Friday, August 5, 2011

8/6/11-8/7/11—Honoring Your Spiritual Family

Weekend Reading: Nine of Bowls from the Medicine Woman Tarot. This weekend consider your relationship to all beings around you—man, plant and animal. Think of this as your greater spiritual family and observe the ways in which they support your being and you support theirs. All are conscious beings. So look at the respect or disrespect with which you treat them and check in with yourself and see if you feel good about the way you interact with other sentient beings. Every day we eat something that was once alive, once turned itself toward the sun and drank in the earth's water, just like you. Show gratitude for that and honor your place in this spiritual family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8/5/11—Walking With Life In A Beautiful Way

Today's Draw: Wani/The Four Directions from the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards. If you died today, would you be dying without regrets about where you are now? Have you ever had a close call? If so, what did it teach you about life?

In the Lakota language, "wa" means snow and "ni" means life. When snow melts into the earth, it fuels the circle of life. Wani holds one of the most precious teachings—life is beautiful and we must learn to walk with life in a beautiful way. It asks us not to halt life in any way, but to welcome its gifts in all forms. 

Each of the four directions teaches us different lessons. Some are hard to learn, some easy. Some come in loving ways, some come in ways that shake us to our core. This card asks us to sit at the point where all four directions meet and allow all the lessons—ALL of them—to lift us up. Because this is what life is. This is what we signed on for. This is the adventure. Trust that all lessons fuel your higher purpose and if you need help, whether human or divine, ask for it. 

One of my friends had a close brush with death this week. I think this person had learned or was learning to walk with life in a beautiful way. But we can all do more, can't we? This was the last person I ever would have thought would have a life-threatening health issue. It's very eye-opening and jarring. Certainly I could be healthier. And even though I've been quit for 8 years, I realize that 26 years of smoking could be a ticking time bomb within me that could go off at any time. But it goes beyond nutrition, exercise and healthy practices. Our family history plays into it. And it also depends on how we choose to respond to the input from the four directions over the course of our lives—stress, unleashed anger and other unhealthy behaviors. It's such a complicated equation. Which is to say, it could happen to any of us at any time. In fact, another friend lost a friend recently in a car accident. Totally random. We just NEVER know. 

So, on this Friday, I ask a rather depressing question, "Are you ready to die?" And by ready to die, I don't mean are you emotionally ready to meet your maker. I mean have you learned to walk with life in a beautiful way? Are you open to—and at peace with—input from all four directions? And if you're not ready, what are you willing to do about it? Where do you hope to be when that moment comes? Personally, I'd like to be at peace with myself and life, which is tantamount to walking with life in a beautiful way. What about you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8/4/11—Developing Intuition

Today's Draw: The Priestess from the Gaian Tarot. Do you believe you're an intuitive being? Do you think humankind is still evolving? And how? Do you feel drawn to strengthen your own intuitive capabilities?

We've talked about intuition before. The Priestess follows her inner voice—the one that communicates in non-linear ways of knowing. She does not concern herself so much with rational thought. She trusts the whispers in the wind, her gut instincts, her inner knowing and the voices of dreams. She is shown in this card as both maiden and crone, because she combines the openness of youth with the wisdom of age. Hers is a knowing earned through trust and the conscious reconditioning of her ways of acquiring information. 

Everyone is intuitive. Even animals are intuitive...consider the phenomenon of dogs who know when their owners are coming home. Or the subtle energetic signal that makes a whole flock of birds turn on a dime. Or elephants and other animals that can predict earthquakes and weather events. We're no less capable as them, we just have little need to exercise that muscle these days...or so we think. 

Some of the things you can do to strengthen your intuition is to start noticing it. When a voice inside your head says "turn right" instead of left, turn right. Pay attention to your dreams. And honor those times when you say or think something and then it happens later that day or week. What you call "coincidence" is what metaphysical people call "synchronicity". We don't believe in coincidence. We believe these things happen because you draw them to you. You don't just coincidentally think of Person X right before they call you on the phone, for example. The more you notice and honor intuition, the sharper your intuition will become.

For those of you on Facebook, there was a very interesting discussion about evolution here:!/photo.php?fbid=1955845339289&set=a.1051543972320.2011434.1337377212&type=1&theater Basically the woman I was talking to said that people evolve individually and we're not evolving together as a race. She has written a book touching on all this. Others believe the same sort of thing, but that 2012 will separate the intuitives from the non-intuitives in some way. Still others believe this is *how* we are evolving as a race—that our physical evolution has come to a halt and evolution is now happening in the intuitive realm. 

I can't really say where I land on all this. It could be any of those things or none at all. So my mind is still open. After all, I DO believe that, in many ways, ancient man was more intuitive than we are today and modern society has sort of stripped us of that. I mean, who needs to intuit the weather when you have the Weather Channel? Who needs to sense an approaching bull, when you have perimeter cameras? And who needs to intuit where the food sources are, if there's a grocery store on the corner?

That said, I strongly believe that intuition is the most important skill for us to develop in our lives. It's not given a whole lot of credit or value in today's world. Today's world is all about proof and logic. But I do believe that as we move forward, we're going to need our intuitive abilities more than ever before. I don't know why I feel that way. I just do. And that's intuition. And if you must be logical about it, then consider this: it can't hurt. Believe me, being able to "feel" another person's energy and following my instincts has saved my butt many times. It can never hurt to take that to the next step. 

It's one of the few life skills that aren't taught in school, and that's a shame. There is so much going on in the ether that we don't yet know about logically. But that doesn't mean it ain't happening. So just start by noticing and trusting that your "hits" aren't coincidence, but real intuitive hits. Not even the most talented intuitives are 100%, so don't assume it has to serve all the time. But open your mind to the possibility that it can happen more often than "coincidence".

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

8/3/11—Moving Forward Despite Adversity

Today's Draw: The Chariot from Tarot of the Crone. Is something deterring you from your true path? Do you know what your true path is? Are you willing to give up self-criticism to be happier?

The text that comes along with this card says, "I may be burned, but I survive. Now I fly to a new adventure." This card is about putting adversity aside and following your own star. Sometimes we suffer a physical setback. Or an emotional one. Or an ego-based one. But the only way to carve out our freedom is to keep moving forward despite all that. 

The Chariot asks us to set our own move in the direction your heart pulls and not worry about what others think. It's the worrying about what others think that holds us back and keeps us from truly being free. Each of us has a special magic within us and no one wins when you hide that inside. Admittedly, some of us have a hard time identifying that magic or path. But if you find yourself wishing you could be another way, that definitely holds a clue (assuming it doesn't lead to a life of crime).

I can't count the number of times in my life that I've spent time hiding inside myself for one reason or another. It not only breeds depression, it holds me back in the things I want to achieve in life. There's something going on now and I want to beat myself up and hide from it. It's something that's tripped me up before. Honestly, I don't know how much we can think about the same issues over and over again in our lives. It just doesn't get us anywhere. 

So this time I'm choosing a form of denial...haha. It's not real denial, because I acknowledge it. And I'm definitely not one to hang out in denial, preferring to, as I said before, abuse myself with uber-reality. But this time, I've seen myself tempted to go down that path and I'm just not going to do it. I know the outcome. It's fruitless. Instead, I'm going to keep flying forward like the witch on the broom and follow my inner star. I don't like everything about me, but I do like who I am. And I'm not going to let that suffer for the things I'm not able to change at this moment.

8/2/11—Doing and Not Being

Today's Draw: Eight of Cups from the Tarot of Transformation—Human Doing. Do you get so caught up in doing that you forget to just "be"? Have you ever asked yourself what, besides money, is your payoff in doing so? What reality are you trying to escape from?

I'm going to keep this short today because I'm feeling sick. But this card is about getting over-involved in doing. Society teaches us that our value is in what we do and what we contribute to the world in a tangible form. Instead of being a human being, we become a human doing. Like a trained laborer, plodding through life without ever experiencing who they are...just what they do. 

When you focus so tightly on what you do, you neglect to focus on what you feel. And, subconsciously, maybe that's your point. It's a convenient way to keep from getting hurt. But it's also a convenient way to keep from living...from connecting to spirit...from attending to others...from facing the unpalatable reality you've created. And the problem with escaping reality, whether through drugs or keeping busy or other means that relieve you of balance, is that the problems don't go away if you ignore them. They usually get worse.

This isn't just about being swallowed by your career. It's about being swallowed by whatever you might do in excess. Whatever you might do to avoid. This card comes as a signal to get us to look at our relationship with doing—and that neglected "inner you"—and get to the root of why you might do this.

Monday, August 1, 2011

8/1/11—Receiving Self Pride and Love From Others

Today's Draw: Six on the Spiritual Level—Receive—from The Game of You. Do you feel like you're not making much progress in your life right now? Do you tend to focus on how much work you need to do, rather than how much you've done? Are you being too hard on yourself lately?

Today's card is about receiving the fruits of your labors. This can be one of the hardest things we allow ourselves to do. 

If you're reading these words, you're probably someone who is committed to personal growth. Often progress is subtle or slow. And just as often, we may notice that we've changed, but focus instead on all that's left to do. This card is asking us to stop and acknowledge how far we've allow and own that we've made progress. To be proud of ourselves. And to allow and experience that others are proud of us, too. To receive the compliments and love from those around us. 

For the first half of my life, I'd say I was someone who generally drew attention to herself in one way or another, but was nonetheless shy. I was comfortable with friends, but wouldn't put myself in strange situations with people I don't know. For an ever-changing litany of reasons over the years, I've always avoided crowds, too. So I always sort of lived with a struggle between my introverted and extroverted sides, with the introvert usually winning. 

When I went into business for myself 15 years ago, part of the "agreement" of being self employed meant that I had to put myself out there. I had to go to networking events and appear to be charming. I had to go into meetings with company presidents and present my ideas to them, while appearing to be competent. And, probably the one I've struggled with most over the years, I had to find myself some friends and social things, because working where you live, and living alone, can be very isolating. And sinking into isolation can be very unhealthy. I've done it off and on all my life...slipped into my shell, refusing to come out. 

So if you've been following along, you know that last Friday I wrote about all the anxiety I had about attending my 30th high school reunion. Three days filled with those things I fear the most...crowds, strangers and potentially uncomfortable situations. But from the moment I showed for the first event, there was no anxiety. Only opportunities to receive. And I'm so grateful I got this card today to remind of me of that fact. 

To begin with, the lady doesn't like to hug got some of the best hugs of her life during this event. I won't reveal my favorite, but the competition was tight and there were a lot of entrants. As a person who usually feels quite self-conscious in social situations, there was none of that. And what possibly surprised me the most was the number of people who remembered me. I only went to this high school for a few months, though I went to jr. high with all these people. And people whose names I haven't heard in maybe 35 years sparked memories from deep within the U-Stor-It facility in my brain. It was just an easy, enjoyable weekend. Not even the extreme heat and, now, scratchy voice, can color it as anything less. 

I tend to be a relentless critic of myself and dogged in my pursuit of personal growth. So I rarely stop to really feel the progress and achievement I've made. This weekend showed me in many ways how dramatically different I am from who I was just five years ago, let alone 30 years ago.

I know there are those reading this today who are going through tough times in their lives. And today's card is reminding you that you ARE making progress, even if you don't notice it right now. And instead of saying, "but there's so much left to do", try saying "look how far I've come". Allow yourself to receive credit for all the work you've done. Allow yourself to be fed from the love of those around you. Give yourself permission to feel good about yourself. To be proud of whoever you are in THIS moment. To take care of yourself for once. To receive, rather than give.

One of the things that surprised me, as I said, was how many people remembered me, even though I didn't have the history with them that everyone else in the room had. In a way, what that was saying was not only "look how far I've come", but also "hey, I wasn't really all that awful to begin with." After most of a lifetime spent disapproving of whoever I was in that moment, that's a gift that I now feel honored to receive.