Warren W. Sibilla Jr.
MY JOURNEY TO IRONMAN
FROM KENNETH W. JAMES:
Dr. Warren Sibilla’s book, My Journey to Ironman: Endurance Sports as a Means of Individuation, follows in the Jungian tradition, which demonstrates that it is in the particular that we find the universal.
He shows the reader that, through scrupulous reflection on the personal details of one’s life, there emerges the awareness and appreciation of the deepest archetypal truths of the human psyche.
Writing with an honest, clear, and joyous voice, Dr. Sibilla invites the reader to accompany him on his quest for wholeness and challenges us to endure our own journeys with consciousness and humility.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In his early forties, Warren Sibilla was a successful professional with a close and loving family life. After setting challenging professional goals for himself, things started to go awry. His hard work and sincere efforts were met with criticisms that left him feeling misunderstood and that threatened his sense of belonging. His dreams suggested that he make the difficult decision to postpone a path to professional advancement and focus on his physical health.
Warren takes us with him as he begins to exercise, then to train for marathons, eventually participating successfully in an Ironman event. We accompany him as he learned to trust his dream life and his instincts--and to learn from others who guided him.
Warren Sibilla tells his story with simplicity and immediacy, not as a triumph only but as a deep and humbling experience. This book is different from other stories of courage and athletic accomplishment because he does not present himself as a hero but as a man without special talent in sports who grew into being himself through facing a daunting physical challenge.
This book is deeply moving, as the reader can so easily identify with his situation and perhaps feel inspired to face exactly the challenges one never imagined possible.
about the author
Warren W. Sibilla Jr., Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Diplomate Jungian Psychoanalyst who practices in South Bend, Indiana, USA. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Sibilla has served in various leadership roles at the C. G. Jung Institute in Chicago, including serving as the Co-Director for the Jungian Psychotherapy Program for eight years and now as the Director-Elect of the Analyst Training Program.
He is currently writing a book on the relationship between Zen Buddhism and Analytical Psychology using the Ox Herding Pictures from 10th century China. Finally, he is most proud to say that he is a foster parent for rescued dogs in the community.
FROM TOM KELLY:
Jung’s concept of the individuation process provides us with a helpful psychological reference or frame to finding meaning and leading a fulfilling life. This process, which unfolds over a lifetime, includes establishing one’s identity in the first half of life and then at midlife brings a change in one’s focus to align with more interior and personal values. Jung’s terminology and use of arcane symbolism such as the alchemical process to explain this process can make it sometimes rather difficult to fully grasp and comprehend.
In his book, My Journey to Ironman: Endurance Sports as a Means of Individuation, Warren Sibilla manages what can only be described as an heroic accomplishment in providing the reader with a grounded, accessible, and realistic example of what a phase in this process can look like in everyday life. By openly sharing with the reader his personal struggle in coming to terms with uncertainty and the need to find direction at a certain point in his life, the author bares his soul as he is forced to confront doubt and the struggle to find his bearings in his early forties. While the journey undertaken eventually leads the author to participate in an Ironman event, the focus of this book is on the inner process and the evolving ability of the author to trust his instincts, to rely on dream images to guide him, and to rely on the helpful figures who present themselves along his path, that make this book such a captivating read. The author’s frank, forthright, and intimate recounting of his journey, without the slightest hint of exhibitionism or narcissistic grandiosity, manages to make his journey emotionally palpable and provides the reader with a realistic, touching, and deeply moving account.
Individuation is a never-ending process. It is about becoming deeply involved in life in a manner that reflects the uniqueness of who we really are. This book stands out as an example of this process, of what it demands of us, but also of the gifts it can offer. I highly recommend this book without reservation and am confident it will be of great benefit to the reader and will leave no reader unmoved.
FROM DONNAMARIE FLANAGAN:
This is a story of a profound Jungian Analyst and of an ardent athlete, and how they are one and the same. There is no dividing line in Warren Sibilla. Writing with immediacy, Warren brings us with him to the indivisablity of body and psyche—the psychoid. His breath-soul runs, swims, and bikes into unity with all of nature and, yes, with the Divine. Prescient wisdom from the Dream World joins Waking World happenings in knock-your socks- off synchronicities, making the reality and the grace of the Unknown undeniable.
All the while, Warren is held by the love of his family, the fathering-forth of Greg, his trainer, and participation mystique with fellow athletes. Even the reader who never ran around the block will find stories that kindle dedication to her own individuation. One such story for me is the time Warren sacrificed following a marathon pacer, daring to trust his own internal pacing rhythm. At the finish line, he was embraced by a grateful first-time marathoner who, unbeknownst to Warren, had been following him for ten miles. “I couldn’t have done it without you,” the younger man said. Warren had become a pacer, an elder. It could be said of Warren that he has fought the good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the faith. Except, of course, he is continuing to do so in whatever way he is called.
FROM GEORGE HOGENSON:
In his dramatic account of both physical and psychological transformation, Warren Sibilla takes the reader on a journey through dreams and relentless training culminating in his successful completion of the Ironman competition. Sibilla’s insightful response to his dreams and their incorporation into consciousness is a model of the analytic process, and it is not surprising that as he builds on his training for competition, he finds his clinical process changing as well. For an account of how psyche can express itself through athletic competition leading to deep personal growth, this book is highly recommended.