I don’t know about you, but for me, this year has gotten more and more emotionally difficult as the months pass by.
From January through March, I was too distracted with my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, writing papers for school, and winding down my peak season for college counseling. When I caught my breath at the end of March and found myself emotionally spent, I thought it was the climate of the country, and we were all collectively beginning to realize that our new president was stirring up some real shit and that he was probably not going anywhere any time soon.
So I declared, as a possible healing salve, May as the Month of Mindfulness; I figured this would be the best antidote to the anxiety I was experiencing. Mindfulness, by definition, is being fully in the moment and getting engrossed in activities that keep you in the here-and-now. So, I set out to mediate daily as well as incorporate mindful activities like brushing my teeth slowly or paying attention to the smell of the shampoo while showering or taking in the sounds of the birds chirping while on a bike ride.
For the most part, I stuck to this plan, with just a few days here and there missing meditation. What I began to understand was that with Mindfulness came an avenue to acceptance, which is the key to coping with scary and distressing thoughts and feelings…and to other important aspects of life, like dealing with difficult but necessary changes.
I wondered though, that while things have not gotten worse internally for me, and they even improved in some ways, if there was something, well, bigger going on.
That’s where astrology comes in.
Not too ago, back in April when I was in a bit of a stuck spot, my
shaman Acupuncturist, after one particularly intense treatment
said, “I think you should see an astrologer.”
Now understand, both my
shaman Acupuncturist and I
share a somewhat science-based mind when it comes to treatment. I’m not a huge
fan of mediums and psychics. Astrology, however, I can get behind because there
is a science to it.
So, I booked an appointment with an astrologer for the first week in May.
And that’s when I learned that Uranus is screwing up my life.
(That sentence conjures up so many puns…)
But seriously, what this means is that the planet Uranus, right now, is directly opposite where it was when I was born in 1975. Apparently, in the science of astrology this is BAD. Yet, it happens to everyone and manifests in a kind of “mid-life crisis” of sorts. The outer planets move more slowly through our birth charts, with effects lasting years and being wide reaching, like generational. Outer planets also have the greatest influence and can shape the most important events in our lives.
Upon further research, I’ve discovered that if you are around my age (41) you may be feeling the effects of a “Uranus opposition”, too. According to this same research, it really depends on how much you resist what Uranus is calling for you to do, meaning resisting the changes that it signifies.
(There are so many ridiculous jokes that I could do about the above sentence; It’s hard to stay serious when I have to say the word Ur Anus so many times in this post.)
Anyway, this Uranus opposition means that, like the caterpillar who digests itself while in the chrysalis stage and then emerges a beautiful butterfly, the process of transformation during this time is slow and painful. Makes sense that the astrologer I worked with used words like “anxiety” and “discomfort” and said this “breaks things up and brings about the unexpected”.
Best of all, according to my chart, this whopper-of-a-astrological-cluster-eff lasts until 2019!
What I find comfort in though, is that my instinct from back in April was right—this anxiety is bigger than just a relapse of symptoms. It has a specific, universe-influenced purpose: transformation.
I’m about to embark on a significant shift in my career and I have many, many fears around letting go of the old and stepping into the new. These fears make me want to stop, curl up, and just avoid all the steps I must take in order for this change to happen. Even though it is a change I want, change, itself, scares me and typically sends me into anxiety (as it does for many of us).
Yet, I kind of feel like the universe has got my back, so-to-speak. Even if I’m scared, this is supposed to happen, it is happening. Might as well go with the flow. Might as well feel the fear and do it anyway.
This is where the mental health piece comes in.
The mental health piece is that anxiety, over an extended period of time, makes you doubt yourself, makes you lose trust in your instincts…it makes you question yourself over and over. This astrology reading told me that my gut was right, that I am heading into a difficult time period of transformation and one that will be slow and painful. It reminded me that I can trust my gut. Though my anxiety many times is a false alarm, I felt it in my gut that this was different. Sometimes it is a real alarm system, alerting me that difficult change is coming.
What all of this brings me to is the beauty and usefulness of Mindfulness in terms of helping ourselves through a difficult mental health period.
I had a therapist say to me, when I was in a fit of rage and frustration that my anxiety was back and I just was so tired of it and I hated it and (now picture me stomping my feet like a five-year-old), that “to not want something is to have it, especially when it comes to symptoms of anxiety.”
And according to research, trying to suppress or not think certain thoughts or have certain feelings only gives them more intensity.
The fact that the planets are aligned such that I am supposed to be experiencing this intense change-anxiety actually forces me to have to accept that it’s happening…because it is and the universe corroborates that fact.
Mindfulness is a way of getting you to accept that which you cannot change. I cannot change my unpleasant anxiety symptoms and feelings; I can only accept the discomfort and then I have to move on and live the day’s demands and activities. Because all I do have control over is that my actions and behaviors.
So, I set forth into my birthday month and choose to “feel the fear and do it anyway”, and I shouldn’t worry because the universe has got my back.