"What You Resist, Persists" by Carl Jung, A Perspective


Recently, my friend Jean caught a debilitating cold. Per doctor’s orders, she was placed on bed rest for several days. Eventually, she recovered. Jean may catch another cold, but probably not the exact same one she just experienced. Why? Because her body is now immune to the particular virus that caused her cold.  Jean’s cold inspired me to reflect on a popular quote by Carl Jung, “What you resist, persists.” Let’s discuss….

This Jungian Life: A Podcast You Should Know


My friend Mae habitually procrastinates. If Mae has a Friday deadline to complete a task, she will start working on Thursday night. At one time in your life, you probably experienced procrastination directly or indirectly. What causes the propensity to put off into the future, what can be completed in the present?  Is it due to a lack of self-control? Laziness? Not caring? Apathy? As I pondered these questions, I coincidentally discovered This Jungian Life, a podcast which brings a psychological perspective to important issues in life, according to their introduction. From their episode on procrastination, I learned about causes for the tendency to procrastinate, and strategies used to overcome the habit. Let’s talk about it…

Peace Begins With You: The International Day of Peace, September 21, 2019



On September 21, 2019, I plan to join the world community in observing the International Day of Peace with rituals, reflections, meditation and songs. Join us. Like you, I believe peace is a daily goal. Who doesn’t want peace? However, we are challenged to manifest peace due to our internal and external political and social conflicts. Yet, within the human collective is a strong desire for peace. Why should you observe the International Day of Peace? Let’s talk about it….

The AJC Decatur Book Festival - An Event for Book Lovers and Friends




In the United States, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. The day honors the American labor movement. Most companies give employees the day off, but grocery stores, malls, restaurants, and gas stations usually remain open. Traditionally, families and communities honor the day with barbecues, gatherings, and parties. Festivals, music concerts, fireworks and commemorations are also popular. 

Introverts, Extroverts and Pretty Wings


Coincidentally, shortly after posting an article about ending relationships gracefully, "Pretty Wings", a beautiful song by the artist Maxwell, played continuously on the radio. Seeing this occurrence as an example of synchronicity, I pondered on the song's meaning. As I reflected, ideas about chemistry, relationship incompatibility and Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types came to my consciousness. Why? Let’s go on a journey….

The Lion King and Mindfulness

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

I enjoyed Disney’s The Lion King (2019). Even though major aspects of the movie stayed true to the 1994 original, the movie felt fresh because I noticed new motifs. Specifically, the importance of mindfulness is illustrated in Simba’s journey. How? Let’s talk about it….

Exit Plan: The Right Way to Walk Away


Recently, a colleague told me about a co-worker who abruptly quit. The office manager worked overtime to reshuffle workloads to make sure customer deadlines were met. Everyone was stressed. It is considered a courtesy to give employers a two-weeks notice before leaving a job. In the heat of the moment, professionalism was put on the back burner for various reasons. Still, at the end of all relationships, including professional ones, there is a right way to walk away. How? Let’s go on a journey….

Flashdance...What a Feeling: A Song Critique Using The Hero's Journey



Published on July 4, 2019

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of writing and implementing personal mission, vision and values statements. The next step is belief. A popular 1980’s Academy Award winning song explores the power of belief. The song is "Flashdance…What a Feeling" written by Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey and Irene Cara; The movie is Flashdance. Let’s go on a journey….

Why You Should Write Personal Mission, Vision and Values Statements



Most decisions are truly ours to make, but the decision-making process may be stressful because we cannot always predict the consequences. What criteria can we use to help us select the best choices for our lives? One way is to write and implement personal mission, vision and values statements. Really?  Let's go on a journey....

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Reflections on the Challenges of Leadership

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo retrieved from Wikipedia

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day, also known as the MLK Day, is an American federal holiday which is observed annually on the third Monday of January.  As a spokesperson for civil rights and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  was a central figure of the civil rights movement. After his death, labor unions, politicians and leaders from all walks of life rallied to make his birthday a national holiday. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on November 2, 1983.

In the Meantime: Coping With Life in Transition



In 2017, I started regularly writing in my journal. According to the article, Keeping A Journal Can Be Good For Your Health by F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W, writing in a journal can help you feel more grounded, manage stressful events and find clarity. At the end of the year, I read past entries. I notice how major life altering events lose power, over time. The circumstances did not change, but my perception about the issues and their effect on me were transformed. Somehow instead of being broken, I became stronger. What happened?  At a recent talk about being in the middle of change, author and Jungian analyst Dr. James Hollis, PhD shared a quote by Carl Jung that sheds insight on how we grow from unfortunate situations and manage our lives in transition: “We don’t as much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capabilities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than our problems.” How? Let’s discuss...

Thank You - The Importance of Gratitude


Thanksgiving
Written on November 22, 2018

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is celebrated by gathering family and friends together to contemplate gratitude and share a robust meal. Menus vary by culture, but popular entrees include turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and desserts.

Follow Your Strengths: An Interview with Dr. Ariela Freedman of MavenTree Consulting


In my post, Why Do Groups Fail? Review of the Law of Triviality and Game Theory, we explored a philosophy of life as being a game, defined as social interactions. If we are the players in life's games, then who are our coaches? During my research, I met Dr. Ariela Freedman, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and owner of MavenTree Consulting. Ariela agreed to meet for coffee and conversations at Chocolate Coffee. We discussed how strengths-based coaching enables you to fully discover and apply your innate gifts to become the best version of yourself. 

Below is our interview:
Enjoy

Stone Mountain, Trees and Meditation

Stone Mountain Park, Georgia - Nature's Gem

Join me as I tour state and federal parks. Stone Mountain Park is a popular park in metro Atlanta. Let's discuss....

Agnes Scott College Hosts 100 Thousand Poets for Change

100 Thousand Poets for Change - 23 of the 38 Poets who read poems 


On September 29, 2018, 38 poets convened on the campus of Agnes Scott College to participate in the annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change poetry reading. Dr. Waqas A. Khwaja, a professor of English at Agnes Scott College, hosted and coordinated the program.The diverse poets covered a wide range of community concerns. The inclusive nature of the program meant that participants, from novice to professionals, could read their own works as well as works of other popular poets. Each unique voice shed light on the human condition and our authentic, yet shared experiences. The event was free and open to the community. Let's discuss...

2018: AJC Decatur Book Festival - A Commentary

In the United States, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. The celebration honors the American labor movement. The holiday is inclusive because everyone has had a job at one point in their lives even it if just included household chores. Most companies give employees the day off, but grocery stores, malls, restaurants, and gas stations usually remain open. Traditionally, families and communities honor the day with barbecues, gatherings, and parties. 

Poems, Poets, and Rudy Francisco


My Rudy Francisco poetry collection

The love of Poetry was introduced to me by my seventh grade teacher, Dr. Ibrahim Bayan, before he died in a tragic boat accident. He taught me the ways poems inspire, motivate, encourage, and connect us with the world. Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou, is one of my favorite poems. I heard it first while watching Poetic Justice, a movie starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. As I listened to the poem all I could think about was its beauty and confidence. My love for reading poetry transferred to me becoming a poet. I also enjoy writing down my thoughts and sharing with others.

Villains: A Case Study of Ressentiment

Why Villains are Important 

Note: For the purpose of this blog, a villain is one who opposes the goals of a hero. The person does not have to be evil like they are painted in movies. They have an agenda that conflicts with the hero. A prominent characteristic is their willingness to use graceless methods to achieve their goals. For me, they serve as tests and teachers.  Let's learn together and reveal the possibilities.

Song Critique - New Attitude by Patti LaBelle Using the Hero's Journey


What are the components that produce successful songs?  I used to believe it was only a combination of three elements: lyrics, music, and recording artist. For an example, New Attitude, a popular 80’s song, has redemptive lyrics, a techno danceable beat, and was recorded by Patti LaBelle, a well-liked R&B singer.  At the peak of its popularity, New Attitude was a staple on the air-ways, an anthem for empowerment, and was the introductory music for the Dr. Laura radio program. Recently, after hearing it on the radio, I became aware of another layer that makes it favored by many and still popular today-the songwriters used elements of the hero’s journey to craft a universally relatable story about redemption.

New Attitude – Song Analysis using the Hero’s Journey

Based on Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, I summarize the hero’s journey into four acts:
I.                Existence in the ordinary world
II.              Ordeal
III.            Confrontation of the ordeal
IV.            Change/redemption.

Act 1 and Act II

Introductory notes express urgency.  A synthesized drum-beat serves as a prelude to an even faster up tempo melody. Your mind immediately thinks about something moving rapidly, possibly people running. Are they escaping danger? The opening lyrics fit the musically enhanced feelings of dread:

 

“Running hot

Running cold

I was running into overload

That was extreme”

 

Writers decide where to begin a hero’s story. This story begins at Act II with describing the ordeal; skipping Act I. The hero begins a tale about a stressful life experience from the past. The use of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ in close proximity indicate confusion. Also, the use of temperatures give the impression of a body fever, or possibly an illness.  

 

“I took it so high so low so long

There was nowhere to go like a bad dream”

 

These verses reiterate the first four lines, but give more insight into the struggle. This was not a brief episode. The hero hit rock bottom and reached despair. What I really like about these lyrics is that we do not know exactly what caused the meltdown, and neither do we know what ‘it’ is.  The use of the pronoun ‘it’ allows the audience to fill in the blank with events from their own lives which makes the song relevant to a large audience.

 

Before the next group of lyrics, I hear a decrescendo which lightly relaxes the music’s high intensity.  A positive change has occurred:

New Attitude – Act III

The inciting event described in Act II was confronted and resolved. By using the general word ‘somehow’, we do not know what caused the change. Likewise, we do not know what was the ‘lesson to learn’. Again, the songwriters use non-specific lyrics to make the song relatable to anyone’s journey.

Bridge

“Somehow the wires uncrossed

The tables were turned

Never knew I had such a lesson to learn”

 

New Attitude - Act IV

Now, with this new insight, the hero details how her life changed. The music's upbeat intensity reflects the meaning.

 

Chorus

“I'm feeling good from my hat to my shoe
Know where I am going and I know what to do
I've tidied up my point of view
I've got a new attitude. I'm in control
My worries are few
'Cause I got love like I never knew
Ooh oh ooo oh
I've got a new attitude”

 

What caused the hero's ‘New Attitude’?  ‘Cause I got love like I never knew’. The hero found love, but she did not elaborate on what type of love.  Is it romantic love? Friendship love? Intellectual love? Self-love?  With this new love, whatever type of love it was, she has new insights for a fruitful life. Now the hero is in control and has few worries. She feels wonderful, hence the exuberant music that accompanies the chorus.

New Attitude – Act IV

The musical melody is primarily a repeat of the first movement. We hear additional details about the hero’s new life.  The ‘new dress, a new hat’ could be metaphors for both new inner and outer awareness.  She has ‘new ideas’ and is ‘changed for good’.  Notice the general nouns and adjectives. By not being specific, the songwriters allow us, the listeners, to see our personal life experiences in the story. I'm wearing a new dress, new hat  Brand new ideas, As a matter of fact I've changed for good.” The ‘cold nights’ could mean the hero spent time in reflective isolation.  The ‘new moon’ and ‘night changes’ represent an extended period of time

“Must have been the cold nights new moon
Night changes
Or forget your love for just being like I should”



The last line, ’or forget your love for just being like I should’, puzzles me.  When I listen to the track, I cannot make out what Patti LaBelle is singing, exactly. I believe “just being like I should” means the hero let go of a false reality and replaced it with an authentic one.



Repeat: Bridge and Chorus
The Hero sings the end of her story confidently and with purpose.  You cannot help but be happy for her.


Whenever I listen to songs from my youth, they reveal qualities relevant to me now as an adult.  New Attitude is not just a song with an infectious danceable beat. Its cleverly written lyrics and engaging story unfold as a universal hero’s myth about overcoming life’s challenges and obstacles, and finding new reasons for living, of which we all can relate.

 

References:     

Old life. New Life Logo retrieved from https://openclipart.org/user-detail/laftello

Campbell, Joseph. (1949). The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press.


Song Lyrics, New Attitude. Retrieved from New Attitude lyrics searched on www.google.com/

Why Do Groups Fail? Review of the Law of Triviality and Game Theory


The smaller the stakes, the bigger the fight

You organized a group with a clear mission statement with achievable goals. Your participants were congenial professionals with impressive resumes and resources. However, after just a few months,