As I sit here tonight typing these words, I am humbled by the nature of my blogging challenge. How do I know the extent of the changes I have experienced during 2020? I expect many more insights will be revealed in the weeks and months ahead. However on this day of Thanksgiving here in the US, I want to speak to the expansion and abundance residing within me. So here we go!
This is my entry for the Change Challenge, in which I challenged myself and other writers to take stock of their transformation in this year unlike any other. I needed to develop some structure for this piece, a way to organize my thoughts. I have become less organized as a result of this time without work and without many outside activities. I decided to start with describing the changes internally and externally, as one often reflects the other.
Sacred old oak outside of my terrace.
My physicality had shifted in some ways. I have lost about 7-10 pounds. This was not intentional and yet, I have wanted to lose more weight for some time now. My hair is very long again and is in need of a serious trim. Often I see a much older woman in the mirror, due more to lack of vitality or mood than actual aging. Stress can leave its mark. This perception of aging is in flux: some moments I see a woman who is absolutely beaming. 2020 for me is a time of paradox and inconsistency.
I have often wondered what I would do with unlimited time, free from the confines of a full time job. My last job was so exhausting as I discovered that while I am a night owl, 10 or more hours per day at the office was not ideal. As is often the case, I find myself with either more money and less time, or less money and more time. But this year it has been more money ( for a few weeks), less money, and more time, but with constraints on freedom and social outlets.
I had initially thought I would give my home a thorough cleaning and throw out all the stuff I no longer want or need. Well, I learned quickly that I am not an iota more motivated to do either. I will at times dive into a small cleaning or sorting project, but this urge is haphazard and short-lived at best. The few changes I have made to clear up some clutter have served me well though. While I have done way less shopping in stores, I found a way to accumulate more books, newspapers, and magazines! This is not surprising though.
My car usually has a mask sitting above the dashboard and my scarf from last March is now on the back seat. I periodically collect food containers and bags from Dunkin or Starbucks, the difference now being that I let them pile up longer on the floor. I used to have an immaculate car, but I hardly drive anymore so who cares? The car has collected some minor scratches on the ride side from other cars and from my inability to navigate my crowded neighborhood street. As I have mentioned before, people have been flocking to my community on the weekends and park on both sides of my narrow winding street, making driving and parking a dangerous and slow process. In some ways I can see myself reflected in my car Azia, less utilized, more scratched up, but still able to get from point A to point B.
Procrastination versus action: I had thought that my procrastination has receded over the years, but now I am not so sure. I waited until tonight to do this blog post, but I was home all day. I did not want to write it way ahead of time, because I wanted the Thanksgiving energy ( and transiting sun on my MC) to be in full effect. I did follow through on launching a job search in September, but have not been that motivated. I have done several interviews and so far none have felt right to me. My fear of more illness has impacted my drive to run errands or take walks or do much outside the home. It’s funny though that in the beginning of the Pandemic, I took a walk almost every night while I worked remotely from home. This was in pre-mask America, before the hospitalizations and deaths began to accelerate. I realize that your mileage may vary because governmental and geographic differences are noteworthy. I do need more exercise and wish to walk more often. I tend to enjoy walking in the cold weather and am hoping the “tourists” will disperse once the weather goes below freezing.
Rigidity versus adaptability: Many who know me well would call me stubborn, fixed, or rigid and they would be correct. As a therapist, astrologer, and writer, I am less so, because my creative process kicks in and takes on a life of its own. Outside of these domains, I tend to be a creature of habits and preferences. But I have shifted a bit more towards spontaneity and adaptability as this year has progressed. I have taken on projects without much planning or scheduling. Quite a few opportunities have “landed in my lap” without warning or much wiggle room for preparation. Yet my devotion to watching TV at a designated time has continued to take priority. While it may not seem “enlightened” to say, watching TV grounds me and soothes me, as it has since childhood. I am more careful about what I take in, but I find the regularity and predictability comforting now more than ever. This comfort zone has been disturbed often though by “news conferences” and power outages. It is quite odd how often my apartment complex loses power. But I digress.
Connection versus isolation: I am an introvert at heart, but have really been craving human contact the past few months. I have dreams of being hugged probably because I have not had a hug in many moons. While I live among many neighbors, I am not close with most of the recent crop. I talk with friends on the phone and do countless zooms for all types of activities. And social media of course ( but I am more careful with FB). I have recently become acquainted with audio books and find the narration enjoyable. It substitutes for connection. The most common in -person encounters I have are in the grocery store, drug store, or at drive thrus. These are usually not connections I look forward to. Yet, some are surprisingly pleasant. Admittedly the energy I bring to the transaction often determines at least a portion of the outcome.
Acknowledging fears and challenging their hold on me: This is a heavy topic for me. As I have written previously, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are dancing together in the 12th house of my natal chart. I have had Jupiter and Saturn visit here before, but it is a first for Pluto and all three together is very disturbing. The combination of expansion, fear, and renovation to my psyche has been quite torturous to endure. Memories of people and events long forgotten pop into my head as flashes from the void. My sensitivities have become more pronounced. often leading to more illness. For example, after learning about someone’s breast cancer diagnosis, my chest began to hurt a few weeks later. After reading about someone being hospitalized for diverticulitis, I end up back in the ER ( this past Sunday.)
Sidebar: This was an interesting visit in that my CT scan proved I had no colon dis-ease and seeing 2 newborns in the room next door elicited feelings of revitalization, an unexpected rebirth. The drive to and from the ER gave me a chance to wave good bye to my former office building and many of the places I frequented while working there.
When I focus on someone, I quickly imagine their circumstances and carry some of their distress with me. While this is not uniquely a 2020 happening, the frequency and intensity has increased. Some of my darker impulses and thoughts have also returned, and I do not feel good about it. Yet, I eventually return to self compassion and self love, as I know that most of these darker tendencies have emerged due to stress and trauma from living in such an unstable time. I sometimes have a desire to check out and be done with this lifetime, but over and over again I make a reversal and commit to living out my time here. It is usually the kindness and generosity of others or a striking synchronicity that warms my heart and sparks some hope for a better “now moment.” Lorie Ladd’s videos have been a blessing. She is so encouraging and genuine and shines her light very brightly. Like I hope to do again myself soon.
New endeavors and values clarification: Around April or so, I was determine to make my mark and morph into a newer me with a unique career/business. This quickly fizzled out as my health deteriorated and I became enthralled in financial and bureaucratic difficulties. A few of these remain as of today. This does not mean I am entirely closed off to vocational reinvention, but there does not seem to be much spark or movement that I can track.
I have been very busy, especially since September. This season has been devoted to pursuits I have long wanted to explore. Some have been long held dreams on hold while others a bit more recent. I have been attuned to Reiki 1, completed an Art History class on Matisse, am currently studying Animist Psychology, and have taken some other online projects on self – development. Reiki is confusing to me in its subtle nature. It has not prevented health issues, which is disappointing, but it has begun to change me in incremental mysterious ways. I will say more about this in the future.
My Matisse class was a revelation. The instructor was so nurturing and passionate in a way that I need at this time. She taught me to see art differently and in turn , to see all of life with new eyes. Matisse was enchanted by the light and I did not know of this before taking the course. My trip to the Barnes was the respite I needed from this bland housebound existence I have come to know. I will write more about this also in future posts.
My current Animist Psychology course is so dense and overwhelming. Daniel Foor is Plutonian , yet communicates like a Virgo. Precision with intensity. At times his energy is too much for me to absorb. The material covers a lot of topics, from shamanism, to clinical practice, to cultural and environmental abuse, to ancestral wounding, and so much more. It feels to me like I have covered this all before, but in another way and perhaps in a different timeline. It was not a random occurrence that I found and signed up for this course. I was strongly drawn to it and consider it to be among some of the projects I have meant to take on for years. Many of the subjects are both familiar and unknown to me in some undefined fashion. I was happy to learn that another blogger is taking the class and that I get to meet with hundreds of students on the live calls from all over the planet. Some are healers, others are seeking healing, and many like myself, encompass both paths. What I can report to be uplifting is my heightened reverence for the non – human life forms and the land that I inhabit. I felt such a bold aliveness on my walk today from all the plant life, sky, and ground that surrounded me. The sun was uncharacteristically warm and light danced everywhere. I featured photos today that reveal the light’s marvel and power.
One of the most obvious ways I have changed is that my values have been refined and brought more into focus. Love, communion, vitality, beauty, authentic truth, silence, curiosity, knowledge, kindness, and purpose. I strive to take more opportunities that offer me a chance to live any of these values. When I follow through and embody these values, I feel more alive and in the flow.
Revised attitudes: This has gotten to be quite a lengthy essay but it is winding down. I will conclude by saying that I am listening more to my own inner voice and other guidance like a young child obeys her mother. When I am hungry I eat, when tired I sleep, when sad, the tears flow, when lonely I either process the feelings or seek connection. I do not have the luxury anymore to ignore these calls. My body is more susceptible to dis-ease, often compounded by fears and the perceived lack of safety. I choose to honor my humanness rather than pretend it is should take second place to some other goal. I am more “on the edge” in many ways, but also wiser and self-protective. This is yet another paradox of 2020 that I attempt to reconcile. I am grateful that my moods do not linger that long and that I have more books and projects than I could complete in the remainder of this lifetime.
While I do believe all this 12th house activity has exacerbated my reactions to living during such an unpredictable and revolutionary year, I have learned to accept that this is not an accident. I have read recently that embodied ascension is about loving all of life in all its forms, including one’s shadow along with one’s light. Yes, this idea is not new, and yes, I have written about this concept on this blog on more than one occasion, and yet I am interpreting it in a new way now. I am here and it is no mistake. My losses and my gains, my triumphs and my errors, my disappointments and my opportunities, none have more or less worth in the long run.
The light still remains….