Have you ever driven a familiar route in your car, one you drive regularly to work for example, and when you got to the destination, you couldn’t remember driving it at all? Well that’s because you were operating under the influence of a network in your brain called the ‘Default Mode Network’. This network carves out tracks in the brain from repetitive actions such as the familiar route we have just talked about when driving. When we go along these tracks in the brain and in the car, we can ‘switch off’ the brain in a sense, save energy and get to the destination without being 100% aware of the journey we took. And now is the time to be waking up up from the Default Mode Network.
This may all sound very complicated, but it is worth thinking about because many of us do, in fact, spend an enormous part of our lives in this Default Mode, which includes the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, i.e. our ego or conscious sense of self. Then one day we wake up and we think, ‘how did I get here?” or “Is this really the life I should be living?“ We were at least semi-unconscious or maybe even fully unconscious as we made important decisions and took certain paths through our lives, until at one point, we realize like the fish, we are completely surrounded by water (our habitual story of ourselves and the world) and we were complete unconscious that that was our default mode.
This doesn’t just happen on an individual level. It happens collectively too. Whole communities, societies and countries follow the general consensus or, like a pendulum they get swung in a certain direction by the energy of the collective. Just like the habitual car journey to work, they aren’t fully aware of how they got there. Then one day, a large proportion of the country are in some way triggered by an event or a person and ask themselves, “What happened?” Many of the members of that community don’t believe it was anything they did, or that they had any power over the events. They feel they are victims of the system.
I envision the year 2020 as being an exceptional and vitally important year for us as individuals and as a global community. This doesn’t mean that I see it as an easy year—far from it. Yet, I do see it as a gift. A gift to break the Default Mode that has cast a spell over us, so we can become more conscious of our lives individually and collectively.
We were all going along an unconscious path. The societies and communities we were living in and the way we were working, surviving or even thriving were, to a certain extent, never questioned. This was the way life was and that was that. Until suddenly last spring that all changed.
Remember what Hunter S. Thompson said: ‘When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.’
Lockdown, fear of death, fear of the other, face coverings, job losses, conspiracy theories, quarantine, isolation, death tolls, loss of normality, profound, unpredictable change and transformation are just some of the themes that the Covid-19 virus triggered in our homes and on the world stage.
You could say 2020 is more than weird, it is tough, and my reply to that would be “When the going gets tough, the tough go pro.”
So, what does it mean to be weird and tough enough to ‘go pro’? To me, our modern society’s view of someone as being weird is often thye are being true to themselves. When being authentic is not honored as essential and is even denigrated if it goes against the ideas and values of the system, you have to be tough to stay true to yourself.
For those of us who have been striving for self-realization and living our personal myth, being weird and tough may be commonplace and having the world blown apart by Covid has brought us out of the woodwork and invited us to go pro. As the existing signposts of what was once considered normal society crumbled, our skills in navigating the unconscious realms and our weirdness have become number one survival strategies. We are now the pros in a world that has lost its compass!!
And it goes deeper than this. I really believe in Marie-Louis Von Franz’s suggestion that, ‘the wounded healer is THE archetype of the Self.’ The torch or guiding light of an authentic life is not a society that puts money and power at the helm, but our own unconscious that leads us deep into the hidden parts of ourselves and that shows us the layers that need peeling away so we can get nearer to our essence. These layers are the skins that we have built over lifetimes to survive, to protect us from traumas, to cover our wounds. He or she who takes the path of peeling away the layers, must feel the traumas and the wounds that made those layers in the first place. The feeling is the portal. “To feel is to heal.” In the same way as it hurts when we peel a plaster off a skin wound, we are invited to feel the repressed and buried emotions as we peel off the layers that kept us from feeling our pain—This is the path of the wounded healer.
2020 has snapped us awake. We are waking up from the Default Mode Network. The invitation is to heal and change the perspective from one where we are stuck in the ruts of unconscious behaviors to one where a deep relationship with our Selves becomes the new torch bearer. I don’t believe we will ever be ‘getting back to business as usual.’ By changing our perspective from looking outwards to learning to be highly skilled navigators of the inner experience, we can imagine a world that resonates with a collective healing vibration that comes from each person’s individual, committed, authentic inner healing journey. Like stars in the sky, we are each one of us individually responsible for bringing our healing energy and brightness to the world, and to show up from a vulnerable but real place within. As we each shine with our own light, don’t forget the wound is the place where the light gets in. We will begin to realize that our strength is not in power over others but in the vulnerability of knowing we are wounded.
The gift in Covid, I believe, is that nature has surpassed all man-made and natural boundaries and limits to show us that humans’ behavior is pushing her out of balance. It is her nature to do whatever is needed to restore her balance. She is being gentle with Covid—she is giving us a warning. And, as with the psyche, when we get a message, we need to listen to it, whether we like it or not. Otherwise the message will get stronger and stronger until we do get it or until it is too late for us.
2020 didn’t stop at Covid-19. It brought a shocking reality out of the collective shadow and into the light when the world heard George Floyd calling out for mama whilst he was being slowly suffocated by the pressure of a police officer’s knee on his throat. I felt his call was not just to his mama, not just to all the mamas alive in the world today, not just to all the mamas in his ancestral mother-line, but to the energy of Mother Earth herself that was slowly being squeezed out of him.
He called out for life, for the life that was being forcibly taken from him and from the Great Mother. This is a huge symbol that resonated throughout the world and one that we all felt, like it or not, deep within our bodies. In one way or another, the patriarchy that we all have internalized is slowly suffocating us, squeezing the last breaths of our connection to the Great Mother out of us. People of color are on the front line. They know it is happening.
What is even more frightening to me, is that many of the privileged white community of the world are not aware that it has been happening to them, too. Knowing this lies deep within their shadows. They, too, are caught in a system that 2020 has dragged out of the unconscious and placed on center stage. We must all search inwards and find the cop within that wants to suffocate our deep connection to ourselves, to nature and to life. This is anti-life. We are not only killing black men on the streets, we are killing the indigenous human that resides in all of us.
2020 has seen an explosion in people searching to connect with their ancestors. Beholding our ancestors and honoring their journeys is a huge part of what it means to be human. By neglecting them, we are dehumanizing ourselves. A revolutionary research article written in 1987 by Cam, Stoneking and Wilson claimed to have identified the maternal ancestor of all living humans. This paper caused some reaction in the scientific world due to the fact that humanity’s common ancestor was not only a woman but a black woman. To me, George Floyd’s cry resonated in the present, the future and back in time to the mother of us all.
I believe, it is our ancestral grandmothers that are calling us in 2020. We must hear their cries. We need their experience and understanding. We are nothing without the accumulated wisdom of the generations of mothers that went before us. In 2020, the feminine is rising. Yet, I believe it is not enough to banter these words without deeply knowing within what these words mean. My journey of disconnection from my ancestral mothers to reconnection saved my life. Their voice is coming through in the book I am writing this year. We need the wisdom of those that came before us to flow through our beings, to parent us to support and guide us. The wisdom of the ancients is our birthright and yet we have squandered, ignored and belittled it. This is because the feminine is the keeper of our ancestral knowledge. It is not cerebral, it’s visceral. It comes not through the mind, but through the body in the mitochondrial DNA. We must feel it not think it. The feminine is rising through the mother-line. The grandmothers are asking to be heard. Let’s not allow George Floyd’s cry to be in vain!
The 2020 elections in America revealed a divided country and a President that refused to accept the reality that he’d lost the game. The world looked on as America’s shadow was exposed through the lies, narcissism, racism, sexism and most of all gangster approach of a man that without knowing it was possessed by an archetype of the collective psyche for us all to see. The shadow is powerful when it remains unconscious. However, when a shadow element of ourselves or a country is exposed for all to see, it loses its power and deflates like a balloon.
It’s not the politics or even the revealed shadow of America that interests me in 2020. It is the powerful archetype that is rising out of the ashes that I put my hope in, which gets me back to the wounded healer being THE archetype of the Self. A good friend who is an astrologer rang me up a couple of days after the election to tell me she had looked at Joe Biden’s chart and he has Chiron in Aries in the 10th house, which suggests he is a leader and a wounded healer. I began to read about Biden’s life. I am not a great political buff, but what interests me are the energies circulating in the collective. What I found in my research is that Biden’s wound is his superpower. In addition to being constantly bullied as a child due to a stutter, in 1972, he lost his wife and baby daughter in a car accident. In 2015 one of his two remaining sons died of brain cancer. His grief and journey through it are at the heart of who he is as a person—a wounded healer.
Enantiodromia is a concept described by Carl Jung as ‘the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time.’ It usually happens when there is imbalance. When something dominates in the natural world, enantiodromia functions to bring equilibrium back. It rises from the unconscious. So, we rarely see it happening until it is there in front of us for all to see.
In 2020, this enantiodromia is playing out in the appearance of Covid-19 forcing us to retreat inwards in a modern world that functioned through exteriorization and looking outwards. In the widespread cry of Black Lives Matter bringing racism and white privilege to the forefront after centuries of systemic inequality. In the underlying life experiences of the new president of the United States, whose journey through grief and healing cannot but influence his role as a leader, in comparison to the spoilt, narcissistic, gangster-like qualities we have been confronted with lately. 2020 has taught me that we are all connected. The planet is small. The personal cannot be separated from the collective. The journey inwards is more important than anything. Our inner lives mirror and reflect the outside world. The unconscious is far wiser than the ego. The ancestors are calling us.
2020 has taught me that to be human is to feel—to feel our pain, our joy, a sense of belonging, our creativity, our responsibility to the whole. Isn’t this what the angels are jealous of us for?
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