Linda at litebeing chronicles invited her followers to take part in her Retrograde challenge: with Mercury in retrograde, she came up with the idea of reintroducing something from the past still in your life – an old cd, item of clothing, jewellry, anything that you have had around for a long time but has been left untouched. The idea was to see how this item from the past now makes you feel and if it engenders any feelings or new associations/experiences.
I thought this was a great idea, though initially I did not think I had anything relevant to partake in this interesting challenge – I tend to throw things out quite ruthlessly. However, as I sat looking at Linda’s article, I turned to my bookshelf… and my eyes fell straight onto the Carlos Castaneda books. Bing! Went the lightbulb in my head… this seemed perfect: given the new spiritual evolution happening with me right now, and the fact that I had been meaning to re-read these books for a while, it all seemed to tie in quite nicely. It has been many years since I read Castaneda, so it would be right for the Retrograde challenge.
However, rather conincidentally, I had, just the day or so before I read Linda’s article, picked up another book that I
had not re-read for some years: Iain M Banks‘ Look to Windward. I found that I just could not set this aside in favour of starting Castaneda. I was already enjoying it too much, and there is a particular poignancy with this book which fits nicely itself with this challenge: Iain M Banks passed away earlier this year. He is the ONLY ‘celebrity’ – sorry, ‘famous person would be a better description – that genuinely made me very very sad when I heard that he had died. Banks is in my top 5 authors, I truly believe he was a Master of his Art. No-one can write like him, and the loss of such a genius touched me to the core. I have not read any of his books since his passing – until now.
I remember that the first time I read this book, I actually cried at the end, I found it so poignant. There are only 4 books I have ever read – and I am an avid reader – that have made me cry, they were that good. So I continued to read Look to Windward. I remembered nothing of the plot line from the first reading, so it was, in a sense, like the first reading. Now, I don’t know if it was the knowledge that Banks is no longer with us, or just his superb writing, but I did not just read this book: I savoured it; I thrilled in it, I took every line, every paragraph into my heart. In terms of writing style, plot, imagination, emotional depth – this book is… dare I say it?… perfect! The complexity, the depth, the scope of the mind to write such a thing… and there are some truly profound lines within the story as well, that touched me deeply. I am so pleased to have read this book, at this time. I didn’t cry again at the end, but I FELT the story, the concept, the message. And that depth of feeling was exactly what I needed in my life. I cannot explain why; it was just something left me with a kind of happy whimsy.
Thinking of the challenge also guided me to start wearing my Nan’s ring. Now, I don’t know why there is this pattern, but my Nan is also an entity who is no longer living. She passed away in 2008, and it was particularly poignant as I was pregnant with my first child – what would have been her first grand-child. She never knew I was pregnant as she had been very ill for a long time. My Nan had given me her ring a few years before this, insisting that I have it. It was her engagement ring, from her husband oh-so-long ago. Yet another poignant point: her husband died when my mum was 2. So this ring my Nan had carried for many years in memory of her long dead husband, and had chosen to give it to me.
Normally I keep the ring in my jewellry box for fear of losing it, but I chose to wear it now, in light of this challenge. And this is what I learned: I am not sentimental about things. I love the ring for what it represents – but my Nan is in my heart… wearing the ring did not engender any special feelings in me, it is, to all intents and purposes, just a ring. I wore it for a few days and was actually quite surprised by the lack of feeling – but it just showed me what I already knew (I think) – that my feelings come from my heart, from within, and not in regards to physical items.
During all this, I was also going through a high-irritation phase that I just could not shake off for days. Finally, when I had a day completely to myself, I did something I have not done for a long time, and indulged in myself for the sake of it. I brought out my girlie side by painting my nails and putting make-up on just because, and I played some cds, very loud. These are cds that I have not played for a long time, mainly because they are ‘adult content’ and the kids are usually around, but also because I tend to think my music tastes have changed. Do I tell you? Ok, rap music. Yes, me, rap. This goes back to my teenage days and into my early 20s. So, for the first time in several years, on goes Eminem’s 8 Mile (from the film), up goes the volume…. and lo and behold, an hour or two later, I am feeling really, really good. My irritation has gone completely. In allowing myself to indulge whole-heartedly in things that I generally tend to categorise as ‘Not Me/No Longer Me’, I released an expectation of myself… I shifted the habit-patterns… and thus made room for new responses, which was healthy and definitely needed!
So… book; ring; cds… what has this Retrograde challenge meant for me? Well, bringing old things back into my life didn’t engender feelings of sentimentality, melancholy, past memories… but I did enjoy revisiting some of these old things (whilst learning that I really am NOT sentimental!) and sometimes, it really is good to drag things out of the ‘Past’ cupboard, and give yourself an old/new space, because you just never know what the experience will bring to your life!
Tomorrow’s post on the Retrograde Challenge is by Shree at The Heartsong Blog. Please visit her to see what this experience has brought to her, and if you want to catch up from the start, you can visit Julianne’s Blog here. Linda’s Blog here shows the full schedule.
So a big Thank You for Linda for inspiring and encouraging this experiment… and maybe soon I WILL get around to reading those Castaneda books!
- Cosmic Retrograde Challenge: Moving Forward (juliannevictoria.com)
- Mercury Retrograde, October 21 – November 10, 2013 (astromate.wordpress.com)