As some of you will remember, I am very into the Enneagram and am a type 4, the Tragic Romantic. There’s not time to go right into what that means here, but one key aspect of this type is our familiarity with melancholy. It has only really been over the last few years that I’ve moved more towards a fundamental feeling of contentment rather than melancholia, but that wistful, sorrowful misty place of longing, subtle sadness and an aching sense that I’m never quite seen or understood is one that I drift into regularly and is so comfortable for me that it carries a strong feeling of home.
I’m struck that much of what makes me feel melancholic is merely illusion; also that it is a pull, a magnetic tug towards a familiar, well-worn path. But is where I end up when I walk this path yet again a real, true place? I wonder if the (sometimes beautiful) sadness of melancholy is just a veil I slip behind so that I don’t have to face headlong what is real.
When that veil is removed, and reality is confronted, some of it will be deeply, harrowingly sorrowful. And yet there will also be deep joy, clear-sighted presence, a contentment with the present moment which helps one to breathe deeply rather than to sigh… This card is about trying to honestly face and deal with what feels unbearably sad and sorrowful, and not letting a vague sadness pervade and colour everything. I believe Jung once said something along the lines that all suffering and neurosis stem from the inability to face one’s necessary suffering. There will be grief and sorrow in facing that necessary suffering, but also a new freedom to see the world afresh.
It’s not all sadness and sorrow. An instruction to myself to lighten up, to play, to giggle, to look at the blue sky and feel light as air…
Today has been a beautiful, light and airy day: time in the park with my almost grown children, a surprise gift of gorgeously colourful trainers from my sister-in-law, Qigong in the garden, washing dried on the line in the sunshine, and the major achievement of over 130 turns on the weighted hula-hoop in the direction that doesn’t come naturally to me…!
There is much in the world that is unbearably tragic and worrying at the moment, but there is also joy bubbling up all over. I choose some days, some moments, to lighten up.