QUESTION: I know Mercury is in retrograde, but I’ve honestly never had such a painful one before in my life. I’m being rag-dolled by the Universe. I can usually cope. This time I’m on edge. 

On the work front, I need to be working, badly, and things are not working. I am always on top of things, and pride myself in that, but can not make things happen right now.

Then there’s a man that I have been involved with on-and-off. I saw him recently, but haven’t heard from him since, and he is not returning my calls. He was distracted/cold/aloof when I saw him last, and I feel that he clearly doesn’t want me and doesn’t appreciate me or the fact that we could be a good match for each other, not enough to even see where it goes. No matter what I felt from him at first or what he has said about me being “the perfect girl”, this treatment is bullshit and I deserve better and I have to let it go. It just SUCKS. 

He checks every single box of a perfect partner…

On top of all of this, it is death by a thousand cuts in every other part of life, tiny things all going wrong everywhere. I’m feeling like people are only out to take-take-take with zero regard for how they impact others, and I’m the lone crazy person who tries (and often fails) to consider the bigger picture.

I honestly can’t take this anymore - it’s brutal, totally brutal. Any advice is massively appreciated. 

ANSWER: It is not Mercury retrograde punishing you: its energy is simply showing you where your inner compass is off. And where it needs to be reset. Think of the red low oil warning light coming on in your car while you are driving. It is annoying to pull off the highway, delay your journey, and find a place to buy a quart of oil to put in your car. You can give in to the inconvenience of spending a half hour and five bucks addressing the issue when the light comes on or you can choose to ignore it until the engine is damaged; causing you to lose use of your car for weeks, while spending thousands to rebuild your engine. 

The retrograde is your friend putting on the red warning light to save you a whole lot of pain down the road, as annoying as the detour may seem. The archetype of this energy is to slow things down so we can examine our alignment with our Self. You have to determine why you feel like a victim in these situations, you who prides yourself as always being on top of things. I know this is not pleasant and that these feelings are overwhelming, but no one is spared self-examination, especially when Mercury is in retrograde. 

As brutal as these times can be, there is an inversely proportional ease to which answers come if we surrender. What seems to be a detour or inconvenience is many times a rerouting to something useful or meaningful. To return to the car analogy, maybe you just avoided a major car wreck by getting off of the highway. Or the gas station that you bought your oil from was offering a free oil change. Understand that many times what the personality craves poisons the soul because the personality is so out of touch with what feeds the soul. The soul is not some concept floating out in the ethers; it is incarnate and is us. It has real needs and demands, which have to be reconciled with the personality’s desires. When we get that balance right, our reaction to life will be much more smooth. When we don’t, misery is ours to no end. Like any relationship, we need to spend time nourishing this balance, a rare event in most lives.

Case in point of your compass being off: you talk about this love interest being the perfect man. You say that he checks every single box and considers you the perfect woman. Then you say that he is cold and aloof and does not return calls. Examine that. How could someone that sounds as disconnected as you describe, check every box of the perfect partner? Your internal compass needs to be readjusted because, like the rest of us, you are confusing your story with reality. We all have firmly held beliefs about why we are in a particular circumstance; that is not necessarily the reality of what is taking place. The checklists that you mentioned about the perfect partner are just that: a concept. That can and does rob us of what life offers. Many times, such lists are defense mechanisms to keep intimacy at bay under the guise of finding the perfect partner. 

When there is such deep disruption in life, it is wise to step back and take an honest inventory of our internal story. Every life has its ups-and-downs. This could just be a part of a natural cycle. Or it could be a deeper calling to pay more attention. Either way, make room for the pain while examining what, if anything, is being contributed by your own psyche. Examine where your own defense mechanisms are setting up or looking for roadblocks that you yourself are seeking. Regardless of the situation, our response to a situation says much about our inner landscape.