Thursday, 12 November 2015

dream workshop on November 21st at Yuri's Village

I would like to invite you to my next workshop on dreams, which will be held in a free weekend event on November 21-22 called Health, Food, Creativity at Yuri's Village/LucSculpture.

As we spend one third of our life in sleep, what we experience during sleep is also an important part of our life as a whole.  While we usually experience something vivid with emotions in our dreams, it is gone quickly as soon as we wake up and we tend to overlook our dream experience.  Jungian Psychology appreciates dreams as something meaningful and suggestive for our holistic well-being.  Dreams often contain common images in a personal context of the dreamer.  In the workshop we will explore dreams to see how personal issues could be manifested in dream images.

This workshop will be given in English.
Title:       Approaching yourself from within: an introduction to Jungian dream analysis

Date:       Saturday, November 21st, 2015, 4:30-5:30pm

Place:      Yuri's Village
                Third Floor, 663 Greenwood Ave, Toronto, ON, M4J 4B3

Fee:         Free
For more information, please visit the website:

Monday, 10 November 2014

dream workshop at Yuri's Village on 23 November

I would like to invite you to my next workshop on dreams, which will be held in a free weekend event on November 22-23 called Health, Food, Creativity at Yuri's Village/LucSculpture.
Dreams are considered to be a message from the unconscious, which provides a picture of ourselves from a different angle.  In the workshop a short dream will be presented.  Let us explore together how our inner situation could manifest in our dreams.

This workshop will be given in English.
Title:       Exploring your dreams from a Jungian perspective

Date:       Sunday, November 23rd, 11:30am-12:30pm

Place:      Yuri's Village
                Third Floor, 663 Greenwood Ave, Toronto, ON, M4J 4B3

Fee:         Free
For more information, please visit the website:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

film workshop at Yuri's Village on 25 September

Please come to Mée's film workshop at Yuri's Village!

It is a workshop to consider a segment from a film, New York, I Love You (2009) from a psychological point of view.  The segment will be shown at the beginning of the workshop.
With a close look at the story it will be examined what psychological process of an individual might be displayed in a seemingly ordinary situation.

This workshop will be given in English.

Title:   Movie Night with Jungian Psychology
Date:  Thursday, September 25th, 6:00~7:30pm
Place: Yuri's Village
           Third Floor, 663 Greenwood Avenue, Toronto, ON, M4J 4B3
Fee:    $15


Friday, 25 July 2014

an "ish-ful" life

When starting thinking what must be done and how it should be done, we tend to forget what we want to do or how we feel about the situation.  It often happens especially when we are trying to be adequate in a given situation.  On the other hand if we care too much about “shoulds” and “musts,” we are in danger of losing a connection to what we are thinking and feeling inside.

It cannot be denied that there are times when we have to do certain things in a certain manner regardless of our personal concerns and situations.  It does not mean, however, that our neglected inner flow has vanished magically.  It is there even if we decide to ignore it.
Then how can we acknowledge it and honour it?
I would like to explore this question, along with a picture book by P. H. Reynolds, Ish.

Ramon was a boy who loved drawing.
One day his brother laughed at his drawing.  Ramon was hurt and started trying to make his drawings look “right” but in vain.  He finally came to the conclusion that he was done.
Then he found that his sister made her room a gallery with his discarded drawings.  She said she liked his drawings because they look their model-“ish.”  That gave Ramon a whole new perspective on his drawings.
He began to draw again, and enjoyed expressing things in an “ish” way.  He discovered that he could even draw “feeling-ish” drawings and write “poem-ish” poems.  When he was experiencing something so wonderful which he could not capture in his “ish” drawing or “ish” poem, he appreciated the freedom not to capture the experience in a concrete way.  He lived an “ish-ful” life from then on.

When Ramon’s brother laughs at Ramon’s drawing, his brother does not clarify what is wrong with the drawing.  Ramon is hurt, however, and he is haunted by his brother’s laughter.  His brother’s laughter irritates him probably because it stimulates his sense of inferiority; Ramon feels angry, sad and embarrassed.  Then he starts struggling to get his drawing “right” but the love he used to feel for his drawing seems to be gone in his striving for perfection.

It is true that we sometimes require some kind of standards for certain things or occasions to make a judgement or evaluation that is appropriate in a given situation.  We have to be careful to note, however, that such social standards are not absolute or static regardless of the contexts.  Especially when considering the personal matters, those standards often do not work.  What is “right” or “correct” for one person cannot be easily applied to another person because they are different individuals.
Nevertheless so-called social standards are powerful to bind us in many ways.  We are easily haunted by them and tend to forget what is natural and unique for us as an individual.

Ramon’s desperate attempt to make his drawings look “right” deprives of all his natural pleasure of drawing.  Moreover he almost gives up drawing.  His natural and personal connection to drawing seems to diminish as he tries so hard to be “perfect” as an artist.

When Ramon’s sister suggests that his drawings look something-ish, however, Ramon’s whole attitude transforms.  The “ish-ful” perspective changes his whole life.  What has transformed in his attitude?

His sister's comment on his drawings makes him realise what is “right” for him is not restricted to what looks “right” for others.  This discovery transforms his relationship to drawing.  He finds that his drawing can express not only what he sees but also what he feels.  Consequently he is open to other means of expression in addition to drawing.  Then his relationship to the world changes; he appreciates his spontaneous experience of the world.  He knows that he is free to express his experience in various ways or not to express it at all.  In other words he is in harmony with the world within and without.  His newly acquired attitude is what is referred to as being “ish-ful.”

Being “ish-ful” allows us to be ambiguous and playful.  It enables us to bring our own inner flow to our life outside.  In other words, it gives us more space to be truthful to ourselves, because what we do or what we feel tends to fall somewhere between two extremes such as black and white.  It also helps us escape when we are trapped by "shoulds" and "musts."

Ramon is freer to express or not express what he sees and feels.  When he honours the world within and without, he does not have to be active all the time; he can be passive, too, and just enjoy what is there and where he is.

I think Ramon’s story is touching because he struggles to live with his truth, which might be “not right” to others but makes his life meaningful to him.  His journey seems to indicate a possible direction how to live a spontaneous and well-balanced, “ish-ful” life, where we appreciate to be ourselves.


 (* This article is published in Personal-Development.Com Newsletter issued on 31 July 2014.  Thank you!)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

film seminar at JCCC on 15 June

Please come to Mée's film seminar on Sunday 15 June, 2014 in Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre !

Mée will give a film seminar on a Japanese film, Girl in the Sunny Place (2013), starring Jun Matsumoto and Juri Ueno.  The story will be considered in terms of Jungian psychology and dream analysis, which will give interesting insights about our dreams and psychological well-being.

The seminar will be offered in Japanese.

Title:   Dreaming of the Girl in the Sunny Place
           -An analysis from a psychological perspective-

Date:  Sunday, 15 June, 2014, starting at 4:30pm

Place: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC)
            6 Garamond Court, Toronto, ON, M3C 1Z5

Fee:   Free *

         * Seminar participants must have a ticket for the movie, Girl in the Sunny Place,
            which will be shown on the same day at 2:00pm in JCCC.
            Prior booking is required.  (Seats are limited.)

Please contact 416-441-2345 (JCCC reception) for booking.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

the first step to live more like yourself

Wanting to live more like oneself is probably one of the most natural desires people could have.  Sometimes we are hesitant to follow this desire, however, because it looks rather selfish in a given situation or disturbing for relationships with others.

There is a well known fairytale by Grimm called The Frog King.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who was adored by everyone.  One day when she was playing with her golden ball, the ball fell into an old well.  As she was crying, a frog appeared and said he would recover her ball if she promised that she would share everything with him from then on.  The princess secretly thought it was out of question, but she promised that she would.  The frog gave her back the ball, but she ran away to the castle, leaving him behind.  Next day when she was having a meal, the frog came and said she should keep her words.  The king, her father, agreed with the frog and told her to share her meal with the frog.  The princess reluctantly obeyed him.  Furthermore the frog wanted her to let him share her room and her bed, and she could not stand it anymore.  She cried, "That is the bed for you!" and threw the frog to the wall.  At the moment the frog transformed into a handsome prince.  He told her that an evil witch turned him to a frog.  He asked her to marry him and they were happy.

What do you think of the story?  Some people might think, "What a spoilt child the princess is!  She should keep her promise if she made it whatever the reason," or wonder, "Why could she be happily married to the prince?  Does she deserve it?"  In fact they are what I first thought when I read the story.

Nevertheless, now I think we can get a very important message from the story if we understand it from a different angle.

Let us look at the story again.  An adored princess meets a frog.  She does not like the creature.  Her hatred and anger for the frog increase as she and the frog develop their relationship.  She loses herself in a rage and refuses the frog in a violent manner.  It results in the frog’s transforming into a handsome prince.

It sounds unreasonable and ugly that the princess becomes violent because she does not like the outcome of her own behaviour.  However, if her irrational anger did not grow so much, the frog would not have turned to a prince, and the story would not have ended in a happy way.
Consequently the important point of this story is that the frog prince is set free from the curse when the princess's selfish anger is at its height.

The story begins with the description of how beautiful the princess is and how carefully she is brought up.  She is well protected in a castle and praised for her beauty all the time.  However, she is probably just like a beautiful adorable doll, playing with her ball.  No matter how beautiful she might be, there is nothing like herself as an individual person.

The frog must be the very first strange and uncomfortable thing she encounters in her life.  Meeting with the frog, she begins to feel unreasonable hatred for him.  She runs away from him, making a promise she has no intention to keep.  Her act is childish and insincere, but probably this is the first time for her to place her own feeling ahead of other things, such as others' concerns and social rules.

The king, her father, says that promises should be kept.  His proposition is orderly and clear, showing an important principle for society.  While his justice might be well established, however, it does not have a space for a personal feeling of the princess.

If she had no feeling just like a doll, she would have followed the king with no resistance and accepted any requests of the frog.  In such a case, while the frog might have been treated well on the superficial level, there would have been no emotional exchange between the princess and the frog whatever they do together.  Thus the transformation of the frog would have never happened in the end.

If the princess was emotionally more mature, she would have expressed her negative feeling to the frog in words.  She could have told him that she could not keep her words, made an apology, and had a discussion with him to seek other ways to solve the problem.

However, the princess must have had no experience of reflecting herself or facing conflicts with others or dealing with her own negative feelings.  Moreover, her feeling to the frog does not fit with the king's principle as well as a general image of a “beautiful princess” as she must be expected to embody.  In consequence, it is no wonder that she could but explode in such an abrupt way in order to express herself.

It is impulsive, immature and ungraceful that she throws the frog to the wall in her rage, but the first attempt of expressing oneself tends to be awkward and to look "out of character."  And yet, the explosion of her feeling is the turning point of the story; the frog prince is set free from the curse.  When understanding this fairytale as a story of the princess's psychological development, her outburst must be the important first step for her to live her own life like herself.

In other words, she is transformed to a unique individual from a beautiful doll, through her outrage caused by her relationship with the frog.  She marries to the frog prince at the end, and it probably suggests that she is now ready to esatablish an equal and conscious relationship with someone different from herself.  Thus it can be said that this ending of the story illustrates her growth as a person, for if she had remained to be a doll, she would not have been able to develop a relationship with the frog.

When trying to live our own life like ourselves, we cannot help facing conflicts and our own negative feelings towards something/someone, and the feelings might feel unreasonable and ugly.  Nevertheless if we recognise those feelings as our own and keep working to find a way to express them, the process itself reflects our unique being and reveals the inner beauty as a person.  I think the story of The Frog King gives us an image of the first step when a person starts this process.

(* This article is published in Personal-Development.Com Newsletter issued on 29 October 2013.  Thank you!)

Monday, 19 August 2013

a creative life

When hearing the term, a “creative life,” what sort of life comes to your mind?  A life full of artistic activities?  A life with innovative ideas?  A life with new and exciting events?
Perhaps all those lives can be creative, and some people are very talented in those things.  However, is a creative life impossible for those who are not very talented in these specific areas?

There is a Japanese movie, Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers (2005), directed by Satoshi Miki.  It is a story about an ordinary housewife, called Suzume.  Her name means a sparrow in Japanese, i.e. one of the most common wild birds.  Her life is a typical ordinary featureless life with everything “so-so” – that means things are OK but there is nothing particularly interesting or very special.  She looks common, and does everything just on the average level.  She is bored and feels that she is invisible in the world.

One day she happens to find a tiny advertisement on a railing of steep steps in the neighbourhood, saying, “A Spy Wanted.”  She takes the chance and goes to an interview.  The advertisers like her because she is so ordinary.  They tell her that she has to look and behave as ordinarily as a person can possibly do in order to be a spy, because a spy should look most common, so that most featureless, to stay invisible to others’ eyes.  It makes her start thinking how to be “ordinary” in an active and conscious way.  She tries to buy “ordinary” groceries and to drive a car as an “ordinary” driver.  Eventually she finds it skillful and full of adventure to be “ordinary.”  This change of her attitude makes her ordinary life extraordinary, and consequently she finds her being purposeful and independent.

Suzume keeps living her ordinary life after being a spy, but the meaning of her ordinariness is different from what it was at the beginning of the story.  Being ordinary becomes something special and unique when she finds a meaning in it.

I think this story is very suggestive when thinking about a creative life.  Creativity is a gift everyone has which makes it possible to find potentials and meanings in anything we encounter and experience.  A creative life does not necessarily mean anything interesting or spectacular to others, but living one’s life actively and consciously in a way one finds it meaningful to oneself.

(* This article is published in Personal-Development.Com Newsletter issued on 18 September 2013.  Thank you!)