Saturday, May 28, 2011

5/28/11-5/29/11—Letting Go of the Past

Weekend Reading: The 6 of Tulips from the Rabbit Tarot. Nostalgia and memories are wonderful things. But when that turns the corner to regret, it can be damaging. "What if" is pointless game to play, because there simply are no answers to that question. Getting lost in flowery fantasy is just that...fantasy. We will never know what could have been, nor would it likely live up to our fantasies. So instead of trying to escape your current situation by indulging in regrets and fantasy, why not face it head on and craft a plan for resolving it in a way that serves you and those around you best? We are not given more than we can handle. And our lives have played out exactly as they were supposed to. If you're not happy now, take command of your life and make some moves to get there. But know that the answers or pathways you're seeking cannot be found in the past. They exist only in your future.

Friday, May 27, 2011

5/27/11—Seeing Relationships as Mirrors

Today's Draw: Dancer Prince (Knight of Cups) from Tarot of the Sidhe. Do you keep attracting the same kind of person in your life? Do you wonder why? And would you like to stop it once and for all?

Though not traditionally portrayed so darkly, the poem that comes along with this card tells you all you need to know about this guy:

The brooding hero of the dance,
A poet’s spirit of romance,
He’ll steal the heart that you would keep,
And lead you darkly to the deep…

Most, if not all, women know this guy. He's oh so appealing and oh so damaging. As a creative person myself, I'm usually drawn to the "suffering artist" type. And if they're not artists, I'll settle for just the "suffering" part...haha. I suppose caring for someone like that is the way I suffer for my talents. 
As I sit here considering what I'll write today, I SO don't want to discuss my habitual gravitation toward men like this. It's a beautiful day and I'm outside with my dogs and I would much rather talk about the notion of suffering for your art—something that most who know me will attest I don't do, nor do I think it's necessary. I could talk all about how you construct these realities in your head and they're totally self defeating. That there's no need to suffer emotionally or monetarily as an artist. That there's someone out there making a living doing it, without compromising any artistic integrity. And that person could be you. Blah, blah, blah. 

But my reluctance to discuss "loving" a suffering artist tells me that I should. There is something within us as women that, when we see a man who is down on himself, feels we can make a difference. It's the old thing about wanting to change him. I prefer to say "make a difference" because it makes me feel less cliche and pathetic. But whatever it is, I've got it. And though I try to get rid of it. And though each successive man is better than the last, I still haven't managed to let go of it. And, not so coincidentally, I suppose, these are the kinds of men who are attracted to me, too. 

Not that long ago, one of these gentlemen told me that I shone so brightly...was such a source of light...that he felt he didn't deserve me. While that was a beautiful compliment, I knew that I was just as broken as the next gal. And because I have compassion, I wanted to show him that he's not nearly as bad as he thinks. Indeed, I thought this guy was pretty terrific, outside of the depression...haha. And so this is how the pattern goes. Even after all these years. Even though I have Oprah's words repeating in my brain, "when someone tells you who they are, believe them."

And here's the thing...the awful, terrible truth...we're not the perfect ones in the equation with all the broken men dancing around us. We're just as broken as they are. Because if we weren't, we wouldn't keep meeting them. Think back on your life to a part of you that you've healed....a part of you that you're well done with. For me, it's allowing myself to be controlled by others. Back then, there would be a steady stream of people in my life who were pushy and controlling energy suckers. When I learned how to let go of this part of me, those kinds of people stopped showing up in my life. Their puzzle piece didn't fit mine, so no sense in even trying. 

When we're done with something and healed of it, it's like we enter into a different reality, filled with different people. I don't know any other way to describe it. I remember once being at a thing and some woman said, "this world has become so rude. Nobody holds the door open anymore or says "I'm sorry" when they bump against you." Other people in the room agreed and I looked at them like they were all crazy. Honestly, in my world people hold the door open for me all the time. They smile when they pass me by. They apologize for bumping into me. I literally live in a different reality than this woman. Partly because I believe differently. Partly because I choose to see the times people do this, rather than the times people don't. And partly because I've healed that part of me that would even care. In fact, I think I came into this life with that part healed, because I've never considered society rude, nor do I generally do things that are rude in society in that vein. 

Anyway, back to our tortured artist. I'm willing to admit that I still have an instinct to try to lift men like that up. That's why I keep meeting them. There's always hope that the last one's stew of self-centered pity will cure me. It was a pretty thick stew and I got out fast. But I do need to work on that part of me that doesn't listen when they tell me who they are. And it's not like these guys are saying, "show me I'm a good guy, Tierney". That's just what I'm hearing because that's what I want to hear. I have a view of relationships that two people come together to help heal each other and grow. And while I still believe that, I should probably re-word it as "come together to support each other as each heals themselves and grows." Big difference. People do come to us to mirror back our own issues. I firmly believe that. But only we can heal ourselves. And help can only reach us if we want it. 

The cool thing about these Dancer Prince's is that they're easy to spot and let you know how self loathing they are way early on. So the next time you see one, if you're prone to them like me, keep walking. 

What's your view of all this relationship stuff? What patterns do you keep repeating, whether it's with friends or lovers? And why do you think that is?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5/26/11—Trusting Yourself First

Today's Draw: Page of Swords from the Otherworld Tarot. How do you know who you can trust? What have you learned from past betrayals? And can see times where the person who ultimately betrayed you was yourself?

The Page of Swords is a card that can indicate gossip or deception in someone's words. The words on the card, "Think Things Through", tells us to consider the information we're given before making a decision. To not jump to conclusions, because not everything you hear will be true. And to also be careful with your secrets, because not everyone can be trusted. 

Whenever I get cards like this, I start to feel paranoid. We've all been betrayed. In one case, the person I was confiding in—the last person I'd suspect—betrayed me repeatedly over the course of about two years, resulting in all sorts of issues in my life. In another case, betrayal cost the life of someone dear to me. In the first case, I didn't register anything odd in my gut. In the second case, I did, but couldn't put my finger on it. 

So how do we know who and when to trust? Well, of course, one thing is to honor those "odd" feelings you have about someone. If you're suspicious of someone, you may be right or you may be wrong. But honor the suspicion anyway. And another way to trust wisely is to not be so gullible. I'm a pretty smart person, but for a long stretch of my life I had a tendency to trust others' input over what I thought I knew. So if someone said 2+2=5, I might doubt my knowing that the answer is actually 4. So I suppose I would boil that down to say, "trust yourself first". 

Beyond that, consider what the intention of the person is who is giving you information or asking it of you. Everyone in every situation has an intention, imo. Most peoples' intentions are friendly or benign. But always consider where you think the person falls on the continuum between friendly and nefarious. Again, check your gut.

And finally, and this one is key, consider your own intentions. This woman who betrayed me over a couple of years was, imo, a psychopath. She left few clues. Even looking back, I can see how brilliant she was. She never pushed too hard when trying to get me to gossip. She always seemed friendly enough. And only once did she ever lose her game face in my presence. I have no idea what I ever did to her to drive her to launch such a campaign. There was never a time I didn't like her and if I ever said anything about her, it wasn't anything anyone would consider bad. But I learned at that time of my life that truly insecure people can go ballistic over the tiniest of slights. And I have to assume that's what this was. Unless it was sheer sport. 

But here's the thing, the only way she was able to take advantage of me like that was because I was vulnerable. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to "run with a certain crowd". I was weak and needy. And people like that feed on the weak and needy. So consider your own intentions, too. *Why* are you trusting someone. And if, like in my case, you know someone is betraying you, but don't know who, ask yourself who the last person you'd expect is. And even ask who the second to last person you'd expect is...haha. The person who is in your face all the time, giving you information and pretending to be your friend, may not be friendly at all. But people like that can only get to you if you let them. I wanted her friendship. I wanted to hear her gossip. I needed someone to talk to and vent to. Looking back I feel like I was pretty pathetic. 

But before she ever betrayed me, I betrayed myself. And I have to take responsibility for that. I used to be a lot quicker to trust. I used to dive into friendships more quickly. And I used to make myself more vulnerable to people I barely knew...I used to invest too much, too soon. Still do in certain circumstances. But with each of these pains comes a gift...a clue as to how not to let it happen in the future.

So what about you? How do you know when to trust? And what have you learned along the way?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5/25/11—Connecting With The Divine

Today's Draw: Five of Vessels/Ecstasy from the Wildwood. How do you connect with the divine? Do you ever let go of all control, release concerns about what you look like or what others will think, and surrender body and soul to divine communion?

Traditionally the Fives in tarot are about instability, loss and struggle on some level. So the Five of Cups...or Vessels...would be about loss in the area of love. Maybe a breakup or a disturbing discovery about your loved one. But the Wildwood has a different take on the idea of loss and love. It's about losing yourself to divine connection. Indeed, the card comes with the word Ecstasy on it.

I live in Washington, DC, which is probably one of the country's most conservative, image-conscious, career-driven cities. People here are very concerned about how everything appears. Being sort of Bohemian and eccentric in this city puts me in the vast minority, whereas in someplace like LA or Seattle, I'd totally fit in. For some reason, though I'm very insecure about certain aspects of who I am, I've never been afraid to be me, as far as my personality and spirituality are concerned. Drive down my street and look at the houses and you'll see taupe, cream, white, eggshell, beige, bright blue and yellow, cream, eggshell, taupe...not hard to guess where I live. 

About a year ago, I went to a kirtan with a friend of mine. A kirtan is like a concert, but all the singing is in sanskrit. And the singer sings a line of the song and the audience sings it back to them. For the purposes of understanding the kind of song, think of the Hare Krishna song most people have heard of...repetitive and growing in intensity as the repetition increases. The performers were two of the most famous chantmasters in the world, Krishna Das and Deva Premal. The whole idea of a concert like this is to lose yourself in the chant. The audience is expected to sing as loud as they like and break into ecstatic dance in the aisles at will. The performers encourage it. But a good one-third to half of the DC audience, who bought tickets presumably knowing what they were doing, sat in their seats, lips zipped, with their hands in their laps. 

Perhaps that's how they enjoy sacred chant. But as I noticed this, I thought, "maybe they want to participate, but just can't let go". You know, we see evangelical Christians dancing with snakes and speaking in tongues and think it's weird. But it's the same principle as what I've just described. These are people giving themselves over, body and mind, to the divine. And why? Well, for one thing, it's a way of expressing love for the divine. But for another, it feels good. Going to this kirtan and letting go for a few hours resulted in days of amazing bliss in my life. It moved the energy within me and totally transformed me. You know how you have to drive your car around a bit to blow the gunk out before taking an emissions test? That's what it does for your body and mind. It blows the gunk out. 

And it doesn't have to be chanting. Some people lose themselves in whatever kind of music they love and move around their house unencumbered by what it may it look like. Others will work up a frenzy painting on a canvas. Or go deep into meditation. Even sex can elevate you to this state. And there are many levels of it. When I'm meditating, that's a more quiet approach and the effects are just as blissful, but they don't last as long. At least not for me. But it does move beyond kneeling at the side of your bed and reciting "Now I lay me down to sleep...". It goes to a place of surrender, a place where you leave this earth and your spirit merges with the divine. It can happen spontaneously or it can happen through practice, like through learning how to meditate. 

Drugs can simulate this kind of thing. And in the shamanic practice, for example, they are sometimes used. But you don't need drugs to surrender. And they can just as often get in the way of surrender, not to mention make it hard to remember what happened afterward. Besides, if you're going to meet God, do you really want to hang out with him when you're stoned?

Anywho, I'm going to another kirtan soon with a friend. And one of my FBFs is going, too, and bringing her friends with her. This will be a first time for her and her friends. That road is not for everyone. But everyone does have an avenue and it's up to you to find what it is for you. For me, chanting and meditating work. Shamans usually use rhythmic drumming to induce the state. For some, saying prayers, like doing a rosary, helps. Repetitive stuff seems to work and the cool thing about rosaries is that you don't have to keep count. Malas do the same thing in Eastern traditions. They have 108 beads, twice that of a rosary. For other people it's more physical and they lose themselves in movement or some other extreme exertion. One of my FBFs does moving meditations in the Eastern tradition because he's hyper and can't sit still for meditation. At the very least, I think we all owe it to ourselves to experience who we are...or aren't...when we slip into the timeless euphoria of an ecstatic state. 

We've been conditioned to believe that life is all about looking good to others and being better than them. But it's not, imo. Instead it's about learning and growing and becoming more of our divine selves. It's hard not to care what other people think. But why deny yourself bliss because of that? You can do this in the privacy of your home. No one needs to know. But it's worthwhile to experiment with ways to connect more profoundly with whatever it is you believe in. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5/24/11—Waking Up To Love

Today's Draw: Ace of Cups from the Touchstone Tarot. How much love passes through your life unnoticed? How much beauty goes by unappreciated? What could bring you joy today if you just stopped and looked?

The Ace of Cups is a card signifying profound contentment, joy and abundance. It often signals something new in the heart, whether it be a new love or a new creative project. 

An interesting note about this card is that I drew it from the mass market edition, but the image I found must be from the limited edition. The only difference between the two cards is that, in the edition I drew from, the woman is looking at us. And in the edition I used as today's image, she's looking at the cup...the love, the emotion. Prior to finding this image, I had already decided the topic of today's entry, so it's really kind of synchronistic that the image I found had that one little difference that aligned with my entry.

Every morning when I wake up I have a particular routine before I even get out of bed. I reach for my iPod Touch and check emails and Facebook. Usually, the second I reach for the iPod, Magick moves from the foot of the bed to up near my head for some morning love. Then, like a Pavlovian response, the second I click the iPod off, Kizzie arrives next to the bed for his morning pets and to give me my one kiss of the day. Then Magick gets jealous and crowds me for more love. 

At a different time of my life, when I was more rushed for time in the morning, I might shoo them out of the way. I can totally see a grumpy waker being annoyed by them being under foot first thing in the morning. But instead, every morning I feel and give the love. It is easily one of the two the best parts of my day, the other being our outdoor snuggles prior to bedtime. I begin and end the day with love. And this morning, something else special happened. As I was outside getting ready to write this, Magick came up to me, her head covered in the Forget Me Nots I had planted when my old dog, Passion, died. It's also interesting to note that my sister's mother-in-law died today, as well. A message from those above that they were with me and sharing the love, too. 

Now, from a different perspective, I could say "every morning my dogs wake me by demanding attention and this morning Magick got into my flowers and the evidence was all over her head." Same story, different choice of how to see it. 

There is love and beauty all around us, if we would just stop to notice. As I was writing this, a black bird was feeding in my back yard and he had the most beautiful blue cast to the back of his neck. I watched him in awe. But I would have missed that moment if I were so busy serving a hundred thousand purposes that I didn't take the time to notice. At some point, especially as we get older, we have to ask ourselves what are we really here for? To run errands and polish our chrome fixtures at home (which I understand is some people's idea of beauty and that's cool)? Are we here to maintain things between the big moments in life? Or are we here to bask in the abundance of the little moments along the way?

It's so easy to get caught up in the details of daily life that we don't stop to be conscious. But it's also easy to retrain our habits so that we do. Today when your child or pet enters the room, stop what you're doing and take them in with your undivided attention. On your way to the car, take a moment to look around at the community of squirrels and birds and flora around you. Literally stop and smell the roses. As you're sitting in your home, allow your eyes to rest on a favorite piece of art. Or catch your own eye in that shiny chrome of yours and smile. It just takes a few seconds to see the love, beauty and abundance all around you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

5/23/11—Discarding the Eight-Track Tapes That Play in Your Head

Today's Draw: The Nine of Wands from Kitty Kahane. What outdated armor are you wearing? What security blankets do you cling to? Are you ready to do some decluttering in your mind?

The Nine of Wands traditionally speaks of heroism, renewed determination and digging in for that last battle. But Kitty Kahane's Nine has a different take. He is faced toward the past, but all the wands have shadows pointing to the future. And behind him, a Tower-like building is surely destined to fall. It's time to leave the past in the past and, with it, the doubts and suspicions you held about people...the walls you put up to protect yourself. You don't have to watch your back anymore. It's time to let go. 

Looking in Kahane's lwb (little white book, aka companion book) this morning, the interpretation hit me right between the eyes. For one thing, a person has been trying to friend me (and another close friend of mine) for a while now and I keep ignoring her requests. I know nothing about her, except that she's quite chatty with someone who hurt both me and my friend and, since that person is blocked from seeing me on Facebook, I'm suspicious of her intentions. My instincts tell me my private stuff wouldn't stay private between her and my former friend. Anyway, I drew this card immediately after I ignored her second friend request. I probably won't friend her, but the card gave me food for thought. 

And the reason it has me thinking is because it takes a long time for me to let down my guard when it comes to people who have "wronged" me in the past. But it is also hard for me to trust in general. And I tend to be paranoid in general. Although rationally I can see where my fears hold friendships at arm's length, emotionally I just feel safer that way. I have often felt used by friends in the past. But when I really look back and say "who used me and when?", it becomes clear to me that's an outdated belief. And yet I transfer that energy to others in my sphere and, though a million examples of fair and generous friendship may pass between us, the one time I feel used will be held up in my mind and given inordinate attention. I know I'm not alone in this. I've been on the receiving end of this a bazillion times. And I see a number of people in my sphere who are far more "careful" than I in their relationships. 

It's like that saying "once burned, twice shy". Well, "twice shy" becomes a habit within us and all the "twice shys" from all the burns over a lifetime build up. And though we let go of many of them, there are those that remain that we never go back and question...the ones that become automatic or habit. But here's the many ways, I'm unrecognizable from the person I was 10 years ago. Or even five years ago. And in many ways again, I'm different from the person I was last fall. So certain inner beliefs about who I was then and precautions I took to protect that person could do well to be reviewed. I could stand to be more conscious of my defense mechanisms. Now, many individuals who have violated my trust or have been hurtful will probably not make their way back into my life. But the behaviors and attitudes and defense mechanisms I installed to protect myself from "people like them" may be able to be dismantled. 

Beyond all of this "junk" between me and other people, there's also all the junk between me and myself. The old images we have of ourselves that are no longer relevant...the ones that have been seared in our minds since we were in elementary school. The ones that are held over from things we did in early adulthood. And even the ones that we observed from a year ago. While we consciously know we're always changing and always becoming "better" people, we still classify ourselves with old labels that are no longer accurate. 

So the Nine of Wands comes today to ask us to be conscious of these kinds of behaviors—paranoias and concerns about people in our lives and judgmental attitudes toward ourselves. It's time to take our one good eye (like the guy in the card) off the past, waiting for something to leap out of the shadows. It's time to recognize our behaviors and attitudes and discard the ones that are no longer needed, because moving forward without our security blankets is part of growth, too. And looking for the troubles of the past to revisit us is energetically like an invitation for them to do just that. So what can you let go of today?