Saturday, August 18, 2012

Asking about Life

This deck is called the Wildwood Tarot and it's by Mark Ryan and John Matthews. It came to me from a dear friend. I have always loved it for that reason and for its artistic beauty and the beauty of the way it "thinks". So to that person, thank you again for the deck and for all that you are in this world and in my life.

Since I have been very interested lately in how the way we think creates our life experiences and/or how we perceive our life experiences, this month I asked: What role does optimism play in life?

The answer I got was:

Card 1: 7 of Arrows

Well, this answer makes sense here. :-) First it's a card from the suit of Arrows about our thoughts and the way we think. And that is what optimism is really, a way of thinking and viewing the world.

This is the 7 of Arrows. And 7's for me, in the way I read, are about difficulties but more that that. It is more about the attitude towards the difficulty than about the difficulty itself. The 7's say that yes there is an issue that needs resolving. But much more than that they tell you that IF you keep your faith up and keep working on it, if you don't give up, and if you make use of you inner strengths.... then not only will you succeed, but you will go on to have a huge victory. That is the promise of the 7's. That if you keep working on the issue and don't give up, then you literally will go on to have a huge victory

This particular card is saying that optimism plays a big role in our problem solving abilities. The last paragraph is saying that if you have and embrace an optimistic mind frame and way of thinking, that is what is going to give you that inner power to keep working on your issues, to not give up when things take time ....and to see them through and come out the other side. If we did not believe success was possible (even if we were wrong) why would we keep trying? If we did feel sure it was and we knew what we wanted, why would we give up?

The image is one of a woman who has let herself get stressed over the issue. And the card is called "Insecurity", which is pretty much at the opposite end of the scale from optimism. And this shows you what happens if you don't choose optimistic thoughts. So there is this image of someone who didn't and who chose the opposite side of things. What you see if there is something in her mouth--she cannot speak freely. Ropes are forming around her legs, she is not free to move freely as she might want to.

If insecurities inhibit the way we act and speak in the situation, and inhibit us from being our true inner selves completely in the world, then that will effect the final result that we get. Not only can thinking "non-optimistic" thoughts make us give up sooner and more easily, when success may have been a lot closer than we believed in reality, but it can also inhibit us from being our true selves. And the strongest power we have to succeed comes from being our true selves.

Card 2: 5 of Stones

This is a card from the suit of Stones, which for me is about the goals we set and also the work that goes into turning those goals into reality. The 5's are about tradition, what is considered socially acceptable, what you feel is expected of you, your upbringing and your moral values.

Sometimes 5's can be about embracing and following the norms and traditions surrounding you. And sometimes, about questioning them and seeing if what you were taught is really what is best for that special individual that you are.

This is really a very interesting answer here from this card. And it's called "Endurance". It asks the question "How enduring is your quest to find out who you really are inside as an individual, which of the rules you were taught growing up actually reflect who you really want to be in the world, is what others expect of you really what is best for you?, etc.

What you have in this image is a young child. He/she is experimenting with life to see if what she has been taught is accurate in her world and pertinent to her life. He/she has been told that fire will burn that branch she holds and she is testing to see if this is true, if it is real and pertinent to her world.

The questions here are: "How safe do we feel inside to question what we were taught (or do we even think to?)", "How free do we feel to not do what is expected of us, if it really is not in our best interests?". "How comfortable do we feel showing we are different?". and questions of that nature

And yes, the answer to all this has a lot to do with optimism too. How open and accepting and kind and understanding and respectful we expect others to be of our differences, has a lot to do with how optimistic as well. When we think of exploring these questions inside us, the outcomes we anticipate have a lot to do with if we have the courage and desire to try. For example., someone who anticipates rejection (pessimistic thoughts and expectations) for showing they are different could well be less likely to try to show their true uniqueness to others around them than someone who believes their uniqueness is a gift and expects others to embrace it as they do.

Card 3: 10 of Vessels

Vessels are about our feelings. And the 10 here means the most positive feelings it is possible to have. The card itself is called "Happiness". So the main theme of this card is about very happy feelings, the happiest feelings it is possible to have; Such a beautiful card image too!

Naturally the more optimistic we feel the happier we will be.

The water is flowing very quickly in the image. There is a true abundance of it and it can never run out. That points to something interesting. Even in life's happiest moments, if we chose something other than optimism, we can in fact make ourselves miserable.

I think we all know people who when in their most intensely happy life moments start thinking "Oh no, this is too good to last" or " I know my life will take this away from me soon" or "Nothing good ever lasts"... and make themselves miserable such unoptimistic thoughts. And the next thing you know they took something that should have been a deeply joyous time for them and took the joy right out of it.

This card says this is not necessary and it causes unnecessary pain. As you can see, it is an image of great abundance. This card says the waters of life will always flow for you, but you feel them more in an optimistic state of mind.

Card 4: flipped Queen of Arrows

And this last card is a flipped card (a card that flipped out of the deck during shuffling). Flipped cards contain meanings that you are being asked to think about. They have something important to say.

This is a card from the suit of Arrows, again about the ways we think and our thoughts themselves. The Queens, for me, are about working things out together, working out your thoughts with the help of another, talking about your life views and opinions with others.

In short, how well and deeply we open up to others is often a function of how we believe our thoughts will be perceived and accepted. If we think thoughts like "They don't really want to hear what I think" or "Why try to work things out with this person, they never listen" or any other unoptimistic thought, we are probably going to be less likely to open up and share our thoughts with the other than if we had thoughts about how enriching and healing sharing your thoughts with another and theirs as well always is. And if we are closed around others it makes it harder for them to open up to us.

To work things out we do need to understand each other. To grow closer we need that, so being able to open up about our thoughts will be more conducive to creating something natural and beautiful, as well as to solving anything that needs solving. In that sense, optimism helps you swim towards the other person, rather than swimming away from them.

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