This popped up on my Instagram feed this morning.
It was a reminder I needed today.
Friday’s Mercury opposite Saturn transit is kinda… not so fun. Our thoughts, our communications, our details, and our paperwork are being confronted with the planet of rules, limits, deadlines, and harsh reality checks today. And it hurts.
Saturn can correlate with times of feeling hemmed in by barriers and set-backs. It can be easy to loose perspective during tough Saturn transits, which narrow our vision.
Here’s the lovely caption for this image, by S. C. Lourie:
Times will change. Even when they feel like they never will. Any moment, no matter how difficult, will never last forever.
The Earth keeps spinning on its axis and we will continue to midwife new life chapters into form.
There are two main things that contribute to shitty depressive times of life:
1) First, there’s pain and suffering. Of which there are many varieties, and for most of us humans, it is a unique concoction of many different types. There’s physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain, socially-triggered pain, rejection pain, historical pain, existential pain, cognitive-thought pain, and the collective pain of the entire world bearing down on us individually.
There’s grief; guilt; shame; loneliness; soul-sickness; fear of the future; the suffering of fearing suffering; feelings of never being good enough; feelings of failing; feelings of being the ‘only one’ who feels some way or has a certain experience; the pain of being prevented from expressing your true nature and living a purposeful life in alignment with your authentic Self; the pain of bearing a burden you do not feel you can share; histories of trauma that keep the body and psyche stuck in the past; the fear and stress of not being able to meet your survival needs…
Being human is a tough gig.
2) In addition to the pain, what can really bring us to our knees however, is a loss of hope – a feeling that things are never going to change, that they are never going to get better. A feeling that our pain and suffering will never be alleviated or resolved in a sustained way.
You can have pain and suffering to varying degrees… but still have hope. Arguably we all have some form of pain and suffering with us at most times.
But it is the loss of hope that our situation will change for the better, that can send us toward the deepest darkness, despair, depression and desperation. When our vision becomes narrow, when we begin to lose a broader perspective, we may begin to lose hope.
Therefore, to address depressive, discouraged, shitty times of life, we can:
a) alleviate the pain and suffering, b) increase our capacity to tolerate pain and suffering without getting overwhelmed by it (i.e. increase our resilience), and c) restore and maintain our hope.
As for Solution A, I am really excited about the developments in many different fields that are addressing the various types of pain I mentioned. I think we are developing resources and gaining knowledge that can be quite effective in alleviating pain and suffering.
However, getting the right resource to the right person at the right time, remains an ongoing issue. Furthermore, many types of pain ask for a long-term process of healing, integrating and rebuilding (as well as massive systemic change), which can be frustrating and discouraging.
This is where Solution B comes in really handy. For some, increasing the capacity to tolerate pain and distress involves learning ways to regulate their nervous system and increase their ‘window of tolerance’. For others, it means learning strategies to prevent empathetic overload, or it means building communities of peer support.
There are many ways we can build resilience and increase our tolerance for living with types of distress – which often simultaneously increases our capacity to welcome in life’s joy and pleasure.
And yet this too, can take some time.
What about Solution C – restoring and maintaining our hope?
When I was at my lowest, when my limbs were heavy as lead with the crushing weight of shame and despair, I would force myself to get out each clear night to see the moon.
The Moon was my greatest medicine. It kept me going. It helped me stay patient. Most importantly, it reminded me of the Earth’s reassuring, rhythmic constancy, as well as its impulse toward change, growth and evolution. I clung to the Moon and the hope it offered me.
Throughout the course of just 29 days the Moon changes its shape every night – from a tiny sliver, to half a pizza, to a full-blown orb hanging from the sky… all the way back to a tiny sliver… and then it is swallowed by the darkness only to begin the cycle again.
Look for the finger-nail clipping of a crescent Moon over the next few nights. The Moon is beginning to emerge from the darkness and grow again. Take hope that just as the Moon can grow and change and birth itself over and over again, so too, can you.
Of course the possibility of ‘change‘ can also be scary for humans since it involves walking with uncertainty, but hope is predicated on the existence of change.
Change holds the positive potentials of the future.
Remind yourself that whatever you are experiencing right now “is just a chapter. It’s not your whole story.” (S.C. Lourie)
Astrology and astronomy are magical gifts that can walk us through the darkest of nights.
Look for the Moon. She’s coming back for us.