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“What qualities of the heart does busyness obscure?”

This week nature provides us with the New Moon in Sagittarius. Any time the New Moon comes around, astronomically it means the Sun and Moon have the same ecliptic longitude, meaning the Moon goes behind the Sun, from our view on earth. Astrologically, this means the Sun and the Moon are in the same sign, and become ‘conjunct,’ or on top of each other. So it’s a good time for beginnings, intention setting, and it’s a pronounced moment of the particular energy of the sign they are both in. This time it will be the Sun and Moon both in Sagittarius, along with Jupiter. 

All this fire energy brings a bigness to life for so many of us, which can appear as excitement or anticipation, and it can also appear as overwhelm, burn out, or exhaustion. 

This is a time where so many feel overrun with busyness, with work, holiday and family events, and a sense of getting through it. That our real lives will start again when the holidays are over. That our new years resolutions will start. That we’ll pick up our commitments to what sustains us again a little later. 

For people in the northern hemisphere, this is the opposite of what nature is encouraging us to do - let our bodies rest, do less with the very short days, embrace sleep during the long nights. Electricity is amazing - it’s part of what allows me to be typing this right now, but it’s also a way that we profoundly disconnect from what is happening around us. This disconnection is a big part of why things end up feeling wrong or unsatisfying in our lives at this time of year. We aren’t often listening to what is needed, or if we do, we feel we can’t respond with the appropriate (in)action, because of all sorts of commitments and obligations.

So this question feels especially important to return to right now - 

“What qualities of the heart does busyness obscure?” (-Matthew Brensilver)

When you’re busy, who and what are you available to? 

Who and what are you not available to?

What might your pace be preventing you from seeing? 

“The great tragedy of speed as an answer to the complexities and responsibilities of existence is that very soon we cannot recognize anything or anyone who is not traveling at the same velocity as we are. We see only those moving in the same whirling orbit and only those moving with the same urgency. Soon we begin to suffer a form of amnesia, caused by the blurred vision of velocity itself, where those germane to our humanity are dropped from our minds one by one. We start to lose sight of any colleagues who are moving at a slower pace, and we start to lose sight of the bigger, slower cycles that underlie our work. We especially lose sight of the big, unfolding wave form passing through our lives that is indicative of our central character.” -David Whyte

But this post is not meant to lead to despair about your circumstances, your busyness. The moment we ask the question about what is being obscured in and of our hearts, we return our attention to our hearts. It doesn’t even take moving slow to remember this! You don’t have to feel like you are failing at not resting, like you’re adding another thing to your to do list by reading this. You can just notice where you are, what is happening, right now. (Noticing changes everything.)

Here are a few contradictory suggested assignments - in the spirit of seeking that is the Sagittarius archetype, and in the spirit of not seeking anything at all, as a balance.

  1. Find at least one way to do less this week. Take something off the list. Look at your life, remember what parts of it you are the boss of, and then claim your position as such. Reclaim your own permission to not do everything. Connect this permission to your political life, to your politics. Understand and articulate your rest and conscious inaction as actions which bring you closer to the world you want.

  2. Attend a birth or death. Norman Fischer says to attend as many deaths and births as you can, and I think this is excellent advice. I realize this is not likely possible for many people to make happen in the next week, and perhaps not even advisable. But use these life events as metaphors to invite in and practice a different relationship with time. If you have ever attended a birth, or a death, or cared for a small child, or tended to someone very ill, or have been very ill yourself, you have probably experienced a different version of time, a very different pace than much of the modern human world moves at. We get confused and think that the pace we are used to is a ‘normal’ pace, and these other life events and circumstances I’m describing seem somehow not normal. Not only are they happening all the time, to millions on the planet, they’re also incredible opportunities to reconnect to the truth of our own hearts. The ways our hearts actually long to connect, to express. When someone is dying who is close to you, suddenly a million things don’t matter - in fact most things we preoccupy ourselves with don’t matter much at all. The question then becomes, what matters in those moments? What is left of our lives, what do we prioritize then? These experiences provide awakenings to the essence of our lives, and that’s why it’s good to pay attention to them, to practice their influence even when they aren’t happening, to bring us back from the endless stories of stress we spend so much time confusing as the only main event. So I’m saying, if you don’t have a birth or a death to attend, find someone going a very different speed than you, to help you open to and remember what matters to you. To remind you not to wait for the holidays to be over to regard yourself and others as you truly want to. Or write and reflect on what the differences between these states are, and what elements, what remembering, you can bring into your busy life right now.

  3. Don’t worry about doing anything differently, don’t change anything about your circumstances or events in the coming week. Just notice when you’re busy or you feel hectic or flustered, and ask yourself how your heart feels. Notice what your heart feels. Everything in us just wants to be acknowledged.