Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/31/11—Embracing Your Initiation

Today's Draw: XII Initiation (Hanged Man) from the Shaman Tarot. Are you facing a major life transformation right now? Are you willing to earn your way to a new phase of your life? Was there a particular turning point that changed your level of commitment to change?

The Hanged Man is a card that talks about time in suspension, seeing things from a different perspective, voluntary sacrifice and surrender. In the Shaman Tarot, it is renamed Initiation and speaks of the shamanic practice of sacrificing a part of yourself to be in the world of spirits. Before being accepted as an interlocutor with the spirit world, a shaman is usually initiated by the spirits by being beset with some sort of physical or psychological crisis, known as shamanic illness. If the individual survives this, they will have sacrificed a part of their humanness to have one foot in the spirit world and one foot in ours. 

A similar rite of initiation can be observed in the times of transformation in our own lives. As we change careers or transition from a long-term relationship, there is usually some sort of internal crisis we go through before we're free to step foot in the new world. In some cases, that crisis is more physical, involving physical illness, pain or transformation. At the time, we're likely to think of it in any other terms than "initiation", but that's what it is. Right now I know a number of people in a state of initiation and would be interested to hear, either on my blog, on Facebook or over messaging how this perspective changes their attitude toward what they're going through. 

What it comes down to is that our progress through life must be earned. Or, to re-coin a phrase, anything worth having is worth earning. We must move through the fear to get on the other side of it. And that's what most of the "price" of admission is...moving through fear. Change is a scary thing because we're moving from a state of predictability into a state of the unknown. For example, even in a bad relationship, you know what to expect. You can predict how today will go. You know how it impacts you physically, emotionally, financially, socially and otherwise. But who knows where you'll land in those areas if you leave the relationship? In this way, there is comfort in the suffering you go through by staying. 

I once heard that change happens when the pain of sticking with the status quo becomes worse than the pain of changing. I see it in my own life with my weight issues. Today I'm seeing my nutritionist for ANOTHER month with no weight loss to report. Every month I'm determined to make a difference. And every month I end up right back where I started. Despite my pictures, I'm not someone who just needs to lose 10 or 20 pounds. I'm what's considered obese. Less obese than I was a year ago, but still not past the accepted definition. It's both physically and emotionally painful for me, as it has been for much of my life. But the pain of doing what I have to do to make significant progress is, right now, greater than the pain of remaining here...in the predictable. 

There is nothing anyone can say to change where I am. I was thin for nearly a decade in my 30s. I know what that feels like and how relatively easy it was for me to maintain back then. So it's not as unpredictable as many changes people go through. I know what to expect, good and bad. And there's the rub. I didn't like the person I was back then. I wasn't the spiritual person I am now. And there's no reason to believe I would change for the worse at this time in my life, but there is something "safe" in my size right now, no matter how painful it is for me. This internal and external struggle is my initiation. It's not something I talk about very often. I'm the kind of person who doesn't bemoan the things I don't have and am not willing to get. I know and accept that everything we achieve in life is earned and if I'm not willing to do what it take to earn it, then I don't get it. Simple. But it is a relevant example of what we're talking about today. And I like the idea of seeing it as an initiation. 

So what are you earning right now? Or what have you recently earned? And what can you share with others to help them through their own stage of initiation?

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