Growing down

The other day I found my shoe hanging from the door (see picture below), which made me laugh out loud because it had been one of those days—the kind where you jam a toe on the baby gate so hard it immediately turns purple and then somehow that same toe keeps getting stepped on by your five-year-old, then rolled over by your own grocery cart, with your toddler in it, as your five-year-old asks for cereal, with chocolate in it, and you say “no” and you curse yourself for wearing flip flops and being so clumsy and believe deeply in that moment that your toe will never, ever, in this life, actually heal.  But of course it does, and somehow, we just do.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the image of an upside down tree, and what it means to “grow down,” my spirit grasping for something on this earth to take hold of, the idea that we start life with something in us from another world and eventually learn how to grow down, be grounded in the earth and become part of this world (from The Soul’s Code, by James Hillman, a Jungian psychologist.  At least I think this is what he’s been talking about, or else my mind just wandered off into a very weird place). I like daydreaming about his idea of the acorn theory, an energy pattern directing us from inside, something that has its own dimension that is somehow not on either side of the “nature versus nurture” debate of who we are and how we became that way.  And for some reason, this feels good to think about, like when I’m hiking alone or laying on my yoga mat listening to Pearl Jam a little too loud on my headphones. It’s a spacious feeling.

Lately, J has been asking me, “what is a party boat?” and “can we get one?” His little soul is definitely interested in learning how to have some fun here. He also gets a kick out of waking up before anyone else in the family so he can color and eat cereal and listen to his favorite music (Trolls soundtrack) without being bothered. Meanwhile, Baby C’s idea of a party is taking out all the shoes from the bin by the door, dragging them around by their laces, and then hanging them in ways I didn’t know was possible (the surprise shoe hanging from the door was his doing). He also enjoys dropping a wooden spoon off the top of the stairs while saying “uh-oh” and running down the sidewalk as fast as he can while shouting gleefully. Maybe these are examples of their little souls finding pleasure and excitement in this earth somehow, directed by an inner something, rooting down.

So I’ll keep thinking about my upside down tree, especially when there’s pain or constriction, in or around me, my spirit settling down, into, seeking out so it can do what it demands to do. I’ll continue to find my own version of a party boat or a shoelace trick, to ponder meaning, laugh, connect with others—family and friends and strangers who are also here settling in.




This entry was posted in carl jung, Childbirth, childhood, growing up, james hillman, jungian psychology, mom blog, nature versus nurture, parenting, psychology, the soul's code, toddler, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Growing down

  1. Kim Thoman says:

    Thanks so much for writing this and all the pieces you write. Always takes me somewhere I’ve not been. Love, ak


  2. SIL Laura says:

    Beautiful! I agree with your AK—takes me somewhere I haven’t been. Also, I hope the acorn theory and “growing down” inspires a new piece of art! ;).
    Here’s to more party boats and shoelace games!


  3. Carly says:

    I love your writing and miss you and your sweet family. Sending you a big hug, my friend.


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