To be honest, I’m not particularly into – or even really much interested – in astrology. I used to not-infrequently read my daily horoscope, back in the day – but that was in the course of reading newspapers. The horoscope page was always just there, and so I read it! But I don’t, hardly ever, read newspapers these days – actual physical newspapers. And my daily horoscope these days gets checked about as often.
I will admit, however, that I do, once a month, with fair regularity, peek at an online horoscope site: this one. They put the new month’s predictions up on the first of each month, and I have fun reading those over. It’s a little tradition for me now – like flipping the page on the calendar. It’s a way to shake off the old month and turn my thoughts and attention to the new, fresh one – like a mini midnight-on-New Year’s Eve-moment.
I don’t read these monthly horoscope write-ups because I actually believe they are predictive of my future. No…what I enjoy about them, and this site, is the way they use star alignments and moon cycles and all of that as a kind of entry point toward talking more philosophically about one’s inner self and relationships with others and so on. Reading these monthly write-ups almost always gets me thinking in more depth about those areas of my life. It’s, for me, an excuse to ponder these sorts of things – a kind of once-a-month touch-base with this kind of thinking. And I enjoy that! More, I think it benefits me.
Just the act of putting my mind in that place is beneficial to me – but then there are moments when deeper insights emerge, too. That’s always interesting.
And this, in fact, was the case last night.
I was up late last night with a bit of insomnia. I read my new-month horoscope, as it was May 1st, and then (being awake and in need of something to pass the time) spent a little while poking around the site. I ended up reading my sign’s 2017 year summary. And that’s when I stumbled upon this little gem of insight:
“Learning to slow down, to be sensitive to social graces and networks, and to sensitize yourself to others’ needs and communications without fear of being tied down will release you from some of your nervous tension and help you to achieve more happiness and inner balance.”
I’m not going to go into all kinds of detail about the “whys” of this (because that would make for a massively long post here!) But the fact is: this is actually a pretty pertinent idea for me and my life right now. Pondering it gave me some really good food for thought as I lay there awake! (Almost made the insomnia worth it! 🙂 )
My goal in writing this post isn’t actually to argue that you should be reading astrology! It’s rather to point out that personal insight can be found anywhere. Everywhere! And that’s such a powerful thing to wrap your mind around.
It’s something that took me some time to see. I went for years and years just blindly plowing forward in my life. But when you do that, you can’t help but take so many wrong turns. It’s inevitable, because you’re not living thoughtfully and mindfully enough when you’re living like that, to make the proper choices (proper for you). You miss signposts. You squander chances to follow your curiosity. You just aren’t giving yourself the time or the freedom, when you’re shoving forward like that, to meander – and this is ultimately so constricting!
I spent a lot of years trying to do what I thought should be doing. Or what seemed like the “smart” thing to do. Or the thing that would please my parents…or society…or whoever. That’s not mindful living!
What it is is shoving yourself into a box of somebody else’s design. And that (obviously, in hindsight) doesn’t produce happiness. Maybe there are people that can make do with that box – but if you’re a curious person by nature, or a person drawn to creativity (both of which I am!), living in a box is unsustainable.
The thing I’ve learned – and I wish I’d learned it sooner! – is that it’s an utter waste of time to expend energy trying to figure out what’s “best.” That’s because there is no “best” – no matter what authority figures and societal pressures say to the contrary. There’s only what’s right for you. And if you’re having trouble figuring yourself out…well, the kind of insights that steer you in right directions are everywhere! They can come from literally anywhere and they can come at any time.
They can come to you in a flash, while you’re walking on the treadmill, staring mindlessly out the window at a bird. They can come via the line of a song you’ve heard a thousand times – but didn’t quite hear the right way until this particular moment. They can come through the words or actions of a character in a book about something completely different. They can even come via an astrology site you’re scanning at 1AM on a Monday night, steeped in insomnia.
They’re there and they’ll come to you. But the point is, you’ll miss them if you’re not allowing yourself to be open enough to see them.
The bottom line for me is that I want to soak up as much insight and wisdom and chances for self-knowledge and growth as I possibly can find – basically, until I die. That is a long-term life goal – probably my deepest-felt and most valued long-term life goal. I want to see things…to know things. I want to understand things: the world…myself. I want to touch levels of insight that I know for a fact I haven’t touched yet. And I want to experience the wisdom that comes from all of that.
And I think what’s vital in the pursuit of that is to stay open. (I’m no Buddhist scholar by any stretch of the imagination – but I think that’s where “beginner’s mind” comes into play. At least in part.) I think the goal should be to just let things (life, experiences, ideas) flow – around and through you. Let them just pass on by you if they’re not ultimately useful to you…but don’t block them. Especially don’t block them because you think they’re too silly or that they’re beneath you. (The insights/opinions of a little child, for example. Or a thoughtfully written horoscope!) Don’t put up those kinds of barriers. Don’t constrict yourself that way.
For me, I’ve found that allowing myself to embrace the idea that insights, signposts, etc, are there, just waiting to be found, has made it easier – considerably easier – to keep my balance in those moments when my road narrows or hits the inevitable precarious or rocky patches.
Not to mention that life, from this place of openness, is considerably more magical!
Experiencing the magic in things, the beauty, the possibility…these are goals intertwined for me with the pursuit of wisdom and personal growth.
So that’s a big deal for me!