All of me

Last weekend, I got VC to shear my hair off. Yep, shear. Because I asked him to take his trimmer and just go at it. No styling. No plan. Just razored it all off. Very close to my scalp. Even more than it was here.

My last haircut was in January. This is officially the longest I’d gone without a haircut, since I have gone this short. As such short haircuts need more frequent maintenance. Especially if you have thick, quick to grow hair with a life and will of its own, like I do.

Safe to say it was looooong overdue. In the interim I managed with clips and hairbands, had started using a comb after literally five years, and consuming copious amounts of shampoo, and frankly the only saving grace has been that there is nowhere to go and nobody to show my face to. By the end, trips to the vegetable vendor had started getting me strange looks. I suspect it was the beginnings of a very inelegant mullet that did that. I was contemplating just pulling off the entire lockdown until my hairdresser returns (she’s stuck in Imphal!) and I was even looking forward to this being an excuse to grow it out a bit and do something different. Something I never get to doing because I don’t ever let it grow long enough.

But no. Something snapped last weekend. And it was an entire production, quite unlike the easy-breezy job I had imagined it to be. Partly because my hair is so goddamned thick, but also it was actually much longer than I had realised. We hd newspaper down all over my living room, with me sitting right in the centre, at VC’s feet, while he sat in a chair and systematically worked on mowing the entire mop of hair on my head down. It took over an hour, and still didn’t feel like it was done. So we called it a day, and did round two the next morning.

Phew. When I looked at myself in the mirror after, I wondered why I’ve been spending so much time and money at a. hairdresser all these years. Don’t answer that, I know why. But this is just to say, I instantly felt so good, light, free.

And I also love the way I look now.

Even though I’ve had very short hair for years now, every time I have done something “drastic” going extra short, buzzing it all off with a clipper, getting the hair off the front of my face, much to the chagrin of everyone except VC and my sister, it has been when I’ve gone through something deep and transformative, emotionally.

The last few months have been a steady and slow time of deep, yet subtle and transformative shifts and changes for me. And when I looked in the mirror post haircut last weekend, it clicked. This is all of me.

One year ago: Small sadness and everyday grief 
Two years ago: It don’t look like I’ll ever stop my wandering 
Four years ago: Ten

Monday Tarot Message: Finding walking fine lines and finding intuitive balance

The two of Pentacles speaks to me me of duality, of course. But today it reminds me of fine lines, double-edged swords, two sides of a coin. How sometimes polar opposites have just a hair’s breadth between them.

That’s how it is in the various emotional balancing acts we perform too. A whisker of a margin between keeping safe and keeping away. Between drawing boundaries and keeping the world out. Between being cock-sure and cutting out new possibilities. Between loving solitude and feeling isolated. Between enjoying stillness and getting getting stuck.

The harder we cleave to the poles or extremes of any practice, the quicker we are to land in a rigid, inflexible place that will inevitably be detrimental to growth. Growth requires flexibility and movement, the space for change, to even change your mind sometimes. Even about “healthy” habits.

It’s true of the opposite too. It’s a fine line between allowing a natural relaxation of a healthy habit and actually slipping into unhealthy territory again. Between consciously, mindfully transgressing a habit and being in denial about the underlying process influencing it.

Today’s card makes a case for understanding and compassion for the parts of us that tend to cleave to any state in a rigid, unchanging manner. We do this mostly do this as a means to stay safe, but compulsive safety-seeking at the cost of all else indicates that there is something deeper we probably need to look at so we can arrive at a more soft and gentle means to heal and move beyond our limitation.

The work is to find a balance through intuition. To open up the self-limiting processes and beliefs we may hanging on to, in the name of health. To soften and invite allowance. To befriend that inner knowing that can show us the way and tell us when to eat that cookie if you need it, when to take a break from therapy, when to binge-watch that TV show, when to take a day off.

Two years ago: High by the beach
Four years ago: Back to base

Shit-show

Like I said the other day, I don’t understand anything that’s happening in this country anymore. While the COVID situation is continuing to erupt every singe day in new and horrific ways, our Health Minister was elected Exec. Chairman of the WHO. That Bill Gates conspiracy theory is beginning to sound very real to me. It fits right in. And the brazenness of it all is frankly really, really frightening.

As life slips back to normal, as it has this week, I have been tentative about whether I want to jump in with the wave, or take my time. Erring on the side of taking my time, I have been confronted with the difficult task of searching out meaning in the midst of this trail of devastation and injustice that is being left behind. I find the need to stay with it, to examine and really look at the dirt, to face the full force of the disgust it churns up in me. Because I know the only way a meaningful way to continue will emerge, is from facing the depth of the ills we have brought to this country. Even us, the silent minority that pushed ourselves to the corners, enabling this filthy, greedy, evil majority to power. So powerful that they now owe nobody any explanations for the horrors they perpetrate on a daily basis.

And we just have to watch, paralysed.

I fear the muck and the filth that has been uncovered runs the risk of being relegated to the back burner once again. If we turn away now, there will be no looking back again.

I feel this so keenly.

One year ago: On compassion, connection and belonging
Two years ago: Ground control to Major Tom

Babies

The only kind that interest me:

***

It’s been a quiet few days again. Meddling about the plants. Cleaning here and there. Cooking some. Sleeping lots. Reading a little again. And I may be getting eerielt comfortable with it all.

The silence. The aloneness. The containment. The sufficiency of it all.

One year ago: An opportunity and a gift
Two years ago: We keep this love in a photograph

Turning and turning

It is kind of fascinating that:

  1. yesterday, I wrote about a sense of fullness in my life — not just for me personally, but in what I share with VC. And exactly a year ago, on that same day, I wrote about our relationship feeling renewed.
  2. two days ago, I wrote about feeling quiet and contained. And exactly a year ago, on that same day, I wrote about wordlessness and feeling quiet.

I believe we’re all always going in circles. Our growth isn’t linear or upwards, but in spirals, and we find ourselves back in old and familiar spaces time an time again, feeling like we are in the same spot, but knowing deep within that it is different. Deeper, somehow.

Like seeing the sun set every single day, as I have these last almost-60 days. And knowing every single day, that even in the sameness and familiar, repetitive moving away from the sun, something is different.

One year ago: Growing friendship
Two years ago: I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you

The fullness of ease and balance

Going through another phase of really enjoying this stay-in business. Cooking, gardening, exercising, cleaning, pottering, tending to forgotten corners of the house, napping, bingeing on TV, staying up late, spring cleaning, hanging out with VC, chatting with Niyu, video-calling S. There seems to be time for it all. All the things I usually put off for “later” is here in the now.

There’s also no rush about any of it. I wake up and go with the way I’m feeling on any given morning. Energetic, sprightly? Great! A little lazy and wanting to sleep in? Let’s do that, let’s exercise later and get about the day accordingly, not doing all that I might ave planned to. Feeling downright lazy? Cancel the day.

This morning I had one of those slow days. I nearly skipped exercising altogether, because there were chores to be done and that usual toss-up played out: workout and skip chores or skip chores and workout? Except a third choice is emerging these days. One that only comes up when I’m not time-bound. So I worked out, slowly, because that’s the kind of day it was. No high-intensity jumping about. And then we got to the chores, VC doing his bit, me doing mine. And I took twice the amount of time I usually do. Going about it probably “inefficiently” — but it was okay. At lunch time VC made grilled cheeses toasts for me, and Maggi for him, while I cut up a plate of mangoes. And we called it lunch.

This is new for us. Certainly very new for me. This level of relaxation, the ease, the ability to just go with the way the day is unfolding and the way my body feels. An older me might have fretted about the slow start, the sloth in my body, and tried to whip myself to be productive and efficient. I might have felt terrible about wasting an entire morning to chores. I might have felt really guilty about VC having to make me “lunch” and a lunch of bread cheese, processed noodles and mangoes just wouldn’t cut it.

But somehow, it’s okay. There have been many days like this, and they’ve all been okay.

I have had phases of easing up like this before, and every time it has come from being very tuned in to what I am feeling. This is no different, I want to say. Except there is a difference. No previous phase has lasted this long, and been so enjoyable. Something has changed, the energy around this ease is different this time around.

It has come with a deeper connection, a newfound ability to fill out time, take space and take place, and really lean into intentionality a little bit more. Every little mundane thing that I do, feels very intentional. And I have a tiny inkling that is what has made the difference.

Our home feels more lived in, because I feel more present to every corner. Dusting, tending, prettying — because I now have to do it all and I have discovered I have the time, the patience and I enjoy it. The garden is abloom because we’re much more involved than we have been. I feel the fittest and leanest I have in a long while, because there’s so much more movement and exercise happening even outside of the scheduled workouts. We’re hanging out and conversing and enjoying things together — games, movies, silence.

Last week was a tumultuous one. For me, but consequently for VC too. I felt volatile and I erupted more than once. It was emotionally challenging. I felt and expressed anxiety that what we have had and enjoyed will not last forever, that it will be ruined. I felt torn up about that, horrible that I had no control in doing what one needs to to just make it stay. Until I realised; of course it’s going to change. Of course it’s not going to last forever. Of course it’s not in my control. 

And then things eased up again. Differently, this time. I know something very elemental has changed for us during this period of lockdown. I know things have shifted for VC, and I know they certainly have for me. Even though the physical reality of our life isn’t very different from before, something is different. Especially now than when the lockdown began.

It feels like a return. A return to connection, return to love, return to beauty and a return to ease and balance. And this feeling has really filled me up most days this past week.

The biggest difference by far though, is that I am not hanging on to it. I am not filled with thoughts of wanting to bottle it up for the future. I am just here, experiencing the balance, within and without. Witnessing the ease and flow that has made a remarkably different entry. Savouring this fullness now. As it is.

One year ago: Renewed relationships
Two years ago: April

The sweet confinement of aloneness

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn,
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

— David Whyte

I don’t know when it happened, but this extended solitude and stillness has filtered much from my daily life. Chatter. Energy sapping conversation. Distractions in activity. Distractions in thoughts. Distractions in being. People and their behaviour. Inner circles and outer circles. Essential must-haves and non-essential great-to-haves-but-can-totally-do-without. Habits. Obsessions and compulsions. High standards. My own overactive kind. My own hyperactive energy.

It was probably a gradual and gentle descent and not a single, pivotal moment. Somehow everything seems very narrowed down to the bare minimum. Only showing what is really needed. Giving me proof, again and again, of all that I really need to survive, get on, and be happy. Like the barely visibly shiny dot of a pinhead.

Has this period made anyone else frightfully quiet, inward and still? Almost motionless. Minimal. Pared down. Stripped. Naked. Free. Light. Unadorned.

Necessary. Breathing. Alive.

Minimal-everything has been an ongoing theme and pursuit in my life for many years now. And I actively work on minimising (sometimes a little too ruthlessly) all aspects of my life — whether consumption or people — reflecting and course correcting at regular intervals. And still, nothing has brought me to this level of containment where everything feels subtle. Delicately complex. Yet understated. Delicious.

Even with the days I long to be out, the missing of people, the longing for the trees and the outdoors, the dreams of travelling, my life and my days feel full. The realisation of this dichotomy, this crazy contradiction, is so thrilling.

I already feel a new way of life has slipped under my skin. I am seeing changes have already just happened even as I was considering them just a few weeks ago. The newness has tucked itself in the notches of my joints, sprouting new muscles from beneath my bones. It feels natural, like a part of me, re-growing. I feel like now my insides need to be re-accustomed to it all.

I was telling N the other day, I feel like I need to re-learn how to be a person out in the world again. And I find myself treading slowly, in that direction, utterly sure about what I don’t want to do.

Baby steps.

The darkness has been hard. The aloneness has been heavy at times. The slowness challenging sometimes. The quiet, haunting. But I see how necessary it was. I see the sweetness of it all. The magic. The ways of the universe.

One year ago: Quiet
Four years ago: Things about VC that I never want to forget #16

Slow it down some more

The sky is different every day. The sunlight slants differently every day — harsh and bright sometimes, muted sometimes. The moon changes every day — fading out and filling itself up over and over.

Much of this change, these shifts and movements happen gently, almost unnoticeably. Taking their own sweet time. Entire days. Weeks and weeks. A whole season, sometimes.

Surely it’s okay for me to be nonuniform? It’s okay for me to be imperfect and different every day. It’s okay for every day to be different too. Maybe that’s when the colours will begin to show.

I feel like I’ve slowed down even more in the last week, if that is even possible. I feel even more contained, withdrawn, quiet. Within.

Every day is different. No day is perfect. It’s okay to take time.

Four years ago: Distressed but happy

Monday Tarot Message: The Establishment vs. The Self

The Hierophant is the male counterpart of the High Priestess, and represents the Establishment, conventional rules, fundamental principles and belief systems that govern acceptable ways of being in any group or system. It could be a workplace, friends circle, family system, society, country at large.

I also see him as a gatekeeper of a deep spiritual ability to guard our Authentic Self. An advocate of necessary rule-breaking as a way of living, that while in keeping with the Establishment’s values, upholds asking difficult questions about what values we are chasing personally.

The Hierophant reminds us of be aware of the difference between:

  1. group values and personal values
  2. rules that make us rigid and take us away from, versus those that are soft and more aligned with our personal values
  3. rules that serve Belonging versus Personal Individuation

All groups have said and unsaid rules that govern who gets to belong and who doesn’t. These could vary wifely and include things like:

  1. I must always be happy and positive
  2. I must be married by age 30 and bear least 2 children
  3. I must not grow a beard
  4. I must be religious.
  5. I must not be emotional.
  6. I must choose security over satisfaction and join the family business

Following such (And other) rules unquestioningly definitely ensures a secure place within the group, but the Hierophant reminds us to stay akin with our spirit, to know when the rule following is coming at a great personal cost. This happens often, when our personal values and group values collide, causing tension.

Life requires building an appetite for healthy rule-breaking, knowing when to question the norms, how to navigate them in a useful way in order to construct a life that is personally satisfying too.

Serving the group ticks the right boxes, satisfies the ego and brings external appreciation. Whereas serving the Self is a quiet process with no outward accolades. Individuation asks us to question the rules, to break down established constructs and reconstruct them when necessary.

Questioning established rules is also to call for change — a deeply unsettling prospect for the majority. To be the one that bucks the rules of the system is invariably seen as being selfish and self-serving. And so it requires being okay with meeting displeasure and unease from the other. It requires the ability to face being judged, disliked and to be unacceptable. To be keenly comfortable with fear, uncertainty and the loneliness of this process. Not with a false sense of bravado, but an inner strength instead.

We typically believe visionaries and change-makers are blessed with fearlessness. We hark their bravery as a prime quality, but I think it is more likely that they are just more comfortable with their fears. They are more friendly with uncertainty. They are okay with taking the risks of going against the grain, and they’re in deep commitment to the personal alignment of their inner Selves, over the easier, quickly-rewarded alignment to the Establishment.

***

Lately, I have been thinking about this a lot, in the context of two aspects of my life — my growing sensitivity/intolerance to right wing rhetoric in this country, and my evolving ideas around marriage. The two are also very closely related as my personal politics have grown and evolved. I now find myself in a strange new place, where I find myself having to regain belonging again. In a new way, from my new sense of self, having shed all the things I did to belong before — many of which came at a cost to my individual personhood.

Aligning strongly and firmly with personal values that oppose the rules and values of the majority no doubt comes with a loss of belonging and oneness with people around. I feel this deeply in both the aspects I have mentioned above. I feel increasingly like I don’t belong in this country anymore, like this is no place for me anymore. And I feel like a bit of an outsider in the family I have acquired through marriage.

I feel strongly, now more than ever, willing to contend with the inherent loneliness and fear of being in this place, because to choose to flow with the norm just to avoid it feels like too high a cost to pay. My sense of self has grown too strong now, I cannot seem to turn back on this and go back to some of my unthinking, unquestioning ways from before.

Two years ago: Please don’t go
Four years ago: Summer evenings 2

36

This past year I learned more than before:

That I don’t have all the answers.

That some questions can remain questions.

To say out loud “I do not have it together today.”

That I am finally getting to saying “I feel afraid and insecure.”

To feel keenly when I don’t need to feel pretty and happy. Energetic and chirpy. And to know that that is not a constant I want to aspire for.

How much I want to build the capacity to know what I don’t know. To hold myself through what I can’t fix. To accept what is not in my control.

That I can feel hopeful and happy about my personal life, experiences and journey, while simultaneously having my heart broken by what’s going on around me.

To be okay with the mess.

Past birthdays: one year ago, two year ago, four years ago, five years ago, six years ago, seven years ago, eight years ago, nine years ago, ten years ago.

On missing the offline life

Not so long ago when introversion was all the rage, I was so quick to identify the part of me that fit the label. I took solace in every single meme that celebrated grumpy solitude, people-hating, or scoffed at the idea of getting out, meeting the world out there, taking the trouble to connect. I took way too much (more than was true, actually) pleasure happy being an island, in almost elevating the idea of never stepping out of my home to a virtuous existence. It helped that my life in Goa has become conducive to that. I had pulled back from so many people over time, there was so little stuff to distract me, I could really enjoy being home for days on end. I had convinced myself I didn’t need people.

Even now, I am mostly a homebody. I do thoroughly enjoy spending time by myself, at home, mostly quietly, doing my thing. But in the last few years, I have realised that I like the option of venturing out. I don’t like the idea of cleaving to the introvert label so much that I cut out the possibility of interacting with human beings when I feel like it. Contrary to what I said and believed in 2015-16, I actually like people. Most people, in fact. I like going out. I like doing things in groups, albeit small ones than large gatherings.

I know this about myself now: I enjoy the outdoors, I enjoy the company of people, I enjoy spending my energy outwards, as much as I like the peace and quiet of my own space and company.

I really love both. Almost equally.

And so when this lockdown began, given that the physical reality of my life was largely unchanged, it didn’t take much getting used to. Physically. Emotionally and mentally, is a different matter and the stuff of another post. But 45 days on, I just want to say I miss people.

Desperately, on some days. And this isn’t not just the lockdown blues or cabin fever talking. It’s just an outcome of having gone this far without that extra, outward interaction.

I am longing for contact, touch, real words shared in real proximity, being in spaces outside my home. I miss the tensions of dynamics, the unique energy of every interaction, the effort that it all sometimes takes, the anticipation of a meeting, the lingering satisfaction when it is done. The sharing of space, of language, of energy, of a vibe. I miss saying hi with a hug. I miss giving taplis. I miss the breakfasts, the coffees, the desserts, the favourite meals. I miss sharing cocktails.

I miss the little things. Catching glimpses of emotion when they escape — shimmery eyes, a quiver in the chin, shifty gaze, that phone that always gets in the way. I miss picking up on the unsaid things. I miss sitting across people. I miss the intimacy of that.

I’ve done umpteen video calls with friends. Long ones too — eating, drinking, sharing a doob — doing all of the same things online, that we’d do face to face in an era before all this. In that sense, I feel closer to my friends in different cities and continents because somehow in the post-Corona world we’re interacting on video a lot more than before.

I’ve taken yoga lessons on Zoom. I’ve caught umpteen events and speakers on Instagram Live. And it’s all been so great. The access that this kind of meeting has brought is honestly, staggering.

Until I think about how when it’s over and I shut the light off on that screen, I’m alone again. And that interaction somehow loses some of its sheen just like the battery it simultaneously discharges.

I was supposed to finish my family constellation course this year. In fact I was in class when the directives on social distancing were announced, putting a spoke in my last session. That was my last outing in the world. So of course we’ve moved the rest of this online too. Yesterday, 10 of us checked into a Zoom meeting. It felt good to reconnect and I’m glad for options to keep the learning going. I was excited. I was happy. But I couldn’t help but also feel like this “new normal” isn’t quite cutting it for me.

Something is missing.

And of course it is that intimacy and that something that only a life, in the flesh meeting of bodies can bring. But I don’t know if it is just that. Is it ever just about the physical?

This isn’t me being a luddite and dissing new ways of on-boarding technology. I see how much easier it has made life, I see how it has the potential to make good change happen in the world — I’m dreaming of decongested roads and lots more work life balance in Bangalore, for example, because hopefully more people are convinced about how possible it is to just stay the fuck home and get the same shit done.

So, I’m not complaining. I’m just saying I miss people.  I’m just saying that I am not all that much of an introvert I made myself to be. I’m just saying I liked my life with all the options available.

I’m just saying that even with all the increased, new ways of interacting, I feel lonely quite a bit of the time.

Four years ago: Blend

Slow, scary change

And just like that I’ve crossed the 110 post mark for this year too. I used to watch those numbers clearly, and mark out the 100th day. But this year, I’ve just lost track and I’m feeling swept over by something else that keeps me going writing these posts. The nature of what I write here has changed, yet again, I’m very aware. And with every instance that I notice the change I think about it from an “audience” perspective, and I find lesser and lesser reason to come back and keep reading. I can’t lie, what little desire to have an audience here there was, has all but disappeared completely. And it shows in how there’s lesser context by way of actual events and happenings in my life these days. There’s lesser granular detail about all the abstract things I am exploring for myself. I have far more ups and downs, and there is so much more messiness and angst in full view. There is little for voyeurs to be lured by. There are no super original hot takes.

So for those of you who still find whatever it is that you do that keeps you coming back, whether it’s value or just sheer habit, thank you. It kind of overwhelms me that even with caring so little about my readers, there’s still a fair number of you who return.

The realisation about having crossed over 100 posts hit me when I was digging into my archives from this time last year, for linking up to my daily posts. I do this because I like to see how much, or how little, my life has changed as I go. And when I read the posts from one, two, four years ago, sometimes I am overwhelmed. Like I was seeing the posts form just one year ago — last summer that when I accidentally spent two whole months in Goa. I don’t know if anyone else would notice, but I do. I see how my tone is different, the words are tentative, the posts balmy and very reflective of the space I was in just one year ago. Now, one year on I feel far more sure, decisive, in-form. Things are a lot less uniformly blissful as they were last summer. I am encountering a lot more of my inner self, because I’ve peeled back many more layers between then and now. These days I find myself touching my messy core a lot more. And it is not always as pleasant, beautiful, victorious — which is all the words I could use to describe the phase I was in last summer.

Physically, the landscape of my life was so different too. A, I was in Goa, which always put me in a very different space, than Bangalore. B, I was still working in some measure, and turned to work to give my days structure and meaning. I have come so, so, so far from that place. C, VC and I were in the throes of living our separate lives in separate cities, and I look back at the points at which we’d meet (mostly in Goa) with such a fondness. I feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about the time, of the pangs of separation, and the delight of the aloneness and the shot at experiencing that with intention. It made our days in Goa so much more soft and I have a whole different set of Goa memories from last year, very different from when I lived there. Currently, we are at the opposite end of the spectrum with both of us being together at home 24/7. And I don’t even mean just post-lockdown. This has been a whole other kind of sweetness, and the lockdown has brought certain other aspects of our relationship up to the fore that I feel glad and grateful for.

There have been times in my life where I have walked into drastic changes bravely and with openness, and there have been other times where I have been plain unwilling, unable to take a step. At the moment, I’m at a point where the change ahead of me is bringing up fear of myself. I am treading slowly, unable to allow the full force of what lies ahead to engulf me, taking it in small baby steps, dipping my toes in a little bit everyday, instead.

But I know what I have been through. I know what I have weathered and what I have come through in this past year. So today, looking back at my posts from a year ago, seeing how good scary change can be was all kinds of reaffirming.

Slow change. Scary change.

Two years ago: Doesn’t mean I’ll stop 
Four years ago: Dawn to dusk

Too much

Today I feel implicitly like my I am too much for people around me. I see how the newness in me makes everybody back off. My opinions are too loud, my views are too angry, my state of mind is too discontent, my emotions too negative, my questions too unnecessary, my presence too much. Everything — just too fucking much.

I have been a certain version of myself for so long now and as I feel that person — that always put-together, more or less agreeable, mostly pleasant and cheerful, always awkwardly goofy person — receding to the background, I’m not entirely sure my little world is ready for what’s showing up.

What’s showing up is a lot of intense emotion right now. And aside from myself, it is being met by deafening silence — absolute crickets — or being brushed aside with mirth and laughter.

I notice, in the tacit expressions of frustration and disdain, that this discomfort is from the other. I see how every effort to explain myself is taken as an invitation for confrontation. It isn’t. And I couldn’t be arsed to further explain that. An older me would have panicked and twisted myself into knots trying to make myself more palatable. Or do my bit in making swallowing the bitter pill being presented a touch better, so to speak.

This new side of me that I am still groping at, in the dark and discovering piece by piece slowly, doesn’t give a fuck.

It is scarily freeing. And I feel afraid of just how much I can push the world away.

As much as I feel filled out and in my space and potency, in the steady and consistent stepping back of people, I also feel a hollowing ache. Bracing for a lot more loneliness in the months to come.

One year ago: Separate, yet connected
Two years ago: Where is the love

Monday Tarot Message: What are you willing to let crumble now more than ever?

The Tower emerges as an indication of a radical shift in perception of reality. Today it feels particularly potent, both in imagery and significance, given current circumstances. And it resonates with things that have been top of mind for me 1) How the pandemic has presented opportunity for rethinking my reality and 2) The literal ivory towers we inhabit. And here it is, in today’s card.

The Tower signals an intervention, interruption. A topsy-turvy time of pandemonium, chaos and severe upheaval. While discomfiting, this presents an opportunity to connect with one’s true self. An opportunity to see the truth fully, eyes open.

You see, the ego seeks and finds comfort in the unchanging, while the True Self always seeks growth through constant change. It requires enquiry, confronting the truth and letting go what no longer serves, and bravely reimagining the new.

Like all great transformation, this is not without a palpable loss of security, sensation of great instability in the ground beneath our feet, as everything that we have held to be absolute and true comes crumbling down. Much like it is in the world today.

It is not a comfortable place to be by any stretch of imagination, and yet it is crucial to be here and stay for as long as delving into the truth needs. We cannot rush this process and skip to the next stage for comfort sake, else we risk losing the essence of it. But even as we delve into the depths of despair and feeling utterly shitty, we also carry a knowing, a gut feeling, a hunch, of what will absolutely NOT do anymore. Whether in our own private lives, thanks to the time for introspection. Or in our immediate communities, from seeing our habits as human beings so closely. Or as a nation or political entity, while so many false promises and facades come crashing down as we see our leaders for what they are.

A great facade has lifted, the charade has dropped, and we are seeing very clearly the brutal truth for what it is. Maybe we have been players, maybe we have been played. No matter where we stand on the spectrum, we all carry a deep knowing that nothing will be the same again.

The message today is, let loose the grip on the desire for sameness, for positivity, for goodness alone. For continuity, uniformity and permanence. Because nothing true, breathing and living can ever exist in a state of sameness. Be willing to be thoroughly transformed by what is happening today. And for that, be willing to sit with the discomfort of what is happening, and face the atrocities and fractures it is throwing up.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a period of essential (and much delayed) cleansing and regeneration. And it is only when the rotten crumbles and falls away fully that new, stronger foundations can be laid.

How you move forward will depend on whether you choose the truth or go back to deception; whether you choose true compassion that favours equality or slip back to ways that continue inequity.

Take this time to relook at your foundations, your core beliefs. It could be personal or to do with the community.

What rot are you holding on to that is threatening to crumble?
What are you ready to let go of now more than ever?
How has three weeks of being locked in changed your life positively?

Take this time to also internalise what you’ve learned, and allow it to touch your life in a deeper way will. This will make the difference in whether you come out of this with positive change, or slip back to shaky ground.

Personally for me, this has shown how much more involved I want to be as a living entity in my environment. It has crushed what little faith I had in leaders to show the way. It’s on me, on us as individuals. I feel this desperately now. It has also triggered a very old and hitherto shut-down part of me that has absolutely no tolerance for injustice. I was absolutely not in touch with this side of me, until recently. And lately it feels like I just can’t unsee this. I’m done. I cannot go back to closing my eyes. All of this is having very real and palpable reactions in my outer life, and the ways in which I am being. It is grossly uncomfortable and at many times unpleasant. It makes all my relationships feel very tenuous and I am unsure which way I am going.

But I know deep down that I must let this play out fully, trust the process, continue to keep seeing the truth, no matter how discomfiting. And it will emerge, slowly.

I will rebuild. We will rebuild. We have a choice to make here. We must make sure to choose the truth, over comfort.

One year ago: Chance encounters
Two years ago: Where the cares of the day seem to slowly fade away
Four years ago: Maybe I’m finally making peace with being mediocre

Transience

Been thinking about transience a lot lately, as so many everyday things that I take for granted are no longer within my reach and so many more are gradually slipping away. I carry this constant feeling that none of this is a temporary blip, and that none of it isn’t all going to miraculously swing back to “normal” the way it used to be, once this is over.

Something much bigger has been affected, uprooted. And the way forward, if we know what’s good for us, will be nothing like we have known it to be thus far.

I feel hyper-aware of systems crumbling. Of all the many big and small dysfunctions and gaping holes we have enabled. How perverse the inequities that we have created actually are, and how long we have just gone with it, turning away, snug in our comfortable positions of privilege we have occupied of no effort of our own.

I don’t know how we’ll un-see any of this. I know we shouldn’t. Because more than anything this experience has me seeing how transient everything is. How impermanent even the most solid things that we thought unchangeable actually are. How just because systems have existed in a certain way for centuries, doesn’t mean they work or that they don’t stand to be questioned. Or that they won’t crumble, entirely out of our control. How even the most powerful nations are rendered useless in the face of collapse of this nature.

Mostly, I feel if we don’t do the timely course correction, nature does. And by nature I just don’t mean the environment. I mean the nature of systems that always seek balance. They will swoop in, inevitably, bringing back order again. and it might not always be the order we want or would like.

Unlike the comforting, expected bursting forth of spring, that always signals change and temporariness, life and death to me, I realise that sometimes lessons in transience are violent and challenging. Not at all comforting, not at all expected, not what we are equipped to handle. Forcing us to think on our feet, challenge all that we have come to believe as absolute and unchanging.

It becomes easier to see the need for change, and to embrace it even when it comes this unexpectedly, if we have cultivated mental flexibility. To be fixed and cocksure about a way of being, even in the face of such inequity, is no longer an option. The only way we’ll be se to find new methods, is to remove ourselves from the fixed outcomes we covet and hold true, and embrace the new gifts that this churn has to offer. As individuals, as well as communities.

I don’t know that anything is ever going to be the same. And I wonder if we have it in us to really understand what this Transience means and is asking of us.

Two years ago: Slow change may pull us apart
Four years ago: Procrastination