Heavy Matters

It is all too true that no burdens are created equal and that usually, the heaviest ones are the least avoidable ones. Those of us who are not in such positions of limitation would do well to offer what help we can to those who are. This kind of importance is the kind we can grant those of us who must bear the severe weight of life, in whatever form. It is a kind of compassionate prioritizing that comes naturally to those who cultivate their own being.

However a shadow can arise, which plays off of the above, otherwise virtuous relating. It is a situation in which our shadow energies, our denials, can become convinced that we can gain importance in the world simply by bearing, or at least appearing to bear, burdens. Having seen how those with burdens get special treatment from others, we adopt a strategy of accumulating a narrative of burdens to elicit such treatment for ourselves. Of course, it doesn’t ever really work out how we think it should.

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

―Toni Morrison

Getting Attention

Having lived out a programmed perspective on life handed to us by our indoctrinating cultures, we each accumulate a deep well of rejections. Rejected by our families, our friends, those who are like us, those who are unlike us, and who knows who else. We each have this inventory of rejections stored in our postures, our reactions and our choices, and we play them out, over and over, unconsciously, and justify them as “the way things are.”

In the most basic way of understanding them, these rejections are all denials of supportive attention. They may be different kinds of attention, such as aggressive, belittling, patronizing and so on, but they are not the supportive, growth-enriching attention that all life forms require to thrive. Having been denied such positive attention, we never quite learn to express that attention to others or ourselves.

Being Special

In our overhyped media tyranny of fame worship, we can find the seeds of this shadow constantly sewn. We all see that we can get what appears to be the enriching attention we so long for by being special. Yet few of us know how to go about it through achieving glory, so we devise the burden bearer’s clever back door to get the attention we seek.

We find ourselves putting a negative edge into our descriptions of our lives, ourselves, and our world when we talk about them. When asked how we are doing, we emphasize the burdens, the struggles and the strife we must endure and how we probably won’t last much longer. We don’t just do it in the moment when it is real, the times we truly need to talk about it to self-reflect and let go, but we do it all the time, casually and compulsively.

The Irony of Rejection

Sadly, such self-denying rhetoric does not often have the effect of drawing others to our aid. In fact, it more often than not pushes people away, enhancing the sense of rejection that started it all and perpetuating an ever-deepening, vicious cycle of self-abuse to get so miserable that someone will have to notice and come and save us. Surely someone has got to see how hard my life is and will do something about it (for me)?

Likely, no. The very moment an ally reaches out their hand, we turn it away with a snarl of “I got this,” thinking we are playing the virtue card. Or perhaps we see that the offered help will require effort on our part, so instead, we double down and drift into a deeper place of withdrawal, making the offered aid impotent for our lack of receiving it. And it is just that which is the only thing that can bring us out of this shadow: learning to receive.

Suggested Divination Meanings

Am I engaging in negative self-talk, which is limiting what I can hear from others or even my own intuition?

Am I longing for a kind of support from others that I am unwilling to learn to give to myself?

Do I use a narrative of suffering in my conversations to elicit attention and the feeling of being special?

Do I bemoan my struggles and then turn away any offers of help?

Am I making my choices around the feeling of being rejected by others or even the world in general?

Do I disregard what others are sharing with me to get back to my litany of complaints?

Do I give attention to things in my life by complaining about them, which don’t really matter if I were to simply let go of needing to complain?

Do I keep allies away by reciting my list of how they really wouldn’t be of real help?

Do I rely on there being challenges in my life to feel important or even relevant?

How can I give attention to myself, which I did not get from others when I most needed it?