Last fall I got so into astrology that one day I spent 8-hours researching my birth chart. I can’t say that all of it stood out as really describing me and some of it was totally off base. I’ve spent the last several months paying attention to my birth chart signs and seeing how the moon and sun moving through the zodiac affects me. Oftentimes I don’t notice the changes but I’ve still enjoyed thinking about how different aspects of my personality relate to the different phases of the moon and the zodiac.
As Cancer season is drawing to a close I am reflecting on some realizations that it has brought. The symbol for cancer is the crab. The crab lives in a hard shell and travels along the ocean floor, taking its home with it. Cancer, as a water sign, is an emotional one. It deals with home and emotional safety and the ways you emotionally protect yourself. Cancer only shows up in my chart in my north node which means my life goal is to move away from the rigid, structured, aspiring, and ambitious life of a Capricorn and aspire to foster emotional, nurturing connection. This part of my birth chart rings so true for me it’s one of the first things that drew me into astrology. This really helped me make sense of the path that I’m on right now which is dropping my career in favor of taking care of my child at home.
A Symbol for the Season
A few weeks ago I was listening to a Cancer season podcast in which an aquarium was used as a metaphor for the season. The inside is fluid and brimming with life but it’s got an extremely rigid structure. I began to think about the rigid structures in my own life. The ideals I hold myself to. The behaviors I expect from myself. These are personal boundaries. I am historically great with setting boundaries. I am good with not overtaxing myself or putting more on my schedule than I can handle. I don’t let people walk all over me, I speak up for what I need and make sure I’m seen and heard. But I have never inspected how the expectations I have for myself-my boundaries for myself- can be too strict.
Thinking about the metaphor of the aquarium, I started inspecting the standards that I hold myself to, these often manifest in the to-do lists that I frequently make and complete. I set up meaningful and enriching things to do and expect great things from myself. I expect myself to eat healthy food, exercise, and journal. Meditate, clean the house and work on organization projects. Make art, blog, thoughtfully share what I’m thinking about and experiencing. Read. I have a to-do list full of actions I want to accomplish and self care items. I am productive and deep with all the stuff I get done every day and often feel very proud of myself. But when I don’t accomplish these things I am hard on myself and feel like I’ve wasted my time. I feel disappointed. Telling myself that I’ve wasted my own time and feeling disappointed in myself is a red flag. I wouldn’t say that to Ezra that I was disappointed in him or that he’s wasting my time (and the way I treat Ezra inspires me to treat myself and others more like I treat him). It’s a rude thing to say to anyone, let alone myself. So I began to observe these rigid boundaries that I have and when I sat on the couch and scrolled on my phone and felt myself internally pointing to the boundary that I’ve set that I’m not allowed to do that for too long, I pushed through and kept doing it to sit with the discomfort of violating my own boundary.
Loosening Up Strengthens Intuition
One of the conclusions I’ve come to from this experiment in loosening my own personal boundaries/expectations of myself is that I don’t have to have laser focus on everything that I’m engaging in at all times. I don’t have to absorb everything. I don’t have to pay all my attention to whatever I’m doing at any given moment. It’s fine if my attention drifts in and out. In fact, loosening this boundary is turning out to be a powerful intuition building tool.
When I resurface from not paying attention, I am scanning what brought my attention back? What thoughts were just meandering through my mind? What is meaningful?
Really I am deciding to not fight myself. I’m allowing mindlessness and when I come back from zoning out I reconnect with my surroundings have a deeper moment of being present.
Cancer season has brought me to a place of being less hard on myself for not being better about whatever extreme dedication and focus I expect from myself that I never seem to be able to sustain. And I’m developing my intuition by paying attention to what makes my focus ebb and flow and what I’m drawn to and where that can take me.