Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Looking back to move forward.

Thomas Wolfe thought you couldn't go home again. I have gratefully been able to. I was nervous to move back in after living on my own- and alone- for so long. Communal, family living seemed to me to be something I could never return to- I've been (not really) joking for a long time that my husband and kids were going to have to get their own apartment. However, I've been pleasantly surprised by how nice it is to be "home." And thanks to my family's generous offer to urinate in the hall outside my room and jump out from behind doors to keep me on my toes, it's just like I'm back in my old neighborhood. It's an immense blessing to be welcomed back by people so warm and funny. Even the suburbs, rich with red yellow orange leaf rain and epic hillside sunsets, are prettier than I remember and invite runs through the park and smiling at strangers. My brother and I cooked dinner for the family tonight, producing a gourmet meal from our little kitchen like the champs we are, and I was reminded how much I like him. Being in this place at this time is the absolute best possible thing.

All that being said, I am beginning to experience the restlessness so common for me when Mercury turns retrograde (for those unfamiliar... http://www.astrologycom.com/mercret.html). It entered its shadow period the day after I finished moving out of my apartment and as it slows I can feel my life slowing down, too. I've closed the last chapter and am awaiting the beginning of the next in my childhood bedroom.

Aside from the aforementioned pleasures of being in the suburbs, it seems fitting to return to my family for this last Mercury retrograde of the year. Mercury retrograde offers us the chance to slow down, take a long look back and reflect on the past in order to bring us more clearly and effectively into the future. People complain about the snare ups in travel, communication and technology, and I've definitely fallen in to that- particularly while trying to navigate Italy last spring (trains and buses and international cell phones, oh my!). However, I've come to understand that it's just easier to acquiesce and learn the lessons Mercury has to offer. We have to get comfortable in this quiet, in between space and sort through all the old mental junk that we are now being cosmically supported in examining. Communication, the technology that helps it and travel all get gnarled because we're supposed to be having a still moment to explore our inner life. Resisting that is what will get you into trouble.

How excellent that this retrograde period ends on December 30th, just in time for the new year. This is the perfect time to consider old habits, old relationships, old aspirations and determine what is still serving you, dropping the things that are not. I like to also take the month of December to reflect back on my year and set learning goals for the new year. There are so many things to learn, but what is especially important for me to master at this point? Where do I need growth in order to really serve God?

The hardest part for me in all this is the waiting. I routinely show up to the airport moments before my flight because I hate waiting at the gate. As much as I love to cook, most of the time I would rather eat something quick to avoid waiting to finish the meal. So perhaps cultivating patience is a good way to allow myself to be grown during this Mercury retrograde and in the new year. I am reminded of a quote from Osho that is very applicable...
"We have forgotten how to wait; it is almost an abandoned space. And it is our greatest treasure to be able to wait for the right moment. The whole existence waits for the right moment. Even trees know it-when it is time to bring the flowers and when it is time to let go of all the leaves and stand naked against the sky. They are still beautiful in that nakedness, waiting for the new foliage with a great trust that the old has gone, and the new will soon be coming."

Despite my impatience, I'd like to see this time for what it is: a cozy, sweet opportunity to be with my family and mine lessons from my past to wisely inform my future. Somewhere in me I know that everything is happening perfectly and that right now is the right time to be exactly where I am doing exactly what I'm doing. At the exact right time in the near future, my life will rocketship forward, perhaps with more momentum than I anticipated, so for now I can enjoy the stillness. Patiently.

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