In the Astrology system, there are 12 signs and houses, broken down into 6 pairs, or opposites. If you are already familiar with the anatomy of a Natal Chart and the concept of pairs or opposites (derived of two signs or two houses), you may want to skip to the next paragraph. If you look at a Natal Chart Wheel (for a free Natal Chart, go to Astro.com), you will see that the 1st house is directly opposite the 7th house, the 2nd house opposite the 8th, and so forth. Similarly, the sign Aries is opposite Libra, Taurus opposes Scorpio, and so on.

In my teachings (Yoga, Astrology, Holistic Wellness), I focus a lot on the idea of creating and maintaining balance in our bodies and lives, which we can do through the integration of opposites. In my yoga classes, I teach the poses in a way that encourages harmony between polarities: i.e., effort and ease, strength and softness, movement and stillness, the downward (earth) energy (Apana) and the upward (sky) energy (Prana). The foundation of my holistic wellness teachings, rooted in Ayurveda, is about cultivating the opposite qualities of one’s natural body/mind constitution in order to create and maintain balance.

You can think of pairs of signs or houses like a see-saw: if there is more weight on one side, it will plummet, fast and hard, to the earth. Remember the feeling when you were a kid of either descending to the ground with a bang (ouch!) or, if you were the lighter side, floating up up up to what felt like the sky, feet dangling, suspended in the air until someone released the other side or added some weight to your side?

At certain times in life, you see-saw along, both sides working together in harmony … and at other times you land with a thud, or float all the way up with no foreseeable way back down to the earth. During a challenging time in my 20’s, I was in a situation that would have yielded a lifetime of extremes, i.e., hard, painful falls versus rising, untethered, like a helium balloon … but never a middle ground, never peace. I had a strange dream during this time of a horse on a tightrope (how he got there, I do not know), being asked to perform a complicated ballet move. Performers on the tightrope were falling off of it to the left and right, plummeting to the ground, but the horse was somehow still standing, about to attempt his fancy move. Everyone was staring up at the him, motionless, waiting. I woke up with the word torture on my tongue. The poor horse had so much pressure on him to execute this move perfectly, to somehow propel himself into the sky, three times (no less!), and land  securely back down on the narrow piece of material suspended in the sky.

I knew I needed to leave the relationship/love triangle I had found my way into; a situation that involved three people being asked to accept unmanageable and unfair circumstances. I had known it for a while but I couldn’t admit it. A part of me was still pretending that we were going to have a “happily ever after” … this married man and I.

We are in Eclipse season again. Eclipses happen in the same sign for everyone (a collective energy) and, on a more personal level, they trigger a set of Houses in your Natal Chart. Eclipses (similarly to a full moon) can bring events to a head and therefore, sometimes, symbolize the peak moment of change. How much you feel the eclipse energy depends on your life circumstances (are you fairly balanced, or are you moving from one extreme to the other?) and whether or not the eclipse makes contact with your personal planets. If, for example, it is conjunct or making a hard angle with your Sun, Moon, or Personal Planets, you will likely feel its theme more strongly. It may be a lesson you are heeding or a truth that you are becoming aware of, so that you can shift your mindset and behavior, and something significant may be changing in your external circumstances, as well. The relationship I referred to above ended on the evening of an eclipse. We are at a bar, having a drink and a bite to eat, laughing one moment and crying the next. Something the guy I was dating said triggered a frustrated and emotional response from me and I challenged him about his living circumstances; I didn’t believe that he was sleeping in a separate bedroom from his wife like he had promised. We had had many arguments about related subjects over the past couple of years but this one felt more intense and like we had hit a dead end. He broke his glasses at the bar and we got the check. Outside, he punched the air and started crying. We both knew it was over. Eclipses can bring endings and, also, beginnings, like the birth of a child or the debut of a book.

In the approaching Eclipse (on April 30, 2022), Uranus has joined the mix, and Uranus signifies change and freedom, adding to our theme of potential change. The upcoming New Moon Eclipse is in the sign of Taurus, therefore the Taurus/Scorpio polarity is activated, which signifies your self value, what you own and what you do in the world to make a living (Taurus) versus your intimate relationships and shared resources (Scorpio). Is one side out of whack (down low or precariously high?); if so, what can you do to create greater balance and peace in your life? At the New Moon, both the Sun and Moon touch down in the same sign (Taurus), as opposed to the Full Moon, when the Sun lands in the opposite sign of the Moon. In my view of Astrology (a Psychological perspective), we are always working with polarities; when one side of a pair is triggered the other is, too, by default. The Full Moon Eclipse, which follows the upcoming one, will land in the opposite sign and house in your chart; for example, the New Moon Eclipse, on April 30, 2022 is in Taurus, as stated, and a few weeks later, on May 15th/16th, the Full Moon (Eclipse) arrives in its opposite sign (Scorpio). Usually, the Moon lights up the opposite house in your chart (or close to it).

The saying “opposites attract” points to an important truth that within each experience, theme, or archetype lives its opposite. It’s common, for instance, to be drawn to the so-called opposite personality traits of your own because the ‘opposite’ lies dormant within you like a buried treasure, waiting to see the light of day. You can connect to the latent traits, feelings, or emotions within yourself through the other. Opposite traits can create balance in a relationship dynamic, if you do the work (it can also, obviously, be combustible if the opposite energy is extreme with no middle ground), whereas too much of the same trait or theme can create imbalance; this is a core principle in Ayurveda.

The New Moon Eclipse lands in my 6th House, ruled by Virgo … so, I will reflect on the lessons of the 6th/12th axis (ruled by virgo and pisces, respectively) energies, which are something of a theme in my life (due to Pisces on my 4th house cusp and Virgo on my 10th, and Chiron in my 6th house). The forest versus the trees is the metaphor that comes to mind for this pair.

I will also list the themes you may be working with for all other sets of houses (i.e., 1st/7th houses, 2nd/8th houses, 3rd/9th houses, 4th/10th houses, 5th/11th houses) for this Eclipse season, or any future ones.

The 6th house, Virgo’s domain, represents the minutia of life. It reflects daily habits and routines, work/day-job, and health, which includes one’s daily health/self-care regimen. The 6th house teaches lessons about the practical aspects of life while the 12th house, its opposite, points to “the beyond” — the magical or spiritual aspects of life. In the 12th house, we learn how to “be.”

There was a bee inside the store I work at. It was a warm day and I had the door open. He flew in and could not find his way out. I heard him buzzing around and slamming his small insect body into the front window, unable to understand why he could see “the outside” in front of him but could not reach it. I am an animal/being lover, but since little I have had an irrational fear, more like phobia, of bugs (it is not as bad as it used to be). I fretted over what do; how could I trap him momentarily so that I could lead him to the door? Was it a bumble bee, was it a wasp? Would he sting me? He grew quiet for a long time and I almost forgot about him as I tended to things at work. I prayed he had found his way out and I wouldn’t have to “deal,” but when I walked over to the front window to investigate the situation, I saw that the little guy was just sitting listlessly on a window display. I remembered we have a tool in the store that looks like a giant bug net (it is a sieve used for making herbal and skin remedies) and contemplated how I would trap him until I could get him to the door. I didn’t have to think on it long; in his weakened state, he simply climbed on board and stayed there for the ride to the doorway. Once he sensed the outside, he flew to a tree in front of the store and landed on a flower, where he, I imagine, received the nourishment he needed to survive. I watched him for a few minutes, overwhelmed with emotion, relieved he had found his way … and mad at myself for not helping sooner, for allowing my juvenile fears to get in the way of offering a lifeline to this small creature in need.

I am at a life crossroads that feels more like a permanent stoplight. Like the bee, I feel trapped. I see everyone else through the window, living their lives and moving onward, but I am stuck behind, what feels like, an insurmountable wall. It is not lost on me that one of the stores I am currently employed at, a business owned by a family member, is a place I had worked at many years ago, when I first moved home from California. It was, similarly to now, a transitional phase of my life, a period in which I felt lost and lonely and unsure of my next steps. I had left a dead-end and wildly unhealthy/inappropriate relationship (the horse on the tightrope), as well as a job in the Financial world that felt the same way. When I moved home with a broken heart, I loathed working at my family member’s clothing store; it seemed to highlight all my failures. I had spent so much time on my education and had big (unclear) goals and nothing had worked out. Landing at a retail job — the type of job I worked at in high school — felt like rock bottom. I bided my time there and felt pretty much miserable each day … then I’d go home and pig out on take-out and ice-cream: escapism behavior (the distorted side of the 12th house). Suffice it to say, I was not a dedicated employee. I was barely present, lost in my thoughts and job searching on the computer every chance I could get, rather than thinking about what might need to be done in the store, like cleaning or putting together gift boxes: monotonous chores (6th house). I didn’t like talking to customers because I despised small talk and the role-playing; it all felt phony and hopeless.

So when the opportunity arose last summer to work at the same store for the same family member, it dawned on me that  it was something of a “do-over.” I didn’t have to force myself to be the devoted employee I once wasn’t — it just happened naturally. After so much time at home (during the pandemic) and a lot of “growing up” over the past decade plus, I genuinely enjoyed chatting with customers; people seemed much nicer and more genuine than they had back then (interesting, right, how your reality can shift when your mind state does?). I was also tackling my health/addictive behaviors — eating better and getting more sleep as a result. I had much more energy than I did back then, which was key to focusing on small tasks and helping customers. I felt good/balanced instead of exhausted and miserable. Although this is not what I expected (or want) to be doing at this stage of my life, and if I allow my mind to dwell on my mistakes and failures it takes me to a sad/low place, I mostly focus on my connection with each customer and doing chores with presence (rather than wanting to escape). In the the 6th house, we learn to be of service in the world and to be humble, to put aside our own (perhaps misguided) desires and tend to our responsibilities. Although the 6th house is associated with chores, when we give ourselves fully to these chores, when we perform them with care, we can connect to something bigger (the 12th house). In the 6th house, we “practice” while in the 12th house we create.

In life, there are often opportunities (if we notice them) to circle back to experiences left incomplete, or experiences in which we failed lessons that there were there for the learning. The first time around, at the clothing store, I failed big time. I rationalized that I loathed retail and while it’s true that Sales is not my forte, I understand now how important and crucial taking pride in your work is, whether you are sweeping the floor, entering a sale, doing inventory, or watering plants (“chopping wood, carrying water” as the Zen saying goes). The first time around, I focused on my escape plan. I was missing the point that if you do your tasks well, you feel the satisfaction of a job well done, even, and especially, if it is not a job you feel suits you, or that you would like to do long term (or even for another week). We create opportunities and new paths for ourselves by embracing our reality rather than running from it.

Candy Land was one of my favorite childhood board games. When I think about my past, I imagine sliding down a backward ramp to where I just was, getting stuck in a swamp, or re-routed to the beginning of the game, when my teammates are making their way through the lollipops and gumdrops to the finish line (I don’t really remember the order of the candy trail but you catch my drift). When we learn the lessons, we get to move forward in life.

In the 6th house, we learn to commit … to our responsibilities and to ourselves. We mature.

The 12th house, on the other end of the wheel, is where you can deceive yourself into thinking that “somewhere out there” is a utopia, but if you don’t fall into that trap it is also full of beauty.  The lesson of the 6th/12th houses is that you create your own utopia by doing the work.

If, on the other hand, life becomes so focused on the nitty gritty of the 6th house, it can feel like “all work and no play” or Ground Hog Day. That makes me think of Jack Nicholson’s terrifying character in The Shining, when his wife discovers that the hundreds of pages of the novel he has been writing are nothing but the same sentence over and over: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I digress. If you wake up joy-less with nothing to look forward to, you may be in a 6th House rut. And that is exactly what happened to me recently. I am working 7 days/week (two part time jobs, plus teaching yoga). At home, I am preoccupied with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and taking care of my fur babies. I don’t have time for anything but work and chores.

At work, a couple of weeks ago, my emotions hit a boiling point (it was a few days before the last full moon). It felt like an internal breakdown. If I wasn’t at work, I would have crawled into bed. I was tired (from not sleeping enough) and wasn’t making time for exercise and yoga. Additionally, I have been diligently applying to full-time positions (that might lead me to a career path) for a long time with no results; the applications take a lot of time and effort, and in return I receive mostly formulaic rejection emails or, even more depressing, no response at all. I couldn’t help but feel like all my effort was for nothing … that I was spinning my 6th House wheels and getting nowhere. Why couldn’t I get out of this dead-end situation and find my way to where I needed and wanted to be? I was nearly in tears.

Amidst all the chores I was doing, I had no time to just be. I was on the heavier end of the see-saw, stuck on the ground.

The 12th house, Pisces territory, is where we find meaning in life … and unicorns and fairy dust. The stuff dreams are made of. A ferry ride on the top deck under the bright full moon and inky sky. A moon-lit walk on a pier with water on either side and twinkling lights in the distance. Fleeting moments of otherworldly beauty. These 12th house moments connect you to something greater than the self and your everyday reality … these are moments that fill the soul.

I had been neglecting my yoga and breathing practices because it was hard to squeeze it in in the morning and I was tired at night, but after the mini inner-breakdown I made time for my practice and noticed the feeling of space it created. I took a walk by the water a few days later on Sunday afternoon. I felt refreshed and renewed after my walk, and vowed to find the time for my well-being (6th house) so I could connect to the feeling of “being” (12th house).

What I also realize is: the more I focus on feeling trapped or stuck, the more frustrated and out of sorts I become. I know this lesson well, but we often need to go over the same lessons many times in a lifetime before they really stick. On the day at work when I felt emotional and exhausted, I was avoiding any tasks I had — I couldn’t focus and just wanted to go home. And that is more than understandable sometimes … I usually complete all my tasks. When I returned to work the next day, with a different mindset and less exhausted, I tended to the details in a calm and focused way — I vacuumed, swept, watered the plants, and communicated kindly with customers. I felt satisfied and lighter. Nothing in my external reality had changed: I hadn’t gotten the job overnight, or received an acceptance letter from a literary magazine (something else I have been working on for eons), but I felt the freedom that comes when you accept “what is.” My main man/guru, Eckhart Tolle, teaches about acceptance; his wise and simple teachings were my introduction to this truth many moons ago and life-changing. I continue to work with and re-learn the lesson of acceptance. Acceptance lives in the 12th house. Interestingly, so does addiction, which makes perfect sense if you think about: addictive behavior is used to resist your present life situation; when you overcome addictive or avoidant behavior you are met with the utopia or bliss of acceptance.

The way out is always through (the doorway, not the glass window, dear bee).

A distorted 12th house mirrors avoidance and escapism behavior, falling into the trap of thinking the magic is always elsewhere. It’s easy to fall into that mindset if your daily life feels disconnected from your bigger goals and dreams or life purpose (like mine do), and there may be something that needs to shift so that more 12th house magic can enter your days, but it is also up to us to create the magic and meaning even and, especially, in the dull moments and periods of life. My career path  (if I ever get there) will likely contain as many or more headaches as the “day job.” It will be worth it, I’m sure, because I’ll care about my work but I also know my salvation is not the dream job. My salvation is the present moment.

First find the magic in the “day job,” in the ordinary, in all the annoying chores that make up your everyday reality. And then, perhaps, by the grace of god (or a kind soul), you will be guided to the doorway that leads to the flower that will nourish and sustain you.

***

*Note that if the Eclipse hits your Sun, Moon, or Personal Planets, you may feel it more powerfully. If the eclipse, however, does not make hard aspects to your natal planets it is likely that it will pass without much ado.

To reiterate, the New Moon Eclipse is in Taurus. In the case of a New Moon, the sun and moon shine in the same sign as opposed to the Full Moon, when the sun and moon reside in opposite signs. The upcoming Full Moon Eclipse, in May, arrives in Scorpio and therefore highlights the Taurus/Scorpio axis. In the case of the Full Moon, it is common to feel more emotional or unbalanced than at the New Moon because your inner self and outer selves can feel at odds; the moon represents your needs and feelings (it’s the feminine energy) while the sun (the masculine) represents your drive and ego (i.e., what you want versus what you need). At a New Moon, the energies of Sun and Moon tend to blend better, while at the Full Moon they can feel disparate, with a need for integration. I often point out in my yoga classes that we are, via the union of breath and movement, bringing together the disparate parts of ourselves, the parts that may have gone offline.

Scorpio is the opposite or underbelly of Taurus, and vice-versa. The opposite side of something is always part of the picture whether or not it is in our awareness. Taurus represents things you value, including yourself, and on a more practical level the way you earn money or “worth” in the world, including your level of self-sufficiency. Scorpio symbolizes your intimate relationships and the things you don’t see, i.e., the stuff under the surface. If Taurus is your physical stuff (what you have built and accumulated – the stuff you may feel attached to), Scorpio points to what is buried underneath that stuff (there is usually a lot of dust underneath stuff, waiting to be cleaned). Scorpio is about intimacy and shared resources, as mentioned above, and releasing “stuff” so it doesn’t drag you down — it also represents digging for meaning and healing wounds.

Below, I list the Pairs of Houses. You can read for the New Moon Eclipse in Taurus (April 30th in Taurus), the Full Moon Eclipse in Scorpio (May 15/16 in Scorpio), and any future Eclipses — and, also, for House Themes in your Natal Chart (e.g., the IC/MC, Ascendent/Descendent, North Node/South Node).

Eclipse in your 1st/7th House Axis: You will likely face issues around your identity versus your relationships. What you need and want versus what others need and want. The 1st house represents the self and the 7th house symbolizes your connections, and how you see yourself through other people’s eyes. What side of the see-saw are you on when it comes to self versus relationships? Are you stuck on the ground, weighed down by a dead-end relationship or one that is stunting your growth? Or are you floating, untethered, in one that likely won’t lead anywhere? Or, perhaps, you are alone and wondering where everyone has gone? If you are feeling disconnected or unsupported, it may be because you have let go of a relationship that is no longer appropriate for you and are now in a transitional phase that will lead to a more balanced life. On the other hand, you may have self-isolated due to carving your own path, for example, and did not want to be bogged down by others. Or, perhaps, you have fears around commitment and would like to have more genuine and fulfilling relationships in your life. Whatever your truth is look at it in the face, reflect on what you can do to move forward in a more fulfilling way … and then do it.

Eclipse in your 2nd/8th House Axis: You may be dealing with issues of self-worth reflected by your income, business, and possessions (or lack thereof) versus intimacy and shared resources. What does the see-saw feel like in this area of your life? Are you more of a “taker,” fearful of sharing with your partner or loved ones, or do you perhaps rely on your partner or family too much for support and would feel more confident if you created your own source of income? The 2nd/8th house axis is, like the 1st/7th houses, a “me versus we” theme; in this case it is you and your stuff versus you and your partner and your joint stuff. Of course, the “stuff” I speak of may be emotional/non-physical and, usually, it is both; our physical stuff mirrors our mental stuff. In the 2nd house you develop your self-sufficiency, and in the 8th house you learn to share and to build important relationships or partnerships. If the Eclipse is in this house axis, you have a double dose of the Taurus/Scorpio theme, discussed above, because Taurus rules the 2nd house and Scorpio rules the 8th house.

Eclipse in your 3rd/9th House Axis: Themes of your daily thoughts and words/communication versus a wider perspective or higher mind, publishing your work (perhaps), and a sense of freedom versus being in a smaller neighborhood or area could be coming up for you. In the 3rd house we do a lot of thinking and absorbing of information, and this pair of houses is connected to your belief system, which is made up of information you receive or have received and repetitive or ingrained thoughts. If there is an area of life where you feel stuck or unfulfilled, you may be called to examine your belief system and determine if that is, at least in part, at the root of the current circumstances. The 3rd house represents teaching and learning at a more cerebral (or sometimes mundane) level, while the 9th house is all about bigger-picture topics and subject matter, like religion and philosophy, and points to teaching and learning that is inspirational or has a wider scope. Maybe you are considering going back to school or take some type of online education program that will enhance your day job or daily work. You may also be working on a writing project and are considering publishing. Another manifestation of this house polarity is that you do a lot of local travel and are tired from all the commuting and want more freedom/ “space” in your schedule; a move somewhere further away could be part of the story.

Eclipse in your 4th/10th House Axis: This is the axis (called the IC/MC) that runs vertically down the center of your chart. The signs on the cusps of these houses are usually recurring themes in your life (as in my story above). The 4th house reflects your home and private-life — the inner you — while the 10th house symbolizes your place or standing in world — the outer or more visible side of your personality/identity. The 4th house is connected to your home or nest, childhood, parents, and memories while the 10th house is connected to your career, outside life, and social standing or place in the world. When this house axis is highlighted during the New Moon Eclipse, you may face themes (we tend to feel the eclipse in the days and even weeks beforehand, btw) involving your home or inner self versus “where you stand” or how you are seen in the world, including your worldly accomplishments. How do you balance your home (and, perhaps, family) with your career or outside life and obligations? Usually, one side of the spectrum needs more attention and, if this is where the eclipse makes itself known in your chart, you likely know which side needs to shift for greater work/life balance.

Eclipse in your 5th/11th House Axis: This pair of houses is about your need to shine in the world versus being a part of a community or collective effort. In the 5th house, you share your creative gifts with others (you seek recognition for your talents), while in the 11th house you use your gifts for the greater good, in the name of higher-minded pursuits or worldly-responsible goals. This house axis, like the 1st/7th and 2nd/8th, highlights the “me versus we” theme. What are my natural gifts and talents and how can I receive recognition or accolades for them, versus how can I use my gifts for bigger picture pursuits? In the 5th house, we strut our stuff and want to take center stage, while in the 11th house our creations may become an integral part of a bigger movement or cause, which can bring even more satisfaction. Another way this house pair energy plays out is in friendships versus romantic involvements. The 11th house represents your friendships while the 5th house depicts your lovers. In some cases, friends become lovers or lovers become friends; the most fulfilling love relationships are often those that began as friendships.

Eclipse in your 6th/12th House Axis: See above for my story and ton of info. on this polarity.

The operating system of my Mac, the tech told me, did not have enough internal space. It was stuck. It could not go back to the old operating system but it also could not go forward. My only option was to delete the old operating system, with all the rows of folders, full of e-papers, and everything else the laptop had accumulated over the years. My heart sped up. I took off my sweater. I thought of all the essays I had been working on and various documents and the photographs … all the stuff.

I had no choice if I wanted a working computer, so I calmly said, “Yes, let’s go ahead and do that.”

It started a week ago. I began a Kundalini yoga practice to clear out “stuck” emotions and the past. I have been working on this, on and off, for years. I’ve cleaned out my closets and simplified my life, and although I have made progress and significant changes, I’ve been holding onto the past in a few forms, such as relationships with unavailable people and overeating/overindulging, which started when I was young. Food and gifts and goodies got wired together in my brain with, you guessed it, love (and, I think, security and safety). I developed an insatiable need for more … more delicious food (even though I was stuffed), more sweets (one dessert at night was never enough, even though my body was telling me it could not handle the sugar), more nice things, like expensive clothing (even if my bank account was in a precarious place). In a nut shell, dysfunctional behavior. It was all in an unconscious attempt to connect to a feeling of being loved and not alone (in the lonely sense), which starts with feeling that L-word for yourself (that’s Chiron in Taurus in my Astrology chart, for those who care :)).

I was able to transform many of my self-defeating habits, like spending on clothing and things I didn’t need. After some time with a consistent yoga/meditative practice, it became clear that shopping and constantly searching for something to fill the void wasn’t bringing me joy and, if anything, was making me unhappy. Instead, I focused on practices that were nourishing me, like yoga and walks/hikes in nature and connecting genuinely with people on a similar path (for so many years, I was in hiding, disconnected from myself, others, and the world).

So, last summer, motivated by my mother’s death, I took a look at some of the habits I was still holding onto and how they keep me stuck in patterns that stunt forward movement in a positive direction.

After the devastating experience of witnessing my mom become sicker and sicker due to tumors in her liver and all the chemicals to try to slow down the process, I decided to “get serious” about my health. I have, for most of my life, been fortunate to eat well, to enjoy fresh food, starting with my grandparents’ big vegetable garden in our backyard (my childhood roots), and I care about my health (hell, I have certifications in Ayurveda Counseling and Yoga), but I also have the aforementioned overindulgent gene, plus a mean sweet tooth that comes out at night. The witching hour.

Last June, the month of my mother’s birthday, I finally changed my eating habits. Most important was putting an end to the late-night eating/over-indulging and taxing my poor liver. I began eating dinner earlier, so my body has time to digest before bed, and I try to eat smaller dinners, making lunch the bigger meal when I can (mid-day is the time when digestion is strongest hence the best time to eat a bigger meal). The biggest change, and also the hardest one, was cutting out dessert. Cakes, cookies, donuts, cupcakes, oh my. Like a drug addict, one donut leads to two and a slice of cake – yum (it is a wonder that I have always been thin; but that has, in large part, to do with my constitution/body-type). I cut out refined sugar (besides the obvious, you must read labels carefully and eat out less to do this) and gluten (which has chemicals, if not organic, and is hard on my system). I also cut way back on meat and dairy, due to chemicals and the heavy qualities of these foods (even if it’s organic, we don’t know for sure, unfortunately, that the label fully reflects the organic process). Most importantly, I am eating more fresh and less processed foods.

In the Ayurvedic system, your individual constitution, or body-type, determines which foods and daily practices are most supportive and balancing for you, so what works for me may not be the exact right fit for you. Traditionally, the Vata (or air element) Dosha, which is one of my primary Doshas, does well with a little meat and dairy, but as mentioned above, due to our chemical-laden commercial food system and, also, for ethical reasons (how animals are treated and the effect on the environment) I cut way down; I tried to cut them out entirely, but when I have too many dietary restrictions I feel confined and start to rebel, so I settled for having meat and dairy every once in a while and doing my best to eat organic, grass-fed, etc. when I do.

The most important take-away in all this is consuming fresh, non-processed, food (if/when possible). As the Medical Medium (Anthony Williams) writes in his book, The Liver Rescue, the liver loves fruits and vegetables. I will add, for the Vata/air constitution, vegetables generally need to be cooked and warm, especially in the winter. Please keep in mind, raw food and juicing are not everyone; they can be very hard on a Vata constitution’s stomach, due to a weaker digestive system, however the pitta/fire constitution usually reaps the full benefits of this type of diet due to their naturally strong digestion. The Kapha (water/earth elements) constitution tends do well with fruits and vegetables, too.

The dietary and lifestyle changes I’ve made have lead to happier mornings. I used to say “I am not a morning person,” but that was in large part due to abusing my body the night before; I was depleted, fatigued and unfocused, from all the refined sugar and also eating more than my poor system could handle. In the practice of Ayurveda, eating when you are not hungry is one of the worst things you can do. I have more energy now than I’ve had in a very long time — maybe ever. I slip up, now and again, and go back to my old ways, but, mostly, it just serves as a reminder that I don’t want to feel stuffed and heavy, anymore. I am done with that state of being. Being stuffed is a way to not feel, to avoid and numb out … the same as a drug. These days, I’d rather feel clear and light enough to do a meditation before bed, or at least feel good/balanced when I go to sleep.

About a week into my kundalini program, which is, basically, intensive breath-work along with movement, I was feeling a shift — brighter. Then stuff starting coming to the surface. Old stuff. Rejection. I had a dream about waiting in line for coffee; I was last in line and got the last, not even full, cup of cruddy, muddy looking coffee. I stared it, wondering, what the heck happened to that poor cup o’ Joe. I accepted the coffee, after waiting so long for it, even though I wasn’t sure I could drink it. In the same dream, I became aware that I was purposely not invited to a party, or gathering, that my friends were having; I felt excluded and betrayed. I am conjuring up one of my favorite childhood books here, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very bad, No Good, Very Bad Day). Next, I was at work, at a store; customers had come behind the counter, in my space, without asking; they were blow-drying their hair and putting on makeup, and being loud and disrespectful, even though they knew I was trying to work and that they didn’t belong there. I asked them to leave and said there was a bathroom down the hall where they could do their primping. All of these strange, seemingly disjointed events seem to be pointing to getting the raw end of the deal or short end of the stick, as they say, and a need to value myself and affirm stronger boundaries (the root cause of the self-defeating habits and my Taurus/Chiron combo, which is also connected to my moon and sun, by the way.).

Simultaneously, and for the last several months, my website was under attack. I was receiving multiple emails, weekly, from my website security app. that indicated someone or something was attempting to log into my site from various IP addresses; they’d try, over and over, and get locked out and then try again the next day or week. They’d been at it for many months, determined to “break the code.” I mostly ignored it because I didn’t want to spend extra money for a website I wasn’t utilizing, but I changed my password frequently in hopes that I was a few steps ahead of the hackers.

The day before my operating system deletion, I decided to strengthen my website security once in for all; be gone with you, pesky hackers. I had started writing blogs again and I have been working hard on them, so I didn’t want some a-holes holding my writing for ransom. I called Go Daddy and added a firewall. Take that.

The operating system, the tech told me, did not have enough internal space. “You mean the only way is to delete everything on my computer?”

“Yes, I’m very sorry, she replied, her voice was small and quiet, as if someone had died.

The only way out was a new system. A wipe-out.

I assumed I had lost everything and wasn’t able to fully comprehend in the moment what that meant, and even though I was anxious and knew I might be devastated later in the day, I also felt, weirdly, excited and ready.

My prior desktop was filled with rows of folders, many of them filled with documents I had not opened in many years. Now I stared at a blank and unfamiliar screen. I opened icloud and discovered that most of my essays and important documents were saved there. I pressed my hand to chest. Whew. All of that work on so many essays, over many years, had not vanished. My apps were gone, however, including my Astrology app. that I use to create natal charts (after two inquiries to the company I still haven’t been able to retrieve it, but that is “a small price” compared to what I thought I had lost).

I have the sense of a clean slate when I look at my new blank desktop, and I am hesitant to save anything to it; I like the look of it.

My next project is to go through my documents on icloud and, slowly but surely, delete everything I no longer need.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, you may be feeling overwhelmed. News that you have a long-term illness or disease can be shocking and disorienting for anyone, and it’s essential to process your thoughts and emotions while giving yourself grace along the way.

Once you begin to cope with your diagnosis, you will want to start thinking of maintaining your quality of life. From evaluating your budget to adjusting your lifestyle to nurturing your relationships, consider these practical tips from Nicole Athena:

Change Your Budget

Depending on your specific illness, you may need to make room in your budget for medical bills, home modifications, and other changes. Take a close look at your monthly budget so that you can make any adjustments necessary and leave more room for saving for unexpected costs.

Sometimes, it is as easy as finding less expensive alternatives or canceling subscriptions and memberships that you rarely use. You may also consider learning some new recipes so that you can reduce your monthly dining out expenses.

If you adjust your budget and still find that you need more funds for medical care or home modifications, another option is to refinance your home. This means replacing your current mortgage with a new one with a higher balance. You can cash out the difference between your refinance home loan and old loan to keep handy for any needs that come up related to your chronic condition.

Adapt Your Lifestyle  

Chances are, you will need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle to accommodate your chronic condition. The best approach is to view yourself as your health and wellness manager.

For instance, make sure you keep up with any treatment plan and prescribed medications to maintain your quality of life. Don’t miss any of your scheduled doctor appointments, even if it means using phone alerts or a paper calendar to remember. And remember to take practical self-care steps, such as eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and prioritizing your sleep.

Depending on your illness, you may need to speak with your doctor and research different types of exercise movements that can allow you to stay active and healthy without exacerbating symptoms. And if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, try other bedtime routines to help your body and mind unwind and relax.

Reduce Your Stress

Along with fostering your eating, exercising, and sleeping habits, make sure you are actively reducing stress in your daily life. Find a calming activity that you can look forward to every day, whether it’s first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or after you get home from work. Many individuals diagnosed with a chronic illness find that picking up a new hobby can go a long way in helping them manage stress.

Express Your Thoughts and Emotions    

Your illness will likely disrupt your life and plans, which has a way of invoking various thoughts and emotions. Each day, take time to reflect on your overall well-being. Keep tabs on any grief, fear, depression, stress, or any other emotions you are feeling. Then, find an outlet for expressing your thoughts and feelings.

Exercising is a great start. Listening to your favorite music, cooking, writing in a journal, maintaining close relationships, reading about topics of interest, and an array of other activities can help too.

Manage Your Relationships

Finally, you will need others around you to support you as you navigate the challenges that come with your chronic illness. Depending on your specific condition, you might not have quite as much time or energy to put into socializing with friends or relatives. However, do your best to maintain your most important relationships and don’t hesitate to explain your challenges to others.

Being diagnosed with a chronic health condition is not easy, but you must fight the temptation to allow your illness to define your everyday life. Consider the tips above as you review your budget, make the necessary lifestyle changes, and find stress-reducing activities to incorporate into your routine. And remember to identify outlets for expressing your thoughts and emotions and maintain your closest relationships.

April Meyers, a huge advocate of embracing the mind-body connection. She teaches yoga full time to help her students nurture both their physical and emotional health, and she created Mind Body Health Solution to support people far and wide in their wellness journey.

Ayurveda translates to the Wisdom of Life. I like this definition because it reflects the truth that wellness and health cannot be separated from the larger whole. Our bodies and beings are intrinsically connected to our environment, to the larger whole: what is outside of us is also within us. 

Ayurveda philosophy is rooted in the three Doshas or Constitutions, which embody the elements of nature: they are Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). According to Ayurveda, there is no “one size fits all” approach for wellness. For instance, a raw food diet, although it may work great for a Pitta dominant person, can wreak havoc on a Vata dominant person’s digestive system. I am a Vata dominant person so I can attest to this: Vata people are delicate like flowers while Pitta people tend to have a “strong constitution.” There are, however, daily morning practices, called Dinacharya, that work well for all three Doshas. They can also be tailored to meet the specific needs of your current state of being (note: your current state may differ from your dosha/natural constitution).

Below are the daily morning Ayurveda practices that I have committed to. They are simple and yet the accumulated affect is that I feel more grounded and balanced in the morning (the morning has always been difficult for me so this is a big deal). I encourage you to adopt any or all of these morning practices. If you’d like to learn about your natural constitution and current state of being through an Ayurvedic lens, I offer an online Ayurvedic Assessment and Wellness Plan.

  1. Use a tongue cleaner before brushing your teeth and on an empty stomach (7-14 scrapes). The Ayurveda perspective holds that a tongue cleaner is essential as a toothbrush because it helps to reduce Ama (toxins) in the body by keeping the bacteria level in the mouth healthy and stimulates the cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract.
  2. Drink a glass of warm (not cold and not hot) with lemon – this helps to soften Ama (toxins) and is cleansing for the system. *If you need to stimulate Agni (the digestive fire/metabolism), add fresh ginger.
  3. Meditation and/or Pranayama (I know this is a ‘toughie’ but you can make the time for at least 5 minutes! Shoot for 10 -15 minutes, but 5 is a great start.) *Pranayama is yogic breathing techniques for, for example, centering or stimulation/energy. This breath-work can be tailored for your dosha and/or current state . The benefits of meditation are many! A few I have noticed since I began meditating on a daily basis are greater mental focus and an ease of expression (i.e., easier time finding the “right” words), a feeling of contentment and more balanced emotions.
  4. Oil Pulling. On any empty stomach, take a tablespoon of Sesame Oil or Coconut Oil (or blend of the two)- swish it all around your mouth (in front and in back of your teeth) for at least 5 minutes and up to 15. It takes a little getting used to but there are many benefits! A few are: healthy teeth and gums, improves respiratory health (helps with allergies and asthma), supports the body’s process of releasing toxins. Banyan Botanicals, a site I used for my Ayurveda Products, developed a product called Daily Swish that has peppermint and spearmint essential oils so the taste is more palatable!
  5. A splash of cold water on face/eyes. This reduces heat or leftover pitta energy from the night, when your body undertakes repair work. It’s also stimulating and refreshing.
  6. Before shower or about 10 minutes after, put 1-2 drops of Nasya Oil in each nostril. This is a blend of  oils, herbs and essential oils. The nostrils are a direct passageway to your brain and in order to feel well and balanced this passage needs to be clear and unblocked so the breath/prana (life force) can flow. Nasya Oil helps to clear congestion, cleanses the tissues, supports mental clarity and is said to improve vision and the quality of the voice.
  7. Self Massage: I love this one as it especially beneficial for my prominent dosha, the Vata dosha. If you are a fellow Vata, you can do this after the shower like I do because your skin tends to be dry, but if you have oily skin this can be done before your shower. I use Sesame oil and this is the preferred oil for the Vata dosha (Sunflower or Coconut oils can be used for Pitta, especially during the summer months, and dry brushing may be more appropriate for Kapha). I add a few drops of essential oils, which is optional (lately I use Lavender and Eucalyptus). Massage the oil on your body, using long strokes on limbs and circular strokes on joints and broad circular strokes on belly (clockwise) and chest. There are lots of benefits, such as: improves sleep, promotes healthy skin, nourishes the tissues, stimulates circulation and the internal organs. This takes me about 5 minutes in the morning and truly makes me feel more grounded and supported. The oil is like a protective layer on your skin as you navigate the different experiences and energies of the day, and so, as I mentioned, this practice can be especially helpful for Vata because Vata people tend to be sensitive/delicate.
  8. Sun Salutations and Moon Salutations. Take 5-15 minutes to practice morning Salutations. Switch it up to Moon Salutations during the Full Moon Phase or any time you’re in the mood for a softer morning yoga routine.

A few days ago, I had an exact conjunction between Venus in the sky and my natal Chiron. I didn’t realize it until I checked my Transit Chart halfway through that day, thinking to myself what the heck is going on with me today? 

It started with a wayward paycheck. I sent a third email to the person who was supposedly in charge of payroll to ask when I could pick up my now 3-week late check. There were a few other minor work issues I was trying to sort out and as I spent the morning trying to track down money I was owed or pinpoint things that didn’t seem pin-able at that moment, my rising emotions took on a life of their own and I got swept away. (Note: the moon was going to be Full in two days, when emotions tend to swell.) I have had a recurring dream, on and off for years, of tidal waves and tsunamis and I remember one in particular in which I was in a canoe with an old friend in the middle of the ocean (ya know, just chilling) as an oncoming tidal wave roared toward us, turned our little boat vertical and we rode down the side of the wave. Interestingly, the canoe never capsized and maybe this is a sign of my internal strength even as I have navigated the turbulent waters of life.

I digress.

The issues I was facing this particular morning were, on the surface level, of money/income/getting paid for my work and also of receiving support I needed to complete tasks. On a deeper level, this was about supporting myself in the world and feeling valued for the work I am doing, for what I am giving. Chiron wounds have deep, deep roots. The spot in the Natal Chart where Chiron dwells points to the wounds that we have trouble even looking at; we bury them well. It’s the place where we feel inadequate and cut off from ourselves and we may attempt to compensate in some way, by either proving ourselves again and again (an endless cycle), or giving from an empty place (the giving is, therefore, not genuine/pure), or withdrawing and taking ourselves out of the game altogether because it feels safer than the rejection that may come if this wound was revealed or activated.

I have Chiron on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and so issues of self-worth, confidence, and valuing myself run deep. Taurus rules, among other things, the material world and earning an income, which is intrinsically connected to how we value ourselves. Aries rules the self and the physical body. Somewhere along the way I learned not to value myself and my own needs, and that to do so was somehow inappropriate. It’s no surprise then that I have often faced circumstances of not being paid enough (or at all in some cases!) for my work.

And so my emotions were running high this morning.  I decided to do a yoga practice. Note: if you have Chiron in Aries, yoga and other types of therapeutic body work are excellent for you. I use Yogaglo (online yoga classes) when I can’t get to the yoga studio and I’m in the mood to be guided. I have a few favorite teachers on Yogaglo and as I searched for a class to take, a new class taught by one of “my teachers” popped up. It was, amazingly, a class on Artha, the Sanskrit word for having the wealth or resources to fulfill your dharma or life purpose, i.e., using your innate gifts for service in the world. I felt like he (the teacher) was speaking directly to me. I have to pause here to say how cool is that? The universe was supporting me. Recognizing this inherent support is the first step in healing/integrating my Taurus/Aries Chiron wounds. It’s no coincidence that when I teach I often hear myself asking students to accept support, to feel the support of the earth underneath them, etc. We teach the lessons we are learning ourselves.

It’s interesting to note that I currently have Saturn transiting my 2nd house of earned income/material resources/self-value. I liked the way my Astrology teacher/mentor whimsically described Saturn Transits: “Wherever Saturn is in the chart, you know he’s going to be busting chops.” The chart house Saturn visits usually calls for some restructuring, discipline, hard work/effort and facing whatever it is you neglect in that area of life, so that you can fully utilize your resources and create something solid, something lasting. Once you get used to looking at Natal and Transit Charts, themes begin to pop out at you; if you see something significant (like, Venus making a conjunction with my natal Natal Chiron) chances are that theme will be highlighted elsewhere in the chart. Saturn is pushing me to face and organize this area of my life (my material resources), so that I can receive the support I need and, in turn, support others.

When Venus and Chiron get together in the Natal or Transit chart, ancient wounds connected to relationships (how we relate to others and our environment) can resurface and fester, and there is also a chance to clean them out. I love the idea of the wound actually being the gift, which is why I resonate with the Rumi quote: The wound is the place where the light enters you. The wound remains a wound, I believe, because we cover it up and emotionally cut off that area of life or ourselves. You can look to the sign and house Chiron is in to learn more about your ‘wounds’ and how you can learn to re-integrate them.

If you recall, my Chiron is on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and it sits in my 5th house, right near the cusp of my 6th house. I am learning to care for myself (I have an Ayurveda daily morning practice) and to support myself in the material world (building my business). I teach yoga and it has taken me a long time to free up my creative energy (5th house) and voice (Taurus) so that I can be “myself” when I teach. When I connect to my own creative flow students can connect to theirs. I notice that if I am “in my head” too much when teaching or when doing anything in life, I don’t give others the space they need to be in their own “flow.” It’s a good thing I started teaching yoga later in life, as I was beginning to face my Chiron wounds and lessons, or else I would have believed I was no good at it and have moved on AKA quit (6th house Chiron), which is what I did, work-wise, throughout my twenties and early thirties (tried something, deemed myself unfit and jumped ship).

I can only do my work and service in the world when I face these wounded pieces of myself because it’s difficult to give when operating from a place of lack. Once you “own your Chiron,” it’s as if you have a new found, unshakeable power that comes from those dark experiences. We can then use this power, this strength, to support others who have similar wounds. This is why Chiron is called the Wounded Healer.

I am learning how to play the harmonium and it’s a whole new world for me. I didn’t play instruments as a kid and have a memory of a Middle School chorus teacher insulting my voice (Chiron in Taurus). After that, I pretended to sing, mouthing the words, which is sad because I loved to sing as a child and always sang in the shower. I said to my Harmonium teacher, who happens to be interested in Astrology, “I have my moon in Taurus and I have read that this placement can indicate a hidden gift of singing or using your voice.” I said it with a chuckle because although I can carry a tune, I am clearly not a gifted singer and I didn’t want her to think I was delusional. She seemed to understand and confirmed, without hesitation, that it was indeed “a gift.” By singing and playing the harmonium I am healing my wound (freeing up my voice and my creative expression).

It’s no surprise that my throat is one of the most vulnerable places in my body; when I get sick I get a sore throat first. For most of my life, I felt I didn’t have “a voice,” that I couldn’t express myself well and clearly. I didn’t know how or have the capacity to express what was on the inside, what I really felt. For this reason, I never felt “heard.” Although I longed to be heard and seen, I deeply feared being heard and seen: my Chiron block. Leo rules the 5th house, where Chiron lives in my chart, which is about being seen and heard, how you shine, and using and expressing your creative gifts.

On the vision board in my bedroom, which I created at the beginning of the year, it says “I am enough.” Although I think the phrase is a little corny/cliche, as I spontaneously cut the words out of a magazine I knew it was an integral component of my “vision” for this year, without fully understanding why. Now I know.

“I am enough” is a good mantra for a Chiron/Venus aspect. With this aspect, there can be a feeling of giving a lot in relationships and not receiving in return what you need, hence the feeling of support needs to first come from within. We can do that through daily Ayurveda and yoga practices, for example, or any other form of self-care that keeps us feeling balanced. Taking the time to provide ourselves with care and nourishment is self-love. The key is to love ourselves enough in order to feel that we are worth this effort (something I am learning). As I cultivate self-love, I believe I will continue to draw situations and dynamics into my life that feel supportive and enable me to do my dharma. I am learning that my dharma is using and sharing my hidden gifts (creative self expression, being playful/joyful, teaching children) to support others in their creativity, in whatever form that may take.

If you’d like to know more about where Chiron is in your Natal and/or Transit Chart, please book a Reading with me. 🙂

Restorative Yoga is one of my favorite classes to teach and this amazes me. I am a Vata girl to the max. The Eastern Medicine system of Ayurveda posits that we are born with usually one or two doshas (body types), dominant. My dominant dosha is Vata, or the air element.

Vata people need to move. And movement is a good thing for people with this body type, however, as is usually the case in life, we need to find balance and there is a tendency toward too much movement for us vata folk. We can move so quickly that we don’t feel what’s going on in our bodies. Movement becomes a means to avoid. Vata people need to slow down enough (I’m not saying to a halt; stop and go energy exacerbates Vata – at least this Vata) to feel our bodies, to feel our emotions and get connected.

When the Vata dosha is out of balance we are disconnected, ungrounded — frantic, even.

Being a movement prone person, I rarely attended Restorative classes or slower moving classes, and would feel frustrated in yoga classes that began very slowly and sleepily. I wanted to get going! (That is also my pitta/fire speaking, which is my secondary dosha). So, I wink at the universe because of course I am a Restorative teacher. I think I get as much from teaching these classes as the students get from taking them. We all leave class calmer, lighter, and more grounded.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone, no matter what your primary dosha is, can benefit from time to just be. And although it is hard for most of us, especially Vata and Pitta souls it is vital for health. There is a growing field of research on the benefits of this type of practice.

A post, today, about my newfound love for essential oils. I began using them about a year ago and I think it’s safe to say that I am addicted. Just a warning: this is not a cheap hobby. I envision myself living in a tent or a van down by the river with nothing but my essential oils; at least I will smell good. Magical goodness in tiny bottles is what they are.

*Many years after writing this post I want to add that I no longer use the fancy brands, Young Living or Doterra, that I was convinced are the only pure brands on the market. I now think that is rubbish and that, mostly, they are just overpriced. I use Aura Cacia, a brand that Whole Foods sells and they smell exactly the same to me. There are also a lot of small/mom and pop organic/pure EO brands out there – do your research. The big companies say that only they have the equipment needed to purify the oils properly … I’m not buyin’ it (pun intended).

Ways to use the oils:

A few drops on a body part with a carrier oil (e..g, sesame oil), or you can do an an overall massage. The practice of Ayurveda suggests a self massage every morning before or after the shower to nourish your skin and also protect it before you go into the world — I use sesame oil, and it’s nice to add an essential oil if you can. Lately, I like Lemongrass.

A drop or two of peppermint oil or lemon oil, for example, in water or tea. I just ordered tangerine. Yum. BTW, you can also bake with them; I haven’t tried that yet. A drop or two of Thieves oil in water or juice if you’re feeling run down. (Addendum years later: I learned it is not safe to ingest them; they can burn your esophagus). 

Add several drops with filtered water to a diffuser and your home will smell divine. Every home should have a diffuser. 🙂

I also use the oils in spray bottles (filtered water with several drops of the oil) to purify the air. I use the spray bottles in my yoga classes during Savasana (the final resting pose) and sometimes to purify the room beforehand. Below is a photo of the oils I have been using lately in my classes (minus the lemon: I use that one at home to clean).

IMG_1606

Last weekend, I had plans to have tea with a student from my yoga class. We had been saying for months that we would get together and had finally set a date. I planned to get a certain amount of work accomplished in the first half of the day, and when the time to meet neared I realized I had not met my goal. I thought for a moment about asking if we could reschedule and was answered by my inner voice: “Stick to your commitments.” So I bundled up in my winter gear and stepped into the cold air. The snow had been whirling down from the sky all day. I walked the 15 minute path to the cafe, welcoming the feel of snowflakes on my face.

At the cafe, I ordered a green tea and sat at a small table, watching the door until I spotted my friend/student. I had not seen her in months and after we hugged, she pointed to her belly as she unbuttoned her coat. She was pregnant! She had trekked in the snow to meet me. She was happy to get outside and move her body, she said. We sat there, at the cafe, chatting about life for hours. It’s rare to meet people you feel completely comfortable around and she is one of those people.

I am working on sticking to my commitments (to myself and others) every day. Step by step. I realize now that every seemingly small decision counts, that all of the day-to-choices we make accumulate into something big: our reality. These daily decisions and habits are the threads of the tapestry that become our life experience. (I shared this sentiment in my yoga class a couple of weeks ago and one student exclaimed aloud, “I’m in trouble!”). It’s okay if we mess up; it’s unavoidable.  This isn’t meant to be a militant message (clean up your act or else!); it is simply a reminder that we have the power to change. At any moment. With each decision we confront.

Later that day, after meeting my friend for tea, I was back home doing research for a job I would be interviewing for and came across this sentence: “Excellent outcomes are the result of excellent habits,” followed with a quote by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do.” I let the message sink in.

I take a lot of classes during the week on YogaGlo (online yoga classes). One of my teachers on the site, Marc Holzman, teaches a class called “The 60:60 Challenge for Endurance, Strength and Detachment.” Marc instructs us to hold each pose for 60 seconds throughout a 6o minute practice, committing fully to each posture, slowing down the practice enough to feel what’s happening in your body and mind. He reminds students that consistency, practicing each day (even if it’s only for 10 minutes) is the key to meeting your goals. It’s not the action of making goals that allows us to attain them (although that is step 1); it’s doing the work each day: that nitty gritty work that we (read: I) love to avoid. Marc says, the cool thing is that you can detach from the goal because you’re putting in the daily work that will take you to where you need to go; that’s when trust comes in. You can’t rely on motivation or inspiration alone because those guys are fickle and elusive; it is consistency that you must befriend. For those of us who are not exactly consistent by nature (hello fellow Vata friends), it is a hard earned lesson and one that needs to be learned over and over.

In the “60:60” class, Marc discusses the art of writing as an example of consistency. Lately, he shares, he has read a lot of blogs whose authors repeat the same message: the key to success is doing something, in this case writing, every single day (that slightly annoying hashtag #yogaeverydamnday makes more sense to me now): wake up each morning and practice (yoga, write, meditate).

Last night, I was reading Sy Safransky’s preface to his new book, Many Alarm Clocks, in the February 2015 issue of The Sun. He wrote this: “I write in my notebook early in the morning, almost always before the sun comes up. Some of the entries are long and carefully considered; some are just two or three run-on sentences; fragments of essays I’ll never write, snatches of conversation, postcards from the dream realm … I usually write each morning for at least one hour; on some mornings maybe a half-hour. Writing something every day is important to me – no matter how little sleep I’ve gotten or what mood I’m in. When I’m faithful to the practice, my skin has a rosy glow, the car starts in the morning, my cats come when I call. But I’m not always faithful. Sometimes I oversleep, or I wake up worried about an impending deadline and head straight to the office. Even then, I try to remember what the physician-poet William Carlos Williams said. He was also a busy man, known to compose poems between patients. He insisted that ‘five minutes, ten minutes, can always be found.'”

I like the feeling of being faithful to my practice.