Thursday, July 3, 2014

7/4/14—Contemplating Freedom

It's the Fourth of July in the US, which means we're celebrating our freedom. But I'll bet most people don't think too much about being free. It's just a given for the sense that the 4th of July is about. But how free are we really? 

I've mentioned here before about the weird experiences I had when I was 3, 4 and 5 in my creepy bedroom in a house about a mile or so from where I live now. Well, one of the things I remember contemplating there was freedom. I think I must have had a past life where I was somehow restricted, because my pre-school mind used to contemplate the notion that nobody can truly imprison you, unless you let them. What I mean by that is that freedom is a concept that resides in the mind. 

Sure, you can restrict someone physically—put them in jail or chain them to a metal stake you had installed in your basement (not that I would know anything about anything like that.) But, without drugs, surgery or electrodes, nobody can touch your mind if you don't let them. As long as you maintain your mind's ability to go places without the limits of body, space and time, you're free. 

Yeah, I know. It's an odd thing for a 3, 4 or 5 year old to contemplate. What's weirder is that I felt I had to be ready to face the eventuality of being able to find my Zen under any conditions. And, with the exception of torturous pain, I probably can. I don't know for how long, but it's odd that I still think of this so many years later. I have no idea why I thought some of the things I did in that house, whether it was my age, my imagination, some sort of spirit thing or what. But I know I had many sleepless hours trapped inside that creepy room to think about all sorts of things. And, for some reason, this was one of them. 

The way in which we lose the most freedom in our mind is by holding on. We grasp onto thoughts and fears and they become our captors. Maybe we're holding on to the need to be right or the need to control something. Maybe we're holding on to regrets or thoughts of the past. Or maybe we've told ourselves some story about the way things are and we refuse to consider other options. All of these are prisons that make unable to be free.

The bad news is that we're conditioned to hold ourselves captive to thoughts and mindsets that distract us from being in the only place freedom exists—in the present moment. The good news is that we're the people most qualified to save ourselves from this conditioning and experience freedom instead. 

Freedom doesn't come from tossing tea into a harbor or slaughtering soldiers in battle. It actually comes from the opposite. It comes from surrender. It comes from giving up the fight against "what is". It comes from letting a higher power take command of the reigns that hold your life together. And it comes from giving yourself over to a world devoid of preconceived notions and filled with infinite possibility. 

While things like hunger, discomfort and torture make it difficult, the mind is strong enough to transcend any restriction you place on the body. There is a place within you that can't be touched by anything you don't allow it to—it's a seed of God...a chunk of the most powerful force in the universe. And you know it's always accessible, because no matter what conditions people face in this world, there are happy people everywhere, people who transcend, people who are free. As the universe expands, so do we. Freedom is about being present to enjoy the ride. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

7/2/14—Passing the Gauntlet

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a family event this past weekend. While there, I bonded with one of my nephews—a nephew I'd always hoped to bond with. 

He's either 13 or 14. Not sure which. And, since he was a toddler, it was clear he wouldn't be making conventional choices or walking a conformist path in life. At his young age, he is already set on owning a hair studio and spa. He doesn't shy away from being the center of attention. He has definite opinions he's anxious to share. He's very handsome. And he oozes Sadler charm. He's also blessed with two parents who support his individuality fully. If there's one thing I'm proud of with my brothers and sisters it's that they're all very good parents. 

This nephew is the first of my relatives to show an interest in the cards. I have some relatives who show interest in getting readings, but he's the first who wants to learn how to give them himself. I regret not bringing a tarot deck with me, because that's the system I know best. But I did have a Lenormand deck with me and, within a few minutes of playing around, he was picking up on it quite well. Tonight I will pack up my Keywordy Lenormand deck, my Everyday Lenormand deck and a copy of Rana George's Essential Lenormand for him. Between those three tools, he should have everything he'll ever need. 

Acquiring, then sharing, knowledge is something I enjoy. In a way, that's what my advertising copywriting career is about. I learn about a product or service, then I translate what I've learned into an ad that tells the world the best parts of what I know. It's the same with this blog. Here I'm sharing the knowledge gleaned from the spiritual and internal work I've done and am doing in this lifetime. 

Cartomancy (reading cards) and the psychic arts are something I've been studying for 25 years and I have transferred my style of reading to many students along the way.  But having a family member interested, even if he eventually grows out of it, is kind of like passing a gauntlet. I had never thought of it before, but as a childless person, I don't imagine I'll have many opportunities to start a tradition that goes generations. So many in the cartomancy world are second, third or millionth generation readers and they bear the energy and quirks of that. I'm a first-generation reader and am, largely, self taught. It's interesting to think that someone generations from now may echo my style for no other reason than because that's the way I did it and the way their teacher learned.

Everyone thinks it takes some special talent to read cards or communicate with spirits. The truth is, it doesn't. Some people, yes, are born with a natural talent for it. But I'm not one of them. Whatever I'm able to connect with in the great mystery out there has come through study and practice over many years. In fact, cards are nothing more than tools we use to help us access that inner some way they're like really elaborate training wheels that most of will never take off because we like three-wheeling. Most of the readers I know could give people messages without using cards, but the cards help make the readings more detailed, imo. 

I'm grateful to my younger self that I developed a skill outside of my profession that I'm just as adept at as my profession. One day my nephew will be styling Katy Perry's hair by day and reading her cards by night, all while "just knowing" what decision to make next to fuel his life's success. I think one of the most valuable gifts a person can give themselves is to build and develop a strong intuition and a relationship with the divine. For me, the cards have helped me do both. And I can't tell you how much it means to me to help my nephew give himself the same gift. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

6/30/14—Remembering Who I Am

I just got home from a whirlwind overnight trip to Florida for a wedding. The bride was my niece. Her parents used to live near me, so I saw a lot of her when she was growing up. I joked that she's the only niece or nephew I babysat...more than once. It's no secret I have a low tolerance for children, but I always enjoyed being around this niece. I don't know how she went from being a little girl to a woman to a wife so quickly, but that's what happens over a couple of decades, I guess. And she was such a beautiful bride. So stunning. It brought me to tears.

Of course my whole family was there. I'm the youngest of six kids, so there are a lot of "family dynamics" at play when we all get together. This is hard for me, because I normally live my days as a woman who is fairly confident about who she is, proud of the choices she's made, and surrounded by people who think she's pretty darned neat. But when I get around my brothers and sisters, all of that changes. I become less secure. I feel like I don't fully belong. And I find myself wanting a level of affirmation, respect and acceptance that I don't think I'll ever get from part of my family. I think some of them just don't "get" me. Either that or they do and I'm just not their cup of tea. 

These days I don't put a whole lot of stock in the opinions of those who don't see what an all-around fabulous gal I am. But these family's like, inside me, I revert to some version of childhood when I craved affirmation and acceptance from my big brothers sisters and never quite got it. The six of us are only 8 years apart, but we're all so very different it's like we were raised by completely different parents. There's a central core that ties us together, but we all diverged from that core like spokes on a wheel, each of us having ones close enough to our spoke that we can identify with each other, and each of us having ones on the opposite end of the wheel from our spoke. So, in that sense, maybe it's unrealistic to want all of them to really see who I am and agree I'm wicked cool. :D

Someone in my extended family (who shall be protected as innocent) was complimenting me and said, "You're deeper than I thought. I have a whole new respect you for you now. I always used to think you were just a flake." It's a bit of a backhanded compliment, but it got to the crux of how I feel around some of my family...I feel like some see me as a flake or superficial or some other such thing because of the things I believe in and the choices I make in my life. 

Again, normally I don't care what people think about that stuff. When people judge it's usually because focusing on others' shortcomings is less painful than focusing on their own. But I guess something inside me wants the people I grew up with, more than anyone else, to understand me and be proud of who I've become. And right now, I would venture to say that, if everyone was really honest about what they think, I'm batting somewhere around .350 to .400. That's a great average in baseball and maybe even in society, but not so good in family, imo. Even if I AM a flake. 

I don't know what magnifies this insecurity in me so much around family. Maybe it's normal and everyone feels that way. Maybe it's because my parents died when I was still fairly young, so I had never accomplished anything as an adult that they lived long enough to be proud of. Maybe it's because I'm just a sensitive person. Or maybe it's because my biggest support network consists of three four-legged beasts who, of course, never accompany me to these things and I feel more vulnerable—partly because I AM more vulnerable without my biggest cheerleaders in tow and partly because everyone else has their biggest cheerleaders with we're not playing on a level playing field in that regard. Heck, maybe it's all of it. 

For a soul who has dedicated this lifetime to a "solitary" inner journey, family gatherings can be a painful, but valuable tool for seeking out and honing in on any of your unhealed BS—BS you've managed to heal when among 7 billion other humans who don't happen to share your last name. These gatherings are also a valuable marker indicating how far you've come. That can be positive or negative. It can serve both to open and close chasms between you and the people with whom you share common core traits. Those common traits span generations, extending the dynamics and increasing the number of spokes nearest you, as well as the number of those farthest from you. 

When I checked out of my hotel room this morning, I stopped remembering who I was as a kid and started remembering who I am as a kickass woman. It's like I was kidnapped overnight and held hostage at the hands of my old stuff...a power that gets weaker and weaker each time I come into contact with it. And I couldn't wait to get home to my cheerleaders, not so I could bury my face in their fur and cry, but because I missed them. They're my family...the family I chose, my biggest cheerleaders. And, like all family, even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I prefer a life with them to one without them.