This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

–      Rumi (Coleman Barks translation)

“I suspect you’re going to feel a bit constrained in the coming weeks, Cancerian — maybe even imprisoned. I suggest you make the best of it. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself and spiraling down into a dark night of the soul, try this: Imagine that you’re a resourceful hermit who’s temporarily under house arrest in an elegant chalet with all the amenities. Regard this “incarceration” as a chance to start work on a masterpiece, or upgrade your meditation practice, or read a book you’ve needed an excuse to lose yourself in. Believe it or not, your “deprivation” could be one of the best things that has happened to you in a while.”  –Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology.

At the new moon, I get together with a friend to honor Hekate. Part of that ceremony is a tarot reading for the upcoming month. This month, I was told to expect great washes of emotion, big ups and big downs. It’s held true so far. One person who is very close to me is suffering from psychological issues that are causing him to behave in upsetting ways; another friend is giving my heart a workout like I haven’t experienced in a very long time; another is very ill; almost everyone else in my life is too far away or too busy right now to spare much time for me. I naturally tend towards hermitishness but right now I want the company and it’s not there.

I spent this weekend feeling bad. I kind of did it on purpose – the bad feelings were right there and easily accessible or it wouldn’t have happened at all, but I know how to not wallow in the self-pity spiral Rob Brezsny talks about. I decided that it was time to just feel it for a little while anyway. I have this concept somewhere in my head that I’m not supposed to feel bad and that if I do it’s a sign of some great personal failing. Like I ought to be able to just take anything that comes and incorporate it into my world and going on being Just Fine. There have been times in my life, times of crisis, where the ability to be Just Fine has been really useful – times when the need to continue functioning outweighs the desire to crumple into a defeated heap. So I keep my chin up and bravely soldier on; I’m good at that. I think of myself as a fighter and when the fight is on, I am fierce and brave and madly cheerful.

Lately I’ve had a peaceful space in my life, a place where I don’t need to be quite so fierce just to get out of bed in the morning. It’s been a relief and I have taken the opportunity to work on myself in that space. I’ve been working out and eating properly and going on intense and wonderful spiritual journeys and generally feeling fantastic in both body and soul, as I keep mentioning here. It’s great because my health in both of those areas has been impaired in ways I didn’t even know about until I started fixing them. I am apparently now feeling well enough to be able to give myself the space to feel bad (as opposed to being depressed, which is something different.) It’s odd that I can see this as a good thing.

I avoid Big Emotions out of long habit and a certain level of cowardice; it’s one thing to love the Gods and the world and to send that love out to all beings, but to love other human beings is pretty scary. They become ill, they die, they lose their minds, they move far away, they don’t call or come around often enough, they cry, they make stupid personal decisions – they do all kinds of inconvenient things. So this weekend, when I was sitting around feeling terrible about the various people that I love and their various unwelcome behaviors, I asked one of my guides, with a certain level of frustration, “I give up on people! WHAT the FUCK am I supposed to learn from this crap? What do I do?” (ok, the frustration level was pretty high.) He whispered in my ear the same thing he always says… “Love more.”

And I, being kind of a brat, said “That is SO unhelpful. What kind of an answer is that? What’s the point?”

He said, “That IS the point. What else are you going to do? What else are you here for? You talk about formless spiritual fire, the matrix of the universe – you work consciously with this energy, and that’s wonderful, it’s what you are supposed to do. You think that this is somehow different from love that takes form and walks around in the world? You think you can keep doing this work you want to do and yet care LESS about other people? Forget it, you can’t have that and you shouldn’t have that. Love more. More and more and more. Let them hurt you – you’re a fighter, you can take the pain. Feel it and know that it is good because it means that your heart is working as it should. Feel it like a sore muscle after hard exercise. Love hurts. Love is good. Love more. No limits.“

I’m working on it.

“Sultan, saint, pickpocket; love has everyone by the ear dragging us to God by secret ways” – Rumi, again.