The other day I was looking back at the last year feeling a bit shocked at how far I’ve come with the tarot and family constellations practice, because honestly, this was not the plan. I didn’t really have a fixed plan, to be honest, but I know how far off from this point I felt at the start of last year (pre-covid). I was excited, but also nervous about beginning anew. Putting myself out there. Taking on the responsibilty of other peoples wellbeing. And so I had decided to take baby steps, in the company of my peers, holding hands and gathering support from classmates from my course. We’d decided to work together because none of us was ready to go solo. I was also not ready to go online.
The only loose “plan” was to go slow and take as long as I needed to, to take off and fly on my own. Somehow, the pandemic pushed me into the deep end of both those outcomes that I hadn’t prepared myself for. There are times when jumping intp the deep end happens organically, and you don’t feel the resistance as much. Things just snowballed for me from there on.
Looking back the other day, I counted and realised I have held space in 300 sessions. It’s been a week of feeling quite grim about the reality our country is going through at this present moment. And this felt like a silver lining for me. An unexpected outcome from an otherwise very shitty year. And the irony of it: a year of building many personal milestones and gains, while the world is breaking in so many ways, was not lost on me.
I’d be lying if I said I chose to move into this line of work only for the greater good and to be of service to people around me. It is merely one reason of many others. If I’m being completely honest, one of the big reasons I continue to do this work is that it brings so many gifts my way. Big and small, simple and complex, silent and booming. And there have been many (metaphorical) gifts. I was buoyed by the circumstances that played out last year. I profited from the incredible mental health challenges that cropped up in full. I cannot shy away from this.
There is quite nothing like receiving an unexpected message like this (pictured above) that slips into my WhatsApp messages, many weeks after a session. A client’s reflections in-process, looped back to me, that somehow offered me permission on a week full of feelings.
Lately I’ve seen my work morph slowly. I’ve felt quite loudly encouraged to tap into my other skills and bring them into sessions. By going where I’m being guided to, I’ve found seamless natural extensions. Working with words, written expression, images, stories and tales we hold, bringing memories to life suddenly feels like the most obvious thing. My life and identity as a writer that I had put in deep-freeze has found a new avatar, and reason to come out of hiding again.
The past couple of years have been a long-drawn death cycle for me. Even as new beginnings consistently sprouted in many aspects of my life, the overarching theme has been a slow, slow, painful death and a facing of the resultant darkness and emptiness that comes after. Death cycles do that — they strip way any manner of illusions of safety, pushing us towards the truths. Some that we know and shy away from embodying, and many that we are completely blind to.
It is like burning down a field after a cropcycle. In turning everything to dust and ashes, so it may bear fruit again. There is potential in that destruction. Hope in that death. Space, in that nothingness.
Stepping into this expansiveness sounds liberating, but is very frightening and often painful. It’s comes with quintessential bittersweetness — grieving the ends, death, finishing and letting go of so much, and stepping into new beginnings, new ground, new ways of being that are completely unfamiliar and will take a lot of getting used to.
BUT, OMG THE FREEDOM HERE. Now.
It is delicious. It is vast. It is open.
And so when I received this message and picture from a client last week, it took me back to our session earlier in February this year. I noticed how much has changed even in the short time since then. Around me, yes. But within me too.
I’m enjoying letting the edges of the process of my work that I’ve held on to so tightly as a guiding light so far, blur ever so slightly. It’s nice to trust my instincts that are gently goading me to allow my other capabilities to bleed, one in to another. It’s wonderful to be able to add to my work with tarot and family constellations, bravely. To go in without any fixed plans, and see new directions emerge as they are meant to. To trust. And to enjoy the emerging process.
One of the fundamental lessons from death has been to really understand that while I make conscious choices in my outer life, there is a lot that happens on the inside that is always guiding me, luring me, showing me what’s good, what’s right for me. This is entirely out of my consciousness. The work has been only in tuning in, learning to listen, and humbly respond with surrender, smallness and grace.
To go where I am led. It is what I have been doing this year. Who knows what leaving the shores and swimming free holds for me. I’m being mindful not to make a destination out of this, or to feel like I have arrived, and my work here is done. I’m just eternally grateful for the many resources that have come together to bring me here, and now that I am here I’m ever so grateful for people like these — friends, clients, both — who are brave to swim along with me.
One year ago: Slow, scary change
Three years ago: Doesn’t mean I’ll stop
Five years ago: Dawn to dusk