a seasoned sailor

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From the Art of Life tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

I used to use this tarot deck and give daily tarot twitter reads and then, probably because I was a bit disillusioned with the esoteric and how my life was sucking, I just wasn’t feeling it and stopped.

This deck allows you to display a card of the day in a picture frame, and the last card I pulled was the one you see above

I pass by the card every day on the way to and from the bathroom. It didn’t really mean that much to me when I pulled it, although this sentiment was nice enough.

Now it seems to make sense.

It’s interesting when you look at something often and you don’t understand it, and then all of a sudden…it just clicks.


So do I feel brave enough to go into storms on purpose now? No, not yet. But I do understand that I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been sailing on life’s stormy seas. And they are only lessons I could learn in the tempest, not during smooth sailing.

And that’s actually the point: I recognize that while I was sailing along, I was actually learning how to sail my ship.

Like right now…there’s still so much uncertainty with money. It’s frustrating and, until recently, utterly embarrassing.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how poverty can warp your mind and your relationships. We also talked about the inflated expectations placed on us as smart kids at school. Being learned and clever should be enough.

But it isn’t. The world is unfair, at least within this worn out conventional wisdom of being smart enough and educated enough to make it to that (quickly fading) dry land of a comfortable, middle-class life.

If anything, this blog has documented the deconstruction and reconstruction of my life being centered around the idea of fairness and meritocracy. 

So many of us endure the withering, blistering storms of poverty. But since the end of January, I’ve somehow learned to stop stressing out or worrying about it.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t care, that I don’t have concerns about how I will be taken care of, of how I will take care of myself.

Of course I care. Of course I have concerns.

And this is the same old squall. But I am not the same old sailor.

Letting the acrid waves of anxiety wash over me and the whirlpool of worry pull me down didn’t help my money situation.

Listening to myself did. My intuition as my internal GPS.

Specifically to this situation, it was listening to myself about what I should be doing, not just doing a list of prescribed things that I should be doing. It even involved a tarot reading last month that warned me against hustling and grinding.

That’s counter-current of what’s going on in American culture: rise and grind. 

I had been grinding and I was so miserable.

So when I stopped grinding and hustling , last month was one of the happiest months I’ve had in years. And it had nothing to do with circumstances changing…except dropping the rise and grind drudgery.


To use another aquatic metaphor, struggling against a current will only cause you to sink. You need to move along with it. 

So maybe…actually…I’m not afraid of storms anymore, because if I can look back on my life, I can tell you, most assuredly, that the storms of life are certain. 

You will be betrayed. You will be disappointed. You will be abandoned. You will suffer. You will lose.

There’s no point in trying to resist the inevitable pain and heartache of being here on earth as a human being. So what’s the point in avoiding the inevitable?

As they say in the military: embrace the suck.

But one big point of being here on this spinning hot rock is that we do get to learn how to handle these certain storms.

And then we, as seasoned sailors, teach the novice sailors how to sail through, to keep afloat, and to even rebuild a ship after shipwreck.


Even there’s still a lot of growth and processing going on, it’s been calm for a little bit now. With this space of respite, I’ve been able to appreciate the storms I’ve endured, about how radically different my life is because I stop resenting the storms.

And I don’t mean to be one of those people who sound they’re on a nirvana cloud, floating above everyone. If I could transcend the suck of everyday life, I would have done it already. 

I have resented how hard my life is and has been, how it seems like the help I give far outweighs the help I’ve received. And I may sound ungrateful, but I’m not. Even if I grew up hating asking for help, over the years, I’ve learned to ask for it, and I’m grateful whenever I receive it.

But it can be excruciatingly frustrating and confusing to see lives around you flourish as your life continues to deteriorate and worsen over time.

Why am I encountering so many of the same kinds of storms so often?

Just a couple of days ago, I finally got an unexpected breakthrough with that question, which I will most likely blog about for my Patreon subscribers, since it’s very personal.

To be brief, though – I’ve had to learn a new way to sail through life so I’m not tiring myself out while I seem to spin around in circles.


So for the uninitiated in tarot, here’s what the Ace of Swords means: cutting through the bullshit. Obliterating obstacles. It signifies a new chance to begin again. New thoughts, new words, new truths, new clarity – especially mental clarity. The swords suit usually have to do with words and thoughts.

Cutting through the mental storms of life has been one thing I’ve learned to do, and I guess this post is just one of gratitude, that I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to get through these tough times.

Another certainty in life? Storms eventually end. The sun returns. The skies clear up. 

That can be nearly impossible to believe if you’re being tossed about on the uncaring seas of life. And heck, this metaphor is becoming belabored after a thousand words or so.

I’m just giving you a dispatch from my ship, which I’ve been learning to sail for the past four decades, and finally, I can see a break in the clouds…⚓


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