One of my favorite quotes about Virgos comes from Rav Berg, and I think of it every year as we enter the month of Elul. He explained, “Virgos’ view of the world may be reduced to a grain of sand when the entire beach is what should be taken into account.”
You may have heard a similar adage, “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” One of the greatest strengths of Virgos is their laser-like focus on the details, but it can also be their weakness.
Each month in the Lunar calendar provides us with its own unique energy and the energy of Virgo lends itself to details, singular focus, and precision. This brings with it both opportunity (the ability to confront and transmute our blockages in preparation for Rosh Hashanah) and challenge (the tendency toward harsh judgment and losing ourselves in the little things.)
Virgos are organized and have a fantastic eye for detail, making them great surgeons, editors, nutritionists, and educators. They are able to zero in on a problem and zero in on a situation that others may overlook—a valuable skill. However, they have a hard time delegating, can’t resist stepping in to “help” when things don’t go as planned and are quick to point out what you’re doing wrong. Virgos rarely win any astrological empathy awards. They are perfectionists and while their exterior would suggest they “have it all together,” the target of their most critical eye is themselves.
Understanding the energy of this pivotal month helps us not only to prepare our consciousness but also sets us up for success in terms of utilizing the energy in a positive way. I am reminded of an exercise that I use anytime I find myself fixating on a grain of sand instead of taking in the view of the entire beach. It’s called the “Rule of 10 10 10” and it is an idea from author Suzy Welch. It is simple but incredibly transformative.
It works like this; when faced with a decision or challenge ask yourself these three questions:
How will I feel about this decision in 10 minutes?
How will I feel about this decision in 10 months?
How will I feel about this decision in 10 years?
Talk about instant perspective. This exercise takes your grain-of-sand focus and widens it so that you’re able to fully see the beach. Not only that, you can use it in any situation, no matter how big or seemingly small.
Suzy Welch wrote about the moment that she realized just how effective the Rule of 10 truly was in an article for O Magazine. While she also describes how essential 10/10/10 was to a major event like her divorce – this particular experience wasn’t a life-changing crisis: she had been asked to lead a Saturday meeting for the executives of the company but the meeting conflicted with her son’s Karate black belt test. She writes how she used the Rule of 10 in this situation to reach the best decision:
“In 10 minutes, both choices stank. My son would be devastated. I could picture his sweet face all screwed up and turning pink as he fought back tears; he was the kind of kid who got sad, not mad. My boss obviously wouldn’t cry, but her disappointment would surely be palpable.
In 10 months, I figured, the pain would be buried. Why? Because I would shovel frantically to make it so. If I attended the off-site, I would love my son extravagantly in the months that followed, spoil him with my attention, and apologize until he could stand it no more. If I didn’t go, I would pull the same kind of performance at work, with my boss at the receiving end.
But 10 years…there was the problem. My kids would be gone and my career at full-throttle, whether I had gotten one promotion or not. But on some visceral level, my son would still know that I had chosen to miss one of the seminal events of his life for my own advancement.
That was damage I could never undo.
So I skipped the off-site. And late that Saturday afternoon, I cheered as my son received his black belt, his face pink as he tried to hold back tears.”
The truth is our lives are incredibly nuanced and each of our choices and actions are going to invariably affect us and the people around us in ways we might never truly know. Pulling back our focus and looking at the big, 10-year-wide picture can help us to make decisions even more effectively.
While this exercise can be a very powerful tool for the times we come up against difficulty this month, there is one thing you can always remember: no matter how wide or focused our perception and perspective may be, the only one who can truly see the whole picture is The Creator.
We can change our perspective at any time but we will still only be able to see what we can see. Not only that, we will only be able to see what it means for us, individually, because we can never truly know how something will affect someone else. Our view is limited. This is why shifting into a consciousness of trust and certainty in the Creator’s plan is what will ultimately bring you peace.
As we all move through the month of Virgo, through t’shuvah (repentance), and into Rosh Hashanah, adopting a practice of widening our view will help us to see ourselves and our lives in a bigger, fuller way. In so doing, we can also practice letting go of the details, releasing our need to control, anticipate, and perfect and, instead, place our trust in something greater.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Use the 10 10 10 exercise anytime a decision needs to be made this week, no matter how big or small. How will this decision affect you and those around you in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years?