Thursday, June 16, 2016

making the most of your misery...

I think one of the places people of my generation have failed in bringing up our kids is that we so badly wanted them to be happy - have this! watch this! go here! distract yourself with this fun thing! - that many of us didn't teach them that unhappiness is a normal part of life. 

In fact, it's a crucial part of life. 

These are some of the things I'd say to our young now. These are some of the things I'd have made clearer to my own kids if I had it to do over. 

You will never escape times of unhappiness. We never taught you how to just sit with the feeling of being unhappy. We never taught you that being unhappy with your lot isn't the worst thing  that can happen to you.

We also didn't teach you really effective ways out of your angst. I'm not saying we should go back to the old days, the tough old days where men were men and women ate their young - modern psychology has identified a lot of issues that make humans unhappy and that's a good start. Now we need to start making sure that everyone gets some grounding in how to live with and find their way through, the part of the human condition called misery.

1) Write things down. If you're unhappy with your life as it is, organise it via the written word.
a) what's wrong with my life 
b) what can I do to make it better 
c) what do I need to take that action and most important of all 
2) Get out of your own head. Think of others. Do something for someone you love for no reason whatsoever. Do something useful for someone you don't even know for no reason. Do this more than once. Make a weekly habit of it. All of our unhappiness exists within the 2 square foot of space that our body occupies. Move out of that 2 square foot regularly and put yourself into someone else's - it makes you bigger. 
3) Get help to take care of the things in life that need to be taken care of. One of the greatest sources of anxiety is the feeling there are a million things you should be doing, that it will be utterly disasterous if they don't get done and you don't even know where to start. Accountants, lawyers, house cleaners - god bless them, every one, for doing for us the things that make us crazy. 
4) Learn to meditate. You will hear it over and over through life. Learn to meditate. It stills the grasshopper human mind and gives times of great peace and insight.
5) Dwell on the positive as much as you can. For most of us, there are a dozen positive things happen in our day for every negative one - but the human mind is rigged to look out for danger and so it latches on to every little negative occurrence and lets them crowd out the positive. I don't mean you should ignore the negative - but you should certainly strive consciously to give the positive equal weight in your life. Your family, the roof over your head, your health, books to read, gorgeous nature to moon over - there is so much to be happy for in even the very worst day.
6) Understand that whatever is happening for you now, it will pass. None of it is the end of the world. Understand really truly deeply that we are all miserable sometimes.
Life is good for a while and then it's crap and then it's really really good for a long while and then it's catastrophic suddenly and then later it's good again and ... so on and so forth to the end, where you look back and you really only remember the love and adventure  you shared with the people you met up with.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

How do Skype readings work?

Before they’ve had a reading via Skype with me, clients often wonder how it is that I can read for them when they are not even in the same room.

You know what? I don’t understand it completely myself. I do know however that it works and I’d estimate over 98% percent of my clients know it too once they’ve jumped onto the Skype revolution and taken that step.

All I can tell you is that process is not very different from reading cards for someone who is there in the same room with me. I make a connection with the Readee, I lay out the cards and information pops into my head. This information proves time and time again to be relevant and/or helpful to the person I am reading for.

We are entering a new phase in understanding the nature of reality, one in which science is proving that thoughts are made of energy and that energy is a manipulable substance.
Over the centuries, people who could read others’ emotions, see things that hadn’t happened yet or talk to the dead have been stigmatised to a bizarre degree – up to and including tying them to chairs and throwing them in rivers.

Yeah. I know, right?

In most religions, in the past, power was taken away from the individual and placed solely in the hands of a god and that god’s priest class. The common person was told there was only one way to access the power of the spirit and that was through the Church. Think the Catholic Church’s orgy of witch burning or the Mayan’s human sacrifice. These were a very effective means of convincing a population that might be interested in accessing their own intuitive power.

The truth is that we can all learn to access our own intuition. We can all learn to read the flow of the energy of live around us.

Yes, people like myself are generally more skilled at it, simply because we’ve been doing it longer and studying it more deeply. It’s like any skill – the more you practice the better you get at it.
I see much of my role as acting as an interpreter of the client’s own intuition. Most of us know what action we should take in any situation, but we often baulk at taking it because we don’t trust ourselves.

Often a tarot reading just confirms what the client already knows deep down. Just as often though, it brings to light aspects of a problem the client has been avoiding dealing with. When this happens, they will have an AHA! Moment as they recognise the truth of what the cards reveal for them.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

what does a tarot reader actually do?

This makes me laugh. There are so many misconceptions about what tarot reading really is and what it's meant to accomplish.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the sunny side of the street...

It's so tempting to be cynical about life - but the truth is, there are many more good things happen in a day than bad things. Over the course of your life, you will almost certainly be done more good turns than bad ones.

Love, kindness and altruism are the most amazing success story in evolution's giant bag of amazing tricks.

Not only are we programmed by our DNA to look after ourselves, we are programmed to look after each other. That's not to say we always do - of course we don't.

But evolution has also built a fail-safe into our systems. It's called guilt! If we don't look after each other - at least those we are 'meant' to look after, our parents, our children - we feel guilt, one of the most unpleasant emotions known to humankind. Once you have experienced guilt a few times, you will find it is an excellent behaviour modifier - most of us learn to behave in a way that keeps us safe from the ravages of guilt.

Guilt is so corrosive to an individual's life, that in order to escape it, the sufferer will pound their consciousness with mind-altering substances just to dull the experience of it.

Those who don't look after those they are meant to look after and also feel no guilt about it, are almost universally seen as defective. They are labelled sociopaths and shunned. This is another fail-safe - one that operates at the community level; it's called outrage. Community outrage has an amazing ability to moderate behaviour.

Not only is it seen as the norm of human behaviour to look after those you are supposed to look after, those who go further than this are seen as somehow 'super-human'. Nurses, firemen, paramedics even teachers are revered sight unseen because they take the human norm of caring one step further up the ladder and look after those they have no moral imperative to look after.

Sure, you can look out there and see all the aberrant behaviour - parents killing and molesting their kids, young people mugging the elderly, people stealing from their neighbours - but the fact that you are outraged or even just depressed about it only reinforces my point. The time to worry is when this behaviour is tolerated as normal and not commented upon at all.

The wonder is not that enough of this aberrant behaviour takes place to cause us outrage, it is that love and kindness under the normal circumstances of human society is so much the norm that we don't even notice that it is being practised far far more often than behaviour that purposely harms others.

Every day, perfectly average people get up and look after their children and parents far above the standard of care required for mere survival. Everyday, people wait and let others into queues ahead of them. They call and ask friends if they are okay. They create surprises for those they love just to make the day more enjoyable. They cook for friends. They put away money they could use now just so their children won't have to struggle after they die. They give prodigious amounts to charity and most agree that, not only should we help our immediate neighbours, but that rich countries should help people in distress in poor countries that we have never met and who will very likely never be able to return the favour.

Holy snapping milk of human kindness, Batman!

Yes, there are many many failures of care - but there are many many more daily successes. You could almost say we are on the right track!

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

the mysterious other ...

I've been reading tarot for thirty years now and it's an activity that I come to love more and more as time goes by.

To me, a tarot reading is a process that takes place between two people, a deck of cards and some mysterious Other. Some readers call will it God. Some call it angels and some guides. There are as many explanations as there are readers.

So, what do I think that Other is?

Well. Hmmm. Um.

I'm sorry to disappoint you but I have no idea! Oh, I suppose that's not strictly true. Of course after all this time, I have some ideas about what happens during the profoundly mysterious process of a successful tarot reading but I will never know for sure whether I'm right or not until after I go to The Big Reading Room in the sky.

All I really know is that a person, often a stranger, comes to me and we take a small amount of time to tune into each other by each shuffling the cards in silence. I do have a couple of mental rituals that I go through while I shuffle but these rituals are not noticeable to the person I'm reading for and are much closer to meditation than they are to magic. I simply try to clear my mind to allow whatever intuition is released by the spread of the cards to come through more clearly.

The amazing thing to me is not when I am proven wrong - and I freely admit there are such times - but that the information I get through these mysterious means is so often right. Why should it be so?

Most readers use a combination of academic knowledge and intuition. That is, they have studied the meanings of the cards and can get a general meaning from any tarot spread. But once the cards are out, intuition overlays another level of interpretation.

Intuition is information that comes to you through a channel other than your average five senses. Intuition works for me the same way as trying to remember the details of a movie you saw a long time ago; you've got the general gist of it - but it's not completely clear.

It's like someone is prompting you to remember it, giving you little hints, and you're saying, 'Oh, right! Yeah, there's a guy, isn't there? - but I'm not sure what colour his hair is. Oh, hold on - wasn't it black? And yeah, I think he was tall. Wasn't he? And good looking too! Oh, right - it's coming back to me now! He saw this girl he'd never met before and...

And that, is approximately the process that leads a reader to pronounce those infamous words: You are going to meet a tall dark stranger.

I've spent thirty years learning the meanings of the cards, how they relate to each other and how to read the story they are trying to tell me - which is, of course, the life story of the person I'm reading for. I believe we all have fascinating lives which contain meaning beyond that which we can see, hear or understand through everyday means. I believe that pretty much all of us want to do what's right and best for ourselves and those we car about. I believe the journey depicted in the tarot offers us all guidance on how to best live our lives to our own greatest fulfilment.

But you know, after all this time, I'm still no closer to understanding the nature of that mysterious Other, present in all helpful readings, which steers us in the best direction for our future success.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

everything's amazing but nobody's happy...

I love this guy! This is an hilarious rant on how jaded we are and how unappreciative of all the amazing things we can do today. It's a lesson in how our expectations make us miserable. Louis CK on the Conan O'Brien show. 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

build yourself an altar...

Okay. I admit it. Building an altar sounds kooky and well, maybe it is - but I don’t care because it’s REALLY fun!

It’s no news that many of us focus too much on the negative in our lives as we get older – the wrinkles, the money worries, the inadequacies of our spouse - and forget that there are a few decided advantages to the passing years as well; wisdom, experience, discipline and the richness of a lifetime of relationships to mention a just a few.

Setting up an altar helps you focus on those great things and harness the energy of a life well lived. 

I made my altar fifteen years ago after reading about the potent symbolism of having a physical representation of focus at the spiritual centre of your home.

This is a place where you gather your energy. You put your important stuff here, the things that give you strength in life; letters from those you love, photos of everyone who is important to you, physical evidence of your achievements - education certificates, house deeds, references.

When you set a goal, place a written copy of it on your altar. In this way, you tie your future achievements to your past ones. Considering both of them in the same place gives you confidence and strengthens your resolve. You have evidence of all you achieved in the past and therefore know you can achieve this time as well.

How do you build an altar? Any damn way you please! It can be a low table that you can sit cross legged in front of to meditate with your special little treasures arranged on top or it can be a set of drawers with a table cloth your Grandma crocheted covering it while you keep your treasures in the privacy of the drawers.

I bought mine, shown in the picture above, from a second hand shop for about fifty bucks. It's a glass top table made of bamboo and that suits me very well; both transparent and flexible. On it, I keep likenesses of Ganesh and Buddha, photos of loved ones, things my girls made for me, gifts from friends and so on. When I first made it, I asked those who are important to me if there was something small I could have to  put on it. My father gave me a small silver pony he'd owned for fifty years. My mother gave me my grandfather's Waterside Worker's badge. 

One thing I absolutely insist on though; it should be beautiful and it should smell nice. It should be something that gives you pleasure just to look at it. Clean and dust it regularly – it’s a powerful symbol of taking care of your life when you take the time to care for the special items you have accumulated on your altar.

As you wipe each one, consider its importance to you, think about the loved one who gave it to you, think about the time you received it and why you decided that this item of all the other mementoes you have of them was the one you placed here. If you focus on your body sensations, you will feel a warm and gentle power build in your belly as you go through this ritual. 

It’s not enough to look after ourselves physically. We are three-fold beings; we need to look after ourselves spiritually and mentally as well. Building an altar to your Higher Self is a great start on the spiritual part.

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