Category: Journeys Written by Robert Wilkinson
If you or someone you know is feeling down, you're not alone, since many do feel all kinds of conflicted feelings during the holiday season, ranging from joy to sorrow, hope to despair.
For millions, it’s not particularly a “happy” time, since the end of the year brings up memories and frustrations which are not “happy.” In the past few years, we’ve all dealt with the pandemic, and live with the collective sorrow that millions have died or come close to dying. That pandemic sorrow pervades the atmosphere.
I originally wrote part of this a few years ago after finding some troubling statistics about how many people are dying through violence here and abroad. As if our personal issues weren't enough to deal with, it seems each “holiday season” brings its toll of death and destruction. So, besides our individual issues, we also have to contend with the difficult feelings of those around us, as well as the difficult feelings in the collective atmosphere.
While I don’t feel the same conflicted emotions I used to when younger, millions do struggle with their feelings during the holiday season for all kinds of reasons. This is actually more common than we think, since where there is sadness in the air, we all feel it. The issue isn’t to repress our feelings, or deny them, but rather to learn to deal with them, finding coping skills to turn our emotional struggle into healthy authentic responses. While it can be challenging for those who are feeling badly, it’s all part of our journey from darkness to light and from struggling with life to finding a joyous Soulful existence.
We're All Feeling Everything That Is, All The Time, Even If We Don't Know It
If we can feel at all, we are consciously or unconsciously tuned into the lives around us, both near and far. The pandemic took countless lives in 2020, our “season of saying goodbye quickly.” The quarantine contributed to a pandemic sense of isolation, and hanging out on zoom is NOT the same as hugging our friends and loved ones. We all need contact, and most have not learned the benefits of solitude.
I’ve read many reports from psychologists which indicate the quarantine created situations where people indulged questionable habits in eating, drinking, and other behaviors, since people want gratification and there are limited opportunities to be distracted. Once a habit is formed, it’s easier to continue it than break it.
Besides the hazard of “sugar blues” giving us an emotional roller coaster ride, there was a nagging sense for many months that if we went to a club, restaurant, movie theater, concert, or other public gathering places we could wind up with covid. Even if we didn’t land in the hospital, long covid has shown us many debilities, some mild, some severe, but long haul so people have been forced to alter their lives forever.
While collective amnesia has already set it, and many still refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated, the virus count continues, with thousands more each month contracting the virus which will affect their health for the rest of their lives. We’ll probably have coronaviruses with us for the rest of our days.
A Pandemic of Violence
There’s another factor impacting our emotions, individually and collectively. We have endured a pandemic of violence for many years which has had a major impact on our consciousness, since if we feel at all, we feel the despair and grief of others who have experienced the violence which rages all around us. That’s why a large part of the emotional distress people feel is associated with the cumulative toll of the violence in our nation and world, which is horrendous.
To give you a sense of the relentless non-stop drumbeat of violence we live with, here are a few statistics. In 2015, in the US we had 372 mass shootings, and no more than eight days passed without a mass shooting. In 2016 we had 463 mass shootings, and only one stretch of more than 4 days without a mass shooting. In 2017 we had 420 mass shootings, with over 13,000 deaths and over 27,000 injured. These numbers are pretty bad.
2019 brought screaming headlines stating “2019 Has Seen More Mass Shootings Than Days On The Calendar,” and another which reads “U.S. mass killings hit new high in 2019, most were shootings.” 423 mass shootings occurred in 2019, with over 1,600 injured and over 466 dead. In 2020, we had 615 mass shootings, 521 killed, and over 2500 wounded. It seems that even during a raging pandemic, some psychopaths still found the need to slaughter others with guns. And the numbers just grew in 2021 and 2022. I just saw that between 4000 and 6000 were shot this year. Many of these were kids and young adults.
Ten years ago, when I first posted this, we just had the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as well as shootings in other places. Since then we’ve had seemingly unending carnage in Charleston, Paris, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, Odessa, Dayton, Virginia Beach, Jersey City, Uvalde, and countless other places. These mass murders are having a major effect on the collective atmosphere which is pretty heavy and sad due to the millions grieving what happened.
It’s still happening many places even as you read this. After Sandy Hook we had South Sudan. To these we add that in recent years in the US we’re reeling from too many young men killed by too many police officers, as well as mass violence on an unbelievable scale in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
There are plenty of other places where bad things are happening. So, if you're feeling a bit down, try not to take it personally. You may just be tuned into the collective consciousness. While we mostly reference our five senses and our mind to make sense of our world, we are also tuned into the One Life we all are together by our sensitivity to the collective atmosphere.
Don't Forget We're Human
There's also the environmental factor. As a child, I had Seasonal Affective Disorder in Winters, where I had a hard time due to a lack of sunshine as well as the usual frustrated expectations and unfulfilled desires and intentions. As we are interactive Beings, if another has SAD we will also pick up on their own struggle to some degree. The sadness we feel can come from many sources, internal as well as external, biological as well as circumstantial.
It is entirely normal to have deep feelings and occasionally some measure of sorrow or sadness at this time of the year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the year's end, the "harvests" have been tallied, and usually there are unfulfilled dreams. There isn't much solar force to cheer us up, and those places that are cold and barren are, well, cold and barren.
Yet we're supposed to be happy, cheerful, filled with merriment and goodwill to all. Or so our legends, myths, and advertisers tell us. Those who are cheered by such things are blessed, but there are sometimes when these do not help us feel better.
There are many contributing causes to all kinds of sorrowful or frustrating feelings. Because it is considered "the end of the year" in most Western cultures in the Northern Hemisphere, of course we would feel that another year is gone, bringing up a self-examination.
What have we done? What have we fulfilled? How have we fallen short of what we desired for the past year relative to last year's intention? Just what have we accomplished? Are we better or worse off than last year? Due to the nature of desire and the subjective mind, it is natural to go into negative or unhappy states. Comparisons of the reality versus the ideal often leads into funky feelings and sad mental states.
It is a universal human trait to feel like we should be doing more, accomplishing more, having more, knowing more, and all those desires with which our higher aspirations would feel fulfilled. And yet, as humans we also have natural limitations, that examined from one point of view both keep us out of trouble AND offer us unlimited promise for the future.
Life Is About Loss and Renewal
With each passing year, we learn we have to let go of people, attitudes, and lesser forms of living as we move toward greater Self-realization. We learn we cannot simultaneously have both lower pleasures and higher ones, except briefly. We must lose people who no longer belong with us or we with them, so that we can make time and space for better ones in the future. Old jobs give way to new skills that promise a more fulfilling life.
Why now? Since nature in the Northern Hemisphere is in its season of rest after a year of putting forth leaves, flowers, and fruits, Winter is where we can understand the past year's events as a whole "cycle of manifestation." In that sense, Winter is a season of "making report" to one's God, Master, or “Truth-of-Being.” Unfortunately, due to unfair self-judgments, we are more apt to focus on what is lacking than what we have accomplished.
It is natural to feel all sorts of things because of all sorts of reasons. It's part of being human. And yet, we have the power to redirect our body, feelings, and mind any time we want. This is not denial in the sense of avoidance, but it is the power of radical dispassion that yields infinite compassion for ourselves and others as humans.
Over the years my own feelings have gone through all kinds of changes. Sometimes I've experienced very sad states, and within hours also experienced true joy. This perplexed me when I was younger and didn't understand just how much power we humans have to redirect when we choose to. I learned that we cannot force it in the usual sense, but we can coax forth better feelings if we persist in not feeding the sorrow and take heart in the moment, breathing and loving the best we're able.
While it wasn't easy when I started, it's become easier over the years to move through strong sad feelings, my own and others', with compassion. While it's human to feel sad at endings it's also possible not to lose one's equilibrium. I can truly say that every time I've chosen to "take the high road" consistently as part of my Spiritual practice, most of my difficult feelings quickly went away and I was left with compassion.
All Forms Pass Away In the Light of A Greater Love
If you're struggling with frustrating feelings, please remember that these too shall pass. Your view will be much different far quicker than you suspect if you don't clutch at strong negative feelings. Over time we come to wisdom and the ability to view our emotional responses as things we can choose to change, using compassion and understanding to feel all there is to feel without being thrown off our equilibrium.
It helps to consider if we’re having a hard time because someone else is having a hard time, or whether we're just picking up on the generic hard time pervading the collective unconscious. Because we are linked with others in so many subtle ways, we may be picking up on a feeling that is around us, but not necessarily due to anything we've done or not done.
That's why it's important to try to see "having a hard time" as an opportunity to show yourself a degree of tender care and gentle self-discipline. Consider it as a test of compassionate detachment, cultivating an open mind and open heart as you learn to bless and forgive yourself, turning negative feelings and thoughts to loving ones. And whether you’re having a hard time or just picking up something in the air, it’s a perfect time to antidote and transmute astral detritus in the atmosphere.
When any trial of endurance is over, we are left with Self-knowledge, strength, forms of wisdom born of our experiences, and the space to grow toward a better life and relationships. The trick is not to do destructive things while we are feeling sad, since these only aggravate our frustration and the intensity of our sorrow. Again, while turning to sugar foods may bring temporary gratification of the senses, it inevitably leads to the jagged edge of “sugar blues” which may last for days.
No matter how bad it seems, it's not as bad as it could be as long as we don't feed the negativity. If we can’t make it better, we definitely should not make it worse! Tomorrow holds tremendous promise, if we're ready to perceive it and embrace it. As we were told by a great Sagittarian wit, “80% of success is showing up.”
Even in apparent failure, our creative imagination is stimulated and we are strengthened by our effort. By remembering we are a Soul/Spirit many worldly things are put in perspective. When we’re having the hardest times, our Higher Self can exercise a gentle and persistent discipline of the lower mind and emotions to remember funky states are always temporary. The remembrance that all forms pass away can help us not go into spaces we don't need to, with moments of difficulty reminding us of our common humanity.
We Are One Life Together and Never Alone
While sometimes it seems grim, we're never as alone, isolated, or powerless as we may feel. Everything changes the moment we awaken to (or remember) our Eternal Self that possesses the Divine Power of Magnetic Attraction.
Because we are loving, wise, intelligent Soul/Spirits attracting all which promises us a greater awareness, we are guaranteed to find that which fulfills us. Along the way we learn to release our internal blockages and reservations about being truly fulfilled. Sometimes it's as simple as opening the door to greet the guest or getting out of the "house of personality" and seeing a larger view of how we came to be who we are and choosing anew. Getting out of our own way is a useful skill to cultivate so that we can allow our Truth-of-Being to flow through us, rather than stay stuck in unhelpful states of mind and feeling.
We must feel all the feelings there are to feel if we are to master our emotions. That's a part of our human-ness. We must also think all the thoughts we can think so we can come to understand our power to build positive and productive thought forms while rejecting erroneous perceptions and assumptions. These disciplines help us realize and apply our Divine powers, taking them from latent to active as we master various areas of our personal and interpersonal human existence.
As we master our feelings and our minds, we can commune with others who struggle with those same difficulties we also once had, helping them not feel so isolated and/or powerless. In those moments we are offered opportunities to practice our ability to be a loving light in the darkness of worldly experience, and demonstrate a higher Love that antidotes the fear, anger, and suffering of those who are still struggling with their feelings and perceptions.
An afterthought from the distant past relevant to the present. For those struggling with dark moods and any sense of loneliness, here are some thoughts: Detach from the mood, since it is an illusion manufactured by your subconscious mind. View it as a wise person would view a passing fly annoying you. Redirect your mind to being receptive to impressions showing you the way to growth, development, and security in knowing you're on track, utilizing your skills and understanding in the moment on an eternal journey from ignorance to awareness and darkness to light.
Loneliness is also an illusion, since we are not separate from life, love, each other, and "All That Is" for even a moment. We are as surrounded by Life and Love as a fish by water. Each step we take this life furthers our self-awareness and knowledge of how to "do our Being" with greater skill and compassion, both for ourselves and the general human condition.
So, if you're having a hard time, you're not alone. And you can find your way to peace, love, and a sense of well-being if you find the right mental and emotional "antidotes." If you're not having a hard time, then send a prayer to those who suffer as one who has transcended to whatever degree the tendency to have a hard time during the holidays.
Of course, you can always replay "Where the hell is Matt? - 2008" and start dancing to pump up your endorphins!! For more about Matt Harding and his global dancing efforts, please go to Where the Heck is Matt.com His videos are pretty infectious!
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected.
© Copyright 2022 Robert Wilkinson
© Copyright 2022 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com
About the author:
Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
I want to welcome all to drop by our Facebook page at Astrology Arizona and join the social media initiative going on there. Please feel free to contribute a topic, ask about a topic, or anything else related to our new group. See you over there!
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with written persmission from Robert Wilkinson.
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