Your brain absorbs about 11 million pieces of information every second, but is consciously aware of less than .001 percent of all that richness. Or at least that’s usually the case. Having analyzed your astrological omens, I suspect that you might soon jack that figure up as high as .01 percent — a ten-fold increase! Do you think you can handle that much raw input? Are you amenable to being so acutely perceptive? How will you respond if the world is a ten times more vivid than usual? I’m pretty confident. I suspect you won’t become a bug-eyed maniac freaking out on the intensity, but rather will be a soulful, wonder-filled explorer in love with the intensity.
Don’t make nasty comments about yourself behind your own back.
Do play soccer in bunny slippers at dawn in a supermarket parking lot with a gang of sadomasochistic stockbrokers who’ve promised to teach you the Balinese monkey chant.
Don’t decorate your thigh with a sloppy tattoo of the devil pushing a lawn mower.
Do wear a t-shirt that says, “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”
Don’t glide into a bar, scout around for the person whose face has the most pain etched in it, and ask that person to come home with you.
Do eat ripe organic strawberries that have been genetically modified and irradiated, and do chain-smoke Marlboros as you peddle your exercise bicycle, and do wander through a garbage dump while listening to Mozart on your iPod.
Don’t get hooked on the fantasy that there are only two kinds of people, those who align themselves with the forces of light and those who align themselves with the forces of darkness.
Do start an organization called POMP (Proud Owners of Multiple Personalities), dedicated to erasing negative stereotypes about healthy non-schizophrenics who enjoy being a community of many different selves.
Don’t lie on a floor surrounded by wine-stained poetry books, crumpled Matisse prints, abandoned underwear, and half-eaten bowls of corn flakes as you stare up at the ceiling with a mad gaze, muttering gibberish and waving your hands as if swatting away demons.
Do run along the tops of cars during a traffic jam, escaping from bad guys as you make your way to a helicopter that takes you to a spot hovering over an erupting volcano, into which you drop the Buns of Steel video.
Don’t put your soul up for auction on eBay.
Do write a cookbook filled with recipes you’ve channeled from dead celebrities.
If you come upon a lamp with a genie in it, don’t wish you had a magic wand.
You’re a gorgeous mystery with a wild heart and a lofty purpose. But like all of us, you also have a dark side — a part of your psyche that snarls and bites, that’s unconscious and irrational, that is motivated by ill will or twisted passions or instinctual fears. It’s your own personal portion of the world’s sickness: a mess of repressed longings, enervating wounds, ignorant delusions, and unripe powers. You’d prefer to ignore it because it’s unflattering or uncomfortable or very different from what you imagine yourself to be.
If you acknowledge its existence at all (many of us don’t), you might call it the devil, your evil twin, your inner monster, or your personal demon. Psychologist Carl Jung referred to it as the shadow. He regarded it as the lead that the authentic alchemists of the Middle Ages sought to transmute into gold.
How are you doing on your work of changing your own personal lead into gold?
My heart is filled with moths
“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are. Because—isn’t it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture—? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.” Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?…If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or…is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?”