WHO IS BRINGING YOU WATER?
The Fall Equinox happens this coming weekend on Saturday for those in the northern hemisphere This is the time of year when the amount of day light and the amount of darkness is the same. It’s a moment between the Summer Solstice, when there is the most daylight all year, and the Winter Solstice, when there is the least day light all year. So this is a potent opportunity to take note of the bodies we are in, the lives we are living, the location on the planet we find ourselves, its season, what is going on here.
What has your life been over this summer? What do you want your life to be during this fall?
As I’ve mentioned some in these past weeks, it’s been a challenging time for me. The other day I was in a pretty desperate place and I went to a restaurant. I sat down and the server gave me a glass of sparkling water without me even asking for it. This gesture made me weep. Something that he does every day at work, all the time, that most people probably don’t notice. He probably doesn’t notice! He had probably done it 43 times that day before I walked in. This is not even an occurrence in most of our developed-world days! But because I have been struggling and everything feels hard at times, I noticed. This is an unexpected gift of struggling, that arrives every once in a while. I thought, no one has ever appreciated this glass of sparkling water as much as I am right now. I can’t know if that’s true and it doesn’t matter, but I keep learning this truth over and over - our appreciation comes out of our suffering. Appreciation is about the places where we aren’t suffering, where someone or something helps us to suffer less. Shinzen Young suggests practicing meditation where you focus on parts of your body that DON’T feel bad, parts that feel at ease. What part of you feels at ease? In other words, what part are you likely not paying attention to because it’s not in struggle?
You can increase your own joy right this minute by noticing the places in your body that feel okay, or even good. You can increase your own joy right now by noticing when someone puts a glass of sparkling water down on your table for you to drink. It doesn’t matter if they notice, or even meant it to be kind. It’s still sustaining your life. You can notice that there are still plants living around you. That you have eyes that can read this. That you have a mind that can consider whether you agree with it or not.
Appreciation is not about flagellating yourself over what you have in life - this is why I sometimes avoid talking about it. It’s about not missing the nearly-impossible magic of what is conspiring toward your life in this very moment.
I’m not saying that the suffering people endure is “worth it.” I don’t think it is. But we don’t have control over that suffering. We have control over what we notice.
What will you notice in this hour? This day? This coming fall? What will you choose to see about how your life is unfolding?
ARIES | March 21-April 19
Question - What’s happening with your body in this space and time?
Meditation - laws of nature as protection, not a burden.
Assignment - Transition your diet into fall foods this week - warming, grounding, rooting. Moving from turbo summer energy to the beginning of the rest / composting / renewal cycle. Use the time you are eating this calming food to reflect on what the summer has been, and what you want the fall to be - especially the holiday time - you can set intentions now to help yourself stay more even through that time if you begin now!
TAURUS | April 20-May 20
Question - When do you pray?
Meditation - prayer as locating yourself.
Assignment - Experiment with prayer this week. If that word is too much / negatively associated for you, try something that doesn’t feel like prayer. The point is to do something that puts you in contact with your smallness, among the vastness of the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe. Sometimes the intention or even wondering what it would mean to pray can offer a new perspective on what is going on here, and take a break from the everyday practical material Taurean perspective.
GEMINI | May 21-June 20
Question - When do you let yourself compost?
Meditation - leaves composting back into the ground.
Assignment - Write about what needs to be composted this week. In your psyche, in your life, in your fridge, in your relationships. Reread what you wrote. Take note of it. Breathe while you take note of it. Then rest and let it happen. Effort is not what is called for here, it’s more the opposite of effort, an allowing nature to run through your life, work its magic.
CANCER | June 21-July 22
Question - What is health to you?
Meditation - health as connectedness
Assignment - When was the last time you thought about your overall health? When was the last time you actually asked yourself what your personal health looks like? Write about this. It’s not about judging yourself for not doing something or doing too much of something. It’s just everything shifts when we notice - so what needs attention to be noticed? Take some time to just reflect on what health means to you, and if there is a gap between that and what your daily life looks like. Do this with as much self-love and acceptance as possible!
LEO | July 23-August 22
Question - When and where are your fallow times?
Meditation - fallow as life-giving.
Assignment - You need the sun and creative life force perhaps more than anyone. But part of this includes fallow times, and if you don’t make space for them, they will come in a more jarring and/or extreme way to force you into taking time to recuperate. Use this transition into fall as a time to reflect on when and how you will invite - cultivate even - fallow times. It will be a good practice for the steady burn of your fire, instead of big fires and burn outs.
VIRGO | August 23-September 22
Question - When do you cultivate your visionary self?
Meditation - vast vision.
Assignment - As we transition out of Virgo season, spend some time visioning new possibilities for yourself. Let your sense of possibility grow bigger, let yourself dream more. Instead of just keeping your head down working like you always do, take some time to name your dreams. What do you really want but don’t talk about? What do you want but feels out of reach? Channel your fire brothers and sisters and imagine the obstacles are not fixed - because they aren’t. They seem large because you have this tendency to look at them and forget WHO is doing the looking. Who is doing the looking is the one who can create something much better and more beautiful and more relevant than the problems or obstacles.
LIBRA | September 23-October 23
Question - What plants are in your life regularly?
Meditation - plants as allies.
Assignment - Return to your relationship to plants this week, or begin to cultivate one if you don’t already have one. This could be taking care of a plant, being next to plants, visiting botanical gardens, noticing street trees and plants, etc. Plants are everywhere, even in desolate parking lots! Plants find a way, they are resourceful, they heal our planet, they live in deep relationship with us. You are so relational, it will heal you to spend time with their nourishment, in any way you can. The more you do this, the more you will know what to do and not be plagued with indecision.
SCORPIO | October 23-November 21
Question - When do you expend unnecessary energy?
Meditation - conserving emotional energy.
Assignment - Let your exhaustion be a signal to you this week - if you find yourself tired, yes sleep and rest from activity when possible. But even more than this, take note of what emotional energy you are expending - and how much of this is habitual versus necessary. Can you relate to others, complete your tasks, and take on less of others’ feelings? This can happen through simple slow breathing, and remembering with intention - I don’t have to take on anyone else’s emotions. I can remember this. This is caring for myself and others the most. The clearer I am about what is mine and what is theirs, the better I can show up, and the more connected I will feel.
SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21
Question - What shines in your life right now?
Meditation - shining.
Assignment - Are you taking enough time to appreciate what is shining, what is alive? Are you doing too much so that you miss this? Or is your attention on problems so often that you miss it? So simple, keep it simple, but just notice, write down a few things every day this week - what is alive, what is working, what is shining, what is thriving. There are things - if it feels hard to find them right now, it’s an indication of how important it is to take the time to do so.
CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19
Question - What forces are you in symbiosis with?
Meditation - vital green.
Assignment - What is helping you that you are also helping? How much do you pay attention to this mutuality occurring in your life? Give yourself time and space to see this, to be with it, to appreciate it, to RECEIVE. This is the main thing - to notice where you are offering, and especially to notice where you are receiving. And when and how you don’t let yourself receive, or aren’t really open to it. Don’t stress if you find this, just be gentle and see it, keep seeing it, and it will shift. Symbiosis is how the planet works, so it’s happening for you, and it brings so much more joy and peace to actively look for this in your life.
AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18
Question - When and what do you do alone?
Meditation - aloneness as a way to remember togetherness.
Assignment - Spend some time alone this week. It doesn’t matter that much what you are doing but make sure that it’s not something you typically do to distract yourself. Just let aloneness happen, and see what you notice about yourself. Is it scary? Is it calming? Is it easy? What is your mind doing? How much does your mind think about the future or past when you were with people? What happens when you try to bring it back to the present? What does it mean to be in a relationship with yourself?
PISCES | February 19 to March 20
Question - When do you stand in the wind?
Meditation - messiness.
Assignment - Let yourself be messy this week, don’t worry about cleaning up. You can do that next week. Let yourself feel what needs to be felt, let yourself be a Pisces all the way this week. Attend to your inner life. Attend to receiving. Attend to loving the mess itself, practice not wishing it were different. Allow, allow, allow.