Monday, April 12, 2010

Lessons Hard and Tarot Cards

I woke this morning from a dream where I was driving on freeways in Singapore with a long vacation planned for travel around southeast Asia. In the car with me was a man I used to date who was complaining about the way I drove. In all fairness, I did seem to think I might be suffering from night blindness in the dream, which would have kept me from seeing whether or not I might be swerving off the road. However, I didn't like his attitude so I pulled over and let him out of the car. I decided to resume my dream during the daylight hours, where I was still having a bit of trouble controlling the speed of my vehicle and had to use both feet on the breaks. I wasn't frightened so much as frustrated with the lack of control I had over my general velocity. I tend to dream about the ocean a lot, and there was plenty of it surrounding the areas where I drove. One journey led to a hike that included some rock climbing on the edge of a very sandy cliff side, which jetted out over the water. Anyone who knows me has never heard a story which involved both rock climbing and me in it. I blame it on long fingernails and a general fear of falling, resulting from a lack of upper body strength. No thank you. So, it was no surprise in this dream when I was hanging on by a thread looking up at all the other hikers who marveled at the glorious view while I fought for my life (or at least to keep from falling into the ocean). Somehow I made it to the top with the slightly too chipper for my taste, campers. You know, those annoying people who might have been cheerleaders, aerobics instructors or just seem to maintain a general sense of overly perky behavior? I usually wish I had a BB gun on such appropriate occasions. Not enough to cause real harm, but just enough to where they can let the rest of us enjoy some silence (after a moment of screaming in pain....BBs do hurt). The dreaming woke me after only 5 hours of sleep and it left me lingering on the emotional purging process I've been going through in the last week or so.
It's been a rough winter and adjustment to being in Paris which has not inspired a lot of hope in myself as well as promise of future projects, however after a freak out about my reality which involved ice cream, Nutella, red wine and a teary phone call to a dear friend in California last week, I am snapping out of it. I called this particular friend because she has a way of seeing through the emotional bullshit to get to the bottom of things, but always in a very loving and intuitive way. It's rare when you have someone who knows all your darkest secrets, doesn't judge you and still lifts you up to remind you how great you can be when you aren't able to feel it yourself. It's not the same emotional coddling that can happen to validate what you've been doing, but the true gift of loving kindness coupled with honesty to bring you back to the facts of the matter. Knowing me the way she does she asked when the last time it was I had read my tarot cards. Now, I know it's hokum and voodoo to some people, but I find it a good exercise which brings me back to my intuition by clearing up any emotional turbulence that might be clouding my vision. Of course it's always difficult to remember the tools one has acquired over the years when becoming overwhelmed by emotion. I realize that not everyone is like me, and I do stare in amazement at those who achieve a sense or calm or even flippancy in their reactions. I am capable of this as well, but moving across an ocean into a new environment, a depressing Parisian winter and a broken leg are not exactly the formula for a healthy mental state. So, I broke out the cards. I have been dabbling with this particular deck for the last 10 years or so, and do not profess to be any kind of expert, but since I do have a strong sense of intuition and know myself better than anyone else it tends to bring in much needed insight that I fail to see otherwise.

Below is the brief summary from the notes I made on this reading. I could go into detail about each card, but I might lose some of you along the way. So if it really interests you pop me an email.

- "What I have taken from this reading is that I am a non traditional person who doesn't know how to accept myself and therefore is resistant to the changes that are naturally happening inside of me. My emotional distress from the past has distorted my current state so much that the brain tends to tell me truths that are in fact false, and if I continue to believe and remain ruled by these distorted emotions, it will only channel my powerful personality into aggression. Therefore achieving balance is necessary and will be obtained by looking at things logically, and carefully weighing options so as not to make impulsive choices which would only create further imbalance. There are external forces which will block my creative energy and try to keep me from being my best self, therefore I should carefully consider how to spend my time with people and environments. My biggest fears are that I am not strong and that others will in turn see any exuberance as false and only deem me weak therefore making me insignificant and useless. Moving forward, it is important to accept that the past will not change, but I must not resist current and future change, for they are always possible. I am NOT subject to the fate of my past. If I learn to understand these things and remain calm there is a fiery new beginning waiting for me to obtain it."

As you can see the cards did not tell me what lottery numbers to play, when I will die or that I will fall in love with a blonde haired man with black eyes. What it said so clearly is that my emotional stability is distorted, has much to do with my upbringing (duh), and that even though I think I have worked through it in therapy or whatever, I am obviously still carrying more of it into my present than is necessary. Everyone has a screwed up family or childhood in some way, but some of us are just wired with higher levels of natural anxiety that cause us to deal with it differently. On the exterior I appear to others like a relaxed, calm person who has her shit together, but the reality is I always carry around a large amount of internal suffering. However, after a so many years of trying to hide and carry pain all on my own it started leaking out (via vomit or uncontrollable emotional reactions) usually at very inappropriate times and with the help of inebriating substances.

After an attempted death by Nutella the day before, I decided I needed to get out into the sunshine (yes it's been sunny in Paris this week) and have a little fun. I did a little yoga, went to Parc Monceau and wrote for a few hours on the grass then met up with some friends for dinner. We were wandering around (first time out without a cane, crutch or leg in a brace) trying to decide what kind of food we were in the mood for with the myriad of restaurants before us, and finally decided on a hole in the wall Italian place. It was reasonably priced and not much to look at with its plastic red and white checkered tablecloths, but presented the warm aromas of a proper Italian kitchen. We were welcomed by a tall lanky older man with some serious bed-head who seemed to have lost a few teeth somewhere along the way. Two of us decided on the prix fixe menu, and as we ordered were informed that with the special menu came a free tarot card reading from one of the two Italian-gypsy-like women in the back of the restaurant.Two tarot sessions in one day, why not? I tend to look at such coincidences as more of a cosmic joke being played on me rather than giving it any great gravity of importance. The first card this woman pulled represented a man with whom there had just been an "upset." At first I thought she was going to generically talk about someone I may or may not have been dating, but she turned to the subject of my biological father who had recently been in the hospital and how it created conflicting emotions within me. Okay, one point for the tarot lady. There have been times where I thought it might just be easier if my father were dead, because at least I would not be pulled in close only to be betrayed and disappointed by him again in this yo-yo of a relationship we have always had.

In the grand light-bulb moment, I have seen the real affect of what he taught me about love and what it does to me anytime I start to feel the slightest bit abandoned by a man. The best part is realizing I really can choose to look those feelings in the face and say, "no, I will not tolerate these emotions any longer" and react in a much healthier way. As my friend Jeremy would say "it's time to put on your big girl panties!" There's peace in understanding the reason for a behavioral and physical reaction that has dictated one's actions. Rather than solving the search for love by putting a temporary Band-aid on the wound - which would indefinitely turn into an infection of continually festering, potentially life or limb threatening gangrene - making choices that avoid the gangrene altogether would appear to be the wiser decision.

(Pictured above is me, my sister, youngest brother and biological father)

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