Happy Homecoming to Mercury! After a retrograde since August 12th, the God of The Persuasive Tongue returned to familiar territory with Virgo where he can rest his exhausted winged sandals in trust until September 29th. As such, ideas and practices on detailed thinking and carefully considered (commune)ication are the two themes of these transit. Note how “commune” in communication theoretically requires an exchange of speaking and listening. In practice, I often notice two people speak and neither heard a word of the other. Where’s the listening? In practice, I see self-preoccupied conversations where people monopolize dialogue unconsciously. In practice, I observe visible discomfort from others if they’re not talking about themselves. Where’s the mutuality? Where’s the commune in communication? As a Gemini, I am required to voraciously protect the vernacular. I have to keep my space clean against all-about-me messy dialogue that’s destroys conscientious communication. So can you! Here are my 5 Tips for Mercury in Virgo.
1) Who’s Earned My Story? Who’s Stories Have I Earned? One of my strongest realizations on communication came from Dr. Brene Brown when her data proved our stories aren’t meant for everyone. Dr. Brown wrote, “...you share with people who've earned the right to hear your story.” That’s why our psyches hold visceral reactions to oversharing because it registers we haven’t earned the right. The speaker assumes they’re providing a sense of closeness when really the listener feels like they were robbed. It’s theft if the psyche registers there was no earning. Which is why speakers need to employ Virgo careful consideration on which listeners earned the story's weight. And we need to discern who tries to hot-wire closeness by a hit and run oversharing. A research experiment concluded that interpersonal closeness (which determines the earning of the story) is developed through “...escalating, sustained, reciprocal, personalistic self-disclosure.” Don't let the academic jargon repel you. Approaching relationships with an escalating, sustained, and reciprocal method will help you gradually unlock the closeness and connections you crave that give your life the most meaning.
2) Ask Questions: You don’t have to be a journalist to ask thoughtful questions that fortify conversation momentum. My AstroTwin Chartreuse once asked me, “What’s today speaking to you?” I think that’s just gorgeous. It’s a spark for inspiring personalistic self-disclosure. Asking thoughtful questions with genuine interest allows the speaker to feel seen and heard. Which is all any one of us wants. Virgo usually sidesteps awkwardness through asking a series of meaningful questions in social spaces. It’s one of the simplest, most powerful practices to put the commune back in communication because appropriate questions are disarming. From there, you can join in authentic, meaningful dialogue. Since I struggle to share details of my life unless I am asked directly point blank, I always remember who's thoughtful enough to invite me open up with permission. My heart is filled with gratitude for their conscientiousness.
3) Pay Attention: One of the best gifts you can give to yourself and others is your ability to offer awareness. Are we born knowing how to focus our attention span? No. Is that an excuse? Virgo would say - absolutely not. We have too much tolerance for enabling individual and interpersonal distractions. It’s so careless. Especially because our psyches are programmed to identify who’s not paying attention when someone's speaking. We're not getting away with it. So let's stop kidding ourselves. Do what must be done to develop the ability to focus. If that means self-education on mindfulness, doing less at a time - research proves multitasking destroys productivity! - putting your phone away, beginning each day with meditation and/or exercise, or paying attention to your breath. Do what must be done to let others know your conscientious enough to pay attention to their storu because they'll feel it if you’re not. And you'll destroy a bid for connection in the process.
4) Pass The Mic: Greek Philosopher Epictetus believed God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak. I'm regularly horrified by people's inability to register the disproportionate amount of time they spent talking versus listening. Could you imagine if people weren’t so hungry to get a message out ... but get a message in? I would feel more calm at parties. And I’m sure you would too if conscientious listening was the minimum standard. Improve dialogue by Virgo's focus on social service. Be the person who listens twice as long and as well as they speak for. Be a person who improves conversational balance through facilitation. Graciously pass the microphone so people around you feel like their voice matters. So they too can share what life is speaking to them today. Improve the dialogue by Virgo's focus on social service.
5) Unify: I have to laugh instead of scream my lungs out when whenever someone says, "I'm the kind of person who [executes the most common behavior]". Oh REALLY?! You don't say?! You see, the highest (because it's the most accurate Virgo power thought) is not, "I am unique". Rather the highest power thought unifies like "I'm not alone in this discomfort because I'm just like everyone else". So when someone's getting all precious, I love to destroy their illusions with, "Who among us doesn't do exactly what you think you're so special for?" Because it invites unification into the conversation. Not a competition of who's the most nuanced. Carl Jung identified the "Collective Unconscious" as the part of our subconscious minds that contain memories and impulses common to humanity deep within the inherited structure of the brain. So any time you're not attempting to identify with humanity, then you're not identifying with the deepest level of your personality. Unpopular, I know. But as True as it gets through a spiritual paradigm because we are each other. Make unification one of your bottom lines in discussions. Which allows others to recognize they're not as alone as they thought they were.
A 2011 study deduced "words spoken" as only 7% of the communication continuum, 58% is body language, and 38% is tone. But if we're primarily communicating behind phone screens these days, then we're losing the advantage to monitor tone and observe body language, and relying instead on the smallest fraction of communication that we're the least prepared with. Which is why so many words spoken sound tone-deaf. Because dominant social thinking gives us permission us to be sloppy with language. We need to hold a higher standard of excellence on communication. That's why the Universe is giving us a very long 8 week Mercury in Virgo transit for us to put the commune back in communication. Let us not treat socializaidons so casually or narcissistically. Conversations should sound like a choir not a soloist performance. Let us hold every dialogue with reverence. Offering both our listening ear and succinct perceptions. Understanding the opportunity to socialize as a sacred opportunity to learn the story of another. Let us carefully consider our words, with whom we share them with, and the quality of how we show up to listen to the words of others.