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A new moon commitment to my Joy...

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

Well, what a weekend it has been! I won't go into the details (not yet at least), but many of you probably felt something similar, with the approach of the New Moon in Aquarius that graced us on Monday afternoon - the Chinese New Year, the introduction to the year of the Pig. I'm not sure what the year of the Pig means, but right now I can't think about what the year might hold, life requires that I focus on what this moment holds, and then the next moment, and then the next moment...

One moment at a time.

One step at a time.

Life, anymore, is slamming us in the face with the message that all we have at any given moment is this moment. It can be hard enough to get through this moment with our sanity. But my new moon horoscope for this month is a beautiful reminder that I can do more than get through the moment, I can search for the Joy in the moment and allow that to carry me through. I am grateful to Chani Nicholas for her poignant readings (expcerpted from Horoscopes for the New Moon - Libra & Libra Rising, by Chani Nicholas):

My joy is sacred and needs my commitment to it. Creativity flows with a much greater ease when I’ve allowed a little laughter to clear my system. With this new moon I remind myself that waiting for the right time is not an option. Waiting for the work to be done is no way to live. Waiting for the stress to lessen may never happen. All I have is the option to find a little love, a little play, a little light every day. It doesn’t detract from the depth of my feelings. It doesn’t negate the heavy history I carry. It doesn’t devalue the struggle that I am in for myself, my communities, and this world.
To actively make space for joy is to respect what is difficult. Without levity, I lose sight of the power of this fight. Without joy I forget why I want to make the effort to right a wrong, heal a hurt, or win with my dignity in tact.

This reminder is not meant to negate how hard it can be to follow this guidance. Sometimes it feels downright impossible. But I received this reading in the middle of a dramatic weekend that I went into feeling maxed out already by the month of January. Then I got sick, then my hot water heater, which is in my attic (not ideal!) started leaking, which I discovered when I saw the water mark on my ceiling. Then I learned that there's no good option for replacing the water heater, so I'm stuck with no hot water indefinitely, and looking at construction or getting some form of gas installed in order to get hot water back into my house. Then, then, then...

I'm not sharing this to throw myself a pity party. And I'm acutely aware that many people have it way worse off than I do. I'm sharing this to paint a picture - by the time the new moon in Aquarius occurred, at 1:04 pm on Monday, February 4th, I had started feeling significantly better physically, the minor shingles outbreak I had been nursing for a couple weeks had begun to resolve, and I had learned that there are no simple options for replacing my water heater. At that point, all I could do was hold what is, and actively make space for the joy that is there to be found.

I could easily find the gratitude - gratitude for my mom, who was able to be with the plumber all morning, and was here to offer moral support over the weekend and all day Monday. Gratitude for my brother and sister-in-law, who live next door and whose shower/bath we can use while we don't have hot water. Gratitude for the delicious chicken soup that my sister-in-law made for me over the weekend and the dinner my mom brought over on Saturday, when I first got the news about my water heater. Gratitude for the support of my friends who shower me with love and compassion and perspective. Gratitude for my devoted, loving partner who listens when I need to vent and helps me stay grounded and connected to what is real and true, and who considers all the options with me and helps me find the way of ease, and who is devastated that he can't be here to take care of it all for me. And gratitude for my amazing daughter, who has been a champ while I have been sick and distracted and less available and present than usual.

These come to mind immediately.

Then there is gratitude for the plumber who spent 4 hours at my house on a free evaluation call, assessing the situation and going through all the options. Gratitude for his honesty and integrity and for his willingness to be available the rest of the day when I needed more information or reassurance. Gratitude for his influence in getting the plumbers back here this morning to remove the leaking water tank from my attic. Gratitude to my friend and boss, who always allows for flexibility when family matters arise that require me to miss work, or take phone calls while on the clock. Gratitude for our "like-family" friends who picked River up from school and had her over to play all afternoon, while I continued to sort out the situation. And gratitude for our other "like-family" friends who played with her all day Sunday and fed us dinner that night.

Wow, I have so much to be grateful for...

Gratitude isn't the same as joy, but it's definitely a segue into it. Gratitude creates the platform that allows us to jump for joy, or belly laugh on the ground, or lay back and bask in the beautiful day. Gratitude gets us there and Joy is the release.

So here I am, writing this post as the water drains from my water heater in the attic - the emotions (water) that have been housed up there for 13 years (the age of the water heater). Only 7 of those years have been ours. And now it seems that it is time for an emotional storehouse upgrade. It is still unclear what solution will present itself as the best option for replacing the water heater, but I get to make that choice with my family's best interests at heart, for the long-term, for our future. I get to take all that I am today, and all the amazing resources I have within me and in my network of family and community, and I get to choose the best way forward for the future - the way of ease, the way of gratitude, the way of Joy. I get a fresh canvas. Isn't that what a new moon is all about?

And I get to set the intention for what gets painted on that canvas, and for how it gets painted on that canvas! Maybe I want to cover myself and my daughter with paint and roll around on the canvas with Joy. Or maybe we want to dance our heart's song on to the canvas with Joy. Or maybe we want to splatter the heck out of it with Joy. Or maybe we want to dump buckets of paint with Joy. Or maybe we want to be graceful and serene with Joy...

Nah, we're more the splatter, dance, roll, dump kind of people. But however we decide to take the next steps, whether we're walking, skipping, jumping or pogo-sticking into the future, we can dig down and "actively make space for joy." We can bring levity to the heaviness of the current struggle and reach out to the world around us for the Joy that is there.

And this brings me to an excerpt that I've been waiting for the appropriate time to share; from one of the most beautiful books I know. It reminds me that Joy is always out there, and it reminds me of what she feels like, but most importantly, it reminds me that sometimes we feel like she is out of reach, and that the path to get to her is impassable, yet even in those moments, she waits for us and is there...


from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler

Joy drinks pure water. She has sat with the dying and attended many births. She denies nothing. She is in love with life, all of it, the sun and the rain and the rainbow. She rides horses at Half Moon Bay under the October moon. She climbs mountains. She sings in the hills. She jumps from the hot springs to the cold stream without hesitation.

Although Joy is spontaneous, she is immensely patient. She does not need to rush. She knows that there are obstacles on every path and that every moment is the perfect moment. She is not concerned with success or failure or how to make things permanent.

At times Joy is elusive - she seems to disappear even as we approach her. I see her standing on a ridge covered with oak trees, and suddenly the distance between us feels enormous. I am overwhelmed and wonder if the effort to reach her is worth it. Yet, she waits for us. Her desire to walk with us is as great as our longing to accompany her.

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