All Riled Up

Over the course of the day, I’ve engaged with a few intense – and respectful – conversations on social media having to do with the current political situation both nationally and internationally. I’m learning to listen first, to respond only when I feel I have something valuable to add to the conversation – prompted by my intuition – and to allow our differing points of view to dance together to create something new – at least in my perspective.

I’ll be honest, in the past it’s been pretty easy for people to get me riled up. There were definitely times, meeting friends at the local brewery on Friday nights, we’d get to talking about our employer or the town government and I could feel when the conversation shifted to a playful, “let’s get her riled up”. And I performed accordingly, because I sure was irritated.

And social media – well – that’s a whole ‘nother level of riled up for me. It was easy for me to let it rip with sarcasm, mockery, and clever come backs. Until. I realized how antithetical it was to my professed values. Until. I realized how, after the first rush, how icky it felt. So, what to do.

Mindfulness is what it comes down to. I still experience the feelings of being riled up, I might compose a snarky tweet in my head – or even sometimes compose the response in Twitter – and then I let it go. I don’t press send. I don’t get caught up. I don’t let it take me down a road that I don’t want to travel.

No matter where you stand in the political spectrum in the U.S., where I am, or any other country, there are plenty of situations around the world that can cause irritation, fear, despair, and rage. Should we ignore it? Nope. We should acknowledge it, ask it to inform us about what our particular task is, and then let it go so we can move forward instead of being caught in an endless loop of powerlessness.


Some days I go into a reading with a particular question or issue. Today, I let the cards come forward and then went back to write the post and do the interpretation. Learning to live through my intuition has been a way of deepening my relationship with Spirit- sometimes I initiate the conversation and sometimes they do.

For this evening’s oracle, I used the Angels and Ancestors cards from Kyle Gray.

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This reading was a good summary of my day and, expanding outward, some of the life lessons I’m working on in the bigger picture. Feel free to post in the comments section how it relates to your life right now and any lessons you might be working on.

Peacekeeper

I love the advice of this card, “let go of the need to be right.” I see how often the need to be right gets in my way of having strong relationships with others and with myself.

Today, it meant not arguing my point in order to prove that my thoughts on the subject were right (and of course, theirs were wrong). It meant letting their words sink in a bit so that I could test what they have to say for rightness.

In the bigger picture, I’m learning to let go of what I think the right way for my life should be. When I hold on to going ‘this’ direction, not only do I overlook opportunities – for work, for play, for friendships – I lose my peace of mind. To be the peacekeeper is a sacred role in every culture. How does it work for you?

Elder

in one conversation today, we were discussing patriarchy vs matriarchy and I know that those are not the only two options. One option is egalitarianism where there is no priority given to whether a person is male or female which feels like  it’s the right direction.

A word that came up and caught my attention was gerontocracy – rule by the elders of the community. A double-edged sword, that. In the best of all worlds, the elders carry the memory of the clan, they have experiences that when combined, can advise the community with wisdom.

In the worst situation, as Merriam-Webster says, “a form of social organization in which a group of old men or a council of elders dominates or exercises control.” And this card seems to be warning against this kind of control where the beliefs and patterns of our elders – whether family, professional, or cultural – are actually limiting our ability to move forward into the new.

The question we have to wrestle with is, how do we balance bringing back respect for our elders into our social fabric and yet recognizing that we are moving in a new world that we barely understand much less those of previous generations.

Warrior

This card suggests that we “be fearless and stand strong” which is a little trite and over-simplifies a complex concept. And this is my macho, all-riled-up attitude that I have been slowly overcoming for years. We romanticize the warrior role in current and past cultures. And yet, the term warrior is obviously founded on war, violence, destruction, and death. Death is natural – the rest is not.

We weaken our young men when we try to toughen them up to be fearless. They lose touch with their emotions, an integral aspect of ourselves. They become caricature rather than full and rich humans. Although quotes about being fearlessness are a dime a dozen, in truth it is impossible – fear is a natural and necessary human response to situations that a warrior encounters. However, courage is both possible and necessary. Courage, meaning coming from the heart – the coeur – the core of who you are.

And perhaps this transition to the coming from the heart is why over the past decades many have tried to rehabilitate the warrior with books and workshops like Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior work or Chogyam Trungpa‘s Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior or Rabbi Yosef Aryeh Grodskey’s American Spiritual Warrior. All are worth reading and considering.

silent protest

Silent protest isn’t new – but it is powerful.

We have the peacekeeper and the warrior cards with the elder card as the bridge – or -the barrier between them. What can our warrior aspects teach the peacekeeper … and … what can our peacekeeper teach our warrior. When we consider the elders in our community, do that nourish the peacekeepers or the warriors? What values are they passing along?