Friday, April 26, 2013

4/27/13-4/28/13—Opening to Change

Weekend Reading: Death from the Owls Arcana from Beth Seilonen in the Action position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. The good news is that this duo is not suggesting you die this weekend. And the OTHER good news is that it's actually asking you to change things up a little. Zig where you'd normally zag. That kind of thing. Death is about change and transformation. Something in your life has met the end of its lifecycle and it's making room for something new to take its place. So don't linger over it. Say goodbye to the old and embrace the new. It's all part of the tapestry of life!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

4/26/13—Checking In On That Place No One Can Touch

Today's Draw Classic*: The Nine of Cups in the Pros position from the Maroon Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you aware of a place inside you that no one else can visit, touch or destroy? What possibilities exist in this place? And if you had to gauge the health of this place—how often you feed and exercise it—what kind of shape would it be in?

The Nine of Cups is tarot's "wish card". If you're wondering if you're going to get that job or find that apartment or meet that man, this is the card you want to show up for you. Your wishes will come true. The "Pros" position (opposite of Cons) definitely affirms you'll get your wish. You tell that to someone in a reading, though, and they'll think all their bad days will over and life will coast from here on on. But we've all gotten our wishes before and wished we had wished better, right?

Something this combo made me think of today is that, in the absence of anything else, we always have our hopes and our dreams. We always have that place where we can conjure perfect worlds fulfilled by wishes. We always have that garden of abundance that man is sitting in. And we always have a capacity for gratitude that can bring us to tears. 

This is a weird confession and something I don't think I've ever told anyone else. When I was a child, I used to contemplate the possibility of being taken captive and put into solitary confinement, or for some reason having to wander the earth on my own. Could I survive that? Could I live without interacting with people? I weighed these questions heavily and usually came out cautiously optimistic that I could withstand extreme isolation if needed.

Now, I have NO idea why this thought would ever cross my mind, but it actually did quite often. Maybe it was because my mother would often find any excuse she could to send us to our rooms...just to get us out of her hair. She was also prone to forget that she'd sent us to our solitary confinement...haha. So an hour later or whatever, we'd creep out of our rooms, peek down through the railing and cautiously try to gauge the situation...perhaps even quietly call out to her to see if she was paying attention. 

So that could be it. Or it could be some past-life memory from a time when I spent extended periods alone. In fact, I once had a past-life regression where I was a solitary hunter person with no tribe. I basically died frozen and starving. 

Or it could be because I really kind of like being alone. One of my brothers and I were the introverts in a family of extroverts. There were six of them and just two of us. We were generally the only ones that got our own spaces—me because I was the youngest and too young to share a room with my sisters. And my brother because, like Gollum, he was happy to inhabit any dark, damp corner of the house, just so long as you left him alone there. 

The reason why I thought I would fare well is because I'm really good at entertaining myself, thinking up stories and shutting the outside world away. In reality, as an adult, I know I need some interaction. But back then, I didn't really know it. I was a generally lonesome child, slow to make friends and we moved every two years, so I never had much chance to form attachments. Of course, you wouldn't think this of me from the outside looking in, but we're all lonelier on the inside than we are on the outside, aren't we?

But there was something else. From this young age, I also somehow knew that we all had a place within us that others can't touch or control or ever take away from us. We could be sent to our rooms indefinitely, we could be mocked and teased at school, have our world uprooted every two years, conform to rules of propriety and get shoehorned into some vision of normalcy by society, but one thing nobody can ever touch is that personal place inside us. That place where we can escape into ourselves. That place where anything is possible. 

What I was really weighing back then was the strength of this place against all the slings and arrows of life. As a child I thought it would be hard, but that the spirit of hope and magic and possibility would always win. That its little oasis of abundance, comfort and peace would always hold arms wide open. As an adult, I can see where this place can be snuffed out of a person in extreme conditions—through psychological terror or torture of some sort. But I still believe it's indomitable. Eternal. 

Some might call it the "self". Some might call it the "soul". But it's our greatest weapon—a gift from the universe to help us withstand what can often be a cruel world. And it seems to me that it can get lost under the debris of everyday life, numbed by our obsessions and compulsions and neglected as a "childish thing". But it could one day be the rope that saves us from falling into the abyss. So if you haven't seen yours lately, go and open up that creaky door, oil the hinges and let the poor sucker come out into the light once again. 

*Taken from a post on 1/28/13

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

4/25/13—Blocking Romance

Today's Draw: Three of Swords from the Deviant Moon in the What You Can't Change That's Blocking Romance position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you pretty much decided upon remaining single? Do you have a reason why? Whether you're in relationship or not, do you find you protect yourself from the downsides of love?

My daily process is that I choose a card or three at random from the Deck of 1000 Spreads then, more often than not, I worry that the tarot deck I choose will fail to make sense in the context of the convoluted position I've established. And you know what? It always DOES make sense. 

Take this Three of Swords, for example. This three-legged woman has had her heart pierced and broken by love. Perhaps it was something her partner failed to say, or insisted upon doing...or was incapable of feeling. But there she stands, a storm looming in the distance, distressed and with a single black tear issuing from her eye. She touches the tip of one sword—can she bear any more pain? Has she now lost her capacity to love forever?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting with a man and woman and, on our drive over, the topic of conversation was whether or not it was even worth it to couple anymore. As they lamented all the work and heartache that went into building a relationship, just to have each successive one fail, they were preaching to the choir. All three of us had full lives without partners. And they were 15-20 years younger than me and invested in building their careers.

I found it interesting that these two, very attractive specimens of the "younger generation" were discovering what I discovered at their age—I'd rather be content and balanced as a single person than subject to the expectations and heartaches of coupledom. But I also felt a little like I should warn them...warn them that you become so comfortable after 20 years of solitary living and casual flirtations that you can become somehow "unfit" for relationship...haha. I mean, if you think it's a pain in the ass when you're 30, wait until you're 50. 

Further, when you're thirty-something, there are still casual encounters to be had...there's still a pool from which you can draw. That pool gets narrower and harder to find the older you get—and still narrower and harder to find the more set in your ways you get. 

Still, I don't lament my choice. It was absolutely right for me. And my life's not over yet. There may still be a "love of my life" to eclipse whichever man I would consider so today. 

But when I think back on what started my "relationship apathy", I guess I'd have to say that I was just tired of investing my time and energy into relationships that eventually left me hurt and healing. Let's say you're with someone for a year or so and it takes a year to recover enough from all the dashed dreams (I'm a slow healer...haha) before you're actually anxious to go out on another date. You have to look back on all of that and ask "were those two years I spent out of balance—first in the excitement of a new love, then in seeking balance with a new love, then in riding the disagreements, then in the decline of the relationship and then in the post-relationship healing—worth the good times I had?" For me, the answer kept coming up as "no."

The thing about love is that you can't avoid having your heart broken. Even couples that have survived 50 years of marriage and are still in love have had their share of heartbreaks along the way. So if you let heartbreak deter you from romance, it's always going to block your way. You can't change the fact that there will be hurt, feelings of betrayal, etc. 

When I look at the enviable relationships around me—I was blessed by parents that hung in there till death did they part—they all worked through these disappointments and heartbreaks. It's not because their relationships WEREN'T challenged that they lasted so long, it's because they WERE. 

I can't speak for my young colleagues, but I can see where the prospect of disappointment, pain and heartache are blocking romance for me. I mean, if Prince Charming came along and was so magnetic and persistent that I couldn't say no, like you see in all the Lifetime movies, then I would probably dive in. But you've watched Lifetime movies before, right? They're, at best, loosely based on reality...haha. So for now, I'm not really interested or prepared to accept someone in my life. And, like today's draw has pointed out, until I'm ready to accept the inevitability of disappointment, pain and heartbreak mixed in with all the rest of what a romantic relationship can be, I'll never be. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4/24/13—Being Alone When You're Together

Today's Draw: The Hermit from the Pen Tarot in the Action to Take With Your Partner position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Does your partner sometimes feel "absent"? Whether single or attached, do you often feel lonely? When was the last time you took as good care of yourself as you do everyone else?

I recently went on an awesome day trip with a couple of my friends. And one of them mentioned something she'd heard about the secret to keeping a relationship going. And it was this: 

Learn to be alone when you're together and together when you're alone. 

You really have to put some thought into that for it to sink in. Being alone when you're together is about having separate interests and not depending on the other person to fill your time....or fill your life. 

I think that's an easy trap people fall into when they get married or coupled. They think "now I'll never have to be alone". They stop pursuing singular interests because they feel being married means you turn your time over to your partner. In some cases, being partnered for some is a way out of ever having to be alone with oneself and look within. The truth is, however, that there's never a circumstance in your life in which you won't have to be alone. Moreover, you may have others gathered all around you and still FEEL alone if you lose your identity and your singularity to a relationship. 

Life is a solitary journey. And we can have companions along the way, but we can't push the responsibility of driving our journey off on anyone else. Well, we can, but we won't get far. We came here for a purpose that serves our soul and we need to nurture that relationship, too, in order to fulfill our purpose. 

Another thing I see especially women doing is putting everything "me" aside for their children. Of course there's a line you need to walk, but for some it seems like being alone and having alone things to do is a betrayal to the children. They feel like they have to be there and be available to the children at all times. But what they're really doing is teaching their children how to abandon their own needs for the needs of others further on in their lives...that the only time someone's needs are important is when they're children. Either that or they're setting their children up for disappointment in a world that doesn't stop to handle their every need.

In my opinion, being alone—being singular and nurturing an identity that doesn't revolve around anyone else—is a skill we all need to master in our lives, just as being with others is. Neither of those skills should be left to atrophy in a lifetime. Whenever you FEEL lonely in life, it's wise to ask which of those two things you've been neglecting. 

The second part of "learn to be alone when you're together and together when you're alone" is the ability to carry another in your heart and consider them even if they're not there. Again, you don't want to be so dependent on someone that you have to be with them physically to feel their love, nor do you want to be so independent that they and their needs cease to exist when you're not together. But you do want to be able to venture out in your aloneness without feeling lonely. 

As a person who spends a lot of time alone, being together when you're alone is important in any kind of relationship. When you're navigating life as a single person, it's easy to feel alone when you're not. There are plenty of people out there to reach out to if you let yourself do that. 

Ultimately, the words on this Hermit card sum it up, "what is bliss, and which the way?" Bliss can happen in many ways in our lives. It can come through another and it can also come through ourselves. We owe it to ourselves and others to nourish and model both ways. Both are tools essential to life. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

4/23/13—Seeking Abundance

Today's Draw Classic*: The Ten of Pentacles from the Art of Life Tarot. Are your time and energy eaten by things you don't enjoy? Do have enough time to do the things you enjoy? Is it time for a priority makeover?

The quote on this card from John Petit Senn reads, "Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance." This quote is accompanied (haha) by a Renoir of two girls playing the piano, just living life. 

We're raised and socialized to work hard so that we'll have "enough". And as soon as we have enough, we see a different "enough" that we need to have. And so on. We don't even think about it. Our quest is automatic. Either that, or we're afraid we won't have enough "if"...if we lose our jobs, if the stock market crashes, whatever. So we hoard and always feel we need more. It's like we've been programmed to think of abundance in terms of money and things, when it's really about experiences and feelings. 

Today I was thinking about how I have "enough" to take care of this third dog (*this was originally written before I adopted Mystic*) for as long as I'm fostering her. I have enough money, patience, love. And I was also thinking about what I gotten in return. I get to a hero in this little girl's life. And I get to be her surrogate until her real mommy comes along. PLUS I get Kizzie and Magick. And my Best Clients Ever™ and Best Job Ever®. AND I got a really special email from a friend today. 

And the literal icing on the cake was that I saw these Pillsbury orange sweet rolls at the Safeway. I NEVER buy stuff like that, but I decided to today. I checked the date on the can and I had until late November to eat them. So I figured I'd save them for just the right craving. And you know what? I dropped them on the ground getting them out of my car and the tube ever so slightly popped. They would have to be baked pronto or rot!

Is my life great or what??! But it's not like I'm being showered with money while in a hot tub with a nekkid Gilles Marini or anything like that. It's just a normal, ordinary day. No windfalls or surprise packages in the mail. Just the stuff I love all around me. 

I remember when I first moved into my house. I was really good at keeping everything neat, clean and trim. But then I realized, I hated being neat, clean and trim. I'd rather be doing something else. This was a case of putting what I had in front of what I enjoy. This house? It's just a thing. A really ADORABLE thing that I love, but just a thing. If I had to choose between this house and my dogs...this house and my career...this house and my hobbies....this house and my spirituality...this house would lose. 

So, assuming I do the needed upkeep, who cares if the windows need washing? Who cares if the bushes out front are a little bushy? I realized one day that I never even look at my house from the outside...haha. My neighbors do, but I don't. So I should be breaking my back for THEIR view? I hired yard dudes. I do the gardening once or twice a year...enough to keep me from being the scourge of the neighborhood. I fix what's broken. Replace what's old. And let perfection I can focus on what I enjoy. The people across the street? They enjoy their yardwork. So they're out there every weekend doing it. And I get a good view of their yard while I'm in here enjoying all manner of writing, crafting and whatnot. 

So think about some of the things that are eating your time and energy. Do you enjoy them? Or is there something you'd rather be doing? Trust me, you don't HAVE to clean the house this weekend. Just don't invite anyone over next week and no one will be the wiser. Fill yourself with the abundance of enjoying what you and I'll bet you won't even care. 

*Taken from 9/26/12

Sunday, April 21, 2013

4/22/13—Being True to Yourself

Today's Draw: Justice from the Art of Life Tarot in the Negative Influences to Avoid position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you catch yourself sometimes being untrue to nature? As you get older, do you find yourself becoming more yourself? What have you been denying yourself by "playing the game" (or do you simply deny ever playing it to begin with)?

As a tarot reader, I don't reversals. Which is to say that, when you turn a card over and it's upside down, I don't read it any differently than if it showed itself right side up. A lot of tarot readers do read the cards differently in these instances, and the meanings are roughly the opposite (or less well aspected) of the meanings they'd be right side up.

Anyway, today's draw is why I don't read reversals. To me, in a reading, there are plenty of opportunities to read a card the opposite of the way its meant to be read. For example, we wouldn't normally consider "being yourself" something negative or something to avoid. So this is a case in which you read the card the opposite. What to avoid? NOT being yourself. 

Did I just hopelessly confuse everyone? I hope not. Because "being yourself" is also not the usual meaning of Justice...haha. But it is in this deck, as evidence by the quote "to thine own self be true."

In many ways, life teaches us to be "false" to ourselves. When people say, "how are you today?", the expected answer is "fine, and you?" Meanwhile, we may actually have a bad headache and not really give a damn how the other person is feeling. 

But it goes beyond this. Somewhere along the line, we learned that there are things you don't say in polite society. There are things you never admit to others. Things you hide from the neighbors. Things you hide from the family. There are clothes you shouldn't wear. Ways you shouldn't be. Things that are better left unsaid. The weak pretend to be tough. The smart pretend not to know it all. The angry pretend to be otherwise, while silently simmering within. We don't talk about money. We don't talk about religion. We don't talk to strangers....phew! By the time you get past all the things you shouldn't say, reveal or be, how could anyone be "true"?

I think the older we get, the closer we get to being who we truly are. We drop the facade and say "eff it. If you don't like me as I am, then step aside." At 50, I'm kind of getting there. Which could frighten people. Because I think, in some ways, I've always shown the side that people normally hide...haha. So what do I have left to reveal?

But I think we come to a point in life where the weight of the facade is just too heavy to bear. There comes a time when trying to think up a "nice response" just takes too much energy. And we reach the place where we no longer want to be around fake people who like us because we're being fake with them. 

Perhaps that's why the creators of the Art of Life tarot chose a self portrait of Van Gogh as the visual to pair with this quote. Because the weight of being what everyone expects you to be and what polite society accepts can drive you mad. Which is why this card is's the price you pay for not being yourself. 

Every time I think I've learned the lesson of being true to myself, I get caught in some sort of situation where I've said yes to something for reasons other than I wanted to. Or where I've somehow bent too far to accommodate something. This is an issue we learn to put on in layers from an early age. And it's one we learn to take off in layers as we reach our later years. Which begs me to wonder, what do we do it for in the first place anyway?