Who I Talk To When Things are Hard

 

I still vividly remember the first time I spoke out loud to the moon. I was twenty years old and dealing with life-altering chronic pain. I didn’t have anyone in my life I could talk to about how much I was suffering. Doctors didn’t understand why I was hurting and my carefree college peers couldn’t relate. To make matters worse, my chronic pain was in an area of my body that was buried in cultural silence (my vagina). Most days I felt like I was shouldering a forty-ton weight. Then, I started talking to the moon.

I was embarrassed at first, I didn’t want people to know I was communing with the moon. So I snuck out the back door and hid myself in the scraggly woods behind my dorm. I didn’t know what to expect. I sat with my back against the tree and gazed up with incredulousness. Then something miraculous happened, it all began to pour out of me— the worry and frustration, anger and sorrow. They welled up— wild, welcomed and free. Normally, I spent so much of my energy trying to seem okay. I worried about being too needy or burdening others with my pain. But here I could be all parts of myself, including the part of me that was hurt, exhausted, and lost.

I poured my heart out to her and, in return, the moon flooded me with the pearly calm of her absolute acceptance. I spoke until my words ended and the tears began, and then I cried until there was nothing left inside of me but a kind of ocean-swept calm. It felt like being wrapped in the arms of a Grandmother, someone who loved me unconditionally. For the first time in a long time, I felt truly witnessed and heard. The moon wasn’t asking me to be any different then I was— to be more positive or less emotional or to have it all figured out— she was simply there to hold me in her light. To let me know that everything I was experiencing was valid. That another reality still lived beyond all this suffering, and it was full of glowing gentleness. With her I knew, that no matter how bumpy the road got, I was always held.

 

Photo by Dag Sundberg/Getty

 

As all of humanity moves through this bumpy ride, it can be a relief to turn to a guide who is sitting just outside of the maelstrom—our moon. Like a grandmother who has lived her road of trials and is now retired in the peaceful stillness of life, the moon sits next to our planet, gently holding our hand. She is here, whenever you need to talk. So if you’ve been feeling like there is a lot going on inside of you and you could use someone to listen, try laying your burdens down with tonight’s full moon. As the biggest super moon of 2020, this is the closest the moon will be to the earth all year. It’s almost as if she knew, this is when we would need her the most.

So as the full moon peaks this evening, try this exercise. Sit in her light, or by the light of a candle if you don’t have a view of moon, and set a timer for ten minutes. If it helps, try addressing her as Grandmother Moon. Then, talk to her as if she were in the room with you, speaking out loud all of the worries that are weighing on your heart. Imagine her receiving each hardship into her light and let your body express itself in any way it needs to—shaking or crying if the impulse arises. When the timer is up, tell the moon three reasons you are proud of yourself right now. Just like a Granny, the moon loves to hear about your wins, no matter how small. Maybe you are proud you got dressed today or that you made your kids dinner or that you let yourself cry. As you share these things, notice how the moon celebrates these little victories with you, how she revels in your triumphs, reminding you that you are doing your absolute best right now. When you feel ready, close the ritual with two hands over your heart, thanking her for listening while taking three deep breaths.

Today, even though I am healed from those years of chronic pain, talking to the moon is still one of my favorite practices. I go to her when I’m happy and want to share my joy, when I’m lost and looking for direction or when I’m despairing and needing light. No matter what I have to say, she is always there to listen. In such uncertain times, when our calendars, schedules and hearts are in complete upheaval, it can feel deeply grounding to align ourselves with the larger rhythms— like the unchanging cycle and presence of the moon. For even more ways to deepen this relationship, check out my new video: Four Simple Ways to Connect with the Moon. It was filmed before the coronavirus outbreak, but all the tools I share here have been an essential part of seeing me through these times.

 

 

I’m not yet a grandmother, and I’m nowhere near as luminous as the moon, but please know that I am here for you too. I see you in your grief and your worry and in your magnificence. I see how incredible you are, how much you are holding, how beautifully you are weathering this unprecedented earth storm. I see you, and I deeply admire your grace. I’m here to echo the voice of Grandmother Moon for anyone who needs to hear it today— You are doing so good.

One day we will all be able to gather round the fire together again, to sing songs and share cups of tea and look up at the moon, arm-in-arm. Until then, no matter how far apart we are, the moon will continue to assure us that we aren’t alone. Tonight when I look up at the moon, I’ll remind myself that you are looking up too. That both of us are being bathed in the same light and that we are more connected than ever.