Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why is it always Soccer?

Soccer and I have a checkered history; I blame it on coming to the game late.  Growing up in Texas, soccer was offered but it paled in comparison to basketball, track, and even volleyball.  I'm not sure our high school even had a soccer team, maybe an underground one.  In college, it was all about the bike and then I moved out East.  Suddenly, there were pick-up soccer games everywhere and the gauntlet was thrown down by a guy who was an awfully good climber.  Could someone my size play such a quick game?  He was involved in a pick-up game that had been going on for 10 years.  Little did I know that he invited me to play soccer not for the love of the game but to set me up with his buddy.  Before falling in love with any of the players,  I fell in love with the game.  It was almost a short-lived romance as the players in this particular pick-up game went to the climber and told him that I was going to hurt someone and he better get me under control.  He has been trying ever since.  I am not a pretty player but I have learned to play a little cleaner unless the situation calls for something else.  I have broken my toe, vomited blood, and had a stroke on the soccer field.  I have played in several leagues and made some friends and lost some.  I am a defender.  I take it very personally when you get past me...I don't have a balanced perspective.

Now, fifteen years later, the climber and I are trying to teach our kids the beautiful game.  We are also trying to give them the perspective neither of us had or has.  I coach.  I'm not sure that I should.  The climber doesn't coach.  We are pretty sure he shouldn't.  My goal as a coach is to get my players to start the flirtation with the game that will ultimately grab their hearts and make them ask themselves 30 years from now...Why is it always soccer?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I know that Memorial Day Week-end, we are staying in town to see the Revs play the Galaxy.  Most nights, we watch taped games from the Premier League.  There is no greater joy than watching your child score a goal, or stop one.  Why is it always soccer?  Why not?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Jung at Heart

Carl Jung is my guy.  When asked on the rare occasion what my theoretical orientation might be as a therapist, I reply "I am a Jungian, at the heart of it."  My own analyst was a Freudian and for many years, she and I grappled with her idea that I became a Jungian just to recreate their famous split.  This is a very Freudian approach to analysis.  I'm not sure I completed analysis as somewhere in the process it seemed like a very bourgeois endeavor that only the wealthy could afford.  Still, without her efforts on my behalf, I would not have married or had children and so I hold her in my heart, as well.  She pointed out that Jung was anti-Semitic, possibly schizophrenic, and slept with his female patients.  All true.  He also developed the idea of the collective unconscious and was unashamed to be a mystic.  His writing is virtually unreadable in English but some of his points are soul-piercing:  Bidden or Unbidden, God is present or The decisive question for a man is:  is he related to something infinite or not?

At the age of 82, he wrote (I am quoting here from Jung, A brief insight by Anthony Stevens)

In the end, the only events of my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world erupted into this transitory one....All other memories of travel, people and my surroundings have paled beside these interior encounters with the "other" reality, my bouts with the unconscious, are indelibly engraved on my memory. 

How do we journey into the "imperishable world"?  Jung had a small place on a lake with a room that only he was allowed to enter.  This is where he did most of his writing and I daresay journeying into that world.  His wife, Emma, who was a brilliant analyst in her own right, took care of hearth and home.  So she is in my heart, as well....the workhorse behind the racehorse.

Jung would say that we are all in each other's hearts from the beginning of time.  As I age, I have moved through the archetypes of maiden to mother and am headed toward wise woman or crone.  These have not been smooth transitions but what has allowed for some small semblance of grace has been turning inward. 
As I return to working more, I have to make such a conscious effort to protect that.  I have no workhorse sweeping my castle:)

The last thing I want to say about Jung is that he believed that all psychological events, even the most disturbing symptoms, have purpose and meaning.  Those symptoms are the psyche's best shot at solving prickly problems and they provide a jumping off point for movement toward health.  It seems a good place to start in doing this work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I look at this picture and I can see how I get there, at least once a week.  This is their protected time and it means my time really belongs to them.  But that can lead to quite a state....roving reporter, who happens to also be a crack diagnostician, and not just because we agree most of the time pointed out that I was "heightened" based on all the evidence I had presented which included thinking our passports were not only good for an upcoming trip but would also be good if we had to flee the country.  That, my friends, is heightened.  Your emotional state is razor sharp, no matter which emotion you are leading with; you experience the world as somewhat treacherous; and your friends and family are fair game.  Since I spend some time analyzing others, I thought I would try and figure out how I became heightened this week-end and stayed there.  Somehow getting the passports triggered it.  It is hard enough being in charge of these young lives when I am on my home turf but stick us on a ship and head for another country, and I think my subconscious starts acting like an ass at the post office.  I berated Ed for taking all of our birth certificates and tried to barter with him.  Bartering works not one whit in the passport line at the post office.  Good to know.  It never helps that the more juiced I get, the more Zen-like my husband becomes.  Although admirable on a spiritual level, it is irritating as hell down here on earth.  Throw in 22 sporting events, including coaching myself and I just never came down.  Church didn't do it and running didn't do it.  Now, it is Sunday evening, and I have come to this simple conclusion:  I have always had the gift of becoming heightened and it has served me well many times.  Being a parent has allowed me to develop it into an art form.  So, embrace your crazy energy and let it be the fuel that keeps what Zorba the Greek called the "full catastrophe" going.