Friday, April 6, 2012

4/7/12-4/8/12—Renewing Your Spirit

Weekend Reading: Six of Cups from the Mary-El Tarot. What a perfect weekend to be inspired. Get out there and do something creative, something fun. Even if you're not good at. In fact, give yourself permission to suck. That's part of the fun! The point is not to win an award. The point is to air out your musty parts and. Just. Have. Fun. You are unique and beautiful and joy is your birthright. No matter who you are or what you feel a need to punish yourself for. So open your heart to joy this weekend. Open your heart to yourself. And emerge with a renewed spirit and the confidence of knowing you are so much more than you ever knew you could be!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

4/6/12—Figuring Out What Life is Trying to Tell Us

Today's Draw: Dolphin from the Ocean. Have you seen an "unusual" animal this week, or had an animal that seemed to really stand out to you? Do you feel a certain kinship to a particular kind of animal? Is anything else happening that seems to be significant or trying to give you a message this week?

Messages come to us in many forms. Sometimes a message comes in a tarot card. Or maybe you'll hear something in your ear. Or something will happen three times and you'll take notice. Or you'll see something in your mind's eye. Truth is, anything can be a message. And there are those of us that pay attention if an animal comes to us in life, symbol or dream, because it can mean something. 

This week, I've had two "unusual" animals pop up with significance in my life. One is dolphin, who I saw during a meditation last night and, who, oddly enough, someone wrote to me asking a question about today. And the other is fox, because there's an injured fox in our neighborhood, stirring up the dogs and the worry of neighbors. To be clear, the neighbors are worried about the fox and not for their safety. We have at least one "neighborhood" fox. You don't see them often, because foxes prefer skulking around in the dark. Anyway, this guy is all over the place during the daytime, looking for food and safety. Oh! and a third is rabbit...a big juicy one that I think lives under my shed, but it showed itself to me the other day, which is rare. 

So we're doing something a little different today and looking at the messages these animals bring. Dolphin is especially relevant to me this week, because dolphins are creatures of the water, but they breathe air like humans. Symbolically speaking, water is about emotions and air is about intellect. So dolphins, to me, represent a balance of emotion and intellect, never letting the other fully take over. 

But here's the cool thing about dolphins that you may not know...they're not automatic breathers like human. They're known as "voluntary" breathers, meaning they have to remember and intend to come up for come up for the intellect that balances them. 

The last few days, I've been pretty glum and, with that, my mind has been creating all sorts of imagined tragedies. I do that. I'm dramatic in that way. The good thing about me is that I usually KNOW I do that and can laugh at it. The bad thing is that, when I'm especially down, I forget that I do that and can spiral further down. I caught myself doing that this week and I think that's why dolphin came to remind me to come for come up out of my emotions for a good dose of reason. 

Now to fox. Foxes are shy and hunt at nighttime, which is why you don't see them that often. As I was writing this, I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone this week about how we're night people and would like to get our schedules back to normal people times. Foxes also ask us to rely on our intellect and instincts. I was thinking about why the fox chose my neighbor's house to hide out at and decided that they don't have a fence, which made it easy. But also I think he instinctively knew the energy was safe there, there were some good cubbies to hide in and he might be able to catch some dinner by surprise. 

With rabbit (and I hope my rabbit has been able to elude the fox) rabbits are vigilant, quiet and fast. We were right up on that sucker and still didn't see it hiding in the weeds until it made a break for it. And it made its break so fast that I swear Kizzie was confused and didn't even realize what happened. It was a spectacular rabbit, too...tri-colored and even more beautiful than the one pictured. But Magick was standing right there and didn't even seem to see it. Two dogs saw nothing as this rabbit jumped out and hopped the entire length of my yard to safety. Rabbit is that good. He's got a plan. And if he needs to be invisible to his enemies, he can do that, too.

So yesterday's post about intentional self care...sacred self care...even guerrilla self care...resonated with so many who feel a bit pulled under by life right now. And I think these animals all have relevant messages for us for when we feel that way:

1. Dolphin asks if the voices in your head that support your doldrums are speaking the truth. Are you just being emotional? Or are all these absolutes—nobody loves me, nobody appreciates me, my work isn't valued, etc.—really true? Chances are, they're not. And another thing about dolphin that shouldn't be forgotten is fun. They like to have fun. And sometimes we need to remind ourselves to do that, too.

2. Fox tells us it's OK to play it safe for a while. If our instincts and intellect are telling us this is not the time to confront our problem from #1 by, say, yelling at our partner and telling them they're poo, then it's probably wise to listen to that voice. Which, by the way, is different from the angry one telling you it's OK to blame them for your feelings. Also, being solitary creatures, they say it's OK to break away and spend time to yourself.

3. Rabbit tells us we need a escape route...a list of things to do to bring us back to balance. Yesterday we talked about journaling, hot baths, nature walks and a few other things. Tomorrow I'm going to commune with the moon in my special way, as a nod to fox who loves the night, as I do.

What animals have been standing out to you in your life recently? To figure out what they might be saying, first ask yourself what you know about that animal and how they are like you. Then google "[animal type] spirit guide" or "[animal type] totem" and see what people online have to say. Everyone interprets things differently, so feel free to really explore what that animal symbolizes to you, even if it's different from what you find online.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4/5/12—Centering Yourself

Today's Draw: Eight of Arrows from the Incidental Tarot. Does your head ever feel like a jumble of a million things? Are you good at finding ways to distract yourself from yourself? How often do you things like journal or meditate or just sit by yourself in nature?

The real meaning of this card, according to the authors, is that a large amount of energy has been released and the results of that are about to come to fruition. But when I looked at this card, in the reality I'm in today, I saw it like one of those "you are here" arrows. Only they're all over the place. 

That's how I feel today. Parts of me are at the top of that hill, parts of me are climbing the hill and parts of me are going down hill fast. If you were to ask me how I'm doing, I'd honestly have to say "I have no idea." I feel equal parts unfocused, confused, brilliant, creative and trying hard not to take things personally. I'm probably also ovulating, too. So there you go. 

The Calgon people really hit on something when their copywriter wrote "Calgon, take me away." I mean, c'mon. How often do you feel that way? If we actually bought a box of bath bubbles every time we felt that way, these guys would have the most valuable brand in the world. Instead, it's Apple, your gateway to hours and hours of mindless computing and distraction; Coca-Cola, the drink that keeps you awake all night; and Google, the site that gives you unlimited ideas of more stuff to shove into your day. 

Between the computer, work and the TV—which I'll admit are where I focus pretty much all of my time—I seem to take less and less time to. Just. Be. That's my fault. Entirely. I know that. And it's why I feel so scattered and uncentered. I feel off my spiritual game. And when I'm off my spiritual game, I feel sad. Vulnerable. Unsupported.

I think we owe it to ourselves to question why we'd rather be distracted than in a hot tub full of bubbles with only our thoughts. And I can hear you all saying "but I'd rather be in the tub." Let's be honest. If you'd rather be in the tub, you'd find time to be in the tub. After all, you find time to go on Facebook every day. Or read a book. Or watch American Idol. Or chat with friends. Or go shopping. Or do any number of other things that put your head anywhere but right smack dab in the middle of your own life as it exists here and now. That's why Apple, Coke and Google are so successful. Between the three of them, you can shove as much distraction as possible into your day without ever even having to sleep. 

What if you realized on your death bed that you'd lived your whole life without ever assessing who you are, why you're here, what you really believe when it comes to God...the big questions? The answers to these questions change. It's not like you figure it all out on an acid trip when you're 20 and never have to think about it again. At the very least, you need to check in to see if you're still on course, maybe spend some time asking the big guy how he can use you. I believe finding the answers to these questions can bring more joy and purpose and peace than finding out who got eliminated on The Voice. But I have to admit, The Voice usually wins in my life. 

I do meditate and take some time in silence every day. But I used to journal and I think I need to get back to that, because it helped me process those eight arrows better than ignoring them does. If I had someone to discuss these things with, I would do that, too. But today, in particular, I'm really feeling how crazy it makes me when there's too much input and not enough conscious processing. 

How about you? Do you find yourself putting things off in your head? How often do you muse about the big things? And what do you that puts you inside you, without distractions? By that, I'm not talking about while you're driving or cooking or reading or doing or thinking anything else. How do you go about focusing all your attention entirely on you, how you feel, what you think and what you need? Or is that even important to do?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

4/4/12—Gathering Acorns

Today's Draw: Four of Earth from the Gaian Tarot. Do you put out more energy than you receive in return? Do you feel more and more tired as months and years go by? Do you take better care of your pets—and everyone else—than you do of yourself?

The Four of Earth shows a squirrel gathering acorns in fall to help sustain him through an acornless winter. The card also shows an inukshuk nearby, a stack of stones each representing a prayer. In that way, the stone stack is also symbolic of a gathering of the things we need to be happy and survive.

Someone recently said something to me about saving energy for themselves—not just leftover energy, but some of the creamy good energy they're always giving to others. Doing this may (and should) require you to serve yourself first. I hear moms around the world gasping at that suggestion, but it's the same thing as putting the life support mask on yourself first. In order to help others, you have to take care of yourself first. 

Such a simple thought, but often so hard to remember. Society scorns us for thinking of ourselves, rewarding only the image of the individual hooked up to a plow until their feet bleed from all the service, then collapsing in a pool until the next day when they get up and do it again. The poster child for this is the mother who tirelessly caters to all her children's needs, prepares dinner for her husband, totes that barge, lifts that bail, then is allowed three or four hours to recoup before it all starts again. 

She may be on the poster, but most of do this every day. Between work, my dogs, my garden, friends, blogs, etc., I manage to tend to myself last every day...after I'm too tired to care. I have unlimited time, for example, to take my dog to doctor's appointments, unlimited funds to get him fixed up, unlimited resources to make sure he heals properly—hell, I've been sleeping in the living room for weeks now and will continue to do so for the next couple of months so he doesn't have to be lonely at night—but I don't seem to gather up the energy to take that kind of care of myself. And I need to. 

In reality, I'm someone who could squeeze out the time and make the space for myself easier than some others, but I don't. I find myself giving my energy away, sometimes to people who mete their energy out toward me like a miser, but readily suck up every drop I put out toward them. Even as I write about this, I'm thinking "why are you complaining? You've got it so much better than most people. Stop whining and suck it up." Which is another way of putting myself last. As if I don't rate receiving. As if I don't matter as much as those of you who have REAL demands on your time. What does this type of behavior say about how I value myself? What does yours say about you?

So this card is a reminder to us all that we can only go so far on limited resources. We need to fuel up. We need to surround ourselves with people who give as good as they take. We need to stop worrying so much about what the neighbors will think about the dandelions in our front yard. We need to leave work at work. And, for me especially, even if it makes the dogs sad, I need to take time away from them to take care of myself. It's not because I don't love them, but because I love them enough to want to give from a healthier place. 

I don't suggest neglecting anything important. But there is so much we do on a daily basis for others that doesn't return itself back to us in some way. What those things are are for you to figure out and that can sometimes be hard to do. For example, when I do anything in my front yard...weed, mow,'s not for me. It's for my neighbors. I never see my front yard. So now I pay someone else to care. But it took me a long time to figure out who I was doing all that for. 

These things we HAVE to do, often don't really have to be done. And any relationships in which we've established dynamics of "I give, you take", we can change. If you think it's selfish to meet a friend for coffee instead of making snacks for your teen to eat after school, consider what you're teaching your teen about where food comes from, how things get done and what the role of a parent is...servant or teacher?

It's time to start amassing our stack of things that feed build up some fuel for times when we need find who we are outside of the roles we play...and to move away from things that only deplete. We all came here with purposes to fulfill and dreams to catch. We can't put that off any longer and we're going to need our entire stash of acorns to make it happen.

Monday, April 2, 2012

4/3/12—Respecting Your God

Today's Draw: Page of Wands from the Mary-El Tarot. Do you think having faith in God makes people stronger and more successful? When you look at your daily behavior, do you treat ALL others as you would have them treat you, or is this a practice reserved only for the few, or only for those who return the favor? Do you think Christ's forgiveness makes it OK for people to ignore his teachings and his examples?

Today's card talks about the power of belief and how faith helps people pursue and achieve their divine purpose in life. No doubt most of us would agree with that statement and each of us would identify our own version of the higher power as the one to believe in and the one to have faith in. I know I did when I first read the statement.

But then, just for kicks, I googled "celebrity atheists" and look at what I found. Richard Branson, Lance Armstrong, Bill Gates, Ricky Gervais, Howard Stern, Julianne Moore, Woody Allen and James Cameron are on the list, to name a few. Those aren't "kind of" successful people. They're not people without a view of their "divine purpose". They're people at the very top of their game. They're philanthropists. And they don't believe in God. Any god. 

I saw a blog today by a Catholic woman who felt her child had been possessed by something.  Turns out her massage therapist received a reiki treatment and infected her child with the devil. A reiki treatment. Given to a massage therapist. Who massaged the mother. Possessed the child with the devil. In the blog comments, others chimed in about the witchcraft performed by healers and the devil-worshiping rituals involved in becoming a reiki healer. 

Ignorance is everywhere. And, in my opinion, people shame themselves and their god when they perpetuate lies out of their own fear of the unfamiliar. 

I'm not writing about reiki today, but I will say this. There is no religion in it, there are no devil-worshiping attunements and the only god I've heard mentioned by a reiki practitioner is Christ and Christ's energy. And angels like Michael. And the white light of heaven. Though not all reiki practitioners are Christian, most have a healthy respect for Christ, his teachings and his healing abilities. Most healers I know give very freely of themselves to help people. To see them characterized in such a way is repulsive to me. It comes from ignorance and fear, not from anything Christ ever said about healers. In fact Christ tells us to "heal the sick" and says that those who believe in him, will do greater things than he did.

That said, what I am writing about today, though, is that it's time for the judgment and stereotyping and hating to end. Really, it is. And if your neighbor isn't willing to be the first or even go along with you, do it anyway. We ALL fancy our beliefs to be the right ones. We ALL think our faith and love gets us ahead in life. We ALL have misconceptions. We ALL judge. But only a few of us will be the leaders who will stop the madness and actually follow the teachings and examples of Christ or Buddha. Why not make yourself one of those leaders?

Here's how you do it. If your god is loving, love. If your god is forgiving, forgive. If your god is accepting, accept. If your god is inclusive, stop rejecting. And if your God is humble, stop acting superior. And if you don't have a god, love, forgive, accept, include and be humble anyway, just because it's a gracious, cooperative and loving way to move through this world. Sure, we'll always disagree on things and have opinions and whatnot, but it's time to stop fighting over god in god's name, and using his teachings to justify fear-based, ignorant, hateful, marginalizing, judgmental, nasty and holier-than-thou behavior. That's just disrespectful. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

4/2/12—Making The Sale

Today's Draw: The Blowoff (Judgment) from the Sideshow Tarot. Are you up front with the people in your life? Do you have things that no one will ever know about you? Is there someone you're painting a deceptively pretty picture for right now, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally?

In the sideshow world, the blowoff is when, at the end of a show, a carney calls out to the group and reveals that there's really something even more shocking to see. It will cost extra, but it will be worth it. For example, after seeing the tattooed lady, they might offer to show you more of her body. In everyday life, it's commonly called a follow-on sale. In the carney world, it earns the carnies extra money because it's all under the table.

This kind of reminds me how people reveal themselves to others. They reveal themselves in layers, with each layer ever more "shocking" than the last. And at each "point of sale" you have the option of whether or not to move forward.

This has probably happened to everyone in a love relationship at one time or another. And not necessarily intentionally or with ill intent. It makes sense that you would show your best side first, then slowly reveal the muddier corners. In fact, we are so socialized to that kind of reveal that we'd be horrified if we met someone who, on the first date, said "I have herpes, was once arrested for shoplifting and enjoy watching porn. What are you thinking of ordering? Because I'm thinking veal...even though it makes me a little gassy."

Now, none of those things may be deal breakers when revealed slowly over time by a person who is otherwise warm, supportive, smart, funny and kind. So it makes sense to reveal stuff like that over time. If we all showed our ugly side first, the human race would all die out in a generation or two because nobody would be having sex.

The same kind of thing happens in friendships. You know someone for a long time, but then a situation comes up that never presented itself before and you learn something new about them. It might be a good thing...that they're really supportive during tough times. Or it could be the opposite...that they make themselves scarce when you need them the most.

We always talk about how we hate it when people play games, but "games" includes behaviors along this line. It's not always nefarious, misleading, infantile or even intentional. Some of it's just the way we're socialized to be, whether it's pretty or not. We dislike the thought of misleading people, but in a way that's what we do when we put our best foot forward. We're all guilty of it.

The problem comes when it's less about the way people reveal themselves to each other and it's more about intentionally misleading someone about who you are. Worse yet when the person you're misleading is yourself. So give a little thought to this today. Where do you know you're holding back with someone in your life and what are your true intentions behind it?