If I’m ever going to create my future, I’m going to have to come to terms with my past.
I’ve been trying to avoid it, deny it, explain it away, make excuses for it, compensate for it, erase it, and so much more.
I’ve struggled to accept that this is the truth of my life. That this isn’t “just a phase.” It isn’t just going to disappear one day like it never happened.
I think I may have (unconsciously) thought that if I worked hard enough I would be “cured,” I’d become 100% “better”, and it would all be as if nothing had ever happened. That there would be some kind of “redemption” where I would be saved from my own damn self.
In practice what this meant was that I was working toward a model, a “goal” identity, that was completely inappropriate for me.
I wanted so badly to be normal. I would have done anything to not be so “complicated.”
The ideal future self I had in mind was so boring, so basic. So unthreatening. She was some happy, carefree, extraverted, easy going, and very chill girl (that’s why they said they wanted from me, right?).
I thought I could nip and tuck and edit away all of my humanity, become acceptable to the greater mass of society, and call it a success.
I would know I had “made it” when I was deemed normal by everyone and no one ever said anything bad about me ever again.
That was my vision for health: to completely erase myself, and finally just be what everyone else wanted me to be.
My vision now is this: I will not deny my past, I will not erase this self. I will not even try to compensate for the suffering I’ve had with some grandiose and misguided attempt to “make it all worth it.”
I will integrate my past. I will honor myself.
I will acknowledge all of the places and the people I have been, regardless of how strange or scary others find them to be.
I will speak to the truth of who I was, and how it was that I became who I am today.
I wanted to pick up where I left off before, writing in response to what I had learned from my B.O.T.A. lessons the night before.
There was one idea in particular that captured my attention, and I think it is worth repeating here:
“So long as we ascribe power, wisdom, supply or anything else of worth to external conditions, just so long we are dreaming. The sources of life and power are within us. Human personality is like a projection machine. Human environment is like a screen. Our mental imagery (inside us) makes the pictures, and the words of our mouths incite the reactions we experience. But the light which projects the pictures is an inner light… the light of the One Self.
When we awake we come to ourselves as did the Prodigal. We stop dreaming. We are freed from the nightmare terrors besetting those who dwell in dust. Then we find the Creative Word in our mouths and in our hearts. We learn that our “speech,” that is, our mental definitions of ourselves and our relations to our circumstances, never return to us void. If our definitions be wrong, because we are deluded by appearances, the appearances grow worse and worse. When we awake and come to ourselves, a new set of pictures is projected on the screen of our environment.”
–TF 36, “The Tower”
Before I get too far into the details, I wanted to mention this little synchronicity: I read a very similar concept earlier in the afternoon yesterday, only in my psychology textbook.
The chapter was about worry and anxiety, and how these mental and emotional conditions can lead directly to physical health problems.
It basically described the Law of Attraction, only in the book they called it “the Law of Expectation,” and they had a very different explanation for how it all worked than B.O.T.A. It was rooted in physical causation, in contrast to B.O.T.A.’s assertion of spiritual/energetic causes, but the process was essentially the same.
They cautioned against worrying (as it “creates stress”, “rehearses failure”, releases harmful biochemicals, etc.), promoted the practice of visualization for success, and even suggested a focus on the sense of touch being included in visualization practices (just like B.O.T.A. did).
They described essentially the same tools, the same processes, the only difference being the causal mechanisms attributed to each.
I thought this was an interesting coincidence (or synchronicity). I was impressed to see the same content and concepts appearing in these two different areas of life at exactly the same time.
I feel that now I’m on the right track. Clearly, there’s something to all of this.
And this is just one of many little meaningful coincidences that have cropped up repeatedly over the past week or so…
For this reading, I had asked the following questions:
What should I be focusing on now? Is there anything I need to know about my purpose, especially as it relates to my personal healing and growth?
What follows are the notes I took that day on my interpretation of these cards:
The Core of the Issue & What Crosses It: Death crossed by 10 of Cups
Truly, the core of my question is in many ways about the process of death and rebirth I now find myself in.
I’m dying to many past elements of myself and my past so that I may be reborn again and become the woman I know I am meant to be now and in the future.
As I accept and lean into this dying, my natural joy seems to be returning. There is no longer such a driving pressure to push myself into “achieving” happiness.”
Instead, as I let all that does not serve me wither and fall away, my well-being seems to arise more spontaneously.
The Basis of your Question: 7 of Pentacles
The basis of my question is that I am looking to my past to observe what has come about as a result of it, in order to start making plans for my future. I’m seeing what I have sown and what I have reaped so that I can do differently in the future if I want to.
Recent Past: 3 of Wands
This is reinforced by the 3 of Wands in the position showing my recent past. This card is about surveying the landscape in front of you and using your previous experiences, current desires and even your past pain as you look out toward what could become your future. It means pausing and taking the time to ascend to higher ground to view the territory from a more objective perspective.
Higher Self: Queen of Pentacles
This position is meant to represent your Higher Self, and with the Queen of Pentacles here, it shows how I have been learning how to take on the role of being a mother to myself. I am finding ways to give myself all that I once wanted and needed as a child, but never was given or allowed to have by my actual mother. Above all, I am learning how to hold myself gently and with care, much as this Queen holds her Pentacle on her throne.
Near Future: 8 of Cups
This shows how, much like in the image on this card, I am preparing to leave behind one situation to go out in search of greater happiness and fulfillment. In this card we see a solar eclipse, symbolizing one kind of order or way of being in the world receding as a new one arises to take its place.
What I Bring to the Situation: 9 of Cups
I think that in some way I do feel like my wishes are being granted right now. I’ve read anything and everything out there, gone through so much therapy, and worked so hard in an effort to heal, and now I feel that this healing is happening for me.
What Others Contribute / How What You Bring is Perceived in Your Outer Environment: Page of Wands
This card can indicate a sense of honesty, innocence and eagerness to please. It can mean someone who has great ideas and intentions, and shows a lot of excitement at the beginning of a project, but is usually not so great with the follow through. It’s a reminder that I need to be more persistent and committed to acting on my goals (and not just the dreaming and planning parts).
Hopes & Fears / Advice: 9 of Pentacles
The woman in this card is known to be independent, self-assured, secure, and at ease in abundance. She has good boundaries and has taken the time to cultivate herself in order to achieve success. Truly, this is what I want most for myself right now.
Final Outcome: 7 of Cups
This card is all about imagination, fantasy, illusions and dreams. This reflects the danger I am in of falling into a familiar pattern or trap that I have of eternal dreaming about the possibilities and never getting anything real or substantial accomplished. So with that said, I know now that I need to be careful and watch out for this as I move forward.
I want to commit to taking direct, practical action on specific tasks that will actually move me forward towards my goals. I need to release my previous patterns of overthinking and endlessly theorizing while I neglect reality and my actual state of affairs. I’m ready to start making real changes now.
Want more clarity on what’s really going on? Need guidance on what your next steps should be?
“This is our meditation practice as women, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of ourselves, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of life itself. The one who re-creates from that which has died is always a double-sided archetype. The Creation Mother is always also the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature, or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves
This is what I must do now.
This is a turning point for me, and I must choose what will fall away, and what I will carry forward with me into the future.
I’m starting to come to terms with what has happened to me. I’m starting to be ready to see where I need to go next. And who I need to be, in order to get there.