Friday, December 16, 2011

12/17/11-12/18/11—Surveying Your Domain

Weekend Reading: The Empress from the fabulous Maroon Tarot. Take a moment this weekend to really look at what you've built and nurtured in your life. For the time being, set aside what you're missing, what you wish you had and what you still have to accomplish. Just focus on what you've built. And stand in the satisfaction and gratitude of just that. Unconditionally. Because that is enough. It's more than most people have in the world. We spend so much time chasing after "more" that we never take the time to appreciate what is in front of our nose. Be proud of what you've built. Honor it. Appreciate it. And see where it's enough.

A Holiday Message to My Readers

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Thank you to all the people who have the courage to comment on my daily posts and reveal their stories to others. It makes us all feel more normal.

Thank you to all who read and consider those posts but don't comment for whatever reason. It takes courage to look within.

Thank you to those who peek occasionally to see what's being said. Your curiosity says you're on the path. 

And thank you especially to those who are willing to read, even if I don't use the names God and Jesus. It says you're willing to put semantics aside and focus on the message. That's the kind of openness that will change the world.

I didn't want the season to go by without saying this. Cheers to a brilliant holiday season!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/16/11—Wrapping Gifts in Resentment

Today's Draw: Two of Pentacles from the Infinite Visions. Do you find yourself giving more than you get? Do you give time, energy and presents, even when it makes you bitter? What emotion will you be wrapping your gifts in this year?

The Two of Pentacles is about balance in earthly matters. We had this exact same card from the same deck back on May 18th and we talked about earning what you're worth. But tonight it brings up something different for me—having balanced and equitable relationships. 

To be clear, I'm not talking about taking out some yardstick in your relationships and making sure everything's even. Life doesn't work like that. But I'm talking about putting some consideration into people who tend to take more than give in the relationship. Sometimes it's a friend who doesn't think of anything that exists beyond the tip of their nose. Sometimes it's someone who only pops into your life when they need something. And sometimes it's about someone who just sucks the energy out of you. 

In the past, when I've felt used or whatever, I've moved on from the relationship. That was easier than looking at what role I played in attracting them to me in the first place. Once I started taking some responsibility for those relationships, I found other giving only when I really meant it or getting together only when I had the energy to give. 

Many times we'll give because we want to be liked or because we want others to give back. We'll listen because we think we have to. And in doing so, we're kind of poisoning the gift. Because we're not giving it for the right reasons. Then when we don't get what we expect in return, we'll follow the gift with ill thoughts. So before and after, we're wrapping gifts in resentment. This is just as true of physical gifts, like presents, as it is the gifts of our time and attention.

Beyond person-to-person relationships, there's also our personal relationship with the higher power we need to consider. Of course the universe is infinitely funded with energy and patience and whatnot, but is it possible you're receiving a little more than you're giving back to God and universe?

Anyway, this entry is really just about considering these things, not that you have to do anything about them. But consider the relationships in your life—whether they're personal, professional or with your higher power. Do you give too much or take too much? And are you taking responsibility for your role in the dynamic? With the holidays upon us, it may be a good time to make sure we're wrapping our gifts in love and not resentment.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/15/11—Moving Forward Despite Obstacles

Today's Draw: King of Swords from the Pathfinder's Tarot. What obstacles stand between you and your goals/dreams? Are they real obstacles or just excuses? And even if they are real obstacles, how can you circumvent them?

The King of Swords represents a man whose determination moves him forward despite obstacles. All this week we've been talking about the fears we hold and he comes to tell us to just move past them, fercryinoutloud.

Sometimes there are definite obstacles that exist in our life. But most of the time, our obstacles are just excuses. One of my favorites to use is "what I really need to do first is lose weight. THEN I can go on Oprah." Another I like to use is "I could afford to do that if I didn't have to spend all my money on tarot." Then there's, "I'm a single mother of two dogs! Who has the time?!"

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, in reality, the only things that stand between me and my dreams are motivation and resolve. I mean, it's not like I'm missing limbs or fresh off a lobotomy. A couple of weeks back I had a client deadline and woke to a freak cramp or arthritis or something in my hand. I couldn't pick up a fork without it being painful. But I wrote for like 12 hours that day. Because I had a deadline and was being paid by the hour. But if I were writing for my dream? I probably would have taken the day off and cursed the fates for putting pain in my hand at such a critical time.

It's not that I don't want to be a spiritual/motivational writer of the Dr. Wayne Dyer ilk. It's that making that leap is scary. It will change my life. I won't be able to cling safely to my home. Instead, I'll have to travel places and be gracious and junk. I won't be able to hunker deep within my depths and avoid others at all costs. They'll expect me to, like, be motivational and stuff. I'll no longer be so anonymous. I'm going to have to risk failure. And, perhaps more scary, I'm going to have risk success.

But the King of Swords rides a Honey Badger. He don't give a shit. He's a badass. He just keeps on moving forward.

The truth is, there are very few excuses or obstacles that hold water once you put them under the microscope. You may not be able to perform on So You Think You Can Dance from inside a jail cell, but you can still break dance. You may not be able to afford your own plane, but you can take flying lessons. Or barter for access to a plane. Or something like that. Whenever we say we don't have enough money or time, what we're really saying it we don't enough creativity to think up another way and enough determination to make it work. It just sounds better to say we don't have the time or money. That way we don't have to do anything about it.

So what are your obstacles and excuses? Post them here, along with what you want to accomplish, and we'll see what people can come up with to help you find your way around them. If you're not afraid, that is. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/14/11—Becoming a Healer

Today's Draw: The Ace of Stones (Cups) from the Shaman Tarot. Do you consider yourself a healer? Do you act in accordance with that belief? And do you think it's possible to set off a ripple effect of healing that travels the world without even getting your arse up off the sofa?

A shaman is an intermediary between the spirit world and this world. And their role is as a healer...a spiritual, emotional or physical healer. Back in cave times, this would be the most honored person in the clan—the one who could heal maladies with herbs, become privy to divine information and facilitate rituals to appease spirits. Even today shamans are used to travel into the otherworlds to retrieve parts of a person's soul that may have been shattered or lost.

One of the tools a shaman might use in their healing is crystals. Crystals can play a number of roles in healing. They can be used to amplify the energetic healing of the shaman. They can be used to absorb ills. They can be uses to bring certain energies into a healing session or to balance energies. And they can also be used for their energy in aiding the journeying work a shaman does.

So the Ace of Stones is a card of healing. The sparse little white book that comes with the deck says three things: "The secret of healing. Profound understanding of one's own being. Love." 

Writer that I am, I might edit those three sentences into one that reads, "The secret of healing is a profound understanding of one's own being, coupled with love."

We are all capable of healing ourselves and others. The more we understand ourselves, the more we see how much we're all alike. All of us have within us the capability to love or hate, kill or nurture, stumble or glide. The better we know ourselves—and the more we fill our hearts with the divine love of our spirit selves—the better we're able to see how thin the line is between us and someone who is reviled or judged crazy or unsavory. If I didn't take crappy photos of cards, you'd be able to see how divine light washes over the crystal, driving ghosts and demons out. This is what we can do for others with even the simplest of human kindnesses.

When we see others as profoundly different from us, we're seeing through eyes of fear. When we see others as we see ourselves, we see through eyes of love. It's that simple. I can feel some of you resisting that statement right now. But it is an essential truth to unleashing the potential of our healing nature. 

Usually by Wednesday every week a little mini-theme emerges in these entries. So fear is this week's theme. We've seen how it can hold us back and how it screws with our priorities. And now we're seeing how it cripples mankind's ability to love and heal. Fear is repellent. It drives us apart as a society, not brings us together.

I'll let you in on a little secret even though it reveals something I'm maybe not 100% proud of.  I write these blogs every day, partly to hone my inspirational writing chops, but mostly to help heal myself and others. I feel my mission in life is to heal people with my words and thoughts. But I couldn't have written this blog three years ago or ten years ago, because I would have quickly gotten bitter, thinking no one appreciated me...*fearing* no one appreciated me. I would have been writing it for the feedback, rather than for the inner journey.

Now, that said, I receive positive reinforcement every day on my Facebook page and there are great discussions there about my posts—so many wise people. But if I were in this to become popular or admired or whatever, I wouldn't still be doing it after a year and a half.

The reason I can devote so much time and energy to it without it draining me now, is because I like me more than I did back then. And while I like that you like me, it's not a condition of what I do here. My fuel for this comes from within and regenerates from within. And the reason I like me more is because I understand myself more...and not just understand myself more, but understand myself in the context of humanity more. And I'm honest with me more, without allowing that to cause wounds that hold me back. That right there is what has opened up the channel for me to start to heal myself and others in a meaningful way. And it's new, so I know I still have so much to learn.

We are ALL capable of this. We're taught to believe that one person living a humble little existence can't make much of an impact on the world. But we can. We just need to love and understand ourselves enough to love and understand humanity. And animals. And nature. And the universe. 

If you're reading these words right now, you're on the course. You're reading and thinking about these entries to know and understand yourself and humanity better. So understand that just that alone makes you a healer, too. Because there's always someone along your path that could use some of your insight. And knowing that you're a healer, with all the responsibilities that comes with that, will help you reach out for the right reasons. Which will help you make a bigger impact. Which will cause a ripple effect. And your one act of healing and kindness will have traveled the world. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/13/11—Calculating Your Risks

Today's Draw: The Child from the Christmas Tarot by Corrine Kenner. Realistically speaking, what's your worst case scenario? What do you REALLY have to lose if you make a change? And what do you stand to lose if you don't?

The Christmas Tarot is a major's only deck. I purchased the file online and printed out the cards myself. This deck is now "out of print" in that you can no longer buy the files, but by next Christmas you'll be able to buy a full 78-card version wherever you buy tarot cards. Anyway, Corrine made this deck from images from Victorian cards and, as you can see from this one, the images she chose are tarotriffic, right down to the Fool's dog. 

That's who The Child is, by the way—The Fool in a normal tarot deck. He's called The Fool, not because he is stupid, but because he's innocent. He hasn't been taught to fear yet. He's not cognizant of loss. So he sets out on adventures with all the enthusiasm and blind faith of a child. He's the main character in the story of the tarot. And no matter how many times the tarot story is told, he always makes it out alive. 

Remember when you were a kid? Assuming you didn't come from an abusive environment, there really wasn't much to fear. Yet all the same dangers existed in your world that exist today. It's not like the world was a better place. There was a senseless war going on. There were weapons of mass destruction constantly aimed at our cities. There was a recession. There were bad guys on every corner. It really wasn't much different 40-50 years ago. Maybe today's war isn't as draining on the country's energy. Maybe today's recession is more serious. Maybe we're in more of threat of chemical weapons than missiles. But the same "unknown" was there to fear. 

Yet, when we were kids, we didn't carry that fear. Our parents could have ended up homeless. We could have ended up in a war torn world. But we didn't carry the fear. The unknown was just another place to explore. 

So when did we start fearing? When we started having something to lose. An apartment. A job. Stuff. A relationship. A baby. And what have those fears accomplished? Well they keep us from making really stupid moves. And, um....hmmm....well....they um....

Exactly. They don't accomplish much. Except maybe making it hard for us to distinguish insecurity-born fear from danger-born fear. Fear is an *instinct* we have to keep us from being eaten by saber toothed tigers in the wild. And somehow it's become our most powerful *emotion* making us think and rethink everything 500 times before we move forward in our lives. Yet we somehow managed to survive the fearlessness of our youth...the jumping out of trees, the taking of all manner of drugs, the driving too fast, the falling in love over and over again...the acting without thinking. 

It's not like the fear is what's keeping us safe. Being safe makes us safe. And the funny thing is that choosing "safe" over facing our fears usually lands us closer to our worst case scenario than facing our fears does. Part of that is because we're the world's worst "worst case scenario" assessors. 

I've been doing a lot of readings lately for people who want to change careers or make change at work. While their fears tell them the worst case scenario is utter ruination and eating from trash cans, the realistic take is that the worst thing is usually that they'll have to get another job like the one they have now. Or they'll have to go on unemployment and get a roommate. So, people who are so miserable they're envisioning apocalyptic worst case scenarios are usually either living their worst case scenario or are just a step or two away from it. Certainly, spiritually speaking, they are already living it if they're living in a mindset of fear and defeat. And one worst case scenario we never consider when we're weighing options is how our lives will pan out if we DON'T take the risk...what our regrets will be, how we'll feel about ourselves, what our opportunities will be. 

In essence, we approach fear in the same way the child approaches risk...we dive right into it without question of consequence. So the next time you can't move forward because you're frozen by fear, you gotta ask yourself, "who's the real Fool?" The person who unquestionably accepts fear and the status quo? Or the one who unquestionably accepts risk and adventure?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12/12/11—Yearning for Days of Yore

Today's Draw Special Edition: The rune Ansuz. What do you think of the way our values have shifted since ancient times? Do you ever wish your life were simpler, sparser? Or do you think we're living our best lives right now?

I saw my new sack of runes staring at me from across the room and decided to off road again today. Runes are one of the oldest divination methods. There are 24 runes in a set. And what a rune is, usually, is a piece of wood or stone with a symbol drawn on it. The symbols are an ancient alphabet, but frequently used in magic from around 150 AD on. One of my hunky male tarot buddies made the set I used today. He made them from a branch that fell on his property and he burned the symbols into the wood. With his bare hands. *swoon*

Ansuz is the rune of Odin, one of the major Gods of Norse mythology. Odin was a god of war, the hunt, poetry, wisdom, magic and prophesy. An odd set of things to be in charge of. Or is it?

In a way, these ancient forms of divination give us a look back at life nearly 2000 years ago. Back then, being a warrior, hunter, poet, shaman or prophet put you at the apex of society. Today, those same positions net you middle class, at best. It wasn't that those people held all the money back in those days, they just held influence and prestige. Try telling someone you're a poet, hunter or shaman for a living today and see how impressed people are.

But look at what these people are offering. They're offering the basic needs of life—food, safety, culture, healing and advice. How come we value businessmen, lawyers and athletes so much more these days? I'll tell you one thing, Armageddon hits and you won't see me running to partner up with Donald Trump for survival. I'll be grabbing myself a hunter or shaman (maybe not a poet, though). 

Anyway, it's interesting how our values have turned from comfort and survival to capitalism and bling. Even homeless people have cell phones and computers these days. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but when did electronics supercede shelter as a basic human need? Certainly cell phones are a safety thing. I'm not arguing that. It's not like there are pay phones anywhere anymore. But doesn't something seem weird about that picture to you? Doesn't something seem totally off overall in our worlds, where we amass stuff to keep our stuff company, and stuff it all into rooms full of stuff?

Odin traveled light. All he really needed was instinct and intellect. Can't buy a cup of Starbucks for that these days, though. Before I wander off into the "when I was a girl, we walked two miles to school each day. Barefoot. In the snow." speech, let's just break it down to this. What is REALLY important to you? 

Most people, if their house were burning down, would go for the photos. So, on top of the basics—food, shelter, water, it's memories of loving moments. Most people given a choice between losing all their money and losing a loved one, would choose to keep the loved one. So, really, what do we do all this for? For the Lexus? For the nice neighborhood? For the electronics?

I'm really the last person who should be making this argument. Though I own nothing you could call luxury or a status symbol, I have a comfortable life filled with all the tarot decks I can fit into my home. And while I have one of those undesirable houses that produces more equity than debt, I've nonetheless got a room stuffed full of stuff to keep my closets full of stuff happy. 

But every once in a while, something comes close to waking me up and showing me how far I've wandered from the freedom and ideals I'd rather have. I would like to be much closer to nature than modern life supports, for example. I'm fascinated with the Tiny House trend. And I would love to live a simpler, more mystical (dare I say hippie-inspired?) life. But I've become a junkie. A capitalist junkie, jonesing for my next hit from the world of retail. And I don't know if I know how to live any other way right now. How about you?