September 17, 2020 – New Moon in Virgo

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Today is a New Moon in Virgo: a moment when two feminine energies – the mother Moon and the virgin Virgo – join together to create an emotionally resonant bond.

Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture, Greek goddess, Greek mythology

Attribution: Museo nazionale romano di palazzo Altemps / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)

I always think of the goddess Demeter in connection with Virgo. Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, as well as health, childbirth and the harvest. Like the sign of Virgo, the virgin maid, Demeter was often depicted holding a sheaf of wheat.

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The Rape of Persephone by Luca Giordano

The most famous myth about Demeter involves the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, the lord of the underworld. She was so overcome with grief that fields went barren and famine ravaged the land. It wasn’t until Zeus helped negotiate Persephone’s visitation agreement between Demeter and Hades that she finally turned her attention back to the harvest, averting what would have been a huge catastrophe for humanity.

Demeter mourning Persephone (Evelyn de Morgan, 1906)

One could say that when the Moon is in Virgo, it’s like the reunion of Demeter and Persephone: mother and daughter come together for a short time to renew their connection, work the land, and plan for their next visit. In this case, that would be at the Full Moon in Virgo, which takes place on February 27, 2021. For us earth-dwellers, that means the goals and plans we make at this new moon will be at a key stage of their development in nearly six months’ time.

Image from The Story of Greece : told to boys and girls (1914) by Mary Macgregor

Moon in Virgo

When the Moon is in Virgo, it weds the Moon’s instincts for self-care and nurturing with Virgo’s love of ritual and routine. This placement feels emotionally met when it is focused on usefulness. It may not always seem particularly touchy-feely, but its goal is finding bliss in practical pursuits. The Virgo Moon is the mom who says, “If you make your bed in the morning, it will feel so much more comfy and inviting when you’re ready to go to sleep.” And once you take her advice, you discover she was right.

This New Moon in Virgo is about developing practical approaches to daily living that also feed the soul. Here are some areas where the Virgo New Moon encourages development, and a few concrete ideas on how to use this energy:

I hope this Virgo New Moon opens up some possibilities in how you organize and plan for your future!

Is Tarot part of your new moon rituals and activities?

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread.

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Mars Retrograde Tuesdays

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Mars, the planet of action, ambition, anger and athleticism, turns retrograde on September 9, 2020 in the sign of Aries, one of two signs the Red Planet rules (the other sign is Scorpio). It will appear to travel backward in Aries through November 13, 2020. During this time, we can expect to see some halted plans; any forward momentum we had may be thwarted. This can affect our activities at work, home, and school.

Retrograde isn’t all that bad, though. Any time a planet is in retrograde motion, we are given an opportunity to shift our focus to more inward pursuits:

  • Reflection
  • Review
  • Revision
  • Reassessment

The focus of the inner work is based on the areas ruled by that planet. In the case of Mars, those areas include:

  • Physical activity
  • Ambition and goals
  • Passion, lust, and sex

In the same vein as Venus Retrograde Fridays, I suggest taking one day a week during the retrograde cycle to do work in these areas. Since Mars rules Tuesday, set aside some time that day for Mars Retrograde Tuesdays. Beginning with September 15, 2020 and ending with November 10, 2020, here are some Martian activities to try:

Move your body.
If you haven’t already been exercising regularly, now is the time to get back on the bike, lace up the running shoes, roll out the yoga mat, and/or dust off the treadmill. Don’t push yourself if energy is low – lowered stamina is possible during Mars retrograde – but a 30-minute walk will get your circulation going and your heart pumping. One caveat: if you have been sedentary for a long time, don’t start a vigorous new exercise regimen. Use this time to research different physical activities you might want to try, or talk with your health care provider about ideas.

Eat something spicy or grilled – or both!
Mars rules garlic, ginger, and peppers, so cook up some Szechuan stir-fry, a Thai or Indian curry, or a Mexican feast. (You can check out my recipe for homemade salsa here!) Since Mars also rules fire, a grilled entrée or side dish would be perfect for Tuesday dinners.

Channel your anger.
This year has provided more than enough opportunity for outrage – but how are you working with that anger? How has it been manifesting in your life: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Some ways to work through your anger include:

  • writing letters to the people/places/things that make you angry (and not sending them – remember, you’re processing this anger for your own personal reflection and to get them out of your system)
  • joining a protest (if you can do so safely)
  • contacting your local and state legislators to express your frustrations
  • signing and sharing petitions related to causes you feel passionate about

Assess your personal and professional goals. Mars likes to make things happen, but during a retrograde period, that drive to achieve and succeed may be thwarted. Sit down with paper & pen and write out your personal and professional goals. Where do you want to see yourself in a year? In five years? Now’s the time to see where you’re at and where you want to go.

What about Sex?!

Mars also rules passion, lust, and sex – and it’s those aspects that often make the headlines for Mars. During a Mars retrograde cycle your sex drive may be the complete opposite of what it usually is, or you may find yourself sexually frustrated with your partner. If you’re not sexually active, Mars retrograde may leave you feeling restless, unmotivated or dealing with a creative blockage (especially if you are an artist or writer).

How to deal with all of this pent up sexual energy? A few suggestions:

Remember this is temporary. Even if you are skeptical about astrology and its effects on daily living, our sex drive ebbs and peaks over time. Shift your attention to something else when the frustration gets overwhelming: exercise, singing or dancing may help.

Open the toy chest. Since retrograde cycles are about reviewing and reassessing the areas of life ruled by the retrograde planet, take time to review what gives you pleasure sexually – and that means open up your toy chest, buy some batteries and figure out what turns you on.

Talk with your partner. Emotions may be running hot while your libido isn’t, and that can definitely cause friction (and not the good kind, either). Open up conversations with your partner about your sex life: what you love about it, what you’d like to try out, what you’d like to work on making even better.

You’re not restricted to just Tuesdays for these Mars-centric activities, of course. Working through anger issues is good at any time, and exercising at least 3 times a week is ideal. But sometimes it helps to know that there’s one day a week devoted to specific self-care rituals, and that’s what Mars Retrograde Tuesday is all about. Make the most of it!

 

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Image attributions:

By derivative work: QuartierLatin1968 (talk)Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg: Oliver Abels (SBT) – Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74302639

Closeup of statue face
By Dosseman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78185777

Planet
By ESA & MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56489423

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September 1-2, 2020 – Full Moon in Pisces

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The Pisces Full Moon happening on September 1, 2020 (or in the early hours of September 2, depending on your time zone) is a beautiful time to dream and reflect. We may feel more inclined toward emotional responses – tears close to the surface, for example, or moodiness – yet also feel receptive and softer than ever before. The Moon, which rules Cancer, a cardinal water sign, is more at home in Pisces, a mutable water sign, but it can easily get lost in the depths, or unable to maintain boundaries when necessary.

Moon in Pisces

When the Moon is in Pisces, it’s as if a spell has been cast over the collective, making us all a bit more tuned in to emotions and the subconscious desires of others. Some folks who have a highly developed intuition may feel extra sensitive during this time. Artists, writers and other creatives may feel overwhelmed with new ideas for projects. Dreams may be more prophetic or insightful. I like to imagine a Pisces Moon – especially this month’s Pisces Full Moon – as rising out of the ocean, soaking wet, with a neon blue octopus clinging to its craters.

Since I began studying astrology 20 years ago, I’ve come to know several people who were born when the Moon was in Pisces. They are dreamy souls, with an ability to see into the subconscious in ways that others cannot. They have incredible compassion and an innate understanding of humanity’s deepest needs. But these Pisces Moon natives also tend to get waterlogged, struggling to find solid footing in the real world.

At this point in 2020, the pandemic, protests, natural disasters and political activities around the world have lit up those areas where humanity is in need of massive change. We have experienced some collective grounding due to all these events and situations, and it’s caused immeasurable stress. This Full Moon in Pisces offers an opportunity for healing by allowing us to soften our gaze and dream a little. We get a chance to visualize what’s possible by tuning in to what unites us – and later using those visualizations to fuel practical, real-world solutions.

Here are some ideas for things you can do to channel this Pisces Full Moon energy. For optimal results, do these activities between Monday night and Thursday afternoon.

Activities for the Pisces Full Moon

  • Get wet. Dance outside in the rain, go for a swim, take a bath. Pisces and the Moon are both connected to water.
  • Visit a body of water. If you live close to a stream, river, lake, or ocean, the Pisces Full Moon is a wonderful time to visit and reflect on the role and meaning of water in your life, and give thanks for its existence.
  • Eat some seafood. Embrace your inner pescatarian and have a meal of fish and shellfish.
    • Vegetarians/vegans can enjoy cauliflower, cabbage, cheese, cucumbers, melon, mushrooms, pumpkins or turnips – these are all Moon-ruled foods.
  • Start a dream journal. This journal could include a daily log of your dreams, as well as a place where you can explore the dreams you want to manifest in the world. For tips on recording your dreams, check out this article.
  • Stare at the clouds. If the weather permits where you live, take a blanket outside, lie down and watch the clouds roll by.
  • Take care of your feet. Pisces rules the feet, so a Pisces Full Moon is a great time to pamper them. Give yourself a pedicure or foot massageor give one to your partner. Even simply washing your feet and following up with lotion or cream can be incredibly soothing.

Colors for the Pisces Full Moon

You can wear these colors in your clothing, jewelry, makeup or nail polish.

  • Iridescent and opalescent shades
  • Silvery grey
  • White

Crystals for the Pisces Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home for 2-3 nights during the Pisces Full Moon.

  • Chrysolite or peridot
  • Coral
  • Moonstone

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

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Daily Writing Rituals

Over the past 7 years I have developed a daily ritual that has become a key part of my self-care routine. Soon after I wake up, I fix myself a beverage – hot coffee or tea when the weather is cool, and cold-brew coffee over ice with almond milk and stevia in the summer – and sit down in a comfortable spot with my journal and a pen. The pen is usually a fountain pen. I love fountain pens for making my handwriting look beautiful, plus there’s a huge variety of ink colors and it’s much less strain on my fingers and wrist to glide a fountain pen across the page.

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In the course of an hour, I sip my drink and write out my thoughts. Sometimes this includes a recap of the dreams from the night before (in recent months I’ve taken to using a different color ink for jotting down dreams). Often I go over some of the happenings from the previous day. Some days I have a pastry or waffle to nibble on while I write. And I frequently have one of my 2 cats lying nearby, flicking their tail and blinking at me.

Establishing this daily writing ritual has proven to be such a blessing. It starts my day with a quiet, soft reflective activity that allows me space to process and set my intentions going forward. I don’t rush myself or set a timer. I let the words flow out as they need to and I stop when it feels right.

Some days the ritual is a little different. I may do more stream of consciousness writing or a free write in another notebook dedicated for that purpose. Or if the thoughts & ideas are coming really fast, I sit at my laptop and type them out. On multiple occasions the laptop writing sessions have turned into a blog post. But mostly they are for my eyes only.

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I’ve had people ask me how to establish a writing practice, or they want to know the “right” way to do what are often referred to as “morning pages.” I’m not a big fan of rules when it comes to generating content, whether for your own personal use or in your career. But here are a few things I’ve learned over time when it comes to journaling as part of self-care and creating a daily ritual that involves writing.

  • Pick a time when you can set aside at least 15 minutes to focus solely on writing. This time may be different from day to day, and there may be days when you cannot squeeze out 15 minutes. But if you can spend 15 minutes scrolling through social media feeds or reading articles online, you can devote 15 minutes to a writing session.
  • Find the writing tools that feel good to you. Don’t want to write by hand? That’s fine – you can use your computer or other device. You can even do voice to text if that works better for you, but know that voice recognition may lead to some unusual copy when you review it later. Do not ask me how I know this.
  • When you don’t know what to write about, keep it simple. Sometimes the blank page can feel intimidating, especially if you are just starting a writing practice. Here are a few opening lines that can get you started. Pro tip: when you really feel stuck, write down a list of things you love or hate.
    • Here is what I know:
    • Here is what needs to be written right now:
    • All the ways in which I have had it: [This is a personal favorite for when I need to rant.]

If you’re interested in exploring analog options for writing, visit my other site, Pensplaining, for product reviews & tips.

Venus Retrograde Fridays

How’s everyone doing? Did you lose your mind after the first 30 days of stay-at-home orders or are you holding on to those last few brain cells? I have my good days and not-so-good days. This week has been really weird, with energy spikes and then 24-hour cycles of I-don’t-give-a-f**k.

But I have one thing I’ve been looking forward to every week since May 13: Venus Retrograde Fridays. I was inspired by Chani Nicholas’s workshops with a special section on Venus retrograde. Chani is a freakin’ brilliant astrologer who explains everything so clearly and with a focus on personal growth. If you’re not following her on social media, and you have even a passing interest in astrology, go follow her now and sign up for her mailing list. I’ll wait.

venus retrograde friday, girl with moxie blog, girl with moxie, venus retrograde 2020

 

A brief primer on Venus retrograde, taken from Café Astrology:

Occasionally, Venus appears to be moving backward in the sky. “Appears” is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backward in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Venus is Retrograde approximately 40-43 days every 18 months.

Venus went retrograde in the sign of Gemini on May 13 and will station direct on June 25.

Why should you care? Well, Venus is the planet of beauty and aesthetics. She rules what we value, what makes us happy, and what creative pursuits we enjoy. She is all about sensory experiences: delicious food and drink, leisurely activities, delightful scents and sights. She also rules relationships – surprise, surprise.

So what happens when Venus is retrograde? Retrograde periods of any planet in astrology are a time when the areas ruled by that planet seem to go backwards or sideways. We have to reassess, reflect, re-do, rewrite, rethink; things might not move forward as fast or as easily as we’d like. Since Venus rules love, affection, beauty, values, aesthetics and relationships, that means these are the areas where we need to reconsider what we’re doing and where we want to be during a Venus retrograde cycle. You may start considering a new hairstyle or makeup palette. You might want to clean out your closet and reinvent your look. A romance that was already on shaky ground may end, or past loves may pop up and get you thinking about how that relationship helped or hindered your growth.

Most astrologers will advise you not to make any major changes during a retrograde period. During Venus retrograde, you shouldn’t cut your own hair or sell off your investment portfolio. I tend to agree with that, but I would also add: if you’re able to test out a change in a way that you can reverse it with minimal consequences, it might be worth trying.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Venus Retrograde Fridays. Venus rules Friday, so Chani Nicholas recommends using this day to focus on Venusian activities. After nearly 8 months of intense client work and dealing with personal issues, I am all about taking better care of me while work is not as crazy busy. I’ve now had two Venus Retrograde Fridays and really enjoyed them, and figured I owed it to the last few regular readers of my blog to share how this works and ways you can honor Venus during this retrograde period.

Here’s a list of possible activities for Venus Retrograde Friday.

    • Lounge in bed for as long as you want.
    • Wear comfy clothes.
    • Play “closet” where you go through your clothes and try out new looks.
    • Reorganize your closet or dresser: by color, by type, by season, by outfit, by whatever.
    • Play “jewelry box” where you go through your baubles (as my fabulously fashionable friend Beth calls them) and put on all of them or try new combinations.
    • Put clean sheets on the bed and fresh linens in the bathroom.
    • Take a long soak in the tub with your favorite scents – bubbles, bath bomb or salts optional (bonus points if you have a glass of your favorite beverage nearby, or you eat a cupcake while in the tub).
    • Deep condition your hair.
    • Put on your favorite perfume or scented lotion.
    • Give yourself a mani/pedi or a facial (YouTube has tons of great tutorials).
    • Teach yourself a new updo for your hair (again, YouTube tutorials are the way to go).
    • Take a nap.
    • Bake your favorite treats and eat them slowly so you can enjoy every bite.
    • Make yourself a fabulous dinner and pair it with your favorite beverage – or order that meal for pickup/delivery.
    • Write a love letter to yourself to open after July 29 (when Venus ends its shadow period).
    • Write out affirmations focusing on loving yourself more, then read them aloud. Some good ones:
      • I am perfectly content to be me.
      • I am good enough just as I am.
      • I love and approve of myself.
      • I choose to love myself unconditionally.
    • Read love poems, a romance novel, chick lit, or erotica.
    • Watch a favorite rom-com.
    • Take a virtual tour of an art museum or historic residence/palace (my personal favorite is Versailles).
    • Write letters and cards to people you care about – or send happy mail to people who need encouragement and/or support. (Here’s a great site to start with if you’d like to write something semi-anonymous to someone in need. Here’s another one.)

While you don’t have to do this on Fridays, it will certainly kick off the weekend on a positive note. And if you can only do one thing you really love on Friday, that’s still good. Venus Retrograde Fridays are all about loving on yourself the best way possible. Enjoy!

Getting Through the Buzzing

Have you ever been disturbed by a humming or buzzing sound? The drone of a motor, the vibration of metal on metal, the whir of an appliance left on inadvertently? Did you try to pinpoint the source of the sound, only to be unable to permanently disable it? Maybe you were able to lessen its severity, but you couldn’t make it stop, no matter how hard you tried. Or maybe you noticed the sound was unpredictable, kicking on under certain circumstances, but quiet during other times. You learned to live with it as best you could.

That’s what chronic depression is like. It is a constant hum in the background of daily living. It is the soundtrack by which I live, by which 3 to 5 percent of people live.

Sometimes I try to squelch the buzzing through self-medicating with food, sleep, music, movies, TV show binges, or alcohol. These things work for a while, then the effects wear off. Social media medication, which I define as repeatedly going on Facebook or Twitter, has side effects I dislike: irritability and frustration tinged with bouts of laughter, tears (both happy and sad) and smiles. But I still use all these methods of self-medicating. It may not be healthy, but it distracts me from the buzzing.

Lately, however, the buzzing is the worst it’s been in years.

This morning I realized the last time the buzzing got the better of me was 16 years ago. My then-husband and I were struggling to pay the bills, as well as communicate with each other. I was raising our dog while trying to freelance as a writer, which failed spectacularly. I remember walking on the treadmill in our basement while watching TV, tears streaming down my face, hoping exercise would quiet the buzz. It didn’t.

Most days I could not get out of bed until late afternoon. I did not want to live, but felt like such a failure I figured if I attempted suicide, I would screw that up, too. My psychiatrist sent me to a mental health facility, a place where the buzzing was even louder because I was surrounded by the buzzing of other patients, many of whom were dealing with much more severe issues than I was. I couldn’t sleep the night I was admitted. The next day, I sat in the common room with my journal and wrote about getting the hell out of there. I would find a different way to deal with the buzz. Less than 12 hours later, I was home, with orders to enroll in an outpatient program at a nearby hospital. That outpatient program helped shut off the buzz for a while, as did new medication and a new psychiatrist.

Fast forward to today. We filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of 2000, and I moved to the west coast that spring. My husband and I separated after he decided not to follow me out here. We later divorced. I threw myself into spiritual and metaphysical studies, let my medications run out. I haven’t been under a psychiatrist’s care since then, nor have I seen a therapist. The buzzing was relatively manageable.

Yet the buzzing never goes away. Spiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer, mitigates its severity. Talking honestly to trusted friends and journaling is useful. Writing blog posts such as this one alleviates some of the buzzing’s effects.

But over the last couple months, all I can hear is the buzzing. It pushes out all the loving, compassionate thoughts my soul needs. It makes me angry at the world, at my friends and family, at myself. It keeps me in bed, unwilling to move except to do the bare minimum of self-care and cat maintenance. It constantly reminds me of all my financial debt, all the incomplete tasks, all the negative things people have said or done to me over the years, all the broken pieces in my life.

When the buzzing was last at its peak, a therapist taught me to write down three tasks each day that I could reasonably complete. As I was washing dishes this afternoon, crying, I remembered this technique and how useful it had been in quieting the buzz. I wrote down my tasks and breathed my way through completing them.

  1. I responded to an email about a work project.
  2. I got dressed.
  3. I wrote this post. (This was actually written as “write in journal”, but while completing #2, I thought it would make a good post. I’ll still write in my journal, however.)

I know I need to see a professional for more long-term strategy in addressing the buzzing. At the moment, it’s at a low-level hum. For that, I am grateful.

Making It So: Manifestation, the Magician, and the Movies


Last night I went to see The Prestige with some friends from my Tarot Meetup group. If you haven’t heard about this film, it’s about the rivalry between 2 magicians, played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, and the lengths they will go to in order to be the better, more successful magician. Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and David Bowie also have roles in the film.

Having just come from a meeting on Tarot, I watched this movie thinking about The Magician card. It’s part of the major arcana, which consists of 22 cards that represent archetypes. The major arcana also represent situations and psychological states of being. One of the most well-known cards in the major arcana is the Death card, which symbolizes transition, transformation, and letting go of the old so that the new can come forth.

The Magician card in Tarot represents manifestation. It’s about applying your will to a situation and calling forth what you want. In many Tarot decks, the Magician card shows a man standing in front of a table that has several tools on it. He’s got one hand raised to the heavens and one hand pointing downward, as if to say “As above, so below.” Whenever this card comes up in a Tarot reading, it’s an indication that you have the tools at your disposal to create whatever you want – you just have to make the choice as to what you desire, ask the universe or God for it, and then allow it to unfold. There’s a shadow side to this card, though: you can also use magic and manifesting to manipulate or trick others. If you lack confidence in your ability to actively create what you experience, you may end up in situations that are less than ideal.

The movie illustrated both the light and the shadow side of the Magician card. The desire to be the greatest magician was so strong for Jackman’s character, Robert Angier, that he could not listen to reason. While he was loved, talented, and well-respected, Angier was so consumed with knowing how his rival, Alfred Borden (played by Bale), performed a certain illusion, that he manipulated and tricked others into helping him find out Borden’s secret. In the end, he learned the secret, but not without first manifesting a lot of pain and suffering for himself and those around him. While Borden wasn’t exactly a saint either, he released his desire to be better and focused instead on making a better life for his child.

Michael Caine’s character, Cutter, stated the 3 parts of a magic trick at the beginning and the end of the film:

The first act is called the pledge. The magician shows you something
ordinary—but of course, it probably isn’t.
The second act is called the turn. The magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret, but you won’t find it.
That’s why there’s a third act called the prestige. This is the part with twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you’ve never seen before.

When I relate this structure to the Magician card, I think the 3 parts go like this:

The pledge is the vow you make. You want to create something new, better, or different in your life.
The turn is where you turn over the pledge to a higher power and say “If this is for my greatest good, make it so.”
The prestige is the part where your pledge is made manifest. Be careful what you wish for, though, because the vow will be taken very literally, and if you leave out important pieces, the prestige may not turn out exactly as you had pictured it.

I can tell you from personal experience that this method works. Try it out yourself with something small, like getting a great parking spot at the grocery store or shopping mall, and see what happens. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.