Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I appreciate your time and presence. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/2iaohpcVKMk
In making the decision to ease into this new year, I did something a little unusual for me. I prescheduled downtime for myself. Insert audible gasp here. This included time for reading, resting, and for listening to my own heart.
Yes, that is correct—I scheduled time to intentionally listen to my heart. Listening to one’s heart is not something that I feel like modern society encourages. In fact, I think we are more encouraged to follow the mind—to be logical, practice, and reasonable.
In law school, there was much mention of “the reasonable man.”
According to Justia, this is a phrase, “used to denote a hypothetical person who exercises qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment that society requires of its members for the protection of their own interest and the interest of others.” There is a certain amount of caution that this person takes, and then they behave sensibly according to the standards of society. This generally leans towards the logical and the rational.
The logical and rational are within the jurisdiction of the mind. The heart however, is more emotional, and seen as sometimes irrational. The heart is usually more willing to take risks that the mind won’t take. The domain of the heart is love. Sometimes the heart and the mind are in conflict. When they are, often we are encouraged to make the common sense choice, and follow the mind. I have found that the mind can lead to overthinking, which can lead to anxiety, and which can lead to sadness because ultimately we did not follow the heart.
This can express itself with everything from relationships, to career paths, to heck, almost anything. I am of the mindset that we should let love lead our actions—that the mind should bow to the wisdom of the heart…and yet, how many of us know with certainty what it is that our heart is trying to tell us? How will we know if we don’t ever make time to listen to what it has to say?
A quote by Jack Kornfield which I came across in Bell Hooks seminal book, “All About Love: New Visions,” says, “It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if we were a good friend. In modern life, we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.” So I say, “what says you heart?”
If you have been listening to this channel or reading my blog long enough you may know of my longstanding love of Paulo Coelho books, and The Alchemist especially, which is probably my favorite book of all time.
There is also mention of listening to the heart there as well. “Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked, when they had made camp that day.
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”
“But my heart is agitated,” the boy said. “It has its dreams, it gets emotional, and it’s become passionate over a woman of the dessert. It asks things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights when I’m thinking about her.”
“Well, that’s good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say.”
When I made the decision to ease into 2023, as I mentioned before, I did something that was out of the ordinary for my normal extroverted self. I blocked off two weeks where my calendar said, “Do Not Plan Anything.” This is a big deal for me because I am generally always out and about, with some “downtime” which usually comes when I start to feel burnout. Then my friends will gently say, “Ma’am, it might be time for some downtime.” Hahaha. I savor life, and I love to soak up every minute of it, but I am learning through the wisdom of my own heart, that sometimes for me, this includes “hermit time.”
That is time spent in solitude, resting, reflecting, and talking to myself—I mean when we need expert advice on our life—we should talk to ourselves hahaha. I joked to one of my friends recently that I was enjoying my downtime so much, that I could probably become a hermit easily. Her response was a resounding, “Yea, no, I give you three days alone by yourself max before we call in reinforcements to get you to leave the house.” That was funny, because I do thrive on my time with my friends and family, so point taken, there has to be a balance.
The last year ended and this year began on a Mercury retrograde in the sign of Capricorn, a sign that has heavy influence in my natal chart. My own Mercury placement is in Capricorn, and so the energy was ripe for slowing down, reflecting, and finding some time to refresh my spirit.
So much happened last year, and so much happened all at once it felt like sometimes I could not catch my breath; I don’t think I had much time to process. I like to “process,” “excavate,” and see what if any lessons there were to learn from situations and experiences that pop up in my life.
I probably could have been an archaeology major easily lol, but since that wasn’t my path, I have to be the archaeologist of my own life. While some things will and should remain buried away, when we can look objectively at life—at our own life, there is opportunity for growth. Maybe there were situations in which I could have reacted differently, maybe there are places in my life where I need to be more proactive, or maybe there are still things that I am learning—like about patience for example. I decided to take some intentional time for this process of reflecting.
Intentionality has become very important to me, and it was with this in mind that I sat down, drafted up a vision for the future from this point, and came up with my “word,” for this year. For the past several years, I have selected a word that helps to anchor me to a particular goal or intention for that year. Some examples have been, “flow,” “balance,” “abundance,” and “fun.” This year, my word is devotion. I also have a word for this decade of my life, and that one is more private and personal, but it feels delicious to my spirit. This year’s word is “devotion.”
I wrote a short snippet about it on social media. I said, “This year’s word is devotion. Devotion to my heart, to love, to joy, to the joy of living, to beauty, to kindness, to my own well-being—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It is also devotion to my enjoyment, to my quirks, and to my tribe. Devotion is my anchor word. It signifies love, loyalty, and enthusiasm.” I was on a walk through the park when I thought about this more deeply. What does devotion to love and to life even like to me? What was love even?
Whenever I have a deep question, a book with answers will always find me. In this case, as I was dusting one of my bookshelves, my copy of “All About Love,” by Bell Hooks, fell on my toe.
That’s a sure sign that it wasn’t so accidental. There are so many good parts to this book—which is a love letter in it of itself to remaining hopeful about love in a cynical world. One of the passages says, “Love redeems. Despite all the lovelessness that surrounds us, nothing has been able to block our longing for love, the intensity of our yearning. The understanding that love redeems appears to be a resilient aspect of the heart’s knowledge. The healing power of redemptive love lures us and calls us towards the possibility of healing. We cannot account for the presence of the heart’s knowledge. Like all great mysteries, we are all mysteriously called to love no matter the conditions of our lives, the degree of our depravity or despair. The persistence of this call gives us reason to hope. Without hope, we cannot return to love. Breaking our sense of isolation and opening up the window of opportunity, hope provides us with a reason to go forward. It is a practice of positive thinking. Being positive, living in a permanent state of hopefulness, renews the spirit. Renewing our faith in love’s promise, hope is our covenant. I began thinking and writing about love when I heard cynicism instead of hope in the voices of young and old. Cynicism is the greatest barrier to love. It is rooted in doubt and despair. Fear intensifies our doubt. It paralyzes. Faith and hope allow us to let fear go. Fear stands in the way of love…When we love, we no longer allow our hearts to be held captive by fear.”
This echoes beautifully what Marianne Williamson said in “A Return to Love, Reflections on A Course in Miracles.” She said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishing or unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality, and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience it in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” In devotion to love, and to life, I am cognizant that will require vulnerability. It also feels like we have become a society of people who are afraid in some sense to be vulnerable with each other, to go beneath the surface, and to allow others to see the things that even frighten us about ourselves. Yet, it is diving deeply and being vulnerable where the true opportunity for meaningful connections lie.
As Brene Brown said, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
I do not yet know how the intentional selection of a word like “devotion,” and adding in vulnerability and love to that equation will unfold over this year. I think it will offer some beautiful moments, some lovely conversations with people and with myself, and will offer some deeply meaningful experiences rooted in the tenderness, the loveliness, and the joy that is also inherent in life. It is work though. In all of the aforementioned works, there has also been mention of acknowledging where we have a wounding, and thinking about how we can heal the wound so that we can experience life from a more joyous place. (I acknowledge fully that some trauma is very intense, and I will always advocate for therapy and anything that helps people to take care of their entire wellbeing).
In another post, I will talk about the wounds we carry and make an astrological connection (of course) to Chiron, the wounded healer.
We will discuss how wounds also appear in our natal chart, and once we learn how to overcome those wounds, how our own tests can often become a testimony for others. Where was our first wounding? Where was our first conscious recollection of love? Life does not come with a manual for living or for loving. There are things we learn along the way, whether for the good or for the bad. If ever we are to devote ourselves to love, then those questions are also important elements to the equation. I have asked myself where was my first abandonment, what are the wounds of my inner child, and how can I let her know that we grew up and we are okay now, so we don’t have to react with anything but love? How do I console her when she is triggered and frightened? How do I soothe her into realizing that we don’t have to react in old ways to new situations. I don’t have all of those answers, these are just things to think about. For now, I wonder—do you have a word for this year? Do you ever listen to the sound of your own heart? Are you someone who is more led by the mind? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.
As I think about how I want the year and quite frankly, the rest of my own life to unfold, I know that I want my mind and heart to be able to co-create together. I want my mind to bow to the wisdom of the great mysteries of the heart. I want my heart to appreciate that the mind wants to offer its protection, so as to minimize hurt, but to recognize that hurt is an inherent risk when we make a decision to reveal ourselves fully. Despite that, there is still life after hurt.
I want to listen to the soul of the world, and to my own heart, and then take action from that point and place. Regardless of what happens, I want to exude love as my natural state of being. I want to embody love, and to remind all of us that it is the most important part of living. I hope that you have a wonderful week, filled with beautiful reminders of love. I hope the stars shine brightly over you, and I hope that you are able to hear the wisdom of your heart, and to feel the devotion that your heart has had to you all along. Thank you!