The Campaign for Common Sense


Set your mind to brushing up on basics.

Enough! (for the moment) with the frilly hi-concept concepts and the over-the-top reactionary reactions. Will they reap observable results? Do they work?

Our grand plan, if it's going to be a success, must consist of lots of small steps—things to remember and repeat every day, supportive habits that instill a foundation of regularity in us, a very good place to start.

As both the Sun and Mercury head into level-headed Taurus this week, they form a grand earth trine—a synergistic triangle—with Saturn and Pluto, making this a superb several days ahead for cutting through all hypothetical, presumed, abstract or 'meta' crap, to lay real groundwork for measurable progress.

So load your banner and megaphone back into the car, and forego the theatrical gestures. No cavalier declaration can substitute for the glamorous dedication to following up one day's modest efforts with another and another. No 'blessing from the universe' or 'karmic destiny' will speed you through the boring parts. The proof is in the cumulative pudding: We either see it, or we don't.

Pluto in Capricorn is hovering on the precipice of massively transforming our ruling institutions—our governments, our banks, our faith in authority—which will obviously have a dramatic impact on our humble day-to-day lives.

Saturn in Virgo knows that, to strengthen our ability to thrive in a world gone chaotic, we must look closely at the personal patterns we follow—our efficiency and effectiveness, our relation to duty, our respect for the physical world and its limits—and root out those that either suppress our pure desires with unnecessarily harsh judgments or inherited criticisms or, in contrast, flood our senses and tax our systems with excess, hyperidealism or ungroundedness.

Together, these two reassure us that huge political and cultural transitions only occur through individuals consciously making reasonable, self-sustaining choices: where to sit on the bus or which water fountain to drink from, whether to have a third hamburger or seventh martini or whether to stop for a while, how to spend our precious money so that it supports businesses in line with our ideals.

Without accepting this personal responsibility on the practical level, it can otherwise feel like we're helpless participants in the pervasive destruction. Without actively creating alternatives, we are the very problem we bemoan.

Thursday and Friday (Apr 17-18) are perfect days to put our minds to the task of forming real-world commitments with ourselves, with Mercury moving into Taurus and trining both Saturn and Pluto. Don't overdo it with stratospheric ambitions, creating no-win situations with goals that cannot possibly yield fruit without months or years of hypervigilance and persistence. Choose something you're confident you can achieve on a regular basis… for at least the next couple weeks, if not longer. The bite-sized successes are better inspiration than a looming fear of mammoth disappointment. Consider officially kicking off your commitment on Sunday or Monday (Apr 20-21), once the Sun's in Taurus and making the dual outer-planet trines. While you're at it, pledge to be patient, consistent, slow and steady. (The tortoise would vouch that it'll win the race every time.)

For now, common sense will carry us farther than that ever-aspiring balloon of 'our best intentions' (bloated full of hot air to hold us aloft) can provide, with its lofty view too high and far from the real action to allow us to do anything. Yes, it reveals the all-important panoramic glimpse of the landscape, so we won't become demoralized by what can appear to be prohibitive restrictions (if, that is, we're looking out our back window every day and seeing only that same brick wall) without proper perspective. But the actual work happens on the ground.

Dare we settle into pragmatism for more than a couple minutes, we'll find that some of our most stumping dilemmas aren't nearly as complicated as our flustered, pie-in-the-sky panic makes 'em out to be. Financial problems are well on the path to resolution, as soon as we agree to spend no more money than we bring in. If the formula doesn't presently work, we have two answers: Earn more, and/or spend less. Weight loss becomes a breeze, once we acknowledge we must burn more calories than we consume. Eat fewer calories, and/or exercise more. Whether we should stay in this relationship or fly away isn't such a puzzle, if only we'll determine exactly what we must receive in order to be satisfied staying—and, at the same time, agree to take off, when it's clear we won't get it.

Surely we could spend another dozen paragraphs unpacking all the psychological justifications why we spend more than we can afford, eat or drink more than our bodies can handle, or date folks who cannot fulfill our desires.

Not relevant right now.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter so much why we ended up in this or that predicament, whether our parents screwed us over, our ex-partner robbed us blind, our landlord wouldn't listen to our perfectly sound excuse for not paying rent, or our company laid us off (for 'totally un-performance-related reasons', of course)… only what we chose to do about it, after the immediate sting has passed, on any and every given day.

That's an earth-sign solution for ya…