Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Vulnerable Steadiness

As I hurriedly moved my last bag out of my room at the beach, I drew up short to watch the very slow and steady progress of this slug. The grey walkway was smooth going, but there was the obvious gap and switch of terrain. The slug's feelers stretched out to assess its continued course. I put my bag down, groped for my phone, and noticed the steadiness of its progress. Slow, yet not hesitant.

My car packed, I continued to ponder the slug's movement. Was there meaning in my encounter with this creature? The obvious meaning was slow down. In today's culture of busyness, we move frenetically.  We live under the overarching theme of more ~ more work, more money, more play, more vehicles, more experiences, more house/s, more food, and the ultimate: more time. We act as though the faster we move, the more we can do and acquire. We forget that faster does not equate with better and quantity does not equate with quality. It reminds me of Harry Chapin's song Cat's in the Cradle:
My son turned 10 just the other day
Said, "Thanks for the ball, now c'mon let's play.
Will you teach me to throw?"
I said, "Not today.
I've got a lot to do." He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away and he smiled and he said,
"You know I'm going to be like you, Dad.
You know I'm going to be like you."
What we really need to do is slow down. More than that. We need to pay attention. Follow the trails written in the earth beneath us. Move at a steady, considered pace. Breathe deeply of the dew-soaked, loamy morning air. Touch all we love with tenderness. Allow every sense space to express and explore. Be awake and aware. Let your vulnerability be the voice of your strength.

What is your usual pace? Is it the same every day? What do you attend to as you move through your day? When do you slow down? What do you notice when you do? How can you move more slowly and observantly? Do you recognize when you are vulnerable? How do you express your vulnerability? Which of your senses is the strongest? Do you notice how every one of your senses processes the world around you? What one thing can you do to increase your awareness? How many times in the past week have you said something akin to 'not now' to someone or something you love?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Conscious Forgiveness

Today's Teabag Tarot shows up as Uranus the Change-Maker begins its transit in Taurus. Change ~ whether desired, expected or sudden ~ produces its own level of stress and anxiety. As we experience our own variety of change, interacting with others in the midst of theirs can be complex. Feelings are often on edge during these passages and are more easily hurt.

As we progress into the various stages of shift and change, we also have the opportunity to remember that we have choice. And control. Maybe not over what happens, but certainly over how quickly, radically or rationally we react. Even if we react with undue haste or rudeness, we can choose to express our regrets afterward.

If we are the ones hit by another's hasty retort or action, we have another type of choice: whether or not to forgive. As today's Teabag Tarot so clearly points out, forgiveness is up to us. It is an individual act of conscious choosing. Forgiveness softens us. It reveals our best nature, our recognition of the other's humanity.

As we learn and lean into forgiveness, it also helps us. Think about the last time someone hurt or offended you ~ called you a name, spoke poorly of your work or appearance, stole from you, any situation that caused you pain. Our first reaction is generally hurt. Then we slip into anxiety and blame. It's part of our human nature. Think about how your body feels at these moments ~ muscles tense, heart rate increases, breathing speeds up or gets held, all signs of adrenaline and norepinephrine kicking in. There's a desire to run, hide or fight.

For several years, I worked with someone who was a bully ~ and I was one of the targets. They were good at their job and bosses ignored their bullying actions. My personal way of reacting was to hide or freeze. This person chewed me out in front of other co-workers, providers and clients. Over time, I learned to actively step into curiosity, internal questions: What made this person so angry? Who had hurt them so badly that they felt the need to hurt others? What did they gain from their bullying? I noted other stressors in their work environment at the time of each outburst: encounters not going the way they wanted them to; a meeting going sideways; support personnel being absent. All changes they couldn't control. Their bullying behaviors didn't change, but my responses did. I was less cowed, more assertive or simply quiet. My capacity to forgive, though not changing the actions of the other, changed me. Each time adrenaline and norepinephrine kicked in, I still froze, but I recovered from the effects more quickly.

As we consciously move into forgiveness, we counter these physical effects. We can breathe through what feels like an attack. This is not as easy to do as it is to say. It's a practice ~ which is why it has to be conscious. But actively practicing it helps our overall health.

How do you react to change? Do you want to fight? flee? freeze? Do you carry grudges against others who have wronged you? How do you feel each time you think of or encounter that person? What are your physical reactions to these thoughts? What are your physical reactions if/when you ask for forgiveness? How about after that?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Taurus New Moon 2018

©2018 ML Monroe

The Taurus New Moon arrives on May 15th followed by metaphysical Uranus, the original change-maker, as it slips into Taurus. Unlike Lady Moon, Uranus will be there for most of the next 8 years (with a retrograde dip into Aries).

Taurus is about embodiment, stability and values. This New Moon is a good time to ground ourselves in our values. Uranus is about breathing into and surrendering to the constancy of change in our lives. Centering our energy on the present moment plants us in peace. Taurus supports our control over our awareness of our feelings, thoughts and actions. Uranus brings change accompanied by creativity.

This dual movement of the New Moon and Uranus into Taurus opens the space for us to align creating goals with our deepest soul values. Prioritizing this as we build new foundations keeps us stable. Not doing so leaves open an opportunity for those foundations to break apart. This is where we need both to ground with the secure consistency of Taurus and to flow with the awakening change of Uranus. Though there are bound to be growing pains, we need to trust the process.

A thought-provoking research item: the last time Uranus moved into Taurus was June 1934, where it remained (with a 6-month retrograde back to Aries) until August 1941. Historically, a time of major shifts in energy. Of course, a multitude of factors were in play during that time and no two transits are ever identical because of those other factors.

In 2018, a different set of factors point to this transit shifting us closer to a full honoring of the Divine Feminine in all of creation. Even if the world seems to descend into chaos, we rest in the Stillpoint of the Divine. Activities we can do to encourage the shift include dancing, walking, hiking, exercising, gardening. Getting outdoors. Being present in our bodies. Working with each and all of our senses to relate to our environment. Staying grounded in whatever manner works best for each of us.

How do you maintain grounding and inner peace? What is your personal relationship with the Divine Feminine? How aware are you of your guiding principle? What do you do when faced with change? How does your creativity express itself in the midst of upheaval? Who can you count on to help you focus?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Scorpio Full Moon 2018

Somewhere between April 29th and April 30th, Lady Moon reaches Her fullness in Scorpio. As with so many events that happen in Scorpio (especially those bringing light to the dark corners), this one promises to be a doozy. Every Full Moon challenges us to commit to a new fullness in our lives. Every Full Moon lights our way to seeing all the dimensions of that new fullness or path. This light-bringing is their greatest gift.

We often look at Full Moons as a time to call in what we want, what we need, what we are seeking. They are a time also of letting go. In essence, we have to let go of what continues to hide in the shadows during the light of the Full Moon in order to create the space for the Other, the Best Intentions for our next steps.

This particular Scorpio Full Moon was preceded by Pluto, the ruler of the Underworld ~ the Land of the Dead ~ and influencer of Scorpio, beginning its six months of retrograde in Capricorn by standing still. This movement, or seeming lack of movement, challenges us sit under the Bodhi Tree or Tree of Life communing with our own inner Plutonian shaman to face our deepest fears fully, which we are often less than willing to do. The light created by this Full Moon reveals our subconscious influences, giving us access to using their power in our favor. Find a mantra, see a dream image, direct a meditation ~ any of these can unlock our depths for or best interest.

Pluto and Mars ~ both having influences over Scorpio ~ currently create a receptive Lunar portal for deep connections with the Divine Feminine. All we need to do is set our intentions and destroy any negative or disconnected pieces of our past and dance, sing, praise, write, plant the seeds of cellular healing. Nourish our deepest Self in the energy of this Full Scorpio Moon.

Since both Saturn and Pluto are in Capricorn (the Middle World) right now, Mars' singular power brings us into close communion with Saturn's discipline and wisdom in conjunction with Pluto's transformative capacity to keep us focused and moving. We need the support of our ancestors, allies and guides as we maneuver the currents of this time of shift. We need to remember to ask for ~ and offer ~ help.

Two other planets join Pluto in retrograde right now: Jupiter and Saturn, making this what many call a retrograde trifecta. Jupiter is the change maker and can ease our desired transformation past stubborn Taurus. Practical Saturn supports success in our lives. Pluto finishes off the change masters by being the archetype of death and re-birth. So with Scorpio's truth-telling encouragement, Taurus doesn't stand a chance. Expect and reflect on various levels of breakthroughs. Shed your old skin. Trust that your goals will come to fruition in time. No rush.

One final consideration. Scorpio has three aspects. The Scorpion, stinging every passerby simply because that is its nature. The Eagle, taking the long view on silent, shadowing wings. The Phoenix, catching fire spontaneously and rising from its ashes. All three hide. All three are deadly in their own way. Each teaches us about Pluto's realm: Change, Death, Re-birth.

What transformation has come into the light recently? What long-term goal have you been working toward that needs a nudge to happen? Which of your ancestors, allies or guides is showing up in your life? Where is your personal Tree of Life? What practice will help you patiently reflect? Which of Scorpio's three aspects calls more urgently to you right now?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aries New Moon 2018

Sometime between the evening of April 15th and the morning of April 16th depending on our location in the world, Lady Luna will be New in the sky. She will grace us in the sign of fiery Aries. Even so, this is a less challenging New Moon than the previous two.

Every New Moon is perfect for new beginnings. This one is particularly good for connecting with our Spiritual Self and Whoever or Whatever we believe in.

The Aries New Moon opens space for our questions about our beliefs, our attitudes and our actions, forcing us to define ourselves and to face what may no longer be working in our lives. Those questions may demand that we step beyond our comfort zones, something Aries both supports and calls forth. The intent is to provide more balance and gentle harmony in our lives.

Our relationships may also come under a new scrutiny with the influence of the Aries New Moon. Parts of those relationships may need to be redefined or issues within them may need to be addressed. Perhaps most importantly, this applies to our relationship with ourselves as well. We may be called to commit to a personal goal or to take positive action. Perhaps to move forward in confidence on a new project or simply to take charge of a part of our life that has slipped our notice until now. Aries brings a positive forward-moving action to all we begin during this New Moon.

What needs to change in your relationship to yourself? What attitude or habit do you want or need to change? What practice is being called into your life to connect your with your Spiritual Self? How will you take better care of yourself?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Finding Our Mythic Voices

Coming Waves ~ ©2018 ML Monroe

Myths are bigger-than-life stories filled with beautiful symbols and strong characters. They provide lessons about life, creation, and existence along with a sense of community, belonging and wonder.

Myths are also beautiful, subtle lies. They create magical auras of superiority and difference. As much as we may deny it, we are culturally, and some would say biologically, programmed to accept and believe this too. We want to be important, significant, recognized, acknowledged.

The false side of some of our most precious myths still flash with diamond-sharp light. The Crusades were a result of believing one group was Chosen and another was Heretic. The Holocaust. The Islamic State. The Armenian Genocide. We understand those big ones. Most of us do not subscribe to them.

Some myths are more subtle. Black males as inherently violent. Women created to be subservient. Racial/ethnic/cultural purity as important. Poor people as lazy. Rich people as arrogant. They may even be individual or family myths. Even though these myths may have some flash and sheen to them, they are significantly cutting, damaging and maybe even dangerous. The subtlety of these myths sweeps over us like an ocean wave. We feel its presence and even some of its power. Until it builds to the point of knocking us over, we often don't recognize the full force of impact.

The upside is that we have agency. We have the ability to change the stories, to rewrite the myths. The #MeToo movement is doing that. As is the #NeverAgain movement. And #BlackLivesMatter. We have the opportunity to reach within ourselves and rediscover the truth. Both our personal truth as well as the cultural and communal truth.

In the arena of personal myths, many have been passed to us by the community around us. We believe we are important or unimportant because that's what has been imparted to us. We believe we have control over others ~ often a myth inadvertently passed to the eldest child. We believe we are only popular if we are the captain of the football team or the mathletes. We believe we will not amount to anything or we have the right  us because of where we were born. Individual mythologies are numerous.

We have agency over these too. When we discover them and name them, we own them. They no longer own us. It takes focus and work after that to use our own mythic voices, those inner whispers that pointed out the fallacies in the myths, to rework and rewrite them. Doing so gives us a renewed strength with the bonus that it also bolsters our creative, mythic voice.

How do you know what myths have influence over your life? What personal myth have you believed that no longer serves you? What communal myth have you believed that no longer serves you? What steps will you take to change those myths? How loud ~ or quiet ~ is your mythic voice?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Discovering Truth in Mythic Voices

When it comes to mythology, we have diverse views concerning what it is, how to interpret it, who gets to define it, and why many of the myths echo each other. We also have differing ways of comparing our personal myths with ancient/traditional ones.

It is generally accepted that myths provide us with stories and symbols which shape our beliefs about ourselves, our community, our world, and our humanity.

Over time these stories and symbols grow into myths. Once that happens, we no longer question them. They structure the meaning and direction our minds use to define the way things are or are meant to be. As with so many things, myths are at their most powerful in our lives when they are so deeply ingrained, we don't name them. We believe we don't have to define them because they simply are. At that point, we generally have little awareness of their power over us.

We see this everywhere around us. Every day. All of our most noxious isms grow out of one or more of these unquestioned, deeply ingrained myths. And yet....many of our most cherished myths are also about change. Siddhartha Gautama sat under the bodhi tree until he reached enlightenment. Jesus preached about and shared all he had as an example of change. Kwan Yin choose to stay on the Earth plane to continue to be a compassionate source. Boudica, as queen of the British Celtic Iseni tribe, went to war to free her people from Roman rule, uncommon for a woman. Hercules. Mulan. Moana. Even Disney retells our myths. Sherlock Holmes. Lyra Silvertongue. Tom Sawyer. We find mythic characters everywhere. We listen to their mythic voices.

We have choice. We have agency. We determine which myths we will believe. Which we will follow. Which we will question.

Which stories live within your life? How do you determine what is myth? Are there beliefs you have about yourself that grow out of those stories or myths? What symbols are significant in your life? Where did you learn about those symbols? Why are they important?