“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” ~Amit Ray. In this article, find out about the Full Moon in Cancer, Crystals for Going with the Flow, Meditation for Precision & Gentleness, how to release and let go in order to get un-stuck, open up awareness and grow!
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize:
a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.”
“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”
"The first Full Moon of 2023 greets us in the waters of Cancer. This Moon is a gentle reminder to ask yourself what you need this year and be ready for an honest answer. Cancer is the sign of the great Mother. It teaches us to mother ourselves. Emotions and intuition are heightened on this Full Moon, and it can feel like a roller coaster as we ride the waves of energy it brings. It’s important to give yourself space and time to feel. Gift yourself moments of silence when you can cry, process, and allow your feelings to come up. It can be easy to ignore or suppress your emotions at this time of year. The hustle and bustle of the holidays gives us an easy escape. Now, though, it is the time to settle your energy, honor yourself, and give yourself the attention you deserve.
Most Full Moons carry the energy of release. With this one being at the beginning of the year, there is also an air of new beginnings, which typically belongs to a New Moon. As you work with this Full Moon, think about your intentions for the new year. How do you want to feel this year? Remember, Cancer is all about feeling. Cancer is not a logical sign. It does not care about pros-and-cons lists or spreadsheets. It has no use for thought exercises. It highlights our feelings, which sometimes make no sense at all—and that’s ok. Cancer teaches us that just because our feelings make no sense, they are still valid. They still affect us deeply, and they still can teach us something about ourselves. How we feel in a given situation can give us answers more quickly and accurately than any thought process or even algorithm."
"The sign of Cancer corresponds with the Chariot in the Tarot. In this card a figure drives a chariot pulled by a pair of Sphinxes (the animal may vary depending on which deck you are using), one white and one black. Like the Charioteer, Cancer’s focus is on setting the course and plotting the next destination. In this Full Moon we may be filled with conflicting emotions, passions and instincts and like the Chariot, we must learn how to direct it. We must steer a careful line between their opposing natures, represented by the two sphinxes, and the crab’s soft interior and its hard shell."
"Emotions are always heightened around the time of a Full Moon, and with this lunation in impressionable Cancer, we can expect to be even more aware of our own and others' emotional landscape. This enhanced sensitivity is likely to begin as soon as the Moon enters Cancer on Thursday, January 5, at 6:15 a.m. PST, and be strongest around the time of the Full Moon."
For a reminder to go with the flow and stay present, draw on the energy of Aquamarine. This light blue stone may help to calm, reduce stress, and quiet the mind. This crystal clarifies perception and opens intuition, helping you sense the greater depth and vastness of life. Aquamarine is also a good stone for promoting self-expression, and courage.
Ruby stimulates and opens the heart chakra, encouraging creativity and expansiveness. Work with this stone when seeking more vitality, intimacy, and sensuality in your life. Ruby is also an excellent stone for calming the fires within and allowing one to go with the flow. Manage your winter energy wisely, and take satisfaction from planning as well as achieving.
Worn or carried, beautiful green-blue Chrysocolla may help you express your knowledge and experience through writing, painting, music, crafts or acting. It also eases anxiety around being stuck at home or inside, and supports nesting and getting comfortable with your own body's energy. Chrysocolla supports those who work tirelessly, by calming emotional stress. Worth with this stone when seeking to embody increased patience and tolerance, and diminish negative thoughts.
"The journey of awakening--the classical journey of the mythical hero or heroine--is one of continually coming up against big challenges and then learning how to soften and open...
The whole journey of starting to say yes to life, is first of all realizing that you've come up against your edge, that everything in you is saying no, and then at that point, softening."
The energy of Release is in the air during the Full Moon. This is a culmination point and cocoon-shedding moment. The instinct to grab, to close up, to hide in the tough crab shell, the beautiful armor, may protect feelings in the short term, but in the long run, if we never look outside, it can limit our potential and keep us "safe" from all the beautiful aspects of life itself, that we really want to experience. That is why this meditation which embodies the feeling of "letting go," gently and easily, is especially appropriate.
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
To help with softening and opening out of tight-closed-crab-mode into open-aware-swimming-crab, here is a meditation practice as described by Pema Chodron in her book, The Wisdom of No Escape. The book is a collection of talks she gave during a one-month meditation practice period (dathun) in the spring of 1989 at Gampo Abbey.
Chodron explains, "If we can see ourselves as we are, with clarity, precision, gentleness, goodheartedness, and kindness and, having seen ourselves fully, then let go, open further, we begin to find that our world is more vast and more refreshing and fascinating than we had realized before. In other words, the key to feeling more whole and less shut off and shut down is to be able to see clearly who we are and what we're doing. It's about not trying to make out thoughts and feelings go away, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness.
This meditation technique cultivates these qualities of precision and gentleness which are innate within us. They are not something that we have to gain, but something that we could bring out, cultivate, rediscover in ourselves...Also, inherent in this technique is the ability to let go at the end of the out-breath, to open at the end of the out-breath, because for a moment there's actually no instruction about what to do. Because there is no particular instruction about what to do until the next out-breath. there's a possibility of "gap" at the end of the out-breath:
You're mindful of your breath as it goes out,
and then there's a pause as the breath comes in. It's as if you...pause.
The mindfulness is on the out-breath,
and there's some sense of just waiting for the next out-breath, a sense of no project.
One could just let go at the end of the out-breath. Breath goes out and dissolves, and there could be some sense of letting go completely. Nothing to hold on to until the next out-breath." A gently embodied sense of spacious freedom...This sense of letting go is a powerful tool for coming back to the present moment, if you are distracted feelings about the past, or absorbed in thoughts about the future, and seeking to fully experience being alive in the here and the now. There are three simple steps to this meditation technique:
Seated comfortably with your back straight, your eyes are open and your gaze soft--not a tight gaze. You're not shutting out all the other things that are going on. The purpose of this practice is to be fully present, awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life, being alive to the process of life itself.
There's a very light touch on the breath as it goes out. Touch the breath and let it go. Touch it very softly and let it go. If you find your body tensing, relax it. If you find your mind tensing, relax it. Feel the expansiveness of the breath going out into the space.
Notice your tone of voice when you say 'thinking.' Let it be soft and gentle, but at the same time precise. When thoughts come up, touch them very lightly, like a feather touching a bubble. The spirit of this practice is: "Good for you, you actually noticed! You've noticed that mind thinks continuously, and it's wonderful that you've seen that. Having seen it, let the thoughts go. Say "Thinking."
The experience of labeling your thoughts "thinking", over time, becomes much more vivid. You may be completely caught up in a fantasy, in remembering the past or planning for the future, then suddenly you realize, and you just come back to the present moment. You say to yourself, "Thinking." and as you're saying that, basically what you are doing is letting go of those thoughts. You don't repress the thoughts. You acknowledge them as 'thinking' very clearly and kindly, but then you let them go.
“Relax, allow the mind to become empty, and surprise yourself with the great treasure that begins to flow from your soul.”
About Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa and resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She is the author of numerous best-selling books including When Things Fall Apart and Living Beautifully.