Friday, July 12, 2013

7/13/13-7/14/13—Taking Stock of Life

Weekend Reading: Seven of Pentacles from the Bonefire Tarot. This weekend is good for not only taking a well-deserved rest, but also for assessing all you've been through in the past few weeks or months. Sometimes life moves so fast that we don't take stock of where we've been and how effectively it's leading us toward where we want to go. We just end up on auto-pilot, hoping for the best. Well, the Seven of Pentacles says this weekend is the time for you to stop the hamster wheel, clear your mind and take stock of where life is bearing fruit...and how you're going to harvest it. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

7/12/13—Writing Through The Fear

Today's Draw Classic*: Maker Three from Tarot of Sidhe—Labour's Fruit. Do you ever feel anxiety before you start in on a creative project? Are you ever afraid you're going to fail...or that this is the one project that will reveal you as a fraud? Or do you just skirt the fringes of your true creative potential because the risk speaks louder to you than the reward?

The Maker Three (aka Three of Pentacles) in the Tarot of the Sidhe comes with this poem:

With will and thought and hands as one,
Obstacles may be overcome,
And from a lost and arid space,
Effort's bloom shows her lovely face...

That's a pretty good description of the creative process. I like the thought of the lost and arid space and overcoming obstacles and then finally seeing the fruits of your efforts. 

What I'm about to say might surprise some who know me. But pretty much every time I approach a shiny, new project, I have anxiety that I'm going to fail. Let's just say for the sake of argument that I've written over 1000 ads in my life. The number is probably greater than that. I remember once writing 24 in a day...haha. But let's say 1000. And 100 websites. And a couple hundred brochures, couple hundred promotional emails...I've written a lot. Heck, I've probably written close to 400 of these entries in the year and half I've been doing this every day. 

And each time I sat down at the computer, I had a wave or a ripple or a drop of anxiety fall down upon me. What if I can't do it? What if I don't come up with a solution this time? Even though I always come up with a solution, the anxiety never quite goes away. Sure, it's nowhere near what it was earlier in my career, but it's always there. 

It took me a long time to "own" the good stuff that rolled off my fingers. There was a long time that I felt like a fake. I don't know any other way to describe it, but I think it comes from the focused place that all creators go into. When you come out, you remember little of the process, but there's a completed work sitting in front of you. Who put that there?!

Anyway, I finally got up the nerve to confess all this to one of my creative directors long about 17 years ago and you know what she said to me? "OMG, I feel that way, too! Always afraid I'm going to fail. And I always feel like a fake when I've succeeded." This was very freeing for me because, while I no longer feel like a fake very often anymore, I still get the fearful tinges of failure upon the beginning of a new project. And I know I'm not alone.

So the secret, if you haven't guessed it, is to move forward anyway. There's always a risk of failure that comes with any reward. Our own insecurities are the biggest obstacles we have to overcome. Over the years I've met many frustrated creators who do something less creative because they just don't push past that fear. The secret is just to move forward despite it, "with will and thought and hands as one." The second I "put pen to paper", the fear is gone. Every time. 

The "lost and arid space" is not a scary place, it's the void from which all ideas emerge. Sure, you'll be planting lots of seeds that will never bloom, but while you're poking around in the earth, you'll find the ones you want to water and nurture. My experience is that you rarely come up with an amazing idea without going to that place and planting some seeds. You have to push past the fear. 

And, because all art is subjective, you have to get over the fact that you're not going to create something everyone will love. It just won't happen. Plenty of people don't like my style of writing in any of its iterations—as an author or as a copywriter or as a blogger. And that's ok. I'm happy to write for the people that do. In fact, I'm happy to write just for myself, because every cell in my body says I must. So even if I didn't do it for a living, I'd do it. But first and, for me, pretty much always, I have to write through the fear first. What about you?

*From a post originally written on 11/17/11

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

7/11/13—Going Your Own Way

Today's Draw: Tower, Garden, Anchor and Tree from the Magpie Oracle by Carrie Paris. Is your way the best way? Is it the only way? And if you've closed your mind to other ways, how do you grow and learn?

The Magpie Oracle is a brand new charm-based oracle from Carrie Paris. She chose the 36 charms in the oracle to align with Lenormand card symbology. And she also devised a casting chart to go with it, but I haven't printed mine out yet. So you'll probably see me use this oracle again soon. 

When I first looked at these four (I just reached inside the sack o'charms and pulled out a pinchful), the first thoughts I had were "Obamacare" and "the economy is returning back to health". I say that because Tower stands for independence or large institutions, like government; Garden suggests the public or parties, Anchor suggests strength and stability and Tree suggests health or growth. So you could read it as "government brings health stability to the public"—Obamacare. Or "public government is healthy and stable". 

Or, of course, you could read it a million different ways, using a million different nuances of the meanings of each symbol. You could even interpret it as indicating a particularly sturdy tree in the garden of a tall building. It's all in the eyes of the reader. Personally, to me, it looks like the symbols are spelling something out, but I can't quite grasp what that might be. 

Often in life, it's easy to forget that what we see, think and feel is really just a matter of interpretation. You can find things that many people agree upon—the sky is blue, for example—but it's still just a matter of perception. Science will tell you the sky only appears blue because of how light interacts with molecules in our atmosphere and the way our eyes perceive light.  A person with synesthesia might claim the letter "S" is blue and the sky is crunchy. Both you and the synesthete would be right because that is YOUR truth. And you'd both also be wrong, because it's not THE truth. It's just perception. 

I bring all this up because whether we do it as an individual or as part of a group (like Christians, Democrats, Cancer Survivors, etc.) we tend to attach ourselves to truths and "proper ways" that are really just a matter of perception/opinion. A majority may agree upon the truth or the way, but that doesn't make any more valid or viable than anyone else's way...not to them it doesn't. Even science says atoms act differently when they're being observed than they act when they're not being observed. So they actually change just by the fact they're being observed—their truth changes based on the fact that you're aware that it exists! It's all in the eye of the beholder. 

We see, believe, think and feel what we want to. And everyone else gets to do the same. So consider that we need to make room for others to have their way, too. 

I remember years ago I was helping my boss stuff some envelopes for a mailing. You had to collate some pages, staple them, fold them and put them into the envelope with a card. So the boss says "stuff these envelopes" and walks off. He comes back in an hour when I've got a really groove going on with my method of stuffing and he stops me and says "you know, it will go a lot faster if you do it this way". Then he shows me his way. Which feels really awkward to me. But he's standing over me, so I do it his way. And it does not go faster. It goes slower. And awkwardly. 

My way was best for me and my productivity. His way was best for keeping my job, though, so I did it. As I get older, however, I'm growing increasingly impatient with people trying to convince me that their truth is the only truth and therefore should be mine. They look to me like that boss...ego-driven and a poor leader. Even if I happen to agree with their truth, people who try to convince you that theirs is the only path to Propertude look desperate to me. They're trying to force something instead of inspire it. Which makes me question the validity of their way even more. 

When I teach classes, I don't teach "my way" or the way I generally practice. Instead, I usually say to my students, "I'm going to teach you this way because I think it will give you the best foundation moving forward. But once you have a grasp of the information, I fully expect you to offroad, explore and do your own thang, because that's what I do." If they come back around to thinking my way is the best way, that's great. But if they find something better for themselves, I hope they show it to me so I can learn. I might not like what they do, but I don't really matter in the equation, do I? Their thing is their thang. 

So while I hope the economy is growing healthier and Obamacare saves lives...haha...the charms can also be interpreted as "Whether you go your own way (Tower) or the way of the masses (Garden) your way is stable, strong (Anchor), healthy and the way that leads to your own growth (Tree). Someone else may have a different truth than that, but it's one of the best truths I have to share.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7/10/13—Feeling Your Spirit Self

Today's Draw: The Lovers from Owl's Arcana by Beth Seilonen. Are you aware of all the soulmates you have in this world? While some may be here to teach you something, do have some that seem to have no clear reason for being in your life? Is there anyone who makes you feel like your spirit self—perfect and unfettered—whenever you're around them?

Today we're doing it up old school at the Daily Draw—no Deck of 1000 Spreads, no Lenormand or oracles, just full-on tarot. The Lovers is a card that different people interpret different ways. Some feel it's about soul mates. I usually see it as a choice between love and something else. Like if a new job is going to make you relocate and your partner can't come with you. So that's how I usually read this card...what is taking you away from giving and receiving as much love as possible?

Looking at Beth's card with the owls, though, it makes me think of the people we come across in our lives that we may or may not consider "soul mates" but are in our lives for a special reason. I have a pretty broad definition of what a soul mate is, so I consider most of the people you come across to be part of your "soul tribe". 

The other day I was thinking about this man I met a long time ago. He wasn't someone I was attracted to in the usual sense of the word...romantically, physically, socially. He was a friend of a friend, so I probably only saw him maybe five times in my life. But each time I came near him, I felt so comfortable with him, like I'd known him forever. 

Truth is I felt more "right" around him than I ever did with any man I ever dated. And you're probably thinking to yourself, "Tierney, you shouldn't let a man you feel so right around slip through your fingers." But everything else about him was wrong...his lifestyle, his dreams in life, his personality...the WHO of who he was was all wrong for me. Yet there was some indescribable sense of rightness between us. And I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual. 

Since then, I've met a couple more with such a right energy and feel, yet completely the wrong men for me and my lifestyle. It feels like "our time" was in another lifetime or one yet to the soul recognizes the other as someone profoundly important. I suppose another possibility could be that I am but one part of a fractured soul and they are other parts. It feels that right. And with men who are just really wrong for who I am in this lifetime. 

I wonder how many others I might have come across in my life, but didn't see in this way...didn't have the spiritual vocabulary to recognize as such? All of these men are men I've met in the past, say, dozen years. How many others might there have been? And I would think some of them would be women in this incarnation. Who have I ever felt so safe, and "right" and "me" around that I've forgotten or been unable to feel? Because I think in this lifetime, at least, we really just found each other as a way of saying, "hello, old friend. I'm never far. I've never forgotten what we've shared. And I can't wait until we're together in spirit again."

It makes me cry just to think of it. How beautiful these little meetings are. Honestly, with that first one it has always brought me to tears thinking of how...different? whole? safe?...I felt around him. I will probably never see him again. But we found our way to each other in this lifetime to remind each other what incredibly perfect beings we are when we "shuffle off this mortal coil" and join together again in another place. Is it better to be ignorant of what it must feel like to exist in a world without the neurosis that is our humanhood? Or is it better to know how it feels and not know if you'll ever get to feel it again in this lifetime?

So that's what the Lovers card says to me today. It speaks to these connections we have with other people—not the people who are here to annoy us, mirror things back to us and teach us lessons. Those are soulmates, too, in my book. But I'm talking about the people who exist somewhere at the fringe of your life that just feel right, even though you may have little else in common with them—the people who seem to have no other purpose in crossing your path, but to remind you that there's more than just a human inside you. There's something beautiful and eternal and utterly right that is always there, close enough to embrace you in their wings. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

7/9/13—Relinquishing Control

Today's Draw: Ace of Swords from the Postcard Tarot by Marcia McCord in the Action position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Is there a situation you'd like to have control over, but don't? Is it possible you're not thinking clearly trying to assume control of the situation? Might you be better off not doing anything and just leaving the situation up the way the cookie crumbles?

As I was choosing today's card, I was thinking about a couple of situations I desperately want to have control over, but really don't. One is that pretty much all of my checks are arriving late this month, probably because of the holiday last week. I'd expect to receive checks today at the very latest, but since my mailman doesn't deliver the mail until around 9pm, I won't know until the end of the day. And because I have a meeting tomorrow morning, it would be nice to swing by the bank on the way to the meeting and know that my bills will be covered this month. But since I don't know if I'll have checks to deposit, I don't know if I should leave time for that in some already pretty tight plans. 

I have no control over my clients. I have no control over the mailman (can you BELIEVE they deliver that late???). And, because they deliver that late, any checks sent to me have to wait until the next day to make it to the bank. All of this is causing stress because, you know, there are bills to pay. And while I have earned plenty enough to pay all those bills, they're getting paid late because I'm getting paid late and it's not making me a happy camper. 

So I get this Action card from the Deck of 1000 Spreads and think, "ok. This is going to tell me how to solve all of this." And the Ace of Swords is usually about cutting through confusion, mental clarity, breakthroughs and news ideas. But the picture on this particular one belies all of that. The dude's going to cut the branch, then go tumbling to his death!

So I think this is telling me that I just have to live with this tension for a while longer...and not call my clients and scream at them in this state...haha. It's all a control issue. And, unfortunately, I planned all my checks to arrive around a holiday this month. So it's also all my fault. Basically, I've done all I can do in this situation. All that's left is to sit and wait. 

When you live alone and work for yourself, you're often able to have a lot of control over how your day goes. Some days the phone rings off the hook or emergency work flows into your in box, but most of the time you at least have the illusion of control over your schedule and your life. And this month is bringing me so many variables that put me outside of that comfort zone. It's more than just checks. It's like the litany of all my anxieties is raining down upon me...haha. 

Normally the Ace of Swords would tell me to put mind over matter and that an answer is coming. And all of that is true. But this particular one is basically telling me that all of this "stuff" is going to resolve itself sooner or later. I've already done my part. And any further effort will just send me tumbling off a high limb. 

In a way, I guess, the clarity this card promises lies in staying in the dark a little while longer. You can't always have the answers. Sometimes you have to be more patient than you want to be. And sometimes trying to assume control just to take action can work against you. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

7/8/13—Leaping Toward Something New

Today's Draw: The Fool from the Bonefire Tarot in the Crossing position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Is something coming to the end of its cycle in your life right now? Is it possible you're running away from something before it has concluded? What are you running to?

In tarot, the "crossing" card can either help or hinder your's something that comes across your topic to influence it. So what's the topic at the forefront of your mind these days? The Fool says it may be time to just leave that situation in the dust and create a new beginning. That could signal everything from a new attitude about the situation to a whole new life. 

The Fool is kind of an interesting card. If the tarot were a movie, the Fool would be the star of the movie. The spiritual story told by the tarot's major arcana is the journey of the Fool. In that way, he's an "everyman". And when we encounter him as Card #0 in the tarot, he stands in two places at once—at the end of one journey and the beginning of the next. 

The gift of the Fool is that he leaps without looking. He takes a risk and trusts that he will land safely. Ultimately, this is what we all have to do when making a change in our lives. There comes a point when we have to stop standing on the precipice, thinking things through, and take a leap. 

One of the things I like about the Fool is that, on most cards, we don't see how far the fall is. But you get the idea that the break has to be clean, because that's not a precipice that you want to scale just to peek behind you to see what you might have left behind in your wake. I like that attitude of "goodbye old way, hello new!"

One of the drawbacks of the Fool, I think, lies in the attitude you take going into the leap. If you leap wildly out of anger or rebellion or something like that, then your leap might not lead to a better situation. And, of course, you might have enjoyed the place you're leaping from. It has just run its course. So mourn the old before you leap. 

I remember a time in my life when I wanted to make a big, sweeping change . And a wise person said to me, "make sure you're running toward something that excites you, rather than running away from something." Those words really brought me pause and really made me re-think the way I was thinking. 

Truth is I WAS running away. And when you run away, your problems follow you. You have to learn the lesson of the old thing before you move into the new. So I stayed put and dealt with the issue. And as I dealt with it, the desire for the other path faded. But sometimes the urge to run away could be what lights a fire under you enough to get to run to. Just make sure you deal with the issues from the thing you're leaving or they'll follow you into the new.