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?

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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.

POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE: A COSMIC OVERVIEW

We’re living through a time of intense political climate change, as reflected in the Cosmos. Five of our favorite mystics unpack the signs of the times…and weigh in on the way ahead. Artwork: Sammy Slabbinck

Here on The Numinous, astrology is not a tool for “predicting” future events, or explaining things away while abdicating our role in shaping how our lives play out—both individually, and as a society.

Rather, we see astrology as a language of symbols that speaks to our collective human experience on Earth, offering valuable perspective and allowing us to examine the bigger picture—especially useful at times when emotions are running high, clouding our judgement and making it difficult to choose the next right course of action.

As in the case of Britain’s recent referendum to leave the EU, the shock results of which have seen a nation spiral into panic and chaos. Made all the more vertigo-inducing against a backdrop of unrelenting terrorist attacks, and an emotionally fraught US election campaign.

Last month, in an eerie foreshadowing of the central issues to Brexit, New York magazine described the Clinton-Trump race as: “kind of a civil war. It’s a referendum on the country’s feelings about inclusion, about women, people of color, and their increasing influence…how it edges out the white men who have long held an exclusive grip on power.”

In short, it’s safe to say we are living through a period of intense political climate change—as written in the current movements of the celestial bodies. Skeptical? Since the political polls leading up to the Brexit referendum were woefully misleading (echoing the last general election in the UK), the wisdom offered by our resident astrologers below—including commentary on what will be needed of us moving forward—feels as relevent as anything the political scientists have got to say…

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN by Ash Bonelli
We are in unstable times, and have been financially since 2008 when Pluto, the planet of wealth/power, moved into the structural sign of Capricorn—and the extent of financial corruption in the world began to come to light. We’re currently half way through this cycle—during which we have seen a growing divide between rich and poor with the emergence of a super-elite, as well as major differences in values between the generations. (NB. “Even eerier? The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was 1762-1778, the exact time when the U.S. was fighting for its independence from England. It was also during this transit that Thomas Jefferson sounded the rallying cry for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and helped author the U.S. Constitution.” – Ophira Edut)

SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE by Ameila Quint
The Saturn-Neptune square, currently occurring November 2015 through September 2016, is shifting cultural philosophies on a global scale. To give you the big picture, this alignment has caused ideological clashes for centuries in a looping cycle that goes back as far as the Salem Witch Trials and the Crusades!

Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of foreign affairs, expatriates, and immigration—all issues at the heart of the Brexit referendum. Sagittarius also rules expansion, so we’re being called to open our hearts and minds to new ways of relating and thinking. Unfortunately, this change won’t come easy with tough Saturn in play.

On the other hand, Neptune is in Pisces, his home sign. This magnifies the energies of compassion, healing, and spirituality. It’s a call from the Universe to ask, on a societal level, what you believe and why. The Brexit referendum did just that. It’s also interesting that Saturn and Neptune are both associated with karma in their own way, because the reverberations of this vote have certainly been karmic in scope.

JUPITER TRINE PLUTO by Ophira Edut
The announcement of Brexit also coincided with the June 26 barrier-breaking Jupiter-Pluto trine, a rare meet-up between global connector Jupiter and powerhouse Pluto. Trines are generally positive and harmonious—but they can also cause things to move quickly, and this massive upheaval happened in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed.

Jupiter is an excitable, optimistic planet that can quickly overshoot its mark. The hopeful populists did not wake up the morning after Brexit economically or politically empowered, but rather, to a currency that plunged to its lowest value in 31 years overnight.

Jupiter is also the “armchair philosopher” of the cosmos, whose starry-eyed visions don’t necessarily translate into reality. Stateside, we hear echoes of Trump’s “Make America great again” slogan. Um, perspective please? If anything, Trump—with his Plutonian land grabs and abuses of power—is making America hate again. And that’s the last thing this world needs now.

MARS DIRECT by Hannah Ariel
With warrior planet Mars about to go direct in controlling Scorpio (June 30th 2016) our urge to define, defend and protect boundaries is intensified to extremes. Mars in Scorpio demands that our actions reflect our integrity—and as it resumes direct motion, what we “yes” and “no” to becomes an act of personal empowerment.

This is a period of cutting ties, creating new bonds, and ultimately realizing from whence we draw our power—and what we must do with this power once we feel we have it. Scorpio rules creation and re-creation, so there is nothing being destroyed at this time that cannot be re-created.

THE UNIVERSAL 9 YEAR by Felicia Bender
In numerology, 2016 is a Universal 9 year—the number of completion, of letting go, transition, and transformation. It is a year of surrender, in it’s truest sense—a positive, intuitive way of living, that grows we learn to develop trust.

Trust that’s needed in a time where old paradigms are crumbling, dissolving, going up in flames or coming up for serious review. We can see this everywhere, from Trumpmania, mass violence, and displaced refugees, to the spotlight on rape culture, and the Brexit referendum—to name just a few boiling points. Numerologically, this is right on time.

This is the end of a cycle, and we can’t move into the next phase without a sobering and stark look at what has been (since the cycle began in 2008—the last universal 1 year) and where we’re at. The task at hand is to then let go of all that’s no longer serving all of us. This isn’t easy. It’s terrifying. It incites anger and fear and every other possible emotion.

THE WAY AHEAD…
“We can use this Saturn/Neptune square for the overall good. We must work on building a solid foundation (Saturn) that is created from a place of justice for all (Neptune). A place where everyone has their needs met. A society where equality becomes commonplace. But it will take time, patience, respect and dedication to achieve these Neptunian dreams.” – Ash Bonelli

“Saturn rules authorities while Neptune rules visionaries, and these groups were very much square to each other in the Brexit polling results. Still, the only way to make this transit work is to find a balance. In this case, this means steadying dogma with compassion, and laws meant to protect with laws that truly heal.” – Amelia Quint

“If anything, Brexit and Donald Trump’s shocking success is exposing an inconvenient truth: Despite the gains of social policies such as marriage equality, there’s a hate-filled Orlando shooter, a Brock Turner getting a tiny slap on the wrist in the Stanford rape case, millions of scared and small-minded people who would rather tank their economy than allow a Muslim or a Mexican to cross “their” (in some cases stolen) borders. We can’t sweep this under the rug or look the other way much longer…which, while also inconvenient, is a wakeup call we can’t ignore.” – Ophira Edut

“The key? Understand that what must fall away must do so without a net, leaving behind a liminal space—a gap. Understanding that we must make friends with this vortex of uncertainty while the old is cleared and the new is being created. And despite all of our impulses otherwise, we must enter into this space with optimism and a sense of excitement, because here is the opportunity of a lifetime to create something new on a massive scale. This process is not for wimps. It’s easier to criticize and despair. Yet it’s our challenge and our charge to visualize and create a now and a future that is more evolved and humanitarian across the board.” – Felicia Bender

“Stay tuned for how this plays out, as the Sun in Cancer will come into its yearly opposition to Pluto in Capricorn July 1st, reminding us that what brings us comfort can also at times hinder out ability to grow. No matter how much is perceived to be at stake these days, the astrology of the times reminds us that it’s all for the sake of transformation.” – Hannah Ariel