Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
I have never been much of a believer in astrology.
But I do believe in serendipity, and that there are probably no coincidences in life. If you can only open your senses enough, you will find connections and meaning in even the smallest events and encounters.
It’s January, the month of new beginnings. In one day I will go back to work, back to the corporate grind after a two-week vacation. In 5 days I will turn 55, and be graced with the start of another year on this beautiful planet.
The month of January is linked to the Roman God Janus. Janus was known as the god of beginnings and transitions, and therefore also the god of gates, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to both the future and the past.
Like many people at this time of year, I have been spending some time looking both backward and forward; assessing the year that is past, and thinking about what I want for myself in 2015. While there were some big highlights in 2014 (the trip to France comes to mind), in many ways the year was one of my toughest. My father, who has Parkinson’s disease, suffered two terrible falls, breaking an arm and a hip each time. It has been painful to watch his decline. In my professional life (which is a big part of how I define myself), a large re-org impacted my role significantly. I have spent the last nine months trying to adjust to it, and frankly not doing a very good job of it.
But back to coincidences and astrology.
Yesterday morning, while perusing Facebook, just for fun I clicked on a somewhat silly-looking link – Pick A Crystal and See What It Reveals About You!
I know nothing about rocks, but I selected No. 3 – the Sun Stone; and was pleasantly surprised to read the following about this pick:
No. 3 Sun Stone
If you are attracted to this stone, you are beginning to feel more optimistic about the future. The power of the sun is energizing your body, enhancing your health and lifting fears and stress. The sun stone is an omen of good luck and signifies events taking a turn for the better. Imagine waking in the morning and your first emotion is JOY. Pure Joy because you have breath in your body and people in your life who love you. Once joy exists at this basic level, you attract more of the same. You are being given strength to overcome problems. Watch as magical alternatives appear. If you’ve been silently praying for a miracle, this is it. It is time for your day in the sun.
After reading about rocks, I went to a yoga class at my favorite center, Yoga For Life. I had not been there in quite a while, but something pushed me to go. Karen, our instructor, started off the session noting that it was the time of the full moon, so we would be doing moon salutations. She noted that the full moon symbolizes a time when “all possibilities are manifest.” It is a time when we can look both backward and forward without judgment, but with fresh awareness and clarity. A new path for the future can often appear, illuminated by the light of the moon. Moon salutations have some of my favorite poses, including the Star, Triangle and Goddess. I love the Goddess pose; it harks to my mythology days, and speaks of feminine power, strength and ancient wisdom. It was a wonderful session, and left me feeling refreshed, limber and renewed.
While chatting with Karen at the end of class, she shared a new book that some of her students were using to begin the New Year and supplement their practice. It’s an extensive journaling tool, called Daily Greatness Yoga Journal, Your Masterplan for a Beautifully Conscious Life. That is certainly a mouthful, with a pretty big marketing promise. I am a sucker for planning journals, so I purchased one. When I got home and took a deep look at it, it blew me away.
It’s a hefty and thoughtful interactive book, one that starts with “Forgiveness Sets You Free”, as the leaping off point to the journey. Forgiveness is first, because forgiveness frees up your energy and lets you reclaim your power. It then moves on to a ‘Celebration’ of how great we already are, to What Really Matters (values), to Dreaming and Desires, through Purpose, Personal Mission, and finally to a Conscious Life Blueprint. The daily journaling pages offer some powerful questions to both envision the intention for each day, and reflect with gratitude on its learnings.
They had me at ‘Forgiveness Sets You Free’. I wrote an entire page here. I had no idea I was holding on to so much junk that was sucking my energy and blocking my path. This book integrates the self-compassion, non-attachment, and authenticity that is the essence of Yoga, with tools to form new habits and build a detailed roadmap to achieve your goals.
I went on to develop the framework for a personal ‘55+5’ plan, and actually look forward to answering the daily journal questions. I hope I can keep this going, and plan on lugging this big book around with me every day. The daily practices it supports may hold the key to manifesting change and progress. Creating a practice can change a life. It reminds me of a quote from the inimitable Martha Graham, who said this about what it means to establish a ‘practice.’
I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.
I went back to yoga today, like a new convert. Today’s practice was harder, with a different teacher. Lots of Downward Dog and fierce Warrior poses. And my personal least favorite – the Frog pose – held for at least 5 minutes (or at least it felt that long), followed by Pigeon. I looked up the physical and metaphysical benefits of the Frog pose, and again, was blown away with the relevance:
Frog pose stretches out your inner thighs, groin and hips. It is a fantastic second chakra pose and relates a lot to the water element, flexibility and fluidity. Your pelvis represents the beginning of moving energy from your legs into the world. Your hips are symbolic of how you feel about the movement you are taking within yourself and the world. Stiffness in your hips can be due to holding on to the past until eventually you become immobile. Life is in a constant state of change and our hips represent this area of continual motion. Are you resisting change in your life? Frogs are associated with water… therefore Frog encourages us to get in touch with the water element. It may be that things are becoming stagnant in your life and you need to invite in flow. Water is associated with emotions. The frog pose…reminds us to feel our emotions fully and to allow them to flow…Frogs hop and leap. It might also be time for you to leap into something new.
It’s now Sunday evening, and in another non-coincidence, I came upon a blog post shared by a friend on Facebook. It’s about tonight’s full moon, which is known as the full moon in Cancer, and as such, is apparently one bad-ass, power-packed full moon. Cancer is the sign of the crab, and is naturally ruled by the moon. The full moon in Cancer is a watery emotional realm where much can remain hidden beneath a tough outer shell. The author says that the full moon in Cancer is “the one most likely to make people drop their respective bundles like a dam bursting with all that repressed emotion.” There is a lot of special energy in this full moon – energy that can be tapped into for powerful change. Her advice:
Look at what is in your life that you would like to look after better, nurture and watch grow…or bloom. Perhaps examine what aspects of yourself you keep hidden, tucked beneath a hardened shell for fear of being poked or prodded or wounded. Focus your energies on feeding and growing that which nourishes you …This full moon, make your resolutions grand. Ask for what you want and work out, in a steady Capricorn fashion, how you plan to make it happen. Gaze into the crystal ball of your life and will it into reality, prepared to back these dreams to the hilt…. Choose your own adventure.
At the start of this brand new year, and its first full moon, I hope you too are looking to the heavens and into your own heart to define what you want to nurture and will into full, glorious bloom in 2015. Don’t overlook the small coincidences and soft messages the universe may be sending you.
Choose your own adventure, create your own practice, and take the leap – all possibilities can be manifest.
Link to the Daily Greatness Yoga Journal site: http://www.dailygreatness.co/products/dailygreatness-yoga-journal
Moon in Cancer blog post:http://bohomofo.com/2015/01/04/flume-moon/
Real Yoga for Real People: http://www.melissawest.com/