Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Caught Between Winter and Spring

Spring is here! Are you ready? I can’t say that the Equinox crept up on me this year. Let’s face it. The weather these last couple of weeks has been quite strange. Two weeks ago, while on my walk, I was tricked again. Lovely sunshine beckoned me out of my comfortable cave. I took fifteen steps, froze, turned around, ran back inside, and grabbed my winter coat. Sun, how dare you mislead me? After forty-five minutes at a vigorous pace, my body adjusted, and, as soon as it did so, I was pelted with spring showers from a seemingly blue sky. Those clouds were so far away...does rain time travel?

It took several minutes before I caught on. The weather was a projection of that particular moment in time. After a fifteen-month retreat into my cocoon, a long sleep, an extended winter, I was suddenly propelled forward. More had happened in the last twelve hours than in the last twelve weeks; heck, more had happened in the last week than in the last year. It was March, after all, and Mars would finally go direct in another week, but it still managed to catch me by surprise.

Fast-forward one week, and we were having summer weather. Yesterday, I was (pun not intended) hot in my tank top! Today, the sun is hiding again, reflecting my hesitation to dive in. But, spring is here! Are we not ready?

I’m not quite there. I don’t know about you, but if those around me (and the weather!) are any reflection of the whole, I’m going to assume that I’m not alone. If you’ve found yourself caught in between winter and spring, you are not alone. Since Mars went direct, a few days ago, friends were commenting on feeling “stuck.” Or worse, they were feeling caught in between retreating (winter) and forward movement (spring). And to be caught in between two equally strong and opposite forces is much more actively uncomfortable than the word “stuck” implies.

Astrologers have cautioned that although Mars is now direct, it may take up to two months for its momentum to assist us in moving forward. So, all of this is to say that if you feel stuck or caught between winter and spring or feel like you’re slipping backwards or don’t seem, yet, to have the energy to move forward, don’t despair. You are right on target with the earth, the seasons, and the stars.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re going back to old stuff for an indefinite stay. This is your last chance to let go of the old (yes, the same letting go we were discussing at the beginning of the year). The next two months are an ideal time to consider the changes you are about to make, the new growth that is to blossom in the next two months, so that when mid-May arrives (and it will come quickly) you will be ready to move forward.

Happy Vernal Equinox, Everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Music, the Light of the Soul

On January 21st, I wrote the following. Fortunately, life has improved since then!*

There has been a lot of darkness lately, and I’ve been hanging out in it, longer than I’d like. Are you trapped in here with me? If not, then no need to read on.

Plenty of drama. Lots of change. Much letting go. Even more to reveal. Worlds are colliding. Not just the outer worlds, but the inner ones too. One of my friends recently wrote an eloquent post about the negative effects of travel on the environment. She concluded that overpopulation is our most significant contribution to the destruction of our earth. The earth wasn’t meant to support such a large number of humans.

And as we collide, drama and disaster mount.

I use the small town in which I grew up as an example. Even though it’s located in a major west coast city, it carries the title of “village.” That’s what it used to be, a quiet little village. But in the time it took for me to grow up, everyone else did too…and created families, and acquired SUVs…and, suddenly, my once sleepy village turned into a mini-Manhattan.

The negative effects of this population explosion go beyond the destruction of all things green. In my opinion, overpopulation also accounts for the majority of stressors. For example, it creates unbearable traffic, filled with a populace at its screaming angry rageful worst. I lived in Yarmouth, Maine for two years. There, driving was a pleasure…except when Bostonian weekenders showed up. You could spot them a mile away, because they were driving so damn fast. If you happened to catch a glimpse of their faces you’d see the same expressions of those stuck in the worst traffic jams—the underlying anxiety, the permanent crease in their foreheads, the victimized look in their eyes. You would witness the daily price they paid for their urgency-fueled existence.

It terrified me, because I recognized that all-too-familiar look that had stared back at me in the mirror, the one I had been too busy to notice.

And now everyone wears this mask.

My patient Twitter followers have had to endure my poor reaction to the largest of these stressors--noise. One would think that I’d be able to handle this, having spent my college years in crowded Berkeley coffee shops. Or how about all the years I’ve lived in Greece, where structural insulation is poor, every building has marble floors, and all of its occupants wear hard-heeled shoes? And even if the shoes come off, there are always the raised passionate voices, the rumbling of motorbikes, and the cacophony of traffic horns. One such Athenian apartment building that I inhabited was located next to a construction site. For those of you who have seen the Acropolis, on what does it rest? That’s right. Solid rock. Well, that same solid rock competed for space with the new building’s foundation, so, for weeks, I was assaulted by jackhammers chipping away at my soul.

You’d think that I could deal with a couple of noisy neighbors in a poorly-insulated building. I mean, surely there is no competition between this situation and the Athenian one.

But apparently, I can’t. Step 1: I admit that I am powerless over my reaction to the constant banging of pots and pans, angry shouting, and the incessant slamming of doors and drawers. Step 2: Find life-saving iPod and permanently attach ear buds to ear.

Step 2 is life-saving…not to mention a preventative treatment for insanity. My first iPod’s battery ran out, and I almost lost it. Almost. Its replacement, the infamous hot pink one,  arrived to save the day.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without music. I have an incredibly long way to go before I become Eckhart Tolle, Jr. In the meantime, music is a more realistic solution. Is listening to Sarah McLachlan or Ivy bringing me into the present moment, or is it just an escape? I don’t care. It keeps me sane. It feeds my soul.

They say that the olfactory sense takes us back to our oldest memories. That may be true, but I think my ears take me back to my strongest memories, the most significant ones. When I hear a Bach fughetta, I’m back to the age of ten, playing on my upright piano in the downstairs hallway, with my five-year-old brother running down the steps to bang on the bass keys. When I hear Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini I go back to my first ill-fated childhood love affair (the kind that’s all in your head). When I hear A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliet, I’m transported back to the fifth grade, sitting at my school desk, wearing my favorite dress with the mod five-petaled flowers.

Then there are the sixties tunes, and visions of Haight-Ashbury and Telegraph Avenue flash before my eyes. The original American Woman plays and I hear the content of all three boxes of my precious forty-fives. Then, I flash-forward to my first Greek boyfriend playing the same song in a Skopelos disco when I walk into the room.

Thus it goes, on and on. There are the teenage coming-of-age songs, the college songs, the med school years and residency songs (shudder). There are the Maine songs and the Greek songs (sigh).

What else holds this kind of power? Certainly not noisy neighbors.

So, next time you feel stress rising from noise pollution, grab your MP3 player, turn on the CD player, click on YouTube, or visit Blip FM. Don’t let the noise-polluters get you down!

Oh, and thank you, Tweeps, for putting up with my ranting. I hope to do better from now on.

(Yes, I’m writing this in an extremely noisy coffee shop, but couldn’t be happier because I’m listening to the songs that you will find at the bottom of this page or here.)

*Afterthought: I’m happy to report that in the time since I wrote this original post I have made more positive adjustments, including joining a church choir to perform Brahms’ Requiem and purchasing a piano keyboard. The last time I had participated in either was over thirty years ago. It is wonderful to have music back in my life! What do you need to invite back into your life? Spring is on its way. It’s time to make a change!