"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers." -Thich Nhat Hanh

It's Saturday morning and I just completed my "weekly review." For those not familiar with the popular "Getting Things Done" book and methodolgy, the weekly review is part of an overall system for managing projects and tasks.

David Allen, who created this system, also practices karate. At the beginning of the book David uses a phrase from martial arts: "mind like water." He says to imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. The water ripples appropriately to the weight and mass of the pebble, and then returns to calm. David advocates his GTD system so that we too can have a mind like water- calm, responding to inputs appropriately- not overreacting or underreacting- and then returning to a state of calm. It's really about developing a state of mindfulness.

Wikipedia defines mindfulness as:
Mindfulness is calm awareness of one's body functions, feelings, content of consciousness, or consciousness itself. Mindfulness plays a central role in the teaching of the Buddha where it is affirmed that "correct" or "right" mindfulness is the critical factor in the path to liberation and subsequent enlightenment.
In astrology the planet Mercury is a symbol for our mind, ideas, and communication and learning styles. Mercury is never more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, symbolizng how closely our mind relfects our true inner selves.

astrology-rewindAbout thee times a year the universe gives us the opportunity to become more mindful when Mercury turns retrograde. This means that from our perspective on Earth Mercury appears to move backwards. This is only an optical illusion caused by where the two planets are in their yearly orbits.

The effects of this phenomena include minor mishaps with communication, transportation, and paperwork- all things that are under Mercury's domain. For example, losing your keys, dealing with a computer crash, or misreading important contracts are more likely during the retrograde periods.

All of these annoyances are really symptoms of a mind that's moving too fast and in too many directions. When Mercury turns retrograde it's time to do all of the "re-" words: reconsider, review, rehearse, and remind. It's a time to revisit where we've been, realign with our goals, and recommit to what's important.

Mercury will be retrograde from September 7, 2009 to September 30, 2009. During that time it will move from 6 degrees Libra back to 21 degrees Virgo, where it was in mid-August. Think back (re-member!) to mid-August. It's time to review what was happening then, re-engage with something that was left unfinished, and revitalize it.

Moving from Libra back into Virgo describes a period when our focus will return from socializing back to working; from compromising back to discerning; from expressing back to analyzing. Virgo energy wants to plan, order, and schedule. With Mercury moving back to this sign it's time for us to look for things in our life that need to be replanned, reordered, and rescheduled.

During the rerograde period Mercury will make a couple of stressful contacts to other planets. On September 17th Mercury will be challenged by Pluto. On this day we may be forced to face some news or facts that we'd rather avoid. Chances are it's something that we avoided back in August and now we have to reconsider it. Around the 23rd Mercury will join up with Saturn and oppose Uranus. We'll have to decide whether to cling to the past or accept a new idea, plan, or proposition. No need to rush into making your choice; Mercury will pass back over this spot in early October after it begins moving direct again.

The lesson of Mercury retrograde is to simply be more mindful- stop and think. Don't be afraid to sign a contract; read it twice and make sure you understand what it contains. Don't worry about losing your keys; look where you're putting them. Don't fret about a computer crash; back up your computer now.

Mercury retrograde periods are good times for doing lots of things that require you to go back over something. For example, editing a paper or manuscript, cleaning out files and closets, renewing subscriptions, licenses or registrations, or reconnecting with old friends. Give yourself permission over the next three weeks to slow down, clean up loose ends, and develop a mind like water. Namaste'

Author's Bio: 

Ron Archer is an astrologer living in Miami, FL. He uses astrology to help clients understand themselves better, make healthier choices, and cope with challenge and change. Ron blogs regularly on his website www.miamiastrology.com.