Strength. I'm taking an online class to learn how to intuitively connect to the major arcana cards of the tarot, the symbols and archetypes that play out in our lives. When we arrived at card #8, Strength, after spending a few days being with and getting to know this card, I learned an invaluable lesson about strength. Sometimes, strength is simply about showing up. Showing up to yoga class, showing up on the page to write, showing up in relationship even when it feels hard. Even when we feel tired. Even when we feel weak, uninspired... Just showing up. Being present. And remembering that in time, everything does in fact pass. We are sad, we are happy, we are angry, we are stuck, and then the feelings pass... so, not to get too attached to any one particular feeling, either loving or hating it, but just allowing, noticing, staying calm, and showing up. Being present. And today, I noticed with great joy in my heart that now, nearly two years since my husband died, there are more days of happy than there are sad. There was a time when there were more sad days than happy ones, and I would worry and lament over these feelings, wishing they would just go away, being hard on myself for what felt like steps backward when I would feel sad after a few days of happy... But, the grief had to move in its own time, and what I have learned from the sad, I would not trade for the world. Learn to have gratitude for it all. Rich lessons for us to learn in all of our experiences.
I find myself in a quiet space today, a space of surrender and letting go. I ask to see Mitch in everything today, a recommendation from my sister-in-law last night, and I refocus my energies on my supreme connection to God, where God and Mitch are my focus upon which everything else rains, my umbrella- I trust in this divine shelter. I take notice today of the light in people's eyes, people who really see, in those eyes I see God, I see love. I cry after encounters with two older men who look at me with that light and a gentle smile, and I am reminded of Mitch in those eyes, full of light and a gentle pervasive love. My beach meditation yesterday reminds me to ride the waves with patience, without resistance, with perfect timing, the ocean has shown itself as my teacher. I sit on the rocks on the beach waiting for my car's oil to be changed and notice a tiny bright green sprout shooting up amidst its rocky neighbors, the only one, a little reminder of fresh life that can grow in even the harshest of conditions. Here I am in this place that called me back, an undeniable invitation beckoning me, and here it is where I heal, where I grow, where I plant my roots with my darling daughter and daughter-to-be. A tarot card reading from the other night that read, let your emotions flow freely, or you will be chained to the ever-changing highs and lows of the tides, reminds me to let go of control and let both my sadness and joy come at will, and I let both pass through me, cleansing my heart and renewing my soul. And once again faith comes in to reign supreme and guide my journey.
At the end of the day we can only try and live our lives the best way that we can, treat others and ourselves with loving kindness and respect, put our hearts into what we do to earn a living, and make peace with our lives. We remember who we are, where we have come from, and give thanks to those that have guided us along the way. We acknowledge the lessons from our more painful experiences, and grow stronger and wiser from having done so. We embrace whole-heartedly who we are so that we may live our lives to our fullest potential, and commit to being a bit kinder and gentler everyday, allowing our hearts to open more fully to the experience of living, with all of its pains and joys. We love even though eventually we will all lose. We experience the pain of letting go and realize that nothing is ever truly ours to keep. We learn from the trees and remember our humility and stay down to earth, grounded, and rooted, and realize that we are nothing more and nothing less than ourselves. We remember our connection to one another and share in the experience of being human. We allow ourselves to be touched and transformed by the lives of those around us, but we do not allow ourselves to be engulfed and lost in the lives of those around us. We remain grounded in our own experiences of who we are, where we have have come from, where we are now, and where we are going. We stay awake to our experiences and love ourselves and others with a heart that is wide open to give and receive. We live our lives with meaning and purpose.
We can learn from sitting in the company of the trees how to be rooted, flexible, and strong. We can learn from observing the ocean tides how to go with the flow of life and allow our experiences and emotions to move through us without resistance or struggle. We can learn from the stillness and expansiveness of air to allow our minds to be free and open. We can learn from other animals how to be wild and true to our own nature. We can learn from the untamed wilderness, of our own inner untamed wilderness. We can learn from the sea moss that lives on the tree branches that dip into ocean during high tide that we are a part of a web of interconnected life, and that we need others in order to survive and thrive in the world. We can learn through observing a fruit bearing plant that we are all born to fulfill a purpose, and that with space to grow, caring attention, a forgiving environment, water, and the proper nutrients we will bear the fruits of our labor. We can learn from spending time with a family pet of the inherent need in all of us to receive love and affection, and the capacity within all of us to give and receive love unconditionally. We can learn from the yards and gardens of our neighbors of our desire to create beauty and wilderness all around us and tend to others with care and attention. We can learn from the birds of our freedom to move and sing aloud our true song. We can learn so much if we just open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts to the consciousness of each living and non-living thing all around us. If only we could stop for a moment to step outside the flow of our own thoughts to be in communion with all that surrounds us in each moment, could we taste the sweetness of what it is to be alive in this world. Each moment is a gift and an opportunity to love and engage more fully with the world, and to see ourselves and others as a loving God would see.
When we realize our energy has been scattered about, spilling over into worrying about and analyzing what is wrong with the world and with ourselves, taking on too much responsibility and blame for the difficulties in our relationships, over-identifying with the feelings and pains of others, so much so that we are not even sure how it is that we feel anymore...it is time to retreat inward and refill our cup with loving compassion. Refilling our cup means taking time to take care of ourselves, and being in tune with our own feelings, our own voice, and our own needs. With trust that intuitively we know what it is we need to feel renewed and rejuvenated. Realign ourselves with our priorities so that our energy is expended on what is most important for us. Bring awareness to our self-talk through meditation or journaling, and if we are being too harsh with ourselves, lighten up with more loving and compassionate dialogue. Read an excerpt from an inspirational book, watch a movie. Pamper our bodies with a facial, a bath, a yoga session. Enliven our senses with scented candles, incense, flower essences, healthy good-tasting food. Implore patience and empathic understanding with ourselves, if we're tired, slow down, take a nap, or go to bed early. Remember we are never alone, and reach out to a supportive and kind friend or family member, pray, or meditate. Rejuvenate ourselves through our connection to the natural world, and go for a walk, sit under the shade of a tree, bask in the sun, sit under the moonlight with a cup of tea and a journal. Take time to take care.
When my husband, daughter, and I were living on our sailboat on the river in Redwood City, California I became intimately connected with the changing weather during the times when my daughter would nap. I would sit in the cockpit and journal each day and began to see myself in the naturalness of the cloudy stillness, the heaviness and turbulence of approaching rains, and the calm clarity of the sunlit skies. I began to identify with the ever-changing mood of each day, and my heart began to open to a greater acceptance of the naturalness of my ever-changing moods. During that special time in my life, it was like I was seeing the sky, the clouds, and feeling the wind and sun on my skin for the first time, in brilliant clarity and gratitude. I relished each day on the boat, and the closer that it brought me to realizing my own wild nature. It helped me to connect to the wide spectrum of feelings that I had, and that they somehow felt okay because nature herself felt the intense rush of stormy skies and the lightness of sunny days. It also reminded me that like the weather, I am forever changing, so not to fixate or dwell on any particular state of being or feeling, as this too shall pass.