Cancer Full Moon: The Awakened Heart

Posted & filed under Cancer, Full Moon, Lunar Phases.

fm-cancer-awakened_250A few years ago, I discovered that I had to have a tooth pulled. Big deal, right? Yet I was astonished at the intensity of my reaction. Most nights I found myself awake at 3:00 a.m., tormented by thoughts of mortality. My poor old tooth prompted fears that growing older would mean a future in which I drop limbs like a diseased tree. Before long I’d be old, old and frail, old and alone!

I mentioned these nocturnal worries to a friend, taking care to present the subject with humor so I didn’t seem like an hysteric. He was not unsympathetic, but did take the opportunity to caution me about the law of attraction and to wonder why I was manifesting this physical problem. He’s a genuinely caring person and I know he meant well; so why did I leave our meeting feeling judged and alone instead of positive and empowered?

Maybe I’m a cynic, but it seems to me that trying to inoculate ourselves from life’s darker side is rather empty — like a false Santa Claus groaning beneath the weight of unearned gifts. This Full Moon is conjunct optimistic Jupiter, with the Sun conjunct Venus, the good-time goddess. But the Sun and Moon are both square challenging Mars, a reminder that enjoying life’s tenderest pleasures often requires that we first confront the gargoyles of pain and fear.

Alone with my sundry tooth terrors in the wee hours, I found something in my heart besides fear: compassion. I found a lot more empathy for people coping with pain, loneliness, and troubles much more profound than my own. Pema Chodrin calls this compassion “the awakened heart,” akin to the bodhichitta. Feeling what we feel, the negative as well as the positive, is a doorway to the complex hearts of others.

My poor tooth is long gone, but my early-morning mind still finds plenty of worrying thoughts to obsess over. The truth is, these are tough times. Lots of us are scared, and angry because we’re scared. Where is the extended family who will look after the dying aunt? How will the new graduate pay off his student loans, or the  recently laid-off 55-year-old woman find a new job?

It may sound strange, but whenever my 3:00 a.m. self taps into this atmosphere of shared fear and pain and hopelessness – really surrenders to it – I’m immediately calmer. Suddenly I’m sharing in the world’s fear and pain and hopelessness, not just dealing with my own lonely messes. In those moments, I glimpse an alternate vision of Jupiter… not a claymation Saint Nick with a bulging bag of toys, but a kind, accepting, glowing Buddha.

Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to encounter these luminescent, warm-hearted, Buddha-like souls in real life — the wise elder, the avuncular grandfather, the fun-loving friend who never met a stranger— and it’s as healing as a comfortable nap in front of a roaring fire. Interestingly, these are never people whom life has spared from difficulty and fear. In fact, it’s because they’ve faced life’s problems and retained a hopeful, positive Jupiterian presence that they reassure us we can do the same. “We all get older, we’re frail and afraid,” their manner implies, “but it will be okay as long as we help each other out. We just have to be there for one another. We just have to be there for ourselves.”

Maybe my friend has it right, and I attracted that sad, wrecked tooth into my life – not as a punishment for thinking negative thoughts, but as a gift of knowing. At this Full Moon, I hope you feel genuinely happy, loving, and at peace. But if you find yourself tangled in the odd moment of sadness, regret, or loneliness, I wish you the confidence to let your own pierced heart awaken. Feel everything that you feel, even negativity and fear. When Mars opens our lunar hearts at this Cancerian Full Moon, let’s leave them open and let them teach us, soften us, and bring us closer to one another. Our awakened hearts can draw us, gracefully and naturally, into the joyful light of the Moon and Jupiter, setting us aglow with the comfort, hope, and merriment of our own Buddha natures.

© by April Elliott Kent

17 Responses to “Cancer Full Moon: The Awakened Heart”

    • Louise Altman @The Intentional Workplace

      April
      I’ve been admiring and reading your posts for a few months now – and simply had to comment on this one – which is just loving and lovely.\

      Maybe it is because my Moon is in Cancer – so I feel it all so much more – but I really think you have touched a deep chord in everyday life. Whether we are trying to live more consciously or just reacting to events – these are challenging times in so many ways.I am pleased that you gave a voice to the practical realities of what so many people are feeling.

      Too often people write off those concerns as “negative” or even “political.” I think many of us have been rethinking extremes in any form — and sometimes those engulfed in the law of attraction – forget that life is not linear.

      The reference to the awakened heart is perfect – may we all dwell in the self-compassion that opens our hearts.

      ~Louise

      PS Had two teeth pulled last spring. Felt the loss, trauma, empathy and renewal.

      Reply
      • April

        So kind of you, Louise; thank you so much. These are hard times, and the sensitive parts of us tend to want to hide behind the armor of certainty and personal power. But however much armor protects us, it’s pretty tough to give someone a hug while you’re wearing it.

        Reply
  1. Marni Lynn Aget

    Hello dear April,
    Truly heartening to read your wisdom here. Thank you. Thank you for being so diplomatically loving and open yet discriminating and aware. Blessings to you and yours. May all good things come your way for sharing what sounds to my ears like the earnest, needed truth to help us all relax into our shared humanity and individual journeys. I am grateful to read your posts and benefit from your practice and your thoughts.
    ~MLA

    Reply
    • April

      That is so lovely, Marni Lynn – deep thanks to you. I’m not always wise, diplomatic, or loving, but who is? Some days, grace finds us… and if I’m lucky enough, I’m near a keyboard when it does. :)

      Reply
  2. Erin

    “We’re all in this together” has been the defining thought of the week for me and mine. Now I know a bit more about why. Thanks for the bigger picture.

    Reply
    • April

      It’s so hard for me to remember that sometimes, Erin. That’s why I love writing about the Cancer New and Full Moons… it reminds me that we’re all part of the same tribe. :)

      Reply
  3. M.

    Thank you so very much for this post April. The awakened heart, what a wonderful thing to read… Love, sweetness and blessings to you and yours.

    Reply
  4. Suzanne

    The compassion and wisdom that consistently emerge in your writing are what make me keep coming back. I also appreciate your ability to use understandable language to describe the state of the stars and what it means to you and me. We are all afraid of something — but you need not fear that you are irrelevant. Your messages are appreciated.

    Reply
  5. J

    Thank You April, your Full Moon post is just what I needed to read today (days after the actual Full Moon)!

    Reply

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