by April Elliott Kent I’m four days into a two-week “staycation” – that is, a vacation spent entirely at home. I’ll admit that the astrologer in me found it a bit strange to begin this vacation just after the Sun had entered Virgo, the sign of work. But fortunately, this Friday brings a Full Moon in Pisces, with its seasonal call to review the balance between work (Sun in Virgo) and rest (Moon in Pisces).
I’ve traveled more than usual in the past nine months, and on the face of it that might seem like a series of mini-vacations. But every trip has included at least one work-related event – not to mention the logistical rigors of arranging care for the cats and house, packing, and making sure the travel arrangements are in order. It’s a cliché, I know, but every “vacation” has left me more desperately in need of rest. Things had definitely reached the point where I was too tired to be very effective in my work, let alone creative. And so, I put out the “Gone Fishing” sign (Pisces reference?) and took a time-out.
So far, I’ve had no problem downshifting. I’m taking naps, watching movies – and bit by bit, taking our house apart, cleaning it, and putting it back together. Next month we’ll celebrate 15 years of living in this house, by far the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life, and as you might expect we’ve accumulated a vast amount of junk and crud during that decade and a half. Last month we cleaned out the scariest Black Hole of Crap in our house – the closet in the master bedroom. Inspired, I turned to our long-neglected pantry. Then, I managed to file and throw away baskets of junk that had been collecting dust in a corner of my office for years. I’ve even color-coded my client files!
The floodgates opened, and now it seems there’s no stopping me. As I wrapped up my work last week, I found myself daydreaming about cleanser and little organizing shelves for the cupboards. I’d sneak odd half-hours between clients and answering email to clear out a drawer or cabinet. It seemed that the tasks I’d spent years avoiding had suddenly become my refuge; setting things right was more refreshing than an afternoon power nap.
Those close to me were surprised enough to learn that I’d be taking a real, honest-to-goodness vacation. When they found out how I planned to spend my time – cleaning, purging, and organizing the house – they were aghast. “But don’t you want to just… relax?” they’d ask. But the thing is, all this hard Virgo work has actually been surprisingly restful. Not sitting at the computer for hours on end is restful. Not answering email, planning projects, writing articles, or booking appointments is restful. Being in my body as I sort, scrub, rearrange, and vacuum is very restful indeed.
Pisces’ territory is the realm of retreat and restoration, including sleep, the daily core dump of our unconscious data. But there are ways to retreat and rest that don’t involve sleep at all, such as immersion in the single-minded pursuit of some task – like housecleaning, for instance. This Pisces Full Moon makes aspects to Mars in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn, so perhaps there is more to my little housecleaning flirtation than meets the eye. Scorpio and Pluto are reminders that even a seemingly innocuous interest may become a preoccupation, compulsion, or even obsession as we use it to coax the unconscious out into the light, where we can wrestle with it. The more formidable the unseen foe, the greater the power that can potentially be released. We need only give ourselves some measure of daily, restful downtime – Pisces’ bailiwick – to access that power.
After four days I finally felt a desire to sit down at the computer again to write this, so I suspect my zealous embrace of Olympic-caliber housecleaning will fall short of a full-blown obsession. In the meantime, I’m doing this work with the intention of appeasing the feng shui gremlins of my subconscious. And while this passion lasts, I’m enjoying one of life’s greatest pleasures: waking up in the morning with delicious enthusiasm that “today, I get to do that!” Today, I get to jettison a little more of the debris that’s been cluttering my personal force field. Today, I get to make room for new and joyful things. Today, I will get thoroughly and deliciously lost, happily scrubbing and sweeping and tossing and rearranging, setting my house – and my spirit – in order. Today, though I appear to be working very hard indeed, I am in fact resting – and very much at peace.
© 2012 April Elliott Kent