Friday, August 3, 2012

8/4/12-8/5/12—Thinking Clearly

Weekend Reading: Ace of Swords from the Rohrig. Get ready for a moment of clarity this weekend. Maybe you'll see an old challenge differently. Maybe you'll light on a solution you've been seeking for a while. Or maybe you'll be hit with a eureka moment that could change your life! The Ace of Swords comes in and cuts through all the mental crap that stands in the way of productive thought and making the best possible decisions in your life. So welcome its energy and stay alert for its inspiration. Clarity is on the way!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

8/3/12—Creating Because You Can

Today's Draw Classic*: Ace of Wands from the Parrott Tarot.  Is some new creative path or project calling to you? Has it been too long since the last time you expressed yourself artistically? If you knew you could do it well, what would you create?

Rounding out Zing Week is a classic post about the Ace of Wands. The Ace tells us of new passion and creativity bursting forth from within. You can think of it like your inner zing. Some creative pursuit wants to be birthed. The Ace of Wands says it's time. You have the passion and energy to do so…or you will if you just get your hands dirty.*** So let your ideas flow.

Many years ago I learned a couple of valuable lessons about creating art. And by art, I don't necessarily mean a painting. It can be creative writing. Or cooking. Or music. Or anything else that triggers the right side of the brain. I've always been very creative. I cook. I sew. I write. I craft. I make jewelry. But for the life of me, I cannot draw. I've taken classes. But I'm just not good at it. That doesn't keep me from painting, though. And it doesn't keep me from designing my own stained glass pieces. Nor does it keep me from doing a number of other things that could easily benefit from the ability to draw.

Painting, especially was hard for me. And when I design a piece of stained glass, it takes me FOREVER to get what's in my head on paper. The path between what I see in my head and what comes out of my hand is very convoluted and blocked. But what I learned early on in trying is this: Do it anyway. Art doesn't have to be for anyone but you. There is zing in the process. And I'm a process kind of girl. Once something is done, even with my writing, I'm done with it. The fun came in the doing. I did hang one of my paintings in my living room for a while. Some people liked it. Some mocked it. But it didn't matter. It wasn't for them.

So not being good at something isn't an excuse not to create. And the second lesson is, if you don't know where to start or what to do, just start. Just start scribbling. Or embroidering. Or cooking. You'll figure it out. Again, it's not about being perfect, it's about enjoying the process and doing something different in your life. So just start anywhere.

I liken this to a lesson I learned in my "psychic" training. If you don't know what to say or how to interpret something, just start talking. If you can't readily find the words, the words will find you. It works every time. To illustrate my point, go back up to the three asterisks. I had no idea what I was going to write about in this entry until I wrote that sentence. I just started writing. And the idea found me.

There is no such thing as someone without any creative spark. You may have told yourself this over and over. And you may believe it. But more than likely, you're just afraid you won't do it well enough. And seeing as how that's not the point, just go for it. Whatever it is that you'd do if you knew you could do it well, go to the store and get supplies and just play with it this weekend. You don't have to show anyone. You don't even have to like the finished product yourself. The zing is in the doing.

*Adapted from 5/3/11. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

8/2/12—Accepting the Way Things Are

Today's Draw: The Five of Swords from the Mythic Tarot. Is there something going on in your life that's really got your goat? Is something coming to an end before you're ready...or not coming to an end fast enough? Are you tired of trying to make something change that just doesn't seem to want to change?

Nothing blocks life's zing like refusing to accept "what is". And that's what this card has come to tell us about today...acceptance. It doesn't matter if something's unfair or if wasn't supposed to be this way. It's tough beans if you don't like it or if others get to do it and you can't. None of that matters.

It is what it is.

And you can accept it and find a way to work with it. Or you can fight against it and just create more pain for yourself. I'm not talking about things you can change, here. This isn't a social commentary about becoming a sheep and letting the tide take you. This is about things you can't change. Being fired from a job. The end of a relationship. Getting sick. Having physical, mental or emotional limitations. Pushing up against another person's will. The situation may be end up being different in the future, but right now it is what it is and no amount of begging, fighting, manipulation, displaced anger or vengeance is going change it.

It is what it is.

Sure, you can do all that stuff. But ultimately you're hurting yourself. And keeping zing at arm's length. And wallowing in bad energy. And creating bad karma for yourself. And changing nothing. Of course there's going to be pain and mourning on the road to acceptance, but holding on to anger/revenge/a grudge is, as they say, like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

I have a theory that most pain is caused by pushing up against what is. I find myself doing it from time to time. I know my particular situation *can* change. I'm just limited in how much it can change right now. And in the meantime, I'm not doing myself any good or getting any closer to change by not accepting where I am and what conditions are. And, for my situation, trying to change it while I'm limited in my ability to change is just defeating me. But I'm proud to say I have learned to bypass most non-acceptance. And to stop all the histrionics and arm flailing and drama that go along with it. And, for that, I'm grateful.

These things—like drama and non-acceptance and the kind of competition we talked about yesterday—are all things that put distance between us and our happiness. We involve ourselves in things that don't serve. And sure, it's not conscious. We don't WANT to be miserable. But sooner or later we need to question what purpose it serves.

Usually it this behavior keeps us involved in the stories we tell ourselves—"I never get what I want." "Everyone's always screwing me." "There's so much drama in my life." "I'm not lovable." "Everyone around me is an idiot." "There are no good men out there." "I should be able to do this." "Life isn't fair." etc. and so on. And as long as we're caught up these stories, all the power is outside of ourselves and, powerless, we conveniently never have to do anything to change our lives. The problem is, change and forward movement are what keeps our lives fresh and exciting and full of zing.

Orestes, the guy on the ground in today's card, is being told by Apollo that he has to avenge his father's death. He doesn't want to do this, but Apollo is a god and this is how things are. Not doing it is just going to make his life worse. And fighting up against "what it" isn't going to change anything. He's still going to have avenge the death. 

Is there something familiar in that situation in your life? Something where you're just prolonging your pain? Look at all the stuff that you want to change in your life and see which things may just need to be accepted for the time being. If you took away that frustration and replaced it with acceptance, you may not only open yourself up for more joy in your life, but you may just stumble upon a new solution for your problem. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

8/1/12—Dropping Out of the Contest

Today's Draw: Ten of Chalices from the Tarot of the New Vision. What are you lacking in life? What do you have better than everyone else? When you add it all up, are you "winning"?

It's hump day in Zing Week and today's message is, to put it succinctly, count your blessings. The Tarot of the New Vision is an interesting deck, because it takes tarot's staple Rider Waite deck and re-visions it from the opposite angle. So, in the original card, we see this couple from the back, instead of the front. 

In doing this, the deck comes up with some interesting commentary on our traditional take on the cards. For example, in the Rider Waite Ten of Cups, you see the couple looking at an idyllic farm home sitting at the edge of a meandering river in the distance. It seems like a magical moment when a rainbow of love floats over their heads as they look toward their perfect life. A card of wishes achieved and dreams fulfilled. And they will, most certainly, live happily ever after. 

But in the New Vision, we see that perhaps their reality is more mundane. They are in front of a modest home and the river is more creek-like. The rainbow is gone, but the sky is a beautiful shade of pink and blue. The pavement and landscape here are a bit rockier. And they have a goofy shelter dog running toward them. But in this card they are every bit as happy as we imagined them when we thought the other house might be theirs.

Often, our reality doesn't fit our visions of perfection. Our home may not be a mini-mansion. Our living room may not look like it inspired a Pottery Barn catalog. Our grounds may not be precisely manicured, our dog may not be purebred and our husband and son may not wear pants. But that doesn't mean we don't have "the best of everything". 

No matter how you look at this picture, there's shelter and a fireplace for warmth. There's ready access to water. There's fertile land. The only thing that could make this scene "less than" is a lack of gratitude. 

The other day I was behind a man and his three children in line at the grocery store. The boy got some gum. The older girl got a magazine with Justin Bieber on it. And the middle girl got nothing...haha. She tried to throw something in the cart because, "everyone else got something". But her dad said, "this isn't a contest. Next time you'll get something and they won't."

If you're like me, you're thinking the girl should have got something. Because clearly it IS a her brother and sister won and she, alone, lost. In her eyes, there's only one reason dad didn't treat her like the other two—because he doesn't love her as much. Remember feeling that way? I could totally empathize with that little girl and almost offered to buy her something, but I knew it wasn't my place. 

Like it or not, we ARE socialized from an early age to believe life is about winning, and winning is usually defined as ending up with the highest score, whether that's measured in grades, athletic achievement, the value of what you have, how much you earn or what your status/rank/title is. That mindset stands between us and being truly happy with what we have, no matter how much, little or average it is. And it also stands between us and our zing. Because we spend so much of our time climbing that we never take the time to enjoy the view. 

While we all intellectually know it's not a contest, we all get caught up in the contest mentality from time to time. I believe we're all there more often than we're conscious of. But what if we started measuring contests in terms of contentment, inner peace and kindness? The world would be a different place. Just like the couple in today's card, we might actually look toward the perfect house on the hill and feel utterly triumphant about our simple cottage on the rocky knoll, our goofy junkyard dog and our dress-wearing husband. Instead of continuing to strive for some ideal destination, we might finally realize we've already arrived.  

Facebook readers can see both cards at

Monday, July 30, 2012

7/31/12—Making Mischief

Today's Draw: Seven of Swords from the Lazy Afternoon Tarot by Karen West*. How long has it been since you've made a little mischief? Or plotted something in secrecy? Isn't it time you had a little devious fun?

Next up on Zing Week is the card of the thief. Certainly stealing something would put some zing in your life, but it would only be temporary zing until you got locked up and sent to the big house. So in lieu of that, I suggest being mischievous, instead. And, further, I suggest being mischievous in ways that puts zing in others' lives, too. 

Maybe you can plan a surprise party or some other sort of an outing, a gift or something else. Or you could do something nice for someone without them ever knowing. Or maybe you could secretly plan your own escape from the everyday...a day off from the grind. Whatever it is, make it a covert operation, because that adds to the fun. 

Zing happens when we break out of our rote patterns and shake things up in our lives. With the Seven of Swords, we never know for sure if the person is stealing something outright or if they're stealing something they feel is rightfully theirs. So many of turn our lives over to other priorities or get caught in our routines. Maybe it's time to steal those lives back and make a little harmless mischief.

*This is a limited edition of 50 decks, so if you want it, get it NOW.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7/30/12—Leaping Into the Unknown

Today's Draw: The Fool from the Nigel Jackson tarot. When was the last time you did something a little reckless? In general, how safe are the risks you take? Would you welcome more zing in your life?

Everybody wants more zing in their lives, right? The trouble is, zing isn't something that comes looking for you. You have to look for it. Sure, a drop or two of zing might hit you at random from time to time. And if that's OK with you then, by all means, wait for zing to find you.

But there's growing underground movement of Zing Seekers for whom the occasional splash of zing just isn't enough. They take personal responsibility for their zingitude and actively seek deep pools of zing to roll around in. And I'm one of those seekers. So I declare this week's theme to be "Qualities to Cultivate to Get More Zing Out of Life." Or "Zing Week" as we homeys call it.

So the first card in Zing Week is the Fool. This dude is basically drunk on the stuff. See his droopy-eyed look? And the electric glow around his head? And the donkey-eared hat? It would be easy to mistake him for a simpleton...a literal fool who's about to step off the side of a cliff because he's walking around focused on some silly daydream instead of watching where he's going.

But he doesn't care what you think. Nor does he lack focus. Sure, he's innocent and a little na├»ve. In fact, his foolish, innocent nature is his greatest strength. It's the strength that makes him makes him smarter and more courageous than most of the rest of us on most days. Because he has total trust and faith that, when he walks off the side of the cliff, he will fall in the very spot he's meant to fall in to create change in his life. 

The certain death he's just two steps away from is the death of the old Fool that wasn't making him happy anymore. At the same time, he's also two steps away from freedom from that existence and the joy and infinite possibility that come with it. And he knows it. That's the difference between him and us. He knows there's zing in throwing caution to the wind. And so he takes those steps without hesitation, when you or I may hesitate for years at the precipice between now and the rest of our lives.

Literally, in the tarot, the Fool is on a journey and on the other side of this leap is an education...spiritual lessons and growth. So another thing he knows that we may not is that there is no way to lose, no way to fail, no way to do it wrong. That's why he has no fear. Everything is lessons. Everything is part of the journey he signed on for.

So, say you've decided to quit your job as an attorney and start all over again as a baker. That's a big leap. And the road may not go smoothly. But with each bump, you learn a lesson that makes the road ahead a little smoother. Maybe the road will veer a little. Maybe you'll start to bake less and manage bakers more. Maybe you'll write a cookbook. Or host a TV show about baking. Maybe you'll end up with a cake conglomerate that plays a part in a whole cake revolution. Who knows?

Where you end up may not be where you imagined when you first took the leap. But maybe it's exactly where you're supposed to be. People who live in the DC area may recognize this "fool's story" as that of Warren Brown, owner of Cake Love. If you get a chance, read his story here and here. The dude just loved to bake. So he lept.

The world is also full of stories of dudes that never lept. Those stories usually end like this...."And he died a grumpy old man." :D The world is also full of stories of people who lept and didn't end up as successful as Warren Brown. But even if their intention never manifested, they usually don't regret having tried.

Having made a big leap myself before (when I quit my job to freelance) I can say that my life has never had more zing than it did back then. I wasn't scared at all. In fact, I've never felt more powerful and alive. But a leap doesn't have to be that huge. Maybe you trade in an old hobby for a new one. Or convert your car to run on French fry oil. Or cut off your hair and dye it purple.

Whatever it is, a leap draws a line in the sand between yesterday and today. Where yesterday was a known quantity, today is not. Where yesterday was safe, today is not. And where yesterday was just another day, today is not. Today has zing.

So the first suggestion for bringing more zing into your life is to shake things up a bit. Make a leap. Face a fear. Follow a dream. And jump right into the arms of the thing that scares you most...the unknown.