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Life upside-down

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Jul 09, 2023 5:00 am

My life has become so simple. I go to bed around eight, watch K-dramas until I’m sleepy then go to sleep at around nine. I wake up before six, head for my workroom and make rosaries. That’s how my life began and ended for almost three years. Turned me into a person bored with life.

So I have been working at picking up the pieces of my old life. My old friends Sonia and Carissa invited me to join their new group that gets together once a month to talk about life from a Jungian point of view. What is that? Carl Jung was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, both of them psychiatrists of the old school. First they were friends, then they were not. I discovered him many years ago when I was so tired and could find no rest. One Saturday morning I saw a Jung Festival written about in the newspaper. I decided to join. I loved it and since then have been to seminars, written about archetypes, brought some people into the group.

Then something happened that made me quit. The Destroyer smashed into the picture. The Destroyer is a person or an event that suddenly hits you, forcing you to decide radically either to get out or to stay in and change things. This one I knew I couldn’t change so I got out. Time went on but eventually friends of mine who remained also discovered The Destroyer and also decided to get out. Lately, they’ve begun to invite me to their events. They call their group Soul Solutions because soul is the one thing that gets people entranced by Carl Jung. Soul is the most vital thing in us. When we die, our souls leave our bodies but continue life elsewhere.



One day I got an invitation from the group to speak at their next event. Their events are called “Let’s Talk About...”—a name I had given them. Thirty-five years in advertising lets me do simple things like that. The event where they needed me to talk was “Let’s Talk About The Destroyer.” I said yes.

Then last week an acquaintance called and invited me to lunch. First I said yes, I would love to; then the next day I realized it was on the same day as The Destroyer event. So I gave her a choice—either come with me to the Jung event or we could have lunch next week. She chose to come with me to The Destroyer event. I was surprised and overjoyed.


An “archetype,” according to Wikipedia, is “a collectively-inherited unconscious idea, a pattern of thought, image, etc., that is universally present, in individual psyches, as in Jungian psychology. Archetypes are presented many ways—biblically, mythologically, even Filipino mythology was researched and presented by Gayle Certeza, a publisher and member of the Soul Solutions triumvirate. You have characters like Yahweh, Demeter, Ishtar to illustrate Destroyers. This is what I love about Jung. His language is magical and wakes your imagination. But to me an archetype is an act of God. Like for example me getting married at 18 after a five-month intense courtship. At my age now—which my Chinese friends have talked me into pegging at 77 though I am getting to two years older than that—when I look back I believe God made me marry at 18 to start my life lessons, to make me see what I have to put up with and where I draw the line, where I say no, so I will not be manipulated that way ever again.


It took three men scheming—I suspect—to drive me out of that first marriage. One of them a psychiatrist who told me on my first visit that he could tell I was like his uncle who loved Bayside, a night and day club then. His family told his uncle to stop going because one day he would die there. “And you know? He did die there!” said that thin, horrifying psychiatrist who is dead now; after all, that was almost 60 years ago. How could a psychiatrist say that to a young woman of 24 on her first visit?

It was a delightful lunch with lots of laughter. Many of my old friends were there. Joji Racelis, Gayle Certeza and Carissa Singson make up the three who lead Soul Solutions. Ricky Villabona (nephew of my Tita Emma Villabona who used to work with my mother when I was around four years old but who I remember well as she was so pretty), Irene Advincula, Malu Perez and Nenet Lavares were my new friends. Leah Eriguel was once my writing student. Many more were there. There were 18 of us who gathered around the lunch table from 10 a.m. to after 3 p.m. This lunch I turned my new life upside-down with memories of an old one. It was great!