January is named for the Roman god Janus, he of two faces: one looking back, the other forward. Looking back, I began writing this blog at the end of last January (https://www.centerpsychotherapy.net/blog/post-1-eating-peas) as an exercise in self discipline, to push myself a little. I was taken with the idea of 2020 as "the year of perfect vision", a good time to "see" what blocked us .......
I had no idea what was about to befall us. We all knew that things were looking dicey in general, and it felt like we were on the verge of something. I had a thought: 2020 could be the year that we perceive the obstacles to our generativity.
Maybe, we've seen a little too much; I think I got more than I bargained for.
And so, looking forward to 2021 …. I was raised Catholic, and the Catholics are approaching the Holy Day of January 6, known as the Epiphany (or "Little Christmas" when I was a kid, when we might get one more present!) It denotes the official end of the Christmas season. On this day, the Magi, the wise men, visited the baby Christ; realizing the prophecy that a Saviour, a Supernatural being, would be revealed as such to the mortals. This suggests a motif known through many ancient religious or mythological narratives: the recognition of a force, sometimes benificent, so powerful as to inspire awe. The word “epiphany” in everyday language has come to mean the sudden opening of the mind to something not previously known, the revealing of some truth; and such an awakening is understood to be a highly meaningful, some might say Supernatural, experience. And, the reality that this spiritual/mythological motif recurs throughout history suggests that many generations before us have felt the need for inspiration on a Supernatural scale.
Looking back, the truth we were confronted with in 2020 was that the human race was unprotected, in a way. For the moment, it was stripped of its normal ability to ignore "the human condition", which refers to the reality that we, alone among animals as far as we know, are aware of our impermanence on this Earth. Ordinarily, tragedy or awareness of our vulnerability can break our hearts, but can also focus the mind, make us aware of the value of time, and who we love. Unrelenting awareness, though, can engender mental overwhelm, paranoia and helplessness. That is scary, and triggers the release of a tremendous amount of psychic energy; and in turn, a tremendous tension between the powers of creation and those of destruction. This tension is evident in nature all the time: consider the forest fire or the hurricane, and the re-growth that follows.
This is the setup of 2020.
There can be no creation without destruction, think about it. The blankness of the paper will be "destroyed" by the pencil; the eggs broken for the omelette.
So … how might we handle this truth? What might come of this new awareness? What will be revealed? What will we choose to perceive?
And when it comes time, what will we build? Therein lies the hope.