Okay, so some of the hard work is over and now is time to take a bit of a breather and consider what I’ve gained and learned. Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been running ourselves ragged dealing with family responsibilities. Sleep deprivation had become the norm. Luckily that has finally ended (at least we hope it has).
Something about the heifer with her horns adorned with flowers suggests an offering to a sacred cow at a temple or the Biblical golden calf. It brings to mind the concept of enshrining actions or perhaps honoring actions. She might be reminding me that it’s important to honor and respect what I’ve done for the family. Caring for ailing family members may not win any recognition from the outside world but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appreciated. It needs to be viewed as sacred. What is more sacred than caring for loved ones.
The reversed Ace of Swords suggests that part of what often prevents me from viewing my behaviors and actions in a sacred light is that I need to find a new paradigm. I need to start thinking about these things in a new light and not only viewing them as obstacles to living my life. I know there is a lesson to be learned from this experience but I also have a feeling that I won’t be able to fully grasp all the nuances until I’ve gained some distance from it.
The last few years have truly forced my brain to consider things from different perspectives and gain a new language for describing my life. I also need to think about how I can make this knowledge and experience I’m acquiring benefit others as well.
I know it has given me a much deeper, more empathetic appreciation for the experiences of women who stay at home to care for children or other family members. The sense of isolation, obligation, and lack of intellectual challenge can sometimes make me feel as though my brain cells are dying at a rapid pace. There is also the relentlessness of it all – there are no sick days, no vacations. It’s no wonder so many mothers experience post-partum depression and other psychological illnesses.
This experience has also made me appreciate my social networks and supports – family and friends who are willing to listen to my rants or allow me to vent and cry have been invaluable. I cannot stress how much they have helped me keep my sanity. It helps me realize I’m not alone. There are people out there who are willing to help in whatever way they can. They are also the ones who remind me that there is value in what I am doing and that it should be honored, appreciated and respected rather than see as a waste of time or a blockage to doing “real work”.
Filed under: COTD
| Tagged as: Achievements
, Asking for help
, Changing perspective
, Free will
, Steering the course of my life
I think these cards are a reminder that I can only do so much by myself. I think I’m reaching the limits of my strength and fortitude. I have endured and hung in there but I’m burning out. I’m still fighting the same battle and almost nothing external has changed. However I do think I’ve finally learned some useful techniques to deal with this situation.
Instead of trying to tame things and bend them to my will, I’ve become more flexible and fluid but I still prefer a slightly more organized, orderly and structured life. I like clear boundaries and they don’t exist in this situation.
The 6 of Cups points out that on one level I’m still seeing things through the eyes of the past, of memories & nostalgia. My mother-in-law will never again be the woman she was when I first met her. I have to stop reacting to her as though she is that woman. On another level it’s pointing out that our roles have been reversed. She has become the child in this relationship and we’ve become the parent. That is a difficult transition to navigate – for all of us.
So my need to be nurturing, supportive and clear-headed is challenged by my sharp tongue – ah the joy!
Okay so I’m being facetious. In reality I am well aware that my wicked tongue, sharp wits and occasional tendency to (as my mother once said) use the truth as a weapon can undermine my desire to be helpful and nurturing. If nothing else, I am usually honest with myself about my traits. Sometimes I make light of them but I’m always aware that sometimes I unintentionally hurt others with them.
I think the reversed aspect of the Queen of Swords is a reminder that I not only have to be clear-headed and calm with others but I need to be that way with myself too. It’s been a rough few weeks (with a lot of sleep deprivation) and on occasion I’ve been very critical and harsh with myself. Reality is that I’m doing the best I can. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a bit more empathetic and calm but I don’t need to be overly critical of myself either.
The Ace of Swords is also suggesting that I look from some new ideas, new ways of dealing with this situation. That would be a more beneficial use of my sharp wits than being vicious and nasty because I’m frustrated. I need to communicate with those that can help and try to improve matters. I suppose it’s time to use my powers for good instead of bitching.
The 5 of Cups reversed suggests that now is not the time to focus on what was. My mother-in-law is home and it will take at least a few days before she’ll be back to the condition she was in pre-hospitalization. Right now she is having moments of being almost catatonic, bathroom issues and a few other challenges. I’m hoping she’ll bounce back after she’s home, in a familiar environment for a few days but it’s frustrating. Most of these issues are a direct result of how she was treated in the hospital. I hope that the staff felt they were acting in her best interests but the result is that she’s almost in a state of shock.
My hubby is ranting about the neglect and mistreatment he felt she experienced at the hands of the hospital staff. I understand how he feels and even agree with his assessment. However finger-pointing serves no useful purpose right now. Instead of why she’s acting this way we need to focus on getting her better. I realize that she’ll never be 100% again but I’d like her to get back to how she was before going into the hospital.
The 2 of Swords reversed is a reminder that it doesn’t matter how clearly I can see this situation, at this time, that’s not going to help improve things. Looking back at the causes and effects of her hospitalization might prove an excellent exercise in mental masturbation but won’t help her heal. I know that but sometimes I still get caught up in the blame game.
What I can see and what I need to focus on is moving forward and getting the mom-in-law better. She has to be the focus not what they did to her. The bottom line is that she probably doesn’t consciously remember the experience but it’s that doesn’t lessen the impact. It does seem to be a sad commentary on health and aging in this country.
I had an interesting response today while reading SARK’s Great Life Letter #16 which addresses the issue of self-forgiveness. As I was reading her letter I felt myself tearing up and becoming emotional (verkplempt is a great Yiddish word for this experience). Looking at these cards today I can see how they fit in with this theme too.
The Secret Forest 3 of Pentacles reversed shows a small bird surrounded by a vine of leaves or a wreath extending from branches on a nearby tree. It looks like the bird has quite a task before it to break free of the vine/wreath. I think this card symbolizes where I am right now – I’m a damaged, wounded bird who isn’t sure how to get free of the harsh self-judgment that surrounds me. For so long I’ve looked at self-help books that focused on healing from the harsh words of others but my biggest challenge is my tendency towards being judgmental. I find it hard to forgive myself when I screw up because it means I’m human – flawed and imperfect. That’s often difficult for me to accept.
This is further complicated by the fact that, much like the Knight of Wands, I prefer to charge ahead, to do rather than to be introspective about things. Why spend time reflecting on the wounds of the past when they can’t be changed? Why keep going over the same ground when the battle is done?
That can only carry me forward for so long. My self-defenses are pretty strong but not against myself. I’m my own Trojan horse. I’ve set booby traps in my psyche and they explode at unexpected moments. Why is it so hard for me to forgive myself? To be as kind to myself as I might be to someone else? Or (to paraphrase a Catholic prayer) “forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me”. That’s easier said than done but I have taken some baby steps in the right direction and I’ll continue to do so. That wounded bird does still need some protection to survive the harshness in the world but soon she’ll grow strong, spread her wings and fly to the sky.
A time of rest and restoration – at least I hope that’s what the 4 of Swords is representing for me right now. I think it also reflects the fact that the mom-in-law had to be taken to the hospital last night. Apparently she has an infection and some other relatively minor issues (at least we hope that’s all it is) but she’s very agitated and resistant and confused so we couldn’t handle things here. Maybe a day or so will be better for all of us. Of course our bigger fear is that some bureaucrat will decide that she can’t be released unless she has 24 hour care. Of course that’s easy for a third party to decide but implementing it is much more difficult when medical insurance won’t cover it and we can’t afford it. It’s so sad that aging in American can be such a traumatic and sucky experience for so many. Then again so can having any kind of health problems without any medical insurance.
The Prince of Swords – that radiant, brilliant soul who rides in and cut through the bullshit offers some hope. Is it me? Is it the hubby? Perhaps it reflects qualities we will both need to have in order to handle the paperwork, repetitious and pointless questions and bureaucratic bullshit that hospital visits seem to produce. He is letting us know to be sharp, calm, collected and smart. Don’t let emotions push us into anger. He is letting us know that wits and words are the key to making this process as painless as possible. He’s also letting us know that we shouldn’t be too passive either. We need to stay focused and persistent to make sure we get the information we need and she gets the treatment she needs.
It’s funny but I miss her. I miss the silly smiles and kisses she gives us when she’s happy; the dancing she starts to do when we try to get her to exercise. It is easier not needing to deal with the day to day minutiae of caring for her but at the same time I want her home. I want her surrounded by people who love her and familiar things. I keep visualizing her in her hospital bed looking frail and feeling frightened. At least here we can make sure her needs are being met. Hospital staff might mean well but they don’t have the time or resources to care for her the way we can.
Happy family versus juggling – ah the joy. This makes total sense today. The Secret Forest 10 of Pentacles shows a tree limb full of branches that has 3 large pieces of fruit hanging from one branch. They represent the new growth from the ancient tree; the future that is built upon the past. In my life right now I am the one tending this tree. I may not be the new growth anymore but I’m the one who cares for the memories, prunes the branches and gives the tree food and water. I’m the one who remembers when the new growth appeared and feel rotting to the ground.
Right now I’m bearing this weight and trying to balance it with my own life and interests. I haven’t quite achieved that yet. My stuff is supplemental, secondary. A few weeks ago Joanna Powell Colbert wrote about having to slow down to be on a dying friend’s time and that describes how I feel too. I’m not on my own schedule, I’m on my mother-in-law’s. No matter how much I try to rush things I am brought up short by her. She is on her own schedule, in her own time and no matter how much I try to rush things or speed them along I can’t. I need to slow myself to her pace; to stop thinking I can control this situation or make it meet my standards. It just doesn’t work and ends up frustrating all of us.
I think my challenge in this situation is to find other ways of creating balance and regaining some equilibrium in my life. I don’t want to lose myself. I’m the only one who can stop that from happening.
My need to be creative, productive, and nurturing is battling with my need to be alone. I know exactly what this means. This weekend I’m scheduled to spend the weekend with friends in a creativity, brainstorming and support fest. We’re planning to help each other develop our professional sides and develop a creative and thriving business. we are each trying to set up businesses that will allow us to be flexible, prosperous and tap into our somewhat unorthodox interests.
My goal is to build a business as a professional Tarot reader. I’ve already taken some steps towards achieving that goal but I know there is more that I can do. Part of my challenge is simply that my family obligations don’t leave me with a lot of free time to schedule potential customers. So I haven’t put that out there yet. What I need to figure out is what I can do in the meantime.
For the last two days I’ve been having second thoughts about going. I’m feeling anxious about attending and spending time with these women. I’m not sure why. Sometimes I do develop a deep desire for solitude and my introverted side becomes very prominent. Sleepovers have always caused me a certain amount of anxiety. As a child I often called my mother halfway through the night to pick me up. I eventually was able to control the urge to do this but whenever I am staying away from home the anxiety returns.
Whichever choice I make, hopefully I’ll learn something useful and transformative from the experience. I suppose the most important factor is not which choice I make but how I use my time once I’ve made it. I can attend this weekend and keep myself blocked and resistant resulting in nothing useful being gained. I could stay home and do some exercises, research and actually use listen to some of the podcasts and tapes I’ve got. Who knows how I’ll feel in a day or two? I may shift back into extrovert mode and this will become a moot point.
Interesting imagery on both these cards. The figures on the 3 of Swords of swords seem to have antennae , bunches of them, growing out of their heads and reaching towards the sky. These women (they seem to be women to me), do not have arms. Are the antennae their only way of physically touching their environment? Are they sensitive like an insect’s antennae would be? I almost get the sense that they are reaching out to communicate with each other and with their environment, as though they are receiving messages from the landscape around them.
So that makes me wonder what I’m not in touch with within my own internal landscape. Reversed this card suggests that my current situation is one in which I’m not interacting with the world around me and not seeing what is really there. Maybe I’m not reaching out and listening to the messages being offered by nature, oracles and other non-traditional methods.
The Devil – well as soon as I saw this guy I thought of Xerxes, King of Persia as he was portrayed in the movie 300. He has that same androgynous vibe (reminiscent of Tim Curry as Dr. Frankenfurter in Rocky Horror Picture Show) that would be attractive and seductive to both sexes. He is a dominator and controller and seems almost complacent about the fate of the two chained at his feet. His cloven-footed, hairy-legged bottom signals his animal, wild nature. He is not bound by the rules of civilization. He does not play by the same rules as we do so it can be difficult to understand his behaviors, motivations and ethics (assuming he has any).
Once again I drew two reversed cards for today. My energies and insights need to be focused inward. So what is it I am missing? Is something keeping me blind and enslaved? The only answer is me. It’s no big secret that most of us have proven our own worst enemies in life. We continually engage in behaviors that have already proven harmful or caused us some harm or embarrassment. I’ve read that engaging in the same behaviors and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. By that definition how many of us could be considered insane?
So if I no longer wish to engage in insane behavior and break free of whatever chains continue to hold me back then I need to act in a more conscious, thoughtful deliberate fashion. I’m already working on re-connecting with parts of myself that I’ve neglected. I suppose in many ways this message is nothing new but it is a reminder that I need to keep moving in the right direction, stay the course. I need to put an end to this journey on the crazy train and start choosing my path instead of letting the whims of chance direct it.
Wow, Radiance reversed accompanied by the 8 of Swords reversed. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad! Of course in my reality I get to decide that and I’ve decided it’s good. In both cases I’m choosing to view these cards as internally focused. They are reminders that right now my mission and focus are not to shine in the outer world but to shine within. I can free myself from the briars and thorns that may block my path but the end result might not be something visible to others but I will benefit and feel their influences.
I’ve often found the negative aspects of The Sun to be intriguing. We often view the sun as a source of warmth, light and growth. The sun’s rays bathing the earth and plants is what helps their growth. How many people are sun worshippers who adore sitting out and feeling it bathe them in radiance. Without the sun, life on Earth would not be possible. However too much sun can be deadly and detrimental too. How many times have we seen the browned and sere landscape that can result from too much sun and too little rain? How dangerous can the sun be to folks who spend too much time outdoors without proper protection? Sometimes its harsh, unforgiving rays can bring destruction as well as life. I believe The Sun’s lesson for us is one of moderation. Enjoy its warmth and light but don’t overdo things. Be cautious and protective when dealing with the sun’s energies.
The 8 of Swords can also appear somewhat frightening and negative. The Secret Forest 8 of Swords brings to mind fairy tales of a hero or heroine who must battle his/her way through a thorny underbrush to find his/her goal. In this case I think the thorny hedges that block my way are my own doubts, fears and even hopes. Sometimes hope is the most painful emotion of all, or at least it may seem that way. This card is letting me know that I have the ability to fight my way through the thorns as long as I stay true to myself and believe in myself. The radiance of the sun is even lighting my way.