I Don’t Want to Be Part of This Revolution if I Can’t Dance

by Peter Milhado PHD on October 3, 2017

Are you a Fool?  For God’s sake let’s hope so, because it is the Fool inside of us who lives more in the ‘here and now’ than any of the many of our ‘inner personalities’.  The Fool inside doesn’t care whether we’re good looking enough, healthy enough, wealthy enough, working hard enough, smart enough, man enough, woman enough, or successful enough.  It is the inner Fool who helps us give up living lives that do not fit our souls, imposed upon us by the insane dictates of our consumption oriented society and sometimes our families. Achievement and material possessions are secondary to fully living in the moment without neurotically worrying about tomorrow in anticipatory panic of impending loneliness, illness, or poverty.  The Fool finds joy in life as it is and to pick up on my last article… the Fool invites ecstasy!  The dance is here for it’s own sake (Pearson).

Damian, an old friend of mine, who works as a psychologist in a metropolis south of here has the best conscious connection to the ‘archetype of the Fool’ of anyone I know.  He answers the phone differently every time it rings (at home that is).  That’s one of the reasons why I call him at least twice a week.  Last time he answered, “Hello, this is James, the butler…my mistress Helga (his wife’s actual name), the most relentless dominatrix this side of the Rhine river, is tied up right now…Oh, sorry I have that upside down.  However, if you’d like for me to whip up an appointment for you… Call back next week…we’re booked.  In spite of the recession, our business is smashing!  Call after eleven am…. No early risers…please!”  He’s been the same ever since I met him back in ’68.  Outside of his relationship to Helga, his friendships, his camping trips and his excursions to Mexico, I’m convinced it is his soulful connection to the Fool and trickster inside that have helped him survive the contaminating insanity of LA all these years.

What’s essential is that we have a conscious and deliberate relationship to the Fool inside, because the Fool will show up anyhow.  If not invited consciously he’ll break through in his negative form…this is true especially if joy has gone out of our lives.

The Dark Side of the Fool

At it’s best the ‘Fool’ brings fun, creativity, playfulness and joy.  At worst he brings self-destructiveness, manipulation, deceit and isolation.  The Fool is connected to the most primitive instincts and drives within us.  When we let our appetites become out of control, the Fool has gotten the best of us.  This happens when people tell us what we said and did at the party last night and hide our face in shame, because we were blind drunk… or when we find we are about to become a parent because we forgot about birth control in a moment of unbridled passion.  The unconscious Fool’s lust is disconnected from any responsibility or sense of love.

The shadow Fool’s motto is ‘If it feels good do it!’ without any thought to consequences.  He tricks some folks into doing drugs, leaving a good job or relationship just to meet an impulsive need.  He can even lead one into criminal behavior and embezzlement (“no one will ever find out”).  The ‘unconscious Fool’ causes a split in some people’s personalities… most of the time they lead a rather conventional life, but they are never safe from compulsive eruptions of lust, greed, drunkenness etc. – they truly and simply become stupid.  At worst gluttony, relentless self-indulgence and total irresponsibility set in.

The Wise Fool

The Fool’s connection to the instincts and basic animal drives should never be repressed, because if we’re disconnected from our primitive instincts we loose our ‘zip’ and all of our energy!  This primitive energy, however, needs to be harvested and channeled consciously!  The wise Fool is never bound by the rules and conventions of society, but he does know the rules…he just manages to play the ‘game’ effectively.  He’s a shape shifter who can wear the appropriate persona (social mask) at the right time, depending on circumstances.  It allows the world to be seen from different perspectives

The wise Fools know they are not their roles.  Their motivation is to utilize the Fool’s personality in the service of soul, not to gratify some narcissistic or manipulative ego need.  When we let go of the need to be important we can open up to laughter and life without judgment, anxiety or despair.

So the best of the Fool is that he allows us to enjoy life in the here and now, without judgment but also without illusions.  He brings us down to earth and punctures our deceit, arrogance and self-importance.

The Fool is often behind Freudian slips as in the case of the overly ambitious and manipulative junior executive, who wanted to make an impression on his boss’s wife.  He compassionately inquired about her sickly daughter, Regina, saying, ‘I hope your Vagina is doing better.’, in front of the whole office crew.  The Fool always flattens an inflated ego.  Let’s hope the junior executive got the message.

When the Fool is not present in our lives we become uptight, anxious, bored and depressed.  Special thanks to Carol S. Pearson Ph.D. for her many contributions.

One for all and all for one. Love to Mother Meera

Peter Milhado © 2015

P.S.  If you are worried what the neighbors think, the Fool won’t show up… Guaranteed!

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Reflections on Creativity

by Peter Milhado PHD on September 3, 2017

When we’re involved in a creative task, there is a sense of time. Being fully in the now is a blessing that keeps our soul alive, because in that moment we are in touch with the eternal, we hone into home.  Matisse said, “I believe in God when I’m working.”  The great mystic William Blake tells us when we’re creative ‘Satan’ (i.e. obsession, fear, frantic activity, judgement etc.) cannot intrude.  That is one of the reasons I request patients to consider creative tasks- be it writing, painting, music, sculpting, dance, poetry etc.  Another and equally important reason is in order to heal our wounds we have to be able to be still and reflect on our day.  Creativity invites us into contemplation, which is a rare commodity these days.  Slowing down and taking time allows soul to enter and that can change a life.  As our wounds reside deep inside of us, mostly in the unconscious, we have to find ways to travel down deep.  Outside of recording our nightly dreams there is no better way than through creative engagement.

Creativity brings meaning- meaninglessness brings illness.  Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to provide a hospitable environment for the creative ‘daemon’ who resides in all human beings, to show up.  No excuses will be tolerated when we hit our 40’…. otherwise there are grave consequences.  We have to be careful here not to romanticize creativity with too many lofty fantasies, and desires for exceptional achievement.  At bottom, creativity is soul work and an act of the imagination, as imagination is the home of the soul.  People who are stuck in a neurosis suffer from a failure of the flow of imagination.  Creativity is our main ally in living soulfully, making something for the soul of everyday experience heals…unquestionably.

The move away from power to love is real love and this involves immense suffering. (Marion Woodman)   Much creative work comes from that level. Where we share our suffering… sometimes just the sheer suffering of being human.  When our creative energy is blocked for long periods of time, it will find an outlet in some kind of distorted religion… an addiction, for example, can be a distorted religion.  Yet, when creativity flows and we become invested in nourishing and releasing our inner we are much less likely to dive into the refrigerator or the liquor cabinet.

For some people, depression is a catalyst for an onslaught of a creative wave.  For others, creativity can arise out of sexual interest and desire and for still others a spiritual crisis triggers off an inner directed creative journey.  We become the artists of our own lives.  Creativity becomes integrated into our daily rituals.  It’s a commitment and engagement to soul, which cannot be undone by failures or flashes of success.  Thomas Moore tells us that art is not the expression of talent- it’s about the preservation of soul.  Art captures the eternal in every day, it allows us to reflect on our daily experiences and therefore invites soul in.  Sometimes, when going to a museum or reading a good book we see more of our souls than through introspective analysis.  Writing a soulful letter to a friend can be a highly creative and healing experience.

The role of creativity in healing is profoundly under appreciated.  Many psychologists think of themselves as scientists who do not believe these is such a thing as soul, which is terribly ironic as psychology means ‘science of the soul’.

 A creative vision is always either a defeat or a willing surrender of the ego.  Creative work shows us there are bigger things going on in our universe than our egos.  There is a center much deeper and wiser in our psyches than our egos- if we can only sit still long enough and listen.   When therapy works best there is no agenda.  I listen to people’s unconscious, wait for instructions and let the unconscious prescribe.  Love to Mother Meera….One for all and all for one.

Love to Mother Meera. One for all and all for one.

Peter Milhado © 2017

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Are You Afraid of Your Own Shadow?

August 2, 2017

In the darkness of anything external to me, I find an interior psychic life that is my own. (C.G. Jung) One of the most painful and rewarding experiences in life is to unblinkingly look in the mirror and see who we really are, not who we would like to be.  There we truly stand alone; [...]

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Where Is Your Passion?

December 12, 2015

“What Fascinates and Terrifies At The Same Time Is The Way Of The Soul” -Unknown Poet   Obviously this statement doesn’t suggest that we act out some form of neurotic or deviant obsession, nor is it a call to sell the farm and hightail it to Tahiti with a 22-year-old.  This poetic line refers to [...]

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Can you Forgive Yourself? Can You Forgive Others?

October 12, 2015

L et’s just hope the old saying ‘the darkest hour is before dawn’ is true, because 2008 has been a very dark year. What on earth is going on in our present day culture ? Our outgoing administration, who suffered from the disease of conceit, has left a hell of a mess behind. Poverty, homelessness, [...]

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How Is Your Relationship?

August 12, 2015

The Past Does Matter When It Raises Havoc In The Present When we fall in love, we never think this source of joy will ever come to an end. Why is it then so rare for a couple to grow old together in continuing love, a love that lasts a lifetime ? It seems the [...]

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The Age of Anxiety

June 12, 2015

W H. Auden tagged this time in history as ‘The Age of Anxiety’ and I understood what that meant when I lived and worked in L.A. from the mid-seventies to the late eighties. What I saw then still is true today. A lot of people racing around in frantic activity, going from meeting to meeting, [...]

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Pssssssstttt……..Want a Little ECSTASY?!

June 6, 2015

Gotcha!! Relax, I’m not talking about the drug nor am I inviting you to a rave. However, I am talking about that awesome human experience called joyful Ecstasy… that divine gift that lifts us out of our ordinary reality and man, can we use some lifting these days. Ecstasy and joy have transformative power, which [...]

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Do You Like Your Work?

April 12, 2015

There are many mid-lifers who are at times concerned about an impoverished retirement or worse (i.e. having a fantasy of pushing a shopping cart around). The economic reality for most of us is that we have to work almost all of our lives. Sisyphus was punished by the gods. He had to push a stone [...]

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The Opposite of Love Is Power… Not Hatred – C.G. Jung

March 9, 2014

There are two kinds of suffering.  Suffering imposed on us by the outside and suffering created by ourselves.  All we can do with suffering imposed by the outside is share it in the human family and show compassion, love and empathy for those who’ve been hurt.  Suffering created by ourselves is referred to as neurotic [...]

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