I have this friend. And we fell out of touch for a few weeks during her move and my life changes, and I recently wrote to her again. My updates consisted of a few sentences, and I just wanted to check in on her.
Her response was about three pages of solid updates, angst, anger, and raging.
As I read it, I couldn’t help but laugh because if there is one thing I revel in with this friend, it’s the fact that she never goes halfway. If her life is good, it’s euphoric. If it’s bad, everything is bad. Everything is wrong, and everyone needs to get out of her life. It’s amazing to me how thoroughly she inhabits the extremes of her emotional life.
But I’ve spoken to her before about her tendency to sacrifice herself in an effort to be “good.” She understands intellectually what I mean, and every so often she truly “gets” it. But it’s a hard change to make: to put yourself first when other people have come to rely on you.
Thinking of my friend led me to the idea of heliocentricity. Are you familiar with it? It’s common knowledge now, an absolutely undisputed fact that stipulates that planets revolve around the sun.
But until about the 16th century, most believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and that the Sun revolved around us.
You are the central star in the planetary system of your life, and all your stuff (family, friends, work, exercise, spiritual practice, travel, pets, food, etc) REVOLVE AROUND YOU.
Imagine, for the sake of my metaphor, that Earth is your family in orbit in your life. But instead of living on the Sun and interacting with Earth, you find yourself permanently on Earth’s surface. Instead of living your own life, with all the facets you want to be a part of it, you are a supporting player in the trenches of your family’s life. And every day you see the sun, watch it dance across the sky, and wonder if this is really it.
Do me a favor and play with this idea for a little bit. There are a thousand ways that this metaphor can manifest in your life.
You are the Sun, and the facets of your life are in your orbit the way planets are. If you take our Solar System as an example, you have Mercury, which is a small but constant commitment. Maybe in your life that’s represented by a meditation practice, or a new business venture you’re starting. Maybe it’s your kids, pets, spouse, exercise routine. Venus is a slightly larger factor than Mercury, and maybe it doesn’t interact with you as often. Could be travel plans, or a self-care routine. You see how this goes.
And never forget that gravity is a two way street. You attract things into your orbit, but they also pull you into theirs. What does that look like? You found an eating schedule and rhythm that works for you, but you must commit to eating fat and protein at every meal. Or you have a great group of friends, but to maintain those relationships you have to call or email once a week.
You get to decide.
Or you’re a business, and you and your output are the Sun. Everything you offer extends out to a different level of clients. Your blog reaches the outer edges of the planetary system, to the lurkers Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Maybe they swing by your blog and read, but don’t interact. They’re not subscribers. The blog hits the big guys Jupiter and Saturn, and those people always comment and share your material, but they’re not interested in working with you on a one on one basis. Earth and Mars purchase your stuff, comment on your blog, and share your message. But Venus and Mercury are your die-hard fans, the ones that will buy whatever you put out, help you grow, and work with you personally. It’s up to you to decide how far you want your reach to extend, and in what format. But gravity is a real thing.
The point is, it’s up to you to be the center. You get to define the planetary players in your life and start to define the terms on which you interact with others. What would your life look like if you could attract eight or nine planets into your orbit? How big would they be? Would they need moons? Would you have a Halley’s comet that only swings by you once every few years? Imagine it. How would gravity look? What would you need from these planets to keep them close or far away? What would they need from you?
You get to decide.