Jungian Psychology in Everyday Life: Setting Your Sails

I have been planning to do a series of articles titled, Jungian Psychology in Everyday Life, and the above photograph from a recent holiday seemed to be a good starting point for the series. Recently, I was caught up in the excitement of one of the largest sailboat races of the year on Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. The race was from Erie, Pennsylvania, across Lake Erie, to Port Dover, Ontario. An international border would be crossed, making it all the more competitive and exciting to witness.

We were watching the race close to the finish line, and out in the lake from the Ontario side, in an old, beautiful, wooden trawler with a high flying bridge; a perfect vantage point. My sister’s boyfriend, the Captain of the trawler, was competing in the next leg of the race the following day, so we had access to some of the more intimate aspects of this race through his first-hand knowledge about the race and the waters navigated.

For me, seeing all of the colorful sails from the boats stimulated thoughts of Jungian psychology and its application in our everyday lives. Possibly above all else Jungian psychology is about the image. The bright colors of the sailboats racing across Lake Erie were powerful images.

Images are created from within through our unconscious, and also taken in through our senses from interacting in the outer world through our day-to-day interactions. How we filter these images into our own psychology and behaviors says much about how all of us navigate through our lives.

The psyche paints pictures for us in metaphors and symbols all of the time. The more we learn about this language of the psyche, the more we will have access to another layer of reality that can assist us with living our lives.

In your day-to-day life you make choices all of the time. You can choose whether or not to set your sails, so to speak, and allow the winds in your life to carry you into the next phase of your journey. Or, you can choose the opposite. You can take your sails down and stay put. Or, even worse, you can allow your metaphoric vessel in life, your boat, to rust, decay, and end up docked in the grave of the shipyard waiting to be scrapped for metal.

There is power in the images presented to you in your daily life. Attend to them. Let them “speak” to you. Choose to set your sails and to allow the wind to fill them to the fullest capacity. Follow the course that is opening up to you so that you do not become like the rusty old boat in the shipyard waiting to be scrapped.

 

© 2012, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.

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