Ah!!! The summer’s bounty is upon us! The peaches are sensual, the corn is coming in and the tomatoes… OMG!!! Lammas, or the first harvest of the year drenches us in yummy foods. AN excellent time to look where in your life to be grateful…for all the lessons you have bought with you.
So in ancient Greek myth, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and defensive warfare, she wore a breastplate called the Aegis which was at one point the shield of her father, Zeus who was king of the gods. Athena’s mother was Metis(Wisdom) and made Zeus make the unbreakable oath for a request, which he did. Unfortunately the request was that Zeus show the mortal Metis his true god-form and in doing so burned Metis up like a marshmallow at a campfire; before she was completely consumed by flame, Zeus took the unborn child she was carrying and swallowed it. Later on Zeus got a horrible headache and the god Haephestus took a giant hammer to Zeus’ head and out popped Athena in full armor. That’s quite a headache!
Zeus gave his daughter his unbreakable sheild, the Aegis, which she made into a breastplate. All of the art depicting Athena has her wearing this shield, a symbol of her father and her status as a goddess of defensive warfare.
I liken Athena’s Aegis breastplate to the pain we humans wear to protect ourselves. Have you ever had something so awful happen to you that once you”recovered” from it you wore it as a protection so you would never again feel such pain. Or it could be a condition in which you suffer that has become identity because everytime we say I have… arthritis or kidney problems or fibromyalgia whatever..that affliction is cemented even more into being you. Or your Aegis could be something you actually got from a parent via an abusive childhood or “they didn’t love me right” syndrome. Your Aegis could be a death, break-up or the one that got away.
Whatever your pain was that became your shield, I’d suggest considering that maybe sure, that shield protects you from the harm of the world but the tricky part is …it’s also blocking the positive of the world to you.
Your personal Aegis comes with a curse…. the very thing that defined you is preventing you from moving on, because we didn’t let go of the horrible event…no we put in ON OUR BODIES. We embraced it, the negative and created a hard shell. Athena was the goddess of defensive warfare… she had the gift of defensive strategy; our personal Aegis is the same, creating a bargaining cycle that keeps us tethered to the past event.
Listen, I’m not saying that whatever helped folks get through a hard change in their life is bad…not at all. I’m suggesting that maybe we have a hard time moving on when we wear our pain so profoundly…we use it as a way to refuse joy in our lives; we don’t let go of the past or accept that a disease is just that, a way our body functions instead of identity.
Underneath all that protection, might be a person who has shifted and changed.
SO my challenge to you is to pull of your armor and see what is truly there. See what is now. I am willing to bet that you’re probably not as upset as you think you should be…sometimes we know in our minds we should be hurt, instead of actually investigating the reality of the emotional landscape. What does that mean? Just because we think we should still be hurt doesn’t mean we are…or by that same rationale sometimes stuff we think shouldn’t bother us does. So, maybe take your armor off and see what is there. There is nothing to be afraid of, it’s just you, but you may notice some holes in your underwear and that’s okay; realize the miracle of you, you have survived so much and now you can put that armor in the attic and be yourself.
You may laugh at me as to how simple that sounds..I’m tellin ya, if you can look at yourself with kindness and maybe even a little humor..that’s right I said humor, the pain may show you that it isn’t what you thought it was. Look at that statement “what you thought it was” does not mean it is in your current existence. Yes, our pain can be part of us…but it doesn’t have to be the driver of the car. Just put that pain in the trunk with the camp chairs!!
You may be commenting “but…but…but my pain matters! I was hurt!” Of course you were hurt and that sucks but pain only continuing to matter if we allow it so. Do you have something in your past that is slightly embarrassing that maybe happened when you were 22 and not a clue in the world? A story you tell at parties? File that pain there… it’s still in storage but goes with all the other High-larious shenanigans of our youth. In that place, when we were funny accidentally is where we heal our pain. Joy and love heal our pain, especially the happiness of youth so take that 22 year old that stayed up way too late, laughed so hard and lived like life would go on forever…take that part of you and hug that pain. Have that part of you fill that pain with the wonder of the world, the great music you listened to, the kisses, the parties and the perfect moments that came with just being so alive…and see what happens to that pain. It will soften and just exist without needing you to wear it like armor.
Your Aegis isn’t necessary anymore.
Which means…you can go shopping for some sweet new threads!!!! Yay!
I hope the first harvest finds you deliciously happy…. and if you aren’t…isn’t it time to be so??