Friday, January 15, 2016

Making Friends Not Meaning

2015 was one hell of a year. My mother died in March and I struggled with grief, depression and family strife for much of the rest of the year. As of right now, the turning of the year, I have found a medication that has me feeling back to myself and am actively working through a lifetime of Stuff. It's not fun but it's important.
And let me assure you, there is no meaning. Don't go looking for it.  Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyming scheme in a cookbook. There is none and it will bugger up your souffle.   - Tim Minchin
I am a very analytical person who really likes to understand why a thing is happening or how a thing works. This is a very useful personality trait when I am faced with intellectual challenges but I'm realizing that that orientation can be a barrier to contentedness. As I have waded through the last year or two, I have come to realize that my emotions are bigger and my history deeper than I was ever very aware of and it has led to feeling quite discontented with my life. I've been struggling with family history, personal characteristics and habits and the vast scale of trauma in this world in ways that feel terrible a lot of the time. Thinking is not solving any of these problems.
The Guest House - Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
This year, rather than thinking more about my problems, I'm going to focus on befriending each each passing guest. I will aim to cultivate the persona of a wise old woman innkeeper who sweeps the floor, cooks the soup, welcomes the guests and doesn't worry so much about where they come from, where they're going to or why they're pissing on the floor. I do mean actual human and animal friends as well as life experiences but I actually think those are things I'm pretty good at already. I could stretch the accepting not questioning aspect, but since Grabbing the Tiger By the Tail I've been pretty good at opening myself to external experiences. The real challenge will be welcoming the internal experiences of emotions, thoughts and self love.

As usual, I looked to a number of divination tools to help me understand my intention for 2016. I pulled some tarot cards, looked at Sabian symbols and read the works of visionary thinkers. Rob Breszny, my astrologer and personal hero for many years, kept giving us Virgos horoscopes about desire around Solstice and New Year. He posed questions about how we identify our desires and how we understand when they are pulling us in one direction, or in scattered ways. I feel that letting following desires, or at least acknowledgement of desires, will be key to my path this year. When I stop letting my brain do all the heavy lifting, something else is going to have to take over and the heart speaks through desires.
 "The sky calls me," wrote Virgo teacher and poet Sri Chinmoy. "The wind calls me. The moon and stars call me. The dense groves call me. The dance of the fountain calls me. Smiles call me, tears call me. A faint melody calls me. The morn, noon and eve call me. Everyone is searching for a playmate. Everyone is calling me, 'Come, come!'" In 2016, Virgo, I suspect you will have a lot of firsthand experience with feelings like these. Sometimes life's seductiveness may overwhelm you, activating confused desires to go everywhere and do everything. On other occasions, you will be enchanted by the lush invitations, and will know exactly how to respond and reciprocate. 
My tarot spread was all about a journey towards wholeness and community. It started with Little Red Cap, inviting me to be the hero of my own journey, and led to the Two of Hearts and the Three of Crystals. Two is the number of resonance and connection, and the hearts point towards emotional connections, maybe romantic or maybe friendship or even a connection to the divine. Crystals are the suit of the practical and the physical while three is the number of harmony and balance. The image is of kids playing jump rope pointing to how community is formed by individuals working together.

The Sabian symbol I picked was Aquarius 25, a butterfly with the right wing more perfectly formed. This symbol compares and contrasts the emotional self with the conscious individualization, showing that one has been over developed at the expense of the other. This resonates so clearly with me, knowing that my own thinking and analytical skills are well developed while other skills are less developed. I will be called to correct that balance this year, and like any physical rehabilitation that is likely to be unpleasant at times.
Everything is Waiting for You (by David Whyte)
 Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
 2016 Is the Year I Stop Worrying and Make Friends
  • It will feel like sweeping the floor of the inn, no matter who shows up
  • It will sound like distant laughter of children and the laughter of friends and the cooing of lovers
  • It will flitter like a butterfly and sparkle like pyrite.
    • Both of these things have a bright and beautiful surface, but are deeply malleable and change easily. A caterpillar turns into goo before becoming a butterfly. Pyrite can be a cube, a plate, or a perfectly shaped ammonite shell.
  • It will be held lightly, breathed in and out, knowing the good stuff comes and so does the bad but like sunrise and sunset. Nothing more, nothing less. 

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