Saturday, May 7, 2011

5/7/11-5/8/11—Playing Devil's Advocate

Weekend Reading: The Knight of Swords from the Magna Veritas. Advances can be made this weekend by playing the devil's advocate and seeing a situation from all sides. This kind of strategic thinking can keep you from making a mistake or it can help you understand another's point of view. The more you practice stepping out of your own perspective and seeing situations through other eyes, the more you grow as a person, and the more success you're prepared to achieve in life. So be conscious of this this weekend, especially when it comes to finding the good in a bad situation, seeing the "truth" through someone else's eyes, or examining another person's stand.

Friday, May 6, 2011

5/6/11—Letting Go and Letting "God"

Today's Draw: The Star from Wheel of the Year, new from Lo Scarabeo. Are you ready to baptize yourself in the waters of hope and faith? Or are there doubts you just can't let go of?

The Star is one of those cards I always look at before I choose to purchase a deck. It's one of my very favorite cards because it contains two of my favorite things—water and stars. And its message is nothing but inspirational. It speaks of hope, trust and abundance. It is always a very positive sight in any reading. 

I feel the cards over the last couple of days have been talking about manifestation. Yesterday we discussed asking for a feeling, rather than a thing. And with her hands full of water (emotion), raised up to the heavens, I think this card is doing the same. But it's more than that. The woman is steeped in her emotions and is raising them up to the universe to heal and transmute. She leaves nothing within. All her hope, desires, senses and soul, she puts in the universe's hands, trusting that what will come back is what is right for her. And this last part is key, because sometimes we don't like what comes back to us and then doubt our faith in the higher power. Trust and faith is in knowing that *whatever* comes to us is a gift. No matter how it's wrapped. 

Humans have a tendency to want to control things. No matter how much we might talk about our faith in God or whatever, we still think that sometimes we're "lucky" and sometimes we're not. But what if you shifted that thought and saw everything as lucky? I can whine like everyone else, but I would hope that most who know me well would agree that I see everything as a gift or a lesson. And I would have to say my greatest teacher in faith has been my freelance career. 

As a self-employed person that works project to project, you have to have some sort of trust somewhere. I don't work on big contracts that last months. I work one two-hour job to another. And, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of two-hour jobs to support a person. Now, realistically that's a little dramatic. My average daily job lasts two hours, maybe, but I also have some 20 hour jobs in there. Regardless, it's scraping for change in relation to a consultant who has a six month contract. And I can worry about when the next two-hour job is going to come in. Or I can let go. I can worry about having enough work to support my month. Or I can let go. I can sweat every dry spell. Or I can let go. 

I have always chosen to let go. This is the second recession I have weathered as a freelancer. And what I learned from the first is that the universe always provides. The universe led me to this career, this mortgage, this lifestyle for a reason. And if it takes one of those things away, that will be for a reason, too. Right now I feel like I'm being pulled like a tractor beam in a certain direction. And I am letting go. Even though what waits on the other side is unknown...and what I know of it is scary, because it will require me to change. Even though it may compromise something I love, I'm letting go. Even though it's moving me toward something I spent most of my life consciously never wanting to do. Even though I may fail, I'm letting go because the whispers in my ear are so strong. And the universe has never led me astray. I'm letting go because I trust. 

Trust, faith, hope...they're not conditions as much as they are practices and disciplines. Conditions come and go. Practices are something you work on every day. Do I have doubts? Temporarily, yes. But my practice is to stop those thoughts and replace them with trust. Will I ever end up regretting this blind trust? No, never. I can honestly say I live my life without regrets. I spend zero time wishing I had done something differently. When I make a decision, it's made and I move forward. I'm happy to waste way too much time on other useless thoughts...haha. But not that one. Because you can't go back and change the past. You can only deal with the present. And whatever kind of waters I land in in my present, I at the very least move forward with a gift. Always. A gift, a lesson. There is no such thing as a mistake or wrong move in life. And once you let go of the notion that there is, you are free to accept whatever comes to you, even if it's something you don't think you want. 

Now, trust me, I'm no perfect being. It takes so much to motivate me to change anything in my life that it's ridiculous. But when that tractor beam comes, like it has recently, I follow it. Because it feels like fate. It feels like the hand of god guiding me. And I'll say this, I'm not "lucky" I feel this level of faith and trust. Like I said before, it's a practice. Self doubt is a habit I have consciously worked on to eradicate and I still have it in some areas of my life, such as in the area of my body image. It is a practice, meaning I work on it every day. I fight the urge every day to give myself over to anything that is not faith and trust. It gets easier. And it's worth the effort. But it *is* effort. 

Now, getting back to the manifestation thing. So one of the little-known secrets of The Secret is that you can sometimes be more effective wishing for an emotion, rather than a thing. We covered that yesterday. And today's lesson is that once you make your wish, you lift it up to the universe and trust that whatever comes is a gift to bring you closer to the goal. As Mike Dooley puts it, your job is to decide "what" and God's job is to decide "how". And sometimes that "how" takes a lot of trust. In Deepak Chopra's book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (highly recommended, and one of the first books ever about manifestation), he talks about asking for what you want, then letting go, basically to the point of clearing your mind of it. Again, it's a practice. A discipline.

So what about you? Are you ready to stand fully exposed to the universe and lift your worries up to the higher power so you can live a life where everything is a gift and contains the seed of hope? Are you ready to let go? Have you already? Or do you feel, whether for spiritual reasons or personal ones, that you need to control and/or micromanage your life? Where do you stand on this the water or on firm ground? :D

Thursday, May 5, 2011

5/5/11—Considering Fame and Fortune

Today's Draw: Seven of Pentacles from the Fire Tarot. Most of us want more money and power, but do you possess the personal responsibility and integrity it takes to manage wealth and power? Have you ever considered this part of the equation as you wish for more? What difference do you think "more" will make in your life?

The Seven of Pentacles is traditionally about planting the seeds of material success, watching them grow and preparing for their harvest. It's a time when you can feel good about what you've accomplished. But the Fire Tarot, new from Lo Scarabeo, is not a traditional deck. And it has a different twist on what this card is about. 

In the Fire Tarot, the Seven of Pentacles depicts Nero's madness. Nero was a Roman Emperor and he was unpopular because of his tendency to use his power as a funnel for his anger. The dude possibly killed his predecessor, definitely killed his mom, killed those who spoke against him, married his half sister then killed get the picture. And legend has it that, as a devastating fire burned in Rome, terrifying its citizens, he stood a safe distance away and played the lyre. Then he built a new palace on the ruins, displacing many citizens in an already cramped Rome.

So it's a good story for a card that warns material power and success contain the seed of destruction for those unprepared to bear the mantle. We see it every day. The power-hungry boss. The critic who uses words to skewer. The bully who uses their size to intimidate. And from another perspective, there's the lottery winner who, within a year or two, ends up in serious debt. There was a study done with lottery winners and the majority of them said they were happier or as happy without the money as they were with it. 

It all comes to down to "be careful what you ask for". We all think we want more power and money, but really ask yourself how much you can bear responsibly. Oprah is someone who bears it responsibly. Hitler didn't. Chances are, the rest of us fall somewhere in between the two. And in the bigger picture, as we're praying and manifesting for things in our lives, it's wise to pull back and ask, "how will the affect the rest of my life, am I ready to manage this, and what do I hope to achieve from this?" If the answer to the last question is "happiness", why not ask for happiness instead? 

One of the rules of The Secret that you don't hear as often is to ask for a feeling, rather than a thing. Say, for example, that you want to drive a Mercedes. So the universe fulfills your wish for a Mercedes and two days later it's totaled, breaking your leg and leaving you with the payments. The universe has given you what you want. Nothing to complain about. But say you asked for the feelings feel safe and luxurious on the road. Well, a lot less is left to chance there. And you may end up with a Lexus instead and find that it's cheaper to repair and provides a nicer experience. The universe has more room to fulfill your wishes in a way that best benefits you. 

Now, most of the people who will read this will probably sway much closer to Oprah than to Hitler in the way they manage money and/or power. But it's a key consideration that I'm guessing few will have thought through prior to today. People tend to be mesmerized by the sparkly thing as the end of path and blind themselves to all the stuff that accompanies the sparkly thing. So today's card is just saying to examine the seeds you plant farther out than the sparkly outcome you want, because nothing comes without "strings" of responsibility and consequence. 

To answer the questions myself, I don't want Oprah money. Never have. What I want is to feel secure and comfortable knowing I have at least as much as I need to cover the things I want and any emergencies that happen along the way. Simply stated, I don't want to have to worry about money. And that's what I ask for...not more money, but more security. And you know what? I'm pretty close to being there without having "more". As for power, I joke about wanting to be a cult leader. But I do want to be a spiritual teacher. And I feel I possess the responsibility to manage the "power" that comes with that. However, when I envision that future, I don't envision throngs of followers. I envision the satisfaction that comes from spreading enlightenment and healing people who want to be healed in that way. 

What do you wish for? And if it's a thing, rather than a feeling, how do you want it to feel?

As a side note for collectors, I really like the Fire Tarot. It's non-traditional and has a really interesting take on the cards.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

5/4/11—Grounding Yourself

Today's Draw: Buffalo Dancer from the Quester Tarot. In what ways are you grounded? In what ways are you up in the ether? And how do you perceive the relative merits of both?

Buffalo Dancer is analogous to the Ace of Pentacles. It represents new energy and new beginnings on the physical plane, including health, home and material security. It nods to practical, everyday matters. And it is also the suit of earth and grounding. In a reading, it would probably be interpreted as new money or security coming your way...or a fresh bill of health...or something new in your home...things along those lines. So keep an eye out for all that today. 

But also consider the whole concept of grounding and being connected to the earth in a practical sense. In the spiritual circles in which I run, people are always referring to the idea of "being grounded". And for years, I just didn't understand what it means. Now I think I do. It means being practical. Being in the here and now. Getting things done. Nothing fanciful about being grounded. It's the place where intellect, spirit and body are all together in one place. It's also about being connected to the earth and if you're feeling spacey or "lost", you can imagine roots reaching down from your feet into the earth to tether yourself back in the earth plane. 

On the other hand, being in the ether...or being that place where intellect and/or spirit leave the body. Rather than being in the here and now, you're off somewhere else. This is a place of divine inspiration. So there is value in both. A lot of woo-woo people spend a lot of time here. But to me, it's a place of being less aware of responsibilities and earthly matters and can be a dangerous place to hang out for any length of time. Of course, the key to anything is moderation. And you can be both woo-woo and rooted at the same time. 

I usually hear people say I'm grounded and centered. Perhaps that's because few people would volunteer to say I'm "out there and off kilter"...haha. But in many ways I am very grounded. I'm very responsible with money. I have a structured work life, even though I'm freelancer. I work on a deadline system every day. I get the things done that I need to get done. But for every way I'm grounded, there's another way I'm untethered. I spend a lot of time in the ether and, in fact, use that ability in my work. I often "wake up" from god only knows what to find that my work is done. And pretty well, too...haha. So it works well for me creatively. In this sense, I think I'm both tethered and not at the same time. That's where all my best work is done. If there were a weakness in my ungrounding, it would be that I have a tendency to procrastinate and not get things done health-wise and around the house. But for the most part, I feel I keep a good balance here.

So what about you? Where do you fall on the spectrum between grounding and ungrounding? And what are your thoughts about all this? Do you have a different idea of what being grounded is?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5/3/11—Relying on What You "Know"

Today's Draw: Mystery (High Priestess) from the William Blake Tarot. Are you comfortable living with what you do not know and cannot prove? Are you someone who's cool with open-ended conclusions or do you need closure? And what is going on in your life right now that is causing you to access your inner knowing?

Mystery or the High Priestess is a card wrapped in life's unexplained energies. She teaches us to rely on our inner wisdom...on our inner "knowing". She is the essence of the feminine in that regard. In a reading she might indicate that there are mysterious energies at work beneath the surface and this is why things are not yet clear to you.

When I go back in my life and try to excavate why the tarot took such a hold on my life, the answer I come up with is the embodiment of this card in many ways. I've always wanted to skip right to the end of things to know how they turn out. I used to read the ending of books first, then the rest of the book, for example. On top of that, I've always been attracted to the "magic" of the psychic arts. I think that's a common thing for tarot readers. Many of us believe we had past lives as witches, shamans, oracles or other types of seers. So the tarot, for many of us, is a part of our soul that we found here on earth and were able to re-bond with. 

So, it's safe to say that both my comfort with the High Priestess' inner knowing and discomfort with her unexplained energies created a spark within me that fueled my love for tarot. But it did not heal my dislike for open-ended conclusions. Many of you may know from other posts I've made here and there that my father was murdered. We know who the killer is and why, but there are so many other questions that we will never have answers to. On top of all of that, the killer was found not guilty and, for the past 23 years and counting, has lived as a free person. 

So, for someone who doesn't like open-ended conclusions, I've had a doozie I've had to live with for half my life. And I count myself fortunate because so many families of murdered and missing individuals don't have anything near what I have in the regard of "proof". I say all of this because, in the absence of proof and inarguable conclusion, you always have what you "know". And sometimes that's all you have. So it's important to trust in that. In our everyday lives, we come across so many things that we don't have the answers to...or don't have the answers to yet. And for people like me, sometimes the only way to move forward is to fill in the blanks with our inner knowing. We may be proven wrong. But at least we won't be going crazy in the meantime. 

So are you someone who "needs" to know the ending or have decisions and plans solidified? Or are you someone who's comfortable with open-ended things? If you're comfortable, can you explain why, because I'd be interested in hearing...haha. Also, in the absence of proof today, what do you "know"?

Monday, May 2, 2011

5/2/11—Serving Yourself

Today's Draw: The Ace of Cups from Pearls of Wisdom. Are you kinder to others than you are to yourself? How do you really feel about yourself? What do you think about the notion of being "selfish"? And where do you think you should fall on the list of loved ones in your life?

The Ace of Cups signals new love and joy in one's life. It's usually depicted as a cup reaching out from the heavens, overflowing with water, which signifies love and emotion in the tarot. The twist in the Pearls of Wisdom deck is that there is an actual person in the card...someone who is the object of that love. And that she's not merely standing in the flow of love emanating from the cup, she's taken command of the situation and is pouring the love upon herself. 

Further, she's doing it for her own benefit. It's not like she has some vessel she's filling so she can pour on someone else, she's standing fully exposed, before nature and the resting earth goddess in the background, unashamed, basking in universal love. 

I think it's safe to say that most of us measure the way we feel about ourselves in terms of how much we love, and are loved by, others. And I think it's also safe to say, we know that's screwed up. But we are also conflicted by the notion that loving ourselves is "selfish". There is a local guru here that has an interesting reply to people who may call him selfish. He says "oh, so I suppose you'd rather I be you-ish?"

Here's the deal, as much as we hate that word and insist it's not true about us, it is. Right this second, there is nothing in your life that doesn't serve you on some level. You say "no, that's not true. I volunteer. I stay in a loveless marriage for the kids. And I cook and clean the house every day so they'll have a nice place to live." All of those things serve you. The volunteerism makes you feel good inside or you wouldn't do it. The marriage makes you feel secure or keeps you from having to shoulder the burden of bills on your own or serves your belief in your vows or something. And you cook and clean because it's your job, which serves you with a roof over your head and makes you feel good about serving. There is ALWAYS something in it for us. There is no such thing as selfless. If it were complete misery with zero payout, we wouldn't do it. Everything we do is selfish.

Even now I can hear some of you saying, "but, but....". Save it. There is something in it that serves you, whether you've identified it or not, whether you admit it or not. So here is the question I submit to you. As long as everything we do is selfish, why not live it up a little and bask in our selfishness like the lady in the picture? For many of us, before we can love ourselves, we must first make that shift in the mind between serving others and serving self. If the airplane analogy doesn't do it for you (putting on your facemask first), then maybe the realization that you're already self serving in every area of you life will. As long as you're self serving, you may as well do it right. 

To answer the questions above, there are a lot of things I like about myself, but I can't say I practice self love. The things I don't like about myself speak louder in my head. I wish it weren't true, but it is. And what is also true is that those things I don't like also serve me on some level. They keep me safe. They keep me in the familiar. They keep me from having to experience the pain of change. It's more convenient to see ourselves as victims of our circumstances who just give and give and give, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Every iota of our current situation was created by us and is changeable by us. No, we can't change the loss of a leg, for example, but we can change the way feel about it. There is nothing that doesn't serve us. And there is nothing we can't change if we want to be better served.

So consider this today and pinpoint those things that don't serve you as well as you'd like. You don't have to change them, but you can change the way you feel about them. You can be grateful for the security you get from your lame-ass husband, for example...haha. You can be grateful for feeling fulfilled and of value from serving your family as well as you do. And that gratitude can soften the way you see your relationships. And that softening can change everything. 

All it takes is viewing your life from a more selfish lens and taking responsibility for the quality of love, joy and satisfaction we receive from life. Instead of waiting for whatever crumbs life hands you in the love department, pour love upon yourself. If you have to see it in how it serves others, then think of the example of self love and respect you'll set for everyone in your life to follow. Through gratitude and understanding of your own self-serving nature, you can actually serve everyone better than they can ever be served if you view things through the eye of resentment, dissatisfaction, doubt or drudgery. So try on a little "selfish" today and see how good it can look on you.