Sunday, February 5, 2012

2/6/12—Unbagging Our Baggage

Today's Draw: The World from Beth Seilonen's Awaken deck. Were you ever told to leave things from the past in the past? Have you packed all your baggage away and said good riddance to it once and for all? Or are you proud of surviving the stupid and the horrible and don't care who knows about it?

Beth Seilonen is probably the most prolific deck artist out there. She creates mostly small-quantity, limited edition, majors only decks. This Awaken deck is only 1 of 13. It is a companion to her Awareness deck, that I also have. If you visit her etsy shop, you can snag a copy of her Fishy Tarot, which is a full 78-card deck. I have that one and love it. She has also recently published a mass-market 78-card deck called Tarot Leaves.

The World card is about a successful completion of a cycle. But something Beth said in her interpretation of this card makes me think about how each of us is the sum total of everything we've ever done. So you are not your most recent failure or success. You're not your career. Or your state of parenthood. Or that jail term you served back in the '80s. Nor are you merely the "saved" person you've become. You're all of it, good and bad, shameful and triumphant.

Sometimes we tend to look at ourselves—or present ourselves—through a particular lens. Some of us still carry the characterizations that were placed on us as children when we've completely changed that part of ourselves. Some may re-write history, preferring not to own the mistakes we've made in the past. Some dwell on a mistake they made 20 years ago as if it's all they are. 

We talk about our "baggage" like it's something unmentionable when, in fact, it's our personal history and every bit a part of who we are today as anything else that's happened in our lives. It shouldn't define us. Nor should it be shoved aside.

Most, if not all of us, have experienced some sort of trauma in our lives. At the time of our trauma, it became who we were at that time. Then people got tired of us being that way and we were sent off to deal with any lingering issues by ourselves. Over time, that became part of our baggage and we were told not to bring it up if we wanted to keep a lover, for example. So we bury these little bundles of shame further and further back in our psyche in an effort to forget it ever happened, because that's what makes the people around us feel more comfortable. And when we think about that stuff today, we feel bad, like we should be over it already.

But here's the thing, as long as we view these events as something "bad" or to be kept in silence, we allow them to hold power over hold us hostage. When we deny something in our shadow, we deny the lessons, the experience, the influence and the gift it offered to our lives. As long as we hold it at arm's length—whether our excuse is that we should be over it or we don't want to give it power—we allow it to hold us down. We're fighting against it instead of accepting it. Healing and integration happen in cycles and layers just like everything else. So it's normal it would come up for review now and again. It's normal that things we see or do would trigger its memories within us. 

And if we never share our baggage with a lover or a friend, for example, then we're really holding intimacy at bay. We're saying, "love me for what I choose to show you", rather than "love me for who really I am". We never get the kind of understanding and acceptance we're really looking for in life. 

So consider what you may be denying in your life. What fears are you running away from? 
What gifts have you refused to accept? If you're always looking at your life through a lens of your shortcomings, how can you expect to find self love? And if you're always looking at your life through a lens of your triumphs, then you'll always be chased by the demons of your shortcomings. Only when we integrate all that we are, without shame or denial, can we truly shed the things that hold us back and move forward in the confidence of our true selves.


  1. I've heard several times (and am finally beginning to believe) that we never "get over" anything, that it's a myth, but that we can learn to work through it, with it, around it. So, that's my goal this lifetime: through, with, around. But over? P'shaw!

    1. That's interesting. I've never heard that, but now that I do, it rings true. How nice to have "permission" not to fully get over something! More of what I've heard in my live is "move on" or "you shouldn't let that get to you". I think those people are either hypocrites or denyers. It just seems like a lot of people don't want you to feel what you need to feel.