Or in other words, taking my own advice:
You know how you learn a lesson and then tell yourself how grateful you are for the lesson and believe that it has finally stuck and you are going to be OK and never have to re-learn the lesson? You know how The Universe laughs at us when we say silly things like that?
I have recently encountered the revisiting of some powerful lessons that I let slide away from me. I am grateful for the reminder and hope to write the lesson on the fabric of my spirit for all time because let me tell you they just kicked my complete ass. I have had to work on who I am in the world and confront all of the balls I dropped and the places in my production that are weak and flawed in fundamental ways. I have had to recover parts of my personalty that while vital to me, were locked away and never allowed to come forward and play. I have had to look at my own demons and see where I am lazy, where I overextend myself, where I let myself down, where I let others down, where I waste resources such as energy, time,and money, where I allow negativity and fear hold me back and contaminate my process and where I make excuses for all of those previous frailties.
During the Mercury Retrograde period, which ends on July 1st, one of the energies in play is the power of moving backwards and this brings on a strong tendency toward reflection and retrospect. Those, of course, lead directly toward analysis of where we are now and what progress we have or have not made. I will not go so far as to say I had a midlife crisis. With any luck, that is still pending and I look forward to the deconstruction and rebuilding that it brings. Rather this was a pausing time to reflect on what needs to be tightened up in my game to bring about the best life possible.
For me, this calls to mind the image of the Seven of Pentacles in the Tarot. This is a man who has been in a frenzy of gardening and now pauses in his activity to look back on what he has done. Anyone who has worked a largish garden by hand knows that when you hoe a row, there comes a point where you must look back on your row and make sure it is straight. The smart people run a string from end to end of the garden and then you use your hoe to dig out a furrow in which to plant your seeds, using the string as a guide to keep it straight. Even then, there is the danger of your “up close” perspective preventing you from seeing the full picture, which in panorama shows that you are way off course. This time of reflection is when you look back and see how straight you have made your row, if you missed any weeds that should be pulled, and if your hills and furrows are even.
My period of retrospection sounds like something that is negative and defeating (“You screwed this up!” “You made mistakes here!”), but there are two other aspects of this to consider. One is that when you look back, you see your successes as well and the balanced mind gives them just as much celebratory attention as it gives corrective attention to your errors. Seeing the places where you went for the win and aced the test is quite gratifying. The other side of the situation is that when you do find weak points in your performance, the energy is not to demean and demoralize, but to identify and repair.
If we approach our challenges like the Dormouse at the Mad Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland, we sleep through life, wake up only to mumble something incoherently, and then disappear back into the bliss of oblivion. We wake up, make excuses thinly disguised as “reasons,” and then go back into the comfort and familiarity of our old routines without challenging ourselves to overcome our weaknesses. We convince ourselves that we are fine the way we are and have no need to improve. The more aggressive of us will even proclaim that if people do not like how we are, they can just leave. I am guilty of the same.
I have recently said that this is the year that rather than polishing the glass ceiling above us until it is so clear we hardly know it is there, we instead must break through it and reach our highest potential. This is a year of tremendous movement and momentum and if we fail to take advantage of that, the chances are strong that we will be left behind in our own lives.
For me, this results in a search for my true self because I know that for many, many years – possibly even my entire life – I have hidden from my own authentic self. I have hidden behind family obligations, fears, societal influences, fat, the front door to my house, and anger. I have made the problems of others my own and have blamed my own shortcomings on others.
I cannot yet identify what about my authentic self intimidated me enough that I would hide it away. Certainly, parts of who I truly was were on true display, but the full impact was never there. This is the year it comes out. This is the year I have to work hard to best the demons that hold back my own success and to stand in my own truths. There is an urgency to this that I cannot identify, but I am pleased by the first efforts, even though they were hard as hell to get through.
The biggest lesson I truly had to learn is that I alone am responsible for who I am in the world and for my own pleasure and joy. No one else. I have to command those things and welcome them into my own life rather than expect anyone else to provide them for me.
So to celebrate the emergence from the crysalis, we will end with the dulcet sounds of the Queen of Motown, Diana Ross: