Friday, January 11, 2013

1/12/13-1/13/13—Saying Yes to Destruction

Weekend Reading: Thunderbolt from the Osho Zen. Be prepared for something to suddenly hit and shake you up this weekend. This doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. It could be an idea that comes into your head and causes you to question some deeply held belief. Or it could be a person who bolts in out of the blue and wakes you from your everyday coma. Or then again, it could be something less palatable and "welcome". Regardless, whatever it is, it's necessary to your development. We all need to destroy the old to create a fresh palette for the new. This card suggests that you try to observe the chaos and let it wash over you with detachment. As the book for this card says, "say yes to the process by meeting it halfway."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1/11/13—Asking Your Heart

Today's Draw: Harmony from the Osho Zen Tarot. Have you ever put the aspects of your life to a "heart test" to see what's authentic to you? What parts of your life make you feel larger? What parts make you feel smaller?

For the last day of "overcoming false limitations" week, we get a card about listening to your heart. This card wants us to forget what we've been told about who we are and what we're capable ignore all the "yes, buts" in your head...and let your heart guide you through the world. Of course, the difficulty is learning which voice is that of your heart and which isn't. 

One thing I would suggest is to get quiet and become aware of your heart center. Think of that space as a muscle that can expand and contract. When it contracts, it closes. When it expands, it opens up. So, in this quiet time, focused on that heart center, visualize different possibilities. Visualize yourself as you are today. How does that feel? How expanded or contracted is your heart? Get familiar with where there's tension inside. And consider this your "control" heart feeling. 

Next, visualize yourself doing something you love...snuggling with your puppies, hiking in the woods, etc. And feel how the tension releases. Doing this will help you feel how things feel differently when you run them past your heart. 

Now that you've got that down, start trying out different scenarios from your life. What makes the heart contract? What makes the heart expand? What feels more neutral? Take note of the things that make your heart contract. Let's say your job makes your heart feel tighter and harder. If that's the case, then we know your job isn't alignment with your heart. Now test your overall career. If that feels good, but the job feels bad, then that's as "simple" as getting a new job or changing some aspect of your current one that is holding you back. But if your career is also out of alignment, then you know you've identified a place where you haven't made a decision authentic to you. 

I remember my father wanted me to join the military because it would be a stable career. He tried to steer me in that direction many times. And he really didn't like me working in advertising. He saw it as dishonest work that paid poorly. And I suppose it can be. I suppose most careers can have a slime factor. But my experience is that most advertising people are ethical and really want to serve their mission, just like in the military. 

My father died before I really had any sort of success in my career. I can see him forever maintaining there is no value to the industry, but I can't imagine he wouldn't be proud of my self employment and all the awards I've won. And the whole tarot thing wouldn't make him happy either, but I also think he'd be proud that his daughter is a published author. But for every person out there that ignored their parent's advice because they knew what they wanted from life, there's at least one other person who didn't know what they wanted. So they made choices based on criteria other than what their heart said. 

Further, there are people who get married because it's what people do. People who have children because their spouse wants them. People who make choices based on status. People who make choices just to be defiant. And people who choose NOT to do something, because what would people say? Every nuance of our lives is subject to being shaped by outside pressure. And because we develop monetary dependencies, buy into long-term responsibilities or even just develop habits around these aspects of our lives, we sometimes feel trapped. I mean, people my age have devoted half their lives to becoming an expert at their career. They can't change now! 

Well, they can. These things are all false limitations. And if these things don't open your heart, then they're not authentic to you. At least not anymore. In the case of children, I think you need to just suck it up and be a parent, unless being a parent makes you so bitter and toxic that it's harmful to the children. But in most other cases, your heart check will point right toward someplace where you're not being true to yourself. And if you don't know what you want, you can heart test options to find something that can work for you. 

This all comes back to my favorite quote, which I heard from David Whyte, the poet—"move toward that which makes you larger." An expanding heart makes you feel larger. Moving toward a neutral heart just keeps you a blah rut. And if you keep moving toward things that make feel smaller, you've really got to stop to ask yourself why. Yet it's a choice many of us make every day in some aspect our lives. And it's a situation we should literally take to heart.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1/10/13—Playing Your Role

Today's Draw Classic*: Judgment from the Victorian Romantic. What role were you cast in in your family? What parts of that role have you claimed as "you"? And what parts have you escaped from?

Whenever I draw a card I don't want to write about, I take notice. Because inevitably there's a timely message in there for me. Such is the case with today's card. 

There are really a lot of ways to interpret this card. Usually the way I interpret it is that it's time to change an aspect of yourself you can no longer deny. The meaning that struck me today is similar,  but a little different. It's not so much about things I can no longer deny as can no longer avoid. For my own well-being. 

The card depicts angels calling on the dead and forgiving their sins so they can rise to heaven. This is representative of our past wounds we never let heal, sins we refuse to forgive and bad habits we never get around to losing. Within most of us, there's something from our past that it's time to lift up and let go of.

I believe one of the hardest things to discern in life is where others' characterizations of, and aspirations for, you end and where your authentic self begins. By this, I mean that much of our self image is shaped in our early years. And a lot of it is based on what we're told about ourselves and how we're treated by others. In a family unit, for example, you have a role. I'll forever be "the baby" and be characterized as such in one regard or another among my siblings. 

An example of this is the perception of my selfishness, meant to suggest I never do anything for others. (I happen to believe none of does anything that doesn't ultimately serve us, and therefore we're all "selfish", but I won't get into that now.) Sometimes I feel like no matter how compassionate, understanding, wise or whatever else I become, I'll always be dogged by the "spoiled, selfish baby" role I was cast in before I even knew how to talk. I'll never know if the path I've chosen as an adult is in an attempt to run away from that, or in an attempt to become who I really am and was always meant to be. The line is that thin. We're either who we've been cast as or we're escaping from it. And either way, on some level, even if it's entirely subconscious, we're shaped by the early assessments of others.

I don't think we can ever separate ourselves by who we would have been "if", because "if" never happens. Even if you're literally raised by wolves, you're imprinted by your place in the pack. In the end, we are what we allow ourselves to be and we have to take responsibility for it. 

Ultimately Judgment is a card about taking that inventory, taking responsibility and deciding who you want to be from this moment forward—regardless of who your parents, siblings, children or spouse expect you to be....and regardless of whether or not they'll ever allow you to be that person in their own minds. You may have many go-rounds on this earth, but you only get one chance to be YOU. 

This moment of Judgment is cyclical in that it comes around multiple times in our lives as we move ever higher in our personal evolution. It's here for me now and I pray I have the courage and strength to break free of some of the chains I've allowed to bind me throughout my life. And one of these bigger things is that, regardless of whether I'm fulfilling prophesies or running from them, I place judgments on it. I think to myself that if I died without accepting and loving these last few things I can't seem to get past, I will have never lived.

*Adapted from a post originally written on 4/24/12

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

1/9/13—Transcending Limitations

Today's Draw: Music-Evoked Healing by Diane Davis at What if you moved through life knowing that you and the creative power of the "all that is" were one? How would that change the choices you make? How would that change what you believe about yourself?

You may remember that I've mentioned these wonderful healing sessions I go to once a month up near Annapolis. The woman, Diane, practices the Bonny Method of Music-Evoked Healing. If you're reading on my official blog, you can see some of my past experiences here and here.

Anyway, because it fits in so tightly with this week's theme, I'm going to forego the tarot card today and just talk about my session. But first, let me tell you the mechanics of what happens. I go in there and set an intention for the day's session. Today's was about exploring false limitations. And then Diane guides me through relaxation the way a hypnotherapist would. Then she intuitively chooses music to help me on my journey. And as I listen to the music, I tell her the images that come into my head based on the music and she writes them down.

Diane has a degree in music therapy, she's certified in the Bonny Method, she's a Reiki master, a Native American lodge keeper and really one of the best people I know. You'd think I'd have met her in some incense cloaked pillow pit lit by candles and black light, but I actually met her in an advertising agency I freelanced at some 15 years ago where she was a VP or some such mucky muck.

Anyway, I say all of that, because some will think, "oh, cool, let's do that Friday night" and it's not that easy. There's actually a lot of training that goes into it. And others will think "oh, this is one of Tierney's weirdo woo-woo friends." And while that's true, she's actually a very accomplished, trained and qualified woo-woo weirdo. And she would have to be, because sometimes these journeys can bring up difficult stuff and she needs to know how to handle that.

Gratuitous shot of the AWESOME Neil deGrasse Tyson & some white light. 
OK, so enough about that. Today's theme was about exploring false limitations. And because I've been doing this for quite some time, I almost immediately go into a subconscious state. By that I mean I go so deep that I don't even know what I'm saying half the time. "Tierney" has left the building. And I'm often shocked at some of the things she tells me that I say. I'm under for maybe 20-30 minutes? I don't know. It seems like a really long time sometimes. So this is a simplistic representation of what happened today.

I started out in this world, on a beach, in a cove. I was sitting at the back of this cove and saw an image in front of me that was, essentially, the statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro. Then the image ripped in half, like you would rip a photograph and a beautiful, white coral staircase appeared on the beach, beckoning me upward. This staircase led to another reality, which was essentially a black hole. I didn't want to stay there, so I went up to another reality and another reality, neither of which were inviting. All had some form of abyss and, while I was safe and on sturdy ground in each one, each was a portal to a world I couldn't see from my vantage point. So I stayed safe.

This is the Jesus I saw...from the back. 
Finally a hummingbird came along to whisk me away to the "top" reality. By that, I mean these realities were shown to me in layers and this was the top layer. Hummingbirds, I found out after the fact, are symbolic of the miracle of life, as well as joy, love and beauty. (Trust me, if I were consciously making all this stuff up, Jesus wouldn't be in it, nor would a hummingbird. And, in fact, I only vaguely remembered any of this upon waking. Which is why she writes stuff down.) 

So the hummingbird flies me to the highest reality and it's all light. At first, I am the darkness that cuts the light. But then the light overtakes me, too. First I lose my body and can feel my distinct consciousness in the light. Then the lines of the consciousness loosen and I *am* the light. Eventually I move out of the light and am part of the cosmos. The "all that is" and I are inseparable now. I am capable of anything and everything. I can do all sorts of tricks. And at that point I say, "now I remember that I always used to be able to do this. And I was good at it. Then the ability (was taken from me.)" The "was taken from me" part is in parentheses. It's what I said, but not really what I meant. At one second in the journey I knew the process of losing the capability, but in the next second I didn't and those were the only words I could think of. I could have just as easily said "I lost it", "I let it go" or anything else. 

The rest of the session was spent floating in that place in the cosmos, pure consciousness. And based on some of the things I said, it would seem that I'm much wiser and more carefree in that state. It was a state of divine detachment and, gratefully, the music that started playing (no kidding) was a lullaby, so I just felt held in "mother's arms" as I experienced the silence and ease of the "all that is". 

But back to false limitations. What this journey came to tell me—and tell all of us—is that there are NO limitations. What we truly are transcends all limitations, including space and time. As I said in the journey, we used to know how to transcend our limitations, but when we came here, we somehow forgot it. That doesn't mean it's not still there within us. Heck, even the fact that we're earthbound humans is a false limitation that somehow got placed on us when we were born. 

I had recently heard someone say that the reason we have seratonin and dopamine and all those brain chemicals is because if we didn't, we'd be scared shitless at the "reality" we'd landed in on this earth journey. I mean, just think of it...going from a place where you are fully at peace, inseparable with the "all that is," to a place where cells, our bodies, our homes, our planet, our beliefs—everything in our "reality"—separates us from who we REALLY are. So this is why most of us are driven to find that oneness again through religion and spirituality.

So that's the thought today. What if there really were nothing to limit you whatsoever? What if you moved through life knowing you held in your hand the creative power of the "all that is"? What if you had the ability transcend even the limitations of having a physical body or being tied to space and time? How would that change things? Are you ready to take that leap?

Monday, January 7, 2013

1/8/13—Checking In

Today's Draw: Aloneness from the Osho Zen Tarot. When was the last time you took stock of who you are and who you've become? Is it possible some of the things you believe about yourself are no longer true? Are you the only architect of your life or has it been shaped by pretty much everyone who's ever had an opinion about you?

For today's draw, and possibly for the entire week, I want to focus on the whole "false limitations" thing we discussed yesterday. Briefly, that was about having notions from the time of childhood that certain realities were not meant for us. We might not even realize that some of these ideas have taken hold...we just pushed certain possibilities aside and never thought of them again. 

The relevance of today's card is that, at some point in our lives, we have to see ourselves from our own frame of reference. You're probably thinking you do that now. And maybe you do. I'm guessing all of us have some sort of self belief that came from someone else, though. Maybe someone described you as gangly when you were young and your self image, weight, exercise routine, choice of clothing, etc., on one level or another, has all been affected by that belief. Being self referenced is shedding all of that and assessing what YOU think of all that. It's not as easy as it sounds, because how do you shed the echoes of 40 years?

Of course, body image is just one of those things. What we talked about yesterday are the things that do or don't limit you from goals in your life. Unless you learned to believe differently, if you were told men didn't like gangly girls, you either fixed your gangliness or believed that romance would always be limited in your life. So maybe you settled for less than you deserved, were too shy to approach the men you were interested in or just focused your energies elsewhere. Over time, it stopped being about being gangly and just became your lot in life. Because you believed it, you created it. 

So today's card is about going inward and really examining what's true about yourself...what you're good at, what you want, what you're capable of, what's not in the cards for you, etc....from YOUR point of reference. From what you know about yourself. 

And this process isn't just a one-time thing, either. What you wanted and believed about yourself at 30 is different than at 40. Our interests change. And even our capabilities change. You may not suddenly become a math whiz, for example, but you may have developed a deeper focus that helps you concentrate on math problems better. And maybe now the person who shouldn't be let near a tax return might be a good person for the job. 

So Aloneness not only reinforces the idea of self-reference, but also of the journey of going within and determining who we are today, rather than just plodding along mindlessly, living a life that someone else helped you define. Of course there will always be influences that color who you are. Your parents, chief among them. But the distinction I'm making is between choosing to adopt those things because they make sense to you and just accepting them as what is. 

Ultimately only one person knows what's best for you and can deliver the contentment you seek. We've spent a lifetime listening to the opinions of others, trying other people's routes, suggesting routes for others and looking over the fence for new ideas. Today's card comes to remind us that the signposts we seek all lie within. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1/7/12—Becoming What You Might Have Been

Today's Draw: Page of Wands from the Art of Life Tarot. What limitations were assumed of you before you even got to know your possibilities? What might have been different in your life had you not believed those limitations? What are you willing to believe of yourself moving forward?

I love the quote from George Eliot on today's card, "it's never too late to be what you might have become." And who better than Mary Anne Evans (aka George Eliot) to deliver that message? She wrote some of the Victorian age's most popular novels—Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner and Middlemarch—under a male name to ensure her work was taken ensure that she would be what she might have become had she not been subject to stereotype about the kind of literature a woman could create. 

I was lucky to grow up with a mother with a successful "man's" career. Her generation was really the first to take the risks of entering a man's world and it forged new possibilities for women. She never allowed the fact that she was a woman to limit her career, but she *was* limited by the fact that she was the mother of six kids and the wife of a high-ranking officer...a wife that's expected to entertain and lead "the ladies". Put it all together, though, and she totally worked her overall potential...successful career, marriage and family. That's rarely truly achieved today, much less in the '60s and '70s. 

So I grew up believing there really were no limitations based on the fact that I was a woman. But in other areas of my life, my parents and my environment offered clues that there were some dreams that just weren't in the cards for me. And just as I bought into knowing that being a woman wouldn't limit me, I bought into believing that there were other aspects of who I was that would. 

This isn't my "cry me a river" story. I think it's the story of every person reading this blog. Maybe you were too short to be taken seriously. Too pretty to be appreciated for your brains. Too opinionated to play the role of a mediator. Too independent to work for the government. Too poor to get out of the 'hood. Or may just not "good enough" at something to be a success at it. 

I doubt any parent or teacher or sibling or other influential person meant to do it. But before you got a chance to really even explore your options for yourself, someone or some situation came around to tell you who you were and who you weren't. What you were suited for and what you weren't. They may not have even said it to your face, but you knew it was there. Concern over your grades. Worries about how you never had any friends. Fears about you being too wild. And this became part of your story for however long. 

So this is what I've been thinking about recently. I have a strong feeling that 2013 is when a lot of things are really going to coalesce for me. And for me to take full advantage of the opportunities that may come my way, I need to determine the amount of truth in some of the things I've been brought to believe—and have chosen to continue to believe—about myself. 

Childhood psychology and modern thought indicate that the things that happen in your life prior to the age of 8 or 10 pretty much shape everything thereafter. So, for example, the loss of a parent at four might have far more wide-reaching effects on who you are than the loss of a parent at the age 13. Both are tragic and pack impact, but your ability to process the impact in healthier ways grows as you do. 

So these things that happen during those impressionable years have a tendency to stick. And, having lived with those beliefs for decades, we may not ever question them. But we should, because chances are those beliefs and limitations are a reflection of someone else's fears about us than actual facts. For every limitation out there, there's someone who bucked it. 

Certainly Oprah heard many times that her weight would keep her from succeeding...or her poor upbringing would keep her from being accepted by a certain part of society. She even tells a story about how her grandmother taught her to scrub floors in preparation for her life as a black woman in American society. I'm sure Oprah's not devoid of false limitations, but she completely defied the most obvious ones. Because she got that they weren't about her. They were about everyone else's fears and limitations.  

So think about the things that are holding you back, whether they're physical, psychological, social, societal, financial or whatever. And really try to trace that belief back to its origins. Is it true? If it was true then, is it true today? And think also about "what you might have been" if it weren't something deemed silly or impractical or impossible at one time in your life. You may find that false beliefs based on someone else's life view could be holding you back from what you might have been. And, like George/Mary Anne says, it's never too late to right that wrong.