After a heartfelt marital discussion, with complete sincerity, I remarked to my husband...
Maybe the reason things seem so overwhelming right now, is that Mercury is going into retrograde.
He rolled his eyes and smirked...
Yeah, or maybe it's because we killed all the unicorns.
He's a funny guy...a funny, cynical guy.
But seriously, when things seem too much, when we get overwhelmed, it really helps to be able to put that blame elsewhere, far outside the self, in order carry us through. And as yogis, we tend to give ourselves lots of options. Mercury always seems to be going into retrograde, doesn't it? What's up with that?! And don't even get me started on the perils of vata season! (I'm serious, don't...it can really f things up) And while the validity of these explanations is up for debate - as is, in my opinion at least, the terrible outcome of having killed all the unicorns - how do we remain levelheaded and clear seeing when things seem to be spiraling out of control around us?
It's hard to look at the state of the world and not feel distressed, but what about when the spiraling is all our own doing? When we take on too many responsibilities, too many commitments? Maybe we hate letting people down, or maybe our drive is driving us out of control. Or maybe we just love life and want to embrace all it has to offer. When we do it to ourselves, it's even more appealing to put the blame elsewhere. Not just on the change of seasons, or on poor misunderstood Mercury, but on our job, our parents, our children, our partner.
In those moments, we need to have the self awareness to step back, to exhale and ground down and connect to the earth, to something solid and constant. Yoga, meditation, hiking, a cup of tea - these are all means to access a moment of peace and perspective in a world spinning around us.
But let's be real, the demands aren't going to disappear just by acknowledging their true cause and taking a deep breath. There are always going to be pulls on our time - both welcome and not. There are always going to be commitments we either want to make or have to make. Life is going to continue, every blessed moment. So what we have to do, is be a little selfish.
Selfish...this word always gets a bad wrap and I'm not entirely sure why. Shouldn't we be concerned with the self? This is where we live, where we experience. Without the self, we simply aren't. I agree that too much attention is ill-advised, but isn't that the case with everything? The honest point is, we actually do need to put ourselves first. A bold statement perhaps, but what I mean is that we should always check in first with the self to see what it most truly wants and needs. And perhaps that will be to make a sacrifice for someone or something, to put someone else's needs above our own or choose some aspect of our life over another. But you have to make sure that is truly what you want and need to do. Because if it's not, then the commitment won't come from a solid, grounded place. And with no anchor, things will quickly begin to overwhelm. And there won't be anything Mercury can do to help.
So have a care for yourself, in the vata season and always. You are the most wondrous thing you will ever have the privilege to experience. Honor that.