Spring Equinox Newsletter 2014
planting seeds of equanimity. . .
SOUL SOURCE invites you to celebrate the VERNAL EQUINOX, the birth of spring! The time of the Equinox is Thursday March 20th, at 12:57 pm here on the East Coast. We encourage your creativity as you celebrate! We hope that you will hold a collective awareness of this event and celebrate in myriads of ways.
The keynote of the Spring Equinox is Life, renewal, hope and growth. Spring reminds us to renew our commitment to Life. It is a time to plant seeds in the soil and in our souls and to nourish what we plant. It is a time to be mindful of what we are planting and to make choices which will nurture these seeds toward flowering and fruit. Use these Equinox energies to begin anew, to release the past, to be creative, to take risks, to heal and to choose your next step forward. It is time to unfold and awaken from the hibernation of winter and to be receptive to the incoming Light. Spring requires that we replace complaints with affirmations, despair with hope, stagnancy with movement, death with re-birth. Spring exacts from us renewed love of life, renewed optimism. It is, once again, another chance to come alive, along with the animals birthing, the plants emerging, the earth re-warming, and the hours of sunlight lengthening. Let's shine!
Celebrate and open to the New! Walk a labyrinth, meditate, dance a jig, start a garden, make a bouquet, choose a Tarot card, do a cleanse, start a yoga class, commit to meditation, host a potluck dinner, watch the sunrise, and be willing to attune to this bursting with Life energies and smile inwardly and outwardly at all the possibilities that exist in the NOW. See a celebration of Life flowing through your life!
Let us breathe together and focus deeply on these affirming words:
We are grateful for the Presence of Spirit in us.
Mother Earth, we thank you for sustaining us.
We open to a blessing on our vision for the coming year.
We celebrate all the family of creation.
We celebrate the earth and all her oceans, the air, the forests and mountains, which nurture our Souls.
As co-creators in life we dedicate ourselves to doing our part and to affirming Life more abundant.
We trust in the constant guidance which sustains us as we seek a higher road, as we seek to heal and to nurture life and all of its creatures, and to love one another and live together in harmony.
We find renewal in this sacred moment. We are cleansed and opened like a seedling bursting forth, breaking through all limitation.
We are deeply aware of our bonds to one another, to the earth and to our community.
We celebrate Life!
A Joyous Spring Equinox to our SOUL SOURCE Community!
The Sweet Spot
Doing and Being
It is a simple yet profound metaphor that a childhood mentor of my mom's shared with her decades ago: "When one foot walks, the other rests." It's the way all of nature works, a beautiful reminder that everything is in ebb and flow, engaged in cycles and rhythms.
Our own bodies follow natural patterns, recuperating every night and preparing for the next day's activity. With music as well, the structure imposed by notes inherently depends on the unstructured space supporting it. The notes and the space between them come together to create music.
As a culture, though, we give more importance to creating notes and relatively little to the space between them. Between creation and being, the emphasis is on creation. Interestingly, the musician John Cage felt that his most important piece was "4'33"," in which a musician plays no notes at all, bringing to focus natural, environmental sounds. His point was that, "There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear."
Of course, our societal bias is understandable. Creation usually manifests in an externally measurable way, making it a convenient basis for interpersonal organizing -- for communication, comparison and differentiation. The downside, though, is that we start losing subtle value. Even a creative paragon of our times, Albert Einstein, reminds us of the limitation of this approach. "Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted."
Our rational minds want to ensure progress, but our intuitive minds need space for the emergent, unknown and unplanned to arise. Within the existing paradigm, the external comes first, the internal takes a backseat, and in deference to measurability, we become more tuned in to doing than to being.
The problem isn't in the doing per se, but rather in the nature of the doing. When we aren't aware internally, we get so vested in our plans and actions, that we don't notice the buildup of mental residue. So the momentum of "forward-thinking doing" continues in the mind. In that kind of state, even nature's imposed breaks aren't restful: we have trouble falling asleep, or even resting soundly. The mind just doesn't relax.
The secret to more balance lies in how we frame our efforts. A reporter once asked Mahatma Gandhi, "Mr. Gandhi, you've been working fifteen hours a day for fifty years. Don't you ever feel like taking a few weeks off and going for a vacation?" Gandhi laughed and said, "Why? I am always on vacation." He was unconflicted, doing exactly what he wanted to do, without creating stress in his mind. Gandhian scholar Eknath Easwaran's explanation for it: "Because he had no personal irons in the fire, no selfish concerns involved in his work, there was no conflict in his mind to drain his energy."
Of course, few people can authentically say that they are doing everything exactly the way they want. But it's a progression. And while we can't flip the pattern of subtle inner conflicts right away, we can chip away at them little by little. As we strengthen our ability to observe what's happening within, we recognize areas of internal misalignment.
Just the recognition itself is powerful. Subtly, a virtuous cycle ripples through: our awareness gives us choices, and our choices increase our awareness. It's a process of constant refinement, but even deeply ingrained habits do begin dissolving, with the most entrenched and unconscious habit of all being that of self-orientation.
When our sense of purpose stops being driven by pure self-interest, it changes how vested we are in the outcomes of our actions. Gandhi had tremendous passion for what he saw to be his work, but he was also rooted in humility, knowing that the result of all of his labor wasn't in his complete control.
If anything, that only inspired him to work harder, and paradoxically, it also freed his mind up in powerful ways. At the height of India's struggle for independence, Gandhi was known to be toiling away harder than ever -- 21 hrs a day, for over two years. And yet, five minutes from addressing the nation, when someone asked him what he was going to say, his response was, "I don't know. I'm not there yet."
Though that kind of intense presence is exceptional, it's not an "either you have it or you don't" switch -- it's a spectrum. On the journey of imbuing more being in all of our doing, every conscious step in favor of inner awareness, every moment in which I exercise that option, pays off. The example of one foot resting while the other walks, points out a powerful lesson: If we drill down far enough, we can see that there is an inherent balance between rejuvenation and invigoration, engagement and observation, and being and doing.
The sweet spot is actually in the middle. We benefit greatly from a balance between structure and space, between action and rest, between consciously shaping and being receptive. We can fully immerse ourselves with a sense of purpose, while still being humble, affording a freedom from the stress of trying to control inherently emergent outcomes.
By practicing being present, we start to hit the sweet spot and life becomes art. Not just in how it manifests. Our truest artistry lies in how we construct our own lives, and attention and intention are the clay with which we mold our days. In Gandhi's own words, "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.
by Rainer Maria Rilke
The birdcalls start their praise.
And rightly so. We listen long.
(We behind masks, in costumes!)
What do we hear? a little willfulness,
a little sadness, and tremendous promise, sawing away at the half-locked future. And in between, healing in our listening: the beautiful silence they break.
Equanimity: the Radical Permission to Feel
by Shinzen Young
Equanimity is a fundamental skill for self-exploration and emotional intelligence. It is a deep and subtle concept frequently misunderstood and easily confused with suppression of feeling, apathy or inexpressiveness.
Equanimity comes from the Latin word aequus meaning balanced, and animus meaning spirit or internal state. As an initial step in understanding this concept, let's consider for a moment its opposite: what happens when a person loses internal balance.
In the physical world we say a person has lost balance if they fall to one side or another. In the same way a person loses internal balance if they fall into one or the other of the following contrasting reactions:
- Suppression -A state of though/feeling arises and we attempt to cope with it by stuffing it down, denying it, tightening around it, etc.
- Identification -A state of thought/feeling arises and we fixate it, hold onto it inappropriately, not letting it arise, spread and pass with its natural rhythm.
Between suppression on one side and identification on the other lies a third possibility, the balanced state of non-self-interference...equanimity.
Equanimity belies the adage that you cannot "have your cake and eat it too."When you apply equanimity to unpleasant sensations, they flow more readily and as a result cause less suffering. When you apply equanimity to pleasant sensations, they also flow more readily and as a result deliver deeper fulfillment. The same skill positively affects both sides of the sensation picture. Hence the following equation:
Psycho-spiritual Purification = (Pain x Equanimity) + (Pleasure x Equanimity).
Furthermore, when feelings are experienced with equanimity, they assure their proper function as motivators and directors of behavior as opposed to driving and distorting behavior. Thus equanimity plays a critical role in changing negative behaviors such as substance and alcohol abuse, compulsive eating, anger, violence, and so forth.
Equanimity involves non-interference with the natural flow of subjective sensation. Apathy implies indifference to the controllable outcome of objective events. Thus, although seemingly similar, equanimity and apathy are actually opposites. Equanimity frees up internal energy for responding to external situations. By definition, equanimity involves radical permission to feel and as such is the opposite of suppression. As far as external expression of feeling is concerned, internal equanimity gives one the freedom to externally express or not, depending on what is appropriate to the situation.
by Joni Mitchell
I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, "Where are you going?"
And this he told me...
I'm going on down to Yasgur's Farm,
I'm gonna join in a rock and roll band.
I'm gonna camp out on the land.
I'm gonna get my soul free.
We are stardust.
We are golden.
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Then can I walk beside you?
I have come here to lose the smog,
And I feel to be a cog in something turning.
Well maybe it is just the time of year,
Or maybe it's the time of man.
I don't know who I am,
But you know life is for learning.
We are stardust.
We are golden.
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.
By the time we got to Woodstock,
We were half a million strong
And Everywhere there was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky,
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation.
We are stardust.
Billion year old carbon.
We are golden..
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Rest and Be Taken
When there is deep abundance
there is nowhere to abide.
There is nowhere to rest
or grasp onto
and yet there is rest
The sky abides
yet it never rests.
Neither can we say that
the sky is not always at rest.
We talk about the sky
as if it were something
as if it actually exists -
and yet we cannot say that
the sky does not exist.
The sky is nothing but
coming and going.
Everything is perfectly spontaneous.
The coming and going arise mutually
If the true I is asleep
you will miss the point entirely
and you will continue to dwell
in the world of opposites.
So see the two as one
and the one as empty
and be liberated
within the world of duality.
At first it seems
as if begoing follows becoming.
But look even closer
and you will see
that there are only
flashes of lightning
illuminating the empty sky.
Life and death
becoming and begoing
are only words.
In order to save your life
you must see that you die
moment to moment
instant to instant.
Now where are you going to abide?
And where are you not abiding already?
Indeed there is nowhere
to rest your head
and there is nothing but rest.
So let go of all ideas
about permanence and impermanence
about cause and effect
and about no cause and no effect.
All such notions are dualistic concepts.
The Truth of what you are
is completely beyond all duality
and all notions of non-duality,
and yet it includes duality
and non-duality alike.
Like an ocean
that is both waves and stillness
and yet un-definable
as waves or stillness.
The truth of being
cannot be grasped by ideas
Both waves and stillness
are the manifest activity
or your own self.
But self cannot be defined
by its activity
nor by its non-activity.
The truth is
and closer than your own skin.
A single thought about it
obscures its essence.
The perfume of true life
is right in your nose.
There is nothing you can do
to perceive it
and yet you must do something.
Rest and be taken.
Rest and be taken.
Finding Balance: Mars in Libra (December 2013-July 2014)
by Jan Detrich
"Poise is an unseen power, and this unseen power is always ready to come to the aid of the outer action." Sri Chinmoy
The zodiac signs convey twelve universal archetypes or stories that arise in the life of every human being in varying degrees and ways. For example the keynote of Libra is balance-a recurring theme in everyone's life that is underscored in the astrology of this year with Mars, North Node of the Moon, and the asteroids Ceres and Vesta in Libra for much of the year. Clearly we all seek balance and are keen to notice when things are out of balance, but this year is a time to shine a light on balance and particularly during such a pivotal moment in human history where everything is accelerated, intensified, unpredictable, and seemingly out of balance. So, what wisdom can we draw from Mars' prolonged stay in Libra this year?
Typically Mars spends just over two months in each of the twelve zodiac signs in its two and half year trek around the Sun, so this is a rare anomaly for Mars to be in one sign for seven months, and especially with Mars' position in Venus-ruled Libra, where the fiery God of war and passion is seemingly out of place in Venus' domain of love, beauty, peace and harmony. In fact, in classical astrology, Mars is considered to be in its "detriment" in Libra and therefore diminished in strength because it is so far from its true nature.
Mars' ingress into Libra last December began a protracted focus on Libran themes: relationship issues and dynamics, justice, fairness, equality, reciprocity, harmony and balance. One could say that life is willing balance, harmony and the 'righting' of conditions while exposing imbalances, dissonance, conflict, disharmony, inequality, and injustice. Mars' presence in Libra urges us to make needed course corrections, connections and adjustments that ultimately bring us into greater balance and harmony. It teaches us that true balance is an inner sense of direction and poise within what is arising and not because of what is happening around us.
Mars' journey through Libra is a time of weighing and contemplating many things. As we deliberate we hone our skills in the art of diplomacy, negotiation, conflict resolution and peace-making. Areas where cooperation, resolution and agreements need to be made will be highlighted; decisions will be weighed carefully.
Under Mars in Libra's influence we are aware of the need for objectivity. We find common ground that is mutually beneficial. We sharpen our sword of discrimination by choosing the narrow path which "leads between the two great lines of force." We learn that operating from a central place of peace and poise and in harmony with life also brings us into relationship with wholeness, grace and beauty.
Libra is the first sign in the zodiac that is not ruled by a human or animal figure but by the scales of justice. The adage, "the scales of justice are blind" is a Libran phrase and image depicting balance as an inner state of being that is blinded or undistracted by outer events. The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The etymology of the word justice comes from the Latin word "iustitia," meaning right-eousness, or "uprightness," hence a lengthy Libran impact such as this represents turning points when we take the blindfolds off, 'right' ourselves, face facts, and become more consciously aware.
Since December 7th Mars journeyed through most of Libra and turned retrograde on March 1st at 27 Libra. Mars will continue in retrograde motion through May 20 before turning direct once again at 9 Libra, and will stay in Libra until July 25th. During the present retrograde phase we may experience erratic fluctuations in energy levels and a palpable waxing and waning of ambition and drive. What is out of balance will appear at this time, and especially in the latter half of April when Mars converges with the Grand Square in cardinal signs bringing about extreme fluctuations in the global economy and other volatile conditions. Some of the most challenging issues of our time have to do with imbalances-in nature, human beings and in every department of life. We are all familiar with the current landscape of inconsistencies, inequality, and injustice on numerous fronts, and these are the issues that will arise to be 'righted' or made "just" this year.
To reiterate, everyone has Libra in their natal astrology whether Libra is prominent or not. Follow this link for brief interpretations of Mars in Libra through the twelve houses of the zodiac to learn where you are learning to be more balanced and in greater harmony, where resolution and union are being sought, where you may need to 'right' yourself, and where you will be making the needed course corrections.
(Note: To learn where Libra is located in your astrology, get your free natal chart at: http://alabe.com/freechart/)
To schedule an individual reading, visit Jan's website at: http://www.astrologerjandetrich.com/ or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Rashani from Beyond Brokenness
There is a brokenness out of
which comes the unbroken.
A shatteredness out of which blooms
There is a sorrow beyond all grief,
which leads to joy.
And a fragility out of whose depths
There is a hollow space too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss.
Out of whose darkness we are
sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound,
whose serrated edges
cut the heart as we break open
to the place inside
that is unbreakable and whole.