Jung & Play: Re-writing Your Myth

woman reading by windowWithout playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination if incalculable.
-C.G. Jung

Jung wrote about the need for finding and living our myth, our story, as he grew older, he wrote his most important works and found his own unique ways to play. We need new stories that weave playfulness, gratitude, and compassion for self and others. Re-writing your myth or story can help you understand more fully your core values. Your story reflects your uniqueness and the many gifts you have to offer others. If you fully expressed your values, how would others see you? Would it change your life in some way?

A life story re-told:

Playful Kingdom
A little girl sat reading alone and wistfully looking out the window of her bedroom –dreaming, flying to places far beyond the confines of her sanctuary. She spent as much of her time as possible outside playing—skipping, riding her bike, walking and exploring, traveling by bus around the local area, dancing and choreographing shows on the spot for the neighborhood, creating puppets, puppet shows, and theatre, observing animals and recording their behavior, making lists of local plants, and gently tending and feeding them.
When it was time to come inside, the little girl would walk up the stairs to her room and settle in for a long read or daydream or she would travel by foot to a community building in her neighborhood where she could read and even borrow books whenever she liked.

She flew out her window whenever her Spirit wanted to soar beyond the earthly bound. Her visits to various realms allowed her to remain playful in her own kingdom where life was not always easy; a large part of her kingdom was at war with itself. The little girl’s imagination, dreams, and playfulness provided her with the needed support and fearlessness to move forward.

She listened to her dreams, acted, and found she wanted more of life. Her dreams brought her news that led her down many paths both harrowing and heart-y. Because she never left her playfulness behind, the little girl’s dreams provided a landscape to travel in and return to as she wandered earth. Many fellow travelers dismissed dreams and their own unique natures in favor of others’ visions for them.

The little girl grew in power and authority. She began to blend her own unique vision with what she had learned from her teachers about dreams and their importance in creating a playful life filled with meaning.

She married and became Queen to her King. Her children and grandchildren thrived and played. Each morning dreams were told and listened to, reflected on, acted upon for the benefit of all.

Dreams foretold of changes big and small for the Kingdom. Masterful communication secured peace. Instead of fighting or retreating as in past conflicts the Queen, her King, and past foes stood shoulder-to-shoulder and met for the first time. Foe became friend. A playful path of risk-taking and foolishness replaced a deep ravine.

Now that you have read one woman’s personal mythology, I invite you to write your story in any way that feels right to you.

Some ways to get started:

  • Re-write a favorite children’s book story or nursery rhyme and write yourself in as the lead character.
  • If you keep a dream journal, open one of your journals and see what dream finds you again. Re-write the plot, scenes, characters, location, and conflict in the dreamscape and see what happens.
  • Change the lyrics to a favorite song and add lyrics that tell the story of your life’s journey. See what happens as you play with the words, rhymes, and melody.

Questions for you to consider as your write your story/myth:

  • What is your story or myth?
  • What have been your struggles?
  • Have you celebrated your transformations?
  • Are you shedding your skin or thickening your woolen coat?
  • Who are your supporters?
  • What do you fear?
  • What do you easily move toward?

© Copyright 2011 by Mary Alice Long, PhD. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • GrEeN cHiLi

    February 18th, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    a Lot of People have Given up Reading books In recent Times and This has Definitely diminished The imaginative Powers in General.same Is with Writing.it Makes you dig Deep in Your thoughts And opens A world Of thinking And imagination.

  • Olivia

    February 19th, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Jung’s quote at the beginning of that article is so inspirational!

  • EM

    February 20th, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    Finding your myth is indeed important but allowing that myth and idealized self dictate how you live is not right. Sometimes you have to be willing to veer from that path and take the road that you may have never visualized yourself on before. How will you ever know true love and success if you do not allow yourself to grow and become what you are meant to be, and not simply who you thought that you were meant to be?

  • PP

    February 20th, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Well,I imagine myself in sci fi adventures all the time.That is a bit too far stretched to get in real life but yes,I want to be an astronaut and whenever I see a movie related to anything with outer space or astronomy,I do put myself into it.And I absolutely love it! :)

  • Jake

    February 21st, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    Kids do this all the time…lost in their imagination where they are a part of their imaginative story and world…Why can’t we,as adults,do this easily?

    The answer is that as we grow up we stop imagining and soon our powers of imagination decreases.Imagination is a good thing and we need to try and bring it back into our lives after all these years.

  • Mary Alice Long, PhD

    March 4th, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Thank you for your comments. Re-writing your personal myth is a playful way to see yourself through a new storyline (plot), new characters in your community, new location to play and work in. Re-writing can be done as many times as you like, not a static process for sure. Change is inevitable, its what we make of those changes that counts. To re-play your story you can also add in bits of fabric, photos, draw your story in wet sand, create a sand painting. Writing is only one way of re-creating your story, the story of who you are in the moment…blip, and the story can change or each of us can sail along with ease….and then something else can drop in…Its fun to re-imagine who we are and find new ways to play and live uniquely and passionately.

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