Friday, September 7, 2012

9/8/12-9/9/12—Feeling the Anticipation

Weekend Reading: Queen of Cups from the Victorian Romantic. Remember back when you used to wistfully anticipate a call from a new love? Daydream about a reunion with your soul mate? Or delightedly wallow in the thought of your partner showing up unexpectedly in the middle of the day, simply because they couldn't keep away from you? Anticipation is sweet. And if it has been a while since you've experienced it, you can remedy that this weekend. Somewhere in your world there is someone or something to look forward to. It may not be as dramatic as a white knight rushing in, scooping you up and whisking you away, but that doesn't mean you can't give it the same treatment. Just for the seratonin of it. So lose yourself in sweet, sweet anticipation this weekend. Even if you're just anticipating pizza delivery. Revel in the melty cheesy goodness of life and turn some part of your life into something more magical. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

9/7/12—Letting Go With Love

Today's Draw: The Lovers from the Tarot of Transformation. Who do you love? And more importantly, how do you love? Where might you be holding back on your love with someone and is the reason really good enough?

Rounding out Healing Thoughts and Practices week is the ultimate healer of all—love. This particular card is subtitled "Love in the Highest Octave". And while we might usually read The Lovers as a card of choice...or choice between love and something else...this particular one is about "the higher state of consciousness that comes when your heart is transformed by love." Which is actually a choice, because we choose who, how and how far to love. 

There is a lot of emphasis in society on the love that exists between humans, primarily between you, your mate and your children. In fact, when we say the word "love" the images conjured in our minds are that of our ideal mate or of a smiling baby wrapped up in blankets. 

The next thought that may occur to us is self love. That's the topic we addressed yesterday. But other forms of love may include the love you have for something you do, the love for friend or sibling, the love you have for an animal or the love you have for your god. 

So here is what I'm here to tell you—love is love. It doesn't matter who or what you love. I'm not so lucky in the man/woman love department. I don't have children. But lord, do I have love. And lord, do I give it. 

We're socialized to place love in for a mate or child is more important and more pure. But what I've learned from having neither in my life for quite some time (and from the times I have been in relationships) is that all of that is bollocks. What's most important in love is how you do it. Do you give yourself fully? Can you give and accept deep intimacy? Do you make yourself worthy of the other's trust? Does the love you give reflect your love of self? And by that, I mean do you love people who also know how to give and accept deep intimacy in a relationship? 

And here's a big one—Can you love despite what the other is feeling? I'm not talking foolishly or obsessively. If someone is abusive, I recommend you send them love from afar. If someone wants you out of their life, let go of them. But can you continue to love—continue to hold loving thoughts—for someone who no longer loves you? Can you let go with love? 

It's big because it's hard. Or maybe it's big because it has been a factor in my life this week...haha. See, life seems to tell us that if someone no longer loves us or thinks poorly of us that we have to stop loving them in return. And that's just not the case. We do have to let go of the hope of them loving us in return. But we can still love them. And by doing so, we can heal the pain of losing them in our lives. 

Love isn't about what happens between the sheets. It can't be cemented by a contract. It's really none of the things we see on TV or in our fantasies. That's lust. Or it's a fairytale. That's all love under perfect conditions. Anyone can do that. 

Healing love happens despite...despite socks left on the floor, despite petty squabbles, despite an extra 50 lbs, despite what they feel about you, despite the awful things people do to people, despite the fact that they've died and despite whether or not they're aware of your love. It's not who or why or when you love, it's how you love that determines how big a force for healing love can be in your life. It's about letting love remain at the forefront while all the other crap is going on. And giving is enough. You don't have to receive in return for love to be healing. 

The more you love conditionally, the more you'll need to heal in your life. You'll have more arguments. You'll have more frustrations. You'll have more ups and downs. It's the logical outcome of hinging your most powerful emotion on outside forces...the way others act...the way others love you back. 

But if you love because you ARE love, then your most powerful emotion hinges entirely on whether or not you love. It matters not what happens outside of you, only on what happens inside. Does that mean people will take advantage of you? No, you can love without allowing others to take advantage of you. You can say no without resentment. You can say it with love. And if they take their love for you away from you because you said no, you can still hold love for them. You don't have to stop giving love just because someone stopped loving you. 

It all sounds corny, I know. But I had this dog named Passion that was like a child. I mean, she was a dog that was more human than canine. And she would get piffy with me and ignore me and give me attitude if she didn't like the way things were going at any given moment. Just like a child. But my love for her never waned. Never when she peed on the sofa in her sleep because she was old. Never when she was aloof with me. Never when she wouldn't come when called. In fact, some of these things made me love her that much more. I had made a conscious decision when she was a puppy that, no matter what, I would love her. And I lived up to that decision. Even when days or weeks would pass with no outward show of love from her. And trust me, she was that stubborn. 

There is nothing any of my dogs can do to diminish how I feel. And I would imagine that the same is true for every mother of a human out there. The mother of that boy who shot all the people in Colorado? Do you think she has stopped loving him? I certainly hope not! Unconditional love is a healing love. It's easy to give to pets and progeny. And to God. At least for me. Some people stop loving God when they get sick or someone they love dies. With unconditional love, the whole topic of forgiveness is moot. Forgiveness happened before they even did the offending act. 

But that kind of love is harder to give to others, like husbands and siblings and friends. And strangers. And, fercryinoutloud, to ourselves. Which is exactly why we should try. Because the more divine love we're able to give...the more love "despite"...the more it heals us. The less our emotions ride on things outside us. And the more often we walk around with loving, healing chemicals inside our body, as opposed to toxic, fear-based or anger-based ones. 

I'm willing to bet there's someone out there, right at the tip of your tongue, that you could be giving love to right now instead of a host of other conflicted emotions. It's the last day of Healing Thoughts and Practices week. You know who this person is. What's stopping you from holding them in your heart with love?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

9/6/12—Healing the Self

Today's Draw: The Star from the Healing Earth Tarot. Where are you on the path toward self-acceptance? How about self love? What is your inner self reflecting to the outside world about who you are?

Today's card comes subtitled "Healing the Self". So I can't think of a more appropriate card for day four of Healing Thoughts and Practices week. In the book there's all this crap about the card depicting healing waters flowing in and out of the goddess' vagina. *barf* *I mean, really, baarrrrff*

The nice little nugget from the book, though, is that the self is made up of many different inner worlds, each reflecting a different part of us to the outside world. And when we heal one of these inner worlds, we heal that part of our outer world it reflects upon as well. The book goes on to say, "to heal a part of our being means to totally accept or love that part, to bring it back home. Making an enemy on the inside quickly produces an enemy on the outside."

So the Star asks you to look at whatever is inside you that you do not like, to see why it's there and to begin to "relax the tension created by holding it separate". Likewise, I think you can look outside of you and see what you don't like, see what it reflects from within and stop holding that separate from you, too. 

All of this is very relevant and timely for me. I recently had an opportunity to see something from a completely divergent perspective. And in the course of that, I was able to note how I might have handled the same situation 10 years ago or 20 years ago and how much I had changed. How much I had healed. And how much I've incorporated things I may have once felt separate from and brought them home to a place of self acceptance. 

One of my healing sessions I attend each month sometimes asks me to "breathe in divine self acceptance" or "divine self love". I often have trouble with those two things. I'm very hard on myself. I sell myself short. I think most people who know me well would agree about that and have often said as much to me. So sitting well with who I am is difficult. Not that I think I'm a monster, but just that, inevitably, some criticism pops to the fore and stands in the way of me bringing self love and self acceptance home. 

There are times, however, when someone who has a much more dismal view of me than I have of myself comes forward. I know in the past I've always worked hard to defend myself against each and every item on their lists. But now I don't. Something has shifted in me that now allows them their dismal view without trying to convince them otherwise...or allowing it to diminish how I feel about myself. That's huge for me. 

When you're "at home" with your flaws, there's no point left to argue. When someone says things that are untrue, you can readily recognize them as such. It's the things that sting or hurt that you might want to consider before brushing aside. The Star in this deck brings the opportunity to do all three, all in the hopes of making you whole and bringing you home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

9/5/12—Claiming Your Power

Today's Draw: The Magician from the Collective Tarot. Do you know how powerful you are? How frickin' awesome you are? Are you ready to claim your true potential?

The nice thing about being a tarotholic is that sometimes you come home from a long day and find a deck in the mail that you didn't even remember you bought...haha. It came from one of those Kickstarter things where you fund a project ahead of time and a few months later, they send you the deck you bought. So it was a nice surprise. 

This deck is what it sounds like. It's a deck made from the efforts of 25 contributing artists and collaborators. This card was drawn by Azsa West. 

The healing message that comes from this card is that you have so much more power than you realize in this world. Whatever you want to create and whatever you want to change, it is within your grasp. If you never achieve what you want in this world, it won't be because it wasn't possible. 

Well, OK. You can't be Miss Teen America if you're 40, but there is a beauty pageant out there with your name on it. And maybe Johnny Depp is taken, but there is a man out there who will make you forget about him. Whatever you want most—love, success, your dream career, outer beauty that matches your inner beauty and visa versa—all these things are open to you.  Your potential in this world is unlimited. 

The Magician in tarot possesses all the tools he needs to manifest anything he wants in his life. He's not a special case. God/The Universe gave you all the tools, too. There may be people with better educations than you or who are more economically advantaged, but there is no one—nobody—in this world that has more of God's grace and support than you. We were all born equal in that way. 

The only difference is how you choose to use those gifts...the confidence you have in knowing that there is nobody God is pulling for more than you. 

It's easy to forget. It's easy to doubt. We look at others and it seems so easy for them, when it's not so much for us. But that's because they already know the Magician's tools are their birthright. And, because they know that, they may have a head start on you. But they don't have any greater opportunity than you do. Even if someone else is already doing exactly what you want to do, there is room for two. There is room for 200. There is room for you. The Magician wants you to claim your place at the table. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

9/4/12—Losing Yourself in Something Larger

Today's Draw: The Six of Fire from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert, Part 2. Do you tend to get so caught up in daily life that you lose touch with anything beyond bills, work and caring for family? What kind of activities are guaranteed to make you transcend everyday life and go into that larger place of spirit? How often do find yourself going there...often enough?

I have a tendency to become very single-minded sometimes. For example, when work is busy, I'll go into "work mode" and that's all I'll focus on until the busy patch passes. Somewhere inside my head a switch goes off and says, "you must stand your post until all work is done." So during those periods, it's a miracle if I get out and go grocery shopping, let alone do anything else. 

Really, it's the same thing as saying I get so involved in life that I forget to take care of myself. I'm sure you can relate. And it's not always that I don't have time to do something for myself. Most of the time I do have time. But for one reason or another, I just don't take it. 

So today's idea for Five Healing Thoughts and Practices week is to take the time. And don't just take the time, take it doing something you get lost in. See the way the woman in this card is lost in her ecstatic dance? And the others are lost in drumming? It's about going to a place in our head where clients, kids, bills, schedules, husbands and the other crap we think about the other 24x7x365 doesn't exist. 

For me, this is something I simply cannot do in the home. I work here, do everything here. So I have to get away. Sometimes it works to hang out with a friend, but that doesn't always work. Sometimes that's just getting away in the body, but the mind still churns with work stuff. Really, the best place for me is in nature. I get so lost in the scents and scenery that I lose awareness of all else. 

The other day I arranged my schedule so that I could take the afternoon off. And I scooped up my dogs and took them to the park. This doesn't happen that often when the weather is hot, but it was a nice day with low humidity. And it just so happened that we hit one of our favorite spots at a time when nobody else was there. The path was lined with sweet smelling white flowers. Butterflies were flitting here and there. Birds were chirping. Crickets were singing. A breeze was blowing. And since there was no one else around, I was able to let the dogs off the leash, so I didn't even have to worry about them pulling me through the woods. 

Not too far down the path is a nice little sandy beach on the river with huge driftwood logs you can sit on. This is near a marina and there are a number of boats anchored off shore, so you could hear metal clanking against the sail posts and someone had windchimes on their boat. And I got lost in all that for really just a few moments, but enough to deliver healing. Enough to remind me that the stuff I get bogged down in every day is trivial compared to the larger force that was alive in me that very minute. 

A neat little side story is that, at one point, one of my dogs was sniffing at a shell along the shoreline. So I thought I'd go over and check the shell out. As I got up off the log, I remember thinking "I wonder if there's any beach glass here?" I'm constantly surprised at the things you find along the shore of the river, like the rather large snail shell (or whatever critter was inside) that my dog found. Anyway, as I returned to the log, sitting right next to where my arse was just minutes before, there was a piece of beach glass! I hadn't noticed it before. It was like it appeared out of nowhere, a spontaneous manifestation from the universe!

Anyway, back to the larger force within. Life can confuse us into believing that what happens in the brief phase of time that we're here on earth is what truly is. But when we lose ourselves in that part of us that transcends this existence, we discover what TRULY, truly is. Where our everyday lives can make us feel small and leave us to wonder what it's really about, losing ourselves in that higher place shows us how infinite and integral we are. 

I believe we came here to live the very life we get bogged down in, rather than trying to find a way to always live in the larger place. We have all of eternity to live in that larger place. But taking these respites serves to remind us that this is not all there is. And sometimes we desperately need to know that. We don't even know how desperately until we're there...until we're truly home.   

Sunday, September 2, 2012

9/3/12—Being a Force for Healing

Today's Draw: Six of Fire from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert, Part 1. Do you consider yourself a healer? Would you like to be someone who spreads more healing throughout your world (and, in the process, receives more healing in return)? How often do use the words "I love you" to let someone know you love them, rather than just assuming that they know?

Sometimes I feel like I focus too much on the things we do wrong on our paths, rather than the things we do right or CAN do right. That's not really the case, but it is how I feel after the past couple of weeks, which have been kind of rough. So I declare this week to be Five Healing Thoughts or Practices week. 

The Six of Fire talks about generating healing energy with others and being the inspiration of healing and transformation for both yourself and others. Anytime we gather in a group, the energy rises more than the sum of all the individual energies in the group. So if you really want to generate some healing energy, do it in a group. (That's part of the intended meaning for this card, but I see something else in the card. So we'll work with the same card tomorrow, too.)

First let me talk about what "healing" is. It's not just physical, "get well soon" kind of stuff. It's emotional and psychic and social and every which way. So when you spend time with family and friends and feel better when you leave than you did when you arrived, that was a healing. Really, anytime you choose love over some other emotion or act—anger, judgment, gossip, indifference, frustration, convenience ;)—you're putting out healing energies and distributing healing chemicals throughout your body. 

So really just getting friends together for drinks and a gabfest can be a healing. Or you could go farther, by having a group over to celebrate the beauty inside each person in the group. We don't always take the time to tell the people in our lives what makes them so important to us. We actually tend to be more critical of the people we care about than purposely making them aware of their gifts. We assume they know we love them, rather than telling them. 

I remember, when I was a little girl, telling my mother that I didn't think my father loved me. And she said to me "he loves you. He doesn't always show it or say it in ways that make it obvious, but you see it in other ways." So I looked for those other ways. But it was hard, because little girls don't understand things like how hard dads work to support their families and that that's a way they show love. I would have preferred he told me and showed me in ways I could understand. And I'm still like that today. 

I'm not yet 50 and I've been without parents most of my life. I've also already lost a sibling. So me and my brothers and sisters have understood loss for a long time. More than 25 years ago, we began a practice of always saying we love each other at the end of every conversation. I credit my brother Robert for starting it, but who knows who started it. Anyway, it doesn't matter if we butt dial the wrong number, if the conversation goes poorly or what—we always say we love each other before we hang up. 

That's a healing practice we do in our family. We do it because we understand that you can blink and the other person can be gone. And we want our last words to be words of love. But, for me at least, I also do it because I don't want anyone wondering just because I don't say it. I learned a lesson this past spring when my brother died. He and I had issues. But those issues meant nothing when placed beside the reality of death. We healed that before he died, but had he died suddenly, neither of us may have ever realized just how much stronger that bond is than the BS we let stand between us.

Anyway, I'm guessing that most of the people reading this have become a greater force of healing for themselves and those around them over the years. It's valuable to take a moment and reflect on that to see how we've softened our edges and amplified our appreciation of those in our lives. Some of it comes with age, some with spiritual awareness. It doesn't take much more than smiling at someone who looks like they could use a smile, really. That's a very healing act. For both parties. 

So we're all doing it already anyway...spreading our healing energy. And we may even be doing it without realizing it. Just imagine how much more we could do if we became more conscious of it and did it on purpose. Anytime you choose to project love over some other emotion, you're spreading your healing energy. How much love can you spread today?