One’s Legacy

Since it’s Mercury Retrograde, it’s a time to reflect and review.  There are also influences from the outer planets which signal great change.  Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn both challenge us to transform old structures.

In other words, we’ve got a perfect opportunity for a do-over.

I would guess that most of us at least attempt some kind of self-improvement.  We go on diets, we get a haircut, we go on retreats.  But what are we aiming for?

In the end, perhaps we should consider how we would like to be remembered.  And then live that way now.

How would you like to be remembered?

 

 

SFLP: Part 2

Guilt:  the gift that keeps on giving Erma Bombeck

This part of the journey toward being Simply Fit begins with the end.  Well, really, it begins with a notebook.  So, go get one, now.  You’ll need it.

Now we can begin at the end.  In this instance, the “end” is the last planet:  Pluto.  In astrological terms, Pluto symbolizes transformation, rebirth, destruction, and change.  It can also, according to some astrologers, represent that which we need to let go of in order to be renewed.

Think of “old baggage” that you have been dragging around with you.  (For the purposes of this program, please feel free to consider past lives too, if you so choose.  It’s not a requirement, though.)  Very likely, you’ve got some shame and guilt stuffed into that baggage.  “I shouldn’t have eaten the whole box of cookies; I’m such a loser!”  ” Julie stayed late at work to finish up the Jones file, so I should have too. . . . now everyone will think I’m a slacker.”  “I can’t believe I said that to my child; now I’ve messed her up for life.”

Shame and guilt pack a powerful one-two punch that can take us down for the count.  And with heavy burdens like that, we are not free to be Simply Fit.  So let’s look at an astrological explanation and solution for guilt.

The sign that Pluto was in at your birth describes the specifics of the baggage you need to transform.  Check the list below to see what sign Pluto was in when you were born:

June 15, 1939 – October 19, 1956  (Leo)

October 20, 1956 – January 15, 1957  (Virgo)

January 16, 1957 – August 19, 1957  (Leo)

August 20, 1957 – April 12, 1958  (Virgo)

April 13, 1958 – June 10, 1958  (Leo)

June 11, 1958 – July 30, 1972  (Virgo)

July 31, 1972 – November 5, 1983  (Libra)

November 6, 1983 – May 18, 1984  (Scorpio)

May 19, 1984 – August 28, 1984  (Libra)

August 29, 1984 – January 17, 1995  (Scorpio)

January 18, 1995 – April 21, 1995  (Sagittarius)

April 22, 1995 – November 10, 1995  (Scorpio

November 11, 1995 – January 26, 2008  (Sagittarius)

Now that you know the sign that Pluto was in at the moment of your birth, you can stare into the abyss, as it were, and uncover the deep, scary things that you might need to transform and release.  First, read the explanation for your Pluto placement below.

PLUTO IN LEO KEYWORDS:  youthful, spontaneous, powerful, autocratic, self-indulgent, fear of aging, self-respecting, confident, status conscious, pretentious, dramatic

PLUTO IN VIRGO KEYWORDS:  efficient, modest, perfectionist, logical, hypochondriac, judgmental, obsessive, service oriented, healthy, practical, critical

PLUTO IN LIBRA KEYWORDS:  balanced, refined, compromising, social, charming, indecisive, vacillating, superficial, cooperative, artistic, vain, flattering, fair

PLUTO IN SCORPIO KEYWORDS:  insightful, passionate, vindictive, intense, mysterious, secretive, paranoid, powerful, magnetic

PLUTO IN SAGITTARIUS KEYWORDS:  optimistic, restless, commitment phobic, inspiring, dogmatic, philosophical, procrastinating, ethical, outspoken

Okay, got your notebook?  Then jot down a few of the keywords from your Pluto that resonate with you.  For example, I have Pluto in Virgo.  So in looking at the Pluto in Virgo Keywords, the ones that jump out at me are efficient, perfectionist, judgmental, healthy, and critical.

Now that you have your keywords, write a few sentences using those words which sum up your “old baggage.”  Again, using myself as an example, I might write this:

I feel absolutely horrible when I make a mistake, no matter how big or small, and then I criticize myself harshly.  And when I see others make mistakes, I am judgmental and critical of them too.

You might need to take some time to choose your words and write your summary.  Maybe you might even want to observe yourself for a couple of days to see what things you notice.

Once you feel comfortable with your summary statement, you can begin to work on your “redemption” and transformation.  In many ways, transformation lies in finding balance, or the other side of the coin.  For balance, then, I like to look at the sign directly opposite mine.  Look at the list below to see the sign and keywords opposite your Pluto placement.

AQUARIUS KEYWORDS TO BALANCE LEO:  open-minded, rational, humanistic, reformer, innovative, holistic, unique

PISCES KEYWORDS TO BALANCE VIRGO:  forgiveness, compassionate, mystical, imaginative, transcendent, dreamer, serene, spiritual

ARIES KEYWORDS TO BALANCE LIBRA:  assertive, courageous, enterprising, initiating, confident, pioneering, energetic, independent

TAURUS KEYWORDS TO BALANCE SCORPIO:  grounded, patient, loyal, dependable, creative, practical, earthy, artistic

GEMINI KEYWORDS TO BALANCE SAGITTARIUS:  adaptable, versatile, communicative, bright, inquisitive, social, witty

Using your notebook again, write down the balance keywords that catch your eye.  In my notebook, keeping my own Pluto in Virgo in mind, I would choose Pisces words such as forgiveness and spiritual.  And once again, as you did above, write a summary using your balance words.  Here’s mine:  When I make mistakes, it’s an opportunity for me to forgive myself and understand the spiritual value of failing and learning and growing; in this way, I can have compassion for myself and others when we make mistakes.

Now the tricky part. . . . It’s one thing to “get it” in theory.  It’s another thing entirely to put that theory into practice.  So here’s your homework!  Keep your notebook with your for the rest of the week.  Now that you’ve got both your summary statements, keep track of all the opportunities you have to put your words into action.  Use your notebook like a diary to record instances where your Pluto stuff comes up.

Please feel free to share your statements, to ask questions, and to pass along your observations from the week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFLP: Part 1

“Observe all men, thyself most.”  Benjamin Franklin

Who’s up for a road trip?

For the next several posts, you can participate in an internal road trip of self-discovery.  I invite you to cruise all the highways and byways of your physical, mental, and emotional self.  And unlike a vacation, this is one trip where you will unload your baggage rather than pack it.

The Simply Fit Lifestyle Program is a multi-part overhaul of your current habits in which you try new things, learn what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully adopt new patterns which contribute to a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

Previous posts on this blog have emphasized the value of reviewing, reflecting, and re-doing.  So now, it’s time to put all of that into action.  Over the next few weeks, I will present a plan for “knowing thyself.”  There will be guidelines, suggestions, and ideas to ponder.  And as with most things in life, you can get out of it whatever you put into it.

Care to join me, then?  From what I have observed in my own life and in the goings-on around me, it seems like I am not the only one ready for a change.  So, if you, like me, are ready for something new, hop in the driver’s seat, put the top down, throw it into first, and let’s go!

The Uranus-Pluto Square

Have you noticed that everyone and everything seems to be breaking down to the foundations lately?  That structures (both literal and figurative) are cracking and crumbling?

It has seemed this way to me for a while now.  In my own life and in that of my friends and family, I have seen some serious rug-pulling-out-from-under and some big upheavals.  Divorces, deaths, career shakeups, you name it.  Of course these things are always present, but in this case I am noticing that the EFFECTS have been rattling people to the core.  These events have been creating such havoc that the persons involved have been thrown into Major Overhaul mode.

Right now–and since 2012 actually–Uranus and Pluto have formed a square.  They are literally at a right angle to each other, and in astrology terms this arrangement means friction.  The Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn square can be interpreted to mean great shakeups and major transformations in both our personal AND our social structures.

First, Uranus in Aries represents big changes in the Self:  Uranus means upheaval, and Aries means the individual.  So that translates into big turnover in how we view ourselves and in what is REALLY important.  Second, Pluto in Capricorn means transformation in authority figures and in society.  And that translates to big changes in what we individuals want and expect from our leaders.

This square will last until 2015.  My takeaway from this is that we should all be very careful and discriminating in what we want our new foundations to be.  What about you?  Have things been stripped down to the concrete slab for you?  What will you use to re-build?  What should our collective foundation be as a society?  Can we build something that honors both the individual and the group?

From Pisces to Aries

The execution of anything considerable implies in the first place previous persevering meditation.”  William Godwin

Right now, there are several planets in the sign of Pisces:  Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune.  Pisces is a Water Sign, which means it symbolizes emotional things.  It deals with the imagination, mysticism, dreams, and even delusion.  Pisces also represents psychics and intuition.  Ultimately, it seeks union with the divine.

With so much Piscean energy about, we would do well to sit with and sort out our own emotions and feelings.  Poorly-aspected Pisces can be manipulative, deceptive, passive aggressive.  Because it is so very spiritual, Pisces can find reality very harsh, too harsh to deal with sometimes.  It can easily slip into victimhood or martyrdom if not properly grounded.

Soon, several planets will move into the sign of Aries, however.  Mars will shift on the 11th; the Sun heralds the coming of Spring on the 20th; and Venus changes on the 21st.  Aries is a Fire Sign, and therefore symbolizes action, energy, and movement.  It is confident, a risk-taker, and a self-starter.  Of course confidence can become arrogance and Fire can burn, so Aries needs to be learn patience too.

My favorite thing about astrology is how it reminds us to look at the big picture.  Pisces becomes Aries, Winter becomes Spring, internal becomes external, feeling becomes action.  The Wheel spins, and we have the chance to put into action the new spiritual and emotional lessons we’ve learned.

Sometimes it’s difficult to sit still and be patient and wait.  But, to everything there is a season, and the Universe reminds us of that if we pay attention to its symbols.  Have you been thinking and pondering?  What have you been meditating on?  Are you soon ready for action, ready to make changes?

 

Vultures

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone’s in a funk lately?  At the end of 2012, I saw post after post on Facebook by people who were all too happy to put the year behind them.  When I chat with friends, everyone has a story of a sick relative, a financial crisis, or a personal struggle with the blues.  The news headlines certainly reinforce my feelings that things are tough all over:  school shootings, acts of terrorism, even the Pope is stepping down because he says he lacks the strength.  All this “funk” reminds me of my vulture story.

A few years ago, I was out for a run on a country road.  It was early spring, so there weren’t too many leaves on the trees yet.  As I headed back home on my out-and-back route, I ran under a canopy of maples, whose branches reached across the road.  I looked up and saw four vultures perched on the boughs and peering down at me.  Perhaps I should have taken their presence as a commentary on my fitness level or the slowness of my run.  But instead, I ran straight home and pulled out my dog-eared, well-worn copy of Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews to help me figure out the meaning.

Vultures are seriously misunderstood creatures.  Most people think only of gross, nasty things that eat roadkill.  But think of the value of this service.  By fulfilling their role as scavenger, they limit the infection and bacteria from the dead animal that would otherwise harm other creatures.  They keep the environment clean and prevent the spread of disease.  The Greeks considered vultures to be the descendants of the griffin, who represented heaven and earth, guardian and avenger.  In short, vultures are all about transformation.  (Incidentally, the number four symbolizes “foundation.”)

Now, fast forward to last week and another vulture story.  While driving home from work, I saw four vultures again, this time on the ground, making short work of a dead deer.  The connection of this vulture scene to the earlier one got me thinking.  What did these two events, if taken together, mean for me?

In the first encounter, the vultures were just sitting; in the second, they were actively working their circle-of-life magic.  Four vultures could be interpreted to mean a transformation of foundation.  And that has certainly been true for me for the past few years.  I feel as if external and internal events have conspired to strip down all my old beliefs and philosophies, to make me examine what is really important and true for me.  After all ,when the going gets tough, we can’t afford the luxury of frivolous things.  It’s as if the friction wears away the unnecessary things.

So I’ve interpreted the first vulture encounter as a message saying, “now is the time to sit patiently, examine your foundation, and prepare for change.”  And I see the second, where the vultures were doing their work, as a message saying, “now it’s time to get to work and operate from that new foundation you’ve created.”

Whether it’s true or not, it’s still a good message to take to heart.  There will always be funk, always be roadkill.  And there will always be a time to sit patiently and reflect, just as there will always be a time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.

The Final Post of 2012

Today, I am writing my Monday blog post at night, rather than in the morning.  I’ve been not only observing the goings-on of the last day of 2012, but I’ve been wrapping up a whole lotta personal change as well.

Like nearly everyone I know, I’ve had my share of challenges lately, and I think most of us will say “so long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye” very happily to the old year.  Bring in the new!

Thank you for reading my thoughts here.  Thank you very much for liking and sharing your thoughts.  Wishing you all a colorful, fulfilling, and enlightening path in 2013 as you continue to aim 4 wisdom.

 

sky and clouds

Thoughtful and Happy New Year!

Tradition or Change?

On this date in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill making the 4th Thursday of November the official date for Thanksgiving.

I read that history fact this morning, and it struck me that something we Americans embrace as “tradition” is actually a fairly new event.  As human beings, I think most of us are more comfortable with routine and habit.  In our minds, change is associated with discomfort and a scary unknown.  But what’s the saying?  “The only constant is change.”

If you accept that we are currently in the Age of Aquarius (there is debate among astrologers as to the exact start date), and if you accept that Aquarius represents a New Age, then apparently we Earthlings are in for some changes.  The ending of the Mayan Calendar on December 21st of this year also signals a transition; according to that theory, we are wrapping up one phase (of over 20,000 years) and beginning a new one.  With several symbolic indicators of “do over” in the air, I’m guessing that we’d all better buckle our seat belts and get ready for a bumpy ride.

How do we decide which habits to keep and which ones to ditch?  Which things are beneficial and which are no longer serving us?  Aquarius represents the individual within the group, so one of the things we will have to figure out is “where my freedoms end and where yours begin.”  It will be curious to see how we individually change and evolve, and how we integrate those shifts into the big picture of society.

 

Samhain: Endings and Beginnings

Happy New Year!  In the Celtic tradition, this time of year marked a great transition: the end of daylight and summer, and the beginning of the dark time of year.  The last of the harvest had been gathered, livestock were brought in from pasture, and bonfires were lit.

In astrological terms, this is the time of year when the Sun sits at 15 degrees in the sign (or constellation) of Scorpio.  Tradition says that this arrangement indicates when the veil between this world and “the other side” is the thinnest, and we can communicate with loved ones who have walked on.  This year, the Sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio on November 6th.

Many of us fear death.  After all, no one really truly knows what happens after it.  Our faiths might tell us something, science might tell us something, but in reality, we can’t actually be sure.  It is the Ultimate Great Unknown.

Last week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I had the chance to go on a trail run at Valley Forge Park.  It was on Mt. Misery, one of my favorite parts of the park.  The storm had transformed the trail.  A thick layer of leaves covered the normally visible path.  Stately trees now slept instead of standing tall.  I wondered more than a few times if I had somehow gotten off my familiar path and landed in another part of the park.

At one point near the end of my run, a large oak had fallen across the trail.  As I climbed over, I noticed how the tree had created some pretty nifty hidey holes for some lucky chipmunk or squirrel.  I also noticed how that particular part of the trail got more sunlight now that this tree was down.

I stopped my run for a moment to thank the tree.  Some might be sad that the tree was gone, but I saw the gifts that the tree left behind:  new homes for small animals, more sunlight for the younger trees, and a wonderful lesson in the circle of life for me.  This tree had lived a full life, had moved on to another state of existence, and will eventually become mulch and be reborn as a new tree.

Happy Samhain indeed. . . .

 

 

I’m No Physicist, But I Know This. . .

As someone who greatly values learning, I have learned one lesson very well, and that is that there is a LOT to learn out there.  Luckily, I really like learning and reading and studying, and I love finding all the connections between philosophies.  For me, it’s kind of reassuring to see the common themes threaded throughout the various schools of thought.  Lets you know you’re on the right track, you know?

One of those commonalities is this: the only constant is change.  Now, most people I  know–me included–do not like change.  Change means going into the unknown, feeling unprepared and unarmed.  But I have found that if you at least try to embrace change, you can use it to your advantage.

With sincerest apologies to Sir Isaac Newton, I refer to the concept of “movement begets movement.”  Oftentimes, when things get overwhelming in our lives, we feel stuck and heavy.  I believe that these times of stuckness are signals that change is needed.  I picture it like this:  we’ve been doing our same old same old, and the Universe sends us messages that get increasing bigger and bigger.  Maybe the first few messages are small–you get a traffic ticket, you turn in a work project late, you quarrel with your BFF.  Then, if you continue your same old same old, the messages get bigger and bigger–your car dies, you get fired, you get dumped.

So now, the Universe is shaking you by the shoulders, saying, “Hey pal, you listening??  Ball’s in your court.  Whatcha gonna do?”

This is the critical point.

When I find myself there, I know that the cosmic Laurence Fishburn is offering me the blue pill or the red pill (apologies now to the Wachowski siblings).  What AM I going to do?

Here’s where I remember that change is the only constant and that movement begets movement.  OK, so things are piling up in my life and I know that change is going to happen whether I like it or not.  Therefore, why not go with it and head into the unknown on my own terms?  I know that ANY change that I make from my same old same old will result in transformation.

I think the changes can be small–take a different route to work, read a book instead of watch TV, take the green travel mug instead of the blue one, anything that represents a break from your old routine.  Since movement begets movement, just doing SOMETHING new will create a domino effect and start a new path.

Now, maybe that new path isn’t going to the best one either.  But at least YOU have taken control of the overwhelmingness and embraced change.  You’ve recognized the need to transform, and you are willing to do it.

How do you tackle the overwhelming times in your life?  What has worked for you?  Share your ideas here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyooALwfxO8