Friday, August 30, 2013

8/31/13—9/2/13—Keeping Your Eye On Your Wonderland

Weekend Reading: The "Hi" Priestess from the 1969 Tarot. What a long, strange trip this weekend is starting out to be! Alice has had a little something to drink and now everything around her feels dangerous and unfamiliar as she searches for her Wonderland. As the lwb for the deck states, however, "they can't behead it if it's only a head to start with!" As if that's not crystal clear, even if crazy is swirling around you, try to keep your head. And if something someone says or does seems a little...not right...don't drink the Kool Aid. Keep your wits about you lest you get deviated from your path. The Wonderland you seek this weekend is in sight. You may have to go there alone. But if you do what you need to do to ignore all the distractions around you, you'll get there in tact. 

I'm taking Monday off, so I'll see you all next with Tuesday's reading! Have a nice holiday weekend (in the US)! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

8/30/13—Understanding That It's All Good

Today's Draw Classic*: Ten of Swords—Ruin—from the Rohrig Tarot, Part 2. Is there something about yourself that you've always wanted to change but can't? Is there someone really annoying in your life you can't get rid of? And is there some group of people—Republicans? Democrats? Jehovah's Witnesses?—that just really chaps your ass?

The 10 of Swords is a card about how our minds defeat us. And one way our minds defeat us is through negative thinking.

I know what you're thinking..."I'm a very positive thinker, Tierney, so today's entry isn't for me, thank you!" Well, that may be. Or it may not be. Really, just closing yourself off to the possibility of discovering how you might become more positive is sort of a negative attitude to take, isn't it? Thinking you're "all that" is just as toxic as thinking you'll never be that. So, whatever, positive peeps. Stop reading! See if I care!!! :D

Thing is, even positive people (and I'm one of them) probably have something we're less than kind to ourselves about—a problem spot on our bodies or some bad habit we can't shake. Or maybe we have a pet peeve about others that sets us off when we see it. Or maybe there's someone in particular that raises our ire. Anything short of a pure, heartfelt "it's all good" is unproductive thinking that is counter to creating peace.

By means of illustration, one thing I hear people say all the time is "if so-and-so loves Jesus so much, why don't they act like it?" or "we're supposed to be a spiritual community, yet some of the people are acting less than spiritual". We've all heard stuff like this before and agreed with it. But have you ever considered how toxic it is?

First of all, it's a judgment. Second, the saying of it separates you from others, conveniently making you the morally superior one. And, third, if you're really so spiritual, why aren't you acting that way? :D

One of the most negative things we do is to not respect those on other paths. That drama queen you can't stand? She's on a different path. That narcissist who keeps annoying you? Different path. That careless man who never picks up his dog's poo? Different path. (Thank god!)

Not only are these people on a different path, their path intersects with yours for a reason, smartypants. Their brokenness is there to show you where your brokenness is. And it brings with it an opportunity for you to understand that, while you're commenting on their toxicity, you're being toxic yourself.

You might say, "I really don't spend too much time thinking about it" or "it's really just this one person." But you can't create more peace or spiritual balance in your life when you're looking over the fence and making commentary (or even just thinking) about someone's actions, no matter how annoying they are. You're also not doing it when you focus all that judgment on yourself.

Traditional Ten of Swords image.
The Ten of Swords is a card about how the mind defeats us, and it's also about how our separateness defeats us. In the traditional card, a fighter lays dead/dying with ten swords in his back, turned toward the sun, just rising on the horizon. In his last moments of surrender, we presume he is finally able to drink in the beauty that is all around him after a life spent fighting all the darkness and ugliness he perceived in the world. It was always "you vs. me" for this guy. Until his final moment, he literally didn't see the light. His arms are lifelessly positioned in the "as above, so below" position, suggesting that the perfection that exists everywhere in heaven, also exists here on earth.

We're all perfectly who we need to be for our appointed journey down here. And that's an intimate agreement we made with our god—it's no one else's business what that agreement is. The stories we tell ourselves about what is right and what is wrong are just that...stories. We have a system for keeping those who harm others out of the mainstream, but even they are on the path they came here to walk. And I know you know that intellectually. But until we can take that belief out of our heads and put it into our hearts, we will be keeping lasting peace forever on the horizon.

*From 6/28/12

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8/29/13—Letting Go of the Fight

Today's Draw: Fox in the House of Mice from the Keywordy Lenormand and the Deck of Lenormand Houses. How do you respond to criticism from others? Do you take responsibility for your actions? Or do you pretend that everyone else has the problem, not you?

Many years ago I had conflict with a friend. She had done something that made me feel very uncomfortable and awkward and I was angry. No, strike that. I was livid. It made me feel disrespected and misunderstood in our friendship and I told her as much. I fully expected her to get angry back and make a hundred excuses, but do you know what she did? She said, "I'm sorry. I was wrong. You are right to be angry. And I will never do it again."

Want to diffuse a hot situation? Say that. And mean it. 

See, to her, keeping our friendship was more important than being right. There was a higher plan in sight. And she HAD done the deed. Even in the moment I knew she had done it with good intention. It just didn't manifest that way and it ended up being something awkward and painful for me. To this day, we are still friends. In fact, I often think of her as someone who has been a better friend to me than I have been to her in many ways. I am humbled by her friendship and the powerful lesson she taught me. 

Fox (manipulation) in the House of Mice (damage, fears) is the complete opposite of what I just said...haha. And I've had that happen to me, too. This is when you confront someone who has wronged you and they use misdirection and subterfuge as their response. In the situation that comes to mind, I had a promise in writing from someone and they broke it. When I confronted them about it, they never addressed the actual promise. Instead, they completely rewrote history and fashioned a colorful story that danced around the issue and painted me as a culprit. 

I think the idea was that I'd leap into denial of all the things they accused me of or argue the points of history that they rewrote. But I didn't. I just kept reiterating my side of the story. And eventually I gave in because I'd rather be happy than right. In my 50 years I have only seen someone respond so...inventively...and in complete denial of something once before. Usually people will outright deny something, make excuses or argue the point. But someone who refuses to even acknowledge the original complaint in the first place? Repeatedly? I can only assume that they know they're wrong, but aren't able to admit it. They're so tied to being right and so competitive that being wrong is a defeat they can't handle. Both happen to be men. 

Men of my generation were raised to win, while women were raised to play nice. I read all about it in a book about the differences between men and women in the workplace. And it makes sense. Boys of my generation played games where there was definitive winner. Meanwhile, girls of my generation generally played with dolls and each got to take a turn at being mommy. I'm not relegating this behavior to being a solely male trait because I don't think it is. And most men grow up to rise above that mold. But there are aspects of the way men are socialized that predispose them to winning at all costs. It makes sense, but it doesn't make it right.

As a large person with a loud voice, I know I can be a little intimidating. But I can confidently say that, since I've become an adult, I've managed to take responsibility for my own actions. I've had people complain to me about things that I've done and even things that I haven't done. And I've taken their words and acknowledged them in the conversation. I am very open to constructive criticism, though I may not seem so approachable. But anything that helps my growth, when brought to me from a genuine place, is always welcome. 

In fact I recently had something brought to my attention that wasn't flattering. But the person was right. I wasn't conscious of what I had been doing, but now faced with it, I had to admit they were right. So I responded the only way a person should respond, "you are right, I apologize, it will never happen again." No excuses. No counter-blaming. Nothing of the sort. Just genuine complicity and appreciation for pointing something out to me that I could correct and be a better person as a result of.  

Sometimes giving in for the sake of happiness, balance, propriety or a higher purpose is misconstrued as weakness. I disagree. It takes a very strong person to let go of the bad behaviors of others for a higher goal. It also takes a very strong person to fess up when the other party is right. In all cases mentioned above, the relationship couldn't be sacrificed for one reason or another. So that was the larger maintain peace for as long as that relationship needed to last. 

Whether you're wronged or in the wrong, letting go of the fight can be a bitter pill to swallow. It's especially hard when you know you're right and the other person is in denial or afraid to admit they're wrong. But if you keep hitting your head up against a wall, it will leave permanent scars. Sometimes the most powerful comment you can make is to silently move forward, with dignity and resolve.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8/28/13—Rising Above the Noise

Today's Draw: King of Wands from the Art of Life Tarot. Are you struggling with an interpersonal issue lately? Have you been betrayed by someone close to you? Do you feel alone in all of this?

In the past couple of months, I've had a few people I consider to be friends lie about me, lie to me and bait and switch on me for their own gain. Different people. Different situations. But a lot of disappointment and surprise. Looking back, there were clues, I suppose. But sometimes the clues are so subtle and easy to ignore that it just seems like the conflicts were necessary. 

Each of these situations has left me feeling humiliated in different ways. I've mentioned on this blog many times before that I am not a vengeful person. So if you're not going to get revenge, basically all that's left is to swallow your pride and move on, despite feeling embarrassed, hurt, bullied, etc.

Many years ago, I was subject to significant online bullying. While it never got this bad for me, I see why some people commit suicide over stuff like that. A person with integrity stands up for themselves, but never sinks to the level of their attacker. That's what I believe. So if someone is conspiring against you, you don't conspire back. Unless you're a conspiratorial kind of person. So you have to make a choice—hit them back with everything you've got or maintain true to the person you are. 

It's very hard to maintain your ethics and beliefs about how to treat others when you're being treated horribly. Feeling bullied and alone and knowing others are talking badly about you can lead you to some very dark places within. Sometimes I struggle with whether or not it's ok to let the assholes win in order to remain true to yourself. I've been struggling a lot the last couple of months. It's hard to keep believing you're doing the right thing by letting go. 

Anyway, today's card affirms that self confidence is key to great undertakings. And that's what we've got going here with our spiritual and personal growth—a great undertaking. There are times that it's hard to remember that the things people say and do to you are more about themselves. There are times it's hard to trust that the universe is acting in your best interests. There are times it's hard to hold on to what's true with all the subterfuge around you. And there are times it's hard to rely on karma to make things right. 

I don't think anyone ever achieves unshakable self confidence. But I do think you build it stronger by moving forward with integrity...believing in yourself and being true to that, regardless of outside pressures or impressions. Looking back on the online bullying from a decade ago, I can see so many benefits of resisting the urge to give them a dose of their own medicine. For one, people THAT effed up have stopped showing up in my life. That alone is enough.

While it's still too close for me to see with my current situations, I do see the desperation that is the common thread among them. The humiliation I feel in these situations is a temporary thing. Desperation and a lack of self-awareness are more lingering. So I'm glad to be on this side of the issue. And I'm glad to have the wisdom to see the aspects that are being mirrored back to me and the places that need to be healed. Everything else is just noise that, if I listen to it, can keep me from moving forward. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

8/27/13—Keeping Your Creative Passion Alive

Today's Draw: The Ace of Crows in the What to Use in the Future position from the Badger's Forest Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you a professional creative person? Are you a hobbiest who's in a bit of a rut? Could you use something to rekindle the fires of your creative passion?

Nobody ever asks me how a sensitive creative person such as myself has survived being a writer in the brutal world of advertising for 27 years. So I'm going to assume it's because you're all too shy. :D

Seriously, though, most creatives my age have moved out of the bullpen and into positions with less writing and more authority by this time in their career. Of course that's the natural progression of the career, but it also switches up the kinds pressures that are on you. You still have deadlines, but not as many. You don't have as many critical eyes on your work. In some ways you have more pressure and in other ways you don't. And the higher up you get, the less you get to write. In fact, most creative directors don't even write (or do art) anymore. 

On one hand, I wanted to be a creative director and rise to the top of my field. But on the other hand, I loved writing too much. So when I became a freelance writer 17 years ago, it also meant making a choice—move toward the more privileged life of a creative director or continue to sweat from project to project under the critical eyes of everyone that matters in your professional life as a writer. I chose to remain a writer, albeit under my own terms. 

I made this piece for more modest showing in my bathroom.
If it's not evident from all my blog posts, I have a passion for writing. I do it all day long and I then I do it as a hobby in my spare time. I believe the only way I've been able to maintain my passion in such a critical and cruel (and fun and rewarding) profession such as advertising is because of a commitment I made to myself maybe 15 years ago. 

Despite the fact that I had become self employed and had clients who appreciated me and had more autonomy and trust placed in me, it was getting hard to keep loving my career. It's just a fact of the job that you will create things you love only to have them either reviled or hacked apart by others. It's also a fact that not every project is exciting or offers an opportunity for you to really show your chops. But every once in a while you'll grab the brass ring and a beloved creation slips through the cracks relatively unscathed and that's what you live for. But the older you get, frankly, the less satisfying the taste of those small victories. 

This is the back of a felted wool tarot bag
I made for a friend. It depicts "snake tree", a
tree on her farm. 
So now it's time to get to the point of today's entry—you simply must find a creative outlet in your life that is only for you. The creator of the Badger's Forest says the Ace of Crows is about a new passion. And that's what you need to bring into the future with you. 

Fifteen years ago, I realized that I needed to create things that were just for me. And, by that, I mean answerable only to my own scrutiny. Done solely at my own impetus and in my own time. Over the years I've created tarot bags, stained glass, paintings, fiber name it. My passions for these things are sometimes fleeting. And that's ok. I answer only to myself. And if anyone out there owns any of these creations, it's not because you asked for it or bought it. It's because I was moved to create it for you from the center of my being. These things can't be purchased or requested. They must come from the heart. 

In this manner, I've managed to get enough creative satisfaction to feed those times of lean creative opportunity in my career. And let me tell you, after all these years of creating for others for money, it's a beautiful thing to create simply for the joy of creating. Which is why I won't do it for money, obligation or on request. 

I made this tarot valise to carry decks to my teaching gigs.
This blog, in fact, is one of those expressions. I've been writing it for three years now, six days a week. And never once have I cared about whether people read it or make comments. That's not the currency that fuels my passion. It's the process itself. And it's how I've had the stamina and discipline to write nearly 1000 blog posts in a row. 

Twenty-seven years ago I turned one of my passions over to the world of commerce, recognition and supply and demand. I've never regretted it. And I still manage to love doing it. All of that is owed to the passions I keep for myself. Professional creative people have to find a way to keep their passion alive or they won't last the marathon. And it doesn't matter whether you do it well (I suck at some of the stuff I love to do) or whether others understand or approve. All that matters is that it gives you a new reason to greet each morning with your spirit in tact. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

8/26/13—Getting Ready to Receive

Today's Draw: The Seven of Crows (Pentacles) in the Spirit position from the Badger's Forest Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you waiting for something to arrive in your life? Does it feel like you've been waiting forever? Is it time to spend your time more productively?

First I want to say that my life has been one, big, profound spiritual lesson the past few weeks, but for some reason neither the cards nor the clock are cooperating with me sharing those insights with you. I suppose it will all find its way into the daily draws eventually, but I want to write it all down and I just don't have the time!

Anyway, in a way, that's what this combo is about. Spirit is telling us to be patient and persevere and the lessons, resolutions, information—whatever it is that you're searching for—will come naturally and without added effort. After all, this crow found his dinner without even leaving his branch! Sure, he had to lean forward and stretch his neck out—he had to "put out a hand" to receive. And he had to have some patience. But the universe brought his desire right to him. And it will do the same for you. 

Right now, Spirit just wants you to know that your order is placed and they're preparing it in the kitchen. Depending on what you asked for and how prepared you are to receive, it may take more or less time than you'd anticipated. But when it comes to the universe, all you're in charge of is the "what" anyway. The "when" and "how" are up to the universe. And if you're putting out effort to hasten the when and dictate the how, you're not being very gracious. Would you like it if someone asked you for a favor then told you how to do it and when?

So now is the time to be patient. And if you're impatient with being patient, spend some time making sure you're ready to recieve. If what you ask for calls for a more mature version of you, start working toward that. If it calls for someone more experienced than you, then get the experience. And if it's a super hot, red sports card, ferchrissakes, clear a spot in your garage. You won't receive what you asked for until you're ready to receive it anyway. So spend the time you're spending kvetching about how long it's taking getting ready to greet your wish when it comes.