Descent

Well, dunno about you, but we’re still digesting this descent into Chaos idea about the last quarter of the Saturn-Pluto cycle.  That descent notion kinda popped outa nowhere, but it fits all too well.  The 1973-1982 date range, and the quote from Mark Hulbert, was the clincher.  Remember the Watergate Hearings?  OPEC?  20% interest rates?  WPPSS?

WPPSS was, quoting Wikipedia, “the largest municipal bond default in the history of the United States, acquiring the nickname ‘whoops’ in the financial media.”  Electricity users in parts of the US are still paying for it, literally.  WPPSS let every scammer and Ponzi schemer slide off the hook, because they could just tell their clients, “Gosh, all yer money was in WPPSS.  Too bad!”  Here’s a link to an important Bill Moyers program about today’s all-too-parallel equivalent.

Now, we been very optimistic about the new Chiron-Neptune initiation we get in mid-February, and we remain so.  But the last two Chiron-Neptune cycle initiations were also associated with major economic and political disruptions.  So the 37-year Saturn-Pluto cycle and the 65-year Chiron-Neptune cycle appear to be ganging up on us.  Which means we better have a pretty good plan for making lemonade, eh?

Is it selfish to want to thrive when the World is crashing around us?  Well, yes.  Selfish is good here.  If we crash too, then we’re a lot less helpful to everyone else.  Sure, we’ll have to explore the boundaries between Abundance (having enough to share) and Avarice (not having enough to share), but we’re doing that work anyway.  We don’t go around telling people “Every time one door closes another one opens” when they’re in Grief, because it’s insulting.  But it is irrefutably true that disruption and opportunity are opposite sides of the same coin.  So let’s get ready.

We know it’s all about identity.  So here’s a link to a wide-ranging talk by Chris Hedges about what’s going on, that’ll probably push your edges.  Listen all the way through, including the questions, if you can.  If our primary objective (see Focus on #1 below) is to expand our set of functioning identities, then our first task is to embrace each discomfort that we encounter, as a doorway into doing exactly that.  I should say that over in several different ways, to be clear.

When we experience discomfort, it’s because we’ve bumped up against the limits of our identity set.  We know, we know, ya stub yer toe, it’s cuz ya bumped into yer table, not the edge of yer dang identity set.  Go to both/and.  There’s always an identity issue involved when you feel discomfort.  It’s not one or the other.  Stubbing your toe is one unitary experience.  “Dang that hurts!” is one totally valid perspective on that experience.  So is “Who moved that table?!?”  And so is “Who is feeling this pain?”  The only time when there may not be an identity issue involved, is when yer dead, and even that’s open to question.

We have no interest in trivializing this as “Oh, yeah, I recognize that, it’s just a Buddhist perspective.”  It might be, but it’s a lot bigger than that.  Push yer Toe into the floor.  Feel the pressure?  Push just to the edge of discomfort.  What do you experience?  And what part of you is doing the experiencing?  Where is your experience centered?  In yer Head?  In yer Belly?  Can you move the center of your experience into your Toe?  Does that shift the nature of your experience?  Chances are you’ll be able to expand yer identity set a fair amount with a simple exercise like this.

Spend a few minutes thinking about any major transitions in your life.  First day of gradeschool.  Of highschool.  Getting a job.  Moving.  Getting married.  Having a child.  Getting redundant.  Traveling.  Getting divorced.  Who you were a month before the transition, and who you were a month after the transition, were probably vastly different.  You probably believed at the time that the transition required you to give up some parts of your identity.  No more teachers’ dirty looks and all that.  But then, after a while, you discovered that you had to recover the parts you thought you had to give up.  Your identity set doesn’t shrink, though sometimes parts of it hibernate.

We may be used to thinking No more teachers’ dirty looks is about our experience of being in school.  But it’s also about our identity during the experience.  A teacher’s dirty look might invoke fear, or guilt, or anger, or curiosity, or even amusement.  It depends on who’s seeing the dirty look, doesn’t it.  All those actors – the ones experiencing fear, guilt, et al – and many more are part of your identity set, and at any given moment a few of them are playing the leads, with others making up the supporting cast.  Some of your identities are in the audience.  Others are out to lunch, or home sick, or out of town.  Does this make any sense?

It’s all too common for us to get tranced into a corner of the stage, where we have only a few identities available to us.  For instance, if we meet some experience that triggers a deeply felt experience we had as a child, we’re likely to regress to the age we were then.  If we do, then we can get into a timewarp and lose all of the identities we’ve developed since that age.  That can leave us having to deal with adult situations using only the skill set of a four-year-old.  Thankfully, four-year-olds have a lot more skills than adults give them credit for, but it’s still a smaller skillset than the one that’s needed.

There’s an old Recovery-Movement trick where we ask ourself, What color is the wallpaper? That simple question puts us back into the Present Moment, where we have access to our full skillset.  Since we weren’t in the habit of asking that question at age four, we won’t remember to ask the question when we’re tranced out.  So practice.  Think about the last time you felt inadequate or overwhelmed or scared.  Then go to the wallpaper.  Then back to the overwhelm.  Then to the wallpaper.  You can build a new habit easily, just by practicing it.  Twenty seconds a day for a week, and it’s yours.

A flexible identity set is one very powerful foundational tool to help us make lemonade – or margaritas – when the World descends into Chaos.  It’s a foundation.  It may not be a skill that gets you water and food and shelter directly, but it’s easy to see how lack of this skill can separate you from water and food and shelter.  Ever felt shy?  Or shame?  Those are identities that operate in their own darkness, identities that mirror disapproval or bullying we got somewhere along the line.  Either one can keep you hungry amid plenty.  But wait, hungry is also an identity, isn’t it.

You see, we all have a great deal of skill at this already, we may just not think about it much from this angle.  Bring it up into  consciousness; we’ll be needing it.  It’s also exactly what the Planetary Energies are asking us to do this year and this Decade.  It’s one description of the Grace and Skill that complements the Grand Cross in the 12/31/2009 Eclipse chart that governs the Decade.  Just one description.  The Planetary Energy, like a Toestubbing, is a unitary experience.  Words are a snapshot, one still photo from one angle of one tiny corner of the Energy, which is infinite.

One Response to “Descent”

  1. MillieNeon Says:

    Thanks Jim. I am so enjoying reading you blog.

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