“Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today, I am writing my Monday blog post at night, rather than in the morning. I’ve been not only observing the goings-on of the last day of 2012, but I’ve been wrapping up a whole lotta personal change as well.
Like nearly everyone I know, I’ve had my share of challenges lately, and I think most of us will say “so long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye” very happily to the old year. Bring in the new!
Thank you for reading my thoughts here. Thank you very much for liking and sharing your thoughts. Wishing you all a colorful, fulfilling, and enlightening path in 2013 as you continue to aim 4 wisdom.
The other day, I read a quote from Gandhi in which he advises that “it is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom.” Holy cow! I thought, with no disrespect intended. Of course! Many people are willing to learn, but how many of us are willing to UNlearn what we think we already know??
The path of learning sometimes comes with hard lessons that remind us that we don’t, in fact, know it all. I think many of us like to read about and explore and search for new wisdoms. But if we take the view that there is a Body of Knowledge out there to learn, and we just have to learn it all and then we are done, then we are really being rather myopic.
If it is true that the only constant is change, then we can’t let ourselves think that we are ever done learning. Even if we’ve learned some really Big Lessons and come a long way and had some Life-Altering Revelations, we can’t rest on our laurels. There will always be more to learn. Plus, what happens when you come up against a new situation in your life, one that doesn’t match anything you’ve ever had before? Sometimes, applying your old knowledge doesn’t work for the new situation.
No one likes to be humbled or to admit flaws. It’s one of the hardest things in the world to look in the mirror and say, “You screwed up, pal. You’ve got some soul-searching to do.” Most times, when we run up against stuff we don’t want to hear, we deny it and fight it.
But what would happen if we were always willing to learn AND unlearn? Let’s say someone challenged your beliefs or stated an opinion opposite to yours. Or, harder still, pointed out a personal item that you might want to work on. Generally, when someone pushes a button like that, most of us react angrily or feel wounded in some way. What if, instead, we chose to see that emotional response as a Messenger? We could say, Hmmm, there’s that Messenger again. Perhaps he’s telling me that I have an opportunity to learn, unlearn, and grow here if I put ego aside and examine the issue honestly and objectively.
Hard work? Definitely. Worth it? Always.
A few weeks ago, I asked for your contributions to an idea I had –The Wisdom List. Since this blog is dedicated to learning the lessons along one’s life path, it made sense to collect some of our experiences and then share them here, my online salon for the polite exchange of ideas.
There were some great comments on this post–go back and look now if you want! I am hoping that this column continues to generate comments as time goes by, but I did promise that I would pick a winner in September. And soooooo………
I choose the comment submitted by Rachel:
When you feel paralyzed and buried by life, take a deep breath and one tiny step forward–each tiny step forward will build on the previous and before you know it you have forward momentum.
For me, this philosophy sums up the whole point of life, in a way. It’s not too bold to say that this one statement could apply to just about everything. Feeling stuck? Keep moving! Had a bad experience? Keep moving! Got a lot to offer? Keep moving!
It’s the Circle of Life, it’s the ongoing Lessons of Your Path, it’s just the way it is. So thank you, Rachel, for your submission, and please look for an original “aim4wisdom” prize coming your way!
Keep moving, everyone!
I woke up this morning thinking about tarot cards. That tells me that my unconscious mind has my back.
You see, I’ve recently been struggling with understanding some things about myself and about my current personal life. In my typical Virgo Rising, over-analyzey way, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to sort these things out. Sometimes I feel like some kind of mental ninja, attacking every thought and idea in my own head, tearing them apart to see what makes them tick. But this time, I wasn’t having much success at getting to the heart of them.
Enter the tarot.
A standard tarot deck contains 78 cards, with 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The major cards deal with the larger turning points in life; the minor ones, then, are about the everyday events. Each card has a symbolic meaning, and the cards can be arranged in several ways to help us understand particular dilemmas or answer general questions.
Now, please don’t think that I am suggesting that tarot cards are for fortune-telling or magic in the Harry Potter sense. While I would absolutely love to have my own elder wand, I do not believe in fate or anything that would make fortune-telling possible. Predictions imply that I have no say in my own destiny.
Rather, I think tarot (and astrology and other similar sorts of magic) is for helping us to see what is in our own unconscious mind. The unconscious mind contains so much information, but much of it is too scary or heavy to deal with. That’s why we wrestle with stuff for so long sometimes. We might not yet be ready to hear the information the unconscious has to offer. So it gets parceled out in manageable bits.
By looking at a spread of tarot cards, we get information that we ourselves have chosen, and it’s in a symbolic language that forces us to slow down and think and uncover meanings for ourselves. In other words, we declared ourselves a willing student, we chose our own curriculum, and we went to work voluntarily. I don’t think that lessons that are handed to us really stick, at least not the same way that experienced lessons do. It’s the difference between being told not to touch the hot stove and actually touching the stove so you know for yourself that it’s hot.
For me, then, thinking about tarot cards this morning tells me that I am ready for more information and that I am ready for some new insights. My unconscious mind gave me a little nudge, suggesting a new route for my train of thought. Who am I to ignore that? So, if you will excuse me now, I am going to drink my coffee and ponder the Moon card.
With the state of the economy, the endless “he said, she said” of politics, and the everyday work/life/relationship struggles, sometimes it’s all too easy to feel sad or overwhelmed. And every morning, we wake up to those same challenges again.
We humans, at least those of us in fast-paced, “modern” cultures, have gotten away from some of the natural rhythms of life. With our noses in our computers, tablets, and cell phones, we barely look up enough to see the seasons and the cycles of Mother Nature. Our ancestors seemed to understand more fully that “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose.” By honoring Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, they lived the Wheel or Circle of Life and understood that “this too shall pass.”
So how does understanding the Wheel help us to cope? First, it always helps me relax a bit more when I remember that life IS a wheel, and so it will always keep turning, no matter how slowly, and indeed, each event will come to pass. And second, it reminds me that I should live in each season and embrace what it has to offer, even if it doesn’t match up with what I want at that particular moment. In other words, it’s baking and enjoying homemade pumpkin muffins at Thanksgiving, instead of being mad that I can’t have fresh strawberries.
The Mayan Calendar has been in the news lately because of some misinterpretations of it as a Doomsday Prophecy. Perhaps part of the problem came from the fact that the Mayan term “World,” which is more properly translated as “phase,” was taken literally. So when the circular Mayan Calendar said “end of World,” well, you can imagine the panic that ensued among the misinformed.
This December 12th is that “end of World” moment in the calendar. But guess what? It keeps going then! One phase will end and a new one will begin. Hopefully, we’ve learned something from the last go-round, and we can apply our new wisdom to the next turning of the Wheel so that it rolls a little smoother. If not, I suggest dipping that pumpkin muffin in chocolate and cracking open a pint of ice cream . . . .
One of the reasons I am so drawn to astrology is its ability to be an infinite source of information about ourselves. We can get information from each of the planets and signs and houses in our natal charts. Then we can look at the symbolism of the angles that each of those bodies makes to the others. Then we can look at the top half of a chart versus the bottom half, or right versus left. And then then we can compare our own birth chart to what is going on in the sky at any other time. And on and on and on . . . . It can be a textbook that serves us our whole life.
On September 2nd, there will be a shift in the Moon’s North and South Nodes. The Nodes are mathematical points and not physical bodies, but in astrology we can use them in a way that is similar to the planets and signs in our chart. (For you scientifically-minded readers, the Nodes are the points where the Moon’s orbit intersects the Earth’s ecliptic.)
Now, many of us know our Sun Sign, our Rising Sign, and some might even know the Mercury or Moon signs. But the Nodes are less commonly known, which in my opinion is a shame. The Nodes are a wealth of information for those of us on a spiritual or wisdom quest.
In short, the South Node tells us our spiritual starting point in this lifetime. It represents our unconscious patterns and past-life habits we continue to carry on in our current incarnation. The North Node is its opposite, symbolizing our spiritual destination. It is our path to spiritual enlightenment and can bring great fulfillment.
For the past year and a half, the South Node-North Node combination has been Gemini-Sagittarius. This pairing has given us humans the collective experience of understanding that busy work, spreading ourselves too thin, and multi-tasking may not be the answer; it has been encouraging us to find meaning in our lives instead.
When the Nodes move into the Taurus-Scorpio arrangement, they are nudging us toward deep transformation. Taurus is strongly attached to stability and security, but Scorpio says that change is the only constant. We can keep the vision and philosophy we learned from the earlier Nodes, and we can incorporate a surrender of sorts to the natural birth-death cycle of life.
Be open to change, Wisdom Warriors! Remember that real growth takes “full circle” experiences, so be willing to let some things die in order to live fully!
Today’s column is written by guest author Jennifer Erickson, licensed professional counselor. This column originally appeared on Facebook and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
Be gentle with people today. That person who cut you off really could be en route to the hospital. The spouse who says “I can’t today” may really mean it for reasons neither of you fully understand. That jerk customer might have served our country and suffered a traumatic brain injury that affects his mood. The woman who seems bitchy at the grocery store may have been raped as a child.
It’s perfectly ok to avoid these people or to feel mad with the knowledge of exactly what they should or could be doing differently…. Just please remember they do not have your distance or clarity about their situation. Not yet anyway. In the spirit of them gaining insight and behaving better, please render a heartfelt prayer or thought – rather than a harsh judgment – as you walk by or away.
The other night, while I was watching the Olympics, I had a revelation. I had kind of spaced out while some Russian girl was on the uneven parallel bars, and all of a sudden, it came to me. I figured out something about myself that had bothered me for years! There must have been something in the air that night because the Russian girl ended up winning the gold too, so there was good stuff all around.
Anyway, having learned something about myself, I got to thinking about learning in general. I thought that it would be pretty neat-o for us to share all of our wisdom with each other here on this blog. And so the idea for The Wisdom List was born.
I invite you to share your favorite, hardest-earned, pithiest, most magical bits of sagacity and enlightenment on this post. I will collect them all and post them in an upcoming post. AND I will award a prize for the most edifying. You can post funny things, truly enlightening things, even a quote or bit of wisdom from someone else. It should just be something that rings true, even if for only one teeny little moment in time.
I’ll get the ball rolling with some of my favorite bits of wisdom:
1. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know (Pema Chodron).
2. Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.
3. Pants first, then shoes.
4. Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
OK, now your turn! Remember, the best entrant will win an original “aim4wisdom” prize!
Happiness is __________________.
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