We all get stuck in ruts: working the same job for years, looking at the same old four walls, it’s hard not to get into a groove, and not always the groovy good kind either. Brains are groovy though, as new neural pathways, or grooves, are forged every time we learn something new. But the brain is tricky. Once we master a new skill, the mind gets lazy. Right after the initial push of new learning, our brains efficiently go on automatic pilot so we don’t have to recreate the wheel driving to work in the morning, balance bitter and sweet while cooking dinner or remember our profession. So helpful, habit, but rituals of habit can be deadening, easily developing into the dreaded rut. Even good habits can accustom us to a sort of mental laziness, boredom, apathy or uninterested and uninteresting malaise. Which is totally anathema to that breath of fresh air we call Gemini, lively, ever fresh ‘of the moment’ Gemini.
Sometimes our response to certain points and topics starts to feel deliriously habituated to an extreme – and delirium may be the right word choice here. Studies on patients with the form of delirium, Alzheimer’s, suggest that higher educated people fare far better than not and the higher educated patients are are not only more functional, the theory is, higher education levels appear to be protective against developing dementia. Highly educated folks are more likely to keep creating new neural pathways instead of following the same old ones because they keep learning. Interestingly, sticking to routine, having narrowed social options and a dislike for new experiences is a major symptom of Alzheimer’s (and old age). It would seem that every one of us becomes a slave to habit. This isn’t new news. We listen to the news and no matter what is said we hear the same old story, have the same conversation we’ve had with our partner for what feels like a hundred times (you know, that one), or the one we’ve had a hundred times with our self. If boredom ages us, one solution is to keep learning.
On the subject of youth, I’ve known a few Gemini kids who do something very, very annoying, but instructively, they do this only when they’re bored – they mimic. It’s a curious phenomenon, one which I never gave a second thought to until listening to the talking heads today. Because today, while listening to the bad news network, I found myself wondering if, well, whether maybe the culprit of our problems today is true mental boredom. Doctors graduate from medical school and stop learning; politicians take the party line; people get sick of misinformation (or no information). We need an original solution for Afghanistan, something original to watch at the theaters, and…it’s not so original. We may be overstimulated, but that doesn’t mean we’re learning. Maybe we’re just bored.
There are other options. Mercury, Gemini’s ruling planet, is aligned with messages, ‘of the moment’ thoughts and fresh new perceptions -along with Magicians and Tricksters. If we want change, the surprising and delightful kind that lifts the ceiling on our minds, we can make like Mercury and Uranus. We can become willing to play, experiment, loosen up our mind and be humble enough to listen. If we meet Mercury or Uranus on the road wearing the mask of a surprising new problem, while knowing he/she/it is the master of disguises, we can get tricky back. With the mental agility of a gymnast, the curiosity of a cat, and the intellectual forte of a riddler, we can cultivate the worthy habit of considering all the alternatives to the Dark One. After all, it’s Gemini – we have options and choices if we’re willing to see them. When the Trickster arrives, we can get trick up our response.
Every year Gemini Full Moon rolls around and says, ‘hey, the air’s gotten stale around here!’. Maybe only our own outrageousness and experimental ingenuity can help us now. Uranus’ move forward today concurs, and ups the ante with a healing dose of outrageousness. In the service of healthy brain grooving, and the experiential Gemini Full Moon, I have a homework assignment for you: do something outrageous and different. Then ride that jolt of electricity or fresh breath of air into the next two weeks. Although you are under no obligation to report back to me, please feel free to.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
–Ask for an oracular appearance. Then ponder the riddle of it’s meaning. My favorite Gemini activity is walking; it is the time I receive messages, probably because I’m both receptive to incoming messages and not thinking about anything.
–Get outside the box. Timothy Ferris, entrepenuerial genius, suggests this exercise to all his up and budding entrepeneur apprentices exercise: lay down in the middle of a crowded square. Twice. The goal of this exercise is to make a habit of putting your self in uncomfortable situations because big thinkers and risk takers are no strangers to discomfort.
–Kick your own a**. Instead of waiting for a crisis, Rob Brezsny says, “We could cultivate in ourselves a sixth sense for the wake-up calls life sends us. We might develop a knack for responding with agile grace to the early, gentler ones so that we wouldn’t have to be visited by the more stringent measures. There’s also another possibility: With hungry intent, we could seek out and hunt down invigorating jolts. We wouldn’t wait to have our a**es but would kick our own a**es — over and over again.”
– Consider your problem as a gift. Many spiritual teachers say our greatest problems contain our greatest gift. Maybe that’s because our ‘problem’ is part of the Divine design, and that ‘problem’ is a seed gift in disguise. What if my problem is a wild and wily answer to my own life’s question? What if this problem is a solution in disguise? Engaging this line of inquiry doesn’t mean we’ll get all the answers in the way we want them but entertaining our dilemmas in a spirit of open-ended inquiry has a way of loosening up our minds. Then, instead of creating the drama of habitual boredom, we create exciting alternatives to banality. Who knows, we may even start a revolution.