Friday, November 16, 2012

11/17/12-11/18/12—Following the Real Spirit of the Season

Weekend Reading: The Star from the Art of Life Tarot. This weekend's card features Van Gogh's Starry Night with a quote from Dante Alighieri that reads, "if thou follow thy star, thou canst not fail of a glorious heaven." And so it will be for you this weekend. Follow your soul. And if you don't know how to do that, follow your bliss. And if you don't know what that is, move in the direction that gives you butterflies and giggles. Sure, it's the weekend before a holiday. And the stress for holiday shopping and preparations is on. But that's how life is going to be for the next six weeks. Start tapping into your bliss now and don't let all the seasonal BS get the better of you! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

11/15/12—Embracing our Crazy Butterfly

Today's Draw Classic*: The Princess of Swords from the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn. Do you ever wonder if you're just a little too whacked out for this world? Do you ever worry that maybe something's just a little "off" or a little "broken" inside you? How would life be different if you could completely let go of self-criticism and self-doubt?

This particular Princess of Swords is a hot mess. She's ungrounded. A mix of contradictions. Riding an emotional rollercoaster. A little lost. But somehow it all works for her. This is who she is. And, as the book says, she's still so much more than she even realizes. 

I'm someone who has a pretty strong energy about me. And that energy is almost always positive and supportive and kind. Because of this, people sometimes make assumptions that I'm really easy going about things and won't mind if they're lax on their end of our relationship, whether it's a business or personal one. That's a bad assumption to make. Like the Princess of Swords, my blade cuts both ways. 

There's a saying "do not mistake my kindness for weakness." That's a perfect saying for me. I won't pitch a fit or go out in a blaze of fire. I'll just calmly state why it's not working out for me and quietly walk away. Thanks to Oprah, when people show me who they are, I believe them. The few times I've made exceptions, I've regretted it.

So how does this relate to the mess of contradictions that is the Princess of Swords? Well, because we all have contradicting natures. I can be—and am—a genuinely warm and supportive person. But take advantage of that and you don't get the best of me anymore. My warmth will turn to coldness. 

But the thing is, sometimes these contradictions cause us to question or diminish our own value. We wonder why we can't always be Super-Good Tierney and what must be broken when we're Snappish Tierney or Hormonally Deranged Tierney (For the record, I'm not normally the snappish type, I don't think. But hormonally deranged? *ahem* No comment.) 

Sure, maybe there are FREAKS out there who are terribly consistent in everything they do, walking through life with no contradictions (at least not any they'll let out of the closet). And then there are people who do have emotional and/or psychological issues that need tending. But the bulk of us rest uncomfortably in a middle ground where we're oddly all over the place, following a logic that only makes sense to us. And here's what the Princess of Swords has to say about that: It's OK. You and your weird mix of contradictions and eccentricities are as exotic and unique and beautiful as the flower in her hair or the mark of the butterfly on her cheeks. 

How would life be different if we could just believe this about ourselves? If we could move through each day knowing we're good just the way we are? Just imagine...things like passive-aggression and misunderstandings and taking things personally would just fade into the woodwork!

I'm not going to stand before you and tell you I'm there...haha. There is much about myself I still have to come to peace with. But what I can do is take a vacation from insecurity, self-criticism and doubt on Friday, November 16th. And if that doesn't work out, I can try again on Saturday, November 17th. Because as the book so eloquently tells us about the Princess of Swords (and, of course, ourselves), "Poor crazy butterfly. She's the only thing that holds herself back from flying."

*From a post dated 11/3/11

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11/15/12—Doing What It Takes

Today's Draw Classic: Seven of Wands from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot. What stands between you and your goals? And what are you going to do about it? Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to getting what you want?

People often perceive that whimsical decks like the Phantasmagoric Theater are pure novelty and are not "real" tarot decks. Nonsense! Tarot is tarot. And this adorable deck is full of wisdom. 

In today's card, the bridge to the ringmaster's tent has disappeared! But that can't stop these three circus performers. They must confront the obstacle head on and find a way to get up there. As you can see, their obstacle even has an obstacle, because of one of them has no arms and legs. Still, they can't let that stand in their way (unintentional pun). They must formulate a strategy and follow it to get to where they need to be. If they wait for fate or some other outside force to intervene, they may never get up there. They must take responsibility for their own mission. 

At various times in my career as a freelance advertising copywriter, I've come up against people who are somewhat bitter that I have all this freedom and earn a good hourly wage, while they're shackled to a desk working for "the man". After all, I'm not THAT talented. I'm not THAT well connected. I'm not THAT special. I'm really not. But what they don't understand is that it has NOTHING to do with how talented or hooked up I am. It also has nothing to do with how lucky I am, vs how lucky they are. Or how I must have wanted it more than them. Or anything like that. Those are all excuses they use to remain stuck. 

Although I probably do possess some personality traits that help me along, what it all really comes down to is this—I was willing to take risks that they were not. That's what it always comes down to. Now that may be a bit bold and in your face, but it's the straightforward truth. The people who have what you want, have it because they were willing to take the risks, expend the effort and put forth the discipline that you were not. 

One of my friends, over the past year or two, has lost a significant amount of weight while I remain stuck in my efforts. Simple truth...she was willing to do what I have not yet been willing to do. Instead of indulging her every craving, she finds another way to calm the voices within. And instead of sitting on her butt watching TV, she exercises. She even makes a game out of it, taking a picture from her daily walk and posting it on Facebook. She looks frickin' amazing. And I could use that as a "woe is me" story. Or I could be really happy for her. I choose the latter. Because how can I be bitter when she quite simply manned up to a challenge I haven't had the fortitude to man up to yet?

Here's the deal. And I'm going to tell it to you straight and not hold back. You can go through life as a victim of circumstance and your own bad choices. Or you can take personal responsibility for where you are in life and change everything. You'd think the victim thing would be easier, but it's not. It takes a lot of energy to be a victim. Not only that, it takes a lot of energy out of everyone around you. Whenever you say, "well that won't work for me because...." chances are you're playing the victim. Anytime you make excuses for what you don't have, that's probably what you're doing. Unless of course your excuse is "I can't do that because I'm not willing to." Then you're just being honest.

To be fair, I do think sometimes the forces of the universe try to steer you in another direction. So if you're really putting forth an effort, taking risks and doing all that needs to be done, then it may be because you're being called in another direction. Or perhaps you need to take a gut check and determine if this is what you really want. Not everyone can work for themselves, for example. You have to be comfortable not seeing other humans for days or weeks on end...or you need to make a plan to find group diversions. You also have to be self motivated. Whether I have work or not, I'm available to clients every morning. And I have never watched TV in the daytime. Finally, you really need to be able to emotionally and financially handle the ups and downs of a freelancer's workflow. Even after 15 years, that can be a challenge. 

So that brings us back to the original questions...are you willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals? And if not, are you willing to drop the goal happily knowing that you're not? Because any other way, you're being your own worst enemy and the energy it takes to regret and envy and mope can be better put toward something you ARE willing to tackle. So what does all this bring up in you?

*Edited from a post made on 4/29/11. And sorry for all the repeats this week. I'm having a really intense work week....doing what it takes. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11/14/12—Getting Everything You Wish For

Today's Draw Classic*: King of Pentacles from the Mythic Tarot (First Edition). Are you wishing for a financial windfall? Has it ever occurred to you that you may end up worse off with the money than without it? What is it that you really want?

The Mythic Tarot is the deck I learned on 25 years ago and it is still one of my favorites. One of the great things about this deck is that each of the four suits follows a myth from beginning to end. This makes the cards easier to learn because each one is a memorable part of the overall story.

The King of Pentacles follows the myth of King Midas. Midas won the favor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. So Dionysus granted Midas one wish. And, focused on material matters as any King of Pentacles would be, Midas wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. 

His wish went into effect immediately and he started touching everything around him. His throne turned to gold. His table turned to gold. Then he touched a vase of flowers and they turned gold. Satisfied by his newfound power, he reached for his tankard of ale. But before he could raise it to his lips, that, too, turned to gold, along with its contents. He then grabbed a strawberry, which also turned to gold. Inconsolable at the reality of his wish, he sought a hug from his daughter, and she too turned to gold. 

Midas' greatest wish had come true. He had all the gold in the world—a never-ending supply. But he could no longer eat, no longer feel human touch, not even feel the soft grass beneath his feet as that, too, alchemized at his touch. He knew he would die a sad, wealthy man. He cried for Dionysus and begged the God to relieve him of his wish. The gold meant nothing in the absence of the simple joys of life. Dionysus reversed the wish and its consequences.

So this King of Pentacles comes with a number of lessons. One is to be grateful for the riches you already have in life. Another echoes the Bible in that "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil". And the third and most pointed lesson is to be careful what you ask just might get it. 

As a tarot reader, I know that money is a huge concern these days. A lot of people ask about it in their readings. But is it the money people really want? Or do they actually want a genuine feeling of security? The distinction is key when asking the universe for what you want. Many a lottery winner will tell you that getting their wish created all sorts of relationship and financial issues. Some even end up putting themselves in irreparable debt. So be sure about what you really want. Unlike the fabled King Midas, it might be harder to get your wish reversed if its fulfillment doesn't turn out to be everything you'd hoped for.

*Taken from a post made on 9/12/11

Monday, November 12, 2012

11/13/12—Absorbing the Mother

Today's Draw Classic: The Moon from the Rohrig Tarot. What have you inherited from your mother? Is it possible you've inherited more than just physical and personality traits? Do you have memories, leanings and wounds you can't account for?

The Moon card is a card of the unconscious, a place of our most primal urgings, nightmares, motivations, fears and emotions. It is where the seeds of creativity are planted. The place from which our fears rush forth. All those answers we spend our lifetimes seeking are locked within this frightening and alluring place. 

The symbol to the right of the moon is Othala, a rune symbol of inheritance. From time to time I think about the things we inherit from our parents...the things that are passed down from generation to generation. For example, I have my mother's Irish features. I have her poetic, spiritual soul. And I have a funny way of saying "ing" words that, apparently, is common in American children of British parents.

These are the kind of genetic and social inheritances we all know about. But what I sometimes think about is, is it possible to inherit psychic scars...traumas? For example, when one of my brothers was in my mother's womb, she had a sudden and dramatic fear of heights while standing on a mountaintop. That brother is the only one in our family that was born with a terrible fear of heights. My mother only had that phobia that one time. So it's like something in the chemical change that particular day was transferred to him and latched on to. 

So, to the degree that a mother who, say, smoked crack, passes that chemical dependency on to her children, can there be more subtle ways of exchanging chemically coded information in the womb? Can the same thing be said about thoughts? Aversions? Fears? Traumas? And other high-octane emotions, good or bad? All those things change the chemical makeup of a person.

My mother died when I was 21, so all those kinds of questions you might ask your mother as an adult never got asked by me. So many of the things I would be curious about are lost to the ether, because there's no one alive who has the answers. And some of the things I'd like to know are things only she could have answered anyway, because they're more the kind of questions you ask yourself. 

She was the oldest of five children. She was, we believe, sexually abused by her father. Then he abandoned the family and the mother went to work, leaving my mother with the children. Then the Germans bombed their home for a few years during WWII and my mother was in charge in rations, so she decided who would eat and how much. All of this before she was an adult.

How can that kind of persistent stress not change your entire chemical makeup? And how can that not affect any child you carry inside you, even years later? I often wonder if I carry some of those psychic wounds inside me...if they are the reason behind some of the fears and defenses that I can't seem to find the origin of when I poke around in my murky unconscious. And yet I debate whether the influence is entirely chemical or subtle social influences that occurred beneath my awareness. 

Likewise, my mother was born in India and the first couple of years of her life were spent living there and in Egypt. She was blessed by Ghandi. Some of her first words were in Hindustani. She was weaned on the mystical energies of pyramids, sun gods and Ganesha. Though my mother had no religious allegiance and rarely brought these things up, how come I've been SO fascinated by mysticism, polytheism and more earth or elementally based beliefs all my life? The only religion actually brought into our household and encouraged in any measure was Catholicism/Christianity.

The thing is, by the time I came along, she'd healed enough to be in a stable relationship with a good man who made her feel safe. My older siblings remember things that could be traced back to her childhood traumas, but by the time I rolled around in her mid-thirties, she didn't seem to carry those scars with her in a significant way anymore. But perhaps she did. And as for the spiritual stuff, more than anything for ME, the house was religion neutral or even religion-free. My siblings, however, were all raised Catholic.

It's an interesting thing to consider. I speak of my mother, of course, because a father only offers genes to the equation, while we absorb so much more from the mother during gestation. The plant may come from the fertilized seed, but it's significantly affected by the quality and chemical makeup of the soil it grows in. Of course so much of its "programming" comes from genes alone. So I debate. And waffle. And wonder. 

What do you think of all of this? Are there aspects of you that can't find the roots for in yourself, but you can see how the roots might extend to your mother? Do you think the origins occurred in vitro or were they passed to you through social means? And if you're a mother, can you see how some intense emotional moment that might have happened during your pregnancy shaped your child in some way?

*Adapted from a post originally made on 2/23/12

Sunday, November 11, 2012

11/12/12—Distrusting Yourself

Today's Draw: Island of the Giant Cattle from the Celtic Book of the Dead oracle. Is there a situation in your life right now that you feel a need to exert control over? Is there one where you really just don't trust another person to do their job? Can you look beyond those issues to see where they are generated by your own fears and lack of self trust?

Also known as Island of the Beefy Nekkid Dude, the Island of the Giant Cattle is a card that talks about a couple of different concepts that are intertwined. The first is that, no matter how hard you try, there will always be some things that defeat you. And the second is that an inability to trust those who may know better, could be one of those things defeating you right now. And a third that I'm adding from my own head is that an inability to trust yourself could be what's really at the root of all that. 

As a nicely compensated consultant, I'm always surprised at the clients who don't trust your recommendations and/or actually stand in the way of doing your best work because they don't trust you to know your business. What it really comes down to is a fear...that if they don't exert control over every phase, that the project will most surely fail. Ultimately it's not me they don't trust, it's themselves, in one way or another. 

So they will hire me to write a website, for example, then they'll change so much of what I write that the content ends up sounding just like the last website they had...the one they wanted to change...the one they wanted to sound different from. And the reason it sounds like the last one, is because they did the same thing last time to some other copywriter who now won't take their calls. They don't trust themselves to make the right hiring and management decisions to set the stage for success, perhaps because they've never managed a project like this before or maybe they've been unsuccessful in the past. So they end up carefully shaping the very thing they fear—defeat—into reality. 

Just for the record, the people I maintain as clients aren't like that. I've said before and I'll say it again, I have the world's best clients...people who see my value and truly appreciate the work I do for them. Many of them have been working with me for 10-15 years. They put their trust in me and that's how I like to work. It makes me want to aspire to my best. 

So, when I'm so "strict" about letting the professionals do what they know how to do, how come I find myself ignoring advice I get from professionals who know better than me? I certainly don't do this all the time. Most of the time I trust. But I can see in two places of my life where I'm feeling "defeat", that I'm also not doing what the professionals I've hired are telling me to do. 

What could appear like overconfidence, an inflated sense of self importance or control issues to the professional whose advice is being ignored, is, in my case, my own self-trust issues. In one case I have so little trust in myself based on choices I've made in the past, that I'm just plain afraid to do what it takes to change. It's a very complex bundle of emotions with that particular issue. But in the end, I'm both afraid of failure and untrusting of myself. And the end result is a cycle of failure, the very thing I'm afraid of. 

In the other case, it appears more like I just don't trust life to take its own natural course. Because it's something that just needs time to work itself out. But underneath the difficulty in just surrendering to time and the process, is a lack of trust in my own ability to happily adapt to any eventuality. It isn't until I remind myself that I'm really good at doing that, that the stress and worry that causes the mistrust melts away. 

So you see how it works? Sometimes it's hard to see how your mistrust of others is actually mistrust of self. But it's there. What does all of this evoke in you?