Jacob Nordby

Our Inner Uglies and Why We Can’t Afford to Hide from Them Any Longer

In individual psychology, there’s an experience called by different names, but the more poetic and evocative term is “shadow work.” This is a process during which a person begins to face the denied, disowned, rejected, and suppressed parts of her or himself—and integrate them.

The psyche cannot be whole or healthy without engaging in this process in some way. A person must gradually begin to invite their orphaned parts home and welcome them into the inner family or they will always struggle with a sense of falseness or feel lost at odd times. If left unintegrated, these orphans often become saboteurs, thwarting a person’s best efforts to create a life they desire.

Jacob Nordby

How to Cast a Vote for the World You Want

I didn’t vote for a long time. There was a reason for this. It wasn’t apathy. I saw that the political process had become a cynical game played by powerful forces that did not submit to the rules, but made them for those who believe in such things. These forces mock the constitution, use elections as events to manipulate common people, and consolidate their power by profiting from turmoil. I’m talking about how the heartfelt emotion—the passion—of sincere people is tabulated, sorted in spreadsheets, and used in big data algorithms to predict outcomes that are not meant to serve humans.

Jacob Nordby

The only sanity in a world gone mad

There’s a phrase you might have heard or thought quite a few times this year: “… in a world gone mad.”

If you’ve been awake at all, you’ve probably muttered something like this for at least several years.

But the world has always been mad. What’s going on right now just reveals a deep level of insanity that has always been there, seething beneath the surface of what we refer to as “normal.”

Jacob Nordby

What Is The American Dream Now?

This land of ours is a laboratory. We are all involved in adding chemicals, turning up the heat under test tubes and otherwise messing around to see if a theory called Human Freedom can be viable.

Jacob Nordby

What fresh f*ckery is this?!

Pros and Cons of the Outrage Culture

Feelings of outrage are natural. We live in a world unlike anything humans have experienced before. The massive rise of technology and social media means that we can be aware of situations in real-time. We can be triggered by videos and photographs of atrocities from around the world just seconds after they occur—sometimes even as they occur while people live-stream the events from their mobile devices. We are more aware of outrageous situations and our brains are bombarded by them from nearly every angle. It’s not just the newspaper or the nightly news anymore.

This gives rise to a situation in which our brains are on high alert, looking for the next bit of news to trigger a familiar feeling: outrage. It turns out that outrage can be addictive.

Jacob Nordby

The inner medicine of sketchy, half-baked creativity

By now you’ve probably heard from many experts telling you how to make the most of this strange time. It can be overwhelming sometimes—especially for those of us who are caring for children and others at home. It can feel like just too much to move in the direction of something creative with anxiety, various kinds of stress, and distractions creating so much static in the air right now. It’s a psychological fact that when faced with fear, uncertainty, and too much unfamiliarity, the nervous system tends to move into “freeze” and this often means that we tend to engage in numbing behaviors rather than act in more usual, resourceful ways. The idea of engaging in a big creative project might feel like “the impossible task.”

Jacob Nordby

Restoring Yourself: the life-giving cure for creative pneumonia

Using my metaphor of physical pneumonia as a comparison, many people are living their lives barely able to take a breath, creatively speaking.

Anxiety, pressures of socialization, fear of rejection, and reactions triggered by unresolved traumas fill the lungs of their creative body. This leaves them lethargic, full of self-doubt, lacking the sense of purpose or self-worth to move toward what they would love to create in life. Furthermore, many people believe that they lack the needed talent to produce something “rare, original, and valuable” with their lives.

Jacob Nordby

The Unlikely Magic of Being Honest (with yourself)

The conversation with my friend years ago was one of many red flags that eventually made me realize how long I had been lying to myself and how much it was costing me—and others. The results of learning a different way were astonishing…

Jacob Nordby

2 Kinds of Creative Practice (and why you need both)

I used to think of my creative practice as the time I would devote to a project. You know, spending time each day to work on a book, in my case. For you, it might be any expression of your creativity and I’ll talk a little more about this later. It turns out that there’s more to it…

This belief turned out to be only part of what it means to develop a creative practice—and it often left me drained, stuck, and frustrated when I kept hammering away at “the product.”