Friday, October 27, 2006

“Is it a firm decision,” Weedy asks, “to retire a year this May?” Lately, I’ve been enjoying my job, even staying late to finish at my desk, having fun helping the students, pleased with my recently hired new staff of student assistants.

“I’m not going to put myself in a position to starve, but so far that’s the plan” I say, “When you called, I was picking out photographs for a magazine submission. And I’m working every day towards developing the business.”

I don’t know where all this is going. I’m following instinct, coupled with a reasonable amount of business experience and using my research skills. I’m practicing the principle of doing what I love and setting my will.

There are days, though, when the endless busy-work makes me feel like my brain is a radio tuned in-between stations, running static. I can barely think through the blur of chores and errands, running on the perpetually revolving wheel of what-I-have-to-do-next. It feels like a slog.

“When I get overloaded,” I tell Weedy, “I remember that I could die tomorrow, or be diagnosed with a disease or hit by car, or the world could suddenly change so drastically that none of what I’m doing will matter at all. The thought cheers me – at least in the sense that I remind myself I’m not in control...that all this won’t matter when I’m dead. You need to keep that in mind but you have to proceed anyway or you freeze in your tracks.”

Twice in most people’s lives (three times if they live to be 86 or so) Saturn orbits back to its original position at their birth and it's a life-altering transit. Marko, who at 29 is going through his first Saturn Return, has inquired as to whether, considering we can reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet, it doesn’t make sense to rename Saturn, “Flaming Shitbrick.” Jess and my boss at work, who, along with me, are also going through second Flaming Shitbrick Returns, concur. It’s not an easy transit – and it goes on longer than any of us would choose if it were up to us.

Liz Greene once referred to “the cold dead hand of Saturn” and the phrase stuck with me. Symbolically, a strong Saturn aspect translates as a period of time marked by chilled & mixed emotions, hard work, discipline and duty, the crumbling of any structure (real or metaphoric) that we have built carelessly. Foundations wobble and collapse. Marriages fail – or passing Saturn’s hurdles, grow stronger. Careers take other directions. We leave our physical or metaphoric homes, change directions or buckle down and recommit. Some our dearest illusions pop like soap bubbles. At 28-30, we pass into real adulthood and often mourn the loss of a certain kind of innocence. Our deepest fears emerge in the midst of all this questioning and change.

But there is a gift, and I am grudgingly starting to recognize it. You learn persistence.

Saturn’s sign is Capricorn, and it's symbol, half fish, half Mountain Goat, is spirit translating into matter, into physical manifestation. Capricorn builds. Saturn persists.

I let go of my ambition to have no ambition. This is not the time for that.

I release outcomes and keep my mind on what needs to be done now.

I accept that I am not who I was a year ago and am not who I will be year from now.

I let go when I need to, even if I mourn the loss.

I keep climbing.

But I reserve the right to call it Flaming Shitbrick when the climb gets slippery.


chuck said...

How can one comment on "flaming shitbrick", except to appreciate the expression.

It is evocative...

And makes me want to avoid my next Saturn return (if I were to live that long...heck- I am long enough of tooth, already!)

Hang in there...after Saturn passes there will be a 'silver lining'.

Why?- because I said so.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me that it should be called the "frozen shitbrick on a stick." Oh, the original phrase inspires me so... "Today I ate a flamebroiled shitbrick sandwich" and "Don't go all flaming shitbrick about it."

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can get work in advertising ja?

I recall you warning me when this Saturn thing was getting underway that it was likely to be tricky. Oh your gift for understatement toots!

In the last year, I've nearly quit my job half a dozen times, sat on park benches and stared at pigeons in the pouring rain, drank a LOT, watched friendships and structures crumble, and had moments where the Scotty of my marriage clung to the rail and screamed "Captain, she canna take any morrre Captain!"

Expectations, those little ghouls. It's been them that've bitten the hardest, and I expect them to continue to do so, so long as I keep making them. That's the biggest thing I'm getting out of this period --a grasp on just how irrational and potentially dangerous expectation is.

2nd Prize is a futher appreciation of just how much abuse we can take without breaking. I'm not even a tough person really, but damn! "That should've killed me" I keep thinking, about something or other. But it didn't, and I can be sure that today or tomorrow something else totally fucked and horrible will happen, and in all likelihood that won't kill me either.

There's this great common saying in Japanese, "Gambatte" which simply means "FIght!" or "Go!" It's Ramones-dumb, and infinitely applicable.

Check it out:

-I have an interview today, Gambatte!
-I'm getting tested for a venerial disease, Gambatte!
-My god I'm constipated, Gambatte!
-Lookit the size of that piece of Shitbrickery! Holy hell, it's coming this way, Gambatte!
-Oh man, we're completely screwed, Gambatte!

That may be my next tattoo. That and/or the hobo symbol for "be prepared to defend yourself".

Fight the good fight all,


herhimnbryn said...

'I accept that I am not who I was a year ago and am not who I will be year from now.'

Well then you're gonna get where you want to be, are you not?

This business sounds verrrrry interesting, creative no doubt?

I have decided that I don't like Saturn, it gives me the shivers!

LJ said...

Chuck - because you said so is good enough for me. And seriously, I suspect that part of the silver lining is learning to persevere. But if there's more, I'm ALL ears.
KD (in-joke)You may actually HAVE eaten a flamebroiled shitbrick sandwich.
Marko, honey - Be prepared to abandon the old defenses that aren't working and THEN defend yourself when you're equipped with new improved ones. Sorry about the understatement thing. Astrologers all do that. If we spoke more directly, there'd be the possibility of people thinking we planted the suggestion. And then they'd kill us.
H - Nobody likes Saturn aspects, but we'd all be formless blobs with formless blob lives without it. And we'd never do anything. Gee. That sounds good doesn't it?

Jess D'Zerts said...

Excellent post, LJ, I'll print this one out and tack it up next to my desk. Great comments too, but all this talk of flamebroiled shitbrick sandwiches is making me hungry, which goes to show ya how irrational I am these days, huh?

Mary said...

I needed to read this today. Yes, I know I am a year behind but I think Saturn's paying an early visit.

All of it speaks to me but particularly the third sentence from the end. Thanks LJ>

phlegmfatale said...

"At 28-30, we pass into real adulthood and often mourn the loss of a certain kind of innocence."

Funny, I thought it was marriage wot done that to me. Incidentally, I was married at 28. Ye gods.