I’ve been marveling at the power of structure, and the embodiment of Saturn in Capricorn, lately. The effectiveness of breaking massive long-term tasks down into bite-sized pieces. Restructuring them so that they’re smaller, do-able on a daily basis.
Whether it’s planning and implementing a move to Canada, updating three websites at once, saving to hike the Annapurna Trail in Nepal, or reading the fattest book on my shelf, everything’s getting broken down into manageable tasks!
Structure then needs its cousin Discipline to keep showing up to do those tasks, of course, but providing that happens, the biggest things can be achieved, things that felt impossible.
I’ve had this enormous book of modern history – Tragedy & Hope by Carroll Quigley – on the shelf for a few years, but last month I felt able to make a go of it. I don’t necessarily want to lug it in my suitcase to Canada mid-year, so I either read it or let it go. I decided to read it!
I divided the pages by the number of days I have left in the country (with a bit of a buffer, don’t want to be reading the night before we head to the airport!). It works out to roughly ten pages per day. I drew up a chart (which multi-tasks as a bookmark) so I can cross off whenever I’ve reached that small daily goal. I can immediately see where I’m at, and I’ve been keeping pace for almost a month now.
Not to mention that it’s absolutely fascinating reading, describing the historical roots of the world I live in, how it came to be this way, (all from detailed research of primary diplomatic documents by a white American male historian).
And because I also have a goal to read six or so classics this year, I’ve applied the same methodology to getting through The Waves by Virginia Woolf. (We share the same birthday, and rather than chunk through The Aeneid just yet, I jumped to twentieth century literature. Interestingly, Woolf is writing at the same timeframe as the history I’m reading, the inter-war period in the 20s and 30s…).
At night, tucked up in bed, I read eight pages. They’re not so dense as Tragedy and Hope, otherwise it wouldn’t work as bedtime reading, but it is one of the most unique books I’ve read. Very glad to be dipping into it…
And because I also have a goal to be stronger in my upper body, but lacked the knowledge to break that big project down into effective parts, I found a trainer to support me, someone who understands the mechanics of the body, who could isolate my weaknesses and set with up with a whole series of exercises to work on transforming those weaknesses into strengths!
(Anyone in Melbourne? I highly recommend the peeps at No Regrets Personal Training in Mitcham! I’ve had one session – $110, and came away with a month or more of customised working out to do at home – very cost effective!)
I’m watching myself grow muscle! Makes me feel kind of giddy… physical transformation… And even though I can still only do a few real pushups, I know one day I’ll be able to do 100 if I keep going the way I am. Un-believeable! Un-stoppable!
And because I am custodian of some family savings, I’ve decided to give the ‘structure’ of supported investment a go, with Clover. That small amount of money at my disposal is there due to a small amount of saving each month over the last six months, a pattern that will continue and grow.
I am feeling so nourished by the sense of personal achievement… I feel like something is shifting within me, I am gaining an embodied sense of how to make it to a mountain peak that feels far off…
On the weekend, my daughter ran her first 5km parkrun, after several weeks of coaxing herself to get out the door and train, embracing it, avoiding it, and finding a friend to do it with sometimes. Her work is clearly paying off!
I watch my man walking round the yard, cleaning up STUFF, piece by piece, stuff that’s hung around for years. I too am getting rid of stuff I’ve kept for years…
And rather than rave on about my book choices here (except to share my deep delight at feeling my world expanding!), or my exciting physique (haha!), or my family’s small achievements, what I find fascinating is how nourishing it feels to know that I am (and we are) step-step-stepping towards some goals that, guaranteed, would have fallen by the wayside a long time ago, if I hadn’t given myself the shape/structure of a daily allotment of pages, or a set number of exercises to do every second day, or a monthly amount to save, or the deadline of leaving the country!
The ancients ascribed these principles of boundaries, structure, order, patience and discipline to the planet Saturn. “As you sow, so ye shall reap,” that’s Saturn, Lord of Time.
And as of 20 Dec 2017, Saturn moved into Capricorn, his own home, one of the two signs he rules (Aquarius being the other, according to traditional astrology).
It’s like he’s taken a twenty-seven-year trip around the zodiac and has come home, blessed and informed by his travels, and absolutely ECSTATIC to be in his own (structured, orderly!) space again!
How this for an amazing parallel:
Saturn was in Capricorn in 1961, when the Berlin Wall was built, dividing East and West Germany. Saturn was once again in Capricorn in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down. What a fascinating manifestation of structure and re-structruring at work!
Saturn in Capricorn means there’s nothing we can’t accomplish, especially when we break it down into a bunch of ‘next steps.’ And that includes scaling the ‘yin mountain’ of rest and self-care, as well as the ‘yang mountains’ of our projects and ambitions in the external world. Structuring our own nourishment may well feel more difficult than getting that six-month contract done at work.
Not sure about you, but I need to watch that I’m not so dominated by these daily goals, on top of numerous work/life/family/personal to-dos, that I feel un-nourishingly driven each day. Hard to find the flow state in that! Easy to dry up (like Saturn, with his cold/dry reputation) and lose my mojo.
That’s where another structure comes in: on Sundays, I really really try not to do anything I don’t want to do. I have a to-do list for all the other days, multiple to-do lists, in fact, and different ‘hats’ I wear to get shit done, and always stuff that’s not getting done… But on Sunday I try and keep it as free-form as possible.
Yes, the eaves might need painting, emails need answering, phonecalls need making, Lunar Affirmations need writing… but if I feel like repotting random plants into random pots, even it it’s not ‘strategic,’ that’s what I’ll do… and be nourished in the process.
So wish me luck in my grand digestion of modern history! And all the best with your equivalents!
There is nothing we can’t do, if we can break it down small enough, and keep showing up to those small bits…
Bringing it home:
Which goals – which lofty mountain peaks – are calling you?
Which walls are coming down in your life? Or going up?
What’s your relationship with structure? Love it? Hate it?!
If you have a Capricorn Sun or Moon, how is the beginning of 2018 feeling for you?
If you have an Aquarian Ascendant, Capricorn is home and restructuring in the 12th house, typically associated with the collective unconscious, karma, suffering and transcendence, the deep invisible underpinnings of our lived experience. The womb of the soul. What is being cleared out, re-ordered and renewed within you in transformative and invisible ways?
And if you’d like to see where and how Saturn is at work in your life, you can book in for an astrology session here!