Thursday, December 23, 2010

The longest night of the year

A once-in-a-lifetime event took place the other night, or better, in the wee hours of the morning, as a lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice on December 21, 2010. It was without a doubt spectacular. On the longest, darkest night of the year, the giant, full, golden moon rose and turned silver. This much I saw at various moments throughout the night, coming and going. Then, in a semi-sleepy, super-excited state, a little before 2 a.m. my boyfriend and I bundled up, by Florida standards, and made for the beach to watch as the silver moon slowly turned an amber-orange color and began to darken. It was such a clear night. There were stars visible everywhere we looked, no small feat for largely light-polluted south Florida, and the ocean was rolling with soft, steady surf. I have been blessed to witness Mother Nature exhibit herself with unspeakable beauty, majesty and grace in many ways. This absolutely ranks high among them.

Not only was this occurrence beautiful but powerful as well. You need not be an astrology expert to know that when such significant events align, the energy surrounding them becomes exponentially charged. These are often times of great revelations and insights. Relationships can change. Fortunes are gained or lost. Questions are answered. Mysteries are uncovered. For me, it provoked some heavy contemplation as I pondered those of us who are happy to give up a little sleep to witness such a miracle and those who don't see the point. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that if you chose to stay snug in your bed rather than watch the eclipse you are somehow less than. Rather, I got to thinking about how some people are more willing to give of themselves or give something up in different circumstances in life than others. What drives this? Is it worth it?

The immediate parallel I drew is to my five-month old relationship. Though in its infancy based solely upon calendars days, it has been a rather intense one and we have traveled a lot of road together. In my marriage to C. I can look back now and see that I was very often the one in some sort of crisis mode, and I leaned on him a lot to get through those times. He did his best to exhibit patience and compassion in his way, and while we didn't work out in the end, I'll be forever grateful to him. Now I find myself in a situation where the tables have turned. When it comes to my relationship with A. he is the one who is fielding some curve balls that life is throwing his way, and I am the one reaching within to find stores of patience and compassion to support and love him with. Admittedly, there have been moments when I have felt as if perhaps I was being a little too self sacrificing for such a new relationship. Yet overwhelmingly, I am clear in the belief that even if that is the case, it is entirely worth it to me. Just as I'd happily miss out on a little sleep to witness the rare magic of the eclipse, I am willing to hold the hand of the man I love while he goes through whatever it is that he has to go through, even if it I sometimes have to pay a little for doing so. I know it is only temporary and the tables will inevitably turn again.

To me, this is what love, and karma, is about. It may look on the surface like I am giving something up. But what about all that I am gaining that may not be as readily visible? With A. I have the opportunity to really put into practice so much of what I have been working toward in my own personal transformation. I get to actively work on being more understanding, not imposing my will, maintaining my independence, loving with patience and compassion, communicating effectively and being part of a relationship with another deeply feeling, conscious human being. I get to experience passion, intensity, excitement, connection and so many other amazing sensations and feelings that come with being loved by this wonderful man. If I feel some frustration or unease at moments in the mix, isn't that a fair trade? They serve to give me needed reality checks and to help me appreciate the positive even more.

That is what this largely comes down to. There is shadow, and there is light. There is negative, and there is positive. There is loss, and there is gain. Without the side that is seemingly "bad" would we be able to fully appreciate that which is "good"? If the moon did not go into hiding, would we really appreciate her beauty? If every relationship were so smooth and easy as to present no challenges, would we ever grow? I think not. Rather than over-emphasizing the parts, look at the sum. If you are living and loving from a place of truth and integrity, chances are everything will balance out just as it should.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This post has a dedication. It goes out to my yogini soul sisters, a few in particular who sometimes know me better than I know myself, and who remind me to take a step back and really look inside so I can know myself just as well.

I went to the most wonderful holiday gathering today. I had intended to spend an afternoon wandering around ArtBasel, finding solitude among the masses, surrounded by lots of exceptional art. Instead, I ended up gathered with a group of my girlfriends (total opposite of solitude) surrounded by piles of stuff that we'd all cleared out of our closets, cabinets and cupboards (some of it art and some decidedly not). While I'm a Class A Planner and can be a stickler for those plans, even I know that sometimes when your plans suddenly and substantially change, you are best served to just go with it and open up to whatever it is the universe wants you to receive. This was that kind of change.

First, there was the amazingly cathartic and constructive act of clearing out physical clutter from my home. Thanks to That Feng Shui Lady (a.k.a V. Diddy Sands, a fellow yogini sister) recently there has been a buzz in our group about this sort of thing. Clearing space for energy to flow more freely and to have openings to attract into your life that which you wish for is a very intoxicating and yet intimidating proposition. It makes sense and who wouldn't want to create space for love, prosperity, serenity or any other wonderfully benevolent entity to come into your life. But actually making that space is a huge challenge for most. I moved a little over a year ago, and I take donations to Goodwill every few months, and even still, I have so much more that could be de-cluttered and made "new to you" for someone else. There are those clothes that haven't been worn in years that maybe, just maybe, I'll want to wear again. There are copious amounts of cosmetics and toiletries that I have never touched yet crowd my cabinets and closets needlessly rather than being appreciated by someone else. I'm sure my kitchen gadgets and gizmos could be streamlined and my office supplies as well. There is probably nowhere in my home that I could not eliminate unneeded excess, giving the gifts of that exercise to someone else in the form of recycled goods and giving myself the gift of more free space and a lighter energetic load.

That last part is what I am most grateful for. I freed up some closet space thanks to today's gathering, scored a few goodies in return and also spent an afternoon soaking up the beautiful weather in the company of some of my dearest friends, their laughter and their light. But what is most incredible and rewarding are the conversations and thought processes that this experience gave rise to. I spent so much of today reflecting on my internal clutter, the junk that I'm carrying around because I feel like I might need it some day (i.e. defense mechanisms) or because someone important gave it to me (i.e. learned behavior from, say, parents) or because I just don't know what to do with it (i.e. insecurities and vulnerabilities that we've yet to fully understand and thus cannot release). One of the greatest ways to take ownership of our "stuff", intangible as well as tangible, is to let it go. Acknowledge it for what it is and how it has served us, decide whether it has any value in the present, and if it does not, release it.

For me, today I saw that as hard as I have worked on myself up until now and as far as I have come, I still have a lot of road left to travel. I am finding myself face to face with opportunities to break patterns in my life and change behaviors and attitudes that do not serve me, if only I have the space to be open to them. There is fear yet to be understood and overcome, there is inner strength yet to be fortified, there is softening yet to unfold, there is love yet to give. There is such depth within us, yet, too many times we fill it with clutter that goes unnoticed because we're so used to seeing it there, day in and day out. I highly encourage all of you to try a little clearing. Start small, and if you're anything like me, once you do that, you won't want to stop.