Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3/28/13—Finding Perspective

Today's Draw: The Eight of Pentacles/Ginger in the Things That Work Against Us to Leave in the Past position from the Herbal Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you feel like your whole life is threatened by something big right now? Do thoughts of it dominate your day? Do you feel like there's nowhere to turn?

Most people who know tarot would think there's nothing negative about the Eight of Pentacles. It's a card of hard work and laying roots so something solid can grow. But there's a shadow side to every tarot card and the shadow side to this is that we can sometimes get so bogged down in the details of our lives that we fail to see the big picture. 

This happens all the time when we focus on something going wrong in our lives. The more we focus on that thing, the bigger it gets. Maybe a dozen or so years ago I got a letter from the IRS that said I owed them taxes on over $250K of income I had earned in the previous year that I didn't claim....haha. Either I overlooked the fact that I earned over $250K that year or they had made a mistake. 

So I called them and told them they'd made a mistake. I even had proof, because the form that said I'd earned that money had some other tax ID on it instead of my social security number. Easy enough to handle, right? Well, when I called the IRS and told them there was some kind of mistake, they said (and I kid you not), "the IRS does not make mistakes." They told me I'd have to prove I didn't earn the money. I said "don't you have to prove I did?" And they said the fact that this form ended up in my file was the only proof the IRS needed. 


I called the IRS many times over the coming weeks as I did my best to gather evidence that this money was, indeed, not mine. I thought if I could just get one person to listen to me, they'd see that the social security number on the form wasn't mine. But no. So I gathered all the information and just when I was about to send it off to them, I saw that I had missed my deadline! A bad situation was about to get worse. 

Now, I stop the story here, because over the weeks of compiling evidence and calling the IRS, this issue consumed me. I was terrified that I'd have to go to jail or whatever they do to "felons" like me. Or that I'd have to sell my house to pay for this money I didn't earn. Or that I'd be turned out homeless on the streets. Every time I called them, that's the feeling they left me with. It was unreal. 

From my perspective today, I know that if they ever tried to sue me for this money, they'd easily lose. I mean, it wasn't my SSN! I'd know that if just one reasonable person in the IRS looked at this paperwork, they'd see the error. I'd realize I know people in the IRS that could help me. I'd probably still be scared because, let's face it, it's the IRS. But I don't think I'd have jumped, terrified, through so many hoops for so many weeks. I could have pulled back and seen a bigger picture. I might have remembered that, in this country, you're innocent until proven guilty. 

So back to the story. On the day I realized I'd missed the deadline, I called the IRS trembling and in tears. Really, I thought I was going to barf. The lady I got on the phone said, "calm down, tell me your story". And I did. And she said, "honey, this doesn't even have your SSN on it! This isn't your responsibility. If anything like this ever happens to you again, you keep calling until you get someone to listen to you." With that, my file was closed. Had I pulled back, I'd have seen I could have just called them and cried...haha. 

Now this might not be the perfect example, because I think anyone would be feel scared or threatened in a situation like that. But so often things happen that seem like they're the end of the world. Everyone is out to get us! Our reputation is ruined! Our lives are ruined! No one will ever talk to us again! Etc. The truth of the matter is that if we pull back just a little, we might see that this one thing is just a piece of a picture and not the whole picture. 

If we don't pull back, the myopia/fear/isolation/paranoia we create by miring ourselves in these details can cause us to push away the people and opportunities that could actually be our salvation. We start seeing danger and villainy everywhere in our peripheral and that darkness eats at us, drawing us further and further into the drama. We blame it on the situation, but the real culprit is our inability to pull our heads out of the issue long enough to see how inconsequential something is in the context of our life. It's only consequential because we make it so. 

We have so many parts to our lives that have nothing to do with the threat at hand. A spat with your work friends, for example, makes you feel like everyone hates you. Then you talk to your husband or your neighbor or your best friend and realize that you have plenty of supporters. A rejected book proposal makes you feel like you'll never be published, then you sit down to write your blog and realize you're published every day. Your boyfriend leaves you and you're sure you'll never be loved again. Then you get home and are greeted by your adoring dogs and a message from your sister and you realize that you've only lost a little of the love you have in your life. 

Things are rarely ever as serious as they seem. You just need to pull your head out of the weeds far enough to see it. 

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