Saturday, May 19, 2012

5/19/12-5/20/12—Following Your Gut

Weekend Reading: Ace of Wands from the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt. This card speaks about "Will o' the Wisp" or "fool's fire", a mirage of flickering light that is sometimes seen in remote marshy areas. Unsuspecting explorers may be pulled into the marshlands by these flickers, which many believe to be spirit energies who provide clarity and illumination on the one hand, and fear and misdirection on the other...depending on the energies driving the spirits. So this weekend, pause and do a gut check before you become drawn to shiny things. They could very well bear the insights you seek to move your life forward. But they could also lead you astray. Follow your own intuition. And if your intuition leads you toward inspiration that then begins to feel "off", don't be afraid to change directions. Your gut will tell you all you need to know. Follow it first this weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5/18/12—Choosing Your Feelings

Today's Draw Classic*: Five of Cups from the Baroque Bohemian Cats. Do you feel like life has given you a bum break? Or are you someone who feels pretty good about the life you've got? And are feelings something that happen to you or are they something you choose?

The first thought this card brings to me is, "why so glum, fancy pants?" This cat takes "woe is me" to a whole new level of furry, cute, costumed sadness. 

He's got his whiskers all in a bunch over what he doesn't have, when look at all he does have! He has his health. His good looks. And he's got a fabulous wardrobe that suggests that he's probably got a lot of catnip in the bank. But he's sad about his love life. Maybe his baby-mama has run off with a tabby. Or maybe she's decided to become an indoor cat. Or maybe she's just gotten tired of his endless meowing. 

In most Five of Cups cards, you'll see all five cups. It's possible the urns on the church doorway are meant to be the other two cups, I suppose. But all we know for sure is that three of his cups are empty. Regardless, the story of the Five of Cups in the tarot is that three are empty, but two are still full. The person or cat in the card is so busy focusing all their attention on the three empty vessels that they neglect to notice or care for the two that are full. 

I have a couple of things to say about that. The first is that, no matter how bad your tale of woe is, there's someone with a worse one. And since this is true in all circumstances, you have to consider that the people with ultimate tales of woe are either experiencing living nightmares as we speak or, for example, are brains locked inside bodies that won't allow them to scream for help. That's about the worst I can think of. Kinda makes the cat's issues look self indulgent now, doesn't it?

Sometimes you don't get this lesson or gain this perspective until you live a nightmare of your own. But mark my words, there's always someone who's got it worse than you. Many someones, in fact. And chances are, the worse off they are, the more they're counting their full cups. The worse things get, the less luxury you have to pity yourself, because you need that energy simply to survive.

The second thing I have to say is this—what you focus on increases in your life. Focus on lack and you will increase your plateful of lack. Focus on how unlovable you are (like our cat friend) and you become more unlovable. I mean, the truth of that is plain to see. Who on earth would want to go to the kitty dance hall with this dude?

Feelings are not sentences we have to serve. They're choices. Even something like depression is a choice, because there's a whole range of solutions from exercise to medication to treat it. What will you choose to feel today? Will you focus on the empty cups or the full ones?

*Adapted from a draw originally posted on 1/9/12.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5/17/12—Making Beautiful Memories

Today's Draw: Six of Cups from the Art of Life Tarot. What are your three most treasured memories? How often do you indulge in thinking about them? What do you suppose those memories say about you?

Today's card features a portrait of Mrs. Monet and is called The Red Kerchief by Claude Monet. The quote on the card is from Sir JM Barrie and it reads, "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."

This got me thinking...if everything were stripped of you except three memories—you got no possessions, no pictures, nothing else—what would those memories be?

Off the top of my head, one would involve a fist full of doggie fur, possibly Kizzie's thick mane. Holding him in my arms can always bring me to peace and balance. He is a born healer. 

Another memory for me would be one I wrote of the other day on my Facebook page. My mom was an avid reader and she would lay on her bed at night and read for hours. Sometimes I would crawl between her and her book and just lay there and think. She would hold her book in one hand and stroke my hair or hold me with the other, pausing only to turn pages. I always felt safe in her arms. 

Those two are for sure. The third one is hard. It would probably have to do with sex and that would probably have to do with Jack. Jack and I were bad for each other socially and emotionally, but our bodies fit together perfectly. Even when our relationship was bad, sex was good. And he wasn't bad to look at, either. So that might be my third.

I have to say I don't think of those memories very often. I thought of that with my mother recently because it was Mother's Day. She's been gone more than half my life, so memories are all I have of her. I do think of her often, but not daily. I rarely ever think of Jack, and even more rarely in a positive way. It was a very damaging relationship that happened a long time ago.

It's germinal to note that none of my favorite memories were of times when I was indulging in memories...haha. They all happened in times when I was fully present and experiencing the moment. So beautiful memories might be a fabulous place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Roses in December are only special when they're rare. Besides, how would I ever make another beautiful memory again?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5/16/12—Experiencing Love's Young Dream

Today's Draw: Knight of Cups from the Art of Life Tarot. Do you consider yourself a romantic? Do you like to fall madly, wonderfully in love? Or do you think that's the perfect recipe for heartbreak?

I chose the Art of Life Tarot again today partly because I'm really digging it, and partly because I'm so crazy busy right now that I don't have time to think. And it's sitting right here. The painting is called "The Lovers" and it's by Pal Szinyei Merse. The Thomas Moore quote reads, "There's nothing half so sweet in life as love's young dream."


*popping a breath mint*

OK. So I'm not "a romantic". But it's more than that. I interpret "love's young dream" as being that time in the beginning of a relationship where everything is hunky dory and you're certain you've met the one for you. Thomas Moore is smart enough that if he meant "young love's dream", he would have said that. If he'd said that, I wouldn't have barfed, because that kind of innocence is sweet. But he said "love's young dream" and I think I'm way too cynical and old to experience THAT ever again.

They say humans have pretty crappy memories of pain. Which is why we're able to give birth over and over again. Because if we remembered how painful it was, we wouldn't do it again. Now, I know nothing of childbirth (thank god), but I'm thinking I might have a better memory of pain than most people. Because I experienced "love's young dream" once or twice, felt the ensuing pain as the dream crumbled to ash, and then I got wise.

Two people meet and things are going great. After a week or so, each thinks the other is the one they've been seeking all their lives. It's love at first sight! It's soul mates! It's happily ever after! Finally! I'm saved!

We create this fantasy inside our heads that sets our new-found love up for nothing but failure and disappointment. What man can live up to the fantasies we create during the "love's young dream" stage? What woman can? What relationship can?

Then, as we get to know the person and tarnish starts to build up, we wonder what happened to that great guy/gal we met? How come now that I love her/him, she's turned into a total beyotch/lazy-arsed bastard? HOW COME THIS KEEPS HAPPENING TO ME??

"Love's young dream" is why it keeps happening to you. You fell in love with a dream. You let your fantasies run away from you again. And now it's time to wake up and smell the toilet seat he forgot to put back down. Again.

Like I said, I think maybe I have a better pain memory than most. Sure, it's nice to get all giddy and feel the rush while it lasts. But if you're caught up in the adrenaline of that feeling, then you're not being pragmatic about this person you're with. And if you're not being realistic, then you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Why not just skip right to the disappointment? That way you don't resent him/her for not being your dream for the rest of your life.

I know I'm in the minority here. People would rather feel the rush, because it feels so good. But I'd rather be objective enough to know what I'm dealing with before I declare my forever love. Holding on to objectivity might be less fun in the short term, but serves you better in the long run. At least that's what I think. I'm the kind of person that would rather be alone than be with someone who "once felt right, but proved to be otherwise, but may still be right again, so I'll keep him just in case." Maybe that's the difference between me and someone more "romantic". Maybe they don't remember the pain as much, so they're willing to take chances I'm not. What do you think about all this?

Monday, May 14, 2012

5/15/12—Thanking You for Your Support

Today's Draw: Ten of Cups from the Art of Life Tarot. Who can you count on to always make you happy? Who or what "makes your soul blossom"? And is there someone you can think of to show gratitude toward today?

The Art of Life Tarot is a new deck that features classic paintings in conjunction with classic quotes. If you can't see the caption in the card, the painting is The Gardener's Daughter by Edward Henry Wehnert. And the quote from Marcel Proust reads, "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

If you're a regular reader, you know that my brother died a few weeks ago. And in the weeks leading up to his death and in those following it, I've been blessed by a number of people who have given me support. In lieu of mentioning names and possibly leaving someone out, I'll just speak to some of the kindnesses I've received. 

There was the old school buddy who listened to me, distracted me, confided in me and made me feel loved and cared for on the night my brother died. My brother died after midnight and this gentleman comforted me until the wee hours of the morning. That is a kindness I'll never forget because he had to be somewhere early that morning and he willingly and generously gave up his sleep to be there for me. 

Then there were the Facebook friends and readers of this blog who extended themselves in ways that make them more than Facebook friends and readers...sending cards, checking in on me regularly, lending an ear and just letting me know someone was thinking of me and feeling my pain. 

There was the childhood (and adulthood) friend who left a plant on my doorstep with a nice note just to brighten my day. Other childhood friends who sent cards with beautiful thoughts. The clients who put aside deadlines and expressed concern. The friends who listened to me whine about this and that. And all the literally more than a hundred people who offered their condolences on my Facebook page and through messages. 

Some of those people knew my brother in high school and shared their memories. A couple said that even though he was a jock and part of a "clique", he reached out to others and made them feel included and welcome. One was my brother's first love. I told him I was keeping her updated and he said to tell her that if she was hoping for one last fling, she'd better hurry. :D

In one situation, I found myself crying to a woman I'd ended a friendship with years ago, but who was still part of a group I'm part of. I know I hurt her feelings back then. I will never forget that she was there to listen to me and affirm me and be a friend. She didn't have to be. She should have rightly turned her back on me. But she didn't. She listened and took away some of my pain.

Then there was my sister, with whom I'm close anyway. We spent a lot of time consoling each other throughout the ordeal. And I mended/strengthened a relationship with my oldest brother throughout all of this. He and my deceased brother were best friends. So I'm so glad I was able to go through this together with him. And no list would be complete without Kizzie and Magick, my doggies, who both knew something was wrong because mommy was crying all the time. So they offered their fur and kisses to me without restriction.

It's easy at times of heartbreak to focus on what you've lost or what was lacking in a time of need. The momentum behind sadness can overtake you. But everywhere I turned, there was someone willing to hold me up. Some of those people were not people I was expecting to be there for me...some of them came from out of the blue. Some were people I'd never turned to before for support and they were there anyway. And some were people I expected to there for me and they didn't disappoint. I've made a couple of new friends from this, deepened some friendships and repaired others.

So what this is all coming to is gratitude for the people who have been tending the "garden of my soul" over the past couple of months...those who have weeded, watered and planted new seeds for me during an unusually difficult time—one that was shadowed by other stresses, not the least of which was my dog's surgery and recovery. It's not comfortable or pleasant to share another's pain, but you did that for me, whether you just offered your sympathies or made a point to check in on me and lend an ear. Thank you for being there for me. Your kindness was greatly appreciated and will always be remembered.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

5/14/12—Balancing Chaos and Harmony

Today's Draw Classic*: Planet Earth Stage One from AboraMana. Do you strive for peace and harmony? Do you thrive in chaos? Or is the more gratifying path found when you embrace both?

AboraMana is a woman-focused, channeled oracle deck of sorts. For those that aren't familiar with the term, "channeled" means that the information was received from a higher source—spirit guide, god, goddess, whatever. The deck's creator says the information and images were channeled to him and he was just the person who did the drawings and took down the words, based on what the higher source showed him and told him to do. 

So this Planet Earth Stage One card talks about how every planet that holds life is called Earth. It speaks of layers of fire, rock and water and electromagnetic energy, about poles and equators and the sun. But it's not talking about OUR Earth, just any earth. And some of the stuff didn't apply to our earth. Quite frankly, I had a hard time gleaning much of a message from the card until the very last two sentences: "The law of chaos says that where everything is balanced and in harmony, there is no change. Change only occurs when balance is upset."

For example, if our earth's axis were in alignment with the North and South poles—in balance and in harmony—we would have no seasons or fluctuations of daylight hours during the year. We need that tilt, that imperfection, to have the complete distribution of life on our planet and the seasonal variety, crops, populations, etc. we have on our earth. Similarly if we were able to achieve some lasting state of balance and harmony, as we are led to believe we should, then we would cease changing. And life would become quite boring. 

Now, there is no scientific "law of chaos". And, when you think about it, "chaos" and "law" are something of an oxymoron. But the thought is nonetheless interesting and something to consider the next time everything goes whackadoo in our world. 

It's also something to consider the next time we hit a patch of balance and harmony. If you're like me, you achieve something like that and sit pretty in it for a period of time, then one day it's not there anymore and you're left wondering why and how. Now, at least, you know why. It's time to grow again and reach a new level of harmony and balance. 

Finally, it's something to consider as we strive for balance and harmony. You know, we put all this effort into something that feels great at first, but ultimately leaves us stagnant. If we achieve that state of balance and harmony....and stay there...we can never change. And if we never change, balance and harmony just ends up feeling "normal", instead of a blissful exhale. Since change only happens when the balance is upset, we should not only strive for balance, but for the eventual loss of it as well.

*Today's Draw is a reprise of an entry made on 9/1/11.