End of the world as we know it

Joey Garcia

Over the past year or two, my husband and I have bumped into people we haven’t seen or heard from in years or even decades (surprise e-mails from past co-workers or passing each other in the grocery store). My husband’s old high-school pal knocked on our door out of nowhere during breakfast a few months ago. When we mentioned this to friends, many said this has also been happening to them much more often than usual lately. Everyone seems to have had positive experiences and been happy to see each other. Since it seems to be happening more often to so many people, I wonder if there’s something going on around us that is causing it.

It depends on your belief system. If you imagine, as ancient people did, that you are at the mercy of the movements of the planets rather than equal to their energy, you would peer into the skies for answers. And, if you discovered that Mercury seemed to be running in a backward, or retrograde, motion, you might insist this was the cause of the unexpected visits. But if you believed that the psyche or inner world existed in unified partnership with the outer world, you would seek—not the cause of the arrival of old friends—but the common meaning of the experiences. That might mean interpreting those unplanned visits like one would interpret a dream. For example, each person who returns to your life represents something unique to you. Those people are symbols of an emotion, period of your life or idea. When you consciously interpret your life like a waking dream, parts of your life—internally and externally, past and present—integrate. As the segments of your life come together in a unified whole, you feel a higher level of integrity than ever before.

Of course, if you are comfortable “living the question,” as the mystic and poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote, you would live in the pure joy of the experience and seek no explanation. Rather than a mystery to be solved, the arrival of old friends would be an experience of love to be lived.

How can I keep a positive attitude when everything in my life is falling apart? Please help.

Don’t fake a positive attitude; grieve if you need to. But also set time aside to confront your beliefs. Is everything really a mess—or just a few big things? Be honest, because exaggerating perpetuates your sense of being a victim and robs you of the creative energy necessary to shift into solutions. When you stop making your problems into enemies, you will maintain contentment even when obstacles appear overwhelming. Remember, if a situation feels too big, you are being called to be as big—or bigger than—the problem.

I’m 15 years old and don’t know who else I should talk to about this: Will the world end in 2012? It really scares me to think about this. I’m even having trouble sleeping.

Then please don’t think about it. Giving energy to a negative belief encourages the growth of negative beliefs. Plus, some would say your investment in negativity becomes fuel that brings the fear to life (although, admittedly, it failed to work with Y2K). Here’s reality: One ancient Mayan calendar ends in 2012. Depending on how you interpret Mayan beliefs, the end of a calendar either brings spiritual enlightenment or an apocalyptic catastrophe. So think of it this way: The calendar we use dies on December 31. We can grieve the end and fear what it may bring or turn the page and celebrate the arrival of a new year, one we invest with our own positive goals and hopes for a bright future.

Meditation of the week
Psychotherapist Terry Real tells couples with intimacy issues to ask themselves, “Am I getting enough here to let go of what I am not getting?” If not, he invites the person to give more to their partner and see what happens. How much more love can you give?

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