Friday, October 6, 2017

Listen, Attend

Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.
- Susan Scott

We spend much of our lives in conversation. We converse with our partners, our children, our parents, our workmates, our neighbors, everyone around us. How well we attend to the other person is often another story. We are often chatting while doing something else. Anything else. Driving. Watching TV. Making dinner. Texting. Listening to music. Watching for our stop on a bus or train.

People make a big deal out of young people (in particular) texting or being on social media rather than communicating face to face. In truth, some of those texts or social media conversations are very intense. The participants are attending closely to what the other is saying. Some of those conversations are skimmed and content or context missed. But that's true in face to face conversations as well. We're alive inside our own personal thoughts, actions, reactions, but not necessarily to what the other is communicating.

Each conversation we have with each person who is in our lives is important, significant in its own unique way. Conversations are about ebb and flow, the back and forth give-and-take of interactions. When we are distracted or focused on something other than the person with whom we are communicating, we miss cues to the deeper message behind their words.

We all want to feel heard, to be heard, to have another respond to us as though we are, in the moment, the most important person in the world. In truth, in those moments of deepest communication, we are that important. In order to receive that focus from another, we must be willing to give it. We must be willing to slow our pace. We must be willing to stop our attempt to 'multitask' and attend to another person. Listen. Attend. It's important.

How many times have you walked away from a conversation with no recall of its content? or its context? What has distracted you during your most recent conversation with another person? and the one before that? When was the last time you felt, thought or believed that another person was not paying attention while you were speaking to them? How did you feel? What can you do to keep your attention in your next conversation?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Aries Full Moon 2017

©2017 ML Monroe

Wow! Time is certainly moving more quickly every day. Wasn't it yesterday, I wrote about the Solar Eclipse?

Are the two events related? Short answer: of course they are. Everything that has followed the Solar Eclipse is related to it.

The Solar Eclipse brought strong, sometimes subtle, sometimes strong, changes for everyone. The Aries Full Moon brings the time to face whatever obstacles stand in the midst of our life. Then it gives us the light and power to move through and past them as needed. First, though, it requires our surrender of the obstacle that lives within.

Sometimes Aries pulls us into a confrontation mode. We want to battle everyone. What this Full Moon calls us to do is feel deeply into that confrontation to uncover what part of it is assertiveness and what is sheer aggression. We need to shed the aggression and focus on the assertive. Since this Full Moon is happening in conjunction with the Sun sign of Libra, we have the opportunity to draw from that sign to work positively on relationships ~~ not simply charge at and crash into everyone and everything.

Much of what is happening in our world reflects the Shadow. This Full Moon shines a light for us to explore new ways to consciously voice our emotions, to own our wishes, hopes and desires, and to bring honest, open communication into our relationships. It is time to fully grow into and express our true selves, to bring that part of our beingness into Light. We also are in a time where we focus on our place in the Divine Plan.

The proximity of this Full Moon to a Venus-Mars alignment adds a flavor of intensity and passion. There is opportunity and danger as well as both fate and freewill concerning those strong emotions. Though the Aries Full Moon is generally impulsive about moving forward without a backward glance, this one is inhibited by a sulky Pluto in Capricorn and a hesitant Mercury in Libra.

The Aries Full Moon illuminates our need and desire for balance in every aspect of our world. Watch carefully what it brings into illumination for you.

What can you do about violence? in yourself? in your world? How can you create relationships in beauty and remain true to yourself? How do you disagree with others without violating them or yourself? How do you find and maintain balance? How do you break through the learned fear of showing your true self?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Autumn Equinox 2017

The Equinox is all about equal time. Not surprising that it leads us into the sign of Libra, the Balance. Harmony. Focus. Collaboration. Compassion. All of the aspects of the balancing sign of Libra.

One month ago, we were in the midst of the energy of the Solar Eclipse. Was that truly only one month ago? It seems like a lifetime has evolved in the interim. That eclipse touched at least 14 states in the US ~ maybe more, if counting those that were beyond the 90% totality mark.

Between then and now, several hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires have touched even more lives. It's almost as though the corona of eclipse lit up more than the sky. And here we are, at the moment in the year where we can almost hear the wheel crank toward autumn. Before it fully clicks into place, we hang in the momentary balance of Light and Dark.

Although we call this day both the final day of Summer and the first day of Fall, neither season moves quite so precisely into the next. Yes, the tilt of the Earth is at its farthest reach. If the sky is clear enough for us to see the Moon, we will also find Jupiter close by, but only in the dance of light before sunset. At least until the 25th, when Saturn steps closer to the Moon.

Fall is the time of year when we switch our goals from expansion and growth to the harvest. Reaping what we have sown. And it signals a general slowing of the pace. Not quite to full relaxation, but certainly to a more mellow pace. The light begins to lessen and the dark and quiet pervade our world. Hopefully, we find our rhythm syncing with Nature's. We feel the cyclical time pulling at us. Quiet ourselves and listen.

What goals and intentions that you planted in the Spring are you reaping now? What are you going to turn under, plow into the soil, this Fall? How will you slow your pace? How do you feel the rhythm of Nature? Where do you find harmony? What in your life needs to be balanced?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shower of Flowers

I received an amazing surprise recently. While enjoying my tea and chatting with some friends, a delivery person ~ who looked very familiar! ~ came in with these flowers. He came right up to me and told me they were for me. My eyes widened and my jaw dropped into a silly grin as I thanked him for them. Then he and my partner exchanged glances. I suddenly knew where I'd seen him previously ~ this setting was simply out of context. As my partner got up to leave, we hugged and a whispered "I love you" completed the moment.

Afterward, as I looked at the flowers sitting on the table and as I took this picture, I found the grin still on my face. I posted the picture on social media and gathered my things. I couldn't shake that feeling of being singled out, of being special, of that sweet innocence that comes with a gift.

Throughout the day, my thoughts returned to that sweet event. How often has someone given you flowers? A couple of weeks ago, while shopping at Costco, I commented to my significant other, "I like getting flowers occasionally." If the flowers came that day or even the next, I would've discounted it. I'd asked for them. What happened instead was that my partner kept my comment in mind and surprised me. No special reason. It felt good to be heard.

Occasionally over the years I've gotten myself flowers. After a particularly difficult work day or because I'd completed a project or simply because they looked so beautiful in the store. Did it matter why? No. Their scent, color and aliveness a always made me smile.

I thought about women I'd known who'd done the same. Our culture of "say it with flowers" implies saying "it" to someone else. It's wonderful when someone else gives them. It's also wonderful, in a very different way, when we care enough about ourselves to gift that kind of beauty to ourselves. For no special reason. Just because we heard our own comment and responded accordingly.

What do flowers signify to you? How do you express your caring for another? Do you remember little comments made by those you care about? How do you act on those comments? How are you affected by little acts of kindness made by one who cares for you? How have other moments of kindness shown up in your life?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Virgo New Moon 2017

Another New Moon. More letting go. More releasing what no longer serves. That's what New Moon energy is for.

This New Moon continues the changes begun with the solar eclipse. Since eclipses begin six month goal cycles, each new moon within that time defines a new developmental phase for long-term goals. The solar eclipse in August started the path of bold, confident changes for positive growth and happiness. Since this New Moon is opposite Chiron, adjustments must be made in how to attain the goals in response to the deepest and most painful personal wounds.

Although it may feel easier to make a completely new start, that kind of extreme change is tougher on friends, partners, family and other loved ones. Finances need to be considered in the midst of these shifts as well. It's the old adage of don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Be careful not to cause total chaos. It's important to focus on the big picture as well as personal desire. There is always the possibility for adventure and personal growth in education, travel, new relationships or other opportunities while continuing core responsibilities.

Be awake to and aware of the ripple effect of each act. What is said or done creates small, overlapping moves that touch others. One person cannot counter the effects of areas ravaged by hurricanes, floods, wildfires or earthquakes. But one gesture of care and healing can influence others and combine with the gestures of others to make a difference.

Since the energy of this New Moon is Virgo, it's about healing every aspect of being ~ mind, body and soul. Virgo is about self-focus as well as other focus. This presents an opportunity for burnout if we balance too far one way or the other. The capacity to nurse and heal wounds is strong in Virgo's energy, especially if used thoughtfully.

There's much in this New Moon that is focused on problem-solving: Venus, Mars, Mercury, the Sun and the Moon are all in Virgo. There's no way to avoid the strong pull of cleaning up everything. A good time to focus on a project, for work, pleasure or home.

What healing do you need? What is the wound that is surfacing right now? What is the most loving thing you can do for yourself? What are you hooked on? What can you release and give up? How can you best move forward toward achieving the goals you set during the solar eclipse? How can your positive gestures make a difference? How can your thoughtless gestures create chaos? Which will you consciously or unconsciously choose?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Leo New Moon, After Eclipsing

Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

All this week, in every venue, talk eventually turns to the eclipse. Every news outlet, all social media, each conversation on the street begins with some comment about it. "Did you see?" "Where were you?" "We seem to have survived..." "Didn't realize the temperature would drop so significantly!"

With the Leo New Moon and the solar  eclipse happening at virtually the same time, the energetic effect of each increased with the power and impact of the other. Leo is all about the will, specifically, choice and action. After our experience of the new moon and eclipse, what action will we choose to take?

One of our most significant choices in life is whether we choose to see an experience as happy or miserable, as positive or negative. Our first reaction may be anger or upset or angst or fear. We cannot change the feeling. What we can change is how we move forward with it, how we see it in the larger perspective, how long we allow ourselves to sit in the stew of those emotions. We have the opportunity to use our will to move forward in whatever manner we desire.

The solar eclipse not only brought up emotions, some sensitive people had physical reactions as well. Like when we fall in love or we lose a job or someone leaves or dies, our system may respond with restlessness, a lack of appetite or an upset stomach. It's how we experience and cope with rapid change. Prior to the eclipse, discussions focussed on whether to be outside during the event, be with large or small groups, or be alone. People had celebrations, camped out, created rituals. No matter where we were or with whom, the expansive eclipse was a communal experience.

We are moving through one of those liminal places where what we choose as our focus ripples out to help form our communal future. The eclipse and this Leo New Moon are not only about our desires but also about our will to create and co-create the story of our future. Choose concisely, wisely and with care.

What did you do for/during the eclipse? What emotional responses did you have? What physical reactions did you experience? How did you choose to respond? What action are you choosing to move forward into? How do you want your future to be? What part of the story of our communal future are you willing to write?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eclipse is A-comin'
Unless living in a cave or entirely off the grid in North America, you've seen scads of information on the solar eclipse coming in its totality to a region near you. put out a recall on some suspect/useless eclipse glasses sold through their site. Anywhere on the path of near totality, remember to not look at the sun during the event without appropriate eye protection.

Many articles provide information from diverse sources, from NASA to religious views to channeled messages to advertising. It's a challenge to sift through them and decide what is accurate, what is opinion, what is bunk.

Some ancient peoples hid during the eclipse. There was fear that it was the end of the world as they knew it. Some traditions continue to support hiding or remaining indoors. Other ancients explored the event, allowing their curiosity free reign. Some experts believe one function of England's Stonehenge was to predict the coming of an eclipse.

Eclipses affect us whether we actually see them or not. They are major astral events and our system, our individual core selves, recognize that. There is a tremendous energy occurring around this one. Besides the solar eclipse itself, there is the Leo New Moon, Mercury in retrograde and visible during the eclipse along with Jupiter, Venus and Mars, AND all the people who are and will be traveling.

An event of this caliber creates a thinning of the veils between the worlds. Eclipses take us into the Dark at an untimely time. They also bring us out of that Dark and back into the Light. Though our minds may be prepared for it, our more subtle being experiences the strangeness of it. Even people who don't generally feel this can sense a push from every direction. For some, it feels like a weight or burden. Others express a weariness. Many feel a vague and inexplicable agitation.

This is a time to practice good self-care and self-awareness. Self-care may involve telling significant others what you're feeling, taking time to be alone, meditate, pray or do whatever spiritual practice you may have. Rituals ground us. Be gentle with yourself and with those you love.

What do you want to leave behind in the Dark? What do you want to see birthed into the Light? What is calling to be center stage in your life? How do you see your significant expression of who you are shifting?