Make Peace with Mercury Retrograde

Here you are, in the midst of it yet again. Your computer is acting weird. Your smart phone is even weirder. Your car is making a strange sound. And you just chipped a tooth. What else can go wrong? Well, from September 17th through October 9th, anything is possible because it’s once again Mercury retrograde!

Mercury goes retrograde around three or four times every year, and you’re sure that during this time everything that could possibly go wrong will go wrong. How did this association of trouble during Mercury retrograde begin? Ancient astrologers were very skilled in their observations. Because Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun, it has a much shorter orbit around the Sun than Earth does, and there are times when it looks to Earthlings like Mercury is going backwards.

The Roman god Mercury was considered to rule some very important human activities. Mercury was believed to oversee all types of communication, including negotiating, buying, and selling. He ruled all contracts, agreements, and other documents, as well as the realms of transportation, shipping (including mail), and travel. Technology and machines—from computers to kitchen appliances to cars—are also under his care. Any change in Mercury’s appointed rounds could be seen as occasion for trouble.

Are you one of those people who attributes spells of mental confusion and forgetfulness to Mercury retrograde, blaming the stars when you lose your keys or glasses or lock yourself out of your house? Do you really need to hide under your bed until Mercury goes direct once more?

At some point, it would be a good idea to examine if it’s your own fears and negative expectations that color your experience of Mercury retrograde. Or do you want to believe that the stars are throwing extra trouble your way?

What if instead of running faster to escape the effects of Mercury retrograde, you slow down, refocus, and take a closer look at your life? Think how often you simply blast through your days, hardly noticing where you are and what you are doing. You get to work and realize you scarcely remember driving there. You can’t remember what you had for dinner or what you did last Tuesday. You set your coffee down somewhere and have no idea what happened to it. You enter a room and don’t remember what you came for. These are signs that you are not present in the here and now.

Would you make as many missteps or misplace as many things if you were actually paying attention to the present moment? Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to step back and look at your days with the focus, respect, and gratitude they deserve.

Here are seven things you can do to help make this Mercury Retrograde a different kind of experience:

  1. Reconnect with your inner self. Reach for greater awareness through the practice of meditation. The more you meditate, the quieter your mind will be. You will be able to be present and feel your feelings.
  2. Is there some area of your life that needs healing? Consider working with energy medicine to rebalance and refocus.
  3. Practice being flexible. Reframe obstacles as challenges. Embrace the unexpected as a spiritual reminder from the Universe.
  4. Practice forgiveness—of yourself as well as of others.
  5. Allow plenty of time when you do something so you are not rushed. That way you will be able to bring more awareness to every situation. If you tend to be flighty, learn how to get more grounded.
  6. Keep repeating your mantra. It will calm you and give you a more spacious outlook on life. If you don’t have a mantra, I will give you one when you learn to meditate with me.
  7. Are your present actions in keeping with what you believe in and what you really want? Think about where you are putting your time and energy. How can you live in closer alignment with your deepest values? 

With a higher level of awareness, with greater presence and attention to life, with energy healing, you will be able to overcome many of your fears, doubts, worries, and negative expectations. The more you expect positive experiences in life, the more likely you are to find them—even during Mercury retrograde!


Are You Ready For the Equinox?

Very early in the morning (1:21 a.m. PDT) this Wednesday, September 23rd, autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. While you may have learned of this online, earlier humans, who spent a lot more time outside than we do, used the sky as their calendar. They built observatories, like the one at Machu Picchu in Peru, which precisely indicates the equinoxes, which is when the sun crosses the celestial equator. Our ancestors knew what they were doing. The observatory at Machu Picchu is called the Intihuatana stone, which literally means “for tying the sun.”

The autumn equinox marks the transition from summer to fall. You can feel it in the air, and see it in the sky. Dawn comes later, sunset is earlier. Day by day, there is more darkness, less sunlight. Shorter days mean the weather is turning cooler. The sun’s arc is shifting towards the south, just like the birds and butterflies that are heading in that direction. The equinox is a good time to go outside, at sunrise or sunset, and note where the sun is on the horizon to establish due east and due west. As such, it’s a really good time to note your internal cardinal points. Are you charging full tilt into the east, pulled toward the light? Or are you moving due west, into the darkness?

An equinox is a time of balance, when day and night are of equal length (the sun sets 12 hours after it rises). At the Autumnal equinox, the sun enters the sign of Libra. If you look at the symbol for Libra, you’ll see that it represents the sun rising/setting in balance.

There’s a reason why ancient cultures created monuments and rituals based on the cycle of the sun. They wanted to align with the principles of the path to spiritual enlightenment, the real purpose of life. The four points of the year—the two equinoxes and the two solstices—create a symbolic cross, with the sun at the center. So the journey of the sun through the year is also the personal journey of your spiritual awakening, with each turning point being a time for reflection and inner alignment.

All ancient peoples recognized the autumn equinox as the start of the yearly descent to the underworld. In the Great Pyramid of Egypt, in certain years, the equinox is marked by the light of a star moving down the central axis of the descending passageway. In Mexico, at the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza, when the sun sets on the equinox, it creates the visual effect of a serpent undulating as it descends the nine terraces (which depict the nine layers of the Mayan underworld) and lighting up the serpent head at its base. The Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico, faces the exact spot where the sun sets at autumn equinox. It is built over a cave, which is taken to be a passageway to the underworld. The giant statues on Easter Island also face the equinox sunset, marking the time of growing darkness.

In North America, there is a stone monument estimated to be over 4,000 years old, in Salem, New Hampshire, on a place called Mystery Hill. The standing stones point to sunrise and sunset during the equinoxes.

As a spiritual teacher taught by seers in these ancient cultures, I know that this week is a good time to ask yourself: are you ready to point in the direction of your own darkness? The colder months are generally a good time for inner “work”—going deep within your own psyche and taking inventory. Where are you on your journey? Are you fearful of what you might uncover in your personal underground? What are the beliefs you hold about yourself that are keeping you in darkness? What negative karma have you created that needs to be acknowledged and transmuted?

Consider doing some sort of private ritual to celebrate this sacred marker, when your focus can change from the sunny outer world to the riches and wisdom found within the darker time of year. You can sit in a totally darkened room or outside at night, if you live remotely where no lights can be seen, and meditate, eyes open, on your own relationship with the underworld. Observe your reactions to the darkness. Go past your fears and face whatever is within you. Can you reach a point of balance between your inner darkness and the inner light of consciousness, the east and west of your being? You might use energy healing techniques to help your chakras back into balance on this special occasion. Since this is the beginning of the darker months, you can do this type of meditation repeatedly as the nights get longer. When you have come to a point of acceptance and understanding, light a candle to banish the darkness.


Don’t Let the Music Die Inside

When Wayne Dyer passed on recently, I was reminded of one of his well-known quotes: “Don’t die with the music still in you.” It’s a profound message. You don’t know when you are going to die—or like Wayne, just not wake up again. Those who have been given a terminal diagnosis can surprise the medical world by living years longer than expected. And at the other end of the spectrum, any of us can be hit by that proverbial bus at any moment. So what should you be doing between this moment and that inevitable one? Expressing your passion, your “music.”

What is it that makes you feel most alive, most vital? It could be mothering—your children, your parents, your pets, your community. It could be any of the arts—music, dance, theater, writing, painting. It could be your intellectual pursuits that fire up your imagination, like turning your fascination with 17th century Scotland into a series of historical novels. Whatever it is, it is yours!

Have you turned away from the things you were animated about in your youth? Did your love of dance, for example, fade when you had to go out and earn a living? If you spent every free minute in college in the art studio, what happened to your inner artist when you entered the “real” world?

If you are one of the lucky ones, your youthful enthusiasms morphed into the driving purpose of your life. Your love of reading became a career in publishing. Your basic instinct to mediate the fights of your siblings and school friends turned you into a counselor. The zeal with which you helped mom make dinner grew into becoming a chef or organic gardener.

But if you’re like many, your life’s journey has not been a straight line. Many of us had to survive various forms of abuse before we could even think about our passions. If you look back at your life, from the vantage point of who you are now, can you follow the dots—seeing what created your life as it is today?

I know that, for me, music was a passion. It touched my soul in a way that I didn’t understand until I discovered the inner music of meditation and the spiritual path of energy healing. I grew up in an abusive household. I ran from the abuse, straight into various addictions. A nasty medical diagnosis turned me away from addictions and into what became not only my passion, but also my life purpose: energy medicine.

Do you know your life purpose? Why you are here on Earth in this particular time and place? With these particular people in your life? Look at your present situation, carefully. Is there someone you know who has the expertise in an area you would just love to develop? Is there some way to incorporate your love of design into the work you do?

Here are a few ways to discover your passion and live your life purpose:

  • Slow down and unplug for at least a half hour a day. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Sit and stare out the window. You’ll be able to hear your inner voice more clearly.
  • Be your unique self. There is something you have to offer that no one else does. Don’t be embarrassed by being different; let your uniqueness shine!
  • Look for recurring themes in your life. What are you repeatedly drawn to? What parts of your life touch you with joy and light instead of discomfort and pain?
  • What do you consider fun? What makes you happy?
  • If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you be doing? Is there a way to bring whatever that is into your life?
  • Don’t let fear stand in your way. What’s the worst that could happen? Why do you care what others may think of you?
  • Believe in yourself. You can do it.
  • Meditate. Meditate. The more you connect with your Higher Self, the easier it will be to navigate through life with passion and purpose.

Or as Wayne Dyer put it, “Don’t die with the music still in you.”


What If’s

Have you ever had to prepare for a natural disaster? My friend had moved to Florida and was facing the threat of her first hurricane. She described rushing around to Costco, Home Depot, the supermarket, the drugstore, the gas station—busily getting all the supplies on the Emergency Kit lists. Even four days before the hurricane was due to arrive, all the stores were out of D batteries—the ones needed to power lanterns and fans (nothing like summer in Florida without air conditioning when the power goes out). In the midst of her frantic efforts, she realized she was doing more than simply preparing for whatever might happen, she was also reacting to the situation with fear.

It wasn’t so much the missing batteries (she eventually found a few), but the lack of control when facing Mother Nature on a rampage. Oh, she could make sure she had enough peanut butter and bread and granola bars and plenty of water to survive for days without cooking, but what if her roof blew off? What if the house flooded? Would alligators be roaming around? Water moccasins?

It’s not just the anticipation of a natural disaster like a hurricane that can send us spinning in circles of “what if’s.” Have you ever found yourself facing some sort of threat? Maybe it’s having to see your ex at an event you’re both invited to. Maybe it’s hearing a doctor say those words, “You have cancer.” Maybe it’s coming face to face with your abuser. For me, it was watching my husband fall off a mountain. What if he was dead? What if I fell trying to get to him? What if? What if?

Think of how often you have had thoughts of “what if.” Can you feel the fear behind those thoughts? What, exactly, are you scared of? Try to pinpoint the fear behind the tape looping inside you of “what if.” Examine it. You will find, at least in the previous examples, it comes down to a fear of death (the “you have cancer” scenario), the fear of pain and shame (as in facing your abuser), or the fear of humiliation (meeting up with the ex). Note that all your fears are based on what might happen in the future, not what is happening right now.

The fear might be fed by what has happened in the past. Perhaps a parent or sibling has died of cancer. Perhaps the memory of past abuse overshadows the present. Perhaps the betrayal that led to your ex becoming your ex is a sharp reminder of the pain and humiliation you felt back then.

So there you are—stuck between the past and the future. Can you stop long enough to enter the present? In the here and now, you are fine. And who knows what will happen? Perhaps the cancer is slow growing and easily treated. Perhaps your old abuser will seek your forgiveness. Perhaps your ex, instead of tearing you down, will express gratitude for all he got from the relationship.

When my husband, fell off a mountain we were climbing and sustained a critical brain injury, our lives changed. We lived in a certain quietude, without television or other electronics that were too stimulating for him. His situation led me deeper and deeper into the study of energy medicine, as there was no conventional treatment for his situation, and deeper into the quiet of contemplation. As I watched in horror as he fell from the mountain, I had no idea that fall would eventually lead me from law to alternative health, to ultimately teaching energy healing, and to you.

Here are some possible results of other “what if’s.” What if being diagnosed with a deadly disease leads to your reinventing your lifestyle and getting much healthier all around? What if facing your abuser gives you a sense of self-confidence you never had before? What if meeting up with your ex bolsters your self-esteem?

So what should you do when you find yourself caught in a “what if” moment? For me, meditation, is always the answer. Sit quietly, focused on the mantra I selected for you. (click here if you don’t yet have one, and want me to choose one for you). In that space, there is no past or future, there is only the present. Rest in that space. Now you can make your preparations for whatever “hurricane” may be threatening your peace of mind, without fear.

By the way, that hurricane my friend was facing? Turned out it was nothing but a garden variety tropical storm.