Archive for the ‘ Life ’ Category

Believing in Magic

Earlier, I was reading @SusanAkaSARK’s book Living Juicy and was inspired by the entries for yesterday and today. Her focus is on believing – in miracles, in magic, in ourselves. As I read the entries I realized how important that is right now – belief. When the world seems to be determined to go to Hell in a handbasket, when it seems gloomy & hopeless on the best of days it can be difficult to simply believe. I do, despite my bitching, cynicism and occasional pontificating rants, I believe.

I believe that, despite how mind bogglingly insane America seems right now, we will find our way again. I believe in the goodness, kindness and decency of people as individuals. I believe that things can and will get better. Imagine my shock in realizing I’m a closet optimist! 😵 Who’d have thunk it? 😜

So, to share that sense of belief, hopefulness and optimism, here are two songs I hope will cheer you up.

You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac

Miracles – Jefferson Starship

Tarot Hunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • As I look at this image I keep hearing Pink Floyd’s lyric playing in my head – “Tear down the wall”. Let’s face it, on many levels our nation has become calcified. We’ve lost that progressive, rebellious edge that made us so creative and independent. Instead, we mourn what we perceive as lost or give up our civil liberties in pursuit of the illusion of security. I’m stuck in this same loop in my own life. I may not like all the changes going on right now, but change is inevitable. It’s time to move past that on both a personal and national level.
  • Focusing on what has been lost and looking down or backward prevents us from seeing the opportunities that await up ahead. Before new structures can arise, the old, outdated ones must be demolished. Let it go.
  • Once the outdated, the useless, the unhealthy has been cleared away we are given the chance to see what remains and start over with healthy stock. Farmers and ranchers know that sometimes culling is necessary to improve the overall health of the herd or fields. Maybe it’s time for some culling in our own lives. Get rid of the weeds so the healthy plants can flourish.

Passions – what makes life worth living

Passion, excitement, enthusiasm, joy.  The other day I realized how absent these emotions have been in my life lately.  While chatting with a friend about hobbies it hit me that I haven’t lost myself in any of my hobbies for quite some time.  I collect and play with Barbies and similar fashion dolls but I haven’t redressed a doll in over a year.  I collect and use Tarot decks but I haven’t really played with my decks the way I once did.  I have more books in my TBR pile than I can possibly finish in this lifetime.  I have a list of recipes I want to try but instead, default to the same 10  What the hell is wrong with me?  I’m not sure but I do have a few ideas.
During the conversation with my friend, I realized that I’ve suppressed my excitement and passion because it became painful.  Seeing others who shared my passions being able to explore and enjoy theirs while I was stuck in caregiver mode sucked.  It made me envious and bitter so I must have decided on some level that if I didn’t want to become a bitter, bitchy (okay, more bitchy) person then I needed to distance myself from online groups and boards or else my envy would chew me up and spit me out.
Unfortunately, that also meant that I dampened my affect across the board.  I stayed in a middle position to avoid letting the negative stuff overwhelm me but it meant I didn’t really enjoy the positive stuff either.  I think in clinical terms it might be considered depression.  Luckily I realized that it’s a situation depression and not due to anything major.  That means I could treat it on my own – because gods forbid I should see help for anything.  I’m kinda stubborn that way.  I like to blame it on my Capricorn Moon.
So what is my solution?  Nothing especially groundbreaking.  I made myself a promise that I would consciously choose to engage in some of my hobbies.  For example – I re-committed myself to posting my daily Tarot card pulls at least 4 times each week.  I promised myself I would post something to my blog once a week.  I am determined to journal at least once a week (but preferably more).  There are small, simple and doable steps that I know I can achieve.  Once I’ve consistently done these for a few weeks I’ll add more or change them.  I also want to start reading books on journaling and finding your life purpose but I’m not making that part of this commitment.  I have also promised myself that I won’t spend money on hobbies/crafts for which I already have a wide range of materials that I have not used yet (such as my coloring books and composition notebooks). 
None of this is especially innovative or mind-blowing.  It might not be amazing, impactful or especially transformative for anyone else.  For me, this was quite an epiphany.  Sometimes it the small wake up calls in life that have the most long-lasting and beneficial results.

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Clinging to the status quo, refusing to be open to change can mean you’re robbing yourself of the potential for embracing your true self and finding new ideas to explore.
  • Letting someone steal your ideas, allowing yourself to be disempowered can prevent you from transforming your life into who and what you truly wish it to be.
  • Transformation and change can be frightening but clinging too tightly to the past, or to current circumstances can ultimately cause more harm than good.  It can lead to stagnation and a stultifying existence.  There is a beauty in death and transformation.  Embrace it rather than trying to escape it.

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • Choosing to focus on your craft may limit you in other ways but may ultimately be satisfying in a deep, soulful way.
  • Our skills and talents can be enriched and enhanced by working with and learning from others. I’ve learned the most while teaching others.
  • Is pursuing this skill is your best option? Explore the choices and paths available to you. Think about what can be gained by following each. Then select the one you believe will satisfy you on an emotional and spiritual level. Ask yourself if this choice will help you continue on your life path. Although you might have invested much time and effort into this project, does it still provide the same sense of fulfillment and joy? If not, perhaps it’s time to move forward.

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Your emotions may be leading the way on certain issues but you can remove yourself from a situation physically but emotionally the issues may still haunt you. Instead of letting your emotions guide you, try looking at the situation logically and rationally first.
  • You may be pursuing Mastery of a certain situation but for the wrong reasons. Instead of doing it because you want that sense of achievement and accomplishment and to acquire the knowledge, you’re haunted by emotional issues in your past. Perhaps you felt you never measured up and now you’re pursuing this Mastery in an attempt to prove your critics wrong. You might want to consider whether this is the best path for you right now.
  • Perhaps you already possess this Mastery, this level of accomplishment and achievement, but self-doubts and inner demons are preventing you from realizing it. What is haunting you and preventing you from appreciating all that you’ve achieved in your life?

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • Sometimes we are so distracted by our imagined desires and wants that we lose touch with who we truly are and what will provide true fulfillment & satisfaction.
  • What choices will satisfy your soul, your inner spirit? Consider before deciding.
  • Are you haunted by “what might have been?”. Are the ghosts of past decisions leaving you dissatisfied? Look deep within and find the truth. You can’t undo past bad choices but you can stop letting them taint your present and future.

I ask myself this question a lot. The other day I drew the Ace of Cups Rx and The Empress Rx and they seemed to be addressing this issue for me. I’m one of those people who have loads of advice for everyone – ways to improve their lives, their health, whatever. Unfortunately, I am notorious for not applying such advice to my own life. I can be stubborn and hard-headed, or as my mother likes to call it – thick. I am a relatively intelligent person – or I at least have book smarts and know the answers to a number of Jeopardy questions. Common sense, however, does not appear to be on of my innate skills. Of course, life loves to throw us curve balls and I was finally thrown one that forced me to face a few issues that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I have Type II diabetes and until a few years ago I had it fairly well controlled. Once things got more challenging dealing with my mother-in-law, caring for myself was one of the things that fell by the wayside. Short-sighted and stressed, I chose to live in denial that this behavior would come back to bite me in the ass. Fast forward to July of this year (the day after my 51st birthday, in fact) and my chickens had come home to roost. I visited my doctor and got a call from his office the next day informing me that he wanted to up my medications adding an additional pill for diabetes, Lipitor and a prescription Omega 3 supplement. Now I hate taking more pills than is absolutely necessary but I also don’t want to suffer from complications due to diabetes later in my life. So I bitched and moaned and bitched some more. Then I talked with my hubby and we came up with a plan. I would give myself a specific time period to change my behaviors – eat healthier and exercise more. If there was no improvement at the end of this time then I’d have to start taking the additional pills.

It was difficult at first and I became discouraged and almost gave up a few times but I knew that if I began taking these additional pills I’d be psychologically giving up and I didn’t want to do that. So I hung in there. I’m finally seeing an improvement in my glucose levels and am definitely making healthier food choices. So I’m making progress but this made me wonder why I did this to myself? Why do so many of this do this to ourselves?

We bend over backward to care for others but ignore our own needs. We put off our own needs and try to ignore or avoid the potentially negative repercussions of these choices. Is this something we’re acculturated to accept? Are we programmed to think that our needs come last? I can’t claim to have all the answers but I will say that in my case it was simply a matter of not making myself a priority. I was programmed early on in life to do what was expected of me – to be the good student, the good daughter, the good employee. I craved the positive reinforcement and external validation. It was exhausting.

It took a long time but I think I’m finally reaching a place where my needs count too. They’re not necessarily more important than the needs of loved ones but they are as important. If I don’t take care of myself then I can’t care for them either. It’s a pretty simple concept but one that I traveled a long, winding road to reach. I’m sure I’ll still have days when I backslide but I feel more positive that I’m moving in the right direction.

#TarotDaily – The Fool + The Hermit Rx

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Try something new and creative. Believe in your ability to accomplish new goals
  • Don’t keep hiding in your lab but instead bring your findings to others who share your interests. Don’t be shy about your explorations and achievements.
  • Don’t let self doubts and inner critics (or outer ones) prevent you from jumping in with both feet and living your life with exuberance, joy and gusto! Long live The Fools!

#MeToo

I’ve been following the media coverage of Harvey Weinstein and resulting #MeToo campaign with a lot of interest over the past few days. It has clearly revealed that this is a conversation that has long needed to occur. Women already know just how many of us have been harassed, victimized, assaulted, marginalized and raped. Men are the ones who seem surprised by these numbers.

When I was attending John Jay College for my MA in forensic psychology, I once wrote a paper on rape & date rape. I looked at the psychological impact each had on survivors as well as how societal responses differed to both types of assault. In many instances, survivors of date rape expressed feeling more blamed and less support. They often blamed themselves and questioned whether they had “asked for it”. This mindset shows the fundamental misunderstanding we still face about rape – it has nothing to do with sex! Let me repeat that – RAPE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX! Harvey Weinstein isn’t a sex addict, he’s a sexual predator. He used sex to impose his will upon unwilling women. If rape is the result of a desire for sex then I would expect there to be no sexual assaults of those society has deemed no longer sexually viable or attractive. That does not appear to be the case.

I have no doubt that physical attractiveness can play a role in why someone has been put on a sexual predator’s radar but I don’t believe it’s because the predator wants sex. It’s because it fulfills some need in them to impose their will upon others, especially those who might be seen as a “catch” by society. I would bet that if one caught some of Hollywood’s male actors in a private moment, we might learn that they are just as harassed and preyed up on by those in power.

I will admit that by the time I completed that paper I was suspicious of all men and looked at them with rage. I’m rather impressed that I didn’t attack any men during that time period.

One of the reasons I had an interest in the topic of rape is because I have been raped, sexually harassed, hooted & hollered at as well as molested many times over the course of my life. I know how it feels to have people look at you as though you brought this upon yourself. I know what it feels like to think you did something wrong and your actions triggered the assault. I know how it feels to tell someone what happened to you and have them either disbelieve your or, worse, believe you and do nothing. I’ve been afraid to sleep in my own home because I wasn’t sure if I’d wake up to find my molester assaulting me again.

I’ve never been silent about these assaults. I might not share the details with everyone I know but I’m open about having been through these experiences. Many times I fought back, either verbally or physically. In my youth I was gifted with the nickname The Nutcracker because if boys touched me in ways I didn’t like (such as trying to cop a feel or snap a bra strap), I kicked them in the nuts. Needless to say I wasn’t very popular with the boys. When I first began working I experienced harassment from some of the men in charge. This ranged from the 60 year old warehouse manager who kissed me against my will when I was 13 to the “dirty old man” comments from a 60+ year old man when I was in my 30s (you know the type – “why don’t you sit on my lap and we’ll talk about what comes up”).

I tolerated the comments for a while because, while I wouldn’t say it was harmless, those types of comments didn’t seem threatening to me. At least not until I saw those same behaviors aimed at younger (in some cases adolescent) females. Then I began commenting. My responses ranged from subtle “jokes” about how apple seeds are poisonous and would be so easy to slip into someone’s food to statements about how “crazy” and violent my hubby could be to more straightforward comments like “you couldn’t get it up if you used a crane” or “if you touch me I’ll push you down the stairs”. These often got brushed off as jokes but they achieved the desired results. I was left alone. Unfortunately there wasn’t much I could do to stop it with other females. Too many laughed and treated it as a joke and the executive director was guilty of similar behaviors. I’d like to think that I made a difference but in truth I’m not sure.

I drew two Tarot cards from the Darkness is Light deck to get an idea what I should write my next blog post about (it has been a while since I’ve updated). I drew the 3 of Blades Rx and The Empress Rx. To me that spoke of sharing times I’ve felt betrayed, heart sore and hurt; times I’ve been left to fend for myself rather than being nurtured, cared for and protected. So here is it – as much as I hate to jump on bandwagons, #MeToo

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