Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes


Katina Article LOGO art


All around me I feel swarming tumult. I watch news on television and the internet, and most of it speaks to disorder in our universe.  However, I feel it is my duty as a human being to be informed at this critical juncture of mankind.

A raging pandemic, worldwide conflict in politics and isolation from friends and family have all contributed to feelings of inadequacy. I never prepared for all this.

That is why I jumped at the chance for enlightenment when a friend asked me to join her on a Zoom conference entitled “Hope in a Time of Disaster and Distrust.” Rev. Dr. Bill Kerley was the presenter. His background is rooted in Jungian psychology, Christianity, and Buddhism. I appreciated that there would be information from multiple spiritual perspectives. Following is my takeaway from this valuable presentation.

We do not see things clearly because we are distracted, have no practices to see and we focus on consumerism. We are broken. But something good can be made from something broken. Dr. Kerley used the metaphor of kaleidoscopes as hope, where beautiful designs come from broken glass making pictures.

Carl Jung, the famed psychologist, was asked, “Will we make it?”  Dr. Kerley said we all had our own work to do to “make it.”

Dysfunctional people produce chaotic societies, which produce dysfunctional people. What a vicious cycle for mankind!

Dr. Kerley referenced the shadows we all have in our unconscious minds, and we deny them, yet what we don’t know owns us. We carry fears with us always.

We must acknowledge shadow elements and bring them to light. Some of the shadow elements are the patriarchal foundation of culture and religion, where women’s roles are limited, the notion of a flawed creation indicating something is wrong with us, authority’s need for obedience and submission, so that people do not mature, and a belief in redemptive violence (keeping arsenals of weapons). Finally, there is the shadow of racist culture, where one race dominates another.

When crisis occurs, we must own it. We are all captured. Growth means crisis will occur less, and less intensely.  An example of a crisis was the attempted coup of the Capitol in the United States on January 6th. Events like this cause us deep fear for our life stability.

Where is the ray of light here? Dr. Kerley said there is hope for us. He advised we must increase our tolerance of change. I understood this to mean we should embrace progress, not fear it.

There was also discussion of the concept that no hope can flourish without a daily spiritual practice of some kind. Our presenter recommended the book When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodrun, an American Tibetan Buddhist nun. Gratitude exercises were one good example of a spiritual practice. If we note three positive things in our life each day, document them and then review them periodically, we will recognize our blessings.

Additionally, we must address the global issues of poverty and healthcare. I have added Covid19 eradication, world conflicts and conspiracies to this list, as I feel these too will require collective attention. We need to give what we currently witness in our lives a different story, a different meaning. There will be change, as we cannot continue along this path of business as usual. It is not working. There is an unraveling going on right now.

Do we have the will to adapt to change, to recognize how connected all mankind is? If so, our societies will take a different, and better direction.


El Ojo del Lago - Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:


Pin It
Women And Mexico By Bill Dean   Coatlicue — Let’s start at the beginning. There is a sculpture of Coatlicue, the “Mother of the Gods,”
God And Mr. Gomez By Jack Smith Book Review by Jeanie Swentik   (Ed. Note: This is a review that we run from time to time because in our view
The Ajijic Plaza At Dusk By Jeremy Monroe   Something has changed. The air is suddenly still. Children’s screams of joy are dialed down. 
Vexations and Conundrums By Katina Pontikes Tales From the Funeral Parlor   Death! Oh, the finality of it. Or so one thinks, while they are
Vexations and Conundrums By Katina Pontikes January 2022 Awakening December 2021 Mise En Place November 2021 Tar
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
    MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING   Column: Profiling Tepehua   Website:   Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
  KEN MASSON   Column: Bridge by the Lake   Website:   Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge
 Find us on Facebook