113: WHAT'S YOUR PREFERENCE?
SAT 27 FEB 08.17 - Mooning Monthly accepting but not necessarily approving.....
Under this weekend's Snow Moon in Virgo we may find ourselves contemplating the Covid related restrictions of the past year and what they've taught us other than making sure we maintain a healthy supply of loo roll and pasta at the back of the laundry cupboard.
Virgo is an intelligent, honest analyst of circumstance, that takes time to mull over conundrums (often to everyone else's impatience and irritation) before passing judgement. The flipside to this process is that once judgement is cast, there is very little chance of that, often critical, opinion changing... and woe betide those that challenge it.
The egoic prism through which we perceive the world is as individual as every snowflake that may fall under this Snow Moon. Who we think we are (the ego) is a lifetime in construction, often most acutely influenced by the painful, difficult stuff we experience over the years rather than the good and joyful.
Our culturally conditioned assumptions and beliefs are little more than habitual learned responses yet gain huge importance in our ego sense of self and purpose. In a very Virgo manner, if circumstance appears to be repetitively serving us up plates of shit, careful analysis would seem to suggest that life stinks. It then takes courageous effort, or a seismic shift in circumstances, to change that entrenched outlook.
One way of looking at our circumstances more objectively is to suspend judgements, particularly the negative ones, and search for truth. Truth is usually simple, evidential not opinionated, and will apply everywhere or it simply isn't true. "There is no loo roll in this laundry cupboard," may be a statement of truth. "I need loo paper to prosper and be happy," is not. Based on the expectant second premise, this time last year people were fighting each other for the last remaining bog rolls in supermarket aisles across the developed world which wasn't a great look.
It is suggested by many wisdom traditions that accepting things as they are, as distinct from our expectations and preferences, can help alleviate some of the struggle caused by things not turning out as we'd hoped. Instead of willfully battling to force our life experience to align with a culturally conditioned, ego led vision of success or happiness, we can take a more allowing view of what's truly on offer and find ways to appreciate it in a less restricted manner. This allows an overarching happiness to develop in place of the often stressful, not very happy, goal based 'happiness' we pursue by default.
We should not mistake acceptance for approval however. We don't have to like or agree with everything that's going on around us but reserving the right NOT to judge situations or others under this Virgo Full Moon may free up some welcome energy to channel, by preference, in a positive direction of our own choosing.
Circumstance is essentially neutral. It's a given; just stuff happening. How we react to that stuff (how we judge it) is in our own hands - through the thoughts, words and actions that subsequently determine our life experience. Steadfast efforts to maintain a positive inner dialogue, even if the outer world appears to be going to crap, has been repeatedly proven by science to bring huge benefit to one's mental and physical health. (Practical positive thinking - article)
The closer we align our thoughts, words and deeds to Truth, the less slavish effort we need to invest in building and maintaining the false world and sense of self that rarely provides lasting happiness. In essence, the closer we are to truth, the closer we are to liberty.
There's an alluring opportunity under this Virgo Full Moon to re-examine the past 12 months and make a conscious effort to dwell on the truly good stuff that we've unearthed in Lockdown rather than the negative. Here's a magnificent 7 lockdown benefits that merit shouting about:
1. #Walking is trending - mix your daily step count up with a rekindled love for the great outdoors and you have the tastiest recipe for good mental and physical health (How walking in nature changes the brain - article)
2. Acts of kindness are back in fashion - we've become caremongers not scaremongers: ignoring the constantly peddled media fearscapes and instead looking out for the vulnerable, elderly and lonely as a natural matter of course. Unsolicited smiles and greetings from complete strangers have become common place. Huzzah to that! 3. Discussing our mental health is no longer a taboo - it's officially now OK not to be OK and to reach out in everyday conversation with less fear of stigmatisation. (Is loneliness the last mental health taboo? - article) 4. Meditation and Mindfulness have gone mainstream - we've heard about the proven benefits for years but these vital practices are no longer the preserve of those dressed in hemp shirts and purple chiffon. The mysticism has been debunked, the method is both practical and simple. Being present to the moment has become the gift that just keeps on giving..... 5. Air got cleaner with welcome big drops in lockdown air pollution worldwide (Air Pollution Data - article). Environmental change has moved up everyone's personal and professional agenda. The natural world seemed to thrive and 'heal' during lockdown and most of us have loved the experience - from sublime dawn choruses to increased wildlife activity in urban environments (Nature: liberated by lockdown? Article) Long may nature's renaissance continue with our conscious participation and support. 6. The working day and work environment have been redefined - the 9 to 5 grind finally recognised as less productive than flexible hours and working from home. The daily commute has become a thing of the past for many. Flexible work from home has given parents more quality time with their kids - everyone's a winner! 7. Family and friends come first. If proof were needed, lockdown has reminded us we are indeed a social species and need interaction and intimacy for our well being. Spending time apart has in some ways brought us closer together, utilising Zoom culture to keep us caring and cared for. Most of us have found a renewed sense of value in relationships we may have previously taken for granted. Each of these positive Lockdown 'truths' will take concerted care to maintain as things return to 'normal' in a post Covid world. I would suggest that 'normal' has yet to be defined and we are currently in a powerful position to determine its future parameters for the benefit of All, through our consistently caring thoughts, words and actions. Let's not shrink from the task at hand. If you've enjoyed this message please do the sharing caring thing and pass it on to others. With love 'til next time.... Mark
TAKE A BREATHER
WHY NOT JOIN US IN SOME VERY SIMPLE BREATHING EXERCISES THAT HAVE PROVEN BENEFITS FOR OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL WELLBEING?
4-7-8 breathing exercise to combat anxiety/stress while promoting a restful night’s sleep
As always at Full Moon, our instinctive emotional reactions and habitual patterns of behaviour/denial will be hitting their peak. Don't despair. Be kind to yourself and the likelihood is you'll accord the same respect to others. If we find appropriate strategies to manage our opinionated Virgo Full Moon beliefs, the next fortnight presents us with an opportunity to move closer to the truth of who and what we are, potentially resulting in greater contentedness.
To help the process throughout 2021, Mooning Monthly will offer a few short videos of very simple breathing exercises that, with regular practice, help establish a calming inner reservoir to irrigate the fertile soil of positive transformation in our outer lives. This month's exercise: 4-7-8 breathing, has been clinically proven to shrink the area of the brain (the amygdala) that processes our 'fight or flight' panic responses to stressful circumstance whilst charging up our frontal lobes, the two large areas at the front of the brain responsible for reasoning and planning, so giving greater control of our emotional reactions. It's a generally calming breath counting exercise that can be employed at regular intervals during the day to increase our brain's capacity to over-ride fight or flight when stressed and help prevent Amygdala Hijack: those debilitating downward spirals of fear or anger that seem to have a life of their own. Alongside Mindfulness techniques in which we direct our attention onto what we're feeling and thinking, our bodily sensations and environmental stimuli, this discipline avoids judging or labeling situations as good or bad, focusing only on counting breaths in the present moment, not the distractions of future tasks or past problems. Give it a go for a few minutes a couple of times a day and let the evidence speak for itself. With a prevailing Virgo lunar tide perhaps we'll be less inclined to drift into fear or anger than usual? Fingers crossed. Naturally, I hope that long term, regular use of all the featured breathing exercises might ease a passage towards Truth and grateful appreciation of the life we all share - in peace.
Do please look out for next month's edition of MOON LIT. Our third contributor is the celebrated poet, film and television writer/producer Henry Normal who offers us an exclusive selection of his verse with a lunar theme. Scheduled to slip some astral inspiration into your inbox as the New Moon in Pisces approaches in mid March, we hope you'll savour Edition 3 as fully as its predecessors. Marcus Sedgwick's sumptuous, snow laden poem Power is still available to read in MOON LIT Edition 2 here and well worth a revisit under this Virgo Snow Moon.
FULL MOON MARKS
EACH MONTH DURING 2021 WE WILL CHART THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SINGLE, YEAR LONG LUNAR INSPIRED DRAWING BY ARTIST AND FELLOW MOONER MARK WEIGHTON
32 x 24cm charcoal on paper