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

Monday Tarot Message: Find your tribe

That familiar grief of lost friendship that keeps rearing its head time and time again, is never without reason. I am going through yet another cycle of re-looking at myself, observing what has changed in this brief period, and along with it re-looking at what that has changed in my relationships. It also means observing the subtlest shifts in how I am with people, and how people are being with and around me. It’s making me once again re-look at who I want to belong to and how. This happens every time I reach a point of levelling up. I realise it is actually an upward spiral that brings me to the same emotions again and again (that’s why the recurring grief), albeit a little deeper. Lightness follows grief, brightness follows darkness, connection and solitude dance together, belonging and loneliness walk side by side.

So I have been going through a strange sort of pulling back that feels quite unlike me, and yet I am allowing myself to go with it. It’s almost like I am testing what happens when I pull back and really let go. What changes in people around me, who stays, who reaches out, who understands. It has been utterly fascinating. It has been a period of loneliness, and frankly, some anger too. This time around, though, there is renewed clarity about what I want for myself in terms of people and relationships, and what kind of presence (or the lack of it) just won’t do anymore.

So this seemed like a super interesting card to have popped up right after feeling this way for a while now. A reminder that just as relationships endure when individuals are committed to developing a healthy sense of who they are, individuals can truly grow when they’re surrounded by others who support that.

But this can be difficult for many of us. Especially, if we didn’t grow up with adults who valued or encouraged a sense of self in us. In many cultures this is avoided as encouraging over-confidence, self-obsession or selfishness. Without these early lessons, we may go through adulthood lost and trying to discover ourselves, wondering what we are outside of all the roles we play.

Inculcating wholeness, or a sense of self involves exploring making and respecting boundaries, getting in tune with personal desires, discovering the ability to hold space for ourselves, being in touch with our needs so we can go after them in an authentic manner.

While some part of this work is solitary, much of it requires the company of a chosen tribe.Relationships act as mirrors for our projections, where suppressed needs find expression in mysterious ways. Observing how you are around people, and how they are around you can be a very loaded way to get cues and insights into what you need to work on yourself.

So it is useful to identify a tribe. Who gets to be in your circle and walk with you as you tend to your inner self? Are they committed to their own growth? What happens to you when you are with them? Choose who you show your vulnerabilities to, with care. But perhaps that’s the stuff of another post.

In learning to relate to others, we understand our preferences, we see who vibes-in and who vibes-out. It is a key part in finding belonging, and in finding our true place in the world at large. It helps iron out the chinks, confront our shadow selves, and deepen what we want to make of ourselves. To believe this work can be done entirely in isolation is delusion.

The Three of Cups asks us to embrace the role of people around us on this journey. Friends, parents, families, significant others — whether or not there are difficulties in these relationships, they are good spaces to find portals into healing the inner self and learning in adulthood who you really are.

***

This is your timely reminder that if you’d like a personal Tarot Session to explore yourself and get more insights like this, you can reach out to me to make a booking. I offer these sessions in person, in Bangalore, as well as telephonically for anybody anywhere in the world.

Also, pssst: if you’ve already worked with me and are considering a second session, there’s a discount of 10% waiting for you. Only until the end of this month.

One year ago: The last of the despatches from Benaras   
Two years ago: But if you try sometime, you’ll get what you need   
Three years ago: What I’ve been reading   
Four years ago: Telepathy

In my head and in my heart

I’m am back to the classroom this morning. I’ve missed the learning space but I’ve also missed the cradle, the nest that the space has been in teaching me how to fly. And so it was good to head back there today.

I felt the need for some guidance today so I picked a card this morning before I set out. And it was not only apt for a day of re-entering an academic space but also for something I have been working thru in doing my work out in the world.

Questions I have asked myself: What would it be like to find a place where I can think *and* feel? How can I talk about this work without mystifying it but also not losing the essence to jargon and academia?

Today’s card made me instantly see something that I have known but perhaps been unable to articulate. The value the modern world attaches to the singular pursuit of intellectual/academic knowledge that is verifiable, over building intuitive knowing, that is not, is worth questioning.

It is inviting me to surrender in a new way. This is something I contend with a lot in my work with clients which requires me to use practices founded in psychology and therapy, while also building my own intuition, and encouraging my clients to as well.

Perhaps the answer isn’t so much in pitting one over the other, but understanding that they each have their place and are valuable for different things. An understanding that sometimes a gentle combination of the two is required.

Much of my own healing journey has been the deliberate return from doing/thinking to just feeling. And as a product of the world that routinely lulls us into doing, not feeling, it has been a tough but essential hurdle to scale.

In Somatic therapeutic practices, the accent is clearly on feeling. Our bodies are the vehicle/container for sensations that carry clues about our emotions. It is important to rebuild that connection with the body, in an environment that is always asking us to exit the body and rely on our minds alone.

Exiting the body and only relying on the mind amounts to a form of dissociation. And while dissociation may be a legitimate coping mechanism, unpacking or reversing it to help manage illness and some forms of psychopathology, requires returning to the body.

The more we let go of ways to access the knowing held in our bodies, the more polarised, rigid and unchanging our perspectives become. And what we reject in our outer worlds, we also reject within ourselves. The more comfortable we get with exiting our bodies and bypassing all that we reject, the more fragmented and disconnected we feel.

The softness and fluidity of intuition can keep our inner world from turning polarised. This also means we’ll be better able to witness parts of ourselves that would otherwise turn unacceptable, unpalatable, and best avoided. Integrating unpalatable aspects and experiences is a very useful way to work through a backlog of unfelt/unprocessed emotional material.

There are several practices today that are grounded in the soma, in accessing somatic and intuitive material, in going beyond the limits of the cognitive to delve into the unconscious. Because there is so much more, in places our minds will never go to.

Today is a good day to honour both sides — the cognitive/intellectual/academic, and the intuitive/energetic. And to see where in your life you need to bring back balance between the two.

Through the day, learning new things — broadening some, deepening some — I realised that this is true for my work as much as it is for my personal journey. This finding a balance in my reliance on both.

One year ago: The food, the food
Two years ago: We form our own boundaries

Monday Tarot Message: Everyday grief

I have found such a stark difference in the way I experience closure in lost relationships where I have had a greater degree of processing the sadness of it, versus those where things ended suddenly, where I felt misunderstood (and still continue to) and had to move away, shut myself off, close my heart up, without any degree of processing that sadness at all.

It’s ironic that this past weekend, as hung out with some of the nicest friends I have at this point in time, having a genuinely good time, engaging, feeling nurtured, while also kicking back and relaxing, I was flooded with thoughts about a friendship that ended with a complete lack of space for vulnerability in the ending itself.

This was of course the issue with said friendship, and why I had to eventually let it go. So perhaps it is not ironic that even in the ending, the same pattern continued. The friendship had thrown up a lot of smaller grief along the way. Signs of a possible, impending ending. Signs that I had ignored, because at the time I was so frightened of having to let go, of being alone, of untethering myself. And in the bargain, I know the relationship had made me avoid facing the pain and grief it was causing me altogether.

And this is probably precisely why thoughts about this friendship still linger, long after it has ended and we have both ostensibly moved on. I have much grief still to process with this one. So I am not at all surprised at today’s card. It has come at an apt time, as a timely reminder to do right, now, what I haven’t done enough in relationships past.

Regular, functioning relationships throw up so many instances of small, everyday grief. That cancelled plan that you were so looking forward to, the prolonged lack of availability, the desire for conversation when there was no space for it, that friend who suddenly changed (as everyone is entitled to).

While there is always good reason for each one of the scenarios above, it doesn’t negate the minor level heartbreak that we’re all constantly facing. It is also not to say that we turn into snowflakes who take offence at and hang on to every little instance of things not going the way we’d like. But how often do we allow ourselves to feel this heartbreak? Is there space for sadness and everyday grief of this minor kind in our relationships and friendships at all?

We usually reserve the grief for potential endings of relationships/friendships. Even the mere thought of that grief can be scary, so we avoid familiarising ourselves with it. Over time it may be that even when we know a potential ending maybe good for us, we put off the inevitable, and sometimes the necessary too. Sometimes we keep walking back into failed relationships in the hope that something will be different, simply because we don’t want to face the sadness of the ending.

The reason it feels impenetrable and all-consuming is usually because we have not made space for small, daily grief to touch us. To slowly make space for it, is to know that we can hold it. So you do not have to avoid it altogether.

If you find yourself at a crossroads in a relationship or friendship, the card today asks you to imagine what rebuilding might look like. To put pen to paper if necessary, and work out all that you will need to hold yourself in the time after an ending. When the grief has arrived. To think about everything from the minutest, deepest emotional needs (the grief and sadness to deal with), to the other practical physical needs (an altered physical reality?). To work on building resources so you have them when the time of need comes.

I know it seems like this might be more apt for broken marriages, cases of divorce or long term romantic relationships that come to an end. But I feel strongly that it is no different in matters of friendship too.

Often we avoid this part of the work, not wanting to imagine ourselves at our most vulnerable — feeling abandoned, rejected, like we have failed — and so when grief comes, we jump straight to “moving on” bypassing the grieving process that is crucial to authentic recovery and actual moving on.

The message for this week is to acknowledge and make space for everyday grief, to get friendly with it on a daily basis. To avoid making it a monster you have to avoid at all costs. So you know you can hold it when it comes, as it does with every one of us. Because it is important to give grief a holding space. Without it there is no evolving, no growing.

One year ago: Slow row
Two years ago: Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say
Four years ago: Small joys

Monday Tarot Message: Shine the light on your shadow

Last week’s message about emotional strength talked about honouring all parts of ourselves, including the lesser-than-ideal parts that aren’t “sexy” or that we feel the need to hide away from the world. Parts that just don’t work for our increasingly performative lives. And this week’s message feels like an extension, or a follow up, to that one.

What parts of yourself do you most negate, ignore or push away? Are those the very parts that need to be seen, and included?

The Moon is a symbol of our Shadow selves. The part that lies in the dark, our unconscious, and is seldom accessed, whether by choice or circumstance. It usually encompasses all our fears, anxieties, guilt, shame, rage and many other “unpalatable” facets of ourselves that we strive to keep hidden from the world. Our vulnerabilities, our challenges, loneliness, pride, jealousy, addictions, cravings, and just so many other things we might either not be in touch with within ourselves, or sense from time to time, but never let them surface.

But here’s the thing about shadows. They’re ever shifting, depending on how the source of light moves. Just like the dark side of the moon comes into the light with time, our Shadow selves will not remain completely in the dark, forever. It is natural, cyclical and the very nature of movement (life) itself for all parts of the moon — and ourselves — to be seen at different times.

It is no different with our psyches. If life is the light source that is constantly at play with our inner worlds and our emotions, you’ll see that parts of our Shadow are routinely being coaxed out of the dark. They may manifests as challenges (most times emotional) in our lives, and every time that they do, we are offered a choice. To either approach them with great anxiety and tension, leading to further avoidance. Or to see them as opportunities for growth. With the openness to look at them, we can cultivate the strength to own these darker sides of ourselves, and begin to include them in our being. This makes for a fertile ground for clarity and growing intuitive abilities.

In the Tarot tradition, the Moon also symbolises the unconscious as a wellspring of material through which to build intuitive clarity, or oneness with the self. The two are related — the more in-tune with ourselves we can be, the more we will have clarity in our lived experiences, and consequently the ability to deal with “unpalatable” sides of ourselves with compassion and acceptance.

There is no light without shadow, and no shadow without light. It takes including both parts/sides to form an authentic whole self — the goal of any inward journey.

If this message resonates, if you’ve been getting in touch with an unpalatable side of yourself, or if you’re slowly becoming aware that there are things in your life or your emotional journey that you have avoided looking at or processing, take this as a sign that it’s time to begin. And a good place to begin is to go right into the spaces you don’t want to look into.

One year ago: Reboot
Two years ago: Hit the road Jack
Four years ago: Why facebook just feels like a lot of noise

Monday Tarot Message: Strength

Re-negotiating one’s definitions of resilience and coping, is bound to shake up the definition of strength too.

What does emotional strength look like?

Taking an inner journey, moving from the level of the personality towards alignment with the authentic self comes with peeling back several layers. Going inwards means encountering deeper and deeper emotional truths, and processing them, living through them, as you go.

Every level will present challenging emotional material that will persuade, almost seduce, us not to move further. These will manifest as fears, anxiety, self-doubt, shame and several other things that we typically prefer to keep under wraps in our outward lives. All the things that the world around us deems “bad” coaxing us into the singular pursuit of “good” alone. A pursuit that is inherently exclusionary and fragmenting.

The work is to find vulnerability in meeting all parts. Integrating them in a healthy way demands a great deal of curiosity, compassion and kindness — emotional flexibility and strength, in other words — and minimal judgement in seeing ourselves as an amalgamation of so many moving, human parts.

Any attempt to hide from, push away or deny the existence of these lesser-than-ideal parts is what keeps us stuck. Liberation and spiritual evolution comes from honouring them. Even embracing the difficulty, anger, despair, loneliness, shame (amongst other things!) that facing them will bring. This requires the ability to flow with, rather than try and outrun these emerging parts. To align and fall in love with all of ourselves, rather than go against the grain and shame and distance some parts.

This will demand emotional strength that looks like:

  • gentleness over forcefulness
  • vulnerability over perfectionism
  • brutal honesty over projection
  • allowance over resistance
  • acceptance over judgement
  • self love over loathing

Aligning with the authentic self is to accept our completely ordinary, imperfect and often mediocre humanness. That takes inner strength. And you might just see that the strength it invokes and calls for looks nothing like the kind of strength celebrated and even upheld in the outer world.

***

If you’ve come this far and you have enjoyed what you’ve read:

  1. Follow me on Instagram for more guidance-based Tarot messages like this. Typically on Mondays, usually by 9 am IST, but also for other stuff posted on other days!
  2. Would you like a consultation? Are you looking for personal guidance or just curious about tarot? Please contact me to know more or book a session.

Bookings for March are now open. For second-time bookings made between 24 February and 29 February (session can be any time you want, but booking should be made during this period), I’m offering a 10% discount.

One year ago: Like waking up again
Two years ago: All my sweat, my blood runs weak
Three years ago: Ten reasons why I love the girls I am in long distance friendship with
Four years ago: Let go, already

On resilience

Putting my deck away yesterday, a card fell out. I might have just slipped it back into the pile otherwise, but yesterday it really felt like the card was asking to be seen.

It’s not Monday, but here’s a bonus tarot message for the day. Just, because. As usual, it felt like a timely reminder for myself, I have been experiencing some difficulty in staying in contact lately. Partly because I have thrown myself into the fullness of work, and I’m still finding my feet with a natural rhythm. But partly also because the nature of this work itself has been bringing up a lot of my own inherent needs that need to be seen. There is sometimes discomfort with this sort of process, and the mind usually kicks in and does it’s very best to keep me on top of things, and it’s easy to lose sight of the cost at which that “staying on top” comes.

So this was a good reminder. And maybe you need one too? Stealing this one off my Instagram, but here goes.

What are you ignoring, in the pursuit of resilience?

While we’re talking about mind-body connect, here are some classic coping mechanisms that we’ve culturally come to accept as being good for us.

  • Staying busy to stay distracted
  • Abusing food and nourishment, either binge-eating or crash-dieting
  • Throwing ourselves deep in work
  • Powering through our days on auto-pilot
  • Shirking help

When we hit a rough or an emotionally challenging patch, particularly one that demands stillness, introspection and a deeper connect within, our minds work extra hard to bring in some/all of these coping mechanisms as a way to keep us from feeling miserable. But it invariably comes at a cost — most often a huge disconnect between mind and body. Which, while it may provide immediate comfort, can send you deeper into emotional disconnection and not really do you any good at all.

Culturally too, we laud these behaviours as resilience, perseverance, as “bouncing back”, and further reinforce them. And while it is important to allow whatever it takes to cope, it is also important to know there is no bypassing the process of healing, which sometimes takes us to uncomfortable places that demand a deeper mind-body connect. The distress and discomfort, while being intrinsic to healing, can be eased.

It’s okay to lean on a coping mechanism, but are you in touch with when you may be going over the edge, into numbing something that needs to be seen?

  • By seeking a trained professional to assist/guide your healing process
  • By leaning on sources of strength, rest and rejuvenation often
  • By gradually inculcating mindfulness and stillness
  • By creating spaces for safety, vulnerability, joy and connection that heal

I also know, and I will personally vouch for this, that the healing process is a severely non-linear one. Having mastery over something, being in touch with inner self, at one time, does not ensure that you will remain in that state at all times.

It’s just best to be realistic and know that you will inevitably swivel this way and that, depending on a host of different reasons. How aware you are of those movements, and how compassionate and non-punitive you can be with yourself with that self-knowledge, can make all the difference.

One year ago: Like seeing sunlight
Two years ago: Stop this train, I want to get off and go home again

Monday Tarot Message: Mind-body, body-mind

In somatic approaches to therapy the body is considered a vessel of energy and information when looking at one’s psychological past. As we go through life’s ups and downs, in differing levels of contact with our bodies and energy, we may either work through, process and release the energy, or in the case of difficult experiences and emotions, avoid processing or letting go. But in the bargain, we invariably end up holding on to the energy tightly.

However, energy being energy, must go somewhere. And most often it wanders deeper, lodging itself in the body. The Devil, as ominous as it may seem, is today just a gentle reminder that we are all vessels of moving energy, sometimes chained to energies embedded in places we aren’t aware of.

We may experience it as blockages such as ailments, stuckness, difficulties, struggles with mental wellness, chronic pain, sometimes confusion, joylessness, grief or sadness. Sometimes it manifests as recurring patterns of difficulty. Or self sabotage. But have no idea where it is coming from, why, or what to do to free ourselves form it.

Most often, this is just trapped energy from unresolved emotional material, asking to be seen, or heard. Thankfully, the world is waking up to somatic therapies that go beyond just the mind. Many such practices make it possible to access these spaces, tapping into the sub-conscious through what is locked in the body, and release energy.

Allowing free-flow in this energy brings profound shifts, not just as physical changes like alleviation of pain and movement towards wellness, but also in a deeper mind-body connect that sets off a holistic healing which may be experienced mentally too. As feeling “fuller” in ones being, believing more in the self, seeding fully into ones own power and potency, feeling confident, etc.

In a Family Constellations perspective this is a reinforcement of the idea that what is in the mind, is in the body, and what is in the body is in the mind. It is limiting to try and work with one without the other.

The tarot message for today is to reflect on whether any of your current challenges that feel recurring, or insurmountable, or beyond your cognition, may be seeded in something deeper, something from your past, something from previous generations even, that you maybe carrying in your body.

If so, it is time to free yourself from it, put that burden down. And the work is to get to it through your body. Begin by establishing a connection with your body — by using your hands, exercise, walk bare feet, ground your energy. Then, explore holistic therapies that consider both mind and body equally.

One year ago: Another favourite
Two years ago: If you could change your mind
Three years ago: Pointless post
Four years ago: Make like a tree

That time of the month again

For sundry work updates.

1) Tarot sessions

My tarot sessions are ongoing and open to anyone anywhere in the world.

I offer these as one-on-one card reading sessions, either done in-person if you are in Bangalore and would like to meet face-to-face, and by telephone or Skype, which makes them conveniently location-agnostic. These are guidance sessions for clients who may either be facing specific challenges they wish to get a deeper understanding of, or simply for anyone who is seeking general guidance or clarity about broader areas such as work, life path, relationships, success, money, travel, etc.

The wisdom of the Tarot and ancient symbolism holds a ton of information to explore conscious and unconscious realms of our minds and lives. The cards have been an excellent tool for me personally, to reflect on issues, patterns, situations and challenges through my own life these past few years.

The specific benefit being the way in which they mirror visually, what’s usually going on inside, giving me a pictorial story board of sorts to get a grip on what I am going through, how I feel.

Think of it as a mirror to hold up to your inner and outer worlds so you can navigate the path accordingly, and sometimes make them meet.

Each session typically lasts between 45-60 minutes, and they can be booked very easily by reaching out to me via the contact form. I am usually quite prompt with responses.

Again, if you are maybe considering but have questions or would like to understand more about how this works, or if you’ve been waiting for or looking for something like this to get a handle on something you have been sitting with, please use the contact form to get in touch with me. I’m happy to help.

2) TWO Family Constellation Therapy Group Sessions in Bangalore:

  • 29 February, 9.30 am t0 5 pm | Katte Creative Community, Indiranagar | Rs. 1500 (including morning and evening tea)
  • 1 March, 9.30 am to 5 pm | SMArT, Ulsoor | Rs. 1500 (including morning and evening tea)

We’ve been working hard to keep these group sessions small and intimate as possible, because I know how much I valued a space of warmth and safety.

During these sessions you will experience Family Constellations therapy at work, whether you personally bring your issue/challenge to the fore or not. It is beneficial for anyone seeking to either break patterns such as stuckness, negativity, ill-health, etc. My colleague Sunitha has an FAQ that has some more details.

I’ve had a lot of messages from folks via Instagram, email and also by phone with questions about Family Constellations (from people all over the world! which really makes me wish I could do this online — boo), many of whom have ended up signing up for our sessions. This time around we’re also hosting second-timers! So if you’re considering, if you have questions, if you’re sitting on the fence and you’d like to talk about exploring this, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

However, if you’re already keen to register please do it immediately — details in the poster, or use the contact form — as we have limited spots this time around.

***

While it has been exciting and the anticipation of working towards a group sessions has been challenging yet fun, the flow and ease that I have with Tarot sessions has made me very happy. To have spoken to and connected with over 25 people (some of whom have come back for seconds) in this way has been deeply humbling and enriching.

I ran a discount promo for Tarot Bookings at the start of this month and it sold out in less than a day, even before I could announce it on my blog as well. I was really pleasantly shocked. So I hope to do these more often. If you’d like to stay informed about these, and other updates, please find me on Instagram where I am trying to be diligent with posting everyday.

Some months ago, when the idea of doing these for the world at large began to take shape, I was really shaky. Mostly I didn’t think anyone would be interested. And I didn’t think I had it in me to hold the time and space for a client. But much has changed, and I really underestimated the value and depth in the months I spent training with my mentor for Family Constellations.

But of course the dots only connect when I look back. And today, it makes sense. It fits. And I do feel like I am in the right place at the right time, and that things will unfold as they should, when they should. I just have to stay true to myself, keep doing what feels right.

One year ago: To heal
Two years ago: Make me somewhere I can call a home

Finding flow, and flowing with it

It’s been over a month and a half of doing tarot card readings for people. At the end of practically every one of these sessions, I feel a bit in awe with the realisation that if there’s one utterly human thing that connects us all, it is the basic desire to understand ourselves.

It’s very grounding and humbling. Levelling, unifying. As much as we are diverse and unique, we’re all also much the same.

The pursuit takes different meanings and manifestations for each one of us, but at the heart of it, is always a desire to “make sense” of the machinations of our minds, hearts, desires and stimulations and getting them all to align from time to time.

Since committing to sharing my journey and learning, and stepping into what Bert Hellinger calls The High Art of Helping I try and stay in touch with what feelings are evoked in me when I engage with clients and am in the seat of The Helper. It’s usually where I find clues for what I need to still see in myself, what parts I am yet to integrate and possibly to unpack a little bit more, the complex machinations of my own spirit mind.

It is a process that while very satisfying, evokes a simultaneous helplessness and the desire to do more, reach more people (because I see how common and universal human struggles are) while also drumming up the soft rhythmic beat of a series of gentle yeses that affirm I am in the right place and this pace is just right.

Like I said, grounding and humbling. Levelling and unifying.

***

At some point in the last few months, I made a slow and almost inconspicuous shift from the pursuit of flow, to just flowing with it when it arrives. I’m somewhere in the process of making friends with the up and down natural rhythms of my body’s energy, my minds willingness to be motivated and push through, and the sweet spot when the two meet and find alignment. I don’t recall exactly when, but I do recall having a conversation about it with S and saying, perhaps this is just it then. I welcome the highs when they arrive, and ride them fully, enthusiastically. And I give in to the lows with as much welcome, allowing for rest, if that’s what it is asking of me.

Working with people in the way that I am these days is also asking for a lot more emotional and mental energy than I imagined. I know I will develop ways to conserve and protect my energy, as I go on, but that is a curve and right now I am at the very bottom of it. So it has been taxing, depleting and quite revelatory.

Which explains perfectly, why my energy hasn’t been uniformly upward or even plateaued. I’ve seen wild ups and downs and for the first time in my life, I have been able to go with it peacefully, rather than grit my teeth and fight the natural rhythm of things.

***

And then there have been days like today. Three readings, two of which were in-person, in my home. And two more enquiries from people who I’ve done readings for last month — my first repeat clients!

Today has been a super demanding on me, but also super satisfying for all the same reasons. It’s been a day of flow. A day that flowed. And I was able to just go from one thing to another with ease, enjoying thoroughly, every moment of my work. I live for days like this, and I’ll bookmark this one to remember.

One year ago: Renewal
Two years ago: You guys, I must be the luckiest alive
Four years ago: Beach bum

Monday Tarot Message: On doing too much, as a way to find love

For some time now, the King of Wands has signalled compulsive doing, a restless energy, hyper-activity. For this message, I’m going to talk about compulsive doing as a response to early trauma, as a coping mechanism.

Dr. Daniel Sumrok, Psychiatrist and Director of the Centre for Addiction Sciences at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine introduced the idea that Addictions are essentially coping mechanisms and should be renamed “Ritualised Compulsive Comfort-Seeking” behaviour. He also says that at the heart of comfort-seeking such as smoking, alcoholism, excessive shopping and consumption, binge-eating or even spiritual bypassing and excessive doing is a response to an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

Yes, compulsive doing is often classified as an addiction if it is excessive to the degree that it occurs at the cost of one’s own self, sanity, health and wellbeing. Whether it is the urge to keep oneself busy, or it is linked to ideas of ultra-productivity, this constant subconscious need for be “at work” or “fix things” or “remain committed” to others needs, or just masochistic levels of perseverance, many times stems from the inability to just sit with something that needs to simply be witnessed. It very often catapults into compulsively putting the needs of others over one’s own needs.

If one were to trace this back to Adverse Childhood Experiences, it could go back to growing up being less parented than one may have wanted or needed in the early years. This instills the idea that one has to DO something to earn love and belonging, which manifests as compulsive doing to be “useful” to another, to prove ones worthiness of having a place and receiving love. The idea that to be loved, one has to take on the responsibility of doing something, is innate.

I’ve personally been thinking a lot about how I engage with periods when I feel compelled to do nothing. Lately, it has been difficult to allow it without judgement. And I have been wondering what has changed.

I’ve been questioning where my ideas of doing stem from, and if this is a form of ritualised comfort-seeking, what am I soothing? Having grown up in a family that placed a huge premium on teeth-gritting, bone-crushing perseverance as a virtue, with an absurdly high value placed on enduring (self-inflicted) pain, developing strength, commitment, never giving up and constantly being useful for others more than myself, I have grown up without healthy ideas of when it may actually be safe or essential to give up.

This has had catastrophic effects on my relationships, thanks to not having a clue what healthy boundaries look like, or how to keep myself safe. I have worked hard to learn what listening to my body and my inner cues actually means, to know when I need to stop doing, when I need to drop commitment to an unhealthy relationship, when I need to recognise a damaging pattern, and when I need to just sit still in silence. I’ve had to learn boundaries, on my own terms.

Today’s message is about looking at whether you have enough space for rest and recharging in your life. To quote an old adage, you cannot keep giving from an empty cup. If restlessness and compulsive-doing ring true for you, and if you think they may be ritualised comfort-seeking behaviours, is it fundamentally fulfilling an inner need for being loved and accepted?

One year ago: Safe and sound
Two years ago: The heartache lives on inside
Three years ago: Commitment issues
Four years ago: Pur very first Carnival in Goa

Monday Tarot Message: Suspend

As a race we’re increasingly creating a world of instant-everything. Instant feedback, instant validation, instant results, instant responses, instant justice, instant opinions, instant noodles. We want everything really quickly. Perhaps it’s a way to feel in control, a way to one-up the rapid movement of time and change that seems to be hurtling faster all the time.

The Hanged Man asks you to consider what it means to pause. Pause before you speak. Pause before you make up your mind. Pause before you decide. Pause before you think you know it all.

A major part of any inward journey is heading right up into spaces in your being that will require you to pause.

To take a moment. To allow a slow unfolding. To give things time. To feel your way through uncertainty. To sit with discomfort and do absolutely nothing about it for long periods of time.

And a major part of confronting these spaces will mean facing that innate resistance to all of it.

In the Hanged Man’s suspension, I see surrender. A reminder that not everything needs to be figured out immediately. There is power in knowing your place in the grander scheme of things, of realising how little is really in one’s control, and finding joy in flexibility of not figuring it all out. This allows for that little play for things to emerge, and gives you the permission to change your mind, to stretch and flex, and to grow.

Can you shine a light on those aspects of yourself that resist waiting and watching, that fight the pause, that grow quickly uncomfortable with uncertainty, and look at what that urgency might be about?

A good place to start is to see dow it feels to suspend action. To suspend logic. To suspend the need to solve everything instantly. What happens in your body when you suspend the need for certainty? How does it really feel, to just for a moment, let go the need for instant-everythings?

One year ago: Slice of life
Two years ago: Fields of gold
Four years ago: Every day

A sense of wonder

Off to Bombay tomorrow for a third workshop. And as I sit here today, with a just-packed suitcase, I’m still a bit gobsmacked to be making a “work trip” that though isn’t panning out the way I imagined, is already offering up so much more that I just didn’t imagine.

There is a huge sense of wonder in this building a new practice up from scratch. I have been feeling quite like a little child who has just got her hands in something entirely new, thrilling and riveting.

I want to soak up this sense of wonder a bit longer. Wonder and awe at how quickly and organically, yet ever-so-naturally, this avenue has unfolded for me. And how absolutely new and undiscovered everything is. No rules to play by, no predecessors to follow, no milestones to hit. Just one step in front of another, and on I go.

***

There is this feeling I get at the end of every workshop. When we’re sitting in a circle, sharing final thoughts, exchanging glimmers of where each one of us is at and riffing off of that, I feel a rush of being in the midst of immense courage. I always feel gratitude for that courage. The courage of every single person that shows up at a workshop. It’s easy not to see it as that, because I know I went into my first workshop some years ago, feeling quite depleted, defeated and “weak,” in that sense. I was looking for answers I so desperately wanted, and I was certainly on the back foot, facing life.

The truth is, though, taking a step towards healing is always a step of courage. It takes great inner strength, strength that one might not even know lies within, to seek wellness. It is a glorious, almost divine space to be in, when you surpass the fear of what change will bring, and you throw yourself into the abyss. For me it meant that anything was better, more promising, than the place of stuckness I was in. I wanted out, and even though it took me a long while to get there, sitting in that workshop was a first courageous step towards finally doing something about it.

I know it takes fighting a serious amount of fear — of what people might say, of what it makes them look like, of what might surface, of the discomforting truths they might have to face, of oh so many things, really — to take that step. So yes, gratitude for people’s courage. Courage in seeking better for themselves, and courage in trusting us with helping them to navigate that path.

I know now that focusing on self-development means focusing constantly on confronting this fear that is always just two steps behind. It means making a habit of making courageous choices in our own interest. Choices that often make us feel selfish, guilty, self-indulgent, every single day. It means facing that voice of fear and shutting it down and doing it anyway.

These days I have a new measure of maturity and responsibility. It is in taking control of one’s situation and seeking better. Even if that means making a choice towards that wellness, in taking that step with a sense of fearlessness. In making that choice even in the face of words of caution from within and around. Those are voices that usually operate form fear. Fear of being perceived as reckless, wasteful, silly, wishy-washy, even. It takes emotional maturity to want to push past that fear and do it anyway. And I have an immense of wonder for that aspect of courage. And respect for anyone in whom I sense that spark of fearlessness.

One year ago: My heart is a bloom
Two years ago: We are children that need to be loved