I’ve been trying to follow the lunar phases for the last several months, to varying degrees of success. I’m hoping there comes a time when I feel more in tune with the changes (hoping that I can get more out of my head/the intellectualizing space that feels most comfortable to me) instead of having to mark my calendar and check my phone. But as I said in my last post, the path is made by walking, so I’m going to walk it.
Full moons are a time for release, for letting go of what no longer serves you. This tends to focus on the lunar cycle–set intentions at the new moon, check in and adjust during the waxing moon, and then let go of what’s not working on the full, becoming lighter for releasing the burden and getting ready to start anew. This full moon, however, is also a penumbral eclipse (the earth, moon and sun are in imperfect alignment; only the faintest hint of shading may be visible on the moon). The cycle we need to be looking at here, then, is from the last lunar eclipse, in September, to now. Before we can release, we have to look at what we’ve learned since September. If we don’t pause here to integrate those lessons, we run the risk of continuing to carry those burdens.
It’s hard for me to remember last week, let alone five months ago, but September is my birthday, so I can place where I was around that time, and work backwards. (Using social media as an online chronicle/archive also helps.) We were in Georgia, on Tybee Island specifically, and we woke early to watch the sunrise over the water. I took stock of everything I had learned since my last birthday–and by learned, I mean “became aware of;” I think it will take the rest of my life to integrate these lessons to the point where I no longer have to consider them:
I learned: I don’t have to be such a victim or so passive; I can, and must, be willing to ask for what I want, and, likewise, shouldn’t accept something into my life just because it’s easy or there; if people hurt me, dwelling on it and crying only give them power over me they don’t deserve and I can use that energy and give that power to more positive, important things; not everyone is going to like me or what I do (different paths are different, but not any more or less valid) and not everyone is going to want to be my friend (and that, seriously, is okay); to be grateful, every single day; the importance of the little things; those parts of myself I’ve hated and tried to hide aren’t going anywhere and that’s actually a good thing because they’re trying to teach me lessons, too (and are places of power).
I’m looking forward to figuring out what I truly value, and how I want to live, and what a life of integrity means to me. I’m looking forward to meeting a more real and whole me (which includes getting reacquainted with the person I was before I started hiding parts of me to be a smaller target for life’s bullshit). I’m looking forward to the process and working to achieve what I want to achieve for me. I’m not here to impress anyone; I’m ready to have fun and get messy, so wonderfully messy.
Well, I got messy, that’s for sure. In the process of trying to figure out what I value, how I want to live, etc., life starting throwing lessons at me at an alarming clip. Each day it felt like I was struggling with something else, and not really getting to work through anything to completion before a new task was added to the pile. I yearned to shrug, like Atlas, and let my world go rolling off my back, with no concern for any destruction that may have caused. I retreated. I flaked out on so many engagements. I had my first panic attack in years. I started questioning everything–Why do I write? Why do I play music? What is the point? What gives me the right? I called it a dark night of the soul, and I don’t think I’m fully out of it, yet. You could compare it, in ways, to Persephone; she went to the underworld and eventually returned above-ground, but after eating those pomegranate seeds, the darkness would always be a part of her, and she a part of it. Or, you could say it’s the yin and yang, and now we’re starting to get closer to the lessons I’ve been learning.
Life isn’t ever good, or bad. It’s both, it’s all. And I will never be good, or bad. I’m both, I’m all. A lot of the things I was struggling with these last five months, as I was trying to improve, as I was trying to get better and heal, were my projections. It’s so much easier to throw shade on those around you. It’s not so easy to acknowledge that you are the shadow–not always, but sometimes. And in order to get better, I had to go down into those dark places and accept them as a part of me. It’s easy to say this. It’s not so easy to accept it, and I’m still nowhere near done.
I could make a list of the parts of myself I’ve repressed, and some of those facets are commonly viewed as being positive attributes–intelligence, creativity, a sense of adventure, strength. Sure, I want to reclaim those! But I don’t get to cherry pick. I have to face them all–including the jealousy, the judgment, the inferiority.
I never considered myself a jealous or judgmental person. Everyone has to live and do what’s right for them. I believe that, I support that. And yet. I’ve realized how quick I’ve been to call another person judgmental. How often I’ve complained that all someone does with their free time is play video games or wants to sit around and drink or do all these other things that don’t affect me at all. Peeling back the layers, I saw the truth: I call others out on not doing enough–“enough;” whatever that means!–when I feel I am not doing enough. When I am procrastinating on projects, when I’m letting my fear of failure (or fear of success) stop me.
This is what hit me in the past five months. Being able to see myself starting in on someone (even if I’m “only” judging them in my mind), I’m able to step back a bit and ask myself what’s really going on. What is actually bothering me? Is it really that this person walks too slow, or have I been letting my own exercise schedule slip? Does that band really not deserve some accolade or recognition they received, or have I not been picking up my guitar and practicing or writing enough? When I feel myself becoming that jelly hater, I look around at what I need to be doing to eradicate those feelings. Usually that means picking myself up and putting myself back on the positive path of working toward my goals. Rededicating myself to my writing, my music, to getting outside, to reading what I want to be reading. It’s a two-for-one deal. Not only am I getting closer to accomplishing what I want to accomplish, but I have a less toxic relationship with the world around me.
So what am I letting go of this full moon and lunar eclipse? I’m continuing my work on chipping away at those projections. Sure, maybe I’d rather be tackling that stack of philosophy books and working on reclaiming my intelligence, maybe that’s more fun, but life is telling me that’s not what I need right now. I’m letting go of the need to be in control. I’m letting go of the need to plan my life-lessons, so I can take, and learn, them as they come.