Recently Read: You Were Born For This

Born For This

The plan wasn’t to finish You Were Born For This in one sitting, but the reading just flowed.

So much of my life, certain events and themes, struggles and luck were obvious and maybe inevitable after looking deeply into my chart. What an awakening!

We all like to think that we have control over our own lives. We do to a certain extent. But luck and chance play big roles as well.

I needed this book in my twenties. But if it had been available then, I wouldn’t have had the familiarity with myself to receive it in the same way. I’ve never read a book with such ease and felt such gentleness towards me as the reader.

After reading some books, I’ve gotten the feeling that they really could have been essays. However, the writers got lucrative book deals. Maybe because they had a big audience. Then they had editors who massaged the hell out of that essay to make it into a book. But it really wasn’t a book and it did not feel genuine or respectful to me as the reader.

As a writer, Chani Nicholas is the exact opposite. While reading, I felt that she was rooting for me and thinking about how I might feel as I journeyed through my life reading her words. Nicholas wrote You Were Born For This as an act of kindness to her audience.

If you are even the least bit interested in astrology, I recommend buying You Were Born For This. I’m always one for borrowing books from the library, but this book is different. It’s more personal.

To get the most out of it, you need to download your chart from her website. Then use that information to fill in the pages as instructed through the book. You’re then guided through your Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Its Ruler. These are the three keys to a chart.

Most of us are familiar with our Sun sign. That’s the most basic part of our chart and determined by our birth date. I’m a Virgo, but that’s such a small part! The Sun represents our life’s purpose.

The Moon represents our physical and emotional needs. My Moon is in Scorpio.

The Ascendant and Its Ruler is our motivation for living and steer the direction of our lives. The Ascendant is also known as our Rising Sign. Mine is Taurus and the Ruler is Venus. Venus is all about seeking love, beauty and pleasure. I feel this deep into my bones. This blog is literally my attempt to notice the beauty all around and share it. It also feels like home to me.

But wait, there’s more! Just like with real estate, there are different houses and location matters. The placement of certain planets together in one house, near each other or opposite others changes things dramatically.

The luminaries, the sun and moon, are placed well in my chart and act together helping me live out my life’s purpose. Jupiter, trines my Sun, offering some protection and luck. As a kid and throughout my life, I’ve been good at winning contests.

Jupiter is also in the same house as my Ascendant which magnifies my impact on the world. Nicholas gives the example of “a bombastic laugh” and people tell me that they always remember my laugh.

Some of my life’s challenges I see in my chart too – a Scorpio Moon is not easy. She says that I will be called to “dig deep” and “transform … pain into purpose.” Sometimes that feels like the story of my life. Seeing my chart, it’s definitely part of it.

She says, “Scorpio deals with death, loss and transformation, sometimes having the Moon in this sign speaks to not only experiencing these issues in childhood but also having them as part of your professional interest or expertise.”

When I was a child, almost an entire generation in my family died and I remember being quite aware of the loss. Also when I was a child, the town’s grade school building had structural damage, so I attended school for a couple of years at a Catholic Parish. We had recess out in the back and quite literally played among the graves. As a freelance writer and lawyer, I’ve written about end of life issues.

I could go on and on, but if you do the work on your chart, you will find You Were Born For This endlessly fascinating and return to it over and over again. Because really, it’s all about you.

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If you’re interested in another book that I recently read, take a look here.

Pandemic Surrender

thinking about surrender

During the last year and a half, I’ve done a lot of thinking about surrender. That’s why I chose surrender as my word of the year.

I believe that surrender is not about giving up, but making peace with reality. Because I’ve learned that what you resist persists and the fighting is emotionally exhausting.

A few days ago, I did a selfie photo shoot of my new look. Normally I’m not one to share many pictures of myself. But I do change up my photos on this blog and my social media every year or so. This change is dramatic, so I thought I’d blog it too.

My hair has been thinning for years and has been a constant source of stress and anxiety. Society places so much importance on thick long luxurious hair. What do you do when you don’t have that no matter how hard you try?

You do the best you can with what you have. You try to overlook comments that people make about other people’s hair while wondering what they think of yours.

Then you just get exhausted by the whole thing. Because life is short and what’s the point of worrying. I can’t control other people’s thoughts — only mine. I need to be comfortable with myself. I’m 56, soon to be 57, and want to age gracefully. Wigs, weaves and braids have never been my style, so I started looking at the other end of the spectrum.

Several of my aunts have embraced the bald look and some well-known glamorous women like Christine Platt and Ayanna Pressley rock it as well. Ayanna Pressley is such an inspiration and powerhouse that I’ve especially taken strength from her and see her as an expander. I don’t have alopecia, but many women in my family have thinning hair, so it’s almost certainly genetics.

My mom had a stroke at the end of February and I’ve been helping her get back to her life. It’s been a long journey for both of us. Through all this, we both were vaccinated. PSA — Get vaccinated!

The day before I became fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second dose) was also the day that I picked up my mom from rehab and brought her home. It’s also the day that I got most of my hair chopped off. I only have so much physical and emotional energy and focusing on my hair is not how I want to use it.

The pandemic has given many of us time to think about what’s important and what’s not. At the beginning of the pandemic, I vowed to myself that if I survived it, I wasn’t leaving it the same way I went in. None of us will. Intentionally or not. Time will reveal other changes that I probably can’t imagine yet.

What about you? How are you leaving the pandemic differently than you went in?

BPL Offering Free Gardening Kits

Boston Public Library Gardening Kit

A few years ago, I remember reading about seed libraries and thinking that it was a wonderful idea for those interested in gardening. The idea has taken off and you can probably find one near you or even start your own.

What is a seed library? Pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a place, like a library, that shares seeds with people in the local community. The specific rules may vary from place to place, but you can generally get seeds for free or at a low price.

While you can have seeds for houseplants, flowers and herbs, having seeds for growing fruits and vegetables provides a way to strengthen food security. In other words, being intentional about keeping seeds for growing food allows some independence from the mainstream food system.

Food is delicious and fun. But it’s also a necessity for life and therefore political. There is enough food for everyone, but everyone doesn’t have enough. Systems in place need changing.

As we leave the pandemic, more of us are thinking differently about life and welcoming systemic change. This week I had my second COVID-19 vaccine, so I’m looking forward to normal life again. However, I’m hoping the new normal is better than the old one.

Seed libraries provide the literal seeds to grow our own gardens. Starting on May 5th, gardening kits were available from the Boston Public Library – 850 kits spread out among the branches.

You can choose from two types of gardening kits. Resilient Gardening Kits include everything you need for a veggie garden. For those with a focus on herbal remedies, Herbal Wildflower Kits contain what you’ll need. Take a look at the BPL website for more information on how to pick-up your kit. I’m not sure how long these will last, therefore, it’s probably best to go sooner than later. Happy planting!

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Screenshot: Boston Public Library

Stonehenge In Quincy. Have You Seen It?

Quincy's Mini Stonehenge

During these pandemic times, while driving to the highway, on the side of the road, I noticed a series of stones in front of a house. Over the last several months, the order of the stones has changed. They started piling up and forming a circle.

Huh. Something was going on here. I wanted to take a closer look. Yesterday, I had the time and the weather cooperated. So I pulled over and took some pictures.

Who did this?! There’s a mini Stonehenge here in Quincy! I love a good mystery and this has grabbed my attention.

While Quincy’s Stonehenge lacks the grandeur of the original in England, something and someone is behind it. Has the pandemic inspired someone to reflect on Quincy’s famed granite industry and pay hommage to it? Or maybe they’re just bored and wanted to try something new.

My time travel loving self imagines it’s a portal to an alternate reality. If I stood in the center of the circle, on the night of a full moon, danced around a bit with magical intentions and touched a stone, maybe I would go poof! Just like in Outlander — traveling to the past or maybe the future. Because my logical mind will overrule the urge to find out, I’ll never know.

I’m not sure if this is the final arrangement of the stones and I’m hoping the display continues to grow.

Next month brings the summer solstice, which is connected to Stonehenge. The person or persons behind this monument of stones could have something more planned. Maybe, just maybe, there will be dancing around these stones yet. But at sunrise on June 20th.

15 Years Blogging

15 years anniversary flowers

“I am determined to see this with love. I surrender this story and let the Universe lead the way.”

~ Gabby Bernstein

Another blogging anniversary — 15 years! And a new word for the year. This year’s word is SURRENDER. Because that’s been required recently.

According to Eckhart Tolle, “What you fight, you strengthen. What you resist persists. Make peace with it. The action comes out of presence not out of being defensive.”

There was a lot that I was fighting, because I felt like I had no choice. Then it became too exhausting and I surrendered to the situation. Within days, the situation changed. It didn’t happen the way that I would have chosen. But it allowed what I had been trying to do all along.

Sometimes I feel like I’m learning the same lessons over and over again. But maybe that’s what life is. Remembering what is true and then reminding myself how it applies in many different ways.

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Links to posts for past years are below. Thank you for being here!