The Void: April’s New Moon

*I’m going to preface this post with the acknowledgement that I am in no way an expert in the Lunar Cycle or Astrology. Last August’s Total Solar Eclipse was an incredible event, which reignited my connection to the Moon and the night sky. The knowledge I share in regards to the Moon and her cycle is basic stuff I’ve learned so far.*

The Lunar Cycle is comprised of multiple phases. Some of the more widely known phases are New Moons and Full Moons. Today is the New Moon for April coming off of the Full Moon on March 31st.

The New Moon is both the end and the beginning of a Lunar Cycle. It is a time when the Moon in invisible to the eye creating a moonless night sky. Because of this we’re in a moment that can be viewed as nothingness, darkness, silence, a blank slate, a void. This moment is like the pause at the end of the exhale before the lungs begin to draw breath in again. (Take a moment to observe your breath. Can you feel the space between exhale and inhale?) However, this space doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Within this void there is release and creation, surrender and control, rest and action.

This is a time when some people feel called to draw inward to visit their shadowside or darkness to examine and evaluate what is found there, release that which no longer has purpose or serves, and create new intentions or beginnings. While some can embrace this experience freely, there are many people who avoid such things.

Think about how voids show up in your life. Are you ever excited to pause? Do you embrace the stillness? Or does stillness make your cringe? Do you try to find something to fill the empty time slot because you feel lazy or guilty about not being “productive” all the time? Why is stillness considered unproductive? If a room becomes quiet, do you feel compelled to speak? Why is that? What would happen if you let the stillness or the silence envelop you? What would happen if you turned inward, cleared a plot, tilled some soil, and planted some internal seeds?

Self-Care Sunday, Episode 2: Bath Time

Bathing dates back to Ancient Greece and has been practiced by many cultures. Bathing can be done for hygiene, therapeutic, and religious purposes. I want to focus on the therapeutic aspect of bathing. While bathing can help with the rehabilitation of an injury, many people bathe for relaxation.

Bathing, aka soaking, is one of my personal favorite methods of self-care. For me it’s a great time to be with myself and my thoughts. It also relieves physical pain. I was diagnosed with my first knee issue shortly before I turned 11, and the conditions piled up for years. I’ve had surgery to partially remove a tumor from my right knee, several bouts of bursitis, Osgood Schlatter Disease, and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome aka Runner’s Knee. At one point, if I remember correctly it was when I diagnosed with Runner’s Knee, the doctor told me I should NEVER use stairs again. I was about 16 years old. To say the least, I’ve struggled with knee pain for about 18 years. It comes and goes. But I find when the pain is particularly uncomfortable a hot bath helps me find relief.

Isn’t soaking just sitting in a tub of water?

Well, put like that is sounds pretty lame. True, sitting in a tub of water with lights blazing can be pretty underwhelming, so while the tub is filling set the mood. Create some ambiance by dimming the lights or lighting a candle or two. Decide if you’d like music or not, and if so, what type of music. My musical choice varies depending on my mood. I’ll listen to anything from instrumental to Birdy to East Forest to Def Leppard. Listen to whatever is appealing in the moment. Then it’s time to decide if you want to add anything to the tub; Epsom salt, essential oils, bubbles, bath bomb, bath salt (not the synthetic kind that make people zombie-like). This, too, depends on my mood, but I’m partial to tub tea. Tub tea is a mixture that steeps in the water as a person soaks. The different elements of the mixture offer different benefits, some physical and some aromatic. I’m currently using a Chamomile Calendula Tub Tea mixture. The recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

What are some benefits of bathing?

Soaking in a tub of water can do the following:

  • Increased blood circulation
  • Muscle relaxation
  • General relaxation
  • Improved sleep
  • It’s been reported that soaking can help with Diabetes by reducing levels of glucose and sugar in the blood
  • Steam from the hot water can help reduce mucus and clear nasal passages
  • Relieve pressure on joints

These are just a handful of benefits. If you don’t have a tub, don’t worry. You can still take get some of these benefits from a hot shower. While there are some limitations with showering, you can use salt or sugar scrubs to exfoliate skin. For aromatherapy you can hang a bundle eucalyptus stems from the shower head. The steam from the water will help to release oil from the eucalyptus leaves.

Chamomile Calendula Tub Tea

Welcome to 2018

Welcome to 2018

 

Spring is a time of birth or rebirth. Summer is growth and maturity. Fall welcomes the preparation of rest, release, and death. Winter is stillness and space, the in between.

It’s in this space people begin to reflect on events that happened throughout the year. This reflection is not necessarily a bad thing. It allows people to see the changes and evolution that took place. But during this reflection, especially as the New Year draws closer, people start to dwell on their “failures,” their “inadequacies,” their “not good enoughs.” It’s here people get caught up with their thoughts. People allow their time to be consumed by these thoughts, and it becomes addictive. I don’t know if we, as humans, are wired to focus on what we consider bad, or if over time we’ve trained ourselves to do this, but as we get stuck on these negative thoughts we start to develop methods of punishment so we don’t “fail” again.

We typically disguise this punishment as New Year’s Resolutions, i.e. start a new diet, lose an unattainable amount of weight, workout eight days a week. We set a bar so high that accomplishment is impossible. Then the cycle continues when we inevitably cannot put a check mark next to an item on our to do list. Our struggle with negative thoughts and resolutions isn’t helped by the bombardment of “New Year, New You” advertisements or social media posts. You are enough as you are. You cannot change your Self.

What if instead of focusing on the negative we choose to be grateful for the positive or the lessons learned from negative experiences? What if instead of punishing ourselves for our “shortcomings” and focusing on removing something we set an intention for what we would like to gain or focus on in the new year?

My intention and focus is Acceptance, Organization, and Self-Care. You are welcome to share in this intention, if it resonates with you.

Welcome to 2018. May everyone find peace, love, and happiness throughout the year.