Pause for the cause! Communication planet Mercury turns retrograde (backward) in its home sign of Gemini starting today (May 18) through June 11. Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, and it can wreak havoc on technology and travel, or cause raging misunderstandings.

With Mercury backspinning on native cosmic soil, our inner optimists hope that it will neutralize some of the retrograde’s effects. The other possibility is that we’ll have a double-strength retrograde, since both Mercury AND Gemini govern our gadgets, our personal expression and all modes of transportation.

Since we clearly can’t go into hiding for three weeks, here are a few specific tips for surviving — and heck, even thriving — amidst the two-fisted Mercury mishaps ahead:

1. Hone your “mirroring” skills.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins — but don’t mistake it for an attack of the clones. The essence of Gemini is a back-and-forth dialogue between two complementary forces. Feeling out of sync — or on the verge of a meltdown?

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Experiment with the mirroring technique, a neurolinguistic programming (NLP) tool that can quickly restore harmony. By copying someone’s speech patterns, body language, tone/pitch (among other things), you can get back into a simpatico state.

2. Hop on your bike (or skateboard, or scooter, or…).

Mercury and Gemini govern anything with wheels, so during this retrograde, your main mode of transportation might need a tune-up. So take your bike out of storage, or buy one secondhand. Relive childhood by skateboarding to your destination. And PLEASE: be extra careful on the road, as accidents are more likely during this frazzled transit.

If you’re too hip for a helmet, rethink that policy. Embrace its un-coolness, or check out this innovative “invisible” helmet, designed in Sweden.

3. Take a trip down music’s memory lane.

Cultural connoisseur Gemini loves music — this sign’s inner DJ never stops spinning.

Since Mercury retrograde turns back time, flip back through some past generations’ catalogues. Whether it’s 1940s Paris cafe songs cue “Lae Vie En Rose” by Libra Edith Piaf or some 1970s disco and soul (who’s going to Taurus Stevie Wonder’s Inner Visions tour?), and maybe some synthesizer-heavy 1980s pop (how we adore Erasure’s “Oh L’Amour.”

4. Recycle your technology.

How many times have you seen a television set or broken CPU on the curb and cringed, knowing it was headed straight for the landfill? This retrograde, take the extra step of finding the electronic recycling dropoff outposts in your town. Since appliances can’t be recycled with the rest of your everyday stuff, it’s an extra pain in the arse. But try to give Mother Earth a little extra respect!

5. Or … "freecycle."

Just because you’re advised against buying new things during Mercury retrograde, doesn’t mean you can make an old treasure new again. Savvy mixmaster Gemini can find any relic or curiosity to repurpose and start a new trend. Check out freecycle.org for every gently-used item you could possibly want — and snag it either for free or on the cheap!

6. Visit your old hotspots.

Gemini rules the zodiac’s third house of neighborhoods and community. Head back to that place where everyone knows your name, even if it’s your old Starbucks and nobody could ever spell it correctly.

Gather friends at that old pinball dive bar, a cheap-and-greasy college diner (those disco fries are worthy of a once-a-year splurge) or someplace you used to hang. Mercury retrograde is ideal for reunions, so bring on the throwbacks!

7. Back that thang up.

This dual-threat of technology trouble can wipe out your most cherished electronic files. Get busy backing up your digital files, documents and anything sitting vulnerably on a hard drive.

While you’re at it, double-protect: send those items to the cloud, but also stash them on an external drive. You just never know ...

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