The new moon just passed, reminding me of the practise I adopted a few months ago. One thought, one action, one moon. Little by little, this practice has changed my life with each cycle.
It’s quite simple. At the first week of the actual moon cycle – not a euphemism for my period – I pick up one thought or idea I want to follow. At the second week I pick a daily action or a choice that feels most natural for this thought to come into reality. At the week of the full moon, I engage full exploration mode and by the next new moon, I will have tried something new and only spent a month of my life to try it.
Anyone can do anything for one month, right?
Nothing brews in isolation and I adapted this practise from a superb Open Floor teacher, Bence, who’s a biologist as well as a dancer. He created an online dance class which I started in February for one moon cycle. At our first, the new moon lesson, Bence invited us to bring an open attention to what wants to be seen in us and what wants to be witnessed. Later we were to pick just one thing and explore that.
During that first dance journey, I got stuck in my space and could hardly move. As I looked around with closed eyes, all I could see and feel was stinky wet dirt. Shit and mud, I thought. Heavy and sinking. Should I now claw my way out of it? Light a beacon in my weary heart, build an imaginary ladder? Fuck, I don’t want to deal with this. I guess I deserve a break, even in the mud.
I had no strength, I couldn’t move myself out of it. I let myself sink.
Even as my knees buckled and I felt drowning, I kept going, surrendering to the shit with each step. About seven steps in, everything lit up by itself. I didn’t have to light up my own heart, it just did. I didn’t need to do anything, I just shined. I didn’t have to claw out of that dirt, it simply dissolved.
Then I knew. The thing I would explore this cycle would be the concept of light and how I relate to it.
As soon as the decision was made, the famous quote by Marianne Williamson popped into my head. The one about the fear of darkness that holds a sentence: ‘It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’
That was me. A writer scared of letting others read my words, afraid of being misunderstood. A woman, still anxious of being seen in my natural self for fear of being judged. Habitually, I had been silencing my true innermost thoughts, afraid of being ridiculed.
Being in light felt more perilous than staying in the darkness. Yes, I had the inner child that wanted to be seen by others, but had I easily kept her fed by applying mascara and the right amount of lipstick to speak on subjects I knew others already believed in. Stuff I could mould around my inner truth and make fit.
Showing up fully as myself? Yikes! Here come the pitchforks.
Still, inspired by that quote, I chose my one action. Show up as I am and speak about what I really believe in.
What followed those choices was trembling-hard and luckily, also funny at times.
For the third dance workshop, I was tired and late. Storming into the living room, I turned on the lights and hit the button to join Zoom. In my exhausted state I didn’t realise until the fifth song that I had forgotten to dim the lights. I always, (always!) choose the lighting for the Zoom dances to make my journeys candle-soft and magical. Not this time.
For two hours, I danced in full-blown fluorescent lighting in my PJ’s for the world to see. I remember the cringe and the decision to not turn down the light mid-session. It’s just two hours, I reminded myself, I can do this.
That session of untamed spotlight left me with just one question: How much effort do I put in each day in attempts to control what other people think of me?
Think about it. The mind-blowing amount of time and energy we spend to control what others think? If we add all the time we refuse to leave the house to avoid attention, it’s staggering.
Later that week I met with a group of friends and for the first time, felt brave enough to speak about some of my deepest secrets. The past lives I could remember with experiences I could vividly recall. My dreams for the future and the world I want to live in.
‘I remember being burned at the stake and welcoming it,’ I said quietly. ‘I remember walking up to the fire with hope. The fire was a promise that I never again had to endure the cruelty of men and hard-eyed women.’ There was a silence, as I waited for the ridicule. Then a woman next to me reached for my hand and said, ‘I remember the flames too. In Germany. I even know the date. They burned me as well.’
Witches inside, all of us… yet we seldom speak about it. What will they think?
Following my practise further, I joined an online gathering held by Jamie Catto with an audience of a hundred people across the world. Each person had a chance to share a song or something about their lives. As I took my turn, I didn’t know what to say at first. The fear was overwhelming and my voice shivered from tension.
With that trembling voice, I spoke about what has defined me as a woman and what has not. How we’re often defining ourselves by all the wrong things, mostly by the opinions of what we think we should be instead of who we are. How we don’t need to fight ourselves anymore and how we could live in peace, at least inside our hearts.
Twice I stopped during my sharing, shaking like a leaf. Only after confessing my fear that I don’t know if anyone would understand me or if they think I’m crazy for saying these thing, I could proceed. Afterwards, I physically shook for minutes, crying my relief. I was alive and part of me couldn’t believe it.
The nearest listener was probably somewhere in Sweden, and still I looked around if anyone would throw stones at me. The fear was so real and probably belonged to the woman who had been burned as a witch a long time ago.
At the final moments of that gathering, another woman from the gathering spoke up to thank me. ‘I can’t remember what you said exactly,’ she admitted, ‘but during your words, something shifted inside me. I feel so light and good, and I haven’t felt like this for a long time. You healed me, Helen.’
I sat there, hands clasped over my heart, not believing the gift she had given me.
My truth can heal.
Her words reminded me of the raunchy speech of Mark Walsh on the topic of living on purpose. Now, reading the next sentence, imagine an imposing middle-aged man with a thick beard and a deep voice, looking intensely at you and almost shouting.
‘Who are you to shut up and hide your gifts away?! Have you seen the world we live in?! Have you noticed the suffering we all seek to heal from?! This world needs more soothsayers and peacemakers and if you are one, you need to live it!’
The world needs more peacemakers. If step into the light, share my truth, and one person can feel healed by my words and perhaps another finds courage to speak their own mind and a third makes peace with their own truth…
How does that define me?
By the end of my first one moon practise, I was ready to do something I used to think was absolutely impossible. To share my personal experiences in writing, for all the shy and courageous seekers out there. With each piece I drop into the Well of Peace, I relax further into my own definitions of who I am. That crazy-awesome-tree-hugger-witch my friends know and love.
Naturally, I got curious on what else I can discover with this practise. Around the new moon of March, sitting at a bonfire, I received my second thought. Yesterday, at the new moon of April, I chose my third.
The new moon is still up there today.
What would be the one thing you would wish to try for one month?