Monday Tarot Message: Reimagining love

The Ace of Cups typically speaks of romantic love. But lately, I’ve been drawn to examine love outside this stereotypical association alone.

Love, like all emotions, is like water. It will find a way to flow. It can either refresh and give life, if tended to nurturance; or it can flood and destroy, if suppressed and withheld.

This is an invitation to revisit love in a time when building walls around our hearts and saving up our love only for people exactly in the same camp as us, is the norm.

Growing a positive and nurturing attitude towards love begins within each one of us. With noticing what makes us clam shut and close our hearts up. Why we give up connection and empathy so easily, even when we’re neurologically hardwired to connect and belong. And to examine the deeply held prejudices that block love from flowing. Conversely, what makes us open up and express love to those with whom we have a sense of sameness and commonality.

Can we learn to let love flow freely again, as the necessary component of structural compassion and empathy our communities so desperately need right now? How else can we reorganise our world to move past the growing divisions that split and keeps us apart?

What role does love then play, in a world constantly being served up hate, differences and distinct polarities? How can we reorganise the notions, practice and expressions of love so it allows for:

  • examination of our deeply held prejudices that block love from flowing freely
  • compassion for the varied experiences of the other, completely different from the ones we know.
  • justice for those wronged by an inequitable system.
  • empathy for circumstances our privilege will never allow us to touch
    closer-knit, self-contained communities.
  • courage for a less fear-driven way of connecting with each other.
  • a broader sense of wanting a better, equitable and ecological world beyond our little cubbyholes.
  • the ability to making space for all expressions and kinds of love across the spectrum.

Just questions today. No ready-made, neatly summed up answers. Because some answers don’t come easy and sometimes we’d do well to sit with the discomfort of *not* knowing, with confronting the messy work of pulling existing structures apart, not having quick answers, immediate opinions and perfect fixes. Then, maybe we can begin to rebuild.

One year ago: Stillness
Two years ago: I choose to be happy
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: revisiting old haunts
Four years ago: Holiday vibes

Monday Tarot Messages: Befriend difficult emotions

Periods of turmoil usually bring great inner unsettlement and a loss of peace of mind. This is natural when old foundations (of anything) are being shaken to make way for the new. An essential part of authentic growth that challenges established orders — within and without. A process that is inherently not without turmoil, despair, grief and fear.

By themselves, these are not problematic. What makes us believe they are is the agitation that actually comes from resistance to feeling these emotions. The more we fight them, the more we allow them to hijack us. And they do. In that sense, we cannot avoid feeling difficult emotions if we intend to grow from our experiences of strife. What we can do instead, is learn to be agile with our emotions, befriend them, so we feel without carrying the heaviness.

Distress in times of strife comes from our inability to meet grief, which is such an integral part of renewal or growth. We fear grief as a heavy, cumbersome emotions that is best avoided. And we march on, investing a great deal of effort into being stoic and putting up a brave front. But if we do not grieve what we are letting go (good, bad and all of it) we cannot welcome what is waiting in the wings.

Learning to feel, rather than think about emotions, not judging them as conditions that need fixing, is one way to welcome them. Then, we may embrace them for the crucial role they play in making us vulnerably human. As the thinking, feeling, heart-throbbing spirits that we are.

Think about the term “falling prey” to emotions. It implies an attack that must be avoided in our attempt to be free. While actually, the avoidance lands us in conflict, distress and disease. When we meet emotions and everything that they make us feel, without resistance, there is an opportunity to grow. There is an opportunity to move through, rather than bypass the full gamut of the experience.

This might just be the single thing that differentiates feeling feelings rather than suffering them. Or as N wisely said to me last week: “being kidnapped by feelings.”

What thoughts have been keeping you up at night lately? They might carry clues about the emotions you are fighting, that are asking to be let in? What can you do to welcome them in the days to come?

PS: quite uncannily connected to my process and thoughts around befriending tenderness, so I can feel feelings.

One year ago: Away   
Two years ago: Nobody really likes us, except us 
Three years ago: Just breathe   
Four years ago: Hit by a crippling case of travel excitement

Monday Tarot Messages: Rest, in a culture of busyness

I am a product of the “grind culture” that demands, glorifies and rewards a work ethic that equates unrelenting productivity with passion and hard work. It has taken me years to realise my instinctual attitude to work is actually quite different. When I allow myself to listen, I can be productive even when I work less, slower and in short, focused bursts. When I allow myself to listen, I realised my idea of ambition is quiet and self-sufficient, more internally-focused. And that it includes the value of having ample time to rest in ways that I please.

As a result, it has been hard to find a place and fit-in to the working world. This was so difficult to digest for so many years, early on, as I bounced from one workplace to another, trying to find a fit where I could rest easy, knowing that I’d be valued for the work I did during work hours, and where I didn’t have to feel guilty for wanting and having a life outside of work. My self-worth took a severe beating, because i constantly equated it with how productive and driven I was in the workplace. And very often, I didn’t really feel as “driven” as my peers.

Only recently, I realised that everything that I believe about work, success, hard work, passion and ambition (and conversely, rest) is a construct of a capitalist, patriarchal framework. That favours work over rest, teaching us that rest is to be earned thru hard work, and that unplugging will put us behind in the race.

So we devalue rest. And we oversell the hustle. But this is unsustainable. As most current studies on this will show. Everywhere you look, a culture of relentless work has made us physically and emotionally unhealthy. With the accent always being on doing, we have forgotten to pay attention to our being.

Examine your relationship with rest today.
What is your natural pace?
How much permission do you allow for it?
How comfortable is it to rest?
Do you feel guilt, shame or like you have indulged, when you rest?
Or do you feel renewed and alive?
Is zero work-life balance masquerading as loving your work?

Most of us, women especially, carry shame around resting, feeling useless and eroding our self-worth every time we choose rest over productivity.
Today’s card is a call to reset your natural relationship with rest. To begin to release the shame around resting.

The needs of the body are a good place to start. Pay attention to your body, notice if it is asking for more sleep, or gentle tenderness, or a calming practice of some kind. Maybe tend to your sleep cycle, get some hygiene in place. Or perhaps tune back into natural rhythms — the moon, seasons, weekends — as markers of tuning down, turning in.

Remember, you don’t have to wait for permission to rest. You will not fall behind. You will not miss out. You will not end up with less. You can rest.

One year ago: Within me
Two years ago: Come on, keep me where the light is
Four years ago: The good in us

Monday Tarot Messages: Share the load

Sometimes, the burdens we carry, we carry not because nobody else will; but because we aren’t able to allow ourselves to put them down so others may have the chance to pitch-in, help, do their share of the work.

Observe and introspect on the balance of giving — physically and emotionally — in the significant relationships in your life today. What burdens do you tend to carry, what roles and responsibilities do you automatically take, what kind of dynamics do you most find yourself drawn into, across relationships?

This feels like a message especially for me, on the heels of a particularly challenging week in terms of love and friendship in my life. A week in which I became aware of my tendency to take on certain burdens that I have assumed come from my love and caring for someone, but are sometimes just my inability to say no to bullshit, or my proneness to believe I am inherently too much for my friends to handle and so to take the entire responsibility of backing away. Which is effectively me choosing inauthenticity in order to maintain a status quo. Doing this takes a lot of exhausting labour out of me, and most often doesn’t fetch me the results I am looking for. Leaving me bitter, unhappy and lonely.

Emotional dynamics in relationships should ideally be shared more or less equally, in order for the relationship to flow in a harmonious way. But sometimes the balance goes askew to facilitate something else. For example, the control or holding of power can lie with the person who does the bulk of the labour. We sometimes choose to take the entire responsibility as a means to control or steer a relationship in a certain direction.

Or it can be easy to delude ourselves about the true health of a relationship, as long as we keep engaging in “doing the work”. This labour unfortunately is then not going into healing or growing the relationship, but in keeping it from falling apart. A subtle, but important difference.

To lay down unnecessary burdens requires a high degree of honesty. When we engage with that, we are invited to get deeper in touch with our authentic selves. And we are encouraged to show up as we are. It helps us see what we can and absolutely cannot do, what burdens we can and cannot take, what roles we can and cannot perform, in a relationship. And what emerges from there is connection in a true form, free of roleplaying and people pleasing.

This process has been particularly challenging, and a painful one for me this past week as it has meant confronting some of my own judgements around the sharing of emotional labour and how I view people’s reasons for staying or remaining in relationships that have long passed their expiry date.

Taking responsibility for only as much as we can and realistically want to and should do, is an act of deep humility and respect. For the self, primarily, but also for the other. Learning this is to allow freedom, for love and connection to flow freely, and for a respectful, mutually balanced dynamic to emerge between people.

One year ago: All heart and all soul   
Two years ago: When the rainy days are dying   
Four years ago: Workspace

Monday Tarot Messages: Adversity is healing

I do my best to have these Monday messages up in the morning, completely unsure if it makes a difference to anyone but me. But I don’t always succeed because many Mondays are manic. This week I’m back in class, starting today (online *eyeroll*), so the delay.

***

It’s common notion to think of transitions and transformation, especially on the heels of adversity, to be like jumping hurdles. Some struggle, a big jump, and there you are. Transformed. So often, we emerge from challenging periods in our life with new mottos like “positive vibes only” or “happiness at all costs”. And while that has it’s place, sometimes it pushes us to unconsciously avoid the challenges and hurdles that may come up for us ahead.

Growth, self-development, transformation is a journey without an end point. If jumping hurdles is the analogy to take, then it’s a process of continuously jumping hurdles while taking the time between them to process and integrate. There is no arriving, rather continuously journeying. Hitting rock bottom, scaling hurdles time and time again. And to that extent, the journey requires some adversity, a healthy degree of frequent challenges. Situations that stretch us. Situations so intense that they quite literally kill an old self, so a new self may emerge. Transformed.

The Eight of Cups speaks of journeying into the dark unknown. Dire straits, points of no return, the worst experiences. Rock bottom. It’s where realise how little we know, and how much there is for us to grow. In feeling unprepared and unsettled is often the healing.

We don’t look at healing as a means to avoid pain and confusion, rather opportunities to gradually build our agility to be able to meet and engage with adversity in a healthy way. So much opportunity for healing lies in the darkness. Go there. So you may emerge, healed and transformed.

***

If we make healing all about engaging only with what feels good and comfortable, we risk losing out on the potential to grow from facing adversity. But when we make intentional and conscious living an ongoing focus, we open ourselves up to adversity, and we build the emotional agility to challenge, heal and transform through the testing, gruelling periods of unsettling territory before finding settlement in new ways.

Because life isn’t uniform or linear, we should expect and prepare to hit rock bottom. For it is where we let go of old tricks and bravely discover new answers. There are essential lessons in allowance, to be found in adversity.

Letting go of safe shores and getting to be okay with the wholly unfamiliar, unsettling and often devastating places the journey may take us to, is often the path to emerging into enriched versions of ourselves.

One year ago: Boundaries
Two years ago: May
Three years ago: Changing seasons
Four years ago: Period story and writing lessons

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

Monday Tarot Message: On desire (and listening in)

There is something so compellingly hopeful about Aces, signifying new beginnings, ripeness of potential, fresh inspiration, new journeys. All Aces, but especially the Wands, speak to me of the fire in my belly. It reminds me to tune in to my desires, of all kinds.

Two things can happen with that energy. When we’re accustomed to listening to our own voice, we may run with it, fuel the fire and stoke it till it consumes us and changes something elemental about us. If we are governed more by external voices, we run the risk of dousing it completely. Usually for fear of failing, or not feeling gratified, or displeasing someone, amongst other things.

Desire is often looked at as “bad”, for making us “self-serving”. But it is worth becoming curious and interested in them because our desires are our inner voices showing up. When we listen often enough, we begin to get good at telling which desires to put energy into, and which ones to let slide.

Rules, expectations and externally perceived ways of being usually feed our conditioning and socialisation, teaching us to quell our desires. Those “bad” things that make us stray from what’s best for the greater good. And so we avoid focusing on ourselves, we stay within the lines, play safe. And in that way, we minimise our desires and our bypass intuition.

Our real work though, is to get intimate with desire, with the heart of our inclinations, the inner throbbing nucleus unmet aspiration. So we can discern what makes our spirits shine, heats sing and fills us with life. And then we can run with it. When we engage with our desires in this way, we build the capacity to chase what is good for us. What brings harmony and alignment, and feeds our soul.

How does it feel to just listen to your desires? Even before you act on them, can you just listen? Without speculating. Without labeling or judging them. What do you need, so you do that without worrying about whether it is useful, productive, efficient, realistic, prestigious or lucrative enough?

Desire can be one of the greatest teachers, in meeting your true self. Can you listen?

Two years ago: Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Four years ago: Fairy lights

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

Monday Tarot Message: Healing can sometimes feel counterintuitive

“How can it be good for me when it feels so awful?” — is something I’ve asked myself quite often on my therapeutic journey. Healing can often get turbulent and feel lousy and destabilising. Because you’re going to go all up into all the uncomfortable things you’ve steadfastly avoided. Challenge strong beliefs, question patterns, revisit trauma and face previously unfelt emotions.

Emotions that are ignored don’t go away. They simply get lodged in the subconscious from where they continue to impact outward behaviour. An effective therapeutic practice involves building a safe and steady container within — a holding space for this journey that will bring up a lot of difficult parts of ourselves.

In allowing for feeling all that we have previously denied, we can begin to disengage from the impact that denial has had — whether an unhealthy pattern, or letting go of anxiety or grief, or opening up to positivity and abundance.

We are very used to looking for linear markers and milestones of success and achievement in everything we do. We chase consistent and upward movement. We seek to feel good as validation of our progress, and so we are not used to feeling unsettled and the process can feel counterintuitive. But healing and growth is an inherently non-linear journey that traverses parts that unsettle, challenge and require you to allow for feeling wretched sometimes.

The Nine of Cups reminds us how crucial it is to take this route, over pursuing bliss alone. To build this container, so we can hold ourselves through the turbulent times. Because that is progress too.

In fact, I can vouch through personal experience that, the greatest changes and more monumental differences in my journey have been on the back off the toughest most emotionally challenging phases.

Within the safety of a holding space, we can bring back into the light all that was previously repressed and pushed into the Shadow. It is necessary to know pain so we can know joy, to process grief so we can find relief, to confront so we can let go. So we can do it all actively, with deliberation. In a healthy way.

So yeah, it’ll feel wretched sometimes. It’ll feel unsavoury and confusing. It’ll downright suck too. It’ll feel entirely counterproductive. But that is the only way it goes.

One year ago: Content
Two years ago: I’ve been saving this time
Four years ago: Inside-out

Monday Tarot Message: Working with fear

The undeniable thing about any fear is that it is present on the flip side of the very thing you value the most.

The very things that we desperately want, somehow keep us crippled and stuck, unable to move towards any kind of fruitful outcome.

Like wanting to be a successful entrepreneur, yet crippled by the thought of going solo. Wanting equality in connection, but escaping to the lopsided dynamics of toxic relationships. Like dreaming of showing your art, but feeling the burden of not being good enough. Want to hold your vulnerabilities lightly, but fearing them being seen.

Eight Of Swords reminds us of the more useful way to deal with fear — to engage with it.

When we refuse to see fear, it turns into a surly enemy that blocks the path. But when we articulate it, allow ourselves to feel it, witness what it does to us, share it with another, it loses the hold on us.

Culturally too, we are taught never to show fear. Or let fear show.

We demonise it, and are shown time and time again to avoid it at all costs. So we never learn to engage with it. But fear makes us feel boxed in when we repeatedly avoid that which we fear, or fear itself. It keeps us stuck when this avoidance is so habitual that we unconsciously slip into loops of escape. And we wonder why life isn’t moving on and why certain patterns keep repeating — such as difficulty with success, recurring relationship problems, health troubles.

Perhaps a more useful response to fear is to acknowledge that it’s okay for fear to be there, first. Not to rush to eliminate or get rid of it. To allow it, invite it in. Give it a seat at the table, even.

The next time you feel deep fear, ask yourself, how is it impacting the choice you are about to make? And is that choice going to take you closer to what you value? Or will it keep you stuck?

When you engage with your fear, you give true change a chance, by acknowledging how it is closely linked to what you value. To acknowledge the fear-fuelled urge to give up, turn back, flee, and to invite it in anyway, is actually the precursor to taking mindful, deliberate action. To move towards change, not without fear, but in spite of it.

I feel like this week, the message is so deeply for me.

***

I continue to take enquiries for personal reading sessions. This is most easily done online, either on a video call if you prefer and are comfortable, or a regular voice call too. So if you have been considering — whether you’re in Bangalore or not — please reach out.

If you’d like to know more about how this works and how it might be useful to you, we can have a chat about that too.

Two years ago: And love is all that I can give to you
Three years ago: Because wanting to leave is enough
Four years ago: This day, that year

Monday Tarot Message: Practice intention and mindfulness

One of the purposes of healing the past is to move forward into a future independent of all that holds you back. Individuating from old patterns, toxic cycles, unsupportive relationships, limiting beliefs, and coming into your own power. Arriving at this place involves practice — practicing at life — starting with the most basic building blocks of intention and mindfulness.

Building intentionality is the first baby, but big, step at self-awareness. When you begin to practice this, in the smallest ways it slowly translates to practicing discernment.
Deliberate action.
Commitment to ones personal values.
Honouring the truth.
Boundaries and respect.
Compassion and empathy.

All of this builds the capacity to choose that which serves, and parse out all that doesn’t. That which heals, and that which poisons. That which holds you up, and that which drags you down. That which nourishes and nurtures, and that which drains. Which is basically what a healing journey is all about. Finding yourself, amidst the mess, choosing yourself and walking on.

The practice of intention and mindfulness begins to show up in your life slowly, subtly. You’ll see it in shifts in effective communication, harmonious relationships, respectful equations with people around you, the ability to witness your emotions, a life that is in flow, no matter what the circumstances.

To heal is to essentially move towards that which is in alignment with the self, leaving behind all misdirects. It’s a constant WIP, and you won’t always get it right. But every choice will teach you something, and the Queen of Swords is a reminder that you can move towards a place of mastery where this choice making, discernment, intentionality becomes second nature.

It all begins with cultivating a razor sharp focus on on intention and mindfulness.

Two years ago: I was born this way
Four years ago: Happy music fix

Monday Tarot Message: Make way for hope

An apt card to follow up the tiny ray of sunshine that I’ve felt creeping up since the weekend.

The Ace of Cups is one of my top three cards in the Rider Waite deck, that signals optimism and good things to come. If you need that little bit of optimism in these grim times, maybe take this as your sign, literally. It’s okay to give in to the feel-good, sometimes.

Psychologically speaking, though, this card speaks of a return to the beginning of life. To the openness, innocence and trusting place of a child’s heart. A place that gradually turns hard and closed up, untrusting and disbelieving as we go through life, and gather experiences (many traumatic ones) and age over time.

Life’s experiences and “wisdom” train us to constantly prepare for the worst. To dodge disappointment, avoid failure, watch our backs, not get ahead of ourselves, don’t speak too soon, etc., while optimism is all but worn down and forgotten.

Expect little so you won’t be disappointed is a popular mantra. But this makes us hard and closed-up. Safe from life’s little hurts, yes, but also from life’s big splendour.

This is the work of our minds that keep us safe at all times. By being realistic, vigilant and smart, we lose touch with the capacity of pure belief and optimism, untainted by experience. We forget what it is to practice surrender, trust and acceptance. All things that require softening. All things that are essential for wholesome lives.

I can tell you what it’s been like for me. I have been feeling utterly hopeless and cynical lately. It has just been building and building since December. I am currently sitting with understanding the difference between positivity that acknowledges the truth and positivity that bypasses what needs to be absolutely seen and worked through. I’ve been experimenting with letting myself feel shitty a lot, instead of trying to do something to feel better all the time. I don’t know when “feel better” became the ideal, but I’m trying to go back to just feeling all feelings.

So this feels like permission to also let the good feeling that has naturally made its way to me, sweep in some.

The card today, asks that we make way for a softening. In your heart, in your body, in your mind. Whatever it is you are rigidly holding yourself to — whether situations or emotions — try letting that guard down. Allow a gentle thawing, a clearing for a beam of light, an opening for a breath of fresh air to sweep in. Practice softness, trusting, optimism. Keep those muscles working well. Because they’re the ones that help in building connection, relationships, dependence, trust, surrender and acceptance.

One year ago: Thank you, Bangalore
Two years ago: I got mad, mad love
Three years ago: Serendipity
Four years ago: Space

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

Monday Tarot Message: Tend to your masculine side

Apologies! I do my best to try and get this up in the morning, so it serves as guidance for the day, and sometimes the week ahead too. But it isn’t always possible. Today we ventured out early with our masks on, to try and scope some supplies. It’s not that things aren’t available but supplies are definitely lean where I live. It took a lot of waiting in queues in multiple stores, and then purchasing stuff from a couple of local kirana stores and a push cart, before I got home. And then the day got ahead of me. Ah well!

Here’s the message, though. And even though it is a message for the day, I feel like it is relevant for this time in general.

***

The consciousness comprises a feminine and a masculine pole — whether you are man or woman — bringing together the opposites to coexist in harmony. The Emperor represents the masculine, the does, the analyser, the go-getter, the controller, the ringleader, the taskmaster. And we all have a side of ourselves that is like this. It is highly active in some, moderately so in some others and probably nascent in many. This is also probably the side that is feeling challenged by the current dip in productivity and capacity to do, given this lockdown situation.

While your feminine side (again, in differing proportion for different people) maybe enjoying this time for rest, renewal, slowness and tenderness, The Emperor asks us to also make contact with the masculine. If you otherwise seek control and clarity in knowing at all times, how are you feeling with this uncertainty? Are you taking care of that side that is probably feeling neglected, unsettled, frustrated?

Use this time to connect with your masculine side. If it has been a challenge to slow down and stay indoors, soothe it, let yourself know that it is okay to soften up and learn to trust the universal balance of things. It’s okay to learn the necessity of rest and renewal as much as you have, the need for perseverance and doing. Sometimes even by force.

The Patriarchy, with its unnatural and unnecessary leaning towards all things male, creates this imbalance in the masculine. Whether male or female, the strong emergence and reliance on the masculine means we are all that much more mistrustful, value control and don’t believe in rest. In our effort to combat/balance that in our external worlds, we may sometimes devalue the need for rest, or even neglect the masculine aspect within ourselves. This card is a reminder that both aspects have a place and when in balance, are immensely useful to us — man or woman.

It’s hard not to look at life like it constantly needs solving — projects, productivity, compulsively helping people, moving from one thing to do to the next with efficiency — in this masculine-leaning world that values doing over just being. It’s hard to make room for slow tenderness, even if that is your inherent pace. This is also a byproduct of the patriarchy — this perverse pursuit of doing and domination.

Take this time to soothe your masculine side that may be struggling to relinquish control. Help heal it so you can move closer to the feminine within you, to integrate, rather than exist as opposing poles. Because both parts exist, both parts are valid, both are useful and have a place in your consciousness.

***

Even though I have been taking it easy, slow and really relishing this time where the world seems to suddenly be moving at my pace, this message, rather a reminder, to rest keeps coming up for me. I am taking this as permission, that it’s okay to slow down even more. I know that my personality needs it. So if that is the case for you, maybe just take this as permission to do and be just the way you are during this seriously surreal time.

One year ago: Looking within
Two years ago: Please press pause and try again
Four years ago: Seeing the sun rise

Monday Tarot Message: On shame, hiding and relationships

Who are you when nobody is looking? What parts of yourself do you shy away from revealing even to your closest people? What are the casual white lies you tell to keep what’s hidden intact? Observe that today.

The need to lie about who we are comes from underlying shame, and shame, lying and hiding almost always comes from not being fully at peace with those aspects of and in ourselves. As long as they remain hidden, our work towards meeting our authentic selves remains incomplete. Because what we keep from the world, we also keep away from ourselves. Bridging that gap requires compassion so we may meet all that’s unpalatable, undesirable and sometimes downright loathsome, within us.

The thing is, each and every one of us comes with some inherent shame or self-loathing. Healing this requires compassion. Not to justify or allow continual inauthenticity, but to trust that what’s “shameful” needs acceptance, even integration, in order to ge healed. So we don’t have to be fragmented anymore.

The Seven of Swords asks to also look at your closest relationships. Who you are encouraged to be stealthy, cautious or surreptitious around? Who triggers your shame, making you most want to present a more “palatable” version of yourself?

We all have someone like this even in our closest circles. Sometimes it is our partners, our closest friends, or even our parents — with whom we may very well have great relationships. What version of yourself do you present to your closest people?

This happens because the ego is steadfastly committed to saying “yes” to relationships that help keep what you find shameful hidden. But this also means saying “yes” to avoiding the work of healing shame and meeting yourself wholly. And worse, it means saying “no” to your authentic self.

Most often, those of us with a history of deep shame are attracted to lovers and friends who appear to accept us completely, but around whom we unconscioulsy have to shrink, downplay, downsize ourselves. Think about that person/s in your life today. Look out for the ways in which you are stealthy around them. Choose well.

One year ago: Love filled
Two years ago: Everything is going to the beat
Four years ago: Flight