Mercury is in Retrograde (and other thoughts on healing, progress, and change)

Mercury is in retrograde, or so I’ve heard. I know nothing of astrology; it was only recently that I attempted to learn what friends mean when they declare this cosmic reality with trepidation in their tone. What I took away from my very unscientific research is that there are periods when Mercury appears to move backward in its orbit around the sun, largely due to our earthly position, movement, and vantage point. While some surmise that life enters an unpredictable, chaotic state in this time, I like the image of life appearing to stand still or regress, even as we are making forward progress. It rings as true for me of late.

I had surgery almost six weeks ago–a major operation that left me with an incision from hip to hip and armpit to armpit…and lots of swaps and changes in the body parts in these regions (for a more technical explanation, feel free to look up prophylactic double mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction). A few days ago, right around the time Mercury was appearing to slow down and back up, I began to feel as though I was doing the same. Open wounds had developed in three areas of my incisions, and the short bursts of energy I had exhibited in the week prior had been snuffed out to the point where I was again spending much of my day in a recliner. Clearly I was moving backward, no?

The perception grew and expanded. Suddenly it was not merely my physical state where progress was suspended; I became despondent as I looked forward and could see no real plan or direction for my life. A friend asked about my professional intentions in the years to come, and I answered, dramatically, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

There are instances for each of us when life appears to slow down and move backward: the end of a significant relationship or friendship, the death of someone we love, the loss of a job, or, in my case, medical information that led to significant interventional surgery–and stirred up some of all of the above.

I am impatient. When life is difficult or I am struggling, I want the change, the healing, the progress to come quickly. I had to smile when a woman who had just had the same surgery posted to an online support group, “I’m two days out–when am I going to feel better?” (knowing full well that this procedure has an average eight week recovery period).

My exit strategy from this surreal state of being? I pulled out my journal, wrote “April 12, 2015”  (the day before my surgery), and proceeded to record every memory, milestone, obstacle overcome, and accomplishment I could recall since. Wow. After an hour of writing and remembering, my perspective had entirely shifted. I felt super-human, capable of accomplishing miraculous feats of healing. In taking a few moments to look backward, I could see just how far I had come–and how much momentum I have to propel me forward.

If you’re feeling stuck, know that this sense of being suspended is an illusion. Pull out your own journal, take a long walk to sense you are moving forward, and, if you’d like assistance with taking an appreciative look at your past in order to build your future, that’s what I love to do. I’m seeking new clients for the summer months–perhaps you’d like to be one of them.

© 2015 Jennifer L. Sanborn. All Rights Reserved.