Theo is the Greek word for God so the natural meaning of enthusiasm is to be filled with the force or power or breath of God. This is something I am experiencing more and more lately and it got me to thinking that the sense of breathlessness that often visits us inside a panic attack may be nothing less than our life force or prana or breath energy being hijacked by overpowering feelings and fears of all kinds of things.
Christina Rasmussen’s book on grief is sparking some of these insights for me at the moment. She equates the experience of grief and significant loss with a state of psychically being overcome by fear to the point we cannot breathe and we cannot move forward. It has helped me make so much sense of how fear has manifested for me as losses became more intense. I see now the many times it held me back from the brink of a new life with new opportunities, instead I found myself to a degree like Orpheus in the myth often associated in mythic astrology with the planet Neptune, too obsessed with looking back to see what was out there for me that may help me break the stranglehold of my stuckness or energetic paralysis.
That said, even deep within the stuckness over many years of retreat (coinciding with strong Neptune transits) there were many insights emerging into the way a larger picture or patterns of movement, separation and loss were playing out in my own family over several generations. I think as I write this now of my mother struggling to stand up on the night before she died while experiencing a lot of anxiety and saying “I need to get moving.” I think of all of my family’s individual members struggling their best to move forward, make changes, while still be influenced by earlier losses, some being cut down and paralysed in the process.
Christina equates life with both death and grief because from the dualistic perspective they seem like opposites when if we look deeper or stand under those two forces (seek a more holistic under-standing) we see how intricately they are interconnected, as are the twin forces of creation and destruction. All part of what ancients called ‘The Great Round.”
To be full of life and breath is to be full of enthusiasm and awakening energy even if we feel fear and our breath is laboured and our heart is pounding, trying our best to be in that experience and move forward to embrace new life and changes without being captured or ceaselessly looking backward. For each change or movement we make means riding the waves of both life and death and allowing ourselves to be propelled toward life and with faith and trust that we may again feel the exhilaration of ‘flight’ and rise to live even if we confront deaths, stops, blockages or endings that demand of us yet another surrender to the great fear we experience as profound movements of life and energy n spirit surge in, within, and all around us.
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