Pursuing Authenticity: An Interview with Eden Elieff

We continue to be grateful to our volunteer Sophia Sorensen for this interview with writer Eden Elieff, who will present “Re-Writing Our Life Story,” a workshop at The Jung Center on Saturday, Nov. 22.

“Narrative is a story informed by a moral vision which plays out in our lives,” says Eden Elieff, “and we are on a continual search to arrive at our moral vision.”  For most, a sense of self is anchored in the narrative of our past and influences our expectations of the future.  In Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Your Life, James Hollis states that life asks several key questions, including: Whose life have you been living? Why does life seem a script written elsewhere? Why is the life you are living too small for the soul’s desire?

Questions such as these may emerge as individuals evolve and search for a self-definition that is more authentic. This process may be initiated when the internalized narrative is no longer a ‘good fit’ with who we are. The realization of a chasm between inherited and self-created narratives can be both painful and opportune.  “Our inherited narratives are the result of growing up in a family where we were required to play out a specific roles within the family structure. In some cases,” Eden continues, “our survival depended on maintaining that narrative.”

Pausing to contemplate one’s narrative may mean encountering or uncovering the shadow, a familiar theme in Jung’s philosophical work and personal life. Eden believes that “some of the scripts we inherited required us to suppress the shadow, and delving into that realm may mean facing uncomfortable feelings, such as shame.” She is clear, however, that confronting family history and the resulting internalized stories can open the door to greater clarity, healing, and choices about how to define one’s life story.

Eden, a self-described “person of letters,” possesses a broad spectrum of practical and professional skills gained while teaching in various settings, including Rice University, and through her roles as editor and writer. Her approach is informed by personal experience, including a stringent examination of the historical threads of her personal narrative. Her personal and professional experiences form a strong foundation from which to help others uncover and recreate authentic inner stories.

While writing is used as one technique for exploration in Eden’s workshop, Re-Writing Our Life Story, no writing experience or aptitude is necessary. Eden describes the experience as a “class about discovering connections, power, and the legitimacy of our reality – it’s about summoning your own truth.” Writing exercises, video, and examples from published works aim to support students in “recognizing the places they need recovery, restoring a sense of wholeness, and reconciling injured pieces.”

You are invited to join Eden Elieff on Saturday, November 22 at the Jung Center. Registration for this workshop can be completed online at www.junghouston.org or by the Jung Center at 713-524-8253.