Sunday, January 15, 2012

I attempt to study.


A few months prior to starting school at Pacifica, I moved into the yurt. Mostly, when I think of the yurt and studying, I think of incongruity. It's too hot, too often chaotically messy, too...dizzyingly round. I stand in the center, and I'm standing in the kitchen, the bedroom, and the living room all at the same time--I'm overwhelmed and easily forget where I intended to be. 

Studying is hard here for more than just logistical reasons. Here, I have been categorically unable to read textbooks on psychological theory. For that I abandon ship and head for the safety of a cappuccino. Neither can I seriously think of practical words like 'traineeship' and 'Board of Behavioral Science.' The real world does not exist tangibly enough here. It is too much like a dream in this porous, quiet place. Imagine trying to go camping and do your taxes at the same time.

In the midst of my complaining about not having a good place to study, I didn't have time to notice that I was in fact (relatively) easily taking to Jung and Freud here in the yurt. I like to sit outside with the chickens while I read. Nature seems to mirror the psyche, bringing to life the strangeness of the words on the page. I hear the witchy calls of owls, the disturbing yelps of coyotes. A fat book of strange tales could be written about my chicken flock alone. I can hardly believe the diversity of the expression of life--from the 300-year old oak trees to the one-year old exploring puppy. I look across the field and watch the trees stand still. 

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung wrote, “Plainly the urban world knew nothing about the country world, the real world of mountains, woods, and rivers, of animals and “God’s thoughts” (plants and crystals)”. I too live in this real, country world, but the difference is, I did not know it was real. I saw it as a reprieve, something to be abandoned when my 'real,' adult life finally begins at some point, an epoch I will remember romantically as I cook in my fancy kitchen and live out my successful career.

At night I often dream of walking on steep hillsides, about to fall off, but too entranced by the panoramic views to turn back. I dream of beautiful feathers streaming from my mouth as I smile. In The Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo wrote of our "secret deep and vast psychic heart" and encouraged "free expression out of a supreme inward silence." The yurt reminds me of my creatureliness, my vulnerability, my smallness. I do my studies and I love my cappuccino, but I come home to animals, fresh air, the moon.

Our ceiling. And a full moon.
Stella a few minutes later


  1. this is amazing, also the pictures are HILARIOUS and pERFECT

  2. I totally agree Sarah- Your sister is such an amazing writer. Ash- I love this post. Will you write me a book??

  3. again, i am sweetly silenced by your brilliance

  4. thank you for this, yes, it is wonderful to be reminded of the opposites of your world. i'm so lazy, i never have tried to do something linear in something round. neither has stella. love you, dear.