The cat’s onto me. Skippy senses when I have a spare minute during the day, when I’m mulling over a thought between paragraphs, and jumps onto my chair for any scrap of lovin’ laying around. Within all the roles my self inhabits, there’s something for everyone, a nugget of attention here, an inquiry into well-being there, diet advice, astrological observations on the day. I do enjoy giving, or do I? Lately I’ve been wondering how to squeeze more satisfaction out of the simple exchanges in life, especially when it feels like there’s less around me. With the economy talk I do wonder if we’re being tricked into thinking we’re being squeezed into “less” on some level. Yet what of the more? More essential than these basic resources, like gold whichÂ clearly isn’t appreciating, what will appreciate over time are the qualities of attention, presence, and acceptance I bring into this moment. No squeeze there.
Nurturing, I do this fine. The cat agrees. But nurturing presence is a little trickier. Doing what I do is reflexive and automatic for me. Like a doctor tapping my reflexes, when someone cries help; I knee jerkedly bring tea & sympathy. When the body needs clean food, I diligently forage for the nutrition, and find it. When the phone rings, I answer it (although I’ve been doing less of that). Lately I’m growing aware just how instinctively I respond to the needs of the moment (they’re endless), draw boundaries around these moments (my time! my time!) and the errant hope that by accomplishing this need or that goal, I will finally, really, arrive. And relax. And find peace. And enjoy myself. If this logic weren’t so painfully, obviously ridiculous – it would be hilarious.
I imagine there’s another way to do this nurturing business. And my Taurus Moon friends edify this. Here’s how it looks: like breaking bread together, I offer a piece to you – and take a piece to satisfy myself. They seem to be able to nurture the world, and be vicariously nurtured for nurturing it. To me, this is a freakishly mysterious ability, I feel far less gifted in than they. One Taurus moon friend Holly has a toddler, and enthusiasm, and energy, and two successful careers, and showering anyone who needs it with love, never seems to stretch her. My mental computer says “does not compute”: I reflexively output, and find myself foraging for input, often. I’ve experienced this “bread breaking” quality of my mentor Paul, aka Taurus rising, for after he works his magic everyone walks away belly full, nourished, happy as clams. When I ask him how to do this, he offers, “Don’t forget to satisfy your self….What would satisfy you?” It’s tricky. I was too busy baking the bread to notice.
So I notice. I attempt to embody the Taurus energy of the season. I forage for food that’s good for me – and tastes really good. I rub my cat’s belly and energetically absorb her creature-ly joy. I watch the habits of animals with more interest, bees thirstily drinking spring pollen, ants at work. Instead of looking at a tree, thinking how nice it would be to sit under it if I weren’t so busy, I sit. I relish the details, and pleasures, of spending more time on an email correspondence with a new student, more time than I normally would, because I sense her aliveness, and her connection to the present. I graze on magazines – and on spiritual teachings.
I listen to Eckhart Tolle who reminds me of a simple truth: that the means is the end. In other words, how we spend this moment – actually, everything about this moment – is a seed that will bear fruit in the “end” result of our action. Since the future never really arrives anyhow – except in this next moment – if its happiness we’re looking for, striving for success will only create more striving. Like hoping to land a big contract, or publish a book, done from a place of striving, when we do reach that goal, it’s a big hunk of work, too, replete with more craving – and more striving. If peace is what we ultimately want, we work, live and love from a place of peace – we get it. When peace fills the present, whatever successes we have in the “future” are peaceful. That’s not an invitation for more striving. That’s an invitation to settle down, find you pleasure spot, and enjoy.
The Taurus New Moon invites us to do at least one simple thing that will make us more present to the aliveness and generosity of the present. We can do this by exploring nature, including our own curiously human one. I endeavor to turn off the mental chatter, to headily imbibe on the moment. How to balance the scales of output and input may remain a temporary mystery, but I have resumed my old habit of almost-daily walking. I am resolutely not doing this for exercise. As I recently explained to a jolly jogger who, while observing I was new to his morning running routine, said “Soon you’ll be running a 5k and lifting weights!”, I clarified, “No, that’s not what this is about for me. I’m here to appreciate the walk”. Ah, he said, “You’re just enjoying yourself”. Yes. Just enjoying myself. This brief exchange felt akin to switching gears in life – from the fast lane, to the slow. I always liked the fast lane more. But the slow lane feels perfect.