Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Your Own Real Life

January 17th, 2008 · Music, Psychotherapy


Jazz singer and poet Kurt Elling, in addition to being a great singer, has a talent for writing beautiful and insightful lyrics.  For instance, there are the following lines in his song "Esperanto" from the album Kurt Elling Live at the Green Mill:

There’s a secret that never dies

Like a dance of hidden meanings that we never apprehend

There are questions just as old as time

And the answers that come never quite make amends

Even so, when you look at time

You can get a subtle feeling of the way it ought to be;

Take a good look at your own real life

And you will see if you want what you’ve come to be.

I believe that Elling is opening up something important for us here.  If we are honest, there are so many questions that we can’t really answer about our own lives.  Everyone’s questions are different, but for many people, one or other of the following questions may stay with them:

Why did things turn out for me the way that they have?

How did I miss that really important opportunity for myself? 

How come I’ve attained all the goals I set for myself, and, just when I should be overflowing with happiness, things seem sort of hollow, as if something really important, maybe the key thing, is missing?

How could I once have been so rapturously, completely in love with him / her, and now our relationship is just so unbelievably difficult?

What happened to the shining hopeful vibrantly alive person that was me when I was younger?

How can I possibly cope with this loss?

What do I really want from my life?

–or there may be any of a huge number of other deep, difficult-to-answer questions that we live with, day to day…

Yet Elling goes to to say to us

You can get a subtle feeling of the way it ought to be

And he urges each of us to find the courage to

Take a good look at your own real life

"Your own real life" … now, right there, Elling has said a mouthful! 

What is real in my life?  Who am I really, when I put down all the roles I play for others?  Who is the person inside of me that is trying to emerge?  Big questions, and yet,

You can get a subtle feeling of the way it ought to be

Something is trying to emerge in our lives.  As Jung regularly said, there is a goal towards which the whole of our life is striving, a whole person who is trying to come into consciousness.  That person is there in our dreams and our yearnings, if only we take them seriously.  That person is even there in our frustrations and our pain.

To commit to ourselves, and to be honest with ourselves about who we most truly are, is the heart of our journey as human beings. 

One of the key tasks of real psychotherapy is to accompany people as they make this journey, to witness it, to affirm it, and to strengthen it.

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