100 Hard Things – Week 2

This was a weird week.

We started things off with an eclipse on Sunday night.  When eclipses happen, the energy on the planet is supporting us to let things go or bring in new things.  Sudden things might happen to nudge you (or force you) to shift your perspective (or your life).

This was supposedly a particularly intense eclipse because it was a full moon, it was in Scorpio (which is an intense sign) and it was squaring (tension) Saturn (a planet of hard lessons).   Did you feel it?

Anyway, this eclipse was in the back of my mind, where they usually are, until things started getting intense all around me.

The week started with multiple COVID exposures in my family and a lot of waiting to see what would happen.  It turned out that some of the youngest members of my family DID contract COVID (they are doing fine and trending up!) and the oldest member of my family dodged it!  Worrying about all of that took a lot of brain space.

Also in my broader family orbit this week, someone passed away and someone else was in a horrible accident.  AND dinner plans with a friend were canceled because she was exposed!

That was a high number of not-so-great sudden “eclipsey” happenings this week (or total coincidence).

The eclipse (and the exposures) did light a fire under me to get my second booster shot.  Each one gets easier, but no one loves vaccines and I had been avoiding it, so it counts as hard thing #8. The mRNA made me very spacey and tired for a couple of days, as it always does.  Although it was not as exciting as my first three shots at the Javits Center and the American Museum of Natural History, I got a cute heart band-aid at possibly the nicest CVS in NYC.

In my spacey haze, I DID get inspired to start something new!!!  I signed up for an astrology class I have had my eye on for over a year.  It’s an investment and a big-time commitment while I am supposedly starting a business (I am!) but my gut said I should do it now and not wait.  This whisper in my head to keep going with astrology does not go away, so I need to listen to it.  Finally taking that leap was hard thing #9.  The class starts June 1st and it’s 6 months long…it’s a big one!

That was as far as I got this week with hard things.  I WAS going to do a community clean-up in my neighborhood park (something hard that I would not normally do) BUT I was catching up with my sister about the weekly happenings when it kicked off and it was HOT outside so I blew it off.  When I swung by later to see what they were up to, it looked very disorganized, so I was kind of glad I skipped it!

I was back on media this week and felt compelled to read everything I missed last week (BAD PLAN). Since I was so spacey and tired it was hard to do anything but scroll through social media and news for a few days.  That just sent me right back down the rabbit hole (which I now need to try to climb back out of).

I had three potential social engagements, but they were all postponed.   The last one I postponed myself because I decided to visit my Dad this upcoming week and just want to be extra cautious with cases so high.  It’s exhausting and hard to navigate this all…. (AND I just learned that there was a shooting on the subway that I might have been traveling on today, so maybe my COVID anxious brain saved my life?)

Sometimes hard things just happen, not because you made a big, exciting plan to leave your comfort zone and go on a fun adventure.  (Oh boy….did I manifest 100 hard things to show up in my life? Universe, just for clarity, that was NOT my intention.  I hope that was clear!)

Could have been better, could have been worse. It was just a weird week.

100 Hard Things – Week 1

Let me start by saying that I sure do regret committing publicly to doing 100 Hard Things.  I feel like I drunk texted something stupid in the middle of the night that I wish I could take back.

The past two years were HARD.  Why in the world did I commit to doing 100 MORE hard things.  WTF!!!  What happened to my motto for 2022…. “Just Be”.  That was a great plan!

I also feel like I underplayed the mental health component of why things are hard.

There have been many low points emotionally for me this past year.  Depression and anxiety run in my family (yay us!).  The dark moods have always swooped in from time to time and I am pretty good at pulling myself up when I am low, but for many years I had the help of a therapist.  I am now riding solo, sans therapist, and between the changes in my life and the turmoil in the world there have been more lows and it has been harder to pull myself out of them.

A few people this week (and time away from social media) reminded me that the general vibe of the world is depressed and anxious right now.  Lots and lots of people are stuck, or sick, or suffering, or just trying to survive.  Some people are thriving (and those are the people who are generally showing up in my social media feed) so it’s easy to forget about the sad people who are not sharing that they are sad.  (To anyone who is reading this right now and feeling sad…I see you and I am sending you a hug!)

It happens to be Mental Health Awareness month, so it feels especially important to point out that it’s not always easy as just “deciding to do hard things” to get unstuck.

When I was in therapy, my therapist (or I) would often suggest that I should do something, and then I would usually do it so I didn’t have to go back in there and explain why I didn’t do it.  And, I would usually feel better when I did the thing.  So, instead of trying to find a new therapist, I figured why not just create an accountability project for myself?  It will force me to do things that will make me feel better and I don’t have to go back to therapy.

I am basically conducting a huge cognitive behavioral therapy experiment on myself.

Will it work?  Don’t know.  But if it doesn’t work and I am still stuck or sad, it does not mean we are all screwed.  It just means life is hard.  So, let’s take that pressure off (that I put on myself) as I continue to embark on this journey.  (Because I can’t quit after just one week, as much as I would like to make up some excuse about self-care and not pushing myself too hard so I can “just be”)

All of that being said, I did do quite a few hard things this week!

    1. I just completed a Media Deprivation Week. No social media, no TV, no news, no podcasts, no reading (unless absolutely necessary, like to help your Dad figure out what’s wrong with his phone), no music for 7 days. It was not as hard as I thought it would be given how much media I’ve been consuming lately.   My brain is quieter.  I did miss TV.  Evenings at home alone with no TV are tough!  It’s my first day back and opening it all up feels like walking into the sun after being in a dark cave for a long time – overwhelming.  Moderation is in order. (Highly recommend taking a media break!)
    2. I joined a networking Zoom with some other Web Designers. My initial reaction when I saw the invite was, ”I don’t feel like it. I would have to take shower and put on makeup and talk to strangers” but #hardthings so I got clean and made up and got on the Zoom and was glad I did.  I got some good insights and industry intel and did just fine talking to strangers.
    3. I had a Zoom with a travel friend who reached out to offer some help with my business. Instead of saying, “Thanks, I’ll let you know” and then not following up (my usually M.O.)  I said, “Thanks! Let’s chat this week and catch up!”  And we did! Go me!
    4. I had lunch with my neighbor/Astrologer/new friend. The lunch was lovely (and not hard) but sending the email to say “Hello, Let’s have lunch even though we met once last year, and you might not remember who I am” (which is NOT exactly what I said, and she did remember me) was kind of hard.  So, I am counting it!
    5. I went to a protest/march by myself. This was BY FAR the hardest thing I did this week.  I battled with myself all week about this because I hate crowds and yelling BUT reproductive rights are important and showing up to try to make the world better is important.  I tried to wrangle friends, but no one could make it, so went solo.  It felt great to push through the excuses and walk across the bridge with thousands of fellow New Yorkers.  I just walked quietly with no yelling.  (AND I definitely had the best sign there. Making the sign is my favorite part of protesting!)
    6. I wrote this blog post and got a little vulnerable!

So, there you go.  Six hard things in one week.  Not CRAZY hard stuff but all things I probably would have blown off if I wasn’t making a concerted effort to do more hard things, which is exactly the point!!!!!!!!!!!! (And doing them DID make me feel better.)

If you are feeling stuck or sad and did anything hard this past week.  Kudos to you!!  (It’s also OK if you didn’t.  Sometimes just getting through the week is enough.)

PS: Someone did tell me that I inspired them to apply for a new job last week, so this “drunk text” idea that I kinda regret is already a HUGE success!

Hard Things

In my 2021 Recap post I reported that I spent 2021 in limbo, slowly moving and figuring things out while doing a lot of waiting.  I explained that I started a new 27-year astrological cycle on January 8th (my progressed moon/emotional self moved into my first house of beginnings) which I thought might light a fire under me to get going, but I wasn’t going to force it and I would JUST BE.

I did actually get a little fire exactly on January 8th and started an online class I had purchased but hadn’t been motivated to start. That moved me back into working on my website and web design business stuff.

Omicron was raging, and my looong renovation punch list dragged on into February, so I was still laying low in my apartment and doing stuff behind the scenes as the days rolled by.

I had grand plans to bust out in March, launch my business, and get out in the world more.  I have been slowly moving at turtle speed in the right direction, but it’s May and I am still mostly hiding in my shell.

The resistance to putting myself out there is HUGE. My perfectionist tendencies are a very big wall to get over.  I do not do things unless I am fairly certain I will excel at them.  It’s risky and scary to start a business and risky and scary are not my jam. (This is why I never really thought I would start my own business even though I knew deep down I was supposed to.)

I have all of that resistance and fear combined with my general hermit tendencies that have been exacerbated by the happenings of the world.

I have been blogging for YEARS about trying to get out of my apartment, do more things, and live a more connected life.  It’s never been easy for me to do.  After two years of comfortable hibernation, not wearing make-up, looking older, feeling older, realizing I hate all my clothes, being afraid of getting sick, and increasing crime in the big apple – leaving my comfort zone is 1000% harder.

Some days, I am perfectly content.  I love the freedom to do whatever I want, pretty much always, and it’s comfy in my turtle shell. Other days I wake up in a panic thinking, “This is it. I am stuck here, getting closer and closer to being the old woman who dies alone in her apartment, with her computer and her phone, regretting in her last moments all of the things she didn’t do and the connections she didn’t make because it was hard, and she was afraid.”

The world has been a shit show.  It’s not all on me that everything is harder. It’s harder for everyone but not everyone is stuck in their turtle shell and it’s getting less comfortable in here.

Last week, my friends and I were discussing how hard it is to change and one of them said, “People don’t really change”.  This lit a fire under me to prove her wrong. People CAN change!  I can change. We can ALL change!  That is literally why we are here on earth, to EVOLVE! (I think?)

But it’s so easy to get stuck.  And it’s so hard to get unstuck.

I keep thinking about the “new things” I did in 2017 (which continue into 2018 and I tried to revive in 2020 before the world fell apart).  That entire experience shifted my energy and led me to even more new adventures, new friends, and new ideas that changed my life. (I have evolved!  I am just stuck on this next level.)

I never would have done those things if I hadn’t committed publically to doing them. Once I tell lots of people I am going to do something, I do it.  (I always thought I was an Upholder, but I have some Obliger in me for sure)

But re-starting MORE NEW things feels old and stale and not right. Every good sequel needs a new twist, but I haven’t been able to come up with one.

Until this week when I had an epiphany!

I don’t need to do NEW things necessarily; I need to do the HARD things.

I need to do the hard things that I have been avoiding that are keeping me stuck.  I need to leave my comfort zone, take the risks, go on adventures, connect with other people, spend time in nature, help people, experience art, write more, and share the things I create with the world. (Sequel flashback to my 2018 New Things theme)

I wish could do all of those things with no fear.  But, alas, that is not the hand I was dealt (or the hand that I chose?) in this lifetime.

Doing the hard things requires me to push through that feeling of fear in my gut (aka anxiety, for you mentally healthy people) and all of the excuses that I make to avoid that feeling.  Here is a peek inside the brain of an anxious, avoidant person when they try to leave their comfort zone:

It will be crowded.  The subways feel dangerous. COVID cases are rising. I don’t have sunglasses and it’s sunny. Everyone will be in their 20s. Everyone will be OLD. What if I get stuck talking with someone annoying and I can’t escape? I have to keep working.  I shouldn’t spend the money. What if I create something that people don’t love?  What if I make a mistake? What if people think I am a lonely loser? It’s too cold. It’s too hot. What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if it’s not fun? I don’t have anything to wear.  Is it even worth it?

Anything that requires me to get past the excuses to do the thing counts as hard.

So, inspired by my anxiety, turtles, my friends who don’t think it’s possible to change, my progressed moon in the 1st house, and Glennon Doyle’s motto “We Can Do Hard Things”   (love Glennon)…..I will be doing 100 Hard Things between now and the end of 2022.

So many things are hard, it really should be easy (and also incredibly difficult) to knock this out, so I am going for the gold and not even giving myself a full year! Some of the things will be NEW but some of the things will just be everyday hard things that I have been avoiding.

Putting this out in the world and committing to it is HARD so #100HardThings #1…done.

(The number of times I almost bailed in the 48 hours between having this idea, getting excited about it, writing the post, panicking, re-writing the post, and finally publishing the post…A LOT.)

I will write about my journey along the way which will also be HARD. I want to spend LESS time on social media and hard things are not always Instagrammable so there will not be 100 social media posts, but maybe some.

If I can get unstuck, maybe I can inspire other people to get unstuck. If you want to do hard things with me, bring it on!!!  I would love to have some company on this journey.

Let the games begin….

(This immediately made me think of Squid Game.  And if I actually posted this and it’s out in the world, I am probably as scared as if I were competing in the Squid Game.)

But I have to do the hard things.  The happiness of my future self depends on it.

Photo credit: Nick Abrams on Unsplash

The Pluto Return of the United States

We are approaching the exact Pluto Return of the United States on February 22, 2022. I thought it might be helpful to share the astrological perspective on what we are currently living through and the message the cosmos is giving us for how to get through it.

If this context is helpful for you, great!  If not, carry on without it.

Remember that astrology is the study of the correlation of the movements of the planets with what happens here on earth.  The planets are not controlling what happens to us.  Astrology is just describing what the cosmic landscape says about the themes at play here on earth.  We have free will to operate within that landscape and choose our own path.

What is a Pluto Return?

In astrology, a planetary “return” means that a planet is “returning” to the same place in the sky where it was when someone or something was born.  A “return” symbolizes the end of one cycle and the start of another.  The theme of the cycle is determined by the theme of the planet.  You may have heard of a “Saturn Return” which starts a new cycle of responsibility and maturity (~ every 30 years).  We also have “Jupiter Returns” which start new cycles of growth and development (every ~12 years).

It takes Pluto over 240 years to make one full cycle, so humans don’t have Pluto Returns, but nations do.

Pluto’s signature theme is complete transformation through death and re-birth.  It’s definitely the most intense cycle of them all.

Pluto Returns have been associated with the fall of empires. Not all empires fall when they go through their Pluto Return, but they all go through some type of “considerable upheaval”. (Ray Grasse)

This year, Pluto will return to EXACTLY where it was when the United States was “born” in 1776, but Pluto transformations take a long time.  We kicked the process off in 2008 when Pluto first re-entered the sign of Capricorn (which, not coincidentally, was when we elected our first black president), and we won’t be on the other side of it until Pluto moves into Aquarius in 2024.  (sorry!)

FYI –  Our Pluto Return will be “exact” (at 27 degrees and 33 minutes of Capricorn) three times this year. The first time on February 22nd.  It retrogrades back over the same spot on July 11th and makes its final hit on December 28th.  These dates use the assumption that the US was “born” when the declaration of independence was signed on July 4th, 1776.  The birth of a nation is kind of hard to pin down so don’t take the exact dates too literally.  Net net – we are in it.

As mentioned, Pluto’s signature theme is intense transformation through death and re-birth. All planets have light and dark sides to their themes.  The light side of Pluto is the capacity within all of us to transform into something better.  The potential for growth and evolution is a good thing!

The dark side of Pluto is the stuff that needs to be transformed – the shadow side of human nature: crime, deception, racism, manipulation, abuse of power, sexual abuse, megalomania.  Pluto stuff also includes the dark feelings that drive us to act in shady ways: shame, resentment, jealousy, obsession, phobias, taboos, addiction.

Pluto transformations often start by revealing the “demons” that have been hiding in the shadows. This might be about subconscious feelings becoming conscious or dark secrets being revealed.  Then we have to face those feelings and actions, deal with them, and make transformational changes in our lives. This often involves a death – the death of an identity, a perspective, or a part of your life.

If we face and “kill” the demons, we can move forward as a better more evolved person/nation.  If we resist facing the demons (deny the truth, avoid the feelings) and don’t change our behavior on our own, something or someone will intervene and make that transformation for us…which is a much harder path.  Don’t resist facing the demons!

Facing the demons is HARD.  You have to be vulnerable, admit where you went wrong, forgive yourself, and forgive others in order to release and heal.  That is the opportunity we are presented with when Pluto comes around.

As mentioned, people don’t have Pluto returns, but Pluto can interact with other planets in your birth chart.  When that happens, you will likely have some kind of death/rebirth/transformation in your life.

Pluto transits are often described as a “dark night of the soul” or the “hero’s journey”.

What Does the Pluto Return Mean for the United States of America?

As Pluto revisits the place it was when our country was born, all of the shadows related to the founding of our nation are coming up to be revisited.  We are being reminded, in a painful way, that we have not made as much progress as we thought.

We are being asked to face the darkness and heal it so we can move forward as a better nation in this next cycle.

Pluto is returning to the sign of Capricorn, so our biggest transformation themes are around Capricorn stuff like financial systems, government, power, and law.  Since Capricorn is an earth sign, issues related to the environment are also in play.  (This might remind you of the Pluto/Saturn conjunction in January 2020 because Saturn and Capricorn have similar themes and Pluto is at the center of all of it.  It’s all just one big, long, transformation we are going through.)

What are some examples of Capricorn shadowy stuff that needs to be confronted and transformed? Hmm….

    • Our country was founded by rich, white men who set up a government that only they could participate in.
    • We stole lands from indigenous people, built wealth on the backs of African slaves, and continue to exploit the land we live on.
    • We were founded on ideals of freedom and independence, but many have taken those ideas to the extreme and value individualism over the wellbeing of all.
    • Our financial and political systems have created a huge economic divide that continues to grow and breeds corruption.

I am sure I don’t need to illustrate how Pluto is revealing our darkness to us, but I will list a few examples:

    • We are in the middle of an intense culture war that is being fueled by dark, shadowy people for profit and power.
    • School boards are dealing with irate parents who don’t want any discussion of racism, equity, the holocaust, diversity, or inclusion taught in schools. (File under…resisting the demons.)
    • Anti-Semitism is at historically high levels. Terrifying.
    • We are seeing more extreme weather and natural disasters as a result of the “exploiting the land” stuff. (aka Climate Change)
    • A global pandemic might be nature’s way of revealing more of our darkness AND pushing us to transform and find new ways of living. (File under…the harder path we did not choose to take on our own.)

I read an article in the NY Times this week titled The Dissenters Trying to Save Evangelicalism From Itself which had a great passage about the shadows we are fighting (not just in the Evangelical world):

“The age of the autonomous individual, the age of the narcissistic self, the age of consumerism and moral drift has left us with bitterness and division, a surging mental health crisis and people just being nasty to one another.”

“The proximate cause of all this disruption is Trump. But that is not the deepest cause. Trump is merely the embodiment of many of the raw wounds that already existed in parts of the white evangelical world: misogyny, racism, racial obliviousness, celebrity worship, resentment and the willingness to sacrifice principle for power.

Politically, we are in a very dangerous place.  Recent events go far beyond the normal ego, power-seeking stuff we always see in politics:

    • Our last president fired anyone who didn’t agree with him, attempted to overturn a legitimate election with lies (or delusions), incited political violence, and illegally destroyed government documents by eating them or flushing them down the toilet (wtf!!???).
    • The Republican National Committee just declared a violent insurrection “legitimate political discourse” so they can appeal to their base and stay in power.
    • Half of the senate has said they plan to block EVERYTHING for the next three years.
    • An extraordinary number of restrictive voting laws were passed in 2021.
    • It is very possible that this morally corrupt man, who embodies our raw wounds, will be president again.

In 2020, the United States was downgraded from a democracy to an anocracy – “a political system which is neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic and is inherently unstable.” (systemicpeace.org) The Biden administration restored us to a democracy in 2021, but we are still on thin ice.

From the Minnesota Post:

“Full democracies rarely have civil wars. And full autocracies rarely have civil wars. It’s the ones that are in between that are particularly at risk.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace talks about the dangers of the polarization we see today:

“The United States is the only advanced Western democracy to have faced such intense polarization for such an extended period. The United States is in uncharted and very dangerous territory”

“Within the broader pool of perniciously polarized democracies…..a plurality have descended into authoritarianism, and even those that depolarize face significant risks of repolarizing in the future.”

We are, no doubt, in a dark night of the soul.

Is it a coincidence that things are escalating to levels unseen in our lifetime while we are still reeling from the extraordinary planetary alignments of 2020 and at the exact time of the Pluto Return of the United States? Or is Astrology real?  (See why I can’t quit it!)

Other Astrological Themes of the Moment

At the end of 2020, The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter brought hope of a new era of disciplined (Saturn) growth (Jupiter) around ideas, communication, and social connections (Air sign themes).  These first 20 years the growth are supposed to be in Aquarian themes of freedom, innovation, science, technology, facts, and humanitarianism.  (Sounds lovely, right?)

But there is a dark side of Aquarius we were hoping we do not slip into – extremism and revolution without critical thinking behind it and mad scientists who are so sure they are right that they lose track of the humanity behind their ideas and become opinionated, selfish, and erratic. (Not so lovely.)

We are starting to see glimmers of growth in Aquarian themes around us (light and dark), but for the past year, we have been stuck in this tension of a Saturn/Uranus square which astrologers say is keeping us from making a lot of progress in any direction.

Some astrologers describe this tension as a battle between old versus new – conservative ideas (Saturn) of keeping things the same versus progressive ideas of making change for something better (Uranus).  Others focus on the battle between being “overly worried” about staying safe (Saturn) versus individual freedom (Uranus).  The planetary themes can be interpreted in many ways, and there are astrologers on both ends of the political spectrum.

Any way you look at it, this tension is manifesting in extreme polarization around the world. (These are global planetary happenings.)  This specific Saturn/Uranus tension stays with us through the end of the year and gets especially heated for our US mid-term elections. (Buckle up, stay engaged, and vote!)

How Do We Get Through This?

These are big, complicated problems that will take many, many years to resolve.  Astrology can’t tell us what will happen.  We have free will to choose our own path.  But the message Pluto brings is that we must transform to survive.

The threat for survival is matched with the opportunity for reform, redemption and rebirth. We must be willing to make sacrifices and reforms to protect ourselves and assure the existence and status of the world’s greatest democracy in history. We have to surrender the ego, dissolve the threats to one another, forgive ourselves and one another, and then reform and rebuildRaymond Merriman, 2022 Forecast

But how exactly do we do that?

One of the most helpful things I have heard from astrologers is guidance on how to best resolve these Saturn/Uranus square tensions we are living through now – our extreme polarization (old vs new, safety vs freedom, etc.).

When two planets are in a tense angle with conflicting, seemingly opposite themes, the answer is not to get pulled completely into one side or another.

The magic is in the balance between the themes/perspectives. We need to find the best expressions of each and build something completely new – something so new, we can’t even imagine it today.

We have to let go of the idea that everything we believe is right and the other side is 100% wrong.  We have to listen to each other more, stop yelling at each other, and be open to finding a path down the middle.  We all have to be willing to experience the “death” of what we believe to be true or who we believe we are before we can be reborn into something new.

(We still need to take down the corrupt, manipulators who have been consumed by their own darkness – unless they read my blog post and decide to face their shadow and transform!)

Another helpful thing that I was reminded of by the amazing Richard Tarnas on the latest episode of the Astrology Hub Podcast (which I HIGHLY recommend you watch or listen to if you are into Astrology in any way.)

It feels like we have so little control over these issues that are so big and systematic. If you are reading my blog post, you are probably not a member of congress, the President of the United States, a television news anchor, the CEO of a huge corporation, or Oprah.

But we are all an equal part of this big, interconnected cosmos.  Every interaction we have makes a difference (even our thoughts!).  The conversations you have with people in your life, the work you do on your own shadow “stuff”, what you post on social media, the information you choose to consume that might shift your perspective, the way you treat your neighbors, cuddles with your kids… all have an impact on the broader consciousness.

None of us can save the world on our own.  But we are all in this together and we all have a role to play.

In Tarnas’ words, every step we take to live more consciously, compassionately, and courageously will help us ALL evolve to a better place.


If you would like to read more about the Pluto Return of the United States or the Astrology of 2022 in general. These were my favorite sources:


Changing of the Gods

There is a 10-part astrology documentary series being released on 2/2/2022 that explores the question: Is there a correlation between human history and the movement of the planets?

If this is your thing, check it out and sign up to watch FREE at changingofthegodsseries.com

They are releasing one episode per day that is available to watch for 24 hours before the next one is released.  I heard there will be a marathon over a weekend before the last episode is released and a way to pay to purchase the series and watch it later at your leisure (those details are NOT on the website so TBD on that!)

2021 Recap

I spent most of 2021 in limbo.  I wasn’t ready to move forward but I also don’t sit still very well, so I was moving, slowly, figuring things out while also doing a lot of waiting.  Then things got a little crazy at the end of the year.

I haven’t written a blog post in forever.  I am still not feeling exceptionally eloquent but sometimes you just have to get back on the horse, even if it feels weird, or you will never get back on.  So here is a (not exceptionally eloquent) summary of my 2021:

January

2021 felt like a continuation of 2020.  I didn’t even start a new Bullet Journal until March because it didn’t feel like a new year. (déjà vu right?)

February

I lost my job and decided I had ZERO interest in taking another corporate job and would take the rest of the year off to study astrology (which did not happen) and dabble in building websites (which did!)

March

I applied for co-op board approval to renovate my apartment which was supposed to take two weeks (spoiler alert, it took a lot longer than that).  I avoided committing to anything big while I was waiting because I knew that at any minute, I would have to drop everything, pack up my place and move out for at least six weeks.  (Limbo)

I volunteered to help a friend update her website and it went well.  She loved it and I learned a lot!

April

The day after I got my second Pfizer shot, I broke my ankle. While everyone else was excited to get back to living a hot vax summer, I was laying low, healing.  (I did eventually get out of my walking boot, reconnected in person with friends and family, and left NYC for the first time since 2020 later in the summer.)

June/July

While I was in limbo and laying low, I continued to explore my interest in building websites and discovered Squarespace. I spent most of my summer and early fall taking courses and learning how to build Squarespace websites and start a web design business.  I loved learning something new that used a mix of my technical, creative, and business skills.  I built and launched TWO websites in the summer/fall (check them out here and here if interested) and started building an infrastructure and processes to launch a web design business.  I set a goal to build 2 more sites for my portfolio and launch my own website and business by the end of the year.  Those things have not happened yet, because….

August

….at the very end of August, I FINALLY got approval to renovate my apartment and that, as expected, derailed me from getting very much else done for the rest of the year.

September

Before the renovation got going, I did squeeze in two trips to Albany, attended an unexpected family funeral, walked with my family in our annual suicide prevention walk, and packed everything I own into three closets and multiple suitcases.

October

In mid-October, I moved out of my apartment and into an Air B&B for six weeks while my renovation kicked off.  I thought I would be able to get stuff done there, but it was very unsettling and uncomfortable not to be in my own space, so I wasn’t very productive.

November

Right before Thanksgiving, I moved out of the Air B&B and into my sister’s basement for 2-3 weeks while waiting for the renovation to be complete.  (I didn’t really live in the basement, but I did sleep there, because they had their own construction projects happening, and it was very cozy!)

December

After two weeks in Pennsylvania, I was unexpectedly diverted to Albany for two more weeks to help my dad, who had been having some health issues.

After getting my dad back on his feet and set up with some help going forward, I headed back to NYC the Tuesday before Christmas exhausted and looking forward to being in my own, newly renovated home!

The renovation was not completely complete, unfortunately, so the crew kept working and I wasn’t able to get really settled until the week AFTER Christmas (and there is still a bit more to do in January, so I am not feeling totally settled) but I am mostly unpacked, loving my bathroom and kitchen upgrades, and happy to be home!

Now What….

I had an astrology reading in April where I learned that my progressed moon (which represents our inner emotional self) was in the 12th house (the house of endings) for all of 2021.  Astrology says that 2021 was the end of a 27-year chapter of my life.  I was shedding my old self before starting a new 27-year cycle which starts on January 8th, 2022.  (Leaving the corporate world is definitely a big change, so Astrology might have something here….)

Since my new cycle does not start until January 8th, I am giving myself a few more days before I dive into 2022. Plus, the world is just very weird right now so it’s hard to know what to do exactly.  I was also told that even at the beginning of the new cycle I might not know exactly where I am headed and will still be figuring things out (phew..no rush!)

So instead of writing a bunch of goals and forcing myself to get this post out before the end of the year, I have just been taking it easy.  2021 was a lot. (That last 27-year cycle was a lot!)  I need some more time to recover from all of that before I re-commit to actually getting things done.  I did commit to watching all of the Harry Potter movies (that I have actually NEVER seen) before my HBO Max month runs out on January 16th so I plan to make that happen! (Three down, five to go)

You might hear more about me starting my own business soon or maybe things will take a different turn or maybe it will take me a while to get going.

I did set up my 2022 Bullet Journal which always starts with a cover page and theme for the year.  For 2022 my theme is….. Just Be.  That is my current vibe.

Goodbye TiVo, Welcome Back TV List

I grew up watching a lot of television. I watched soap operas after school and dramas and sitcoms at night. I love getting lost in the stories of other people and laughing at/with my television friends (the ones inside the box). When you are watching TV, you can cry with imaginary people without being REALLY vulnerable and go on wild adventures without leaving your couch.

In the early 2000’s I used to create recommendation lists for my friends at the start of the fall TV Season based on my extensive research of the reviews of new and returning shows.  (Really, I loved television!)  Those were the days of five major networks (and HBO) when the television season aligned with the school year and things predictably heated up during “sweeps” season when ratings were tracked by Nielsen four times a year (yes, only four times a year). A lot has changed!

When I lived with other people, I was always the one who knew how to program the VCR and I was all over it.  I had one of those special VCRs that would automatically fast forward though commercials.  I loved that VCR….until I met TiVo.

In my first year of business school (2001/2002), I learned about TiVo from a guy at a party. I must have been trying to impress him by talking about my cool VCR that fast forwarded through commercials and he one upped me by telling me about this magical new machine he had that would record things digitally that could be played back from a menu IN ANY ORDER!   This “DVR” did not automatically speed through commercials like my cool VCR (although a later model eventually would), but I could quickly fast forward through them myself with a cute peanut shaped remote that made a unique TiVo sound.  This magical machine would also let me start watching a show from the beginning, even if the same show was still recording!!

Before my first year of business school was over, I had my first TiVo.  In my second year of business school, I sewed a homemade TiVo costume for Halloween (shown below with my friend Toby who is dressed as himself.)

I have owned many TiVos since then.  When I had a corporate apartment in Chicago for work, I had one TiVo in NYC and one in Chicago. My TiVos got more cool features along the way like being able to watch recorded shows from my Ipad in a hotel room or set up recordings from my phone, which came in very handy while sitting at the airport reading about some new show in a magazine.  I could even record up to FOUR programs at the same time!  (This was HUGE before everything you wanted to watch was just waiting for you at all times, remember?)

When cable companies started building DVRs into their cable boxes, people didn’t understand why I still paid extra for a TiVo box + TiVo service + a special cable card.  It’s hard to explain if you’ve never had a TiVo.  If you have had a TiVo, I don’t have to explain. The TiVo remote makes that unique “ba-doop” sound I mentioned earlier that we TiVo owners know and (most of us) love. Maybe those “ba-doops” have hypnotic powers that makes it hard to part with your TiVo! Or maybe we just have mad, loyal respect for the company that invented the DVR.

The TiVo is the least successful, most significant consumer electronics device ever. – IEEE Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame  

In recent years, I did get frustrated with my Tivo because it would randomly not record things I had scheduled and the guide was often missing things that should have been there, making it challenging to set up recordings.  But I did not abandon TiVo until I finally cut the cable cord last summer and became a full-time streamer.  Even then, I held on to that TiVo box while it collected dust, unused, for almost an entire year because it made me sad to part with it.  I had used and owned a TiVo for almost 20 years!!!

Last month, as part of a massive apartment de-cluttering project, I finally dropped my TiVo Premiere off at Best Buy to be recycled and said my good-byes.  I later felt horrible that I didn’t try to give it a way or sell it.  I hope the TiVo gods (and the environmentalists) forgive me.

The name of this blog was inspired by my desire to spend less time with my imaginary television friends and more time in the real world, with real people.  The original sub-title of the blog was “City Chick Tries to Separate from her TiVo”.  I have officially separated from my TiVo (you may have noticed the sub-title has changed) and my world has gotten a lot bigger since I started this blog, but I can assure that I still watch quite a bit of television.

Granted, this was an unusual year (to say the least), so I have to cut myself some slack, but I am way above the 10 hours I was trying to limit myself to when I started this blog.  Pandemic or not, I feel like a shlub if I park myself in front of the TV before 8pm. But as soon as the clock turns 8, I allow myself to stop trying to be productive and just veg out until its time for bed (which is 10pm because that’s how I roll).  I clearly still have some TVaholic in me.

When I started the blog, I used to track what I was watching on the TV List tab which eventually stopped getting updated. This past year, many people have asked me what I have been watching and I keep drawing a blank when they ask.  It felt very weird to not be the person who helps people decide what to watch on TV and even weirder to not even remember what I was doing between the hours of 8-10pm all year!

After this came up again recently, I decided to spend an entire day reviewing my watch histories and writing down everything I watched in 2020 and 2021. (I did this in my bullet journal, using lots of colorful markers, as shown above.) It was like a walk down memory lane with all of my imaginary pandemic TV friends!

I am not sure it was the MOST productive way to spend my day, but I DO feel a sense of accomplishment.  And because I spent SO much time documenting what I watched, I decided to bring back the TV list tab ! Now that we can finally leave our houses and get out on the real world again, the you probably want nothing to do with your TV, BUT if you are looking for something new to watch, feel free to check out the TV list and maybe you will find something you missed this year that looks interesting.

My TiVo days may have come to an end, but the TV list is back…at least until I start having exciting adventures again and spend more time with real people. (Since I fractured my foot the day after my second vaccination shot, there has been a delay on getting out and about, which I have used to consume many seasons of Outlander on Netflix!)

I am sure that my imaginary TV friends will always be a part of my life and my TiVo doll is still hanging out in my television cabinet to remind me of the the old TiVo days.

Who Do You Want to Be?

It’s been almost a month since I revealed on the blog that I was no longer employed and planned to spend some time exploring my passions to see where they might lead.  This post was met with wild acclaim and people were inspired by my bravery.

That was cool.

It also put some pressure on me to continue to be inspirational and brave.  Please be aware that I am not inspirational and brave on most days.  Less than a week after I wrote that post about exploring my passions, I came VERY close to moving back in the direction of just taking a job to pay the bills.

I got nervous about completely relying on my savings and the stock market to survive.  I got sad about not renewing my expensive Pilates reformer membership. I panicked about moving forward with my apartment remodel now that I have no income.  I ended up on an email list that was reminding me daily how much work it is to be a freelancer.  I told a friend I would help her with her website and then realized I knew nothing about Word Press page builders. (I didn’t even know they existed.)  I got in my head about how crazy it was to learn new things and try to make a living doing those new things so late in my life when so many other people already know how to do those things and are so far ahead of me.  I started questioning whether I really wanted to do those things. I wasn’t feeling passionate about anything. I was spiraling.

I did what I often do when I am spiraling. I Googled.

“How do you know if you are afraid or if you really just don’t want to do something?”  This is not the first time I have asked the internet this question but apparently whatever answers I found in the past had escaped my mind. Serendipitously, I got some amazing and helpful responses this time.

The first one came from a Hypnotherapist on Quora

Genuinely not wanting to do something means you have experienced it, it made you realize “well, this is or isn’t for me,” and you understand what that experience felt like. If it didn’t make you feel good, then you choose not to do it because you don’t want to feel that way again.

Scared is just fear of the unknown…. Until you experience something, you honestly have no idea how that experience will affect you. So to keep you from doing it and stay feeling ‘safe’, you create scenarios in your mind to validate your fear instead of taking action on the opportunity. This is why we cling to the worst-case scenario (instead of the million other, mostly good, possible outcomes) so we can validate our own fear and not feel accountable for experiencing these new feelings and exploring new opportunities for ourselves.

I like to say the courage you use to leave the thoughts and circumstances that no longer serve you, become the confidence needed to embrace a new beginning.

Thank you, Kristen McPike, the hypnotherapist on Quora, for these wise words that Google presented to me exactly when I needed them and reminded me that I can’t give up before I try!!! (And she has a very nice website if you are in the market for a hypnotherapist or a courage themed coffee mug.)

I didn’t stop there.  After watching a Marie Forleo video on Fear vs Intuition, You Tube presented me with a Ted Talk about Hard Choices, by Ruth Chang, a philosophy professor at Oxford.

Ruth explains that hard choices are hard because there is no clear best choice.  If it were obvious that you should do A over B, you would just do A and it wouldn’t be a hard choice.  She sees hard choices as opportunities for us to use our agency to decide WHO we want to be. Instead of looking for external reasons to validate our choices, we should look inside ourselves and become the authors of our own lives. In her words, “hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate the power to become the distinctive people that we are.”

She really got me when she talked about drifters.

“People who don’t exercise normative powers in hard choices are drifters. Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let mechanisms of reward and punishment, pats on the head, fear, the easiness of an option to determine what they do.”

Whaaat!! How are so many random women on the internet looking into my soul??? (Sometimes internet algorithms are working for our benefit!)

So I asked myself…..”Do I want to be the person who drifts back to a safe job where she does not have to do hard things and is not worried about money or do I want to be the person who puts in the effort to figure out what will make her happy and build a life around things she enjoys doing (but might have to make some sacrifices along the way)?”

These inspirational words reminded me that I don’t want to drift anymore and saved me from running back to safety before I explored new possibilities.  I may decide that I want to take an easy job that pays the bills as part of my future life, but I have to make sure something else won’t make me happier first!

Once I was back on track, I continued on with my explorations and spent three weeks learning a Word Press page builder and helped my friend (and former spiritual life coach) upgrade the look and feel of her website!  I was definitely in a flow while I was working on the site (which is a good sign that I might like to do more of this) and learned a lot about color wheels, font combinations, image editing, and responsive design.  (A lot has has changed since I learned HTML in the 1990s!!) There were moments of doubt when I looked at beautiful sites made by professional designers and moments when I looked at not so great sites and knew I could do better.  Most importantly, I enjoyed figuring it all out!  My friend Kelli is officially re-launching her site soon but you can get a sneak peak here.  I went from having no idea what I was doing, to creating something she and I were both pretty happy with!

After wrapping that up, I had grand plans to write this blog post and shift my focus back to astrology projects for a bit (the planets are calling me), but instead I spent most of this week reading news, scrolling through social media, and binge watching Tell Me Your Secrets on Amazon Prime (so good)!  It’s hard to be an unemployed person with lots of interests who wants to keep up with what is going on in the world and also sometimes doesn’t want to do anything and is often anxious about one thing or another.  I am pretty sure I make it much harder than in needs to be (and I am probably not the only one who does. Who’s with me?)

What finally got me to re-focus and get some writing done was that question Ruth Chang inspired me to ask……“Who do I want to be”?

Do I want to be the person who consumes useless information on Twitter all day? (Yesterday, I watched a movie review by Mandy Patinkin’s wife.  Something about Judi Dench and the theatre.  She loved it.  I also read every single response in a twitter feed about J&J vaccine side effects, even though I am half way through the Pfizer vaccine, and I consumed a lot of unproductive political snark.)

Or do I want to be the person who makes the most of this precious time and continues to explore and create, because who knows what is coming next???

If you are feeling stuck or unmotivated or are making a really hard choice, give it a try……Who do you want to be?

PS: If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, sign up  to get an email every time I publish something new! Scroll up and enter your email on the top right (under the search bar).

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

The Genie is Out of the Bottle

After a trial run last summer, I find myself officially unemployed again.  It took me by surprise, but only because I had my head in the sand.  Organizational changes this past year, the departure of my long-time boss and mentor, and the arrival of a new boss with new ideas about how to structure the team resulted in me signing separation papers at the end of February.

If you know me (or have been following along), you are aware that I have been on an eternal quest to live a more fulfilling life. When I say “eternal quest,” I mean years of therapy and career/life/spiritual coaches, writing the same questions over and over in my journal, trying new things,  getting glimmers of ideas that I get excited about and then making a million excuses for why I shouldn’t pursue them and retreating back in to my unfulfilling career where the paychecks kept coming and the volume of work keeps me numb so I can ignore the eternal quest for a while.  (The proof that this quest has been happening for what feels like an eternity can be found on this post I wrote ten years ago.)

I took this most recent job with the hope of better work-life balance so I could finally have some space to figure out what I REALLY wanted to do with my life.  My strategy was to ride it out for a couple of years, hoping to cash out a small piece of equity and comfortably take some time off before I launched in to a new magical, fulfilling life that I would have all planned out by then.  It did not exactly turn out that way.  The new job got as stressful as the last one, the goal post of cashing out kept moving, and I just kept holding on for dear life.  In February, the Universe got tired of waiting for me to make a move on my own and it gave me a big PUSH.

Astrology Interlude: You may remember me mentioning that a main theme of the astrology of 2021 was the battle of old vs new inspired by a Saturn square Uranus transit happening three times this year (most likely you forgot, but I did mention it!)  When Saturn and Uranus square off in the sky, we see tensions between the old structures that are not serving us anymore (Saturn) and new, innovative changes we need to make to improve the structures in our lives (Uranus).  Uranus represents sudden, unexpected changes that help us break free of the old stuff we need to let go of. The first of those three 2021 squares happened in February when all of this was going down in my life. Probably just a coincidence?  #astrologyisreal

Initially, I pushed back on the Universe.  I tried to find a way hold on to the job (Saturn), not because I wanted to keep doing it, but so I could continue to avoid figuring out what was next.  It didn’t work, Uranus won.  It was time to let go, and once I accepted this, I felt a huge sense of relief.

I did get angry with myself for not being prepared with my “next thing”. How could I have spent so much money on therapy and career/spiritual/life coaches and end up out of a job and still have no plan!!!

Then I took a step back and realized that all of that work I have been doing for the last three years has actually prepared me for this moment. Taking this job in 2017 shifted my energy and inspired me to try 100 new things.  Those 100 new things led me to a CRAZY unexpected journey that opened me up to a whole new world of spirituality, creative entrepreneurship, and astrology!!!  That journey also sparked lots of other ideas that tied back to passions I had explored and abandoned earlier like website design,  financial planning, and writing.  I kept those sparks on a slow burn in the background while I continued to earn and save money, which has put me in a much better place financially than I was at the start of 2017.

So now what?

I have options to take similar corporate jobs that will bring me safe paychecks (and healthcare), but I can’t bring myself to pursue them.  It’s definitely scary not to consider those options, because they may not be there in the future, but the genie is out of the bottle and she does not want to go back in!

My heart (and the Universe) are telling me that it’s time to take action on those glimmers of ideas that I have abandoned, avoided, or talked myself out of along the way.

I have been consuming tons of blog posts and podcasts about entrepreneurship.  I have always wanted to be my own boss, but I didn’t know what kind of business I could create and the idea terrified me. Now I realize that I have lots of creative ideas and I have built a life that gives me some freedom to take risks.  Are these ideas going to make me any money?  Can I create something that will help the world?  Will being my own boss really make me happy?  Do I have what it takes be an entrepreneur? (This is the type of stuff I write over and over in my journal. Welcome to my inner world.)

Listening to those entrepreneurship podcasts is an emotional rollercoaster.  The beginning of the story sounds so cool when the person bravely quits their job to pursue their passion, then we get to the part where they have no idea what they are doing and are working all the time (that sounds fun) and then they talk about networking and marketing to sell themselves, and their products (yuck!!!).  If no one wants to buy what I create, I am not sure how hard I will work to sell it to them, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  First, I have to start creating things!  (Creating this blog post was a war, so if you are reading it, congrats to me for finishing it and thanks for reading it!)

The genie has been out of the bottle for two weeks and I can tell you that the resistance is real.  In my first week away from work, my screen time was up to 5 hours a day.  I am pretty sure no one fulfills their dreams by getting sucked in the rabbit hole of celebrity gossip, cute dance videos, and ads for anti-aging eye creams.

After I get freaked out by the entrepreneurship roller coaster and waste some time on my phone, I switch over to blogs and podcasts about financial independence and early retirement.  I have spent hours crunching numbers and running “what if” scenarios to figure out how much time I can spend creating stuff that doesn’t actually make any money (or avoiding creating things and also not making any money).

The good news is, I have bought myself some time with those unfulfilling paychecks, my exceptional savings skills, and a well performing stock market (although I am anxiously waiting for that bubble to burst). If I move out of the most expensive city in the world, I will have even more time.

Net-net, I have no excuses anymore.  The only thing between me and my soul’s purpose is ME and all of my fears (so many fears).  I realize how privileged I am that this is the only thing standing in my way which makes it feel even more important to keep taking those scary steps. One thing I have learned on my spiritual journey is that when one person spends more time doing things that light them up, it raises everyone’s energy and makes it easier for them to do the same thing. (That sounds so corny, but it also makes complete sense, right?)

To help me push through my fears (and in turn, help light up the world), I am going to do my best to embody this advice from a beautiful Museletter written by one of my favorite, famous humans, Josh Radnor:

“Follow the charm. Cosmic forces will unfailingly rise up to meet and support your bravery.”

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

The Astrology of 2021

I kicked this series off by explaining why 2020 was an unprecedented year in astrology.  There were an unusual number of rare planetary alignments that correlated with hard times in history. Astrologers knew it would be crazy and intense, even if they didn’t know exactly how, and it was.  We experienced a global pandemic, racial injustice protests, extreme political polarization, conspiracy theories that went mainstream, massive unemployment, deception, corruption, delusion, grief, loneliness, and anxiety.  Some people managed to pull off amazing, positive life transformations while many others have been suffering.

The calendar year of 2020 is coming to a close, but the astrological intensity we felt in 2020 is not quite over yet. None of what happened in 2020 has been resolved, but we are starting to move out of the muck.

We began the year with a Saturn-Pluto conjunction that accelerated the unearthing of darkness that needs to be transformed to heal the world (especially here in the US).  At the end of the year, we kicked off a new 200-year cycle of socio-political growth focused on ideas, communication, and social connection.   The Great Conjunction was a symbolic shift that brings hope of new things, but it can take years for change to really kick-in.  Most of that change we won’t even see in our lifetime.  We have to figure out what we want to bring with us into the future and what we need to leave behind.  And we are very far from agreeing on what to pack, exactly where we are going, and how to get there.

In 2021 we will see glimmers of hope, while still working through all of the unpleasant stuff from the old cycle.  Astrologers are saying that it will be a bit of a bumpy ride, especially in this first year of the new cycle.  But we won’t have as many intense things happening like we did in 2020. Yay!!

The Big Picture

January and February of 2021 will still feel a lot like 2020, but by the end of February or beginning of March we will feel like we turned a corner.  After February, we are back to the normal number and intensity of planetary happenings that we are used to here on earth (except for some Uranian jolts I will get in to).

If you recall, the intensity of 2020 was primarily focused on our biggest planets of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto hanging out and bumping into each other in Capricorn (with Mars heating things up for a while).  Most of those planets are out of Capricorn (structures, government, responsibility, business) making moves in Aquarius (freedom, new ideas, humanity) EXCEPT Pluto.  Pluto will be hanging out in Capricorn until 2024 continuing to transform the structures of our society.  AND the United States is approaching its Pluto Return in February 2022 which is like a healing crisis for our country – a metaphorical (hopefully) death and re-birth.  You might be thinking, didn’t we just go through that?  Can’t we be re-born now?  Pluto moves very slowly so what we have been through IS part of that, but we are not done with it yet! Sorry!

The Battle of Old vs New

The biggest theme of 2021 is a battle of old vs new.  There are planets and signs that want change and new ideas and there are planets and signs that like to keep things they way they are.  There are planets and signs that like to move carefully and cautiously and there are planets and signs that want things to happen NOW and will cause chaos to force change.  These are the main energies battling it out in 2021.

The big kick off of the year will happen right around inauguration day (there have been a lot of big planetary events related to our election calendar this year.  Coincidence?)

On January 17th, Jupiter will “square” Uranus.  Jupiter expands what it touches and makes it bigger and in the sign of Aquarius, it wants to expand things like freedom, humanitarianism, and new ideas.  (Seems like a good vibe for swearing in a new president!).   But on the other side of the square is Uranus in Taurus (remember squares cause tension between planet/sign combos that want different things).  Uranus also likes big changes and loves to shake things up (Uranus and Aquarius are on the same page!) BUT Uranus is in the sign of Taurus which really doesn’t like change.  Taurus is the stubborn bull who likes to lounge in the shade.  If you can convince Taurus it will be worth it to get up, it will (and once it’s up it is a force to be reckoned with) but it would much rather just chill.  So on January 17th, we have Uranus totally on board with Jupiter and Aquarius to bring some big, bold, fast change, but Taurus is hard to budge.

A few days later, on January 20th (Inauguration day), Mars joins the party with Uranus to heat up the chaos.  Mars will also be in Taurus which means it’s harder to get that Mars energy going, but once it does, watch out for the angry bull!

This conjunction is a spark that heats up this battle we are already in between the forces who want to get going and make change, and the forces who don’t want to move.  We never know what Donald Trump will do (he has Uranus, the planet of chaos, conjunct his Sun which represents his ego in his birth chart – you are probably not surprised to hear) and his supporters are fired up (and many are also delusional).  This astrology lines up with Trump not bowing out gracefully and a huge MAGA march (“the biggest you have ever seen”) on January 20th.  But some astrologers still think Trump might be president or some other crazy thing might happen, so who knows!  Its not going to be a chill time, no matter what Taurus would prefer.

Also note that this planetary line up is very similar to what we had in March of 2020 when COVID hit the US and our stock market tanked (Taurus rules money). There is a high likelihood of a lot of financial market turmoil this year and the next few years (and maybe in January).  I personally am getting my asset allocation in order and have been keeping a bit more in cash, just in case.

The Battle Continues – Saturn Square Uranus

The January action might cool down a bit at the start of February but then the battle continues when Saturn squares Uranus on February 17th.   This is similar to January, but with this square, we swap out the big, expansive, hopeful energy of Jupiter with the more disciplined, cautious, and serious energy of Saturn.  Saturn is working in Aquarius, to make careful, disciplined changes that will lead to freedom and equality for the good of humanity.  But Saturn will still have that tension with Uranus who is continuing to push for fast change if it can get Taurus to get up off the comfy old couch.  (Mars will have moved on at this point to do other things).

This Saturn-Uranus square will happen twice more on June 14th, and December 23rd. This seems to say that we will have a lot of conflict, frustration, and protests throughout the year that could potentially get out of hand.  We had a taste of this last year when Saturn dipped into Aquarius from March to July, but this year Uranus is in an “exact” square with Saturn so the astrology says that we can expect the social unrest to be more intense.  The birth chart of the US does not have a planetary line up that indicates a civil war, but there are other countries where this could be possible. Buckle up and keep an eye out for conflict and chaos especially around February 17th, June 14th, and December 23rd.

What does this mean for you personally?

The astrology impacts us all differently depending on where in your personal birth chart it is all going down.  You can use the instructions in this post to get your own birth chart from Chani Nicholas. The house where you have Aquarius is the place where you are starting a cycle of growth for the next 20 years (that is your Great Conjunction spot).  The house where you have Taurus is where Uranus might be causing some chaos and trying to make change (its been there since 2018 and will be there until 2025).  This year, that Uranus / Saturn / Jupiter squares  will be causing tension that my force changes in the structures of these two areas of your chart.  These are two big parts of your life being “stimulated” this year.  (Chani has a new app you can use to follow your astrology all year long or you can buy her course The Year Ahead for Your Sign.)

What About the Rest of The Year?

At least one astrologer predicts that society will “open up more” by late Spring/early summer (which aligns with what scientists say could happen if we get enough people vaccinated and behaving like responsible humans.)  In general, the astrology seems to say that the Spring and will feel better.  We may not be back to life like it was before 2020 but compared to where we are now, it will be better.  Jupiter will dip into Pisces for a couple of months which brings a romantic, artistic, dreamy, feel good times (it will be there all of 2022!). It won’t all be roses and rainbows, but the astrology says we might be able to have some fun.

The energy of the fall is more intense (but not 2020 intense).  There is a lot of dark Pluto, Scorpio, Mars energy apparently which could lead to more conflict or perhaps a financial crisis.

Summary (and my Political Forecast)

There is a ton of other astrology in 2021 that I am not getting in to.  There is always more astrology because the planets always keep moving in cycles as we evolve.  I have personally spent many days this year refreshing Twitter obsessively waiting to see what would happen on the exact day some big astrology was happening and ended up disappointed that no wild news hit on that day.   But when I step back and look at the big picture, 2020 delivered the big themes that the planets said it would.

I am still dubious of Astrology at times, but I do get comfort from this idea that we are moving into a new age that is focused on community, new ideas, and humanitarianism.  I am biased, but that feels to me like the liberal, progressive ideas will win this battle with the conservatives fighting hard to hold on old ways and traditions, but ultimately losing the fight. There may also be battles between the extreme progressives and centrists if the progressives don’t feel that change is happening fast enough. I am not naïve enough to think only one side is corrupt or that one side has all of the right solutions.  In the age of new ideas, there will be new solutions we can’t see yet and we have to work together to find them.

There is a lot of pressure on Biden to manage this all very carefully so we don’t implode. I hope he is the healer we need. His astrology says he could be, but it also says he also might be hiding some dark secrets or have some health problems coming up.  I wonder if he has an astrologer?  Kamala’s astrology is incredibly rare and powerful showing a high sense of purpose and the ability to do great things.  Maybe Biden does have an astrologer who helped him with that pick!

I will leave you with this bonus read from Raymond Merriman, who I got a lot of my 2021 intel from .  He sends out a free weekly newsletter and this week he did a Q&A on what is next for Trump, the financial markets, and the world.   I highly recommend his 2021 forecast book if you want to go deep on the astrology of 2021 (or sign up for his free weekly newsletter!)

Happy New Year and may the astrology of 2021 support you in having a better year than you did in 2020 OR if your year was amazing, continuing on that journey.  You have free will to use the energy of the planets and stars in any way you choose.

PS: The image for this post is a painting done by my friend Leslie Howett!  She makes beautiful things. You can find her here.  2021 does not feel like a falling star having fun yet, but I am hopeful that more fun is on the way at some point in 2021.

The Great Conjunction of 2020

You have probably been hearing about the Great Conjunction that happens tomorrow, December 21st, when Saturn and Jupiter will meet together in the sky for the first time in about 20 years. Or you might remember that I wrote about it in the third installment of my “Unpacking the Astrology of 2020” series this summer.  A lot has happened since then but what I wrote still holds up, even with new context (go me!) I am repeating a lot of that post here, with a few additional insights I have gathered since then.

Before we get into The Great Conjunction, a reminder of the big astrological themes of this year.

Our three big, heavy planets Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter have all been dancing close together in the sky for most of this year in the sign of CapricornPluto has been bringing the dark side of Capricorn out in to the open – including abuse of power in our governments and businesses and extreme conservatism at the expense of others (sexism, racism, xenophobia, nationalism).  Saturn is teaching us hard lessons around responsibility and which structures are working or not working (in our personal lives and in the collective) but also giving us the patience and fortitude to keeping working through it. And Jupiter has just been expanding all of that hard stuff. It’s been fun!

This week, we got a breath of fresh air, when Jupiter and Saturn both moved into Aquarius.  When these huge planets move into a new sign, the general vibe changes.  We are moving out of Capricorn energy (building a solid foundation, doing the right thing, being conservative, working hard) into Aquarian energy (freedom, new ideas, change).  See why it might feel a little lighter?  On a recent Astrology Hub podcast episode, Rick Levine described 2020 in Capricorn like being stuck in Groundhog Day.  We have been trying to move forward all year, but we kept getting sucked back in to the muck by Capricorn over and over again to do more work.  When two of those three big planets shifted into Aquarius, we finally started moving into something new.  Yay!!!

Unfortunately, Pluto will stay in Capricorn until January 2024 so the work of exposing the dark stuff in our governments and societal structures (and our own personal structures) is not done.  It will continue to be in the background of everything for a few more years, but Saturn and Jupiter will be helping us find new solutions.

This brings us to The Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn come together in the sky, which happens about every 20 years.  This is happening tomorrow, December 21st. (The last time it happened was May 2000)  Great Conjunctions usually indicate new cycles of socio-political growth and change.  Some say they mark the rise and fall of empires. (queue ominous music)

This specific Great Conjunction is extra special because this is (almost) the first time in 200 years that it is happening in an air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) instead of an earth sign (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo). And it is happening in the very first degree of that air sign AND its happening on the Solstice which both make it more powerful astrologically (just trust me on that).

(Technically, we had a preview of a great conjunction in an air sign in 1980 when they met in Libra, but then in 2000 they met in earth again.  This time they will be in air for good, for the next 200 years so this is really the big shift.)

Jupiter is the planet that wants us to grow and expand and pursue our highest ideals.  Saturn helps us put structures and discipline in place so we can achieve that growth.  If they are working together in a positive way, they can get A LOT of good stuff done.  On the flip side, if we take Jupiter too far and cross into its darkness (greed, overindulgence, extreme ideology), Saturn brings out the discipline and restricts Jupiter to reign it back in.  (Hence the “rise and fall of empires”)  We humans go through cycles of expanding and contracting and finding a balance between the two.  The sign the planets are in, gives the theme of those cycles.

Saturn and Jupiter have been coming together in earth signs (Taurus, Capricorn, and Virgo) for the past 200 years.  Earth signs are about material things that we can see and touch and practical solutions rooted in common sense (food, shelter, money, the actual earth, our bodies, systems, structure, rules, caution, responsibility).  For 200 years we have been going through cycles of growth and excess around themes of government, hierarchies, laws, capitalism, making stuff, buying stuff, building stuff, growing stuff, using earth’s resources, and our physical health.  We have placed a high value on wealth, status, beauty, and power.

We used that earthy Saturn-Jupiter energy to lay a solid foundation in our societies and build some great stuff, but we also took some things too far.  Global warming, the economic divide, growing authoritarianism, etc.  As the end of this cycle approaches, Saturn is reigning things back in with its tough love, and Pluto and all of the other planets are joining in to help.

The Great Conjunction is bringing us the opportunity to re-build things differently.  As we kick off our next 200-year cycle of socio-political (and individual) growth in air signs (Aquarius, Libra, Gemini) that all have themes involving ideas, communication, and social connections.

The first 20-year air cycle is in the sign of Aquarius.  The themes of Aquarius are freedom, innovation, science, technology, facts, and humanitarianism (and astrology!).  Aquarians want to try new ideas and to fix things to make the world a better place.  They want freedom and revolution.  But, at their worst, Aquarians can be detached, like mad scientists, and lose track of the humanity behind their ideas.  They can play god and get fanatical, opinionated, selfish, and erratic.  They can also fall in to group think (like the Borgs on Star Trek that have “hive minds”)  (Watch out for the dark Aquarians!)

For the next 20 years, we can expect to see growth and changes in our socio-political systems based on Aquarian themes.  This will bring lots of new ideas, new ways of thinking, and advances in technology and science (perhaps space travel).  We will (hopefully) build new societal structures that are better for humanity and less hierarchical that shift more power into the hands of the people. We are being asked to completely re-think everything from the bottom up, instead of top down.

We will, of course, have to watch out for the dark side of Aquarius which could include extremism and revolution based on herd mentality without critical thinking behind it.  And, our freedoms may continue be constricted by Saturn, until we prove that we are responsible enough to be set free. Astro Butterfly explains it like this

“Saturn will ask Aquarius to ‘uplevel’ and transform from a rebellious and spoiled adolescent into a responsible, society’s-interests-first citizen of the future.”

The balance of Saturn and Aquarius is about setting up the right structures that support all of humanity equally and allowing us all to have personal freedom, that does not come at the expense of others. Jupiter is in the mix  asking us to look at our higher ideals as we explore those structures and freedoms.

The Great Conjunction kicks-off  this Aquarian 20-year cycle on December 21st, but Saturn and Jupiter don’t stay in Aquarius for 20 years.  We get the big bang in the beginning and then this theme lingers in the background, mixing with lots of other themes and happenings in the cosmos in the years to come.  Life is so complex!

Saturn and Jupiter are both in Aquarius for most of 2021 which will give us an extra boost to start re-building things in new ways (like a Super Mario  power up !) Pluto has been exposing, for all of us, the dark stuff in our structures that need to change. Perhaps things have been revealed in your own life that are not working (a relationship, a job, a living situation, your health).  Maybe you have started to make changes already or maybe you are still resisting.  (Unfortunately, in our US politics, there are different ideas about what the dark stuff is and there is certainly a lot of resistance.)  We have been in this energy for six months and we will feel it all through 2021 so its not all about this ONE DAY.  This next year, should give us all that extra “power up” to help us re-build what is not working in new ways. (For those not familiar with the Super Mario video game, the mushroom image I used for this post is the most famous Super Mario power up, The Super Mushroom, that gives him special powers!)

Everyone has been asking me what 2021 looks like and I will talk more about 2021 in another post, but from what I understand, we are not really done with the energy of 2020 until the end of February 2021. (Sorry!). 2020 had an unprecedented number of rare planetary cycles all happening together in the same year which correlated (as predicted) with a lot of intensity here on earth.  In 2021, we are back to a normal level of planetary action which should correlate to less intensity (if astrology is real). Hang in there and if you can see Saturn and Jupiter in the sky enjoy it!!

Here are a few of other interesting facts about Great Conjunctions if you are not tired of reading this really long post yet:

    1. In the United States, eight presidents have died in office. Seven of those presidential deaths happened when the election or inauguration year was the year of a Great Conjunction (which I learned from Jessica Lanyadoo)
    2. During the presidential terms that started with the last two Great Conjunctions (1980 and 2000), there were presidential assassination attempts (Reagan and Bush) that were not successful
    3. It is believed that the Star of Bethlehem was also a Great Conjunction and the first in a 200-year cycle of Pisces
    4. The Great Conjunction is NOT starting the Age of Aquarius. We are getting closer but ages are based on the precession of the equinox  not planetary alignments.  I am told we will enter the Age of Aquarius around 2160. But ages are over 2000 years long so we may start to feel their vibes about 200 years before they start, which explains why we are starting to feel that Aquarian vibe!