One morning, my husband and I were driving into the city and I was happy and felt good. For no good reason. First, I’m not a morning person. Second, I had just stopped drinking coffee. Third, I was having a massive Pluto-Uranus-Sun-Mars-Pluto transit, which had just about altogether wiped out my  capacity for optimism. This was weird.

Suspicious of this new positive development, I warily said, “Hmmm, I’m experiencing what I can only describe as unfounded optimism…” John, the quintessential morning person and Jupiter-type smiled real big and finished my sentence, “…and in spite of yourself!”

Seizing the opportunity to deliver a teaching moment he asked, “Have you heard the story of red delicious apples?” I had heard this story on NPR recently, but I said I had not, because well, that’s the way you do it when you’re married and no matter first or fiftieth time you’ve heard the story, if you  listen to your partner’s stories you will always hear something new. Gemini Moon relishes any chance to tell a story — so he excitedly launched into a ditty about the discovery of red delicious apples.

Did you know Red Delicious Apples can’t be grown from a seed? Red Delicious Apples can only be grafted onto other trees. The man who discovered the first Red Delicious Apple tree in his own backyard was a simple farmer. One day he walked down a path to his orchards and saw a twig sprouting up in the middle of his path. Annoyed with the twig, he hacked at it with his hoe. But soon after, the hardy little sprout grew back. So he hacked it back again. He did this again and again, but he soon tired of beating the life out of the little twig and left it alone. Over time it grew into an apple tree – a tree that grew apples unlike any he’d seen, and eventually decided to take the apple to the state fair. His apples took first prize.

In another part of the country, a commercial farmer decided to attend this same state fair to look for an original apple. When he saw this winning apple (which the judge proclaimed, “Delicious! This shall be the name of this apple.”) he was so overjoyed that he immediately went to find the apple and farmer. But both went missing, and no one knew who the farmer was, so the apple entrepeneur could do nothing but patiently wait until the next state fair, the next year, hoping our farmer would re-enter. He did, the red delicious apple tree was purchased  for a hundred dollars (not a modest sum at the time). The commercial farmer took it home, bought exclusive rights, and brought Red Delicious Apples to the world.

John, in the re-telling, victoriously proclaimed: “You keep beating down that twig of optimism, but you’re growing, Moon.”

Well, sometimes optimism arrives for no apparent good reason, and that day I think it allowed me to glimpse the world from a different perspective– from my higher mind. Even back then, I could sense I was attempting to kill the very thing that was trying to give me life. I had felt blocked by my health issues for ages; frustrated by what bothered me, I kept hacking away at an annoying twig. That twig was my difficult relationship to my body, to self-care. No matter how many supplements I took, no matter how diligent I was on my diet, no matter how hard I hacked away at my health issues, the stubborn twig grew back. But that twig wanted to live, and thrive. It contained a new life, something heartfelt (red) and nourishing for all.

Today, as I look back, I clearly can see I was trying to destroy something that held new growth, life, but not until I stopped violently hacking away at myself (read: negative thinking, feeling disempowered no matter what I did, endless frustration spirals) could I see that the thing I was hacking away at was the very thing I most needed to befriend, care for and nourish.

Cancer is the archetype of new growth, of nurture, healing and self-care. In life, it is impossible to grow anything new without a protected, well cared-for, safe space in which to grow. This cannot happen if we’re abusing our self with negative thinking and piling misery on top of misery with poor self-care. Instead of seeing our life as a problem we need to change, we can love our self, and commit to healing those places where we believe our private and personal pain is separate from our healing journey (they aren’t). With Saturn square this new moon, we can re-dedicate our self to eating healthfully, exercising, creating the space for fun, love, joy and laughter in our life. We can create a nourishing self-care structure for healing (you can do this with the 40 Day Project). Mars t-squares the Uranus-Pluto square at this new moon. What are you resisting? Where is your  energy too forceful, or misplaced? What personal pain or struggle are you ready to accept and befriend — instead of fight against? At this New Moon, let the poor little twig be – let it heal. Let the thing that’s tripping you up grow into a red delicious.

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