Friday, July 13, 2012

7/14/12-7/15/12—Finding What You Can Control

Weekend Reading: Five of Swords from the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt. Things may feel a little frantic and out of control this weekend, but keep in mind you always have control over something. You may not be able to control the chaos around you or how things turn out, but you can control how you respond to it. No need for drama or desperate measures. Sometimes we drive ourselves batty trying to orchestrate situations or put out the fires around us. But it's possible that if we let some fires continue to blaze on their own, they may just become one less fire we have to put out in the future. And if we let things come their natural conclusion, they may lead to something better for us. So this weekend take a beat to figure out what you're in control of and what you're really not. See where you have options you may not have considered before. If chaos is an unwelcome constant in your life, consider where you may actually be causing it—or at the very least enabling it. You have more control over things than you know. The problem is you've just been focusing on controlling the wrong things.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7/13/12—Caring For and Nurturing Love

Today's Draw: The Emperor from the Pen Tarot. Have you ever taken responsibility for anything from birth to death? Do you realize you are the architect of your own emotions? And do you know love never needs to be returned to be felt?

Rounding out "How to Feel More Love" week is the Emperor, the visionary, the builder, the divine masculine. The poem included with this card is from David Everett:

Large streams from little fountains flow,
Tall oaks from little acorns grow.

The Emperor has the gift of seeing the stream in the fountain and the oak in the acorn. From there, he creates what he sees. So if, even after all the stuff we've talked about this week, you still want to feel more love in your life, envision it and create it. 

Look, a lot of what helps or hinders our experience of love is in the brain anyway. As I've said a few times, the love you want to feel is probably already there anyway. You're just not acknowledging it. Once you find even a hint of love, placing attention on it can bring it from acorn to oak. But if you still don't feel enough love, then envision what you need and take the necessary steps to bring it into your life. 

I keep talking about giving love this week, too. And the reason I keep saying that is that you can't give love without feeling love. You can feel just as much love by giving it as you can by receiving it. Love is felt by both parties in both directions. So the fastest way to feel the kind of love you want you in your life is to give it. It's an experience you're completely self-sufficient in. The love you give doesn't have to be received or acknowledged for it to be felt by you. 

Beyond that, the Emperor is the masculine side of nurturing. So if you want to feel more love, why not take care of something? Provide for it. It could be an orchid, a '57 Chevy or a hermit crab. Be its caretaker and provider and give your care and provision with love. Again, nothing has to love you back in order for you to feel love. Sure, it's nice. But you can feel love by nurturing inanimate objects, too. You feel it in the giving of yourself. 

If you haven't ever cared for a living thing throughout its lifecycle, now may be a time to experience that. I know a few people who have never had children or owned pets or even so much as tended a plant. But I believe the ultimate expression of love comes from being there for something throughout its life. One way to break into this is to raise tomatoes. You can raise them from seed, eat them when they're ripe and cut them down when they're dead, then rework the soil for new cycle of life. Tending to them by staking them and making sure they have enough water is something you can do with love.

This tough girl taught me unconditional love.
Another way is by committing to a pet. I met my first dog, Passion, when she was three months old. I raised her. Nursed her through major hip surgery. Helped her adjust to adding a second dog to the house. Protected her from harm. And was her constant companion throughout her life. In exchange, she taught me the lesson of unconditional love.

Anyway, when Passion was 10, she collapsed suddenly and I rushed her to the vet. She really hadn't shown any signs of anything, other than aging. She was a 100lb dog, so 10 was old. The vet told me she had cancer and might not live through the night. She sent us home for one last night together. We spent it in each other's arms. Neither of us really slept. We just talked about old times and the Rainbow Bridge and we nuzzled each other. Then the next day I held her as she died from the drugs the vet gave her to put her to sleep. 

It was the saddest, most beautiful moment of my life. There is no privilege greater than to keep your promise to a creature to take care of them every day of their be their forever mommy. There has been no love greater in my life than what is shown by the trust my dogs have put in me to do that for make the major decisions in their lives and be the one that carries on so they never have to worry about anything. The love given and received and felt in that exchange is extraordinary, as is the love of watching your own seed grow and mature and become independent, as parents do, I'm sure. I can't imagine what that is like, having never experienced it.

So that's the lesson the Emperor brings. Create something and take full responsibility for it, during good times and bad. Not only that, however, but recognize it as the act of love it is...feel the love you give, and feel how just the feeling of love gives back beyond your wildest imagining.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7/1212—Looking Back Over Generations of Love

Today's Draw: Six of Coils from the Ironwing Tarot. When someone dies, do you lose their love? When lose touch with someone, do you lose their love? Can love ever be lost?

Today's card in "How to Feel More Love" week hearkens to that old saying, "love is never lost". The Six of Coils is about memory and nostalgia, on one hand. And on the other, it's about the connectedness we have with those we love. 

Depending on what you believe, no one ever dies. They just change form...leave the body...enter into another dimension...whatever. Their energy and vibration don't go anywhere. They may be harder to discern or feel because they're not wrapped in a personality that's wrapped in flesh anymore, but the energy remains. And if you don't believe there's an actual energy and vibration that continue on, you can probably agree that, at the very least, they live on in memory. 

What I'm getting at, to put it crassly, is just because someone is dead doesn't mean the love dies, too. So when you're not feeling enough love in your life, be sure to throw in the love of your parents and grandparents who have passed over. And while you're at it, put in the love of ALL of your ancestors who did things like fight in wars and sail to foreign lands so the family lines would live on in you and your descendents. And then you also have to include all the teachers and babysitters that may have passed. And siblings. And aunts and uncles. 

And, of course, you have to count all the living people that love you, even though they're not in contact with you anymore. And you get to count all the love that was ever given, even by people who later stopped loving you. The person they were at the time loved you and it was real. And then, of course, let's not forget about all the love you feel for everyone you've ever loved. You gotta throw that in the "feel the love" pot, too. 

And one more thing to count, which I'd be remiss in not saying this week, is that your god loves you unconditionally. That's something that also never goes away. The love of the universe beams through every heart that has ever loved you throughout time. It beams everywhere. There is nowhere love is not. You may not always see it that way, but whether in memory or in this very moment, there is never not love. For you. Because the universe's love is eternal and omnipresent.

So there's this huge web of love that covers countless generations across countless numbers of friends and relatives—not to mention all the timeless power of the universe's love—with you at its center. And all that love is there for you to receive, if you'll just open your senses to receiving it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7/11/12—Redefining What Love Is

Today's Draw: The King of Disks from the Mary-El Tarot by Marie White. Is there a time and place for feeling and expressing love? Is there a limit to the number or type of things that can fill you with love? What if you found out the biggest thing limiting the amount of love you have in your life is your own prejudices about what can and can't be love?

Copyright 1997-2011 Marie White, All Rights Reserved.
For a country as progressive and advantaged and free as the United States, I have to say I think we're pretty repressed and myopic when it comes to love. Not sex, mind you. But love. I don't know if that's the case for people in other countries or not. 

What I'm getting at here is that there are many social conventions about expressing love and affection in this country. During work hours, it's considered unprofessional. You have to have good reasons to break away and spend time with your children. And "because you love them" isn't an acceptable reason. In public places, there is a line you don't cross when displaying affection. We literally have a societal rule about "public displays of affection".

So expressions of love and affection are generally reserved for our private time. But even there, friends and family shy away from it because expressing love and receiving love is uncomfortable for some people. But even if it's not, we usually wait for a moment when we're not eating or preparing dinner, putting the kids in pajamas, or any of the other stuff that we do. Some couples actually schedule their romantic time. And those are the smart ones. 

For me personally, I sometimes think "I'll snuggle with Magick Moonbeam when I'm done with XYZ". Then I usually forget. There's always something that needs to be done before love happens. It's rarely spontaneous, a priority or of imminent importance. It's the thing we save for the end of the day (when we're too tired to do it.) I'm putting in a conscious effort to correct that.

The reason I bring all of this up is that there's a complex series of "rules" and factors of timing and propriety that color our moments of expressing and receiving love in our society. But scroll back up and look at this King of Disks. Do you think he cares about propriety? The way he's eating that apple, you know he's making it a sensuous experience...savoring the pleasure of every bite. We talked about that on Monday...about stopping and consciously feeling the love that's offered to you.

But the other part of what I see in the card is that he's spontaneous and using each moment as an expression of his sensuality...his experiencing the pleasures of life. And he doesn't just limit those pleasures to human interactions. Anything can trigger his sensuality. And anything can trigger your love.

When it comes down to it, there is no time of the day that you can't and shouldn't feel love. And there is no priority greater. Feeling loved and loving is a choice you make that you can extend to all around you. And you can find love in everything. You can express love through the way you can do it with love. Getting a pat on the back—or even a criticism—can be an act of love. Taking a co-worker out to lunch can be an act of love. The choices you make buying groceries can be an act of love. Driving home carefully can be an act of love. In short, love can be a part of everything you do. If you let it.

Again, not all love is romantic love. And romantic love isn't the only kind of love with value. Thinking otherwise is the same kind of societal brainwashing that exists in thinking there's a time and place for being a loving creature. I have no husband and no kids and I'd wager I *feel* more love and consciously express more love than most married parents. It's all in how you allow yourself to define love. Lock it in a box with roses, chocolates and romantic trips to Paris and your heart will suffer long periods of starvation. But count things like sunshine, a good hair day and dogs that miss you when you're gone as expressions of love and your heart will always be fully nourished.

Monday, July 9, 2012

7/9/12—Decluttering Our Baggage

Today's Draw: The Edge of Awareness and Unencumbered by Memories from Illuminate Life Journey cards by Linda Clayton. What kind of baggage do you bring into your relationships? Have you ever unfairly judged a current partner based on your experiences with a former partner? How often when you're with your friends or partner are you fully present?

Today is Day Two of "How to Feel More Love in Your Life" week. Today I mindlessly shuffled and chose a card...without the question in mind. So I chose a second card, just to be sure. And both cards—The Edge of Awareness and Unencumbered by Memories—seem to lead me to the same place.

You hear people batting around the word "baggage" a lot when it comes to relationships. The general feeling seems to be that baggage is bad and you shouldn't bring it into any relationship, whether a romantic one or a friendship. Well, here's the thing. We all have baggage. And that baggage makes us who we are today. So it's impossible not to bring it with you. But there is a kind of baggage that stands between us and feeling more love in our lives.

What I think both these cards are getting to is this—former relationships are memories, and memories can sometimes be painful. But the gift of the actions that created those memories are lessons. These lessons can renew and heal our sense of discernment when it comes to choosing new partners. They can help us sort out our boundaries for the next relationship. And they can also clue us into red flags that we might not have seen in the past.

The key is to bring the *lesson* into the next relationship, but not the emotional memory.

I make this distinction, because I think it's important. Lessons empower us and allow us to treat the next person objectively, like an individual. Emotional memories, especially strong ones, whether positive or negative, cause us to make comparisons and assumptions, react inappropriately, take our head out of the now, place expectations on our partner, and not see them for who they are. 

Using the word "memory" might be confusing here. What I mean by that is really the attachment to what went on in the past...memory with palpable pain, joy, whatever behind it, as opposed to "ahhh, what a nice memory, but that was then and this is now" or "ack, what an awful memory, but I learned a great lesson from it."

It's not that you can't hold the memories of, say, a beloved deceased husband, or that you'll ever forget abuse that may have happened as a child. But those memories are for you, not for your relationship. Because those memories aren't ones you shared with the other person, they have nowhere else to land but between the two of you. You're bringing someone else into your relationship. Which is not to say you can't share your memories or deep-seated pain with your partner or friend. They just can't live between the two of you. You need to heal the emotions attached to those memories or they will place a barrier between you and love. Even if they're good memories. The kind I'm talking about carry unhealed emotion. Lessons carry knowledge. Lessons are the baggage to bring into a relationship. Not the emotionally charged memories behind the lessons. 

Also to the point of this week's theme is what it says in the book about The Edge of Awareness. It describes the picture as "a shapeless clashing of colors and emotions...floating, just outside and on the edge." Then it says "are they creeping in, or is she pushing them away?"

This question reminds me of the process of osmosis. In osmosis, a cell membrane will allow inflow and outflow of molecules with the surrounding solution until the concentration or pressure on both sides is equal. This is called dynamic equilibrium.

In the context of our relationships, it's a place where memories, defense mechanisms, boundaries, fears, etc.—all the stuff that gets in the way of a true exchange of love—are in balance. We're neither losing ourselves while our new lover creeps in, as is the case where we're overly needy in a relationship. Nor are we pushing them away, as is the case when we're overly fearful in a relationship. The love and emotion flows freely and in balance.

But in order for that to happen, we need to find a way to enter into our relationships whole and healed. As much as possible. If we look to the new person to heal us, what we exchange between the cell membranes of the relationship creates an unhealthy victim/savior dynamic. We're not fully present for the other person because we're still lost in the memories of someone else and some other time. And if we can't be present, we can't be in that place where we feel love and loved. That only happens in the present. And it only happens in a meaningful way when the person we're with is the person in front of us and not some twisted hybrid of them and every asshole that ever broke our heart.

So to boil it all down, we will feel more love in our current relationships when we can release the emotional attachments to relationships that came before. This works for both friends and lovers. The amount of love we receive in a relationship is directly proportional to our own ability to heal and be present. As long as you're putting your head in the past...or painting others with your past're not being in the present with the person giving you love right now. And that's where the love you're seeking resides...right here, right now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

7/9/12—Feeling the Love

Today's Draw: The Hazel-nut from the Celtic Book of the Dead. Do you get enough love? Would you like to feel more? What is the best kind of love to have in your life?

The topic I've chosen for this week is "how to feel more love in your life". I worded this "how to FEEL more love in your life" as opposed to "how to GET more love in your life" for a couple of reasons. One is that I think we all have more love in our lives than we realize, we just don't notice or appreciate it. The other reason is that feeling more love will naturally attract more love into our lives. 

I think love is the key to more than we consciously admit it is. When we feel love—are able to give and receive it freely, without fear—we fill that hole in our lives that we otherwise fill with drugs, drama, judgment...all sorts of things. Think of it. When you're in love, you feel kinder toward the world. More forgiving. You want to treat yourself well. You're content. 

The problem is, people tend to place the lion's share of importance on romantic love, so if our romantic life isn't feeling lovey, we don't feel loved. We convince ourselves that there many kinds of love, all existing on a hierarchy and some kinds are better than others. Because of this, many people will snatch up any romantic opportunity rather than feel like a "loser". Which often ends them up in loveless relationships. Go figure. But the thing is, love is love. Sure, you share different expressions of it with your children than you do your husband. But love is love. 

Anywho, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm doing all this yapping before I've even chosen a card! *shuffling deck and pulling the Hazel-nut card* So today's way to feel more love is to first become conscious of feeling it. The Hazel-nut card tells us to test the situation before us with all of our senses. It's a card of gleaning wisdom, counsel and inspiration from within. 

What an amazing answer! Because most of the time we trudge through life unconscious of what's in front of us. Since I live alone and work alone and am generally unattached, you'd think I'd have a hard time feeling lots of love in my life. And I did. Until I started looking around me and saw and felt the love on offer. I have friends and family members who float a lot of love my way. And instead of taking it for granted, I stop and feel it sometimes. Their love helps me feel more self love which, let's face it, is the necessary foundation for feeling any love at all.
How they cram so much love into something so small, I'll never know.

But my MAJOR source of love is my two dogs. I mean, really, what's better than rolling around in a bottomless pit of unconditional love and adoration? Really! Where else will you find creatures that want to be right next to you 24/7/365? And if you leave for even as much as two seconds, they're pining for you. I mean, really, what is better than that?!

It's so easy to overlook the source of love our pets give. Or that we get from our family. We come to expect that love and dismiss it. Like there's some better kind of love out there that's eluding us. Or like it doesn't count. Instead of feeling it multiple times a day, every day, we slough it off and only feel it on anniversaries when someone has gone out of their way for us, as though that's the only kind of love that counts. Humans tend to always seek better than we have...better cars, better clothing, better homes...when, for most of us, we already have everything we want and need. The only things we DON'T have are gratitude and appreciation. So we walk around unsatisfied. And that's how we'll always be, because that's all we ever allow ourselves to be.

I honestly can't tell you how many women I know (myself included at one point) who have poo-pooed the love of their family and pets because "it's not the same as having a man love me! Waaahhhhh!" So they walked around miserable and needy until some man came along. And it was usually a man incapable of satisfying the "need", because no matter how much love was floated their way, it was never enough, the right kind or timed correctly. Sorry to be blunt, but if you don't have enough love in your life, it's not the world that's broken. It's your ability to accept and feel love.

So the lesson of the Hazel-nut is to bring the consciousness of your senses into your relationships. When your husband hugs you, feel the love in it. Become conscious of the energy flowing from his heart to yours. Allow yourself to love back. That man could be living a completely different life without you. Appreciate the fact that he's chosen to be there, with you, in this moment, holding you. That alone is a huge expression of love. Forget for just a minute that you sometimes feel like you're drifting apart. Forget that he left his towel on the bathroom floor. Feel the reason why he's still there...feel his love. 

Maybe your daughter is a teenager and tells you she hates you. Feel the love in that! Remember when you were 16? You didn't really mean it. You just wanted more power in your life and your mother got in the way. Feel the love that's REALLY there. And if you can't feel that, feel the love you feel for her. Love is just as good when you're giving it as it is when you're receiving it. What the receiver does with it doesn't matter. Feel how you feel giving you feel opening your heart and letting love flow unconditionally.

Not a day goes by that I don't take time out to consciously hold my dogs and love on them...and allow them to love me back. In fact, every morning we have a "mommy's awake!" celebration with kisses and adoration and wagging tails. They both patiently wait until I've checked my mail and am ready to receive them, then they can't get to me fast enough. 

They also have things they particularly like to do with me that I indulge, like sitting outside at night and just sitting. With me. And then they like to climb up on the sofa and rest their heads on me. And it's so easy to not notice or to dismiss those moments, but I've made a conscious habit of seeing them as what they are...expressions of love...and I drink them in. If you have a pet, start noticing and participating in the many shows of love they offer each day. And, when you can, stop what you're doing. Make it a priority.

One of the things that breaks my heart is that my girl, Magick, sometimes brings toys over to me to play with. She does this most frequently when I'm on the phone or loving on her brother or watching TV...when she feels jealous or neglected. Anyway, sometimes I'll get really lost in work or whatever. Then I'll look up from what I'm doing and see five toys at my feet. And I didn't even notice that she'd come to me! She wanted us to share lovey times and I didn't even look up!

How many times do you do that, whether literally or symbolically, with the people in your life? With family and friends? How much love are you too busy doing stupid stuff to receive...and give? How much love do you turn away? I'll bet if you started becoming conscious of all that's around you and really feeling it, you'd be overwhelmed by love...the way you've always wanted to be...the way we all should be.