As human beings, especially American ones, we tend to place a lot of merit around our own knowledge. And why wouldn’t we? It fits our life with near perfection. We study and pay attention to the things that interest us based on our own uniquely-curated palette of values and ideals. Even if we haven’t yet achieved as much as we anticipate/expect from ourselves, we generally trust that we could have if only...(fill in the blank). We fortify our beliefs with whatever ‘proof’ we come across, and by the time we are young adults, our egos (unless they have been compromised by trauma) are fairly proud of whatever direction we have taken, even if that course may be leading us to the proverbial edge of a cliff. Our individual concept of ‘common sense’ becomes the things that we, personally know the best. This leaves a lot of other people appearing to us as if they do not possess enough common sense. Ignorance Week gives us the opportunity to back up from our own knowledge and intelligence and take some deep breaths.
Each time we reach Week 4 of Our Raw Material, we get to take in an increasingly larger picture of the awesome vastness of our world. We begin a fresh cycle of considering our own ignorance with objectivity and genuine curiosity. It is a collective chance to identify the things that pique our interests and fuel our passions (How do I best express myself?) as we find ways to welcome our own ignorance into the forefront of our thoughts. ‘Awaring’ from this vantage point makes it clear and present that there is absolutely no way for anyone to know even the smallest fraction of ‘everything there is to know in the world’. This indisputable fact, when absorbed with breath into the body, is immensely liberating for both the Ego and the Soul. It allows/clears the space for these two energies to attempt working together to obtain balance, naturally - ‘seeing’ their synergy even when their intentions are at odds.
Have you ever looked at a picture where you can see one item in a circle, say a rooster sitting on a fence, and then you pull back your perspective as you begin to see the landscape of an entire farm take shape, exhibiting that from that broader viewpoint, you can barely make out the tiny dot on the fence, which moments ago appeared as a very detailed picture of a rooster? If you haven’t seen this type of demonstration, I hope I have given you a good enough visual to make my point: We often limit the constructs of our perception because we do not back up to see the picture that exists outside of the one our ego holds close to the vest in order to keep us safe and protected from things that may potentially hurt us.
The functions of our ego include perceiving the external world, adapting a personal version of reality, informing our impulses and emotions, and keeping us safe, to name a few. It is our ego’s job to tighten the energy around us and recognize it as ‘ours’, alone, unless we choose - of our own free will - to share it with others. It is linked to our brain, and for the most part acts in service to our physical and mental being. This is the natural voice that we hear in our head when we talk to ourselves from a place of emotion, whether the feelings are positive or negative. We can build ourselves up in ego by focusing on our ‘best’ qualities and accomplishments. We can tear ourselves down in ego by judging our abilities and choices with harsh criticism, almost always adding to our own private well of negativity. We generally ping-pong back and forth between these two extremes as we go through life ‘supported’ by the voice of our ego, often ignorant to the less discordant, nonjudgmental, and infinitely more helpful, soul voice.
Our soul voice holds no shame for the conditions that brought us ‘here’.. It holds no blame for our more sketchy decisions, because it recognizes each experience for exactly what it is, without making a determination of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Let that sink in for a minute…take a few breaths… each experience, from the soul’s perspective, is valid and necessary - no matter what or how we (or anyone else) may feel about it.
Soul expressions are abundant when we are young. We aren’t expected to already Know Better, so we get a pass when we aren’t able to Do Better. Ideally, we are given the space to learn and grow. Our emotions are cared for in ways that our adult selves can barely remember. It is the time in our lives when our soul energies get to operate with the ease of our own natural direction. Our imaginations are ripe with thoughts and ideas that explore the world we see, and lean toward the magical realms of fantasy for worlds we don’t see. As children, we are free to dream with wild abandon, enjoying our own creations and our ability to think in whatever direction suits us, until we eventually share our ideas with someone whose response brings heavy clouds to our joy. This is often a beloved friend or family member who either didn’t intend to shut us down, or if they did, were experiencing some trauma of their own. The moment we feel this chasm of separation, we begin to doubt that our thoughts are as valuable as we once believed them to be. From that point, we wind up making choices about which parts of ourselves we can share and which parts need protection in order to avoid feeling the pain that comes when someone doesn’t/isn’t able to match our own enthusiasm. From there, ignorance permeates the landscape as our egos do their best to protect our vulnerabilities by refusing to acknowledge - sometimes even to ourselves - how we truly feel.
We are living in a period of time (post-pandemic) where the expressions of our Soul Energies (energy, voice, scale, protector) aren’t as obviously apparent as their Ego-driven counterparts, but they are rapidly gaining solid ground. Unless we have spent some time intentionally drawing them out, these energies are beginning to hit us in subtle ways that in the beginning can just seem like coincidence, but if you are paying attention, they are increasing in frequency. The universe is shifting ever-so-slightly away from valuing ego excesses and moving freely into the more collectively-minded soul spectrum. The pandemic, no matter how you feel/have felt about it, has forced each of us into our bodies in a way that we have never really had to show up in them. Our ignorance as a population around the Who, What and How of this virus and the course it would take, has pushed us to look at everything from history to astrology for answers as we have each had to navigate our own altered conditions with ever-changing restrictions and lock-downs: life, family, work, school, parenting, caregiving, social life, travel, fear, stress.. The list grows from there..
In 2021, it takes a minute to remember a time when we didn’t know something about the impact of a pandemic. Unless we worked in a related field, this eventuality was pretty far from our radar. I remember looking at the planetary conditions for the beginning of 2020 and telling people (literally, anyone who would listen) that we are headed for Big Lessons on a Big Stage. I didn’t spend much time trying to determine what might affect everybody, but a pandemic certainly never crossed my mind. I knew it was going to be Big, but I had observed my own ignorance enough to know that my guesses were wasted energy. I worked on maintaining my intentional breathing practice and remained open to any possibility. I made a point of being in Tulum, Mexico on January 11, 2020, the day the planets (Saturn and Pluto) were exactly aligned or conjoined.
Our party of four spent an incredible day in Mexico, bookended by Cenotes and Mayan Ruins, but the impact I had been bracing for didn’t appear in my news feed. The day came and went without any major incident, as far as I could tell. My ego felt embarrassed and disappointed because I had been saying something was going to happen for so long (probably a year or better). The US had exchanged some missiles back and forth with Iran leading up to the 11th, but it didn't last long and really just tied up headlines for a few days. Kobe Bryant’s death would happen 2 weeks later, affecting many people. My ego tried and failed to make that terrible tragedy fit my narrative, but it was just too far a stretch for the thing I had predicted. I couldn't pull a global lesson from the wreckage. Even though it was a colossal public loss, it wasn’t what I had been seeing leading up to 2021.
Without realizing it, I had let my own ego get out in front of the issue, rendering me ignorant on many unseen levels. I really believed I had removed myself from the equation and was operating with equanimity, but upon reflection, I can now see that I was also looking forward to being ‘right’ about my claims. The universe gave me a few weeks to fall off the ‘pedestal’ I had unknowingly put myself on and clear the space so that I might intend to occupy it with more soul energy the next time I find myself in a similar situation.
I had another vacation planned with my family at the end of February, and even though some Covid cases had shown up in the US prior to our departure, we were completely ignorant of the Covid ‘avalanche’ we would all soon encounter. We left on a cruise from New Orleans on February 28, 2021 and returned to port on March 7, 2021. In that time, the world had shifted dramatically and another cruise ship (that we had encountered at Royal Carribean’s private island) was being detained with positive cases, with reports of another with the same situation. The busy airport we had landed in a week earlier was practically empty as the world began to brace for the unknown, having to acknowledge our collective levels of ignorance at our highest levels of science and authority.
I began doing research and tracing the virus to the best of my ability. I learned that New Orleans might have unwittingly spread Covid as it celebrated Mardi Gras 2020 with an innocent ignorance it may never get to enjoy again. I worried for my parents who came home sick after spending a few extra days in New Orleans and was grateful when they got better. They were never able to receive a covid test even though they had covid symptoms and co-morbidities- the tests were just too scarce at that point. I studied the lineage of cases as far back as I could in those early weeks. I was surprised when that research sent me back to January 11, 2020 - the day that I believed something would happen to affect the whole of humanity. That was the day China reported the first death from Covid and handed over the genome for the virus… I learned some important lessons that day about ego and soul energies, but none more lasting than the fact that sometimes ignorance comes full circle.