Monday, May 21, 2012

5/22/12—Removing Your Armor

Today's Draw Classic*: Knight of Cups from the Victorian Romantic. What kind of armor do you wear as you walk through this world? What might you miss out on because of this? And what are you afraid might happen if you were fully exposed to those around around you?

The Knight of Cups is the ultimate romantic. A dreamy sort of fellow who often lives in a world of his own. This particular knight represents Parsifal, one of the Grail Knights of Arthurian Legend. All these nekkid sirens surround him, trying to distract him from his quest. But he sees nothing but the vision of the grail.

One thing I've always found interesting about this depiction is how shiny his armor is. It reflects everything around him, yet doesn't give us a clue as to what's underneath it all. We've all known people like him, right? Always doing and saying what they're supposed to. Always reflecting back to the world what the world wants to see..or what they want the world to see. But inside, it seems, nobody's home. Or, if someone is home, they've been playing a role for so long they don't even know where the facade ends and the real person inside begins anymore. 

Another thing that stands out is how all encompassing the armor is. Maybe you have someone in your life that only lets you in so much. Or erects so many boundaries that others can't in. Or sets up their lives to keep others at arm's distance at all times, only peeking out on their agenda or when things feel safe. In armor like this, little flows out and little flows in.

The armor the knight in the card wears is quite constricting. It puts a cold, hard layer between him and the rest of the world. He's so caught up in his own world and his own mission that he doesn't even see all the nekkid babes around him.

Armor isn't just something "they" wear, it's something we all don at times. And the more of it we wear, the less we allow ourselves to connect, feel and offer to others. Armor is made of many different materials. An alcoholic holds people at arm's length with their substance abuse. People use technology and its conveniences to avoid dealing with others face to face. A friend who always invites you out to see a movie could be using a setting where discussion is discouraged to keep you at arm's length, as well as to limit their time with you. Being "too busy" all the time protects you from ever stopping and connecting with another. A friend who is a great listener, may actually listen so they never have to share.

Armor manifests itself in many ways and, from time to time, we all wear more or less of it to protect our time, emotions or energy. The problem comes when people get so comfortable in that land of theirs that they can't even see how much their ability to feel, empathize and relate to others has atrophied.

The interesting thing I've learned about armor from my own use of it, is that no matter how much of it you wear or what it's made of, there is nothing on earth that will protect you from pain and heartache. In fact, it's surprising just how much pain the armor itself can cause not just to yourself, but to the people in your lives. Sometimes the armor causes the exact thing you're protecting yourself from.

What kind of armor might you be wearing? Is the armor working or causing problems of its own? What is it keeping you from in your life?

*This entry was adapted from one written last year.

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