Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness. I’m indebted to the Jungian therapist James Hollis for the insight that major personal decisions should be made not by asking, “Will this make me happy?”, but “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?”

Oliver BurkemanOliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life (The Guardian, Sept 4, 2020)



  1. Offhand, w/o any reflection, I’d say I wd choose happiness….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of more of a conscious shift to looking through this lens, my guess is it would become natural and unconscious over time which is wonderful

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This hits home as I ponder retirement. Though I must say that COVID snacking has greatly contributed to my enlargement. Does that count?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Not sure about the word enlarge … but when I make a life decision I pause and notice if my heart expands or contracts. Perhaps expansive is a better word for me.

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  5. In a similar vein, I think ‘enlighten’ rather than enlarge, though I love Val’s idea of expansion.😊 As for happy, the older I get, the more I realize that it’s a slippery construct. I think we get the message that if we’re not happy *all the time,* there must be something wrong, and quite honestly, I don’t think that’s true. But that’s a mind meld for another day…😉

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  6. Lovely.

    And wise.

    I have been teaching myself to expand it beyond the ‘me’ centricity of something like, “Will this enlarge me?” I like to use the phrase, “Will this create better?” For me and the world — because to be good for me it must create better for ‘we’.

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  7. Such a good question to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve loved Jung since I first encountered his work. When I decided to focus on Dream Psychology in my professional work (many decades ago), I had a dream that I am on a bus and Carl Jung is on the bus being his convivial self. Smiling, he hands me an enormous orange as a gift.
    The gift definitely expands to show people that their dreams offer profound spiritual guidance if they ask. So, for some, Burkeman’s question may take a different turn. So many are coming into my mind from what I’ve heard from thousands in my work. Dreams often take us away from the cognitive into the depths of an experience of how we’re living our lives at the time of the question. Just an example, a woman faced with a career decision on whether to pursue another academic degree received a multi-level dream answer, but part of it showed professors in tweed jackets in a beautiful wood-paneled library. The scene became animated with the professors becoming like John Cleese and his Monty Python group. So, she decided to go another route.

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