Monday, July 20, 2015

Virtual Realities



Next time I see a friend put up amazing photos of their lives on Facebook for a few months in a row,  I’m going to pm (private message) them and ask if everything is ok.  Lately I’ve had 3 acquaintances, whose lives I’ve been mainly following on facebook, meet with me and break down and cry about how difficult their marriage/kids/work life is right now.  The disconnect between what they say to me and what they are presenting on fb is just huge, I really thought things were never better for them (of course if I had been seeing their cards, I would have seen things far more clearly!) 



I remember when I was starting therapy and realized that my social, outward face and the feelings I had inside were worlds apart and how much energy it took to keep the façade going.  Nowadays, I always tell a truth – not the truth, not all of it, not everyone needs to hear that – but if I am feeling awful and miserable and hating my life, I won’t say great, or even fine.  I’ll say a truth: I’m tired, which resonates with my bigger truth.  Sometimes people smile and say me too, and go on to humblebrag about how amazing their lives are with all the wonderful things they are doing which tire them out (a real New York sport) and sometimes people respond with something genuine.  But what matters to me is that I am genuine, to others and more importantly, to myself.   Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram - for some people they’ve become the facades that must be kept in perfect order, to cover what hides beneath.  The older I get, the more I value that which is real, even if it is ugly, because reality has a true beauty that these fake representations can never have.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Amazon Sale


Yesterday there was a much trumpeted sale on Amazon.  Not needing anything, but seduced by the endless facebook ads/comments about it, I went on line to browse.  It’s almost impossible for me to browse on line.  I can search for specific things I want and research them, but just mindlessly going into a page full of products, just because they are discounted, well that didn’t quite work for me. 


So I found something I kinda, sorta, maybe wanted.  I scrolled to the bottom to read the reviews as I usually do, and by the time I got back to the top they told me there was none left, but I could go on the waitlist.  I didn’t even need it, but I clicked waitlist. Then a minute later it was now available  and I put it in my cart,  off to ‘browse’ some more but now there was a clock counting down saying I had 10 minutes to check out or it would disappear (presumably it had disappeared from someone else’s cart to be available for mine.)  So I went to the checkout page and paid for it.  But it was a weirdly demanding and unpleasant experience, I felt crowded and jostled, even though I was sitting alone at home.  Everything I was looking at was suddenly 98% gone (and all I was looking at was pet toys!) and by the time I clicked on the page, it was waitlist only.   Amazon wanted me to buy more, but one item in this circumstance was enough, I logged off!


And it got me thinking about sales.  Some people love this vigorous atmosphere, shopping as a competitive sport.  But I found it way too aggressive and stressful. I never go to Black Friday sales, and clearly even cyber sales are too much for me.

I'm really past the point of buying things because they are cheap.  I really only want to own things that I really want...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Lovers Card


I've been a tarot reader for many years, but I've had other jobs at the same time... I've worked at dating agency and have been a relationship counsellor. I gave a talk about Love and Tarot, and the point that got most people nodding was my one about the Lovers card. 


People come to me all the time and say they want the Lover's card in their reading. But I've been in New York a long time now and I say to them, are you ready for the Lover's card?  It has 2 people, naked, facing each other and an ornate angel hovering over them. Who wouldn't want the Lovers card?  But love is about choice and then commitment. Once you make one choice, there are no other options open to you.  If someone more interesting walks in the room, with a better job, better energy,  better options,  you've chosen the Lovers Card and you can't chose them.  And people that night, as on other nights, kind of flinch, and turn away. 


New York is a city obsessed with choice and options, hesitant to settle on any one idea lest a better one come around.  And that hurts them when it comes to Love, because love is a closing of other options, to deepen and enhance the one you have.  One of my favorite Lovers Cards shows a bride and groom, their backs to us and the audience, forsaking all others.  And when you are ready to do that, ready to commit and make a final choice, that's when the lover's card will appear in your tarot spread.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Invitation

I first came across this when I was working as a psychotherapist at South Pacific Private Hospital. I loved it then and it hasn't lost its perfume over the years, it's still wild and untamed and joyous...

Enjoy



The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

by
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
copyright © 1999 by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love is always the answer

I just had to note this auspicious day - where all relationships are recognized before the law,  and given rights and dignity.  

It's amazing how far we've come in a relatively short time and I'm so happy for everyone,  for my friends and family who are now allowed to get married and allow themselves and their families all the protections that that entails.


Love wins. We all win.

Driving in the Right Direction


I’ve been in New York nearly 14 years, but like a true New Yorker,  I don’t have a car.  If we need one,  we hire one and that only happens two to three times a year.  So I’ve been driving on my Australian driver’s license all this time.  

My son turned 17 recently and when we encouraged him to get his learner’s permit, I went along too.  I was told that the DMV could be an unfriendly place, but the staff there were so delighted that I was doing the test alongside my son that were smiles and lots of conversation.  Then we had to watch that weird 5 hours of video, and finally he could take lessons.  He passed his driver’s test a few weeks ago, feeling very happy with himself.  

Yesterday it was my turn.  I’ve been driving for 30 years but tests still make me feel judged (as they should, I was being judged!) which is an uncomfortable and challenging feeling.  I am very happy to have passed first time (it would have been so embarrassing if I hadn’t!) and soon I will have my own shiny New York driver’s license. 


I think it’s really valuable to do things that take you out of your comfort zone, that stretch you a little.  It’s easy to fall into the rut of doing what you are good at, and you are good at many things, but then you realize there are certain things you just avoid.  I’m pleased that I decided to do this along with my son, and that I have a real sense of accomplishment for this week. 


Now on to next week’s challenge… 





Cute Lego pix from the Lego Travellers Facebook page - where an enterprising couple took pictures all over Australia - and other parts of the world - using lego figures.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When do you give up on the dream?


Sometimes people come to me with a big dream, they want an extraordinary life, they want fame and fortune.  And why shouldn’t they? These are the golden benchmarks of our culture.  But the dream is not unfolding in the way they would like; there are frustrations and serious setbacks. 
I am very pragmatic when it comes to this and ask hard questions, but I really trust the cards, because they are often very explicit in these situations.   I spoke to a charming girl in her 20’s and the cards just said no, she is not going to pay the rent with art, and I spoke gently about alternatives,  keeping painting but looking for something else to sustain her till her portfolio builds.  She was not happy with this reading,  but I have to say what I see in the cards,  otherwise,  what is the point of coming to see me?

I read for a bubbly 38 year old and the cards were consistently positive about her desire to act, and I said keep trying.  Of course, sometimes you are ready to hear bad news; sometimes the break really is just around the corner.  What we really want to know is if we are on the right path,  learning the lessons we need to learn.