By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
One hundred days into the Obama presidency, it's clear that his promise of change
is not only here but moving forward, with or without us. For those who wish Obama was less pragmatic and more progressive, I think it worthwhile to count our blessings that we have someone in charge who is willing to flex, risk and think long-term. Change did not come from him -- the need grew organically, encouraged by the energies that drive us forward toward a new paradigm and nurtured in the hearts of many who intuited the decay of a dying age. We are seeking liberation from the old ways and entry into a new century; Obama appears to be seeking the same.
Before the election, I warned that the promises made by a candidate might or might not be achieved; we've seen that happen often enough. Campaign promises are generally not a promissory note but a happy-face projection and think-tank dream; give Obama credit for never tossing his into the round file. He is proving to be a man of his word, and no matter how dire the obstacles thrown in his path, he has continued to focus on his early pledges. His own hundredth day commentary indicated that we are continuing to "... pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and work at rebuilding America." Indeed. Imagine, if you will, what a Bush or McCain might have done in this first hundred.
These first few months were a period of jumping tougher hurdles than many of us can remember for an incoming president, and Obama managed to do that while keeping the nation calm; his poll numbers remain high
and the nation feels it is moving in the right direction. The obstacles, dire indeed, vary from an economy in chaos, international challenges that include North Korean hostility, escalating violence in both war theatres and pirates in Somalia; and, insult to injury, now a new strain of flu that has some of us as startled as a deer in the headlights. The next hundred will probably be as difficult in terms of the expected, and as full of shocks and surprises as the last.
Well, what did we think change would look like? This is a period marked by the Saturn-Uranus opposition flying into our face on election day. The conservatism of Saturn as deeply entrenched in our failing systems met the progressive thunderbolt of Uranian energy nose to nose. The best symbol of Uranus I can think of, metaphysically speaking, is the Rider-Waite Tower card
in a Tarot spread; notice the men falling, one a king? Displacing from a great height is the key; Uranus creates the circumstance in which required change forces us to begin again.
Uranian energy is necessary in the world, I think, because we refuse to take advantage of the opportunities to change that are given us; we're creatures that appreciate the boring same-old, even as we search for diversions within cautious limits. A marriage built on sand, for instance, will splinter and crumble for decades if the couple refuses to see how precarious and unstable is its foundation. A system such as an uncontrolled Wall Street will race ahead despite the obvious cracks in its facade until it tumbles down, still unwilling to abandon its faulty practice. Change has a romantic sound to it, but denial is a much more comfortable proposition, short-term. It's the intention of Uranus to make the comfortable no longer possible.
The news is too often a report on our attempt to keep a lid on what was, rather than an illustration of what has become both necessary and inevitable. Fear plays a part in this, of course -- unless we can envision what life might become if we let go of what is, we too often stare into the void of the unknown all a'tremble. Once necessity pushes us out of the fear-nest, we are required to open ourselves to the flow of good all around us or sink like a stone. Noticing it's there is the very first thing we should put on our To Do List. Here are a few suggestions to assist your journey through this changing energy -- think of them as requirements for becoming your own best friend:
Acknowledge all that you have.
Good things are happening to us every day; things we take for granted. Did you wake up with a big, deep breath this morning? People with emphysema envy you. Did you decide to take yogurt and a salad to work for lunch rather than grab a burger because you're a bit too well padded for your summer wardrobe? Parents of anorexics and mothers of children in African resettlement camps covet your extra pounds. Did you manage to pay your vexing and discouraging collection of bills this month without turning to your credit cards
? Count your blessings that you aren't being trapped in a dark cycle of indebtedness.
All the things in our lives that are working to our benefit require our attention and appreciation. We've become too used to seeing happiness as a collection of things to be added to us, while we ignore all that is already there; gratitude is how we continue to draw what we need into our lives. And sharing what we have will increase our ability to extend both gratitude and charity.
Some of us are looping in old paradigm pity-party consciousness, using our circumstances to illicit sympathy and assistance from others. Those of you lost in the Drama Queen dialogues need to quit thinking about yourself for a moment and look around you; in a nanosecond, you will be able to find someone whose situation is much worse than yours. Now, rethink how much energy you've been putting into your woes, sabotaging any possibility of rescue.
As well, we must consider that our load of sorrow and fear is toxic not only to ourselves, but to those around us who have their own burdens; there is a huge difference between sharing our concerns and using them to prop up our wounded ego, solidifying our fragile self-image built from our personal insecurity. We may find that we become a liability to be avoided unless we take responsibility for our situation and offer some willingness to move ahead, rather than cry over spilt milk and use it to solicit negative attention.
Value your dignity.
Rich or poor, young or old, well or ill, free or prisoner: you are a child of God/dess -- or of the Universe, the Great I AM, whatever you understand as the mysterious force of life and love that defines our journey here. Our dignity cannot be taken from us -- it can only be given away. Do not let false pride or ego-speak rob you of your essential power and human entitlement. Here on planet Terra, each of us is equally beloved; one day we will awaken to that fact and treat one another as an extension of the whole of us.
As we peer into the continuing revelations of torture practiced by our own government, I am struck by the notion that even in the direst of circumstance -- bodies contorting in pain, bowels voiding and the ringing of piteous cries begging for mercy -- those being tortured have infinitely more human dignity that those who torture. No amount of psychological distancing such as legal vetting or physician supervision makes torture acceptable on a human level; there is no excuse for brutality in a civilized world. No matter our personal challenges, dignity is our birthright and it is our obligation to both step into it ourselves, and insist on it for others.
Observe your patterns.
If you meet the same problems in your new job that you experienced in your old one, or find you're battling the same attitudes in a new relationship that defined the last one, the problem is not the job or relationship; it's you. We repeat life patterns until we notice them and release them; we repeat them because we believe they're who we are. What we believe about ourselves -- that we are unlucky in love, perhaps, or that we aren't smart enough or attractive enough to make the gains we desire -- defines our experience.
We cannot have a new experience until we're ready to let go of our old belief systems, and release repeating patterns that are calculated to awaken us to our own outworn decisions. If your patterns are still at work in your life, don't look outside of yourself -- your homework is internal. You can change your mind ... and your future ... at any point that you choose. The revelation, and the work involved, is right in front of your nose.
Make no one the enemy.
I recently posted a fascinating article
on the psychology of value systems on the Political Waves blog that I consider a paradigm buster; it discussed the different moral centers of the conservative and liberal thought process. Obama is lauded for being largely non-ideological in these slippery times, and many of us who are politically active struggle with such an approach. As much as we want to cooperate with the new energy, the requirement of letting go of some of our dearly held concepts is a painful process.
Political extremes continue to illustrate the polarization of our current human understanding; but we are coming into a refreshed realization of who we are, collectively. The Republican Party is now an umbrella for only the extreme of the conservative movement; their numbers have dwindled
more dramatically than at any other time in history. Many Conservatives, unable to find a home base on the Far Right, now fancy themselves Independents. We are changing outward allegiance as we discover our internal truths. Nobody is a better example of that than Arlen Specter
, new Democratic Senator after 29 years on the other side of the Congressional aisle.
We are leaving extremes behind, and the more we recognize and honor our similarities rather than our differences, the easier it will be to move into a productive future. In essence, the nation has steadily become more liberal in these last generations and is anxious to create society to reflect that; each of us will assist that collective only as far as we, ourselves, can be peaceful collaborators of change. Peace can only come to the table when hearts are open to one another; we must do our part to make that happen.
Welcome the adjustments that change offers.
Our lives have been defined by a set of sociological shoulds and have to's for generations; the proposition that our consumerism can 'grow' or 'expand' forever and ever is illogical and, as we've seen, dangerous. Together, we are attempting to discover the possibilities while honoring the self-discipline and common sense of generations past. This does not have to be devastating; we don't have to face life wearing a backpack and trudging down the road in friendless defeat, but we also can't pit ourselves against the old templates of success in a shifting paradigm that has yet to emerge with new achievable standards.
We find ourselves on a voyage of discovery, anticipating a correction, not a cosmic punishment. The energies pushing us ahead, with or without our cooperation, are not random. Albert Einstein understood the wisdom of those influences when he said, "Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust -- we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper."
Is it a surprise to learn that you are part of that mystery? That your every decision and attitude creates something, and either leads to a future bright with love and compassion or bogs you down in the mire of worn patterns and outdated emotions? Until we can switch our attitude of resistance to an appreciation of the adventure ahead, we will be unable to find our sense of confidence and comfort with the process.
If you examine the suggestions above, you'll see that they are all part of the internal work that allows us to identify and cooperate with our higher aspirations. Each offers us freedom from bondage to false behavior; each allows us a glimpse of our capacity for lovingness, and sets our foot on a path to self-trust and self-appreciation. It's awareness of our own true self-reflection that allows us to make friends with life, in whatever way it presents itself; to make friends with ourselves. It's the freedom we seek as we face a new paradigm and contribute to one.
As we let go of our own personal blockage, we free ourselves to collaborate in the turning of an era and the re-creation of a nation. Dramatist William Saroyan
might have been writing of this extraordinary century rather than his own when he said, "In the time of your life, live -- so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite variety and mystery of it." Saroyan was known as an idealist and optimist, and his comment seems tailor-made for us today. As Obama continually suggests, it is in these extraordinary historical turning points of chaos and wobble that we find the opportunity to remake ourselves. What we bring to this moment must be the best we have to offer.
There is mystery afoot, within us as well as without -- and as we learn to get out of our own way, dissolve the stumbling blocks that we've set before us, we will become more aware of its magnificence and wisdom. Mystery will become part of our understanding of ourselves, a spark of wonder that will constantly remind us that the fullness of our humanity, if less than angelic, is an ever-expanding heartbeat of connection and lovingness.
We can glimpse that possibility this Beltane if we take a walk in moonlight, gather together in nature and take part in the celebrations of this season; we will feel the embrace of Gaia and the tenderness she offers our devotion and respect. Perhaps, in our smallness, we will realize how big we actually are -- what we need to learn about ourselves has always been in place, waiting for us to embrace it.
Once we free ourselves from what remains of our old obstructions, the way forward will explode into life to surprise and delight us. We will trust ourselves, because we will no longer self-sabotage; we will trust others, as ourselves. The mystery is urging us forward; can you feel it? We have before us the adventure of a lifetime: the capacity to become whole again -- and then, as Einstein would have it, even the cosmic dust will dance.