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Nervous New Year

Nervous New Year

Jeff Jawer

I was thinking about nervousness the other day, noticing little ripples of uncertainty that were present in the midst of a beautiful time. I have my own sources and reasons for these feelings, but wondered how many of them weren't mine but are part of the collective emotional environment in which we all live. There is plenty of reason for nervousness with economic contraction pushing middle class families toward poverty while those already at the bottom face even harder times. A CNN.com header about a Wolf Blitzer report reads "Nervous about North Korea." It could also read "Nervous about Iran" or, depending on your politics, "Nervous about Newt, Mitt, Obama, Ron Paul, etc." Uncertainty has always been part of the human experience yet today's rapid flow of global news bombards us with even more reasons for concern.

2012 may be an especially nervous year with worries warped by fears about an ancient Mayan prophecy -- which isn't true -- and intense astrological patterns that are. Uranus is a very nervous planet, discovered at the dawn of the electrical age and between revolutions in the U.S. and France. It's now in impulsive Aries where the buzz of change will grow louder for the next six years. Uranus is about freedom and discovery, yet the road to the future is a bumpy one full of surprises and suspicion about what is yet to come. Provocative Pluto's series of 90-degree squares to Uranus that start this year will ratchet up the rate of change through 2015.

So, if change is inevitable and uncertainty inescapable, the issue is not how to avoid nervousness but how to use it effectively. First, it's helpful to recognize that fear of pending disaster is not evidence that disaster is on its way. Our collective human heart may be experiencing arrhythmia as we're shifting gears in ways we don't yet understand, which can be upsetting. Yet the very volatility that's undermining old forms of security can break ground to build new realities. Careers in crisis can lead to totally different lines of work, relationships bubbling with discontent can reach breakthrough points that enable them to change or allow us to look elsewhere for love. Self-doubt may force inquiry into motivations and behavior that frees us from old limits.

Nerves are the information highway of our bodies. They send signals to run when facing danger and inspire us to take chances when new opportunities appear. Allowing ourselves to accept a greater degree of edginess does not invite disaster and, in fact, provides the flexibility needed to avoid it. We are making this up as we go along and the more we trust in the potential for discovery, rather than living in fear of the unknown, the closer we come to creating a more desirable future, even if we feel a little nervous about it.