I thought Mercury Retrograde was over!

It’s true. Mercury turned direct in the wee hours of the morning on December 30, 2010 (at 19 Sagittarius 38) — so why does it still feel like the Trickster is still trying to get me to slow down?

If the New Years/New start energy has got you amped up, you might be bumping into this energy, too. After all, Mercury is still moving forward pretty slowly, and is retracing ground already covered.

So, if your computer is being wonky, and your schedule is in a bit of chaos, and you are alternating between feeling deeply introspective and superficially scattered, or wildly optimistic and cautiously guarded, the best thing to do is slow down. Take a breath. Listen to what “the Guide of Souls” (that’s Mercury, too) is whispering in your ear, in this moment. Tune in to this one thing. Take this one action. Stop, breathe, repeat — knowing the whisper of the next moment may be wildly different. It’s ok.


A Tradition of Re-dedication

Originally published in December 2009, and lovingly reviewed each year since.

December 12th marked the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, the Feast of Dedication. It also marked the beginning of my very favorite holiday tradition.

My husband, David, and I grew up with different traditions. And while neither of us came from particularly devout families, the holiday season is marked by the pull of the traditions we experienced as children. Over the years, David has had the opportunity to endure or enjoy any Christmas tradition that felt important to me (and there were a lot of them!). I wanted us to also create something special that was sourced in his tradition.

menorahEarly in our marriage, we received the gift of a menorah, the nine-branched candelabrum central to the celebration of  Hanukkah. David taught me the Hebrew blessings that are said before and after the lighting of the candles. And he shared that traditionally children are given a gift of Hanukkah  “gelt” — gold coins (or chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil) or money. Well, we really didn’t want to exchange money (we were fresh out of gold coins at the time) — that didn’t feel quite right. So, what then?

Spontaneously we hit on the idea of exchanging kisses — after the blessings, 1 kiss per lighted candle. Not a little peck, but the kind of “I-Love-You-and-I-Mean-It!” kiss that requires a bit of time, attention, and dedication. (By the 8th night, there is some serious smooching going on!)

Over the years as I have come to understand the deeper story of the celebration of Hanukkah and the related traditions, my appreciation of our special practice also deepens. I find my thoughts this season going to the idea of dedication, or more accurately re-dedication; to make once again sacred — through intention, attention, and simple acts done with love and commitment — that which has been profaned, or in some way made less by our lack of attention. And all the while inviting miracles.

What can you re-dedicate through simple acts and loving attention this holiday season?

The Power of Baby Steps

Every morning, I receive my very own email message from The Universe. (I am sooo special! The Universe even knows my name.) I really look forward to this daily communication with the Powers the Be. (Full disclosure: I am a devoted member of TUTNotes from the Universe is a service mark and service of TUT Enterprises, Inc. Do yourself a favor and sign up.

These notes from the Universe are a delight — they make me laugh, make me think, and wake me up anew to the wellspring of creative possibility. I tuck away the ones that really touch me deeply.

Here’s an excerpt from one from this week: “You don’t take “baby steps” for the distance they cover, Laura, but to put yourself within reach of life’s magic.” Wow. I am personally a huge fan of baby steps. I think anything worth doing is worth doing in ridiculously easy baby steps. I celebrate every small step for humankind. But baby steps as a way to put yourself in the path of magic. Now that is something! What tiny step can you take today?

The Feeling Compass

It all happens in a moment. You are feeling generally pretty upbeat. Sure, it has been a challenge, lately. But you are happy, right? You have a deep sense of joy at doing your right work. And a delicious feeling of freedom.

Then, I don't know…the check is late, you get a bad review, no one says good things about your blog, your client work is ok, but honestly not really inspired — you worked a little too hard at it, maybe payed too much attention to what you were doing instead of just being present. The cat coughs up a hairball, which you discover in the dark, with your bare feet. Oh, and then there are those "things" you said you would do. Not critical things, but agreements, just the same. And to be honest, you've failed to meet these agreements before, with the same group. You really can't do it again. And there's a check you can't remember writing that bottoms out the checking account. Again. And then, that client you were excited to be working with…who you really connected with, decides now is just not the right time. And even though it's nothing personal, just a timing thing, and you deeply support your client's choice, still you find your (ego) self bleeding from a thousand tender cuts. And just for a moment you think "I give up. it's too hard. I can't do it."

And here's the hardest thing: to just be with that feeling. Not to name it. Not to explain it, try to change it, try to understand it. Not to figure it out. Not to use it to spark a new goal or self improvement campaign. Not to deny it. Not to drown it in Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream. Not to play the "I shoulda" game…not to tell any story at all about it.

Just hang out with it. Just be with it. Maybe bring a little compassion to it. A loving witness. "Hello, there you are. Here I am."

Like a jostled compass that swings wildly before pointing again (always) to true north, allow the needle to settle.