Friday, October 19, 2012

10/20/12-10/21/12—Choosing Based on Priorities

Weekend Reading: Ten of Trees from New Zealand Naturally Tarot. This tree frog is struggling to survive with her babies on her back and the threat of human progress nipping at her heels. Sometimes life just works against us. One of the arts of life is knowing what we're powerless over...or knowing what we're not willing to take power over. You may be faced with a situation like this this weekend. You can wallow in anger and frustration over it. You can fight to change it. Or you can accept it and move on. Choose where your energy is best spent this weekend. Like with the tree frog, your priorities will help guide you. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

10/19/12—Dying to Know

Today's Draw: Death from the Darkana Tarot by Janden Hale. Does the thought of death scare you? Is the fear of making change greater than the fear of dying without making those changes? What do you think happens when you die?

Way back on New Year's Eve, someone made a suggestion of some questions to ask that would be perfect for the Death card and only now is it coming around to ask them. I think it may have come up earlier, but something else was top of mind at the time. I've been anxiously awaiting it to come for other reasons, too. So here's hoping we get lots of Death in the next month or two. :D

To begin with, Death is represented by a butterfly in the Darkana deck because the meaning of the Death card is transformation, not physical death. Just as the butterfly changes from caterpillar to butterfly, we go through transformations and makeovers and do-overs in our lives. But the topic suggested to me DID have to do with physical death. And it's about what we would do if we only had months to live. 

Thinking of that works into the theme this week seems to have followed...the theme of summing up and analysis of our life. One of the things that happens when someone important dies in our lives is that we tend to ask ourselves questions like....What if this were the last year of my life? What would I change? And why would I wait until I'm dying to make those changes? 

I have to admit that, thinking I was dying, I would quit work, rack up lots of debt, sleep a lot, spend a lot of time in nature and arrange for my dogs. If I were physically able, I would go to the Grand Canyon. That's if we're talking months. 

Faced with the fear, but not inevitability of death, I would probably make some of the changes I want to make...take some of the risks I don't feel comfortable with now. I think I would probably turn off the TV and use my time more wisely. That's a change I can make now...without fear. But a lot of the changes I want to make in my life would be LESS practical if I were would I move to another state and leave my support peeps behind? I don't think so.

In my head, I would think the threat of dying would change a lot for me, but now I've thought of it, I'm not so sure. Just as money keeps me a little tethered at this time, the illness and practicalities of disease would keep me tethered if I were sick. When it comes down to it, the things I most want to change are my career and my home and those things probably wouldn't change if I were sick. I already spend enough time with the critters I love most. I'd probably write more for myself. I'd certainly take better care of my health, which would probably be the biggest—and most ironic— change I would make. I don't know...that's all I got. What about you? What would you eliminate or add to your life if you knew it was limited?

To answer the other questions, I think if I were honest, I'd have to say I'm afraid of the process of death..the unknown. But I'm also afraid of dying short of delivering on whatever promise I made coming down here. I suppose that's either impossible or easily forgiven in the afterlife. I guess I want to find that I've been an overachiever down here, you know? All that said, while the human in me fears the act of death, I do believe that part of me is immortal and will actually be set free upon death. So I shouldn't be afraid. How about you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10/18/12—Contemplating the Hard Questions

Today's Draw: Four of Cups from the Victorian Romantic (Second Edition). How long has it been since you've taken stock of how much you've changed over the past few years? Does it feel like something is missing in your life? What would it *really* take for you to be happy?

The Four of Cups is about boredom or a lull in your life. But the Victorian Romantic brings a nuance to  the card's traditional meaning that really rings true. See, the guy is at a party, he's got beautiful women hanging off him and, yet, he's feeling dead inside. 

It's about having everything you want and still not being happy. That could happen because of depression or because you're someone who likes the process of creating something in your life, but feel restless when the work is done. It could be for a lot of reasons. But more often than not, I'll bet, it's because the things you want aren't the things that make you happy. Or things that once made you happy no longer do so. 

I think we all feel that way now and again. Yesterday we talked a bit about looking back over our year. But in a way, today's card is asking us to take stock of who we are overall. This is no easy task, because it means answering questions like:

  • How have your values changed in the past five years or so and what in your life has not changed in kind?
  • What do you believe about who you are and what you deserve, how has that changed and do you act in alignment with those changes?
  • What practices or actions no longer feel genuine or comfortable in your life?
  • What drains your energy and what fuels it?
  • Do you ever find yourself doing something you used to not question, and now you wonder why you're doing it?
  • Are there behaviors or actions or attitudes you're ashamed of...or feel it's time to let go of?
  • What is missing in your life?
These are just a few of the kinds of questions that are good to take time to ruminate on. You all know someone who hasn't changed their hair style in 20 years. I know this because I'm that person...haha. And we tend to do with our lives what some of us do with our hair...we tend to pick a course of action and stay on it until the bitter end. 

We rarely take the time to proactively examine who we are, who we want to be and what to clear out of our life to get it. It's like spring cleaning. But instead, we allow cobwebs and clutter to accumulate within our spirit and end up like the guy who has everything but contentment. So if you're kind of feeling that way, as I am, maybe take a look at who you are today and start living for that person instead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10/17/12—Reviewing Your Year

Today's Draw Classic-ish*: Seven of Pentacles from the Prairie Tarot. Have you reviewed and reevaluated lately? What areas of your life are working and what areas aren't? What would you change?

The Seven of Pentacles represents that moment when your work is done. You've planted, hoed, weeded, watered and now there's nothing left to do but just wait for harvest time. It's a time of reward, focus and of nurturing your dream. This is a good time. The hard work is over. You can think back on everything with pride.

The Seven of Pentacles can also represent a time of reflection, where you survey what you've done and evaluate and/or reevaluate. What have you done right? What could you do differently next time? Maybe we've done everything right and don't need to change a thing. But we can check in and see. This isn't a time to be critical. You should recognize and enjoy the rewards of what you've accomplished. But if you see room for improvement or see something you could have done differently, note it.

In the past year of my life, I've made a lot of changes. I've moved on from some dynamics that were draining and no longer served. I healed a key relationship and got closure on another. I said goodbye to my brother and said hello to a new doggie. I continued my pursuit of my career as an author. I've expanded my work in teaching tarot. And I've made some strides in taking care of myself and not being so hard on myself. All that said, this feels more like a transitional year for me than one in which I've made life-changing moves. 

Looking over all of this, I am pretty satisfied with my year so far. I wouldn't change a thing, except my brother's death. But there's nothing I could have done there. I still give away a lot of my weekends to the teaching and tarot meetups...and a lot of evenings to this. But those tradeoffs are still working for the time being, because they take me out of my everyday world as an advertising copywriter. 

If you had described this life to me when I was a teenager, I'd think it was the coolest life ever. I really don't know how adding or subtracting anything would make me happier. I tend to think I'd be happier working full-time as an author, but I don't KNOW that. Sometimes I think having a man in my life would make me happier, but it's never worked that way before...haha. In the end happiness isn't in any of that stuff anyway. It's more in how engaged I am in what I'm doing than what it is I'm actually doing (but it DOES help to dig what you do).

Anyway, I guess what it all comes down to is that, even if you're doing fine, you might find some things to change. Conversely, even if you could use some changes, you may choose to stay the same. Just take the time to review now and again, because when you pull back to see the big picture, you might just discover you're better off than you thought!

*This post is heavily revised from one I wrote exactly a year ago today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

8/16/12—Saying "Hello Kitty"

Today's Draw: Page of Coins from the Hello Kitty Tarot by Brittany Tingey. Are you waiting for word on money or health matters? Is it time to nurture something new on the home front? Or would you rather just escape practical matters altogether right now?

Just when you thought you could bet money on my anti-cat, anti-cute predilection when it comes to tarot decks, along comes the super-duper cute-tastic Hello Kitty deck that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. 

Honestly, I don't even know what Hello Kitty is. A TV show? I don't know. But I know that when I first saw Hello Kitty in a Target ad a few years back, I was smitten. Something in my reptilian adolescent brain secreted some sort of happy chemical and I knew, one day, the perfect Hello Kitty product would fall into my hands. 

Oh, I can hear all the serious tarotists squirming in their seats right now just dying to say, "but that's not the REAL Hello Kitty deck. It's not the original or even a reasonable knock off of the original!" And that's ok. This is the Hello Kitty deck I want. It was drawn by an art student in Utah who clearly knew what she was doing—it comes complete with curved corners and no desired, yet so rarely furnished in the tarot world. Beyond that, it's just. So. Darned. Cute. 

So, anyway, I think today's kitty is for me. A little bird is bringing her a message about money and home matters. And she's holding up her coin in such a way that it radiates out into the universe, telling all the puffy clouds and lollypop trees that she's open to receive. And money messages and open to receiving is all part of my makeup this month. Everything is green and sunshiny, so I think she's going to get what she wants. 

The Page of Coins may also be telling us that it's time to nurture something new in the area of health and family...or that there will messages on the way regarding health and family. Or she could just be telling you to get out into nature. 

There's really no part of her message that doesn't apply to me today. What about you? Sometimes these cards come up just to remind you of areas you need to pay attention to in your life. 

Since I'm low on wisdom today, I don't have much more to tell you. Except that sometimes it's good to cross the line of cute you once drew in the sand...or any other line you've drawn in the sand. After all, the benefit of drawing lines in sand is that they're easy to erase and re-draw. And sometimes it's also good to just indulge that little girl or boy inside you—especially when it gives you a break from being an adult who weighs heavily on issues of money, health, family and the other practical matters held so lightly and innocently in Hello Kitty's hand. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10/15/12—Starting Something New and Beautiful in Your Life

Today's Draw: Four of Trees from the New Zealand Naturally Tarot. Do you ever wish the processional of assholes would stop in your life? What would someone who brings beauty into your life look like? Are you looking for that proverbial lover or friend who "completes" you?

The NZ Naturally Tarot is a really cute, colorful deck "celebrating the diversity of flora and fauna within New Zealand". The Four of Trees equates to the Four of Wands. And the paper that came along with the deck says of it, "the mutual grooming of this pair of kakariki represents the start of something new and beautiful."

A lot of times the Four of Wands will be talking about marriage or some other celebration. But it got me thinking of how, when or if we know we've met someone worth investing in in our lives. And it also got me thinking of how to equate the ritual of grooming with human mating and befriending rituals. 

In a way, I think we "groom" everyone we come across. We make some impact on them...give them some opportunity to make their best choices or push their boundaries. Just sitting here thinking about chance encounters with strangers, a couple come to mind. Both of them were comments about my weight at a time when I was thin. And they continue to rub up against me, creating fine etchings into key parts of myself that still need to change. 

One in particular always stands out. See, back in my 30s, I was, sad to admit, nearly half the size I am now. I looked really good. Was in good shape. Nobody would know I'd ever had a weight problem.  So anyway, I went out a lot on the weekends and you tend to come across the same people over and over at local bars. I was out with my female friends one night and we were all sitting around minding our own business when a guy comes up to our table and says, "you used to weigh a lot more, didn't you?" And I said yes, thinking he would say "hey, you look really good. Good for you!"  And instead he says "well keep it up and one day I might even ask you out." Like I still wasn't quite there yet. Like he was something special to aspire to. 

I'm sure he thought it was a compliment, but to me it was just another reminder that, no matter how hard I worked, I would never be good enough as I was.  There were a lot of those people in my life at that time, men in particular. There were teenage boys I remember heckling me as I was power walking one night, calling me fat as all 5'10" of me whisked along the sidewalk in my size 10 jogging suit. There was a boyfriend I had for a year and a half who regularly told me I was fat, when it was bones that were keeping me from getting any smaller. Then there were people on the other side of the fence...afraid I had become anorexic. At the one time of my life that I was eating well and exercising right, I found myself surrounding myself with people who echoed back the one fear I couldn't release. That I, no matter what I did, would ever be enough just the way I was.

Every time I think of that man in that bar, it rubs up against me again, reminding me that this is a wound in my life that I still need to heal. That I still have a tendency to listen to those voices...voices born of THEIR own fears...over the hundreds of other voices that think I'm the bee's knee's just the way I am. This random stranger in a bar...a man who had clearly noticed me when I was heavier to be able to recognize me five sizes still making an impression 20 years later. He's still grooming me. Still honing my sense of self, as he will until his voice stops echoing in his head. Which won't happen until the day I accept myself as I am. Because it's not him that causes the wound. It's me. 

I tell you this story because we tend to think of the grooming or mating ritual...the start of something more being between star-crossed lovers that will live happily ever after. I don't think I'm alone in this, but the biggest, most valuable lessons in my life have been the ones in which I've paid the largest price for having learned them. They're the lessons born of pain. The lessons hard-fought to learn. But even love can be a lesson like that, when you're afraid of being hurt. 

Another reason I say this is because our lives are full of major players and bit players...extras who don't even have a name in the movie of our lives, but who nonetheless bring important plot twists along with them. Each person we come in contact with is like a grain of sand rubbing up against the jagged rock of our humanhood, honing it to a fine, smooth finish. They groom us and we groom them. Even when we're the ones playing the part of the asshole in the bar, as we all have, no doubt, in someone's life. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that we have these fairy tale ideas of who is important in our lives and who has made us who we are today. We long for a person to "complete us" when the people who really complete us are the assholes who like to roll around in our wounds and poke the sorest spots. Everyone is our teacher. Everyone is our hero. And everyone has the potential to be the start of something new and good in our lives.