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Happy Blue Moon!

January is coming to a close but the year is still new. Not brand new…whatever that phrase means… but still new enough to consolidate our intentions and not have given up on resolutions just yet. We’re not done with the first month yet, but we are already reaching another big moment in the lunar calendar: the second full moon in one month, a Blue Moon. Sexy.

For some, last year would have been an annus miribalis – a wonderful year! But many, including myself, are hoping for a kinder year than the last. For some of us, 2017 was challenging, full of grand gestures but with a seemingly spiteful streak. An annus horribilis to some degree, but of course with some tremendously dashing silver linings. It felt like the year itself could smell our fear, but we hung in there with wobbly knees, trembling bottom lips, fingers crossed and held hands.

I started titling my years when I felt them each become an epic challenge of their own entirety: 2016 was the year of total re-evaluation – deciding to leave western ideals and their struggles behind: Brexit, Trump, Office job. 2017 was the year of the roller-coaster, getting married, battling chronic dis-ease-s and megalomaniacs, healing with yoga and becoming a teacher, meeting new and missing old loved ones and generally feeling flailed about like a white flag on a lost explorer’s ship.

2018 will be the year of getting a hold of that flagpole and dancing around it.

On reflection, and on being reminded by a new spiritual sister, this ritualising catharsis therapy appears to have started with the onset of my “Saturn Returns” which commenced on my 27th year (2016), when everything went wavey and I could feel the tectonic plates quake beneath my feet. In the year that saw the death of many a celebrity, late nights and toxic substances were no longer tolerated by my physical body and my inner rock and roll star expired leaving a meek little fairy with crispy wings to fly out of the ashes. Well this year that fairy has grown some new wings and some big hairy balls, or to avoid sexist stereotypes, some bloody massive swinging tits, and she’s still as aerodynamic as the next elfin creature thank you very much.

In astrological circles, 2018 is supposedly harmonious in comparison to 2017, with Grandpa Jupiter keeping things in check. But aside from the push and pulls of planetary pinball, and to those lucky people who have their feet firmly planted on planet earth and don’t really notice the movements of the heavenly bodies, it’s hard to predict how the theme of 2018 will reveal itself just yet. Any life-changing events or challenges are yet to come round corners we didn’t even know were there, as we embark on a road not yet trodden. So however reassuring Jupiter’s trajectories are said to be, rather than leaving it up to those mischievous twinkling stars, I decided I must, at least partially, take some responsibility of my own 2018 destiny. This GI Jo kung fu grip was to be tested as soon as I was set to leave the earth for the skies on the 2nd January, and it all went immediately tits up. Yes, big bloody massive tits… and yet, I was still flying in the right direction.

In a nut shell, my year started in a comfy pub in England with very close friends and family. It soon lead into a visa nightmare and a change of flights from India to Sri Lanka while I postponed a 300 hour yoga therapy course for a month while I sorted things out properly. One night of hungover distress, calling myself and of course the visa application system moronic, was alleviated by the loving support of close friends and family and lead to a flight home with my DH (dear husband) and some generous, new opportunities with some great people. In fact, it all worked out for the best after all.

So I wanted to use this space to express and suggest that, although we may all want to start the new year with resolutions, high hopes, ambitions, any forthcoming year is a minefield of disappointment waiting to explode beneath the most careful of feet. Yet even if we trip up at the first step, this doesn’t mean that the rest of the year will follow head over heels. Like me, you may feel relieved to have left 2017, as though you have literally fallen out of it’s arse end and have been dusting yourself off with New Year’s Eve celebrations, relieved recaps of what went wrong and which planet is to blame. However, whatever is to come, good or bad, we can deal with it, alone and together. And each individual’s positive attitude inspires the next.

There was certainly a degree of intergalactic bollocking happening throughout 2017, I’m not denying it, but we also know that we have the power of group consensus and community to raise the vibrations, like penguins huddling together to melt the ice. That is why we engage in these New Years rituals: finish something together, refresh on mass. I’d like to share some various slices of advices that have cropped up on the turn of the calendula clock to hopefully inspire strength, suggest tactics, and offer support. We’re in it together, as always, however personal some battles may feel.

The year of getting a grip means coping with whatever arises. I now understand that I can help myself by changing from within: my own vibrational frequencies, my own use of ritual, renewal, yoga, whatever it takes.  My challenges began on day 2 (nearly everyone is challenged on day 1 of the new year, usually we just write it off – in Brighton anyway), I could have seen it as a disaster of my own making – the worst kind! I could have dissolved in humiliation, stressed up my body, apologised to myself and others perpetually, and watch my self-esteem plummet as I gave up. But I made the decision to just deal with it calmly and considerately. I realised I actually had no other option.

When I asked my dear successful friend, LC’s key secret to becoming the youngest associate of her architecture company, she replied, “I just get on with it”. Great great great advice. With this in mind I have decided that however bad my health, wealth and worry situation may get, I will just cope with it the best that I can. Don’t despair. As Naomi Klein said on Desert Island Discs, “despair is a luxury we can’t afford”. Life will go on whether we like it or not, so we may as well try and like it. It may not always be that easy but I will manage just fine.

Maya Angelou’s smack-bum advice still wrings in my boxed ears, as though she gave me a darn good whippin’ herself: “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change yourself, don’t complain”. It’s not that change only comes from within, or that the universe will govern our lives and energies, it is both. It is about working with the universe, even when it seems to work against us. There is always a rivulet, a ripple, a wave of resonance that we can jump on and ride forward. No, not bloody hope, that illusive villain, that fair-weather friend, that warm-blooded killer. Hope makes promises it can’t keep, it lets us down, it makes us wait, makes us passive. We want to let go of resistance and go with what is there, not what might be. Deal with what is in front of us, not what might come and rescue us like a damsel in distress. Cope! Not hope!

This leads me to realise that I had been resisting so much contentment simply by worrying about what each future decision could mean. It’s easy to listen to all the many voices in your life, outside and inside your head. Do you agree? Should you feel the same? Should you be doing, thinking, feeling that too? How can you be satisfied?  How can you make that correct decision? Well I’ll tell you how, from my experience: you can’t.

I once heard a great bit of advice when working on the wards and over-hearing a nurse and Healthcare Assistant chatting. The HCA was trying to decide when to get pregnant, when she had more money, more time, more support, she was always waiting for a good time to come along. “There’s not a right or a wrong time” said her nurse friend, “there’s a better or worse time, but not right or wrong.” We can’t just wait for the perfect moment, it doesn’t exist conceptually. Perfect moments happen, they are a bonus, a miracle, but there’s not one for everything. Eventually you must poo or get off the pot. And trust me I know, that’s easier for some than others.

To put it more politely like the Japanese say, “More than doers, we are deciders” – we don’t just act, we must consciously decide how to act, constantly. Yet it shouldn’t be exhausting, it should be empowering. We have the choice, and we have the power to make the decisions.

Another personal bind of mine is the chronic sense of guilt in my decision making. It seems that every time I makes a decision, someone, including me sometimes, is let down. “You can’t please everyone” said Jesus apparently, or was it Brian..? But another great bit of advice I heard at the turn of the year from my friend when she was accused of not being around when her friend was pregnant, “Having a baby has massively changed your life, but it hasn’t changed mine.” Loved it. And it actually made me think to myself – people don’t actually care that much about what I do – they have their own lives! We can only do our best and make the right decisions for ourselves. When joy is in our lives, only then can we radiate it outwards. It is not about making sure everyone else is ok first, they don’t want that. We use our own joy to power our decision making and this love blends beautifully into the bigger picture.

This year I’m working on breaking down these blocks to feeling joy, breaking free from being stuck hesitating in the warm glue of insecurity. Sometimes it’s harder to let go, than to hold on for dear life. But eventually we must let go of the past, the future, the what-if, and get a grip of the here and now, and hold it dear to our hearts.

Forced to change my training to February instead of charging into it straight after a Christmas trip back to England, meant I had a great start of the year back in SL, so I then thought – maybe I should change it to March?! There are still twinges of regret: What am I missing out on now? I’m embarrassed to, but I will admit I have a case of FOMO! But this only a good reflection that things have been going well, instead of feeling like I must change something because the current situation is unbearable. Good times and bad, change is always going to happen.

If there’s one thing living in Sri Lanka has taught me is that there is no point worrying  about things too far ahead as life is always subject to change. This may sound like a care-free lifestyle but it is the only sensible way to live in Sri Lanka, where opportunities arise out of no where, and plans continuously fall flat on their face.

And as my new friend and fellow yogi SP said in his awesome class the other day: “2017 was all about being strong – that was the new sexy, but 2018 is about slowing it down. Slow is the new strong.” So slow is the new sexy eh? It certainly helps in keeping your cool when decision making and coping with the unknown. No need to rush around those new corners, you won’t be ready to deal with unexpected catastrophe. Long, slow, deep breaths, to breath out the guilt, resistance, confusion, and breath in the vitality, the fresh start, the new opportunity, the fighting spirit. Find steadiness in your seat. Sthira sukham asanam. Get a grip on that mulabandha, and get ready to soar through the stars.

January is a long month, longer in deep dark winters of England, but wherever you are, just let it roll out in front of you, and take from it what you can. Take time to make decisions but don’t panic if things change. Its not about survival of the fittest, but it’s those that can adapt that evolve successfully.

And although I’ve had a great, vibrant month, on the right track and travelling in the right direction, this month has had its fair share of grip testing moments. Jupiter’s still a cheeky git. During my moon days (red not blue), I managed to fall up the front steps of a posh hotel, all the way up; each and every step I thrashed my arms about with my suddenly embarrassingly brightly coloured backpack falling over the back of my head dragging my upper body forward. All this spectated by at least seven open mouthed young men. Luckily my GI Jane “grip” and my big hobbit feet meant I didn’t fall completely on my face. On that same day I also accidentally sent a text to a yoga client when I meant to send it to my sisters exclaiming that I’ve come on my period and I’m joyfully bleeding out the past year…with lots of exclamations and red emojis…FUCK!! But I decided it was ok…I make mistakes…I’m human…I bleed…we laughed about it…through emojis…

I will close with arguably the best bit of advice I’ve read so far this year. My elder sister  recently wrote this on our whatsap thread to our distressed younger sister:

“Oh life, what a bag of dicks eh?! Take a step back and just look at the over all big picture of your life. I know it’s hard when your grip seems to be loosening of the universe. Everything will be OK I promise. I feel like pulling [certain people’s] mingey little heads off quite regularly then M (her boyfriend) draws me a Guinea pig and I can dance with drag Queens and it’s ok. Perspective is the key”.

The turn of the year is also the end of my Saturn returns. Saturn is now just passing out of Sagittarius, where it was when I was born, 29.5 years ago. Coincidentally, as the second Wolf moon waxes, an ayahuasca ceremony is taking place in Sri Lanka and I feel like one of those rare perfect opportunities has arisen that I wouldn’t have had if I was to have been in my course in India already. It’s been implied that the Amazonian Grandmama will help me consolidate my intentions and practice what I preach to myself: to learn, deal, cope, let go and flow, and allow our joy help others.

I write this post in honesty and solidarity. I am standing up and facing 2018 with big swinging boobs out, and an open heart, the best protection there is. As Rumi said, “We have our hearts broken over and over again so the sunlight can shine through the cracks.” And however haunting my embarrassing moments, moronic mistakes and tough decisions once felt, I no longer feel I have anything to hide; no ulterior motive, no wonder bra. So see you on the other side of the big blue moon, the long green vine, and the sore red ring of Saturn.