in the face like the barrel of a shotgun. Those who do look away from the shotgun as though it were not there can be appreciated with great compassion, since the reality can simply be too much to bear.
The other issue arises in those who face climate disruption and the closely connected species extinction as realities in the present, but they experience despair, bewilderment, grief, and fatigue — fatigue from facing the enormous threat to the planet, but not knowing what to do, how to contribute in ways that are effective. Grieving, though important, is not enough in light of the urgency. The fatigue is heightened by a President and his administration scathingly contemptuous of environmental efforts here and worldwide, and so we have no national support, no tribe.
The moral issue is clear. Our species represents .01% of all life forms, yet we have already caused the extinction of 83% of mammals and 50% of plants. We are just on the verge of discovering unique centers of consciousness in species like whales, dolphins, elephants, and a host of other life forms, yet we are damning them all to extinction, and they are defenseless.
However we see our lives as following Jung into more eros with the natural world, together with pursuing our own individuation and wholeness, it’s hard to imagine those pursuits without relating them to issues of extinction. The moral issue is clear: our species and ours alone is pushing all species on the planet into extinction. We will discuss what it means for psyche to come to grips with such a burden.”