Friday, December 14, 2012

12/15/12-12/16/12—Pacing Yourself

Weekend Reading: Ten of Wands from the Mermaid Tarot. Regular Life + Holiday Planning and Stress = Feeling Overburdened. And with just 10 days before the big day, you're likely to feel that way this weekend. So have a plan in place to do something to take care of yourself this weekend. Make sure you take that bubble bath. Fit in that yoga class. Stop and enjoy a coffee. Do something to equalize that stressed, oppressed and overburdened feeling. Sometimes we invest so much of ourselves in the planning of a holiday that we're too depleted to really enjoy ourselves and soak in the spirit of the season. Pacing yourself and taking mental breaks now will pay off when the holiday comes and you're "there" to enjoy it. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/14/12—Polishing Your Shine

Today's Draw: Seven of Gats (Wands) from the Dark Carnival Tarot by Rachel Paul. Are you a target for haters? Are you a hater yourself? Is there someone out there trying to take away your shine?

I thought about this deck for a long time before I got it, because I wasn't sure I would like it. It's very much like the Joker from the Dark Knight...manic and crazy. That's not really my vibe. But what eventually won me over is the humor that lies beneath the cards and presents itself in the book. 

The Seven of Gats corresponds to Wands. Evidently "gat" is a synonym for gun. Wands are fire and energy and the deck's creator identifies gats as modern fire power. While the Seven of Wands would signify conflict and struggle, the Seven of Gats signifies, "haters trying to stop your shine." Haha. 

I love that. It feels like my life has been marked by haters trying to stop my shine. If the haters weren't hating on me for my weight, they were hating on me for some other aspect of who I am. Most of the haters in my life have been who had some sort of power over me. Either they were a boss or a lover or a relative—men I sought approval from on some level. 

It always fascinated me that these people never picked on me for my intelligence or competency. They might use those things against me (as in "watch out for her. She's smart, so she can trick you into something without you even realizing it,") but nobody has ever called me stupid or incompetent. Or if they did, it never even so much as caused a blip on my radar. 

However, when I was thin, there were those who called me fat. When I was feeling good, there were those who said I was off balance. When I was genuine, there were those who called me manipulative..things like that. And each of those comments would succeed in "stopping my shine" to one degree or another. 

Slowly I came to learn—and am still learning—that the reason they never picked on me for certain things is because I was very secure in those things. There was no tender area to poke. There was something in my aura that told them those would be fruitless avenues. It was, instead, the things that I was insecure about that they chose to pick on. Or, more accurately, it was my insecurities that chose them as the ones whose opinions counted in my life. 

I know what you're thinking—"But, Tierney, you're a glamorous blogger, beloved in places like Finland. Your work is published daily on the World Wide Web and seen by as many as 100 people. You're so proud of your neuroses that you've written over 600 blog posts about them over the years. What could you possibly be insecure about?" Well, as it turns out, I'm insecure about a number of things. Glamor and all, I'm no different than you. ;)

Which brings us back to the haters. It really is true that nobody can hate on you without your permission. Because you're the one that decides how your body and emotions...your psyche...absorb the "hate". You are the one that views the exchange as either hate or criticism against you, or self-hatred, anger, fear or pain on the part of the attacker. 

And when you're hating on someone else...being critical or causing disruption in another's life—regardless of how much you think the other person "deserves" it—you're not really hating on them. You're using them as a dart board upon which to fling your own inner dislike, anger, fear or pain. Again, regardless of how much you think the other person "deserves" it. Because people who have healed their own pains, fears and dislikes have far too much compassion and empathy for the path of healing to intentionally inflict pain on others. 

A friend of mine recently reminded me that I get to choose how to use the conflicts and upsets that come into my life. I can use them as an invitation to feel bad about myself and feed the pains that keep me chained to the cycle of "losing my shine". Or I can see them as projections made by others—or even made by myself upon myself—and allow myself the confidence of knowing I'm ok just the way I am. Because regardless of how many people come into your life with their belittling comments, and regardless of how many "idiots" there are out there that need to be put in their place by you, there is only one true hater and one "hated" in your life. And both of them are you. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/13/12—Letting Go Of The Shore

Today's Draw: Ace of Wands from the Wild Unknown Tarot. Do you feel a change happening in the world? Are you prepared to demand more from yourself? Are you ready to let go of your safety nets?

The Ace of Wands is a card of insight and inspiration. And, on my way back from a meeting tonight, I was listening to a CD that was talking about the Hopi Elder Prophecy. I'd heard the words before, but considered them differently tonight. 

This message was created in our generation, for our generation by elders from the Hopi tribe. And it dovetails with the idea that our personal and spiritual evolutions are quickening. This whole 12/21/12 Mayan Prophecy thing is considered by many to really just indicate a time where enter into a new phase of being in the world. It's a process, not a specific happening...a tipping point if you will. And this Hopi message complements it nicely:
You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is THE hour.  And there are things to be considered : 
Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water?
Know your garden. It is time to speak your truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. 
There is a river flowing now very fast.  It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.  They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly. 
Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.   And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.  For the moment that we do,  our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. 
The time for the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.  
We are the ones we've been waiting for.

There is so much in this message to contemplate. And so much of it depends on our personal perspective on the questions it asks and the challenges it poses. It asks us to take a personal inventory of where we are in our lives. To say the things we hold back from saying. To let go of our safety nets. To conquer our fears. 

I can't speak for other countries, but I feel like we've lost sight of our priorities in the US. Those who criticize us for our capitalism and wanton ways are right. We place far too much emphasis on the material things that feed our ego—the things that feed our desires. And we place far too little emphasis on the things that feed our soul. We look everywhere but within for the answer to our happiness. 

For me, one key idea from this message is that of letting go of the things we hold on to...material accomplishments and items, mindsets, personal stories, the concept of right and wrong. Another is that taking life and ourselves personally is a block to our spiritual evolution—that's a big one. And, of course, the last one....that we are the answer. We are the solution. We are the only heroes who will ride in on their white horses to save us. 

What does all of this inspire in you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12/12/12—Righting a Past Wrong

Today's Draw: The Daughter of Swords from the Wild Unknown Tarot. Have you ever gotten a second chance to right some bad karma you created for yourself with a partner? Do you ever look back on ways you've treated yourself and others with sorrow or regret? Whatever happened to your most passionate lover?

It's interesting that the "classic" post I chose for yesterday was one about gathering all the little bits of "stardust" or clues that present in your life to point you toward where you need to go. Because little did I know at the time...less than 24 hours ago...that a bunch of dust was accumulating to lead me to a shocking revelation—one that I'm sure I'll be processing for some time. 

Twenty years ago I had a "fated" relationship with a guy named Jack. We were absolutely meant to be in each others' lives, but that didn't mean our relationship would be a good or healthy one. It was one of those "can't live with him, can't live without him" relationships—passionate, intimate, hungering. It lasted for the better part of two years and, ultimately, it wrote upon the soul of who I was in ways both good and bad.

Jack was a talented artist. And there was a pastel he had done as a teenager of a tiger that was really beautiful. It was a focal piece in his apartment and it meant a lot to him. To me, it had become symbolic of him. 

Jack wasn't a good financial steward. And when our relationship was deteriorating, he needed money. I gave it to him for the tiger. It wasn't a kind move on my part as much as it was opportune. I knew, somewhere inside me, I wanted that tiger simply because it meant so much to him. He had taken so much of me in that relationship, now I was taking something of him. I hate admitting that, but that's where I was at the time. 

The tiger has always had a place on a wall in my home, not unlike a stuffed head from some trophy kill. And, over time, as I "evolved" as a human, the tiger became more of just a piece of art. Then it became something of lesser significance. Then I moved it to a wall in a room I never enter. Then I decided I no longer wanted it. But I couldn't destroy it or shove it in a closet to collect dust. So I decided, one day, I would find a way to get it to his son, the little boy (now a nearly 30 year old man) we cared for on alternate weekends. But my desire to avoid interaction with anyone in that family has, thus far, outweighed my desire to do right by the tiger (and my personal karma). 

For some, this would be an insignificant issue. I've known women who have done awful things in vengeance and in spite. Many, I'm sure, would have gotten rid of the darned thing by now, not in a mean way, but just to be rid of it. Regardless of how damaged this relationship left me, though, that Tiger was loved by someone I had once loved. And it should remain in his family. I wouldn't feel right mindlessly tossing away someone's heirloom. I had that done to me when my father died and I know what "things" that have no measurable material value mean to the bereaved. 

Anyway, in the last four or five days, things have repeatedly happened to remind me of Jack. I saw something that reminded me of him in a drug store. I drew a Tiger card for this past weekend's reading. I had a dream where he was trying to tell me something and I wouldn't listen. And, finally, last night I saw a man who reminded me of him. Especially after the dream, it began to eat at me. All these years without really thinking of him and here I am unable to shake him. 

So, hopped up on iced tea, not able to sleep and with all this "stardust" floating around in my brain, I googled him. About a month ago, he was riding his motorcycle at a high rate of speed, crossed the yellow line and careened head on into an SUV. The accident was so violent it broke his bike in half and sent his body all the way into the cabin of the SUV. He died instantly. 

All of this leads to the Daughter of Swords. She is insightful. She is wise. And she wields her weapon judiciously. Twenty years ago when I, effectively, used his treasured possession as a pawn in our relationship, I did not wield my weapon judiciously. And now I have another chance. I may legally own that Tiger, but, in my heart, it's not rightfully mine. It belongs to his son. And it's time to figure out a way to get it to him. I think that's what all the stardust was coming to tell me. It's time let go entirely. In more ways than one. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

12/11/12—Peering Into Our Trail of Stardust

Today's Draw Classic*: Ace of Wands from the Science Tarot—Nebula. Is there something you're doing right now based solely on gut instinct? When you look back on your life, do you see a lot of "clues" that haven't yet materialized into anything? What do you see in your trail of stardust?

The book for this deck says, "apparently from nothing, the star stuff comes together and begins to take shape. But what will become of this gathering of dust, this mass of potential, this nebulous form just beginning to emerge?"

The Ace of Wands signals a beginning of some creative effort...the first steps into a sea of possibilities. Maybe you're just now thinking of pursuing a new hobby. That thought is a speck of stardust. The class you're taking? That hunch your following? Another speck. And another speck. 

Sometimes we don't know what we're building until it's half built. After ten years of working in advertising agencies, I stunned myself by making a split-second decision to become a freelancer. In the very moment I made my decision, I realized it was the trajectory I'd been on my entire career. A minute before, I was clueless. A minute afterward, I had a calling. True story. And when I looked back on the previous ten years, all the specks of stardust leading me there became visible in ways I hadn't seen before. 

That was 15 years ago. And now I'm seeing another trail of stardust gathering with these blogs and other work I'm doing. It hasn't quite formed into anything tangible yet. I'm not sure what I'm doing or why. But I'm following my instinct. 

I think we all have times in our lives that we wonder what the heck we're doing it all for. Our path may seem fruitless, thankless or unforgiving. But we're throwing out specks of stardust and, somewhere out of our view, something is, nonetheless, in the process of forming. 

We may have no idea what we're doing, but we can still maintain control over the energy those specks are wrapped up in. Are they wrapped in bitterness? Exhaustion? Hopelessness? Or are they wrapped like the gift they are?

This is the second time this week that stardust has been a part of this reading. I have no idea why. But maybe it's a clue that there's magic afoot for us. Even if it's not, we can still proceed like there is, though.

I often think back to that day 15 years ago when I made a life-changing decision, seemingly out of the blue. Calling the days and weeks after it blessed or freeing or magic just doesn't seem to do it justice. Everything suddenly made sense and I had complete trust and faith I wasn't being led down this path to fail. Over the past five years I've done a number of things just from my gut without needing to know why. This blog, a series of meditations by the river and all this poking around into tarot teaching and book writing are among them. All specks of stardust gathering into a form I can't quite make out, but sense this year will bring into greater clarity.

What might your own stardust be telling you?

*From a post made on 1/18/12

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12/10/12—Breaking Out of Your Shell

Today's Draw: #17 from the Golden Moth Illumination Deck by Aijung Kim. What do you see in this card? Does your interpretation relate to something in your own life right now? What message does it hold for you?

The Golden Moth Illumination Deck is an oracle deck with 75 cards, a handful of which are blank so you can draw your own images. All the images are simple, like this one. And all the cards are done in just blue and yellow. 

I held off on getting this deck for a while, because I'm not huge on oracle decks (outside of the Lenormand) and it's not a cheap deck. But let me tell you, I'm so glad I finally got it. Everything about this deck is pure class. The stock is beautiful. The printing is beautiful. Even the design of the tuck box is beautiful. Really. You've never tucked a box like this. Aijung must have the soul of a graphic designer, because she has the impeccable taste and attention to detail of one. 

The deck also comes with a 30-page handbook. And you'd expect that, somewhere on the 30 pages, there would be a key as to the meanings of the cards. But there is none. She leaves it to you to figure it out. 

Now, you guys have seen me around. I'm pretty confident and intuitive with my tarot cards. And there was even a time years ago that I worked only with oracle cards that had no guidebook, just to exercise my intuitive muscle. But it wasn't until this deck came along that I realized how comfortable I had gotten with the set meanings of my tarot cards over the years. 

Now, before anyone objects, you can interpret a tarot card any way you want. I teach my students to learn the "book" meanings, but to always note their intuitive hits first...what jumps out at you in each card as you turn it over? To do that, you need hold back the dude in your head that says, "three of swords, that means heartbreak" for a second so you can get those hits. Then you marry your hits with your interpretation of the card within the context of the reading. So you're being intuitive. But it's a "safe" kind of intuitive, because you know what the card really means. And because you know what it means, you always have that meaning to lean on if you don't get any intuitive hits. 

But with a deck like this, you really just have to trust that what you're getting and go with it. It takes that extra bit of juju...and wield a deck like this around. Which means it's perfect for a beginner who's just trying to get their chops. And it's also perfect for an old bird like me who needs to push outside of her comfort zone a little to exercise certain neurons that have become couch potatoes of late. 

So look at the card and can you see how lightning bolts of realization about my comfort zone have come down to crack my creative shell? That's what I saw. But someone else will see the bolts coming out of the shell. And still others won't even see a shell at all. They'll see a rock. Or they'll think about an earthquake. Or something else entirely. 

Many times what we see in these cards is colored by where we are and where we've been in our lives. We apply our personal experience to the interpretation of the cards. So I can see a few places in my life where I'm being cracked open and have to come out of my shell...or where I should come out of my shell. 

I also see a warning about how it's better to crack your own eggshell than to have the universe do it for you....because waiting for the universe to do it often comes with a consequence for having waited so long. So I can read this card as saying "you may as well be self motivated, because change is going to come whether you like it or not. And you may not like the way it comes if you wait too long."

What do you see in this card?