Using Mindfulness During my Saturn Return by Jennifer Sacks

 Photo by Dola Baroni, Watercolor by Alexa Gray

 Photo by Dola Baroni, Watercolor by Alexa Gray

It is my pleasure to introduce to you one of my most inspiring and talented friends, Jennifer Sacks. She is a wonderful artist and aspiring epidemiologist. Recently, she has been going through her Saturn return. "In horoscopic astrology, a Saturn return is an astrological transit that occurs when the planet Saturn returns to the same place in the sky that it occupied at the moment of a person's birth." This time often brings a lot of change and restructuring to ones life.

This year has brought traumatic experiences as well as a ton of growth for Jennifer. From frequenting the hospital to attending acting classes, to discovering the power of mindfulness, Jennifer has delved into uncharted and scary territory. We all go through these vulnerable, awkward and painful times at some point in our lives, so it's helpful to hear how mindfulness can help us traverse the darkness and come out the other side. May we all wake up and face the music during our Saturn returns. Without further ado here's Jennifer...

With so much autumnal fervor in the astrological air, remaining grounded has become a more challenging task than usual for me. 

Recently, I was hospitalized for a pretty severe case of pnuemonia. It was so surreal and most of what I felt beneath my exhaustion was anger.

I was upset because I had broken my leg jut a few months earlier and, to my initial dismay, spent much of the year relying on the care of others. While I thrive on being able to care for others, I did not know how to accept others caring for me. ..An unfortunate consequence of pride in self-reliance, no? Slowly the picture of my pride began to crack as I came to face my illusion. Sitting with myself in the hospital bed, I decided it was time to discipline myself, to surrender myself to the knowledge that I won't be able to control anything more than my own reactions. 

The first step, was to relax. Forget about getting organic everything (because.. hospital food); forget about being tough; forget about the illusion that I could control my situation. A few days later, I got home and never wanted to care for myself more. Reasonably enough, it was my spiritual and emotional self I sought to befriend now. I had been neglecting it, the parts of myself that require great attention and honor -- the loving, compassionate, sensitive psychic centers of my spirit. But, out of fear of vulnerability, I stifled my intuitive voice and relied instead on the less graceful practice of hiding myself away from confrontation with my true self.

Have I mentioned that I'm in my Saturn return?

Now, I'm learning to meditate. Again. It seems that every time I approach the practice I'm playing a mindgame of tug-o-war and my breathing pattern becomes a performance of dueling energy. Sometimes held, sometimes big and rounded, sometimes shallow, sometimes yawning… eventually, I realize that every breath is different from the last. Every inhalation and exhalation reflecting the thoughts that fill and empty my mind in an emotionally stimulated yet physical way. Needless to say, it's difficult to pull myself out of this fluctuating thought pattern, but I can't say that I'm all too upset about it.

The challenge has brought much to me. (No one told me meditation could be so great for your creativity)!

The other day, I had a pretty nice morning sitting. Besides the normal wandering and refocusing of my thoughts to my breath, I saw the most beautiful aubergine color. The texture was like crushed velvet and it's brilliance made even more luxurious by its jewel tone. It covered the inside of my eyelids and I was awe-stricken. Soon, of course, I noticed that my mind had wandered and I put the crushed velvet scene onto a cloud, letting it slowly float away. As it passed a little burst of the warmest yellow hue popped into sight. Further away than the velvet, this yellow ray of sunshine was only visible in my left eye, in the upper left corner of my left eye's vision. Again, I realized the wander, put the ball of light on its own little cloud and let it float away too. Then went back to counting, [inhale] one, [exhale] two..

I sat for fifteen minutes and finished up with a prayer, then wrote down all that I could remember during my mind's meanderings. 

I got stuck on the colors. I was so intrigued by them; their warmth, vibrance and presence. I started google-ing like a maniac. Aura this, aura that. You know how it goes. I found out that a deep purple aura, (of the crown chakra), can be suggestive of a need to grow past something or overcome an obstacle in order to get to a nice, clear purple aura that indicates a happy heart-mind balance. The yellow, a happy positive color (of the solar plexus) suggests, "a more inspired mental awareness" of which I was both surprised and pleased to learn (www.drstandley.com).

I feel like I got more than I bargained for with this meditation! I feel like I got confirmation for doing something good and right.

I've gotta tell ya, I'm really digging this practice.

That night I fell asleep thinking about life. Being in the midst of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, a new moon and changing seasons, thoughts were racing. But, I eventually came to the conclusion that life is about momentum. Momentum achieved through acts of intention in kind communication, faith, trust, purpose, love and mindful compassion for ourselves and others.  

And the more I think about it, the more I believe that life's about learning how to keep the momentum, but recognizing too, that when we act quietly and humbly for ourselves, we do not lose this momentum. In meditation, we act from a place that emphasizes self-love as important and integral to the health of all our relationships. So, in meditation we do not lose momentum, rather, we conserve it.  When we act with intention, we remain dynamic… even in silence. And, in doing so, we attract abundance and learn to surrender to the peaceful practices that bring it.

It's important for us to check in with our emotional selves (as scary as it might be), to really let spirit take the reigns and allow us the safety and comfort of our own strengths to surface. So letting our infinite capacities for adaptability, gentleness of expression and honor of our intuition help us manage the struggles and challenges we encounter in the physical world. Because, well..  grace is contagious! 

While embracing the unknown with full faith and complete trust is scary, eventually learning to be okay in the midst of unpredictability reminds us of the power we have in ourselves to evolve with beauty and fluidity. 

Now, I am on day 21 of my practice with mindfulness and barely scratching through the surface of the lesson. But it's good! It's great! It's a challenge, and my gut feeling about it enjoyably positive. 

You know, we've got everything we need to deal with the things that come our way. The Universe knows it and Creator (however you interpret) has made sure of it. It's an important time, with all this planetary shifting, to take the action we need to make sure we are nurturing ourselves - mind, body and spirit - in addition to balancing the work we are called to. For me, meditation is the avenue of opening up to surrender, of sustaining my momentum and manifesting a greater peace of mind. It's my time to take leave and focus on letting up a little so that I may return with renewed strength of integrity and generosity. With intentional and honest actions in mindfulness and kind compassion, we'll all be part of creating great harmony in our relationships, to each other and ourselves. 

Not knowing where any of you are on your spiritual journeys, I would like to leave you with two last thoughts.

One of my own:  Our collective wellbeing depends on our individual actions, so letting ourselves fall freely into peace benefits all. You're all undoubtedly good at listening to that small voice within and knowing how to bring yourselves what you need, all that is really necessary is trusting your intuition and acting from your spirit's highest intention. 

And this one from Black Elk: "The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of the people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with universe and all its power, and when they realize that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."

 

Jennifer is a coyote, committed to finding humor everywhere she can. She is also a proud documentarian and storyteller on her way to grad school to become an epidemiologist. She is trained in filmmaking and emergency medical services, ready to take her passions for health, people and their stories to the creative powers of movie screens. She's a trickster for humanity! Ready to laugh with you, listen to you and chat life with you over banana bread and a hot cuppa tea.