Friday, July 1, 2011

7/2/11-7/3/11—Breaking the Rules

Weekend Reading: Page of Swords from the Housewives Tarot. Do you ever think about the rules in your life? You know, like you can't eat dessert before dinner (or FOR dinner)? Or you have to take a shower every day? Or that work must come before pleasure? If you're like most people, you just move through life following the rules and never questioning. Well, you're a grown up now. It's time to question. This weekend try to do something a little "naughty". Don't hurt anyone, ferchrissakes. But experience the thrill and discovery of trying something a new way. Maybe you'll find the way you do it now is still the best way, but you won't know for sure until you try something different. So cross a line or two. And if you get really naughty, you can come and confess on my Facebook page on Friday night. But whatever you do, never, don't EVER run with scissors! :D

BTW, this deck is hilarious and kitschy. And their website is cute. I recommend going there and giving yourself a free online reading just for fun!

7/1/11—Selling Your Ideas

Today's Draw: Ace of Swords from the Haindl Tarot. Are you currently caught up in a clash of ideas? Is your job prone to that sort of thing? Are you prone to fighting back, backing down or picking your battles?

The Ace of Swords is typically a card of clarity and ideas. But what caught me about this particular card is how the sword cuts down and stirs up all the air around it. Ideas cutting through ideas. 
I've spent the last 25 years in (what *I* think is) the enviable position of someone who earns a living being creative and coming up with "big ideas". I remember a book I read many many years ago called "Glamor Careers" and my job as an advertising copywriter was among them. Like the sword, there are two sides to that. One is that it is really fun and "glamorous", whatever that means. And the second side of it is you're often locked in a cubicle, whipped hourly and forced to eat gruel as clients and critics suck every last scrap of joy out of any really good idea you ever have.

I don't know of any other kind of job you can have where you roll decades of acquired knowledge, strategy, creativity into a piece of work that you just KNOW meets all your client's objectives, only to have them say, "I showed this to my niece who took a marketing class in college and she thinks it would better done this way." And then he shows you something that sounds like it was done by someone who once took a marketing class in college. And it doesn't even meet one of the objectives he stated at the beginning of the job. But it's his niece. And invariably, he's already sold on what she's done. Because she took a marketing class in college. And you've only got a degree, a trunk full of awards and 25 years of practical experience in the field. 

Of course, as a professional you have to gauge where the client is. Either you push back and convince them to do something more effective than what the niece suggests...go back to your original idea or go back to the drawing board. Or you do what you can to "fix" the niece's idea. Or you let them "fall on their sword". Sometimes they insist on the last option. Most of the time you just do something that makes everyone else happy and falls short of humiliating for you.

Now, truth be told, I have fabulous clients that love me and value me. I really do. I'm blessed. Better yet, they're very seasoned marketing professionals, so I respect their opinions as they respect mine. Besides much of the time, their input results in something better. But there are moments.... 

So, I ask you, does this kind of thing happen in your business? And by this kind of thing, I mean does whoever you report to bring your work home and show it around to the spouse and neighbors? I'm not exaggerating with this. It happens all the time in our business because they want to get a consumer's reaction, even though the person they're showing it to is often NOT a consumer of the product or service being advertised and usually hasn't been briefed on the particulars of the marketing solution we've been asked to solve. 

But does this kind of stuff happen in your business? Is there some kind of clash of ideas, where the recommendations of "experts" are often overruled by just anyone with an opinion? What's your biggest beef with your career when it comes to thoughts and ideas?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

6/30/11—Creating White Space

Today's Draw: Silence from the Gifting Bones. What is your relationship with silence? Does it comfort you or make you feel uncomfortable? And how effectively do you think you use it in your day-to-day life?

This is another oracle draw, only this time the oracle isn't a card, it's a bone-shaped piece of porcelain. I reached into the bag bag full of them, pulled one at random and the side that was facing up was the message for today. That side was "Silence". On the reverse side was "Song". The Gifting Bones tell us that without one side, the other can't exist. 

Imagine a piece of paper and, in the middle of that paper, is written the word "listen" in 10pt type. In advertising, we would call all the space around the word "white space". The white space is what gives impact to the word "listen". Now imagine that same sheet of paper inserted into a magazine. You're flipping the pages full of editorial and you come across this completely white page with just a single word on it written in 10pt type. Wouldn't that have a huge impact? Wouldn't you read it and wonder about it? It would easily grab as much attention, if not more, than if you wrote the word in 200pt type. Not only that, it would convey a completely different message. That is the power of white space. That is the power of silence. 

Imagine a drum solo without the space between would just be a wall of sound without rhythm. Or a line drawing without space between would be solid black with no discernible shape or form. It's the silence between that brings emphasis to an ad, a beat to a rhythm and form to a drawing. 

Silence can have similar profound impact on ourselves. Silence is the space from which ideas spring and practicing silence is an important part of the creative process. Also, when we are quiet, it gives others a chance to reveal themselves and join in intimate communion with us. And when, instead of defining ourselves in one way or another, we choose silence, we also open the door for new discoveries and new opportunities as was noted earlier in the week with our discussion about discovering the hidden you. 

There is a time for song and a time for silence. Many of us have mastered the art of song, but not the art of knowing when not to sing. There have been a couple of times in my life that I've come across people that, when you talk to them, they don't immediately respond. So we, in our discomfort, fill the space with more information. And more information. I'm sure police use this as a tactic. I would certainly work on me...haha. Again, the power of silence. 

So definitely give yourself time in silence every day. I do this. I sit outside nearly every night and just...listen. But also consider how you can use "white space" effectively in your dealings with others. Let them take the floor. I have a friend, SK, who is probably reading this that is very good and even in her use of silence and listening. Actually, she's probably more silent than anything and gets good stuff because of it...haha. But play with this just for fun and see what happens when you pause before responding, insert more silence into your day or express yourself economically, with plenty of "white space" to emphasize your point.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

6/29/11—Contemplating Your Destiny

Today's Draw: The Wheel of Fortune from the Hezicos Tarot. Do you believe in destiny? Or do you believe that whatever happens just happens? Either way, what role do you play in influencing it? And why do you think you're here?

The Wheel of Fortune spins our fate. Sometimes we're at the top of the wheel and sometimes we're at the bottom. But when the Wheel shows up in a reading, it's usually sign that you're at or near the top of the wheel. But there's also a sense of destiny in the Wheel of Fortune. And that's what I'm going to toss up in the air today. 

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I believe in destiny. In fact, I touched on this just yesterday in my post. I believe we make certain agreements before coming to into this lifetime that will dictate the lessons we are presented with and learn. I believe that, in this lifetime, we can learn more or less than we came here to learn. But I don't believe the core purpose for this incarnation will be missed.

I think writing and healing are part of my purpose. Healing with words. I am attuned to reiki, but really only for the energy might help me expand on my mystical energy. The funny thing is that I think I've certainly been on a collision course with tarot all my life, but I don't think that's why I'm here. I could be proven wrong in that regard. I am careening ever more toward it becoming larger and larger in my life and I don't know why. But I'm going with it, because you just never know. It led me to this blog and who knows where this will lead?

What about you? What is your destiny?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6/28/11—Discovering the Hidden You

Today's Draw: Five of Wands from the Science Tarot. Fusion. Have you ever surprised yourself by changing quite suddenly and dramatically? What have you discovered about yourself in the aftermath of some significant trauma in your life?

One word has popped up time and time again over the past few weeks—Initiation. And today is no exception. Fusion is a violent, drawn out and highly energetic process. It is a complete change of form bringing new hopes and possibilities. But in the process, it's very challenging and exhausting. It's an initiation rite to a new way of being.

The book for this deck says one more thing that is intriguing to me. It says this ordeal reveals a hidden self. At first it seemed like such a novel idea to me—a hidden me within me. Imagine that! But then I realized that I'd uncovered a hidden me inside me at least once before. 

This isn't a story I often tell because it's pretty involved. But last week I said I had a loved one who had been murdered. That person was my father. He was murdered by the woman he met and married after my mother died. My stepmother. She killed him for the insurance money. And she was somehow found not guilty. This was back in 1988 and the woman is still alive, living off my father's pension. 

As you can imagine, there's a lot of uncharted land you travel when something like that happens in your life. First, there's the whole shock of the murder thing, and by someone we had allowed into our hearts and homes. I was never terribly close to this woman, but we were building a friendship. Second, all of us, though all adults, were "orphaned" earlier than most people we knew. I haven't had a living parent in my life since I was 25. And third, there's the fact that the judicial system you count on to deliver justice, fails you. In between all of that was a media circus, of sorts. It was the big story in DC for a number of months. It was about a year before all the trials were complete. And in that year, it never went away. There were always new developments, new hurts, new shocks. You couldn't get away from it to just take a breath, let alone to grieve. 

So that was the fusion. And somehow it set off a spiritual awakening for me. Prior to that, I really didn't have much in the way of spiritual beliefs. But almost immediately I awakened to the idea of people choosing their lives, lessons and fates prior to birth...even though I'd never heard of this notion before it hit me. I also saw my stepmother, not as a monster, but as a very sick person who needed help. I even had compassion for her. And I was also sort of initiated into a deeper interest in psychic awareness. There were certain things about the case that I couldn't have known, but somehow did before they were officially discovered. And almost all of us (my five brothers and sisters) had some sense that something wasn't quite right about this woman, though we couldn't put our finger on it. And when we heard there had been a shooting, we immediately knew what happened.

I have no idea how I could have survived this time of my life without that awakening. It was difficult enough as it was. But being initiated, really quite suddenly and quickly into beliefs I'd never even been aware of before, made it easier. It's almost like spirit had come down to instantly attune me to a certain way of thinking...a way that made sense to me. Everything became clear. And it was salvation for me at what I hope will be the most difficult time of my life. 

So that's my story about uncovering the hidden me. It's as if all that knowledge was in a time capsule within me, and opened at this very moment in time. And it was all part of the agreement I made before I came down here, too. Earlier I said it was an intriguing thought to consider what other hidden mes might be within me. But now it feels a little scary. 

Still, it's an interesting thought to ponder, isn't it? Something hiding within you, set to emerge at a certain moment in time? What would it be? Or, to the similarly initiated through fusion, what has it been? I know some of you out there are either experiencing something difficult now or are on the verge of it. What is it revealing about you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

6/27/11—Letting Go of Limitations

Today's Draw: 15 from the Oracle of the Visions from Ciro Marchetti. What is it time to let go of in your life? Or what is letting go of you? And what was this person, thing, habit, thought or ideal limiting you from receiving in your life?

Today's card is an oracle card, not a tarot card. Basically, oracle cards don't follow tarot's basic structure of 22 "trumps" and 56 cards in suits. Each is a different animal. I suppose in some ways, you could call them "tarot lite", but that shouldn't be confused with thinking the insights they deliver are any less profound. It's just that they're not a discipline and study for most people the way tarot is, primarily because each deck is completely different, has a different number of cards, with different meanings and purposes.

That being said, this is a card of farewell. Of saying goodbye to someone or something in love. The birds in the background are symbolic messengers. And they're flying in both directions. So it's possible the goodbye may just be temporary. Or perhaps it's part of a cycle of comings and goings in your life. 

To me, I imagine the note in her hand says "I'm flattered by your attentions, but for the sake of my own best interests, I must say no." You see, I keep finding myself attracted to the same sort of men over and over. They're usually smart, interesting, attractive men with emotional issues that they either don't want to work on, take out on others, or both. Hey, we all have emotional issues...haha. But I suppose I think I can help (even though they don't want help). And, and here's real kicker, in the past I've allowed one or two of them to take their personal issues out on me in the form of verbal and/or emotional abuse. I've learned to walk away at the first signs of that now—and each man I become interested in a better man and closer to healing than the last—but it doesn't keep those types of men from appearing in my life. And I see the look on the woman's face in this card showing either sober realization that this guy is another one of "those guys". Or maybe she's drawn to this man, but is doing what she knows is best, even if she doesn't "want" to.

I've felt both of those things in my life. Too many times. And decades of analysis and consideration have left me empty-handed as to a good reason why. Some suggest it's because I don't love and respect myself. And that just never felt right to me, because I think I love and respect myself about as much as anyone else. Some say it's a mirror of ourselves and I totally believe that, but what is it mirroring back? I'm neither verbally abusive nor take my crap out on others. Some might say it's because I want to change a man, inspire him or save him. OK, there's some truth in that. But more than that, I'm looking for someone who wants to work *together* to evolve and grow in a spiritual sense...a relationship where we both challenge ourselves to look within and heal. I've worked on all the stuff above and still have the same issues. Then, finally, last Friday I heard something that made sense to me—I believe I am flawed. 

It's that simple. And I absolutely do believe that! And while you could say everyone has flaws (and we all do), I lead with my flaws. I feel self-conscious of my flaws. I allow my flaws to stand between me and things that make me happy. And I think my flaws mean that I deserve less. Or that I deserve another person who is clearly flawed. And the thing is, while we're all flawed, there are some people who don't believe flaws are flaws...they believe we're all perfect in our unique ways. And even more people know they're flawed, but don't focus on them. Or, knowing all people are flawed, don't think their flaws make them less than others. Simply put, they don't allow those flaws to get in the way.

As someone who has lived all her life with a weight problem, "my problem" always seemed to be a focus. My parents were concerned about it. Kids made fun of me. Even during a period of my life when I was thin, I still attracted comments about my weight. It's hard not to feel shamefully flawed in light of all that. In the absence of others calling me names, I get down on myself. I'm not proud of the fact that I do this, but I do. And I imagine there are others out there reading this that do the same thing...only they think they're not smart enough or creative enough, funny enough, perfect enough, capable enough, pretty enough, strong enough. 

I think all of us have some sort of "inadequacy" we're not proud of. The question is, do we let it get in our way? Does it keep us from being in relationships? From achieving career success? Trying new things? Or allowing ourselves to be happy in life?

Like everyone, I have a number of flaws. But the only one I can think of that stands in the way of me getting something I want is the weight thing. Everything else I've been able to come to peace with...or cut a deal with. So, as simple or obvious as it may seem to you, last Friday was an "aha moment" for me. One, because it finally felt like an explanation that made sense to me....because I feel flawed, I think I deserve less. And two, because I find it hard to forgive myself for not being able to maintain a healthy weight. But I *can* forgive myself for being flawed. 

It makes me feel vulnerable to talk about some of the things I talk about here. I do it for many reasons. One is because it's healing for others. Someone will read this today and feel a little better about who they are. Another reason is because I know I'm an intelligent, spiritual, funny and even, perhaps, wise person....who is just as touched by life's issues as you. Too often we compare ourselves to others and how "together" they seem, when the truth is that, being "together" is really just about realizing that everyone is in the same boat we are, somewhere in their life. 

The older we get, the more forgiving we get of ourselves. But everyone's working on something...or could be working on something. The people who appear to have all their ducks in order, really only appear that way. In fact, the ones that appear/claim to be most tightly in control of their lives are often just more gifted illusionists, imo. Or are in denial. We grow up hearing that some things you just don't talk about. But I think we do ourselves a disservice by not talking about these things. Not only do we cheat ourselves and others out of the opportunity to know we're not alone, but we also plant seeds for our own self-destructive and/or obsessive or excessive behaviors.

Anyway, to circle back around to the card I drew, maybe I'm finally ready to send a Dear John letter to this way of thinking about myself and the things it limits in my life. And like the birds, it will probably come back around again, but more healed. I see life like a spiral and with each turn of the circle, we just come to a new level of understanding about something until we finally raise it up to the universe entirely. Healing happens in layers. At least with the really big things. 

So what about you? Who or what are you sending or receiving a Dear John letter from in your life?