You’re halfway through your backed-up emails when the power goes out.
You’ve got three more Must-Do actions to check off your list for the day when the phone rings and your friend needs you to comfort her through a breakup.
You finally have the time to plant those wildflower seeds you got two weeks ago when a winter storm warning goes into effect.
Nothing makes taking a break richer than unexpected circumstances that stop you dead in your tracks.
According to the Chinese seasonal calendar, the Start of Summer officially begins on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:41pm MDT.
And what do we get? Snow.
And if you happen to be in a part of the northern hemisphere where it didn’t just dump a bunch of snow on you, I’m willing to bet there are other factors arising in your life that are causing you to go back to the inward focus we most associate with the winter season.
This winter-in-summer energy actually makes perfect sense if you use astrology to navigate the world in much the same way we use our weather forecasts.
Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Pluto, and Mercury are all in retrograde, which means that due to the perspective we have from our planet, they all seem to be moving backward. That’s five planets! Usually it’s just Mercury, and even that sends people into a state of beware-edness. Mercury retrograde has a reputation for causing things to break down, miscommunications, and travel mishaps. Numerologist Kari Samuels was recently interviewed on the Mind Your Business Podcast, during which she artfully described ways to use retrogrades as a catalyst for potent internal growth. Samuels says,
“Retrogrades are a wonderful time to “refresh, review, rejuvenate, recreate, repair, and re-evaluate.”
So if the time of year is that of fertility and attraction, outward energy and full, bright, yang qi, (i.e. summer,) but the astrological forecast is that of inward focus and reflection, and then the weather forecast makes you want to stay in all day, what do you do?
You read a book instead of tackling your overdue emails.
You sit down and take the evening off to comfort your friend.
And you save the wildflower seeds for later and take a bath instead.
Film by Brea Fisher
When the cosmos gives you retrogrades and the planet gives you snow, get quiet, go inside, and reflect.
In my teachings I am constantly reminding everyone to go inside, to listen to the body, and to observe. This is the ultimate retrograde practice.
By getting still and moving your mind into your body, your attention draws all your energy back inside yourself.
“Where the mind goes, energy flows.” – Ernest Holmes
Your work during this next two weeks is to begin a new routine of reflection.
Look inside and see yourself as you are in the moment:
Witness what it feels like to be in your body.
Determine what you feel like emotionally.
Don’t get fancy with it. You don’t need a special meditation cushion. You don’t need to lock yourself in a silent room.
You don’t need more than a few minutes of your day to do this.
Pick a time you feel you can do this and build in a reminder system. Maybe first thing upon waking you go to the sink and see your little note posted on the mirror.
Stand with your eyes closed, or with a light focus on the floor if you need visual support for your balance. Sit down if you prefer. Heck, you can even do this before even getting out of bed.
Now listen with all your senses. Do you have any tension in your body? Is your breathing rough or steady? Can you identify what emotion you feel right now? (Try.)
And now for the most important part of this exercise:
Drop your judgments. Halt your opinions as soon as you notice them. You are collecting the data. You are a witness to the current state of your being. Your job is not to label it good or bad; your task is simply to notice it.
If you try to push through the obstacles life places strategically before you, the energy you spend swimming upstream will exhaust you. And all that hard work won’t get you anywhere further than had you simply let the current carry you down river in the first place.
Let go to get in the flow.
You can’t force the sun to shine. You can’t make the internet work when you’re offline. And you can try to plant your garden in a snowstorm, but it’ll probably mean a pretty thin array of flowers come June.
The truth is, when you are attuned to the qi around and within you, you automatically put yourself into the flow of life.
Use this ripe for reflection time and let go of the habit of feeling like you should be doing more. The sun will shine again. Summer will begin to feel consistently like summer.
Give yourself permission to sit, to relax, and to look inside, and you will find yourself rejuvenated and ready to go once the energy shifts, as it always does.
I'm so curious– have you ever had the experience where you tried to push through and keep plugging away at something when all the signs were telling you to stop? How did that turn out for you? What about when you listened to all that "take a break" energy? Were you able to make more progress with it after walking away for a while? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear your feedback on this one.