The Emperor asks, how will we serve our soul promise to the Earth? It’s a week for some deep self-enquiry, says Lindsay Mack …
Looking for a way to be of service? Look to your natural —and keep it simple, says Kerri Aab…
In spiritual communities, it’s often believed that at your lowest point, to be of service to someone else can turn your entire situation around. That looking past our own suffering for ways to alleviate the suffering of someone else is a key to happiness and fulfillment.
No time like the present to test the theory, right?
And if the phrases “alleviate suffering” and “being of service” bring to mind images of volunteering for the Peace Corps or doing mission work in Africa, it’s worth keeping in mind that an act of service can include anything from smiling at a stranger, to complimenting a struggling mama at the grocery store, to baking some cookies for your neighbor.
Being of service doesn’t have to mean some grand act of self-sacrifice. It simply means reaching out. And sometimes the actions that have most impact are the simplest.
Case in point: late last year I was deeply depressed. Not un-common for me during the time of year we’re supposed to be making merry. I’m used to the holiday blues.
But last year was different. There was an ache and an emptiness that none of my go-to spiritual or healing practices seemed to be able to reach. I looked for guidance and sought all kinds of remedies to take the pain away—but the more I grasped, the worse things seemed.
I felt hopeless, helpless, and adrift.
Then, one morning during my daily self Reiki practice, I felt compelled to turn my Reiki hands not towards myself, but rather, to send the Reiki out. I did so and there I sat for the next hour with a vague intention of sending Reiki to “anyone in need.”
No, there were no unicorns swooping over the horizon, and no rainbows suddenly appeared— but I noticed how my sense of despair had lifted. Enough for me to send distance Reiki out again the next day. And the next.
Within a week, I’d decided to make a daily practice of sending out Reiki to others. Shortly after which, brief little messages of hope or inspiration would come through during my morning Reiki time, which I texted to a few friends. These messages began as subtle little thoughts that I attributed to my mind regurgitating information from years spent dedicated to learning about spirituality and energy medicine.
I quickly came to believe however, that these messages, which were growing in length and intensity, were the work of a much larger energy that I was somehow tapping into. God? The Universe (what I call “The Big U”)? Who knows. I’ve come to refer to the bearers of these messages as my “etheric pals” though, as I now palpably feel their energy in the room with me and they feel like friends.
Within a month I had a consistent daily practice that I was being guided to share further. So I sent out an email to friends and family, offering free distance daily Reiki, plus an optional inspirational email, to anyone who requested it.
To my surprise and delight, almost every single person replied with a resounding “COUNT ME IN!” and the list has continued to grow ever since. People come, people go. But, no matter what, I sit down every morning, send Reiki, and write an email about the message I heard during the session.
Has my depression lifted, and I been living in Reiki bliss since then? Here’s where I disappoint you. This isn’t one of those “and then my whole life changed and everything is love and light” type stories.
But here’s what did happen.
This simple act of using a gift I have been given, to help others, has confirmed for me the importance of being of service in the world.
My daily act of service has given me an anchor to hold onto on days when depression hits so hard that I don’t want to open my eyes. It does this by providing the focus and energy I need to get through to the other side.
My act of service has given my life a foundation of consistency. Rain or shine, I know that people are counting on me and looking to me for the support I pledged to give them. This is the best motivator for sticking to any practice.
My act of service has gifted me with humility and perspective. That people trust me with their stories and with a small aspect of their personal growth is humbling and something I take very seriously. These stories continually remind me of how freakin’ blessed I am when there’s so much suffering in the world.
And, during this very trying post-election week, showing up for the Reiki crew has, at times, felt like the only thing giving me a flicker of hope. When I have felt useless and truly despairing, sitting down to energetically uplift others has reminded me of why I’m on this planet. Which is to anchor the human experience in goodness. To help others find their inner power.
I am also so grateful for the replies I receive each day from people all over the world, about how a particular message changed them or inspired them to go out and spread some joy of their own. The benefits of service are contagious!
So, are you in?
We’ve all been given different gifts—and they are not ours to hoard or hide away. But to give away, inspiring others to do the same.
If you’re feeling plunged into darkness at this time, my advice is to simply give of yourself in whatever way you can. There are endless ways to be of service in the world, so find your gift and share it. Take action. If you want to make the world a better place, then go out and do it. When in doubt, look out.
Do you sing? Bring your voice to the elderly.
Make a mean lasagna? Cook for the hungry.
Love spending time with children? Babysit for a mama who needs a break.
Have a green thumb? Help start a community garden.
And if you think you can’t do this, I would like to gently remind you that you can. After all, a man was just elected to the highest office in the land with zero experience. And if he can believe in himself and his abilities, so can you.
So can you.
I was reminded the other day of a great quote from Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent: “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.”
It’s time to create the world in which we wish to live. It’s time for us to use our gifts to create beauty, peace, unity, love, acceptance and hope for all. One simple act of service at a time.
Kerri Aab, BFRP is a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, a Reiki practitioner, quantum biofeedback practitioner, Kundalini yogi, dancer, singer and group fitness instructor. Click here to register for FREE DAILY DISTANCE REIKI with Kerri, and discover more about her healing work at Seedtoblossom.com.
QUESTION: “All the recent socio-political unrest has left me feeling equal parts vulnerable and impotent. Alongside feelings of fear about what the future holds (environmental issues obviously play into this also), there is a huge sense of compassion for communities who’ve been affected directly and a newfound depth of empathy for all the displaced and marginalized people in the world. This has stirred up a desire to want to help in some tangible way, but it’s so hard to know where to start—and to not feel hopeless about the impact one individual can possibly have on such monumental global issues. How can I be of service?”
SUGGESTION: Knowing where to start is often the hardest part of service—the same way you might look at your kitchen sink after preparing a huge feast. Your sink will be overflowing with dirty dishes, pots and pans, fragile glassware and sharp knives, all covered in gook, and the thought of washing them, while you are tired and overfed, is overwhelming. Your initial thought might be to leave them for the morning, and perhaps you secretly hope that one of your guests or your partner will do it for you. However, while the whole mess is indeed completely overwhelming, washing just one single cup, or one plate, is not. If you start by washing just one dirty dish at a time, before you know it, the whole kitchen sink will be clean.
We can look at the world in the same way. For one person to clean up the whole mess of global warming, geopolitical conflict, poverty and hunger is not only impossible, it’s completely overwhelming to even think about. But taking personal responsibility for trying to do one thing better, and inspire others to do something better, is totally doable. In yoga, Sun Salutations—breathing slowly, and connecting each movement with one breath—teach us to embody a step-by-step approach to our lives. Further, if you can choose that one thing that you are going to work on or perfect about your behavior and attitude while here on our small, green and blue planet, you’ll also find that you are re-inspired, and will become filled with energy, inspiration and creativity.
In the Tarot, the Eight of Pentacles might be a good card for you to meditate on. This card shows a young man absorbed in his work; he is an apprentice, meaning that he is learning and perfecting a new skill, and has committed himself to hammering out the details that will lead to mastery. He works on one coin at a time, without stress, only moving on to the next coin when the one he is working on has been completed. The Pentacles are the suit of physical work, and are representative of the Earth energy. This is essentially what your question was regarding. Our planet Earth is a mess, what work can I do to help?
The first thing is to be grounded, stable, and practical, like the Earth; and then to take it one step at a time. Come up with a simple strategy that you can stick with, like the washing of one dish at a time. This is how a big job gets done. Your commitment to being of service to the world will strengthen and blossom when the job before you feels like it is attainable. The Eight of Pentacles also teaches us that we should not isolate ourselves for too long, for the kind of work you wish to do is not the work of one person.
We need spiritual friends to work with, and communities to develop who share our ideals, values and desire to be of service. Cleaning up the world is not the job of one person, it’s the job everyone! If you take it all on your shoulders, it will just be depressing. So look around, see what is close by that you can take participate in, or what you can create from scratch. After you have taken small steps, you can build bigger teams if you wish to, delegate more, and fulfill your vision of creating a more loving, compassionate world.
The Five of Wands says…please step AWAY from the drama! And the gossip and the idle talk. It’s a week to watch your words, says Louise Androlia.
Changing of the guard! On August 11 2015, expansive Jupiter exits dramatic and flamboyant Leo, moving into clean, green and analytical Virgo until September 9, 2016. Jupiter is the planet that rules luck, personal growth, travel, opportunity and risk. Along with Venus, it’s one of the cosmsos’ two “benefics,” meaning its influence is largely positive. The biggest planet in the solar system, Jupiter represents abundance, so whatever you plant during a Jupiter cycle will grow into a cash crop.
As one of the slower-moving outer planets, Jupiter’s transits color the entire societal attitude and cultural zeitgeist. Jupiter changes signs every 12-13 months, meaning it only visits each zodiac sign once every 12 years. Its last trek through Virgo was from August 27, 2003-September 24, 2004. (Dial back to that era for themes that may arise again in your life.)
Here are few things we can expect while Jupiter tours Virgo through September 2016:
1. Walking the talk: Jupiter in Virgo.
Now that Leo’s grand speeches, public declarations and jaw-dropping debuts are over, it’s time for some follow up—the walk that goes with the talk. Jupiter in Virgo inspires us to roll up our sleeves and do the real work, to make change. In a telling pop culture example during Jupiter in Leo, Caitlyn Jenner filmed her reality show I Am Cait on the road with trans activists.
The episode revealed her ignorance about the struggles of transgender people who don’t share her wealth, fame and public support. While Jupiter in Leo brought Caitlyn Zac Posen gowns, tearful ESPY awards and Vanity Fair covers, Jupiter in Virgo will deliver the equivalent of a quick sociology degree. And we could all use some brushing up in that area, frankly.
Jupiter in Virgo cracks the integrity whip, making sure our own backyards are clean before we stand on our soapboxes. Do we wag our fingers at the world’s transgressions, then privately commit the same deeds? There will be no getting away with that while Jupiter is in Virgo. Beware the self-righteousness of this transit—change begins with ourselves.
2. Jupiter is in “detriment” in Virgo.
Jupiter is “in detriment” in Virgo, meaning it’s slogging through perhaps its least favorite shift – as if the celestial hedonist is doing community service to repent for his overindulgent ways. We just can’t act selfishly on every whim with Jupiter in self-controlled Virgo. Jupiter is the ruler of big-picture thinking and the higher mind, while Virgo is ruled by practical, sensible Mercury—Jupiter’s planetary opposite, in a way.
Jupiter and Virgo can be strange bedfellows, with the supersized planet pushing to expand, and fastidious Virgo fact-checking every little item along the way. It’s like a neurotic nanny trying to tame a hyperactive child on a sugar high. In the best situation, they will provide positive checks and balances for each other, ensuring that our grand ideas can actually go the distance.
3. Sustainability reigns: Earthy Virgo in charge.
After a people-focused year, our attention turns to our processes—and how they affect the planet. Climate change is an undeniable issue we face, and global ambassador Jupiter throws a giant spotlight here. As astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” The human race needs to cooperate with nature if we want to keep on keeping on.
We could draw some inspiration from New Yorker Colin Beavan’s film No Impact Man which documents his family’s efforts to spend one year making as little an impact as possible on the environment: no electricity, automated transportation or non-local food!
Virgo governs digestion so that rule extends to our palates. Bring on the organic produce and kale smoothies. Plant and grow food and put more greenery around your home. Vote with your dollar, opting for sustainably crafted goods that also support local business owners and keep the neighborhood economy thriving.
With Jupiter in Virgo, businesses in “green” industries could boom. You might just make time to hear your friend’s pitch on solar panels, vitamins or supplements now. Since Jupiter is the global truth-teller we can expect to hear more stories about egregious waste dumping and pollution from overseas manufacturers…and hopefully, to see policies and regulations change that.
4. Living in tune with nature, sharing our “stuff.”
No, you don’t have to trade your loft apartment for a yurt this year…but you might airbnb it out for a month while you go shack up in a tent. Jupiter in Virgo calls our culture of excess into question, and people will begin making real lifestyle changes to reduce accumulation. Jupiter in practical Virgo will fuel the cooperative economy. More and more, people are asking: Why own when we can rent, and use only what we need when we need it?
Commune-style living could make a comeback too, with a modern twist. Interestingly, the first-ever kibbutz—a collective community in Israel where people live, work, farm, grow food and raise their families together—was formed in 1909, while Jupiter was in Virgo. We can expect to see a rise in urban farming, shared living spaces and a boom in people unloading their stuff on Craigslist or eBay.
5. Drop the selfie stick; pick up the talking stick.
It’s time for more mindfulness, says Jupiter in Virgo—to put down the gadgets for an hour and get back to IRL encounters. While we don’t predict that the likes of, say, Snapchat will go anywhere, serenity could set in if we carve out technology-free spaces (both in public or at home).
We’ll be more present with the people in our midst; less worried about attracting a million random followers. We’ll find joy in being of service to our fellow humans instead of competing to be the biggest superstars. It sounds downright old-fashioned, but this wrinkle in time might just buy us another era on Planet Earth.
6. The “Internet of Things” takes over
If anything, technology will become more integrated into our lives. Virgo may be an earthy hippie, but it’s also a data-loving nerd (think: an early adopter of Burning Man going off the grid but rocking serious tech skills). The “internet of things” (ioT) could expand under Jupiter in Virgo.
More of our everyday objects will become embedded with sensors and electronics, a la “geek chic” wearable technology (an industry projected to balloon by the billions). We may even see an innovation that helps us detach from our physical gadgets while still remaining “wired.” Will our entire identities soon be stored on the cloud?
7. Taking it to the polls: Rocking the vote?
With a U.S. presidential election year falling during Jupiter’s tour of Virgo, we could be due for another “Rock the Vote” era of grassroots change and socially-aware constituents (interestingly, the splashy Rock the Vote campaign was founded in 1990, while Jupiter was in Leo).
Jupiter in Virgo will demand integrity and follow-through from any politician who hopes to make it through the rounds of debates and primaries. If we’re lucky, Jupiter in Virgo may also help to inspire record voter turnout before it leaves in September 2016.
8. Health, science and fitness industries soar.
Virgo is the ruler of health and science, so new trends in medical care and the wellness industry could arise. Buying “local and sustainable” could become more of a mainstream trend, as consumers become ever more savvy in their research about food and product safety. We may see amazing advancements in medicine, too—for example, technology that allows doctors to predict and prevent brain diseases (such as dementia) long before they reach their full-blown state.
Artificial intelligence, robots and other innovations that once seemed like grist for a sci-fi movie could become integrated into our daily lives. Geneticists are even working to bring back extinct species, such as the carrier pigeon, which died out in 1914.
9. Coaching and “how-to” businesses thrive.
Coaches and consultants might also experience a heyday, as Virgo’s perfectionism has us all in self-analysis overdrive. Analytical Virgo doesn’t skimp on the details, so people will be hungry for advice on improving their practical skills: budgeting, dressing, decorating, parenting. If you’re an expert, look for ways you can package your knowledge as helpful advice.
Jupiter rules publishing and broadcasting, so consider marketing your unique skills through a YouTube video series, a “helpful tips” podcast or a how-to ebook. For best results, focus on simplifying a difficult process or giving people basic instructions. Jobs in the service sector will also grow, since Virgo is the ruler of service. Everyone, pitch in now…