January: Slow Down to Feel

We made it!

For many of us, 2016 was a trying year, teeming with losses.  Our lessons were often through the grief!  Life’s fragility seemed ever-present.  Recovery time seemed next to nil.  But still, folks fell in love, had babies, birthed dreams, made some stuff, healed some things.  Beyond the horizon –  Spirit seemed to wake up to what can never die or be lost.

2017 already feels like a beast! Resident Astrologer Virginia Rosenberg offers the following forewarning about 2017.   On the Year of the Fire Rooster.  She says:

“2017 is a year for strategic planning and precise implementation. Attend all details and hunches with scrutiny. Deep discernment and discretion is advised. Less risky than the monkey, conservative changes will yield more fruit than speculative ventures. Stick to paths that have been proven. The past does hold important weight for consideration.”

I feel this call to wise up.  Almost ironically but not at all this month’s astrological theme is Slow Down to Feel.  It appears at first glance that we should prepare to get ultra-heady and buckle down.  She said “strategic planning” and “discernment.”  I think it is the year of the pantsuit, no?  But then there’s the flipside, the call to slow down and feel if you are going to have access to discern, to call it from the gut.

If you know me, I naturally run a mile a minute.  In fact, when I visit the Midwest or almost anywhere that is not New York, I become the impatient maniac in line wanting to jump over the counter to complete the transaction faster for the clerk.  My impulse is to find the patience demonstrated by everyone else infuriating.  I run firey.  So, in these human moments, I have to use my yogic powers of self-observation, deep breathing, attention and humor to get present or risk losing my mind or being an a-hole over the small stuff.

When I Slow Down to Feel, I can process what has me edgy, or numb or itchy or outside my integrity.  Instead of forcing (read resolutions) goals, I can listen to what my soul craves and my bodies’ wisdom instead of acting out through my habits and behaviors.  When I Slow Down to Feel there is room, spaciousness, beyond my insistence, beyond the rush, that beckons me to be still.  Time becomes more flexible, wider because there is more me there.

Virginia says, Why slow down to feel? Because we will likely be feeling a lot this month. A lot of deep and sensitive material may arise. We must be quiet enough to listen.

Feelings, physical and emotional, are a compass. They can help to guide our way. Until we learn to befriend them, they can also overwhelm us and lead us off-course. Ultimately, they can bring us back to nature, and be a portal to our deeper nature of stillness. (Read the whole forecast – it even includes specific key dates to be aware of.)

And you know what else?

When I don’t slow down, I crash.  I get sick.  I drop the ball.  I take on so much that I feel like I’m going to burst with anxiety.  That’s why I do yoga.  So I don’t burst like Violet Beauregard. This month in classes, in meditation, hopefully in your day-to –day life we’ll have the opportunity to explore the theme Slow Down to Feel.  You might not always enjoy it, like when your feeling that slow hold plank or you find out what’s been balled up in your gut during a deep twist or your patience gets tested, but it’s good medicine.  Imagine the long, slow, sustained bliss of feeling every drop of a released savasana or the relief after a good cry or…. Everything’s better when you can feel it!

I look forward to feeling the New Year with you entirely so we can make some badass decisions and love ourselves and each other, fierce and unconditional.

Love. Dara

PS – I’m reading the related The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise this month. Book Club anyone? Email Dara@sacredbrooklyn.com, Subject: Book Club if you’re in.