Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Looking Good… Feeling Empty

July 27th, 2009 · 3 Comments · depth psychology, Identity, Individuation, inner life, Jungian psychology, Meaning, persona, popular culture, Psychotherapy

 

Looking Good for Vibrant Jung Thing Blog Out here in suburbia, great pressure is often placed on people to “look good”.  People feel all kinds of pressure to keep their image in the finest order.

We get the message that it’s important to keep your grass well-cut and your garden well-manicured.  It’s important to drive a car that makes you look (and feel) like you’re successful and upwardly mobile.  It’s important that your kids wear the right clothes, and belong to the right after-school activities.  When you go to your yoga class, you should be sure to have the right mat and outfit…

And people do look good!  My, do they ever!  A walk down Lakeshore Road in downtown Oakville, my town, will surely convince you of that.  To the extent that having good stuff and doing all the “right” things can give you a good life, boy howdy, we suburbanites have got it down!

If that was all it took, we suburbanites would surely have the best lives imaginable…

So, if that’s true, why do so many people seem to feel that they’re “just going through the motions”?  How is it that I hear from so many people that, at times, life can just “feel hollow”?

To a certain extent, we all have to bow to the necessity of looking good, if we want to make our way in the world.  There are social conventions that we have to live within, if we want to have a job, get an education and do all the many things that we have to do to make our way.  To choose an extreme example, showing up naked to a job interview would be career-limiting, to say the least!

However, just fitting the idea of others about “how we should be” isn’t enough for a fulfilling life — even if those “others” are lifestyle advertisers who spend untold billions to influence us to remake our lives around their products.

Sooner or later in life, we are going to be strongly confronted with the question of what is really ourselves.  If we really take that question seriously, it can be the beginning of the greatest adventure in life.

When I feel empty in my life, it is not a curse.  It can actually be a gateway.  That which is empty wants to be filled.  At least if I’m aware of my own feeling of emptiness, I can start to seek out what makes me feel full, what makes me feel real.

For a significant number of people, that’s where the journey of therapy begins…

I’d be interested in your comments about your journey, and about what is meaningful or important in your life.  

My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson


Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

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PHOTO CREDITS:  © Imagery Majestic | Dreamstime.com 

© 2009 Brian Collinson    

3 Comments so far ↓

  • georgette

    I used to own a home in the suburbs of Dallas. What I noticed is, those men with lots of kids and/or grandkids spent less time on their yard, particularly with wasting water on it to keep it green in August. The few single men who lived in the neighborhood (all straight, btw) had rich green lawns all year. It seemed to me that a perfect lawn became a proxy for a socially useful person.

  • Brian Collinson

    Very interesting observation Georgette: lawn as proxy for a socially useful person. I think there’s a whole richness of symbolism that attaches to suburban lawns, and what they mean as a very particularly suburban way of “looking good”. They clearly have a lot of emotional significance for many people.

  • Nameles Wonderer

    Brian,
    Thank you for choosing to follow me on typepad, I look forward of doing the same. I have only recently (10 years) started to appreciate the work of Carl Jung and have mainly been introduced to it through ‘sacred masculine initiatory’ process with the International Mankind Project and the works of Robert Moore, “Lover, Warrior, Magician, King” volumes and “Archetypal Initiation” (2001) and “Facing the Dragon” (2003) and my perspective of Jung’s essential direction was grounded in new awarenesses arising in physics, biology and cosmology mainly the works of Professor Humberto Maturana and Professor Francisco Verela who invented a new scientific explanation called “Theory of Autopoiesis” or “Structural Determinism as a new philosophy of science. This circular explanation is explaining “Realization in Living” for all living systems including human beings.

    I know that Jung considered Job’s story as an essential condition of human consciousness at the end of his life. For me, my journey continues to deepen into the significance of the Axis mundi, Tree of life as being the fulfillment of human nature where the star dust from the beginning comes into a state of realization as the individuated living consciousness of Homo sapiens amans amans. And it appears to me that we are in a moment of convergence where the outer symbols and myths are fulfilled in an emerging awakening with what i call the “Man~N~Mirror.” I am digesting less and less everyday in the better, faster, cheaper trickster universe of modernity. I am finding that only through silence, stillness and solitude is there the possible possibility of balance and living in wisdom. It appears our collective humanity is moving at lightening speed to a “Dark of the Soul” where current technological developments, indoctrinated discourses and systemic organizational systems will fail. Job finds out in the end he did not create water, land or the sun. From this emerging unified singularity all of knowledge crumbles and burn like paper before our very eyes. And what emerges is a new “observer” aware of being and “observer” and listening in to new wonderful song that is always playing and never listened to in the consciousness of our humanity.

    I appreciate your profile and pray we become friends in discussing the deeper issues of soul arising today in our humanity.
    Cordially Patric

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