JULY MEDICINE: Holding Beauty and Shame in a Complex Time


The two of wands is an invitation and a passage; we both create and receive the reality we find ourselves in and if you are reading this, you most likely stand on a firm foundation of privilege and possibility from which you can navigate toward anywhere or anything.

You may be tempted to stay in this comfort, but
You, Intrepid Soul, are called to a depth of richness you have only glimpsed.

Yes, this path is tumultuous and challenging and yes, you can trust the path anyway.
Step out from the safety of nonchalance or nihilism and step into your own power.
Heed the call to get radically uncomfortable.

Enter King of Cups: the master of steadily holding emotional nuance; we embody the King when we engage and hold our multiple truths without judgment. Currently, this is our collective duty, to hold all of these circumstances and courageously see ourselves in them.

Here is a not-fun exercise. Can you hold at the same time the following truths:

(1) our individual and collective complicity with violence that is subtly woven into most media

(2) our long-time culturally-sanctioned denial of state-sanctioned atrocities (Kids being separated from their mothers is BEYOND HORRIFYING but we didn't arrive here without a road paved by many previous administrations. Family detention began during the Bush era and blossomed under Obama, through which many of us remained uninformed and silent. Hard. To. Swallow. Xenophobia is tradition. Google the history of immigration in America.)

(3) the complexity of living in systems created by corporatocracy and the difficulty inherent in the divestment of these systems (like who doesn't work a job that creates environmental waste? Not me. Who can live in a place without effective public transit without a car? Not me. Who smokes weed freely while black women my age sit in jail for possession of much less weed? Me. Who orders to-go food when they are stressed out and creates waste? Me. I am complicit, willfully or not, so it can be hard to contemplate, much less talk about).

(4) the degree that we hate a person like Trump is the same degree in which hate exists in our own lives. How you hate Trump is how you deny your own complicity. Trump is the American shadow personified. Have you made peace with your own tendency toward scarcity? Are you offended easily? Do you want to win and gloat over the other political party? Do you fervently hate a particularly unsavory group of people (like rapists? racists? cops? cop-killers? Nazis? establishment politicians? bankers? etc.)? Should we round them up into camps and make them pay? <<That's a dark joke, but seriously, the fervor of our hate can indicate an unwillingness to self-reflect on the parts of ourselves that we do not want to admit exist, like the part that dehumanizes those we perceive to be wrong. We all have our own inner fascist that needs forgiving. We all can accidentally perpetuate violence by how we talk about those in opposition. What is truly radical is to continue to acknowledge the other side's humanity while adamantly standing against their hate. Anger is not the problem, fear is. Fear begets more hate. 

(5) the possibility of standing up boldly and bravely for justice, for peace, for children, for those suffering requires a dismantling of our own tendencies toward domination and hierarchy, in our neighborhoods, in our families, in ourselves, in our minds and speech. Humans also dominate the earth under the illusion we are separate from Her systems and not a part of Her.

(6) Where there is privilege, there is oppression. You and I are not immune to being the oppressor, racially, economically, or globally. Slavery makes most of our clothes, our chocolate, our computers, our porn, our plastic things, our food. 

(7) our desire to create change requires self-examination, sober clarity, and ultimately a compassionate softness to ourselves first. This state of self-acceptance and inner harmony flows out to others. We embody our own medicine.

The list goes on and on...there are so many complexities to hold and behold. The King represents being strong enough to see it all and feel it all and stay present anyway. 
The King sees and feels the world from a zoomed-out perspective; she does not crawl back into bed, nor does she act compulsively. She resides. She connects to her inner experience. She rides the wave of emotion. She chooses trust.

Meeting our feelings of shame
with honesty, curiosity, and compassion
creates the space and strength necessary
to dismantle our personal contribution
to the mess we are in.

When we make space for ourselves, to reflect, to process, to breathe, we also make space for collective restoration. The Ace of Cups gives us a clue about how to deal with the darkness; fill your cup first with the power of gratitude, of beauty, of imagination.

How can we reconnect to the healing of imagination?
How can we create beauty in this world?
Self-care. Who even cares about talking about self-care anymore?!?
Don't we get it yet? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.  

What is self-care? Self-care is a container in which we allow other distractions to fall away, and we allow ourselves to simply and wholly BE in the complexity of any moment without needing to change anything. 

Self-care is not the commodified, Instagram-worthy version of buying a bubbly bath bomb; but it is the ritual aspect of bathing...or calling your therapist or taking time to connect with inspiring community or waking up early to write or cook for yourself or meditate or cry.

Self-care is not inherently a purchase and we might further disentangle ourselves from the corporate trickery that tries to tell us it is. 

Self-care inherently divests from capitalism
because it dismantles our desire
to compare ourselves to others.

Self-care is the reconnection to the material beauty of this world.
To the acceptance of body, of pleasure, of mud, of sweet rest. 

Self-care is fortifying our own cup so we can do the work we are here to do: the sacred, healing, collaborative work of our lives. Self-care is the maintenance of our boundaries to increase our self-awareness, to expand our compassion, to honor our sensitivities and gifts. 

How we care for ourselves is how we care for the outside world.
Separation from anything or anyone you perceive is an illusion.
Beauty abounds and propels us towards love, towards acceptance of ourselves and "others."
May we honor the beauty and complexity of our world with grateful, open hearts.

Even in this chaos, our cups overflow. 

Elise Entzenberger