I tell my mother I want to go to a Marion Woodman conference–except my dream mother is none other than my Jungian teacher Marion Woodman. Dream Mother-Marion sits wrapped in a flowing silk scarf as I stand in front of her.
“I need something more,” I say.
“So why don’t you go?” Mother-Marion asks me.
“I want to go to a week-long BodySoul Workshop,” I say, “and it’s expensive. Marion is dead so she won’t be there.” Then I realize another problem—I won’t be able to hear well enough to participate.
And then I wake up, joyful to see Marion in a night story. Like many dreams, this one is filled with opposites–my mother and Marion, dead and alive, hearing and not hearing. When I work on the images with my dream therapist, she notices a shift in my Negative Mother complex—the inner critical achieve-at-all-costs attitudes that follow me years after my mother’s death.
Some old struggles remain: fear about not enough resources and fear of failure. Can I let them go or take them under my wing and calm them? Will I let my fears stop me?
My biological mother was an anxious woman who became emotionally frozen after my father died while Marion’s feelings flowed with creativity and generosity. And it’s true hearing struggles limit my ability to participate in workshops given by others, in person or on Zoom. I need to do this work or workshop on my own.
During the last BodySoul Workshop I attended with Marion in 2007, I got a call that my mother was dying. She’d had Alzheimer’s for many years, but died while I packed my bags to go home. So, I stayed at the workshop where the group helped me create a ritual of mother loss.
The following year, my husband died and Marion soon stopped leading workshops, but we stayed in touch through letters. She wrote often as I grieved Vic’s illness and death.
“Marion, I dream of you as I work on a book about my beloved Monarchs,” I say to inner Marion. “I need self-confidence and motherly encouragement.”
“Do It!!” inner Marion says. This is what she said when I wrote my first book Leaning into Love. I still have her card on my altar in big capital letters: “DO IT!!”
“You love Monarchs and want to save them,” Marion says. “Your passion is the key. You’ve learned so much from raising and studying them for five years. They give you beauty and faith in transformation. Is there something better you need to do?” she asks. I imagine her intense blue eyes penetrating me. “This work doesn’t require keen hearing. Let joy be your guide. Write for pleasure.”
“My biological mother didn’t value pleasure, Marion.”
“Let me be your mother,” inner Marion says. “The Butterfly Goddess Psyche gave birth to Voluptas or Pleasure, the child of Her union with Eros. Make Soul music with words and photography. Grow wings and let your imagination soar.”
“Do it! Share what you love and offer it to the world. Don’t wait. Is there anything more important to do?”
Do you need inner and outer support to manifest your projects? Tell me how you keep your self-confidence and creative energy fed? I’m proud of artist friends who have ideas and get their writing or painting out into the world. I’m listening to Marion’s voice within: “Do it!”