To all those people so different from myself
to those who take their anger out on others around them, creating fury and fear in lieu of settling their own personal business for themselves
to those who infuriate me with their self-centeredness, never stopping to consider how their actions affect others
to those who barely value or blatantly devalue those things I find most meaningful in life
to those whose political views diverge so greatly from mine as to make me wonder where such beliefs even come from
to those for whom the concept of 'altruism' is either dead or a waste of productivity
to those who simply do not see the connections between one person and another, who cannot feel the hurt in others that comes, indirectly or directly, at their own hands
I am thankful for you.
Yes, at this point, professing thankfulness is a little tired. Thanksgiving was last week, and I should have given thanks then. Sorry I choose to do everything on my own schedule. Scratch that, I'm not actually too sorry about that. I was so busy being thankful for all the people in the world that drive me utterly crazy, I didn't have the wherewithal to write about them until now.
How boring our lives would be without the people we don't particularly like, sometimes even hate or wish had never existed, and often misunderstand. We learn about ourselves from interacting with them. The things that drive us crazy about them are the things that drive us crazy about us (though in ourselves, they likely exist on a less glaringly conscious level). These charlatans commit their oversights, ignorances, sins and crimes against nature in broad daylight, and we cannot believe what we've witnessed. We judge their infractions in wide harsh strokes, developing our set of personal ethics in contrast (or so we think) to what most disgusts us in them, with a heaping helping of self-righteousness thrown in for good measure. Arrogantly, snidely, self-importantly, we profess, 'They are them, and we are us,' and continue to treat them as we always have, perpetuating our end of the dynamic and wondering why they never seem to change.
But, dare we step back from these confounding contacts, we discover their power to frustrate stems from our own unresolved past. Whether our particular button-pusher has been pushing for decades or is a fresh face with a familiar trigger finger, they share one thing in commonthe button, and it is inside us. And that wiring which connects 'button' to 'reaction' isn't going to rewire itself.
We'll respond to the same or similar stimulus in the same or similar ways until we mine the histories and attachments behind our behaviors and emerge with better self-understanding. Only with such consciousness will we change. Until then, we will continue to elicit repetitions of patterns, through the same or similar relationships with the same or similar dynamics. Meanwhile, forget about trying to change the other people. Each of us can only control one person in the world, and you don't need me to tell you who that is.
In astrology, when two planets in signs of conflicting energies face off against each otherjust like when two individuals with conflicting personalities meet and clashthe square (90°) produced is usually interpreted as an inherent challenge to integrate the two. When analyzing a natal chart, astrologers often read squares as difficult or even negative attributes in someone's personality. But everyone needs a good challenge to feel alive, such as the kind we face when forced to interact with those folks so different from us. Individuals without squares in their birthcharts often lack the dynamic strife to pressure them into growth, since adversity breeds personal development. And the lesser conscious among us will draw external situations that project one of the planets in our natal squares or oppositions (180°) onto someone else, while we play the other one, turning our internal conflicts outward. Only by accepting that both conflicting energies exist within us, and that what drives us crazy in this other person is a dormant or unintegrated facet of ourselves, do we develop interpersonal complexity and maturity.
Following on the heels of a particularly polarized national election in the US, we are confronted by the need to develop greater compassion for those with differing political views. In my life, I'm regularly drawn into conversations with people so displeased by the outcome of the election, emotionally distraught and yet completely out of touch with the sentiment of those who voted a different way. Similarly, those who 'got what they wanted' from the election smugly call for the country to 'unite' under the reelected leadership, only to display a lack of regard for the differences that divided us in the first place.
For the record: Those who voted differently than you are not more stupid, reckless, uninformed, selfish, fearful, deluded, ideologically motivated or weak than you are. Just different. They have different personal histories, different scars, different talents and joys, and different social and cultural stances from which they make decisions. We do what we can to love them, though continue to suffer plenty of instances of intolerance. Let's at least notice when we fall victim to such weakness.
The hardest thing to do as ego-driven entities is to walk in someone else's shoes, to love our neighbors as ourselves, though it's also the 'golden rule' of spiritual compassion that's preached by every religion known to humanity. To do so is almost unimaginable as we curse the driver who cut us off, rail against the egregious behaviors of our ripest family-member scapegoats, and rag on the stupidity of the president, the governor or the masses who we imagine believe everything the TV tells them. But that's exactly what Jupiter's trine to Neptune in two social-centric air signs is asking us to dounderstand the other.
Next time someone in your life pisses you off to no end, pause and silently thank them. Then ask yourself, 'Why do they piss me off so fucking much? And what can I learn from it?' Step away, consider, and respond more consciously.