Every year when Scorpio season arrives, I feel as though everyone has entered where I reside. Scorpio is the descent into the underworld, where everything you have squirreled away comes and snuggles beside you. It’s meant to bring comfort, wisdom, and companionship, but instead to so many of us it feels like extreme discomfort. And what do humans do with discomfort? We lean as far away from it as possible. Sometimes that works, and other times it draws the discomfort even closer…ugh.
I don’t believe in a shadow as defined (and categorized) in modern psychological terms. We speak about reclaiming what is in the shadow as though it is separate from us. But for many, what is hidden is what we live with everyday. We know it’s there, but we live in a culture which tells us it’s not safe, kind, pretty, or polite to be a certain way. We have demonized the hidden and then wonder why so many are suffering. In our demonization we have made the exploration of the hidden the exotic other. Those of us which cozy up to the fertile darkness want nothing more than to have the beauty of our gifts seen. However, this othering is damaging, not just to those who dwell in the cave of humanity, but to everyone. When we other our humanity we lose the opportunities to be accepted for our full selves.
Our modern culture with its fascination with light has lost the naturalness of nighttime. Again and again we set up a binary and sort everything into good and bad. This has become so common it is like air and to break this habit (if we even are aware of it) is often to feel as if we cannot breath.
The spiritual discourse that has been co-opted by the wellness discourse hasn’t escaped this binary. The conversation of regulation, attachment, embodiment has become one of a certain state is good and the other bad. Regulation good. Dysregulation bad. Secure attachment good. Disordered attachment bad. Body good, dissociation bad. But you are not a static state. You aren’t able to inhabit just one of these energies for all of eternity. And what your calm “looks” like may not look like anyone else’s calm, because as I have written before, there is no one perfect way to inhabit a nervous system.
We have used the label of wellness to set up impossible standards. Humans cannot be regulated all the time. We will become dysregulated at some point and we should. You will feel insecure in a relationship, that is natural…and then another relationship will come along and you will have a strong attachment. The goal isn’t to hold a feeling, thought, or energy forever…”if I just find calm I will stay calm” is a lie or a myth, whichever is more palatable.
We weren’t made to be non-shifting. We are shapeshifters. We are made to move in and out of states, in and out of connection, in and out of emotions. The invitation is to have flexibility in our way of being…can you be pissed and then return to whatever is calm for you? Can you dissociate and come back? Can you do this again and again and again?
But instead of using our understanding of nervous systems, bodies, and souls as invitations to be more nuanced and complex, we have done the opposite - pathologized everything which in turn means everything now requires an answer. Being human in all its super tender, beautiful, challenging, heart wrenching normalcy has been picked apart and made into something to be fixed. And then we get rightly frustrated when no answer emerges.
But the emergent is often irreconcilable, because life lived is paradoxical. There is no fix for being human. You can’t breathe it away, meditate it away, pray it away. At some point, life will ask you to descend to someplace you don’t want to go. Why not practice each year with the arrival of Scorpio season?
Everyone on this planet is human and at some point each year (seasonally) we collectively descend into the muckness of being human. We can either take a handful of the sludge, bring it close to our face, and with deep humility ask, "what is this?" What is this which we define as gross and unwanted? And what is its sacred and real purpose to our beingness?
While some of us only choose to dip our toe into the underworld every once in awhile, others were born to dwell in this space. We were born of the muck, it is our home, our place of comfort and safety. For many, we haven’t been afraid of the dark, instead we have a deep knowing that in the cave there is aliveness and fertility, and have been shunned for this knowing. This time of year we feel the companionship with the of the rest of the world, even though many are uncomfortable in this space. But I assure you if you are one who is uncomfortable in the muck, there is a hand reaching for you in the dark and whispering “here, take my hand, because my senses are at home in the dark, and until your senses adjust, I can be here with you. To companion you, until you too know the flourishing in this space that needs very little light to reveal its beauty and aliveness.”
May we all have opportunities in this season of magical darkness to shed what burdens us and to re-member what inspires.
I know I have been MIA from your inbox. Maybe you haven’t even noticed with all the info that comes at us daily. So why break radio silence now? Because that bossy Spirit voice in my head told me to ;-). The last several years I have taken a deep dive personally and professionally into the nervous system and how it informs our minds, emotions, bodies, and souls. I have learned several valuables tools for myself when my system becomes immobile, traumatized, and straight up full-blown panicked. I guess some universal force thought these tools might be helpful for many of us given the interesting times we find ourselves living in.
You know what doesn’t help when I am panicked? Someone telling me to calm down and to not be afraid – in all its variations. Right now, there are a lot of don’t be afraid and remain calm messages. But just like if I told you to not think of a polar bear – you can’t help BUT think of polar bear. The same is true of the message – no fear and be calm. It can cause frustration, confusion, shame, and an activated nervous system when we ignore what our system is doing. For those of us that have a sensitive nervous system (a finely tuned instrument if you will) it can be challenging to find stillness and quiet when we are trying to stay informed, and so much is electrifying our systems. So I wanted to pop in one sensitive to another and give some concrete pointers on how to turn down your system. This is not an exhaustive list. Much you might already know, but some maybe new tools for your nervous system. This list isn't a perfection list - it's a practice list. Downshifting your nervous system is a cumulative practice. Some of these tips may give you a big reward and others may give you a tiny shift. Both are valid options for your system. I hope you find this list useful! As always, reach out if you need me!!