Monday, July 16, 2012

Learn (to) Find Joy (in) Solitude

Eight of Pentacles (reversed), Ten of Cups, The Hermit

Sometimes, we think we know it all and other times we realize just how much else we have to learn. This week's cards give a little of both. Here we go...

The Eight of Pentacles is the card of the student. This doesn't necessarily mean going to school in the formal way, though it can. It can also mean keeping ourselves open to learning what the world around us has to teach us. If I use my own life as an example, I am one of the least zen people you will ever meet. I have little tolerance for either being put down or seeing others get put down, and I have no tolerance whatsoever for deliberate cruelty. If you are being deliberately cruel either to me or in a situation where I am a witness, be prepared to be called out on it. Life is too short to waste feeling bad because of someone else's thoughtless words or actions. So, the Eight of Pentacles tells us that either we need to learn the lesson of chilling out and not taking what other people say so seriously (the more zen way) or we need to learn the lesson standing up for ourselves (the not-so-zen way [and yes, I know I'm over-simplifying zen here. So, please don't rake me over the coals here.). Either way, the lesson is ours. Someone well versed in zen might say something along the lines of, we each have a path full of lessons. How do we know that the person who is being put down isn't supposed to learn the lesson of how to respond to these words or more importantly how to practice detachment from the harsh words of others? We don't know, but that isn't the point. Often, the only thing we do know is that in the moment, our feelings (or others' feelings) are hurt and we need to deal with immediate situation. Practicing detachment comes later. Monday or Tuesday of this week you will get an opportunity to practice detachment from someone's thoughtless words. Try, really try to remember that they have no real clue what they are saying. Treat them like a "me now" five-year-old and it will be much easier to handle.

Wednesday and Thursday will bring a blossoming joy. The Ten of Cups provides us with an opportunity to just enjoy the heck out of ourselves (particularly at home or with family). At first, it won't seem like fun, but trust me, once you get into it, it will be. Here's another tidbit from my own life. A few months ago, I attended a convention. I was seated at dinner next to someone I didn't know but I had seen him present on a topic at the convention. He was not a good presenter. He tried but did not really know how to connect with us; he didn't seem like someone you could easily talk to. And remembering that, I felt hesitant to sit next to him. I had already prejudged him and that would be to my shame because holy moly, he was fabulous! Once we got to talking, it turned out that we had a ton a in common, similar backgrounds, a deep mutual interest in folk and ancient musical traditions, and mythology. We had a fantastic and enjoyable conversation and I look very forward to seeing him again at the next convention in December. So, when the opportunity comes, even if it seems like it won't be all that, do it, go for it, try it. You'll like it.

Friday and Saturday will bring some time for repose. Take it! The Hermit provides the opportunity for solitary pondering. And you need it. Heck, we all need it. We all need down time in order to find out, well, just about everything. Want to know your next step? Spend time daydreaming. Want to know which way to go? Spend time reviewing your options. Granted, you could talk it over with others, but that will likely shush the voice that is most important in this scenario. And that's your inner voice. That's the one that most needs to be heard. Spend time in solitude and you will hear it. Once you know the path, you get to go do it. And that is just fabulous.

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