Mid-week Joy- Tarot meditation

Tarot by Meeralee, used under Creative Commons license- http://bit.ly/1qZAXeK

What? It’s still Wednesday somewhere…

Meditation. Of the many things I’ve tried to get my mind back into a good place and recover from the depression, meditation is one of the most helpful. The quiet, the calm- neither of these things come easy to me. As soon as I’m awake, thoughts are whirling around my head.

Focusing on something, even for 20 minutes? Not easy for me. At. All. I’ve found a couple of ways to deal with this, which you may find helpful too if you’re a beginner. The first is guided meditations. Just look on Youtube. On Friday, I’ll even put links to five of my favourites for you. When I was trying to get into a proper meditation practice I found that the guidance really helped me not get distracted and start thinking about the laundry when I was trying to be still.

Admittedly that still happens. But less often.

The second, and my reason for writing this post, involves my tarot deck. Now, a disclaimer- I know I’m not the first person to do tarot meditations, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of people out there with much more expertise in the tarot than me, and I bow to them. This post is intended to describe what I do, in the hopes that if you haven’t come across tarot meditation before it might encourage you to give it a try. It’s simple but very effective.

I keep one deck for readings (The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr), and another deck for my daily meditation. That one is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Min Law.

It was actually the book that came with the Shadowscapes deck, specifically the introduction by tarot great Barbara Moore, that led me to the meditation practice. In the introduction she advocates bonding with your deck by shuffling it, taking a card at random and focusing on the image for several minutes, then closing your eyes and ‘stepping into’ the image and, if you’re brave enough, talking to the figures in it.

I know, I know. It probably sounds odd to you. But the results of doing this- in my case I pulled The Empress- were so beautiful and calming I started doing it each day.

Here’s how it works: Every morning, when it’s time for me to meditate (not long after I wake up), I shuffle my Shadowscapes deck, asking ‘what do I need to meditate on today?’. Occasionally, if something’s really troubling me or if I’m linking it up with the weekly challenges in my Five Minute Journal, I’ll ask a different question, but ‘what do I need to meditate on’ is the go-to.

I then pull a card (use whatever method you would normally use). I look at the image for a couple of minutes (that’s longer than it sounds), get familiar with the figures in it, the background. I read the description in the book- and start to get a handle on what exactly it is that I’m really meditating about. That becomes even clearer when I actually start my meditation- closing my eyes, and stepping into the image in my mind. The conversation with the figures is a way of delving deep into myself, finding the answers that were there all along. Somehow, the meditation process makes things that have been troubling me easier to accept and deal with- because as the meditation makes clear, I already know how to deal with them. I just have to accept it, and take action.

Another hint- I use a meditation helper app on my phone to time myself (on a work morning I have to). When the final bell sounds, I say thank you and bid farewell to the figures in the image, and step back out into the room.

The final phase is keeping a tarot journal. This is something you’ll find recommendations for all over the place. For me, it’s a way of recording the insights from the meditation- which, as an added bonus, also helps me get a better intuitive sense of the cards I’ve pulled each day.

It’s that simple, and very powerful. The insights and the ‘ah’ moments happen every day with this practice, and I’m so grateful for finding out about it. I haven’t tried it with any decks that don’t have people in most of the images, so I can’t say how it would work but, if it’s a deck you feel connected to, I don’t think it matters what kind of images they are.

If you decide to give this a try, I’d really love to hear how you get on! Do let me know in the comments- share your ah moments! Enquiring minds want to know!

Nothing compares to you (except everyone around you)

For some reason, I’ve been thinking about comparison a lot today. I don’t know why, but some bits of ‘8 Simple Rules’ popped into my head, about how one of the tropes that the show returns to again and again is the idea that Bridget, the older sister, has things come to her that her younger sister has to work for. 

We’ve all felt it. We’ve seen someone else doing something really well and thought ‘oh, it comes so easily to them’ and we feel resentful because it’s not easy for us. When I was at school I used to look at the other girls, both in my classes and on TV. Even the supposedly ‘plain’ ones have friends, I would think to myself. It seemed so easy for them to do all the things teenagers were supposed to do. Things I never really did, or not until I left home. There were the girls who had boyfriends, who went out to parties, who did brilliantly at maths or science. 

But here’s the thing. That’s not the whole picture. As I pondered how I would compare myself with these girls, I realised that they would be comparing themselves to other people too. So would the boys. There were things I *was* really good at. Like languages, and computers. Whenever my IT teacher was away for whatever reason, I would end up spending most of the class helping other people. These were things that *did* come easily to me. 

Everyone, as my mother is so fond of saying, is different. “It wouldn’t do for us all to be alike!”. No, it wouldn’t. And the thing about that is, everyone has things that come easily to them. But the energy that we’re spending on being envious of each other’s abilities is energy that’s being misspent. Imagine what you could achieve if instead of getting caught up with sending negative charges towards someone who has achieved what you want, you spent that energy in practicing, learning, getting better- following your own path and not worrying about theirs. Or imagine if instead of letting the envy become negative, you recognised that this person can do something you want to be able to do, and you ask them, nicely, to help you. 

Other people will always be better at some things than you. And you will always be better at other things than they are. It’s what we do with that information that counts. If we learned from others’ strengths, and sought to use our own strengths to lift other people up, imagine what kind of change we could inspire and bring about!

I don’t know quite where I’m going with this other than to say, if you rock at something, I applaud you, especially if it’s not something I’m good at. 

So tell me in the comments- what talents do you have that are easy for you? How do you share them with others? Lets start looking at how we can use what we have to make the world better!

Friday Five- Five favourite quotes

So I’ll admit, I’m new to Instagram. But I adore it. There’s something about photos- it’s much harder to post a negative photo, than it is to write a negative Tweet or Facebook status. Maybe that’s just me. It just feels like a happier place, does Instagram. Maybe it’s the colours, people posting pictures of themselves doing fun things, or tasty food, or fun quotes, or street art, or cool stuff they see.

Also I am unreasonably fond of futzing around with the different filters picking just the right one for each photo. One day I will master Photoshop and then you’ll all be sorry. Or you’ll just enjoy the pretty photos. ANYWAY…

I’m doing #radicalselflovejuly on Instagram at the moment, and day 16 was favourite quotes. If you’re following me on Instagram (please do! I’ll follow you right back- @mannersmagpie, come say hello) by the way- then you may already have seen that I can’t choose just one quote. Just like I couldn’t choose just one favourite book. One? ONE? How am I supposed to narrow it down? There are so many quotes I love for so many different reasons.  Here are five of them.

Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is the right time.- Asha Tyson

There are many people out there who will tell you “you can’t”. What you’ve got to do is say “watch me.”- Jack White

Forgiveness is an act of creation…how does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstances instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to remember to say about it all. You understand the suffering that drove the offence to begin with. You prefer to remain outside the milieu. You are not waiting on anything. You are not wanting anything. There is no lariat snare around your ankle stretching from way back there to here. You are free to go. It may not have turned out to be a ‘happily ever after’ but most certainly there is now a fresh ‘once upon a time’ waiting for you from this day forward– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from ‘Women who Run with the Wolves’

100 years ago, buying something you could make was considered wasteful; now making something you could buy is considered wasteful. I am not convinced this is a step in the right direction. ― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, from ‘All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin’

And finally, a quote from one of my idols:

Moi strongly believes in self-help. Wherever I am, I help myself to whatever I can– Miss Piggy

Feel free to share your favourite quotes in the comments, I’d love to read them, and why you love them. And have a great weekend!