My brother, Sammy, wants to go to college and I’m worried. Our family life has been unusual and as a result we’re often in the crosshairs of some pretty nasty things. As long as Sammy stays with us I can watch over and protect him. If he goes to college I’m worried he’ll be vulnerable to attacks by some of the the things we hunt. How can I convince him to stay or at least ensure he’ll be safe?
What goal do I have that is stalled because I am overwhelmed? How might I best move forward?
I’m stalled because I still haven’t let go enough to move to the next level; the next phase in my life. I’m spending too much time focusing on the pain and the loss and not enough time focusing on what comes next; what I’ve achieved despite of or even because of the pain and loss.
The best way for me to move forward is to get more realistic and practical about matters. Wishes are wonderful things and can be quite a motivating factor, however they can also easily become a trap. Instead of dreaming about things that are unlikely to happen, such as winning the lottery, now is the time to focus on somewhat more realistic and practical dreams and goals.
This actually ties in quite nicely with yesterday’s reading reminding me that I need to narrow the field a bit because time has become more limited. This is a lot to think about and a lot to work with moving forward.
Whom do you need to forgive? Why? How can you best do so?
I need to forgive my childhood, my parents, my upbringing, myself. I’ve worked hard for everything I have in my life. I paid my way through high school and college. I saved money for clothes, books and any extras I had. My parents didn’t have it. They had four children and high school educations; the world was not beating a path to their door. So if I wanted dolls, books, clothes, I earned the money for them.
My working class roots limited my options in life. This is something I resent and regret even as I acknowledge that some if it is my own doing. When I applied to colleges I didn’t even consider Ivy league or out of state schools because I didn’t belong. Even when I attended NYU I couldn’t connect with many of the other students – our life experiences were too different and I wasn’t very flexible (still not). I didn’t feel the need to change in order to fit in and as a result alienated some folks who might have become friends or at least useful contacts.
The best way for me to forgive thus is to truly let it go. It’s a weight I’ve carried for years and it’s pointless and exhausting. I can’t change the past or redo those decisions and choices. All that’s left is to learn from them and move forward. I can be proud of what I have achieved and stop bemoaning lost opportunities.
How are the ghosts of your past still influencing your life?
Oh brother, this message seems very clear to me. I’m still held fast by the poverty in which my childhood was spent. No matter what my true current financial situation, in my mind I’m poor. This results in acquisitional behaviors. Instead of enjoying and using what I already have I focus my energies on acquiring more. I become afraid that I won’t be able to buy new things so I have to do it while I still have the ability.
I realize that my current situation is very different from my childhood, however it doesn’t stop the anxiety and fear of once again being poor. Whenever something shakes my security tree I go on a buying binge to settle it back down again. I think these are the ghosts from my past that still influence my life. Intellectually, I understand that things are different now but that little match girl inside me responds instinctively. Perhaps “shopping my stuff” will help me enjoy what I already own and satisfy that itch that pushes me to buy more.
What parts of your past must you explore and resolve in order to move forward?
This was a tough reading for me. I sometimes find when the reading is about me, interpreting it can be tricky. I see what I want to see or delude myself. I plan to try avoiding it here but I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.
This reading feels connected to my career (well former career). I invested many hours into my former profession and still struggle to accept I’ll likely never work at a career again. Oh I may find work, get a job, but I’ll never again climb a career ladder. There are several reasons for this. One is that I wouldn’t return to my former profession even if it were possible. The field has changed dramatically since I left. Government regulations and funding requirements have made it more about metrics and measurable outcomes than quality programming and services.
I will also never invest so much of myself in another job. I dedicated my heart, soul and body to that job. I put in untold extra hours ensuring things ran smoothly and the facility was safe. I exhausted myself. I had friends and family volunteer for various activities and events. And, for several years I was able to work my dream job. I accomplished what I wanted in that field and now I need to release it and move forward.
Now I need to focus on the plethora of opportunities out there for me in new arenas. It won’t be a career path, instead it may be pursuing joy. This is my chance to explore all the things that make me happy, big and small, without pressure or expectations. For years I felt I didn’t live up to my potential. Now I can redefine where my potential truly lies. I can do things just for the sheer pleasure. That is exciting!
How do you measure your self-worth? Is that something that needs to change?
Hmm, so do I measure my self-worth based upon my journey; seeking out new experiences and sensations? Am I like the voyage of the original Starship Enterprise – “seeking out new life and new civilizations; boldly going where no man has gone before”? I dunno, maybe. I remember a former mentor telling me that when she was younger her focus was on acquiring possessions, but as she got older her focus changed to acquiring experiences. I think I’m still transitioning but I feel the shift in focus occuring.
I’m definitely on a journey and I enjoy the journey. I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself but so much more remains unexplored. Clearly, I still have work to do on releasing my emotional attachment to things that need to be let go. I’m often reluctant to get rid of toys or books or other items that represent hobbies I have moved beyond. I worry that I will regain interest in the hobby and once I get rid of these items I will not be able to reacquire or replace them. Perhaps in order to continue moving forward I need to seriously look at releasing some of these things so they’re no longer weighing me down; holding me back.
How might your knowledge empower other people?
Oh my! This feels very powerful and impactful to and for me. Transformation, dramatic changes, shedding old skin – Death can mean any and all of these. Is that how I can help others – aid them in processing major life changes? Would I be any good at that? I remember that after my mother-in-law died I felt blessed and empowered by witnessing her passing and helping prepare her body to move on to the next stage (the crematorium). Tending her as she deteriorated and prepared to meet death made me stronger and less fearful of dying.
The image on the 8 of Cups reinforces the need to release things before you can move on – whether it is emotional ties or material possessions. If we can’t let go of loved ones we prevent ourselves from moving on to the next level of our own journey.
Perhaps exploring ways to share this with others could prove fulfilling. Sounds like an interesting topic for future blog posts. Of course I hope I can avoid meaningless platitudes and jingoistic bullshit. Let’s face it, transformation is hard and it can hurt like hell! Sometimes we don’t realize how much pain we feel until something rips off the scab and reminds us the wound is still there. Then again constantly picking the scab doesn’t help either. We need to find a balance but before that we probably spend a lot of time bouncing back and forth between hope and despair. Healing ain’t easy and I’m not sure if I’d be suited to the task. I guess time will tell.