Once someone said to me, ‘Everyone I know finds this world unbearable’. Instead of receiving her statement, I defended myself against it with thoughts: it was too extreme, too much of a generalisation, it depended on what you meant by ‘unbearable’, it wasn’t true of me. Then I realised that I was only proving her point. I was trying to reduce the impact of what she said because I couldn’t bear, in that moment, to let it simply be true.
Most of us seem to find this world, to different degrees, distressing, frightening, and something we need to be distracted from. It can be terrible to taste this toxic stew and know that this is what we have made from all the beauty, love, imagination and resources available to our species. A passion for blaming, whether others or ourselves, can be easier than holding this simple truth.
Of course, there are acts of beauty and generosity taking place every day, and many people send love and benign prayers into the collective consciousness. These things help, and nothing is wasted. Human courage and kindness can help to sustain all life. Conversely, we need to experience how all life is supported and made possible by the other-than-human natural world. I’m not talking only about our obvious dependence on the basic conditions such as air and water provided by our mother Earth. We all know how even a short time in a natural setting, among trees, flowers, birds, flowing water and so on, can leave us re-energised, calmed and balanced. The energies of such places provide healing. This is a truism to many of us, but we rarely enter into its deeper implications. What if we don’t take this healing for granted, but follow the thread it lays down for us, allowing it to be a central teaching in our lives? If we give ourselves to this adventure, it will take us a very long way indeed. And if we are really willing to stand alongside the magnificent energies we like to call ‘Nature’, then perhaps we will feel supported enough to ask ourselves this: what if we could bear to be truly alive? What might we be able to create?
Even now, in the violence and lies and madness that surround us, could we be fully alive, could we allow our responses to be acute, instead of anaesthetising ourselves against the reality of what we have so far created? Perhaps we would be overwhelmed by the pain of what we would learn. And if so, what then? Well… feelings are like water, they move and flow. When allowed and supported, they can lead to action and change. Depression, anxiety, repetitive grumbling, sharing of how awful things are, not to mention feasting on blame and guilt… these things can sometimes function to maintain the status quo, to avoid being carried by feelings into something worse – or into something better. We seem to find it easier to imagine something worse than something better. This is not to underestimate the wonderful people who create generous and beautiful initiatives and enterprises which offer hope and new possibilities, or to deny that there are many positive signs in these days. Still, as a people, we humans seem to have lost confidence in our ability to imagine and create a world that we truly want to live in.
So… I began to explore feeling fully the pain of being alive here now. I let myself feel it in my physical body, registering the places where I wanted to hold myself in, drawing back from the world; I felt it racing in my emotions, while I longed to blunt my responses; I tracked it through my thoughts, seeing how often I focused on the bigger picture and dulled my entanglement with immediate suffering, rather than allowing both; and at every level of my energy field I felt the high price of having coped so well. As I allowed this pain and grief to roar through me like a river in flood, I felt myself tossed around between intolerable pain on one hand, and a flow of new energy, even excitement, on the other. My consciousness swiftly rushed beyond myself, into the collective human experience of emotions, trauma and terror, as well as love and the longing for love. One could become lost in this torrent, and I gathered myself back to my own centre. Then my consciousness again rushed outwards, into the trees and flowers, the birds, animals, soil, the mountains and waters, into Earth herself. I felt the suffering in everything, and how without numbing this suffering, so many beings of Earth continue their work of cleansing, inspiring and holding the world of Grandmother Earth in place, tending her relationships with the solar system, galaxy and cosmos. We know so little of all this. Less than little. But I feel I’ve learned something very important. The other-than-human beings of Earth, and the spirits that express themselves through them, are the teachers and allies we need right now. And we have a place alongside them, doing our share of the work. This is our great and crucial opportunity, and we need to live this opportunity with every step we take. Learning from them and working together in true collaboration with them, we can forge the sacred alliance which will create the world we long for, in which all life is loved and honoured.
As part of my contribution to this work, I’m offering a series of workshops entitled ‘Warriors and Weeds’. The first will be working with the plant spirits of the woods, and other beings, in South Devon, May 5th-7th.
I’m also offering a workshop, ‘Riding the Tidal Waves of Change’, together with two other astrologers, Kate Hubert and Barry Goddard, on May 13th at Dartington, Totnes. In this we’ll be examining the planetary energies operating at this time, and how we can work with them collectively. My own piece will be an experiential exploration of the journey from now to the multiple, potent Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January 2020. I can’t say more about this here, but believe me, every day counts. With every step we take, we need to create the world we want to live in. If you’d like to join one of these workshops, or for further information, please contact me: email@example.com, or 01803 863185.