resistance training

resistance SOM

I can’t remember where the thought came, but it was probably one of those fleeting existential thoughts I have every day.

Why are things so hard? 

Why do I feel stuck?

Will things ever get easier?

Things here were allegedly going to clear up yesterday, with the human trashbag taking himself out (with the supervision of someone here), since his lease was not renewed. It’s strange, but I kept hearing that wasn’t going to happen until Sunday.

The human chimney is still here.

I wouldn’t really care if it wasn’t for the stupid smoking inside, and the scary decompensation/manbaby temper tantrum that last about 21 hours near the full moon.

And he’s just a symptom. It’s the landlady who is currently in Canada doing fuck-all. She won’t be back on the 12th.

I’m not even going to check on this, because these are the constants I have. It’s not my house. The only thing I’ve vowed is that I will fight this spiritually now.

At the very least, I’m not afraid of anyone anymore. That took all year to get that place of internal solidity.

But something broke.

Like a true Capricorn, I have a (somewhat) janky knee. This month about 11 years ago, I had knee surgery. For two weeks, as the cartilage in my knee healed, I wasn’t allowed to put weight on my leg. It’s amazing what two weeks will do to a muscle. My thigh muscles atrophied.

After those two weeks, I had months and months of physical therapy to build my muscles back up.

One of the exercises I had to do was crab walk with resistance bands, like the ones in the image above. I’m sure I did a lot of other resistance band exercises. Somewhere in storage, I have a ton of them. They were exercises I wasn’t supposed to ever stop, really. But I did.

This week, I’ve been pondering about what I should be doing with my career as a writer. I’ve been feeling like I’m not going in the right direction because everything has been so hard. I haven’t been making connections to the clients I want.

Everything feels like a struggle, one I’m not willing to fight through. It feels like I’m going to hit a dead end any moment now.

And this whole blog has been one long sad song of life is has been so hard, for so long.

Those pained words are real, and for so many years, even before this blog, it’s the only true song I’ve known.

But I’m tired of this dirge-as-life refrain.

But practically speaking, I didn’t want to keep thinking that I was wrong. That I’m someone who needs to be fixed.

So on July 1st, I definitely felt like a different person.

Before that Twitter thread, on June 29th, I had such a mind-blowing experience, talking to an intuitive, and I know I’m being guided to do different things. Like read tarot and astrological charts professionally.

But also, to lean into my creativity more and write more creatively. Again, someone has told me that I should write books, and I’d love to–but I’d also like to eat.

Interestingly, I did a tarot reading for a friend. She’s also a writer, leaving behind a different career.

The reading basically was this: you’re stopping and assessing what’s going on. You need to embrace this transformation and stop procrastinating.

Great. 😩

I definitely took that as a free reading for me. She and I are on similar tracks, and that reading really resonated.

My Services page went up yesterday, and it felt…like the right thing to do. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t expecting a lot of fanfare from anyone–I’ve gotten a few supportive messages from closer friends, which has been surprising and encouraging.

My Twitter presence seems muted at times, even though I know a lot of tarot readers and astrologers.

But that’s something I’ll be working on, marketing to the right people.

Something that keeps coming up for me lately, but has always been nagging at me–the feeling that I am not even closer to what I should be doing.

My mom told me when I was 15 or so that I wasn’t really living up to my potential. In high school, I didn’t really have the best work ethic. I silently agreed with her. And 25 years later, I still do.

And not to get back on the weepy-go-round of grief, but I have always felt held back or encumbered by things that I can’t control.

It’s always something…

Even now, because that terrible housemate is going through some stupid depressive spiral and chain-smoking in his room, I’m breathing smoke right now, for the umpteenth day.

And there’s nothing else I can do about it.

And last week, I got really sick of feeling helpless about it.

But here’s the reality: I am on my own with this–physically, anyway. I will have to wait this out (who knows for how long?), or figure this out spiritually.

I’ve had to dig deep to find spiritual resources because there aren’t any others around me.

And that’s how it’s been for a while.

So since there are no saviors here, then there’s only amor fati left–a love of fate. Loving, embracing what is, right now.

And that’s what broke–my resistance to this experience.

Yet resistance creates strength.

And that’s the thought that came to me this week, that all this resistance has created an incredible strength that I could not have possessed otherwise.

So many people remark on my strength, but this isn’t because I signed up for this (no matter what spiritual teachings that say otherwise). This isn’t some spiritual circuit training course.

It’s always been out of necessity.

And. The recurrent thoughts I have about how bad things are, they’re out of necessity, too:

I’m not going through all this shit for nothing.

There’s a greater purpose for this struggle.

This has to be used for the greater good.

Although today was allegedly going to be an Independence Day from this trash person, there was a mightier independence declared earlier.

I’m not going to be defined by my circumstances, by the lack of respect, by the lack of help, by the lack of it all.

I’m still here, unharmed. I am full of an ever-expanding ocean of self-respect, a raging wildfire of righteousness, and gale-force winds of determination.

I am supported by loved ones who have passed on and protected by angelic beings.

And there are some online friends who have been there for me, and I’m ever so grateful…but it’s not the same as being here.

Oh, another old refrain that’s not even worth dredging up again

So maybe most of my life has been me, thinking I was supposed to be walking normally, but instead, the resistance was doing some work for me, on me.

I can’t say this without thinking of all the crazy resistance bands that are thrown on marginalized people.

Why do we have to be strong when the occupants of dominant culture crumble at the paper cuts of life?

But I really can speak of my own journey. Being treated cruelly when I’ve given kindness–that isn’t my karma is it? I thought if you’re to be kind to those who are unkind to you, then things will transform.

Says the former chump. Says also a lot of well-meaning white people.

I don’t know…this all made sense when I was briefly thinking about it: the persistent circumstances that have been clipping my wings, that have kept me in this suboptimal holding pattern. And I thought it was me not trying.

Even when my mom said that to me about my potential at age 15, I was living with a frighteningly emotionally distant mother, a father who was becoming more and more mentally ill, and a brother who had his own scary behavioral issues.

Yeah. Not really the potting soil for “living up for my potential.”

So, 40 years later, and life is still pretty disappointing. So now what?

Until “then,” until conditions are more optimal, when will I start living, right here, right now?

Waiting out the smoke monster is a waste of my time, of my life. It’s no way to live.

Fuck this and fuck him.

I’m strong enough to really live, instead of mourning and grieving the life that I felt I was meant to live (and this thought came up today right before I had a Reiki session).

So yes, the life I was meant to live was never alive. It was always dead. But the life I can live now, even in this dump of a home, can be real, can be full of joy, can teem with healing and hope.

I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to resist. I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to merely cope.

And this is probably why the practice of gratitude has been so hard for me. How can you tell a perpetually grieving person–a person who had high hopes for herself, who had those high hopes continuously dashed–to focus on what she does have, not what she doesn’t have?

Grief has been silently strangling for so long. It came up today during a Reiki session.  I wasn’t surprised.

But I am tired of grieving what wasn’t, what should have been.

This is the life that I’ve been given, for better and for worse. So many bitter things, I’ve had to choke down and swallow, more than the normal amount.

And my heart…goes out…to all experiences.

But herein lies…hope.

I still have so many chances to make this miraculous life into something that will last beyond my earthly body.

Right now. Because that’s all I have.

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the cardinal 🐦

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Two of many cardinals in my backyard.

After having such a tough year, when January 1st came, I was desperate for some sort of good omen—maybe not necessarily openly desperate, but deeply and truly desperate.

Can I trust that 2018 will be as good as I believe it could be and should be?

Lucky me, on New Year’s Day, I read this horoscope from The Numinous for Capricorns/Capricorn risings. I latched onto it. Every sentence I wanted to tear apart and consume. Two weeks later, I still feel like that.

The image was for the horoscope: “A cardinal dips and dives to the next tree branch.

birds, birds, birds

Ever since I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve become an amateur birdwatcher. With so many birds, both of the everyday and the exotic variety, it’s so easy to see birds that I had never seen when I used to live in Chicago.

In my backyard, there are a bevy of birds that come by: hawks, blue jays, sparrows, mourning doves, and cardinals. Along the wooden fence, I’m sure to see both male and female cardinals, flirting or avoiding each other, flitting about in the air or to the ground. They all hang out in the tangled, sprawling overgrowth of a sweet almond bush.

On New Year’s Day, it was exceptionally overcast, with unrelentingly leadened skies loomed overhead. It was not the cheery scene I wanted to wake up to after having a bit of pink bubbly the night before, drinking away the misery and disappointment of 2017.

I can’t remember if I read the horoscope first, and saw the cardinal or the other way around, but I saw a plump, bright red cardinal on the fence. Its plumage seemed exceptionally bright in contrast to the almost white skies of late morning. It was either a harbinger or confirmation of that astrological weekly message.

The horoscope explains the etymology of the word cardinal. It comes from Latin root word for hinge.

What doors are being open for me right now? Are they doors that I have been waiting to open for months and years? Or are they new doors that I don’t even know exist? What is being initiated in my life right now?

Right now, the moon has moved into Capricorn. So currently, the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are all in this cardinal astrological sign. So although I had planned write about this two weeks ago, maybe I needed to write about the cardinal now.

🔎 A little astro-primer: Cardinal signs ♈♋♎♑ in the zodiac kick off seasons of the year.

🌷 The vernal equinox begins spring and Aries season. 🐏

☀️ The summer solstice begins summer and Cancer season. 🦀

🍂 The autumnal equinox begins fall and Libra season. ⚖️

❄️ The winter solstice begins winter and Capricorn season. 🐐

Typically, cardinal sun sign folks are natural leaders. They want to initiate things–projects, relationships, fights, action, something.

It’s hard for them to sit idly by and wait for things to happen. They make things happen.

messengers from the spirit world

The horoscope stated that the red cardinals, messengers from the spirit world, symbolize “renewal and happy relationships.”

During the holiday break, I definitely felt a sense of return and renewal of my life, of who I’ve always been–without struggle, without burden, without worry. It’s been blissful.

Happy relationships, though? Well.

I admittedly don’t have any real ones in town, which has been the case for at least two years. This has been a constant lament, a droning dirge I’ve been tired of singing–here and elsewhere.

Thankfully, though, I’m finally at peace with that–because I’ve tried my darnedest, to reach out, to connect.

As far as I can tell, it’s just not meant to happen here. I’ve acquiesced this bitter truth because if better were here for me, better would have come.

Finding contentment in where I am right now has been a long, wearying struggle. But I’m getting close.

Yet, as I continue to journey…to remain sane, to remain peaceful, I have to trust that within the bigger picture of my life, and where it fits in the larger story of humanity–those happy relationships are out there, somewhere

And that was the main idea of the horoscope: the cardinal for the first week of January was here to help me “renew my faith in love.”

So at the time when I read this, seeing that bird, I felt a lot of hope for the year. Like maybe, just maybe, things are going to go better this year. I’m a year wiser, at the very least.

But did I have faith in love? Is love going to arrive?

Isn’t love already here?

When I ask that, I do mean that in a general sense, but the horoscope has a reason for its wording.

So what is the message that the cardinals have for me?

I am made for relationships.

This was going to be in another blog post, but since this horoscope truly is about relationships, I might as well share now.

I have seen in my natal chart how relationships are so important to me.

Juno conjunct Sun

If you know your Greek mythology, Juno is Jupiter’s (aka Zeus’s) long-suffering wife. So this asteroid is about committed relationships. She touches a few of my planets. She’s conjoined to my sun, Mercury, and Venus, opposes my Jupiter (how fitting), and trine my Saturn.

A while ago, I had ordered an Astrological Goddess Powers Report from Tarot.com, and from it, I got this bit about Juno conjoined my sun:

“Juno, archetype of the wife and partner, unites with the symbol of your basic identity and conscious purpose [the sun]. An important part of your life revolves around developing meaningful, committed long-term partnerships.”

All to say, too–that Juno touches so many of my planets really screams at me that committed relationships are things I shouldn’t be ashamed of.

North node in Libra

Last year, I read Astrology for the Soul by astrologer Jan Spiller. It slayed me. I didn’t really want to hear this about myself, how I was destined to be in partnership.

But first, another little astrological primer…

The lunar nodes

The moon’s nodes, North and South, are places on the moon which show where the moon has crossed the ecliptic–the sun’s perceived circular path (it’s a star, so it doesn’t move).

When you are born, the moon’s nodes will be in two opposite signs. Right now, they are in Leo (north node) and Aquarius (south node), which are also the signs we had the recent lunar (in Aquarius) solar eclipse (in Leo) in August 2017. Soon, they will be in Cancer and Capricorn (the nodes are always going backwards).

Clear as mud? Don’t worry about it. What’s more important is what the lunar nodes symbolize.

The south node symbolizes the lessons you’ve learned in previous lifetimes. The north node is your destiny, the lessons you’re supposed to learn in this lifetime.

For me, my south node is in Aries, and my north node is in Libra. And yes, that’s more cardinal energy in my chart.

Aries is the warrior, Libra is the diplomat. So my north node’s mission is to go from wartime to peacetime.

One thing I used to think before reading Astrology for the Soul was that I had already arrived at my north node. I didn’t know that the north node symbolized a journey of soul evolution. So you can call me a recovering Aries.

Here’s what Spiller has to say about NN in Libra folks, which is what I believe sums us up perfectly: “Consistently, the solution for these people is partnership.”

My life’s journey is to go from me me me to we we we. And it’s scarier than I thought.

There’s a bit of shame that comes with this placement, of needing anyone, of being vulnerable. Warriors don’t need, they lead. They’re totally fine helping others, but receiving that help seems like a failure, a display of weakness. It’s also a paradoxical losing game for everyone.

Even as I’m typing about partnerships and relationships right now…even though I need them as a human being in order to thrive, still feels…strange. But other parts of my chart still say, even if I feel weird and conspicuous–this is what I was made for.

Scorpio Midheaven

I did a long Twitter thread in October on the Scorpio midheaven, so I won’t go over all that material again.

The main point about this deep, watery placement (which is somewhat similar to the lunar nodes, as it is another journey from the past to a future destiny) is about Scorpio’s longing for intimacy.

The midheaven is about your life dreams and how you want to live your life. Scorpio wants to seek the truth (although they don’t necessarily want this reciprocated in their lives! They are secretive mofos.) and wants to fully know another person.

Scorpio MC’s can set their sights on another person and just relentlessly (with consent, of course), dive deep into them. That other person will just feel instantly and fully known. It’s quite uncanny.

Even if I fear getting lost in someone else, I do enjoy getting to know people on a deeper level. I prefer it.

Full moon in Cancer, in the 7th house

As you probably know, I am a full moon baby. Astrologer Kelly Surtee explained full moon babies in this way:

Full Moon individuals are here primarily to explore the dynamics of relationship and constantly seek/ attract key partners. It is through the learning and awareness that arises out of being in relationships that Full Moon individuals find meaning and satisfaction in their lives.

She goes onto say how full moon folks are constantly working through the “tension of opposites” and will seek people different from them. “It’s a lifetime of illumination,” she writes.

Cancer as a zodiac sign is ruled by the moon, so the moon is at home in Cancer. Cancer folks are highly intuitive and emotional–and, like the glyph shows, that can make them a little crabby and overly sensitive at times.

Cancer is the momma of the zodiac (which, yes, makes Capricorn the daddy). They are hella nurturing, which shows up in their cozy homes and comfort food. They love to take care of their loved ones.

The unglamourous flipside is that Cancer peeps can use those crabby claws and hold onto people and things a little too long.

The 7th house, also known as the descendant (conversely, your ascendant or rising sign is the 1st house), in a natal chart is the house of partnerships and one-on-one relationships.

Dark Pixie Astrology describes this house as a place that shows you what kind of people you’re attracted to, your ideals and expectations about marriage and business partnerships, and your feelings about commitment. This house also holds your open enemies–eep!

The 7th house is where my Jupiter in Cancer also resides and is conjoined with my moon–so imagine expanded intuitive abilities and emotions, for better and for worse.

There’s probably more in my chart that says that my destiny is to be in an intimate relationship (this is becoming a theme in my writing, I guess).

But this past full moon has made it clear:

I’m not crazy or weak for wanting all of this.

I was made for all of this.

Saturn’s calling…

Even still, I didn’t know I was going to write about this today. Lately, I had been thinking about the state of all of my relationships, about how Saturn was opposing my moon and Jupiter.

It’s feeling like with these oppositions, Saturn is asking me to examine how good–or not–do I really have it with people who are close to me.

What patterns of “putting up with other people’s bullshit” am I still unconsciously holding onto? How can I restructure my own self-worth (in the 1st house of self) and have that be reflected in my close relationships (7th house)?

I realized today that I’m still not where I want to be with the people who are around me right now.

There’s been chasing, waiting, flailing, abandoning, worrying, pining and other kinds of gerunding that I don’t have to settle for any longer.

There’s also the actions of others that just don’t feel they come from a place of mutual respect.

A little inconsideration. A little arrogance. A little short-sightedness.

A little, a little, a little–a whole lot of a little.

So I still could use some renewal–like right now.

A very moony supermoon

I also brought all those other astrological aspects up because this horoscope was most likely was talking about the full supermoon in Cancer that happened on New Year’s Day.

And, now you know that the moon was in the 7th house for Capricorns and those with a Capricorn ascendant. 🌝

Full moons are seen as a time of releasing and renewal. They shine a light on the people, places, things, and ideas that no longer serve us.

To have a full moon in Cancer, my natal placement, at the very beginning of the year, with a very moony moon way to let go of the painful junk of 2017–it definitely made me take notice, and it’s still making me take stock.

And maybe because Saturn is around and at home in Capricorn, I don’t feel as doomed to be the lonely warrior. I can have faith that the journeys I’ve been taking, within and without, have brought me here, in this expanding sense and feeling of stability.

But with that bright red faith, there’s always reason to shroud myself in doubt.

My perceived pride, my actual shame

I remember telling this former friend how I had prided myself on my friendships, and this was during basically a friendship break-up that she had initiated.

She shook her head no.

Granted, it really was for the best, our parting. Where I was in my life, I really needed the support of friends that wasn’t about keeping a scorecard of how much one person was doing for another–something NNs in Libra are prone to doing themselves.

It was a stinging bit of a humiliation, those words contrasting to what was happening.

But years later, the drive to truly connect with another person, even as I sit on a newer heap of current humiliations and losses, hasn’t really waned.

I just have to continue to work on that shame part.

A family of cardinals

As I was writing this earlier today, I decided to try to take a picture of the cardinals that hang out in the backyard. In that crazy sweet almond bush, there were way more cardinals than I realized–maybe six, three males and three females.

 

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Someone on twitter told me that cardinals also represented prosperity. A while ago, I had a cardinal land on my window, vertically, grabbing onto the window screen. It was there for maybe a couple of seconds. I think it took a huge dump on my window, too.  It was an insane moment, like that bird was coming for me.

Cardinals are known to attack reflective surfaces, such as side view mirrors (I know this from experience!) because they are trying to protect their nests and view their reflections as competing males.

Still, I never thought of cardinals beyond a prosperous sign and a protective papa until January 1st.

As I write this, it really hasn’t fully sunk in how I have a large family of spirit messengers living in my backyard. But what it reminds me of is a recent tarot 12-month reading I did for a friend on Thursday.

The card 5 of Pentacles came up. It’s not the cheeriest card. In the traditional imagery, there are two people in tattered clothing, out in the snow, looking worse for wear. One is barefoot and the other has bandaged feet and is on crutches.

The five pentacles are gleaming in the stained-glass windows of the church that these two people are passing. I first felt to tell my friend that he should stop hanging outside the church, go in, and get what he needs. But I didn’t. It felt a little too forward. I did emphasize that he didn’t have to suffer alone, that he should ask for help.

He then described that his friend said over Christmas this card meant that everything that you need is right there, but you’re choosing not to go inside. That was confirmation, so then I told him what I should have said earlier.

Like the church in the 5 of Pentacles card, this flock of cardinals has always been here. I just never noticed, or knew to notice. I would watch them on occasion with amusement, as they hop and fly around on the fence, flitting and flirting.

Until today, I never knew they were really all just hanging out in that messy bush. And until today, I didn’t realize that I was outside a church that had all I needed, while I was hobbling by, cursing the snow and cold.

So the question bears repeating:

Isn’t love already here?

Yes, yes it is–and in abundance.

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dream true

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An old silver necklace of mine.

Write it down, make it happen?

I’m going to spoil the end of the work-in-progress I started in grad school and worked on during #NaNoWriMo for the past two years.

The last word is dream.

Dreaming hasn’t come very easily for me for the past few years. It’s been a “just the facts, ma’am” Saturnian life. Chop wood, carry water, try to make it through the day.

Try to remember to be grateful.

Try not to drown in the bitterness of life.

Try to keep your head up.

Try.

Writing this novel started off as an assignment for my fiction workshop and as a way to understand a ghosting that happened with some guy from Twitter. It ended up being a needed escape, a needed healing, and possibly a conjuring of the life that I want–beautiful transformative relationships with others.

That last part still freaks me out, especially since a lot of it was written before things started happening in my life, but that’s part of the beauty and magic of fiction, even more so than creative nonfiction, my speciality.

I’m not sure when or where I realized how dreamless my life has been, but I’m sure when I finished the first complete draft of my novel, I realized that I don’t have many dreams of my own anymore.

I may have said this before here, but it’s a realization I keep coming back to: after grad school and writing my thesis/memoir, I felt like I had come to do what I was born to do. It was the toughest mountain to climb, a mostly solo journey, and I reached the summit.

I was done with my life’s work at age 36. And I haven’t even worked on it or published it yet.

So ever since then, I have been coming down, or I’ve been rolling down the mountain like a nonstop avalanche of loss, a loss I keep talking about even though most of it is over. That’s how trauma works. It’s also because it’s been unfathomable, even when I list everything I lost…

What matters now: I survived it all.

It was the a hefty price I paid to write my life story and to follow my dreams to become a writer and editor without much support.

So now what?

I feel like I have written this post before, because my life seems to be revolving around what seems to be a swirling empty space, the seemingly elusive domestic life that I thought would be pretty easy to obtain.

Surprise, a double Capricorn overcomes overwhelming odds in her professional life while her personal life looks like a life after a major storm.

It’s a pretty boring story that needs a re-write.

It’s all in the gotdamn timing.

Last Monday, I was talking to my long-time friend who has been my partner in spinsterdom. She and I met in church in Chicago. We used to sing together on the worship team, and we got back in touch a few years ago.

A full moon in Cancer, talking to my Cancer friend while watching The Bachelor with salt-and-pepper dreamboat, Arie. The way that dude kisses alone–it should be patented and taught…

Anyway, I knew the holidays were going to bittersweet for both of us, and in some ways, even more so for my friend. So I wanted to check in her dating adventures and just her in general (she had back surgery late last year, right before a couple of big runs for charity).

She has a big family with all her younger siblings being married, two of them with kids. I’m pretty sure all of her other close friends are married or will soon be married (she told me about three engagements over the holidays (cliche, cliche, cliche)).

It really stinks if you want to be “there” and you’re “here,” alone. 

She and I are at that point where we’re pretty fulfilled people. I’ve lived a pretty full life already and I’m grateful for all the adventures Chicago gave me. I only wish I traveled more, but my life isn’t over yet.

My friend is in management in a therapist group. She has a great church, great friends, loves to run for charity–you can see all that and more in her annual holiday card.

And I don’t really mean to exalt marriage and family as “the” thing. My thing was and is writing. I believe her thing is being in service to children. I really believe you need to have a thing that has nothing to do with any life partner or spouse.

But if I have to be Jupiterian/Sagittarius about it, marriage and family is the next thing I want to experience. There are things I want to do, and maybe even need to do, in that social construct that I can’t do myself.

Can I get even more esoteric and spiritual and weird about this? I feel like I’ve met two of my kids already, in spirit.

To sidetrack myself even more, I have realized during my sojourn in Florida how little I could do without help, and how easy it was to be forgotten. There’s always an assumption that your family of origin will be there for you, especially during the holidays. It’s like an umbilical cord that is never quite fully cut.

Mind you, I’m not really comparing being single to being completely forgotten, though. I’m just layering on the lack of community part that I’ve experienced that my friend has not.

But at the same time, let me be super blunt here: loneliness kills. Even still, as a single person, you can totally have your peeps, your tribe, and not need the life-draining addition of a marriage (I’m saying that for women, since for men, it adds life expectancy).

So let me get back on track as to why I’m bringing all this marriage and family stuff up in the first place.

I got caught up on my friend’s dating life–it was more of the same. Close, but no cigar in terms of spiritual connection. She really wants an “on fire for God” Christian, and I want that for her, too. If it’s that important to her, then it’s that important to God (until she says it’s not) and she should not settle.

But the woman she met back in the early aughts is not the woman I am now. If my relatively short track record of dating is any clue, both serious relationships I had were with men who were in the fringes of Christianity–pondering, questioning, unsure. I don’t think either of them are in church anymore either.

In talking to her about where I was at, all the unrelentingly cruel shit I went through since 2012, even being in this crazy house, has brought me to a spiritual plane where I need to be.

(I knew one day I’d see that, but not while I’m still in it. So I am super hella grateful for this early hindsight.)

It’s hard to learn about boundaries when everyone is respectful of yours.

It’s hard to learn about relying on the Universe when everyone has your back and all your needs are met.

It’s hard to learn about kindness when you’re in no place to really receive it or need it.

It’s hard to learn about humility if you haven’t been humbled over and over.

It’s hard to see through evangelicalism if you’re not on the outside of the church, looking in.

All the spiritual practices I have learned have been out of desperate necessity. I bought my first crystals while living with a crazy Pisces. I burned sage for the first time when I was in a shady Airbnb placement and a cop came banging on the door of a man wanted for child support. I continually reached out to tarot readers and astrologers when my life yielded more questions and confusion than answers and clarity.

So, if I had gotten married to some “on fire for God” Christian man when I thought I would (around 30), I wouldn’t be here–which, well, living here sucks. But I wouldn’t be me. I don’t think a marriage could have survived the hell I went through, that I seemingly needed to go through.

That’s really sobering, because I didn’t sign up to give up my Christian faith (or, more likely, greatly expand it). To put this in astrological terms, not only did my Saturn return revamp what I was to do vocationally, it also radically revamped where I was headed philosophically and spiritually.

And this isn’t to say I went through all this so I can finally get a man. I don’t think this was about me becoming a better life partner, but becoming a better person. My 30s were a decade of deep reinvention, and most of my relationships did not survive the changes. And, they weren’t built for that, especially in the evangelical realm with its brittle dualism.

But what I thought was an easy dream, heck, even an inevitability, has started to become multivariate and more intricate (and that’s usually the case anyway, since all dreams involve more than one person).

I can finally say, with at least partial recognition and growing gratitude: the Universe cockblocked me for a reason–for a lot of good reasons.

I shared all that–well, not all, but the gist of it–to my friend while we’re growing bored and restless and frankly, a little sad and forlorn, in the waiting room of life, waiting for the next phase to begin. It may not even be about us being ready for what we want and need, but that our wants and needs to be readied for us.

This is so easy to forget while we all have our own separate and yet collective journeys, as we drown in self-help and personal development and gurudom and advertising that’s saying that you lack this one key thing.

Most of the time, it’s really just patience and compassion for yourself, because the waiting and wanting and desiring is neverending. It’s always something….

As the dust settles on this life renovation, I can start to see who is going to to stick around (well at least who I want stick around) in this newer, truer version of my life. For now, I’m almost done battling the hierarchy of needs war and am walking into the cozy, comforting warmth of peacetime, finally.

The luxurious energy and the utmost necessity of dreams – a paradox

Dreaming seems like a luxury when you’re worried about your car being repossessed or where you’re going to sleep the next night. But dreaming is essential, because it can’t be chop wood, carry water endlessly.

Being a writer was a dream. Going to the University of Chicago was a dream. My first boyfriend was a dream that I didn’t even know could exist.

There’s got to be something else that gets you up in the morning besides that there’s this golden ball in the sky peering into your room with light which is getting into your eyes.

Last week, I went to Tarot.com and bought a past life astrology report based on the teachings of Edgar Cayce, a 20th-century American Christian mystic.

One natal aspect jumped out at me–how Mars, the planet of energy, power, action, and desire, is in a harmonious relationship (or trine) with Neptune, the planet of illusion, dreams, psychic abilities, and spirituality.

With the spiritual protection which surrounds you, together with your integrity and strong compassion, you are a practical idealist who can “dream true.”

That is, rather than being deceived or deluded by your dreams and visions, you can be guided by and act decisively upon your dream, meditation and prayer experiences. This unique quality gives you great potential for much-needed spiritual leadership in the present.

I remember my first Aquarius best friend/emotional boyfriend telling me how he was a reluctant idealist. Or did I tell him that’s what I was? However that came about, 20 years later that has stuck with me.

Dreaming can be a little dangerous and wild, and those two dear children of Saturn were a little wary of letting our guards down and letting hopes and dreams for ourselves, and the world, run amok.

And maybe we should have. We may have learned that our dreams are truly trustworthy.

In dreams begin responsibilities (a dance between Saturn and Jupiter)

It’s Capricorn season, and good ole Father Time/Saturn has returned to his kingdom, getting the lay of the land, surveying what needs to stay and what needs to be rebuilt in our individual and corporate lives.

And Saturn pulls no punches. There is no sugarcoating in what Saturn finds, whether it’s wrong–or right. Though I was glad that Saturn left the loosey-goosey confines of Sagittarius, it has not been a happy Capricorn season for me.

But Saturn isn’t really here to make me happy, but to make me better.

Now that I’m 40 (and I have to write about the mindfuck this number is next week), I don’t want to dream to simply escape the drudgery of my life. I want to dream to build real and true things because life is short.

Dreaming takes energy, and a little bit of faith and hope. I’ve had to focus on other things for so long, it feels weird to return to the waking land of dreams (Astrological sidenote: my solar return moon is a Pisces moon, so this year is a dreamy time for me indeed).

Part of me is still exhausted from grad school and the years after it–exhausted and a little afraid.

What if I dream and receive another dream deferment? Can I dare to dream again?

I had no idea what my life would be like post-grad school. Writing that thesis was the thing for me. I gave birth to the biggest dream that I have ever dreamed in my life. It’s really hard to pivot from that to think about another dream, big or small.

I knew that didn’t really want to stay in academia and that with whatever work I found, I wanted to be able to support myself. But that was it. I didn’t have a plan for it.

I had a very ambitious plan for being a child psychiatrist and my life after that. It’s a dream, although deferred and now dead, I haven’t forgotten. It was structured and safe.

But the Universe wants much more for me.

So since 2014, I’ve been a bit of a lost seagoat, wandering around in the IKEA of life choices. Capricorns and other Saturn-influenced people do not like wandering nor wondering nor being lost nor any sort of confusion.

But not all who wander are lost–at least according to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Still, even in my wondering and wandering, the things I want and desire really haven’t changed much since I wrote them down when I was 12–and ultimately, it’s having good people in my life. Besides having a connection with God, that was the basis of why I loved Christianity so much, the insta-community that seemed to occur with shared faith and values.

Jupiter, the planet of expansion and more more more, is transiting in deep-feeling and probing Scorpio. That planet has been in my 11th house of community and friendships. With this transit, it feels easier to think about the community I want to be a part of, that I am already a part of.

I want to build real and true relationships with people meant for me, even as, and definitely because, the world is seemingly imploding in rage, war, abuse, narcissism, cruelty, and neglect (or, it’s always been this bad, but we are just more aware now).

Beyond that, and those kids that keep popping up in my consciousness, and other places and people that the Universe seems to keep pointing me towards, that’s all I’ve got. That’s all I have energy to hold space for right now.

And honestly, it’s enough…for now. I’m saying that mostly for my benefit, since at times, I’m sad and bewildered that I’m not feeling that ambitious anymore.

Yet if I look back with a more discerning, compassionate eye, all that I have seen, done, and endured–it may not have equaled to fame, fortune, and fun. What it did was create a solid foundation for the good life to come–even if it scares me to say that life will be good soon.

Go beyond…

Beyond my life with friends and loved ones–to dream, to wonder about life…there has been so little space for that. Being in nature has helped, but to just go beyond my little neighborhood, my yard, my room…

As much as I welcome Saturn’s restructuring of my life, I also welcome Jupiter’s expansion.

As constricted and bound up as I feel right now, I know I’m going to be repotted somewhere soon and it’s a little scary to think about. Where (OK, I probably know where, but still!), when, how?

And, most importantly (in true Capricorn fashion): how much control will I have over these needed changes?

Even in the face of uncertainty, my tenuous but solemn hope is that in 2018 and beyond, I can and will start to embrace a new sense of adventure and awe, grounded in experience and wisdom.

2016-09-03 13.46.07

Another old silver necklace with a bit of an out-of-focus but familiar message.

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newton’s cradle of grief

newton's cradle.gif

This month has been a lot for a heart to take and to process.

A massacre. A rock legend’s death. Potentially hundreds of people dying in on an island with barely any power or not enough clean running water. The exposure of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of one movie mogul. The cascade of stories of survival and the exposure of other perpetrators. Wildfires destroying more acreage than the size of New York City.

Another rock legend dies from brain cancer last night.

I took yet another break from Twitter because I was starting to sound shrill and sucked into this vortex of pain and anger. For me to leave because of an emotional contagion is saying a lot, because that’s not usually my bag. The people I am friends with on Twitter are my main community, which I am chagrined, but they are real people, real people who really matter. So it’s kind of a big deal to me when I’m not there.

And I’m not the only one who has left for Twitter for a spell. It’s more than OK to take a break from things when they aren’t serving you.

I also left because astrologically, Mercury is conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio and I wanted to focus more on improving my writing and editing business, to dip my silver tongue in the stars and say all the right things to all the right people. But emotionally, I’ve been a lot distracted, even with my sabbatical from Twitter.

And actually, Mercury conjunct Jupiter, in Scorpio, has probably created the climate of this fixation on sharing pain and anger.

And my heart just pours over…

Gord Downie’s death last night was one that Canada has been bracing for since he announced his battle with brain cancer and the subsequent final tour with his band, The Tragically Hip. It was a band I knew about back in 1996. I loved the song, “Ahead by a Century,” but I had no clue how big the band was in Canada and how much Downie meant to his nation. I learned a lot about that last year.

It’s weird how his death allowed me to shed at least one tear for Tom Petty. I’m listening to him right now (Highway Companion, for the record) and I can finally do that a little more, listen to his music. It’s like all the pain and trauma from this month is in a Newton’s cradle. This new loss of Gord Downie, and the grief of a whole nation, knocks through all the grief from before and starts at the grief at the beginning of the month.

I can’t even comprehend what happened in Las Vegas, though. It’s unfathomable, even though people die of violence here, and elsewhere, every day. What’s going on in Puerto Rico is closing in on genocide due to chosen negligence.

My conscience is seared all the way around, but maybe it’s the only way to get through the day so I don’t collapse under the weight of the all the pain and sorrow that’s been very heavy lately. It’s fixed, like Scorpio energy can be.

And then there’s my own stuff.

Not to roll out the scroll of my own suffering, but living here has been triggering memories of living with my family of origin, of how unpredictable it was due to living with someone who has untreated mental health issues. That came to a(nother) head today when I once again woke at 5:30am in the morning to the smell of brewing coffee, which derailed my whole day. It took forever to go back to bed, and then I woke up too late.

If something gets tripped up like that, over and over, to mean it means it’s time for healing. So today, I was planning on doing some work-related things, but today was a day to work some of those old emotions out: forgiveness and self-compassion and grief and anger.

New things knocking around old things.

And I imagine that’s what it’s like to hear these survivor stories–being triggered as others tell their stories. I only hope that healing can occur as Newton’s cradle of grief goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

This may sound really rah-rah and strident, but in this increasingly fixed and stubborn energy, I want to think about solutions. Especially if you’re any kind of marginalized person, you already know the world is a fucked up place. You’ve tried, in your own way, to heal yourself, to bring healing to your corner of the planet. Yet sometimes Twitter can just become an echo chamber and all you can hear are endless screams and cries and groans and yells. It could be an empath’s burden, feeling everyone else’s feels so easily. But one can only feel so much…

As I was telling a friend today, I’m so tired of hearing people glibly say that we’re all gonna die. I’ve gone through hell and back too many times for that sort of existential resignation.

I don’t have any overarching solutions right now that don’t involve a lot of money–as my friend today has surmised. So right now, the best thing I can do is to make sure I can make some so I can donate to causes that support marginalized people, i.e., take care of myself so I can take care of others.

What else can I do?

I love the people who love me back hard.

I continue to find compassion for myself as I look at my old stories with fresh and kind eyes.

I try to push back the dark, rolling clouds of doom that tried, and failed to overwhelm me today.

I keep hope close to me, but not too close so it smothers me with exaggerated optimism.

I cry if I need to.

I attempt to be more grateful and rejoice if and when I’m successful.

I look for the threads that hold things the good things together. Tie those thread tighter.

I do the best I can and know that it’s enough.

I can even look forward to things, like having my own family and not living here and/or in Florida anymore.

For now, I have to focus on the work that’s in front of me, which includes fighting to be here and not drowning in doom. If I’m sleep deprived like I am today, it can be really hard. But the fight is worth it.

To find joy and hope in the midst of immense suffering can seem impossible. But in order to survive and really live, it’s necessary.

May we all keep fighting to be here and to be happy, loved, and safe.

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lucky blooms 💐

late bloomer SOM

Well.

First of all, reading that from poet Sharon Olds immediately pierced me, with some hope.

I come here lacking gratitude for my opening buds, and especially for the buds that have yet to be formed.

But I’m feeling a little chastened. I usually don’t do this much throat clearing before I get into a post.

(This post is brought to you by the pre-mid-life crisis transit of Pluto square Pluto.)

I don’t feel so lucky. I feel tired. I feel late. I have been planning my life my whole life. Hear the travails and laments of a tortured double Capricorn.

I thought I had some wisdom about this post, about how things were supposed to happen. It seems to have escaped me. I’m sure I’ll find some new wisdom as I write.

Things are getting better. I feel 10 years late on that, though. If I were 29 and finally starting my own business, that seems right. Why did this take so long?

I know why. It’s a lot of stuff, and here’s the timeline:

family upheaval caused by untreated mental illness ➡️ delay in attending and finishing college ➡️ finding my own emotional equilibrium ➡️ discovering I suck at college science ➡️releasing medicine as a future profession ➡️ picking up writing as a potential profession at age 30 or so ➡️ finally getting to do it on my own as a legit business nine years.

But that’s how the story was supposed to go. Why? Because it happened that way. This was my timeline at age 17:

college ➡️ med school ➡️ psychiatry residency ➡️ married and have my first kid by 30.

Look how tidy that is. I am pretty sure I was fretting about this with my 11th grade English teacher. Maybe deep down, I knew that this little neat timeline was not going to happen, which is why I was having legit panic about whether this was going to happen.

The delays, the diversions, the detours—at least I can say that it got me back to myself, to my first love of writing. I also thought that things like marriage and kids would just happen.

And, they haven’t.

I’ve gotten to this weird place of resignation that probably comes from going through very hard times for a very long time.

Sidenote: I hate that I have to care about this stuff as a woman, but I also hate that I hate that I care about any of this at all. Most men do not sit around fretting about marriage and kids. Maybe I thought like a dude for a little too long. Even beyond just stupid fertility, I’m socialized to want this thing that does not help ultimately make women happy.

I’m in this thing I can’t really speak of publicly, but it’s like this energetic holding pattern where I have to wait around to see what happens. In the back of my head, instead of anxiety, there’s just a knowing that things will work.

But the resignation makes me feel safer. I’m tired. Holding out hope for things you can’t control gets tiring.

And that’s probably the point, too, right? To let go already. There’s some weird alchemical thing that has to happen. You have to reach the end of yourself, to feel your fingertips to start slipping on the last threads of hope you have, and then something, Something, catches you, just in time.

I’m starting not to care anymore, though, like time’s run out. I should just be grateful that I can kinda be an adult that can take care of herself, that can see herself through crisis after crisis. And yet time probably hasn’t run out. Yet it’s easier to grieve and let go than to hold on. It’s doubly sad to think about. But hope is a very heavy thing and my arms are buckling…

And then the Universe will send a sign. It is not in agreement with me about giving up. It’s a cycle of despair and determination that I’ve gone through many times this year, not only with love, but just life in general. I’ve thought about how life would just be better if it stopped because the agony of living was not worth waking up to.

So, I was thankfully wrong about that.

Let’s go back to what Sharon said. Am I going to be one of the very lucky ones when it comes to love? I feel like my business had to be established before I’m released from whatever holding pattern I’m in. And maybe, you know, it’s not about me. It could be about the other person, it could be about other things that I had to go through that I don’t even realize yet. I’ve been told as much by probably tarot readers and astrologers. It’s hard to remember since the goons of poverty have been pummeling for a while now.

Patience. Oh, patience. I tire of you.

When I think about my friends who have all started families, looking at their curated pictures on Facebook, I stare back into the emptiness that engulfs me locally. Being down here so long, as I have said a few times here, I started to forget how to be human. In Libra season especially, it starts to look like something is wrong with me.

🗣Nothing is wrong with me.

Going back to Chicago this month to escape Hurricane Irma, I realized how easy it was to be myself there. I left a lot of heartache and betrayal there, too, but I laid it all to rest (almost 15 years of shit). When I move back, I don’t want to be thinking about any of that. This year, with a bevy of Aquarian friends, I’ve been able to find that wicked sense of humor that carried me through so much grief and loss, but also just made the room lighter.

Hey man, I’m back.

So looking into whatever *this* could be, it’s more than my 17-year-old self could have hoped for. That’s why I’m still kind of loitering in confusion. It would be worth waiting for, too, even this long, even as patience and temperance and perseverance try me.  That isn’t me holding onto hope, though. That’s me being curious about how things will work out, if at all.

Gosh, could it really be that good?

And here comes the grace…boy, it has been a time. I have had a time. Why would I expect anything good from people when I could write a series of books of all the heartache, betrayal, and just plain evil I’ve experienced? My track record with the human race is spotty. There have been some angels and demons, and then some people I can’t remember…

Scolding my skepticism seems silly now.

Despite wanting to join Facebook Nation and say, hey, I checked some other adulting things off of my to-do list, it’s the Pluto square Pluto thing (transiting Pluto is in my 1st house, and my Pluto is in my 10th house). I’ve been obsessed with legacy. What am I leaving behind when I die? I really hope it’s good people—my (now future) kids.

Nothing seems good enough yet. I have barely begun.

But whatever. I’m a double Capricorn who can’t plan that much right now. I feel like I’ve been benched. Put me in, Coach? I’m ready to play? Today?

Yet it does feel weird to just think—if this were meant to happen, it would have happened already. It almost sounds logical, but my life is strewn with late blooms…

Oh well. You tried. Good effort. At least you survived. Count your lucky blooms, girl.

Consolation prize: your very breath. *sigh*

Did I mention I was tired? If anything, if anything, this year, my ceiling was raised so high, it’s practically the sky. If I have to come back and try again, then I know what to aim for. And that would be a very big if at this point.

It’s also a sign of healing, though. Please let’s give myself some credit before I drag my sorry soul over more broken glass. My hierarchy of needs is not an inverted triangle anymore. Being able to support myself means I can support a relationship, and now I don’t feel as desperate for it anymore. And I’ve heard that desperation, shockingly enough, pushes things away.

During my years long time out with the Universe, I’ve watered and nurtured my spiritual roots. I’ve found amazing women that I am close with and love dearly. It’s the right ordering of things. As I told one friend: boys last. Always last.

But hey, it’s Libra season. I do care about the one-on-one, a lot. Where my Pluto is, also in Libra, also means I’m going to care about this topics in a big mushroom cloud sort of way. I don’t want to kid myself here.

I’m ready to live already. Unencumbered. I’ve waited for college, for grad school, for my career.  Even still, though: good news! The treacherous obstacle course of my life seems to be nearing completion. I’m not sure if this will be waiting at the end.

So I’m just going to close my eyes and run like hell to the finish line.

This song just came up in a Daily Mix I’m listening to. I hear you, Universe…

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