First Tarot Reading

I received the Oceanic Tarot by Jayne Wallace as a Christmas present from one of my sons. It’s a beautiful deck that appeals to my love of water and swimming, and it provides simple, positive explanations for each of the cards. This morning I did my first reading with it.

In fact, it was the first reading I’ve ever done. Even though the tarot has always fascinated me, I’ve only used individual cards as writing prompts, and I’ve never taken the time to learn the symbolism or history behind them.

My interpretation of this three-card reading, which pertains to past, present, and future, is the following:

I need to let go of the guilt I feel about taking a semester off from teaching English. Devoting time to healing from depression, regaining my energy, spending time with family and friends, and completing my current poetry project are more than worthy endeavors–following this path is lifesaving, at least for now.

Time for reflecting on my relationship with my father and also with all the people I met on the Camino will help me finish the poems I’ve been writing for the last three and a half years.

Time for practicing yoga, reading about Ayurveda, balancing my doshas.

Time for writing in community with fellow poets online–

Thank you to Dave Bonta and Kelli Agodon for continuous motivation and opportunities for building online friendships.

After Yoga Writing Circle: Sankalpa

The writing that my fellow yogis produce after our Saturday yoga class with Sally continues to inspire me. 

For our last session, we wrote about our sankalpa, a Sanskrit word that means “resolve, intention.” Before meditation, the practitioner visualizes herself having, doing, or being the sankalpa.

Typically, this type of meditation is done before a yoga nidra practice, which involves lying down and mentally naming 54 body parts. 

With the body and mind in a state of deep relaxation, yet still awake and conscious, the practioner’s intentions penetrate the deeper layers of consciousness, creating a greater potential for the goals to be realized.

I wrote this intention about how I would like to wake in the morning. I wrote it in the present tense, as if this were my actual waking experience.

I wake in the morning with the first light of day and take a deep breath. My heartspace feels open and soft, and I’m at peace. 

Birds singing outside my window fill me with joy.

I sit up in bed and meditate for a short time before I let the dogs out into the backyard.

After a cup of chamomile, I roll out my yoga mat, full of energy and motivation to meet the day. 

I’m excited about life and the possibilities this new day will bring.

I suppose this is a kind of prayer I am asking of the cosmos, of God, and of my own inner self. It might sound like a sugarcoated version of reality, but as Tibetan Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman has said, “To create something, you have to imagine it first.”

Why shouldn’t we desire the best for ourselves in terms of spiritual and psychic evolution? 

  

A Day In the Life, November 13

I forgot that today was Friday the Thirteenth until I hit the retaining wall with the back of the car while pulling out of the driveway. I don’t believe that Friday the 13th is an inherently unlucky day, but of course there’s the power of suggestion at work on our susceptible unconscious minds.

The wood retaining wall is now askew until S.A. bangs at it a few times with a sledge hammer. That was our proposed solution after he came out to assess the damage this evening when I came home from teaching. Part of the reason why I hit it, I think, is because it hurts to turn my head very far to the right because of the surgery I had on Tuesday.

I snuck in a quick three-mile walk today before leaving the house to teach. The air was crisp, the sky blue, the leaves still yellow and red in places. I could feel the tugging of the stitches from the skin cancer surgery as my arms moved with my pace, so I slowed down a bit.

Walking across campus on the way to class I passed a beautiful young woman who was carrying a vase of yellow roses to her car.

A man wearing a suit stopped me and said, “Would you like a Bible to add to the glory of the day?” I’m now in possession of a green, pocket-sized Gideon Bible that contains psalms and proverbs.

I thought of Michelle Castleberry’s poem “The Gideons” from her book Dissecting the Angel, where she writes about wanting to pass out Bibles for the Gideons but not  being allowed since she was a girl.  I also thought about the Angry Preachers I would encounter at the university where I used to work. They would plant themselves in the middle of the quad and tell just about everyone they were going to hell. Those preachers were filled with anger and fear.  At least the man I met today was kind.

Because of the stitches, I skipped the swim I usually take after my Friday afternoon class. After teaching for almost three hours, swimming laps renews and relaxes me. Instead, tonight I’l do a lying down meditation, one of the guided meditations from Jack Kornfield’s audiobook,  Guided Meditations for Self Healing.

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Update: I couldn’t lie still for the mediation because I was just too anxious, so I took a very hot bath with sea salts and soaked for twenty minutes. I continued to focus on the breath, and eventually the salts and the hot water drew the nervous energy out of my body. This is a trick I learned from my therapist, and for me it works like a charm.