Clusterf**k: me, you, the economy and the planet

I had a dream not too long ago in which I was witnessing a huge, gorgeous spiral galaxy, the stars twinkling like diamonds against a velvety dark sky. On one of the arms of the galaxy however I noticed a huge mass, like a glut of stars all tangled up together so that the energy could not flow. It was a galactic mess. When I woke up, the word “clusterfuck” occurred to me.  I do not know where that word comes from, but I know I’ve heard it before, probably in reference to traffic inLos Angeles.

Of course, with my Jungian training, I took the dream personally; it was to me a picture of my psyche – lovely, natural, part of the starry cosmos, but LOOK what I have going on over here – a tangled mass of psychic material that energy cannot flow through.

A week or so after having this dream, a similar one occurred. I was walking through a crowded town that seemed like the whole world, almost like an M.C. Escher drawing with layers and dimensions winding out of each other. My dream was not abstract like his drawings though, the scenes were more realistic. I wandered into an area that was literally covered with shit and diapers, too many babies had been born there, too many mothers starving and unable to handle the chaos. I was knee deep in it and could only try to slog my way out of the enormous area teeming with stink and sickness. I saw someone on the edge starting to clean up and struggled with a sense of hopelessness. Can this mess be resolved? This guy seems to think so.  The place reminded me of Kibera, the slum outside Nairobi in Kenya where I worked a year ago. But Kibera seems clean compared to this terrain.

Again looking at the dream as a personal message I saw it as an earthier way to view the galactic mess. Shadow work is daunting. I can see a cluster of internal things it begins to refer to, debilitating results of the tangle and  illness that results. A sense of hopelessness is a temptation. It takes effort to hang on to glimmers of hope.

Then last night I read an article in the recent More magazine about a toxic mess the size of a small continent floating in the Pacific ocean made completely of plastic and trash. A deep sea diver named Mary Crowley apparently discovered it. She relates the story of the beauty and wonders that made her fall in love with diving, then tells of the horror of what she found – plastic pieces, plastic bags, beach chairs, miles upon miles of junk clustered together. The description she tells will make you weep and feel sick. There seems to be a vortex in this location that draws the trash dumped into our oceans and water systems to itself. Hundreds of thousands of living creatures have eaten the bits of plastic and died from it. Many of the fish who eat it are eaten by larger fish, who are eaten by other fish, who end up on our dinner tables.

As I read I couldn’t help but think of the clusterfuck in my dreams.  I have taken the dream images personally, and they are personal, but they are also visions of bigger things going on. In the holographic model of the universe, each cell reflects everything that is in the whole. In this, everything that is in the universe is also in me, and everything in me is also in the universe.

The article tells of the controversy and antagonism that is coming Mary Crowley’s way because of what she discovered and because she is determined that there is something to do about it. It seems llike she now is a vortex for a lot of toxic psychological and political material. Yet she is driven by a sense of hope that the mess can be cleared.

An analogy comparing depth psychology to deep sea diving has occurred to me many times over the years for a variety of reasons. Now I see it again. I love to slip into the waters of psyche and see what resides there, beauties not visible on “land” or in daylight consciousness. But along with the investigation come encounters with deep shadowy material. There is horrifying stuff in there along with the wonders. Many people and religions want to rise above, transcend, move out of the vibration of shadow material. Such efforts easily turn into dangerous repression and phobic denial rather than mastery, which causes the mass to simply build in power and toxicity. Author Thomas Berry writes that what we need now is not transcendence, but “inscendence.” We need to know how to go in or we will never be familiar with the problems. But there are a lot of taboos around this.

Experience tells me that working with shadow will never be successful until we clear judgment from our hearts and minds. It is a terrible waste of time to judge and moralize about the problem in the ocean rather than simply get busy finding ways to resolve and prevent it. Similarly if I judge myself about the matter in my own mess, that will tend to dispirit and suck energy from what is required to simply deal with the issues. I need to be as clean and dispassionate as a surgeon as I go into the problem areas.  Judgment increases the mess, obfuscates, complicates and delays every effort.

The poet Rilke writes, “Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants our love.”  I believe this. I find when I think anything through to its core, there lies a reason for compassion. Nobody who bought a beach chair or a bottle of water meant to poison the planet; our collective ignorance and shortsightedness wasn’t apparent at first, then it rapidly got out of control and went beyond us. So it is with my own internal mess. One thing led to another. Compassion is a natural result of comprehension, of seeing clearly. But it takes getting through the revulsions, the taboos, instincts to condemn or to cast into otherness. Compassion is fierce and takes more courage than any other stance. Compassion is fearless.

You don’t have to look very far to see the massive  clusterfucks we have created collectively. The economy seems to be our number one reflection of it at the moment.

I know that awakening compassion will move us to a place of vision. Only from there will we be able to see, heal and resolve. No matter what problem we are facing, the demon  is, in the end, something helpless that wants our love.

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2 Responses to “Clusterf**k: me, you, the economy and the planet”

  1. Gerry Stribling Says:

    Clusterfuck is an old military term referring to a disorganized unit or joint effort that probably emerged during the Vietnam war. The term became almost the centerpiece of a Clint Eastwood movie about the Marines – he’s the hard-ass noncom assigned to straighten out a “clusterfuck” platoon of losers, who of course transcend their clusterfuckness and become heroes.

    Similar terms dating to World War II – SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) and FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition).

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Leave it to you to have all of this cool info, Gerry. Thanks. Happy 60th! Welcome to the hot new decade. Hope to see you on the mountain or in Knox town.

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