Friday, December 2, 2011

12/3/11-12/4/11—Managing Deception

Weekend Reading: Deception (Devil) from the Guardians of Wisdom Tarot. Sometimes people use deception and manipulation to get you on board with their agendas. Some do it willfully. Others are deceiving themselves, too. Either way, this card suggests you're going to encounter just such a situation this weekend. The good news is you're able to see it beyond it. So the only mystery left is how to respond. Confront them and you risk being drawn into their drama. Your best move may be to protect yourself energetically, listen dispassionately and respond neutrally with something like, "I'm sure everything will turn out the way it's meant to." Then change the subject.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12/2/11—Freeing Yourself from Fear-Based Thoughts

Today's Draw: Four of Wands from the Tarot of Trees. What thoughts or attitudes are standing between you and the feeling of freedom right now? What do you think those thoughts or situations are trying to tell you? Are you willing to start letting go of that right here and now?

The Four of Wands is a card of celebration and excitement. It can speak of a victory along a certain path. Not a final victory, but one that feeds your momentum toward a desired outcome. As you see in the card, the sky is blue, the trees are peppy and everything is thriving. 

It's interesting to note the artist put an element of letting go in this card, too (which seems to be the week's theme). While the other cards this week have dealt with letting go of a wounding, letting go of a situation and letting go of control, this is about letting go of the thoughts, attitudes, issues and outlooks that bind you and keep you from breaking through to freedom. 

For people on a path of personal development, it can seem like our whole lives are about letting go of things. As we progress, we let go of the need to please, for example. Or engaging in dramas. Or taking things personally. But as you know, these things don't happen in a day, rather they are processes we work on over time. 

And the universe is very kind and generous in giving us copious opportunities to hone our skillz. If we're letting go of the need to please, for example, the universe may hand us a sparkling array of situations in which we are tempted to stick with our "yes, yes" habit, but can practice breaking it with a solid "no". Once we get our "no" on, the universe will up the ante with a situation or two that's very hard to say no to. Pass that test and the universe will try the surprise attack, hitting you when you least suspect it. Pass that test and one day you'll be moving blissfully free through your life and suddenly realize that the very people, stimuli and temptations that reigned you in in the past have completely disappeared from your life. Where did they go? Who cares! Lesson over.

When we operate from a place of fear, which we do from time to time or situation to situation, we will often misinterpret the universe's messages. If we're feeling unloved, we think the universe is telling us we're unlovable. But what the universe is probably telling us is that it's time to open ourselves to all the love that's around us. 

If we're feeling criticized and judged, we think the universe is telling us we've done something to deserve it. But the universe may actually be telling us is that it's time to start believing in ourselves more. 

And if we're feeling beaten down by life, we may think all hope is lost. But maybe the universe is giving us an advanced lesson in gratitude or...coincidence?...letting go and letting God. 

If misinterpreting the universe's message to us is the one thing we let go of in life, can you imagine how freeing that would be? If we could clearly trust and believe the universe is on our side and lighting the path through a dark forest, what thoughts or issues could possibly hold us captive? From someone who has traveled a long way on that path (but still has miles to go) I can say for sure it delivers not only the contentment suggested by the traditional meaning of this card, but freedom from many of the fears, thoughts and issues that keep us down.

So what's keeping you down lately? And how can you change your thoughts about it so it honors and includes the higher wisdom and unconditional love of the universe?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

12/1/11—Checking In With Our Chakras

Today's Draw: Two of Wands from the Tarot of Transformation—Healing Sexual Energy. Is there some aspect in which you feel blocked or restricted at this time of your life? Do have a certain chakra that is always giving you trouble? Is there a part of your pain body you might be over-identifying with?

Before I begin, I want to say that this is one of my favorite decks. It has a soft, supportive, feminine energy to it and it gives very deep readings. I've used this deck more than once to receive messages from deceased loved ones. Shortly after she died, I asked for a message from my dog Passion (aka Pashie-Bear Stinkus) and the card I drew from this deck was the Seven of Discs. It showed a spirit bear watching over a hibernating mommy bear with two cubs in her belly. 

OK, so Pashie Bear's message was that she was in spirit watching over me and my two babies while we slept! She wanted me to know I had an alpha girl dog up in heaven covering her back. And that she sees her brother and the "new dog" and watches over them alongside me. On top of that, the card is called "Incubation" and Passion and I had spoken the night before she died about how I would see her again. That she could wait and play in the afterlife and know I'd see her again. So the card was also telling me that she was waiting and knew I was waiting and we'd see each other again when the time was right. OMG, could one card possibly both fill and break my heart more?

But I digress. This entry is about the Two of Wands. And in this deck, that card speaks about second chakra sexual energy. The book reminds us that sex with a lover is just one way to express this energy. We can express this erotic, creative and passionate energy in our love of dance, nature, language...pretty much everything. And just because we're not in a sexual relationship doesn't mean we should shut off this chakra.

The book goes on to talk about how most people have experienced some sort of sexual wounding, whether it came from something like a lover's rejection or from something more intense, like sexual abuse. And how we have to go into the pain body, feel it and heal it. But then it warned not to get lost in the pain body or make your identity out of it. You have to come back to physical body to heal and find joy. 

OK, that's a lot to think about. I've known a lot of people who have made that pain body their identity, myself included at one point. Maybe they share their sexual wounds too soon. Or they act in self-destructive ways. Or they just go cold. But there's more than just one flavor of pain body.

It's been a long time since I've been in a relationship. That has to do with a lot of factors. Not sexual wounding, though, I don't think. Or if it does, I'm not conscious of it. My reasons range from a lack of male interest to, I have to admit, something more along the lines of emotional or spiritual wounding. Part of me wants a relationship. Part of me can't be bothered. And part of me, frankly, is scared...scared that I'll fall into the same patterns of the past. I'd rather be alone and happy than miserable and coupled. While I believe "content and coupled" exists, I'm suspicious of it. So, yeah, I suppose I have some issues in this area. 

Anyway, the good news is that whenever my reiki person (energy healer) checks my chakras (which is monthly at minimum) my sacral chakra (the sexual one) is always open. The bad news is that sometimes my heart chakra fluctuates between open and closed. Which is actually a fair representation of my attitude toward bringing romantic love into my life.

This is probably all gobbletygook for some of you. Eastern thought is that there are energy centers or vortexes called chakras that run throughout our body. The seven major ones run through the center of our body starting at the base of the spine, all the way up through the crown of our head. Each chakra deals with a particular thing, such as survival, sex, creativity, personal power, fears, love, communication, intuition and god consciousness. Each also corresponds to different organs and functions of the body. So if you're having a particular kind of emotional or physical issue, your corresponding chakra could be closed or restricted or in need of some sort of healing. 

I think we all pull back at one time or another in one area or another. We may not always be willing to give or receive love. We may have times we're more fearful than others. We might, on occasion, give our personal power away. Nobody walks through life with all their chakras open all of the time. We all have places where we feel constricted or where the energy doesn't flow quite freely. 

Take a moment to just scan your body in silence. Do you sense a knot or lump anywhere? Alternately, scan your life. What sorts of experiences give you pause...what do you have to "be in the mood for" in order to do? Where are you feeling restricted and restrictive? Whatever it is, become conscious of it. Recognize it. Only then will you be able to begin healing it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11/30/11—Moving On Without Turning Back

Today's Draw: The Eight of Shells from the Fishy Tarot by Beth Seilonen. Is it time for you to move on in some area of your life? Can you give up the comfort of the known and surrender to the unknown? Or are perfectly happy camping out where you are right now?

It always amazes me how the same themes will recur in a week, even though I choose randomly from a different deck every day. Of course it shouldn't amaze me. Tarot does that. Occasionally, when I'm doing a reading for myself and don't like a card, I'll choose another. Most of the time the other card I choose will have a similar message. It's like the cards are saying "if you didn't hear me straight the first time, I'll say it again."

The Eight of Shells (Cups) talks about walking away without turning back. It's time to leave a situation that is no longer bearing fruit. Time to move out of our comfort zone, surrender to life's cycles and move forward in our evolution. This is a card of letting go, similar to others we've seen in the past week, but with its own unique thrust. 

Usually the way this card is depicted, the person walking away is trudging or of solemn stance. And in this card, as you can see, the little fishy is belly up (heehee). Often times, this card will refer to leaving a romantic or relationship in which you've done all you could. Or it could be about leaving the predictable and comfortable cycle you're in to reach for something new. Or it could also signal that every last ounce of fight or energy is gone from you in a particular dynamic.

But this departure doesn't have to be a sad thing. As tarot folks know, the very next card in this story is a happy, happy wish card—one of success and accomplishment. So why so glum, chum? You're moving on to a better place! You may not know that now, but at least make space for the possibility of that in your heart. The universe has always has your back before. 

Another part of what I like about this card is that, when the fishy was with his shells, he was in a sort of underwater valley or trough where the current couldn't get to him. And now he's surrendered to floating up into the flow and go where the current takes him. Which brings me back to "walking away without turning back". Looking back and maintaining attachments, is not letting go. Letting go means Letting. Go. Complete surrender. Our finny friend isn't belly up because he's dead or even dead inside. He's just surrendering and keeping his eyes toward the light. 

This all makes me think of when I quit smoking 8 years ago. I had struggled for years to quit. I justified my addiction. I lived in denial. I made excuses. I fed my victimhood and helplessness. But it wasn't until I made a *decision*...a decision to walk away and never indulge my destructive behavior anymore...that I quit. And you know what? All of a sudden, quitting was easy. People always say you can't quit until you're ready. And I'll add to that and say you can't quit until you're ready to never smoke again. Non-smokers might not see the distinction, but smokers will. Quitting means never smoking again, just as walking away means never turning back again.

There's nothing wrong with camping out in the comfortable valleys of life. But the only way to progress is to leave it all behind and surrender to the risky and unknown. To answer my own questions, there are a couple of growth areas I'm ready to surrender to right now, and one comes in the realm of emotion, requiring me to break camp in a spot I've been clinging to for a very long time. So, tell me: Is it time for you to break camp, too?

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/29/11—Commanding Your Own Chariot

Today's Draw: The Chariot from the Kitty Kahane tarot. Do you have a good sense of what you can and can't control in life? Do you often find yourself giving your power over to others? Who drives your chariot?

The Chariot can mean a lot of things, depending on how you read it. It can talk about the momentum that drives you toward success. It can speak of focus and control. And it can also talk about being pulled in opposite directions.

In the book for this particular deck, however, the author says something interesting that I've never considered before. She talks about how we all have left-hand strength that's different from right-hand strength, depending on which is our dominant hand. And that keeping the Chariot on course is not just a function of grabbing the reigns and exerting force. It's a dance between your hands and the reigns...a constant recalibration of effort between the power in each arm vs. the power it takes to steer the horses. 

When people are striving for something in their lives, they look for formulas that work. But, like with the Chariot, there often is no set formula. No auto pilot. (Or, for Airplane fans, Otto Pilot.) Life and success and pretty much everything in between is a series of maneuvers you have to feel your way through, constantly recalibrating your efforts.

And so, in one sense, control is a reality because you're fine tuning the entire way. In another sense, control is an illusion, because you're just really feeling your way through—you can't control the variables that come your way. You can only control the way you respond to them. 

That's life in a nutshell, isn't it? You can't control what comes your way, but you can control how you respond to it. Yet so many put more attention on trying to control their environment—the variables around them. Then they respond in a certain way and blame their response on the variables. 

If I'm not communicating properly, what I guess I'm trying to say is that we're responsible for the way we respond to things. We can't say, "I did this because so-and-so did that." That's a cop-out. Nobody made you do anything. They might be a stimulus or variable—they may even be one of the horses—but they don't drive your Chariot. Unless, of course, you give them that power.

The Chariot is the vehicle that drives you toward success in life. But you have to know how to drive it, what you're in control of and how to calibrate your response to the stimuli you can't control. If you spend your time in the weeds trying to control things that are out of your purview, you won't be prepared to handle the things you CAN control. So who are you letting drive your Chariot today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

11/28/11—Seeing the Sacred in All Things

Today's Draw: Sky Dancer "Morning Star" from Waking the Wild Spirit. Do you look at any part of your life as being sacred? Do you feel as though you have power over the experience of your life? Are you ready to start looking at life in a different light?

The Sky Dancer card equates to The Sun card in most tarot decks. The Sun card is always life affirming and happy. But the way this card is presented, it's about lapping up every possible drop of life you can. It's about seeing light everywhere. 

The book for this deck talks about finding the sacred in everything. The light you get stuck at in the morning is sacred. The coffee transaction you make at Starbucks is sacred. And the laugh of a child is sacred. From the "negative" to the mundane to the joyful, there is sacredness in every moment of life, if you choose to see it that way. 

I imagine there are people out there right now that are thinking "I wish I could be more that way...enjoy life more and find the positive in everything. But I'm just not." And I'm here to say "bullshit". The way we see the world we walk through is entirely a matter of choice. It has little to nothing to do with the circumstances occurring in your life. There will probably always be things that test you and take you down a notch or two for a time, but whether or not you allow them to change your outlook on life is your choice. 

The reason I can say this is because a) I wasn't always the positive, uplifting little gem of sunshine you know me as today....haha, and b) it's not like my life has been without challenge and sorrow. Gaining a positive outlook on life and developing the habit of seeing the good in bad things has taken conscious effort, practice and work on my part. And it's not 100%. Just a couple of weeks ago I was a bundle of anxiety about a family gathering I was attending, if you recall. 

Developing the habit of seeing the sacredness in all things is, no doubt, the same way. It's takes conscious effort. You have to stop your fears in mid-thought and rephrase them. You have to break the habit of negative thinking and replace it with a positive thought. For example, sometimes when I'm stuck at a light and starting to get impatient, I tell myself that this light might be saving my life from some accident that could occur down the road. That's how you make it positive. 

I can't tell you how to make everything sacred, because I don't do that for myself. Yet. I can see the positive of moments and have gratitude for them, but seeing the sacredness is another level beyond what I currently do. One thing I know, however, is that every person I've been around that didn't feel they had enough time here on the earth would choose to sit at a stoplight over and over again if it gave them more time here. It's not the stoplight itself that's sacred. It's the vast experience of life that we get to live—the amazing all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of it all.

I'm sure we've all had horrible experiences in our lives that, say, 10 or 20 years down the line we see as having been critical to who we've become. In the moment we can't always see how sacred that experience is. But we can have the wisdom to know it will one day be considered sacred. We can stop ourselves in the moment of anger or fear and open our minds to the possibility that this moment was meant to be, just like every other moment of our lives. We can remind ourselves that spirit had a hand in creating the moment. And we can believe every moment here on earth is part of the story we came here to live. In that sense, everything *is* sacred.

Just imagine how living that way could change our lives! It would forge us more inextricably with our spirit selves. It would show us how powerful the gift of choice is. It would completely shift our outlook on life and, with it, increase the healing potential of our chemical makeup. And, perhaps, when the final days came, we would be less frightened or regretful. 

I think many of us walk through life oblivious to a) the fears that consume our daily life and b) the gifts that are always ours to claim. Instead we ride ups and downs as if they are ups and downs and never entertain the thought that everything can be an up if we allow it to be. And everything can be sacred communion if we want it to be. So, if you like, noodle on this a little today. See that stoplight through the eyes of a soul who couldn't wait to experience this lifetime on this earth and, in the billions of years of earth's history, got to be here during the 100 years stop lights existed. 

Life—even its darker parts—is pretty cool. And The Sun card shines down to illuminate those darker parts for us so we can learn to appreciate them.