The energy right before the Solstice here in the North is particularly intense. The light is dripping away really fast these days, and the light that there is feels cold, the rays of the Sun are elusive and indirect. We have a lot of darkness being gifted to us. And while the darkness will be just as intense two weeks from now, after the 21st, the light will be returning, and the energy will be and feel different. So let’s use this time.
While I’m talking about the Solstice energy I’m experiencing on this side of the Wheel, if you’re coming up on the Summer Solstice at year end in the Southern Hemisphere, you can do this working too. The last days before any Solstice — Summer or Winter — is the culmination of that energy, as the Sun and the Earth do their eternal dance, every year, twice a year we get the gift of that moment when we are as far away as possible from the warmth of the Sun or as close as possible and basking in her light and heat—an ideal time for divination and intention-setting.
It’s so interesting to watch this process in myself. Each year that I do this it feels like I peel a layer and get down closer to the core.
Now, in the darkness that’s wrapping up 2013 and leading us into 2014, I find myself sitting with, dreaming about, what’s underneath both of those previous themes. Here’s what I am discovering: Regardless of just how joyful I am in any moment, and even more fiercely, regardless of how healthy this body of mine may be in any moment, I have a mission and purpose that thrums through me with a powerful force, and that is my commitment to be of Service. It is a privilege to connect, to teach, to learn, to facilitate, to share what I’ve learned. I’m very lucky and very honored to be doing so.
Take some time over the next few days, and reach inside for your theme for the coming year. I can’t wait to hear what lands for you—you may be surprised! I always am. Please let me know in the comments.
Dream big. Bigger! Sagittarius is the expansive, clear-seeing, truth-knowing visionary. Sagittarius sees the bigger picture. Past, present, future, Sagittarius sees things that others might miss, ignore or misunderstand. This is a New Moon that sets the stage for new beginnings, for this new day, and the coming new year.
Everything we experienced and learned — good and bad — during this last lunation — Scorpio energy and the most recent Mercury retrograde — can now be forged into Sagittarian arrows that lead us into our futures. What did you learn about yourself in the last month? Even the most humbling of truths about yourself can be transmuted into your new beginning.
Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, Sagittarius takes what you’ve learned and soars it so high that you can now see it — everything — from a new vantage point. Sagittarius invites you to send your gift, your passion, into the world from your strengths (even if — or maybe even especially if — those strengths come from your most tender self-awareness).
Stay with this energy; don’t scurry back into how things were before this last Moon cycle (“oh now Scorpio’s gone and Mercury’s direct, phew!, back to the same old, same old”). Instead accept that everything that got shaken up got shaken up for a reason. That every lesson and truth you learned (whether you wanted to or not) is a pathway to your greater expression of your most sacred self, that part of you that is what you’re here for, that part of you that is the jewel through which you change, help and heal those you are meant to serve.
There are a couple excellent aspects for your powerful productivity right now, for getting all the details sorted out and moving forward on developing what you know you are meant to share. Industrious Mars in Virgo trines Venus in methodical Capricorn, both of which are sextile to the thoughtful and articulate communicator Mercury in Scorpio (until 12/4). And there’s a trine between Saturn in Scorpio (providing structure) and caring Jupiter in Cancer (which will take us all through the month — exact on 12/12). Remember, though, that these are trines. Trines are lovely, soothing and beneficial aspects, but all the results depend on you taking the actions, each and every day.
Even Thanksgiving. Or this year, Thanksgivika — Thanksgiving and Chanukah on the same day. What a great opportunity to practice exquisite self care!
Be easy on your beautiful self.
I’d love to hear from you! How are you keeping balanced, and keeping your most important commitments as we slide into the holiday season? Let me know; leave a comment.
When I heard the saying in the image—about bumps, detours and potholes—the other night, it landed in my heart, in my gut, with so much resonance. It belongs in the file of amazing wisdom heard in a 12-step meeting I’ve been amassing for a long time now. Because it speaks to that truth that what is is a gift, even when it’s bumpy. Here are a couple more good ones that relate directly to this teaching.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Yes, you can sell all your stuff, quit your job or walk away from your business, buy that Airstream, and travel around. Guess what? Your unresolved issues and challenges will still be present in your beautiful beating heart and your chattering mind when you wake up in a RV parking lot 500 miles away from where you thought you had left them behind. And those issues and challenges will be there the next day. And the next… Unless and until you embrace, accept and get down to doing the work that can and will release what no longer serves you and transform what does into useful wisdom.
Your issues, your problems, you’ve got them for a reason
Imagine sitting in a circle of people, and you, like everyone else, are complaining about the stuff that has you dissatisfied, the stuff that’s holding you back from living into you dream and vision for your best life. Here’s a promise: If each one of us in that circle all put our problems and challenges in the center as we talked, when we were done, and everyone was starting to leave, you would pick up your own problems and challenges on the way out the door.
I get asked: What’s the point of centering everything — my business development, my sales, my branding work, my coaching practice — in gratitude? That question’s too small. Ask me this instead: What’s the point of grounding my entire life, every moment, in gratitude? Now we have something to talk about!
Look. Here. It’s simple. I’ve changed a lot since I started expressing gratitude for everything on a regular basis over ten years ago. That’s what a gratitude practice does. It changes you. On the outside, circumstances have changed (that’s what they do, yo). But on the inside, I have changed (and everyone I know is so relieved!) — I have learned how to dwell in stillness, respond from love, and be generous. So much more useful and tolerable than the years I led with the napalm, moved through life with my own personal black cloud over my head, and stood with one leg regretting the past and the other leg fearing the future. Which left me pissing all over the present moment.
I am grateful that I have a 7/8 full coaching practice today. I have seven coaching clients, for the first time. For a few years after I started my practice ten years ago, I had just one coaching client. I knew every thing about her and I am certain that I was way too invested in the details of her life. The poor woman! And she’s my client still. That’s a miracle in itself. But the gratitude I’m feeling right now is that I have had a wish fulfilled. I used to wish that someday I’d have enough clients that I wouldn’t have the particulars of their lives at my fingertips. And that’s the case now. In fact, the client notes spreadsheet I started keeping a couple of years ago holds the details I need to go back to when I’m in conversation with each client. And the rest of the time I’m freed to hold their highest good in my heart when I think of them and send energy their way, a prayer that really has nothing to do with facts and circumstances.
I am grateful for learning what was an elusive lesson for me: to appreciate what I have in this now moment. I am that woman, the one who turned to a beloved friend at a birthday party I threw for myself, in a house full of 20 or so women, each of whom had shown up for me, and said with a sigh, “Nobody came.” The look on her face, complete with eyeroll, preceded a deserved response, “What am I, chopped liver?”
Yup. That was a turning point for me (about sixteen years ago, I am such a slow learner!). Since then, I have adopted a new radical way of being, and it has a motto: Thrive where you’re planted. Which means letting go of my deathgrip on the yearning for what I don’t have, letting go long enough to foster appreciation for that which has been gifted to me. This. Now. This now moment is my gift. It is what I have been given to experience. Learning to like and appreciate what is changes everything. Thrive where you’re planted has turned me into a person who accepts invitations and shows up to them. This is different. It’s different from angling for invitations and then not going, because why would I go anywhere where I was wanted? If you want me, you deserve the contempt in which I held myself. Oy!
Another big difference goes back to that party. I have learned how to actively love and appreciate the people who are here, present, with me now. Instead of kicking them to the curb so I could yearn in painful solitude for the unavailable one or ones. How it went, for so many years, and two marriages: If you are available to me, you’re toast. Instead I shone my love light into the sector where the attractive-simply-because-they’re-not-available folk hang out. Pitiful. And still painful to reveal this, but hey, as my mother always said as she was brushing out the tangles in my hair, “It hurts to be beautiful.”
I am very grateful for the ease and love of my birthday getaway. I invited my daughter and she brought three friends. My sister and a friend of mine came. We went to Harbin Hot Springs where clothing is most definitely optional. I could have worried a lot about how the younger of us (the four in their 20s) would deal with my nudity, and the nudity all around them. I could have started tripping about my sister and my friend and how they’d get along. I didn’t.
Wait. I’m lying a little bit. I did in fact worry. But I didn’t get stuck there. Instead I was able to turn away from my mind and my thoughts. (Yes it’s true, just as they taught me in Brooklyn early in my 12-step recovery. When you’re alone with your mind, you’re in a bad fucking neighborhood.) I’ve learned how to escape from that neighborhood by sinking into my heart, by opening my heart in humble invitation, by allowing myself to connect to the always present love and mercy and compassion and insight and clarity of the Divine. By claiming trust, and love, and joy. Grabbing on to these attributes pushes the fear and resentment to the side, making room for what I really really want in the first place.
I had a wonderful time. From what I could see, so did everyone else. Yay for getting out of the way of the good.
I add to it when one of my beloveds passes. A couple of years ago, I added my father to this altar, and now I’m the oldest person in my family. A powerful and grave shift to make, and one for which I wasn’t really prepared. There’s even a term for that, it’s called moving into the Terminal Generation. I experienced a huge release and acceptance at this turn of events in my life. Ownership of all I’ve learned. Reverence for all the lessons and love (however mistaught and misguided) received from those who made and cared for me. Releasing and transforming some of my attachment to youth, especially this persistent idea: that I would be rescued and carried by others. Another big one: I was able to finally know, understand, accept and act on what I have learned I am here to do. To claim my sovereignty. To be of sacred service.
I also add to my altar because it’s part of my birthday ritual. Today, Day of the Dead, is my birthday, and every year I make a pilgrimage to Corazon del Pueblo in East Oakland and treat myself to another piece for my altar, and I also buy a tin heart for my collection. This year, since it’s a Saturday I will also get to walk the Fruitvale Dia De Los Muertos Festival—look at the altars and join the raucous and reverent celebration.
There’s a predictability, a seasonality, in some businesses. If you’re in retail, you know that the months before holidays are your big sales time, and you can schedule your year around your production, launch, promotion and sales cycles. You know the ebb and flow in your business and to some extent you can relax in its predictability.
But if your business is like mine, an online business that’s not retail, the seasons of ebb and flow are more elusive and certainly harder to predict.
You may wonder:
Life isn’t tidy, is it? The unexpected, well, one thing is that you can expect it!
I’ve been aware of the cycles of the Moon—I can feel them. I can feel that pull to go inside as the Moon wanes to dark. And I can feel the shiny glow of the Moon as she grows to full. I feel these pulls in my work, in my business, in my spiritual practices.
I pay attention to planetary movements, relationships and shifts as well. I’m a Scorpio, and we’re in my season now. The time when the veils between the worlds are thinnest. The time when your beloved dead can feel closer to you than usual. The time when, here in the northern hemisphere, the darkness is growing every day. Dark when I awaken, dark before dinner time. A time when I honor the return of the light with candles and sparkly bits and bringing the light to what’s hidden.
I take astrological input into account as I make my plans, always in a self-directed and empowered way.
Take Mercury retrograde, for example. I signed agreements with two new clients this week, smack dab in the middle of a Mercury retrograde. Yes, I did! Although it’s often advised to avoid signing papers at this time. What I do, though, is to add a couple of extra proofreading cycles before I send anything out, because I’ve learned that Merc Rx’s are times when I’m more error-prone, and the possibility of being misunderstood is higher than usual. So taking pains to be extra careful and crystal clear is really useful.