Friday, December 6, 2013

12/7/13-12/8/13—Sharing the Love

Weekend Reading: King of Cups from the Victorian Romantic Tarot. Enjoy your weekend and surround yourself with those you love. Maybe even throw or attend a party. While the King of Cups may never be entirely sure if people are enjoying his company (because he's the King), you can be certain that those who gather around you do so because you're so great to be around. Don't take that for granted. Appreciate those who appreciate you and acknowledge the love that comes your way this weekend because it is entirely genuine. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

12/6/13—Raising Your Vibration

Today's Draw Classic*:

The other day I saw something I've seen a million times. Only this time, I saw it in a completely different way...

My dogs and I took a trip to the park and my boy, Kizzie, decided to go in the river for a dip (nevermind that it's the middle of winter). Anyway, as I saw him standing there, I noticed all the ripples issuing out with him at the center. Each time he moved, a new set of ripples would form. And the ripple effect of each motion would continue out into the river, despite the current. Despite anything. Indefinitely.

His presence was recorded throughout the river that day—through the ripples in the water, the displacement of the air around his ripples, by his ripples meeting the shore and bouncing back. In the same way, his presence was recorded throughout the universe.

Beyond that, on land, the wag of his tail, his body temperature and the sound of his breath had a similar effect in the environment around him, sending forth kinetic, sonic and heat waves from his body.

According to Wikipedia, a wave is a "disturbance (an oscillation) that travels through space and time, accompanied by the transfer of energy." Einstein's famous equation, E=MC2, posits that everything in the universe is energy. So what we see in the water above is Kizzie's energetic body having an effect on the water's energetic body. And since energy is never created or destroyed—only transferred—the effect he has is eternal. Pervasive. Ubiquitous.

Taking this further into metaphysical realms, everything about you is energy, including your thoughts, as different synapses in your brain fire. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you think—everything—interacts with the universe. There's no place to run, no place to hide. 

I suppose one way to see this is to say the universe is like a highly sophisticated lie detector. In a lie detector test, your body physiologically responds if you tell a lie. Your heartbeat quickens, your temperature rises, etc. And that piece of equipment captures those measurements. 

Lie detectors can be beat, though. The universe can't. It detects the most subtle shifts in your energy—shifts your brain may not even be able to consciously record. And every shift creates a "disturbance that travels through space and time, accompanied by the transfer of energy." 

Everything we do and are is recorded in the universe. And everything we do and are creates a disturbance in the universe. And everything we do and are is detected by the energy in the universe, including other people, animals and things. When we're sad, the trees know it. When we lie, our dogs know it. When we crave, the wind knows it. The "knowing" may not be conscious, but it melds with the energies of all that is. It creates a "disturbance" in all that is. 

I'm constantly amazed at how small and insignificant, yet how powerful, we are in the universe. Through just our thoughts alone, we can create beauty or pain. I'm not a parent, but I hear parents say all the time "our kids have no idea we're arguing" or "the kids are too young to realize what's going on." And then there are single people like me who think, because we have no kids or partners, that our thoughts and actions have no impact on the world around us. 

Even if you're entirely alone, locked in a lead box, you're fooling yourself. The energy of your being is transferred out into the universe and is recorded by every other living being on either a profound or subtle level, depending on how relevant it is to the being. Even alone in a lead box, the lead knows. And the disturbance you create in the lead echoes forth, transferring itself to everything else, forever reshaping the environment around you.

When people say "we create our own reality", we really do. Even if you don't believe in that 100%, you shape it with every bit of energy you put out. And you ARE energy, a perpetually vibrating wave, the amplitude and frequency of which shift subtly every millisecond of the day, reaching out to all of creation. 

Heavy, I know. But essential to everything from your own spiritual development to the fate of everything that has ever existed or ever will..."a disturbance that travels through space and time."

So as you move through your week, consider these thoughts: 
  • What effect are you having on the universe in this moment? 
  • What net effect will you have this week? 
  • How will you shape your own reality with your next thought?
  • What type of "disturbance" do you want to create in your environment moving forward?
  • What kind of "disturbances" are you creating in your own body with the thoughts you have?
People in the woo-woo world often refer to their self-development and spiritual work as "raising their vibration" or "walking in the light". If you've heard these phrases and thought they were BS or didn't know what to think, now you know what we're talking about. At some point in a spiritual journey you will ask yourself what effect you have on others and how you can change the world...questions like that. The answer is, literally, never more than a thought away.

*Taken from a post done the week of 2/19/12, when I was experimenting with a different format. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12/5/13—Giving Your Thoughts a Makeover

Today's Draw: Three of Fire, Circe from the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. Are you impeccable with your words and thoughts? Might they be creating something unsavory in your life? Does your cabeza need a makeover?

Today I asked this deck to give me more information on the spiritual maturity thing we've been talking about for the past couple of days. In a nutshell, we've explored love as the answer to every problem and we've discussed the difficulty of holding true to a belief in love/acceptance/forgiveness, even when that is hard to do. Today, Circe comes to us to say, "ideas have a life of their own."

Circe is the Greek goddess of magic and she knows the importance of being impeccable, not just in action, but in thought and intention. As we learn to re-think the way we consider others, treating even those we might consider unsavory with love and compassion, it's possible our actions and intentions may change before our thoughts do. 

For example, we may choose to stop certain behaviors, like speaking ill of others, long before we learn to stop *thinking* ill of others. The intention behind stopping speaking in this way may be more self focused—personal growth, reducing karma, eliminating drama—than being focused on opening our hearts or creating healing in others. But stopping the action is a critical first step to stopping the overall energy of judgment/ill will/negativity in our lives. 

Personally, this has been my path so far as I've tried to love both me and others by reducing the drama, judgment, victimization, separation and other things in my life that keep universal light and love at arm's length. Quitting the behavior or action is a hard. There are times I see stuff going on around me and want to speak my mind, but don't. Then there are times I still dip a toe in. But the "wanting" is still there in my head...the curiosity. 

If I'm entirely honest with myself, probably the hardest thing for me is to release the vestiges of a victim mentality. In a victim mentality, you're not just an innocent who is poorly put upon by others for no reason, you're creating a separation between yourself and others. "I'm innocent and the other is evil. I am not like the other." But if, like me, you believe people come into your life for a reason, then there's something there for you to learn...a mirror somewhere for you to see yourself in. And if the same thing keeps happening over and over again, then you're not learning. And because the mirror is part of the love—seeing yourself in others is crucial to the idea of oneness—then you're also not loving. You're in denial. And you're not moving forward. 

These ideas we have in our head—that we are innocent victims, that others are broken and we are whole, that hate is a solution—have a life of their own. And the thoughts we have, regardless of our actions—thoughts of dislike while exhibiting like, thoughts of curiosity while avoiding drama—have a life of their own, too. In fact, our ideas and thoughts and intentions shape our reality even more than our actions, do imo. Our actions tend to shape others' views of us, while our thoughts shape the way we see others and the world. And if you believe that thoughts can make things real in the way The Secret outlined, then if your thoughts don't follow your actions, you're on a slippery slope. 

"Be impeccable with your word" is one of The Four Agreements outlined by Don Miguel Ruiz. But it's not just the words that come out of your mouth. It's making the words that come out of your mouth and the words that float in your head match. Circe comes to us today to remind us that, until we feel peace with a situation down to our last cell, we continue to create that situation to some degree in our lives. The situation doesn't happen to us by mistake. We create it by giving life to the idea of it in our heads.

So how do we get it out of our heads? Have you not been listening to this week's lessons? :D We get it out of our heads by breaking the habit of the fear/hate/negativity and replacing the thought with love. I'm nowhere NEAR achieving that myself...haha. But because I've made some meager inroads on this in my life, I'm relatively certain that when all you think, do and intend is love, then love is your reality. And it doesn't matter if others see ill in your intentions, because you won't take it personally, (another of the Four Agreements) you'll see it with compassion and love.

So your thoughts and ideas not only have a life of their own, they drive your reality. And that's the magic Circe commands. So take a look at what is manifesting in your life. Do your thoughts and ideas need a makeover?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/4/13—Standing Firm in Your Truth

Today's Draw: "Set the Cat Among the Pigeons" from the Oracle of Proverbs by Delphine Sutherland. If you knew you'd be shunned by your community for doing what you believe is right, would you do it? Would you willingly retrain your brain to think a different way than it does now? Are you the cat or the pigeon?

The Oracle of Proverbs is a lovely 34-card oracle deck featuring proverbs. I like decks with writing on them, because words trigger me intuitively in the same way art does. A lot of the mass produced oracle decks feature over-the-top fantasy drawings and things like angels and fairies. I'm not really into that, so it's nice that this deck has the kind of art it has. I mean, look at this image. Just lovely. 

Anyway, I had never heard this proverb before, so that was a bonus. I got to learn something new. What "set the cat among the pigeons" means is to stand firm in your truth. The book goes on to say that the decision you've made may cause a stir or go against the grain, but if it's true to you, do it anyway. 

Oddly enough, a situation like that came up today. I'm big on standing firm in my own truth and have sacrificed many things because of it. When you're in the majority, standing firm is no big deal. But when you're in the minority—or when you're standing alone—it can cost you. It usually costs in terms of friends or associates, which can precipitate other losses, like a domino effect.

It's hard to zig when all the "power" is zagging. And by power, I mean the power of popular opinion. But popular opinion is not always right. And many of the people making it popular are just following the herd out of fear. Some are misguided or lacking information. And some, of course, are there by choice...because they feel it's the right thing for them to do.

There's a word for standing firm in your truth—integrity. Sometimes, though, integrity hurts. And it hurts because within us all is someone who just wants to be affirmed and know they're OK. And when the numbers are against you, sometimes "I'm standing in my integrity" doesn't feel like enough. But as far as I'm concerned, it sure as hell beats knowing you're being a hypocrite.

So once again I'm in the unpopular minority on a matter. And there's always an inner fear that says, it's safer to follow the herd. But yesterday we talked about spiritual maturity and immaturity and how a move toward universal love spells the difference between the two. And using that measure, I'm 100% certain that the popular kids are staying stuck in a spiritually immature state on this matter. They feel they have a moral high ground, so it's OK to hate and seek revenge and find guilt by association. The Nazis thought that was OK too. They couldn't see far enough past their ego to see how wrong they were socially, spiritually, humanly...every which way.

See, saying you believe in forgiveness and tolerance and "live and let live" is really easy when you dehumanize all the people you find hard to forgive or tolerate. Integrity comes from practicing forgiveness and "live and let live" when it's hardest to. That doesn't mean you have to hang out with the person, but it does mean you have to stop perpetuating hate and revenge. It also means you have to honest enough with yourself to see when that's what you're doing. The Buddhists would go further to have you send them love and peace. I'm not quite there, but it's where I'm headed. Because that's where I think the moral high ground love.

It seems this week's topic might be about spiritual maturity and making the choice to love/accept/forgive when it's the hard thing to do. My spiritual journey began in many ways by "forgiving the unforgivable" 25 years ago. And one thing I really want to do is write a book about pushing yourself to do the hard thing, spiritually speaking. I feel like a lot of people kind of hit a wall when they get to the place where they have explored their beliefs, have a strong sense of a higher power and feel they're a good person. Once there, they feel like they're done (or on the maintenance plan.) And hey, they're done enough. They're certainly more "done" than the masses.

But they've only gone as far as a person can go without facing the discomfort of battling the final ego concerns that stand between what they believe is the right way to be and truly being that way. It means being willing to see your own hypocrisy and do something about it, quite honestly. I want to see what it's like to stand firm in that truth without fear, wavering, denial or letting the needs of my ego get in the way. I want to be comfortable in that without the inner dialogue that makes it so hard and even painful. To get there, we HAVE to zig when others zag because the zeitgeist hasn't even reached the wall yet, much less ventured beyond it. So if standing firm on the principle of universal love/acceptance/forgiveness ruffles some feathers in the flock, I can live with that.

Monday, December 2, 2013

12/3/13—Loving the Love

Today's Draw: Two Turtle Doves in the Gift position from the 12 Days of Christmas Oracle by Robyn Tisch Hollister. Are there those you love and those you don't? Is your heart open to those who don't open their hearts to you? And what do you think is the meaning of life?

First let me say how adorable this oracle is. I wouldn't normally buy an oracle with only 12 pieces, but I would buy anything Robyn Tisch Hollister sells, so I bought this. The 12 hand-painted casting stones come with a casting sheet featuring one of Robyn's illustrations and a guide book assigning meaning to each of the 12 gifts of Christmas. 

Years ago, really at the beginning of my spiritual journey, I had a dream that I had discovered the meaning of life, my purpose in life and all the answers to all the conundrums of life. It turns out that all of this boils down to just one word: Love. 

Being that I was at the beginning of my spiritual journey, I thought, "bullshit" and moved on. But I never forgot the dream. And over years of seeking and learning and developing my spirit, I now realize that the answer was true. 

Love encompasses more than just romantic love. It's also about forgiveness. Compassion. Friendship. Kindness. Oneness. Trust. Altruism. Caring. Surrender. Non-judgment. And passionate pursuit. Sometimes love comes easy. And other times—like when it comes time to forgive "bad" actions, see yourself in others or open your heart to those you may not particularly like—it comes hard. But it really is the solution to life's questions, from the big ones to the mundane. 

What is the meaning of life? To love. Which outfit should I wear today? The one that draws the most people to you to love. Should I stay here or move to Maine? Go where your heart most wants to be. What should I cook for dinner? Cook what you love to cook. How should I proceed with that asshat at work? Send him love. 

You may not like those answers. That's why I said it can be very hard to love. The universe gives us freebies with our families, friends and lovers. They're easy to love. But the further you move out into society and the more interactions you have, the harder it becomes. The goal is to expand your circle of love ever further out into the universe until that's all there is. You probably won't accomplish this today. Or ever. But it gives you an idea of just how much further we can all push our capacity to love, forgive and include in places where previously there was hate, intolerance and separation. 

I've come to feel that our ability to love in those difficult situations is what draws the line between spiritual immaturity and spiritual maturity. Through my associations with many different kinds of spiritual seekers, most are trapped in spiritual adolescence, clinging to resentments and driven by the ego's needs to be right and superior. A good number are emerging into more mature states, traversing the land between adolescence and maturity. And a very small number carry love with them in everything they do. 

Love is also the answer to questions about God or the universe. What is God? How can I strengthen my relationship with my higher power? What brings me closer to my highest self? Love, love and love. So those who move out of adolescence experience a shift in the energies around them, primarily brought on by the realization that everything is love and there's nothing left to hate. 

So today's draw comes to us today to remind us what a gift our ability to love is. Because we also have free will (a gift of love from a higher being who trusts us to chart our own course) we don't have to choose love. We don't have to use the gift. But if we do choose to use it, we will feel and experience more of the only thing that feeds the hole inside—love. Everything else is just empty calories and toxins. So what will fuel you today?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12/2/13—Questioning Tradition

Today's Draw: Hierophant in the Question position from Carol Herzer's Illuminated Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you a creature of habit? Are you a fan of tradition? How long has it been since you've taken a good, critical look at your habits and traditions to assess whether or not they're still appropriate to your life?

With the holidays coming up, I thought I would feature the Illuminated Tarot. If there's such a thing as an "insider's tarot deck", then this is the Cadillac of the insider decks. I imagine everyone who owns one as "having arrived" in the tarot world, not just because of the deck, but because of the wizened knowledge that the owner bears. I know that's silly. Anyone can own one of these homemade decks (though the more glitter and glitz you get on them, the more expensive they are.) But there's just an air about Carol's decks that makes them special. And that makes you feel a little special, too. I mean, you get one with glitter on it and that means she applied it all herself with a little brush, putting individual thought into each card in your deck, fercryinoutloud. And if you're someone who loves handcrafted things because of the energy put into them, then it's a very cool thing. 

So the whole point of these two paragraphs is that if you're looking for something special to buy yourself for the holidays, check this deck out. And if you're looking to buy a tarot lover something very special, then one of Carol's glitter or iridescent (or both) decks will make a tarotista's day.

That said, the Hierophant is all about tradition and dogma and even spiritual guidance. So the way I'm going to read today's pair is "Question tradition." In fact, question everything. 

Years ago I read a story about a woman who'd had a dinner party. The guest said, "your roast was amazing. How did you cook it?" And the hostess replied that she'd used her great grandmother's recipe—a family favorite. As she began to read the recipe aloud, she said "first cut the roast into two evenly sized pieces, putting half into each of two pans." Then she went on to talk about the seasoning and oven temperature. Finally the guest asked, "why two pans?" And the hostess said, "I don't know. That's just how it was always done."

Well as it turns out, the reason it said to put the roast in two pans is because, back in great grandma's day, ovens weren't as large and/or pans weren't as large. So the only way to get the whole roast in the oven was to cut it in half. But since nobody ever questioned it—it was a beloved recipe, after all—they just kept doing it that way for years. 

Right now we're in the midst of a season of traditions. We'll do a lot of things the way we've done them since we were children. But does it really make sense for you do it that way today? Or have you just never really thought of it? 

And that can go for anything from the route you take to work to the order you put your clothes on in the morning. We tend to be creatures of habit and once we find something that works, then why change? But there may be a better way. Or there may be a way you just enjoy more.  But you'll never know if you just continue to run on auto-pilot, never stopping to think, "hey why do I do X, Y, Z this way and when did it become habit? And does this way still serve me?" 

I'll bet if you just started noticing, you'd find a mazillion things you do each day just because that's the way you've always done it. You decided a long time ago that this would be your way and you never revisited the decision. And there's nothing wrong with that. But if you start questioning, you might just find something like the two roasts and decide to change it.