Friday, June 21, 2013

6/22/13-6/23/13—Living Within the You Zone

Weekend Reading: Four of Mirrors in the Surprise position from the New Earth Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. What may surprise you this weekend, is how secure you've become in those boundaries you've drawn for yourself. You seem to suddenly know where "yes" ends and "no" begins. You  know where your responsibilities stop and where the responsibilities of others begins. And here's the kicker—you don't even feel guilty about staying within your "you" zone and letting others draw a zone that doesn't include getting you to do their heavy lifting. Anyone who would slight you for not being their doormat is the one who should feel guilty here, anyway. Not you. Hooray!

6/21/13—Breathing In The Creative Spirit

Today's Today's Draw is special, because it's part of a Tarot Blog Hop. What that means is that, from this post, you can link to the blog before me or to the blog after me. And if you keep linking in that manner from blog to blog, you can read 24 tarot blogs, all focused around a single theme. This particular blog hop is to celebrate the summer solstice and we're supposed to share one of our gifts with write about something we're good at or do something creative.

In other words, I get to go hog wild. Mix things up. Get my goof on.

You'd think I'd savor that opportunity. But you know what? I'd really rather just share some thoughts about my personal relationship with creativity in the manner to which my regular readers have become accustomed. So with that...

Today's Draw: The Lovers in the Spirit position from The Wild Unknown and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. How dependent are you on your creative spirit? If you spent your days pushing paper and had no hobbies, could you be happy? What stands between you and your creative spirit?

I nearly cried when I drew this combo. The Lovers means different things to different readers. Sometimes it speaks of soul mates. Sometimes it speaks of a choice. In the Spirit position, however, I can definitely say that the creative life is both my soul mate and my choice.

When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then when I got a little older, I wanted to by a cytologist...a cell biologist. I wanted to clone things. Those probably sound like weird things for someone like me to want to do. They're "desk jobs"...regular jobs. Certainly there's creativity in both things. But they're weighted to left brained thinking. They were practical I would have enjoyed and done well at. Careers my parents would have been proud for me to have. 

But then I would have forever been fated to becoming one of those people who say "oh, I could have been a writer" when they meet people who earn their living that way. Those people make my eyes roll because they make me think, "well what's stopping you?" It's not like you need special permission to start a blog or submit a manuscript. It's so easy to say "oh, I could have been a writer" when you don't know what it actually takes to sit in front of a blank page every day and fill it with words some idiot will feel a need to edit. 

So instead of choosing to sit behind a microscope, I chose to spend my life in a career where my words would be put under a microscope. On the plus side, I'm the kind of writer who gets to think up wacky ideas and have fun with my advertising copywriter. 

There was a time at the beginning of my career in advertising that I wasn't a writer. I worked in the traffic department, which is the part of an advertising agency that moves work from one department to another. So an account executive will put in an order for work and the traffic manager will distribute that work to the relevant parties. Then when the work is complete, the traffic person will move it to the next step and next, all the way to the point that it's printed or goes live. The traffic department manages the workflow of the creative and production departments.

Anyway, I liked the job and did well at it. But I was miserable inside because the writer within me was crying out for attention. I felt incomplete, like part of me was missing. As time went by, the writer was fighting to crawl out of my skin. So I found a mentor among the agency's copywriters and she would give me fake assignments to do. I then convinced the creative director to let me handle a few overflow jobs...nothing glamorous. Just stuff the writers were too busy to do. It was, in retrospect, the only time of my life that I didn't have a reliable creative outlet. And it was its own special misery in my young life. I could have started a hobby or something, I suppose. But ultimately, having that unfed hunger was good for me. It's what gave me the wherewithal to keep pushing until I got what I wanted. 

Those of us who write, generally do it because something within us has to find its way out. And we're wired to do it through words. Someone with that inside them can't do life as "oh, I could have been a writer". There's either writing or a long, slow, miserable death. 

Beyond writing, though, is the creative spirit in general. Writing alone can't satisfy it for me. So I craft. I cook. I sew. I create. That green card up in the picture is one of my creations. I invented a whole new way of creating spreads in the tarot world, the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Tarot is something I've been doing nearly as long as I've been writing. So it's one of my talents, too. And that green card is just one of four decks I created in the past year or two. Not because it brings me money. It doesn't. It gives me something of greater value. It keeps me happy to be alive. 

So this Lovers card in the Spirit position, for me, is like the dance between creativity and my own spirit. Like the geese in the picture, creativity and I are flying in unison. I love being an advertising copywriter. But it's not as glamorous as you see on TV. We're not as "in charge" as Peggy Olson or "everybody loves my ideas" as Don Draper. Being an advertising copywriter is like popping out baby after baby, only to have the majority of them rejected or deemed ugly. Only now and again does someone say, "hey that baby has potential". And that's a moment of victory—the moment when someone gets it...when someone gets YOU. 

But not even that is why I choose this path. Creativity is my oxygen. And whether or not others think I'm good at it is a minor consideration. It's in the process of creation—the process of breathing that oxygen in—that I get my reward. At a time when others my age might start counting down the years to retirement, I look forward to writing until my final breath. If nearly 1000 blog posts haven't worn me out of things to say, I'm pretty sure nothing as random as a retirement age will. :)

Want to soak up more of the creative spirit? Continue on to the next blog in the hop, written by the FABULOUS Chloe McCracken, a Daily Draw regular. Or be wacky and work your way backwards to the post before minecreated by the insightful Jordan Hoggard. Or if you're really in a hoppy mood, consult this list of all the bloggers in the circle and hop around!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

6/19/13—Learning Lessons the Hard Way

ATTN: Tomorrow's Daily Draw will be one of those "special" posts I do for the blog group I'm a member of. So those of you accustomed to reading tomorrow's post the night before, I will be posting Friday's post at 1am Eastern on Friday (rather than at 8pm on Thursday)

Today's Draw Classic*: Three of Swords in the Lesson position from the Legacy of the Divine by Ciro Marchetti and the Deck of 1000 Spreads by me. When you think on the big lessons in your life, do you remember more of the ones you learned through pain more profoundly? Or do you remember more of the lessons you learned through happy moments more profoundly? Is there something you can learn from that?

It's interesting that this combo came up, because I've been thinking lately about the lessons we learn from heartbreak. If you can't tell by the tarot card (and the spectacular way my spread card makes the fractured heart on the cheek pop) that's what this card is about. 

I often debate the value of the lessons we learn from loss vs. the value of the lessons we learn through victory. I will never misspell the word "committee" ever again because it caused me to lose a spelling bee in third grade. I cried just like the girl in the picture there. 

Looking back over my life, the most valuable lessons I've learned have been the tough ones. That doesn't mean we don't learn from the good stuff because we do. Doing something right the first time reinforces that behavior or system and so you repeat it to success time and time again. But when that's the case, it just becomes the way you do it....a repeatable process that ends in success. Not so much a lesson you've learned, but something you figured out on your own. 

But when you learn something the hard way, it becomes somehow more meaningful, more profound. We define it more like a lesson than just a "way". It seems like the higher the price, the more meaningful the lesson, the less likely we are to screw with that particular thing again. Some lessons we just have to learn that way, whether through our own obstinance, lack of awareness or whatever. 

Can you think of a lesson you learned in the past that you didn't need to learn? Can you think of a painful experience you've ever had that didn't bring lessons? I can't. Pain seems to write on us in ways that both knock us to our knees in tears and then, after time, to our knees in gratitude. It is both toxin and tonic. It poisons and purifies. 

The universe never brings us something in error. If we're experiencing pain, it's needed on our path. If we're on a winning streak, it's needed on our path. Everything is brought to us in love, as a means to lift us higher. That's sometimes hard to see in the moment, but always visible in retrospect. The hardest lesson of all—the one that causes the most self-inflicted pain—is to learn is to trust in that. 

*From 3/22/13

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

6/19/13—Watching Our Ships Come In

Today's Draw: The Three of Wands from Marcia McCord's Postcard Tarot in the House of the Letter from my Deck of Lenormand Houses. What is happening on the horizon in your life right now? Are the fruits of your labors now in sight? Are you planning on celebrating no matter what happens? 

Today I'm mixing tarot with Lenormand. Because I'm a troublemaker. The interesting thing about this particular combo is that Marcia's Three of Wands could easily be The Ship card in Lenormand. If it were, today's message would be about messages coming to us from afar or a message about foreign travel. 

But it's not a Lenormand card. It's the tarot card about "your ship coming in". So it's about some communication about your ship finally coming in. You've put in your hard work and now all that's left to do is wait while the reward—or consequences—come to you. The message is that the rewards are so close you can almost taste them. 

For me this speaks about a pitch I'm in on with one of my clients/partners. We're waiting for news about a proposal we put in. And we're all pretty excited about it. I've felt very confident from the get-go about this account. So I'll be surprised if we don't get it. 

But I have a philosophy about things I want that I don't get—that the reason I didn't get them was because some force was protecting me from some sort of disappointment. So while I'm excited about the prospect of this piece of business for many reasons, including reasons that have more to do with my partner than me, I rarely invest too heavily in outcomes when it comes to my emotions. If it doesn't happen, it's because I dodged a bullet. That's what I believe. So I have something to celebrate, win or lose. 

Anyway, we spoke earlier this week about planting seeds. And it seems like another seed is sprouting for us out there. We might think it's one thing, but it could actually be something we completely forgot about. And it could just be an element of personal growth. 

Something recently happened in my life to show me just how much I had grown in some areas. I was falsely accused of something. And, coming from the source it came from, it was very hurtful. In the past, I would have wrung my hands over it and obsessed over it. But instead, I got to the bottom of it (because it involved a situation I had no knowledge of), then once I got a handle on what I was being accused of, I pretty much let it go....surprising even me...haha. While this incident showed me how far I'd come, it also showed me places I have yet to go in regard to worrying about what others think. I'm not 100% there, but one thing I know that I haven't truly known before is that what matters most is who *I* think I am...who I KNOW I am based on my own self knowledge. That's a ship that took a loooong time to come in..haha. 

So think about your own life. What ship might be coming in now? And could it be some situation in which you've just grown as a person? Regardless, it's important to give ourselves a little "woo hoo!" when stuff like this happens. We don't often see all the hard work in retrospect, but it is truly a moment we made for ourselves from our own valuable effort. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

6/18/13—Being Holy on Earth

Today's Draw Classic*: Hanged Man from the Tarot of the Sidhe. Are you an earth-bound spirit? Or an earthling bound for spirit? If you have feet in both worlds, which foot will you lift first?

To me, the Hanged Man means one of three things—time spent in suspension/waiting, taking a look from a different angle, and a voluntary sacrifice. But within Emily Carding's illustration and lwb (little white book) she includes a few interesting nuances. 

First is that her Hanged Man is not tied upside down to a tree limb, as most Hanged Men are. He's "falling up" toward a holier reality. He gives himself up to the vortex pulling him in, but with his foot momentarily caught in a branch, exists in both worlds. As if at a vertical fork in the road, he must choose to remain suspended and unchanged, or release himself never to be the same again. He chooses to let go and be reborn. To be holy on earth.

Yesterday we spoke of a death...the death of the "I" that happens when we become a couple. In this card, we see a different aspect of ego death. It's more of a death of the I to become "one" become part of the universal "we" that exists between God and everyone. 

In the moment of the Hanged Man, though, he is in both places at once. He is holy and human. And as he releases his foot, he falls up into the Death card, the next card in the deck and card of his ultimate transformation. In the context of this discussion, he falls into the ultimate "oneness" of being, where we're not just walking in step with spirit, but with all things.

Personally, I believe we are all the Hanged Man. Holy and human. A spirit bound to the earth. A spirit on a human experience. But most see things the other way around...that we're humans on a spiritual experience. Or they don't think much about the distinction at all...haha. 

The difference between the two is critical and colors how you see yourself and your journey here on earth. Either you're a perfect, holy being who came here to experience the path of the human. Or you're a human who came here to experience the path of spirit. Either you came here to remember your true nature. Or you're here to forget your true nature. Knowing which you're here for is crucial to knowing why you're here and how to proceed while you're here. But regardless of which you believe, you still have feet in both worlds. You're still tasked with justifying or unifying both worlds. There's still some "I" to sacrifice to be "one". You're still in some way bound to a foreign world. It really just comes down to which one you think your soul calls home.

*From 9/21/11

Sunday, June 16, 2013

6/17/13—Planting Seeds

Today's Draw: Ace of Wands from the Fairy Lights tarot in the Past position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you conscious of the seeds you plant on a daily basis? What seeds did you plant long ago that are only now bearing fruit? Do you see your life as a direct effect of the seeds you've planted in the past?

The Ace of Wands is about the seeds we plant that, with time, grow. While the Ace is meant to be an inspirational, positive card, the truth is, we plant all kinds of seeds in our lives. In the past week on my Facebook feed alone, I've seen friends' kids who have won sports tournaments...the seeds of their efforts over years finally bearing fruit. One guy met his siblings for the first time in his life at, I don't know, the age of 40 or so—a long and emotional gestation for all involved. And my personal favorite, a single gay male welcomed twin babies into his life in the past week. All of these are the result of some seed (literal or figurative) that was planted long ago.

In contrast, I also had a Facebook friend die of complications from diabetes—a disease he himself said he failed to take seriously in time. And I also "lost" another friend because he stumbled back into an addiction, the effects of which cause him to alienate anyone who ever cared for him. Both of those things involve seeds planted long ago that are now bearing fruit.

So the question is, what seeds are we planting in our lives? I ask this question in a different way quite often. What do we say and think that adds to what manifests in our lives, good and bad? What are we creating through our actions?

Last week I talked about my own issues with controlling my blood sugar. While diabetes comes largely from genetic roots, I can't help thinking my sweet tooth got me here sooner. All that sugar was a seed I planted for myself. I smoked for 26 years and while I've been quit for 10 years now, that doesn't mean I didn't plant the seeds of lung cancer, a disease my brother died from just last year. And I have a hard time throwing stuff out (not to mention my extensive collection of divinatory tools), which has planted a seed of clutter in my home...haha.

But I've also planted positive stuff. I'm a good doggie mom, which planted the seeds of three relatively well behaved dogs that I take to places like B&Bs on vacation. I write these blogs which plant all kinds of seeds, including, I hope, some good karma. I've built a very solid career and professional reputation which means I really don't have to work very hard to get work. In fact, when I look at my life, there are certainly some things I'd like to change, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the way I've propagated my fields. :)

Every day we plant seeds that bear fruit somewhere down the line. Maybe it's trivial stuff. Maybe it's good stuff. Maybe it's bad stuff. Many times we will plant those seeds completely unconsciously. We'll just do stuff without thinking of the import of it. We'll get aggressive in traffic, for example, which raises our blood pressure and stress level, makes us feel bad about ourselves and creates bad karma. In that case, the price is rarely worth that moment's fancy. But we will rarely think of it that way. And so we'll do it again. And again.

So with Monday being the beginning of a new week, see how consciously you can plant your seeds. And when you become conscious of the rows you sow, see if you don't change what you're planting so it bears some better fruit. We're not bound by the repetitive plantings of our past, nor are we limited by any soil or climate in what we're able to plant. Instead of leaking seeds out of our pants pockets unaware, let's see how intentionally we can grow a stronger, more fruitful life.