A short course in Jungian psychology aimed at the Baby Boomer, wherein Jung's basic tenets are embellished with Sufi...


AWAKENING AT MIDLIFE: Realizing Your Potential for Growth and Change

A short course in Jungian psychology aimed at the Baby Boomer, wherein Jung's basic tenets are embellished with Sufi thought, familiar Buddhist parables, and reflections from Teilhard de Chardin. There are also numerous references from Marion Woodman, a popular and astute Jungian interpreter; Clarissa Pinkola Est‚s (Women Who Run with the Wolves); Betty Edwards (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain), as well as Emily Dickinson, Carlos Castaneda, and Gall Sheehy. If that suggests a pop psychological stew--the Wal-Mart of human potential--no apologies need be made. Brehony, a Jungian psychologist, defines, explains, and connects Jungian concepts such as personal and collective unconscious, persona, shadow, and archetypes into an understandable but not reductive framework. At midlife, she explains, the persona (our public presentation) encounters the shadow, the parts of our selves that have been buried. The ""tension of opposites"" can reach critical mass, but the need to let go of one person to become another is terrifying, precipitating a descent into the caverns of the unconscious. The book continues with chapters offering both analysis and exercise: how midlife involves turning the caterpillar of desire into the butterfly of achievement, how relationships (mother/son, husband/wife) are containers for soft landings in crises. Later chapters, including ""Dreams and Dreamwork"" and ""Creativity,"" are devised with exercises to strengthen various aspects of development, including the importance of dreams, creativity, prayer and meditation, and the physical body. The usefulness of community and neighbors as helpful containers for movement is emphasized. In other chapters are discussions of prayer and meditation, ""mindfulness,"" and creativity, with exercises that include advice as simplistic as ""Listen to each other"" and as curious as ""Don't fight about anything that could blow away in a hurricane."" A relatively challenging exploration of the aspects of change at midlife, including spiritual and physical growth.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1996


Page Count: 384

Publisher: Riverhead/Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996