Thursday, October 11, 2012

Time and Turnings: New Moon in Libra, Monday, October 15, 2012 and the start of Makahiki

Hawaiians observe[d] Twelve Lunar Months every year. Each month featured 29 or 30 lunar phases (the Mauli phase at times being omitted) and was divided into three anahulu called Ho'onui (rising or waxing), Poepoe (full or round) and 'Emi (diminishing).

The start of the new year was marked with the rise of Makali'i, the "little eyes" (Pleiades). The first lunar month of the year, Makali'i, is said to begin with the first New Moon following the rise of Pleiades on the Eastern sky..."


New Moon in Libra, October 15, 2012 is Monday approaching. New Moon, New Year the potential for something new (an idea, a cleaned floor, a washed window) all stack up as a focus as Earth rotates and revolves in the heavens. The astrology of this New Moon? Here's what my astrologer Elsa wrote:
...The new moon is  supported by Jupiter so this offers a great chance for a fresh start on a Monday morning. Jupiter’s energy is protective. It’s benevolent, visionary and expansive. Libra deals with love, money and sociability.  Try to incorporate these things when you set your intention.  More (Jupiter) love (Libra) for example. Try to get along (Libra) with a broader range (Jupiter) of people."
That last line "Try to get along (Libra) with a broader range (Jupiter) of people" rings the bells in me as I get closer to a solar return, a birthday coming in mid-November. The New Moon and the New Year of Makahiki give me cause to celebrate positive and amazing progress in a life that needed reassembling. October 15 marks a year's anniversary of committing to retraining my brain (the limbic system-the ancient brain) and in particular the almond-shaped amygdala. For nearly a year of daytimes and night-times I've taken the path less traveled to re-define ideas, images and feelings about big and wild things like: fear, threat, danger and safety. That less traveled path is the one not trodden by habit. If there is one big, big thing this journey of healing from MCS has taught me it's this: the choice is ultimately mine! Blaming others for the habits or choices they make that (might) affect me is my habit. Habits and expectations are locked in if left unquestioned and last October 15th I made a choice to choose differently. Changing is difficult mostly because I have to keep believing the change is worth the discomfort; the water is deep when you launch from solidity of shallow water. The muscles for swimming new and deeper water (change) are unused to the exercise. For me, one of the muscles that needed exercise is the muscle that make my mouth say, "NO. No. nO." No, this is not for me. No, I have had enough and I'm leaving now. No, you don't really know what's best for me."

We watched the 2009 movie The Soloist the other night. The film is based on a true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who develops schizophrenia and becomes homeless. If we had not 'become homeless' and without a house for seven months ourselves, the film would have struck me differently. Since we have the memory and the experience of being without a house the drama played notes on my internal strings: notes in minor keys the haunting and lower notes that bring up grief and sorrow. The most potent lines of the film were spoken by the social worker-maybe the director of the homeless shelter LAMP, when he is dogged by the well-meaning journalist who 'discovered' the musical genius Nathaniel Ayers  in the Los Angeles' Skid Row. The journalist is sure that the solution or fix for Ayers is therapy and drugs. "You can do that, right! Diagnose him and treat him with drugs. (paraphrased).' The answer the journalist receives is something like this: "These people have diagnosis, upon diagnosis. They don't need or want one more diagnosis; and drugs? Which drug haven't they had. LAMP is a program based on the belief that names its goal: HOUSING FIRST.

"The approach we use, and helped to pioneer, is called Housing First or permanent supportive housing. Conventional wisdom has long said that homeless people with disabilities had to “straighten up” before they could obtain housing. But people with severe disabilities cannot access treatment, let alone make dramatic changes in their lives, while struggling to survive on the streets.

 " Housing First approaches are based on the concept that a homeless individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. In contrast, many other programs operate from a model of "housing readiness" — that is, that an individual or household must address other issues that may have led to the episode of homelessness prior to entering housing...

Our Quonset is now fully enclosed and mostly sealed against the dampness that moves back into the woods for winter. The look of a Long House creates joy. Pete is off for a few hours of his away-from-home work, but as he prepared to leave he turned around. I was hugging him but he could still look over my head. "It's just where I wanted to be before it starts to rain." We have lived in many places, and many on-lookers would never call these places "home" as they look on: a front yard in a Windward O'ahu residence; a driveway for the night; a parking lot stall along the white sandy shores of a Hawaiian beach ...

Watching The Soloist rewound memories just enough to bring me to the crossroads of my road less traveled; the one where I understand to stay off the trodden path of an incited amygdala. To have a house that we call home ushered us into this space "a homeless individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained."As the New Moon and the Pleiades signal the beginning of a New Year approaching I write from the comfort of that housing obtained. Without housing my decision to begin retraining my ancient brain ... the one that is ignited and left in the fully-on position, the one that is probably living with most homeless, was not an option. Timing is divine, we have made sense of trauma and come to a new island, a place where we are housed and at home.
Home ... inside a well-built nest

Homelessness is an equal opportunity experience. Exemption is not guaranteed, and the fix? No easy solutions. But, there is a grace to the potency of a New Moon intention to "try to get along (Libra) with a broader range (Jupiter) of people." The gray skies mute the senses today. I think of the many new relationships I have experienced since committing to retraining my amygdala; practicing limits and exercising my mouth and mind to say "No" and mean it. A year of practice and I can feel how much more space I have in my heart for "Yes!" I'm just where I hoped to be before winter came.

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