Friday, September 13, 2013

9/14/13-9/15/13—Putting Something New Into Motion

Weekend Reading: Child + Mechanism from the Breath of the Night oracle. Something you put into motion this weekend will grow to become part of a well oiled machine in your life. So if you begin a health routine, conditions are favorable for it to become well established. Likewise, if you begin an argument with your mate, it's also likely to grow into a well-established rift. So be careful what you put into motion because it's likely to have a snowball effect. And once the snowball starts rolling, it could be hard to stop!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/13/13—Greeting the Guiding Hand of God

Today's Draw: Hierophant from the Badger's Forest Tarot in the Underlying Influences position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you recognize the influence of a higher power in your life? How do you receive whispers or bangs? How deeply do you think that influence goes in guiding your everyday life?

Traditionally, the Hierophant in the tarot was called the Pope. And he was the dude who preached the church's version of God, as the church wanted it preached. So his own personal relationship with God, if it veered from his religious teachings, were not brought forth. In that sense, I see this version of the Hierophant as being about religion and dogma and not about spirituality (which I define as one's personal knowledge of God). 

But that's not how I see the Hierophant. The word comes from ancient Greek and talks about someone who interprets the great mysteries of life. So while he still might be a priest, the difference is that he teaches his interpretation and not the interpretation of an organized body, such as the Catholic Church. While it's just a difference in details, it means a world of difference in the way I see the card. His own wisdom and free thought comes into play. And "interpreting mysteries" is a more accurate way of presenting information about God than "mandating beliefs", which is what I feel organized religion does. When it's just an interpretation of a mystery, then you're allowing that it's "your answer" and not "THE answer". 

Before I veer off into a rant about religious freedom and how the world has gone way off track when it comes to everyone thinking their way is the ONLY way, let's consider the Hierophant in the position of Underlying Influences. When I first saw these two cards together, I thought about "the invisible hand that guides us". Which is a mystery in and of itself. 

Among those who believe in a higher power, I'd guess most believe in the notion of interaction with this higher power. I believe each of us is surrounded by signs, omens, winks and nudges that could be considered "an invisible hand guiding us" toward where we need to be. We all have stories about odd coincidences and intuitions that served to protect and/or guide us. Those little whispers pale in comparison to bigger ones, like the travel snafu that caused Seth McFarlane to miss his plane on 9/11—the same plane Mark Wahlberg was supposed to be on—saving both of their lives. 

We're all familiar with the guidance that comes in both whispers and booms, but consider the guidance that's so silent as to be "invisible". Like when something spontaneously makes you hold your tongue, rather than your spill your guts, as usual. Or when you're grocery shopping and throw something odd into your cart without really thinking. I often wonder, really how much guidance are we given? And who is giving it? Is it a higher being or just our higher selves? And is there even a difference between the two?

Personally I don't think there's a second of our lives that is lived without "the guiding hand" near. We always have the option to choose differently. I don't believe everything is laid before us and we're just following a script. But I do think the more we listen and live in trust of the higher power, the more we dance and sway to its guidance. Which is why I think so much of it goes unnoticed. The guide only gets loud when it needs to. 

What do you think about all of this? What might you have done automatically today that, when thinking back on it, showed some sort of higher wisdom than what you're used to leveraging on your own? For me it was holding my tongue...haha. How deeply do you think the underlying influence of the higher power goes?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/12/13—Fighting Ourselves

Today's Draw Classic*: Ten of Swords from the Norse Tarot. Are you riled up, ready to fight? Are you justified in your anger? Or is it even anger at all? And is it a battle worth fighting?

Traditionally, the Ten of Swords is a card of utter defeat. But not in the Norse Tarot. It's just not the Viking way. Our hero is well armed to do battle. And you get the sense that, even if he's up against alarming odds, he could possibly win. But is it a battle worth fighting?

Almost all of my anger is actually hurt. It happens when someone has rubbed up against one of my fears…fear of abandonment, fear of not being accepted. It's one thing to fight from a secure position. Fighting from a place of security is more often debate and doesn't require an arsenal.

But fighting from a position of insecurity…well, who or what are you really fighting? And what spoils rain down on you if you win? I'd venture to say most of our battles are with ourselves. We lash out at a supermarket checker who has to look up the code for broccoli because we're annoyed at the way we've planned our day. We yell at our partner for coming home late because we feel abandoned and need more attention. In essence, we're trying to heal a broken leg by walking on it. And, often, the fight just puts more distance between us and what we're trying to achieve and receive.

I've been feeling a little riled myself lately. Over the past few months, the trust I've placed in a friend and, in another situation, a business associate, has been betrayed. And telling the other person off really isn't working. In one case the person manufactured an out-and-out lie, blaming me for something she'd done herself. In the other, the dude is in complete denial about a lie they told me to get me to commit to something. In both cases there's really nothing I can do about it. It's hitting on all my own past hurts and present insecurities. Each made bad choices that I'm left paying for and, outside of revenge, which is not an option for me spiritually, there's no recourse. This makes me even more angry. 

But my desire to lash out and expose them coming from my own victim mentality. Nobody likes to admit to that, but it's often the truth. These situations come to us precisely to heal all that old stuff that they push up against. And they often mirror things back to us that we'd rather not see. In some ways, my issue with them is really an issue with myself. And while both know exactly how I feel, I haven't gone all Real Housewives on their asses. And won't. When I deal with these people next, it will come from a place of neutrality and/or compassion.

And that's the kicker, isn't it? How often do we approach ourselves with the same love and understanding we give to others? Until we really understand what is beneath our compulsion to fight with another, we're just spinning in space, having fight after fight until we finally "get it". So ask yourself what you're really fighting. And if that means you lay down your swords and open up your tears, do it. Then show yourself some of the love and compassion you show others. The best way to defeat the negative forces in your life is to heal yourself.

*Modified from a post on 4/12/11

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

9/11/13—Becoming a Spiritual Ninja Warrior

Today's Draw: Three of Swords from the Art of Life Tarot. Do you feel embattled and defeated by life on your spiritual journey? Have you reached a point where you feel good about your progress and don't see the cost-benefit of moving on? Or are you a spiritual ninja, set on soldiering on?

Today's entry is going to be a quick one, because I worked late. But when I pulled this card, I thought about this show I'm watching on TV called American Ninja Warrior. It is TOTALLY not something I would usually watch, but I caught it one night and got hooked.

On the show, men and women compete through a series of grueling obstacle courses that are a test of strength, agility, endurance and spirit. No American has ever completed the course, known as Mount Midoriyama. And only three people on earth have ever completed it. 

This isn't American Ninja Weekend Warrior...haha. These people devote their lives to training for this event and one slip of the hand means they have to wait another year to try again. The competitors are zero body fat types from sports like rock climbing, parkour and gymnastics. As you watch, you see story after story and hope after hope crushed as any mere glimmer of imperfection sends them splashing into the waters below.

If this sounds familiar, it's because life can be like this. Smooth sailing through seas of everlasting peace can be considered the Mount Midoriyama of the spiritual set. And like the American Ninja Warriors, we have pick ourselves up after each fall and continue training for our next try at life's obstacle course. 

The quote on today's card is from Ralph Waldo Emerson and it reads, "Difficulties exist to be surmounted." And while I might contend that they exist to teach us lessons, we need to learn those lessons in order to surmount the difficulties. Then the next time we're on the course, we might go farther before our imperfections cause us to slip. 

Some will quit after a while, defeated by obstacles. Some will be happy with how far they've gone along their path and choose not to go further. But the ninja...the ninja soldiers on. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

9/10/13—Getting My News From Other Sources

Today's Draw: Rider + Garden from the Whimsy Lenormand by Pepi Valderrama. Do you watch the news? How do you get your news? What benefit do you derive from being on top of the news?

When I first saw this combination I thought "the news". The Rider is a messenger bringing news and The Garden is the public or society. So it's easy to see how I drew that conclusion. 

I don't watch the news. I don't read the paper. There's no site I go to to learn about current events. I wasn't always this way. I used to stay on top of things and get the paper. I just don't anymore. These days I figure if the US were to blow up or something, my Canadian friends would post about it on Facebook. And then I would know. :D

I could say I trace this back to 9/11, but I'm pretty sure it began sooner. When you live in a place like Washington, DC and say you don't watch the news or follow politics, people are quick to accuse you of not caring about what goes on in the world. In some ways, though, the opposite is true. My empathy makes me inclined to carry the weight of all the sadness on my shoulders. They also consider "news watchers" as beings of superior intelligence. And, as truly superior beings are wont to do, I let them. :D

The constant barrage of "bad news"...and let's face it, the news is largely just too much for me. I  have a pretty clear vision of how I'm meant to serve on this earth and it's about raising spiritual consciousness. It's not about traveling to war torn countries with humanitarian aid, administering to the ill, picketing the White House, arguing about partisan agendas, fighting crime in the's not about anything they cover on the news. The news is just story after story reminding you what is going wrong in the world, with an occasional story of something right thrown in to silence critics such as myself. It's depressing. It lacks hope. And it drags me down into the abyss. It serves, in my opinion, to chip away at spiritual consciousness through its inherent gloom. 

The interesting thing about not watching the news or reading about it is that I somehow manage to have some awareness of the topics of the day. Unless you're completely unwired in today's world, you're going to read a Facebook update, catch something on a search engine, get a glimpse at a main news story while looking for something better meant for the style section. People are going to say something to you, ask for your opinion. You can't avoid it. And I'm good with getting my news from these sources and if I want to know more, seeking it out for myself. 

There's a woman named Jill Bolte Taylor that was a neuroanatomist who had a stroke. At first, she couldn't walk, talk or remember details about her life. But while in recovery, she had a heightened sense of the energy behind the people who walked in and out of her hospital room. Because of that, she advocates for people to take responsibility for the energies around them and for the energy they bring to others. One of her quotes became an Oprah classic, "please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space."

Watching the news brings a certain energy into my space. And it's an energy that does not leave me uplifted. Somewhere along the line, I realized that and stopped bringing it into my sphere. The same is true for negative people, certain websites and TV shows, certain types of art and music...I just have no place for them in my sphere. We are all affected differently by different energies and we all get to choose where we invest our attention. 

Being raised in a society and household where news time was the most important time of the day, I had some guilt about turning my back on it. Temporarily. I'm glad news is out there, because information is good. And I'm also glad it's optional, because I don't want the drone of it in my space. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

9/9/13—Connecting to Spirit

Today's Draw: Fortune Fairy (Wheel of Fortune) from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm in the Spirit position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Do you feel connected to spirit right now? Do you find that your connection goes in and out? What do you do to improve the connection?

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I'm fortunate to live in a part of the US that has four distinct seasons each year—beautiful, miserable, breathtaking and reflective. Any tourist who has ever been to Washington, DC in the summer will confirm that the heat and humidity here is particularly oppressive, especially for a region that's not really "south". You expect that in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. 

Other than to say we've had, perhaps, the most reasonable summer of the roughly 30 years I've lived in this region, I'm not here to talk about summer. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I believe it's especially spectacular in the mid-Atlantic. The temperatures are perfect for being outside, building a fire in the fire bowl, hiking trails, leaf peeping. And as the leaves fall, they lay the branches bare, prompting us to do the same within. While I love the redbuds, cherry blossoms, magnolias, dogwoods and crepe myrtles that dominate this region, I love bare branches more. 

For me, spring and summer coax my energy out of my body. Fall and winter lead it within, toward the core of my spirit. So I think that's why the Fortune Fairy is coming in the position of the Spirit today. As days grow shorter and nights get cooler, the presence of spirit grows stronger in me. Barbara Moore wrote in the book for this deck that if things suck, the Fairy is going to make it all good. And if things are already good, look for them to get even better. So today's combo is about spirit getting stronger in our lives. 

To me, that means not just being "in good spirits". But it also means a deepening connection and communion with that energy or source that is greater than us all, whether you call it God, nature, Buddha or something else.

I would say that, if accused, I couldn't deny "waiting" for a spiritual connection to find me. In fact, I've been feeling disconnected for a while. And while I still meditate most nights, nothing seems to "take" lately. While there are times the connection feels effortless, we still have to show up...and show up in the right frame of receive. We can't expect spirit to beam into us while we're returning emails, running errands or watching TV. In fact, for me, I am most connected when I am fully in the moment, and even more when I am fully in the moment in meditation or prayer. So if we want our connection to improve, then we first need to show up. We need to have some sacred practice where we are fully present in nature, prayer, meditation...whatever forms that connection for you. 

And a second thing is that we also need patience. Because the connection to spirit needs to be elastic for us, sometimes being close and sometimes being far away. While it's valuable to honor the spirit sides of ourselves, we ARE here to be human, after all. And by that I mean we need to honor the cyclical nature of being earthbound spirits. Honoring and embracing the waxings and wanings of our lives is, in itself, a spiritual practice. 

We won't always be connected. We won't always be happy. We won't always be at peace. Nor will will we always be disconnected, sad or jumbled up inside. The key is to show up anyway. Detach as best you can from what's going on and connect with spirit. And if the line seems to be disconnected, smile. Because this is what we all came here to experience. Just remember to try again tomorrow.