Friday, May 17, 2013

5/18/13-5/19/13—Living Your Higher Truth

Weekend Reading: Elephant, Bearer of Justice from the Animal Wisdom Tarot. The guidebook for this deck points out something interesting. Justice, being at the center of the Major Arcana, shifts us from the physical world into the spiritual. And it advises us to do what is right and that which is a true reflection of ourselves. So this weekend do just that. And if you find yourself doing something you'd rather not admit is a true reflection of yourself, note that. Sometimes we find ourselves caught in outdated patterns that reflect a part of ourselves we've been working to leave behind. And sometimes we just don't realize what our actions say about us. So be a conscious observer this weekend. And if you find yourself doing something you'd be ashamed to say reflects your true being, make a different choice. Choose to live your higher truth. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

5/17/13—Uncovering Your Inner Camel

Today's Draw: Camel, Seeker of Branches in the You position from the Animal Wisdom Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. When was the last time someone told you something compelling about who you are? Did you agree with them? And what would you say if I told you you were a camel?

You know there's an issue when you have Amazon Prime shipping and you forget you ordered something by the time it arrives. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this deck. And when I opened it, I was even more surprised. It's a really nice deck. 

A "seeker" in this deck is a Knight, and "branches" are Wands. But I like the phrase "seeker of branches". It sounds somehow noble and "special". It makes me want to know what it means and what it has to do with me. 

Last Sunday a woman gave me an energy healing and when it was done she said, "they told me you are someone who fills in the spaces between things." By "they" she meant the healing spirits or guides that come to her when she performs her healings. I wasn't expecting a message from spirit on top of my healing, but when I got this one, I was intrigued. Now I've been thinking about it all week. 

The most obvious meaning of it is what I do for a living. As a consultant, I fill in gaps of manpower or expertise. That's what I do. When an agency needs a writer who is a subject matter expert or when a company doesn't have the right writer—or enough writers—on staff to handle the workload, they call me. So I literally fill in the spaces. 

Then last night the man who interviewed me on the radio said that he and I both lived "in between" or something like that. By that, I think he meant that we ventured into that space between humans and spirit. For him, I think that meant he was a medium. For me, I think it's about the writing I do here...filling in that gap between seeking and understanding. It's a flattering thought. 

Even in my advertising job I feel like the words and ideas come from someplace other than me. I'm sure there's something you do where you lose all sense of space and time. Maybe it's gardening. Or painting.  Or some other passion. When we go into "the zone", I think we're actually occupying that space between human and spirit. So that's another I might fill in the spaces with my writing. 

Anyway, all of this is to say that it's always interesting and valuable to hear people tell you who you are...when they're not screaming at you, that is...haha. Because sometimes they have things to say that, as long as you've known yourself, you've never considered about yourself before. So when today's "You" card came up with the compelling "Seeker of Branches" label, it reminded me of that. In what way might you be a camel or a seeker of branches? Frankly, it could mean anything. 

So I could tell you what the deck's creator meant by that, but I think it would be more fun for you figure out how you might be a seeker of branches for yourself. After all, the card came up for YOU. What does that mean to you? Are the branches branches of peace? Are they handholds to cling on to? Are they full of fruit? Are you a genealogist? A river explorer? 

And if that fails to inspire you, how are you like the camel? Do you persevere through harsh environments? Do you see life from a higher perspective? Do you have vast inner reserves? Are you a beast of burden? What? 

It's rare to have someone tell you who you are in a way that sets you off on a fresh journey of discovery. I got that gift this week and now I'm giving it to you. We're all seeking something and in some way, we're all a seeker of branches...and we're all a camel. Look at yourself this way and see if you can find something about yourself you never really knew before. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

5/16/13—Taking the Hardest Step

Today's Draw Classic*: Two of Wands from the Art of Life Tarot. Are you ready to leave a part of yourself behind? Have you made the decision to make it happen yet? Or are you still not ready to leave the comfort of where you are?

Today you get a classic post because I'll be guesting on an internet radio program during the time I usually write this post. If you want to listen, the show will be archived. Click this text to listen. 

Now to today's draw...The Two of Wands is a card of surveying possibilities and making plans. But sometimes we can get stuck in the process of surveying, planning, dreaming, envisioning and wishing, and never end up moving forward. And the reason for that is the J. P. Morgan quote on today's card:

"The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are."

It sounds so simple, but it's really kind of hard. Where we are is predictable. It's safe. It's easy. We know how to maneuver it. And it keeps us in our "story"...the one we discussed yesterday. 

We have grand visions of where we want to go. We put our energy into looking forward. And it would great if we could close the door on who we are once we've landed safely in who we want to be. But we can't. We have to leap into that in-between world where one door is closed and the other is not yet open. 

There are times I'm very willing to enter that realm. And there are other times I cling to tightly to where I am out of fear of either the failure or success of who I want to be. At times like that, it's good to be reminded that we can't step forward without making that decision to lift one foot up and leave where we've been resting for so long. 

And the word "decision" is key. It's the difference between "trying" and "doing". Once you've made a decision, you have to move forward. The good news is that it's usually the hardest single step you'll make on the way to your dreams. 

*Taken from a post on 11/27/12

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5/15/13—Claiming Your Power

I will be interviewed on an internet radio program Wednesday night at 7pm Eastern US about spirituality, my deck, breaking the rules, manifestation and more. The show will be archived if you miss it live. I hope you'll tune in. Details can be found here.

Today's Draw: Eight of Swords from the Victorian Romantic in the What to Avoid position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Where do feel stuck in your life? What are you hoping will happen to make you unstuck? Do you have a plan?

In all its many artistic interpretations, the Eight of Swords usually depicts someone "trapped" in a situation they can easily get out of. Look at the picture. Are those ropes holding her wrists together really that inescapable? Is she being poorly taken care of? Does she look like the victim of anything?

At first glance, the picture seems to portray a woman held against her will, but the more you study the details, the more comical her situation appears. Now what if I told you it's likely the same picture is present somewhere in your life?

I'm stuck in this job. 
I can't leave my husband. 
I don't have the time. 
That is too difficult for me. 
Quitting smoking is too hard. 
I can't meditate. 
I can't move forward.

Those are just a few of the things we tell ourselves to remain trapped in a less-than-satisfying life. They're all excuses. And people hate this word, but they're all the statements of a victim. Reality is....

I choose to stay in this job until the economy improves. 
I'm afraid of all the uncertainties involved with leaving my husband. 
I don't want to give anything up in order to make the time. 
I'm not willing to put in the effort to learn something new. 
I choose to continue to yield to my nicotine addiction. 
I tried meditating once and it didn't work, so I won't try again. 
I choose to remain tied to the past. 

The first set of statements identify you as powerless over your life or situation. They make you a victim. The second set of statements acknowledge your power, as well as your choice to continue the unfulfilling behavior. And until you acknowledge that it's a choice, nothing will ever change for you. 

There won't be any knights riding in on white horses. There is no secret force out there looking to save you from anything. The fairy tales we read as children are charming but they've also screwed us up. We believe in Cinderella and Prince Charming and happily ever after. And all throughout our lives, movies and books and other influences reinforce these things as truth. 

So when they don't happen to us, we wonder why....another victimized way of thinking. We choose to believe it because we want to believe it. So we look around us and think we see it in pictures or over the fence, but again, we're victimizing ourselves. It doesn't exist. Life doesn't happen to you. A fairy godmother doesn't come along and sprinkle you with dust and suddenly everything's ok. 

There are good people out there who will help you if you ask them, but the only hero—the only savior—you're going to come across in life is yourself. And the best way to start is to re-language the things in your life that seem insurmountable. The more you "save yourself", the more you see how magical and powerful you truly are. Claim your power to create positive change in your life and do it soon. Because the one thing worse than doing the hard work of creating change is continuing to live a powerless life subject to the whims of outside forces. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

5/14/13—Checking In With Your Superpower

Today's Draw: Strength from the Art of Life Tarot in the Lesson position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. What superpowers have you developed in your lifetime? Are they impervious to attack? Or could something quietly worm its way in just enough for a speck of kryptonite to flow in?

I have this really cool superpower. I can allow certain types of thoughts and fears (certainly not all types...I'm not THAT good) to pass through my mind with non-judgment. By that, I mean that instead of entertaining a fear and allowing it to swirl out of control in my head, I can note it and let it flow out of my head as quickly as it flowed in. I don't judge it true or false, good or bad, scary or pleasant. It is what it is. A thought.

This is a superpower, because I used to be one of those people who over thinks things and worries and allows fears to take over. Then through divine means (and a long-lived meditation practice combined with conscious discipline), I found myself nearly impervious to fear-based, catastrophic thinking when it came to money, my career, my creative talents and other aspects of the professional part of my life. I did this just in time to become a freelance writer, supporting a rag-tag pack of dogs through two recessions and countless other challenges. 

See, there are consultants who get gigs that last for six months with guaranteed income. Then there are consultants who earn their mortgage a quarter-hour at a time. I'm the latter. It can be hard to survive as the latter in a competitive, uncertain landscape like advertising. I know of very few people in the marketplace who have lasted as long as I (as an aging single person in a young man's game with no other stream of income or support.) I say all of this not to brag, but to paint a picture of how truly awesome my superpower is, and yet how vulnerable it can be under the right conditions. 

See, this weekend I was minding my own business when I inadvertently allowed a couple of fear-based, self defeating thoughts to creep into my head in regard to my capability, competence and future as a creative writer. It's not like I came into contact with kryptonite or anything. It was the same kind of stimuli that had bounced off my brain of steel many times in the past. But somehow, something breached the perimeter and started working on me. So the timing of this Strength card with the Francis Bacon quote, "He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity," is perfect. It reminds me why certain things happen. Without being tested you forget a superpower is a superpower. 

Ordinary powers are made to be weakened and compromised. Those tests are usually obvious...the invitation to the candy gala right after you give up sweets for lent. But superpower tests have to be sneaky. They must appear non-threatening and insignificant. Then, once inside your head, they swell up like a tick, feeding on your confidence until one day, boom!, your brain explodes. :D

Adversity comes to us for a reason. It shows us where we've left ourselves open...or where we've lost our vigilance. It's the first Seal Team...the one that opens the door just wide enough for the second Seal Team to roll the kryptonite in. So this weekend I had some pre-adversity. It didn't really work. I was over it by today. But it was working on working. 

For you it could be the thought that sends you in a downward spiral toward depression...don't entertain that first thought. Or it could be the conflict that makes you think about smoking after 20 years...close the door and lock it. Or it could be something that sends you back into the arms of a toxic old lover. It could be anything. But it will come with a whisper first...a whisper subtle enough to charm the door open for your kryptonite to roll in. 

On one hand, the whisper seems evil and divisive. But in actuality it's the Jor-El to your Kal-El (look at me and my Superman geek talk!) It's an early warning system that could keep you out of more dire circumstances ahead—adversity enough to keep you forever connected to your own super-human strengths. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

5/13/13—Cleaning Out Your Closets

Today's Draw: The Empress in the What's Crossing Success position from the Peaceful Path Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you considering a big change? Is your life ok, but nothing terribly exiting? Could you use to shake up your routine a little?

The "Crossing" position in tarot is one that can help or hinder whatever it's modifying. And in the case of this card combo, I think it's saying that the continual birth of new ideas—and the continual rebirth of ourselves—symbolized by the Empress is what adds to our success in life.

I'm sure it's possible to be successful doing the same thing in the same way over and over again. In fact, I've noticed that a lot of authors in the spiritual non-fiction realm just regurgitate the same book over and over and they're successful. And it makes sense, in a way, because sometimes people just need to hear something a different way in order for it to sink in. So if you tell them the same thing over and over using different words, you're certain to reach them.

So you can find some forms of success regardless, but I think if you want success in marriage, personal development, career and all-around, you really have to try new things. In fact, I think it's a major contributor to happiness. And it's not just trying new things, it's having new ideas and thoughts—and being open to new ideas and thoughts.

I think the more we challenge ourselves to step outside our areas of complacency, the fresher and more vital life feels. When I look back on my life, I see where I've "reinvented" myself many times. In a way it's a change your hair color, you switch careers, you change your lifestyle...all of those lead to a "new you". And think of vital you feel when you do something like that!

Beyond the dramatic things, what are some behavioral things where you're responding the same way over and over again? How can you change something there in a way that supports growth? Is there a way you see a certain issue where you could open your mind a little? Or some part of your daily routine you could reinvent? 

Also consider that if you have a big change you need to make, that the momentum can begin just by changing something small. So say you want to quit your job as an accountant to open a bakery and that feels like too big a leap to make, why not teach baking classes out of your home? Or try catering a friend's party? Or play with some recipes, substituting different flours? Or heck, why not just come up with a name for your bakery and print up some business cards? Or consider some sort of partnership pairing, like Sue's Bakery and Tacos...haha...just throw some ideas out there where someone could come in and share the risk. I've noticed that a lot of coffee shops get baked goods from neighborhood bakers...maybe start there. See? Instead of thinking "how am I going to afford this?" or "how am I going to create this change in my life?", just brainstorm all kinds of ideas. The act of thinking or doing or taking baby steps alone, could inspire something you never considered. 

I think if we all really took a look, we'd see there are some things we decided for ourselves 30 years and haven't challenged since then. They might be things we're happy with, but what if there's an option out there you'd be even happier with? You won't know that until you consider other options. 

In the same way we go through our closets every once in a while to throw out old fashions and things that no longer fit, the same opportunity exists in every area of our life. How long has it been since you've become conscious enough of your life to ask yourself "is XYZ really working for me anymore? the way I drive to work...the way I cook chicken...the way I engage others...the way I respond to all of that still working for me or is it possible there's a better way?" Often if we change the way we do something, things around it change, too. Are you ready to see what you can give birth to in your life today?