Grew Up

An awkward kid

A small clique of friends,

Made me feel accepted

 

Teenage years a wreck

Drifting between groups

Never really in, or out

 

Work came and went

Ambition higher than

My need for community

 

Everyone left in the dust

No one there at my lowest point

A nightmare of my own design

 

Buried in the dark, damp soil

I began to evolve

Straining for a light I had yet to accept

 

Breaking through to a new life

Reestablishing lost connections

Finally accepting who I am

 

I am not a sympathetic character

Sure, I’ve loved, lost, felt and cried

But I’ve also hurt, ran, pushed away and lied

 

I’m just thankful for the life I’ve lived

Every good, bad; high and low

I wouldn’t be who I am without it 

~

Photo by Michel Catalisano on Unsplash

My Favorite Poem

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, and it’s made me revisit my favorite poem. I would argue that it’s what was the initial spark that lead me here.

When I was 12 or 13, I wrote a poem. And it was terrible, like a lot of preteen poetry probably is. But I entered it into an ad that I saw in a magazine, and I had my poem published in a compiled book of poetry. So I guess technically, I am a published poet. And I say that with every ounce of sarcasm in my bones.

But I largely left writing alone after that. It wasn’t going to help me make friends in high school, so why did I need to worry about it?

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and I stumbled upon the first poem that I can recall reading that spoke to me at my core. It’s called “lifedance” by Charles Bukowski.

IMG_2944

I absolutely love this poem. It said things that I felt in a very vulnerable time in my life and made me feel less alone. Bukowski isn’t known for his chipper, upbeat prose, but when you’re buried in the dirt, sometimes you need to see another worm next to you.

the area dividing the brain and the soul
is affected in many ways by
experience-

This is a beautiful way of setting up the remainder of the poem. The duality of our person, both being affected by experiences in our lives.

some lose all mind and become soul:
insane.
some lose all soul and become mind:
intellectual.

At various points in my life, I’ve felt more connected to either of these two lines. I’ve mostly ever felt insane, surrounded by a world that I don’t fit in. To a certain extent, I still feel that way. A black sheep of society that can’t find a real connection with anyone. I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate to the feelings.

some lose both and become:
accepted.

A dark approach to our lives. When you lose your soul and your mind, you become accepted in society. Again, I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate.

This is the first piece of writing that made me feel something. That’s why it’s my favorite poem. Not because it’s sunshine and daisies, or even because it’s representative of my life or anything I’m feeling. But I felt something when I read it. It’s what every writer worth their salt wants to do. It’s what I aspire to.

~

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

How to be an Eternal Student

We lose our curiosity by age 12. I read that in another Medium article by Danny Forest. It’s a fantastic article about reinvention, and you should definitely read it. But it sparked in me a visceral reaction. “I still ask a million questions about everything.”

 

I’m not certain that I’m the outlier, but I do know there are people who absolutely lose their curiosity by age 12. And that scares the shit out of me.

 

That means that there are high school students who are done challenging themselves. That’s not to say that they won’t learn anything new. But it does mean that they are done challenging what is being presented as true.

 

As Danny Forest explains further, school does a great job of giving every type of student the exact same information. That’s how we end up with good students and “bad” students. It’s reminiscent of the Albert Einstein adage about how we judge people’s abilities.

 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

 

I could go down a rabbit hole about how broken the United States educational system is, but I’ll save that for another time. But the adage highlights how we must not only adjust how we teach other people but also how we learn from others.

So how do we become eternal students if it doesn’t come naturally to us? These are the things that I notice when my curiosity strikes and I believe can help unlock your student mind.

Question Everything

This one is arguably the most important thing. It’s easy to learn without asking questions. It’s more beneficial to learn by asking questions. Even as a kid, I questioned everything. And I don’t just mean a simple “Why?”

 I always hated math class (ironic because I now love working with numbers). But I used to wonder how much of algebra, calculus and the like that I would actually use in my everyday life once I got older (spoiler: none of it).

The same is true of my life now. Any time I’m presented with new information, I want to know more. I love playing devil’s advocate to see the other side of a situation and attacking every angle.

It slows my decision-making process sometimes, but I always feel like I’ve made the right decision when I do.

Pay attention to what the people who tell you “no” are saying

I was recently listening to a podcast that highlighted this skill perfectly. On Rich Roll’s podcast episode with Alex Banayan last June, Alex told the story about his pursuit of Bill Gates for an interview. It’s a long, winding road and I highly recommend the podcast.

The part that stuck out with me was when Bill Gates’ Chief of Staff told him no. Alex was attempting to write what eventually became his book, The Third Door, and was trying to interview Gates for the book.

When Gates’ Chief of Staff told him no, he also said that if Alex could get a book deal and some momentum, he’d reconsider it. So while Alex got a no, he also was told exactly what he needed to do to get a yes.

Very rarely will anyone tell you no without an explanation as to why. The why is exactly what you’re looking for in this situation. The why is what you need to gain in order to get the yes.

Google It

Google is your best friend. We can find any information that we want if we search for it. I have a rule: if I have a thought and want more information about something, even something “meaningless”, I Google it.

I’ve always wanted to write. When I was a teenager, it was poetry. Through my early to mid 20’s, it was blogging and shorter pieces. And for the last year or two, my focus has been on novels and longer form pieces. And to be honest, there was a bit of imposter syndrome with those ventures. I’d start them, but I’d struggle with my own self-doubt and they fizzled.

Again, I knew I wanted to write, but these more straightforward methods weren’t clicking. So, I googled. I searched for ways to express myself that weren’t those traditional paths. And I stumbled upon screenwriting.

I love well-done movies and television, and I love the marriage of writing combined with the visual representation of those words. It’s something that I dove headfirst into and I don’t have the imposter syndrome feeling. It feels like home.

Always verify your sources when using Google. There are a lot of pages of information, but only some of them are accurate and factual. Do. Your. Research.

Operate from what you DO know

Begin from a place of what you know for sure, and work out from there. I knew FOR SURE that I wanted to write. The problem wasn’t the writing, it was the outlet. Having an awareness of what you DO know allows you to only pursue what you don’t.

If you are about to start a business and you know a lot about the day to day operations but a lot less about marketing, which are you going to study? It does you no good to ignore the marketing aspect because you’re going to need both.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to get better at something you are good at, but there is sometimes more to be gained by taking something that is a zero and making it of value.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Being an eternal student isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. What is easy is existing in what is known, never trying to grow beyond that safe space.

 

But if you want to grow beyond that safe space, knowledge is power. Taking that more difficult road and developing those muscles is not easy. But it’s well worth the investment.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Photo by Debbie Pan on Unsplash

Astrology 101: The Moon, the Sun, and Retrogrades in 2019

Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP/Getty Images
Being that there was a new moon last night and we are exiting Uranus retrograde today, I thought I’d write up an astrology primer for 2019. This is very basic, as I still have a lot to learn in this area. But I wanted to give an every-person layout of what’s in store for 2019.
 
I’ve long had interest in things like astrology, crystals, tarot and everything between. But sometimes the articles I’d try to read seemed overwhelming and going straight to a tarot reader felt like I was jumping into the deep end. As a Cancer, I like to do my research, then slowly integrate things into my life. So I’ve started to research (big shoutout to the AstroTwins, where most of my knowledge has come). And now, I’d like to provide an easy-to-follow guide to these areas for anyone like me.
 
These are the major astrological events happening in 2019. This does not include planetary events or meteor events because that’s a lot to put into one post and to try to absorb. So, here are the lunar and solar events, as well as the retrogrades we will experience this year!
 
Major Events (thanks to seasky.org for the info)
 
January 21 – Full Moon, Supermoon
January 21 – Total Lunar Eclipse (Blood Moon)
 
Our first Supermoon (out of 3) for 2019! Supermoon’s are closer to Earth so they may appear larger and brighter than usual. We also get a Total Lunar Eclipse, which happens when the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow, giving it a red color. If you’re in most of North America, South America, western Europe or western Africa, be on the lookout.
 
February 19 – Full Moon, Supermoon (Hunger Moon)
 
Supermoon #2 is known as the Hunger Moon because Native American tribes viewed this moon when winter weather was harsh and hunting was difficult.
 
March 20 – Spring Equinox
 
The Spring Equinox signals the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. This is also the day when the sun will shine directly on the equator, hence the name Equinox.
 
March 21 – Full Moon, Supermoon (Worm Moon)
 
Three Supermoon’s in a row! Native American tribes gave this moon the “Worm” distinction because of the changing weather. The warmer air leads to softened ground and the reemergence of worms.
 
June 21 – Summer Solstice
 
The first day of Summer in the NH, indicating the tilting of the NH toward the sun. This is the longest day in the NH, while the SH, in Winter, experiences its shortest day.
 
July 2 – Total Solar Eclipse
 
If you live in central Chile or central Argentina, prepare for the Total Solar Eclipse. The moon will block the sun’s path on July 2, with a partial Eclipse through most of western South America.
 
July 16 – Partial Lunar Eclipse
 
If you are in the parts of the world that didn’t get to see the Total Lunar Eclipse on January 21, never fear. A Partial Lunar Eclipse hits most of Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Indian Ocean.
 
September 23 – Fall Equinox
 
The first day of Fall in the NH and the first day of Spring in the SH.
 
December 22 – Winter Solstice
 
The first day of Winter in the NH and Summer in the SH. Also the shortest and longest days of the year, respectively.
 
December 26 – Annular Solar Eclipse
 
Our last major event of 2019! This Eclipse is slightly different, in that an Annular Eclipse happens when the Moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the Sun. This Eclipse will pass through Saudi Arabia, northern Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. A partial Eclipse will be visible through most of Asia and northern Australia.
 
New Moons
 
New Moons are great. They are a great time to shed anything that isn’t serving you and start with a clean slate. They happen when the Sun is directly aligned with the Moon, causing the Moon to “disappear” in the night sky. It’s also a great time to view other celestial bodies and events.
 
January 6, February 4, March 6, April 5, May 4, June 3, July 2, August 1, August 30, September 28, October 28, November 26, December 26
 
Full Moons
 
Full Moons are more…fun. Full Moons are thought to influence animal and human behavior, which I can attest to, working in the service industry. Thoughts and emotions are heightened, and it is the height of mental clarity.
 
January 21, February 19, March 21, April 19, May 18, June 17, July 16, August 15, September 14, October 13, November 12, December 12
 
Planetary Retrogrades
 
Now for the fun stuff. Retrogrades have started to become more pronounced in culture lately and for good reason. When a planet begins to move in the sky opposite of its normal trajectory. The planet is not actually spinning in reverse. It appears to be moving differently because of its relation to Earth and how they are both moving around the Sun.
 
The most well-known planetary retrograde is Mercury, due to its frequency, but there will be six planets in retrograde this year, each with its own effects. Retrogrades are a reflective time where planning and introspection are paramount. Shoutout to findyourfate.com for the info!
 
Mercury
 
Mercury is most associated with communication errors such as mistakes and misunderstandings. Transportation problems also tend to occur in Mercury retrograde.
 
Things to focus on: Research, planning, behind-the-scenes moves
Things to avoid: New commitments
 
March 5 – March 28
July 7 – August 1
October 31 – November 20
 
Jupiter
 
Jupiter goes into retrograde every year and usually lasts about four months. It also overlaps the second Mercury retrograde.
 
Things to focus on: Reviewing intentions and belief systems
 
April 10 – August 11
 
Saturn
 
Saturn goes into retrograde once this year, for almost five months. It overlaps both Jupiter and Mercury retrogrades.
 
Things to focus on: Long-term goals and planning
 
April 30 – September 18
 
Uranus
 
Uranus is in retrograde twice this year. One ended today, as it carried over from last year. The other overlaps the last Mercury retrograde of the year and lasts for about five months.
 
Things to focus on: Inner freedom, new perspectives
 
January 1 – January 6
August 12 – January 1
 
Neptune
 
Neptune also spends about five months in retrograde every year, overlapping parts of Uranus’, Saturn’s, and Jupiter’s retrogrades, as well as two of Mercury’s retrogrades.
 
Things to focus on: Spirituality, inner tranquility, vision
 
June 21 – November 27
 
Pluto
 
The last of our retrogrades this year, Pluto goes for about five or six months every year. It overlaps the second Mercury retrograde, as well as parts of all the other retrogrades.
 
Things to focus on: Change and transformation.
 
April 24 – October 3
~     ~     ~
 
So there we are! I hope this new year brings all the best into your life, and knowing how these planetary events work and what they affect will help. I’d like to do more of these kinds of posts, so if you’re interested or have feedback, let me know!