Memories, Dreams and Reflections

I read Carl Jung’s autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ at a critical time in my life.  One aspect in particular had struck me and contributed to the unfolding process that lead to my re-experiencing, understanding and, ultimately, healing the events of my childhood.

It was without real surprise therefore, as I sat doodling and colouring in my practise journal one evening last week, a memory floated through my mind and I caught it. I recalled the pivotal scene in Jung’s book when, searching for a deeper understanding of the recesses of the mind, he decided to let go of his sanity and immediately experienced himself as dropping through the floor of his study into the abyss.

Once, long ago, I emulated Jung in that moment of consciously choosing to let go, to drop the drop. In a time of deep despair, when it had been made abundantly clear to me the ultimate in paternal wickedness had taken place and the ultimate in maternal indifference had always existed, I would stop trying to deal with the chaotic aftermath, the soul pain, the anguish. I would simply let go just as Jung had.  I would confront my demons, do or die!  

In a flash I was falling into profound blackness. Terrified at the speed of the fall I grasped at the sides of the pit, trying to hold onto the last threads of my sanity with my fingernails. But the fall continued, I kept slipping and sliding and tearing my hands as I tumbled down that pit of despair. Again a vision of Jung in his study appeared in my mind and I remembered, I knew, I must let go.  I was terrified.

Just.  Let.  Go.

I let go.

I fell no further, gently my feet touched ground.  I was already at the bottom of the pit, perhaps I always had been.  And as I stood in that deep, still, silent, blackness from far, far away a light began to glow.

What followed changed my life. Perhaps I should say changed me at a fundamental, primeval level. Changed the way my brain and mind and heart worked. Changed my very being and changed my life and my view of the events of my life.

In almost thirty years that experience has never faded from my memory and my understanding of why we live, why we have this human experience has only deepened with the passing of the years.

I looked again at the page on which I was doodling and colouring and wrote ‘Memories, Dreams & Reflections’, closed the book and went to bed.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

68 thoughts on “Memories, Dreams and Reflections

  1. Pauline, what a startling and thrilling post. I say that because I too have experienced a similar episode and to read it written out so succinctly allows me a better look at what happened to me. For all your beautiful art (including this image here!), you are such a powerful writer, as well. I am sorry for what you had to go through as a child, though you managed to turn it around for yourself.

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  2. You have described a similar exercise to something I went through. How much better our lives can become when we follow our instincts and do something scary because we are running out of options! Turns out, I should have done it earlier, but I needed to be in that place before I was willing to try letting go. You are so strong and beautiful and just by existing and being yourself, you make the world a better place. Hugs.

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  3. This is so profound, Pauline, and quite amazing really, that you had an out-of-body experience by putting yourself into a trance. I have always wanted to get myself to the trance state where I just let go of all physicality, but I’ve never consciously done it. I remember one time when I was about 15 and I had been reading a lot of the Seth materials and I had just fallen asleep and soon after I had an experience where I flew up and around my body and all over the house. I remember falling back into my body with a jolt. It had only been about 20 minutes since I’d fallen asleep. Like your vision, I remember it vividly and through the experience could see how the 3-D world is just an illusion. I think I may need to read the Jung book! Maybe I can spark some new understanding of myself. Thank you for sharing. xo, pam

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    • Hello Pam, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences here, I really appreciate you adding to the conversation. OBE’s are a fascinating subject aren’t they. As a child I had many, but was told I was mad, bad and stupid for talking that way so they disappeared from my life in all but times of deep crisis. I now think all children have OBE’s quite often, but as parents and health professionals we don’t know what to do with them or how to reassure the child and society in general frowns on them so they are simply put aside. Maybe we use the word ‘trance’ in different ways, but I would not have said that is what it is with an OBE. I have never thought my experience was any kind of trance state either, so that’s an interesting thought for me to mull over. I have since read that experiences like the one I had can more closely be aligned to Near Death Experiences. I checked out the ‘symptoms’ quite a while ago and was quite surprised to find I exhibit many of those related to profound NDE’ers experiences. It was an amazing and profound experience that never has and never will leave me. It simply informs who I am. I would love to hear what you think if you do read Memories, Dreams, Reflections. He was an amazing human being!

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      • I agree with you and maybe trance isn’t the right word, but deep meditative state. I know my, what? Soul? spirit?was flying around my body that night. I never told my parent because they said such stuff was silly even though I’d bet dollars to donuts 🍩 my father was an intuitive because he could read people like no one I’ve ever met. It’s more accepted these days, to think outside of 3-D, as is most everything, but then, you were an outlier and a freak if you admitted to having this other way of looking at things so my dad was probably just protecting me. My mom didn’t come around to this kind of woo woo stuff until she was in her 60’s and did a lot of energy work and I became a Reiki Master and would literally “send” her energy so there’s that. I think my immersion in the Seth materials facilitated the OBE. I have done remote sensing as an adult and also astral travel again, one time meeting my then 6-year old daughter on a beach at sunrise that we tried for a week to make happen, each night I tucked her in saying, “meet you in the beach” and one night we finally did it. I wonder if she remembers. She’s 18 now. It takes so much concentration and it’s easy to lose the thread in our modern hustle bustle world. Speaking of, gotta get to work so will continue this convo later! ❤️❤️❤️

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  4. Hi Pauline, I’ve dropped by about 3-4 times to read this post which has found a knot in one of my neck muscles I think. I keep worrying it with the pads of my fingers trying to work it out. Your description of falling and letting go is both exhilarating and terrifying, something I crave and fear. If you could offer a course on how you did it, I’d sign up and spend a paycheque to experience that blissful release. Over the past two years I’ve sought counselling to sort through some old icks trying to understand myself and others better seeking the release you found through your reading. As one of the other commenters said, you have a kind and generous spirit that comes through in your comments on other blogs and I think this must come from that release and then subsequent forgiveness and compassion for others. You really do shine, Pauline. So glad you share your light.

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    • Oh dear Susanne, I’m sorry about that neck kink – I hope you can work it out without having to do the drop…….. Although I think when something resounds with us, as that part of Jung’s story resounded with me, it’s a sign. In hindsight I can say that everything that came toward me and at me and over me in a three year period was all leading inexorably to the moment of choice – they just had to add up up until even I who didn’t want to see, was forced to see. In the final months, memories were literally shaken from my body. I was given no option but to see, to relive, to know. The dropping part came a few days later when there was more work to be done in the realm of understanding a bigger picture, of forgiving, of releasing, of making way for a free me to be born. Process that all take time and also for me, importantly, being surrounded by the right people. And that includes the right therapist. There are enormous gifts that come from having gone through this process, but I still get cross and cranky and prefer animals to people – I’m very, very far from perfection – but I do like to spread light and refuse to spend too much time with the doom and gloomers. Thank you for your kind words Susanne and for sharing your thoughts – you have made this a post a profound one for me!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this, Pauline – very powerful images and feelings. And i’m jotting down that Jung book – I love Jung!

    I can only relate to the letting go I had to do when I was at my worst with the wave of my midlife crisis. Everything felt as it it had ended, I felt as if I had died. I had actually suddenly and dramatically (or so it felt) stopped what I’d been doing with art classes and being in a cooperative – I was calling a halt to what had been hurting me, something in me took over and shouted NO MORE. Well the suffering me was dying only to allow my essential me to re-emerge and be free of what had been binding me. Letting go is the Taoist way too, acceptance and yielding rather than resisting. Tough to do! But so worth it. For me these ‘truths’ are ‘the way’ to go because of their simplicity. They feel so right.

    There are so many lovely replies and thoughts here and one or two people I follow too. What a wonderful place to come, I’m finding, and thanking you for being here doing this blog :>)

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    • Thank you Lynne for this thoughtful response. I rarely share anything deeply personal on my blog, preferring to let the past rest, but this was something that came up in the process of my evening doodles and therefore was part of my personal March art renewal venture. 🙂 Isn’t it wonderful to read the responses from everyone here – I have found some fabulous folks as I drift around in blogland. I so appreciate and value the women especially that I have connected with. We all have our stories and our struggles and when someone chooses to share I feel really honoured. So thank you for sharing your experience. It’s easy enough to write about after the fact isn’t it, but my that process puts us through the wringer. (My therapist at the time sat and looked at me one day and shook her head and said ‘My god, you are being taken back to the bone’ and she was exactly right.)

      And I do feel that those of us who have been through the dying and becoming process hold up little lamps for our sisters who are or will stand at the edge and have the choice of staying there or letting go. I don’t think it has anything much to do with courage – rather it is trust.

      “Come to the edge,” he said.
      “We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
      “Come to the edge,” he said.
      “We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
      “Come to the edge,” he said.
      And so they came.
      And he pushed them.
      And they flew.” ― Guillaume Apollinaire

      I have been equally glad to visit your blog Lynne – I can’t remember who we met through but thank heaven for them!

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  6. First, Pauline, I have thought so much of you recently, and I’ve meant to reach out. Please know I’m holding you and all of NZ (the world!) in my heart.

    Your post is so real and brave and it brings to mind this quote from Maya Angelou: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” I think sharing our stories of trials and triumphs is what just might save us all somehow.
    Surrendering is difficult, but with it comes so much release. The holding on by scraping fingernails is a powerful image. Much love and peace to you! xx

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    • Thank you Cheryl. Those of us not direly and immediately affected with losing our sense of personal safety and loved ones are slowly recovering. Many of the people I speak with have been or are standing vigil at the local mosque, all of us are reaching out to the refugees in our communities no matter what their background. There is part of me that always seeks the light and already I see what comes from these awful events – a reaching out, a unity, an embracing that turns us from a passive acceptance of refugees to an active welcoming and upholding and inclusive community. My city feels very connected to this event as this is where the terrorist lived for two years and where he learned to use his guns. Our mosque would have been his target had he not realised he could do more damage in Christchurch with its larger population. This has aroused a great deal of feeling as I’m sure you can imagine. Initially I was afraid this action would bring the vile beings crawling out from their sewers, I have quickly seen that in fact it has had the very opposite effect. We Kiwis are a quiet people, but give us good reason to stand up and be counted and we are an immovable force. We did it 125 years ago when women here first got the vote, we did it again in 1984 when we declared ourselves a nuclear free zone and I think we are about to launch ourselves into radical gun legislation reform. I’m absolutely ready to take this on!

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  7. Sending you love and healing wishes, Pauline. This is such an open, honest and raw post. I’m pleased that you were able to let go and find perspective and joy in your life after being so badly treated as a child. How can those in whom we place most trust, who should be our saviours and our comforters, treat us so abominably? Your artwork is beautiful and your words meaningful and precious to so many of us. Thank you for sharing.
    Doodling indeed! That’s not doodling! 🙂

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    • Ha, ha! Thanks for that Norah – it was a doodle that went a little further than I thought it would 🙂 I think we always have the option to heal, to overcome and to take responsibility for our lives. It is my testament. I find it interesting that on the same day I revealed this, someone who hasn’t done his work struck out and blamed and caused havoc in so many innocent people’s lives. I know who I’d rather be.

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  8. My step brother and family live in NZ and I have felt the horror of what happened. It is hard to comprehend what turns a person into someone who can do these things.
    I was so sorry to read of your childhood and the letting go experience. So brave, and so good that it lead to your creativity.
    I have looked at an abyss like that but pulled away from it. Maybe one day I will have your courage and let go.
    Thank you for this post.

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    • Cathy, I appreciate very much you sharing your personal experience with the abyss, I think there is a level of desperation that must be reached before daring to let go – there are no other options. When I think back to that time I am always amazed at how cleverly my life had planned itself out to ensure the experiences that triggered the events all lined up and the right people were around me to support and nurture while I broke down then healed. I see it as the greatest miracle that ever occurred and the life that followed as the greatest of gifts. I only ever share these snippets to inspire others.

      There is always a reason for these white supremacists existence and it comes down to a lack of love and nurturing of their humanity. They never stepped into the abyss and healed themselves preferring instead to spew forth the hatred they live with at an visceral level. And in their ignorance and pain they blame. They choose something or someone to blame and seek to elevate themselves when their insanity reaches boiling point by such actions as these. Today I have found myself again out of the shock and horror of the event and am curious about the life of the madman and feel compassion for his harsh and ugly existence. Which doesn’t mean I condone his actions on any level.

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      • My abyss was not the same as yours, but it has long lasting consequences, one day it may be the right time for me. I am just so glad you found the support and love you needed to heal. I am lucky that I did have good childhood which has helped me cope I guess.
        As to the gunman you are doing great to feel compassion for him too, for what kind of life does he have which is driven by hatred.

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  9. You’ve carried more than anyone should, Pauline, and at the most tender of ages. Your work to bring you to where you are is profound. I admire your strength and courage and your willingness to fall into the dark abyss, recognizing that you had to touch bottom to recover and heal. Sending love your way, love for the young girl and deep love and affection for the woman you’ve become. xo

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    • She does doesn’t she! She also advised 45 to embrace all Muslim communities when he asked what he could do to help 🙂 It’s been an awful couple of days – we are not used to this kind of event in our country and we also found out it was closer to home than we first realised. The main perpetrator lived here for two years. He originally planned to target the local mosque but a trip to Christchurch revealed a larger Muslim population and he went there instead. A sick white supremacist Australian. But I think he had local help. There’s more in a slowly unfolding story……. I write these facts and still can’t quite get my head around it all and we all weep for the awfulness of it.

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  10. Pauline, I had no idea, but now that I’ve read this it all makes sense. Even from halfway across the world I could tell there was something very profound and special about you. Your art and your words always tell of such a quiet peace and a great wisdom. Thank you for sharing this story.

    I thought of you today when I heard the news. Hugs to you, my friend. ❤

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  11. Thank you for sharing that. Out of great pain comes beautiful, healing art. I love the picture. I also love that you were brave enough to do what Jung did and that it had a profound healing experience.

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  12. A powerful reflection of your life. Cheers to the peace that you’ve found and for the energy that it allows you to put into you joyful creations. Simply, thank you. Yet – on this day I awaken to the terror that struck your land. My heart to you and all Kiwis for as all with a heart and soul are Kiwis on this day.

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    • Thank you Frank, your heart warmth is appreciated. It has been a hard couple of days, not something we are used to having to deal with at all down here. We have a PM however who is strong and straightforward – watch for changes in our gun laws and the rights of white supremacists.

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  13. You’re really amazing, Pauline, to have survived and healed and flourished in spite of the pain! And I like this drawing so much–it has depth and serenity. On the other topic that is on all of our minds–I grieve for New Zealand today . . .

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    • Thank you for your kind words Kerry. It’s been a hard couple of days. It feels like the whole world has become quiet and withdrawn. We have discovered it was closer to home than we knew and this has added to our disbelief and horror and sadness. I am proud of our PM who spoke so unequivocally and strongly on our behalf to all white supremacists and also this: ‘Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told US President Donald Trump the best help he could provide in the wake of the Christchurch attack would be sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.’

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  14. Wow! Powerful stuff Pauline. I love your beautiful doodling – far too good to be called a doodle – and I’m glad to see you have included a canine companion to help in, what I imagine to be, a continuous healing process.

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  15. Oh Pauline. I’ve just read the dreadful news from New Zealand today and came to visit my blogging friends to see a different side of life… strangely, although I am devastated to read of your terrible childhood experience, I am comforted to know that you found a way through. What a wonderful drawing, with a little Siddy in there too, reminding me of the dog Dante in the film Coco and his transformation into a guiding spirit.
    Anyway, my love to all my friends in New Zealand; I think we can only counter hate and despair with love and kindness.

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    • It’s been a hard couple of days Jan – one I never thought I would live through in this country. Thank you for your thoughts and I echo your words. As to the doodle I was very happy to find Siddy emerging from it, which he did quite early in the colouring process. You introduced me to that movie a while back and I loved it. Thanks for popping in xo

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  16. You have moved me deeply with this. I have not read the book but now I wonder if I’m capable. You are such a strong soul and your art is expressive of that. Maybe that’s why so many of you your pieces inspire so much. This one is no exception. I love it. I have saved it just for me to look at from time to time. It will go no further.

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  17. I really love this. I’m a childhood survivor of abuse and a mother who stayed with him. It’s something I always will struggle with. Most days I can lay it down, but at the oddest times I feel sad about it.

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  18. This is so moving, Pauline. And of course, your doodle is tranquil and beautiful. In my experience, letting go feels annihilating, unsurvivable. But since what is done cannot be undone, we only have two choices: carry it around for the rest of our lives or lay it down and let it go. The experience of release is life-changing and makes room for love and joy. ❤

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