Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: active imagination

Everyone, Right Now, Is Writing Their Own Life . . .

What does it mean to “Write Your Own Life”?

Is it only an affluent person following the steps of a self-help book and dreaming about a more perfect affluence?

Could it also be a political prisoner who uses their mind to stay above the oppression, claiming a true freedom?

What about someone in Iraq, smack in the middle of the ISIS atrocities………?

So, what do I really mean by “Writing Your Own Life”?

Are we always doing it?

Perhaps remembering the analogy that every Reader is Rewriting the book in their hands—“Sam looks at Susan” becomes intimate in a way the author never intended—that hill the boy is climbing feels steeper than the words alone allow…

Then, allow yourself to believe our lives are books we’re writing…

Is it stirring and invigorating?

Depressing and cheerless?

Slipshod and bumbling?

Let me introduce you to Ashenwriter, therapist, and photographer …

I want to share excerpts from two of her posts.

First, … journey into mystery … :

“Close your eyes … switch on a light in the area around your heart and see the image of a rose bud emerge … at first a luminous tip of colour … the bud stirs … the sepals gradually turn outwards. See the petals unfold in a slow and fluid movement … until the rose has opened and exudes its delicate fragrance.”

Those words begin a story you can tell yourself—a story that can heal…

That post also holds a link to a short movie that can take you out of your present world and return you refreshed and expanded…

The other post—… the child in us …—begins with another visualization, deeply rewarding, and includes these words after the insights:

“Suffering brought to consciousness lifts the spell of self blame. Despite appearances of confidence and adult bravado, the child in us is often anxious. Deep down may linger legitimate anger, and, deeper still, sadness and the longing for a precious moment of total acceptance. We call it love. It takes time to soften hearts.”

And, these words:

“Imagination serves multiple roles. It can draw us into habitual loops of negativity and self harm, or stimulate insights and enhance creativity. Artists know this. Imagination can also heal psychic wounds frequently handed down through generations. The healing aspect is especially powerful when employed consciously.  Jung called it ‘Active Imagination‘.”

This Active Imagining, this writing our own script, this envisioning ourselves into new aspects of living is something that working writers do for their characters.

I suggest we all can do it for ourselves—Write Our Own Lives, whenever we want…

There’s much more to experience with Ashen‘s site—the exploration in Books, the delightful video linked to in Inspiration, the enchantment of Poems

I feel moved to end this post with a quote from another of Ashen‘s posts:

A day, whether six or seven years ago or whether six thousand years ago, is just as near to the present as yesterday. Why?  Because all time is contained in now.

Meister Eckhart

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Evolution of A Muse In Fictional Worlds

Another Behind The Scenes post about Notes from An Alien today :-)

These happen every Friday and sometimes have spoilers, though I don’t think today’s will—never fear, if I change my mind before I’m done writing, I’ll alert you—plus, the best way to inoculate yourself against spoilers is to read the book—it’s short and Free—Grab A Copy :-)

I’ve used something called Active Imagination for many years—introduced by the psychologist Carl G. Jung.

If your a writer, the following description of Active Imagination will have a familiar ring—if your a reader, it will tune you in to an interior function of writers (it’s a rather long excerpt but could be enough information to let you experiment with the technique):

Active imagination is a technique developed by Jung to help amplify, interpret, and integrate the contents of dreams and creative works of art. When approached by way of writing, active imagination is like writing a play. One takes, for example, a figure that has appeared in one’s dreams or creative writings. Usually, these figures express a viewpoint quite the opposite of one’s normal conscious view. Sometimes it is a male, shadow figure. At other times, it may be a feminine, anima, or maternal figure. One starts to converse with the figure in writing. One challenges the dream figure and lets him/her challenge the dreamer. The dreamer asks the figure why he appeared in the dream. He asks the figure what it wants from him. Then, the ego, like a playwright, puts himself as best he can into the figure’s shoes and tries to express it and defend its viewpoint. There ensues an iterative dialogue between the writer and the opposite figure in his dream or piece of writing. With practice one can become accomplished at expressing both viewpoints, just as a playwright does. One gets better at this the more one does it, just as the playwright does. The technique of active imagination tends to detach the qualities and traits that are first seen in a dream or in a story as belonging to external persons, and coming to see them as belonging to one’s self. Active imagination, then, helps the writer become conscious of his opposite qualities by forcing him to give voice to figures, like shadow figures, that carry qualities opposite those of his ego. These qualities personify the rejected opposites that are present in the unconscious. This technique helps recover these rejected opposites and make them available to the ego and consciousness without necessarily having to act them out.”

One note: The process can be done without actually writing anything

In my 20s, when I first encountered the concept of The Muse, I’d also become familiar with Active Imagination.

I began a decades-long, conscious relationship with Her

By the way, my belief is that most men have a female Muse (Jung would call her the Anima) and most women have a male Muse (Jung’s term, Animus).

Yes, this post is still about the short novel Notes from An Alien but I must relate an important bit of personal history.

I named my Anima Delva before my daughter was born—her mother named her Audra—we did not confer on either name

The importance of this fact for the novel is that most of the main characters’ names end in the Ah sound:

Rednaxela, Xela, Zena, Mura, Verta, Sena, Morna, and Delva…

Yes, I named a main character after my Anima—plus, most of the other female characters are “relatives” of my Anima—my Muse

Also, the Ah sound (which also extends to place names {Anga, Anla, Angla}) is a technique (which some readers struggle with) to introduce an “alien” quality into a book where the characters (by necessity) act quite like humans from Earth

So, while the most obvious reason for my writing Notes from An Alien was to portray a civilization, struggling with War and Greed and reaching toward Tranquility and Peace, I also wrote it, on a much deeper level, as a way to evolve my relationship with my Muse :-)

Also, a man and his Anima always relate as a Team to other women (whether the man is aware of the Anima component or not).

I bring this up because of a previous post here called, Writing & Games ~ Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Which Is Which…

In that post, I talk about my using a Flight Simulator to give me time that’s detached from the everyday world so I can read deeply, ponder, and meditate about my writing

In my plane, I have passengers—some are folks I know who are living and some have passed into the Beyond, while some are my characters

I invite them on board in case they want to give me advice or counsel

This is an extension of my practice of Active Imagination

And, today is the Birthday of one of my Passengers (though for her, it was yesterday since she’s in Australia)—she’s the one who sits in the co-pilot’s seat :-)

Looking forward to your comments on this post and, please, don’t forget, you can ask me Any questions about the book in Any of these Friday posts
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When The Muse Speaks . . .

When the Muse Speaks Any of you remember the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the nine muses of myth? Here are their respective fields of museness: epic poetry, history, love poetry and lyric art, music, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy, and astronomy.

Are you a person who creates in one of those areas?

Do you think there are muses for other creative activities?

What about the muse of Fatherhood?

How about a muse for bricklayers?

Perhaps each person has a muse specialized for whatever they choose to do with their life?

I’ll vote for that last one without denying all the other possibilities :-)

It’s been said the muse is a shape-shifter. Which could mean, for a creative writer, the muse plays the part of all the characters inhabiting the author’s head.

Then there’s the issue of whether the muse is really “in” the head. Can’t the heart abide a muse’s process? Couldn’t a muse hang out on one’s shoulder?

My muse has been with me since I was born. She made me do things as a child that my mother wondered at and my father abhorred.

I worked hard in my twenties to make her proactively real. It’s a process called Active Imagination

She’s changed her name many times and she usually, of late, speaks to me without using words.

Her latest command was to be more attentive to this blog—make it shine

Since I know the task isn’t just on my shoulders—she doesn’t issue commands that she doesn’t help me with—I feel I can make the effort.

I do hope that small percentage of my readers who leave comments will let me, and her, know how we’re doing
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