Friday, November 1, 2013

11/2/13-11/3/13—Taking a Rest

Weekend Reading: Four of Swords from the Dark Crystal Glitter Baby from Carol Herzer. This weekend's message is literally "rest". It's time to take a break from the grind and recharge. I'm sure you're all thinking, "duh, it's the weekend." I agree. Also, the second I turned this card over, I thought, "I can rest some other weekend. This weekend I need to get stuff done." After all, it's the prime time of the year for winterizing your garden. Then there's all that other stuff you have to do on weekends. Then it hit me...the cards know weekends are for resting. And they also know that what we REALLY use them for is catching up on family stuff and stuff around the house. Which means we never really get a break. So somewhere in all of the stuff that needs to be done, be sure to carve out some time to indulge that part of you that needs a break. Take a long bath. Turn off the phone. Meditate in nature. Do SOMETHING that doesn't involve you doing something or thinking something. Make some time to give it all a rest. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

11/1/13—Going Natural

Today's Draw: Tree, Flower, Key from Tierney's Charms. Are you more inclined to use natural remedies or pharmaceutical ones? How do you feel about traditional vs. modern medicine? And what natural practices do you swear by?

Here's something different. I'm going to interpret this threesome as reading "natural health is the key". So let's talk about supplements and other stuff!

First off, despite all my woo-woo beliefs, I'm a supporter of modern medicine and all the miracles it can do. If I were ever seriously ill, I would take the pills they give me and do the procedures they tell me to. And I would supplement with energy medicine, meditation and other natural healing techniques.  

With all the infinite types of plants and animals and minerals out there, I'm pretty sure that the universe provides a treatment for everything. Ancient man discovered many of these things, but I think there are still a lot out there to discover. I'd rather take something natural over something manmade, but more than that, I'd rather take the route most likely to keep me alive. 

Six weeks ago, Kizzie's knee went out (my dog). I know about this injury because the other knee went out last year. Last year I paid for an expensive surgery and it took months to heal. This year the vet suggested I could let him heal on his own and she gave me a drug called Alenza that is a mixture of herbals and vitamins that reduce inflammation and support overall tissue health. She told me to use that and then treat him as if he's recovering from surgery. Within a few days on the Alenza, the results were remarkable. One day he can't put weight on the leg and a few days later (keeping him rested) there's barely a limp. 

Because I had tried to heal his leg on its own last year, I was still skeptical, though. Last year he seemed to heal, but it went out again at the slightest thing. So I figured the test of this would be if I could take him on vacation and return home with his knee in tact. See, we've been going to the same vacation spot for years. Every year Kizzie has to recover from all the activity of playing with other dogs and roaming about. But this year, within a month of being lame, he was very strong on vacation. There was very little difference in that knee between the time we left for vacation and the time returned—nothing to recover from. It takes months for a dog to fully recover from this injury on its own, but he is doing really well. 

Over the years I've tried all sorts of herbal remedies to satisfactory results. Some have worked and some haven't. The same has been true for pharmaceuticals. But then there are some things I just won't go near. On the pharmaceutical end, I've never taken a birth control pill and, now, never will. Something has always told me they would be bad for me. On the natural end, I won't touch anything with soy. I also would not go natural for mood support, because I tried in the past and ended up worse off. 

So I believe there's a mixed bag on either side of the fence. I think it's really important to listen to the wisdom of your body and higher self. If it troubles you to take something, find another way if you can. That's your body trying to tell you something. But more than that, if you "hate it" every time you take a certain pill, you'll be putting that negative energy into your body. 

Beyond all of this, there are natural practices, like meditation, yoga or energy medicine that I use on a regular basis for mental and physical health. To be clear, though, I'm no saint. I don't always eat the healthiest stuff. I do take cholesterol medication. I don't exercise as I should. But I guess I'm just saying is that I won't say "no" to something just because ancient man used it and didn't live a long life. That's one of those excuses I hear and there are a lot of reasons ancient man died sooner than we did. It's not all because he didn't have Tylenol PM. 

I've been open to all of this stuff for decades, but fairly recently the medical community has really embraced things like neti and reiki and meditation, not to mention herbals and neutraceuticals. Neither approach has all the answers and I believe the two should go hand in hand in our health routines. The most important thing, I think, is to tune into what your body and intuition are telling you, because they know what they want you to eat, drink, take and do. 

What's your position on all of this? And what are some of your natural practices?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/31/13—Figuring Out What Life is Trying to Tell Us

Today's Draw Classic*: Dolphin from the Ocean. Have you seen an "unusual" animal this week, or had an animal that seemed to really stand out to you? Do you feel a certain kinship to a particular kind of animal? Is anything else happening that seems to be significant or trying to give you a message this week?

Messages come to us in many forms. Sometimes a message comes in a tarot card. Or maybe you'll hear something in your ear. Or something will happen three times and you'll take notice. Or you'll see something in your mind's eye. Truth is, anything can be a message. And there are those of us that pay attention if an animal comes to us in life, symbol or dream, because it can mean something. 

This week, I've had two "unusual" animals pop up with significance in my life. One is dolphin, who I saw during a meditation last night and, who, oddly enough, someone wrote to me asking a question about today. And the other is fox, because there's an injured fox in our neighborhood, stirring up the dogs and the worry of neighbors. To be clear, the neighbors are worried about the fox and not for their safety. We have at least one "neighborhood" fox. You don't see them often, because foxes prefer skulking around in the dark. Anyway, this guy is all over the place during the daytime, looking for food and safety. Oh! and a third is rabbit...a big juicy one that I think lives under my shed, but it showed itself to me the other day, which is rare. 

So we're doing something a little different today and looking at the messages these animals bring. Dolphin is especially relevant to me this week, because dolphins are creatures of the water, but they breathe air like humans. Symbolically speaking, water is about emotions and air is about intellect. So dolphins, to me, represent a balance of emotion and intellect, never letting the other fully take over. 

But here's the cool thing about dolphins that you may not know...they're not automatic breathers like human. They're known as "voluntary" breathers, meaning they have to remember and intend to come up for come up for the intellect that balances them. 

The last few days, I've been pretty glum and, with that, my mind has been creating all sorts of imagined tragedies. I do that. I'm dramatic in that way. The good thing about me is that I usually KNOW I do that and can laugh at it. The bad thing is that, when I'm especially down, I forget that I do that and can spiral further down. I caught myself doing that this week and I think that's why dolphin came to remind me to come for come up out of my emotions for a good dose of reason. 

Now to fox. Foxes are shy and hunt at nighttime, which is why you don't see them that often. As I was writing this, I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone this week about how we're night people and would like to get our schedules back to normal people times. Foxes also ask us to rely on our intellect and instincts. I was thinking about why the fox chose my neighbor's house to hide out at and decided that they don't have a fence, which made it easy. But also I think he instinctively knew the energy was safe there, there were some good cubbies to hide in and he might be able to catch some dinner by surprise. 

With rabbit (and I hope my rabbit has been able to elude the fox) rabbits are vigilant, quiet and fast. We were right up on that sucker and still didn't see it hiding in the weeds until it made a break for it. And it made its break so fast that I swear Kizzie was confused and didn't even realize what happened. It was a spectacular rabbit, too...tri-colored and even more beautiful than the one pictured. But Magick was standing right there and didn't even seem to see it. Two dogs saw nothing as this rabbit jumped out and hopped the entire length of my yard to safety. Rabbit is that good. He's got a plan. And if he needs to be invisible to his enemies, he can do that, too.

So yesterday's post about intentional self care...sacred self care...even guerrilla self care...resonated with so many who feel a bit pulled under by life right now. And I think these animals all have relevant messages for us for when we feel that way:

1. Dolphin asks if the voices in your head that support your doldrums are speaking the truth. Are you just being emotional? Or are all these absolutes—nobody loves me, nobody appreciates me, my work isn't valued, etc.—really true? Chances are, they're not. And another thing about dolphin that shouldn't be forgotten is fun. They like to have fun. And sometimes we need to remind ourselves to do that, too.

2. Fox tells us it's OK to play it safe for a while. If our instincts and intellect are telling us this is not the time to confront our problem from #1 by, say, yelling at our partner and telling them they're poo, then it's probably wise to listen to that voice. Which, by the way, is different from the angry one telling you it's OK to blame them for your feelings. Also, being solitary creatures, they say it's OK to break away and spend time to yourself.

3. Rabbit tells us we need a escape route...a list of things to do to bring us back to balance. Yesterday we talked about journaling, hot baths, nature walks and a few other things. Tomorrow I'm going to commune with the moon in my special way, as a nod to fox who loves the night, as I do.

What animals have been standing out to you in your life recently? To figure out what they might be saying, first ask yourself what you know about that animal and how they are like you. Then google "[animal type] spirit guide" or "[animal type] totem" and see what people online have to say. Everyone interprets things differently, so feel free to really explore what that animal symbolizes to you, even if it's different from what you find online.

*From 4/6/12

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/30/13—Exposing Romance's Dark Side

Today's Draw: The Hierophant in the Romance position from the Halloween Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you a big fan of romance? Do you hope for a perfect, effortless love? Is it possible that your belief in fairy tales is ruining your every chance at love?

I have been horribly remiss. I probably should have been using Halloween and Vampire themed decks all week. Lord knows I have them. But I've been too lazy. So I ran upstairs and pulled out the mother of all Halloween decks by Kipling West. 

If I were doing a love reading for someone, this combo could totally mean marriage. The Hierophant is a religious leader and, thus, can perform weddings. So in a predictive romance reading, this would be a desired outcome. 

But I'm not into least not as it's generally considered in American society. Romance in that context is someone who puts on grand shows of love, accompanied by flowers and gifts. They immediately love every last bit of you and they're destined to be your perfect mate. They ride in on a white horse to save you from doom. They cancel meetings because they've just got to have you one more time. They complete you. 


All of that is a fairy tale. More than that, it's a smoke screen we put up to keep real intimacy at arm's length. We've done ourselves a particular disservice in believing in that brand of romance, because it sets up expectations that are not only impossible to meet in the long term, but really have nothing to do with true emotional intimacy—love—between two people. 

Flowers, cards and dates are easy. What's hard is trusting another to see you, warts and all, and meeting that trust with the courage to love and accept them, warts and all. What's really hard is seeing arguments as opportunities to learn. This is not something that happens in the first three dates. It doesn't happen on sight, either. It's something that grows over time and needs conscious maintenance. Romance is the proverbial lipstick on a pig. It's the smoke and mirrors that makes a fairy tale princess fall in love with a fairy tale prince long enough to put a ring on it so you can go back to being a frog. 

I know that sounds really cynical, but it's what I feel. I mean, romance is nice, but it ain't love. Nor is it a reason TO love. And through fairy tales and TV and movies, we've come to believe it's proof of true love when it's not. All these things that send our pulse racing and our hormones dripping—romantic gestures, mindblowing sex, good looks, great dates, unquenchable desire—all of that wanes over time. And if you base a partnership on it, you're going to be very disappointed when life gets in the way of all of that and makes it go poof. 

On the basis of physical evolution, we instinctively seek out those who will render healthy offspring. Compatible genes are what send hormones racing, not love. On the basis of spiritual evolution, though, we need to seek those with a mutual desire to learn and grow in a responsible manner. It doesn't sound as sexy as someone who rides in saves you from loneliness, then takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride of orgasms and chocolate, but it's more likely to lead to the kind of intimacy human hearts yearn for. It's a start down the road to helping each other fill that empty pit inside with something other than cotton candy and false expectations. 

Most people get married long before they achieve the kind of love that comes from emotional and spiritual intimacy. Of course. It takes years. And sometimes it happens between people who have smokin' hot sex. But it rarely takes with people who think marriage is going to make them happy, change the other person or otherwise be the answer to all their problems. True love is about learning and growing in tandem...supporting the soul evolution of your partner. There's so much divorce in this society because, met with the opportunity to learn, grow and deepen intimacy, most people argue, shut out and run. Love and intimacy come from two people working through their human ugliness together. 

Which means you don't want them to worship you, because you want to grow past superficial things. You don't want them to put on a romantic show for you because you don't want it to be about external trappings—you'd rather learn to move past neediness. "Thoughtful" is nice. It says the other person knows you enough to anticipate you. And you don't want them to be perfect and never piss you off, because you need to learn tolerance and they need to learn consideration. "Romance"—at least the way it's portrayed in the media—is an easy way to distract the other person from the fact that you're not being truly intimate with them. 

What all this has to do with the Hierophant is that his is the energy that tells you how you should think and be in this world. He's the creator of structures and rules that lead to conformity. We should never stop questioning the Hierophant's wisdom. Because many of his structures are based on outdated—and sometimes completely wrong—visions of the way things should be. 

Our love affair with romance is one of those things. On one level or another, we believe the societal image of a perfect mate, a knightly savior and "happily ever after". And as long as we keep yearning for that to be true, we'll never find what we seek—actual love. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

10/29/13—Preparing to Greet Opportunity

Today's Draw: Page of Swords from the Art of Life Tarot. Do you have what it takes to achieve your dreams? Do you have a good grasp on what is needed to achieve what you want to achieve—beyond the hard skills and desire? If the opportunity came today, would you have what you need to just jump right in and start tomorrow...or are you hoping you'll learn after the opportunity comes?

The Buddhist proverb on this card reads, "when the student is ready, the master will appear." And I would like to extend that to be "when the student is ready, the time and opportunity will also appear."

This could really be about anything, because everything is a life lesson. For example, when I was ready to leave "the man" for self employment, there was no specific physical teacher that appeared, though I did pick up wisdom here and there along the way. But the opportunity came for me to stretch myself professionally. The whole thing was a learning experience. 

To illustrate the "when the student is ready" part, it's not enough to want something. You have to be prepared to greet the opportunity when it presents. For example, prior to becoming a freelancer, I spent 10 years working in agencies and in-house organizations. So I knew how my job was performed from every angle. I had the kind of work ethic that would have me in the office every day at 9am, whether I had assignments or not. I had a method for coping with the fear and uncertainty of the job. I understood the business behind the business. In fact, I had prepared myself in countless ways....some without even knowing why I was learning that particular skill. 

In other ways, however, I had to prepare myself. For example, I am not a natural networker. I'm not someone who feels comfortable putting myself out there. So I had to force myself to learn that. I had to force myself to make cold calls and go to networking events. That was all part of the learning.

Oprah defines luck as "preparation meeting opportunity". It's very similar to "when the student is ready, the master will appear." But her definition points out that luck is made through effort and being ready to receive the challenge when it comes. Success is not built and retained through one-dimensional preparation, meaning it's not enough to be brilliant at what you do. There's a whole package to being successful that encompasses your temperament, personality, work ethic, charm...whatever. You may not need to have all of those things, but you need more than desire and capability to really shine. 

This may very well be why your less-than-capable manager is your manager. It's not just about them understanding the area of specialization, it's about rubbing elbows, making desires known, and a host of other skills they prepared themselves with so they'd be ready to meet the opportunity when it arose. That "jerk" isn't "lucky". He more than likely understands something you don't. 

So whatever "next level" it is that you want to get to, consider not just the knowledge you need to get there, but the mojo, the intestinal resolve and other skills needed to do the work. You might be able to pick up some as you go, but if you're waiting for the opportunity to come in order to prepare, you're likely to miss the boat. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

10/28/13—Seeing Similarities

Today's Draw: Letter, Lilies and Crossroads from the Dutch Lenormand. Are there any groups or kinds of people that you just don't like or trust? Have you ever been the target of some sort of bias? Have you ever practiced trying to look past your judgments of others to see the similarities you share with them?

To me, this trio says "choose messages of peace". That's pretty straightforward. Sometimes we don't always choose the kindest way to say something to another person. Sometimes even the kindest way can hurt a sensitive soul...we can only do what we can do. But if we choose the most peaceful route, we can at least know we did what we could to be kind. 

Today I had to bring Magick Moonbeam to the emergency vet. The whole back story is long, but she was having a seasonal allergic reaction and my vet said she could take Claritin and told me the dose to give her. Well, I was an idiot and gave her Claritin-D, thinking it would be the same. And of course it's not the same and it could have killed my dog as result. I've only been to this emergency vet twice and each time it's because something I gave Magick poisoned her. The first time was those chicken jerky treats from China (before it was known they're toxic). If you ever want to feel like a crappy mother, this is how you do it. 

So I'm waiting in the emergency room and there's a lady there whose dog is in for being attacked by a pit bull. And she seems quite friendly and she's talking to me and a third lady who was there with her cat. And she's, of course, upset because her dog was attacked. But as she's talking about what happened to her dog, she says "I hate to say this, but I hate [ethnic group] and the way they don't neuter their dogs. That's why the pits are so aggressive."

Now, there are plenty of people working in this vet's office. And no doubt one of them was from the ethnic group she slammed. And me and the other lady were shocked. In my neighborhood, there are a number of families from that ethnic group and many of them are dog owners and I've never noticed anything but responsible pet ownership with them. In fact, all the abused dogs and/or un-neutered dogs in my neighborhood seem to belong to MY ethnic group. Regardless, any one of us in that waiting room or the vet's office could have had that ethnicity in us. And even though I don't, it offended me nonetheless. 

This was a woman who was impeccably dressed. From what I could tell, she'd had plastic surgery. She was someone who was clearly concerned about the way she appeared. And yet she didn't see how ugly her prejudice made her. She could have told the story about how her dog got attacked without mentioning the country of origin of its parents. It really was, imo, irrelevant to the story, outside of the fact that, for her, it confirmed her prejudice.

What I'm getting at is that many of us have certain groups or types that we don't like. I'll go ahead and volunteer that I certainly wouldn't seek out company with someone from the Tea Party, for example. But having those biases does nothing to move society forward. I have a friend I respect very much who is likely a Tea Party supporter, so if I color everyone from that group the same, I'm doing him a disservice. And just like many ethnic groups, people from different religious groups or political groups are invisible in this country, in that you can't necessarily tell by looking. You don't know you've offended someone until you've already proven yourself an asshole in their eyes. 

Beyond that, I have been a target of prejudice and pre-supposition based on both my weight and my interest in tarot. There isn't a person among us who doesn't yearn to be accepted just as we are. So why would we create "hate karma" by painting someone in a negative light based solely on superficial measure or supposition that isn't even true? And fercryinoutloud, outside of some of those primitive societies that still exist in pockets of the Amazon or in island nations, there's no such thing as anyone with a pure bloodline...a bloodline that isn't mixed with some other ethnicity, most especially if you're an American. 

So my message of peace for today is to resist seeing the differences between you and anyone else and try to see them through the lens of how they're the same. This goes for people from other cultures, people who commit heinous crimes, people who believe in a different god than you and even people who have done you wrong. At the root, we all want love and acceptance and understanding. We all have something to teach and learn. It's hard to hate someone you know aches inside the same way you do about the challenges of humanhood. We've focused on the differences long enough to know it just makes us disconnected and adds tension to society. Maybe it's time to start focusing on our similarities and see where that takes us.