There are two choices to life’s pain and suffering: open to it or shut down. The healthy choice seems to be the obvious one. Bring it closer. But how do you hold it all when the pain of the world is just too much?
Pisces rules the principle of connection, of unity, oneness. We are all connected in ways that we often don’t realize, and while some of us are more empathic than others, like a ripple traveling a lake all the suffering of the world will eventually reach the edges of our shore. The emotional magnitude of that varies depending on how sensitive we are to the ripples, how much we buffer our self with escapist activities/substances, how much we’ve worked and healed our issues.
Sensitivity, empathy and compassion gives us each, by degree, more or less resonance with the world’s suffering, allowing us to meet it, and our self, with a level of heart-centered grace. We can be the witness, process it so that it doesn’t compromise our own life happiness, and let it go and go about our life, maybe having been softened and more opened for having pulled the suffering a little closer. However, sometimes the world clobbers us, rendering its pain as our own. So what is happening there? Essentially, our unhealed issues make us more vulnerable to those of the world. That’s why, instead of a painful news item or story touching our shore of our life and then going back out to sea, it amplifies what is already within us because it resonates in a very specific way to our own unhealed story. Say a news story rocks us, but not our partner. They go about their life, but we’re emotionally disturbed for days. It’s as if there’s a frequency we amplify because only we have that frequency. That’s how the world’s suffering ends up either shutting us down, making us feel crazy/depressed/anxious, or being a catalyst for facing our own pain. For instance:
-A news story about a child that loses their mother hooks into your feelings of abandonment by mother.
-A story about a black child losing his life hooks into your feelings of racial injustice you suffered as a minority.
-A movie about immigrants suffering hooks into your story of hardships faced as an immigrant.
Of course, identifying with others suffering can be very heart opening and humanizing. It is part of our human experience. None of the above is a problem until it is compromising your life happiness. You can feel anything… and gently hold it all in compassion… but if you are weeks’ on end in a rage, worked up, unable to sleep, it’s a problem.
Chiron is the asteroid that sensitizes us to suffering, injustice, unfairness and victimization. Chiron is in Pisces, amplifying this phenomenon of identifying with victims of injustices we may not know personally, but with whom we feel their pain deeply… because we are all connected. The popularity of the Netflix documentary The Making of a Murderer is a prime example. If you’re unfamiliar, in a (no spoiler alert) nutshell, a man is wrongly accused of a crime he didn’t commit, serves time, is exonerated years later, only to be again accused of a similar crime via similarly murky facts and dubious investigative techniques. It is a very confusing, very sad story. There are a lot of “hooks” to hook into your own personal story of pain, because should you have any story about suffering abuse at the hands of others, you will likely find a way in, here. For instance: “power corrupts”, “power is always abused”, “the poor have no power”, “life is not fair”, “people suffer for things that they didn’t do”, “I am a victim”, “don’t trust the police,” “I am helpless to the powers that be…” to name just a few. Watching a few episodes myself, all my hooks began rolling like movie credits. Add to this, I am empathic- I feel others feelings as my own. It turned into real exercise in understanding how I deal with empathic overload, and the origins of my own wounds.
Movies, news stories, scrolling through Facebook, sharing your neighbor’s burdens… there are so many invitations lately to invite suffering closer to your heart, but it’s often hard to know how to do that in a way that doesn’t trigger extreme emotions, and then how to take care when they do? With EFT/MR, I’ve learned to use triggers to see that they are pointing me to a hurt that needs attention. If I’m amplifying someone else’s suffering, I’ve got some more internal healing to do. For instance, watching Making, at a certain point I felt “trapped in the movie, held captive by others’ problems and suffering, unable to leave or walk away.” Using EFT/MR I went to the inner child that felt that way at a point in time and worked with her directly. After that, my nervous system relaxed, and I felt free. I also learned that because I’m so empathic I need to give myself permission to walk out of other people’s movies- whether it’s on a projector or in real life!
There are so many tools out there, ways of helping your heart open wider instead of shutting down in fear. There are people who can help you to embrace your suffering, and that of the world, without getting caught in a web of illusion and crazy-making. There’s so much to be hopeful about in this Chiron (and Neptune) in Pisces time – isn’t it marvelously inspiring to ride the wave of so many people getting involved with wanting to help ease the suffering of those we may not know? It certainly makes me feel less alone. As we collectively become more empathic to the suffering of Everyone, empathy is no longer just a genius/novel idea written in a book about a few, but something we witness in everyday interaction. But if we’re feeling outraged/angry/depressed, we need to remember what every activist learns, eventually: On an ultimate level you can’t heal or effect change around what’s out there until you heal what’s inside here. As the saying goes: If you want to heal the world, heal your self, first. There’s no better time to do that than right now.
Chiron is in Pisces until February 18, 2019.
image: weeper statue, Paris cemetary