I had become fairly adept at physical awareness and slowing myself down. I had stumbled upon the fact that light is a physical trigger along with a few other physical stimuli and I had taken measures to either reduce or eliminate them and was rewarded with better sleep and a sense of physical calm. Most of my preferred mindfulness tactics had now become habitual and I felt ready to take it to a new level.
I was ready to move into the realm of emotion. I have mentioned it before but I will reiterate…emotions are something I do not like to delve into and the majority of the people in my life will swear on a stack of Bibles that I lack emotions all together. This is a fallacy. I have them, I feel them quite intensely, I require an unfathomable amount of time to process them and quite frankly they perplex me and I do not like to show them…to anyone. They have always been my biggest obstacle.
My go to preference has always been logic. If it is not logical then I really don’t know what to do with it. It also means that I spent a great deal of my life confusing emotions; boredom may equate (in my mind) as anger, frustration is understood as fear, happiness = anxiety. I don’t think this is a bipolar symptom, more of a personality quirk (Myers Briggs Type Indicator/ INTJ) and childhood conditioning. I am aware of the fact that not dealing with my emotions probably played a vital role of pushing my predisposition for bipolar into the red zone.
My delving into the emotional mindfulness project took me completely out of my comfort zone, which I suppose, (looking back), is the point. You can’t grow if you can’t push your limits of belief and comfort. This being an uncomfortable task I stalled out several times. I tried to journal my emotions and I found it to be tedious. I never kept a diary as a young girl even though I was given several as gifts. I re-gifted them to my sister or they became sketchbooks or filled with lists. I have always been a list maker; things to do, places to go, books to read, not how do I feel about…my life or me. So, these mindful journal exercises left me stumped. I tried prompts, thinking those would help. NOPE!
Prompt questions, such as, “How do I feel at the moment?” or “What’s bothering me? Why?,” quite frankly drove me a bit nuts and I wasn’t 100% sure why? or even where/how to start this process. It finally dawned on me that this process should be like “talk therapy,” I had been uncomfortable with that at first too. In fact, because of talk therapy, I realized my emotions were a bit askew and I was actually working through that. This is just a little extra, a digging deeper on my own.
I had a set time, two times a week, for therapy so I will set aside some time for this project. My therapists takes notes, I will take notes. My therapist’s waiting room and office is very calm and quiet and there are no distractions or interruptions, so, I will try to make a space that is equally calm and interruption free. That just left me with how to start dealing with my emotional self.
I chose Tarot. I understand that there is a lot of misconceptions about Tarot and because of that it is a rather stigmatized “occultists” tool. I found that slightly poetic. Here is what no one really understands about the Tarot. There is nothing magical or satanic about the cards. The Tarot was initially a Tree of Life tool that Jewish mystics used for self-reflection/discovery. In fact, several ancient religious organizations have something similar that was in use for the mystical aspects of their religious beliefs/practices.
Now, not everyone was allowed to use these techniques, and truthfully, knowing how people are, not everyone would really want to. Seriously, If you were a young adult and you had the choice of going to a party with your friends or sitting in quiet contemplation, delving deep within your soul in order to understand yourself so undeniably that you could commune with the divine in ecstatic bliss, which would you have chosen? I am pretty certain between the ages of 18 and 25 I was choosing friends, parties, and other preferred pursuits.
It wasn’t so much a fact that these tools were being hidden or kept from the masses more it was the masses that were keeping themselves preoccupied with preferred pursuits, and those poor souls that were choosing the other path, well, it is human nature to malign whom and what you don’t understand (and all the “knowledge” that goes with).
Tarot can not tell you when or how you are going to die. It can not make a love connection for you. It will not dictate when, where or how you will stumble across your soul mate or if you are going to have a large bundle of cash fall into your lap. It will help you unlock the mysteries of you but you do have to be willing to sit in quiet contemplation and reflect upon your soul and figure out what the cards are actually showing you about yourself.
photo: The Sun. Rajasthan, India. Nikon DSLR 5300 by Pamela