Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm No Expert, But Freud Was A Fraud

While visiting a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit, a museum docent noted that Sigmund Freud identified a vulture hidden in this painting. THEE Sigmund Freud? I looked, and looked, and looked some more, but I didn’t see what was so obvious to the father of psychoanalysis. So I bought a book to learn more about Freud’s findings about the master painter and genius inventor. In Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood, Freud bases almost the entire biography on Freud’s interpretation of one of DaVinci’s earliest memories. A memory of a “nibbio.” Freud misinterpreted the word nibbio to mean vulture, when it really meant kite. From this one misinterpreted word, Freud not only saw vultures in Davinci’s paintings, he concluded that DaVinci had an oral fixation, homosexual fantasies and likened vultures to motherhood. Huh? What is even more disturbing is that the book was reprinted several times despite linguists recognizing the mistake.

Turns out Freud was a fraud. And that makes me feel better. Not just because I don’t feel quite so dense for not seeing the vulture in the painting. It is a good reminder for me not to get caught up in the “ I’m no expert” complex. How many times have I refrained from sharing an informed opinion or my specialized skillset because I don’t have a title, or the letters M.B.A., M.D., J.D. or P.H.D. after my name? How many times have I bought a book, sought outside counsel, attended a lecture, hired a coach or a therapist or both, got a second opinion, took a wait and see approach…. instead of relying on my intuition? How many times have I played favorites with my doubt and ignored my own beloved truth? Does this sound familiar? Do you use the “I’m no expert” excuse too?


Oedipus Complex. Penis Envy. Death Wish. Phallic symbol. Anal Retentive. The so-called expert who came up with these concepts got most of it wrong. Freud was right about one thing though: our unconscious mind is powerful. That place where our feelings and emotions dwell is a place that requires further exploration. It’s the place that holds the answers and everything you need to know to proceed forward with your divine purpose.

Here are a three ways to immediately tap into your own knowledge/power base.

Play More. Playing relaxes you. It puts you in a timeless energetic space. It distracts your logic side of the brain that is always demanding results just long enough to let the creative side get a word in edgewise. Einstein took frequent breaks when working on an equation to play his violin. If you don’t have a hobby or time for your passions in the middle of the day, simply go for a walk.  Better yet, walk to a park where others are playing. That works too, in a pinch.

Pay attention to your dreams. Sometimes, I only remember the feeling. Fear. Jealousy. Betrayal. Unfortunately, the happy dreams don’t leave as lasting of a memory. Why are these emotions disrupting my rest? It makes me more conscious of what is driving my behavior during waking hours when I write down my dreams as soon as I wake up. Salvador Dali describes the key and spittoon method in his book, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship. The surrealist painter would rest sitting in a chair while holding a key. When he was finally asleep, his hand would relax and drop the key. The key would hit the brass spittoon and wake him up. He would rush over to a nearby canvas and begin painting what he could remember. That may be an unrealistic habit for normal, busy folks. Just by giving yourself a moment of reflection as soon as you wake up is a great start. If you are further evolved on your path, try meditating more consistently.

Objective self-awareness The term that is starting to gain traction in education and corporate training is “emotional intelligence.” Many now believe that your EQ is far more vital to your success than your IQ. The good news, EQ is not limited to what you were born with genetically, it can be developed. Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by authors Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves is a great introduction to this subject with practical steps to practice. For me, EQ means being aware of my emotions and honoring them. Its about compassion and empathy. I find by simply listening to those feelings (and that includes physical feelings, especially my gut) I stay centered and am able to communicate more effectively and think more rationally. Think about what happens when you ignore a screaming child. They scream louder.


When you become an expert at trusting your inner knowing, you longer need other experts or disclaimers about your abilities. You stop looking for the vulture hidden in the painting and start creating your own masterpiece.

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