As August begins, the energy of July’s Black Moon sets the tone for the upcoming weeks. Just as a Blue Moon signifies the second Full Moon in a month, a Black Moon denotes the second New Moon in the same month. And because a New Moon provides us with the vibrations conducive to fresh starts and ideas, a Black Moon enhances those energies: The time is ripe to reframe, reorient, and restart.

This lunar phase coincides with a profound and distinct shift in my emotional and philosophical approach toward a situation that has become increasingly familiar to my Baby Boomer generation: how to cope with the changes and needs of an elderly parent. There is, of course, no “right” way to handle the physical and cognitive changes that occur in most elders; one’s approach depends on multiple factors, unique to the individual and the family. Further, the needs change continually, which necessitates patience and adaptability all around.

The learning curve is steep when it comes to helping a parent whose mental and/or physical abilities are shifting or diminishing. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to corral and harness loving detachment (from expectations) and unconditional patience. I find myself greatly appreciating the qualities of all “good” parents, as those are the very qualities that seem to be required when caring and advocating for an elderly parent: unwavering support, firmness and gentleness, empathetic listening, and respect. These traits rise to the fore, only to fade in the face of challenge; my spiritual practice has become tethered to the daily ritual of coaching myself to rally the aforementioned qualities.

And with the energy of the Black Moon comes another opportunity to contemplate the way in which I approach personal circumstances, as well as the vibration I emit to the world at large. Never has it been more clear to me that each of has infinite chances to relearn and redo our modus operandi. I have felt and continue to feel my own inner shifts, and I have witnessed subtle and grand changes in my mother, my sister, and my best friend. As each of us rises and falls with the trials and blessings inherent in swiftly evolving circumstances, we stay conscious of what and how we are doing. When that awareness dwindles, we need only observe the ongoing determination of the others to do and be better.

As we flounder, flow, and sometimes nearly drown in these simultaneously clear and murky waters of elder care, it seems helpful to focus on the universality of this particular life phase. To stay connected with your spiritual guide and to deepen your time in prayer and meditation contributes to your personal ability to withstand the pressure of continual need and change: Additionally, it creates and builds a beneficial energy that graces every effort, action, word, and thought that is released into the world. The more I regard challenge and the need to rededicate myself to patience and grace as a blessing of opportunity, the more I recognize the hand of the divine in what sometimes seems a hardship. When one can discern the power and wisdom of God and the Universe in all situations, the immediate feeling of burden lessens substantially.

So, to call upon the lingering energy of yesterday’s Black Moon and its ability to empower your choice of a new direction or approach, I offer the following mudra with which to sit. Bring the hands to the level of the solar plexus, or the seat of the Third Chakra. This energy center houses your will power and ability to act intentionally. With the right palm down and the left turned up, touch the right fingertips to the inner left wrist, so that you can feel your own pulse; connect the left fingertips to the pulse in the right wrist. 

With the hands joined in this way, allow a hollow to form between your palms. With your eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye, begin to breathe deeply and fully through the nose. As you ease into a meditative state, identify whatever subtle or grand changes you would like to manifest: Contain them within the still, dark cave of your hands. Inhale, and with each exhale, send the energy of your new way into the pulsing vibration of your heart. With each breath and each beat, integrate your choice to change.

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