Friday, December 21, 2012

12/22/12-12/23/12—Making a Different Choice

Weekend Reading: Five of Fire from the Gaian Tarot. This weekend, something may be tempting you to act like a hothead or maybe even play with fire. When you feel yourself "going there", take a moment and consider what it is you might be afraid of. Anger and rage are often a mask for fear. And keep in mind the words of Ghandi..."We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid. Or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. We always have the choice." Your anger is not someone else's fault. It's a choice you make. Stop and think before you blow a gasket this weekend and challenge yourself to make a different choice. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12/21/12—Seeing The Other Side

Today's Draw: Temperance from the Gaian. What views or beliefs are "extreme" about? On what topics do you fall more toward the center? Are you able to see the other side of the topics you're on the far right or left of?

I don't have a lot of time tonight, so I just chose a quick card asking what, if anything, 12/21/12 is about. Because if you haven't noticed, it's already Armageddon somewhere in the world. :D

Temperance is about balance. It's about finding the middle way. So I think what it's saying is that it's time for us to move closer to center in the way we move through this world. To see more of the "other side". To not be so extreme in our opinions and views. 

You may be very balanced in certain areas of your life and thinking, but there other places where you've taken a definitive stand somewhere to the right or left of center and dug a hole. This card just asks you to consider a more balanced view. It's not asking us all to think and be alike. It's asking us to soften our grip and allow more possibilities in. 

Wars and fights and hatred all break out between the folks at either side of extremes. Compromise is hard to come by at extremes. The closer people are to center, the less there is to have conflict over...the more opportunity for compromise. 

Temperance is a card of alchemy, of blending opposites. We have opposites within ourselves, too. Now is the time for us to begin to see all sides as having merit. We can still have our opinions and our stand, but when we can really listen to the other guy and understand where he's coming from—when we put our passion and need to be right aside—we can begin to see that point at which their side and our side meets. And from there we may be able to build more peace, cooperation and understanding within ourselves and within the world. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12/20/12—Questioning Everything

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION: If you haven't liked my author page yet on Facebook, please do so at I share tarot tips on that page, these blogs, and it's also where you can keep up with the progress on my Deck of 1000 Spreads, now available for pre-order on Amazon and at

Today's Draw: The Fool: Percival from the Glastonbury Tarot. Are you someone who asks a lot of questions? Do you tend to keep your questioning on the surface, so as not to challenge or embarrass anyone? Or does your curiosity often lead you into potentially embarrassing rabbit holes?

Percival was one of King Arthur's knights. And he totally blew his first chance at securing the Holy Grail. Why? Because, even though he was curious about the goings on at a castle he was staying at, he didn't ask any questions that would satisfy his curiosity. He didn't want to be considered impolite. 

As you may have noticed, every Daily Draw starts with three questions. They're not always comfortable questions. A huge part of my job as a writer is asking questions and getting to the root of peoples' businesses. Sometimes I ask questions about things businesses don't want to talk about. But I need to know a company's strengths AND weaknesses in order to word things in such a way that it honestly presents the business in its best light. I can't do that effectively without knowing the whole story. 

So I'm a questioner from way back. Of course, I do my best to not be rude or invasive, but that doesn't mean I can't still ask the question. I owe my questioning nature to three things:

  • Teachers who encouraged us to ask question by reassuring us there were no stupid questions.
  • Stumbling upon the notion of "if you want something, ask for it." I was always afraid to ask for what I wanted until I tried. It's amazing how simple a solution it is! :D
  • My own natural intellectual curiosity. I don't know what came career or the curiosity...but the two have worked together in tandem and I think now my "minimum amount of information needed to get rid of me" may be higher than the average joe's.  

I have a pretty good BS meter, too. It sometimes doesn't kick in until after we're done talking, but when things don't add up, I feel it throughout my body. I'm not a good person to talk to if you want to be a victim or be in denial because I will hone in on the "truth" fairly quickly. I've had more than one person tell me that when they want someone to feel sorry for them, they call someone else. And when they want to hear the truth, they call me. All of that comes from the questioning, curious nature inside me. 

I say all of this because we often think of The Fool as being the guy who leaps before he looks and trusts the universe will guide him safely down. But he's also the guy who starts out on the journey of self awareness and awareness of the world around him that is the major arcana of the tarot. He is on a journey of discovery. Discovery requires curiosity. And curiosity relies on questions. 

There was a time, like Percival, that I held back on the questions out of some sort of anxiety. But that time is long past and I feel comfortable now. Like anything else, sometimes the timing will be off or someone will take offense. Those times teach you. You get a feel for how and how far to question someone. You get a sense for who might open up a little and who just has too many walls up. And you learn to respect others in pursuit of your curiosity. But even so you're still going to have times when you cringe because you stepped in a poo of your own making. 

When it comes down to asking an impolite question about something you feel a need to know about vs. not asking the question because you might be considered impolite, though, I'd go for the former every time. The only regrets I have about questions are regrets about the ones I never asked. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/19/12—Being The Ant

Today's Draw: #58 from the Golden Moth Illumination Deck by Aijung Kim. What value and import do you place on community? How much do you give to your community? Do you feel there's room in your life to kick it up a notch?

You may remember this deck from last week where there was a cracked egg visual. Oddly, that same card is the card I chose first tonight. So I chose again and got the ants. I want to use this card to talk some about community, but first I wanted to impart some ant trivia. 

  • The ant has the largest brain, in proportion to its size, in the animal kingdom. 
  • The little dude can lift 50x his weight and pull 30x times his weight (you'd think he could pull more than he can lift, but I guess not.)
  • Ants can yawn. 
  • An ant can live for up to two weeks under water. They're hard to drown because water can't penetrate their miniscule breathing tubes. 
  • Ants have two stomachs—one for their own needs and one to feed others. 

This last bit of trivia kind of dovetails with the community thing I was going to talk about. Ant colonies are strong communities where everyone works for the common good. In a way, they create socialist societies. And the understanding that runs those societies has, in part, made them one of earth's most successful species. They have roamed the earth for more than 100 million years and there are more than 20,000 species of ants living in nearly every climate on earth.

Everything I've ever read about survival and the success of the human race has stressed the importance of community. I've been thinking about the idea of community more and more lately. I'm a little of a loner and I like it that way. So the idea of my survival depending on me being part of a community scares me a little. But perhaps not as much as being alone in a survival situation does.

This thought of having two to feed yourself and one to feed others...seems to me to be the epitome of community and dedication. In humans, it's what happens during pregnancy and after birth where a mother shares her nutrients with her child. It's also kind of what people like Oprah and Bill Gates do when they share so much of their wealth with others.

For a long time now, I've devoted part of my life to helping others in one way or another. I was a literacy and ESL volunteer for many years. I lead free meetups for people wanting to learn tarot. I make blog posts to help others think more consciously about their lives. There is no such thing as being selfless. There's nothing we do that doesn't have some sort of payoff for us, even it just makes us feel good about our walk on earth. I know I've always gotten more back than I give.

But I don't have an extra stomach set aside to feed another. That's kicking it up a notch. Or three...haha. So it's got me thinking. Part of the path we've chosen to walk is that we kick it up a notch when we start to feel comfortable or when we see we might be lacking.

I love my lone wolf life. I have friends and family and they are part of my community. But I'm thinking more and more about how to feel more a part of my local community, as well as the larger community of man in more of that extra stomach way. I see a lot of "what best serves Tierney" going on in my life. And while I don't think that's any different than most people around me, I do believe I can do better. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

12/18/12—Contemplating The End Of All Life As We Know It

Today's Draw: The Tower from the Morgan Greer. How do you think humanity will end? When do you think this will happen? And, on a scale of 1 to 100, how much anxiety do you have over 12/21/12?

Today I cheated. I didn't randomly choose this card. I chose it on purpose because I wanted to say a few things about 12/21/12. 

Unless you've been living under a pickle barrel, you probably know that this is the date that the Mayan calendar ends. It's otherwise known as "this coming Friday". And people have interpreted it as the day the world ends, the day the world changes and, I'm sure, the day the world feels foolish for believing it was anything other than just plain, old Friday. 

The interesting thing is that the closer it gets, the less people seem to be talking about it. I'm not sure why that is, but it's probably because people are focused on just getting through today, as usual. And with the holidays on top of that, the date is not top of mind. 

I do believe something is happening in the world. I believe we're polarizing on a number of different poles. There are the warmongers and the peaceniks. The religious right and the "spiritually creative". The conscious and the unconscious. The poles go on and on. 

Of the above, I consider myself a conscious, spiritually creative peacenik. And I feel threatened by those at the other end of the poles, because they don't have my interests at heart. I think that's natural. I see that they feel threatened by me, too. Anyone who has diametrically opposed views to your own is a threat to causing a tower moment in your life...a moment where your world comes crashing down around you. 

We build towers and walls and structures to keep outside forces at bay. We do it out of an illusion of control. I call it an illusion because we think can and do have control over our lives, but we don't. If Iran has nukes, we might all be living in a different world tomorrow. We don't have control. Nor do they have control over the hell that will rain down upon them if they ever use the nukes. We can't control soccer moms from driving high on Ritalin, or telemarketers from calling or young men from mowing down a classroom of first graders. 

Sometimes life feels like a mine field that we walk through each day, just trying to do the least amount of damage. I'm not really sure at what I'm getting at here...haha. But regardless of what 12/21/12 is all about, we have no control over it. But what we might be able to do for ourselves and for millions of years of humanity henceforth, is to be more tolerable. Be kind to those who do not have our interests at heart. To open our hearts to them anyway. To see them as more than just someone sitting on the opposite side of the pole from you. 

There are some things that are universal enough to be considered universal. One is that we all want to know we matter. We all want to feel special in some way. We all want to be heard. We all want to be able to do the best for ourselves, even if we get in our own way doing it. We all want our families to be safe. We all have struggles. We all want a chance and a second chance. We all have shortcomings. We all want to be loved and accepted anyway. 

If we can remember that and connect with others from that point of commonality, we could make a difference. There will always be "bad guys". We will find that this young man in CT had a mental illness, just as is true about most mass murderers and serial killers. There will always be people with mental illness. We can't control them. We can help them, but we can't keep towers from being knocked down. There will always be those who slip through the cracks. 

Maybe I'm too idealistic, but I do believe we can raise the energy of mankind through tolerance and opening our hearts and minds to others. Will the guy at the other end of the pole follow suit? Maybe. Maybe he needs to be shown how. Maybe he needs to see it a hundred times before he tries himself. But that doesn't mean those of us who are capable of putting our need to control aside shouldn't do it. It's precisely why we should. 

Anyway, a lot of people think that this realization is what 12/21/12 is all about...entering a new era of consciousness. I believe it, but more than I believe it, I hope for it. When you compare us to the dinosaurs, we haven't been here very long. We've existed less than half a percent as long as they did. They were here 150-200 million years. When you absorb that and see what a state we've gotten ourselves into, you can see how man's "superiority" is really just putting us on a fast-track to extinction. I really don't think we can live another 150 million years treating each other the way we do. 

There was a lot of good response about yesterday's call for kindness. This is really just another plea, worded differently. I believe myself and the people who read this blog are among those are called to lead the way. And that means really thinking about the way we carry ourselves through the world. It means choosing peace over choosing the need to be right. 

Oh, and in answer to my own question, I'm going to put my anxiety over 12/21/12 at 15. I don't really believe it will be the end of the world or the end of life as we know it. But it is a little creepy that such a wise and advanced race ended the calendar on that date. And you just really never know. That said, I'm making plans for the weekend and I imagine Friday will be well under way before I think about what day it is. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

12/17/12—Being The Change

Today's Draw: The Elder of Water from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert. Do you talk to strangers when you're out and about? Or do you just stand quietly in the grocery store line, possibly even checking your phone? How often in your daily life do you find opportunities to serve?

There's a special brand of stillness that comes at dawn and dusk. At dusk, the water will calm and all the day's noisy little critters will quieten and settle in their nests. At dawn, you find the world in the depths of its repose, just about to slowly awaken and get about the day's business. There exists a similar place inside of you that you can access anytime through meditation and practice. Sitting in silence at those liminal times of the day and attuning yourself to the vibe of nature can help you build that muscle. 

So many of us forget the importance of injecting peace and stillness into our days. Some may not even know how. It doesn't happen when you're watching TV or knitting, though you can enter a trance-like state doing anything. But true peace and stillness goes beyond a trance-like state. It comes from stilling our body, mind and emotions and just...being. There in the midst of all the nothing is where peace is found. 

I've talked about meditation here a million times. I'm not going to talk about it today. But I mention it because if we manage to find a way to reset ourselves every clear the galleys and go to that holy place inside us...we're in a better position to do what we've come here to do—serve. 

I think we've forgotten that. We have so much on our minds just trying to serve the demands of daily life...job, family, logistics. Of course, we're serving others when we do our work or take care of our family. But that's not just what I'm talking about. Nor am I talking about putting a check into an envelope, though that is service, too. 

What I'm talking about is more of a lifestyle of realizing that common kindnesses and thoughtful discourse can make a huge impression on someone. Of course, so can something more active like volunteering at a local charity. But what I'm really getting at is making a concerted effort to realize that any moment in our lives can change the life of another in some positive way. And I believe we're in a better position to do that if we're able to return back to source at some time each day and remember the special beings we are and have come here to be. 

We have no way of knowing when a smile or a kind word of ours will hit someone at a critical moment. I was recently talking to someone about the experiences we had in our lives that made a huge impact on us, but the other person didn't even remember saying it. You've all experienced something like that. Just the act of engaging another person holds so much potential for service. 

It's not like I'm thinking we all walk around like sad sacks all the time. But I do believe we all walk around "unconscious" much of the time. Distracted by thoughts of what needs to be done. Or with our head buried in an electronic device. Or too shy to tell the woman in front of you that you like her scarf. These are the moments I'm talking about...the moments that are ripe for potential for service. 

They don't take any extra time out your day. You were going to open the door anyway, why not hold it open for someone? You're standing in line anyway, why not compliment the person in front of you? You were walking down the street anyway, why not make eye contact with someone and smile?

Sometimes you'll be awkward. Sometimes the person will look at you like you're interrupting them from something. And sometimes you'll be the only other human contact that person has had all day. Or you'll help them turn their day around just by making them smile. Or you'll say something offhand that is actually quite profound to them in the moment. Over time you'll get the hang of it. 

Really all I'm talking about is engaging total strangers...or chatting with acquaintances that seem to need to talk...or just making eye contact and smiling at someone, ferchrissakes. You'll never know if or how you made an impression. And it doesn't matter. Because I promise you, this practice will make you feel more alive and connected. And over time it will turn you into a more accepting, compassionate and kind person who does stuff like this automatically all of the time. This is what is meant by "be the change you want to see in this world." Let the change start with you.