Monday Tarot Message: A life of your own making

The Nine of Pentacles embodies independence and self-sufficiency. Specifically financially, but also emotionally and physically. This is a woman who has the capacity to live an untethered life that is luxurious, abundant and directed by what is most authentic and meaningful for her self, over what society and external conditioning dictates. A life of her own making.

This is particularly relevant for women, in a world that does a fantastic job of encouraging us to live within the “safe” zones dictated to us. This card is an encouragement to establish new and more authentic safe zones for yourself. To recognise where you feel stuck, trapped, bound, in pain, and to work on replacing it with joy, peace, liberation and inner alignment.

The luxury and abundance in this card is more about quality than quantity. Not opulence or unlimited means (though if that is your current circumstance, that is fine too), rather the specific nature of authenticity in your life experience — a life that is true to your individual needs and values. Reflect on the granularity of this kind of abundance in your life, luxuriate in simple everyday acts, beauty and joy around you, listen to your innermost desires, cultivate habits that ground you and uplift you.

Self-development and building a life of authenticity will sooner or later require reflection about our positions within the existing frameworks and structures of power that exert their forces on us.

We reach this place of untethered-ness by consciously choosing things, situations, people, environments that support us, whether emotionally, physically, or spiritually. And we do this by continuously tuning into our inner calling, sometimes even at the cost of turning down that which is most expected of us. That which is “normal” or “safe” or “conventional.” And moving past that which most scares us.

We’ll have to ask ourselves:
Do you feel free in your relationships?
What keeps you tethered?
Where in your life would you like to build independence?
How can you nurture your desires?
And the answers may bring up fear, shame or guilt.

Building a life of freedom, abundance and luxury on our own terms then, is a lifelong pursuit and it will mean gradually moving through past pain, shame and fear. That is the route to sweetness.

Two years ago: Reboot
Three years ago: February
Five years ago: Just go with it

Monday Tarot Message: Revisiting your past

Many of our challenges as adults — shame and guilt, disconnection and difficulty relating to others or finding a place, trouble feeling emotions as they are, anxiety and/or depression, debilitating anger/frustration — have their roots in the past. Growing up, early childhood, sometimes even prenatal experiences can cloud the lens we view the world through, as we individuate and move on to navigate our lives on our own.

The Six of Cups is about that part of the healing journey that cannot be escaped — revisiting the past. To that time of innocence where we believed, unquestioningly, that our experiences were absolute and unchanging.

The image on the card is of an older boy meeting a younger child with an offering. It is probably because of my family constellation training that I always view this as a meeting between mother and child — the relationship that has the potential to form the crux of our relationship with life itself.

To understand our challenges and find true change is to thread our way back to the roots of the beliefs that have moulded us, to integrate the pain that we may find there. This can be intimidating but going back, gently and safely, is the key to noticing how many of our adult experiences, attitudes and reactions come from a place of pain as felt by our child selves.

One of my mentors used to ask: Who is in the driver’s seat (when you feel that way)? Is it your child self or you as an adult? Going back to the origins, helps us tell the difference.

Our childhood experiences get set in stories we tell ourselves repeatedly, that we believe are the unchanging, defining stories of our lives.
I am forever alone.
People will always use me.
I’m difficult to love.
I’m too touchy, too energetic, too ambitious.
I’m too much.
And these beliefs cause us to have inaccurate perceptions: mistaking healthy boundaries for abandonment. Confusing the basic human need for connection with neediness. Labelling emotions that are basic, human and valid as wrong and problematic, in need of fixing, etc.

If you are sitting with a particular challenge or just something festering ever so slightly, unable to navigate it, this card is a reminder that maybe it is worth looking into your past. To separate early experiences of pain that you may be confusing with present ones. To re-learn basic ideas of love and the self, and to know just how worthy you are of having both as an adult. And to experience anew how embodying the two can bring wholeness.

One year ago: Shit on toast kind of day
Two years ago: Like waking up again
Three years ago: Let it blow through you, don’t let it move you
Four years ago: Roads and Kingdoms
Five years ago: Playtime

Monday Tarot Message: On working towards your desires

Apt card for mid-February methinks. When the fresh January enthusiasm to get moving on goals is somewhat diluted in the routine of life. The Knight of Pentacles is a high-energy, high-action card.

It depicts a journey towards a goal that is already underway, reminding us that desires need the fuel of commitment and action in order to come alive.

It’s good to find ways to keep your intentions active, either visually (vision board, sticky notes) or through habits (daily routines, action groups). This came up a number of times in Looking Back And Looking Ahead sessions this past week. Because life inevitably gets ahead, and a distance can build between your desires and intentions, and the direction in which you eventually move.

So whether you are a methodical planner or you like to go with the flow, this is your reminder that when bringing about a change or moving towards a goal, there is no replacement for putting one step in front of another and walking the path. No matter how big or small those steps may be, there is no escaping the walking.

Depending on circumstance and your specific goals, your journey may be smooth or challenging. Or both. Patience that comes from a deep sense of responsibility and commitment is key. When you approach progress in this way, actively, it becomes easier to evaluate on the go. To know when a goal is unrealistic, to tune into your own pace and understand if you need to move slower or faster, to also check in on whether the intention still feels exciting and motivating too. All very important steps in ensuring that you succeed.

If you’ve been waiting for a sign it permission to move towards a desire/goal/plan/intention this here is it. Go forth!

One year ago: On love
Two years ago: New eyes
Three years ago: All the feckless men that queue to be the next
Four years ago: Pointless post
Five years ago: Morning views

Monday Tarot Message: Reconnecting mind, body and spirit

I have come to see self-compassion as a primary building block of feeling at peace with oneself. That sense of wholeness — it comes from establishing a connection with one’s true self. And that in turn, is the primary building block of alignment and harmony in relationships with others.

Ten of Cups reminds us that discovering who we really are, coming home to ourselves involves looking at the sum totality of our lives. The pain as much as the pleasure, to rejoice the highs and grieve lows, make space for losses as much as we have our triumphs. It is a meandering, life-long journey that isn’t linear, uniformly happy and often goes back and forth. But the promise of wholeness and returning to ourselves, is rich.

Disconnection from the self is one of the first coping mechanisms we adopt when dealing with difficult experiences. When our feelings and thoughts become too much, we cut off from them. This means cutting off from the body, from sensory cues, from physical and emotional feedback itself. Along with it, we cut off from the capacity to also feel joy, love, healing and move further away from wholeness and harmony.

Healing begins with learning all the ways in which we habitually disconnect, when we feel broken. And bringing the parts together to cohesion comes from re-connecting the mind, heart and body back together to work as one. In doing this, we grow the capacity to look at the pain in our lives, we build resilience to stay, with kindness and self-compassion. And we develop a deeper sense of who we are.

One year ago: Small changes, big feelings
Two years ago: Stoking the friendship fire
Three years ago: And so it is the shorter story
Five years ago: Time bubble

Monday Tarot Message: On self-compassion

As a culture that places such a huge premium on happiness as a goal, we often forget how important it is to experience pain, distress, things not working out, feeling like we’re falling apart, the discomfort of tedium and monotony, disappointment, rage and grief, amongst many other discomfiting circumstances and emotions, in order to grow and evolve as people.

We talk about self-compassion a lot, but we save it only for the parts of ourselves and our lives that are happy, healthy and easy to access; while looking with judgement at our pain and difficulty. Healing often hurts like hell, before it begins to change your life in ways that feel good. But in holding all that is painful is the opportunity to reflect on what you want to change in order to evolve. This sometimes looks like a “breakdown”, like you are falling apart. But without it, there is little opportunity for growth. By placing a negative value or label to this part of the process, we disconnect from true self-compassion.

Self-compassion isn’t about brushing all that’s difficult or challenging under the carpet and moving quickly on to the happy stuff. It is about finding ways to hold yourself kindly and fully, even through what is difficult. Accepting your sheer humanness — messy, flawed, awkward, frail, difficult — as complementary to all that is wonderful and easy for you to acknowledge.

Learning to hold feelings that scare you is a powerful act in developing love and care for yourself. Dropping labels around what’s difficult takes practice.
It’s a stepping stone to building inner safety that will matter when the going is tough, or you misstep. It’s will help you see yourself wholly, love yourself unconditionally, so you can show up authentically, anyway, no matter the circumstances or perceptions of others.

The Star reminds me of self-compassion, and how it involves giving yourself permission to feel terrible sometimes, to sit with the unhappiness, to fall apart, to face failure, shame or grief — and to learn to do it without judgement. It is necessary, to build a safe internal container that can hold you as you shift your internal landscape, release and rearrange your world within, let go of the old and make way for the new — all very important steps in becoming more authentically you.

One year ago: Awaaz do
Two years ago: Full moon magic
Three years ago: Gravity is working against me
Five years ago: Love

Monday Tarot Message: Come home to yourself

The journey of “coming into one’s own” is one of self-discovery, of seeing aknd knowing oneself authentically, the triumphant experience of receiving how it is to see ourselves, and be seen, for who we truly are. It reminds me of what Toko-pa Turner says in her book, Belonging:

Where you ache to be recognised, allow yourself to be seen.

This homecoming is a process of learning to see ourselves first. What we accept and learn to love in ourselves, we can then allow to be seen by the world. One does not simply arrive here, without doing the work of peeling back the layers that cover our authentic selves, innermost desires and potential. It requires uncovering growth by getting to the depths of all that holds us back, whether past hurt, trauma, wounds that need healing, self-limiting beliefs or simply a belief in lack. It inevitably requires us to move in ways that we are not comfortable with, and we can only find newness by moving towards the edge of that discomfort.

 

Venturing into this unknown involves a simultaneous discovery of desire within, and inner strength to follow through. Undoubtedly, you’ll find fear, grief, insecurity waiting for you there. But this gradual process of meeting all that you have hitherto protected yourself from, kept hidden, helps loosen the grip, acknowledge and see yourself in your wholeness.

Knowing yourself is no different to exercise. When we place incremental strain, stretch and wear and tear on our bodies/muscles, we encourage them to grow. Similarly, your personhood finds opportunity to grow through experiences outside the comfort zone. Through confronting your fears gradually, you also find the capacity to meet them. It’s a practice that is best done slowly, one day at a time, and even better under the careful guidance of an experienced professional who not only knows the ways of how to stretch and grow, but can hold your hand and take you through it.

Let’s be honest, these challenges may be daunting. To tread unexplored waters that have always been scary. It reminds us of all that we could lose, so we choose to stay and remain unchanged. But there is a price in staying, as much as there is in moving. And sometimes that price is the opportunity to come home to yourself.

One year ago: Things that have punched me right in the gut
Two years ago: Old selves
Three years ago: Afterglow
Five years ago: End of day

Monday Tarot Message: On balance

About two years ago, deep in my efforts to “find balance,” I realised there was nothing balanced about my pursuit, since I was chasing a very fixed (also borrowed/aspirational) idea of what “balance” is, and I punished myself for every inconsistency. How could I possibly find balance without a balanced approach to begin with? (LOLZ)

Temperance calls to the fore a soft, intuitive balance. This is a card that I believe is an apt summation of the entire tarot deck itself in which we see the emotional (cups), material (pentacles), spiritual (wands), intellectual (swords) worlds within us always in flow, intermingling and inter-twining. Life feels balanced when we can move with, rather than against, the influences and interplay between them. The deck essentially provides visuals for when the various aspects of our being may feel off kilter — indicating which aspect we need to see/hear/pay attention to/care for — in order to bring ourselves back to balance.

Perhaps balance then, is about understanding that “being balanced” itself looks different for different people, rather than aspiring to a fixed one-size-fits-all notion of it. It is about noticing that when one aspect feels “off-balance” it’s likely that something within is asking for attention and care. Tending to it will involve listening, rather than admonishing it for its needs.

A balanced approach to self-awareness requires understanding the interplay between the various parts that make us whole. There will be times where the emotional will be louder/more demanding than the physical, or the spiritual may appear at loggerheads with the cognitive. Maybe leaning hevaily into the physical is your modus operandi, and there comes a point in life where the emotional or spiritual will rear it’s head asking to be noticed. Working with this interplay will mean looking at each aspect in context to the others, as it may be coming up for you.

This ebb and flow is natural and human. Knowing this is step 1. We can then get good at recognising when one of the aspects are in flux, and what they’re asking for. This is self-awareness, and it enables us to respond appropriately. Flowing in tune with our inner-needs that are ever-changing (and demanding!) as opposed to having external goals that are mostly fixed. We can allow ourselves variance and opportunities to grow by listening keenly, being in tune with each of our aspects and understanding what drives us. And we’re more likely to find balance, in this way.

One year ago: Full moon, moon shine
Two years ago: Deep-dive
Three years ago: I have my books and my poetry to protect me
Four years ago: Happier: perpetual WIP 
Five years ago: This and that

Monday Tarot Message: Sitting in the dark, waiting

As we move through transitions, like turning into a New Year, it’s typical to want to rush through them. We pressure ourselves to leave behind the old, cast it away and assign lofty goals for the days ahead. But what do you do when you’re moving through what has been a difficult season that’s asked for a lot of staying put? Waiting. Hoping. Uncertainty and not knowing?

What meanings do goals have then?

The Three of Wands here speaks to me of waiting. Not a passive, resigned waiting, or waiting in expectation, but active waiting fortified with acceptance and compassion, without the pressure of needing an external shift, big goals, aha moments and learnings. It’s okay if 2020 has been largely a dud. It’s okay if it didn;t inspire any frantic banana bread baking, if you didn’t pick up sourdough baking, didn’t find it in you to do home workouts or you learnt no new skills and didn’t end the year with a new home business. It’s okay if you weren’t productive at all.

Be more interested in what this waiting has been like within yourself. What has shifted internally? How can you hold space for what is still in transit, still emerging slowly?

If you ended 2020 feeling the loss of a whole year, sadness for your unmet goals/dreams, resentment for the “lapses” or return of old coping mechanisms, stuckness from being in limbo, may I suggest you allow yourself some time to look within. To see what has changed internally. To grieve losses, mark the changes, celebrate the joys and integrate all the experiences?

Many times in life, things do not move as fast as we would like. It is the same with therapy/healing. When the aha moments are elusive. At those times, it is more about consistently showing up for yourself, trusting the process, holding space for it. And waiting, with compassion. The rhythm of simply doing this is healing during unpredictable, haphazard times.

There is an Inuit word for it. “Qarrtsiluni: to sit together in the dark, waiting for something to happen.” I could try and learn this during this time of slow change, I thought.

Going into 2021, I hope that you’ll offer yourself some kindness and compassion. For getting through this time the best way you could. Allow yourself not to fret, rage and fight through the transition. Not to have any successes, and few or no goals. Just to wait a while, for something to emerge.

***

Happy new year, folks. Thank you for indulging my Monday messages, week after week. I hope some of you found resonance. Those of you who wrote in to let me know, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Really.

***

Due to a cancellation on 6th January, I have one last spot left on this offering: Looking Back and Looking Ahead. If you’d like in, please reach out to me.

One year ago: Ways of seeing
Two years ago: Boombox updates
Three years ago: Going by the book (and all that I read in 2017)
Five years ago: Love letters

Monday Tarot Message: On impulses, desires and fears

Have you noticed that sometimes, the things you chase after — whether goals or desires or plans — are a response to old, deeply held fears? Of being inadequate, unworthy, of not being successful, feeling stuck, of being ill, not being seen or loved? So we go after various things to feel less inadequate, find success, feel movement, prevent illness, to be seen, searching for love.

When the motivation to go after something comes from offsetting or tending to an underlying fear, without first looking at the root of that fear itself, the satisfaction it provides is often short-lived. Or the chase is often more thrilling than the catch. Before long, we’re on to the next thing to soothe or keep the same underlying feeling at bay.

(Think of it as a bandaid slapped on to a deep wound that probably needs antiseptic medication, daily cleaning and tending to, which will cause it to probably burn and hurt, leave you in pain for a while before it begins to heal. Slapping on a bandaid might provide immediate ease, and at least it averts the visual evidence of the wound itself. So you can go on with life for a while. In the meantime the wound festers and rears its head again. In the form of an infection, or something worse.)

While there is nothing wrong with moving from one thing to another (even rapidly), it’s a good idea to get a sense of the deeper motivation that drives you. This doesn’t mean your goals/dreams are misguided and you need to swap them out for new ones. Instead, it is an invitation to turn your focus to what moves and propels you to get after things.

If there are obvious fears acting as motivators, it maybe worthwhile to tend to them, put them at ease to see what else can motivate you. And then see how your life may change because of it?

***

Noticing the mere existence of a need, is not always reason to immediately fulfil it. There is merit in learning to tell the difference between sparkling impulses that shine bright, but briefly, providing light and warm momentarily; and deeper desires that lie like raging fires beneath, unwilling to be doused, and waiting to be fanned to life.

Ask yourself: What does success look like? How does satisfaction feel in my body? When do I know that I have had enough? How can I listen closer?

Discerning the difference between these is to also understand that sometimes what you want the most, also scares you the most. To acknowledge and own this, is the first step to moving towards these desires anyway. Slowly, but surely.

One year ago: Sunset
Two years ago: Be kind to the growing mind
Three years ago: Shut up and drive
Four years ago: Rewind

Monday Tarot Message: On Conflict

When we are trained to avoid conflict, or that a conflict-free existence is a peaceful one to aspire for, we allow the spark of life to be doused over time. Conflict is an essential part of living, growing and relating to the other. A mechanism that signals what we value and how to move towards things that matter to us.

Conflict that only revolves around everything “wrong” in the other (blame and judgement) it is sometimes a way to escape accepting the bitter truth that not everyone (not even people we care for and love deeply) will always be on the same page as us, grow and move at the same pace as us, or be able to be there for us in the way that we need.

There is a purpose to conflict in our lives. It helps clarify to ourselves what is important and why. Especially valuable when we are in relation to the other. To be willing to disagree, differ and face conflict as a result of it is to be willing to keep alive in ourselves that which is important to us.

In this way, conflict become the ability to exchange differing opinions and voice them. To clain one’s own values and space in relation to the other. This could bring us closer to others who think alike, or those who don’t but are open to growing from hearing new perspectives. Conflict is an essential ingredient in growth and healthy relationship.

Hinging conflict heavily on judgement and blaming creates anxiety and makes us believe conflict is itself anxiety-inducing. This is untrue. When possible, look at conflict as a means to acknowledge the others’ experience, to understand that we are all different and driven by vastly different motivations, and most of all as a means to learn from the shared experience that is a relationship, and to build, evolve and grow.

As I wrote this this morning, I was thinking also of the farmers sitting in Delhi. And the general state of upheaval this country seems to be in. It brings up words like conflict, dissent and democracy. And I feel even more than conflict is good. Sure, there is always a price to pay, most often a burden borne not by people of privilege like me, but it is the nature of change and evolution.

Once again, a reminder that the personal is political, the political is personal.

Two years ago: All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise
Four years ago: Book post, of course

Monday Tarot Message: Pay attention

Much of the energy that guides our lives is born from what we choose to consciously and unconsciously cultivate through focus, attention, intention and action.

Great idea then, to build the capacity to bring intention to several aspects of our life. To actions. To thoughts and behaviour. To the inner workings of our being.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Rather than living a life under a magnifying glass, obsessively examining every little act, with no room for spontaneity and lightness, this is a call to have a reflexive mechanism to check-in with ourselves. As a means to build practices and habits that hone a life of mindfulness and intention/attention.

When we make attentiveness a habit, we can understand ourselves, our motivations and needs better. This brings ease around accepting why experiences impact us the way the do. Why some endure while others are cut short seemingly before their time. Why some trigger specific emotions that either liberate or dominate us. And more importantly, how we may move ahead from each of these instances.

Thinkers, philosophers and spiritual teachers have spoken of the power of “Attention” since time immemorial. Ancient mystical practices, meditative techniques, breath work, yoga all teach us to “pay attention”. More relevant now than ever, as we live in an Attention Economy, is the need to examine what has our attention.

Where focus goes, energy flows.
What you choose, lives and grows.
What you allow, endures.
How you live matters.

Two years ago: Turning all the night time into the day
Four years ago: Mini breakthrough

Monday Tarot Message: The value of pausing in the face of change

All change brings discomfort. Sometimes temporary and passing, sometimes extended and tedious. Both responses — to move through rapidly, and to stay — are valid at different times. Pause. Take time to read situations and tune into your intuitive response, to know which to do when.

What feels most challenging is the state of powerlessness that change brings. When things are not in control, and we try desperately to control them, whether it’s circumstances or people’s feelings, thoughts and actions, we lose the capacity to listen to our intuition and tend to ourselves.

The structure of the tarot deck is a reminder that all of life is change and flux. The Hanged Man is preceded by Justice (all that is right, true, fitting) and followed by Death (endings, transformation, great change). It stands for that important pause between the two states in transformation — the old and the new. Where the discomfort lies, worlds turn upside down, logic upended and intangible forces invite us to refresh our perspectives.

In our urgency to exert control in the hope that hardship quickly rolls over to make way for the new (which we expect will be shiny, happy and easy again) we resist and altogether miss out on that beneficial moment in between. The pause that invites us to explore new ways of thinking, being and living. It questions all that we know to be absolute and true. It is this that we find most challenging about change.

The Hanged Man is a reminder to continually get comfortable with staying, with the space in between changes, with the discomfort that precedes the greatest transformations. To stay with it, to soften and learn to relax, rather than exert control. So we can allow for change to guide us to operate in new ways, for new outcomes, new goals, new destinations.

One year ago: Old-new, new-old
Two years ago: Play me in the winter
Four years ago: I watched Dear Zindagi

Monday Tarot Message: On Progress and Failure

Getting past a setback looks different, and asks for different things of every one of us. I watched a video by my absolute favourite @nathanieldrew_ today that offered a refreshingly simple way of looking at “failure”.

Whether it’s a minor transgression or what you might deem a serious failure, there are two parts to it — 1) the event in and of itself, 2) the psychological additions (feelings) that we pack on as a result of the event. Like, self-doubt, regret, shame, guilt, fear, sadness, and so much more.

It is well worth learning to separate the two. We can do the work to get comfortable with and make space for feelings that come up, and learn to accept our humanness. Knowing, understanding and getting in touch with our vulnerabilities, experiencing our limitations is an important part of understanding what progress means to us.

Focusing only on the feelings around failure on the other hand , may not be useful. Setbacks and mistakes are a part of any journey and they are sometimes the most pivotal opportunities for growth/change, simply because they bring us face to face with the vulnerabilities we otherwise keep at arm’s length. Most of these moments are not going to feel good. If we stayed with how they made us feel, and let them guide the way, we’d never get to making progress.

In order to truly absorb the learnings from the event, we have to accept the feelings as the come, and this takes time, effort and work. But it’s also crucial to understand what is then required of us to move to the next step, so the feelings don’t keep us stuck or unable to move. In order to change, to break an old pattern, to switch streams, to do something differently.

When great waves of feelings come over you at such a time, it’s useful to momentarily drop the view of the larger goal or end point. And just look at just the next step. Progress then, becomes about an immediate, smaller step, rather than an intimidating success right off the back of a misstep.

What does the next point in your journey look like?

One year ago: Keep going
Two years ago: Oh God, I feel like I’m in for it now
Four years ago: ‘ssupdates

Monday Tarot Message: Dealing with change and the new(normal)

“Normal, just for a bit.” How many times have you said or heard this in the past few months? It got me thinking about our fixation with normal. It stems from the human need for certainty and predictability as markers of safety. Even in the face of abject uncertainty, here we are still wanting normal.

Today’s card is an invitation to look at the new, for what it is: new. Something never been before. A chance for a departure from the norm. Even as the times continue to be dismal and hopeless, every day there are changes that present new opportunities big and small. Our fixation with a static idea of “normal” blocks that out.

Changing this requires turning within. To unmuddy our minds, understand the reasons why we cling to the old, what fears keep us from embracing the new, what stories we tell ourselves in order to stay, unmoving. In the process we may affirm our intuition and inner wisdom that has been there all along. While the world may churn every now and then, that voice can provide solidity (certainty) and calm (solace) that we look for outside of ourselves.

Self reflection and sharpening your intuition will make you aware of rigidity that could do with softening up, or fluidity that could do with some focus and channelling. It strengthens our ability to change our thinking. It offers new ways of thinking, new ways of getting comfortable with what life is offering in the now. New possibilities. New normals.

I’ve turned to Tarot more this year than ever before, looking for solace, perspective and calm. If there’s one resounding lesson I have received over and over and over, it is this: every single day of life is made up of change and flux, and what I need more than anything else is to continually get comfortable with that. I see this not only in the messages I receive, but also in studying and understanding the very structure of this deck of cards. Nothing stays, everything changes, from one card to the next. There are no guarantees, no fixed answers.

What ideas of normal are you holding out for? Is it holding you back? Reflect on what is passing you by while you wait. What do you need so you can ease up and embrace what is, instead of waiting for what you’d like it to be.

One year ago: <3
Two years ago: Do you need me before I fade away?
Three years ago: Acceptance is a small quiet room
Four years ago: One day in Bangkok (or day one in Bangkok)

Monday Tarot Message: Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing

Between watching the painfully drawn out US election with my breath held, feeling confused about how gleeful Arknob’s arrest was making me feel and generally being caught up in a whirlwind of hopelessness and hope and feeling extreme FOMO about possibly never having a fighting chance with kicking out our very own Fascist, it’s been a long and hard week of questioning ideas of good and bad, right and wrong (left?), yet again.

The unconscious holds information about how and why our rigid ideas of “good” and “bad”, “palatable” and “ugly”, “right and “wrong” came to be. When we observe our own patterns, triggers, traumas and all the cover motivations for overt actions that silently guide our behaviour, we can accept the innate humanness in ourselves. We can also then let loose the rigidity around these ideas, and see others around us, as just as human.

This is the truth about our humanness. And an important piece to understand and integrate. Because good people are capable of devastating actions. Safe people can act in unsafe ways. Trustworthy people may let you down. Proficient people also make mistakes. Well-intended love can sometimes take hurtful forms. Fair people have biases too. This is what it means to be human.

There is safety in categorising experiences and emotions into watertight opposites. Traumatic experiences make it difficult to venture into grey areas in-between. It makes it hard to accept that everyone has a rich life experience that colours the canvas of their personalities in different shades. Just like our own.

This leaves no room for humanness, causing disappointment, stress and further trauma in the long run. Looking within sets off a beautiful cycle — what we notice and acknowledge in ourselves, we notice and acknowledge in others. The more we accept our own humanness, with all the grey areas, the more we are able to see the world and how human beings tick with gentler eyes. Whether it is understanding family dynamics, relationships or global politics. I see this as a soft space where opposing emotions, opposing human beings may meet. In ideas, if not reality.

This is not to advocate a blindly neutral (or apolitical) stance, or to tolerate injustice. It is just to remember often that life exists in the spectrum between the polarities. That everyone has a story and an inner world influencing them. That while we are all drawn to fit our experiences into extremes and labels, a fuller, richer understanding of life and people is one that allows for expansion into the spectrum. Into the wild in-between. A personal reckoning with this may help us meet the world with more understanding, softness, openness and curiosity.

One year ago: Into the wide open
Two years ago: And yesterday becomes tomorrow
Four years ago: Sunsets