In my last post, I mentioned that my sister and I had tarot card and palm readings while she was out to visit.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had various readings done from time to time. I don’t use them as the final word in setting my life’s course or anything. They’re more like those endless Facebook quizzes – entertaining (and fun to see how all your friends score), and they often validate your own insight into yourself. When you get feedback that resonates, it feels a bit like you have permission to be exactly who you’re meant to be.
And with my issues, I’ll take all the permission I can get.
But sometimes, what they tell you is so spot-on accurate, it’s jarring. That was my prior experience with Jeff Tyler:
When I met him before, he solidly nailed some things:
* He asked about my career. When I told him that I work in HR, he said, “Yes, but not the way most people are in HR. It’s different, and I like you there, because you can do HR the way you want to do it.” This is actually really accurate. I’m not the stereotypical HR person; I like creating sense from the chaos at small companies, where I can roll up my sleeves and put in place just enough structure to function. In contrast, I find large, well-organized companies completely suffocating. (Plus, my company is privately owned…by a family – which adds a flavor of…uniqueness. More on that brand of crazy later.)
* He asked if we had been doing construction or remodeling. Again, spot on. At the time, we’d spent much of the last two years fixing up the short sale property we’d purchased – in addition to remodeling the kitchen, we’d repainted nearly every room, redone two bathrooms, and put an addition on the back. So yeah, I was all spackle-and-drywalled out by this point. He suggested that I take a break from that particular chaos, and “take time to just enjoy what you’ve built.” Although there was a bit more to be done, for now it was time to just be in our house – at least for a while.
* He then talked about creative energies. He said he saw me active in “some kind of art – music, words, something….that’s the only time you’re all there and real. That’s where you can BE.”
At that time, my blog was six months old, and I was finding it to be quite therapeutic. And I’m also a musician – I sing in a band, and while I’m no Sandi Patty, I don’t completely suck:
And he was right, again. I’m totally absorbed in the moment when I’m singing. Gone are the little gnats that cloud my happiness and nip at my joy and buzz distractions at me about my weight. It’s just the music and me.
And when I write, I drop the cloak that shields my soul from the social crows who might otherwise pick at it. I expose my jugular. OK, yeah, sort of anonymously, but still. Emotional vampires aren’t picky eaters; it’s still a risk, and feels a bit like I’m dabbing steak sauce on my pulse points…but when writing, I throw caution to the wind, and get real.
So it was a great reading, and I really dug this guy’s direct, no-dancing-delicately-around-the-tulips approach – and I thought my sister would, as well. She was receptive to give it a go, so off we went.
And once again, I got some solid insight. Some of my highlights from this round:
* Your workplace is kind of a mess. Yep….as I mentioned before, it’s a privately-held, family-owned company. And we have a new CEO, who is NOT family, so the resulting change in diet has given the drama llama more than a little intestinal distress…which alternates between noxious stink and hilarity.
* You’ve been working on spiritual growth, and you’re outgrowing who you were. But when you’re challenged, you revert back to who you used to be…and you don’t like that person very much. This was interesting to think about. Over the last year, I’ve been working on personal and spiritual healing, and trying to quiet the mental voices around my food issues. But prior to that, I worked myself out of a relationship that was mentally abusive. It took considerable strength to do that – leaving a marriage is hard, hard work; it’s even tougher if you’ve been mentally whittled down to nothing.
He had a point, though – in the struggles I’ve found in my current marriage, do I face them head-on? Not initially, no. I tend to revert to the same person I was in my prior marriage – timid, hesitant, reluctant to start conflict.
And he was correct in saying that I don’t like being that person. It isn’t me. It’s like jamming your feet into shoes that don’t fit. You feel pinched and uncomfortable and can’t WAIT to kick them off, and they don’t really go with your whole spiritual outfit, anyway.
* You have some toxic older friends that you need to move away from to preserve your energy.
I scratched my head on that one for a bit. I don’t really have close friends…sure, there are my Facebook connections, and my many “virtual” online buddies….but none of them are toxic energy leeches.
I shrugged it off as a “miss” in the reading.
My sister also got some interesting tidbits:
* You work really hard to hide your emotions. But you shouldn’t. You have really strong emotions, and you are a good person BECAUSE of those strong emotions – not because you hide them.
My sister’s always been a “feeler.” When we were kids, she was convinced that inanimate objects, like stuffed animals, had feelings.
Which reminds me of the Cabbage Patch story:
Anyone else remember Cabbage Patch dolls? My sister really, really wanted one. She didn’t get one for Christmas, because Cabbage Patch Kids were the It Toy of the year, and since people were generally losing their collective minds in their efforts to get one, Mom wisely opted out of the public stampedes and fistfights. So sis saved up her own money, until FINALLY she had enough stashed away. Off to the mall we went, making a beeline for the toy store. (This was a few months after the holiday rush, so the shelves were sufficiently stocked at this point. No taser required.)
My sister had her eye on a redheaded doll. She spotted one in the second row, behind a blond, curly-haired one. She moved the first doll to the side…
…and I said something to the effect of “aw, that doll’s going to be sad that you didn’t choose her.”
My sister felt so bad about hurting the toy’s feelings that she LITERALLY BOUGHT THE BLOND DOLL INSTEAD.
And my brother spent the next several years torturing her with it. He gave her a voice, and whenever the doll wasn’t sitting next to my sister, he’d make it call out, “MOMMA! MOMMA! COME GET ME! I’M LONELY! She was prone to mischief, frequently body-slamming teddy bears and pinning dolls belonging to overnight guests too. (And sometimes our cousins, if they dared nap at our house. They’d wake up underneath a Cabbage Patch kid who you’d swear had a smug look on her face….)
“Antonia Larina”clearly had self-control issues. (Ah, siblings. Ain’t they great?)
Anyway. One of the reasons I wanted to have my sister see this guy was because of this stressful life situation she’s dealing with. Interestingly, he had some insight into that:
* You’re struggling with making a big decision. Perhaps you need to make a decision NOT to make a decision right away. Take this time to heal and fix YOU instead.
(For the record, this is EXACTLY WHAT I TOLD HER. Validation for my spiritual gift right there, folks. But wisdom is wiser when it comes from a third party. That’s why consultants are so expensive, right?)
* You need to stop beating yourself up. You’re hearing your mother’s voice of disapproval in your head…you need to stop listening to that and do what’s right for YOU.
Hmm. That didn’t feel quite right. Mom was never one to be overbearing with an opinion. Apparently (I found this out later) HER mother was pretty up front with how she felt about things, and was none too shy about making sure her offspring knew her stance. On EVERYTHING. And don’t we always swear to do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what our parents did?
So we grew up with a lot of this:
Me: Mom, what do you think of my current boyfriend?
Mom: It doesn’t matter. I’m not the one dating him.
Sis: Mom, do you think I should cut my hair?
Mom: It’s your hair. Do what you want with it.
Afterwards, my sister and I debriefed about our readings a bit (yes, while we were shopping – at the outlet mall this time to mix it up a bit.)
And as we were searching for the best slip-on walking shoes and the perfect jeans, we realized something.
The damaging influences he had referenced – the toxic relationships, the disapproving parents – these weren’t playbacks of external experiences.
They were internal.
In my sister’s case, Mom never really frowned on her life choices. But my sister is so adept at self-flagellation, she was creating her own voice of disapproval. RIGHT INSIDE HER HEAD.
It wasn’t Mom’s voice she was hearing – it was her own.
And with me – the “toxic relationship” is, in reality, with…myself. It’s with the person who has food issues. It’s the condescending voice hissing insults at me while I walk around with a BMI of about 18, telling me I’m too fat to eat back the precious few calories I burned on my morning run. It’s that internal judge that hands out the verdict of “unacceptable” every time I look in the mirror and catch sight of my thighs.
The challenge? It’s really, really hard to divorce your brain. It’s awfully tough to break old thought patterns – to jackhammer out the long-ago-set concrete and haul the heavy chunks to the garbage dump.
But if I move one piece at a time, and keep at it, eventually I’ll get there.
I had a small taste of what that might look like just this week. I was sporting some of my new stuff – a new top, and what I thought were decent jeans (I can never be sure – I get myself thinking they look OK in the dressing room, but once I get home and look at them in MY mirror…well, ugh. Thighs again.)
And you know what? I thought I actually looked pretty good.
Throughout the day, I reminded myself that I looked just fine.
(Even now, I’m hesitating to post this picture, because I’m still second-guessing those damn thighs.)
But some of the time? I think, maybe, I’m starting to believe it.
I hereby give myself permission to BE. Just the way I am. A work in progress.
I hope my sister does, too.