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Today's post is special in that it is part of a Tarot Blog Hop in celebration of Litha or Midsummer or Summer Solstice. This means that, if you're reading this at my actual blog, you can click on the links above and hop from blog to blog, all focused around the theme of what brings us joy and how to bring joy to others.
One of the things that brings me joy—or rather opens me up to more joy—is becoming the person I want to be. They say you're supposed to love yourself as you are but there have always been parts of me that made that hard. So half a lifetime ago I embarked on a journey of spiritual and personal development. While I have always experienced steady and satisfying growth, in the past few years I've taken a number of difficult leaps and experienced significant growth.
Along the way, I have discovered a prescription for significant growth. First, you have to really know and understand your triggers, pains, fears and self-destructive habits. Then you have to start making different decisions than your pain and fear tell you to make. I think anyone who is truly self aware understands that many of the decisions we make are governed by things like fear, pain and self protection. It's natural. It's human. But being governed by them is not conducive to creating joy.
Because this is a tarot blog post, I have a tarot story to help illustrate my point. As many of you may know, I'm the creator of the Deck of 1000 Spreads, a tool for creating your own spreads. As a creative person, I've heard over and over again that there are no truly original ideas. But it seems I lit on one. Nobody I knew of before, during or after its publication had ever heard of an idea like this. I pitched the idea to four publishers in the tarot world and they had never heard of an idea like this. So, as you can imagine, I was quite proud of what I created. It was something truly new and innovative.
The Deck of 1000 Spreads made its debut in February 2013. For well over a year I enjoyed kudos and praise for my brilliant thinking. Then about a month ago, I see a picture from the Reader's Studio of people playing with something called The Dynamic Spreads Deck by BK Reichle. As you can imagine, I was all "WTF?" I couldn't really make out what it was from the pictures, but it looked like the same idea as my deck!
So I messaged someone who had seen it, hoping they could describe it to me, but still didn't get the clarity I wanted. All I knew was that BK Reichle had apparently showed a prototype to some people at Reader's Studio years ago and was self printing (which is why none of the publishers had heard the idea before.)
I didn't know what to think. I didn't know how to feel. If others knew about his deck, why hadn't anyone mentioned it to me? How is it my deck was out over a year and I had never heard of this!?
Despite my fears and insecurities, I did my best to calm down and just wait and see. Logic told me this guy wouldn't be pouring his own money into a nice, self-published set with a box and book and everything if his intention was merely to snatch a share of the bustling spreadcrafting marketplace. :D If you've ever created a deck, you know even the popular ones will barely pay for the time you put into them. So while my insecure self felt threatened, my reasonable self did not.
And while I was "waiting and seeing", I ultimately realized that I really just wanted to know this wouldn't turn into a "thing"—a thing that would spark my paranoia and insecurity. A thing that would compromise my happiness. A thing that would take away from my deck or its success. I really just wanted to know I would be OK and my deck would be OK. And I realized that there was only one way to ensure that would happen—I needed to let go and make sure *I* didn't turn it into a thing. That's when I put both my fears and the unhealed pains of disappointments from a lifetime as a creative person aside and wrote BK Reichle.
See, the experience I had creating the Deck of 1000 Spreads was probably one of the best creative experiences of my life. Working with Llewellyn was great. I got things the way I wanted. My kit is beautiful. People have given me a website full of ideas for using the deck in ways I never imagined. Everywhere from Amazon to Aeclectic I have five-star reviews. And on Facebook feeds around the world, I've been lavished with praise. There has been nothing about this experience that, even for a moment, compromised my joy at having birthed this deck. The entire experience has been a spiritual experience for me through the practice of letting go, handing my baby over to the community I created it for and letting whatever praise or pushback just be. My entire career has been about birthing creative ideas for the inspection of others and it isn't always a fulfilling process. But this was. And letting BK have his turn at a joyful experience was part of that letting go.
It was both difficult and easy for me to reach out and congratulate him and let him know I was on his side. Difficult because of ego concerns and also because he was a stranger and I had no idea what he thought of me or my deck. I can be a polarizing person...either you think I'm the bestest or you think I suck eggs. I had no idea which end of that continuum he might fall on. The decision was easy, though, because I genuinely wanted him to enjoy the amazing experience I've had over the past year. He and I share an entirely original idea we both conjured at roughly the same time, thousands of miles apart. Without knowing it, we have been energetically connected in this venture for four years. We both share a passion for this innovation. And regardless of how it all turned out, I knew I respected his decision to continue moving forward with his self published kit, even after he knew mine was on the market and widely distributed.
Gratefully, my message to BK didn't sit in the ether very long before he replied, relieved that I was friendly and supportive. The ice was broken and I discovered we're two nice people with creative minds fully deserving of our victories. Nobody is out to get anyone or resentful. We've exchanged many emails now. Both of us have made ourselves vulnerable to the other in regards to our creative lives and the decks, and both have received nothing but support in return. And it happened because we were able to put our baggage and competitiveness—our fear and pain—aside and just be kind to each other.
Both of us decided to choose love over fear and pain.
In the past I would have probably quietly seethed and resented. I might have allowed it to sully the whole experience for me. But instead, the wonderful experience of creating my deck just continues. In fact, now I get to share it with the only other person on earth who can truly understand how I feel about this whole spreadcrafting thing.
So the advent of BK Reichle's Dynamic Spreads Deck has been a gift to me. No jealousy. No animosity. Nobody stole any ideas from anybody. We just had the same idea and, in my mind, executed it in very different, yet impressive ways. I think each of us has something we admire in the other's deck, but both of us have created the deck that suits us best.
My ability to let go and welcome anything that comes throughout this entire process has not only been a huge leap for me, it has also been a revelation. For one thing, I managed to silence that voice inside me that allows situations (and myself) to "ruin" things for me, which surprised even me. For another, I held my insecurity and other triggers at bay long enough to make a different decision, a conscious decision—a decision that includes and embraces, rather than tries to control and hold others at arm's length.
This particular lesson is something I've been working hard on for a couple of years and, of course, I'm still working on it. The process has been difficult and, at times painful. I won't lie. Because so many act from a place of fear and segregation, acting from a place of love and inclusion can be an unpopular decision. But I have found that the support you may lose by making it is so significantly outshone by the freedom, self respect and spiritual growth you receive in return, that it makes all the pain and struggle well worth it. On this midsummer's day, I'm embodying more and more of who I want to be. And that is what brings me joy.
To read another post on the topic of joy, click on one of the links below. Happy Litha/Summer Solstice!
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