I’ve been engaged in a month-long game of "would I, wouldn't I?" when it came to sharing a December newsletter. Like many of you, I've been grappling with the peculiar stop and go of time as we approach the year's end. Alongside this, I've been organizing a community-wide New Year's Eve event, complete with musical performances, an expansive train display, a puppet rendition of The Wizard of Oz, and plenty more. On top of all that, I've reignited my love for makeup artistry in a new way and began offering appointments at my local salon. Woof. What is time, anyway?
Alas, I have no end-of-year review to share, though I confess; the new year always feels more new in the spring. In the spring my body, my heart and the waking world around me begin to catch up to my mind that’s been plotting away since January 1st. Also, spring marks Aries season where fresh beginnings feel unapologetically bold and brimming with the fiery spirit of possibility and renewal.
Winter is a season of stillness and introspection, a time to embrace the raw, melancholic essence it brings. Yes, changes are brewing, but I find myself without answers or clarity, and if you’re with me on that, trust it is totally okay. It can be freeing to get lost in conversations and thoughts without needing to find the solution, the right answer, or the next step. “Maybe it’s the planets.” My usual statement when the world around me isn’t so easy to make sense of. Knowing mercury is retrograde always puts me at ease. Also, Venus, the planet of love and connection is in fun, adventure-loving Sagittarius for four weeks. So, what does that mean?
In astrology, Venus in Sagittarius wants us to flirt with life. To nurture our joy, meaningful connections and a sense of playfulness. I mentioned that sense of ease that mercury retrograde tends to bring up for me. What feels particularly comforting, is knowing that Mercury (the planet of communication & information) in retrograde is inevitably going to cause a few hiccups, communication challenges and/or everything else we’ve grown to expect. So why lose sleep over it? The assignment isn’t perfection, it’s spontaneity and connection.
In the spirit of connecting and reflecting, I’ve been contemplating my relationship with small talk. It might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t hate it. The aversion to small talk could, perhaps, be an excuse preventing us from making new and different connections with people. Maybe it’s showing up as a fear of having to talk about yourself? Perhaps what you do for a living can’t be summed up in one short and sweet title, or your current work doesn't align with your aspirations? Life's fulfillment and excitement extends beyond the confines of our jobs; they also reside in our hobbies, passions, family, and friendships. Could it be that, in our pursuit of inner growth, we've overlooked the significance of truly seeing and getting to know each other beyond the surface-level chit-chat?
Sometimes you spend a substantial amount of surface level time with people to reach those deeper layers. That doesn’t bother me. Maybe it’s the friendships I have that began as deep dives into our deepest darkest parts or the ones built up over the years where you connect so sporadically and can still immediately cut through any awkwardness because, well, you’re family at this point. But small talk. It’s become a rich and pleasant experience for me. To have the occasional dose of enlightening conversations on the sidewalk or at the local antique store with someone who I otherwise have no other interaction with. It makes me curious to expand my/our experience of how we converse in everyday interactions once we’ve asked what you do and talked about the weather.
I'm a few years behind, but I recently discovered the Japanese show "Terrace House" and was fascinated by the recurring theme of group accountability across seasons—especially in relation to work ethic and individual aspirations. Then, last week, while a podcast played in the background (unfortunately, I've forgotten which), they recounted an experience in Japan where they were repeatedly asked, 'What's your dream?' It got me wondering if meaningful
connections were as simple as bringing different more thought-provoking questions into our repertoire. Maybe.
So, let's elevate small talk to medium talk. What's your dream? What are your hobbies and passions? What excites you most in life right now? What's capturing your attention in books, movies, or TV shows lately? How do you spend your weekends or free time? What’s your hidden talent? What are some aspirations you're currently working towards? Let's navigate conversations that go beyond the surface and delve into the richness of each other's stories.