Guess what – it’s Retrograde time – again! What?

Luckily our carpenter couldn’t see the face I made as I pushed the red ‘end call’ button on my phone. I sighed loudly after hanging up and remembered my mantra from the meditation this morning – keep focused and creative. I’d tried both, but to no avail. The blue frame was going to be stuck in front of our window for up to a month.

“Hey there,” I’d started out, “I just love our new window.”
“That’s good…” he replied. “And…?”
“And, well, it would be even better if we could get the glass frame it came on removed from our view… sometime soon?”
“Oh, well, that’s not up to me.”
“Okay… so when do you think it might happen?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t know. I just told the people who delivered the glass, and whenever your city is on their route, then they’ll pick it up.”
“Hmmm…” I replied. “Do you think that will be in a week, a month, or maybe later today?”
“Maybe a month…” he answered. I didn’t know if he was kidding me or not. I hoped he was. It was hard to tell with him.
“Okay, well thank you.” I said.

After our front glass window had spontaneously cracked about 2 months ago, on the first sunny day this year, we’d finally gotten it fixed last week. But now our view was blocked by the 3 X 2 meter massive metal frame that had held the glass pane until it was installed. It wasn’t the first thing to go wrong lately, and a dear friend had mentioned in passing just a few days ago: Oh, and Mercury is in retrograde…

Years ago, I heard that phrase and didn’t know what it meant, but now it’s become quite ubiquitous. Still, in case you’re an astrology laywoman like me, there’s some weird alignment with the planets that happens three times a year and apparently causes communication issues, among other things. For me, I tend to find myself involved in pointless arguments, or my mail gets lost (like the package I sent overseas to my parents that inexplicably got stuck in PostNL sorting for 3 weeks before being shipped abroad.) And the list continues.

I have to say that this whole year has been somewhat of a giant retrograde, hasn’t it? My colleagues (and I) have been experiencing ‘hiccups’ in our Microsoft Outlook. When I asked some of them if they had problems too, they said, “Yup. Try using the webmail.” Again, a sigh, long and deep. If everyone in our organization of hundreds of employees is having the same problem, then it’s not just a hiccup, it’s a major issue. Especially when most of us are working online all the time, and need email to keep in touch and get things done, or am I blowing this out of proportion?

There are times when I don’t know what’s in retrograde. Is it me, the world, the planets? I’ve been watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and thinking – that’s not so far removed from reality in some places, right now, is it? Where 200 school children are randomly kidnapped and never retrieved, where governments are overthrown violently and people who speak with reason are executed or made to flee their own countries. Where even I, after living here for 20 years, still don’t seem to have a voice, as a woman, as a non-Dutch person, and I have to rely on my much more diplomatic husband to grease the wheels of getting-things-done.

So, what is a woman / person to do when the world is in retrograde? First of all, as in any crisis, acknowledge the difficulty. Life is still damn hard. I have one vaccine in me, and one coming up, and I still can’t travel easily to go back home and visit my parents and sister. Emails either clog up my inbox or don’t arrive at all. Packages get sent to the wrong address and ‘no one is to blame, and no one can help, either.’  The app I bought and am paying dearly for has a bug that can’t be resolved. My internet provider sent us a new modem but when we try to use the Chromecast, we still have to unplug it and plug it in again before we can stream Videoland, Netflix and Youtube. Covid-19 is slowly getting under control, but the people who’ve been sick, including in my own family, are having significant problems with their recovery. Let’s face it – the world is not the same as it was a year and a half ago. Are we in retrograde or a riptide?

When in a riptide, I was once told, never try to swim back towards the shore. That will only exhaust you, and it won’t work, anyway. What you have to do, is swim sideways, out of the riptide ‘stream’ and into calmer waters. If you’re tired, rest on your back. Don’t stress that you’re getting further from the beach. Keep breathing and have faith that once you’re out of the hold of that riptide/crisis, you’ll find your way, slowly and surely back to where you want to go, or to a nearby rock, where you can climb out and shout for help. I highly recommend shouting for help, but only when you’re not getting salt water in your mouth.

So, the big blue frame is still in front of our window, as it may be for some time, but I do have a lovely back garden, and I can turn my attention in that direction, and to the people I live with, who I love very much. I guess I’m going to work on being grateful for what I have. And keep asking for help, and float on my back and enjoy the fact that the sun is shining. At least there’s that!

Calm waters, a place to slow down when life gets too hectic.

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