N – Naming

These are very short extracts from Susan E. Schwartz and my recently released book “Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry”. Susan E. Schwartz is represented as SES, my words as SS – italicised. From chapter ‘Now & Naming’.

SS: We need to name our hurt, anger, grief, failed relationships or failed purposes and not allow ourselves to be swallowed into some undifferentiated malaise, sadness or hopelessness. ... This is awful but the experience of it needs to be named even though the words be hard to articulate. Naming gives the reality shape and form and can free us from earlier constrictions.Though … naming can too often be representational and objectifying. We sometimes name dream images too quickly and restrict its expansion into something larger. pg 91

SES: Part of aging is naming the problems, finding the unknown strengths. Naming gives agency. We are no longer run by something too amorphous or frightening when we name and become conscious of it. What a relief to name and how it clarifies the needs of the psyche and soul. pg 92

Nothing feeds the centre so much as creative work, even humble kinds like cooking and sewing.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

30 Comments on AtoZ Blog Challenge N for Naming

  1. By naming or identifying the problem, we face the unknown which can be frightening at first. But on the other side we find a way to move forward. Anne’s quote is beautiful….have long enjoyed her writing. A favorite is ‘Listen, the Wind’

    • I’ll look out for ‘Listen to the Wind’. I loved her little book whose title I forget, something about a gift from the sea… thanks for coming by Sharon.

  2. I’ve been thinking about names lately. Both in the personal sense of what you call yourself and in the sense of how defining/naming something influences how you’ll deal with it. Aging has made me more aware of how I refer to people and emotions, if I am to avoid malaise and despair in the future.

    • Thanks Ally Bean for coming by. I also am more aware of my naming people or circumstances – it catches me unawares sometimes but even that makes me conscious of how and what I ‘name’.

  3. Interesting susan, naming is so important, In a counseling session I find students having difficulty in naming the emotion that they are struggling with. They use the word depression instead of unhappiness or sadness; guilty when disturbed; upset when actually they are angry; etc.. once they are able to name what they are feeling, they find clarity in dealing with it. Thanks for sharing !

    • Helping people articulate their feelings is such a skill Genevive and so helpful to the person! Your personal experience in helping students is such a perfect example, thank you 🙂

  4. Hi Susan – I can easily name my enemy that I’m dealing with right now – which brings out hoots of laughter for others … and means I have the release of ‘putting them in their place’ … so things will work out. Life is life …

    Re Susan’s comment above – I definitely fit my name … and love yours … don’t we all have a rumble of names through the decades … cheers Hilary


    • Glad that others find the naming of your enemy hilarious, Hilary! 🙂 Sorry couldn’t resist! In my school days I had a friend called odonata medulla oblongata – I actually can’t remember her name as I write this. We called her “odo’ for short .. Your name is lovely.
      Thank you for coming by! Susan

  5. I picked up on a small detail you included among the creative arts – cooking. Working in the kitchen is a nourishing complement to computer work, for me at least.

    • It’s a wonderfully creative act! All those processes of adding, steaming, baking, shredding, putting the ingredients together, distilling – a little bit alchemical in its way! Thanks for coming by Marian!

  6. Naming is great advice, but then remembering to actively choose to do something is important too. Sometimes it is easy for me to ignore or say “I’ll do something tomorrow.” I love your words of wisdom.

  7. I’m enjoying this series very much. This one resonates; giving my shadows names has been especially helpful. Examples: Spiritual Bully, Critical Judge, Self-pitying Orphan!! Even just a brief active imagination chat with them works wonders! Love your work. Best, Jeanie

    • Thanks Jeanie for coming by. Yours are perfect examples! We then know better what is at play. Thank you for the compliment re this series.

  8. When I am meditating and thoughts arise, I find it useful to name what’s coming: planning, worrying, ruminating, etc. It reminds me that I have some control over my thoughts and can move on.

  9. I believe naming is hugely empowering. Still, I need to think more deeply about what you’re saying here. The difference between what can be very expansive and helpful and what can be contractive and limiting feels very nuanced to me. I suspect the only way to really know the difference, what naming has actually done, is to have a felt sense about it.

  10. I like this idea of naming the problems, finding the unknown strengths. It can surely give so much clarity!

    • I know what my name means in various cultures and I like those meanings. Of course I am called all sorts of names, Sooz, Sues, Susie, Suzy, Sue (not mad on that), Susannah, Susiswe (an African version) – Pork Chop in my younger years ..

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