I write a lot about unconscious regression – mostly how to prevent it.
That’s because you want to learn to parent yourself – to live your life as an adult, not a child, to be awake and embrace awareness so you can take charge of the life you lead.
On the other hand, sometimes being an adult can be exhausting.
At the end of each day, you go to sleep – a regressed, unconscious state. You cannot survive without this nightly departure from reality. Sleep deprivation is harmful, even fatal in extreme cases. It is necessary for your physical and mental health to disappear into your unconscious to rest and recover.
You also need to play. Perhaps that’s what dreams are – the play of the unconscious mind.
Conscious play – what the psychoanalyst Ernst Kris termed “regression in the service of the ego” – is also critical to staying healthy in mind and body.
It’s interesting that children play at being adults. They bang away at a little workbench, or play “house” or pretend to care for a doll. They are practicing for the time when they will leave the regressed, dreamy state of childhood, and assume adult responsibilities.
Adults do just the opposite. When you play as an adult, you regress back to childhood activities. You might occupy yourself with sports, vegetate with a video game or disappear into a novel or a movie. You might sit on the beach, look at a palm tree and think about the world.
A change of physical scenery can be restful. It’s nice to escape from your familiar adult world and take yourself someplace new, where no reminders exist of adult responsibilities.
You might find it useful to go somewhere without walls – and with long horizons. There’s something about seeing a great distance that sets the mind to turning over new possibilities.
The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote that a man who transcends the conventional thinking of his time “must be accustomed to living on mountain tops.”
It is healthy to gaze into the distance – from a mountain top, or out over the ocean – and consider what might be. You can best re-evaluate where you are when you can see a long way ahead.
The People’s Therapist is going on a vacation.
I’ll be back in a week’s time – rested and ready to continue in interesting new directions.
But for a few days I’ll let my child take over.
He wants to build a sand castle and splash in the waves and maybe read a good book. A little sea air and a sun tan – and possibly a margarita – might be nice. Maybe some good food and a little dancing.
I’ll see you when I get back.