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The Only Way Out is Up

I used to think Mercury Retrograde was just about communications and technological equipment failing so you could go inwards. This past Mercury Retrograde has taught me something different.

Coming from living in the woods for six years, I am still adapting to the city noises of Portland, the construction outside, the trash compressor next door, or parties that happen on the other side of me. I feel as if I feel the energy of every person in each of these apartment buildings around me. I have been called the Princess and the Pea a couple of times and that completely applies to how I respond to every single noise I hear or energy I think I feel. It has to be totally silent for me to do deep thinking like writing my book.

Guess what has happened this entire Mercury Retrograde? Even more noise and commotion! For three weeks they have been painting the wall on my side of the building. You might think of painting as a relaxing activity with the brush smoothly flowing along the wall. Not on a big apartment building! It is filled with a generator motor running all day long 5-6 days a week, screaming workers, and men looking in your window. Being in a small studio on the ground floor with the outside wall all windows, you can imagine how invasive this feels.

There has been no room for quietly going inward. Or has there? I still have a choice to feel inner peace despite the outer circumstances or to go somewhere else and work. In the midst of this a friend shared this quote with me from Eckhart Tolle, “When you complain you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it, all else is madness.”

What if you were in a much worse situation that you could not get out of right away like poverty, slums, terror, violence, or war? What if you really did not have a lot of options? It reminds me of a visualization that came to me during a meditation in seclusion. While the visualization may not seem real, there can still be a message to receive from this story.

A couple years ago I went into a weekend seclusion at my family’s ski home in California during the off- season. That happened to be at the same time that Israel entered the Gaza strip to locate the missiles being shot into Israel. I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that: 1) Israel told the civilians where they were coming to look for the missiles, and to leave those places. 2) At the same time the civilians were told by their leader not to go anywhere. Thus they were trapped in the middle. I can’t say what I saw in my visualization was completely reflective of the real situation, but it taught me a lot about life in general.

I set up my meditation spot in the empty upstairs loft. I could see the fall colors on some of the trees outside and the rocky hillside across the valley changing colors as the sun went down. It was the first night of my seclusion and I was deep in meditation.

All of a sudden I felt as if I was hearing little voices saying “Help me. Help me.” In that space of emptiness a visual came to me that looked like a giant fish bowl with the civilian children standing near the glass looking at me and their family scurrying behind them. I was surprised because I come from an Israeli family and you would think I am their enemy whom they would never turn to for help. (I don’t consider myself to be the enemy of anyone, nor do I condone everyone’s actions.) They were not cries of anger nor of wanting someone to feel sorry for them. They just wanted to know how to get out of their situation. “Help me. Help me,” they continued.

My next thought was, “What could I possibly do to help them. I am just a lucky gal in California living a nice life.” The cries continued. Without a resolution, I just sat with it.

I sat for maybe another half hour until I heard the words, “The only way out is up.” I repeated those words in my head to those kids. I saw them one at a time rise into the air like a beam of light.

What is the symbology that I took out of that? When you are in a situation where your family and friends are getting murdered and injured, when there is terror around you, when you are likely to get injured or murdered yourself, and when there is no time and space to do the things you love, you can’t rely on any of that to be the source of your happiness. You can’t be dependent on your world having your loved ones or your body remain intact. You can’t expect that living in a body on earth is your only source of happiness.

I say these situations are what make people a saint. Somehow the only way to feel good is just to find the light or God within. “The only way out is up.” That is what I saw these kids doing; learning to transcend the challenges around them and live in the pure light within.

The quote I most commonly repeat from Paramhansa Yogananda is, “Circumstances are neutral.” That sounds more extreme in the scenario above. My situation with the noisy workers outside pales in comparison to those kids. What little outer circumstance that is nagging you in your life today can you let go of the feeling of pressure from it? Can you close your eyes for a moment and simply feel your breath tickling the insides of your beautiful body?

To help you let go of whatever you hold onto that does not serve you, follow this guided meditation:

For more guided meditations, visit

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