The Rose

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

March 27, 2020

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst

Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist

In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick and image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.

The significance of the rose as the maternal womb was nothing strange to our Western mystics…

(Jung, 1934/1954/1968, p. 363)

This one rose plant shows me beauty in a variety of ways. There is tenderness in the colors, grace in the shapes, and majesty in their stature. They remind me how important it is to be nurtured properly. Their scent is appealing and seductive. It lures me to stop, take a moment and admire its magnificence.

It is spring now, and I am tending my rose plants to encourage strong healthy growth that will help them bring out the best blossoms. I use compost so the soil will be a nurturing womb. I want to admire the stalks and leaves too. For all the plant is important, not just the flowers.

In this time of stay at home, I find it important to remember what I am rooted in, and how I am nourished in order to grow in all aspects of who I am. It is time for deeper reflection, laughing out loud, and finding inspirational moments whenever possible.

I use my imagination to construct a family dialogue between the blossoms and buds. Each of them having their own voice and opinion about what is important in living life as a rose. I find it comforting to move away from sickness in the world, and into the world where creativity leads the way.

The Rose plant is a family. Several Roses are brothers and sisters, parents and children, lovers and friends, individual and the community. When they work at tandem, it creates an alchemy of Communitas and change, healing and growing, survival and beauty. To maintain such a fellowship in midst of necessary and mandated social distancing and stay at home takes innovation and enterprise. We are fortunate to have digital devices like facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google hangout and others to stay connected.

However, in midst of this, there is a big blind spot. The medical personnel, the first responders, the police, the national guard and military, the paramedics, the firefighters, the rescuers, the pharmacists, the public services like road maintained, the garbage collectors, the food delivery, the nursing home staff and many others. They risk their life and limb to serve us. They are working under suboptimal conditions with limited safety equipment for themselves and their patients and citizens, they risk getting infection and dying or infecting their families.

To reestablish the Rose Family dynamics in this emergency, we need innovation and attention to these Rose plants and gardens. Each one of us must find ways to support the integrity and welfare of these Roses. One suggestion I have it that for these groups, our local government need to commandeer hotels near the hospitals, police stations, pharmacies and other frontline personnel and they must have the option of staying in these comfortable and sanitized spaces rather than go home every day. They must be offered rest, recreation and restoration near the theater of their operations. Weekly, they may go home after resting up and cleaning up, so that they don’t subject their families to the contagion.

Each of us may come up with similar ideas the support the ROSES amongst us. In India, they have suspended national train service and converted the train compartments into mobile hospital beds. If each individual, community and nation comes up with new and innovative ideas to tend to these Rose gardens of human spirit embodied in the frontline responders, we will work as a group and a village to protect our Roses. The COVAD-19 may isolate us from physical proximity; but if we respond out of our higher angels and activate a community response, there is little we cannot do. God works in mysterious ways. It may take a global epidemic to bring us together as a human family, stronger and united to save our children, our loved ones, our fragile environment and our spirit with a new culture and new set of prioritites. The wealth and the might of the strong and rich nations may be powerless to deal with this crisis, but a collaborative human spirit will transcend the virus of hate and divisiveness that fractures nation, our fragile planet and vulnerable civilization. That is the true spirit of Unus Mundus; one world at its core.

Points to Ponder

What do you notice most in the photograph?

How does nature affect you?

If you were one of the blossoms or buds, which would you be?

How does your imagination respond to the photo?

What nourishes you to become the best you?

How can you stay resilient when life hands you a challenge?

What have you done or will you do for self-care today?

What have you done as an individual and a community to support the first responders?

What contribution have you made to tend to the Rose garden of your family and community?

Photo taken at The Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA

Jung, C. G. (1934/1954/1968). The archetypes and the collective unconscious (2d ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.