Friday, March 15, 2013

3/16/13-3/17/13—Ending a Past Life Cycle

Weekend Reading: The Relationship Problem Stems from a Past Life from the Deck of 1000 Spreads "oracle" (read about it here). Some relationships are difficult. Especially when a friend, coworker or lover has done you wrong "for no reason at all". Sometimes it helps to consider, "what if this were a past life issue? What if I were the wrong-doer in a past life and this is just karma kicking me in the butt?" That's what the Deck of 1000 Spreads suggests you think about this weekend. The reason past-life cycles keep repeating is because we keep responding in a certain way life after life. You have the opportunity to end this particular cycle with this particular person this weekend by coming up with a more forgiving and compassionate response than the one you're currently considering. Surprise even yourself with your grace. Your future life you will thank you for it. :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

3/15/13—Asking Yourself Three Questions

Today's Draw: Knight of Masts from Beth Seilonen's Fishy Tarot in the Resolution position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you have a passion for life? What is your life's mission statement? And are you in alignment with it?

The Knight of Masts is a crusader for passion and that which lights a fire in your belly. He may not always get there quickly....he's riding a snail, after all. But he knows he will get there eventually because he is very goal oriented and never loses sight of what's important. 

Would that we could all say the same. 

In one of the books/ebooks I plan to write, Spiritual Self Employment, one of the things I advise self employed people to do is to write a mission statement of what they want to get out of their job. For copywriting, mine includes the idea of writing on a variety of topics that challenge my skill, strategic knowledge and creativity. And also to do it for people who appreciate my effort. 

There have been a couple of times over the past 15 years when I've needed to revisit that mission statement in order to make tough, but healthy changes in my client list. What held me back is that, at times, the clients I was considering walking away from were my biggest ones. Having that mission statement helped, because it says nothing about money and everything about the things that make me happy. All of a sudden, a tough decision becomes simple. Mission statements keep you focused. 

So the Knight of Masts in the position of Resolution is telling us that one of the questions we should ask ourselves when we're struggling over a decision is, "Does this support my passion for life?" The way to resolve any problem is really to hold it up to that question. And because "resolution" has a double meaning, we should resolve to pursue only that which fuels our happiness and passion for life. 

That's sort of a mission statement for life, isn't it? "My mission is to seek and support my passion for life." The way I see it, "passion for life" has three sub-questions to consider: 

• Does it support my comfortable survival? You need water, shelter, food, general health and wellbeing to survive comfortably. If you're short on any one of those things, your focus on the pursuit of passion in your life will be challenged. So by comfortable, I don't mean material comfort in the sense of living plush. I mean the mental and physical ease that comes from having enough to survive. 

• Does is support something I'm passionate about? Lots of people have less than fabulous jobs. But if that job is bankrolling top-of-the-line scrapbooking supplies so you can spend time every day or every week scrapbooking your heart out, then it supports something you're passionate about. If you work too many hours to ever enjoy a minute of scrapbooking, then you need to question why you continue do it. A lesser paying job may give you the time you need to pursue your passion. 

This isn't just about your job, though. When you consider your relationships, commitments and other obligations in life, hold them to this test. And if you hate your career but it supports your passion, stop looking it from the angle of how much you hate it. Look at it from the position of how much it allows you to do. Your thoughts are also subject to this question. If your thoughts don't support your passion for life, then they need to change. 

Do I do it out of love? Sometimes we do things we're not passionate about and don't support our survival. Speaking to your daughter's class on career day is one of them. Going to Open Mike Night to watch your husband play the same song you've been hearing all week is another. Picketing a local chicken farmer to promote animal rights is another. And, frankly, doing things like working out and eating tofu is another. There are things you do out of love—for someone dear to you, for a cause close to your heart or for yourself. Those things also fuel your passion for life. If you're doing something just because you have to—or if you act obligated even though it's serving a passion—you're not doing anyone any favors. 

One of my passions is something I talk about a lot on this blog. It's about living consciously and responsibly. And what I mean by that is, ask yourself questions. Don't just keep doing something because you did it yesterday. Ask yourself if it's still relevant. Ask yourself if it serves you. Things that are on the way out of relevance in your life will show their face because they will become painful to continue doing. And many of us will continue to do them anyway. If it doesn't fill the three criteria outlined above, it's time for a change. 

And the second part is to live responsibly. Say you've agreed to a career in accounting. And it's not a passion of yours, but it keeps you in kibble and after-hours pursuits, don't whine about it. Refocus and see how it IS serving your passion. And if you choose not to use the financial and time resources it offers you, that's your fault. Not the career's.  

Everything in your life is there because either a) you put it there or b) you choose to keep it there. Everything that's missing in your life is missing because of you, too. So if you're missing something in your life, put the energy that you spend bemoaning its absence into making it real. If you're not happy with something you do have your life, put it to the three questions. If you answer yes to any of them, then take responsibility for the purpose it serves and give it the energy and appreciation it deserves. If you answer no to all three, then take responsibility for that and make a change. If you're not doing it for survival, passion or love, why continue to waste your time?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3/14/13—Seeking Moments of Joyful Distraction

Today's Draw: The Eight of Amphorae from the Sola Busca in the Positive Influences position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you sometimes feel like life is a long string of obligations and errands? Are you task-oriented, saving the little distractions of life for a time when your plate is clear? What can you do today to bring a moment of joy into your life?

The mailman delivered this very special deck today. It's special for a number of reasons. First, it's a faithful reproduction of a deck that was created in 1490. I'd heard of the Sola Busca before, but didn't know a whole lot about it. We often consider the Rider Waite to be the first deck that had fully illustrated pip cards (the cards numbered 1-10 in each suit). But it turns out the Sola Busca was the more than 400 years. 

Another cool thing is that this deck came to me from Italy. It's always fun to receive a package from a foreign country. And it's extra fun because my mailman knows how anxiously I await these packages. One time I wasn't home when he came to deliver one and I tracked him down along his route and begged for the package. This amused him. 

Anywho, I'm telling you all of this for a reason. Because the meaning for this card in this deck is "a moment of joyful distraction." Tarot gives me many of those moments. I get one when I look through a deck for the first time. Or when I'm teaching a class. Or giving a reading. Or even just chatting with someone else who is as into tarot as I am. These moments of joyful distraction are definitely positive influences in our lives. 

I'm a pretty task oriented kind of person. So if the goal is to go grocery shopping, that's what I do. I don't dawdle. I don't  hit a few shops before I get to the grocery store—unless, of course, I have errands to run there. I'm just in and out and home. 

But right next to my grocery store is a magical land called the Hollin Hall Variety Store. Anyone who has ever been there will tell you it's full of moments of joyful distraction. It's an old-time variety store with a little of everything in it. One of my favorite things is to have something in mind to shop for and see if they have it. They always do. I don't know how they do it. I thought I was going to finally stump them one day when I needed a tiara. But no. They had three to choose from! 

Thing is, I never go there unless I need something. I go to the grocery store right next door and as I'm walking through the parking lot, I think "I wish I needed something at the Variety Store." But I don't. So I don't visit. Isn't that silly?

Chances are you might rob yourself of joyful distractions in your day, too. Sometimes a new tarot deck will sit here for a couple of days before I look through it. Or I'll drive past a place I want to investigate while running errands and choose not to stop. Sure, we all need to get stuff done. But letting moments of joyful distraction pass us by cheats us out of life! I'd rather my tombstone say "she never let a joyful moment pass her by" than "she got all her errands done"....haha. 

So that's what today's draw has come to remind us of today...that life needs to be lived and enjoyed in between the errands and obligations and needs of daily life. And we need to do it as often as possible. Some of these things, like the Variety Store, will still be there when you get around to it. But really, is that the way we should be living...putting joy on the bottom of our priority list? What can you do to bring a moment of joy into your life today?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3/13/13—Deceiving Yourself Over and Over Again

Today's Draw: Fool in the House of Snake from the Tarot of the Tattoo Age and my Deck of Lenormand Houses. Do you feel like you keep repeating the same cycles over and over in your life? Do you feel like you're being eaten alive by the hounds of hell? And are you just really tired of it?

Usually when we see The Fool, he's tripping happily along the path with his little dog nipping at his heels unaware of the leap he's about to make. But this Fool is different. He's clearly drug addled, confused and being ripped apart by wolves. Which happens to fit nicely with the House of Snake...the house of lies and deception. 

What this pair reminds me of is that vicious cycle we get into where we keep repeating the same frustrating patterns all the time. For example, you keep encountering jerks on your path to your goal. Or you keep getting bosses that don't respect you. Or you seem to have friends that are always running late. 

It seems like the cycle is THEIR problem. After all, it's not anything you're doing. They're being the jerks, the disrespectors, the inconsiderates. Right?

Well, um, no. This is where the House of Snake comes in. Because you're deceiving yourself. 

See, you're attracting these people into your life. You're allowing the behavior. They're mirroring SOMEthing back at you. It's possible your ability to clearly communicate your boundaries, needs and deal-breakers is even courting this kind of thing. 

Be gone by the time your late friend shows up a couple of times and she may start to be on time. Or lie to her about what time to meet you and see if that doesn't fix the problem. Or stop meeting her without another friend present and, when she does show up, tell her you were talking about her the entire time she was late..haha. Or just dump her disrespectful arse. You're not powerless over this stuff. Yet if you lament the presence of it continuing in your life without making any changes in your own behavior, you are playing victim to it. It's an ugly word nobody likes to cop to, but it's true. 

Problems don't exist outside of us. They exist within us. For every challenge that comes our way we have choices. How am I going to respond to this? Am I going to allow this to happen again? Is this acceptable? Should I just walk away right now? All of those are options. We don't have to respond the way we did last time this happened. In fact, we SHOULD respond differently, because that's the only way we can create change in the future. 

Listen, we all do it. I have a couple of things that keep coming back around to me. I do change my behavior and try different things. But it still keeps coming around. There's a lesson I'm not learning. And every time I whine about it, I know I'm playing the victim. After all, I'm the common denominator every time the issue occurs...haha. Any math buff will tell you that when you change the common denominator, you'll get a different solution. ;)

Some lessons happen fairly quickly and we stop the pattern in our life relatively painlessly. And some we shave away it slowly over a lifetime. I think these ones that keep coming back around in my life are like that. For me, they're about boundaries. And each time I make an adjustment, more respectful people enter my life. I'm learning those lessons in layers as I'm learning to respect myself. Turns out their disrespect for me mirrors my own. 

So if you wonder why you're always meeting jerks or people are always doing you wrong, its within your power to change it. It's probably a boundaries issue, but could also be a behavioral issue in that people get pissy with you when you get pissy with them, for example. And if you don't keep responding differently than you did last time to shave away at or change the cycle, then the problem's not with them at all. It's definitely with you. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

3/12/13—Loving the Hard Love

Today's Draw: Ace of Cups in the What to Know position from the Sola Busca Revisited by Elaine Wilkinson and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you know love? Can you feel it for a stranger? Can you feel it for your enemies?

If you took today's cards literally and simply, they'd say "love is what to know". Yeah, yeah. I know what you're thinking..."phew, I can skip today's post because I know love." 

But don't exit the building just yet, missy. Because I say back to you, "naw, you only know easy love." 

*ducking to evade all the rotten tomatoes being thrown at me by members of the local chapter of Spouses of Difficult Spouses*

Truth is, "easy love" is all that's expected from us in this life. Opening our heart to God or Oprah is easy. Gazing lovingly at our children and pets is easy. And, hard as it may seem sometime, wishing goodwill for our partners is easy. 

What's slightly hard is loving yourself. Harder still is loving a stranger you've never met. But the really hard thing is to look into the eyes who has hurt or harmed you and wish them the same joy you wish for yourself. 

When I pulled today's pair, I immediately thought of the Buddhist practice of loving kindness or metta bhavana. This practice is key to the Buddhist religion and cultivates goodwill for all living beings. For you and me, doing a metta meditation can be a very emotional and enlightening practice.  

The guided meditation from Sharon Salzberg on this page will take you through the steps:

Basically you visualize different people, open your hearts to them and wish them goodwill and happiness, as you would wish for yourself. It starts out with the easy people...people you already care for. And it gets harder as you move toward people who have hurt you. Ultimately you open your heart in love and goodwill to all beings on earth. 

This meditation can be a good way to let of issues you have with a particular person. It's also a good way to give yourself an attitude adjustment when you hate life. And, done regularly, it can really up the ante on your spiritual practice. Few things compare with the ability to love all sentient beings. 

We're all familiar with the common kinds of love—familial, platonic, romantic, motherly/fatherly, god-centered. These kinds of love flow through us effortlessly and are usually returned. But I think we can't really KNOW love until we know how to love universally and without the kind of payback we're used to receiving. 

When you love everything, most things don't even know you're loving them. So don't expect them to send you flowers. But do expect it to change the way you see your world and what it reflects back at you.