08.12.12

some mysterious fractal

August 12, 2012 is when I finally made it to Florida to start grad school. It was on a Sunday. I was supposed to leave the day before, but the movers I hired were terrible and took too long. I guess I missed my flight? I couldn’t get a hold of any friends to crash with so I had to stay at this noisy airport hotel.

I had to stay with my cousin here for a couple of weeks because my stuff was being bounced around all over the east coast. Such a disreputable moving company.

I don’t even want to rehash all of that because it was horrible and I am tired of complaining about how horrible life has been down here. I think the horror magnifies with how hopeful I was to finally find my tribe, to make a real connection with a blood family member, to escape the cold and growing disappointments of Chicago.

Well, life had other plans for me.

It’s been very transformative spiritually. Going into year six of my life down here, I feel like I’ve unloaded a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage. I feel cleansed and unencumbered. But the journey to get to this very precious place has been very expensive: on my bank account, on my credit, on my body, on whatever I would call my social life.

Has it been worth it? I’m not entirely sure yet. This is a rather 7 of Pentacles moment right now. I’m looking at what I’ve grown so far and knowing there is more work to do.

Instead of regaling you with how shitty and disappointing and heartbreaking and humiliating and scary (and I’m pretty sure this blog has detailed a lot of that, so just peruse the archives for a good gasp, cry, or sigh), I’d rather just pivot from here and say that I’m done with this period of my life–or maybe my (very warranted) emotional response to it.

I’m not like Katrina and the Waves walking on sunshine yet, but I am tired of feeling like my life is one long, painful climb, even if that is the Capricorn way. Eventually, I want to be able to rest and enjoy the views up here…

 

The prolonged money and housing instability has been interesting to navigate as someone who is a Capricorn sun and rising with a Cancer moon. My sojourn in Florida has hit me where it hurts, over and over. That’s probably due to Pluto and his heavy demolition crew obliterating my 1st house of self, where my Capricorn sun and rising reside.

Who am I without a stellar reputation? Without stable housing? Without friends to lean on? Without a reliable stream of money?

What is my home? Who is my family?

I don’t really know what the answers to those rhetorical questions are. I believe I’m making it up as I go along–as we all do. I thought I knew those answers.

I didn’t realize how much I had relied on my plucky nature to get me out of jams, and how I have always had a strong community there for me to lift me up. Even with social media, I had both strong online and offline communities, where even both worlds would begin to meld. I met my last boyfriend in an MSN chat room and then we met in IRL–he lived in the same city and went to college with people I knew from my church.

It’s hard to have these stalwarts stripped away–sometimes very violently, and sometimes very slowly. But all the same, it’s left me very vulnerable and open–well, it’s easier to hear from Spirit in this way.

Looking back over these five years, I don’t have much gratitude for this stripping process yet. Still, because I want to change my attitude towards whatever has been unfolding in my life, I took myself out to dinner downtown.

As a sidenote, I do think it’s funny how some Americans will roll up into a nice restaurant and wear soccer jerseys or whatever else seems like casual attire.

My Cancer moon needed to be fed and nurtured. It felt so good to eat the (sometimes literal) fruits of my labor (I had a peach salad and a peach cobbler). As my current housing situation is driving me a lot batty,  it was also nice to not physically be here for three hours, to breathe healthier air in a different space, to not have the draining energy of this newest, inconsiderate boarder. I could at least afford to do this for myself, to celebrate my survival in a tough, unsympathetic state. That’s an accomplishment in it of itself.

But that’s the reframe right there: survival of losses, not just the losses. It’s what I’m good at. I do like to to triumph over circumstances. It may not be that I got to keep my car or my housing or my bank account at a consistent level. I have survived those losses. It seems right now the triumph is over death, over giving up, over having my spirit decimated.

I’m in a real spiritually desperate place right now. I am desperate for real, meaningful change; desperate to have Spirit move me–both literally and figuratively–to a place where I am nurtured and can be nurtured; to a place of deep fulfillment and appreciation; to a place where I can be fully myself again. I am desperate enough to not solely look to other people to help me. I am desperate enough to shut out the world and to look within for all the treasures that were hidden underneath all of the things I’ve lost. I am desperate enough to not look to myself first and then come to the end of myself–I want to look to Spirit first where there is no beginning and no end.

I’ll be going on a retreat this weekend and I hope that my desperation will be met with opportunities and answers and practical solutions, and maybe a little more patience and strength as I keep journeying from the “here” of discontent to the “there” of “finally!”

By the way, that’s a perpetual round trip we all make, from discontent to contentment.

As the solar eclipse comes closer, I know there’s more coming my way—actually good things, things I’ve been wanting for so long, like stability, like expansion, like love in all forms. Lately, it’s been wonderful to have things to look forward to, not just things to dread.

As I grow older and closer to the midpoint of my life, I feel the pressure of limited time and there’s so much I want to do with my life than just survive. I have to trust that all that I’ve gone through here was not in vain–that there’s a purpose that’s greater than my own soul growth and spiritual development, that the ripple effect will be wider than I will ever know.

It’s really easy to forget, that even within the chaos, there’s some order—even if we don’t understand it yet, like some mysterious fractal that begins to unfold.

I have to trust that this unfolding, albeit painful, is truly both beautiful and beneficial. Otherwise, my life has been utter madness without any method or reason. I’m not talented enough to invent reasons or methodology on my own.

So here I go, with another long trust fall with the Universe. Even as I squirm and question and fret, there’s still a knowing that I am following, that nothing is ever wasted, that at least some of this wild and wacky ride will make sense, soon.

lucy, desi, lucie, desi jr.

family is more than blood SOM

I recently wrote about my own family’s astrology, which really tripped me out because of how my brother and I were the solutions of what elements my parents lack (earth and water). I randomly stumbled upon Desi Arnaz’s natal chart because he and I have similar chart patterns (bowls above the horizon). I noticed that he and my mother have the same birthday.

I had read that Lucille Ball had noted that her marriage to Desi wasn’t anywhere near as pleasant as it was portrayed on the TV show, “I Love Lucy.” And then I saw that she was a Leo. It was like my parents, but reversed–including in age (Lucy is older than Desi).

Today is Lucy’s birthday. She would have been 106 years old if she were still living. She is a Leo like my father. What’s interesting about Lucy and Desi involves their moons and ascendant/rising signs. Desi has a Cancer moon and rising. Lucy has a Capricorn moon and rising. By degrees, both of those placements are in strong opposition.

Guess what their children’s sun signs are? Lucie Arnaz has a Cancer sun, Capricorn moon (hello full moon baby, like my brother), Leo rising. Desi Arnaz, Jr. has a Capricorn sun, Pisces moon, Aquarius rising.

I looked at their north nodes, which have a lot to do with fate.

  • Lucy’s north node is in Taurus.
  • Desi’s north node is in Capricorn.
  • Lucie’s north node is in Pisces.
  • Desi Jr.’s north node is in Aquarius.

And here are some interesting connections in their charts:

  • Lucie’s midheaven is in Taurus is conjunct, but not by degree, to her mother’s north node.
  • Lucie’s north node is conjunct to her dad’s sun.
  • Desi Jr.’s south node, in Leo, is conjunct his mother’s sun.
  • Desi Jr’s Mercury in Capricorn, is conjunct his father’s north node.

I didn’t want to start looking at what all these signs may mean about their relationships to each other, or their individual personality traits–that would take a lot of time and it’s not necessarily my focus of this post. I just thought it was so random to have a famous family have the same sun signs as my family, but all in different configurations.

The north node contacts make me think that although this marriage ended in divorce, there was a lot fated for this family to be together, to learn from each other.

Additionally, quincunx relationships, or relationships with signs five signs away (the angle is 150 degrees), can feel like fate. The Obamas are a classic example of how that can work, and work beautifully (Pres. Obama being a Leo, and the First Lady as a Capricorn). But it can take work. It can be really tough. I can only imagine what a Leo woman living with a Pisces man could feel like. Maybe those lunar and ascendant oppositions weren’t harmonious. I can tell you as someone who has that Capricorn-Cancer opposition, it’s a push-pull seesaw that can give me emotional motion sickness. It doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t find some spiritual Dramamine, or a way to keep my eye on the horizon. And that goes for relationships with people, too.

I don’t want to get too heavy into the synastry (relationship astrology), but it doesn’t seem that hot between Lucy and Desi, in retrospect. I don’t personally think any relationship is doomed because of synastry. It can be a good user’s manual for a relationship, or a post-mortem of why a relationship worked–or didn’t work.

If you didn’t get any of that somewhat technical astrology jargon, here is your TL;DR: you and your family, for better and for worse, are probably bound by fate in ways that you don’t even realize. Astrology is a way to explain those connections, to make sense of the randomness of the genetic lottery that we’re all a part of. Even when I felt like I never belonged with my family, I can see how I am inextricably tied to them, and them to me. Even if it’s not the happily ever after that I’ve fruitlessly sought, I know that our astrological aspects to each other, even just our sun signs, have taught me things about loving myself (Leo), the importance of family and close friends (Cancer), and spirituality (Pisces).

Even when things end, there’s still a lot of good left.

 

 

the astrology of my family

family

The other day, a friend of mine called me an astrologer. I definitely don’t feel like one. I don’t feel like I know enough, especially compared to the astrologers I know, and of them, especially the ones who have been  certified through organizations like the International Society of Astrological Research. I have helped people understand their own natal charts and the natal charts of their children, but I like having some cred.

Whatever I am, an astrologer or just a very curious person, I thought I’d take a deep dive into astrology in this post. My website name is an astrological aspect (sun opposition moon, which means that there was a full moon at the time of my birth). I keep talking about sun signs (aka the sign you look up for your horoscope) in my posts as well. I’ve been in a horribly didactic mood lately, so I might as well go all in and talk about how astrology can help you understand your family.

Today is my brother’s birthday (June 28th). He’s two and a half years younger than me and is also a full moon baby (Cancer sun, Capricorn moon). I don’t know his birth time because I really just started getting into this and my mom is quite evangelical and thinks astrology is ridiculous. So I’m not asking her.

Let’s start with my planets first.

My planets

Sun: Capricorn

Moon: Cancer

Ascendant (or Rising): Capricorn

Mercury: Sagittarius (retrograde)

Venus:  Sagittarius

Mars: Leo (retrograde)

Jupiter: Cancer (retrograde)

Saturn: Virgo (retrograde)

My generational planets are Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Sagittarius, and Pluto in Libra. There’s some interesting things to talk about with both Uranus, as it transits to Taurus next year (it is opposite Scorpio), and Pluto, which is squaring, or at a 90 degree angle with the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn. It’s hard to say what is going on for us Gen Xers as Pluto is going through Capricorn. But I will definitely write about how Pluto in Capricorn is affecting me, doubly, in another post.

A few pointers:

  • Your ascendant or rising sign is the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the time you were born.
  • If you have a rising sign that is the same as your sun sign, you were probably born early in the morning (and I was).
  • Every sign has some element to it:
    • Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
    • Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
    • Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
    • Water: Cancer, Scorpio Pisces
  • Every sign also has another kind of quality called a quadruplicity–basically, how a sign functions within a season:
    • Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn–they start off seasons
    • Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius–they keep the season going
    • Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces–they close out the seasons
  • Every zodiac sign has a luminary or planet ruling it (I use the old school rulers).
    • Sun rules Leo
    • Moon rules Cancer
    • Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo
    • Venus rules Taurus and Libra
    • Mars rules Aries and Scorpio (Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio)
    • Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces (Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces)
    • Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius (Uranus is the modern ruler of Aquarius)

Still with me? All these groupings will impact personality and actions. You start combining these natal planets and put them into signs, and then put them into houses, and then put them at degrees 0 through 29, then you can get a real specific sense about a particular aspect about a person (e.g. I have Jupiter in Cancer at 0, retrograde, in the 7th house).

The planets also have their own personalities and like hanging out with some signs more than others. It seems like if you know some Greek and Roman mythology, some of this will make sense already.

All this information–and I haven’t even talked about what the houses do (which are ruled by both zodiac signs and planets)–is why I don’t feel like an astrologer. It’s a really vast subject. But all these signs and planets and how they relate to each other in transit and natally–they explain things like self-expression, communication styles,  and romance preferences.

So, by looking at how natal charts can interact with each other, you can also get a sense of how people can interact with each other, for better and for worse.

Back to my chart.

My chart has most of the planets “above the horizon”, in houses 7-12 (The natal chart starts at the 9 o’clock position and goes counterclockwise). So that means a public life. I’m pretty wide open about my life, to much distraction. My north node (who I am destined to be) is in Libra, and it’s somewhat conjunct (adjacent) to Pluto in Libra.

A little primer on retrograde planets

Retrograde means that a planet will look like it is orbiting backwards from our viewpoint on planet earth. How that affects us here is that we get to review certain things that are associated with that planet. Mercury retrograde, probably the most famous one, will deal with communication and travel. I was born under one, so it’s been said that for me, I will have an easier time communicating. It honestly all depends on what sign Mercury is in at the time and what house it falls in as it transits. Some retrogrades are easier to handle than others. Mercury retrograde is commonly felt because it’s the fastest planet.

Right now, both Saturn and Pluto are retrograde, and both planets are a lot smaller. What you end up seeing are events that play out on a larger, global scale, like trends in business, politics, fashion, etc. Unless you’re a Capricorn or Capricorn rising, or have some other personal planet in Capricorn, you’re not likely to personally feel this years-long transit.

I’ve heard it said that if you have many planets in retrograde (I have four), it’s the sign of a past life as well as some deep spirituality.

Based on these planets, maybe you could call me a volcano on an island? Fiery planets, some cozy watery placements in Cancer, and some earthy placements. You can see how I compare to the rest of my family.

My brother

My brother, M,  has a chart that is clustered mainly on the left-hand side, with the 12th and 1st houses holding the majority of his planets.

Sun: Cancer

Moon: Capricorn

Ascendant: Virgo

Mercury: Cancer (retrograde)

Venus: Gemini (retrograde)

Mars: Virgo

Jupiter: Virgo

Saturn: Virgo (I have this, too)

Since we’re both in that famous Gen-Xer/Millennial gap, he and I share the outer planets (Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Sagittarius, Pluto in Libra–he has all of these as retrograde!). But for this, it’s not really important. Those are generational planets and those are interesting to talk about with global events and how generational beliefs. That will be more relevant for my baby boomer parents.

So what’s interesting about my brother, besides the stellium (three or more planets in one sign) that my brother has in Virgo (in his first house), is that, beyond the astrology, my brother is developmentally delayed (DD). So much of astrology is about how we view ourselves, our self-concepts. I’m not sure how my brother views himself.

The Virgo stellium–I’m not sure what to say about it with the backdrop of DD except that my brother remembers details vividly and at times, even with his DD, he’s able to integrate those details–that’s what Virgo is about. When he was little, he was able to go get something my parents were talking about in another language–they didn’t ask him to do it, he just understood. His intelligence is just different, even though it’s poorly understood.

He’s definitely a Cancer–a very nurturing person who loves to give hugs. But he is quite temperamental. He’s been through a lot–we all have as a family.

I think if he ever was in a relationship (he sort of is?), all that Virgo along with his Cancer placements would make him a very nurturing person.

As you can see, he lacks fire and I lack air. My parents have both of those, but not that much of air. I’ll talk about how that impacted us later.

His north node is in Leo, which is my father’s sun sign. It’s interesting since that’s also a sign he’s probably already progressed into.

My father

Sun: Leo

Moon: Capricorn

Ascendant: Scorpio

Mercury: Leo (retrograde)

Venus: Cancer

Mars: Gemini

Jupiter: Virgo (my brother has this planet placement)

Saturn: Cancer

The generational planets are Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Leo.

My dad’s north node is in Cancer which means his south node is in Capricorn. These nodes on the moon show where we have been (south node) and where we are going (north node). Even through my father’s degenerating mental health, I think he was better able to relate to me and my brother on a soul level.

That my brother and my father have north nodes in each other sun signs–my instinct is that they definitely needed each other, at this time, for soul growth. They have the tightest bond out of us four.

So you can see that my brother and dad share a Capricorn moon–it’s within a few degrees of each other, probably conjunct. Sharing a moon with someone makes it really easy to be friends. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why they also acted more like buddies than father and son. They also share the same Jupiter in Virgo.

My dad’s Mars being in Gemini–he definitely was a multi-tasker and had his hand in so many different projects. Could this be a foreshadowing of his bipolar disorder? I have no idea. I haven’t studied psychological astrology, at least not yet.

Both my dad and my brother are primarily ruled by the luminaries, the sun (which rules Leo) and the moon (which rules Cancer), as well as a bit of Mercury (which rules Gemini and Virgo).

I myself have a little bit of everything, but Jupiter (which rules Sagittarius) seems to be my ruler. First decan Capricorns (born within the first 10 degrees) are ruled by Jupiter, too.

Across all three of our charts, there is a lot of 11th house (ruled by Aquarius, which is traditionally ruled by Saturn) and 12th house (ruled by Pisces, which is traditionally ruled by Pisces) planets. My brother and I have personal planets in the 12th house, so it’s time to talk about our mother, who I am calling a fire fish (you’ll see why).

My mother

Sun: Pisces

Moon: Sagittarius

Ascendant: Gemini

Mercury: Aquarius (retrograde)

Venus: Aries

Mars: Leo (retrograde) (I have this planet placement)

Jupiter: Sagittarius

Saturn: Leo

Being baby boomers, she shares the same generational planets with my dad: Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Leo, with the latter two in retrograde.

And now you can see why I call my mother a fire fish. I can see why my dad was attracted to her. Her Venus trines (60 degrees apart) his sun. A trine means the planets share elemental signs. In this case Venus in Aries (a cardinal fire sign) trines a Leo sun (a fixed fire sign). Her Mars is weakly conjuncts his sun. It’s a fiery, passionate connection, which was for them about evangelical/charismatic Christianity.

All About My Mother

So, what are the missing elements from my mother’s chart? Earth and water! What do the rest of us have in abundance? Earth and water! She basically gave birth to and married what she was lacking, especially with my brother.

Everyone else is much more airy (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) than me, but this lack of air created a very intellectual household. My parents are both very smart and our home had a library of books all over, in almost every room. Although I may not really relate to air signs, all of my family members have personal planets in air signs.

You would think that having a mom with a Pisces with a Sag moon that she has something for everyone. Well, not really. I really think my mother is ruled by her moon (emotional expression). Sags like freedom and expansion (Jupiter, its ruler, is an expansive planet–which can be good or bad).

I’m not saying that anyone with a Sag moon can’t have a family, but my gut says, even though I don’t know her birth time, that this moon would be more about exploring her horizons, meeting a lot of people, having fun outside the home.

And that’s what she does. She is actively involved in church (Jupiter and Sag love religion!) and really loves her friends and her family of origin.

Her north node is in Taurus, and I don’t really have much to say about that, although my Chiron and M’s Chiron is in Taurus. That is interesting to look at: pain. Chiron is the wounded healer. I definitely have a painful relationship with my mother and my brother’s relationship with her isn’t that great, either. His Chiron is conjunct her north node.

There’s so much more I could talk about when it comes to my family, but my mom’s Sag moon seems to be really the heart of my own issues with her. She’s a citizen of the world, and my serious relationships were with men who were just like that (neither of them live in the United States anymore). Knowing this makes it easier for me to accept her as she is and also sheds light on who I am attracted to–just her moon alone!

Neither my Mercury or Venus are close to her moon, but they are conjunct her Jupiter. I think both of those conjunctions is why we can do small talk really well, especially about religion and spirituality (this is in Sag).

The ultimate goal for me is to understand why my family connected and disconnected in the way that it did. Astrology is a tool that helps me to do that. For example, all of us have Mercury retrograde natally. Would that leave to communication breakdowns like we had? I’m not sure. Mercury is retrograde at least three times out of the year, for a few weeks at a time. But it is interesting see that my parents have fixed signs for Mercury and my brother and I have cardinal and mutable signs, respectively.

It can get even more involved if you look at transits during key times for families, as well as looking at synastry (how two people vibe or don’t vibe together). For example, I looked at a transit chart of when I was being dumped by my first boyfriend–there was a Sun-Pluto conjunction, which can be a very explosive time. It helped me understand how and why this happened–even if I could feel it come a few days before.

Astrology can go much further than your sun sign and its particular quirks. It can help you with your partnerships, business, friendships, and children for starters.

I spoke with my Mercury in Cancer brother for a few minutes on his birthday. He didn’t have much to say. He wanted to talk more about old friends of mine than about himself. Cancer and Virgo tend to be other-oriented signs, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. But it saddened me that the closeness we had as children has now disappeared behind a wall of loss and disconnection. All I can do is show up for him when I can.

 

we are in it

we are in it.

I created this image when I was feeling a little more hopeful about my life. But now, I feel just exhausted. I just wrote this post which details some of that exhaustion, and it kind of left off at some thoughts about faith.

First of all, Richard Rohr, OFM is my favorite living Christian. Maybe he’s my favorite Christian of all time. If more Christians were like him, we’d live in a much better world. I feel like the contemplative realm of Christianity is probably the best part of it. Anyway, Rohr’s writings really helped to shape my faith as a Christian, especially in his book, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. The book beautifully details about how joy and suffering both belong in our lives.

But let me focus on this quote and be a little astrological about it. As you probably know I am a Capricorn sun and rising/ascendant. That means upon first meeting me, you’re like. “Yep, total Capricorn.” And then, as you get to know me, you’d also realize that yes, she is a Capricorn: workhorse, kinda bossy, weird sense of humor, loyal, stubborn.

Although the rest of my chart has a lot of fire and some water, with a little bit of air, I’m pretty earthy. I need to see things. I want contracts signed. I want instant communication. I want to see it, right now.

It’s a human trait, and we all share it, but faith isn’t really like that.

Also being a Capricorn, I want to just do it myself. I’ll start the conversation. I’ll shoot my shot. I’ll convince you to do x. I’ll “push the river” as it were. And all of that is about control–I’ll control my outcomes. I want to be safe. I want to feel secure. I’ll make it happen. And so much of life contains people and circumstances that we cannot control.

This isn’t to say that faith is about passivity. This river has kinetic energy. It is moving. It’s just that I am not the one moving the river. It just goes. And there is support as I am going along with the river. I am in it. I don’t have to make sure the river was turned on before I get in my canoe.

But hey, faith ain’t easy, right? No, it’s not. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s work.  It’s dedication. Sometimes, there’s the gift of faith, where we just know things will work out. It’s usually something we can hold for other people.

But most of the time, it’s a moment-by-moment experience. Sometimes, you’re just in your canoe, paddling, enjoying the scenery. Other times, you’re just trying to hold on for dear life. Right now, I have to believe that I’m even in a canoe and not just being thrown around in the rapids.

And, this has been my life, in very dramatic ways. My life story has been conquering the impossible over and over. There has been so much triumph and success–most of it hard fought. But, as I said, I’m just exhausted. And I wish I had written this post when I was traversing calmer waters, buoyed by more hope.

But the river is flowing. I am in it. We are in it. I have to trust in new ways, for bigger things, for scarier things. I have to trust in this very extensive life transformation that’s happening. I have to believe that the healing is coming, that the healing is already here and is already happening. I have to really embrace with gratitude the small, everyday joys that come my way so that I don’t become frozen in jaded ingratitude.

I have to. I have to.

I’m going to end with this song that is going to be obscure to even most white evangelical Christians, but it sums up how I feel.  I may be a tough warrior, seemingly implacable and unflappable. But deep inside this armor…

“The Warrior Is a Child” is a song I grew up with (it’s from 1984), written and sung by a woman who has created a lot of Christian worship songs that people still sing today.  This is a more modern version of the song and aptly has images depicting Joan of Arc.

May you remember that you are in the river. We are in it.

break

breaking

When everything falls apart, it is a good sign that everything is about to come together.

from Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser

It’s been said that you should write from your scars, not from your wounds. Welp, this is a wound with a scab forming, and I don’t have time to wait for this to scar over.

Earlier this morning, after tossing some trash in the outside garbage bin, I walked down my now bare driveway and went to the mailbox–something I used to do every day before my car was taken back by the car lender. It was a daily way for me to stretch my legs which doesn’t happen enough for me as a writer.

It’s been raining almost daily. It’s rainy season in Florida and we desperately need the rain since we’ve had a severe drought and subsequent brush fires for months. Usually, the weather wouldn’t deter me from my daily little walk. But I haven’t been interested in getting the mail. Maybe it’s because I’m still little heartbroken.

Although the mailbox was closed, the mail was damp from all the humidity, which can reach full saturation (100%) especially in the mornings. One of the letters I received was from my now former awful car lender, telling me how much I still owe after the car was auctioned off. The amount is basically the interest of a high-interest loan, which would have been OK 9 months ago when I was working a full-time job with an employer. But that four-figure now just another drop in the ocean of debt that doesn’t even reach my shore much anymore. I live in the small lagoon of survival now.

This car situation has been a tough one to overcome, and it’s not because I no longer have reliable transportation. Sure, part of it is the pride of being a self-sustaining adult and not being able to hold onto what seems to be a basic necessity in a city that has some godawful public transportation.

Admittedly, though, when this first happened, I felt some instant relief. I no longer have to deal with this money drain for a vehicle I used like maybe 5 times a month? Based on what I make now, I can be just fine as I build my freelance writing and editing business, even with the occasional Lyft ride.

Through another bill that I’m actually fighting since I was not driving the car, my toll transponder told me when my car was taken: early in the morning, in the 1 o’clock hour. That night, I actually slept so well–how ironic.

Also, I’ve been here before, 2 years ago when I was teaching and making even less than what I make now. I could take as a moral issue in one of two ways. The first is a (self-)judgmental, (self-)blaming route–how can you have this happen to you again? You’re irresponsible with your money. The other route is just seeing the larger landscape of where I live right now. I’ve done the best I can in a shitty job market and lower income people are routinely taken advantage of. I’ll take route #2, because route #1 is a well-worn path that doesn’t head anywhere except to more heartache.

The heartbreak isn’t over the car, per se, but what my cries for help represent to me–only three people helped me: a total stranger and two friends.

My cries for help went unheard and unheeded.

There are so many reasons why: race, gender, the lack of a cult of personality online, the bootstrap mentality that isn’t applied equally. Not really here to dive into all of that, into the politics of what gets funded and why.

I’m also not here to make this about abundance, prosperity, believing enough (or not), manifestation, or any other things that many times just seem like American capitalism dressed up in spiritual garb, but has no semblance of compassion or empathy.

Over a month later, there’s quite a lot of resentment that I have to burn off or hand off to the Universe. As I try to gain a better perspective, I am accepting what is.

Simply put: no one likes being inconvenienced. That’s the ethos of America. It’s the heart of innovation, but it’s also the heart of our mores and social structure. It’s the mentality that tells you that asking for help is some sort of entitlement. Even the way Social Security is framed is as an entitlement vs. an investment that people make so that they had some income for their twilight years. How dare you ask for help for your basic needs! You should just get a job (or else you’re clearly just lazy and want a handout). There’s someone in the current administration who said just that about Medicaid recipients, millions of those being children. It’s a pervasive mindset, no matter your political leanings or religious beliefs.

What has been really hard but necessary to do is to not make this seeming failure be about me or my worth as a human being. Even knowing that culturally, there’s still a lot of shame in asking for help, this still stings, a lot. I’ve been helped in the past, so why am I feeling abandoned now?

How this all happened still marvels me, which makes me believe that something bigger is going on.

At the time I started to think about writing this particular post, I felt very broken. There are still parts of me that feel very shattered and irreplaceable. I was concerned that I was depressed–and if I was/am depressed, then of course, it makes sense after such a loss like losing reliable transportation.

Nothing seems to be going right and things seem to get worse as I spiritually grow leaps and bounds. There are synchronicities all over the place. I know that Spirit is moving in my life–and maybe it’s because of the destruction left in its wake.

Then I remembered a book that I read, Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser (yes, it’s basically a book about manifestation–but there’s nothing wrong with writing down what you want and need and leaving it up to the Universe how it provides those things to do).

Klauser has a chapter aptly called, “Handling Breakdown.” It basically talks about how things may have manifested in a way you weren’t expecting; or, if your desires haven’t come to fruition yet, that you shouldn’t give up.

Two key quotes: “There is no failure, only a delay in results.” and  “There is no failure, only feedback.”

Why I remembered the book wasn’t for those quotes. It was because she talked about how when everything isn’t working out, that you are close to a breakthrough. She compared this to the process of childbirth, ten minutes before delivery which is called the “transition.” It’s the toughest part of labor.

I saw this happen recently with this reality TV star who filmed a special about her pregnancy. She wanted to have her baby at home, and while she was in labor, she hit a wall of exhaustion. She was just done, just through, no more. She got up to go to the bathroom, but before she and her midwives could leave to go to the hospital, she had the baby on the toilet!

So maybe I’m proverbially on the toilet right now, wanting to go to the hospital and have this baby of a profitable writer’s life. I know I need to keep pushing, even though I am exhausted.

So who is holding me up as I push? I do have a few good online friends that have been of great emotional support. But I have no one local like that in my life right now. Astrologically, I can easily blame this Pluto in Capricorn transit that is transforming me from the inside out, as it has run roughshod over my very essence and ethos.

This struggle is beyond the car now. Yet the car was a breaking point for me. Like what gives? I know I’m supposed to be a writer, to be a writer here. But I can’t connect to anyone permanently here. I lost my car twice. Grad school was a nightmare, so was life afterward. I’ve survived horrible living conditions–and I’m enduring one now. How many L’s can I take, and then take them like a champ?

What gives?

I’m not used to things being bad for this long, especially not with work. Eventually, I find the community, I find the better job, it all comes together. To have the reverse Midas touch is not my style. I always find help. I always Mentos commercial or MacGyver my way out of shit.

I’m super can-do-without-you, and that’s by necessity. For better and for worse, I grew up highly resilient, priding myself in not needing others. I’ve been humbled since I moved down here in 2012, realizing how I can’t be who I need to be without some help. And, for the most part, I’m actually quite OK with asking for help now, even as I face the fear of rejection.

So rejection has come and I am starting to be able to accept what is–I don’t really have the supportive community I need, not yet. I can also see the thin yet gleaming silver lining of this tough circumstance–I’m saving hundreds of dollars.

That brings me back to the spiritual support that I need to access. Yes, the loss of my car brought me to my knees. It was sad to repeat a loss like this, thinking that I would be better off this time around. Can I rejoice and be happy like Klauser says? Can I “count it all joy” like the writer James of the New Testament? Can I be grateful for my faith being tested and producing patience?

It’s really like holding onto a seedling, knowing one day it will be a tall tree. Depending on the day, the hour, the minute, I can hold onto this tiny hope or I can drop it and drown in despair.

At least in the spirit realm, I’m not alone. My cries for help were heard. I matter. To be able to really believe all of that, in the face of disappointment, of loneliness, of heartbreak–emotions I’ve felt often in my life–it takes some faith, faith at times I don’t have or want to conjure up, faith that something new is breaking through, something better that I could ever imagine.

So I have two choices. I either keep playing this shitty game of Tetris where I feel like none of the blocks are clearing, or I quit the game altogether.

The latter doesn’t even feel like a choice, so game on.

no one/the drift

no one1

No one will take care of me but me…

It’s a steely truth that I have been in slow acceptance of throughout my 30s, and especially during and after grad school.

I keep writing about this time I’ve been in, going on seven months of job insecurity and underemployment. It’s become boring and painful at the same time. Boring because it’s repetitive–even though, I’m so grateful more work has shown up. Painful because I don’t feel any closer to stability than I did on October 1st.

But there has been one hallmark of stability. Two years ago today, I moved into this house. This is the longest I have lived at one spot in Florida. That is worth celebrating. When I first came here, I was hoping for a stable, chill, no drama dwelling. I moved here because I didn’t have a car at the time and I could walk to the job I had.

I didn’t really get any of that.

I have survived an overbearing elderly landlady, a long house sale, an infestation, two stoners, two major water leaks. Currently,  I’m surviving lackadaisical landlords and the roommate who has a disgusting, chronic cough. Noise-canceling headphones have been a saving grace for me and for that old man. Although it seems like this home seems like a step away from hospice or the old folks home, it’s still my home, and two years of residence is something I had to fight for, especially this year.

Back to the past: I had posted on my Patreon for my $10 and above readers an old post from 2012, right before I moved down here. Money concerns were pressing–I wasn’t even sure how I’d make it down here, if I could buy a car. I did and I did, and then I lost things on the way and lost the car. I’ve been bobbing up and down here, nearly drowning so many times…

The reason why I left Chicago, besides that I had been thoroughly chilled from 15 winters, was that my friendships had started to end, mainly though people moving on with their families. I had no real sense of my own family–soul family or otherwise. Chicago is a transient city and I had never planned on staying for so long. I wanted to live in New York City after college–and then 9/11 happened. Chicago wasn’t a bad city to overstay in. Dreams change, die, transform, and are reborn–sometimes.

I let go of all expectations…

I came down here to follow my dreams and was shocked to find that no one really gave shit, either way. There was no welcome party or parade for following my heart–just a lot of heartache. I was the only one who could propel myself towards my goal of becoming a writer. If only I had known it would be cost so much–physically, emotionally, financially–I would have saved up for a few years.

But this continental drift of people away from me is not geographically bound. Grad school was a shameful and excruciating experience–a reintroduction in white supremacy and the underside of humanity (a little dramatic there, but I lived with and still with some really awful people). The tribe I was supposed to find did not exist. I’ve been able to accept that the relational reasons of why I came down here are now not what keeps me here.

I keep me here. My love for the land: the lack of snow, the curious, unique creatures, my own curiosity of the beaches. I came for a cousin and a friend and neither are here now. My safety net was left in Chicago. I never really had one here and I can’t seem to weave one that lasts. I’ve resented it a lot, but resentment is melting into wisdom and a newfound appreciation of my grit.

For now, I keep me here, and that is more than enough.

So. It seems as if I’m in a season of deep solitude, which is hard when you need help to pay you bills. I’m very self-reliant, so the quote above is an internal mantra that I live by. But I’m also very resourceful. It’s strange for me not to find work easily. It’s strange for me to not find a new group of people to belong to–even if I battle waves of existential angst and dread. It’s strange that my elasticity and resiliency has some slack in it; I’m not bouncing back. I feel like a deflated foursquare ball and last week stomped me flat.

Two weeks ago, I had a great job interview that amounted to…nothing except a rather insulting rejection email. I’m only insulted because it came at 7pm last Friday, after I had a conversation with the interviewer who said that he wouldn’t leave me waiting for news.

I had a feeling on Thursday that this job wasn’t mine. I could go back over and over in my mind as to what I did wrong. I was utterly charming. I pwned that interview. I sent a handwritten thank you note, which usually clinches it. I did nothing wrong.

But because I wasn’t feeling it, I needed some spiritual confirmation. I did some divination (oracle cards) that showed me emphatically that it was a no, but I kept asking until I got a yes. Not very wise–it’s a waste of time to do that. I really needed to accept that this was not going to happen.

I was livid to be sitting around all day, like I was waiting for some guy to call, and then getting a “Good afternoon” email. Fuck you, dude. I really wanted to the opportunity to grow, to be stable, to have health insurance again. I hated that connected to this person that I will never see again. I hated wanting anything so much. I hated that this was so out of my control, that this invisible white hand may have, once again, smacked me down. And that “fuck you” maybe should be directed at the Universe?

Friday was the six month anniversary of this underemployment season. I was hoping to end 180 days with a fist pump of victory. I got a punch in the gut that sent me to the floor instead.

It doesn’t piss me off as much now. It’s been said that underneath anger is hurt. So the anger lid has been unscrewed, and now it’s just sad. Disappointment. Fear. Anxiety. Defeat. Dread. When will this end? If I can rely on life being ever-changing, why am I going in this straight line towards my *gulp* destruction? What is going to knock me off of this calamitous trajectory of where everything continues to go tragically wrong?

And usually, I’d turn to Twitter to share my woes, but after going on nine years of sharing, I feel the drift there, too. So I mentioned it in a couple of tweets. One person followed up with me, a tarot reading friend that I’ve known since 2015. It was nice to know that she was rooting for me. I shared in on FB and another friend said she was praying for me–one that has been admittedly too busy to keep in touch.

Maybe the drift is mutual.

The lack of caring doubly hurts, especially since I know that I’ve sown seeds of love in caring in others. Where is my harvest? Where is my return of investment? So many unanswered rhetorical questions…

After consulting at least five different tarot readers about my job outlook, there has been no inclination that I’m doing anything wrong. Things will improve. One day? Will it be in this lifetime?

I believe there’s a couple of things going on.

1) Aging. People my age (I’ll be 40 this year) tend to focus on their families. It makes sense since kids these days have schedules that rival their parents. If adults my age don’t have families of their own, making new friends, let alone sustaining the old ones, becomes harder and harder to do. Competing schedules and priorities are the main culprit. I can’t really throw a tantrum over this anymore. I acquiesce to it, even though I feel so unprepared on how to handle it.

2) We’re not all the same. I think about my brother. He’s gone through emotional hell, but even with his behavioral issues, I still find him to be the most caring person I’ve met. He cares, period. There’s no sense of needing reciprocity or balance. He just cares because that’s who he is. He knows when people needs hugs and gives them away freely. He has an innocence that is worth protecting and fostering.

Because growing up, my intellect was what was praised and even taken for granted, I never thought that my brother and I were cut from the same caring cloth. I thought of myself as hard, cold, steely–very Capricorn traits. My brother is a Cancer with a Capricorn moon, and I have a Cancer moon.

I’ve been accused of being selfish and not a good friend–ironically from people who were selfish and not good friends. So as a Capricorn sun and rising, I work hard to not need anything from anyone. When I do, it feels like there’s a power imbalance. Being vulnerable is awkward, even for a compulsive oversharer like me. If the roles were reversed, where I give care, then I don’t feel the power imbalance. It feels like being a human being, having a human experience.

As weird as it seems to declare it: I care, a lot, and reciprocity of said caring is not necessarily why I was created. We’re not all the same. Most of us really don’t know how to hold space for people who are going through tough times. It’s something has to be learned over time. And one day, I’ll be more than OK with that. But for now, I’m not really OK with it.

And maybe that’s why I’ve been in positions of asking for help so many gotdamn times in my 30s, to the point I’m trying not to associate myself with being extremely needy. Per usual, Capricorns are extremely hard on themselves and self-compassion is very hard to cultivate until you’re forced to.

Well, I’m being forced to.

At the same time, asking for help so often has almost hardened me from the resounding rejection that comes through silence and unmet needs.

Very almost.

After Friday, feeling so angry and upset, and then feeling angry and upset for not having any real resource for help or comfort, I had no choice but to look within.

Although I’m in a severe friends and family drought, I have Spirit and guides and angels. and ancestors, all here, all ready and willing to help me. Even writing this makes me feel really destitute, but I know that the circumstances, whether created by the Universe or by an apathetic world, guided me to stop looking outside of myself for support.

It feels, very pathetically,  like having imaginary friends and it feels like a human failing. All these acquaintances, none of the real intimacy that I’ve had in the past. But if reaching out only leaves my hand empty, then there’s a reason for it.

I love and accept myself.

It’s not because I’m a horrible person, because even horrible people have friends and family. It’s not because I’m not deserving. It’s not because I’m not worthy. It just is–but it is for a reason, a really good reason: that I’m enough. I’ve got enough; I’ve got to love myself through this season in a way that I’ve never had to before.

I realized last week that although I have been through hell and back many times, the difference was having a community who rallied around me. I don’t have one, really, at present. It feels like I have individuals, but not a group.

I know that my perspective can be warped, too. Years ago, before I moved down here, a former friend and I were chatting and he was offering love and support, but it felt like whatever he and his family was offering wasn’t enough. Maybe that’s the biggest reason why we’re now former friends.

Maybe I was a walking black hole of love then, a lot more busted up and raw than I am now. We all have our limits of love, but I know that whatever this is now is not that.

It’s a bit of a mindfuck for me, the drifting away from groups. I’ve had to re-define my self-worth and what I base it on. It’s been rattling me to re-establish who I am without the influence of others. As someone who has been proudly independent, I’ve been slowly realizing how much my identity was formed by the people around me. We all are formed that way, so there’s nothing wrong with it. But I must be somehow imbalanced.

When things go chronically wrong, it’s very easy to keep fighting against the current that is guiding you along in another direction. I’m not sure why my finances are taking so long to become stable, or why this part of the journey is like The Hermit tarot card. I didn’t sign up for the solitary sojourn through loneliness and despair, but here I am, sojourning. I’m still alive, which always feels miraculous because there hasn’t been much to grateful for or to look forward to. It’s been sheer will to stay here on this plane.

And since this has been such a horrendous, disappointing time, I need shelter and protection. Whatever I’m feeling doesn’t need to be broadcast into the void. My feelings are precious. They really do matter, even if no one ever affirms them or sees them or cares for me. Because I’ve been speaking into the wind for so long, at least for now, I’m taking this concrete self-care step of sharing here only.

I hope soon, as I continue to commune in the spiritual world, I don’t consider it to be the consolation prize of isolation. I want to view this as a foundation-building time. Right now, I really resent it, but I’m tired. I want to go with the flow and find the new inner resources that I’ve had at my fingertips all along. I want to be able say that “I’m never alone” and really mean it.

As I make my way through Aries season, I’m learning how to really be self-reliant and self-sufficient. I may not be able to do anything about this social drift, but I can make sure that I access the Source to everything I need, and just keep going–even if I’m in that space beyond hopeless, beyond exhaustion,  beyond the end of myself…

waiting for something decent and good

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I applied for seven jobs today. It takes the edge off of the low-grade anxiety I’ve had for months. It almost crippled me yesterday–only to the point that I didn’t get to finish this article earlier to hopefully ensure I’d make it under the wire with getting paid today. I barely have any control over that, though. I was just too moody under this Cancer moon.

 

Last week, I got a letter where I was notified that I have to do some new hoop jumping to get SNAP. It’s like what I had to do for unemployment insurance–keep track of my job searches, do job-related things. Because being self-employed isn’t enough. This is new, as of last month. I guess Florida is employing people to do stupid admin work except for the people who actually need work. I need to talk to some case manager next Wednesday.

As I write this, I’m about $75 short on my phone bill, and I got the dreaded call earlier today that means that it’ll probably be turned off soon. For once, I’m not stressed out about it anymore. If it’s cut off, it’s cut off. It’s a waste of energy, resisting. There’s nothing I can do about it except ask for help continuously and keep looking for work that I can do.

Last week after my group, I had a talk with a friend, an Aries who co-leads the group. She had given me some blogging work and I was inquiring about more. I also wanted another POV on my work situation. She gave me some social media work that was optional for me to do. But I want to do it, so I can build up my portfolio.

You think taking advice from a Capricorn is hard? Whew. She gave me some good ideas but also made me look at myself, to see if I was too prideful. I will explore those job leads tomorrow. It was helpful to get new ideas of where to look because I knew I needed some new ideas. I even applied to a place that’s close to my house, a place I was told by another writer years ago that it was abusive. My Aries friend had worked there and I took her fiery enthusiasm and reconsidered. I consulted oracle cards twice and got the green light both times to apply.

I can’t really tell if I’m not being humble or open enough, even though my time in Florida has been taking it on the chin over and over–at least in my mind. And I’m a Capricorn–I’m born proud of myself.

Still, is it OK to say no to anything where I am on my feet for hours because of my jacked up knees? When does being humble transform into humiliation? Have I had enough of both?

These are questions for the Universe, and I don’t really feel the push to break my body to work–but I feel like that’s part of the narrative of poverty, of working in America.

In order to get help, you have to grovel, or be amusing, or to have successfully shown that you deserve it somehow. We glorify the stories of extreme asceticism and sacrifice, things we’re not even willing to do ourselves. But at the same time, we judge those who have less than us. It’s the same sort of mentality that has people thinking that people who get SNAP aren’t smart enough to buy food for themselves, or that all of them are lazy and aren’t doing enough.

It couldn’t be that the system is broken.

We value “working really hard”–unless you’re rich. Then it’s OK not to. We collectively think it’s OK because we all want to be rich one day. We all want the perks, the tax havens, the getting off easy for our sins, the different set of rules. We buy into the idea that if we work hard enough, then we’ll get that.

But most of us will never be rich.

Right now, we’re trying to dissect #Wealthcare, the new healthcare bill which is even worse than the current legislation. And guess who it serves? The rich–specifically, the insurance companies. The current climate seems to be bucking up against this idea of “hard work is salvation” and making the poor pay more. And of course, I’m a part of this climate, and it’s affecting me. All of these narratives play out in my mind and I question all of them, because this is about my humanity, our humanity,  after all.

It’s infuriating and inhumane and completely American.

Tomorrow, I need to check in on jobs I’ve already applied for, including one that hasn’t gotten back to me in weeks. I’ve let that go, in my mind.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, that I had put in all this work and that they decided to go with someone else and not tell me. I’m tough, but holding onto hope can be a wearying experience.

And I still can’t tell if I need to be working for myself or not–like officially. I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t in my room. Maybe in a co-working space…

I’m just kinda waiting around–but not. It’s more like stumbling around and looking. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for anymore. I’m not good at being lost.

I work almost every day, even weekends. It’s just hard when I’m doing all I can, but nothing has really broken through yet. Sometimes I think I should move because Florida is a tough state, but I don’t think I’m done here. I even asked the Universe about moving to the Gulf side of the state, but I got a strong no on that through oracle cards.

The questions continue. Do I want to be a writer anymore? It’s exhausting, doing these articles. Last week, I applied for a job that was more akin to what I used to do back in Chicago–a research coordinator. Maybe my writing life will be done soon.

And what of the rest of my life, that seems to be atrophying? A family. Friends I can rely on. Traveling this big, blue, beautiful world (I’m listening to Florence + The Machine), and just not struggling like this?

I had a huge epiphany: I had this belief that coming to Florida, I could finally be a full adult (or, my definition of it): self-sufficient, with furniture that matched, on my own, with my own transportation. I got to live like that for about a year.

The Universe had other plans.

All the while, I kept trying to bring the story back to that–self-sufficiency. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And that’s not the story to be told right now.

What I have been focusing on is uninteresting to me and yet it is the world I live in. Resisting it is tiring.

I don’t like obsessing over unpaid bills and the bales of ramen I will be eating until the 16th and whether I can afford some respite. I don’t like the sickening smells of food wafting in from the other side of the house. I don’t like listening to the incessant throat clearing and coughing from someone who doesn’t seem to give a shit about himself or others in this house. I don’t like having to remind the landlady to bring me a bathroom mirror and lights for outside of the house.

I have to separate myself from the stench, from the sounds, from the diet, from the bare wall in my bathroom that is missing a mirror.

Who the fuck am I outside of all these annoyances and failures?

And that’s why I have to go back to relying on a higher power–Someone who can who can unlock the cage from the outside, Someone who knows my whole story. Even if I’m not a Christian anymore, there’s still the part of me that needs to connect to something bigger, and better, than myself–especially in times like these.

I’ve been benevolently bailed out so many times. I can rely on that grace, even if it doesn’t show up when or how I want it to. So yeah, maybe tomorrow, the phone will truly turn off and it’ll take time to turn it back on.

Maybe things will just continue to worsen before they improve. But what will that do to me?

Whether it’s just my preoccupation with survival, or the feeling of doom that tries to snuff me out daily–I have to run on something else. I have to listen to something else. I have to focus on something else. Otherwise, it’s so easy to think something is wrong with me, that I’m not worthy of support or a good job or love or rest or anything else that is good. When things go wrong for a long time, it’s hard to believe that things will improve. It’s hard to wait, so very hard. It’s also difficult to keep pushing back at the narrative that because I’m in this frozen state, that means that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m wrong.

But if I don’t push back, I will get rolled over with doom, and I won’t survive it.

I think of all the things I’ve survived up to this point: a mentally ill father, my own mental illness in college, graduating college, dysfunctional friendships with white women (so, so many of these), peaks and troughs in my finances, unfair firings and layoffs, losing my car, grad school and all the disappointment, eviction (kinda twice), homelessness,  abusive landladies and roommates, infestations.

That’s the short list. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of things.

Each painful incident, I’ve layered on rock-hard strength. I’m striated in multi-colored imperviousness. And as I get toughened, again, by the waiting and confusion and rejection and neglect, and by each article and job application and conversation and prayer and tarot card reading, I have to believe that it’s not just because the world is awful, and my strength is just a side effect of it.

One day soon, though, I will learn that the Universe holds all that I need–and that I can really trust. It seems to be the ultimate lesson here: how I’m never ever alone; how the spirit world is much more real and powerful that anyone I know.

Related to that: in tarot, I’ve been encountering the Magician card. Its basic meaning is that I have everything I need to create the life that I want. It seems like an enigma. What do I have? I do try to be grateful, but there’s something else impervious in me that is tired of painting on a faux face of gratitude–even though I believe in faking it to make it.

Still, I look at the card as it comes up each time. What do I have? I have myself–is that all I need? There’s a tension here, because I’ve been quite self-reliant and have been able to advocate for myself really well for my whole life. I’m torn between the steely nerve of self-reliance and the kinda scary, but soft and warm interdependence. It’ll always be like this, though, the seesaw between me and others.

But, I feel close in figuring out the balance, in figuring out this part of the journey. Like my last post, I don’t think there’s any new wisdom here to be found, or anything else to say, as I approach 2100 words. It’s more getting comfortable with uncertainty while I continue to learn to love myself–especially when life is hard. And that’s the essence of living a life, a spiritual life at that.

So what do I do while I wait, while I search, while I heal?

I went to the Dali Museum in St. Pete last weekend, and there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit. I had seen another exhibit at the SFMOMA in 2008. I’ve seen and loved the movie Frida. But in this exhibit, I really began to understand the amount of physical  and emotional pain she endured for all of her life. Because of the bus accident she survived, she turned to painting as solace. Her pain was beautiful, but it was definitely hers. As I read her quotes and looked at her self-portraits, I felt like I had found a comrade in suffering.

It made me think about all the pain that I’ve endured. What am I doing with it? The poverty, the abandonment, the frustration, the confusion, the rejection, the silence–they are all different colored paints that I can use to create something beautiful.

I can only hope that as I keep writing about this really tough time, something good, maybe even lasting, is being created.

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.
– Frida Kahlo