Saturday, October 8, 2011

10/8/11-10/9/11—Fighting a Phantom

Weekend Reading: Knight (or Page, I don't know which) of Air from Osho Zen—Fighting. What's got you bucking for a fight this weekend? What is it REALLY? The knight in the picture is coming to the party a little over-dressed, don't you think? Yet behind his eyes you can see that his defensive position is coming from a place of pain...or anger driven by hurt. So you gotta ask yourself, who or what are you really fighting this weekend? Is the enemy outside you or within? And, even if it's within, are you maybe going a little overboard with the drama? Sometimes we get all tensed up against something that's not near as big as we've made it in our minds. Sometimes we're fighting about wounds that occurred many years ago that have just been irritated again, and our response doesn't fit the current crime. Sometimes, we're making others pay for our own fears and unhappiness. And sometimes we're fighting with someone so they won't fight with us first. If you drop the armor, you may find those around you are much more amenable than you thought.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10/6/11—Being Steve Jobs

Today's Draw: Warrior Princess from Tarot of the Sidhe. How big is your vision? Is it bigger than your fear? What buy-in do you need to start creating meaningful change in this world? Or is that not your trajectory in this lifetime?

The Warrior Princess or Page of Wands is one full of youthful exuberance. She is bold and free spirited and sometimes reckless. The words on the bottom of this card are Gift of Courage. 

I was in a conversation last night about Steve Jobs' life and death and the whole idea behind being the person in this quote, taken from the Apple Think Different ad: 
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
For all the people who see themselves in these words, how many have the courage to live them? We're socialized to blend. Obey. Agree. And while some may privately, safely toy with rebellion, how many have the courage to put yourself out there, come what may? To risk rejection and ridicule? Throughout history some of those people were committed to institutions, pushed to the fringes, laughed at. Thinking the world is round when anyone can clearly see the sharp edge of a flat earth? Preposterous!

It takes courage to believe in yourself more than you believe the opinions of others...more than you care about what others think. It's easy to be a Steve Jobs when you're already a Steve Jobs. But it's harder when you're a nerd playing with computer parts in a garage with your geek buddy. Do you think those two were snagging the chicks back then? Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple in 1976! 1976!!!!!! Other people were talking about a future of personal computers back then, but they weren't making them and programming GUIs before GUIs existed. Other people thought of computers in terms of word processing. But Jobs was envisioning a worldwide web of collaboration back when computers still ran on punch cards. Back then, there was a general belief even among computer people that these machines wouldn't be for the average Joe. And look at us today. We're increasingly wired to smaller and smaller machines. His vision made that happen, not just in a single lifetime, but in a generation. It took the horseless carriage more time to seep into the mainstream. 

But would it have ever happened if he and Woz thought, "we're just kids. Nobody will take us seriously. If we fail, people will make fun of us."? My guess is they didn't even go there. They ignored negative noise, focused on the noise of their vision and took the risk of looking foolish. They believed in themselves more than they believed the words of others. And here's the thing, lots of people who feel the same way ARE crazy. They ARE barking up the wrong tree. But that's not a good enough reason not to move forward with something you passionately believe in. 

I've said it before on this blog and I'll say it again. The people who have what you want and accomplish what you want to accomplish succeed because they're willing to do something you're not willing to do. And more often than not, that thing is taking a risk. And taking a risk often means putting ego aside and taking the chance you'll end up embarrassed and ridiculed. In fact, fear of ridicule is just not even a consideration for those people. They're more focused on the vision than they are on the noise around them. 

So where do you sit on the continuum? Are you comfortable where you are? Would you only be happy if you changed the lives of billions? Or is it enough to change the trajectory of just a few? Don't misunderstand...while I believe everyone CAN be a change-maker, I don't think everyone needs to be or should be. I mean, we all make change in small ways every our families and among friends. But I know extending my ambition beyond those bounds is something important to my path. How about you?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10/6/11—Taking Care of Yourself First

Today's Draw: Six of Coins from the Raven's Fool Tarot. Do you tend to give all your energy to others and end up being left with none for yourself? Do you ever ask yourself why you, metaphorically speaking, put the oxygen mask on everyone else before you put it on yourself? And are you so depleted and fed up that you're finally ready to do something about it?

First off, I don't know how old this deck is, but it's new to me. A lot of people will enjoy the raven imagery. And the cards are sort of square-ish, printed on high quality paper stock. It's self-published and not expensive. You can purchase it at 

OK, now that I've taken care of the tarot geeks (heehee), the Six of Coins is about giving and receiving. Often this card will come along when you're either the recipient of someone's generosity or you're the generous one. 

I've talked to a number of friends recently about a nuance of this topic and I know it's quite common, especially in the spiritual realm, but we all need to learn to both give and receive. Too many of us give—and, too often, we give to people who deplete us. If we imagine that two people come together to create a balance between them, then the more of a selfless giver you are, the more you'll attract energy suckers who don't return the energy. The more of an energy sucker you are, the more you'll find compulsive givers. And the more in balance you are, the more you're going to attract others in balance. 

Having been an over-giver myself (as well as having be the energy sucker), I can say that giving too much can be rooted in self esteem issues. We think the more we give, the more people will like us or the better they'll think of us. And we want to be liked and admired. And even though we feel we give freely, we usually end up feeling anywhere from slightly bitter to enormously bitter about the people who take, take, take and give nothing in return. But because we give for reasons other than purely to give, no strings attached, we bring this upon ourselves, as well as the exhaustion and health issues that go with it. 

Another side to this coin is that over-givers usually have a hard time receiving, too. People try to give to us, but we don't let them. Or we expect them to give tit for tat and we don't recognize the other ways they give. If any of this behavior sounds familiar to you, you need to ask yourself what truly is your motivation for giving? Because this behavior is holding you back from reaching an important turn on your path. 

Call it learning to say no. Call it learning to receive. Call it allowing others to give in the way they need to give. Or call it telling the slimy energy suckers to fark off. Call it what you will, but it's an important element of your self care. Have I ended or moved away from friendships over this? Yes. Do I have energy suckers in my life right now? Yes. But the difference is that now my boundaries are such that I protect myself from these people. I say no. I distance myself from them so they don't get the idea they *can* take liberties. I'm willing to risk seeming "rude" by not giving them the attention they demand. And if I say yes when I really want to say no, I apologize for changing my mind and change my yes to a no. Even if it pisses them off. Also, when I do say yes, I make certain it's something I can give freely without expecting anything in return. 

It's not just about giving "things", either. It's also about people who just drain you of your energy in whatever way. I used to feel guilty or bad for cutting off friendships like that. But I don't anymore. They find people to hang on to for their own survival. And I find a way to extricate them for mine. Trust me, they'll find someone else to feed them. Or they'll move on and advance on their own path. Neither of their choices, however, are your business or for you to worry about.

Most of you know me as a nice, kind, compassionate person. And I am. You can be that way without playing host to parasites. It just takes standing up for yourself and taking responsibility for your own path. You can't move forward when others, who are not interested in growing and changing, are clinging to you and holding you back. You just can't. And your primary responsibility is to yourself. And I stand by that position, even if you're married and have children who are this way. Being committed to a relationship doesn't mean giving up your boundaries. Stick to your guns enough and they'll learn a more equitable way of getting your "yes". 

I know all this sounds tough. The biggest misunderstanding about spiritual people who choose to walk a path of compassion, faith and growth is that we're weak. Too nice. The reality is we're strong and firm enough to set the boundaries we need to set in order to focus on moving forward on our paths. We're strong enough to be compassionate and kind without being a patsy. To know how to fuel ourselves without depleting others. To be so "selfish" as to show the same loving kindness to ourselves that we extend to others. To give others the freedom and privilege of taking responsibility for their own paths. And to risk losing a person we care about, but who is nonetheless a parasite, in order to take responsibility for our own. 

Let them think you're a "meanie". Let them shout it to the rooftops. And while they're throwing their tantrum quietly, calmly walk toward the people who understand the difficulty of the choices you've made to take your soul to the next level.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/5/11—Waiting for the Right Moment

Today's Draw: #33 from the Oracle of Visions. Do you ever make a mountain out of a molehill? Do you put more pressure on yourself than is necessary? Do you frequently forget to just stop and breathe?

This card is all about waiting for the right moment to make your move. Sometimes we feel pressured to make a decision...or we pressure ourselves to make a decision...and so we act hastily. Perhaps we would have made the same decision even if we waited for the perfect moment. Perhaps we wouldn't have. And perhaps there is no such thing as the perfect moment. 

Right now I need to make a decision about something relatively small in my life. But because I haven't made the decision yet, it's looming heavily upon my mind. The way my head works, it will taunt me and torment me until the decision is made. Then I'll be able to file it in the "done" pile and won't have to think about it again. But the thing is, I feel all this pressure to solidify plans now for something that's not going to happen for five weeks from now. Certainly I need to plan ahead, but I have a couple of days to rest on this and see how I feel. 

Do you ever do that? I do that all the time—think something to death before I make a move. Or waste time worrying about something that's not nearly as pressing as I'm convincing myself it is. It's as if I think I'm going to forget altogether if I don't handle it now. And I won't forget. Right now I know all my options. I can take a couple of days to consider all of them before I commit to a direction. So why am I driving myself crazy thinking I have to handle it TONIGHT, when I'd really rather just not think of anything tonight?

The woman in this image isn't all worked up about hooking the fish. She's perfectly content waiting for the right option to bite. Maybe in a couple of days time, the right option will seem obvious to me. And if it's not, I can make a decision then. Sometimes I just have to stop and remind myself to breathe and take my time. This is a small matter. It's not the end of the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

10/4/11—Setting Yourself Up for Heartbreak

Today's Draw: Three of Swords from the Rohrig. Have you lost your objectivity about something? Have you set yourself up for a heartbreak? Instead of running toward something better, is it possible to set up your life in such a way that something better runs to you?

No matter what deck you choose, chances are good the Three of Swords will be interpreted as heartbreak, sorrow and doubt. Another phrase that appears on this card is "not clear". So getting this card can be off-putting, at the very least. 

Not five minutes before I chose this card, I emailed my manuscript for my book to the publisher. Heartbreak isn't the word I'd use. Nor is elation. Relief maybe. Trepidation, perhaps. But, oddly I don't feel any differently about it than I felt emailing a document to a client earlier in the day. 

I know my subject matter. I feel confident about that. And I've been writing professionally for 25 years. But I've never written a book before. And this thing I've created is so FREAKING cool on so many levels and I worry that I haven't fully demonstrated its coolness. I also worry that my writing style is too sales-y, because that's what I'm used to. But that's what editors are for, I suppose. I don't know. I've never had one of those before. But again, I feel that way pretty much every day when I deliver stuff to my clients.

Even as I sit here trying to make this card somehow relate to my situation, it really doesn't. At least not in the sense of heartbreak or any other disturbing thought. Sure, things are not clear right now in my life. I'm not clear how my book/product will be received. I'm not clear on how going down this path will change my future, if at all. And, after the insanity of all I've accomplished this summer in addition to my regular job, I'm not clear if I'll get my normal sense of peace and balance back. But I am in no way sad or filled with doubt. I could choose to be. But I'm not. In the past, I might have hung all my hopes on something like that. But I haven't. If it's successful, hooray! If it's not, I really haven't lost anything but my time. What else was I going to do this summer anyway? It was either this or cleaning. Or more sitting on my butt...haha.

Wouldn't it be great if we could face other potential heartbreaks that way? Certainly we could. We could maintain objectivity while we're falling in love. We could remember our strength as a single. But we tend to hand our objectivity over almost immediately after we meet someone. Or we go on a job interview and get our hearts set on the job. 

Many years ago a woman introduced me to the difference between "running away from" a situation and "running away to" a situation. But in both of those situations, you're leaving something less desirable behind. Instead of replacing a less-than-happy situation with a happy one, why not think in terms of adding a happy situation to another happy one...or of having something more desirable run to you? Why not work our options so that's what we do? So, in the case of love, why not be happy before you meet someone to add more happiness to your life? Or in the case of a job, why not investigate your possibilities before you become unhappy somewhere? Why not set up your life so you'll be OK either way? It can be done. Can't it?

Certainly, there are some heartbreaks you can't avoid. But for as many of those in your life, there are as many that you set yourself up for by running away not being good with yourself before you move forward. That's not how I feel or have felt with this project. And that's unlike me. I usually hang more import on things. And it's not just this project, but a few other things that have happened this year. Could it be that I'm actually ok with who I am and where I am right now? If nothing else, this year has been a journey. And if it turns out I end up right back where I started, I'm good with that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

10/3/11—Getting Into Balance

Today's Draw: Temperance from the Infinite Visions. Is your life in balance? Do you know what balance looks like? What's in your mix?

The Temperance card is all about balance—the kind of balance that keeps you prepared for life, the kind that keeps you calm in the center of the storm. We tend to think of balance as equal parts of two or more things. We also think of balance as something we have to give up to have what we want. Or as that thing we can't seem to achieve. As a sword hovering over heads. Or as our main source of guilt.

The card shows a woman deftly preparing a potion for an anxious soldier. You can see lovers embracing out the window, indicating she has a rare alchemical talent. But she doesn't measure out equal parts of any of the ingredients. In fact, she doesn't seem to measure any thing very precisely at all. She feels her way through it. Like a flock of birds knows when to turn, she knows just how much to add of any given ingredient...because she is part of the mystery. As it moves, so does she. 

We hear a lot about having balance in our lives. It's usually parsed in terms of mothers who work. Somewhere out there, there seems to be a measure of what amount of work is correct and what amount of family is correct, as well as how many drops of time for yourself is in the recipe. Even though the exact numbers don't exist, we hold ourselves up to them, nonetheless.

Like with the lady in the picture, balance isn't about a recipe, it's about the individual. And the formula for one person is different than the formula for another. It's not something someone can tell you, it's something you know within. And it's about more than two things. It involves multiple facets. Nobody can look at your mix and say it's right or wrong, nor can you look another and determine for them. 

You know whether or not you're in balance. If you are, good job! If you're not, now's a great day to start doing something about it.