New Year’s Evolution: Take Care with This Phase of Self-Care…

img_6177
My January 1, 2017 involved a sort of holistic program of both yoga and Reiki. I loved it in the moment, it felt great on multiple levels…but then I had a bit of a stormy weekend afterwards, anyway (emotionally-speaking), and not always for reasons I could pinpoint, which felt sort of baffling and unsettling. Why would I be angry or sad (or both at the same time) for no apparent reason, and especially after I just spent half a day engaging in a terrific healing session…???

But then here’s what I decided was going on:

  • Just as humans can accumulate plaque on their teeth and in their arteries, we can also collect up the psychic equivalent of gunk…and this psychic gunk can be just as detrimental to our well-being as the physical kinds, but it can be controlled maybe even better, with good self-care.
  • But self-care, in any of its many forms, (including both Reiki and yoga, as it happens) can, as a part of its process, knock loose some of that collected psychic gunk and then release it into the ol’ psychic “bloodstream”…and until it then washes itself away, and out of the psyche-system entirely, it will be felt.
  • And feeling it isn’t so super-pleasant for the person whose system had been playing unwitting host all this time to that particular helping of psychic gunk.
  • Even this is good and healing overall, though, because with something that’s kind of insidious and creeping like plaque, the “better out than in” principle definitely applies…and better to feel some old and unsettling feels for a few days and then be done with them, than to let them fester beneath the psychic floorboards until they become truly horrific! But so the whole thing is a purging of sorts: not fun while you’re going through it, but purifying and a real way-paver for good healing.
  • Healing modalities across the board (from exercise to energy-healing to psychotherapy) may not always make you feel instantly “better,” but this doesn’t mean that they’re not doing their work, and doing it well…

To sum up:

Reiki!

Yoga!

Happy New Year…

Life Lesson: On Mishegoss…

The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” – Alfred Adler

Mishegoss.

This is a Yiddish word, and it’s derived from the Hebrew “meshugga” (= “senseless,” “crazy”). Mishegoss basically refers to a given human’s personal set of psychic luggage that they trundle about with them everywhere they go, said luggage containing all of their various and idiosyncratic foibles, viewpoints, programming, habits, and general weirdness. I have my mishegoss, you have yours, and you can safely and successfully wager staggering sums of money that so does anyone else currently strolling about across the skin of this planet.

Insanity
Point: “People be crazy!”

And while this seems like a simple and obvious statement, it actually provides a seed for healthier living that can be cultivated into a veritable garden of compassion, centeredness, and positivity.

What do I mean by that…?

Imagine you’re driving from one side of your hometown to the other. Further imagine that you have a set appointment on that other side of town, and that you left your front door close enough in time to that appointment’s scheduled starting moment that you’re in some danger of arriving late, especially if anything should arise during your trek over that might slow you down.

2008-08-01_Peremohy_Avenue,_Kiev
This does not bode well as far as you arriving to your appointment on time…or maybe even today…

With that being the case – looming appointment deadline, mounting pressure to get there on time – how will you feel toward your fellow motorists?

It’s not their fault that you left late – if any “fault” can be pinned to anybody in this scenario like a tail being affixed to a donkey, then that hypothetical “anybody” is almost certainly you, and not them – but in the heat of your rush to reach Point B, do you cut them due slack? Or are you more inclined to cuss them out vigorously, zig and zag through traffic, tailgate, and maybe even play it a bit fast and loose with stop signs and changing signal lights?

And when you do verbally tear into your fellow humans on the road in situations like these, why are you okay with doing this? Would you respond to them in this fashion if you were having face-to-face encounters outside of your vehicles?

Now, to be fully transparent here, I’m as guilty of this sort of low-grade road rage as anyone. I often find it difficult to remember that the other cars on the road are not annoying, dull-witted, slow-moving beings in and of themselves, but are rather inanimate conveyances populated by living, breathing, feeling people much like me. And each and every one of these people has her or his own mishegoss to contend with every moment of every day.

Alice_Ramsey_ggbain.03065_a
She looks like a nice lady…but what would you think of her if she happened to be driving in front of you at a much slower pace than you’d like while you were already running late for something…?

It could be that the woman dragging her wheels so laboriously through the neighborhood on the “Do Not Pass” residential streets that stand between me and my destination isn’t driving so agonizingly slowly just to annoy the hell out of me and make me late for my appointment (for which I probably should have gotten out of the house 10 or 15 minutes sooner…). What if she’s driving so slowly because she just got some horrible news from her doctor about that odd growth she’d had removed and biopsied a few days before, and her mind is more on her mortality than on her motoring…?

Or maybe she just got some great news back, stemming from the application she’d sent off to that Ivy League school that she thought she didn’t have a prayer of getting into at this late stage of her life, but which blew her mind by accepting her anyway, and so she’s just giddy with appreciation and a renewed sense of joy in life…and therefore, to her in this moment, racing through the quiet streets in school bus territory feels like a far away and unimportant concern?

Or maybe her particular brand of more permanent mishegoss is simply the reality that she’s one of those infuriating people who somehow always manages to leave her house with plenty of time to spare, and so she’s just taking some quiet pleasure in the simple act of driving, enjoying the journey as much as, or even more than, the eventual destination…?

Italian_Baroque_Mirror
Be aware of the mishegoss of others, but also remember to gaze into the mirror to identify and better understand your own while you’re at it…

The point is that any human you might meet has some kind of agenda. Some of this is due to the irresistible dictates imposed upon us all as biological organisms. Some will flow from our emotional responses to the events that life throws at us, some of which responses will be pretty intense. And some can be attributed to our longstanding, deeply entrenched personal holdings of mishegoss. This is true of anyone out there in the world…so if you can keep this truth more at the forefront of your mind, it will help you to be more forgiving, and to take most things much less personally than you might have done in the absence of this mindset. It may even allow you to go easier on yourself for having your own mishegoss.

A large percentage of the posts that I lodge here are aimed at helping people to become better Tarot readers, better astrologers, better overall metaphysicians of whatever stripe. And this post is very much in line with those aims. That is, it will help your metaphysical game immeasurably to do your work while trying to better understand just what is the nature of a specific person’s mishegoss, what might be driving them, what they might get out of the deal, and how you can help.  And this includes you, as well as your querents and clients.

Because remember, when it comes to mishegoss, we all have some. The only normal people – the ones who don’t seem straitjacketed by endless bolts of some variety of mishegoss – are the ones you don’t know very well.

12 Astrological Houses Spread

IMG_3996In honor of the Full Moon last night, I busted out a big spread based on the 12 astrological Houses.  I’ll be doping out the meaning of this reading for days to come!

Interesting note: the numbered Minors (not counting the Aces) make up just under half of the deck.  So statistically speaking, in a spread of this size, I should have been able to expect maybe 5 or 6 numbered Minors to show up.  I ended up with 9.  It always stabs my attention in the eye when I get disproportionate results like this!

New Deck Reading/Meditation – The Tarot of the Origins

IMG_3912Getting a new deck is always exciting.  I don’t give in to the urge-to-buy at the drop of a hat anymore – not like I once did! – but whenever I can feel the pull of a deck that I know will have some real impact on me, I’ll still expand my collection with it.  When that happens, I like to mark the occasion of the acquisition with a bit of a ceremony whenever possible.  I find that this helps to quicken and deepen and sort of “activate” my connection to the new deck…plus, it can also yield up a first initial reading that feels incredibly profound!

So with that in mind, I finally set aside a small chunk of time for reading with this new (to me) deck that I just got – The Tarot of the Origins – and tried to work in a bit of meditation, too.  Tarot and trance go together like peanut butter and jelly, by the way…  With the wind howling outside, the candles going, and some stones, teeth, and arrowheads laid out, it was feeling all kinds of primordial in here…

And fair warning: I may be peppering this space with images of these cards for a while yet to come…

8 Major Symptoms of Depression

I’ve just begun working with Sasha Carrion, a talented hypnotherapist of my acquaintance who practices her craft in Santa Monica, CA.  I’ll be contributing articles to be posted on her website.  I’ve undergone hypnosis with Sasha several times before, and I definitely recommend exploring it if it intrigues you, or if you’ve been battling some issue that’s seemed bulletproof to other types of treatment.  Sasha is a real gem!  Here’s a link to my first post for her, and you can navigate through the rest of her site once you’re there:http://sashacarrion.com/2014/08/20/8-major-depression-symptoms/

 

“I release you.”

Stress is bad for us.

I can’t imagine this will be anyone’s first time encountering this notion.  We all know this — it’s hardly a closely-guarded secret, locked away in some clandestine power bloc’s deepest, most blast-proof vault somewhere impregnable and subterranean.  Stress is bad for us…  We’re probably even almost unanimously agreed on this one…and we humans don’t easily get unanimous, not in large numbers.

But knowing something, and then acting upon it in sensible ways, are two very, very different prospects.  If anything, we often seem to not only not avoid the sources of our stress — we seem to quite regularly want to even cling to them, until our knuckles go white with the strain of it all…

"Sure, I know it's a problem...but it's *my* problem!"
“Sure, I know it’s a problem…but it’s *my* problem, and I ain’t giving it up!”

And I don’t pretend I’m not as guilty of this as anyone.  But I’ve come up with a quick little ritual that I now use, to try to help me to conquer this kind of self-destructive tendency (at least for smaller kinds of annoyances and such — true sins still warrant real attention, and are not necessarily covered here…).  It’s the phrase I used as the title of this post: “I release you.”

Basically, I try to remember to invoke this concept whenever someone or something appears in my daily path, and seems to want to block my passage or slow me down.  Instead of reacting with immediate anger about it…I try to silently, mentally address this obstacle-person or -thing, and in my mind, I kind of just stop for a moment and acknowledge that this wasn’t how I’d hoped things might ideally unfold in my travels, but with no ill-will, I am officially letting go of any negative feelings about the encounter that a less centered version of me might have had.  “Person or thing in my way: I release you.”

It’s sort of a mental/emotional mechanism for me to allow that person or thing to be what they are, to understand that they/it probably never held any malice toward me in the slightest, and then to go on with my day without hanging on to any kind of draining weight from the incident.  It frees me from the contact, casts off any binding threads (an accumulation of which can add up to ponderous, unbreakable chains after a while!), and enables me to devote far more of my finite supply of energy to the things that I actually do want to feed in my life.

“I release you.”

Dear traffic offender, inclement weather, insensitive pedestrian, mechanical failure, example of unfortunate timing, forgetful relative, momentarily insensitive friend, bad dream, plummeting blood sugar levels, flaw or error of my own, hurt from out of the past, whatever…”I release you.”

"I release you!"
“I release you!”

Morning pages…

Quite a few years ago now, I was put on notice about this book you may have heard of: The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  It’s a self-help book designed to enable people with creative impulses to get in touch with their inner artistic selves and become more artistically productive.  Ms. Cameron comes at the process from a standpoint of holding that creative inspiration and divine inspiration are essentially the same thing, or at least flow out of the same source, and she provides some exercises that the would-be productive artist can work through so as to gain in self-assurance, as well as begin growing their output.

"The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity."
“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity.”

It’s been a long time now since I tried my hand at the program, and what I remember most from those long ago efforts are two exercises in particular.  One was something Ms. Cameron called the “artist’s date.”  Basically, the budding creative person was to take herself or himself out on a “date” — kind of like the ego-self romancing the artist-self — and the idea was to go take in something that would inspire the inner artist.  It could be anything at all, too: actual artwork by someone else (as in, say, a showing of paintings or photographs in a gallery, a trip to a museum, a concert, a play, a film…), or it could be something as deceptively “simple” as natural wonder (go watch the sunset from some great vantage point, visit the ocean, hike through the woods or up a mountain trail…).  The point was to take in beauty, wonder, and spectacle, thereby adding it to that internal reservoir of creative potential that we can all draw upon when we’re in creator-mode.  Unless I misremember, the artist’s date was to happen once a week (more often than that, and the person in question would risk simply becoming a consumer of artistic fare without actually producing anything of their own, while less frequency than that might lead to a drought in creative fuel).

And then there was the other exercise: the morning pages.  This concept is just as easy and straightforward (to convey, if not to do): you sleep with a pad of paper and a writing implement by your bed — not a laptop, but something with which you’ll write by hand — and then when you wake up, you immediately take up that pad and pen/pencil, and you write out three pages of free association, longhand-style.  That’s it.  The goal isn’t to write “good stuff,” or to write it well.  You needn’t worry here about mechanics — you have full license to not get hung up on things like spelling, grammar, punctuation…the intention is just that you write, and better if you can do so without slowing down enough or waking up enough to think about it, and censor it, and let your conscious mind take over the show.  Just basically vomit forth three pages of text while you’re still semi-groggy, and then you’re done.  If you can’t think of anything to write about, then write about how you can’t think of anything to write about.  But no matter what…you write.

It may feel like torture at times, but you *work* that thing!  (public domain image by Javad Alizadeh)...
It may feel like torture at times, but you *work* that thing! (public domain image by Javad Alizadeh)…

So I ended up doing the morning pages for something like two months.  I can’t say that my creativity enjoyed a boom in production during that time, but I did notice something very interesting about the morning pages I generated during that period: they were angry.

Now, mind you, this all took place at least 15 years ago (and that’s a very conservative approximation — it may be pushing almost 20 at this point…), and I was in a very, very different headspace and emotional place in my life back then.  I was stuck in a job I despised, and I wasn’t ready to accept a few basic truths about myself and about the world around me.  And wow, did all the accumulated, pent-up frustration resulting from all that come pouring forth onto those morning pages!  Rarely, if ever, did a session consist of me expressing things like gratitude or appreciation or admiration — for anything!  It was just all angry, all the time.  Looking back, I’m kind of surprised that all that venom and vitriol didn’t curl up the pages in my journal, and blacken the wood of my nightstand!  I griped in those pages, I complained, I accused…I moped, I whined, I raged…I forsook, I bemoaned, I bewailed.  It was not pretty.  But the effects were twofold: for one thing, I was stunned at just how much anger I was carrying around with me as a constant companion without my ever consciously realizing it…and for another, as I spewed forth that bile every morning, after a few weeks, I did start to get the sense that I might not just have been pointlessly and fruitlessly wallowing in misery and self-pity and resentment during those writing sessions — I started to feel like I may have been actually letting go of some of it.  As gross as this analogy may be, it was a bit like lancing some monumental psychic boil or something, and letting the horrible build-up inside finally begin to leak away…

And I suppose that may be part of Julia Cameron’s aim with the morning pages: by working before your ego-self can rise up and stop you, you can let loose some of that which doesn’t serve you.  Again, I got sidetracked from this project after the first couple of months, and never returned to the practice, so I never actually saw that rise in my productive output that the program was designed to help its practitioners achieve…but I did start to mellow out a bit in general.  And happily, I was later able to make great strides in healing myself in other ways, so that the vast, roiling sea of anger is no longer there, bubbling poisonously away just below the surface.  But the point of all this is that the morning pages can be useful in that way for you, too, if you similarly carry around a lot of rage…or they can be used for other purposes.  Some people are fortunate enough that they don’t actually have a lot of natural anger…but maybe they have sorrow…or longing…or dissatisfaction…or maybe they could just use some kind of more tangible barometer to see what they do have inside themselves, because without such a mechanism, they’re just too close to the source to see things for what they are.  And that’s the gist here: if you could use a change in your life, or you just want to be able to better and more honestly check in with yourself, consider giving morning pages a go for a couple of weeks.  You’ll at the very least build up your hand and forearm muscles (because three pages of furious longhand is no joke!), and you may even gain some real wisdom from the exercise…