July 19, 2009

A Healing Solar Eclipse on July 21st

On July 21st at 5:35pm (ish) Pacific the earth will experience the only total eclipse of the sun in 2009. It won’t be visible to us here, but can be seen in China, Tibet, parts of India, and partially from North Korea. Solar eclipses occur during a new moon when the moon is dark. This moon is considered a “super” new moon because the eclipse lasts longer than average.

In the old days, eclipses were seen as harbingers of trauma and difficult events. In our more expansive world view we now recognize them as bringers of change, intensifying areas they influence. This intensity can be seen as good or bad, but need not be judged in this way. It is simply change. I view the amount of difficulty one experiences to be in direct proportion to his or her attachments to things or circumstances that are, by their very nature, temporary and transitory.

During a total solar eclipse what we have kept hidden, either as an individual or as a group, cannot as easily be ignored or avoided. From this angle, we can take a proactive approach to the upcoming eclipse on July 21st, which is the second eclipse of three in a row this summer.

First, consider that we are in a very “cosmic” time. The ways we operate on mental and emotional levels are changing. Our minds don’t seem to work the way they once did. Have you noticed this? We are less able to will things into being, by force or otherwise. Instead, we have been steadily encouraged to think in more flexible, flowing, cooperative ways. Those who refuse this are finding themselves exceedingly frustrated and blocked. Those who flow with it are sometimes experiencing foggy thinking or confusion as the mind adapts to greater flexibility.

We can harness the forces of this powerful time for our own benefit. Your heart’s desire is being highlighted this summer, but it must blend with social consciousness. The individual ego must find a balance with the needs of the entire group. If your ego is overly constructed or inflexible, you will feel the pull to let go, to allow an adjustment. The new path is about refining priorities, softening the heart, and engaging in emotional self-empowerment.

You can begin by looking at what is ending in your life and what needs to end. Areas highlighted during this eclipse have to do with home, family, security, feminine energy, and the emotions. It is about balancing the divine feminine energy in your home and workplace. It is a time to wipe away old outdated patterns and habits of relating and emotionally reacting and begin anew with a more mature, self-possessed approach. It’s a time of emotional closure – letting go of old hurts and resentments – beginning again with emotional freedom.

So think about what you want to see more of in your life. Ask yourself what are you experiencing now that doesn’t feel good, and what would you be willing to allow into your life so that you do feel good. There is no better time than now to do this. We have the whole solar system working on our behalf to help us build a stronger inner foundation based on emotional balance.

July 13, 2009

Guilt: Minding the Gap

Guilt has been utilized for centuries to get the masses to cooperate. On a more personal level, mothers, fathers, teachers, children, clergy, friends, employers, and partners use the powerful tool to control one another. But guilt forces people to depart from their true, authentic natures and adopt a falsehood. If you participate in this inauthentic way of being, it likely eats away at your healthy sense of self - a constant reminder of your being “less than.” You’ve done something wrong. You are not ok.

In order to assuage the discomfort of the feelings that go along with having misbehaved or displeased someone, including God, what people typically do is change their behavior in order to regain approval. This change is usually a mask, an act of sorts, designed to make you appear to be more acceptable by whoever or whatever it was that originally placed judgment on you.

Sometimes these masks and acts (which I see as inauthentic ways of being) are donned at a very early age. I am reminded of a time in kindergarten when I casually tossed my uneaten sandwich into the girls’ bathroom trash. The teacher saw it, discovered it was mine, and proceeded to speak to me in such a way that I felt humiliation. To avoid future episodes of being shamed by teachers, I quickly learned to be more sneaky and secretive. I’d be sure to get rid of future kindergarten grub in a way as to not draw attention to myself. I would simply appear to abide by the rules, but would go on rejecting any lunch I deemed unsuitable for my 5-year-old taste buds. As a result, I would do things my way but feel guilty about it because I knew I was behaving falsely. My appearance belied the truth.

This is a mild example, but in a basic way it shows how inauthentic ways of behaving are linked to guilt. When someone comes to me asking for assistance with feelings of guilt, I look for the gap between what is true for the person and what is their “act.” When this gap is bridged, guilt begins to fade away. Guilt is the gap between our true selves and that which is false.

It can be humbling to face where we have been inauthentic. In the example I gave about my sandwich episode, in order to feel no guilt I could have owned up to a few things about myself.

1. I didn’t want to do what I was told. I had a defiant streak.
2. I wanted to “do lunch” my way.
3. I wanted to be seen by those in authority as “good” so I could avoid the discomfort that goes along with humiliation, shame, and judgment.
4. I didn’t always fit the model of “good” even though I thought I should.

I did eventually own these truths about myself and realized they were not the end of the world. I found I didn’t feel guilt anymore (because these same four points related to many things in life, not just the sandwich).

It’s a liberating process to free yourself from guilt. Facing the truth of what is, of what is the truth about you, is like unlocking the door of your own self-imposed prison. Then, learning that the truth is what it is, that you behaved in ways that are deemed undesirable by the standards you accepted for yourself, and that you felt ashamed of it, this is what is truly freeing. It is a heavy burden to hide your authenticity from others.

When you begin to recognize your gap and your own truth emerges you get to trade the old burden for something more empowering: personal responsibility and integrity. Nowadays when I don’t want to eat something for lunch I just say it. I’ve got a “picky” reputation. My mother has a hard time with it. People sometimes roll their eyes. I’m not easy to travel with. And that’s ok.