Enlightening

Do you remember that kid’s game where we’d turn off the lights and do whatever we could unseen before the lights were turned back on and we were caught in the act?  None of us wanted to be seen in embarrassing or compromising positions and all of us wanted to get away with something embarrassing or compromising before we could be seen.  And if someone had created embarrassment for us, part of the game was to get back at them next time the lights switched off and on again.

Sometimes it seems like entire portions of the human race are caught up in the real-life version of that game.  And the consequences are, well, unspeakable.

Other than pull the metaphorical covers over our heads, what on earth can we do?

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Get personal.

And start small.

What’s the area of your life where you’re feeling, thinking, acting out violence and ignorance?  Yes, I know it’s really sucky to be caught with your pants down and the lights off, even when it’s just you looking.  That’s why you’re starting with a little bitty patch of life that feels manageable (not the 24 room, 7 vehicle garage mansion with a pool and a labyrinth).

Just bring that little patch to light.  Let yourself in on all the emotional and mental violence.  Explore for areas of ignorance or misinformation or short-sightedness.

‘Tis the season for enlightenment, so go with the trend.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, may you have the safety and opportunity to celebrate with brilliant abandon.

XIX The Sun’s Flow

Last year, it seemed XIX The Sun was showing up regularly.  It’s been almost exactly a year since we’ve last seen it.

Have you noticed times in your readings when particular cards show up over and over?  You know, kind of like the kids poking you in the arm, “Hey, Mom”, “Hey, Mom”, “Hey, Mom”.

Well, it’s exactly like that. You’re continuing to resonate with a particular energy and your higher self is letting you know it’s an important thing to be aware of.

Sometimes it’s stuff we don’t really want to pay attention to.  But you know that’s exactly when the kids poke at you harder, right?  Or go off and get into big trouble that takes even more of your time and attention.  And we learn we’d have done better if we’d just interrupted the course we were on to attend to the pokey kids.

XIX The Sun is usually a welcome interruption (especially at this time of year, here in the northern hemisphere).  Unless you’re terribly shy and hate being seen out in public.  Or unless you’re really comfortable putting on the dog and hate being seen for who you are.

In the William Blake Tarot, we’ve got the sun on the horizon of the river of life.  We’re encouraged to jump in the river, to immerse ourselves in life, in our most naked, authentic and vulnerable state.  It’s as if we can go with the flow and follow the river right to the blessings of that sun.

It’s the participation in life that is really the reward of XIX The Sun, being out in the glorious world, sharing from our natural inclinations, being received for who we are in spirit.

Shine it on!

Increase or Authenticity?

Have you fallen into the trap of increase equals comfort?

For most of us in the “civilized” world, the predominant cultural message is “get more”, “make it bigger”, “be the best”.  Because, of course, then we’ll be happy and have lots to be grateful for.

That’s cool if you’re looking at your harvest and wondering if it’s going to last till spring.  (Southern Hemisphere folks, this is your cue to time travel: you know winter will be upon you before you know it.)  But last time I checked, Kroger’s doesn’t close for the winter.

It can be tough to overturn biological imperatives.  And that’s what our rational minds are for: to assess patterns and habits for up-to-date truth.

The bleed of that “increase”, “best”, “mega is better” mindset can lead us into Why Bother land.

I’ve gotten as good as I can at this, and it’s all downhill from here.  Why Bother?

I’ll never be the best.  Why Bother?

It’s all going to crap anyway.  Why Bother?

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Have you looked around you lately?  The trees are going nuts with colour, right?  They reach their peak of function, go to totally awesome for viewing and then, boom!  One good wind and they’re all on the ground.

From blaze of colour and wonder to bare-naked all in a day.

Why bother?  Because while it lasts, it’s glorious.  To someone, somewhere, even if that someone is you.

So how about putting your spiritual imperative into your biology?  Where is your passionate blaze?  When are the optimum times to follow your passion?

And aren’t you – just sometimes, for flashes of awe at all your glory – really grateful you are you?

Non-Judgemental XX Judgement

As you’ve probably noticed (hello, anyone out there?), this is no longer a “weekly card” feature.  It’s a “whenever I can make the time for it” feature.

And hey, no judgements.

Except this one.

I much prefer Aeon to Judgement as a title for the XX Major card (which we’ve seen before).

We’ve got all those geological ages – Pleistocene, Jurassic, Cambrian and all that lot that you remember from Science classes or cinema dates.

We define what our seniors patronizingly called “stages” by the big things that happen.

And XX Judgement – or Aeon – lets us know that we’ve completed one of our own defining eras.

At the end of eras new things evolve.  Or, for us, new characteristics and potentials are revealed.  From behind the veil.

Most of us have places where the froufrou is hiding our real selves.  “Putting on the dog”, we used to call it.  XX Aeon describes us when the froufrou is a true expression of ourselves or it’s just g.o.n.e. Gone.

We have a sense of black and white about what’s our “job” and what’s somebody else’s, of what we want to do with our time, of where our mission lies.  Rather than dress things up to flesh them out, we’re deciding me/not-me much more in line with our true nature, our true calling.

So dress yourself up, take yourself out for a stroll (minus the dog) and have at your new era.

Map Reading 101

Last month a friend and I took in a beautiful, horrific, brilliant, disturbing exhibit based on one of my favourite works of art, James Whistler’s Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC.

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Whistler Peacock Room

Amoung all the other thoughts provoked was one about how we react when the road we’ve taken doesn’t lead us to our expected destination.

We don’t start out to create things that get spoilt or aren’t appreciated or lead nowhere – or, worse, to big problems.  We’ve got a much more positive vision at the start of anything we put in motion.

(And if we don’t, then what the hell are we doing?)

We can get carried away by our projects, whether it’s creating a work of art, getting a pay raise or promotion, finding a new way to addresse social justice inadequacies, answering health challenges . . . .  Some are about life changes, others are less far-ranging in time and impact.   We forget that any project, no matter how important, is only a single aspect of our life.

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Waterston Filthy Lucre

So how do we respond to road blocks?  Changes in parameters?  Shifting reality?  Do we destroy our greatest achievements with our own rigidity?

What are the elements of your life that could use a brush up this month?  Where have you moved from the beauty of the Peacock Room to the degradation and decay of Waterston’s Remix?

What’s That Smell?

I’m going to get perilously close to an attitude I despise, detest and avoid (can you tell I don’t like it?): blaming the victim. Stay tuned, because that’s not the point.

Are you putting up with a whole lot of poop in your life these days? Is it sticking to the soles of your shoes on the way into the house? Have you taken to wearing boots? Are you now dabbing fragrance on your upper lip because it’s really piling up?

Why do you allow life to treat you that way?

Okay, I totally get that there are circumstances beyond your control (I’ll get to those). And I applaud your adaptive behaviour so that the impact of the scheisse is less personally damaging. But really, why are you putting up with that shit?

There are a lot of places in our lives where we’re used to taking the lemons we’ve been given and turning them into slices for Long Island Iced Tea. Or lemonade, if, like me, you can drink just fine, but the recovery time’s not worth it.

If you’re living a cliché, you know you’ve swallowed society’s voice whole hog. Meaning, the squealing is drowning out your own whisper.

What if you start throwing the lemons back? Swing a bat to send them flying. Hell, get all Sharknado on them and use a chain saw. (Pop culture just cracks me up sometimes.) Too much of a scene? In the world according to who? The squealing hog?

And what about those places where you don’t get any say in how life treats you? When circumstances are out of your control, you know it’s only you who gets any say about your attitude. Where is there room for a productive, “you are NOT treating me that way” approach?

So, you’re stuck with those lemons. Or sharks. Or chainsaws. It’s not what you wanted, but what can you do with it? No need to get all Pollyanna. Or superhero/ine. In fact, see last month.

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Promote yourself to co-director. At the very least, even in your worst nightmare scenario, there’s always a strawberry. Question whether you really have to put up with all that shit and find the ways that life can treat you better.

I think I just found another blessing for people I don’t really want to bless: “May you never be stuck between two hungry tigers.”

Yoga Thoughts

How much fun is this? from 1967’s Easy Come Easy Go Thanks to Bobbie Long for pointing me to it

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Owning Emotions

1508 Owning Emotions

What makes a grown-up? Or a spiritually evolved, enlightened person?

Is it someone who never swears in traffic or gets overwhelmed with big life challenges or sends out invites to the pity party of the century?

It’s easy to tell someone “you shouldn’t feel that way” when you’re outside the situation. Perhaps one measure of a grown up is allowing others to feel their feelings, and staying with them while they do.

My sister-in-law has a wonderful measure for her kids (now grown and having kids of their own): it’s okay to feel what you feel, it’s not okay to dump it all over everyone else.

So what happens when you dump your feelings all over everyone else?

Maybe it’s a measure of how much you’re trying to carry. Maybe it’s a measure of how uncomfortable your feelings are.

How about you give yourself a big bundle of credit for being emotionally honest? And then find the grown-ups in your life who will let you experience your feelings in the safety and support of their non-judgemental presence, until you’ve finished the process.

Perhaps spiritual evolution and enlightenment includes the knowledge that sometimes life really truly sucks – or, as a beloved friend, long gone, used to say: this pounds sand! Or is incomprehensible. Or hurts like hell. Another acquaintance wisely advises that we keep on going straight through hell, rather than taking the scenic route. Sometimes even the direct route seems endless.

Sometimes spiritually evolved, enlightened beings are drowning in their severe challenges. At the very same time that they’re looking and acting like a drowning rat, they are spinning off brilliant responses to those challenges, creating their new selves, blinding us with the beauty of that creativity.

Grown-ups, spiritually evolved and enlightened people, can contain the paradox.

Weekly Card Two of Wands

Another first!   Finally, a look at the inspiring 2 of Wands.

At the Ace, we get an inkling of a calling. Now that the 2 shows up, we’re getting a sense of where in the world we’re going to express that inkling.

Our inner enthusiasm, our inner drive, is seeking its outer counterpart.

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Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Notice, in the Shadowscapes image, that our persona, accompanied by a whole tribe of fanciful fur family – the instinctual selves – is very removed from the rest of the world. In the Rider Waite Smith image, it’s the same situation: looking out at the world, holding fast to our Wand – our growing sense of purpose – considering possibilities from a distance.

So, where in your life are you feeling the call to express an inner ambition? Shadowscapes says we don’t have to be realistic at this point – let all of your inner voices have a say.

Now’s the time to look around to see where the possibilities are. Get a sense of how you and the outer world match – or don’t. If there’s tweaking to be done for a good match, do some brainstorming and planning.

Settle in with the match and the meaning that bring you the most enthusiasm. You don’t need to roll with anything yet; just get used to the possibilities.

And keep your big picture eye out for opportunities!

Yoga Thoughts

I know I’ve been lax about posting regularly on Mondays.

We can pretend it’s so that you can review old posts with your expanded experience.

Really, it’s partly because I’ve been thinking about things that are hard to illustrate and, you might have noticed, I like to include pictures.

150727 Awareness

And, if you’ll admit it, you like to have pictures, too.

How often do your questions boil down to, “Am I doing anything that looks like what this asana is ‘supposed’ to look like?”

What if I told you that the asanas are all just a smoke screen – kind of like photo shop in a fashion magazine?

The real magic is about your awareness.