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Laughing on the Inside
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

THE DAILY SHOW recently did a send-up on both Bush and Obama about using the magic wand analogy to deal with the oil crisis. This fantasy of waving a wand to make our difficulties disappear is as old as time. As astrologers, many of us know about this default hope in the human psyche, as the person we are reading for is most often looking for that wand and hoping we'll provide it. As much as we've become a sound bite nation, we're also quick fix junkies. Sadly, sound bites minimize our understanding and quick fixes are more like band-aids on gaping wounds, fingers jammed in the dyke to hold back what will require more attention than we're willing to invest. 

Comedy Central is working overtime in this silly season of politics. On the news that Bush had bid farewell to the G8 by punching the air, and declaring with a grin, "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter," Stephen Colbert, faux- Republican delivered this:
"For far too long the president has been forced to do a terrible job of pretending to care what people think of him. But not anymore, folks," Colbert said. "It is going to be so sweet when he pops by the World Court in the Hague and screams: 'Adios, from waterboard central!' Then he can drop by the stock exchange, ring the bell and scream: 'Goodbye from the world's weakest currency!' And then he can head over to Iraq, and as he's leaving, shout out: 'I break it, you bought it!'"
Why is it that the truth is sometimes funny, I wonder. What does it touch in us? Do we laugh because it's shocking to hear? Certainly in the last decade truth has been harder to find than usual, and comedians are now (tongue in cheek) hoping that Obama, should he win, will "select an idiot for Vice President" since they get little fodder for amusement from him; should McCain take the stage, of course, they will continue to be wildly successful for the next four years. Maybe we laugh because we are suddenly in touch with the absurdity of our human condition -- or maybe because it's our last, best defense against despair.  

On the world stage, the national and political, things are going topsy-turvy. And for some time now, I've felt that most of us, if not all, are up against our own personal walls; whatever we fear, resist, ignore, refuse and rebuff is standing right in front of us like an immovable object, blocking us from moving along. If you study your friends and acquaintances, I think you'll have a clear illustration of what I'm talking about. Too many of us have rushed ahead with faulty choices, and now, as we reap what we've sewn, find the underpinnings of our life wobbling.

As well, so many of us have depended too much on the outer world for our good, ignoring the inner resources that provide us unshakable stability. We've built our house on sand, instead of a firm foundation. It's our nature to be able to see this in others before we acknowledge it in ourselves; but if it's happening all around us, we are not exempt. There is something going on here, seemingly mysterious, certainly disturbing but not unexpected. The Bible speaks of the error of trying to hold new wine in old wineskins; perhaps we're being emptied out because we cannot proceed with the old nor hold the new until we're prepared for it.

I've always appreciated the notion of sculptors that there is a perfect something waiting within a block of stone; their job is to liberate that thing for all to see. We're in a process that's similar, I think -- a process of liberating ourselves from what doesn't work; revealing that authentic person inside, free from encumbrance. I don't have to tell you that's painful, you already know that. But I will remind you that you, yourself, assign the meaning to every event in your life and so, once again, you have choices about whether your glass is half-full or half-empty. 

In 3D, liberation too often looks like loss; and loss must have its due. I remember reading years back that even the loss of a tooth requires a grief period; it's built into our brains, this need to keep what is ours and regret its passing. Being gentle with our grieving, and being tender with one another allows this process an easier flow, but flow it must. All feelings must be felt, or our walls will never move to allow us passage.

Having a relationship of discovery with that hidden self within us and bringing it up into the light requires us to be willing to let go of what is not part of the perfection of that inner version of ourselves. The chips are flying off our block of stone, and what is being eliminated from our lives feels like a kind of dying. It is assuredly dying to what was; we do not yet have a complete picture of what will be. It is encouraging to remember that as long as we are in body, we are in a constant state of death and renewal, from our very cells to our attitudes; this is a normal process, if more accelerated now. And that's where trust comes in.

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Parc Florale, Paris. Photo by Danielle Voirin.
Unless we can trust the process in which we find ourselves, we will fight the situations that represent awakening and growth; we will rush to replace what has gone from us, fight to remain as we are and maintain the illusion of control over the various aspects of our lives. Oh, and control IS an illusion, dear ones; we are chasing our tails if we think otherwise. We have control over our habits, our attitudes, our choices: little else. The careful physical and social scenarios we build around ourselves for protection come and go.

Only what is within us at the core of our essence remains constant. We think that if we can get everything in place, just as we want it, it will stay that way; yet nothing we know about life tells us that is a reasonable assumption. The teachable part of our psyche works hard to ignore this constant wearing-away of absolutes, searching still for the wand that will make everything just as we want it. Yet Eckhart Tolle speaks of that powerful space within us when he said, "You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level."

At our deepest level, we will find peace. Peace is one of those concepts that we don't know much about; it's mystical in its properties. It's as mysterious to us as the authentic self that hides beneath the stone. Moments of peace may come to us in meditation or prayer, creativity or appreciation, but they're as transient as the brush of butterfly wings; quickly come and gone, they leave us startled by the feeling and yearning for more. 

The Bible, once again, says that peace "passeth understanding." It is not a quality that comes from our mind; it more likely springs from our heart, the metaphysical seat of the soul. Perhaps peace is the magic wand we're all seeking; yet the irony is that when we find it, we won't need it. When we are in peace, there is nothing to do: there is only being peace.

There's another concept that we must become cozy with if we are to proceed through this period of change with any grace: surrender. I know, I know -- we Americans never surrender; John McCain is building an entire campaign on that premise. But we cannot even contemplate such an act unless we have an understanding that surrender implies both release and renewal; once we allow something to occur, put down our defenses, the energy catches us up in change for good or ill.

If we are listening to our higher angels, we will know when surrender is appropriate; in many cases now, it's not only appropriate, it's necessary. Trusting that we are going in a direction that will both inform us and lead us forward to our good is a basic requirement for snatching glimmers of peace from our current process. The more we trust, the easier our transition into our own power.

In the golden years of television, the movie studios opened their vaults to give us all the great offerings of the past. I snort with derision now when announcements of some "classic" movie being shown turns out to be from the 70s. Bah humbug! The real classics are something to behold.

In 1943, Madame Curie was a starring vehicle for Greer Garson, giving us a romanticized picture of the discovery of radium by Marie Curie, who would later earn the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She and her husband, Pierre, shared the 1903 Nobel Laureate award in Physics, as well. If, as a child, I needed a role model for women with vision, Garson gave it to me. It also gave me a clear picture of what those earlier days of our history looked like; we forget how far technology has brought us, how formal our social agreements, how inconvenient our lives. Here's a bit of it on Youtube; and here, to remind you.

Marie Curie herself had fled from Poland, coming to Paris for political asylum and to continue her education. She was miserably poor until she married Pierre, and even then they struggled to subsidize their experiments with long hours of teaching. They were devoted to one another and their work, and his accidental death in 1906 devastated her, although she continued the work until her death in 1934 from aplastic anemia due to radiation exposure. "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?" said Marie. "We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

We are, all of us, gifted for something. The more in touch with our authentic self we become, the more our gifts will reveal themselves; and I believe with all my heart that each of our gifts are needed now, in ways we don't understand. We are woven together through the events of this extraordinary period in history, depending on one another for courage and encouragement and standing together to usher in a new era of possibility. What is within us, waiting to be revealed by the chipping away of dross, is the perfect thing needed to make all this happen. Even when life is the most difficult, we must remember that there is work awaiting us and that our ability to access our own genius, as did Marie, holds blessing for ourselves and for the world.

A word about our current challenges: many are reporting a sense of spaciness, an inability to focus, in these last weeks. Between shocks and jolts of circumstance and shifting energy, we badly need the ability to ground. There are many ways to do that -- some eat meat or sugar, dense items; others stand with their bare feet in the dirt, connecting an invisible strand from their solar plexus and anchoring into the Mother like a tether.

If you will take deep breaths and visualize a ball of light at your naval, growing larger with each breath until it has filled you, you will bring in your personal power. Feel and affirm the strength and easy determination that comes from that center. From that lovely light, you will be able to proceed with an open heart and a clear head. Repeat as often as needed, trusting that you are able to fill yourself with cosmic energy whenever needed.

Each of us is powerful, and we are capable of being courageous and confident even when we don't think we are; we must stop looking outside of us for what is within, stop looking for the easy answers. We must discover the magic wand of our own purpose, gift and vision; we must grow these in courage and confidence, and then we must give them away to a waiting world.

Life, like happiness, is an inside job. The restoration we look toward depends on our ability to cooperate with our higher selves and surrender to this process of refining -- and as our personal walls come down, faced and dissolved, we may find that we laugh, not at shocking truth or the human condition, but because it's the language of the angels; and newly, our own.

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