MORE REFLECTIONS ON SHOULD
So much of the suffering that I see for the people I give readings to has to do with an unconscious assumption that things shouldn’t be like this. Something shouldn’t be ‘wrong’. I ‘should’ be happy, or okay with this. Or this problem wouldn’t be a problem to other people, or it’s not that bad, so I should feel differently about it, or just get over it, etc. Especially common is the thought - I shouldn’t be having such a hard time with this.
Whatever this is.
This thought is harmful because it’s becomes a way that we’re fighting with reality. Feeling some way about some situation, and then adding the judgment that you should feel or experience it differently, makes it worse. Judging other people for how they are feeling about some situation also makes their situation harder, not easier, and makes it less likely that they will stop feeling that way about it.
This judgment is especially invisible when it’s enacted on ourselves - we don’t even see it as an action or a problem usually - because it is so habitual. “I’m so stressed about money. But I shouldn’t be stressed about money because I’m not starving.” “I’m stressed about this job I have that I know isn’t in my highest good, and I’m thinking about quitting, but I shouldn’t because it’s a job so many people would love to have.”
Insert whatever your stressors are in the above statements. You can almost always find millions of people with way bigger and more challenging problems than you. And! Being in contact with experiences vastly different from our own is SUCH an important part of mental health, societal change, the survival of the planet.
But! When we’re in these moments of stress and we say these things, it’s not really coming from that place of truly seeking to expand our own perspective. It’s coming from the place where fear and shame prevent us from really facing whatever our reality is. When you dismiss your own stress because you think it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, you’re actually just denying your own stress. Which does not make it go away. The truth is it doesn’t matter if it’s someone else’s dream job, or if other people are way poorer than you - the stress is still present if it’s present.
So instead of dismissing our stress or saying it shouldn’t be this way - and one good way you can notice if you are doing this is if you find yourself saying the word ‘should’ - what happens if we ask questions about it? Like, Oh! I notice stress is present. What is the story it is telling me? What other perspectives might help me alleviate it? What happens if I can’t alleviate it? What can I do instead - how can I accept it or at least acknowledge it, so that I might understand it better?
In this context a huge thing I find astrology helps with is to pull back from immediate circumstances and look at the deeper transformation occurring through these circumstances. They look really different for different people. For example, the Saturn Return, a transit that happens for everyone at a certain time, is in part about consciously claiming your adulthood - your complete self, not just your reactionary childhood self. For some this takes place in the form of a marriage, or a divorce, or having a baby, or getting really sick, or moving, or losing a job. For some it takes the form of very little outward change, and a significant inward shift. Some people go through it avoiding the change as much as possible, and not much happens. I say this as a reminder that we can’t know what will be the hardest or should be the hardest thing for ourselves or others, and it’s really a waste of energy to judge this.
It’s self-loving and world-loving to do what is in front of you. With as little judgment of what ‘should’ be going on as possible.
ARIES | March 21-April 19
Question - What if your identity was independent from your ability to do things?
Meditation - floating
Assignment - Pull your attention away from power dynamics and into a child’s perspective. Return to your gift for loving the new, and if there isn’t apparent newness in your life, practice seeing newly. Because the truth is there is never not a new moment. Don’t skip over things with your speed - ask more questions if you think you know, until you remember that you don’t. Remembering that you don’t know can feel free and light.
TAURUS | April 20-May 20
Question - What habits nourish your life?
Meditation - walking / repetitive movement
Assignment - Take stock of the habits that nourish your life and the ones that exhaust you or drain your life. Be honest. Shift one in a small way this week. Use the spirit of Uranus, the electric and new, as it moves into Taurus, to make sustainable and needed changes in your life.
GEMINI | May 21-June 20
Question - What do you give your life to?
Meditation - commitment.
Assignment - Where does your commitment show up? Who are you committed to? What are you committed to? What is consciously a commitment in your life and what has become a default commitment? Examine the role of commitment in your life this week and see what you learn.
CANCER | June 21-July 22
Question - When and how do you get perspective?
Meditation - a high point, a vista.
Assignment - Find a viewpoint this week, go there. Whatever you are feeling personally about, give it to this place, let it leave you there. Cast a spell, say a prayer, let yourself be psychic as you are and release what is old and tired. Release the past with a gesture as simple as blinking. You will want to hold onto it, even if it’s really painful, because you are used to it. But you don’t have to.
LEO | July 23-August 22
Question - When are your exchanges transactional and when are they relational?
Meditation - lightness.
Assignment - Spend some time writing about what you expect from people, especially in your business / work arena. One way you can learn what you expect from people is when you’re disappointed in them. Are there any themes / patterns you can see there? How can this awareness help your relationships?
VIRGO | August 23-September 22
Question - Where is the stagnant qi in your body?
Meditation - easy movement
Assignment - Reflect on how you move stagnant energy in your life. What practices help you with this? Recommit to doing those things this week, at least two times. Use this time to move anything through that needs to be expelled. Practice this as a way to practice love instead of fear.
LIBRA | September 23-October 23
Question - When and how do you touch your own body?
Meditation - your ability to heal yourself.
Assignment - Touch your own body this week - the last week of Libra season - give yourself this gift as you transition into the next year of your life. Rub your feet. Rub your skull. Rub your belly. Masturbate - but don’t just do that. Spend some time touching your own body and thanking it for everything it has done this past year, and everything it will do this coming one.
SCORPIO | October 23-November 21
Question - What do you want to attend to as this year of your life comes to a close?
Meditation - pulling back your qi
Assignment - The things that nag at you, the relationships or situations that feel unfinished - what part do you have to play in these? What can you do, for yourself and / or for others that could help you feel ready for this upcoming year? It could be a ritual, or a conversation, or a pilgrimage to a particular place. Write about this and make a plan for yourself for whatever you’d like to do in this way before your birthday.
SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21
Question - What kind of lighting do you live with regularly?
Meditation - your own internal light
Assignment - Turn off your electricity as much as possible this week. Use candles. Sit in the light of candles. Watch the flame of a candle as a meditation. Electricity keeps us going at a certain pace, and turns our attention away from what is quiet and in the shadows - it keeps us able to stay busy. See what happens to your energy when you turn it off early in the evening, or take a day or half day to not use it if possible and see what you notice. This can be a way of attending to and cultivating your own energy and light.
CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19
Question - What if you just let yourself say exactly what you want to say?
Meditation - speaking freely
Assignment - What happens when you say what you mean, what you want to, and don’t edit or hold it back? When do you do that? Are you protecting yourself or others from something? Do you or they need protecting? Experiment with more free speech this week and see what happens. Your tendency is to be more careful, and this serves you well. But what happens when you aren’t?
AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18
Question - Where is your core, your center?
Meditation - the center point of a circle
Assignment - You can think about others and systems and groups and broadly so much, there can be a forgetting of the self. You don’t need to actively create a self or preferences or anything like that, but what happens if you ask the question where is my center? Or what is my center? Play around with this idea, this question this week. See what it might do to your attention, to your thinking about others. Thinking about others is only possible if we have a sense of self which we imagine differs from them, so it benefits all to know what we think that self is made of.
PISCES | February 19 to March 20
Question - What are you avoiding or escaping?
Meditation - storms
Assignment - It’s easy for whatever you might be avoiding or escaping to become instantly bigger in your mind because you label it as something you are avoiding. But imagine if you could ask yourself that question, and answer, and maintain self-love through the process? Imagine if it was okay - if it was, would you even need to avoid it anymore?