That’s Just The Way It Is
The first month of this much heralded calendar year, is named in honour of Janus, two-headed god of thresholds. “This year will be better…” I hear people say hopefully, perhaps as a talisman to ward off the disappointments and hardships of the year gone by. “2012 will be exactly what we make of it,” from a pragmatic, more self-actualised perspective. As the effervescent bubbles of New Year’s Eve flatten into the sober days of January and we minister to the minutiae of our daily lives Fate may enter softly through the open door, catching us unprepared. She brings news that your baby needs heart surgery. That your best friend has been injured in a car accident. That you no longer have a job, a home, a marriage. That your life will change irrevocably. News that sends you skidding off the smooth tarmac of your carefully scheduled New Year planner.
“God never gives us more than we can handle”, is the trite kneejerk response to desperate calamities and unspeakable suffering that so many endure. A visit to a psychiatric hospital, a war zone, the trauma unit in your local hospital, witnessing an execution on You Tube, makes me question what kind of Monster we have created as a god who would gift us with this kind of suffering. The uncomprehending stare of a young mother’s eyes when she is told her child has died, a young man paralysed from the waist after diving into an azure pool one hot summer’s day, the black dog of depression that gnaws at so many, trapped in a snare of excruciating loneliness and loss. For many of us this year, we will have to bow our heads to the necessity of getting out of bed each day and finding something to be truly grateful for. We will yoke ourselves to the inevitability of change: children who leave home, a lover who no longer loves us, a dear friend who moves far away, a beloved parent who now needs the same vigilant caring as a toddler.
Our ancestors lived close to the cycles of the seasons, the rhythm of Life. During the unrelenting grip of famine or displacement by war, flood or fire, they walked with the primordial goddess of Necessity. She was Ananke, also called Force or Constraint, she was mother to three daughters, the Moirai, the Fates. As omniscient goddess of all circumstance, greatly respected by mortals and gods, it was she who ruled the pattern of the life line of threads of inevitable, irrational, fated events in our lives. Ananke determined what each soul had chosen for its lot to be necessary – not as an accident, not as something good or bad, but as something necessary to be lived, endured, experienced. Necessity is variable, always irrational, and errant. She has been outcast in our mechanistic material culture where we, in our hubris and our self-inflation, actually believe that are all powerful. Like a narcissistic two year old, we believe we can fix, cut away, or buy our way out of any mess we make. And when something in our lives breaks us out of our usual patterns, seems not to fit, this is when it would serve us well to know that our unique and very precious soul has chosen this experience and with an out-breath, accept the imperative requirement of Necessity. The “good” or the “bad” that we make of this experience is our mind’s doing, the perpetrator of our own suffering.
Ananke is an ancient goddess, and the resonance of her name has its tap root in the ancient tongues of the Chaldean, Egyptian, the Hebrew, for “narrow,” “throat”, “strangle” and the cruel yokes that were fastened around the necks of captives. Ananke always takes us by the throat, imprisons, enslaves, and stops us in our tracks, for a while. There is no escape. She is unyielding, and it is we who must excavate from the depths of our being, our courage, tenacity, and acceptance of what is.
So this New Year, Necessity may lay her hand on a defining moment in your life. She may still the tug-o’-war of the heart’s calling, block the mind’s plan, and fasten the collar around our neck. There will be no escape, except a shift in perception, and the courage to accept that which cannot be otherwise.
We will gracefully accept the necessary ending of a love affair, a not so exciting job that pays the bills, an ageing body, a severe or chronic illness, a barren womb, in the surety that everything is in motion: the cycles of the seasons, the orbits of the planets, the rise and fall of the stock market, birthing and dying, dis-ease and healing, tears and laughter.
So this New Year, may we have the courage to bow our heads to our hearts and honour Necessity, in the knowledge that as painful, challenging, frightening, hopeless, as things seem right now, this too shall pass. A Course in Miracles says: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”
Phil Collins on Youtube sings “That’s Just the Way It Is”, and moves my spirit today.
Dalene PeacockJanuary 11, 2012at3:56 pm
Huge respect, Ingrid for yet another masterpiece of writing. This blog resonates so strongly with me in January 2012 because it reminds me of my daily meditation practise. As you say, “the “good” or the “bad” that we make of any experience is our mind’s doing, the perpetrator of our own suffering”.
“it is we who must excavate from the depths of our being, our courage, tenacity and acceptance of what is”.
“there will be no escape, except a shift in perception, and the courage to accept that which cannot be otherwise”.
I’ve been kicking and screaming against my circumstances for most of my life. Reading about acceptance, etc helps for a while but then I fall back into my old habit-pattern of resistance in the mind. My hope for this year is to move further along the path of acceptance: to integrate the knowledge in my head into my whole being so that I can authentically live what the Course in Miracles text says, “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”.
Thanks for your loving support.
Maeve MurranJanuary 11, 2012at4:41 pm
Life and living is relentless Ing and what we are presented with is so very challenging at times. But with an “accepting all that comes our way attitude” – we can so easily move through the bad times and hopefully look forward to lighter, happier and healthier times in the year to come!!
Much Love and gratitude for your eloquent and masterful writing
BeverleyJanuary 11, 2012at4:46 pm
aaah and when we take the path of acceptance ….the magis truly begins.
After scratching and biting for most of my life I am now living a life of miracles!
Thank you Ingrid for encouraging the road less travelled!
With so much gratitude for having you arrived at the perfect time my sorceress…you are the magical person you has helped me manifest with clear intention my reality….
Shelley StreetJanuary 11, 2012at4:51 pm
thank you for this Ing…I can so often become over analytical about my life…your words ring true!!…..yes…. 2011 was a tough year, but I want to move forward in gratitude for that which I have in the knowledge that it’s not what happens to you in life but how you deal with it that is important…. I have witnessed many of my friends falling prone to breast cancer over the past 2 years, and they survived..purely because of their positive mindset and belief that they were fortunate enough to be alive and be surrounded by people who loved them. I left the radiologists after having my yearly check-up done yesterday …with a feeling of absolute elation and gratitude…all was well…and it could have turned out so different!! your words are an inspiration to me.
michelJanuary 11, 2012at5:26 pm
thank you for this first blog of the new year 2012 darling ingrid…and for your sharing and words of wisdom…..yes it took me a long time to learn to LOVE WHAT IS as said by Byron Katie….the more i learn to love what is and show daily gratitude the less pain and suffering in my life….and to accept that THIS IS WHAT IS …..life flows so much easier and i feel so much healthier and happier….so thank you for bringing this up to remind us….and many blessings to you for a year of abundance of many things….xxxx
Rachael SJanuary 12, 2012at1:07 am
The words “good” & “bad” resonate with me. It’s similar to black and white but life is so much more than that
Once we get to see this the so called bad things can have the most profound effect on us
MonicaJanuary 13, 2012at12:22 am
Dearest Ingrid, thank you for such an inspiring, insightful and above all HOPEFUL blog. Your timimg is perfect! I have just been reading John o`Donoghue (reflecting how I feel) “This is a limbo of desolation and despair….Endurance is all; now there is nothing else…While it is painful to experience and endure this, a new focus and clarity emerge. The light that is hard won offers the greatest illumination….The ruthless winter clearance of spirit quietly leads to springtime of new possibility” And the cycle continues.
Lots of love and blessings in 2012
michelJanuary 13, 2012at9:18 am
oh dear ingrid …..another thought for today and on this blog…..if we can be aware consciously that there is NO GOOD OR BAD……only our own thinking and ego make something GOOD OR BAD…..something to dwell on today whilst LOVING WHAT IS 🙂 MUCH LOVE x