TrueHeartWork | Byron Katie
651
archive,tag,tag-byron-katie,tag-651,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-3.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive
 

Byron Katie Tag

Cancer feature pic

Tender Heart—Sun in Cancer—June 21st to July 23rd

Cancer feature pic 9As summer thrusts sunlight into the receptive hollows of the earth here in the north, and the benediction of winter silence presses into the cold soils of the south, the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer on June 21st and pauses at the threshold in the year. Margaret Atwood reminds us, “This is the Solstice, the still point of the Sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future. The place of caught breath.”

Our Earth is girdled with contrast, bejewelled with the shimmer of light and the stillness of darkness. Spiritual teacher Gary Zukav describes the Solstices as “the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.”

At the solstice, and right now in our human his-story, we stand at a threshold, and at a time of unlocking, which promises the release of pent-up energy, the slaying of old dragons, shedding of old skins. Between June 21st to July 23rd, against the backdrop of the widening gyre, the Sun rides his chariot through Cancer, that segment of the zodiac associated with home, with family, with safety and security. We have a choice to expand, or contract against the forces of change that swirl around us all.

Like all astrological archetypes, Cancer is nuanced. The little crab knows about defensive armouring and threatening claws. As the shards of life piece our tender hearts, embed themselves in our sweet spots, we may be acutely aware of our vulnerability.

This ancient dweller of this liminal, in-between place where the great oceans meet the shoreline is an adaptable scavenger, a brave opponent.  We all have Cancer somewhere in our birth chart. Cancer is the place of our tender heart. This is where we close the curtains, turn down the lights. This where we long for the comfort of soul food, or the ache for the soft bosom of an all-loving Mother. This is the place we protect with claws and pincers that flay against life when it presses in too hard.

cancer mother

We may feel uneasy, exposed, as an unyielding triumvirate in Capricorn—Pluto, Saturn and the South Node—threaten to break the fragile thread of security we have cast into the world. As silver-back politicians jostle for power, as bellicose tweets ricochet across our future lives, and invisible hackers prey on our most intimate and tender communication, hijacking our accounts, we may be feeling a kind of sea-sick. Tension mounts in Iran. Stock markets shiver. An epidemic of homelessness is a stark reminder of the widening chasm between the rich and the poor. Cancer is associated our human capacity to heal, to nourish and nurture. Cancer is associated with the stomach. As those who wield power avoid answering inconvenient truths about the climate crisis and the increased use of pesticides, we may be feeling a little queasy as we realise that we are eating a credit card sized portion of micro-plastics each week.

The world may feel volatile as Mars in Cancer joins forces with Mercury and the North Node to oppose the Capricorn planets (Saturn, South Node and Pluto—June 12th —June 23rd) rocking our cradle of comfort.

Cancer feature pic 3In contrast to the earthy Capricorn knot, all though this year a tidal surge of a very different kind of energy is swirling across the skies as Jupiter, that planet associated with big dreams, grandiosity and faith meets Neptune where we yearn to escape, be rescued from the burnt out ends of our human existence, where we long for romance, ecstatic spiritual experience; yet in real life we do the laundry, walk the dog and come home to relationships that, as John Welwood suggests in his book, Journey of the Heart, “will inevitably penetrate our usual shield of defenses, exposing our most tender and sensitive spots, and leaving us feeling vulnerable—literally, able to be wounded.”

We may have been consciously or deeply unconsciously threading strands of this Neptune/Jupiter square through our lives since January this year. (January—14° Sagittarius/14° Pisces; June—19° Sagittarius/Pisces; September 17° —Sagittarius/Pisces) This waning square is often accompanied by the deep bruise of loss, a sinkhole of disappointment, or the dissolution of a high-flying dream. Neptune yearns for the ineffable, the ideal. This aspect brought Theresa May’s career as leader of the Tory Party to an end. It’s difficult to get things accomplished under this kind of energy. We may be undermined, duped, deluded. It’s the illusive green curtain behind which the Wizard of Oz directs the affairs of state and promises deliverance. For us all, there are opportunities to tumble into the ache of our heart, or to feel the brush of an angel’s wing as we soften in acceptance of the way things are. As Byron Katie, who has Jupiter Retrograde in Cancer, suggests, “When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.”

The ancient god  Dionysus stretches and yawns when we enter Neptune’s nebulous realm of music, dance and intoxication; as we enter the non-ordinary; as we engage with magic and mystics; as everything empties into One. Neptune is Retrograde from June 21st to November 27th. This is our invitation to find deeper meaning in a renewed sense of purpose. This is our invitation to take off those rose-coloured glasses. To see more clearly a larger vision. This is our invitation to feel compassion, as we “suffer with” and our hearts open wider.

Cancer feature pic 4Venus  makes a T-square to the Jupiter/Neptune square June 23rd – 24th to offer us the gift of soul-union with a lover, artistic inspiration, the ability to be selfless, to see the beauty growing out of the cracks in the pavements, the black delta of mould in the subways. It also can signify the tsunami of grief and loss at the ending of a relationship or the realisation that we have been unrealistic or too naïve concerning our finances or what we hold dear to our heart.

Mars changes sign from Cancer into Leo and the eclipse season begins on July 2nd with a total eclipse of the Sun. This eclipse is at 10° Cancer and is followed on July 16th by a by a partial lunar eclipse at 24° Capricorn (conjunct Pluto and opposing Mercury and Mars.) These are celestial power-points that drop into our consciousness and will re-calibrate national and global events.

Cancer 632Mercury turns Retrograde (4° Leo) on July 8th, stirring up the silt from the shadowy waters of the previous sign of Cancer. We may be prompted to be more introspective, to be mindful of just how we choose to wield our authority, how we bring forth our vision and creativity.  As we stand at the Still-Point of the year, may our path be gentle. May we learn to pause and appreciate the simple pleasures, the exquisite beauty, the Love that is all around us.

I post astrology updates on Facebook and offer private readings.  I’d love to hear from you—ingrid@trueheartwork.com

0
0

My Oh My

20150115_portraitWe may not be who we think we are. Our mistaken identity lies at the core of our searching. It is the denizen of collective and personal beliefs and eons of conditioning. It’s a theme that’s stitched into the warp and weft of myth, fairy tale and literature,  superbly depicted in movies like Maleficent.

“We are caught in a trance, a belief that “something is wrong with me” that can be fixed or controlled by growth hormones, mood sensors, happiness meters or surgery, smoothed away by Botox, cured by finding a new therapist, improved with a new lover.

We all have a longing to be seen, to be understood (mindful seeing) and to be loved for what is seen. The wound of unlove is heart-breakingly evoked by Debra Nystrom in her sublime poetry. When we feel unlove we feel we do not belong, we are invisible, cast aside, uncared for. The wound of unlove festers, becomes a necrosis. Our inherent sense of our unworthiness sleeps lightly and wakes each new day when our inner world meets the outer world. For most of our adult lives we learn to re-parent ourselves, to weave together new narratives, new ways of being accepting of who we are. Yet for most of us the voice within keeps asking, “how am I doing? Or am I enough?”

150119-dvd-people-320-240

 

South African poet, Arthur Nortje wrote of his own exile from his country, his people and from himself. He was exiled in the darkness of depression, his life force dissipated by drugs. He wrote, “The isolation of exile is a gutted warehouse at the back of pleasure streets,” and died at twenty-eight years old, never having known his true face, his spiritual heart, his pleasure street.

There are many paths to awakening.

For some of us it is a descent into the Underworld where we are dismembered by depression, an illness that ravages our body, a loss that dissolves the life we once knew, exiles us from ourselves. We cannot see past ourselves until the time comes when we are ready. “when the veil of the trance lifts, the pleasures and pain, the hopes and fears of our small space-suit self still come and go, but they no longer define us,” writes Tara Brach in her book, True Refuge.  

The characters in the 16th Century Commedia dell’ Arte were stock characters. The actors had no lines to memorise though they did need to understand and embody their roles –they improvised, fleshing out the plot, making up the dialogue as they went along. Shakespeare knew that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” and as we go through the scenes in our lives we make up the dialogue and the action, the conflicts, the dramas. And yet, writes Byron Katie,“reality is always kinder than the stories we tell about it.”  In her work she brings fear-based beliefs and the wound of unlove into the light of awareness where they dissolve with questions that deepen our attention, invite us to pause, to inquire whether the assumptions about our “reality” are really true.

Sometimes we may pause long enough, breathe deeply enough, to recognise a purposeful pattern, a deep Intelligent Design at work. We may feel a connection to the Greater Whole, or be reminded of the gossamer veil between life and death.

ruby red slippersRam Dass in Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart says that like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers what we have been looking for has been here all along. And yet, “spiritual practices can themselves become hindrances and obstacles.” Our lives can become performances requiring perfect delivery, problems seeking a solution, reminders of the rigid roles we play that mask our  True Self. Tim Leberecht writes in his excellent piece, Un-Quantify, we “focus on measuring multiple aspects of ourselves to achieve an unreachable nirvana of human optimization.”

Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek philosopher and celebrated author of Zorba the Greek, said pragmatically, “you think too much, that is your trouble. Clever people and grocers, they weigh everything.”

“Only the examined life is worth living,” another wise Greek philosopher famously remarked.

innovation“But it is important to remember that we can examine it without quantifying it. In business and beyond, we can manage what we can’t measure, and in fact we do it every day,” says Tim Leberecht.

To claim a life worth living, he recommends “unplugging from your tools and your carefully cultivated matrix of data. Instead of tracking how many calories you torched during a workout, concentrate on the movements you make, what burns, and what doesn’t—are you able to get out of your head and let go of earlier stresses? To be truly open and present for moments that will bring you what tools can’t track—joy, laughter, happiness, wonder, and love—it is necessary to be attuned to the world around you. What will make you feel more satisfied? Six-months of sleep data, or a belly laugh with a co-worker? You will maximize and optimize but lose the romance of getting to know.”

To claim a life worth living, Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Buddhadasa suggests that we “don’t do anything that takes you away from your body.” Mindful awareness is one way to connect with a safe home base when we are flayed by worry, lacerated by fear. Our bodies live in the present. So when we become aware of our bodies, our inner landscape;  when we quieten our minds, connect with our own breath, we connect with the earth that is our Home.

Leonard Cohen’s voice as smooth and dark as molasses sings out for all of us who have loved and lost another or ourselves …imagesEM1MOPTM

“Held you for a little while
My, oh, my, oh my
Held you for a little while
My, oh, my, oh my…”

Yet we are not in exile. We are Home. We are here now. Doing the best we can.

My Oh My from the album Popular Problems by the inimitable Leonard Cohen

3
0

Bad Moon Rising

I am often touched, more often confounded, by the alacrity with which we share the most intimate details of our lives on social networking sites. We proudly show and tell – our holiday pictures, our new kitten, what we ate last night. Share our plans for the weekend. We fervently express our frustrations, share our delights, our heartbreaks, in the safety of cyberspace. We are relational creatures. And social networking sites give us a safe illusion of community, of friendship, even love, without the messy bits we inevitably encounter in the flesh. We are attracted by bright shiny things – what’s trending, what’s new. And just like in our often messy “real lives”, how often do we pause to question, think, pay attention, before we accept someone else’s version of “the truth”.  As we chatter unceasingly, like birds on a wire, how often do we question the hive mind? Ask ourselves, “is this really true?”

The Buddhist term, Monkey Mind, means “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable”. It is our insatiable curiosity, our restless minds that both sanctify and bedamn our humanness.

In my quest for what lies beneath, my Monkey Mind seized “The Filter Bubble”,  which offers Eli Pariser’s appraisal of a silent revolution which will have far-reaching implications for each one of us… until we choose differently. With no fanfare, as Saturn squared Pluto on December 4th, 2009, Google began personalising its search results to each user. Like jellyfish, we floated benignly into the Bubble. Few people paused to absorb the implications and far-reaching repercussions of a world that will be shaped to fit like a suit of armour. A world where we may think we have choice, but where we go through the motions of our lives, reacting to stimuli like Pavlov’s unfortunate dog. The “personalised search for everyone” now flourishes in a  world where so many of us feel unimportant, invisible, unloved,  and where now there is someone out there who  suggests what we would like to buy, where we would like to eat, tells us what we should be doing next. Google now tracks every move you make, from where you were logging into yesterday to what browser you were using, to make guesses as to what sites you’d like…even if you are logged out. For now, Google says it will keep our personal data to itself, in the feeding frenzy for highly profitable personal data, other companies are gobbling up our credit ratings, the medication we use, the music, movies, sport and holidays we enjoy.

Our monkey minds have created a deluge of information, so the allure of The Ark is a safe bet in a rising ocean of crashing stimuli.  By 2014 we’ll need new units of measurement, new power plants to cope with the deluge of blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, and emails that ricochet into cyberspace every single day. Two years ago, Google chairman, Eric Schmidt claimed that  in 2003 we were creating as much data every two days as had been recorded between the dawn of civilisation. That torrent of data is accelerating faster now.

Most of us naively assume that when we Google something we all see the same results, but since December 2009, this is no longer true in the “Filter Bubble”. Algorithmic observers watch our every click. Search engines are biased through our narrow lens of perception, so we see through the one way mirror darkly our own preferences and prejudices reflected back to us. As our attention deficit focus flickers through the  swirling sea of information – we sink comfortably into a custom-made world that is inhabited by our favourite people, palatable ideas. We sit back as all the potentially disturbing bits fade away, we we all live happily ever after in Pleasantville.  Even our choice of language is confined to the banal, and subjective, “like”. So we “like” a friend’s post to bump up visibility. And with the same limited choice of word, would we “like” the atrocities in Syria?

Says Eli Pariser,…“my sense of unease crystallised when I noticed that my conservative friends had disappeared from my Facebook page. Politically, I lean to the left, but I like to hear what conservatives are thinking, and I’ve gone out of my way to befriend a few and add them as Facebook connections. Their links never turned up in my Top News feed…Facebook is doing the calculations and noting our links, deciding what to show us and what to hide… Proof of climate change might bring up different results for an environmental activist and an oil company exec.” No more chance encounters, no more jarring collisions of ideas or cultures.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, claims that Facebook may be the biggest source of “news” in the world. With ominous bravado, he announces, “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa,” And some sources say 36 percent of Americans under the age of 30, garner their “news” from social networking sites. Are we regressing into a “global village” where we stay behind our fibre optic screens, wary of strangers? Where we interact only with those who share our world view, bolster our biased beliefs. Like little children we go out to play, while the Cyclops stare of our new iPhone watches where we go, knows who we call, what movies we like, what we read… Are we doing a lot of talking, with scant connection beyond the narrow niche of self-interest? We can, to a certain degree, choose to buy a certain newspaper, or watch a certain news channel, knowing that the editorial team’s bias suits our perception. We can choose not to have a Facebook account or an iPhone.  But for me, that would be like denying the invention of the wheel. Byron Katie says, “placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience. Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.”

Perhaps our liberation lies in the mercurial brilliance of our Monkey Minds to investigate our own filter bubbles where we live with our own stories. To pause, consider, before we become anesthetised by the lack of oxygen in our own biased beliefs. To be discerning, aware, of what words and images we imbibe. Says Byron Katie, “An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, get honest; inquire.” We will not see the bad moon rising, unless we choose to.

 

Photography by Tacit Requiem – Full Moon Rising

Creedence Clearwater Revival Bad Moon Rising

 

 

 

 

4
0

Dust in the Wind

Shall I leave my job, my relationship – can I afford not to? Shall I move home, live in the country? Am I ready to get married? Like mendicant dervishes whirling in the hurricane of our own confusion, we are blinded by the dust that swirls around the deeper truth of our questions. We falter, circle around the truth, obsess about the peripherals, back ourselves into the either-or, the no-escape corner, where we sit, huddled in the sandstorm of our immobilising fear.

It is tempting to hand over decision-making to our guru, our therapist, our rabbi, our priest. It is tempting to search for the answer to the dilemma that bedevils us outside ourselves. When we beseech someone out there to tell us what to do, we mute The Wise Man or Wise Woman within who know that the answers to the deeper questions are always found within the stillness of our own hearts.

No authority figure can ever know the sacred landscape of our soul. Their lives will be very different to ours; through the choices they have made, and if we follow their advice, our journey will be their journey, no longer ours.  It is we who are the hero or heroine of our own story.  When we reach the silence of surrender, that tipping point of acceptance of the situation, just as it is, we may come to a plateau of new perspective where we cease feeling sorry for ourselves, angry at someone else. Only when we stop blaming our partner, our friend, the organisation, or ourselves, can we sift through the chaff of fear and pain, our resistance to change; the guilt we may feel at “ letting someone down”, or the belief that we are “needed” by someone else. Only then can we know that our soul is calling us to new territory.  “Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behaviour, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity. ” said M. Scott Peck. Observe the old scripts, the raucous voices that shout out their opinions. They may be the static that distorts the signal of our truth. When we close our eyes and connect with our full aliveness, tap into the perennial stream of our own power, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of indecision. When we cease wishing and hoping for things to be different, chaffing at our restraints, longing to escape, we can make a sober assessment of our situation, and reclaim our power to choose differently. Byron Katie says, “Suffering is optional. The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with reality… Which is more empowering –“I wish I hadn’t lost my job or I lost my job; what can I do now?  ” 

What we can do now is make a leap in passion and in trust. Witness the fleeting sandstorms of insecurity, conflict, loss, blame and guilt. What we can do now is to take responsibility for what it is we want, then commit to our wise decision, knowing that we are deserving of goodness and happiness.

Our lives, this world, are in a constant process of change, a continual cycle of birth, death, re-birth. The cycles of the planets symbolise above what is unfolding below: Pluto and Uranus, cosmic catalysts for change square up against one another again from June 7th, provoking collective and personal change and new growth. Watch as political and economic events reflect the tension and metamorphosis. Feel the tension in our own lives, the need to slough off old skin, discard the mask, reclaim our original face.

A spiritual journey is a long process through desolate valleys, up steep mountainsides. Often it is our unhappiness or dis-ease that catapults us out of our entropy, arouses our quest for a more authentic life. We live in a state of paradox as we journey through the mystery and complexity of our daily lives, and deal with the consequences of the choices we make. To proceed very far through the desert, you must be willing to meet existential suffering and work it through. In order to do this, the attitude toward pain has to change. This happens when we accept the fact that everything that happens to us has been designed for our spiritual growth.” – M. Scott Peck.

In those desert storms, clarity comes in moments of deep silence. Then we need to ask ourselves if we have the courage to follow the wisdom of our heart, accept the situation for what it is, take responsibility for the choice to walk across the threshold and enter a room we have never visited before.

Kansas

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
The wind

Artwork: Sandstorm by Rebekah Osorio

0
0