Anyway, to add insult to never-ending injury, people would feel compelled to take the joke too far by saying even crazier stuff like Chiron is the ruler of Virgo or whatever. Then nearly three months ago, after many years of gnashing of teeth and really struggling to make sense of Chiron, I found my way to an understanding of the comet/planetoid. I published my thoughts as a chirpstory, based on my tweets on twitter.
In the last month, Chiron’s deeper meanings have hit even more at home since I started swim lessons at the Harlem YMCA. I have basically known how to “survive” in water since going away in my pre-teen years at Cradle Beach Camp, a Fresh Air Mission summer camp. But I didn’t really learn how to swim. So when I went to the Y, I didn’t go for any grand reasons like to finish unfinished business. I just wanted to beat the heatwave that I thought would continue a lot longer than it actually did this summer.
In interim, I found myself in a giant pool wanting to do more and I couldn’t. I looked on the schedule and saw the Y had adult classes when I was free in the evenings. My first class was great! I had a Jamaican guy who basically nurtured my basic learning nature of full immersion or sink or swim. He wasn’t so much about structured steps as much as learn this component, practice it and then learn by doing. That day I nearly swam the length of the pool for the first time in life on my own.
The second class was with a different instructor who reminded me a lot of my father, oddly enough. He was big, with a wit that mocked you and disarmed you at the same time and a fairly methodical, prop-laden approach. I struggled in that class and went from feeling confident to being able to swim the length of the pool to wanting to trade in my swimming cap for a dunce cap. The remarkable thing about that class is that it prompted me to get to the pool more to practice. And more than most things I’ve attempted to learn, it was a JOY to practice. As someone who trains folks in learning new things, I knew that it was key to figure out things with my own body, not attempting to intellectually picture it in my head what I had been instructed. I also realized that the success of my first class was a mix of beginner’s luck and my teacher’s appreciation for effort more than demonstration of technique. Not knocking it as much as the second class (and subsequent ones) frequently reveals the hard part.
And it did. I had to do something that I often don’t like to do often or that I do well: trust. And it wasn’t about trusting my instructor or his instruction. I had to trust the water. I had to surrender. Intellectually, I got early on that most of swimming was allowing the water and our natural reactions to the water to do its work…without panic. Swimming is definitely more about the practice of getting in your body than the panic of it. If you panic, you are likely to drown or end up with a lot of water up your nose.
With a Chiron in Pisces in the part of my chart representing my body (my 1st house), I think it’s reasonable that I would have a problem with surrendering into my body. I was born with spina bifida, so it hasn’t always been comfortable being in my body, especially since the first 20 years of my life were spent getting surgeries (25 of them). However, my health has mostly been good when I’m eating right and exercising. I may have to get a hip replacement within 5-10 years my doctor tells me, but perhaps my active working out will keep it at bay for 10-15 years. We’ll see.
Regardless, my own lessons with futility, as I’ve come to understand Chiron, is learning to trust my body to a process or a state that’s beyond my control, while at the same time learning a set of motions that helps me cooperate with this process. And learning to swim has already shown me what the other side of futility can look like if I’m willing. It’s realizing that you can either fail or exceed your expectations, but only if you’re willing to let them go. I didn’t have to beat the heat this summer in a pool. I had to beat myself.