Friday, May 24, 2013

5/24/13-5/26/13—Forging Your Spirit

Weekend Reading: Smithy from the Breath of Night oracle in the Spirit position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Smiths work hard to hone their craft and they infuse their work with their passion and soul. As an added bonus, they get to beat on crap, which is great for releasing stress. So what can you work on this weekend that will do the same for you? In the US, you get an extra day to do it. So whether it's doing scrapbooking, gardening, giving yourself a spiritual retreat or going fishing, invest your passion and soul in it. Doing the things you love is all part of forging a strong spirit. And if you have nothing juicy planned for the weekend, change your plans to fit in something in to stir your spirit or release your tensions. In our pressure-cooker lives, we all need something now and again to release the steam. Taking my own advice, I'm going to skip Monday's post. I'll see you all again on Tuesday. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5/24/13—Reflecting On Your Health

Today's Draw: Seven of Fossils/Deer from the Animal Wisdom Tarot in the Health Outcome position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. What is swirling in the back of your mind causing stress? What do you think it's doing to your physical and emotional health? And what are you prepared to do about it?

I've been thinking a lot about health lately. For one thing, I'm in the midst of menopause and the jury is still out on how that will impact the next decades of my life as far as my health is concerned. I always had a level of respect for my period and my natural cycle. I never took a pill or anything like that to regulate it. Instead, I dealt with it naturally and approached birth control by other means. For me, that time of my month, as annoying, painful or messy as it could be, was also a time of release and detoxification...perhaps not in the literal sense, but in the way it felt for me. It was a healthy, necessary cycle. 

Then there's my diabetes and weight issues. I've struggled with weight—and sugar—all my life. A couple of years ago, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I took it seriously and went super low carb, bringing my numbers down into the healthy range. Then I gave up, as usually happens when I feel restricted. And my blood sugar shot back up. Like many women, I find it easier to care for others than for myself. So I would observe myself in wonder as I carefully measured my dogs' grain-free, Omega-3-rich, healthy kibble into their bowls each day. Not just that, but if they so much as yelp, they go off to the doctor to see what's wrong. "Why didn't I care for myself the same way?", I wondered. 

I finally realized "restriction" was never a good diet alternative for me. So I changed the relationship I had with my nutritionist, Alana Sugar. She's a woman of many skills (and I recommend her highly.) And we began to work on my energy body and emotional body in regard to my diet, rather than my physical one. Very slowly, over time, my head is changing around this matter. Things I swore you'd never see me doing, like juicing vegetables, are now things I'm choosing to do because I'm curious and want to. Over the past couple of months, I have seen me make increasingly smarter choices, not because of a diet and not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. Because I'm finally ready to surrender to the notion of good health a way that makes it entirely my choice. It's spelling a bigger difference in my blood sugar fluctuations than in my weight right now, but momentum is building and this feels right and natural. 

But what took place yesterday is probably the reason why the cards came as they did today. Yesterday I went in for one of those new 3-D mammograms. Because my mother died from breast cancer at 56, I've been getting mammograms yearly since the age of 30. But a couple of years ago when I called to make my appointment, they said it was too soon...a year hadn't passed yet...and to call back. They wouldn't schedule me a couple of months ahead. So the ball dropped and I didn't get one that year or last year, either. 

So for two years worry has been swirling in the back of my head. What if? What if this is the year I truly need one and didn't get one? Both going and not going bring up fears for me. I've had a couple of biopsies before. One required breast surgery and the removal of tissue and that one left me with a large scar which traumatized me for a while. So all of it—going and not going—brings up anxiety until I actually do go and am declared "clear". Angelina Jolie's recent decision to have a double-mastectomy while she's still healthy is indicative of what many feel who have watched their mother die entirely too soon. 

After the mammogram, I sat in my car  wanting desperately to cry, but having a hard time doing so. I've really been feeling the stress of life the last few years, as I'm sure many do. Worry about money, concerns about career, the ever-present deadlines of my job, a busy schedule, keeping my house clean, getting my yard and garden in shape, concerns about my dogs, loss in my life...the stress of all of it produces unhealthy chemistry. I do meditate, which helps. And I've eliminated some of my extra "jobs" so I can have my weekends back. But yesterday after rushing around all day, doing errands and going to meetings, worrying about the dogs, pushing the clock...well, I just wanted to cry. And that's my body's way of saying "something's gotta give because the stress is taking a toll." I feel that way far too often lately. 

When I added all of this stuff up—the menopause and loss of that naturally healthy cycle, the weight issues, diabetes, increased worry of illness while aging and overall life stress—it became apparent to me that I really needed to take stock of my health and make some changes. And while I am currently making better choices, I realize I need to be even more proactive. Because the stress and worry of putting off positive health choices could be making me sick, you know?

I think most people have something that, overtly or not, swirls around in the back of the head causing stress. Maybe it's your job. Or your home situation. Or unfinished projects. Or some sort of insecurity. The stress of these things eats away at us. It may not be top of mind. But that doesn't mean it can't bore a hole in your spirit. And on some level it detrimentally affects our health. 

The Seven of Fossils comes to us today to tell us it's time to reflect on these things—including things we insist don't really bother us but, under the surface do—and see where we can make adjustments in our lives, specifically in the areas of health. The fact that it comes to us in the form of a deer also says to be gentle with yourself. As the cards indicate, I think this all came to ME to let me know this reflection is the outcome of the health issues I've been having lately. And, once reflected upon, the question for all of us is, "what are you going to do about it?"

For me, the answer is that I need to drink more liquids. Get more exercise. Do something that draws a line in my day, between the time I'm at work and the time I'm not (working at home and being on the computer through the night make for bad work boundaries.) Eat when I'm hungry, instead of when I can carve out some time to make something. Be more present, especially during those times I have R&R time. And meditate longer and more consistently. 

There are some things we can't change. I can't change that my workday plans can shift at a moment's notice as fires blow through, putting more pressure on already pressurized deadlines. That is the nature of my business. But I can change the way I respond to it and I can change other things in my life to counterbalance that stress. Not everybody can look forward to be healthier at 60 than they are at 50, but if I continue on the path I'm on, certainly that will be the case. That's the upside of being obese, diabetic, stressed out, sedentary and menopausal at the age of 50...haha. So...what do you get when you reflect on your own health forecast?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5/23/13—Waking Up To Love

Today's Draw Classic*: Ace of Cups from the Touchstone Tarot. How much love passes through your life unnoticed? How much beauty goes by unappreciated? What could bring you joy today if you just stopped and looked?

The Ace of Cups is a card signifying profound contentment, joy and abundance. It often signals something new in the heart, whether it be a new love or a new creative project. 

An interesting note about this card is that I drew it from the mass market edition, but the image I found online to use must be from the limited edition. The only difference between the two cards is that, in the edition I drew from, the woman is looking at us. And in the edition I used as today's image, she's looking at the cup...the love, the emotion. Prior to googling for this image, I had already decided the topic of today's entry, so it's really kind of synchronistic that the image I found had that one little difference that aligned with my entry.

Every morning when I wake up I have a particular routine before I even get out of bed. I reach for my iPod Touch and check emails and Facebook. Usually, the second I reach for the iPod, Magick moves from the foot of the bed to up near my head for some morning love. Then, like a Pavlovian response, the second I click the iPod off, Kizzie arrives next to the bed for his morning pets and to give me my one kiss of the day. Then Magick gets jealous and crowds me for more love. 

At a different time of my life, when I was more rushed for time in the morning, I might shoo them out of the way. I can totally see a grumpy waker being annoyed by them being under foot first thing in the morning. But instead, every morning I feel and give the love. It is easily one of the two the best parts of my day, the other being our outdoor snuggles prior to bedtime. I begin and end the day with love. And this morning, something else special happened. As I was outside getting ready to write this, Magick came up to me, her head covered in the Forget Me Nots I had planted when my old dog, Passion, died. A message from my girl above that she is with me and sharing the love, too. 

Now, from a different perspective, I could tell the story like this: "every morning my dogs wake me by demanding attention and this morning Magick got into my flowers and the evidence was all over her head." Same story, different choice of how to see it. 

There is love and beauty all around us, if we would just stop to notice. If we would just choose to observe and appreciate. As I was writing this, a black bird was feeding in my back yard and he had the most beautiful blue cast to the back of his neck. I watched him in awe. But I would have missed that moment if I were so busy serving a hundred thousand purposes that I didn't take the time to notice. At some point, especially as we get older, we have to ask ourselves what are we really here for? To run errands and polish our chrome fixtures at home (which I understand is some people's idea of beauty and that's cool)? Are we here to maintain things between the big moments in life? Or are we here to bask in the abundance of the little moments along the way?

It's so easy to get caught up in the details of daily life that we don't stop to be conscious. But it's also easy to retrain our habits so that we do. Today when your child or pet enters the room, stop what you're doing and take them in with your undivided attention. On your way to the car, take a moment to look around at the community of squirrels and birds and flora around you. Literally stop and smell the roses. As you're sitting in your home, allow your eyes to rest on a favorite piece of art. Or catch your own eye in that shiny chrome of yours and smile. It just takes a few seconds to see the love, beauty and abundance all around you.

* Adapted from a post originally made on 5/24/11

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5/22/13—Giving You The Answer

Today's Draw: Big Wish from the Pages of Shustah cards in the Answer position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you looking for an answer? Are you wondering whether or not you should do something? Is there anything else you're curious about?

The bad news is that I've had a very long day and just want to stop writing and thinking for the rest of my waking hours. The good news is that the meaning of the Big Wish card is "the answer is yes". And since it's in the answer position, well, you don't need a psychic to write the rest of this post. What is there left to say? This card specifically implies a "good news" kind of yes, so your wish will come true!*

*Writer is accurate only about 85% of the time. Or less.   

Monday, May 20, 2013

5/21/13—Accepting the Way Things Are

Today's Draw Classic*: The Five of Swords from the Mythic Tarot. Is there something going on in your life that's really got your goat? Is something coming to an end before you're ready...or not coming to an end fast enough? Are you tired of trying to make something change that just doesn't seem to want to change?

Nothing blocks life's zing like refusing to accept "what is". And that's what this card has come to tell us about today...acceptance. It doesn't matter if something's unfair or if wasn't supposed to be this way. It's tough beans if you don't like it or if others get to do it and you can't. None of that matters.

It is what it is.

And you can accept it and find a way to work with it. Or you can fight against it and just create more pain for yourself. I'm not talking about things you can change, here. This isn't a social commentary about becoming a sheep and letting the tide take you. This is about things you can't change. Being fired from a job. The end of a relationship. Getting sick. Having physical, mental or emotional limitations. Pushing up against another person's will. The situation may be end up being different in the future, but right now it is what it is and no amount of begging, fighting, manipulation, displaced anger or vengeance is going change it.

It is what it is.

Sure, you can do all that stuff. But ultimately you're hurting yourself. And keeping zing at arm's length. And wallowing in bad energy. And creating bad karma for yourself. And changing nothing. Of course there's going to be pain and mourning on the road to acceptance, but holding on to anger/revenge/a grudge is, as they say, like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

I have a theory that most pain is caused by pushing up against what is. I find myself doing it from time to time. I know my particular situation *can* change. I'm just limited in how much it can change right now. And in the meantime, I'm not doing myself any good or getting any closer to change by not accepting where I am and what conditions are. And, for my situation, trying to change it while I'm limited in my ability to change is just defeating me. But I'm proud to say I have learned to bypass most non-acceptance. And to stop all the histrionics and arm flailing and drama that go along with it. And, for that, I'm grateful.

These things—like drama and non-acceptance—are things that put distance between us and our happiness. We involve ourselves in things that don't serve. And sure, it's not conscious. We don't WANT to be miserable. But sooner or later we need to question what purpose it serves.

Usually it this behavior keeps us involved in the stories we tell ourselves—"I never get what I want." "Everyone's always screwing me." "There's so much drama in my life." "I'm not lovable." "Everyone around me is an idiot." "There are no good men out there." "I should be able to do this." "Life isn't fair." etc. and so on. And as long as we're caught up these stories, all the power is outside of ourselves and, powerless, we conveniently never have to do anything to change our lives. The problem is, change and forward movement are what keeps our lives fresh and exciting and full of zing.

Orestes, the guy on the ground in today's card, is being told by Apollo that he has to avenge his father's death. He doesn't want to do this, but Apollo is a god and this is how things are. Not doing it is just going to make his life worse. And fighting up against "what is" isn't going to change anything. He's still going to have avenge the death. 

Is there something familiar in that situation in your life? Something where you're just prolonging your pain? Look at all the stuff that you want to change in your life and see which things may just need to be accepted for the time being. If you took away that frustration and replaced it with acceptance, you may not only open yourself up for more joy in your life, but you may just stumble upon a new solution for your problem. 

*From 8/2/12

Sunday, May 19, 2013

5/19/13—Looking Within

Today's Draw: The Hermit from Beth Seilonen's Owls Arcana in the Goal position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. How do you avoid being alone with yourself? What are you afraid you might see? 

I look at this combo today and I think that the goal is for us all to be comfortable with ourselves as we are, alone. Which means, not the woman so-and-so loves, but the woman that loves herself. For being herself. Without needing any other form of affirmation. She, herself is enough. Whether or not anyone else deems her worthy. 

Personally, I think most people run away from themselves. "I'm too busy," "I don't see the point," and the hasty "I love myself, go talk to someone else" are all just euphemisms for "I'm afraid of what I'll find if I ever look." And, even as experienced at being alone as I am, I'll include myself in that group. I often see myself distracting myself in many ways...watching TV, fiddling with this or an effort to not be seated entirely alone with myself. 

I know people who read a lot. That's not being alone with yourself. I know people who have to have to have the radio on in the background all the time. That's not conducive to being alone with yourself. Truly being alone with yourself is about taking the time to go within and just be. Alone. With yourself. With nothing to distract you. It's about seeing both your light and shadow sides and sitting in that, and that being OK. 

There is a part of me that craves this type of time. And too often, like I said above, I find ways to distract myself. It's hard to feel good about yourself in our society. Feel too good about yourself and you're arrogant. Don't feel good enough and you're self loathing. Feel just the right good about yourself and someone will come along to tell you how wrong you are. 

If you believe we create our own realities, then we created this, too. 

In the past I've seen how I've deleted negative people from my life in order to have a more positive surrounding to love myself in. I see how I've shielded myself from some in order to keep myself from being hurt. I see many ways in which I've held people—and even life—at arm's distance just to insulate myself from getting hurt. So that I can be better at loving myself. 

But the problem isn't out there. It's inside. It's in negative self talk and denial of shortcomings. It's in harsh self judgment and fear of shadow qualities. And it's in holding my true light in sway so as not to shine as brightly as possible. So as not to call attention to myself. The people outside of us that "make us feel bad about ourselves" are just mirrors. Nothing else. And with all that going on in our own heads, it's no wonder why we avoid being alone with ourselves! We may not like what we see, and what then? 

Or worst of all, we may be surprised at all we are, then have to actually do something about it. 

We do so much to protect ourselves from hurt. We keep the shadows locked tightly within. But, ironically, looking inside and facing all our demons is the only true way to protect ourselves from life's slings and arrows. It's no surprise that that confident, balanced, divine part of ourselves that our soul lost touch with when it came to earth, can be easily found in the last place we'd ever look.