Friday, November 15, 2013

11/16/13-11/17/13—Staying Clear of Crowds

Weekend Reading: Bus/Corkscrew/Dancer from Tierney's Charms. This weekend be wary of crowds. They'll screw your happiness. That goes for doing your best to avoid high traffic areas, places where the public gathers, etc. Stay away from anywhere people might be going by the busload. If you want to remain happy, that is. I'm crowd aversive anyway, but this goes for people who love them, too. The charms have spoken. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

11/15/13—Enjoying Roadblocks and Delays

Today's Draw: The Hanged Bird from the Badger's Forest tarot. Is there some sort of roadblock or delay standing in the way of progress in your life? What are you doing about it? Have you considered just enjoying it?

The Hanged Man (Hanged Bird in this deck) is one of those cards with lots of meanings. It can be about making a sacrifice. Time in suspension or waiting. Seeing things from a different perspective. Surrender. Traditionally, the hanged man is hanging so casually that you sense his predicament is voluntary or at least welcome. Regardless, any kind of struggle would not free him. He's trapped there for a bit. 

Many times when we're working toward a goal and come across a roadblock or delay, it's frustrating. We try other avenues. We push harder. We struggle against what is. But the Hanged Bird is coming to us today to say, "if you can't move forward, hang out and enjoy the view." Or "if you don't know how to move forward, detach from the situation for a bit and, while detaching, the answer may come."

Surrender is one of those hard things for us to do. We're socialized to keep moving, pursuing or, at the very least, to stay busy. You can probably think of a time in your life that you had something really important to accomplish, then you broke your leg or got sick or something else came along to delay you, like a snowstorm. Consider that these things may have happened to slow you down long enough to think or process things. 

We see such delays as obstacles or inconveniences when they actually might be gifts. Sometimes we've just to detach. Surrender. Let go. 

Tonight neither my brain nor my inner insight generator are working. So I won't ramble. I'll just hang and see what tomorrow brings. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

11/14/13—Rebaptizing Your Shortcomings

Today's Draw: Three of Wands from the Art of Life Tarot. Is there a behavior or quality of yours that makes you cringe? Have you ever tried to make it your friend instead of your enemy? Is it possible that it's the essential dash of nutmeg in the secret sauce of yummy you-ness?

The quote on today's card reads, "To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life."

This is very relevant for me today. See, I communicate pretty well through the written word, but don't do as well through the spoken word. Especially when I'm talking about myself. I tend to undervalue myself. Or say something stupid. Or do something that otherwise keeps me from standing in my own power. Then, because I'm hard on myself, I kick myself for it.

Minutes after I sold myself short and kicked myself for it today, I saw this John O'Donohue quote on Facebook, "If you try to avoid or remove the awkward quality, it will pursue you. The only effective way to still its unease is to transfigure it, to let it become something creative and positive that contributes to who you are. Nietzsche said that one of the best days in his life was the day when he rebaptized all his negative qualities as his best qualities. Rather than banishing what is at first glimpse unwelcome, you bring it home to unity with your life…..One of your sacred duties is to exercise kindness toward them. In a sense, you are called to be a loving parent to your delinquent qualities."

Considering the positives of this quality of mine, I decided that it actually makes me a pleasant surprise...haha. Because if my undervaluation lowers expectations, it not only relieves the stress on me to live up to a lofty image, but also makes it possible for me to exceed the expectations I originally put forth. So then I become a pleasant surprise! And who wouldn't want to be that? :D

It's funny that at the same time I wonder why I'm underestimated or misunderstood, I'm cultivating that very behavior by not standing in my own power. I'm guessing some of you do that, too. It's also funny that, as an advertising copywriter, I have a gift for accentuating the benefits in every product and service in the world—except when the product is me. This behavior isn't about being humble, either. I'm pretty sure it grew out of an overcompensation to avoid being considered arrogant.

Not that long ago, someone introduced me to a client by saying, essentially, "she's not just a copywriter, she thinks she's psychic. She's into all that tarot reading stuff. Tell them about your tarot, Tierney." This person was counting on the client judging me negatively based on my beliefs. They were counting on my credibility being trashed.

Normally I might have meekly admitted, "yes, I read tarot," then changed the topic back to the business at hand. But on this particular occasion I had tired of this person's passive-aggression and said, "actually I'm a best selling author in the tarot category and have a five-star product on I've created a few decks, in fact. I'm kind of a moderately known quantity in that world." The client thought that was pretty cool. And, hopefully, he saw my colleague's behavior as inappropriate as I did. My tarot has little bearing on my career as an advertising copywriter, except to show that I'm not a one-trick pony. Like my colleague. :D

I relate that story because I find it interesting that I won't allow others to undervalue me, yet I'll willingly undervalue myself. Part of it is awkward social skills. But in the spirit of this post, that particular flavor of awkward social skills tempers the confidence I have when it comes to actually doing the work. That confidence, when accompanied by slick social skills, could be off-putting and intimidating.

As I'm thinking about this, it occurs to me that most of the work I get doesn't come from selling myself (or selling myself short). It comes through referral from clients who believe in me and value our working relationship. And, as I've said many times in the past, I have the Best Clients in the World™. So it's good people telling the good people they know that I'm a good person...haha. And that formula has worked for me for 17 years. So my awkward self promotion skills probably protect me from the people looking for glitz over substance.

So if I put the two quotes together, they're kind of saying that, instead of running away from your awkwardness, examine the role it plays in your life. We should always continue to grow and stretch, but trying to change a behavior of ours that we don't even understand can work against us. So be who you are—and know the value behind why that is—and use that knowledge to guide your becoming. Sometimes the thing we wish most to change can be a necessary lynchpin in our secret to success.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/13/13—Creating Our Own Realities

Today's Draw Classic*: No-Thingness from the Osho Zen tarot. Do you know people with "bad energy"? Do you feel like another person's energy can change your mood, or wreck or improve your day? What if it turned out that the only "bad" energy out there was created entirely by you?

Nothing is misspelled or misprinted on today's card. The black represents the gap, the void...the place of pure potential. This is a scary place where there is nothing to hold on to, yet it's also the happy place where all possibilities exist. 

I know this sounds like Zen BS, but bear with me. It's a place of detachment. If we haven't attached to anything...haven't claimed or chosen or set our hearts on anything...then all possibilities exist. Anything is possible. If we don't decide "this thing is the right choice and all these other things are the wrong choices", then really what are our chances of being disappointed or knocked off guard by, say, someone else's "wrong" choice of words or their "bad" behavior? It's OUR choice to determine what is good and what is bad. And, in turn, that choice then creates our reality. 

In this way, the state of no-thingness acts as a balancing force for us. And really, it keeps our energy clear and free to flow where it's needed, not just to where we direct it. AND it keeps us free to accept and transform energy to use as we need. 

Another thought that occurred to me in relation to energy and this card is that energy itself is's pure potential, prepared to manifest as whatever is needed, wherever it's needed. Since we create what is good and what is bad, what is needed and what is not, we have the choice to shape the energies that come our way. 

So that chick with "bad energy"? Her energy is pure potential until we decide how to color it and how to receive it. In the metaphysical world, people are always talking about the energy and vibes of others, but what if it's actually our OWN vibes that are the ones we have to worry about—the vibes inside of us that judge and color the vibes of others? Toxic energy is not imposed upon us. Energy is. We decide it's toxic. We are own worst enemy! 

Anyway, even I'm enlightened by these thoughts...haha. This is a Buddhist principle I hadn't really considered exactly in this way before. I try to remain open to things and I believe that's a high spiritual path. But how open to things are we if we're labeling things good and bad? I mean, it goes beyond this, but just think about how many times the "worst day of your life" turned out to be "the best thing that happened to you"? Like the day you catch your husband with another woman or the day you lose your job?

One of the things I like to say lately is "the story isn't over yet." When things happen in our lives—especially bad things—we tend to see it as the end of the story. An unhappy ending. But the story isn't over yet! You eventually either forge a stronger bond in your marriage or leave the cheating bastard. You find a new job and possibly even a new career. In between the seemingly bad moment and the seemingly good moment, we learn a lot about who we are, what we want and what we need. 

We all know the story never ends. And by coloring things good and bad in the interim, our energy is up and down and up and down again. We put ourselves on that rollercoaster. Not life or any individual. Our choices and our judgments and the way we color the energies around us determine our experiences in life. 

So anyway, a deep thought for a hump day, but a powerful one to consider. Instead of wishing you a good day today, I'll just wish you a day. You can make any kind of day you want. ;)

*From 8/24/12

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/12/13—Contemplating Closure

Today's Draw Classic*: Oracle of Visions #15. Are you someone who needs closure? What do you think closure is? Do you think revenge ever brings closure?

The keywords for this oracle card are farewell, goodbyes and closure. This woman is either sending or receiving some sort of a Dear John letter and it clearly weighs heavily on her mind. We actually had this card once before, back in June. Back then we used it as an opportunity to discuss letting go and the limitations of holding on. This time that word "closure" is popping out at me.

I like the circle to be closed on things. When things don't come to a full conclusion, it bugs my head and sometimes I'll even make something up just to stop thinking about it. 

But, as much as I like closure, sometimes you can never get it. Some things just don't make sense and you will never have the answers. I remember one time I saw something online where someone's child had died and they wanted everyone to pray for a guilty verdict for the murderer "because then they'd have closure." In another situation, there was a family who opted to witness the execution of someone who had killed a family member, again because they thought it would give them closure. 

Having experienced a similar situation in my own life, I feel comfortable saying these people will never have closure. You think you will. But no act—conviction, execution, public stoning—will ever close the circle in your mind. Nothing will ever make it make sense. There will always be questions that will go unanswered. There will always be what feels like a lack of justice. 

If you want closure, you have to find it within yourself. And it takes two things, which some might consider one and the same—forgiveness and letting go. As far as letting go, it's not just letting go of the anger, it's also letting go of the hope that things could, in some way, be different. You have to just accept that what is, is. Whatever the situation is. Because this isn't in your hands. And the same could be said about any trying experience in your life. 

This is also making me think of girls who get revenge on a man that breaks up with them. They think it will bring them closure, but after the revenge they're still dumped. They still have to face the reality of the situation. But now they have to face it with the shame of how far they stooped to get revenge. I had a friend once who thought revenge was funny. That's just not how my mind works. When I "lose", I just move on. And it's not like I've never dated a shit. I have. I just don't see the point.

There just is no full circle when something that can't be replaced is taken from you. A grandma dies of old age and that's one thing. But when it comes to having a pet murdered, watching someone you love suffering from cancer or having a child kidnapped...the higher the stakes, the bigger the gap that will never be closed. The closest you'll ever get to closure is healing.

*From 11/10/11

Sunday, November 10, 2013

11/11/13—Quitting Smoking. And All Other Kinds of Stuff.

Today's Draw: Two of Wands in the Problem position from the Illuminated Tarot by Carol Herzer and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you struggling with some change in your life? Why haven't you made your decision yet? Why do you choose to plant your feet in two different worlds?

November 2nd was the 10th anniversary of me quitting smoking cigarettes. It's something that's really big for me. I tried and failed to quit for about 10 years prior to finally quitting. 

Nicotine is neck and neck with crack cocaine as the second most addictive substance known to man. Heroin is the most addictive. I think a lot of people, including former smokers, don't acknowledge it as a drug addiction like any other, but it is. Quitting smoking won't kill you. You may want to be dead in the first few months...haha...but the action of quitting won't kill you like it can for alcohol and heroin, for example. Of course, not quitting WILL kill you. One in five deaths in America is caused by smoking. 

I say all of this, because it is one of the things I'm most proud of in my life. Some people (very few) just put the cigarettes down and never go back. They quit their first time. Most of us, though, struggle and hate ourselves for not being able to quit. For me, it was important for me to understand that I was a drug addict and just because my drug was legal didn't make it less seedy and pathetic. The fact is that I was a junkie that needed to administer my drug about 40 times a day (I smoked two packs a day). 

If I were to say what worked for me, using nicotine replacement (gum, patch or lozenges) as directed on the package helped. So did joining a virtual community called Realizing that I was a drug addict and all that goes with that helped a lot. And giving myself a realistic timeframe to be "out of the woods" was also key. It takes about a year before you can relax. Prior to a year, feeling confident about your quit is your best indication that you're on the verge of relapse. You have to remain vigilant. 

But the #1 thing that helped me quit for good is why we're here today. The Two of Wands can be a card of decision-making and taking charge of a situation. So the combo is saying that decision-making is the problem—the problem to my weight loss issues, her job search, his marital issues, their search for change. 

The #1 thing that helped me quit smoking was a decision. Not a decision to quit, rather a decision to never smoke again. There's a difference. Deciding to quit is something too easily undone by a crazed junkie mind. In the midst of a craving you'll find yourself saying, "I decided to quit and now I'm going to decide to smoke, then I will decide to quit again." Something about "never smoke again" makes it final and inarguable. That's the way you have to be when it comes to addiction. You have to close all doors to the possibility that you will ever smoke again. It makes letting go much easier. It also miraculously made it easy for me to quit. 

Anytime we have one foot in one world and another foot in another, we have conflict in the mind. Do I stay or do I say goodbye? And this conflict causes us emotional pain as we bounce back and forth. The only thing that relieves the pain (other than heroin) is making a final decision and moving forward with it. When you make the final decision, then holding on to the other thing ceases to be an option. And when holding on to the other thing ceases to be an option, it no longer causes pain and it no longer holds you back from moving forward. 

This combo came to us to consider this week, "what decision have you not yet made that needs to be made?" And when you figure that out, the next question becomes, "what are you going to do about it?" 

See, what we don't realize until we let go is that it's the holding on that causes the pain and difficulty. Most of the time we already know what decision we're going to make and we're just afraid to make it. When I quit smoking, I made the decision a week before I quit. I gave myself a week to smoke as much as I wanted while I dealt with the anxiety of "never again". Then, after 26 years, I turned and walked away.

For any smokers out there, most quitters will relapse in the first year. After two years, your chances of relapse dramatically reduce. It sounds daunting, but plan on it taking an entire year for serious cravings to stop. Like I said, thinking you're out of the woods is what the junkie inside you wants you to think. It wants you to get cocky enough to think you can have a cigarette. Addicts can NEVER smoke again. And chances are if you smoke, you're an addict. Additionally, don't fixate on cravings. Distract yourself. They go away. Your second year will be very easy, but do remain vigilant. Something happens inside you in that second year that dramatically increases your ability to stay quit for good. 

I used to think I would always miss smoking and that I would have to white knuckle my way through the rest of my life. But that's not the way it is. I'm free. I don't even think about it. It's like some other creature smoked two packs a day for 26 years, not me. The smoker thing is "if I'm given a month to live, I get to smoke". Well, that's not a contingency of "never again". And if I were given a month to live, I wouldn't even be tempted. I'm free. And you can be too. I never lose sight of the fact that I'm still an addict and that even a single puff can endanger my smobriety (yeah, that's what they call it..haha). But I'm free. And I'm really damn proud of that.

I have been nicotine free for 3661 days
I have given the hand to 146,471 cigarettes
I have saved 37 months and 8 days of my life because I quit
I have saved $21,966.00, based on the cost of cigarettes 10 years ago