It’s hard pushing a boulder with one hand tied behind my back

Dance of Life Tarot Dancer of MoneyTarot of the Secret Forest 2 of Swords

This two cards create an interesting message when combined.  The Dancer of Money  the Material World visually reminds us that sometimes work is as relentless and repetitious as pushing a boulder up a hill.  That is a fairly accurate description of the work in which I’m engaged right now – caring for an elderly mom-in-law.  There is little recognition or glory in the work.  In fact sometimes there is little satisfaction in it either.  It simply is what it is.  It has to be done and so I do it.  Day after day follows a similar pattern and there is no clear end in sight.  In fact even thinking about the end is sad because it probably means death.

The Tarot of the Secret Forest 2 of Swords shows a somber image – a shadowy figure standing near the edge of a cliff with a tree in the background.  I cannot tell if this figure is actually a rock or perhaps a person.  My first reaction was that this was a knight whose arm was lost in a war and now he is trying to make his way back; to find purpose and balance in his life.  Looking again I saw a hooded figure standing at a cliff’s edge holding a drum or shield in one hand, a sword slung across his back and a spear in his other hand.  He seems armed for battle but is also hampered by all the weapons he bears.  Somehow that rings true for me right now, especially in conjunction with the Dancer of Money.  I am hampered, one arm is tied behind my back, handicapped in this situation.  It reminds me that no matter how much I want to believe I’m in control, it’s an illusion.  There are many factors the impact my daily life over which I have no control.

For some reason rather than saddening or depressing me, this message is liberating.  Sometimes believing everything is within your control also creates the mindset that if I just figure out the pattern I can fix everything.  That’s bull!!  It’s a lie we feed ourselves or get fed via numerous self-help gurus and books.  Don’t misunderstand me – there are a number of factors in my life which I control.  However there are just as many which are outside my control.  I have no control over my mother-in-law’s progressing senility or dementia or whatever the hell this is.  I have no control over the fact that the rest of her family has chosen to abandon her when she needs them most.  All I have control over is how I choose to deal with this.  And I choose to be here for her and try to make this as bearable for all of us as I can.  I’m not a martyr (gods forbid) and I don’t feel especially noble (especially when I’m ranting like a madwoman about something that frustrates me).  What I am is someone from a long line of women who took caring for ailing family members as a matter of course.

Eventually I know this leg of my journey in this life will end or take a turn onto a different road.  I have no idea when that might happen but I am sure that I will be able to face whatever challenges and joys await me on that road too.  Although this road has become so familiar that sometimes I don’t see what is right in front of me, there are moments of clarity and beauty that allow me to appreciate and embrace them; to store them as a defense against the tougher times.

2 thoughts on “It’s hard pushing a boulder with one hand tied behind my back

  1. I’m glad to hear you find moments of joy in it all, that’s important! And so true that we don’t have control over a lot of what happens in our life. I feel we always have choices, but that isn’t the same as control…


    • Exactly! I always remember someone once said that we cannot control certain things in our lives but we can control how we react to them or how we let them impact us. That’s something I try to keep in mind when things get rough.


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