While it is true that increased self-awareness can help us to get clearer about what we feel and need to do for our authentic Soul-selves to feel honored and connected, and to shine and share on our own terms; this second part of the equation, i.e. that we should somehow be able to escape all feelings of confusion if we are strong, couldn’t be further from the truth. Often it is these exact cultural and family myths that we unconsciously uphold that drain us of vital life energy. They can leave us feeling unsupported and dis-empowered at a time when our authentic power could instead be rising, our light and energy could be getting brighter as we anticipate new energy in the New Year.
The practice of recognizing and finding value in two opposing ideas is not something our Western culture often endorses. As a culture, we thrive on being able to stand our ground firmly. Most of us are taught to expect and offer a clear, yes or no, black or white, right or wrong. This is how we have come to understand and misinterpret the role our ego plays. In reality, when we have a strong enough sense of self, we can develop a reflexive ego. Then we are not so dependent on black or white stances. When this happens, we are also less fueled by our cultures or family’s definition of what we should be and do and more fueled by our own idea of what we are capable of growing into.
C.G. Jung introduced the idea of balancing the tension of the opposites. He describes this as a state where we can come to relax our polarized judgments and instead find worth and value in both previously dichotomous characteristics. Jung speaks about this developmental need which, when truly looked at objectively, can create a third thing…another way of seeing and growing. For him, this is embodied in the idea of the transcendent function. When we are able to embrace this new third thing, the energy that created the allegiance to one side or the other is unified, and worth and value are now found equally in varying characteristics of both. I know this idea may sound heavy, but bear with me here I’m headed back to firmer ground, I promise.
What does this have to do with your energy and how you experience Sacred Celebrations moving into the New Year? Well, often our need to engage in conflict, push the envelope on larger philosophical and spiritual questions comes from feeling under-heard, devalued or repressed in the past. If first, before going out there in the world, we can sit with ourselves inside and ask a few questions of ourselves we may find firmer ground there. Some of these purposeful questions might include, “What is meaningful and powerful to me about this time of year?” or, “What can I do to create wonderful memories and evoke the energy’s I deserve to feel?” or “What do I need to experience and indulge in to feel peaceful, satisfied and full at the years ending?” Asking these kinds of questions and then really listening to what your inner self tells you can help you to enjoy the holidays on your own terms first.
When you do choose to engage with family, at the office, or with people who may not have the same ideas about celebration as you do, you can remember and take stock of the unique ways you actively chose to enjoy the time. Instead of feeling frustrated, you will instead begin to honor your growing sense of self-care. As for feeling devalued or invisible, there is nothing wrong with clearly stating what you believe out loud or even inside to yourself, at the time of the slight. And it is you that gets to decide how much you want to engage in these celebrations. You can check in and figure that out on a case by case basis. I did this recently. I love to sing and was invited to carol this year with my in-laws. I really sat with it and weighed it the previous day… How much joy would it bring me? How much frustration?
I have a wonderful and opinionated cousin who genuinely feels there is a huge war on Christmas. I knew caroling with this group would evoke a diatribe of comments about taking the Christ out of Christmas, and devolve into an attack on separation of church and state. Although I dearly love Christmas songs and most of all non-secular ones, I am definitely in the pagan camp, preferring a yule celebration and recognizing the power of new beginnings on the longest night of the year. I passed on the Caroling.
We went there for part of Christmas day and in their home I had no problem hearing some war on Christmas stuff…I knew I would. I do love this person dearly and we could agree to disagree and still enjoy the day. I definitely enjoyed the foods, the singing of religious carols, and lighting the last advent candle. I heard, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And in part, I believe he is. I was able to hold the tension of the opposites Jung speaks of. I realized that there are delightful aspects as well as some non-inclusive aspects to the celebration. And the third thing that Jung speaks of in this scenario, the thing that opened my heart wider, is the love I undeniably felt for my less than perfect family and my less than perfect self.
When we check in with ourselves and honor our needs for celebration as we move through the Holiday season and beyond, we ensure that, as we find ourselves embracing the energy of the New Year, we will be doing so from a space of tolerance and open heartedness for the self and our community as a central part of our story.
So January’s affirmation Gem is: I am tolerant and loving with myself as well as others on my journey. I can feel this sense of openhearted tolerance for all expanding. I realize I have more in common with others than I had previously imagined. I am open to exploring this growing awareness in myself and others.
And January’s Gem is Muscovite. This stone allows you to recognize your projections. It helps you to see that the things you do not like in another are really the characteristics you cannot accept in yourself. It aids in the integration and transformation of these qualities. Muscovite stimulates unconditional love and acceptance, and at the same time, it helps you release tension.
For a complete dictionary of Jungian terms and ideas consult: http://www.psychceu.com/jung/sharplexicon.
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