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The Power of Symbolic Life (Reconciling Life’s Painful Contradictions)

February 27, 2010 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm PST


We humans are given the most conflicting job description imaginable.  We must be civilized human beings, and that requires a whole list of “dos and don’ts,” culturally determined virtues.  Simultaneously, we are called to live everything that we truly are, to be whole – this is our duty to the higher Self.

This collision of values makes life confusing and painful.  We all are faced daily with innumerable decisions: some easy and inconsequential, others troublesome and far-reaching.  Apparent contradictions tie us in knots.  It seems that we could not get through life without being divided.  Everything that human beings experience consciously is brought to us in pairs of opposites.

C.G. Jung wrote that the medieval mentality is “either/or,” but if humanity is to survive we must learn to cope with “both/and.”  This change in the prevailing attitude of our culture demands a leap of consciousness from opposition to paradox.  In our spiritual quest, we must be weaned, not from materialism, but from dualistic thinking.

Drawing upon the myth of the twin stars in the Gemini constellation, this workshop explores the unity that exits behind every duality.  The ancient Greek myth of Castor and Pollux has extraordinary wisdom and relevance for us today.  Unified in their childhood, this pair came to be separated, fragmentary, and miserable.  One is mortal, the other divine.  Only after much struggle are they reunited in heavenly embrace.

Dr. Ruhl will present this timeless story as a prototype and navigation point for all humans on the journey into wholeness.  When we allow both sides of any issue to exist in equal dignity and worth, a synthesis is possible, bringing new insight, meaning, and contentment to our lives.  Symbolic life provides the “keys to the Kingdom.” Well-grounded in Jungian psychological concepts, this workshop will provide practical tools to help you:

    • Surrender old limitations
    • Enliven friendships, relationships and career
    • Unlock new life options and hidden talents
    • Seize the “dangerous” opportunities of midlife
    • Master the art of being truly alive in the present moment
    • Revitalize a connection with the higher Self, and thereby achieve peace and purpose in your mature years.

Related Lecture: Living The Unlived Life

Jerry M. Ruhl, Ph.D, is a psychologist, teacher, and author living in Longmont, CO. A former trustee of the C.G. Jung Society of Colorado, he more recently served for six years as Executive Director of The Jung Center in Houston. He lectures nationally and maintains a private therapy practice in both Boulder, CO, and Houston, TX. He is the co-author with Robert A. Johnson of three books: Living Your Unlived Life; Contentment: A Way to True Happiness; and Balancing Heaven and Earth.  Currently he practices tele-psychology exclusively and can see people via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime.  He can be reached by email at [email protected] or at his website jerryruhl.com


February 27, 2010
10:00 am - 3:00 pm PST
Event Category:


First United Methodist Church, Fireside Room
1838 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, United States
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We offer Continuing Education Credit through NASW. The fee for workshop CEU credit is $10 for 4 hours. To obtain CEU credit, add the CEU to your shopping cart when registering.
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