In California, I often feel that this time of year there is an imminent threat of earthquakes. I don’t know if there is any science behind this. I just have a feeling when the ground is dry, the potential for fire is high, and there is a lot of smog in the air from a lack of wind and rain during the summer months. I feel an uneasiness during this time, as though I am waiting for something to happen. As soon as the first rains appear – like they did last week a full two weeks ahead of their usual Halloween appearance – some sort of pressure is released and the potential for the earthquakes dies down.
This experience of uneasiness and uncertainty is heightened this year by the tumultuous political season we are having in this country. It is always reflected by the qualities of fall/autumn as the season for letting go, grieving the old to make space for what is coming next.
What is an earthquake and how do we feel them internally? Oxford dictionary defines an earthquake as “A sudden and violent shaking of the ground, sometimes causing great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth’s crust or volcanic action.” Let’s break this down and look at it piece by piece.
Sudden and violent shaking of the ground – Translation: “My self identity has been shaken to the core.” I know when I have a big shift inside of myself, sometimes triggered by an external event and sometimes not, it feels sudden and can be expressed through an uncontrolled physical shaking, sometimes to the point of extreme. The causes are numerous, maybe I got a piece of bad news (even good news can cause this response!), I’ve taken an action that is out of character for me and required guts to perform, I’ve let go of something old and deep that I carried around for years, I’ve narrowly missed an accident or injury, I’ve faced someone or something that has threatened me in the past, etc.
Sometimes causing great destruction – In order for change to occur, I need to go through a phase of breaking down, destroying the old pattern to make room for the new. When I avoid change or ignore my feelings and the signals that something is brewing inside of me, there is a build up of tension internally that will eventually burst forth like a volcano erupting or an earthquake releasing pressure. I’ve found that this is the state of mind that moves me to pick fights, have accidents in the kitchen or when moving through the day, feeling agitated and unsettled. When the earthquake hits from this vantage point, it can cause great damage – to myself, and those around me.
As a result of movements within… – It is our nature to have perpetual change (Change is defined by thefreedictionary.com as – “a. To cause to be different. b. To give a completely different form or appearance to; transform.”) Movement is “a change of position” that in turn results in something new; a different expression appears than what existed before through moving your perspective on life and taking new actions to reflect that change. Movement can be felt in our emotions (insight, release, completion), through the energy body and the flow of energy in the meridians, by observing the seasons as they continually transform from one phase of life to another and repeat.
In order to move gracefully through the ongoing changes in life, it is helpful to be conscious of the continual destruction and renewal of the self, just like I see in the garden each year. When I fashion myself after that movement through the seasons, I am more readily able to feel peaceful about what is happening, even when I am in the midst of a personal conflict. Studying the inherent qualities of movement and change that are nature’s “nature” gives me strength and perseverance, compassion and awe for the cycles within all of life.