Monday, January 06, 2014

Replenishing the spirit


I decided to start 2014 by attending a retreat offered by Joanna Powell Colbert. I was positive I knew why I was going. I was positively wrong. I guess the best lessons in life are the ones we recognize while we are busy thinking something else is important.

The one day retreat was created to explore a personal goal in 2014. We used the Gaian Tarot for clarity and to create action steps to bring that goal to fruition.  I haven't felt called to attend any retreat or workshop in a long time, nor have I picked up my cards. But when I read the post about the day, I felt it was time to re-engage with both.

My mom bought me my first Rider-Waite deck when I was 13. I have gone through many phases and decks over the years. However, I resonate with the Gaian deck in a way I haven't connected with the cards in a long time. From the sidelines, over the last eight years or so, I have followed Joanna's progress as she posted new cards on her website. I was thrilled with her completed deck. When I got my own copy, it quickly became my goto deck when I had a question or wanted some insight. In general, I see less 'oracle' and more 'story' when I use the tarot. For me, tarot cards are representations of universal concepts; they are symbols that tell a mythic story. My interaction with them is not to seek absolute answers, but to listen to the story I hear. Joanna's deck does a fantastic job showing the mythic, and it was because of it and her that I decided to attend on Saturday. I was excited to hold space with a woman who lives her life in such integrity and creativity.

With my goal of 'Being healthy, happy and whole' in hand, my friend Mary and I headed to Bellingham. I was ready to enjoy sharing the day with others and deepening my own mythic story. I immersed myself in the exercises. I had an amazing and healthy lunch. I walked outside and looked at the Puget Sound.

Then we returned for the second half of the day.

Do you ever have moments when you are fully invested in an activity, certain you are doing the 'right' thing and then BAM just when you think you know, you have an insight that changes everything? A moment when your breath catches a bit in your chest and then your whole body sighs because that piece of the puzzle of your life slips into place and for the tiniest moment life stands still and you 'get it'. I had that one of those rare moments.

I was participating in the exercises and going along with the goal setting and such when I drew the following card from her deck:

The four of earth.

I looked at the card and thought, "This card makes no sense." And I PUT IT BACK in the deck! I was sure I needed to draw a different card, so I did. But my mind kept coming back to the squirrel. With its nuts. And the stone cairn. I dug it back out of the deck. I read about it. My time was almost up and I hadn't written anything.

Then, BAM! I got it. The story I wasn't hearing flooded into my head. I realized everything I had done all day was important, but not as much as the story being told by this card. Apparently, the whole day was about the nuts.

The moment of insight I had was about replenishing. In December, right before break, I sort of fell apart. I was exhausted, confused, and emotionally spent. I cried for two days straight. I couldn't keep my world together. And it's okay to be in that place if that is the place you are in - and I was deeply in that place. I couldn't see out of it.

The problem I was having wasn't sorrow, or confusion, or exhaustion. Those were the symptoms - this card helped me realize that the problem was that I hadn't saved up enough nuts.

I hadn't taken care of myself. I hadn't replenished myself. I hadn't stored up enough supplies. I don't need to hoard the nuts, but I do need to make sure I set enough aside for my moments of winter.

I had made the classic mistake of giving, giving, giving and not taking the time I needed to replenish. Initially, I wanted to put this card away because I seldom put myself first. I am not a saver.

My story this year, is to make sure I save some nuts. Yes, I am going to the Y and eating more organically, and saving money, etc. But mostly, I am going to make sure I take some time each month for me. I am going to go on retreats - either by myself or with a circle of supportive people. I am going to do my best to save enough money for a trip to Hawaii over Spring Break and build a cairn on the beach. I am going to make sure I have enough nuts to get through the lean times.

And while I don't make resolutions, I honor revelations. I'm contemplating buying the print of the card to put up in my bedroom - just so I remember the 'nuts'.

I hope your 2014 is filled with an abundance of nuts and you make time for yourself to gather them :).