The Vast Open Space

There is a reason why big break throughs often happen after big breakdowns. In order for something new to take a hold, we must create space to fill. Between the ages of 27 and 29, the stars align in the exact way they were at your birth. It’s called your Saturn Return and feels like one of the biggest breakdowns of your life. If you don’t care for astrology, humor me for just a moment and then go back in your memory and see if any of these things are true for you. Saturn is like the task master of the cosmos. When Saturn comes back around, astrologist believes that you are forced to deal with the things that are your greatest challenges in order to find your true calling. Depending on where Saturn is in your birth chart, you’ll be faced with different lessons to learn about who you are and what you want. During Saturn Return, it can feel like everything is going to shit. Really. You might start questioning every decision you’ve made from jobs to relationships to school to even why you’re still living in New York City. This isn’t a bad thing. Giving yourself space to pause and discern if you are traveling down the right path for you is healthy and critical. Saturn is in my 11th house, Aquarius, and for me, Saturn Return means coming up against my challenges surrounding community. “Humanitarian issues may rouse you, like a calling, and you might start a non-profits get involved in social justice work or find ways to make your everyday environment a place where people from all walks of life are welcome.” This is taken from AstroStyle. If you know me, even just a little bit, this feels spot on.

Even though I have three horoscope apps on my phone, I only half-heartedly believe in astrology.  What I do believe in is great challenges leaving us empty and open so that we have space to fill. Running up against challenges and obstacles, facing who we really are, is exhausting and leaves very little time and energy for things that don’t matter. These moments of struggle strip us down.  They leave us a little raw so that we can see who it is we really are behind the scars and masks and armour taken on as our truth over the last three decades. These types of challenges to the very core of who we are, rip off all the artifice, all of the superficial, all of the accumulated obligations and patterns and habits. And with that space, that vast wide open space, that quiet calm, that blank canvas, comes the opportunity to reflect and choose.  In ten years, the people who look back and ask “how did my life become this” are the ones who have not taken reflective moments. Things change, feelings change, and people definitely change too.  Perhaps we’re evolving in a way where the goals and ambitions of the past are no longer serving us. It is impossible to know that without reflection.

Stop doing the unnecessary things that don’t bring peace or joy.  In theory, it sounds great: take things off of the calendar that aren’t serving you. I know from experience how hard it is to actually implement. Guilt is one of the biggest factors in choosing other people’s peace over our own.  Do I feel guilty about not picking up that call at 1130pm?  Of course I do, but I also know I’m not up for an hour an a half conversation at that time.  It’s an added stress that will cause me to show up as a less great version of myself the next day. Is these stress of driving nine hours to Ohio for my third cousin’s baby shower worth it? No. Cool, just say it and as soon as possible. Does the thought of “going out”on Friday night make you want to come down with a serious case of food poisoning? Amazing. Don’t do it. Maybe you feel like you are letting people down in the moment. I think most of us are people with high integrity; we know when it is very important to show up and when we can gracefully bail. With all of the time you are reclaiming by making choices that bolster peace, you can take some of it to be with yourself.

I’ll say it again: take more time to be with yourself. We don’t create a great vast space by cluttering our lives with other people and ideas and their wants and needs.  It is so critical to be without outside influence for a hot minute. Especially if you’re living in a time of upheaval, separating yourself from other people’s opinions is helpful.  There are many people that walk into our lives who probably think they know us very well. It all stems from a genuinely good place, but they  give us unsolicited advice about what we should do, what’s “right” for us. Not all of them know us they way they think they do.  It gets confusing to hear all of their thoughts and judgements and advice. When we block off some solitary time, we give ourselves moments without input and that silence is helpful to untangle their beliefs and feelings from our own.

This is a big and magical moment of change. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, filled with butterflies and rainbows and sunshine and happily-ever-afters. If, for the first time in a long time, you don’t know what you want, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know what do to, get excited. A shift is happening. The best part is that you get to be the final arbiter in how that shift plays out. Find the vast open space that only challenge can create.  Get inside of the emptiness and untangle all of the thoughts and feelings, the doubts and the hopes, the what-you-want and the what-they-want. Make the choice to fill that space with the way of living that brings you closer to your purpose.