Friday, July 8, 2011

7/9/11-7/10/11—Loving Honestly

Weekend Reading: Dancer Queen from Tarot of the Sidhe. No, this isn't about an ABBA song. It's about loving honestly and nurturing genuinely. So often we say our "I love yous" automatically. We hug passively. We pay only half attention to those in our lives. Be conscious of that this weekend and when your child/spouse/pet/partner/friend approaches you, stop what you're doing and give them your full attention. Look at them through the eyes of love. Hear what they have to say. Feel the energy of their touch. Love honestly. Freely. And with your heart's truest care.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

7/8/11—Taking Compassion Further

Today's Draw: King of Cups from the Paulina Tarot. Who is making you hopping mad right now? Can you see that person through the eyes of compassion? Do you find yourself becoming more accepting with age or more set in your ways?

Today's question is pretty much the same question I usually ask, though I usually say "today" instead "at this time in life". The question is—What do we all need to know at this time in life?

Simply stated, the King of Cups shows up to tell us that we need to be more compassionate and accepting of others. In the wake of the Casey Anthony trial and a number of interpersonal conflicts I've been privy to, I've been shocked not only by some of the things people say and do, but the persistence of some to perpetuate their interpersonal conflicts and spread them to others. And I do want to say that accepting others doesn't mean we have to be friends with them or put ourselves in the path of lunacy, but it does mean approaching others with open hearts and minds, if even from a safe distance. 

At one time or another, we've all created drama. We've seen others as our enemies. And we've all lived in worlds in which our interpersonal issues become so important to us that we fail to consider what the people we impose them on may or may not be experiencing in their lives. 

I'm not perfect. I've done all those things and will probably do again. But I've been making a concerted effort not to get involved in this kind of thing anymore. The person I want to be is more easy going, understanding and accepting than I've been in the past. And it's not always easy. Someone recently questioned what kind of person I was for being friendly to someone she doesn't like. I feel like I'm friendly to everyone, even if they're not someone I wouldn't quite label as a "friend". Everyone deserves respect. That's part of being compassionate and accepting. Pressuring someone to make choices in an argument they're not even remotely involved in is not. 

I have to say, I was shocked my character was coming into question merely for being nice to someone that others don't like. Isn't that a quality we should all have? Kindness to all? Both are people I would consider friendly acquaintances...Facebook friends. It's not like I'm sleeping with my best friend's enemy. Prior to that conversation, I had a lot of compassion for the situation this woman was in. At the end of the conversation, I felt stronger for the other woman, because she's never put me on the spot about who I interact with before. Frankly, I interact with a lot of people who aren't friendly to her and she's never once asked me if she can trust me as a result. It's ironic that the one woman lost an ally simply by pressuring me to state my allegiance. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there are times we seem so righteous in the things we think and ask of others. There are times we're so caught up in the importance of our own dramas that we don't care who we drag into them and when. I've done this myself. But if we want to be compassionate, caring and accepting people, it goes beyond feeling bad for poor people or having a friend of a different nationality. It requires us to make a deeper inventory of the effect we have on others—as well as the effect we have on ourselves for perpetuating and spreading bad energies to others. I can look back as recently as less than a year ago and regret some of the things I've done myself. 

What this all gets to, I think, is grace. Showing more grace to others, even those we have conflicts with. Showing more grace in our words and choices. Being more gracious in our assessments of others. Being more gracious in the way we treat ourselves. And yes, even being gracious to people who aren't gracious to us. Fact is, none of us are in a position to judge others. Sure, they may have faults we don't have. We have faults they don't. And conflict and hate and threats and bullying like we've all seen this week doesn't solve anything or add anything to the world. But understanding can. As we consider our life experiences, ask which way is easier? Which way makes us happier? Which causes less stress? And compassion and acceptance will beat out conflict and separation every time. 

7/7/11—Securing Our Insecurities

Today's Draw: Two of Discs from the Cosmic Tribe. Is there something you're feeling especially insecure about these days? Do you tend to see your flaws magnified and your assets minimized? What do you see in this card to help answer the question of the day?

So the question I asked today is, "What's the best way to approach our insecurities?" I ask this because at the end of the month I'm getting together with a room full of people I haven't seen since I was 14 or so. Most of them I don't even remember from then, but Facebook brought us together. And, well, I thought I'd be four or five sizes smaller by now...haha. But that's not what happened. And so I'm insecure.

Rationally, I know that it's nearly impossible to see past my scintillating personality, engaging wit and fascinating repartee to even care what kind of a package I arrive in. But our feelings and self-judgments aren't always rational. As far as I know, no one has ever NOT liked me simply because of my size. No, I most certainly gave them other reasons to dislike me. 

Anyway, reunion or not, I know other people feel the same way I do. So here's what the Two of Disks wants us to know. As the butterfly in the picture, we all rise from ether...from spirit. We all come from the same place. As some say, we are spirit having a human experience. We are all perfect, flawless as we are. It's that "human experience" part that brings other options into question. In the context of spirit, all this is not only trivial, but it's just a flash of a moment in time. Further, each of us has different lessons to learn in life, but perhaps the one universal lesson (or one of the few) is learning to accept and love ourselves. Beautiful people, smart people, and green and white striped people are all the same—we all have something about ourselves that doesn't "measure up". And by measure up, I mean to our OWN standards. Most people are too absorbed in their own issues to spend time assessing your scorecard. It's you who is judging you, far more than society (though I acknowledge that society can sometimes be a bitch). And while others may never let on and let you see it, they're just as insecure as you. And if they've somehow managed to transcend all insecurity, then they have walked on their own coals to get there and most certainly can't judge you for where you are.

Another thing the Two of Disks wants us to know is the only constant is everlasting and expanding change. Butterflies are like the international symbol for transformation in the mystic community. So think you know yourself now? By tomorrow, you'll discover something has changed. Not only that, we're infinitely capable of creating change. So if there's something you don't like, you can change it. And for those who say, "well, what if you were born with two heads connected at the nostrils, smartypants?" Well you can change that, changing the way you feel about it. So if you can't make a physical change, you can change the way you see your issue, even to the point of making lemon out of lemonade. In fact, changing the way you feel about something is usually the first step toward creating more substantive change in your world.

The butterfly's wings show red or "stop" on the left and green or "go" on the right. The left is the past in mystic symbology. So another thing the Two of Disks wants if for us to stop looking at the past. Stop looking at how you've been received in the past. For example, in the case of these high school people, we've all grown and seen a lot of life in the past 30 years. Priorities, personalities and attitudes have changed. Instead of looking in the past, look at what is "now" and what could be in the future.

Finally, the wings also give a nod to balance and unity of opposites. Let's face it. We're all complex creatures. We're not just one thing. And the things that we focus on about ourselves are just one or two aspects of a complex you. Having certain flaws doesn't erase all the hundreds of other compelling things you are. Each quality is just another brushstroke in a much larger Impressionist painting.

So that's what the Two of Disks wants us to know. Is there something creating insecurity in your life today? And what words of wisdom might you have to share with others?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7/6/11—Seeing Glimmers of Justice

Today's Draw: The Moon from the William Blake Tarot. Do you have an experience in your life when justice seemed unjust? Is there a question in your mind about someone else that you'll never know the answer to? How do you deal with stories that seem to have no ending?

I'm asking general questions this week that are things we can all relate to. So in the light of the Casey Anthony trial, I asked why guilty people sometimes walk free.

Every time a murderer is tried and found not guilty, it brings up a lot of memories and emotions for me. As I've shared before, my father was murdered by a sociopathic stepmother for the insurance money. And while there were only two people in the room when he died, and he couldn't have shot himself (because he was shot from behind), the jury wasn't able to find her guilty. You'd think the math would be simple. But trials don't involve simple arguments that take only five minutes to convey. You try sitting in one of those courtrooms for weeks, like in the Casey Anthony trial. All the facts will have been put in a blender with trivia and opinions and proof that doesn't seem like proof alongside non-proof that seems to prove something. There are things the media knows and reports that aren't admissible in court. And there are things about the jury members we'll never know. Having lived this, it doesn't surprise me at all that someone that looks SO guilty...someone like Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson...walks free.

So what's the Moon got to do with it? Well the Moon tells us that there are mysteries out there we'll never know the answers to. And it also tells us that things are not always as they appear. If you look in the lower right of the card, you'll see two armed predators crouching in the darkness. One of the things about being a narcissistic sociopath is that you're charming, manipulative and care only about yourself. You have no compassion for others, but plenty for yourself. And therein lies the rub. 

When you're Casey Anthony, there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. She's got a good 40-50 years ahead of her and the first thing that will come up on a google search of her name is this story. I imagine it's not too fun to be a narcissist and know everyone hates you. Or, like my stepmother, to know that you're just one google search away from being found out. 

Speaking of which, I googled her today. Keeping in mind she's a pathological liar, she is now a PhD in Film and Video. She writes Jesus songs. She sits on the board of her local Rotary Club. And she dresses like a polygamist's wife...the kind with the big hair and gingham dresses. And, at 75, she looks healthy as a horse. While there's plenty of stuff on her webpage about making food for the poor, there's nothing about the five husbands, three of which died while she was married to them. Oddly there's also no mention of her sons, one of whom testified for the prosecution and gave us his word she'd never marry again. 

But no disease of the mind can keep her from knowing who she is. She can lie to herself during the daytime, but like the Moon card, what lurks in the shadows of the night? Not guilt, certainly. They don't feel guilt. But they DO know what they've done and that they live in a house of cards, where just one word can reveal them for who they are and subject themselves to the hateful glare of others. While they may feel their murders were justified in a twisted way, people like this know society has no sympathy for them. They're free to roam. They have no legality holding them back. But their lies suffocate them daily...limit their potential. They can never call too much attention to themselves. And while my stepmother, for example, tries very hard to play the role of the sweet, godfearing granny, she's nonetheless just a google search away from being found out. I'd like to believe that at least one of the moves she's made to other states over the years was facilitated by one of those google searches. It must be horrible to crave attention like a vampire craves blood, but then when you get it, it's nothing but evil glares.

So the Moon card tells us there's plenty we don't know about what it's like to live as a sociopath. Don't you think it was hard for OJ, who was once America's hero, to live the rest of his days as America's monster? Do you think ANY man will choose Casey Anthony as the mother of his children...and if one does, what kind of man would he be? And I look at my stepmother, who is always running a scam and whose own family doesn't even want to associate with her. I'd rather deal with the pieces me and my family were left to pick up than be her any day. 

And speaking of those pieces, Casey Anthony is free now to admit to what she's done. She's been found not-guilty. They can't try her again. But she'll probably take her secrets to her grave. She will feed on knowing that she knows something everyone wants to know. Likewise there are a lot of questions I want to know about my father's death. And I'd like to hear my stepmother admit to killing him. But I and my family have had to accept we'll never know the answers. The Moon card speaks to that, as well...the mysteries we carry through our lifetimes. Sooner or later you just accept that the details aren't important anyway. Sure, they'd be nice to know, but the one thing that matters is that he's gone...that little girl is gone.

Ultimately, we just have to trust that there is justice for this somewhere. Maybe it's in the societal prison they live in after the not-guilty verdict. Maybe it's in the mental prison they live in all their lives—the lunacy, which is a word derived from luna or the Moon. Or maybe there is some sort of other karma that bites them in the arse. We just have to trust that it's so. In the Moon's light we may catch glimmers of justice being served, but we will never see it as clearly as we'd like.

Monday, July 4, 2011

7/5/11—Empowering Your Sense of Adventure

Today's Draw: Five of Bows/Empowerment from the Wildwood Tarot. Are you willing to try something new this week? When was the last time you pushed past your comfort zone? How will you up the joy you receive from this week?

I decided to ask another question today—how can we get more joy from this week? By the way, if you have a general question that you would like me to answer for everyone, feel free to suggest one. I think I'll do questions every day this week. 

So, how can we get more joy from our week? This Five of Bows has a couple of answers. One is to face and defeat our fears. And through the empowerment we get from that, draw back our bow and confidently take aim of the things we want. (He also provides one more clue to happiness, somewhere around his midsection. But we'll focus on the other two points.)

Of course we can't defeat all our fears. And all of us have fears. They can be fears about certain emotional places we don't like to go. Or it can be a fear of a physical thing. Or just simply a fear of anything different. I define fear as something that causes anxiety or something we avoid, which is a pretty loose definition, I know. 

A few weeks ago I went on a fear-eradication spree. As some may remember, I tried soft shell crabs, for one thing. I'm not a very adventurous eater, so this was a reach for me. And since then, I've had them a total of three times. Then there was the day I decided to wear a short skirt that showed my pasty white legs. I wore that skirt again this weekend and bought another skort to enjoy over the summer. I think there were a couple of other things I tackled that week, too, but I forget them now. 

But doing this stuff really *did* heighten my happiness. Stretching the boundaries reminds us that we're capable of so much more than we think. And it shows us that our fears are usually unfounded. Eating those poor, vulnerable, yet yummy crabs started some momentum going that allowed to me to say "screw what others think about my pasty legs!". That was a few weeks ago and I still feel more open to new things. 

The more we reach beyond our boundaries, even in small ways, the more likely we'll be to risk shooting for the things that really matter. So are you ready to try something you've just never done before for some reason...going to that restaurant you've wondered about, getting a massage, trying on a different kind of clothing, testing out a new cooking method...these are all simple things, but they open the door to bigger things as you expand your awareness and ownership of your power. 

Are you willing to commit to trying something new this week? Do you already have something in mind?

7/4/11—Giving Thought to Freedom

Today's Draw: The Empress from Tarot of the Animal Lords. How do you define freedom? Do you have to have certain circumstances or a certain lifestyle to feel free? Is there any one thing that brings people freedom?

Today I did something a little different. I asked the cards to give us some insight on freedom in honor of July 4th. And The Empress has some powerful messages for us. 

The Empress is the feminine aspect of power. She rules with a soft touch, not an iron fist. She gives  all the critters in her queendom—the butterflies, birds, four leggeds and plants—freedom to wander. She keeps her eye out, but she also lets her own cubs explore, fight and even encounter danger. She knows to hold on loosely and to set her loved ones free, because she understands to restrict them is not only to risk losing them, but also to cheat them out of valuable lessons they'll need when she is no longer there to watch. Her job is to nurture, not control. And her own freedom comes from understanding that the only thing she *can* control, is how she responds to things. She teaches this to her cubs, too, so they won't spend their lives locked in the anxiety that comes from trying to control things, events and the other unforeseen aspects of a chaotic world. 

She also faces toward the past in homage to the generations before her that learned things harder ways so that she could have her freedom of thought. She also reflects on her own efforts...the transformations she's been through in her own life that has allowed her to let go of ego and worry. She sits strong in the person she is today and would not give up the years of angst that led to her freedom. Nor is she chained to that past. She knows that every moment of life gives us a fresh opportunity to change and transform. You don't even have to wait for the dawn of a new day. You can start right this instant.

Finally, as the Earth Mother and symbol of abundance, she knows that true freedom also comes from knowing you have enough and are enough. That doesn't mean having a cushion in your bank account and lots of friends. It means being free from want. It means believing that whatever you have right now is enough. The body you have is enough. The bank account you have is enough. The car you have is enough. Now you may be thinking "but I have debt" or "but I have huge hips". And if you're thinking that, you don't have gratitude. And you are imprisoned by those things. When you know that, in this moment, what you have and who you are is enough...and when you can be grateful for will have freedom. 

So the Empress says these freedoms are the ones that release our spirits from chains—freedom from control or the need to control others, freedom from ego, freedom from the past and freedom from the mindset of lack. What others can you think of on this day of freedom? What are you free of today?