How a full moon, a bar mitzvah, and closet cleaning showed me it was OK to want more (really) — and how to prevent a life tool from becoming a shackle
Tell me again what am I supposed to do on the full moon? Do you ever find yourself scrambling to do ‘something’ you think you are supposed to be doing — writing mantras in your journal, meditating, creating ritual, initiating massive life change?
I always say that one of the biggest reasons that I created Best Self Magazine…was because I needed it. And I’m not joking.
I get excited about life all the time, even if I’m not quite sure where to go next, what to do with the latest disappointment or insecurity popping up — or the fear that all of my hard work might fail. My crazy belief in possibility reminds me of what can work as opposed to what won’t — and is actually quite stubborn and resilient.
But beyond the crystals, ceremonies, intentions and alters — for me it’s ultimately about taking an inventory of my life. And any reminder to do that is a good thing.
No, you haven’t missed the boat if you don’t know the planetary set-up or its spiritual significance. But you have, if you don’t tap into the natural world around you and its interconnectedness in your life.
This past weekend I was in temple on a Saturday morning to celebrate the bar mitzvah of a dear family friend. The rabbi was a total Best Selfer to the core, reminding us all to just pause and look around the room; to breathe and take in the essence of that moment in all of its glory.
Off the bat, I’ll warn you that he is a beloved, non-traditional, guitar-playing, singing joyous being — and it was palpable, no matter your faith. The language he speaks isn’t of doctrine, it is of universal human connection. He reminded us of the true purpose intended for the Sabbath — to restore and reset, to connect to life’s wellspring, to be grateful for the little things: the bright sunny day, the birds chirping, our health, each other, etc. It all resonated immediately. Instantly, the life details swirling around melted away and we became one with the moment we were in, a beautiful celebration.
As usual, I went into the weekend with all kinds of ‘to-do’ lists dancing in my head. Of course there were the usual suspects, but I had work projects I wanted to initiate, house chores and more. Instead, I allowed that all to melt away as I embraced the Sabbath. It became a day of connection with my family and friends in a pretty new dress. It was good for the soul and just what the doctor ordered.
But some interesting things came up for me as the weekend progressed, right before the full moon.
I live in a small farm house with one closet, which requires somewhat of a monumental effort to shift everything from winter to summer— from bin to closet to attic and back again. And I’m a person who likes to clean, but I can tell you this is a task I do not look forward to (as a matter of fact, I delay it as long as possible). There’s really only one way to approach it — pull it all out (every boot and item of clothing), take an inventory, edit, dust off and reassemble. Now how’s that for a great life metaphor?
So what do full moons, bar mitzvahs and closet cleaning have to do with anything? Everything.
They are our life opportunities sprinkled about, there to be seized and to squeeze the sweet nectar from. As contrite as it may sound, we spend so much of our time planning and executing plans that we miss the ride in between — we don’t even realize that we have already arrived before we are off to the next destination.
We don’t acknowledge what we already have. Our perpetual striving is tricky because on one hand — striving can distract us from the purpose of all of this ‘doing’ — and yet, we need to participate in the co-creation of our lives.
As much as I love happy thoughts; happy thoughts alone do not make our dreams come true, neither do full moons or tidy closets.
We need some action steps to seal the deal. We need to consciously participate. We need to look around and breathe it all in.
How often do you give yourself the opportunity to do that?
That’s what I thought. Me too.
Something interesting happened in the midst of my closet-cleaning-purge on the eve of the full moon. If you could’ve had a snapshot of my room, you would’ve thought a bomb went off. When I clean, I go deep which means I really lay it all out there. As I tried to seriously assess what was in my closet — I started to assemble piles of items to donate.
As the piles mounted, I did another unusual thing: I went downstairs to bring up the iron and ironing board. And let me tell you, I hate ironing more than changing over my closets. But as I pulled certain summer items from bins, I could see they needed a little love. This whole ironing thing surprised me. As I stood there gently pressing certain items of clothing, it was as if I was nurturing them and reconnecting. Hello old friends.
And in the process, another thing that subtly popped up for me as I was standing there, iron in hand…it’s OK to not be OK. That in itself wasn’t the revelation. I’m not talking about accepting that we are human in all of our humanness. I’m talking about not settling.
The truth is that I have become a good ‘settler’ — and I don’t want to be a ‘settler’ anymore.
While I don’t talk about it a great deal, the last 16 years of my life have been about recovery — recovering the pieces of myself and rebuilding a life from the ground up (all the way up). If someone would’ve ever said to me, “Put your seatbelt on, this is going to take 16 years,” I would’ve fallen over and crumbled into a heap on the floor. I could never have imagined the resilience of the human spirit and never would’ve believed it if I had been forewarned.
That said, while making peace and seeing the beauty in the most miniscule of moments was literally a saving-grace tool during some of the toughest times of my life, I realize it can also be a slippery slope.
Don’t get stuck there.
My skill of making peace with everything also allowed me to slip into a bit of complacency and allowed me to play smaller than my soul truly desired.
I got so used to seeing the best in everything, finding the silver linings — I began to suppress desires almost as if I was unworthy of them. Those were reserved for other people.
But I wanted what they were having.
It finally hit me as I stood there ironing that I’d had enough. I declared, I don’t want to do this again (this big seasonal overhaul). I want a walk-in closet. I want a proper laundry room. I want more.
And you know what? The only way I’m going to have more is if I own it, if I step into it and declare it and then take the action steps to support it. This isn’t about material things, it’s actually about worthiness and ‘enoughness’.
It’s OK to want more.
Is there a permission slip that you need to grant yourself in that arena?
We just had a big full moon of significance this week. Full moons remind us to start again; declare what we want and declare what we don’t want, see what is working and what is not.
Celebrations allow us to slip into savoring the fruits of our labors. And cleaning closets give us permission to reconnect and purge, to assess all that we have amassed. These just happened to be my messages from the Universe. Look around and collect your own. They are there for the taking, swirling around you in the seemingly most mundane of moments and the most profound.
Be open to receive.
Walking with my friend Ron (a Best Selfer and one who knows far more about full moon significance and healing emotional wounding), I mentioned my experience and stirrings. He wasn’t surprised as he told me that the sun represents the conscious mind and the moon represents the subconscious mind. And when there is a full moon, there is literally more light illuminating both the moon and the subconscious. It just so happens that the subconscious is where we hold our emotional energy, including all of the wounded feelings that we would rather avoid.
Well, hello unworthy settler.
Whether it’s a new moon or a Monday, a seasonal cleaning or not, life is popping up around you all the time trying to steal your attention from all of your distractions, trying to redirect your focus, trying to show you that it’s OK to strive and it’s OK to be still. Some days are for stretching and some for retreating. You get to change your mind. You get to be OK with something one day and decide you want more the next. Remember, this is your life production…you get to set the stage, choreograph the scenes and move at your own pace. Are you listening? Your Best Self sure hopes so.
Are you a ‘settler’? What do you need more of — and what is life asking of you to show up with? Please share with us in the comments below — because as always, the best sharing is the sharing of our true experiences.