In the preface to her book, Flowers in the Dark: Reclaiming Your Power to Heal from Trauma, Sister Dang Nghiem recounts a revelatory experience she had a few years back.
After the Buddhist retreat she’d just taught was over, Nghiem was exhausted. But in deference to her hosts, she accompanied them to a garden behind their church to watch the evening primroses bloom. After staring at the buds for what seemed an interminable length of time, she relates, darkness fell. And suddenly, although there was no wind, “The entire plant began to vibrate and tremble before us. Lo and behold, a flower bud suddenly and forcefully burst open, the petals unfolding one by one and then all at once, right in front of my eyes.” The nun’s mouth fell open and tears began streaming down her cheeks.
Nghiem admits that she’d often talked, written, even sung about flowers bursting into bloom, but this was the first time she’d witnessed it. The experience brought a profound realization to this trauma survivor. She saw that recovering from painful experiences can also be a simple and miraculous process – one that unfolds naturally when the right conditions and timing are present. For her, that requires mindfulness, a mental state cultivated by focusing awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. (Nghiem’s teacher Thich Nhat Hanh was responsible for bringing widespread recognition to this practice.)
No matter how we manage to do it, there is great cosmic support right now for settling into our bodies and calming our minds. The Taurus New Moon (May 19, 8:53 p.m. PDT) is a prime opportunity to tap the Earth’s regenerative powers and balance our body-mind systems. As the Sun and Moon snuggle up at 28 Taurus, they receive helpful sextiles from Mars in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces. Earth + water = mud, a substance that can cleanse and heal both literally and symbolically.
Growth-enhancing Jupiter also enters Taurus three days prior to the New Moon, to help magnify and distribute the abundant, life-giving properties of this fecund sign for one year. This soothing energy comes as a relief after what was a tough eclipse season for many. Also, Mercury is now direct in Taurus (as of May 14) and starting to pick up speed. So let’s give some love to the Taurus sector of our charts, and allow the healing and expansion to begin (especially for those who have planets or major angles in Taurus). For all of us, if we’ve been out of alignment with our true values, self-worth or what’s most important to us, Jupiter in Taurus can help us get rooted in our bodies and find out what we’re really made of. Slow, deep breathing will aid this process, as will getting our bare feet on the earth and our hands in the soil – or simply gazing at flowers.
Just be aware that Jupiter can cause you to overdo things, and since Taurus represents the enjoyment of food, drink, shopping and other sensual pleasures, overindulgence can be a great temptation. If you do go too far, practicing mindfulness can help you regain your balance, says Sister Dang Nghiem. Born in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, she was delivered in a bomb shelter during a raid, and suffered both physical and sexual abuse as a child. She came to the U.S. at 12 and later became a doctor, but it wasn’t until she discovered mindfulness, which she calls a miracle, that she finally experienced a healing.
“Mindfulness enables us to behold ourselves and our lives as if we are witnessing the blossoming of a flower for the very first time,” she explains. “This sense of awe and wonder can help us heal past trauma and renew our life, moment to moment, in the most truthful, beautiful and wholesome way.”