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  • Writer's pictureInez Singletary

Caretaking Default

Collaboration (tableau by Deborah Singletary)

New Moon | June 17, 2023 | 26 Gemini 43’

“In almost every instance of our lives” (our social lives) “we are in the midst of an almost constant, if subtle, caretaking.”

Ross Gay, poet and essayist described this caretaking as holding doors open, letting someone go first, or reaching for something which is out of reach for the shorter person. Recently, at Trader Joe’s supermarket I said to a woman “Look at us—both struggling to separate a cart to use for our shopping.” Just then, her cart broke free and she said to me, “Here. Take this one!” I was delightfully shocked at this random act of caretaking. I thanked her with light flashing from my eyes. Ross Gay said that “this caretaking is our default mode, and it's always a lie that convinces us to act or believe otherwise.”

I have given and received this caretaking so much that I anticipate the kindness of strangers (for example when I need to lift a suitcase into the overhead bin of an airplane). I also happily do kindnesses. I heard a man coming up the stairs behind me as I was walking up my daily six flights for exercise. After greeting him with “Long time no see,” I waited at the landing to let him pass me so that I would not slow his two steps at a time progression.

Recently, I read a story about a nurse with five children who adopted a teenager with twins. The teenager, undergoing the twins’ premature birth and hospitalization, had no support from family or friends. I think of this as extreme caretaking.

Although network news predominantly portrays that it’s a hard world and people don’t care about each other, they usually broadcast at least one story about random acts of kindness. And I bet that you can quickly recall kindnesses you give automatically. Kindnesses given over the phone—an “I love you,” or silent listening to someone who needs to talk counts big time.

Noticing the caretaking extended to you by people who are regarded as just doing their job will enlarge your feelings of being cared for. Every day the Sun provides energy and vitamin D. The Moon makes the Earth more livable by moderating the planet’s wobble, and creating the rhythm that has guided humans as long as we’ve been members of the Earth’s household.

I remind myself that I live in a friendly universe, designed to help, and support me at every turn. I notice that this is more likely when I am mentally and emotionally in the groove. When I feel good, good comes. I see that if I change my mind, I change my world, because what I see is what I will get.

This New Moon counsel is based on the Sun and Moon in Gemini (what you think about you bring about) making squares to Neptune in Pisces (kindness) and Ceres in Virgo (caretaking).


Make a paper quilt. This is slightly, but significantly different from a dream board. It is not about your goals and desires. You don’t consciously choose the images beyond your subject. I suggest your subject be, “Changing my mind to change my world. You get several magazines and turn the pages quickly, pulling out the page or tearing out the image that jumps out at you. I call this flip and rip. In this manner, you let your subconscious mind speak to you in the selection of images. If you can’t easily get a hold of magazines, browse Pinterest and download images that speak to you.

After getting a few images together, get a large piece of paper, like 140 lb. watercolor paper or oak tag. 18 x 24” is an ideal size, and arrange your images on it, gluing them down with a glue stick. Once you are finished assembling your images, write down the message that you get in stream of consciousness style. Start out with something like, “I am the message from your quilt. I have come to tell you…” You may be surprised by what you hear. If you don’t feel comfortable with stream of consciousness writing, just make a list of your impressions and feelings. You may hang your quilt for inspiration or put it away for private viewing.

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