EMPOWERED ACTION IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Recent world events have stirred up many emotions. Louise Androlia shares her wisdom on how to use our feelings as a catalyst for empowered action…. Images: Katya Volpato

Recent world events have left many of us feeling traumatized, whether or not we’ve been directly affected by acts of mass violence. These are turbulent times, and having been working on my own path to trauma recovery recently, I feel called to share some thoughts on how to work on being present in reality—but at the same time not becoming immobilized by fear.

At the root of it all, whether facing our own crisis or confronted with mass crisis, the difficult art to master is that it is safe to feel our feelings and continue to connect, especially when we feel as though it would be wiser to shut down.

The strong emotions being stirred up among switched on communities now are actually a valuable call to action. Here are some ways we can use them—while avoiding losing our connection to our highest selves, or getting swept up in the hype.

THE EMOTION: Overwhelmed
THE GUIDANCE: You can’t save the whole world at once
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Focus your attention

Pick something you currently feel very passionate or perhaps frightened about, and then learn and feel your way through it. Endless browsing through social media feeds may make you feel more frustrated because you also end up reading the comments, which can lead to yet more overwhelm. Instead, choose to focus on your chosen subject and learn all you can. Yes this will be hard if you are used to endless scrolling—because as well as learning, you are re-training your mind to be present.

THE EMOTION: Fear
THE GUIDANCE: Catastrophizing only fuels the fears
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Get involved in local politics and community

Looking on Facebook lately, all I’ve seen is people screaming into the Internet abyss about the apocalypse and giving fuel to their own fear and sadness in the process. This helps no one, including you. So look at how you can actually get involved within your community, and if you don’t see anything obvious, start something. It is so easy to just say ‘Fuck the world’. But this is not the time to give up. It’s time to shout louder, IRL, and to remember your voice and your vote DOES count.

THE EMOTION: Anger
THE GUIDANCE: Do not fight fire with fire
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Feel your anger; then channel it into positive action

The elements can always teach us something—for example, anger is a fire element emotion, while compassion and feelings are water element emotions. And you don’t put out a forest fire by setting another part of the forest on fire! Action, and so activism, is a positive channel for anger, and if what’s needed now is more of the water element, become an activist for love, compassion, equality, empathy, and connection.

THE EMOTION: Grief
THE GUIDANCE: It is safe to feel your feelings
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Explore and nurture your shadow side

Man of us are experiencing a huge collective sense of grief, coming in all forms, and for anybody not used to this emotion, this level of pain can seem very frightening to the mind, body and spirit. This is not a time to numb the pain, but instead an opportunity to dive deeper in your own self-inquiry practice. Checking out of reality serves no one, including you. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel all the fears that have arisen recently and know that it is okay to do so. It can sometimes feel like our own personal crises are not ‘bad’ enough to warrant being the focus of our compassion—but ignoring your own pain will leave you unable to serve. By learning to compassionately address what is currently coming up for you, then you are actually helping to heal the collective and creating connection between yourself, your peers and those strangers you are really feeling for.

THE EMOTION: Helplessness
THE GUIDANCE: Re-connect to yourself
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Take a media break

First of all, avoid watching or reading the mainstream news on a loop. Studies show that when we keep recycling the news over and over we are re-traumatizing constantly. And the more scared we feel, the more helpless we can feel. To be able to start being of service it is essential that we learn to reconnect to our selves, as once back in the present moment we feel more stable to help others. I’ve also lost count of how many people I hear saying they wish they could use social media less, as this can have a similar way of hooking us into judgment and fear, and distancing us from our own truths. The great news is…you can!

Some easy ways to start:

  • Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode at night.
  • Create a ‘no social media after ***pm’ rule.
  • Log out of all your social media channels on your computer and phone. This means that when you go to use them you become aware that you have to login. This allows using them to become intentional.
  • Move your social icons on your phone to a folder and put it on the last page of scrolling. Again this means you CHOOSE when to look rather than it just being there.
  • Do not read the comments. I repeat DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.

These small actions may feel massively uncomfortable, and if so, good. If you feel anxious without your phone, good. The present moment will continue to feel painful until you learn to be IN it. And look how much time you now have! What would you like to do with it? I suggest reconnecting to PLAY. Connecting with your inner child is another way to ease anxiety and help you reconnect to your natural energy of love and connection. When you refresh your true north, you are more likely to be able to shift your helplessness into self-love.

THE EMOTION: Frustration
THE GUIDANCE: Express yourself in the way that works for you
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Show don’t tell

It can be really hard to express yourself in a way that you feel helps, especially when you’re angry and upset. It’s good to remember that we rarely get our point across when we try and force it upon someone and so preaching doesn’t usually feel good. You will always feel better when you can express yourself articulately and if you find it difficult to feel confidence with expressing yourself with words, remember also that you can always just BE the change. We always positively affect those around us with our behavior. So think: what small steps can you take in your day-to-day life that will provide example of the kind of world you’d like to live in?

*** 

A Final Word on Black Lives Matter. Vs All Lives Matter.

This is an argument that’s been raging, and below are a few of my favorite simple ways to explain the situation to someone who is having trouble understanding. It is part of human nature to make everything about ourselves (regardless of the topic) since in times of trauma our survival instinct kicks in. But it’s important to learn to recognize that not EVERYTHING is about us. The more that we can see ourselves connected to everyone else, the more empathy we can ignite.

  • “When we say ‘Save the Rainforests’, it doesn’t mean that all other forests suck.”
  • “Choosing to go to a rally for Breast Cancer does not mean that Liver Cancer is less important.”
  • “Saving an animal that’s about to go extinct does not mean that other animals aren’t important, it just means that right now, this one needs our help.”
  • “Yes, of course all lives are important, but currently it doesn’t feel like black lives are as important as other lives—and until the world is equal, meaning ALL people receive the same level of kindness and judicial treatment, then we need to speak up.”
  • “Choosing to support black lives does not mean your life is any less significant.”

You get the idea.

BIRTH CHART FOR AMMA THE HUGGING SAINT

As Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, a.k.a. Amma, celebrates her 60th birthday today, the Astro Twins Ophira Edut examines the chart of the Hugging Saint – a woman who was born to heal the world.

Walking through New York City’s East Village, I recently spotted a red bumper sticker plastered to the curb bearing the words “Love is telepathic.” Groovy sloganeering aside, there’s one person on this planet who would probably agree. Her name is Amma, and she’s hugged 33 million people all over the world. That’s right—hugged. Ordinary people like us, from all walks of life, stand in line for hours for a magical if momentary embrace from the woman whose name, given to her as a teenager, means “mother.”

With seven planets forming a six-pointed star in feminine signs this July (a grand sextile, in astro-terminology), there’s no surprise our world is crying out for mother energy. The planet and its inhabitants need nurturing, compassion and connection like never before. So when The Numinous asked me to analyze Amma’s chart for her 60th birthday, I couldn’t say no.

I myself have never been hugged by Amma. I came to the Manhattan Center while she was in New York City, saw the long line, and my impatient Sagittarian nature overrode my desire for a spiritual squeeze. Full astro-disclosure: with my stiff Capricorn rising, I was secretly relieved. I once became notorious for being a “one-armed hugger,” and if I can get out the door with a wave instead of an embrace, I’m good. Yet, I also think it’s because I’ve spent too many years trying to be “serious” and responsible, trapped by my own stoic body language. I’m probably starving for affection, and will be the person who bursts into tears the second I meet her.

After hearing raves about Amma’s healing touch, I came to regret my moment of impatience and uptightness. I have certainly felt her radiant love telepathically since then, just seeing the glow she’s given friends, hearing about her incredible presence, and of course, by looking at her astrological chart. Now, I’m gonna have to let go of my silly stance and let myself experience Amma up close. Until her next visit, it will just be through the planets in her horoscope wheel…which is kind of an esoteric embrace in my world.

Here’s what stands out in Amma’s birth chart to me:

All you need is love: Sun in peacemaker Libra.
Amma, not surprisingly, is a Libra. In fact, she has four planets in the sign of unconditional love, peace and harmony. Libra rules relationships and interpersonal matters, and perhaps this is why Amma can stay awake 22 hours on an average day, giving hug after hug. In my experience, many Libras don’t really like or need to be alone—in fact, they thrive on the energy of other people.The planets Amma has in Libra are the Sun (her identity), Mercury (communication and touch), Neptune (healing and compassion) and Saturn (authority and stability). No surprise she can radiate sacred, comforting Neptunian energy but also has the dignity given by heavyweight Saturn. The combination of glamorous Neptune and serious Saturn has the marker of someone who is, in essence, a professional healer or empath. Naturally, she’s so much more than that. While she’s got her arms wrapped around the world, Amma also runs a huge, largely volunteer-run non-profit that serves orphanages, hospitals, programs for widowed and elderly people, and builds homes for the homeless worldwide. Since Saturn is also about building and structure, no surprise that she her giving also takes on concrete form.

Amma’s moon sign is steady, salt-of-the-earth Taurus.
The moon governs our feminine energy, and shapes the kind of mother women will be (even if they are spiritual mums, like Amma). Set in sensual Taurus, the most grounding and affectionate zodiac sign, Amma’s moon sign gives her the power of healing touch.

Playful, yet dignified: Amma has a regal Leo rising.
According to her sources, Amma was born at 9:09 am, which dictates the ascendant, or rising sign, in the chart. The rising sign rules the “face” you show to the world, the first impression you make, or your appearance. Amma has the beauty, presence and passion gifted by a Leo ascendant. Her expressive face, radiant smile and protective Leo hugs are all part of this chart factor, too. Leo is ruled by the Sun, the giver of vitality and joy. As a result, Amma’s “hugs” are probably more an exchange of life force energy—or a transmission of her own abundant supply of it, awakening people from feeling separate, isolated or alone.

Energized by giving: she has Mars and Venus in Virgo, the sign of service.
Energizing Mars and love planet Venus are both in Virgo, the helper and healer sign. Perhaps this is also why Amma stays awake for the majority of the day giving. With Mars here, she’s energized by her acts of service—and says as much herself. Venus adds palpable love, beauty and harmony to the equation. Both are in Amma’s first house of fame, making her a public figure for her work.

Mother to society: revolutionary Uranus is in Cancer, the mother sign.
Uranus is the cosmic liberator, in Cancer, the sign of the mother and nurturer. Nestled in Amma’s eleventh house of groups, humanitarian work and social reform, she has indeed become a virtual mother to the world.

A karmic destiny to serve: North Node in Aquarius, sixth house of service.
The north node (destiny point) in Amma’s chart is Aquarius, the zodiac’s humanitarian sign. It’s also in her sixth house of service. Her south node (past life karma) is in regal Leo, in the twelfth house of compassion and healing. This indicates that she’s had fame and fortune in past lives, and doesn’t need to live a life of luxury this time around. However, she carries the energy and fullness of having experienced the pleasure of material riches in former lifetimes. She is abundant, rather than lacking—although she spends her life hugging, the residual Leo energy also helps her avoid lapsing into the “martyr mother” role. Amma is not quiet, invisible and suffering silently. She’s the buzzing center of all the action. Aquarius is the sign of groups and communal living, and Amma lives her entire life in a crowd. She’s a leader, the hub of her many charities that run without her being present.

So here’s a 60th birthday hug, 33 million strong, to Amma. I hope one day to experience an in-person hug from her.

Read The Numinous interview with Amma here. 
www.amma.org

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AMMA SPEAKS! IN CONVERSATION WITH THE HUGGING SAINT

A hug from Amma, “the hugging saint,” is a surreal experience. You go, you wait on line for hours, you finally find yourself enveloped in the same warm, nurturing embrace that over 32 million people globally have now experienced, and you come away feeling…like you’re on some kind of love drug, with an apple and a Hershey’s Kiss pressed into your hand in case you find yourself feeling light-headed.
Continue reading “AMMA SPEAKS! IN CONVERSATION WITH THE HUGGING SAINT”