In what ways do you notice yourself building some kind of inner capacity currently? Have you even thought in those terms during the last couple weeks, or does it feel like a new perspective on your current life events?

Screen shot from the training video of my final freedive, shot by Esteban Pando of Freedive Utopia in Tulum, Mexico, at 26 feet deep after about a minute underwater.

After my freediving lesson in March in Tulum, Mexico, my partner Hal asked me if I noticed anything in common between the breathing for this activity and my breath and voice studies with Kristin Linklater. My impulse was to say “no”: Kristin would have been aghast at the idea of intentionally holding one’s breath over and over, and I knew I harbored some inner conflict around the seeming irreconcilability of the two activities. But I paused and gave it some thought, curious to discover a connection.

One of the most resonant pieces of insight my freediving instructor, Esteban, gave me was his description of how the mind will come up with all kinds of excuses to perceive being under threat and abort a dive early (i.e., “I wasn’t in the proper position when I started…” “I looked up at the surface and saw how deep I was…” and so on). He explained that if we make confident relaxed physical movements the brain receives a message of safety from the body and we’re able to continue.

It reminded me of how in acting one can come into an emotional state through consciously enacting its typical physical signs (such as taking fast, shallow breaths and tensing up to mimic fear or anger) — and how much more effective that can be than just trying to think oneself into an emotion. The resonance with what I’ve experienced as an actor helped me to hear and trust Esteban’s words, and seemed to allow them space to be effective in my unconscious.

He also kept noticing where I was holding physical tension as I was diving, cueing me to relax my neck, or my upper back, or my feet. He explained that tension anywhere in the body will reduce the ability to stay underwater on one breath.

After freediving, when my partner asked me his question, I gave all of this some genuine thought. I realized that both freediving and Linklater voice work have at their core the need to release habitual physical tension and habitual thinking to better “hear” the body — and thereby open up the space for greater capacity to emerge (whether that’s the capacity for more truthful, spontaneous emotional expression through the voice, or the capacity for greater time and depth underwater).

In both cases, the training is about getting the over-eager, control-freak mind to take a back seat to the truth, flexibility, and ability of the body. This is not easy in a species who’s developed big, creative, problem-solving brains that still retain a very primitive component ready to perceive threat at the slightest indication and spring into protection mode. Living in protection mode can be a legitimate necessity to survival. Often, however, it becomes a habit that’s outstayed its usefulness.

This is where the current eclipses and Mercury retrograde in Taurus come in. The second eclipse of this pair — a penumbral lunar eclipse with the Scorpio Full Moon — occurs on Friday, May 5, at 1:34 pm EDT (the eclipse peaks about eleven minutes earlier). In this chart we have the Scorpio Moon opposite the Sun and Uranus in Taurus, highlighting the relationships between the physical and the emotional, between routine and disruption.

We’re in a process of reviewing and releasing what has been mindlessly habitual (habitual thinking, habitual activities, habitual tension and defenses, habitual emotions) to create the space for what is now true for the person we are becoming. This newfound space allows you to build capacity beyond what you previously thought possible, real, and true. It happens incrementally, though events coinciding with eclipses often condense or speed up the experience.

If you’ve been stuck in any area of your life, yourself, or your story for a long time, the recognition that you’re ready to move beyond the familiar could come as a shock or may be disorienting — or, it might feel blessedly liberating. Maybe all of the above.

The eclipse chart also features retrograde Mercury conjunct Vesta in Taurus. What have you been sacrificing for too long due to a limiting (and false) perception of “security”? How would you rather devote your precious resources?

What would be truly enjoyable for you over the next few days? What would delight your senses? What lights you up or stokes the fire in your belly?

The days leading up to and just after this lunar eclipse are a good time to align with what you want more of in the next several months by doing some of it now — physically, tangibly, and persistently — yet without stubbornly clinging to the shore of the past. The current of your life may well be flowing with unexpected opportunities and uncharacteristic, creative urges these next several days.

Life in general is about building capacity. Eclipse phases simply magnify that potential, opening new pathways and connecting us with who and what can help move us along. If we’re willing to allow for the possibility of becoming, we can begin to relax into an unknown future that’s only ever our next breath away.  

With love,


Chart for the Scorpio Full Moon. The accompanying penumbral lunar eclipse peaks about 11 minutes earlier. You can see the Sun at the top (yellow circle) with Uranus to its left (looks like a blue Tie Fighter from Star Wars), and Vesta (purple chevron) and retrograde Mercury (green critter with horns) to the Sun’s right. Scorpio Moon is at the bottom.

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