Tag Archives: relationships

Chuck’s Place: Love And Hate

Reconciliation of Opposites…
-Artwork © 2023 Jan Ketchel

Don Juan Matus explained to Carlos Castaneda that, yes, our world is a world of separate objects. However, beneath that world of separateness, we are all in a state of one interconnected energy. In that state of oneness, love is the energy of cohesion, that which holds together and welcomes all of its neighbors.

Don Juan also explained that we live in a predatory universe. Indeed, all life feeds upon life, and yet, at a soul level, energetic life is never lost, it merely changes form.

Survival, in our separate human form state, requires an instant ability to judge safety and danger. That which we judge to be dangerous we come to hate. Hate is the emotion that allows us to dehumanize and destroy that which we judge to be different and threatening to our survival.

Oneness and separateness are a pair of opposites that constitute a core challenge to life in human form. It all begins with the symbiotic oneness of mother and embryonic fetus, in pregnancy, that ends in the separation of the one into two distinct beings at birth. The challenge to become a fully realized separate being, who can open to the oneness of love, is the art of human life.

We are drawn to relationship in a quest to reunite with our lost oneness. Union is driven by the natural attraction of opposites for each other. This is love in energetic motion. When these opposites unite there is frequently a honeymoon phase, where opposites relish the relief and ecstasy of restored oneness.

However, as relationships progress, one’s separate, differentiated self reemerges and finds itself in opposition with its soulmate. This reemergence frequently leads to competition and opposition of viewpoints in the relationship. The couple is then challenged to make room for their differences in the wholeness of their relationship. Far too often, bearing the tension of these unreconciled opposites results in the solution to hate one’s partner and end the relationship.

The solution of hate, devaluation, and demonization of the other is the frequent outcome of attempting to bear the extraordinary tension of differences necessary to reach a reconciling of opposites. This is evident in the wars that plague our world. The underlying energetic imperative to embrace all parts and peoples of the world in the oneness that we truly are is the evolutionary and karmic challenge of our time.

Beneath the opposites of love and hate is the oneness and separation phases of human and cosmic evolution. The separatist, hateful stage of human interaction must ultimately acquiesce to the greater harmony and love of energetic reality, which, like day turning into night, will naturally reassert itself.

As we live through this stage of human evolution, which emphasizes separateness and hate in human relations, may we bear its tension and find the path that will lead us to our underlying wholeness, with renewed balance. This is the path where love and hate meet in a union that makes room for all.

Bearing the tension of love and hate,

Chuck’s Place: Just A Boy And A Little Girl*

That inner partner might pop up at any time…
-Illustration © 2022 Jan Ketchel

Just like the roots of our computer programs, that boil down to zeroes and ones, human beings are all, at their core, a combination of male and female, (+) and (-) energy. Psychologically, this means that our wholeness includes the existence of an inner contrasexual partner.

Jung called the inner feminine character in a male personality the anima and the inner male character in a woman the animus. These characters are living entities that interact with our ego, and various other characters within our psyche, where they impact our attitudes, beliefs and moods. Often these characters project themselves onto actual people in the world, which greatly impacts how we judge and feel toward the recipient of their projection.

We are, psychologically, hermaphroditic beings, conjoined together for life. Our individuation challenge, regardless of our sexual orientation, is to achieve union with our inner contrasexual partner. This requires getting to know our opposite side, respecting and accepting its existence, and achieving inner harmony with what is often experienced as a highly conflicted self.

Failure to achieve union with one’s inner other-half often results in suppression of one’s inner partner’s perspectives and feelings, a total denial of its existence, and countless conflicts with one’s outer intimate partner, who may be confused with one’s inner unknown partner.

How often do we feel judged and offended by what we assume another person thinks and feels? Little do we know that our ‘intimate knowledge’ of our outer partner is actually a reflection of our own unknown, or rejected, inner self.

Qualities of masculine energy include the mental function of thinking, most dominantly within the constraints of logic. Masculine energy tends to be active and solitary.

The dominant feature of feminine energy is relatedness, which seeks emotional connection. Feminine energy tends to be receptive, seeking to receive and compliment the energy of another. All of human experience involves some combination of masculine and feminine qualities and energies.

Writing this blog has required my feminine energy to become pregnant with masculine ideas needing containment and maturation to bear fruit. My patience with this congealing process is reflected in the words and thoughts pouring forth as I write.

Sometimes my anima insists upon a colorful word because she likes an idea dressed in her style. Sometimes my masculine ego is too abstract, refusing to give a down-to-Earth example that would facilitate ease of understanding.

In dialogue with my anima, I concede my abstract bias and agree to use this example of my personal process to help readers connect to my idea. My anima agrees to let go of her attachment to attractive but unnecessary words.

Often one’s contrasexual partner defends the ego by using its ability to reason to argue a point, regardless of the absurdity of its argument. Sometimes the defense comes in the form of powerful moods, where one’s inner other tells it how undeserving it is of the treatment it has received.

Through genuine interaction with our inner other, we achieve a collaborative relationship that facilitates progress in our individuation and also clears the way outwardly for positive relationships with others.

If we find ourselves in conflict outwardly, we do well to first check in with our inner contrasexual partner, who we might be avoiding and meeting instead in projected form in our current impasse. Most relational problems originate in one’s lack of relatedness within. As is often said: as within, so without.

Go within; work it out. Become that boy and a little girl, actually changing that whole wide world.

Working it out,

*Words from John Lennon’s Isolation.

Chuck’s Place: Primal Love

On the road to fulfillment…
– Artwork © 2022 Jan Ketchel

As infants, we are primed to be fallen in love with. The attention we receive fills us with the validation that we are, indeed, wanted, worthy beings. The glitter in the eye, the awe, the patient being caring for us, the play which engages us where we are, all fill us with the love, joy, and excitement needed to feel ourselves to be welcomed participants with a definite home in this world.

If you are in this world, you were once touched by that love, however fleetingly or scantily it was offered. For to be completely unmet turns off the ability to attach and survive, much less thrive. Nonetheless, in truth, the depth of this primal need for love is rarely fulfilled in childhood, with the result that some of the switches that would turn on the energy for a fully engaged life await turning on later in life.

Children often discover on their own what can bring them the loving attention they seek. I discovered that my mother loved a clean, shiny bathroom. I would spend a good deal of time polishing every surface, using a towel to shine the handles on the sink and tub to receive my mother’s glowing looks and soft, loving words of appreciation. Similarly, I would scrub my grandmother’s tiled kitchen floor on hands and knees, again polishing with a towel, just to receive her loving smile of appreciation.

Not feeling worthy because one simply exists, turns human beings into human doings. Codependency is a life of doing to receive love. Relationships often fall into this pattern of constantly needing to please the other in order to receive the coveted gold of attention. The compulsivity of this relational pattern is driven by the underlying fixed belief of unworthiness, where one remains unconvinced of one’s intrinsic worthiness, regardless of the amount of attention one receives. Hence, the constant need to fill one’s enduring sense of inner emptiness through service to sources outside of the self.

Consequently, love, however genuinely offered by another, will never convince one who feels inwardly unworthy, at their core, of their worthiness. Once the critical period of childhood has passed, turning on the switches to a fulfilling life becomes an inside job. This is the path of self love. The adult self you have become must assume responsibility for truly loving the neglected child you bear within.

Frequently, this involves addressing the resentment and entitlement that defensively shroud the vulnerable child within, protecting it from anticipated shameful and painful encounters with a failure to be loved. This creates enormous blockages of energy within the self that stagnate rather than engage in a love affair with life. These pooled energies can actually manifest as physical diseases, where the body draws attention to these energy blockages.

Often this dis-ease is the refusal to forgive. Forgiveness requires the action of giving. Giving is releasing something you hold onto. If someone hurt you and you hold resentment, your energy becomes blocked. In forgiving, you give away your attachment to being offended. In giving it away, you redeploy your energy reserves to flow toward life rather than stagnate in defense.

Nothing can erase the truth of neglect or abuse. However, once it has occurred it takes up residence within the self. It becomes the property of the self. All of my life experiences, good or bad, are part of who I am. The goal is to fully and harmoniously own all that I am, all I have experienced. To deny or remain stuck in blame alienates me from my wholeness.

It ultimately becomes one’s right and responsibility to address the fulness of one’s own life experiences. To do this, the adult self must become the ultimate parent, a parent that is charged with healing by forgiving the offenses of neglect and abuse accrued in one’s relationships through life.

Of course, we often forget, by suppressing or repressing, many unprocessed experiences of traumatic interactions. To initiate, as an adult, the intent to recapitulate one’s life, reverses the stagnant action of forgetting. Instead, we open to the action for getting to all the hidden experiences previously frozen in time in the storage container of the physical body.

In so doing, we are able to free ourselves of extraneous energy, i.e., the negative beliefs of others, that we have previously held within us. We also master the emotions and sensations pooled within, freeing that energy to be redeployed into a fulfilling life.

These are the actions of primal love that free the innocent child self to experience the joy and awe of life. From this place of openness, one is also ready to truly open to fulfilling relationships.

Beneath the surface is now a worthy child in partnership with a loving parent, ready to open to true connection in relationship, and in all of life as well.

Polishing my intent to love,


Chuck’s Place: Archetypal Completion

Get your circuits in order…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In a nutshell, archetypes are the inherent programs that govern the behaviors of a species. Human archetypal programs rely heavily upon attachment and interaction to complete the inner circuitry of the growing child.

For instance, attachment to and attention from a loving parent figure are critical to the establishment of basic security in a growing child. The quality of these interactions will impact neural pathways in the brain that will reflect in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development of the child. For instance, a neglected child may precociously exercise conservative survival circuitry, whereas  a more well-attended child might branch more comfortably into curious interaction with the outside world.

The legacy of incomplete development of brain circuitry at critical periods in life results in one becoming biologically older while remaining  emotionally and cognitively younger than one’s physical age. Human adaptive ingenuity frequently develops compensatory strategies to work around such limitations imposed by incomplete circuits.

Thus, for instance, a neglected individual might seek a special relationship with an alternative parental figure to compensate for needed attention. Another strategy might be to utilize one’s own body to provide soothing, via rocking or thumbsucking behaviors.

Generally, one develops a persona, or outer self presentation, that varies significantly with how one knows oneself inwardly. This gives rise to a sense of being a ‘false self’ or living an ‘imposter syndrome’. Often, the hope in romantic relationships is to receive the longed for attention and validation from one’s partner that  can provide a bridge to the completion of unfinished or malformed circuitry.

In the honeymoon stage of most relationships, partners glimpse such an idyllic experience of being loved and valued as they truly are. This reprieve from a more limited sense of self can result in a dependence upon reinforcement of one’s worth by one’s partner, as the actual internal transformation into a different sense of self has not occurred.

This predicament generally ends the honeymoon period of a relationship, as the symbiotic oneness of the couple evolves into contentious separateness, as individual selves with personal needs emerge. This is the very familiar course of most relationships that become polarized and lose the glow of their former promise.

Couples who can be vulnerable enough to reveal their truer sense of selves, versus projecting blame upon their partners for inadequate responsiveness, may be able to actually provide an emotionally corrective experience that could help facilitate the creation of new circuitry.

The key here is transparency. One must be able to be completely transparent to all that one is, to one’s own self. Beyond this is the ability to be equally transparent in owning and sharing one’s true self with one’s partner. This is a monumental feat, to accept the fullness of one’s own shadow and share it with one’s partner. That’s intimacy.

Nonetheless, the lion’s share of that possibility requires deep inner work, with each individual decidedly working toward their own inner self-acceptance. No outer relationship can supplant one’s own inner conviction of non-acceptability.

Ultimately, beyond childhood, the completion of inner circuitry rests in the inner work of every individual. Fortunately, all individuals have a higher self that orchestrates life events to challenge the ego to take this daring restorative journey to the wholeness of completed circuitry.

This journey can take many forms. As a psychotherapist and shamanic practitioner I am a huge proponent of this journey of individuation via dreams, synchronicity, and recapitulation. On the physical side, I highly recommend yoga. Yogic knowledge of bodily and subtle body functioning  is unsurpassed.

The regular practice of pranayamic breathing literally changes the automatic central nervous system’s reactions to subconscious programs, such that it can override a fear reaction with deep calm. Equipped with such leverage the individual is afforded greater tolerance and opportunity to carve new circuitry, as they encounter a long-held trigger.

Similarly, meditation, aided by simple neurofeedback or biofeedback equipment, can empower one to develop direct mastery over one’s brainwave state, enhancing the ability to heal disjointed circuitry. These body focused practices greatly enhance mental and relational efforts to change.

Archetypal completion is the necessary mandate to heal and forge our deepest connections. Inner work, relational work, and bodily mastery all offer tools and venues to achieve such completion. Completion then becomes the solid foundation of fulfillment in human form.

Build on,


Chuck’s Place: Modern Mana

Numinous energy…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

A burst of thunder! A flash of lightning! For a moment we are leveled in awe. Somewhere, out there, is an all-powerful energy far greater than the predictable flow of everyday life. For a moment we are seized by the divine, whether it be in terror or ecstasy.

The ancients took these outer manifestations in the heavens and on earth as the moods, judgments, and actions of the gods. For the modern ego the divine forces of nature have been explained and tamed by the human god of reason, though numinous encounters with nature quickly shatter its calm persona.

Mana is the term assigned to the energy of the divine. In our modern world that energy is projected onto people, places, and things. When a child is born, and for many subsequent years, mother is imbued with powerful mana. Who cannot recall either the experience or hidden craving for attention from mana mama!

A smile from mother deeply satisfies a need for validation: “I indeed belong in this world.” The glitter in her eye as she gives special attention to what the child is doing, saying, writing, drawing, singing,  etc. is utter communion with the golden nectar of divine mana.

As an infant grows and becomes a separate being the mother archetype, which at first included the entire world, differentiates and the mana of mother is distributed to other people, i.e., father, as well as to objects. In fact the well known special teddy bear or towel that the child attaches to for security and comfort was termed a “transitional object” by Winnicott.

By this he meant that the powerful mana originally totally projected onto mother now rubs off on the transitional object in the child’s possession, providing an intermediary container for the power and energy of mother that the child will eventually experience within the self-sufficient self.

The projection of divine mana in adult relationships often harkens back to this hunger for special attention first experienced in childhood. Adults often experience in others the divine mana which they are drawn to and are terrified of as well. All intimacy must work through the mana projections that lead to dependency and avoidance of connection that have their roots in mana projections.

Modern mana frequently is projected into substances that loosen the spirit’s confinement in the body and offer divine communion with mana through flights of the imagination and pleasurable shifts in perception and physical sensation. Food as well can take on a divine mana, which delivers pleasurable sensation, hunger relief, and a fulfilled self-contained wholeness.

Mana is often projected onto objects we absolutely must have. Amazon.com is really a major mana warehouse. Books are often filled with mana as we commune with information and plots that give us divine tension and satisfaction.

The crux of mana is divinity. Human animals appear programmed to find the divine spark of their own spirit selves reflected in the people, places, and things of this world. This striving for contact or union with the divine is ultimately our animal self seeking to discover and join with its spirit half.

Until we discover and recover our own mana in inner union we are led to follow its trail in encounters with significant transitional objects in this world. That is the magic of this world; it serves as the playing field for finding the divine through participation in life and relationship on the road to wholeness of body and spirit within.

May the force be with you,


A blog by Chuck Ketchel, LCSW-R