Last night’s listening and some grumpiness…James Hillman, Bill Plotkin and our preference for virtual reality

meeting-the-shadowWho LOVED Pathfinder bookshop?

I actually just had to google it, to make sure it didn’t still exist, cos i want it to so badly, in the physical form i mean. I felt happy in that bookshop. There weren’t many hours i left without buying something. It has closed, hasn’t it? ‘Twas beneath the New Art Gallery, and opposite The Public Library, and around the block from the Public Art Gallery, in Auckland. It felt like it belonged, as a staple, like these public art places aforementioned.
But it’s gone. Its physical body has died.

I wonder – could we give koha (in a box/basket/tip jar) to bookshops and wonderous toyshops, to help ‘nourish’ them, to say thank you, to tautoko them, SUSTAIN them. Cos i LOVE browsing bookshops, feeling the weight of the book, leafing through pages, absorbing random sentences, walking along a shelf and watching a book jump out at me. This is necessary – this interaction. I like the size of bookshops and that the books are handpicked OR themed. I like the way the bookkeeper wants their book to sell so displays them in magnetic ways. Libraries are different. Here, one has to delve, to uncover, like an archaeologist. The Library makes us work. A bookshop is like a playground.

Curious that many of us, and our systems are removing tourselves from ‘interaction’ from the dynamic of body to body conversation. DIAlogue (one, two). Questions – Answers. Talking – Listening. Problem – Solving.

book-nature-and-the-human-soul1A dear friend pointed out many of us have a preference for virtual reality over physical reality and (are choosing) to ‘spend’ more of our time online than in person. I thought of my 16 year old brother and another friend’s son in Year 12, and how they both ‘connect’ with their mates through gaming. They can be sitting side by side, or be next door neighbours and interact via keyboard, screen, headset and microphone, and a character they have chosen to ‘play’.

I felt rather disturbed when he suggested could this be true of my (mother of small children’s) life. Versus face to face conversations, playdates, dinner invitations, walks, sitting on the couch listening and talking – how many texts do i create/check/reply to, emails do i write or attempt to read, how much FBing do i do, how many blog posts to i construct/edit/publish, and how much photo / video editing… It wasn’t some other teenager’s reality over there. It was me, in my hands.

How could we be doing this to ourselves? Have we been sucked into ‘marketing’, FOMO, ‘presenting’ ourselves to our ‘friendbook’ associates.Then this morning on school drop off, i realised, we’ve been doing this for ages gone and perhaps for ages to come. Fantasy, daydreaming, thinking ahead, being anxious, trying to solve a problem, dreaming, romanticising, planning, forecasting, visualising – all these distracting verbs, removing us from the present.
souls-codeI’ve heard from a few ‘defending-technology’ folks that the printed word/ the novel was once poo-pooed because people felt it would ‘dumb’ people down, and they would become addicted to it. And by hearing this argument i am s’posed to say – but that hasn’t happened? People have a balanced-relationship with the written word? Perhaps? Perhaps not. Do i get grumpy with my husband sitting on the couch with his phone at his fingertips, eyes and head cast down, mumbling back to my questions or not, because it resembles my Dad behind the upright newspaper on the weekend on a similar but brown coloured piece of furniture.

Is anyone going to suggest some technology etiquette for us bozos? A docking station to put phones (that silence them) when we enter someone’s home? Get off phone when at shop till? Un-plug when on family holiday? Kiss, fondle, observe, check, ‘morning’, wife or husband before pawing, scanning and believing smartphone.

When all those hundreds of people walk around with their nose in a novel and not answering someone’s (often a loved? one’s) attempt at communicating with them, does it appear anti-social or even dismissive?
Could one’s dynamic with one’s phone appear anti-social, dismissive, and potentially not very kind or friendly?

But i digress or segue as i adore to do, especially in virtual reality, where nobody can rebut, and i can believe everyone’s still ‘listening’.


Decades ago from Pathfinder, i took home one of the life-changing-est books of my time. A collection of essays around ‘The Shadow’, called ‘Meeting the Shadow’.

One of the psychologists i’m sharing right now, featured in that compilation and made a deep impression on me. His name: James Hillman.
Here is last night’s watching:

There’s another, which i think is GOLD. I wanna share it with all of my parents (i have 3 sets).  It’s an interview with a young Allan Gregg, or is it Greg Allan, on ‘The Legacy of Aging’. Enough of the bozo-ness, it’s ‘Allan Gregg in conversation’.

book-soulcraftThis was my follow-up when i couldn’t find more Hillman. Bill Plotkin. Introduced to me through the marvellous Pennie Brownlee (‘Dance with me the Heart’). Plotkin is another psychologist who walked away from ‘traditional psychology’ and learnt how to ‘weave cocoons’ for others – how to help them realise the death of their preconceived ideas of their life and realise the vision of their soul, and unfold their wings of maturation = authenticity. He leads initiation rites OR encourages people ‘into the wild’ through his organisation Animas Valley Institute.

Here’s a link to the podcast from Attunement with Anthony S Wright:

That went in a different direction to what i thought tonight.
Off to bed at 10.30pm.
Gotta give myself a curfew or i’d create all night, into the night, with the night and all her splendour P.S. James Hillman when talking about the ageing process and that many of us sleep less as we get older says ‘We don’t wake up in the night, we wake up to the night’.

Go well. Be all of you.

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