How many days of ‘poor me’ do I get?

It’s a compulsion. Whenever I meet someone I haven’t seen for many months, the first thing I want to ask is, “How has it been for you – this year…” I want to add, ‘from hell’ but maybe it wasn’t for them. The question has to hang there, open-ended, untainted, allowing for either possibility.

I can tell you how it’s been for me. In a word, brutal.

I’ve lost a dear elderly uncle and a young friend. The struggle to keep my nervous system in balance has taken intense focus and sometimes outright trickery. Like now. I’ve been listening to Epic Choir chanting Om So Hum for an hour and I’ve just hit replay. Like the vaccine, I need a second dose and I can’t wait a month. Having soothing sounds in the background makes my body believe all is calm, normal, in control, even though my mind isn’t convinced. So while my body’s distracted, I’ll occupy my mind with this task of writing.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But besides being brutal, I’ll tell you what else this year has been for me. Revelationary. Twenty-nineteen has been a time of intense self-discovery. And as you might suspect, most of it exposed the dark side. Fears came barrelling to the forefront. Old insecurities lit up like fireworks. Regret, blame, shame, guilt…all sat in judgment as months passed and reality settled over me like a burial shroud.

Then one morning I woke up thinking, How many days of ‘poor me’ do I get?

That sounded suspiciously like the old Sherry, the pre-Covid Sherry. So I laughed and answered my question: As many as you need, kid, but don’t make it a habit. I’m trying to take my own good advice. I allow myself some sadness – deep enough and painful enough that it approaches depression at times. But I love my natural optimism too much to risk losing it forever in the Slough of Despond.

Over the years I’ve learned that awareness of a problem is the first step in the path to managing it. My self-discovery journaling was all about getting to the root causes of my destructive patterns so I could take a different way forward. This year has given me enough psychological fodder to occupy me for the rest of my life, and it’s not over yet. My heart breaks at the thought of those who don’t have the mental steel-trap that I use to lock out despair and force myself back to sanity. It’s a gift that has enabled my survival during difficult times.

But the unrelenting length of this extraordinary set of circumstances concerns me the most.

In our instant gratification society we haven’t developed ‘staying power.’ I watch my children getting stretched to their limits, adjusting, then getting stretched again. (Okay, I started to feel anxious then realized my music had stopped. I just hit replay – going into the third hour of Om So Hum…!) They (my children) are young, resilient, creative, employed, and healthy. So are my grandchildren. What a blessing. I’m grateful every moment. But nothing for them is as it was. Two of them are working from home with toddlers. Locked down and locked in both by legal mandate and by snow. And there’s that 24/7 togetherness…I rest my case.

Then, as if conjured from the ether, I was given another self-discovery tool that left my mouth gaping. Gene Keys. I’d never heard of it so after accessing my scary-precise and in-depth free profile, I did some research and found that the profile info is a mere surface scratch. Richard Rudd studied the I Ching, astrology, and another body of learning called Human Design. He used aspects from all of them and came up with this vastly complex system that spits out information about you, perhaps as you’ve never seen yourself before.

To try it, click here. There’s a button for a Free Profile. Enter your birthdate and place and time of birth. If you don’t know what time you were born, just plug in 12:01 – a minute after noon. No problem. Mine nailed me, calling out both my strengths and my shadows. It brought me to another level of understanding about what I need, what I may want that doesn’t serve me, and antidotes for the pitfalls in my personality.

I’ll try anything if I think it will shed light on this creature that I am and help me navigate my life more effectively. I don’t have a lot of time left. The luxury of learning ‘the hard way’ is a thing of the past. I want to come out on the other side of this Covid freak-show a wiser, healthier, more compassionate human.

How many days of ‘poor me’ do I get?

Hopefully, soon, that won’t be a question I even have to ask.

My Week with the Stars

Aren’t we all information junkies? Everyone isn’t addicted to the same kinds of inputs, but think about it? What feeds your ‘need to know’ appetite? For me, a hit of astrology once a week from Pam Younghans, and a monthly tuneup with Virginia Bell, just to make sure I’m firing on all celestial cylinders, helps me chart my course.

So this morning when Pam’s post hit my inbox I read with some trepidation knowing the kind of week I have ahead of me. After translating her trines, alignments, squares and quincunxes for each day into language I can understand, here’s the week at a glance:

Monday:   Bite off more than I can chew

Tuesday:  Shift into high gear, passionate and determined to succeed

Wednesday:  After breathless Monday and Tuesday, come down to earth

Thursday:  Realize must make changes to sustain desired course of action

Friday:  Reassess values, restructure life

Saturday:  Confront resistance to change, re-claim self-acceptance and individuality

Sunday:  Excitement reinstated. Connect with others who support my brand of insanity.

So it’s Monday here on my side of the world, Monday noon actually, and I see the day unfolding exactly as predicted. But armed with a preview of what’s to come, I’ve done a really smart thing. I’ve leaped ahead to Sunday and called in reinforcements so I can shift my destiny into a more desirable track. That’s the beauty of information. With the right resources I don’t fall victim to chance. Or as Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

It’s all about consciousness, isn’t it? Awareness? Tuning into more than just the lowest vibrations, the most basic frequencies? There are limitless opportunities to expand what we know, advantages to stretch our comfort zones and see what lies beyond. That’s how I got to Bali. I stretched.


I used to be different but now I’m the same

I’d love to take credit for this, but someone smarter than I earned that right. The whole process of transformation is summed up in this brilliant sentence:


Here’s what it says about me:

I used to try too hard
I used to deny myself my dreams
I used to live someone else’s life
I used to ignore my intuition
I used to wear a disguise
I used to lack confidence
I used to hide my truth
I used to pretend to be happy
I used to pretend to be happy
I used to pretend…

Then a series of events collided in the universe creating a crucible of extraordinary opportunity. Like the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust that move mere inches in a year holding back the bubbling turbulence below, the conditions leading up to my explosion into consciousness rode on the wild back of pent-up truth.

Truth is a slippery devil. If it’s something we don’t want to look at we create a version of the story, a half-truth or truth-and-a-half. Whatever it is, it avoids the bare brown kernel at the core. It enables us to exist without showing up. It allows us to remain in the magical version of our imagined reality. The gritty, glorious being inside is denied life.

A person with unlived truth never feels quite right. There’s always something a tad off. Work is unfulfilling. Relationships don’t last. Physical illness, mental illness, injuries, drugs, alcohol, pills, television, provide distractions or numb the experience.

So when I saw Virginia Bell’s post this morning, and read that sentence, I used to be different but now I’m the same, I said, “Yes!” I used to be that other person that didn’t fit with my truth, a shoddy remake of my original self.

There are a potent two weeks ahead. The heavy hitters are aligning to stir things up.  I’m no astrologer but I have tremendous respect for things that are bigger and older than I am. Stars and planets fall into that category. So I make it a point to read Virginia Bell and pay attention. Today she had this to say about the pungent arrangement in the heavens:

This aspect is like a mini-workshop; it’s an opportunity to break through old patterns and limiting beliefs, to deepen a relationship or finally release it, to recognize your shadow, to call back your soul. Like any recovery work it is painful, humbling and potentially life changing.

I can almost hear you, “Why would I want to sign up for that?” You don’t have to. It’s free. It will happen whether you take advantage of it or not. I’m going to sit down with pen and paper and have a conversation with myself. I don’t know what will come up. That’s the mysterious beauty of inner work. By allowing myself to enter the energetic flow I open to forces that support my curiosity. Revelation loves to pay a visit during times like these. Try it, but be careful! You may unearth a truth that terrifies you with it’s power and beauty. And you’ll know beyond question that it is the brown kernel, the core, the gritty you.

You can read Virginia’s entire post here:


The different

The different – smiling without the eyes


The same

The same – a soul reclaimed!


Reluctant Gypsy

My passion for moving on is waning. But here I am again, in a different place on the opposite side of town, hearing new sounds, seeing new sights, and soaking in the differences.

I’ve been in Bali sixteen months. I’ve made friends, settled into a community, and in March I’ll be permanently installed in a home of my own. But for the next four weeks, until the house becomes available to me, I’m in a sweet efficiency apartment overlooking two temples and twenty tiled rooftops.

Two temples and twenty rooftops

The family temple is the area behind the ornate doorway in front. The second temple is on the roof in the upper right corner.

Southwest view

Southwest view and more rooftops

My closest neighbors here are building a house twelve inches from my balcony. Even by Bali standards that’s very, very close! You’d want to be on excellent terms, and we are, the Munias and me. My neighbors are a pair of white headed munia. How do I know this? They don’t exist anywhere else I’ve ever been and the name is unfamiliar. Google of course! It took about ten minutes. It helped that I knew that here a sparrow is a pipit and a thrush is a kutilang. The munia is neither a sparrow nor a thrush, but…oh nevermind!

Sitting in her nest

Mrs. Munia in her nest

I called them a pair, but I suspect they’re a threesome. There’s a fair bit of flustering about in the palm fronds. They’re building a nest with gusto, all three of them. And they play sky tag during their breaks. I’m here for a month. If I’m lucky I’ll get to watch the whole bird birthing process. They don’t seem to find me at all intimidating, nor do they appear to require privacy for their intimate business. That’s exciting! Well…you know what I mean!

And because Gwen, my favorite sister, always needs to know exactly what my current residence looks like, here we go Gwen, this is for you.

The tiny kitchen

Here’s the kitchen area with a new rice cooker, my first! Sitting in front of the cooker is a bowl of salak (snakefruit). It’s my favorite healthy snack. We won’t talk about the unhealthy ones!

This is the view from the kitchen. My chair and laptop are positioned in the doorway to catch the westerly cross-breeze that was divine. It kept this 85 degree day cool!

This is the view from the kitchen. My chair and laptop are positioned in the doorway to catch the westerly cross-breeze. It was divine and kept this 85 degree day cool!

And the wall opposite the bed with a large lumari, aka wardrobe. The door is open. My door is always open unless I'm asleep.

This is the wall opposite the bed with a large lumari, aka wardrobe. The palm tree at the edge of the balcony is the Munia’s home.

I’ll spare you the bathroom photos and just say it’s sufficient. Flush toilet, shower with hot water, miniscule sink and mirror.

There are only four apartments. I'm the upper right.

There are only four apartments. I’m the upper right. There are two more on the left.

The number of moves I’ve made in my life has now exceeded anything even remotely appropriate. I’ve packed up and relocated over 50 times. I wonder if there’s a psychotic label for someone who does that. Who does that????! But it’s in my chart, my astrological birth chart. I had already moved about 42 times when I enlisted the services of Anita Doyle, a brilliant astrologer. She was in California, I was in Minnesota. I’d never met the woman, but over the course of the one-hour phone reading she proceeded to tell me my life story and beyond. The information had a profound influence and propelled me in a new direction…still moving, but now with purpose and intent.

However, all that chasing about could be coming to an end. I hatched my eggs long ago, the chicks are grown, and I’ve finally found a corner of the planet that suits me. I think I just might stay.

The ’60’s Revisited…A Cosmic Test

Tomorrow, June 24, Uranus and Pluto will square. Did you know that the last time Pluto and Uranus were in a configuration of this nature was the the decade of the 60’s? Do you care? For the record, I think reading a daily horoscope for my sun sign is a total and complete waste of time. But when an astrologer prepares a natal birth chart and maps the positions of heavenly bodies as they appeared overhead at the exact time and place of my birth, I want to know what she has to say. Astrology is so much more than a sign in the zodiac.

There are things that happen in the universe that deeply impact life on earth. That’s a scientific fact. For example, our moon’s gravitational pull creates the tides. A solar explosion will, within hours, alter our weather. According to the NASA website, giant solar flares in 1859, 1972, and 1989 knocked out electrical power in large areas. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the other celestial bodies spinning, orbiting, and exuding energies would influence our planet? And wouldn’t it be just a little bit short sighted to imagine that, as occupants of this great green earth, we are completely unaffected by it all?

On June 24, 2012 those two game changers, Uranus and Pluto, will make their first exact square since the mid-sixties; there will be seven between 2012 and 2015. Our lives will be defined by this mega aspect. Uranus and Pluto are both “outer planets” which means they are so far away they weren’t even discovered until we had telescopes.

Uranus was the first; it was sighted in 1781, shortly after the American Revolution and before the French Revolution. When a planet is discovered tells us a lot about its character. Called The Great Awakener, Uranus is the planet of freedom, individuation, rebellion, genius, and rules anything outside the mainstream.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 around the time of organized crime, the rise of Hitler, but also the development of psychoanalysis. Named after the mythic god of the underworld, Pluto is associated with life, death, and transformation. It represents the taboo, the shadow, and whatever is hidden and repressed, both in the culture and within us.Virginia Bell

I turned 10 years old in January of 1960. The following decade witnessed massive change in all areas of life. I was there. I remember. What will the next decade look like? We are poised globally for another astronomical shift in life as we know it, economically, environmentally, socially, politically, and personally. Since there is only one area over which I have any control at all, I choose to focus on how I can personally utilize this auspicious time. The themes of Uranus and Pluto are awakening and transformation. During my last astrology reading I talked to Anita about the fact that my gravity-defying plunge out of the mainstream and into self-awareness seemed to have started a little early according to my chart. I wanted to know what that was about. She explained that these tendencies begin to manifest prior to the actual time of planetary alignment. We have been watching that happen internationally. The dominoes have begun to topple creating tensions that, when put in the pot and stirred, become paradigm shifts.

Let’s face it. Life as we know it needs an extreme makeover. And what is that over-used but always appropriate quote by Ghandi…”You must be the change you want to see in the world.” What we have in the heavens, beginning tomorrow, is tremendous support for the changes we wish to make in our lives. I’ll leave you with this quote by Stephanie Austin:  

“Relationships, institutions, and anything not aligned with the highest good of all concerned are being challenged to evolve or dissolve. This is a cosmic test and a summons to stand in our truth and in our power.”

Gifts of the North Node

I am a brilliant creation of the universe formed from the cosmic protoplasm sailing into eternity. I have two hands, two feet, a couple of great ears, and I’m clipping through life at a moderate pace; minding my p’s and q’s, crossing my t’s, dotting every i.   By jm Raging Universe

Illustration by Michael Forman

That quote caught my attention today because it describes the south node in the sixth house. Everyone has a north node and a south node specific to their date and place of birth, and each node is in one of the twelve houses of the zodiac. If I’ve lost you I’m not surprised. Astrologers know exactly what I just said! And no, I’m not one of them, but I have had readings done once a year for the past three years by an incredibly gifted astrologer, Anita Doyle, whom I’ve never met. My south node is in the sixth house, and the south node in the sixth house is about minding the p’s and q’s, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. My existence has been defined by should’s and should not’s, Norwegian Lutheran guilt, and perfection. Responsibility was my middle name. Until now…

So what changed? I don’t worry much anymore about p’s and q’s. The t’s and i’s have gone missing. Responsibility? I’ve removed as much of it from my sphere as is humanly possible. And guilt? I’m working on it. The glorious thing about my south node is that there is a north node sitting directly opposite in the twelfth house of Pisces. The south node represents natural tendencies, the ones we automatically fall into without thinking. The north node holds those qualities we need to develop to bring us into balance.

Yesterday I was fretting about something I’d been asked to do that would put me in front of the public for several days at a time. I was voicing my distaste for the kind of energy I would be required to expend. It all felt wrong. My daughter was listening patiently. When I finished my rant she matter-of-factly said, “Mom, your north node.” I looked at her blankly, then in a flash I remembered. According to Anita’s assessment a year ago, my opportunity had come to embrace the north node, learn to let go of logic, perfection and performance, and get on with my evolutionary development. It was about honoring my intuition and leaving behind the habitual patterns of striving to meet everyone’s needs while neglecting my own. It was time, Anita said, to move away from my past modus into a meditative place removed from the dictates of duty and responsibility. She called it a more monastic life. Monastic!?! The word terrified me and I summarily dismissed everything she said thinking she had really missed the mark with this one.

Looking back at the choices I’ve made since then I marvel that they have systematically brought me to this place, this life that looks exactly like the north node in the twelfth house. There was no conscious plan, but something within me was so compelling that ignoring it was not an option. When gently nudged by, “Mom…your north node,” I knew I had to listen to my feelings, not my logical mind. If something feels wrong, if pushing feels distasteful, the lesson is NOT TO DO IT! So I won’t. Instead I will trust the unfolding, a state that was utterly impossible for the old south node me. With that decision I feel my gut unclench, my shoulders relax, my breath go deep and soft.

I Googled north node in the twelfth house earlier today and found this passage by Elizabeth Spring. Tears streamed. How liberating. How affirming. How grateful I am to be traveling this path.

“We are called to “the monastery” here in the sense that it is a non-verbal, solitary, spiritual call towards Self awareness. The 12th house has sometimes been called the house of troubles, because it can’t be dealt with logically and pragmatically, and to do so doesn’t benefit the person with a North Node in this house. However, the key to this house placement is that there is no longer any need for troubles, duties, obligations, humility and service! All those are embodied in the opposite 6th house. As a 12th house North Node person you have earned the right to take the deep pleasures of the unconscious: gifts of magic, insight and deep peace.”

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