Several years ago, I began to study with a teacher named Leslie Temple-Thurston of CoreLight. She had a funny teaching that has become a big part of my life: OK with Whatever.
The Lesson of Mercury Retrograde
I hadn’t realized how much impact this simply philosophy had made until this recent Mercury retrograde cycle that we’re now going through. If you don’t know what Mercury Retrograde is all about, here’s a brief summary: Mercury, the planet of communication and short distance travel appears, from our perspective on the Earth, to be moving backwards. This can indicate delays and stumbling blocks with communication, contracts (not a good time to sign them), electronics, commutes, and travel. It’s also a good time to go inward and reflect, review, and release old patterns, thoughts, etc. (all the re- words!)
Well, Mercury went Retrograde on July 7th, and it has been teaching me the art of OK with Whatever.
First, I had planned quite an extensive trip with my daughter during this period. Probably should have researched those dates, huh? She ended up getting a nasty cough and I decided to cancel most of our plans, turning a 13 day trip into 5 days, to give her time to rest and recover. (hmmm, more re- words).
I felt some disappointment in not being able to see my relatives on the east coast, the new places we were going to explore, and missing out on a visit to a dear friend. But mostly, I was OK with Whatever. I would have been happy to go, but I’m also happy staying here, having more time to relax, do yoga and meditate, write, hike, and spend quality time with my daughter anyway.
It ties into a principle that I talk about in my book, Awakening from Anxiety, and that my students over the years have known is my favorite concept from yoga philosophy: Santosha.
Santosha translates as “contentment”. It’s quite a different idea than happiness. Happiness is based on external circumstances. It is founded in getting what we want, and then we feel happy. Santosha, on the other hand, is based on our internal Self within, which is beyond happy and sad.
The practice of contentment involves finding within us where we are OK, no matter what the circumstances. Where we can feel at peace with what is, and maybe even find appreciation for what the moment offers. When we’re embodying Santosha, we find that the present moment fills us as it is. Life is enough and we feel inner fulfillment.
Santosha gives us resilience. It helps us through whatever is happening by accessing the unchanging steadiness we have within us, from the infinite presence of the Divine. From the chapter on resilience in Awakening from Anxiety: “We let go of looking for conditions in our life to be completely safe, and find that our essence within provides us with the feeling of ease we’re looking for.”
The Second Retrograde Event
This attitude of relying on my inner essence for my ease came in handy when the 2nd mercury retrograde event happened: my computer died. I had the signs for a few weeks, but I kept putting it off: slow performance, trouble starting it, little weird things happening. Then one night it died – just a black screen. I couldn’t get it to turn back on properly. The next morning, I was able to start it, but I took it right away into the computer mechanic (after I made sure to back up the data!).
Luckily, I had a laptop to use… and then it started acting weird, the mouse flying all over the screen out of control.
Ten years ago, I probably would have freaked out and blown my top. I have deadlines to meet! I have important data that could be lost if I didn’t recover all of it. There were blog posts that needed to be written and emails to read. What if a new client emailed me and I couldn’t respond to it???
But I just couldn’t drum up the drama and upset I used to. I had contentment – I was OK with whatever. I knew that I’d adjust and find a way to deal with the situation, and that I’d figure things out or get them fixed (and luckily, installing an update took care of my laptop). I also had perspective: in light of the possibilities in life, this wasn’t so bad and I knew I’d get through it.
The attitude of OK with Whatever helps me through much of life, because much of life isn’t that big of a deal. I used to make huge deals out of things that didn’t go my way. If I was turned down for something I wanted, I’d despair.
But the foundation under OK with Whatever is Trust. Trust in the Divine, and Trust in the Process. I have a solid establishment of this trust within me now, that I didn’t years ago.
I know that if I don’t get that speaking gig at the church in SF that I reached out to, that there will be another one that I will. One rejection or one door closing simply means another one opens. At times, that door may be opening to the simplicity of doing less and allowing myself to receive more from what is already here. I trust that the divine flow of life will bring me what I truly need.
I’m so much less reactive from the practice of Santosha and feeling OK with Whatever. If there’s a true crisis, sure, I’ll need to mobilize and it will be more stressful. But I’ll still know within that I have some part of me that’s alright through the upset.
As I recognize it’s time to call the store and check up on the well-being of my desktop computer, I’m still OK with Whatever. I can have it fixed, or buy a new one. I can earn the money to pay for it. It’s OK, and more importantly, I know that I’m OK within.
What has happened during Mercury Retrograde for you? What are you learning to be OK with Whatever about (or challenged by)? Share it here and I’ll respond. 🙂