Saturday, May 14, 2011

5/14/11-5/15/11—Honoring the Moment

Weekend Reading: The World from the Victorian Romantic. Good or bad, accept the moment this weekend and understand that everything cycles. If you're in a good place this weekend, celebrate the moment, knowing that it is just that: a moment. If you're in a bad place, accept where you are and know this moment shall pass. And if you're somewhere in between, enjoy your balance. We can neither live in joy or misery forever. Nor would want to, lest joy become mundane and misery a way of life. So honor the cycles this weekend knowing that wherever you are, it is fleeting.

5/13/11—Creating Regardless of Your Ability

Today's Draw: Ace of Wands from the Parrott Tarot.  Is some new creative path or project calling to you? Has it been too long since the last time you expressed yourself artistically? If you knew you could do it well, what would you create?

(Sorry this is late. The site was down half the day.)

Rounding out our Wands-a-thon for the week is the Ace of Wands. It tells us of new passion and creativity bursting forth from within. Some creative pursuit wants to be birthed. The Ace of Wands says it's time. You have the passion and energy to do so…or you will if you just get your hands dirty.*** So let your ideas flow.

Many years ago I learned a couple of valuable lessons about creating art. And by art, I don't necessarily mean a painting. It can be creative writing. Or cooking. Or music. Or anything else that triggers the right side of the brain. I've always been very creative. I cook. I sew. I write. I craft. I make jewelry. But for the life of me, I cannot draw. I've taken classes. But I'm just not good at it. That doesn't keep me from painting, though. And it doesn't keep me from designing my own stained glass pieces. Nor does it keep me from doing a number of other things that could easily benefit from the ability to draw.

Painting, especially was hard for me. And when I design a piece of stained glass, it takes me FOREVER to get what's in my head on paper. The path between what I see in my head and what comes out of my hand is very convoluted and blocked. But what I learned early on in trying is this: Do it anyway. Art doesn't have to be for anyone but you. There is joy in the process. And I'm a process kind of girl. Once something is done, even with my writing, I'm done with it. The fun came in the doing. I did hang one of my paintings in my living room for a while. Some people liked it. Some mocked it. But it didn't matter. It wasn't for them.

So not being good at something isn't an excuse not to create. And the second lesson is, if you don't know where to start or what to do, just start. Just start scribbling. Or embroidering. Or cooking. You'll figure it out. Again, it's not about being perfect, it's about enjoying the process. So just start anywhere.

I liken this to a lesson I learned in my "psychic" training. If you don't know what to say or how to interpret something, just start talking. If you can't readily find the words, the words will find you. It works every time. To illustrate my point, go back up to the three asterisks. I had no idea what I was going to write about today until that sentence. I just started writing. And the idea found me.

There is no such thing as someone without any creative spark. You may have told yourself this over and over. And you may believe it. But more than likely, you're just afraid to not do it well enough. And seeing as how that's not the point, just go for it. Whatever it is that you'd do if you knew you could do it well, go to the store and get supplies and just play with it this weekend. You don't have to show anyone. You don't even have to like the finished product yourself. The joy is in the doing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5/12/11—Enjoying the Fruits of LIfe

Today's Draw: The Four of Wands from the Oracle Tarot by Lucy Cavendish. You work, you take care of your responsibilities, but do you ever stop long enough to just enjoy life? Do you ever, on a beautiful spring day, just sit in the hammock and do nothing? If you could be doing anything else right this moment, what would that be?

The Four of Wands is traditionally about celebration or some sacred or happy event. Usually there has been an initial victory or win of some sort. We know more work is on the way, but now is a time to honor that win. This card holds true to that meaning, but also adds a different flavor to it. Lucy Cavendish calls it "Recharge Your Hopes". As you reach a goal or end of a life stage, your instinct may be to move on to the next thing. But this cards tells you to take time to honor what you've accomplished, instead. And while you're taking the time, use it rest and reinvigorate, too. Celebrate. And relax. You can think of your next goals when you return. Now is the time to recharge your hopes.

Somewhere along the line we got this idea that we always have to be doing or producing. We become so caught up in our day to day lives that we totally neglect the sweet nectar we work so hard to enjoy. We spend Sundays worrying about Monday. We go on vacations and cram them full of a "to do" list. Or we go get a massage and, while laying there, tick off all the other things we have to accomplish that day. We lose ourselves in work five days a week....for what? Yeah, yeah...possessions are nice. But when do we ever lose ourselves in relaxation and enjoyment? When do we ever let go enough to be right in the present moment?

I had a yoga teacher many years ago who would start each class by saying "put your to-do list and worries aside. For the next hour, there's nothing you can do about them anyway. They will be waiting for you when you leave. But this time is just for yoga." What he was saying was to be in the moment. Because that's the only place where rejuvenation begins. So many people *think* they live in the moment because they're doing a million things at once. But if you're thinking of the next thing you need to do or your child's science project that's due next week or something someone said to you yesterday, you're not in the moment. You'll know you're in the moment when you're absorbed by the task at hand. If you're in a car, that means all you're focused on is driving (imagine that!). 

Being in the moment while picking up a prescription at the drug store can feel like a vacation in itself, compared to the usual clusterfarq we usually have going on in our mind. But what if...and I know this is a stretch...what if we were actually in the moment when we were doing something we LOVE? Every once in a while I have to stop myself and say "what do you do all this for anyway?" When we did we become worker ants instead of queen bees? Is it a holdover from the days we had to hunt and forage and scrape for survival? What is the point of the lovely house, the weekend getaway and all the stuff if we are never "present" to enjoy it?

I'm getting together with an amazing group of ladies this weekend, all of whom share my loves of tarot and the outdoors. Our big plan? To giggle. Nothing more. Well, we're going to do a ceremony. But mostly, I think, we'll giggle. Whether it's for an hour or the entire weekend, what do you have planned where you can just relax, enjoy and be in the moment? And don't say "an hour? What do you think I am, a princess?" Trust me, the dusting can wait another week. Really, it can. Instead, what can you do to relax, clear your mind and just....enjoy?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/11/11—Doing What You Love

Today's Draw: The Nine of Wands from the Silver Era Tarot. Are you frustrated because there's a snag in your plans? Do you feel like it's a sign to jump ship? Or are you determined to see things through?

The Nine of Wands is a card of the determined, but road weary, warrior. Along the path of our plans, we've had victories and setbacks and here we are near the end, determined to move on, but wary of how many more setbacks we can manage.

I think one of the hardest things about pursing a new course is staying motivated when things don't go our way…when we get that rejection letter or a promising prospect drops out of sight. Personally I believe that if you feel you're swimming upstream all the time, that it's time to get out. That the universe doesn't make things that hard for us.

But there are two codicils to that. One is that there's a HUGE gray area between smooth sailing and swimming upstream. And it's sometimes very difficult to determine where you are in all of that. And the second codicil is that your attitude plays a role. Some people see every bump in the road as a gaping pothole, while others barely notice. So it's difficult to be objective when you're talking about something that means a lot to you.

But here's a solution that kicks any bump or pothole in the arse—only do what you love and only do it for the love of it. That doesn't mean you won't be disappointed, but it does mean you'll always have a payoff. Sure, it's hard when you're hoping to turn this love into a career and you don't end up making money off it. But make money off something else. When you take something you love and make your satisfaction dependent on its ability to perform financially, then you've essentially transformed it into a chore. You've choked the joy out of it.

Many people love to write, for example. I'm one of them, of course. And for the past 25 years I've carved a nice life out of my writing. I had the gift of knowing what I wanted to do long before college and being na├»ve enough to pursue it as if I could make money out of it. For the first couple of years of my career in advertising, I didn't even write. I worked as a support person in a creative department. I received many rejections during that time and when I finally did get a job as a writer, it was a sucky job…haha.

I was 7 years into my career before I got a writing job in an advertising agency. I was underpaid every step of the way. And at the ten-year mark of my career, I was feeling the love sucked out of my love by the spinnings of corporate wheels, so I made a radical decision to become a freelancer. Not for money. But because I loved this career so much and wasn't getting what I wanted from it. I expected, actually, to take a pay cut. But that wasn't the case.  It took me 10 years of hard work to get to a "good place" in my career. And I can say, looking back, it didn't feel like 10 years and even though I suffered many rejections and inequities during that time, I was never daunted. Most people who, after a decade in a career, were still just scraping to get by would give up. It never occurred to me. And all the stumbling blocks led me to my true calling as a consultant.

The point is that if it were ever about money, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'd be working, possibly as an account executive or a marketing director and writing as a hobby. Or maybe I'd be bitter about the sucky writer on my team and take it out on them by editing their work heavily…haha. But the point is, if I had judged my career based on what it was paying off in dollars, I never would have made it through that first 10 years. And there were times in that 10 years that I was strictly limited by my budget, having no discretionary income to speak of at all. But it didn't matter because I loved what I did.

Things born of love, nurtured in love and cared for with love give love in return. And there's meaning to the saying "love conquers all" in this situation, too. I won't say that everyone can make a living do what they love because I don't know that to be true. But I do know that you can always do what you love. And you can always make a living elsewhere. But if you do what you love for any reason other than love, you will lose that love.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5/10/11—Contemplating Bondage

Today's Draw: The Devil from Wheel of the Year. What ideals are you bound by? What unhealthy behaviors are you nonetheless magnetically drawn to? And are you ready to explore the behaviors that tie you to ego?

There are 78 cards in the tarot. I use a different deck every day. So you KNOW there's a message out there that we/I are not getting when the same card shows up three times in as many weeks. We talked about our shadow sides and The Devil as the gateway to the third cycle of lessons in the major arcana. And today's card shows the draw of uncontrolled urges. This is more the traditional message The Devil brings, that of addiction, irresistible urges and our enslavement to ego.

This particular card depicts the throes of passion and is called "The Diabolical Rose". It's that form of love or attraction that has you chemically attached to another, despite the fact that it may prove unhealthy. As an interesting side note, I sometimes blur out parts of nekkid cards for the Facebook audience, but my software wouldn't allow me to in this case. Very interesting. But back to the card. Although they use passion and a thorny rose to depict this kind of bondage, it's really a metaphor for all unhealthy attachments we have in life.

When you look around in nature, you don't see animals bound to addictions or dangerous behaviors. When animals enter a dangerous realm, it's always for survival, not for "pleasure". You don't see cows jonesing for a particular kind of grass or dogs spending long weekends in bed screwing. You don't see cats trudging through the house each morning in a daze until they get their coffee or parakeets bucking for popularity. The idea of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical bondage is a purely human phenomena. As is the idea of escaping into a fantasy world. 

The difference between us and them is ego. Ego is tells us to don an appearance. It tells us we're not good enough or smart enough. It tells us that we need "more" in order to be right or competitive in the world. And, because we're caught up in comparisons to others, we neglect to see our own we are. Here and now. So we escape from the here and now and lose ourselves in addictions and dangerous behaviors, because in those places, if even for a moment, we feel good enough. What does it say that we have to change our brain chemistry through adrenaline, drugs, hormones, etc. to feel good enough? Who is in control when we're out of control? While we're free to do all those things, becoming bound to those things robs us of our freedom. 

Personally, I've always been drawn to escape. I "medicate" myself with food. I zone out to TV and Facebook. And I've also had a tendency to be the chickie babe in this card in the past. All these things put up a barrier between us and our divine selves. All these things hold our true connection to life at arm's length. 

We all joke about how we'll happily cram ourselves into 3" of space on the sofa so our dogs can stretch out, for example. They don't think of being anything but who they are. They don't worry they won't be liked if they accommodate themselves or act wacky or ask for love when they need it or harumph when they feel like harumphing. They don't concern themselves with loss or rejection or judgment. They have no ego that needs to feel "as good as" or "better than". 

So the Devil goes beyond bondage to one thing or another to encompass bondage to the ego...bondage to the need to fit in, be accepted, be loved, be respected and understood. And the longer we live, the more we realize that we will NEVER be universally loved and respected. But too often, that doesn't change our fear-based behaviors. Because, I think, at the root of it all is our fear of being our highest selves. Ironic, no? That we would do certain things to be loved and respected, when if we would just be the light we came from, we might be able to actually achieve those ends? Without bondage to anything? What is so scary about our divinity anyway? That we might actually have to take responsibility for ourselves?

So contemplate this notion today. And please share your musings on the topic. The more I get the Devil card, the more I understand its message to us. If you travel the path of personal evolution, bondage to the ego is a topic you'll need to address at one point or another. Not that having an ego is bad. It's the bondage to it and anything else that should be considered. Because like the illustration shows, it's the bondage to an act or mindset that harms us, not the act itself.

Monday, May 9, 2011

5/9/11—Charting Your Journey

Today's Draw: The Five of Fire from the Vision Tarot by Dirk Gillabel. What lessons do you think you came here to learn? What special gifts did you come here to share? And what's your whole view of the soul's journey? Do you think this notion even exists?

The caption on the Five of Fire is Journey. As a non-traditional deck, this card doesn't track with the Five of Wands, so it's not really about conflict or creative conflict. Perhaps internal conflict in a way. But what it's really about is the soul's journey. And, of course, this gets into spiritual and religious waters, so you're free to share your beliefs here if you disagree. But this card works on the premise that we have all come here for a reason, a purpose or a lesson for the soul. 

As briefly as possible, here's the way I believe it works. We are all part of the light, or God or spirit or however you want to see it. And we come down here and other places to experience different experiences. So we come here to experience the human experience. And before we come, we decide our course of study—that which we either need or want to learn to best serve the path of that higher self. So, decision made, we come down here to follow a largely pre-determined path of study. And some of our best buddies from the light come down on complementary or intersecting paths. Those are our soul mates. Some came to piss us off, some came to teach us lessons and some came to bring us love as they follow their own paths on this earth. And we do have free will in day-to-day things. But we also have a larger pre-determined path.

So, working on the premise that this or something similar is true, what do you think you came here to learn and share? If you've never considered this before, look at the things that continually frustrate you or elude you in your life. For me, self acceptance and self forgiveness have to be on the list. I'm awfully hard on myself. And while I know I'm creative and smart and good hearted, I can't seem to convince myself that's good enough. I can't seem to hold on to the notion that I'm "worthy" for any sustained period of time. Every day I get a little closer—it is definitely a conscious journey on my part—but I am still not there. And I might even have a little fear that if I get there, what then? Of course that's only one of the lessons I'm here for, but it seems to be the most prominent. 

And as for gifts, I think one of my gifts is in simplifying complex ideas so that people can better understand. Kind of like being a translator. A large part of my career as a copywriter was spent as a high-tech writer. Especially in the beginning of the mainstreaming of the computer industry, companies were geeky to the point that they only knew what they wanted to wanted to say about systems integration and data optimization and crap like that. But the decision makers in companies that would buy these services didn't understand technology. And the high-tech guys didn't know how to speak in plain English. Half the time they didn't even understand what the consumer benefits of their products and services were. They knew features, but not benefits. So that's what I would do. Make gobbletygook sound like something you've got to have. Things have changed in the industry since then and executives are more balanced all around, but that's how it was 20 years ago. 

Now I think the application of that gift, while still useful in advertising, is also in this spiritual stuff. So many people are fed up with churches these days, yet still want a relationship with God. For those who resonate with more metaphysical concepts, I can be of help. And the comment I've heard over and over again is that people like when I relate the day's card to myself. That's part of the explaining thing, but it also helps show both me and them that everyone is fallible and that's ok. 

One of the mistakes I think we all make is to try and steer someone else's path. We see someone else making mistakes that will send them deeper down in a ditch and we try to "save them". When this happens, consider that a lot of things are going on. To begin with, when you're busy studying their path and their issues, you're not addressing your own. Second, their path is not your path. The reason you can see their mistakes so clearly is because you already know that lesson. They are probably just as adept at seeing yours. And third, you can't walk their path with them or for them. To do so is to neglect your own path. You can't possibly know what's right for another person. You can think you know. You can say "they shouldn't be mainlining heroin". And on one level you're right. But on the soul level, you are very wrong. Heroin/temptation/addiction/immediate gratification is part of what they came here to address. 

I'm probably more aware of this premise than many, but I still make THAT mistake...haha. Just as recently as recently, in fact. If people want your help and if they want to work with you on your respective issues, they'll accept your presence in their life. And there ARE people who, for example, have learned the lessons you're working on and can work with you on those while you work with them on theirs. But just because they can doesn't mean they will. Not everyone is ready to work on their stuff. Some want to wallow in it. Some want to be in denial. Some are taking a rest in between lessons. Whatever. All of that is good. All of that is part of their process. And, frankly, none of our business.

So where are you on all of this? And what have you come here for? Consider this today as you go about your day. Because the more aware we are of what our destinations might be, the more capable we are of reaching them.