Ten years ago, along with several hundred other pilgrims, I took a retreat with walking-meditation master Thich Nhat Hahn. We learned to walk very very slowly, mindful of every step, with little concern for our destination. All that mattered was just the rise and fall of each foot, one at a time. This past week that education has really paid off. With Mars and Mercury both retrograde, and the collective jittering with the lunar eclipse, there’s no going anywhere fast. I keep reminding myself of that as cars inexplicably slow in front of me. I hear Thich Nhat Hanh saying “I breathe in, I breathe out,” as every grocery store or theater ticket line I choose moves like molasses in winter; the people ahead of me all seem to be having complicated problems. When there’s no moving quickly, there’s just this delicious choice: Become impatient and frustrated–or deepen one’s appreciation for life. That’s the rich offering of this strange astrological time.
In fact my mother (who lives in Slovakia) emailed much the same message this morning. She wrote: Last year I fell on the ice when I was carrying in an armload of wood. Some logs landed on my dogs and I laid there frozen in place, trying to figure out a way to get up amongst the dogs licking my face. I just began to laugh hysterically while I worried about a possible broken hip and fear of not being able to get inside my house or anyone finding me. Obviously I did manage to right myself unscathed and not repeat my episode that winter. Yet the memory looms as I again set out with armloads of wood and the fear perched relentlessly on my shoulder. On warmer days I make 2 or 3 extra trips inside with enough wood to carry me over for the times the ice man wags his finger and tells me “Not today!”
Mercury goes direct on January 15 (just after the solar eclipse). Mars is retrograde until March 10.