Friday, November 18, 2011

11/19/11-11/20/11—Spreading Your Sunshine

Weekend Reading: Six of Cups from the Prairie Tarot. Make it a Pay-It-Forward weekend. Seek out someone—any random stranger—and say or do something nice for them, whether you think they need it or not, expecting nothing in return. If you tell them they look lovely in their outfit, don't get all bent out of shape if they fail to say "thank you". Consider that some may not be able to access the right vocabulary at the time. And others may not know how to accept kindness. All that's important is that you put positive energy and pure intentions out into the universe for no reason other than just to do it. So let go of any need for positive reinforcement and just open up your heart. You never know whose life you might be changing with something as simple as a warmly intentioned "hello". Instead of benefiting the person you pick, it might inspire an observer. Or even yourself. So just trust. And shine.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/18/11—Remembering Moments That Changed Things Forever

Today's Draw: Page of Pentacles from the Abyssal Tarot. Have you recently had a lightbulb moment? Or have you felt blocked in meeting a goal, then experienced a sudden breakthrough? Can you think of an isolated moment in your life that changed everything forever?

The book for this deck says, "She is the bearer of transforming news. She pieces together that last bit of important information that then changes everything. The world has turned upside down. That once occluded is now obvious."

This card is talking about those lightbulb moments you have now and again. In the psychic biz (haha), moments of spontaneous insight happen all the time. That's kind of how information comes through. You're trying to figure out the split-second blurs of information that come into your head and, all of a sudden, an insight hits you and everything makes sense.

The card is also talking about those moments, good or bad, when something changes forever. Maybe you're feeling a little woozy, then you find out you're pregnant. Bam! Insight and life-changing moment all in one! 

I spent part of the summer of my 21st year in Europe, staying with my sister in Germany between trips. By that time my mom was very sick with cancer. And I remember one day Janet and I were talking and she said "you know mom's going to die, right? She's not going to get better." 

That moment changed everything for me. And Janet doesn't even remember it. So maybe something (Granny Irene?) temporarily possessed her to put that message forth, but I remember it. Because it changed everything. I didn't know she was going to die. I should have known. It was clear. But I was too idealistic to realize that she really wasn't going to get better.

In the moment, it hurt. It was such a sharp awakening that it stunned me. But from that moment forward, I approached every moment with my mother as something sacred. I got to spend a good amount of time around her between that summer and when she died at the end of December. We got to talk about things previously left unsaid. And because she knew I wasn't in denial anymore, we had an understanding. Having that relationship with her before she died goes down as one of the greatest gifts of my life, even though much of it was spent watching her wither away. Anyone who's witnessed it knows the injustice of cancer. 

I wasn't really meaning to get so heavy...haha. I just go where these entries lead me. When I first pulled the card I was thinking about how two days ago the topic was apathy and boredom and, all of a sudden, things changed today. Something in the ether cleared. Two days ago, I had no work or desire to work. Today I'm booked pretty much through the end of the year. That's also one of those moments. 

But what it all comes down to is this—for every darkness, there's a dawn, whether the darkness is a lack of clarity or an onslaught of depression. Just wait and, out of the blue, the light will switch on and everything will be changed. Forever. What kind of moments have you had like that?

(I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge my sister, Janet. She reads these things every day and never knows when I'm going to mention her name or blaspheme my siblings or open up emotional family wounds. And she doesn't care. She just likes reading what her little sister writes. :) )

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/17/11—Writing Through The Fear

Today's Draw: Maker Three from Tarot of Sidhe—Labour's Fruit. Do you ever feel anxiety before you start in on a creative project? Are you ever afraid you're going to fail...or that this is the one project that will reveal you as a fraud? Or do you just skirt the fringes of your true creative potential because the risk speaks louder to you than the reward?

The Maker Three (aka Three of Pentacles) in the Tarot of the Sidhe comes with this poem:

With will and thought and hands as one,
Obstacles may be overcome,
And from a lost and arid space,
Effort's bloom shows her lovely face...

That's a pretty good description of the creative process. I like the thought of the lost and arid space and overcoming obstacles and then finally seeing the fruits of your efforts. 

What I'm about to say might surprise some who know me. But pretty much every time I approach a shiny, new project, I have anxiety that I'm going to fail. Let's just say for the sake of argument that I've written over 1000 ads in my life. The number is probably greater than that. I remember once writing 24 in a day...haha. But let's say 1000. And 100 websites. And a couple hundred brochures, couple hundred promotional emails...I've written a lot. Heck, I've probably written close to 400 of these entries in the year and half I've been doing this every day. 

And each time I sat down at the computer, I had a wave or a ripple or a drop of anxiety fall down upon me. What if I can't do it? What if I don't come up with a solution this time? Even though I always come up with a solution, the anxiety never quite goes away. Sure, it's nowhere near what it was earlier in my career, but it's always there. 

It took me a long time to "own" the good stuff that rolled off my fingers. There was a long time that I felt like a fake. I don't know any other way to describe it, but I think it comes from the focused place that all creators go into. When you come out, you remember little of the process, but there's a completed work sitting in front of you. Who put that there?!

Anyway, I finally got up the nerve to confess all this to one of my creative directors long about 17 years ago and you know what she said to me? "OMG, I feel that way, too! Always afraid I'm going to fail. And I always feel like a fake when I've succeeded." This was very freeing for me because, while I no longer feel like a fake very often anymore, I still get the fearful tinges of failure upon the beginning of a new project. And I know I'm not alone.

So the secret, if you haven't guessed it, is to move forward anyway. There's always a risk of failure that comes with any reward. Our own insecurities are the biggest obstacles we have to overcome. Over the years I've met many frustrated creators who do something less creative because they just don't push past that fear. The secret is just to move forward despite it, "with will and thought and hands as one." The second I "put pen to paper", the fear is gone. Every time. 

The "lost and arid space" is not a scary place, it's the void from which all ideas emerge. Sure, you'll be planting lots of seeds that will never bloom, but while you're poking around in the earth, you'll find the ones you want to water and nurture. My experience is that you rarely come up with an amazing idea without going to that place and planting some seeds. You have to push past the fear. 

And, because all art is subjective, you have to get over the fact that you're not going to create something everyone will love. It just won't happen. Plenty of people don't like my style of writing in any of its iterations—as an author or as a copywriter or as a blogger. And that's ok. I'm happy to write for the people that do. In fact, I'm happy to write just for myself, because every cell in my body says I must. So even if I didn't do it for a living, I'd do it. But first and, for me, pretty much always, I have to write through the fear first. What about you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/16/11—Checking Out Of Life

Today's Draw: Four of Cups from the Infinite Visions Tarot. Do you ever feel a need to just check out of life? How do you do it? Why do you do it?

Usually when I pull these cards, I do it with the intention of what is going to help the most people who read these essays. Sometimes they're relevant to my life, sometimes not. And, on rare occasions, they feel like they're totally for me. Which is the case with the Four of Cups. So there will be no entry today.

Haha. Just kidding. The Four of Cups is about apathy and boredom. And it can frequently be self-induced.

I've been really apathetic the past couple of days. Maybe it's the time of the year. Maybe it's other things, but I've been indulging a bit of apathy. And I say "indulging" because I know I'm letting myself feel this way, as opposed to it being chemical or out of my control. The question is why. So I asked my deck. 

The answer I received was that sometimes there's just too much input coming from too many directions that you feel a need to shut down. And I would say that's the case for me. When I look back over the past month or so, there's just been a lot going on in my head concerning my career and my life. And I just needed to drop out of all the noise and weight of that. 

Sometimes the best way to deal with too many choices and considerations is just to walk away for a day or two and recalibrate your perspective. Maybe you take the day off and work in the garden. Or go fishing. Or, like me, totally check out. I had actually said to myself that I needed a sick day—more than a day off, but a day of no thought or action. And I woke up with really bad vertigo and had no choice but to remain horizontal, immobile and unconscious all day. Though the vertigo was real to the point of being sick to my stomach, I see how I totally manifested it. On some level I knew I had to be knocked out like that to get the "blankness" I needed.

Today I'll be back to being responsible and engaged in my life. And, having cleared the landscape in my head, I'll hopefully have a better view of my Queendom and can act on some of the decisions I need to make. Do you ever do this? And how do you spend your check-out time?

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/15/11—Directing Our Lives

Today's Draw: Father of the Spiritual Level—The Director, from The Game of You. How often do you check your intentions before you make a choice? Do you see yourself as being in control of your life? Or is your life in control of you? Who's really in charge of this joint?

The Director is that aspect of ourselves that directs the movie of our life. And the better he knows the motivations beneath the main character's actions (you), the better he's able to do his job. I mean, if a director doesn't know the motivations of the main character in the production, how can he have control over the storyline?

Even those who examine their intentions work on automatic most of the time. I mean, if we spent all our time examining our intentions, when would we ever live? I'm sure it's a shock for some to hear this from me, but you CAN be too introspective. 

One good touch point when examining the intentions behind a decision is "is this choice for the good of all?" And by that, it could be "is this purchase going to benefit the family or put it in debt?" "Is this separation going to benefit all the people involved?" "Does my smoking impact people other than myself?" 

As a single person, I know we can often be deluded that our actions affect only ourselves. None of us live in a vacuum. There are family members, friends, pets and co-workers who are impacted by the choices we make in our lives.

We won't always make choices that are for the good of all. And we won't always know what the good of all even is. But it's a nice ideal to shoot for, not just for the sake of karma, but to pull us out of ourselves and think of the deeper implications of ordering that high fat meal, telling that client to screw themselves or insisting on a Coach tote when some other brand will tote just as well.

The Director reminds us that our current situation was commandeered by our choices and the intentions behind them. We form the movie of our lives and if we find ourselves in a situation where we feel out of control or unhappy, we made it happen. And we can make it unhappen, too. And if we have to take responsibility for the bad stuff, then we have to take the credit for the good stuff, too. No writing stuff off to good luck or bad luck.  It's all the work of the Director.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11/14/11—Protecting Your Health

Today's Draw: The Stone from the Dreampower Tarot. Is there something simmering below the surface that is affecting your health? Do you see how toxic relationships color your well being? What steps might you be willing to take to protect your physical and emotional health?

The Dreampower is a non-traditional deck, so The Stone doesn't equate to any traditional tarot card, though it is a major arcana card. The Stone rises out of the earth and is an outer manifestation of what is going on beneath the surface. What we don't see is potential. That is still beneath the earth. What we do see is the result of how we've manifested past potentials. 

Ask any doctor and they'll tell you that your stress levels, moods and attitudes toward life affect your health. We all know this. Every thought comes with a chemistry attached to it. And those chemistries can be neutral, healing or toxic. 

In the metaphysical world, many believe it goes well beyond that and that all illness has to do with our attitudes, beliefs and whatnot. Louise Hay (of Hay House publishing) wrote a well-known book called Heal Your Body A-Z: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Ways to Overcome Them. For example, she says cancer comes from holding on to deep seated hurt and grief or a long-held secret. Heart disease comes from dealing with issues from a place of anger, not love. And gray hair comes from too much stress.

I think my opinions lie somewhere between doctors and Louise Hay. Now and again I'll have some symptom or another and I'll look it up in Louise Hay's book and there's a certain amount of truth to what I see there. I had a friend who had cancer and she absolutely had deep-seated hurt and grief. My mother also had cancer—breast cancer—and Louise Hay indicates that comes from taking care of everyone else first. That would be true of her, too. But I can't say I think this is true all the time. And some of the things I've seen her write of don't really resonate with me. 

All that said, I do think there's more to how our thoughts shape our health than doctors will admit to. And I definitely experienced a manifestation of what was going on under the surface this weekend. A lot of anxiety was rolled up into a visit I had with my family this weekend. And the minute I drove away from the place we all gathered, I got sick to my stomach and had physical symptoms of food poisoning. But what it really was was spirit poisoning...thought poisoning. If it were food poisoning, everyone else would have had it. But it was only me.

Before the weekend even happened, though, I knew how toxic the situation was for me and decided I was never going to go through this again. It happens to me every time we get together. Either I have to change the way I feel about how I am—and have been—treated by certain family members. Or I just have to stop accepting invitations to be around them. I admit that there are a lot of expectations and insecurities I could let go of. But I also believe a family should be a place where your vulnerabilities are safe. And sometimes it works that way for me. But many times it doesn't. And the anxiety about which way it's going to go is not healthy for me either mentally or physically. 

There is a saying that resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. The same can be said about anger, fear, lack of forgiveness and other such emotions. They poison us, little by little over time, until the feeling manifests as some sort of illness. And though it's hard for me to admit, I can't place the responsibility of the toxins I hold on to to anyone but myself. Last week we spoke a lot about how forgiveness doesn't mean you have to see the person ever again. It just means letting go. And it's hard to let go when you keep exposing yourself to toxic situations over and over again. 

My dog Kizzie was a rescue dog who was beaten the first 8 months of his life. I've never hit him. But he's almost 8 years old and still flinches when a hand comes toward him. I kind of feel this way. There have been developments over the past year or two that might mean the dynamic with these family members has changed or is changing. But, like Kizzie, I may always flinch when I see them coming. I have a decision to make at some point. I care about them. I care about their families. But I want the poisoning to end.

What do you think of all this?