As I write this post, I am sitting next to a wide open window with fresh air and sunshine beaming through, sipping a cup of locally grown Kona coffee. For those of you following along on my Instagram stories, you know I am in Hawaii (and have been for a couple of weeks).
I traveled here to visit one of my mentors Debra Silverman, and when I made those plans, my husband decided to come too, and we made a holiday out of it. And, because Hawaii is so damn far from NY, I decided to stay as long as possible and work from here. I mean, who knows when I’ll get to come back. So I am embracing another couple of weeks of solo travel amidst a tropical paradise.
I know how tacky it is to share these work-from-anywhere success stories, laden with implications that somehow I’ve cracked the happiness/freedom code of life and you should aspire to have the same luxuries I enjoy because I have chosen a work from anywhere career. I get it. It’s annoying and certainly not why you’ve entrusted me with sacred space in your digital life.
My goal here though is not to push FOMO on you—no way José. I want to talk about something different…
JOMO—the Joy of Missing Out!
You see, as I’ve embraced and the latter half of my thirties, I’ve gone through an incredible topsy-turvy time reconciling my infertility. Having had gynecological cancer, a total hysterectomy, and an overnight entrance into menopause in the ’90s, I’ve lived almost two decades without sex hormones and reproductive organs. I thought I had reconciled infertility. But as my childbearing years came roaring in, an insatiable desire to mother hijacked my reality. I had to grieve my uterus and ovaries yet again.
When I say grieve, I don’t use the term lightly. I went through what felt like an inconsolable infertility dark night of the soul.
Let me paint a picture of what this looked like. Sometimes I couldn’t even go to certain events because they felt like way too big of triggers. (Baby showers often fell into this category.) When I did go out, I’d occasionally find myself in bathrooms at parties crying my face off. I buried my head in work, to exercise a sense of control over my life. I spent hours in therapy questioning whether I wanted to mother or if I just felt sad about not having the choice of conception. I went down multiple adoption trails to arrive at Destination Nowhere again and again.
Social media became a minefield. Every time I saw a happy, healthy pregnant friend boasting her belly, a newborn so precious I could actually smell it through my laptop, a spunky five-year-old child getting on the bus for the very first time, or a conversation about the bliss (and necessity) of breastfeeding, I felt like I didn’t belong to my gender!
Talk about FOMO!
Yet, as 2017 wraps itself up, I have to say, I am leaning into something entirely different. Rather than bone-chilling sadness, I am actively working on JOMO—or the Joy of Missing Out. (My friend Katie Den Ouden introduced me to this term a couple of weeks ago, I was like, yeah, that might just be my word for 2018!)
While 2017 didn’t deliver a child, I had explosive growth in other areas of my existence. I moved full-time upstate, experienced new levels of intimacy in my marriage. The revenue in my business substantially increased. Creative projects I’ve worked on for years started to blossom. I started writing professionally for Well+Good, and developed strong working relationships with people I strongly admire like Kate Northrup and Ruby Warrington, of the Numinous. I took long walks on a daily basis, felt more in touch with my spirituality, found my political voice, and set meaningful goals outside of work.
All of this happened while becoming a parent didn’t.
Despite the temptation to focus on that which isn’t working, I am super excited to look at what is working, because truth be told—things feel pretty damn good.
The Benefit of Honest Grief
Having grieved the limitations of my femininity over the last few years, I am at a point on this journey where I can see the joy in my situation (hello, month long work travel adventure in Hawaii!).
Yet, this wasn’t always the case.
For example, two years ago I visited Hawaii and stayed at the exact same place where I’m staying now. When I saw there was a waterslide at the pool, I felt teary because it reminded me of the kids I couldn’t have. Yesterday, while on a work break, I made some friends in the pool who happened to be six and eight years old, and they invited me to try out the waterslide. I went down the slide with a giant smile on my face, then said goodbye and went back to work. No tears involved.
While grieving may feel completely indulgent, and even petulant, I assure you, it’s not. Grief, a necessary alchemical elixir, absolutely serves as potent (and necessary) medicine. While it can feel isolating and destructive, learning how to grieve is a sacred art!
In my experience, the only way to get through it, is to go through it.
For me, that meant embracing shadow emotions like anger, rage, intensity, and lots of tears. I had the good fortune of working with an amazing therapist. I journaled. Opened up to a few very close friends. I took excellent care of my health. And, for the love of God, I slept… a lot!
It humbled me. I learned that grief comes in cycles. Waves. It has a rhythm. It’s worth making peace with. And that even though today I feel total joy, tomorrow I may need to cry again. It’s all part of the path!
Embracing Grief During the Holidays
As we embrace the holiday season, I understand that you may have your own topsy-turvy situation going on:
- Family drama looms
- The crazy recognition of how fast time flies
- The brutal reality that it’s just damn cold and dark for most in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year
- Financial hardship
- Health problems
- Having suffered a breakup or death in your family
- Not having a partner
- Feeling isolated from community
- Postpartum depression
- Crazy hardship in other areas of your life
Ugh. The list goes on and on.
Despite the fact that the Sun travels through jovial Sagittarius, this time of year doesn’t necessarily scream joy. Yet, there are somethings we can do to practice excellent self-care, even if it doesn’t feel exceptionally easy.
This particular holiday season happens with Mercury Retrograde afoot, and Saturn—the planet that rules life lessons—getting ready to switch signs.
Like a broom sweeping away the dust of our internal world, the next few weeks cosmically ask us to evaluate our life vision, as we prepare for an entrance into an entirely new reality.
I assure you 2018 is not more of the same.
So as we approach the end of 2017, the Gemini Full Moon, the upcoming Mercury Retrograde, and the end of Saturn in Sagittarius, I encourage you to get honest and real about what’s up in your life!
Illuminate, Integrate, and Release
The Gemini full moon on December 3rd, 2017 helps you illuminate, integrate, and release the lessons of the year. This Gemini full moon happens with Mercury, the planet of communication, snuggling up next to Saturn while stationing retrograde. Mercury travels retrograde between December 3rd and 22nd, while Saturn simultaneously wraps up his roughly two-and-a-half-year journey through Sagittarius.
Meanwhile, Neptune (the planet of spirituality) squares the Sun and Moon to form a T-square. While this formation may feel agitating and confusing, there is good news: Jupiter makes an auspicious angle to Neptune, so despite the confusion in the cosmos, you can expect a breakthrough regardless. But rather than relying on brute ambition to get through it, settle into reflection instead! This full moon delivers intense year-end medicine, and I encourage you to have an open mind about what it might be.
While Mercury Retrograde usually means tech glitches and miscommunication issues, this particular retrograde—in fire sign, Sagittarius—asks you to look at the trials and triumphs you experienced over the last two years or so since Saturn, the planet of lessons, traveled through Sagittarius. It’s asking you to own your vision for your life.
Later this month, Saturn moves into Capricorn, but before doing so, Mercury beckons you to review what you learned.
Now’s not the time to charge forward with new work but instead settle into soul reflection.
A Ritual for the Full Moon in Gemini
Since this full moon happens in the sign of Gemini—a sign that famously loves to write—now is the time to bust out your writing utensil (nope, this should not be done digitally). Instead, go ahead and take out your journal, or just some blank paper and get a pen.
Light a candle and say a prayer. Ask for guidance to connect with your higher self.
Then set a timer for 20 minutes and permit yourself to brain-dump what’s going on in your heart.
Consider these questions:
- How do I feel about 2017 coming to a close?
- What am I aching for? What am I longing for?
The goal is to download what’s in your heart and mind without judgment.
Once 20 minutes has passed, stop. Take a breather. Give yourself a moment or two to disconnect. Go to the bathroom, take a sip of water.
Then come back to your writing, read what you just wrote, and circle what feels most provocative. Now set your timer again, this time for five minutes.
Ask yourself if there is anything else you need to say about this? See what comes up.
Once you feel complete processing via writing, consider what you need to release. What’s holding you back right now? What do you need to surrender to have more joy in your situation?
With the full moon upon us, now’s the time to let go of that which isn’t working.
This may mean you need to grieve. If so, let the tears fall. You may need to get angry. If so, close the door and pound a pillow. You may need to go deeper than what I described here. Trust your guidance to take yourself where you need to go.
You may want to write down exactly what you are releasing and then destroy the paper upon which you wrote it via fire—if so do it!
Whatever you do, don’t forget to get outside under the moonlight. Let the moon whisper her wisdom in your ear. Let her truth permeate through your third eye. Accept the guidance she’s making available to you. Listen.
My prayer for you: May you experience the bliss of JOMO. May you know that what’s most meant to be yours can not escape you. May you have the courage to grieve in all honesty that which you need to. May your tears powerfully wash you clean. And may these next few weeks feel sacred and blessed!
I’d love to hear from you—what’s been coming up for you around this Gemini full moon? Do you have a special ritual that’s calling to you? Let me know in the comments! As always, I send you all of my love.