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Ode to a Grecian Pizza

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I am told that Valerie Macon, Governor McCrory’s choice for the next poet laureate resigned. So I had to edit the original post. Ms. Macon deserves the support and encouragement of everyone who loves poetry. It was unfortunate she was placed in the awkward predicament and she seems to have handled it with dignity. All that remains from my original post is the link to the Charlotte News Observer article and the poem this all inspired. I still like pizza!


Ode to a Grecian Pizza
Len Cruz

Thou still unravished pie that sates
Thou orphan of Geometry and Cuisine.
Northern Peidmont historian, who canst thus express
An aromatic tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What basil-leafed legend haunts about thy shape
Of meats or veggies, or of both.
In Maggie or the dales of Franklin Street?
What essences or toppings are these? What hands have tossed?
What speedy delivery? What struggle to arrive hot?
What texture and flavors? What wild ecstasy?

Eaten pizzas are good, but the leftovers
Are sweeter; therefore, ye wood-fired ovens, cook on;
Not to the gluttonous palate, but, more endear’d,
Waft to the spirit dishes or empty pizza pans:
Fair youth, on college campus, thou canst not leave
Thy half-eaten crust, nor even those bare white pies;
Bold Pizza Lover, never canst thy taste,
Though winning near the goal-yet, do not grieve;
Pizza does not fade, though thou hast not been sated,
For ever wilt thou gorge, and Pizza be fair!

Ah, happy, happy discs! that cannot yield
Your slices, nor ever bid the feast’s adieu;
And, happy synaesthetic, undaunted,
For ever piping hot creation, for ever new:
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever steaming, and for ever nutritious:
And breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a gut high-sorrowful and cloy’d.
A slothful bowel and a parched tongue.

What ingredients are coming to the sacrifice?
To what Greek Pizza altar, O mysterious chef,
Leadest thou that heifer, lowing at the skies,
And all her cheesy borders with garlic drest?
What little pizza parlor by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-fed by countless disc-shaped fares.
Is emptied of its tasty contents, this pie-ous morn?
And, little meal, thy surface for evermore,
Will silent be: and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art entombed in cardboard.

O Oval shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of wheat and sauce and meat,
With toppings and endless combos:
Thou, emptied form! dost tease us out of torpor
As doth eternal hunger, Warm Appetite!
When old age shall hinder my embrace
Thou, Pizza, shall remain in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Pizza is Satisfaction, Satisfaction is Pizza,-that is all
Ye know on earth, all ye need to know.”

Heres is North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Pizza Poem

Vegetarian Meat Lover

Valerie Macon


Clicking into Vinny’s Pizza

in Jimmy Choo platform pumps,

a woman, six feet tall

and straight as a sunflower,

in high-waisted jeggings

and gold cropped tee.

Her boyfriend,

a weed sprout beside her,
ambles in Old Navy flip-flops.


She holds her yellow head high

like a flower tilted towards sun,

scans the chalked daily specials,

tapping Black Truffle acrylics

in the rhythm of a gentle spring rain.

She orders vegetarian pizza.

The boyfriend, arms coiled around her,

orders the meat lover’s special.






Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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A person recently posted the following question to a website “DoctorBase” and I posted a reply.


I have had general anxiety for about 7 years (I am 23). I have tried many medications that all make me very tired so I have chosen to live with the anxiety. I have recently been waking up in the middle of the night with what feels like i wake up and have to catch my breath while feeling very anxious. How can I be awake during the day but still be able to sleep at night?



Great question but there is no simple, straightforward answer to this question.  First, there are times when you may want to make sure there is no underlying cause for the chronic anxiety (hyperthyroidism, heart rhythm disturbances, much more rare conditions like pheochromocytoma, etc).  One thing that would incline a clinician to agree that this is Generalized Anxiety is a duration of years and years versus a recent onset.


Assuming the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety is correct.  There are several classes of medicine that are likely to be utilized.


Pure SSRI antidepressants (Include medicines like Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil) all these are also generic.  SSRI’s were discovered to help subdue symptoms in various anxiety disorders like Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  They bring with them potential side effects: blunting of emotions, delayed orgasm, nausea (especially when starting), occasional physical jitteriness/restlessness.  If this approach is utilized, dosing may best be started at lower doses and gradually increased if symptoms do not improve and side effects do not ensue.


Buspar (buspirone) this medicine was originally investigated as an agent to reduce aggression.  It was discovered that it could reduce the anxiety symptoms associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It has NO immediate anxiety relieving effects but over time, perhaps by its effects on serotonin receptors (a different set of receptors and a different mechanism than SSRIs).  Side effects can include nausea, jitteriness/restlessness, and low-grade headache.  There are no associated sexual side effects and in fact some prescribers will add this to an SSRI in hopes of mitigating (reducing) sexual side effects and potentiating (enhancing) the SSRI’s beneficial effects.  Doses ranging from 30-60 mg are often used but once again, the medicine is typically started at a low dose and raised slowly over the first two weeks to avoid side effects.


Beta Blocking drugs.  These include medicines like Propranolol, Atenolol, Metoprolol, etc.  It is important to remember that the physiologic basis for anxiety often includes the release of certain chemicals (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that are released when we are frightened and alarmed.  The “fight or flight” response depends on the release of these chemicals.  In our bloodstream, these neurochemicals cause the heart rate to increase, blood vessels to some of our internal organs to constrict thereby making more blood available to our muscles, and they cause us to feel more  alert through their action on “beta adrenergic receptors”.  Beta blockers effectively block the effect of these chemicals in the peripheral bloodstream.  Some of these medicines cross more easily into the brain thereby causing more sluggishness and tiredness.  There are certain precautions that apply to the use of these medicines.  People with slow heart rate, combinations with certain other medicines, presence of asthma (for certain beta blockers), and other conditions.  Beta blockers are very effective for “stage fright” or situational anxiety that arises in discrete settings.


Benzodiazepine medication.  This broad class of medicines include Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Librium, Clonazepam, Restoril, Serax and others.  By attaching to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain they affect certain brain centers that are associated with anxiety.  These medicines do several things.  They reduce our tendency to flee from a noxious stimulus.  For example, if I find it frightening to board a plan and take a benzodiazepine I may be able to approach this situation without experiencing the tendency to avoid or flee.  These medicines also can produce muscle relaxation, incoordination, and sedation.  The biggest drawback associated with this class of medicines (especially for someone with chronic anxiety like Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is that over time, tolerance develops to these medicines.  Tolerance simply means that the original dose that was effective, no longer proves effective.  At that point the only options are to raise the dose or endure the reappearance of anxious symptoms.  The other drawback is that if a person abruptly stops these medicines after taking them continuously for a sufficient time, they will experience acute symptoms of withdrawal.  For someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder that tends to be chronic, the immediate relief provided by these medicines can be an initial blessing but the tendency to develop tolerance and dependence (dependence refers to the symptoms of withdrawal that appear after long term use). Caution should be used in using these medicines regularly on a daily basis but despite these cautions, these medicines have a place.


Novel antipsychotic agents.  These medicines include medications that are being heavily promoted by the pharmaceutical industry in hopes of extending their use beyond the specific indications (to treat psychosis).  Seroquel, Risperidal, Abilify, Latuda, Geodon, (Cloozaril which requires regular blood counts to monitor a potentially serious side effect). These medicines are traditionally used to treat disorders of thinking and perception broadly known as “psychosis”.  In recent years, they have been employed as augmentation (added to) with antidepressants.  Because these medicines can sometimes be broadly calming (almost as though they blunt all stimulation indiscriminately) they can provide some symptom relief for anxious people.  There is one potentially serious side effect associated with long-term use of antipsychotics, “tar dive dyskinesia” that involves a chronic, unrelenting movement disorder.  This is a very uncommon side effect with the Novel antipsychotic class of medicine but is not something to be ignored.  The risk of this side effect is associated with duration of use, the dosage used (higher does increase risk), age of use (probably due to age being a risk for involuntary movement disorders independent of medicine).  Other side effects that must be considered are daytime sedation, significant weight gain that predisposes to pre-diabetic conditions, a global dulling effect, and potential hormone changes.  Caution should be exercised in using this class of medicine for an “off-label” (unapproved) use like Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  These medicines will sometimes be added to SSRI antidepressants to potentiate or augment the antidepressant’s effects.


Although your question pertains to medicines, it seems important to emphasize that people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder also benefit from various forms of therapy.  Perhaps the most commonly employed therapeutic approaches (and perhaps the most effective) involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBTx) approaches.  The underlying premise of this approach is that our patterns of thought (cognition) influence our emotions.  Thoughts are understood to be behaviors.  Just like behavior therapy can shape the frequency of a behavior, CBTx therapy can shape the frequency of our thoughts/cognitions.  There are several common patterns by which anxious people tend to perceive and interpret their worlds that are understood to provoke or sustain anxiety.  By systematically approaching these distortions, a person learns to influence the thoughts that are associated with anxiety.


Many people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder will also find it helpful to learn relaxation strategies.  These can include breathing, progressive relaxation strategies, Yoga, meditation (though this is sometimes very difficult for restless/anxious people), Tai Chi and other approaches that cultivate relaxed states and thereby lower the baseline level of arousal.


Biofeedback is another strategy that can help chronically anxious persons.  It helps to understand that biofeedback involves various methods whereby an individual is provided information about various physiologic functions in ways that allow them to alter those functions.  Very often the functions that are being effected involve autonomic functions like heart rate, the state of constriction or relaxation of our arterial blood vessels, the state of electrical conductance of our skin (a function that varies in accord with our state of relaxation or tension).  They are called autonomic functions because  they carry on in automatic manner without conscious attention).  Traditionally, biofeedback involves monitoring of those autonomic functions and then using some sort of device to translate those measurements into a signal that an individual then can alter.


Many people may rely solely on medication, and when this works, this may be fine.  However, medicine used in conjunction with some of these other therapeutic approaches sometimes brings even better long term results.  You may find a recently published book helpful because it provides a very good overview of anxiety disorders and is written by a man who was an editor for the the Atlantic Monthly magazine.  The author has suffered severe anxiety for decades.  The book is titled “My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind” by Scott Stossel.  I hope this answer proves helpful to you and others.




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There is something infuriating many in the world leaders, ENVY. Putting aside the opinion you may have about Russia’s actions in the Ukraine, the speed and efficiency with which this has unfolded such that Russia is sending troops to defend its interests into a formerly independent state is impressive. With calculated efficiency, Putin successfully presided over the Winter Olympics and built up substantial goodwill and political capital. With equal efficiency, I believe he allowed (or encouraged) protests that escalated with perfect timing to the closing ceremonies.

Putin literally did not waste a day following the closing ceremonies. Immediately rumors began to circulate about how Russia might need to intercede. Regardless of the injustice or lack of justification of Russia’s actions, Putin is likely to recover the Crimea and at least Eastern portions of the Ukraine. The world is weary of war and intercession. If building a coalition to isolate Iraq was difficult, building consensus to isolate Russia would be unlikely. The idea of any direct military engagement is out of the question. Indirect support of independent Ukrainian forces could become little more than a a hemorrhage of resources that erodes any remaining good relations with Russia.

Perhaps American taxpayers should be more angered by our leaders’ inefficient means when it comes to looking out for our interests. Nations tend to be expansionist and imperialistic. I am not supporting such collective attitudes, I am simply stating an observation that seems to be born out by history. Many decry American expansionism and imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan. American taxpayers have suffered protracted campaigns with none of the efficient results Putin will deliver. In addition, American taxpayers have failed to secure a decent Return on Investment (ROI) for the resources we have devoted to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I do not wish to ignore that certain American corporations have had a bountiful return (Halliburton being a good illustration). But taxpayers have cause for complaint about our ROI.

As we consider the cost of Iraq & Afghanistan, what do the taxpayers have to show for the money expended?

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th, the world’s sentiment was with us. Like few other things in recent history, the horrific images had aroused unprecedented good will for the United States of America. Imagine if President Bush had unleashed a torrent of missiles and bombs on al Qaeda stronghold, training camps and transportation routes. In the long run fewer civilian casualties may have been suffered and those responsible would have had much less time to prepare for our invasion.

Imagine if we had initiated the strike on Iraq but at the moment when surrender had been achieved we had recognized the importance of retaining the Republican Guard and the formal Iraqi military structure in place. Our expansionist objectives might have been achieved under the guise of establishing civil order and then we would have had a more cohesive entity with which to deal. Instead, we expended rather sparse political capital to create a theater of war that would be costly and difficult to support.

Putin has been shrewd enough to intercede in a region close by, that has strategic interests to Russia, that can be supported, that can even be justified by historical claims and he did this right after the Olympics.

Perhaps President G W Bush and President Obama could study Putin’s play book to better understand how to efficiently exploit political capital.  Perhaps the rest of us can strive to own the shadow elements in our psyches. Those elements permit us to enjoy the fruits of American expansionism while maintaining an illusion that our motives are noble, to export democracy.Putin does not seem so conflicted about his intention to recover former Soviet territories, just ask the Georgians. I am left wondering if Putin’s embrace of his shadow elements is what allows him to seize this particular moment to accomplish his objectives?


Go forth … But wait a minute! Heeding good counsel

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 Without counsel, plans go awry,

But in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:23


My wife, Vicky returned from the Integrative Health Symposium Annual Conference in New York City.  She returned impassioned about the things she heard, the changes we could make as a family and the hopes she harbored for me to become healthier.   We’ve both often been dismayed by the continued reliance on pharmaceuticals to address illnesses that frequently arise from our lifestyle choices.  Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are excellent examples and some people have cleverly joined these two conditions together to make the word diabesity.


The message being proclaimed in New York City last week and in my home upon Vicky’s return is simple but profound.  Food is the best medicine there is.  In this era of the Genome Project we are quickly realizing that the ingredients in foods and certain herbs and spices have the capacity to activate and suppress different genes.  Such effects on the cellular level are often the root causes of disease and the key to our securing better health.  Food is medicine.  What I mean by this blanket statement is everything from how our food is grown, harvested, packaged, transported, stored, prepared and shared (or eaten).  Let me break this down succinctly:

  • Grown: Consider organically grown foods, grass fed beef, free range poultry, etc.
  • Harvested: Who picks our fruit and vegetables (migrant labor), how are animals slaughtered for consumption (large scale factories), is the soil preserved (proper crop rotation versus industrial fertilization).
  • Packaged: Are foods wrapped in plastic or sprayed with preservatives thereby contaminating them with toxins?
  • Transported:  Are the downstream effects of transporting foods from afar considered when selecting food (carbon footprint, poor regulation of chemicals elsewhere in the world, eating foods out of season).
  • Stored: is thought given to how food storage effects food’s nutritional value and purity?
  • Prepared:  There is growing recognition that the way we prepare and consume our food matters. (see
  • Shared: The conviviality that surrounds food, the community in which we eat and begin digesting our food, is its own kind of medicine.


One of the many things she shared was a program that was developed by Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church, the California mega-church that gave us The Purpose Driven Life.   In his book, The Daniel Plan, Pastor Warren recounts the epiphany he had following a Baptism of a large number of large church members.


Rick Warren returned to the Pulpit the following Sunday and confessed to the congregation that he had been a terrible steward of his body, the temple God had given to him.  He extended an invitation to his fellow church members to join him in his goal to do something about his weight and poor health.  He was not prepared for the 12,000 members who signed up.  Out of that experience Pastor Warren and the team he assembled developed a program that emphasized 5 principles, the 5 F’s.

  • Faith
  • Food
  • Fitness
  • Focus
  • Friends

If you’d like more information about this visit


Curiously, I felt a rebellious impulse surging in me from the first mention my wife made about some ideas she had to improve my health in the form of a text message sent as she sat in the conference.  This got me thinking about how I could understand my pushing back against and resisting Vicky’s well-intentioned effort.   After all, her desire to use what she was learning to benefit me has its origins in her deep care and love for me.  She wants me not only to live longer but to live better and enjoy better health.


However, recognizing those things does not immediately result in my accepting good counsel.  To the contrary, I found myself feeling two impulses, neither of which serves me well.  My pride (false pride) was inflamed and my stubborn resistance was aroused.


Some of the things that my wife began to share were familiar to me.  She spoke of the importance of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) and I quickly chimed in about how I had known that.   When she mentioned certain healthy herbs, I seized the opportunity to point out that for years I had been kidded and mildly derided for including turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and garlic in my morning smoothies.  On and on this went.  Vicky shared something and I established some sort of familiarity (or covertly tried to assert some authority).


The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.

But he who needs counsel is wise.  Proverbs 12:15

I noticed that this dance I was doing whereby Vicky shared something she had heard that was health promoting was answered with my prideful attitude missed one important fact.  I have not been consistently applying things I know.  What good does it do me to be well-informed and continue following a misguided course of action.


And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge…but have not love I am nothing.  1 Cor 13:2

Perhaps my claims of understanding and knowledge have their roots in the very fact that I know better than to be reckless with my health.  Having my wife shed light on this was inciting something in me that mistakenly thinks that knowledge of the truth can be substituted for a lived truth.  IT CANNOT.

The second reaction I notice was my stubborn resistance.  Tell me to go to the west and I will feel an inexplicable impulse to go east.  Some people believe there is symbolic significance to Adam and Eve being sent eastward. This suggests to me that there is a long history of such stubborn resistance to good counsel so that the very thing God instructed the first man and woman to do, they contravened. (See Gen 3:3, Gen 3:6, Gen 3:25)  As Vicky shared more of her enthusiasm an interest in incorporating some of the things she had encountered, my impulse to resist her grew proportionately.


At one level, this makes no sense.  Who shuns good advice coming from someone whose motive is to help?  Here again a Biblical passage came to mind.  Remember the lame man hoping to be healed at the pool at Bethesda?  After we are told of the fruitless and repeated efforts this man has made to get into the pool, he asks Jesus to heal him.  Before Jesus does anything else, he confronts the biggest obstacle to the man’s healing.


When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time,

He said to him, “Do you want to be made well? John 5:6

I am confessing that I am no different than the lame man in this story.  I clearly need to improve the care of my own health, my wife has returned from a conference and I am certain that she possesses the means to help me make the changes I say I want to make.  But just like the man in Bethesda, I must get past my resistance and proclaim to myself and to the One from whom all healing derives, that I DO want to be made well.  Stubborn resistance has no place here.  In order for change to take place, I must put aside my stubborn resistance and answer the questions Jesus asks the man at Bethesda with an unqualified YES.


The Daniel Plan is intentionally grounded in Faith.  I have been a great proponent of the principles of 12-Step Recovery (AA, NA, etc).  One thing I believe establishes these approaches on a firm foundation are the first and second steps.


  1. We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank here) and that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


Perhaps a good point of departure for this journey my wife has invited me to take is the first step of AA, NA, OA; I will admit that I have been powerless since my early thirties to consistently manage my health in the best way I know how.  From there I can move on to a genuine belief that God, with the assistance of my family and friends, can restore me to sanity when it some to food, exercise and the choices I make.  This brings me back to the passage that opened this blog entry.

Without counsel, plans go awry,

But in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:23

Confessions of a Reluctant Jungian

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Further Reflections on “Rilke: Poetry and Alchemy

Len Cruz

If I Ain’t Jungian

(Adapted by Len Cruz from an If I Ain’t African by Glenis Redmond printed below)


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to stop sounding an ancient meditation bell.


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell that woman in me

to stop whispering incantations in my ear.


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my eyes

to stop looking into the deep

from whence I emerged

Someone speak to my ordered way

of life and tell it to

quit welcoming disruptions.


If I ain’t Jungian

How come I know the way home

to Ithaca’s unreachable shores?

Feel it in my loins.


If I ain’t Jungian

how come my spirit

calls from deep unto deep.

How come every time I find myself breaking apart

I free fall into the next moment.


I I ain’t Jungian

how come I know things I’m not supposed to know

about ancient cultures and the stories

rooted in my deepest parts.


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell the gods

to stop calling on me,

Apollo, Belenos, Ra,

Selene, Yemaya, Máni!


Tell me why I get dizzy

every time I

see the sun and moon together in the sky.


If I ain’t Jungian

how come I detect spiritus mundi

everywhere I go:

Hear it in my heartbeat

hear it high

hear it low.


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to suspend its ceaseless arising.

Someone tell their gods

to call another name.

Someone take this bell

out of my depths.


Someone give my intuition

a flatter world to apprehend.


If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my hands

to speak to my arms

to speak to my shoulders

to press a message on my Orphean breast

to compose a song of life

to gently hum that melody in my ear.


If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian




Tell my eyes

‘cause if I ain’t Jungian

I ain’t waking, and,

God knows,

I ain’t AWAKE.



On November 9, 2013 the Asheville Jung Center broadcast a conference, Rilke: Poetry and Alchemy presented by Dr. Daniel Polikoff. Polikoff is the author of In the Image of Orpheus: RILKE A Soul History (Chiron 2011).  It seemed fitting to start this blog with a poem.  The next live Asheville Jung Center webinar Introduction to Alchemy is scheduled for November 23, 2013 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM.  

Nearly thirty years ago, toward the end of my residency, I devoted myself to the task of reading through almost all of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Perhaps this reflected a bit of reaction against the strictly Freudian atmosphere that pervaded my residency program, but I believe it has even more to do with my 27 year-old Self recognizing something in Jung whereby deep called unto deep. Decades passed before Dr. Steve Buser and I found ourselves devoting considerable time and energy  to the creation of the Asheville Jung Center. I attended our conferences, I wrote the occasional blog hoping to generate discussion and subtly noticed myself becoming more transparent with my affection for Analytical Psychology. However, I continued to feel considerable ambivalence until I attended the IAAP Congress 2014 in Copenhagen for Chiron Publication’s launch of Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Haunt Our Lives by James Hollis. At the IAAP Congress I felt like I had come home to a place where I had alighted in my youth. Perhaps I was too unseasoned and unprepared for my first visit to the shores of that continent called the Self.

For years I have sought to avoid over-identifying with any school of psychology or approach to therapy, including Analytical Psychology.  Copenhagen kindled a new phase in that elusive return to my own Ithaca. My daily practice as a psychiatrist involves a great deal of psychotherapy with individuals and couples, but it also involves prescribing medications for symptom relief (even suppression).  I am endlessly searching for the right balance between sensitive listening to symptoms for their deeper meaning and efforts to bring relief as quickly as possible. That tension seldom resolves and I suspect the ambivalence pours out in the poem If I Ain’t Jungian.

I hope the poem also speaks to those Jungian-oriented clinicians who practice modern psychiatry or those who work in settings where the tension between listening and extinguishing symptoms is commonplace. But even those who do not live with such ambivalence and tension may find something in the lines of If I Ain’t Jungian.  For many people, their first encounter with Jung’s work hits them like something new but also profoundly familiar.

Because we carry within us a collective history whose archetypal patterns can be detected in myth, story, historical sweeps and religious themes across many cultures and many epochs we can locate ourselves in a vast drama. The call to find our own way in the world, guided by large motifs is always burnished by our personal unconscious.  This is one of the many reasons that the Self is like a compass for our journey.

There was a time that Pythia’s consultation interpreted through the Delphic Oracles tilted mostly in the direction of listening rather than extinguishing symptom. Currently, there seems to be a much greater emphasis on controlling symptoms and rigorously monitoring the quality of those efforts.   I suspect the same was true in Jung’s time. Then as now, the deepest ways of understanding psychotherapy still required that a balance be struck between listening for latent meaning in a symptom and the sometimes urgent appearing summons to provide relief to the sufferer.

The world makes its demands on a clinician while the soul also makes its demands.  During these uncertain times in American healthcare there is a great deal of chatter about improving quality, delivering efficiency, and extending care.  But there is conspicuously little attention given to the larger project of extracting meaning from our circumstances.  There is is a dearth of conversation about how collective unconscious elements exert substantial influence over unfolding events in the world.  But I see reasons to remain hopeful.  In the modest sized community in Western North Carolina where I practice I saw that there is a workshop titled Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness  organized by Professor Laura Hope-Gill of Lenoir Rhyne University.  

In the intervening years since residency the mantle of the Jungian world shifted.  In 1985 there were just two categories in the Jungian world, analysts and all others interested in Jung.  I do not recall there being places like Pacifica Graduate Institute, Saybrook University, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and many others programs (here is a list) when I left residency.  Back then it was audacious to append Jungian to one’s bio unless you were analytically trained.  That unspoken tradition seems to have gone by the wayside.  I still remain convinced that there is no substitute for analytic training.  However, through the Asheville Jung Center and Chiron Publications I find myself in an unexpected position to expand the base of individuals becoming familiar with the important things Jung and his successors have discovered and continue to discover.

The publication of the The Red Book may eventually be seen as a watershed moment for the Jungian tradition.  In a few short years it has captured the attention of countless people who might never have been drawn to C. G. Jung and analytical Psychology.  The Red Book’s evocative images have generated enormous interest were featured at this year’s Venice Biennale Art Festival.   In the midst of such enormous change since the early days of my residency training I become aware that there is no room left in my life  for the reluctant Jungianin my life.

So If I Ain’t Jungian, what am I.

Len Cruz, MD

More about Glenis Redmond

If I Aint Jungian is adapted from a poem If I Ain’t African by, Glennis Redmond, a passionate African-American poet, educator, and counselor with an interest in Jung. She has won numerous awards including The Carrie McCray Literary Award in Poetry, a study fellowship from Vermont Writing Center, study scholarships to the Atlantic Center for the Arts and a week of study with Natalie Goldberg. Glenis is the 1997 and the 1998 Southeast Regional Individual Poetry Slam Champion. She placed in the Top 10 in 1996 and 1997 for the National Individual Slam Championship.  See many of her books at 


If I Ain’t African

by Glenis Redmond

If I ain’t African

someone tell my heart

to stop beating like a djembe drum.


If I ain’t African

someone tell my hair

to stop curling up like the continent

it is from.


If I ain’t African

someone tell my lips

to stop singing a Yoruban song.

Someone speak to my hips,

tell them their sway

is all wrong.


If I ain’t African

how come I know the way home

along the Ivory Coast?

Feel it in my breast of bones.


If I ain’t African

how come my feet do this African dance?

How come every time

I’m in New Orleans or Charleston

I fall into a trance?


If I ain’t African how come

I know things I’m not supposed to know

about the middle passage-slavery

feel it deep down in my soul?


If I ain’t African

someone tell their gods

to stop calling on me,

Obatala, Ellegba, Elleggua,

Oshun, Ogun!


Tell me why I faint

every time

there is a full moon.


If I ain’t African

how come I hear

Africa Africa Africa

everywhere I go?

Hear it in my heartbeat

hear it high

hear it low.


If I ain’t African

someone tell my soul

to lose it’s violet flame.

Someone tell their gods

to call another name.

Someone take this drumbeat

out of my heart.


Someone give my tongue

a new mouth

to part.


If I ain’t African

someone tell my feet

to speak to my knees

to send word to my hips

to press a message on to my breast

to sing a song

to my lips

to whisper in my ear,


If I ain’t African

If I ain’t African

If I ain’t African




tell my eyes

‘cause if I ain’t African,

I ain’t livin’, and

God knows,

I ain’t





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Ruminating About OCD 

Len Cruz, MD

innerQuest Psychiatry & Counseling

            Certain characters on television, in film and on stage anchor most people’s understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder abbreviated OCD.  Monk, the television detective whose eye for the smallest detail formed the basis of his gifts as a detective and were the source of his tortured existence.  Older television viewers might remember Felix Unger, the neat freak roommate of the slovenly Oscar Madison from the show The Odd Couple.  And Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of a romance writer with severe OCD in As Good As It Gets conflated the rigid, rule-bound conduct of a man with OCD and a general misanthropic attitude.  The charm of that movie was Helen Hunt’s effect on Jack Nicholson’s unbearable attitude.

There are two defining features of OCD.  Obsessions are intrusive, typically unwanted ideas or images.  In response to the obsession a person with OCD engages in compulsions.  A compulsion is a behavior that is typically repetitive and is not easily resisted.  The sufferer grows anxious and distressed until he/she performs the compulsion.  There is a cycle to this phenomenon.


It is estimated that between 1-3% of the population meets the criteria for OCD although in other studies the frequency may be as high as 3-5%.  This frequency may seem high because people with OCD recognize the irrational nature of their obsessions and their compulsive behavior.  Knowing that the entire cycle is irrational does not help the sufferer subdue this phenomenon.  In fact, the sufferer keeps a great deal of their suffering hidden from the view of others.  This is true even with people whose behaviors can easily be observed.  What goes on inside may be even more prominent.

Sometimes the compulsion (the behavior that follows the obsession) can itself be a thought or idea.  When compulsions manifest as ideas rather than behaviors the disorder may be harder to recognize.  This is sometimes referred to as Purely Obsessional OCD.  Regardless of whether the disorder manifests as obsessions followed compulsive behaviors that are physical actions or thoughts, the axis upon which the phenomenon pivots is the same.  An objectionable idea or image intrudes after which a behavior (a thought can be a behavior) must be carried out.  Efforts to resist performing the compulsive behaviors may provoke anxiety.

Some sufferers with OCD are incessantly engaged in one OCD ritual after another.  They can become almost enslaved by the ceaseless attention to these rituals.  Below are some common manifestations of OCD.

  • Checking Rituals (checking locks, checking for errors, checking to make sure electric appliances are unplugged, checking closets before bed).
  • Rituals of Doubt (worry about things said in conversation, doubting if you’ve actually done something)
  • Fears of Losing Control (feat of saying or doing something objectionable despite having no desire to commit the act)
  • Preoccupation with symmetry, certain numbers, orderliness.
  • Phobias about germs or contamination.
  • Compulsive need to count, read, tap or perform other stereoptypic, repetitive behaviors.

Various things point toward a biological basis for OCD but therapy, especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy often plays a vital role in treatment.  There are several degenerative neurological disorders such as Tourette’s, Sydenham’s chorea, Huntington’s and some kinds of epilepsy in which OCD symptoms are common.  The fact that various serotonin active agents can reduce OCD symptoms is another reason for concluding that there is a biological basis to OCD.  There is also evidence from brain imaging studies that point toward a biological cause.  Another line of evidence of a biological cause is that the frequency of OCD in first-degree relatives (parents and siblings) of people with OCD is between 7% and 15%.   With identical twins the concordance (the frequency that twins will both suffer OCD) is 80% and in fraternal twins the concordance is 50%, which is substantially higher than the baseline occurrence of about 3%-5%.

OCD can virtually paralyze the sufferer with indecision.  No sooner does a person decide on a course of action than they contemplate an alternate course.  People with OCD live in an either / or universe.  It is common for people with OCD to add one rule after another to their routines.  Giving up rules or routines is another matter entirely.  Eventually, a person with severe OCD becomes enslaved by their rule-bound, rigid ways.  Their loved ones become accustomed to living under the domination of a rigidly governed atmosphere.  For the loved ones too it becomes easier to comply with the rules than to defy them.

Treatment often includes medication (typically Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and therapy (most often Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).  There are other medicines used to treat OCD.  In the most severe cases Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) may be sued.  Treatment will almost always involve a combination of several different interventions medication, therapy and education.








TH OTHER OCD (Purely  Obsessional)


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Originally Posted on August 1, 2013 at

Len Cruz, MD

innerQuest Psychiatry & Counseling

Chiron Publications

Contributions from archetypal depth psychology, quantum physics and neuroscience elucidate relationships between mind and matter. The published work of C.G. Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, David Bohm and Teilhard de Chardin outline a process whereby matter evolves in increasing complexity from sub-atomic particles to the human brain and the emergence of a reflective consciousness leading to a noosphere evolving towards an Omega point. The noosphere is the envelope of consciousness and meaning superimposed upon the biosphere a concept central to the evolutionary thought of Jesuit palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man). His central ideas, like those of Jung, provide intimations of a numinous principle implicit in cosmology and the discovery that in and through humanity, evolution becomes not only conscious of itself but also directed and purposive. Consciousness has become the mirror which the universe has evolved to reflect upon itself and in which its very existence is revealed. The implication for process theology is that God and humanity are in an entangled state so that the evolution of God cannot be separated from that of humankind. A process (Incarnational) theology inseminated by the theory of evolution is one in which humankind completes the individuation of God towards the wholeness represented for instance in cosmic mandala symbols (Jung, Collected Works, vol. 11). Jung believes that God needs humankind to become conscious, whole and complete, a thesis explored in my book The individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion (Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications 2012).

Book Purchase

One critical issue explored in my book is the epistemological one which underpins scholarly treatments of extended mind and its relationship with matter in process theology, archetypal psychology and quantum physics as well cultural or psychosocial evolution in the work of Teilhard de Chardin. The prevailing position since the seventeenth century has been that of reductionist materialism so that mental (psychic) qualities were either squeezed out of existence or marginalised as mere epiphenomenal by-products of brain processes. The nature of the mind-matter or consciousness-brain relationship is not always made explicit in published work even in psychoanalytic studies although neither classical physics nor Darwin’s theory of evolution could explain the anomaly of mind or  consciousness so crucial to the process (Incarnational) theology of Teilhard de Chardin as I argue in my paper Teilhard and Other Modern Thinkers on Evolution, Mind and Matter  published in the journal of the American Teilhard Association, Number 66,2013.

The Psychophysical Problem

Physicist Wolfgang Pauli who collaborated with Carl Jung regarded the anomaly of mind and consciousness as troublesome because scientific theories, like mathematics were products of the psyche with a great deal of unconscious preparation.  Pauli noted that repression of the psyche had been one-sided and dangerous creating a materialistic culture in which the influence of religion was continuously diminished and a very strict separation between science and religion was characteristic (Laurikainen, K.V. Beyond the Atom: The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli, Springer-Verlag, 1988). Pauli regarded the nature of the mind-brain-consciousness relationship or psychophysical problem as one of the most challenging of our time, given its epistemological significance in both science and religion.

Wholeness could only be restored to a science in which the personal equation or consciousness of the observer was to be integrated into the understanding of nature. The term “personal equation” was coined in the collaboration between Jung and Pauli. According to Pauli and as noted by the late high energy physicist Kalervo Laurikainen, “the most important lesson that quantum mechanics has given us is that we must include the observer in our picture of the world. This was the original spirit in the Copenhagen philosophy (in quantum physics) and exactly in this point Pauli represented this philosophy in the most consistent way” (ibid.163).

The myth of the detached observer is a relic of classical, Newtonian mechanics prior to the quantum revolution. Paradoxically, no science would exist in the absence of the consciousness of the human observer nor would mathematics which is a psychological process “describing relationships organising matter” as noted by Karl Pribram (Consciousness Reassessed, Mind and Matter, 2, 1 (2004): 14).Pribram, a neuroscientist perhaps best known for his work on the holographic brain, also rejects the notion that consciousness is an epiphenomenal by-product of brain processes remarking that “conscious attention shapes subsequent behaviour”(Ibid.27).

Complementarity Between Mind and Matter

The published thought of both Carl Jung and Teilhard de Chardin converge with respect to the existence of a relationship of complementarity between mind and matter. In Jungian depth psychology, symbols represent unconscious archetypes which are timeless, cosmic ordering and regulating principles. In particular, Jung’s archetype of the Self or Imago Dei (God-image) is distinctly numinous in character and associated with religious or mystical feelings. This archetype can be understood as corresponding to Teilhard’s notion of the God-Omega Point in cosmology and evolution. In Jungian archetypal psychology, the unconscious not only transcends space-time it is also co-extensive with the cosmos itself as was Teilhard’s notions of complexity-consciousness, noosphere and the Omega point as the culmination of hominisation and cultural evolution. Teilhard wrote, “In Omega we have the principle we needed to explain the persistent march of things towards greater consciousness …. By its radial nucleus it finds its shape and its natural consistency in gravitating against the tide of probability towards a divine focus of mind which draws it onward. Thus something in the cosmos escapes from entropy and does so more and more” (The Phenomenon of Man. 271).

Pauli, together with Jung wanted spirit (psyche) to be acknowledged as a basic element of the world along with matter so that the universe would be perceived as an organism rather than a clock, a vision of cosmogenesis similar to that of Teilhard’s noogenesis that implies evolving toward a divine focus of mind. Both Pauli and Jung were mystically inclined with a sense of psychic and physical codes implicit in cosmology and evolution. As I point out in my paper published in Teilhard Studies, they had concluded that a relationship of complementarity exists between mind and matter which is analogous to the wave particle duality in quantum physics. This was the epistemological model of a dual-aspect monism having metaphysical implications. One observer described these connotations commenting that “metaphysics taken seriously in the sense of Pauli and Jung refers to a reality more substantial, more material as it were than anything that physics and psychology would characterise as real” (Atmanspacher, Editorial, Mind and Matter,9, 1 (2011):4).

This form of extraphysical reality was designated by a mode of cognition expressed through archetypal symbols indicating an objective order in the cosmos of which humans are part but which also transcends humanity (K. von Meyenn, “Dreams and Fantasies of a Quantum Physicist”, Mind and Matter 9, 1 (2011):11).

The U-Field of Wolfgang Pauli

For Pauli, archetypes combine sensory stimuli forming certain outlines and in this way a picture of the world is formed corresponding to the properties of the human psyche. With his concept of the U-field, Pauli regarded the unconscious as the psychological analogy of the physical field except that the U-field was not spatiotemporally bound, an idea consistent with the notion of the unconscious archetypes as timeless, cosmic, ordering and regulating principles. For Pauli this seemed to express a deeper similarity rather than a superficial analogy. The Jungian unconscious refers to “an invisible reality mediating a connection between spatially and temporally distant phenomena” (Ibid. von Meyenn 2011). Thus, Pauli regarded the archetypes as verifiable in the external phenomenal world and in the internal world of the psyche. In a letter to Jung Pauli wrote “like all ideas, the unconscious is simultaneous in man and in nature; the ideas have no location, not even in heaven. Consciousness, on the other hand was supposed to be only a late-born offspring of the unconscious soul.”

One archetype that was particularly meaningful to Pauli was the coniunctio oppositorum, the union of opposites or wholeness reflected in non-local effects, interconnectedness and holism associated with both the quantum situation and the unconscious psyche. Pauli’s cosmic ordering and regulating principles were not spatiotemporally bound or confined. They were as universal, timeless or eternal as those which like the archetypes of God and the Self, belonged to Jung’s collective unconscious, particularly when identified with either the external cosmos or the cosmos within. Although a “late born offspring of the unconscious soul”, consciousness is still the mirror in which the very existence of the universe is revealed as are the archetypal symbols of the collective unconscious. Such concepts resonate with Teilhard’s notions of the noosphere and Omega point at which the numinous dimension implicit in his evolutionary process consummates itself. For both Jung and Pauli, psyche and physis, like mind and matter and science and religion exist in a relationship of complementarity rather than being irreconcilable opposite or mutually antagonistic as I have argued in my book The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion.

The Implicate Order of Bohm

In his later published work, physicist David Bohm evolved a concept of Mind which was co-extensive with the universe, one that closely resembled formulations by other physicists, psychologists and such religious thinkers as Teilhard de Chardin. Among Bohm’s contributions to the exploration of reality was an understanding of consciousness as a coherent whole. In his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1980), Bohm writes “The vast unconscious background of explicit consciousness and ultimately unknowable depths of inwardness are analogous to the sea of energy which fills the sensible perceived empty space” (P.267). In his final work, The Undivided Universe (2002), Bohm expressed the insight that “active information served as the bridge between the mental and the physical” (P.386). Bohm’s notion of extended mind included the idea of active quantum information devoid of consciousness, thereby avoiding the criticism of panpsychism and the conflation of mind with consciousness. Jung and Pauli likewise avoided the conflation of mind with reflective consciousness in their treatment of the unconscious (U-field).

Bohm’s concept of active information as a bridge between mind and matter is remarkably similar to the notion of the unconscious archetypes as cosmic ordering and regulating principles. These insights provide the basis for the epistemological position of a relationship of complementarity between mind and matter. Bohm clearly adopted a dual-aspect monist notion of the mental and the physical being complementary though irreducible to one another. His dual aspect concept of mind represents a rejection of a purely monist materialist explanation of the nature of reality.

More controversially perhaps, Bohm like Teilhard proposed human participation in “a greater collective mind in principle capable of going indefinitely beyond even the human species as a whole”. Such collective mind is analogous to Jung’s view of the unconscious psyche and the archetypes. Bohm summarised his position concerning the role of the human observer in this way: “There is no need to regard the observer as basically separate from what he sees nor to reduce him to an epiphenomenon of the objective process. More broadly one could say that through the human being, the universe has created a mirror to observe itself” (Ibid, 389).


Such reflections on mind not only represent a position radically different from metaphysical materialism, they also refute the argument that God is a delusion. In a perspective illuminated by the insights of Pauli, Jung and Bohm, Teilhard predicted that humanity not only participates in a numinous dimension but also in a process of co-creative divinisation by directing the future of the biosphere and the noosphere. Teilhard held that the ultimate nature of evolution is psychic referring to the “primordial psychism of the first cells” (The Phenomenon of Man, 166) and to its completion as “a divine focus of mind” (Ibid. 271).

This view was endorsed by the eminent evolutionary biologist Sir Julian Huxley who wrote in his introduction to The Phenomenon of Man, “evolutionary fact and logic demand that minds should have evolved gradually as well as bodies and that accordingly, mind-like properties must be present throughout the universe” (The Phenomenon of Man, 16-17). Huxley commented that “Teilhard wanted to deal with the entire human phenomenon as a transcendence of biological by psychosocial evolution” (Ibid.24)

Len Cruz, MD, ME