Joyce on accomplishment and living

Friday, August 10, 2007

5:45 a.m. somehow frittered away three quarters of an hour doing — what?? Story of my life, that.

Joyce, where do I go from here? If psychic powers and abilities aren’t an end in themselves – and clearly they aren’t, any more than anything else is – and if no form of external achievement is my focus –

You did notice that when external achievement was described on the C. G. Jung film you watched last night, it was described as a masculine trait. That is, it is one way to approach the world. It is not everything, and in fact may not be anything important next to other things one accomplishes in life. It is what is noticed, and is not unimportant in itself, only it may be less important than the opportunity costs it incurs.

I can’t see you choosing “opportunity costs” as a phrase, so I assume you pulled that out of my economics class background.

You pulled it out, I selected it. You could see the process that way. But that isn’t what is to the point here.

Rita said your and my session yesterday was therapy.

What else do you need more? And what else am I uniquely trained to give you, love?

Jung said cures come from a therapist – what he or she is rather than knows, and I believe it from experience on both ends.

You still yearn for accomplishment that can be stacked on a shelf or listed. But you have already accomplished so much! Didn’t you hear Michael tell you, twice, how many people you have helped in your career? You automatically discount that because you did it – but don’t you value that trait in others?

Yes I do. I value other kinds of accomplishments too, though.

If you could believe it, and really mean “too” instead of “instead” you would be better satisfied with your life.

Yes, I suppose so. To me it has the flavor of apology – “I didn’t accomplish anything that I thought I would, but I did help some people.”

It is the roots of that flavor of apology that are the problem. A long time ago – you were in family therapy with Bob Kelly – he pointed out that you were placing so much stress on writing a book that it distorted your day and made it impossible to write the book. You’re not so one sided now, and you have had vastly more experience, but you’re still doing it.

I don’t know how to not do it, save perhaps to just give up.

No, that isn’t true. You have gradually learned how to not do it – you took walks in the woods, you take photos, you sculpt, and you have always read – your brother even introduced you, years ago, to the fine art of “hanging out.” Only – you still cling to the “should be writing” idea, partly out of hope of earning money and partly out of lack of imagination, if I may say so. When you just were in England – it hadn’t occurred to you, had it, until I just started to say this – you had to learn just to enjoy yourself without reading or writing.

Huh! Interesting.

Yes, isn’t it?

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