Solstice sharing

Ahead of this Winter Solstice...


Below is info on how to see the visually and emotionally sublime dance "We choose to go to the moon" free this week and next at the National Portrait Gallery, some updates, a meditation, and at the end, your horoscope.

I am leaving for an ashram in Mysore, India on December 13th, returning mid-January. I am going for spiritual learning, and to practice yoga and meditation there. I look forward to sharing some of the experiences.

My father, James Shepherd Freeman III, left his earthly body on the eve of Thanksgiving, November 21st. He was a great teacher, a brilliant mind, and a good and loving father, brother, son, cousin, friend and man. His middle name is apt. I look forward to honoring him with wise choices. 

I know I am quite a trend-setter by doing so, but I am setting some New Year resolutions, and I'm going to share four:

1. Get through resentment - against others, myself and God.
2. Listen to what the body says - about itself and about the world around me - for the body is wise.
3. Create stability and build stamina in order to help others in ways that best serve them and suit my nature. 
4. Be willing to surrender, but never give up my Self.

In addition, I share four prayers for us collectively:

1. May our tolerance for imbalance never be stronger than the weakest among us. 
2. May our acceptance of others be genuine.
3. May we shun those who make it a practice or apply effort into discriminating unjustly against others.
4. May we remember that it is often easier to wage war than maintain peace; that it is often easier to hate or to fear than it is to love; that it is often easier to keep fighting than it is to find common ground; yet the work for good is worth it.


“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Upcoming Happenings:

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company's We choose to go to the moon will close out the National Portrait Gallery’s special 50th anniversary programming tied to the museum’s 50th exhibition, "One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey" exhibition. The program is also in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s kick-off of year-long programming with events honoring the Apollo missions and the country’s future in space. An aside: my father, a sailer at heart who loved looking at the stars and planets - with and without binocs or telescopes, loved this dance when he saw it premiere in 2015 at the Kennedy Center. 

Inspired by the space race and President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University (serendipitously my father's undergrad alma mater ;)) entitled “We Choose to Go to the Moon,” Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company developed this performance in collaboration with NASA. The piece explores the connection between humanity and space, touching upon America’s idealism around the space race, the mystery of the cosmos, and the fragility of life.

We choose to go to the moon received rave reviews and standing ovations when it premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2015. The sound score features interviews between Dana and the late astronaut Bruce McCandless (first man ever to float untethered in space), scientists, and a New Mexico medicine woman. Do not miss this opportunity to see this brilliant dance!

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the National Portrait Gallery
Dec. 12th, 15th, 18th, at 6:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public
McEvoy Auditorium (enter at G Street lobby)
Select your date and reserve your seats here

Free Thursday Restorative Yoga to continue in 2019 starting January 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Palisades Recreation Center in NW DC. To RSVP: DC residents please create an account with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation here. If you are not a DC resident, you can email or text me. I have so enjoyed practicing with those that have participated in this offering since it launched in October. 

$10 Saturday Morning Yoga to continue in 2019 starting January 19th at 10:00 a.m. at the lovely and historic Arts Club of Washington. Please RSVP through their events page on their website, which will be updated with future classes, or email to RSVP that way. A $10 donation to the Arts Club of Washington (check or cash) is requested.  

FABUM will be hosting a rescheduled screening of the documentary "Magic Pills" by Ananda More early in 2019. Details will be forthcoming.

Winter Solstice Leaves Meditation: 
Clear here to listen aloud on YouTube (voice is yours truly), or read a transcription below. 
(If you were at my free yoga class last Thursday, this is from memory as best I can recall of the guided meditation we did that evening.)

Imagine that you are walking, floating...moving through the woods. Most of the trees have shed their leaves, because they no longer need them. Notice how much sky is visible. Sunlight shines through the branches, touching the ground that it is typically sheltered by them. 

Just as we cannot recount every thought, stress or distraction from the last year, nor can we count the leaves. However, we do not question the trees for shedding them, or the wisdom of the earth for knowing what to do with them. We just know it is correct that leaves fall to the ground. 

Imagine each falling leaf is a thought that no longer serves you. Each leaf on the ground is a thought already shed. You do not need to know which thought corresponds to which leaf, you simply trust the process. You allow what no longer serves you to fall from you, to return to the ground, where it will nourish new life. 

While you are aware of the shedding, thanking the leaves for their service, you also become aware of the genesis beneath your feet. The life under ground that the leaves will feed, and that will flourish come spring.

You begin to become aware of a path through the woods - to a clearing, one that may not yet be visible, covered by the fallen leaves. But you trust that the path will be made clear to you when it is correct for you to follow it. 

In the mean time, breathe in love, and exhale peace and gratitude - for the woods, for the earth, for others and for your Self.

Find your breath, and inhale and exhale fully.

Below is your horoscope.

With love,

Week beginning December 6
Copyright 2018 by Rob Brezsny 

ARIES (March 21–April 19): When I write a horoscope for you, I focus on one or two questions because I don't have room to cover every single aspect of your life. The theme I've chosen this time may seem a bit impractical, but if you take it to heart, I guarantee you it will have practical benefits. It comes from Italian author Umberto Eco. He wrote, "Perhaps the mission of those who love humanity is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth." I swear to you, Aries, that if you laugh at the truth and make the truth laugh in the coming days, you will be guided to do all the right and necessary things.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): You have a cosmic mandate and poetic license to stir up far more erotic fantasies than usual. It will be healthy for you to unleash many new thoughts about sexual experiments that would be fun to try and novel feelings you'd like to explore and people whose naked flesh you'd be interested to experience sliding and gliding against yours. But please note that the cosmic mandate and poetic license do not necessarily extend to you acting out your fantasies. The important thing is to let your imagination run wild. That will catalyze a psychic healing you didn't even realize you needed.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): In my continuing efforts to help you want what you need and need what you want, I've collected four wise quotes that address your looming opportunities. (1) "What are you willing to give up in order to become who you really need to be?" —Elizabeth Gilbert. (2) "Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That's where the most important things come from" —Rebecca Solnit. (3) "You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary" Frederick Buechner. (4) "Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you" Nathaniel Hawthorne.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): I've called on author Robert Heinlein to provide your horoscope. According to my astrological analysis, his insights are exactly what you need to focus on right now. "Do not confuse 'duty' with what other people expect of you," he wrote. "They are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible."

LEO (July 23–Aug 22): What does "beauty" mean to you? What sights, sounds, images, qualities, thoughts, and behavior do you regard as beautiful? Whatever your answers might be to those questions right now, I suggest you expand and deepen your definitions in the coming weeks. You're at a perfect pivot point to invite more gorgeous, lyrical grace into your life; to seek out more elegance and charm and artistry; to cultivate more alluring, delightful magic.

VIRGO (Aug 23–Sept 22): You know the expiration dates that appear on the labels of the prescription drugs you buy? They don't mean that the drugs lose their potency after that date. In fact, most drugs are still quite effective for at least another 10 years. Let's use this fact as a metaphor for a certain resource or influence in your life that you fear is used up or defunct. I'm guessing it still has a lot to offer you, although you will have to shift your thinking in order to make its reserves fully available.

LIBRA (Sept 23–Oct 22): Libran rapper Eminem is renowned for his verbal skill. It may be best exemplified in his song "Rap God," in which he delivers 1,560 words in six minutes and four seconds, or 4.28 words per second. In one stretch, he crams in 97 words in 15 seconds, achieving a pace of 6.5 words per second. I suspect that in the coming weeks, you will also be unusually adept at using words, although your forte will be potent profundity rather than sheer speed. I encourage you to prepare by making a list of the situations where your enhanced powers of persuasion will be most useful.

SCORPIO (Oct 23–Nov 21): In May of 1883, the newly built Brooklyn Bridge opened for traffic. Spanning the East River to link Manhattan and Brooklyn, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. But almost immediately, people spread rumors that it was unstable. There was a growing fear that it might even crumble and fall. That's when charismatic showman P.T. Barnum stepped in. He arranged to march 21 elephants across the bridge. There was no collapse, and so the rumors quickly died. I regard the coming weeks as a time when you should take inspiration from Barnum. Provide proof that will dispel gossipy doubt. Drive away superstitious fear with dramatic gestures. Demonstrate how strong and viable your improvements really are.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22–Dec 21): Robert Louis Stevenson published his gothic novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886. It was a best seller and quickly got turned into a theatrical production. In the ensuing 132 years, there have been well over a hundred further adaptations of the story into film and stage productions. Here's the funny thing about this influential work: Stevenson wrote it fast. It took him three feverish days to get the gist of it and just another six weeks to revise. Some biographers say he was high on drugs during the initial burst, perhaps cocaine. I suspect you could also produce some robust and interesting creation in the coming weeks, Sagittarius—and you won't even need cocaine to fuel you.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22–Jan 19): A blogger on Tumblr named Ffsshh composed a set of guidelines that I think will be apt and useful for you to draw on in the coming weeks. Please study these suggestions and adapt them for your healing process. "Draw stick figures. Sing off-key. Write bad poems. Sew ugly clothes. Run slowly. Flirt clumsily. Play video games on 'easy.' OK? You do not need to be good at something to enjoy it. Sometimes talent is overrated. Do things you like doing just because you like doing them. It's OK to suck."

AQUARIUS (Jan 20–Feb 18): Aquarian athlete Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who ever lived. He was also the first to become a billionaire. But when he was growing up, he didn't foresee the glory that awaited him. For example, in high school he took a home economics class to acquire cooking abilities. Why? He imagined that as an adult, he might have to prepare all of his own meals. His ears were so huge and ungainly, he reasoned, that no woman would want to be his wife. So the bad news was that he suffered from a delusion. The good news was that because of his delusion, he learned a useful skill. I foresee a similar progression for you, Aquarius. Something you did that was motivated by misguided or irrelevant ideas may yield positive results.

PISCES (Feb 19–March 20): The Bible does not say that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute or even a "sinner." There's no mention of her sexual proclivities at all. Delusional ideas about her arose in the Middle Ages, instigated by priests who confused her with other women in the Bible. The truth is that the Bible names her as a key ally to Christ and the crucial witness to his resurrection. Fortunately, a number of scholars and church leaders have in recent years been working to correct her reputation. I invite you to be motivated and inspired by this transformation as you take steps to adjust and polish your own image during the coming weeks. It's time to get your public and private selves into closer alignment.