Some of the most challenging work we do as part of being ecosocial activists might be self-care.
One of my personal challenges is how to allow myself to truly experience the pleasures of the physical plane while trusting myself not to slip into decadence and hedonism (not really knowing where the line is sometimes). I’ve been doing extra work on this area for the past few months and it seems to be helping.
I also sometimes have trouble buying myself stuff that I really need, though I seem to be getting better about that too. Cataract surgery, therapy, new shoes. I think the shoes were hardest.
Sure I always think about eco footprint but sometimes we just need stuff. And pleasure is a legitimate and necessary part of the equation too.
Joan Pancoe, a mystic whose writings resonate deeply with me and who I have often quoted here, really makes this point deeply in the latest edition of her email newsletter. Her newsletter is free, so if you like this quote you might want to subscribe. She also offers a variety of personalized services such as consultations.
“The idea of healthy selfishness seems to push more of my clients’ buttons than almost any other teaching of mine. But with upbeat Jupiter in self-reliant Aries this is exactly the lesson presented now and, for our long-term health and peace of mind, an imperative one. …
“This selfless service to others, while bypassing themselves, comes from what I call: ‘the Mother Teresa karmic rut.’ I have to remind clients who carry this quite common rut of identity that, even if they were self-sacrificing channels of Divine energy in past lives, in this life, if ‘bathing lepers’ sores,’ metaphorically speaking or otherwise, isn’t blissful, then it’s definitely not for them this time. …
“The lesson of Jupiter in Taurus is to really get, on a visceral and experiential level that: There is no other plane of existence except the physical plane in which we can enjoy the physical senses. So, all together now, ‘AAAAH!’
“That being the case, if we don’t choose to develop our capacities for pleasure on the sense level to a point of contentment, we may end up having regret for missed opportunities when not incarnate, thus keeping us firmly entrenched on the wheel of karma (regret does that, you know), until we give ourselves permission to enjoy our senses more while we’re here.
“Furthermore, if we are indeed ‘the Divine’s little hand-puppets,’ then the only way Source can experience the physical senses is through us and who are we to withhold this delight from our Cocreator? …
“I’ve been consciously working on cultivating more capacity and tolerance to handle ever deeper levels of pleasure, joy and bliss—three aspects of abundance—for many lifetimes. How about you?
If you’re ready to enjoy Life more, here’s a very good place to start: On Pleasure, Joy and Bliss.”
And yes, and yet, I continue to minimize my eco footprint as best I can, and try to share with others the joy of cultivating abundance via simplicity (a discerning brand of simplicity which does include pleasure, as I sometimes refer to myself as an “ornate minimalist”). I can hold both of these realities, and I strongly encourage you to explore this “both-and” also.
As Joan writes in the same article:
“But when I take my enthusiasm to an extreme of over-the-top audacity buoyed by ego, that’s when I get whacked.
“So, when the positive traits of Jupiter in Aries flip to the dark side, our energies could be expressed through impatient, impulsive and mindless actions in our pursuit of whatever it is we’re after. And it is this type of greed for ‘more, different or better’ that we need to watch out for.
“I couldn’t close without this brief karmic warning label on the potentials for misuse of the energies of Jupiter through excess, hubris and entitlement. If we don’t utilize these most wondrous energies with gratitude for all the gifts of abundance given on so many levels, but instead are always grasping for more — we can be sure that at some point — in this incarnation or a future one — we will get the opportunity for a karmic do-ever with perhaps a little less easy access to Jupiter’s wonders to help us get the lesson. For more:
The Karmic Consequences of Entitlement (and it might not be what you think) …
“So too with the energies of Jupiter, it behooves us to be ever mindful to be content and enjoy fully what is with gratitude and thus stop ourselves from acting out from any hungry ghost tendencies and giving ourselves a tummy ache on the physical and/or karmic levels. The mindful balance of moderation in all things Jupiter will create the sweetest music to dance through Life to. For more: A Mystic’s Take on Hungry Ghosts, Karmic Setpoints and How to Truly Feed Our Souls.”