Mercury Retrograde: Pisces to Aquarius

Pisces Aquarius Chartres Cathedral
Pisces Aquarius Chartres Cathedral

Pisces to Aquarius from Chartres Cathedral

So… what was going on 3 months ago?

Mercury will be retrograde from February 6th, 2014 through February 27th.

Here we go!

This retrograde cycle starts out in the watery terrain of re-exploring the quality of our lives and shifts to the intellectual consideration of our relationships on February 14th. To make things more intriguing, toss in that Venus (our planet of love) is conjunct Pluto (the bringer of truth and the awareness of power), and this should be “interesting times” as Confucius would say.

This will be the first of three retrograde periods when we shift from water into air this year, so we will have plenty of time to learn about the quality of our relationships

What does all of this mean to you?

    1. Start by re-reading my previous post on Mercury in Pisces (or listening to my podcast) for an exploration of the quality of your lives and which area of your life is being hi-lighted by sign. While the dates have shifted the message is still the same.
    2. As Mercury moves backwards in its cycle, this awareness of life quality will gradually begin to turn towards the meaning of your relationships. When Mercury is in Air, our focus becomes simultaneously less “emotional” while examining our relating patterns. Old problems will require airing out as we explore our contributions to miscommunications.
    3. As Air is the ruler of communication and transportation, this is a particularly ill-advised time to purchase machinery: cars, computers, telephones, etc… wait if you can until Mercury goes direct after February 27th.
    4. Understand the power plays in your relationships may have to do with insecurities and cut through the superficial to the real truth underneath: what do you really want to say to one another? What hurts have been glossed over that need to surface and be understood? Now is the time for clarity and compassion, for yourself and your loved ones.

    And remember…

    Everyone else is experiencing these same Mercury Retrograde issues too, so breathe people, and stay clear in your communications.

    Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.

    For more on Mercury Retrograde, check out these posts.

The Calm in the Pause: Scheduling Life Balance

The Man in the Stone
"The Pool', Central Park. Photo: Andrew Kelley

“The Pool’, Central Park. Photo: Andrew Kelley

The days are getting shorter, the shadows longer… chilly mornings are groggier as we try to comprehend waking up in the dark. Ancient ancestors whisper in our ears “it’s time to S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N”. In preparation for the cold freeze, we rush around, instinctively hoarding the equivalent of “dried bison” while trying to stay awake.

This modern society discourages hibernation, and instead we are urged to “keep productive” & “meet our deadlines”.

Ca-chunk!”

Internal paradox…
All the gears seize up as our instincts clash with the demands of today.

The Pause

I had the pleasure of speaking to a musician friend about the incongruity of this season vs. “the pause”. (This is not an article about menopause, btw… 😉 )

For millennia, we evolved with the seasons. Our days were long in the summer as we chased hairy mastodons, and we wrapped ourselves in their pelts and slept before roaring fires on the long winter nights.

In between all of these activities, we paused.

We watched the sunsets.
We listened to stories about the days’ hunt.
We gathered berries and cared for our young…

And yes, we struggled to survive… but when the days got shorter, we had to stop, or risk being eaten by all manner of hungry predators in the dark.

Overwhelmed…

We are an overwhelmed and exhausted society. We have gotten completely detached from what allowed us to survive for millions of years.

Is it any wonder (thank goodness) that Yoga and meditation are gaining a foothold in our culture? That millions proactively seek: alternate lifestyles, being their own boss, scheduling their own time? Or passively, becoming addicted to substances, games, or TV; self-medicating to avoid feeling the emptiness and lack of connection?

The Man in the Stone

The Man in the Stone, Central Park. Photo: Christine Kelley. Artist: Unknown.

We are naturally attuned to nature.

We need to slow down…
We need to reconnect with ourselves and with one another…
Or risk complete emotional, physical and spiritual burn out.
We need to pause

What’s in the pause?

The metaphor my musician friend shared with me was remarkable in it’s simplicity.

Music that calls to you grows and builds upon itself… the energy of tempo and cadence and texture expands until just before the crescendo when there’s… a pause… a space… a breath…

What’s in that pause? Nothing less than your Soul. Your essence. Whatever you hold sacred… You.

“You” are in the pause.

“You” are in the pause. When you don’t stop, when you run constantly, when you don’t allow yourself time to breathe… What gets lost? You do.

As a culture we are terribly disconnected from ourselves and it hurts my heart. We chase and we grab and we collect and we fear… and what we are really chasing is ourselves, our deepest truths. Let yourself be caught.

This season, as we begin the holiday marathon, schedule some time with You.

“But,” I can hear you saying, “I have no time!” Hmmm… It’s time to get honest with ourselves. If what we are craving is quality time in our lives, then all the chasing around is time inefficiently spent.

Time spent in Resistance is 2-3x more exhausting than time spent Mindfully.

Consider what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. How much less effective are you? It’s the same thing with quality time and life balance. We need to create the time for ourselves, or we risk losing it all.

Schedule in “The Pause” in whatever form that takes for you.

Central Park Mallard_CFK

Central Park Mallard. Photo: Christine Kelley

Scheduling the Pause…

  1. A Morning Mindfulness Practice: Create a ritual that includes some form of movement and quiet contemplation, or meditation, every day. Yes, wake up 20-minutes earlier (perhaps by going to bed 20-minutes earlier?) You will feel much more energized for your day.
  2. Find a “Moving Meditation”: Many don’t connect with the idea of sitting still for 20-minutes (I’m speaking to you Fire and Air signs most specifically). Creating some kind of moving meditation (running, dancing, walking quietly in the woods, in the park) is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Try this without music. The point of these exercises is to get quiet and connect with that inner voice. I adore music, and sometimes it is another distraction.
  3. Laugh & Connect: Schedule time with the people you love most to just sit and share and laugh. Nothing specific to do, no where to go, just spend quality time.
  4. Attend a Sacred Activity: Something that is meaningful for you. Go to church, synagogue, the mosque, sit under a tree, pull some weeds, as long as it feels sacred to you, do it.
  5. Turn it OFF/Unplug: declare some technology free days! Announce to friends etc, that you will be (“gasp”) unreachable for some period of time. Start with an hour and work your way up to a couple of days!
  6. Consider reading my posts “Need is a Four-Letter Word” and “How do your moon’s needs affect your choices” to recognize how best to pause. Don’t know your Moon Sign? Find it here.

How will you Schedule your Pause? Let us know in the comments below…

Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.

When is Self-Help Procrastination?

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do they day after tomorrow.-Mark Twain

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.—Mark Twain
“They” say you should “Let people know who you are on your blog,” so here goes… (This post is likely to piss some of you off, but then that’s the risk I take in being “real”, eh?)

I sat down today to begin to write my first ever free e-book. Immediately, I got lost… I mean immediately. No sooner had I placed my butt in the chair than I thought, “What the heck am I going to write about?” and I turned to my website for ideas.

My most popular post/podcast to date is still my piece “Procrastination.” As I re-read it, I thought, “The column width is way too wide and, come to think of it, I could really use some pull quotes in this piece…” So, I went into WordPress and found this cool plugin that does pull quotes, installed it, figured out how to use it and relaid out the entire Procrastination piece…

Why can’t we just read about how to heal our relationships and be “all better”?

Oy! You see what I mean, people? We coaches fall into the “procrastination trap” too! So, let’s apply some of the “learning” I reveal in the Procrastination piece to myself shall we?

Why did I really spend the last two hours re-working an old post? Sure, we could lay the blame at the feet of “I didn’t know what to write…” But is that the whole truth?

As we explored in my above mentioned piece, what was I really feeling that led to the procrastination?

Lost, overwhelmed by the task, and a little insecure.

I want to provide value to you, and I’m hoping if I can reach you with an e-book then I’ll be able to help even more of you lead happier lives through Astrology! Quite frankly, I want to provide this value while not “giving away the farm” as all my friends keep saying to me.

But what’s the real danger with “giving it away”? When professionals give too much away, you don’t think you need to reach out to anyone. Why is this a problem? Consider this…

When we are challenged by an area of our lives, we go onto the web and we look for “answers”.

Most of our challenges exist within our relationships with ourselves, or with others.

Now, this makes sense on the surface, right? The internet has a wealth of possible “answers” for many things… we can read about:

  • Healing relationships
  • How to speak to others
  • When to speak and when to listen…
  • Why we Procrastinate… (ahem)

I mean, the available “advice” is literally endless. So how come all this “advice” is never enough? Why can’t we just read about how to heal our relationships and be “all better”?

What the internet can’t do, what no “text” on it’s own can do, is heal our relationships.

Self-help, on it’s own, is just another form of procrastination.

What’s the root of the the word “relationship”?
R-E-L-A-T-E. Look it up, it means: “To find or show a connection between two or more people or things.”

“Two or more people…”

When you are alone reading “advice” you are not relating to someone else. Even though there is an implied relationship between reader and writer, we are separated; there is no true give and take. The “give” happened when I wrote this, and you get to “take” it, or not. You can “give back” in the comment section of this blog (which I love), but if you are looking to heal your relationships, you will need to do that with a real person: not a book, not a website, not a podcast, not a YouTube video.

No matter how objective you think you can be, you can never be as objective about yourself, and what you’re up to, as someone else.

Now, understand me here… much of the material out there in the “self-help” world is tremendously valuable information. I’ve read a ton of it myself. I would even say that many of the authors are divinely inspired, and I mean that most sincerely!

Our culture has become so “in love” with “self-help” books that we even have a new term for the phenomenon: “Biblio-therapy” or receiving therapy from a book. And I really do get why this feels easier… but self-help, on it’s own, is just another form of procrastination.

If you want to heal your relationship to relating you’re going to have to talk to another person.

So… A little pressure on my e-book, eh? Do you see my challenge in striking a Libra balance?
Write an informative e-book, without saying so much that you think you can continue to procrastinate without having to change what you know is getting in your way.

How can you tell if you’re just procrastinating? If nothing has changed…

Change is hard (believe me, I know!) and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. Really, you don’t. But if you want to improve your life, then you’re going to have to make some changes working with a real person.
Or… You can continue to procrastinate with another e-book/self-help book/blog-post/audible book/podcast/youtube video…

The choice is Yours.

(Hey maybe there’s a subject for an e-book here after all?)

 

Always infinite possibilities, always your choice.

Procrastination

Procrastinating Squirrel

Procrastination Squirrel

“What you resist persists.”—Carl Jung

Would it surprise you if I said that I have been procrastinating about writing this entry? Coaches fall into the procrastination trap too! Here’s a little secret: we didn’t become Life Coaches because we’re naturally brilliant at Life. Largely we became coaches because we know first-hand how hard it can be to “get it together”.

What is procrastination? Many of my clients face it every day.

Procrastination keeps you from being present, and places you forever behind the 8-ball. It keeps you from experiencing life.

Procrastination is the phenomenon that suggests that everything else is more important than what you’ve just sat down to do. (Sitting down to write this entry, for example “required” first that I file my nails, get another cup of tea, price out the latest MacBook Pro on the Apple site, see what exhibits are available at the MET and check the weather to see how much time I have to enjoy this sunny day.) What is that? ADHD? What is it about simply doing what we’ve stated we want to do?

Well, I can tell you want happens for me: When I sit down to write, I hit a rebellious streak and want to leap out of my chair like my buns are on fire! “I could be doing something “fun”!” my inner 10-year-old complains. Suddenly, I feel trapped, with rarely a thought about how taking this action will offer me greater freedom when I’m done.
In fact, procrastination is the trap because it prevents you from accomplishing and keeps you yearning for the time of completion. Procrastination keeps you from being present, and places you forever behind the 8-ball. It keeps you from experiencing life.

Taking action now will offer me greater freedom when I’m done.


What are you feeling when you sit down to a task and find yourself filing your nails? Are you pissed off? Lonely? “Bored?” (I put “bored” in quotes because “boredom” is really a mask for another feeling. Often it’s anger, sadness, or fear that’s beneath the “boredom”… What is it for you?)

While humans are complicated beings, there is one thing about procrastination of which I am clear: we often procrastinate about the things that are the most important to us. That important thing represents a part of ourselves that we are a little afraid to live out. Not because it’s a “bad” thing, but because it’s a really “good” thing.

When we work on our resumes, or send in applications, or write, or create art, or put together business plans, we’re stating in some way that we are worth the effort. We are standing proud, at least in our own living rooms, and claiming something powerful about ourselves. We are saying “I matter”. “I matter enough to follow through on this. I am important enough to take this time and do this thing. I am nervous about stepping into that role, and I am capable of doing it. This is my life. This is my goal. I am taking a stand… now.”

(Powerful words those… so much so, that it may be time to make another cup of tea… Which I did…)

Procrastination is about distraction…

If procrastination is about distraction, what is it you are wanting to be distracted from? What is it that you don’t want to feel that sends you flying out of that chair? If you can understand what that is, you are well on your way to becoming more focused.

As Carl Jung said, “what you resist, persists”. When all our energy is going into not feeling something, you can bet it will keep showing up until we do.

Get Going!

The “trick” with procrastination is in first catching yourself “there”. When you do, rather than beat yourself up, or go into a panic, follow these steps:

  1. Take a quick inventory of your feelings around the project, and allow yourself to feel them. For example, “I’m pissed off because I don’t want to do this.” Allowing that it’s true, that you’re pissed, (or whatever), you can decide to move forward or not.
  2. Explore if now is the time to be working on it or are you actually procrastinating about something else? If now is the time…
  3. Call to mind a friend who gets things done. Ask yourself, “How would they approach this task? What would be different if I did it the way they would do it?” (If possible, consider asking this person to be an accountability partner for you… OR hire me!)
  4. Do a “3-Part Breathing Exercise”
    Through your nose:
    • breathe in for a slow count of 4,
    • hold for a slow count of 6,
    • exhale for a slow count of 8, repeat several times until more clear.

And Remember…
Always infinite possibilities… Always your choice.