Welcome to Playing into Wholeness
“What we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning” Werner Heisenberg
“We are lived by powers we pretend to understand” W.H. Auden
This web site is about Depth Work, my own and potentially yours- where dreams, art and time in nature act as sparks for our imagination and play. By exploring our interior world and the natural world each person can learn to hear their own soul and the soul speech of Others. Through these new relationships one can find deeper meaning in life and begin to create new stories for the future.
I have developed this web site to tell the story of a process I have been undertaking called individuation. Originated by C.G. Jung individuation is not widely known although this is shifting because of a growing change in human consciousness. Individuation is more than self-improvement; it is an unearthing of what is hidden in the depths of oneself and bringing this to the light of day. As Carl Jung wrote:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
By consciously integrating what one finds in their own depths, whatever that might be, we become more whole human beings. This kind of process is vitally important in the present moment given the intensifying global difficulties we all are experiencing.
Thirty years ago, on the night before I stepped on this path I had a dream that suggested I explore artistry and its relationship to love and one’s heart. The dream had a numinosity that has stayed with me to the present. Working with dreams, visions, and body sensations, in depth, I rediscovered parts of myself that I had forgotten. It was a kind of re-membering, a soul reconnection.
I found my soul loves to wander, and to explore, re-kindled desires that came out of the relationship I had had with nature as a child. During my childhood I often played near the ponds and in the old growth forests of the University of British Columbia’s endowment lands and in the river valley and ravines of Edmonton. In these places I experienced a sense of child-like oneness, curiosity with and about trees, insects, and water and with nature in general.
Around the year 2000, as part of my individuation work, I began to walk in nature to re-establish the connection I felt as a child in a deeper more conscious way. As I wandered around the ravines of Edmonton I quieted my mind and became receptive, returning to that childhood space in myself. The process began with a sense that something in nature wished to speak directly to me, to my soul. It was an opening, a feeling in my chest, much like I had in the numinous dream related above. Time stood still and something came forward to me, a kind of spark of connection. Sometimes I would experience a change in my field of vision, or I would feel a body sensation causing me to pause. Continuing this way of relating I began to use photography to honour what came forward. This remains an ongoing part of my artistry and individuation and the inspiration for this web site.
As I deepened this process, playfulness and a light heartedness continued to emerge. The sense of play and joy which had been lost to the ego’s world (i.e. professionalism, societal & family expectations) was rejoining and rejoicing. Deeper meaning was returning to my life.
I’d like to expand on the theme of rejoining and why this experience is so important in our present time.
Human beings generally accept that nature has evolved over time. What we tend not to consider is the possibility that human consciousness has also gone through its own version of this process. Our hunter gatherer ancestors were one with nature. They developed stories and mythology based on this oneness to explain where they came from, who they were in relation to the world and each other and where they were going as a tribe or group. Since then human beings have developed a sense of “I” or the ego.
Our new consciousness came at a great cost which we are only now waking up to. Being an “I” creates an inherent degree of psychological separation from something. Becoming separate in this way human beings have lost a sense of connection with nature. We also stopped remembering the feeling of being part of the web of life and of our interdependence with it. Being relatively new on the consciousness time line the “I” awareness is an immature part of us, psychologically speaking. The human ego often feels vulnerable, like being in a small boat in a vast ocean, and is therefore defensive around change and in relationship to otherness. Climate change, resource conflicts, ecosystem destruction, and species extinction are all manifestations of our separation from nature through our ego’s I ‘ness.
Human beings love stories, in fact our whole western civilization is organized around stories of human progress, reason and justice. All stories are birthed, mature, age and die leading to new stories. Civilizations then, go through the same cycle. The stories of I’ ness we have based western civilization on, are dying, the evidence that this is so is overwhelming given the deepening global crises we are experiencing. Where do we find the stories that are needed to create something new?
From my experience, one way through this dilemma is the individuation path, the process of wholeness. One undertakes a series of descents into themselves. Going through these experiences our ego matures and strengthens enabling it to stay in relationship with the archetypal energies it is relating to. Only when the ego has learned to be humble in the face of Mystery and otherness will we have access to something truly new.
In this way all people willing to meet their depths hold the world’s potential for something new. Undertaking this journey gives new, deeper meaning to life. One holds the potential to discover their destiny rather than living out a fate directed by the ego and society. In other words our lives and the life of everything on Earth and in the cosmos become sacred again.
It is the journey not the goal that has the life in it and in this our ability to live with uncertainty as a creative force.