C13P03 – Don’t know how to give – MOKO Press presents: LeyLines, a Fantasy Adventure Comic by Robin Childs Skip to content

C13P03 – Don’t know how to give

C13P03 – Don’t know how to give published on 13 Comments on C13P03 – Don’t know how to give

If you missed it last Friday, you can learn all about how adorable Dream Eater’s Rakaro puppies are in the first QnA bonus comic here!  I’ll be posting a QnA bonus comic every Friday until I run out of questions or it starts to interfere with other work.  So far they’re very quick and easy to do so I’m hoping I can continue doing them for a good long while because they’re a ton of fun.  Plus, I get to show you the softer, fuzzier side of some of the characters that’s not on display as much in the plot.

One of the techniques I sometimes use in conjunction with my therapy is called “active imagination.”  Which is not “Wheee! I just love to imagine things!” but focuses instead on trying to bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind.  Allowing thought processes, feelings, and defense mechanisms (complexes) to be personified in images and interacted with in an almost…stream of consciousness way.  Like people sometimes do when they’re between sleep and wakefulness, or deep in a daydream. The goal is not to control the energy or outcome, but to interact with unconscious aspects of the mind in a conscious way.

It’s something that I am apparently unusually good at?  Probably because this is very similar in process to how I craft scenes and stories.  So I’ve been practicing the skill without realizing it for over a decade.

Anyway, sometimes when I’m struggling with a particular pattern of behavior, my therapist encourages me to try an active imagination.  To see what that energy is trying to accomplish, what its motive is, what it wants.  The answers are not always trustworthy or particularly clear, but they can be interpreted.  This can sometimes give me insight on how thoughts and feelings that I’m less aware of are contributing to my behaviors.  It can also make it easier for me to identify signs of a particular kind of pattern (anxiety, depression, etc) being activated in a given situation.

Recently I was having problems with reoccurring intrusive, obsessive thoughts.  No matter how much I tried to explain them, shake them, or ignore them, they kept returning.  So I tried to focus on how I felt when I had those thoughts, and let those feelings manifest in an active imagination.  I thought it might be interesting to share the result.  I closed my eyes, sat still in a restful position, and imagined that I was sitting next to a campfire in the woods at night, because it felt like neutral ground.  The rest, I let evolve as I went:

When he first appeared it was in an outer shape of fear and terror. Snakes that coil about the neck, centipedes, insects of rot in a collective wave. This is a shape, but only an illusion.  As soon as I realize this, the image disappears.

Then a thin, sickly, leathery creature. All hairless limbs curled cravenly inward, with gnashing teeth for anything that gets too close. This is an in-between shape. As soon as I realize this, it too disappears.

Finally I see his inner shape.  He is a red cap, the look of a civilized creature with clothes and long beard, but no more trustworthy than his previous forms. He has a tiny curved knife that is very sharp, and when I look away he crosses the distance quickly to cut, although he aims to wound not kill.  I learn this when he gets too close and slashes across the collar bone. He wants a fight but agrees to mind his manners when I steal his hat and bargain for its return. He tries to reverse time, to take back his attack as if he never did it, rather than apologize. Yet I still keep a small scar and the shadow of his hat. For a moment, we appear the same, and he chuckles.

He is here for old business. Very old. He is angry I never learned the rules. He punishes me with little cuts of intrusive thoughts in the hope that I will either learn where my place is, or learn to know better than to interact with other people. He reminds me that I don’t know how to fit in and I never have.

Yet when I challenge him, he grudgingly admits that there may be no such thing as truly fitting in.

The trick is, of course, that this defense mechanism has a vested interest in me believing him.  What he says is the perspective of this pattern, not necessarily truth.  It is still interesting to know how he thinks.

Have you ever tried an active imagination?  Or to visualize how a feeling or other aspect of yourself might look like?  It can be a pretty intense and interesting experience!  Even if it does sound a little strange to describe.


Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

That is a really interesting technique, I have never knowingly tried before… I have done meditations and a darn near master of lucid dreaming. This might be something I should try. I have lost so much of my spirituality and spiritual health over the years that I am finding it difficult to get around. I may tey this and see what I find. Thank you for introducing this technique.

Something that’s neat about active imaginations is you can also build up and interact with positive patterns/behaviors just as much as confronting and questioning negative ones. It’s not for everyone, and there are some energies (the really big, really nasty kinds) that I would NOT recommend trying to engage with. Those exceptions aside, it can be a really interesting experience that yields a totally different way of exploring how we work!

… This might be how I’ve been interacting with my conscience – giving it the names/roles of characters I like, so it can keep a hold on me without being strangling.

In other news, everyone’s emotions are VERY clear in this strip. I love it. :>

I was doing this unintentionally with Hans for years (which I talked a bit about in this autobio comic) before I even learned about active imaginations. Hans acted as a confidant, and even in some cases a protector against self-destructive thoughts and impulses. What’s cool about interacting with the unconscious mind this way is that one can interact with the positive just as easily as the negative.

I know we’re all in this together now Zhiro and you just want Kali to get on the snuggle bus, but Kali is an interracial child. She has plenty of reasons to be suspicious. Not to mention that she is also an avatar of her god, so it’s not like some rando is talking smack.

Also, that’s a really interesting technique, Robin. Thank you for sharing. It’s always really good to hear that you’re taking care of yourself. I worry about you. <3

No need to worry. I’m in a better place than I have ever been. It is still hard, and it will always be hard, but it will also always change. I have faith that it will continue to change for the wiser.

I’m really glad to hear you say that. And I worry about everyone I like because, frustratingly, our rainbow kitten overlords have not yet conquered the world, so life is not a perfect mix of naps and playing with string and cuddles. Therefore everyone is struggling with someone, and I just want things to be NICE.

When I read someone’s tarot, they’re allowed to ask questions afterwards. Sometimes, so much ia going through them that they don’t know how to ask. I’ll have them take a deep breath and stretch. Then I ask them to think of a color. What does it represent to them? What about that representation are they interacting with? Then what question will address that? Then we can progress back to the cards.

I’m the only reader I know who uses the cards for therapy. I deal with what has happened in the past year, where they are now, and where their choices are taking them currently, as well as emotional aspects. A lot of what we talk about is how our reactions are manifestations of patterns we expect, based on what we’ve experienced.

You can add me to your list of readers who uses cards for therapy. Cory and I both have found that when we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn or where to even start, Tarot is an incredible way to take another look at problems and cut to the heart of the matter. So many major decisions of my life have been preceded by a reading, which are often very emotionally intense and revealing. I feel a strong connection to my cards.

Very interesting sounding technique, Robin. It sounds like quite an intense experience! I don’t remember trying anything quite like you describe this but I used to do some interesting active meditation stuff especially just before going to sleep at night.

I always started things off by imagining opening a large wooden door and stepping into a somewhat dusty hall lined with huge glass display cases containing various characters of mine from stories and roleplaying games. As time went on the older cases got more and more dusty and the hall got longer and longer. I often I often used to use the sheer length of the hall as a way to lull myself into sleep when sleep didn’t want to come because I could just concentrate on the marble floor and the precise way my heels sounded on it and the gentle flicker of the ceiling which was made of soft lighting panels that lit up as I came under them and went dark as I left their influence.

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