3 Ways to Practice Compassionate Communication During Mercury Rx

Mercury Retrograde gets a bad rap. So much so that there’s an entire retail sector profiting off our mercurial misfortunes (I’m not exaggerating -- look). For a while I believed the hype too. It was so much easier to put difficult conversations on the backburner or blame my road rage on the sky’s movements instead of taking responsibility.

As the messenger of our solar system, Mercury governs communication, travel, and technology. Also the ruler of both Gemini and Virgo, when this planet is direct we’re able to tap into administrative abilities and hold rigorous debates. When it is retrograde, or appears to be moving backwards in the sky, miscommunications and foiled plans seem inevitable.

Mercury has been moving through the adventurous fire sign of Sagittarius since November 5 and will remain there until January 10. This astrology would prove challenging under the best of circumstances and we’ll see those struggles magnified as Mercury stations retrograde in that sign from December 3 through December 22. Paired with an super full moon in Gemini on Sunday, December 3rd, we might feel moved to grand gestures or a sudden severing of ties.

Instead of acting on impulse, Mercury Retrograde is a time to get in touch with your favorite re- words, like reset, restore, and release. Although Sagittarius’ influence makes it difficult to sit still, try to focus energy on perfecting your strategy. If we can commit to the work, these few weeks in retrograde will present opportunities to get clear on our plans for 2018 and reveal the people who can best support our growth.

If you struggle with mindful communication, here are a few tips to help you stay grounded during Mercury’s retrograde journey: 

photos by @taylorclarkjohnson and @pussywitch

1. Practice whole-hearted listening

How often do you find yourself preparing your response while the other person is still speaking? Don’t feel bad, we all do it. Our minds race a million miles per minute and sometimes it feels like we’ll lose our thought if we don’t speak it right away. Mercury in Sagittarius is already prone to inappropriate outbursts, but you can avoid that embarrassment by practicing whole-hearted listening. Hold soft eye contact. Check your body language -- are you closed off with arms crossed? Remind yourself that regardless of whether you agree, their feelings are valid. This exercise in empathy will help you temper your response so that the situation doesn’t boil over.

2. When possible, use “I feel” statements.

“You’re being incredibly insensitive right now.”

“I feel like you’re being insensitive towards me right now.”

See what a difference a few words can make? The first statement is an accusation, while the second is more vulnerable. It allows the potential offender to consider the impact of their words instead of placing them in a position of defense.

3. Before responding in anger, ask yourself:

Is it helpful?

Is it necessary?

Taking a moment to ask yourself these questions will redirect you away from a fiery comeback. Often when we argue, it’s our egos doing the talking. They want so badly to believe they are in control and to assert themselves. This simple practice can help you stay present so that you don’t say something you regret.

It can’t always be smooth sailing. Although difficult, Mercury Retrograde reminds us to slow down and put more thought into our actions. As 2017 winds down, take this time to reassess (see, another re word!) your progress and align your intentions for the future.