Archive | dark

Some things about grief. And love.

Off and on for most of this week, there has been a song playing in my head. It’s “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. It’s a song about missing someone who has died and how the belief that they live on (in heaven, in this case) brings comfort and a hope for eternal reunion.

Now, admittedly, I have been listening to a bit more Mariah Carey than usual. She’s been a reminder of Spring to me this year (also, my entire summer fashion ethos stems from her clothes in this video). But this is different. This song has been invading my head. It’s not like it just shows up out of the blue. It’s more like the song is insistent- it shows up and I can’t quite get it to go away. I try to think of another song, but this one comes back.

This isn’t a weird thing for me, in some ways. I have strange ‘gifts’. I can find lost things for people I care about. My Dad once asked for help finding a ring of my mother’s. I could see the ring and told him what the surroundings were like- dark, green, soft. He found it in his green truck, in a small, velvety pocket. I’ve ‘found’ other things- important pieces of clothing, lost papers, old mementos. (I sometimes wonder if I am attracted to people, or they are attracted to me, because some part of them is lost and I know how to find it again.)

I’m not sure how I came by this gift. I have looked at being empathic, being highly sensitive, being intuitive, and being slightly psychic. My spiritual guide says I’m a highly sensitive person, instead of empathic. I suppose it doesn’t matter what the label is, I still can do the thing.

Another thing this ‘gift’ does is it sometimes pushes back at me. It’s like I have a very wide, sensitive net around me and sometimes I can simply listen to what’s going on in the strings, but sometimes things get caught in it. Like this song.

Now, I don’t think this is some kind of direct revelation, a la The Bible. I think it’s simply my psyche taking in some information from the ethereal web and translating it into something I identify with. So, somewhere, someone I know is probably dealing with grief right now. Maybe they have experienced grief lately, maybe they are just surrounded by it. I don’t know. I also don’t know who it is- I’m connected to lots of people emotionally and I’m not sensitive enough to know who it is specifically (believe me, I wish I could know sometimes. At least then I could tell people to watch out for X or help them deal with Y). But whoever you are, this is for you.

 

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

 

When I was in college, I worked at a nursing home as CNA and I saw people die. I sat with them at the moments before, during, and after their death. I washed the warm and cooled bodies of people after they passed. The first time scared the shit out of me. Every time after I volunteered, because I knew I would be gentle and patient, where others had not been.

I have seen the moment of death be full of fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, fight. I have also seen the moment of death be full of acceptance, calm, love, relaxation, strength, and curiosity. Please do not equate the ‘good’ moments of death with ease. Difficult dying can still bring peaceful moments. People who die by suicide are some of the strongest people I have known (they misguidedly think that their death will be a relief for themselves and others, which, of course, it isn’t). [It would be misguided of me to not say this: if you are considering suicide, please take the time to call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. And please consider these stories from people who survived jumping from the Golden Gate bridge; their difficulties became workable and so can yours.]

One thing that was clear at all the deaths I have been a part of is that the moment after, the moment when the brain is quiet and the lungs no longer expand or contract, is a very peaceful moment. It is a relaxation of everything. The final breathing out that lets everything go. It’s over and everything can begin to settle and unfold. It is the end of life, but the beginning of death, which is a very peaceful (and active) process.

There are belief systems which state that what we say or think at the moment of our death impacts our karma in the next life. Other belief systems state that our souls are whisked away to some other place in another plane of existence after death. Of course, other belief systems state that we go nowhere, simply returning to dust and dirt. Based on my experiences, I am a firm believer in the First Law of Thermodynamics: that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed. I believe we get transformed when we die. (I do believe in reincarnation- there is simply too much evidence for it- but I think the remembrance of past lives is a rarity.)

All of this is to set the ground to point towards grief. Because there are many kinds of death in this life, not just the ones involving the loss of physical life. And they all involve transformation. I believe grief is the work of transformation for those who are left behind.

Despite the model of the Five Stages of Grief, we all know that grief is anything but linear. Grief is something that may grab us when death first arrives. Or it may sit quietly near us and just…exist…for a good long time. Sometimes grief dissipates quickly, like an insect bite that heals quickly. And sometimes grief is a deep, heavy burden to bear that almost refuses to budge (this seems to be most true when grief opens the door for longer-term depression). Grief has its own way, its own time, its own color and rhythm and intensity. For each death, grief is its own dance. For some, this dance is haggard and horrible. For others it is difficult, but graceful. It depends on what our hearts have the resiliency to deal with.

One definition of grief that I love comes from Susan Piver who wrote The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. She wrote that grief is love with no target. Our love, whatever it may look like, leaves us and roams around the places inside us, inside our life, where we used to connect with someone or something that has died. And because it ricochets, it touches us, over and over again.

This idea has comforted me greatly for the seasons of grief in my own life. I have also experienced that grief tends to come and go, sometimes arriving quite unexpectedly. My grief for a great grandmother who died when I was seven only returned to be fully felt when I was 15. Every year when I see snapdragons I have a ‘ping’ of grief for my grandfather’s death. A friend only grieved for her grandmother after her dog and rabbit died in the same week. For some, grief is a box they carry in their heart, always. For others, it is a cloud that comes to sit with them on important days and anniversaries. In my experience, grief does tend to dissipate with the years, the weight is not as heavy. But it also never quite goes away. It can heal, but the scar is still something we can run our fingers over, even if it does not hold the pain of the open wound.

Whoever you are out there, the one who has connected with me in such a way that your song of grief pings back to me, I want you to know this: grief is normal. It is also strange. And it is a journey only you can walk through, but you should not always walk alone. Let those who love you carry you sometimes- you don’t have to tell them the whole story, just let them comfort you and support you (make sure they are not stuck in their own grief, because this can drag you both down). Grief can heal, but it will also likely sting in places you never expected. It’s okay to feel the sting; feeling it is the only way to get through it. Grief is also a way to see how much we loved the other person, experience, idea, dream, whatever. Try to love the love. It is what’s best about you and your relationship with the one who passed.

Perhaps it is strange that all this should come from a Mariah Carey song being stuck in my head this Spring. But perhaps not. Because even as I write this, there are petals falling from the trees in my back yard, already dead and dying. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. And all we can do is be glad to be alive, living through all of it.

Big love to you all, most especially to those who grieve,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Lessons in Love + Desire

Or, what I learned from this last Mercury in Retrograde. (If you want some good info on Mercury in Retrograde, please check this post from The Tarot Lady. Her tarot and astrology info is informative, funny, and practical.)

Over the years, and over the course of many relationships, I have come to believe that the heart is a house with many rooms. For me, there is a floor for friendships, another for family, and, of course, an entire floor (or maybe a wing) for romantic relationships. The first room on that floor belongs to a blonde name Mark who I fell for in 6th grade. I felt so giggly and silly and could barely do anything but smile when I saw him in class. We moved to a new city at Christmas that year, so I don’t know what became of him. But he was my first real crush.

There are probably 8 or 10 more rooms on the romantic floor. Wait, let me count…it’s 16. Damn. Sixteen rooms between my first crush and the room where I hold the relationship with my husband. Not all of those other rooms were relationships, but they all helped me learn something about being in romantic relationships.

Each room is unique, of course. Each one has a particular shape and size. Some have a lot of stuff in them. Some are almost bare. Some are dark. Some are almost forgotten. But they are rooms with memories and feelings and experiences, and I can visit them if I need to. Lately, I’ve found myself revisiting the earliest rooms on the romantic floor because my son is starting to notice girls and watch his peers begin to date. I’m having to remember those times in my own adolescence so I can (hopefully) help him navigate them better.

For most people, the rooms on the romantic floor of their heart house stop at the one where the relationship that eventually lead to their marriage exists. I will talk about that as part of this journey, but I want to talk about the two rooms that came after my marriage relationship room.

The first room was gorgeous and sexy- dark red paint, four poster bed, silk sheets, red velvet curtains, black lace, chaise lounge, candles everywhere, closed curtains, and plenty of dark corners for dark deeds. It was a room almost entirely full of passion. It is the room where I desired the man who I was attracted to during the Sex Surge (when my libido went way up and I basically could not stop thinking about sex all day- it was fun and horrible). All the desires and fantasies and stupid things I did, said, and wrote live in that room.

This is how the room started out, anyhow. If you go look at it today, it’s very different. There are burn marks on the floor and walls from emotional bombs I set off myself. There are water marks on the walls from the inches of tears of frustration I cried. The curtains are open now, there’s nothing on the walls. The bed is a shambles, desperately broken; I took an axe to it so I could finally leave. There is a photo book with the important memories that I can flip through, when I need to. I learned a lot in that room- about sex, desire, passion, fear- and it took me forever to finally leave it. It took so much strength and practice and pain and energy, but I did it- because I knew my life, my heart, and my soul would be better for it. [I was not so much addicted to him, because he just wasn’t around, as I was addicted to desire and hope. And weaning yourself off emotions can take a lot of effort.]

The room after that is very small. It’s full of windows and white curtains and the sun shines right through so the light almost looks yellow. There is only one thing in the room: a simple bed with white sheets, pillows, comfy blankets. And while desire lived in this room, too, it was much simpler and a lot more infatuation than passion. I took the lessons from the passionate room and learned to leave this one faster. Not to say I didn’t make a bit of a mess along the way (messes are for learning!), but I got out much faster and much easier. I still sometimes visit this room – it’s really quite lovely and calming. (I realized the other day that it is what I was envisioning when I first began to feel into my Wild Heart stage.)

The men I was attracted to in these rooms still walk by and throw virtual pebbles at the window, which is fine. I send them metta.

 

Photo by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash

 

The guy from the sunshine room is the interesting one because there was almost a possibility of an affair with him. Maybe. Almost. Sorta. (I’m quite sure he thought about it.) And I wanted one- after years, I wanted one again. And this is where Mercury in Retrograde set me down and had a good, long talk with me.

When I was in the Sex Surge, part of what I learned was how to channel passion and desire into other places in my life when I couldn’t connect with the guy I was interested in. I learned how to pour it into art, dance, my kids, decorating, erotica. I also changed my marriage in terms of communication, sex, touch, sensual expression, and time away from kids (more of that, please!). I really did fix holes in my marriage and myself. I healed some old wounds and learned how to let that passionate part of myself out to play. (I’m still learning this, honestly.)

This time around, what I discovered is that sometimes there is nothing wrong with a marriage. Sometimes there is not really anything to heal, personally. Sometimes we just desire. We just get infatuated. We just want to jump into the fun of connection. For the first time, in this Mercury in retrograde, I considered the idea that I didn’t need to fight my desire or fix anything about it. Because there is nothing wrong with my marriage. And there is far less brokenness in me than before. I decided, instead of fighting my desire (coming at it perpendicular) to accept it (to run parallel with it). It’s not something I need to fight anymore, I can just let it be.

“Any energy that you deny becomes a demon for you. It becomes your inner tormentor. And you don’t get rid of your demons. You embrace them. Not indulge them, but embrace them. And if you embrace them in a way I am talking about they no longer feel like demons. They are just energies that are available to you. They are just part of this whole spectrum of what it is to be conscious and alive and present. And everything becomes joined together back again. A mature emotional life if when all the different parts of yourself emotionally are joined back together. Nothing is put outside, nothing is denied, nothing is hidden. Nothing is unacknowledged. All brought together so that it can all come together.” – Adyashanti

Of course, there are choices to make when desire comes up again (as it surely will). One thing I am learning since I have accepted my own beauty is that I am attracted to dudes with a lot of potential and a fair amount of brokenness (or emotional immaturity). That is not a standard I want to uphold in the future. (Now I know my worth. Now I know my healing is spectacular. Now I know my energy and time is worth a lot.) I can make choices around that, even in the midst of infatuation. Which actually means I probably will never have an affair, because dudes have got to be as quality as my husband. And he’s one of a kind.

Which leads me to tell you about the room our relationship grows in on the romantic floor of my heart house. It’s a huge room. We’ve been together 22 years. It has decorations and pictures from all the countries we’ve visited (and we lived in England the first year of our marriage). It’s got some bomb blasts, too, but those have been cleaned up and now plants and children and love grow there. There are tears of both pain and joy. (My engagement ring is made of pearls, which symbolize tears- I wanted all this emotion.) There is a bed with a headboard of beautiful Moroccan scroll work, rich, warm sheets, and a fireplace, a huge couch. There is light and color and so much comfort and safety I cannot tell you. There are everyday places to connect and touch and get it on. There is passion here, too- it’s the only room I’ve had 3-minute orgasms in! There is trust and joy and so many levels of intimacy and love I’m not sure I can describe them. We have worked through everything in this room. Just this morning, when I was sweaty from working out, and frightened because of a health issue, he lay down on the floor (because: ab workout) and held me as I cried. The room we have built is magical, and I want to live in it forever.

One of the most important tools I learned in the Sex Surge was to ask, “What do I think I will get or experience if I sleep with this person?” (or connect, or whatever). The answer to that question is full of gold, because we don’t need that other person (usually) to get those experiences. It’s simply that they ‘flip the switch’ for us to be or have or experience those things more easily than we can do for ourselves. The sunshine room was a place where I wanted lack of responsibility, joy, infatuation, recognition, appreciation, playfulness, laughter, relaxation, rest, and a simple kind of sensuality and pleasure. But these are all things I can give myself. They don’t require anyone else.

So, this Mercury in Retrograde taught me two important lessons: that I can align with my desire instead of fight it and that I can have what I most want without taking another lover*.

You know what this means? It’s time for a new tattoo. :o)

Big love from the trail, my people,
Joanna :: xoxo

*If you see me refer to a ‘lover’ or ‘boyfriend’ that’s my husband. He has many different roles in my life, those are just two. I mean, why limit yourself ?

 

 

 

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I am a witch. And a monster.

You ever type your own name into Google and see what comes up? Or your maiden name? Or alternate spellings of your name? (Maybe it’s just me.) Well, it started like that.

I typed “Joanna Meriwether witch” into Google and this is what I saw:

The text reads:

“Ewen recounts how in 1543, a Canterbury townswoman, named Joanna Meriwether – who otherwise made no claims to being a witch – confessed to having cast a spell on a young woman named Elizabeth Celsay and her mother with a holy candle. Confessions were often obtained from suspects over a number of days through beatings and sleep deprivation. Meriwether ultimately admitted that she had built a small fire over Elizabeth’s feces and allowed wax from a burning church candle to drip over it. She had later told neighbors (it is not clear if they were called as witnesses) that this would cause the ‘girl’s buttocks to divide into two parts.’ ” (Folklore of Kent, Fran and Geoff Doel, 2009)

My friend, A, said she showed me this when we met two years ago. I replied, “I’m sure you did. And I have no recollection of it at all.” (Exactly INFJ, ha!)

When I shared this on social media, one friend, a comedian, noted that it was set up just like a Patton Oswalt joke, only to finally reveal that Joanna Meriwether was simply throwing shade at a bitch, the 1543 version thereof. And two other friends were kind enough to point out that I invented the butt crack. (Which, in addition to really dirty sex jokes, is exactly my sense of humor).

What’s really interesting here is that the name is spelled exactly the same as mine. Which is a rare thing. Usually it’s easy to find things about our name if the spelling changes a bit- add an extra ‘r’ or ‘a’ in my case, and I’m sure there are many other things out there. So the exact spelling makes a gal wonder. A handful of friends on social media certainly suggested that I was looking at my exact past life. I did have an irrational hatred for England before I lived there. And certainly my lot in this life is cosmic crap cleaning for other people, so maybe that’s just karma clearly at work. Maybe it was me. Or is.

The fact is, even today I don’t totally claim ‘witch’ as my label. Do I do some energetic work? Totally. Can I see into other realms? Kind of- I certainly find lost things, whether that’s rings or nametags or souls or your truth. But, just like my 1543 self, I’ve never fully claimed that title. I consider myself, very much, to be a bridge between worlds, whether that’s spirit and science or magic and muggle. I speak both.

Of course, in this post, I also promised to talk about how Mercury in retrograde was handing me my ass (terrible segue, I know) and how I’ve come to know myself as a monster as well.

This past week, as Mercury in retrograde began, I made an honest request of my latest spiritual patron and got exactly what I asked for. I asked her for truth about my self and within the hour one of the most sacred pieces of my spiritual practice was dashed into a million pieces as I realized how much of my ego I’d invested in it. I’m not going to say which piece, just know it was very precious to me and sustained me for many years. To see that it had become an amplification of my own ego hurt like hell, even as I knew it was the truth. It was like one of those situations when you realize the thing you’re supposed to hate or leave is actually the thing you want desperately to keep (or vice versa).That slo-mo sense of everything crushing inward was exactly how I felt.

The only way to handle this kind of ego crushing is to accept it. To cry and feel stupid and ashamed and guilty in my own sabotage. And, just like all the other times this has happened, my whole internal self is called into question- what is real and what is not? As the hours passed, I would feel all my feelings (because, holy shit, you want to bypass that kind of pain as quickly as you can, so staying with it is a major task) and then try to see what I might take from the rubble. And the cool thing was, what I could take was more rubble, more destruction.

There were things I had built inside myself, psychic or emotional or spiritual structures, beliefs, ideas, perspectives that were part of this practice that was destroyed. And all of those things were destroyed, too. It felt exactly like wooden houses, built like the Three Little Pigs, blown away in one fell swoop. And even as it felt like destruction, it also felt like freedom. I could let it all go.

I could let it all go.

So, I did. I let it all go. And I felt somehow cleaner inside myself, but also with a sense of grief and vulnerability, rawness. A sense of myself as small and silly and immature. But that’s okay. Because I was free. And free to start again- this time with wisdom.

 

Fire is magic. Burning it all into stars.

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

 

One of the things I realized in this experience is how monster-like the truth can feel. When the truth comes for you, it can feel so utterly overwhelming and horrible, even if you know it’s right. It can feel (and is) destructive, crashing around like The Hulk inside of you. It’s hard to handle and accept and that’s why most people run or refuse to feel something until they are somewhere more psychically safe than their own mind (say, by projecting on a loved one or running away from a relationship simply so we have space to feel the truth).

And I realized how much of a monster I have been in delivering the truth to people sometimes.

I am a truth-teller. Truth is one of the three core values I live by- whether that is personal truth, capital “T” universal truth, or some other level of truth. I value it highly. But I also use it like a hammer sometimes- and it can be destructive and painful for others. (Sometimes I don’t give a damn if it hurts other people; sometimes people deserve to be hurt by their own truth if they’re so stupid as to avoid it for their entire life.) And that is true whether I’m delivering a ‘positive’ truth or a ‘negative’ one.

I should have known this, of course. When I’m at my full strength, fully myself, there are only about 5 people on this Earth who like me and can handle me. For everyone else I am some level of ‘too much.’ (Which I have learned to not let stop me- more about that Monday or Tuesday.) So, of course, when I stand in my full strength and power and tell someone the truth, it’s going to come out like napalm and set some things on fire. And I’m going to be the monster who did it.

What does this mean? More discernment is the thing I keep coming back to. Discernment about when and where to use the truth (which I already try to do), but adding in discernment about how to deliver it. In pieces. Or softly. Perhaps couched in a story. Simple but gentle. Because my tendency is to deliver it like a cannon delivers a cannonball. The truth doesn’t have to be so destructive. I don’t want it to be- I want the truth to help.

Of course, all this will take time and risk and fucking up. But I do have some wisdom and caution on my side. I will try to be careful, even as I know I’ll have to screw it up to really learn and grow. So, yes, I am a witch and a monster. But trying to be a better version of both of those things.

I was reminded by a favorite teacher that these moments of difficulty and growth are merely the valley in a multi-orgasmic life. The heat and the energy will rise again. This is just the refractory period for my soul. (Ha!) I’ll take it.

Love from the trail, my friends,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Redefining ‘the nafs.’

The ‘nafs’ are, in the Sufi (mystical Muslim) tradition, the voices inside of us that are not our best selves, not the highest part of us. We all have these voices, of course. They come from many places: our parents, society (especially society! trying to keep us in line), teachers or coaches, sometimes from our own experiences (‘don’t touch the hot things with your bare hand,’ for instance). But the Sufis are not sure they are our best guidance system for making decisions or living life.

[Mental health side note: when any aspect of the mental or emotional software we have goes too far, it becomes problematic. When these ‘nafs’ type voices go too far, they become schizophrenia. When the very necessary emotional experience of ‘sadness’ goes too far, it becomes depression, and that is problematic. When the useful emotion of ‘anxiousness’ goes too far, it becomes anxiety showing up at the incorrect time or too intensely. We all need enough ego to take care of ourselves, but narcissism takes it off the deep end. You get the idea. ]

But a friend was writing the other day about her internal Board of Directors and it got me thinking about the nafs. Maybe they need a makeover.

The Sufis sort of throw out all the nafs as muttering, nuttering human muck. Osho (famous sex philosopher, also known as The Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh) used to ask his adepts to spend an hour a day muttering incomprehensible things so they could get the unclear, unconnected, non-sense energy out of their system (which I think is not a bad practice, honestly). I think we all know we can be dragged by the hair by those voices inside of us.

But the idea of an internal Board of Directors makes sense to me, a bit. A BoD has people with certain types of expertise on it. In a business it would be marketing, growth, industry insiders, etc. If they aren’t experts, they’re super smart and experienced.

What if the nafs were like that?

What if the anxious voice inside me is actually a wise expert about what makes me feel anxious, what I need to watch out for, what I should get more info on before I jump into it?

What if my sadness was just sharing it’s wisdom about life and how best to handle a particular situation?

Seeing the nafs and my emotions in this way is kind of intriguing to me.

 

I think my nafs might be drunk, tbh.

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

 

The thing is, though, that we only give one vote to each person on a business Board of Directors. And I think for our internal BoD, we’d need to think about whose vote should have more weight.

In my mid-twenties I worked on a federal level project to help standardize care for kidney dialysis patients. We had a BoD and it was comprised of doctors, patients, social workers, ministers, nurses, etc. who worked in the field. At one point, we had to take a vote on which measures would be included as national standards of care (i.e. how well an individual patient or dialysis site was doing). Each person had 10 votes to split up between 16 options. They couldn’t vote for each one, they had to decide what was most important to them. One doctor used all of his 10 votes on one measure, because he felt it was so important.

I wonder if we need to treat our internal BoD that way. Sometimes we need to give more votes to our anxiety and check things out further. Sometimes we need to take a few votes away from our sadness or even our super-happiness. As we grow through life (if we grow), we fuck up and realize: sometimes our heart deserves all the votes, and sometimes it simply must be overruled by our logical voice. [Unfortunately, this kind of wisdom only comes with time, experience, risk, fucking up, and hurting. This is the beautiful mess of being human. The beautiful, painful mess.]

It may be that looking at our internal voices this way, weighing their insight, is best done if we have a good self-awareness, mindfulness, or meditation practice in place. We need to be somewhat skilled in watching ourselves and/or being fully present and aware. Certainly having a bit of therapy can’t hurt the process, either, because knowing where the nafs come from (is that my little league coach’s voice?) will help us know how to weigh their perspectives and advice.

I’m not sure the point of all this, other than to say: maybe the voices in our heads are sometimes useful and sometimes not. And only we can know which it is. But that knowledge comes at a high cost- the cost of risking and living and fucking up. But, I think, that knowledge is golden, and almost always worth the effort (even when it hurts).

So, fellow traveler, what do you know about this? What voices inside you do you trust? How did you learn to trust them? How much weight do you give the voices of your heart and soul? And how did you learn to do that?

There’s lots to ponder here.

G’night, beloveds. Big love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Balancing the mid-point

Hey, lovers! I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to post today because it is the day after the vernal equinox (in the Northern hemisphere) and the day before Mercury goes retrograde.

The equinox, of course, is the point where the light part of the day and the dark part of the day are equal. It’s a time to look at how we are balancing our own ‘light’ and ‘dark’ or how those two aspects are dancing in and out of our life. [I use Jungian definitions of ‘light’ and ‘dark.’ ‘Light’ is what we know and like about ourselves. ‘Dark’ is what we know and don’t like about ourselves. ‘Shadow’ is what we don’t know about ourselves that surprises us from time to time. A lot of people interchange ‘dark’ and ‘shadow’ but they are distinct psychological spaces with different purposes.]

The vernal equinox is also the point where light begins to return and so what we have planted – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – in the dark months is now coming alive and beginning to grow. What is poking its head up through the dark earth of your life right now, friends?

There has been a lot of shifting in the last few months and weeks for people – uncomfortable shifts, for many. But we are likely now seeing things change because of the work of acknowledging our issues, beginning to feel through them, and healing (bit by bit). I, for sure, see small changes for folks in my social media realms and it’s really rather beautiful in the messy way that growth often happens. All you making small changes- you’re badasses and I love you.

I have been doing a lot of metta (lovingkindness meditation) in the last few days. This is a lovely form of breath meditation where you offer compassion to yourself, someone you care about, someone you don’t really know, and then the greater community (town, state, country, world). You recite these words first to yourself:

May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
Maybe you be peaceful,
May you live with ease

and send the energy of compassion to yourself as you do it. And then to someone you care about, to someone you barely know, and to the world. It’s a really lovely practice and often fills my heart right up to the brim with compassion. And, if string theory is correct, the person on the other end actually does benefit from it. Nice!

The coming Mercury in retrograde is paired with Venus, the planet of love and relationships. Chani Nicholas wrote something really lovely about that, so I’ll share it with you.

“As Mercury stations retrograde, beside Venus, we are reminded that the heart’s way of loving is full of complexity and paradox.

We can love things about those we aren’t able to be around. We can love the parts of a person that we once knew. We can love folks for all that they were able to give us at one time or another without putting ourselves in harms way with them now. 

The first part of Mercury’s retrograde will help us recall the relationship dynamics we can no longer keep ourselves within. But be gentle with it all. Keep some loving kindness on tap for yourself as you parse out your feelings, needs, and situations.

We must grow. With the spring. With our needs. With our own inner seasons. 

No matter the planets, you are always free to bloom.

[[ You can love something about a person while still protecting yourself from the parts of them that hurt you. You are allowed both. ]]”

 

That, my people, is some beautiful truth. Mercury in retrograde can be a difficult phase, but know that it isn’t there to wreck your life. It’s there to let you sift back through the difficulties, the dark, maybe even the ‘garbage’ of your life and help you deal with it so you can move forward with less weight and more light.

Big love (big love!!) from the trail, my peeps.
Joanna :: xoxo

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

 

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