This is the third in a three-part series on seeking life purpose. The first was posted on April 7 and the second on April 18, 2017.

A friend of mind came to me asking about her life purpose. A favorite way for me to explore complex issues like this one is using Tarot cards. She picked seven cards for a spread called “My Blind Spot.” Three, in particular, caught my attention.

In my first blog of this series we looked at the card she pulled for the position of “Blind Spot” – the Eight of Pentacles. The second blog examines the position of “What I don’t know, but everyone else does.” For that she pulled the King of Pentacles.

Even though these cards relate directly to my friend and her question, they may hold relevance for you as well. Since the cards and their meaning are all connected to each other in a spread, you may find it helpful to check out the two other blogs in this series.

At Last—A Feminine Counterpoint

The third card in my friend’s spread was the Queen of Cups. It landed in the position of “Insight.” Insight is the ability to see intuitively or to understand the inner nature of things. A card in this position can help us discern a deeper understanding of what was uncovered in the previous two cards and causes us to look at the situation through a different lens.

How interesting that a female figure shows up this time, and instead of a pentacle, she holds a cup. She is quite a contrast to the men in both the Eight and King of Pentacles. Let’s explore the differences as well as the details of the card.

First, she’s a queen! She has power and it resides within her. She knows what she wants and how to get it. How does she do that? With love! Cups represent emotions, intuition, love, and creativity—the intangible stuff, within and between people. This queen is also maternal. She’s sensitive to not only to her feelings, but to those of others. Cups are quite a contrast to the pentacles that showed up in the previous two cards. Pentacles represent things material like houses, jobs, cars and relationships (having a partner, friend, or colleague, but not necessarily loving him/her).

Listening to and Loving Oneself

At first blush, the Queen of Cups implies my friend could benefit by spending more time with and by herself. She may see this as a radical shift from how she spends time. The Eight of Pentacles is working, working, working while the King of Pentacles is doing for others or making sure others are taken care of on a material, tangible level. What if she were to simply love others, instead of doing for them?

The Tarot suggests she turn her focus inward for that is where the answer to her question resides. This queen stares intently at the ornate cup she’s holding. A.E. Waite, one of the creators of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, describes the cup as one that she has created. He goes on to say that it “symbolizes achievement brought about through using imagination.” (Pollack, Rachel, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom). In other words, this queen, when she allows herself to imagine what she wants, can make it real. The message to my friend might well be, “Indulge yourself. Love yourself. Give yourself time to imagine what you want. You can create it.”

Imagination Coupled with Love

Another important aspect must also be considered. Sheer will is not enough to create this cup. She must infuse the process with love—love of herself, her imagination, and her ability to create. This focus is starkly different from that of the pentacle cards. It’s not so much about doing (i.e., getting things done) or taking care of others, but letting oneself dream and getting excited about those dreams. That’s a form of self-love.

Maybe my friend hasn’t allowed herself this luxury of dreaming lately. Filling one’s day with a to-do list can easily block the tender dreams of a beginning life purpose seeker. How many times have we filled our day with tasks that don’t nourish our spirit or encroach on our alone-time? Probably, way too often.

The Insight

When it comes to answering the question of life purpose, this Queen must relinquish her role as King of Pentacles, that guy who spends most of his time overseeing his kingdom—the out there. It’s time for her to go inward and tend to her spiritual self.

In her book mentioned above, Rachel Pollack describes the cup this queen holds as having “a church-like shape.” Apparently before the modern age “all art expressed and glorified spiritual experience.” You see, for my friend to even ask the question about life purpose, indicates her spirit is nudging her for more attention. That elusive life purpose she seeks is within her. Spending more time meditating, walking in nature, and being by herself will likely lead to the next step of her self-discovery.

This may seem frivolous to a lot of us doers out there. When we are doing, we usually see the tangible results of our work. Spiritual work, however, doesn’t necessarily produce the tangible results we doers aim for. Instead it nurtures and nourishes our spirit. When that happens, life looks and feels different. What didn’t seem possible becomes possible.

The Tarot’s advice for my friend: “Seek the riches that lie within your spirit. The answer to your life purpose question will be revealed, especially if you listen to your spirit.”

For a Tarot reading, e-mail me at bev@alignyourlife.net or call  703.998.0880.

“My relationship to money was no different from my relationship to food, to love, to fabulous sweaters:  Because I was never aware of what I already had, I never felt as if I had enough.  I was always focused on the bite that was yet to come, not the one in my mouth.  I was focused on the way my husband wasn’t perfect, not the way he was.  And on the jacket I saw in the window, not the one in my closet that I hadn’t worn for a year.”  –Geneen Roth, Lost and Found, Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money

 

 

No, this is not a term used in high school chemistry.  Chemicalization is a metaphysical term.  Unity Church co-founder Charles Fillmore calls it “a condition of the mind that is brought about by the conflict that takes place when a high spiritual condition contacts an old error state of consciousness,” from his book The Revealing Word, first published in 1959.

Error states of consciousness are negative thoughts most of us walk around believing about ourselves and others.  These thoughts are untrue even though we convince ourselves they are as real as our own flesh.  Some of those thoughts are conscious, others unconscious.  They become our basis for handling life.  As a result, these error states of consciousness block us from where we so fervently want to go.  Try as we might to achieve whatever goal we are seeking, we can’t seem to get there.

Charles Fillmore goes on to clarify his definition of chemicalization, “Whenever a new spiritual idea is introduced into the mind, some negative belief is disturbed.  It resists.  With this resistance comes more or less commotion in the consciousness. This is called chemicalization.”

My Own Experience with Chemicalization

More than 20 years ago I attended a Good Friday service at my church Unity of Washington, DC.  The woman who led the service shared a powerful prayer with the congregation.  It was called the Grace Prayer:

I thirst.  Into Thy hands I commit my body, spirit, mind, this situation.  Thy will is my will.  Heal me at depth.  Reveal that which needs to be revealed to me.  Heal that which needs to be healed in me.  So that I may glorify you, God.  It is finished.  Amen.

She said that if we prayed this prayer every day for one year, our lives would change substantially for the better.

Well, that hint of guidance was all I needed.  Why not say the prayer?  Of course, I couldn’t just say it.  I had to say it, and say it, and say it!  I am an Aries after all.  Why not speed up the process?

I don’t know how many times I said it that Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, but it was a lot.  I committed it to memory, so I wouldn’t have to carry around a piece of paper with the words on it.  I took walks saying it. I took my showers saying it.  I woke up saying it and I went to sleep saying it.  I had it down pat.

The Crucifixion

Let me digress for a moment.  I live on a street where probably 150 cars park every night.  I was driving a Honda Civic at the time, and my car was parked close to my front door on that Easter Sunday evening.

Ten hours later I stepped outside my door to discover my car had been broken into.  It was a crucifixion of sorts except it happened early Monday morning, not on Good Friday.  The passenger window had been shattered and my car radio had been yanked out and stolen.  The cars on both sides of mine had remained untouched.

Why had my car been chosen?  You might say because it was a Honda Civic and those models were easy targets for break-ins.  Perhaps, but I believe there is more to the story.  I see my car as an extension of me, so the new energy I was pumping into me could affect the car.  If all that intense prayer-work was transforming me, surely the same energy was having some kind of transformative effect on my car.

Missed an Important Step–Denial

Let’s go back to this concept of chemicalization.  I embraced the Grace Prayer because I wanted to transform, to move beyond where I was.  Frustrated by being stuck, I grabbed hold of the Grace Prayer with a vengeance, but I missed a step–what metaphysicians call denial.

Most people consider denial as a refusal to admit the truth—a common occurrence when it comes to illness or crumbling relationships.  That’s not the kind of denial I am referring to here.  In this case, denial is the mental process of erasing false beliefs from your mind.  These false beliefs could be “I’m not good enough.” “I am not worthy.” “No one takes me seriously.”  Plug in whatever negative beliefs you are holding about yourself and you’ve got something to deny.

Our thoughts are powerful, and if we believe negative ones about ourselves, we need to, in fact we MUST, cleanse ourselves of them before we start praying for the good stuff!  Examples might be “I let go of feeling unworthy.”  “I release my fears of being poor.”  “I leave my low self-esteem in the past.”

I’ve been working with these metaphysical concepts for almost 25 years.  I confess I never quite understood this concept of denial until recently.  I kept thinking denial means avoiding reality, not wanting to admit there is a problem.  I now know that it is a way of cleansing myself of negative thoughts about myself.

Charles Fillmore makes the case for denial as part of the prayer process. “Denial clears away belief in evil as reality and thus makes room for the establishing the Truth.”  By denying those negative thoughts that appear real, we make way for our own transformation and manifestations. Here’s the rub, he goes on to say, “If the cleansing baptism of denial does not precede the Holy Spirit’s descent, there is a conflict in the consciousness–the old error thoughts contend for their place, refuse to go out, and a veritable war is the result.”

My Car was the Battlefield

I confess–I didn’t do any denials before I started ferociously reciting the Grace Prayer.  I didn’t even know what a denial was.  Unknowingly I positioned myself for war, and my car ended up being the battlefield.  That Easter Monday the Grace Prayer was shelved as I turned my attention to calling the police and getting the car repaired.

After this incident, I still didn’t know about denials, but I kept saying the Grace Prayer just a lot less frequently and with a lot less gusto.  I am now realizing the power of my words and thoughts.  I also understand that the best way to pray and to manifest my good is to deny the error thoughts and pray for the good, in that order!

Charles Fillmore wraps up his definition with these words, “When the conscious mind has been put in order, the Holy Spirit descends with peace like a dove.”   That’s how I want positive change and answered prayers to enter my life these days, feeling peace and hearing the cooing of the dove.

 

Clutter Gets a Bum Rap!

June 28, 2011

How many times have you put something down and then couldn’t find it?  When you do go looking for it, it isn’t there. 

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For

At first it’s puzzling.  You start looking in piles and places where it would most likely be.  Unsuccessful, you move to other piles and places where you haven’t been or touched in ages, but, gosh, it might be there.  In the meanwhile, your concern is ratcheting up.  You start talking to yourself in not so kind and gentle a voice, “Where did it go?  Who’s been messing with my stuff?  I am sure I put it there!”  And if someone is close by, like a spouse or friend, you get them looking, too.

As your sense of frustration builds, the other person you’ve enlisted slides right into the pitch of your emotional vortex.  You start getting angry at the piles you have let accumulate and the stuff you should have put away.  “How could I have let things get this way?  Where is that damn thing I am looking for?”  You start having heated exchanges with the person who agreed to help you when she suggests looking elsewhere.  “No!” you scream.  “That’s ridiculous.  IT ISN’T THERE!”

This was the scenario with my client’s husband a couple evenings ago.  He had just spent hours writing a book review—a valuable piece of intellectual property.  Ready to send it (via the U.S. Postal Service) to the organization who requested the review, he began to look for THE LETTER—his only source of communication spelling out the details of when and where to send it.  No e-mail or website had been provided.  He had to have THE LETTER!

The Search

The search began in earnest on Sunday evening at 9:00 PM.  At one point my client goes to the Internet to track down the organization.  Since her husband couldn’t remember its name, her efforts resulted in three possibilities—a creative approach in this technological age but a woefully inadequate replacement for THE MISSING LETTER.  Not until 11:00 PM did their frantic search end.  In a last ditch effort, they checked the trash scheduled for pickup the next morning.  Lo and behold—they found THE LETTER among the detritus of daily living.  What a relief!  All the angst and pent-up worry, however, didn’t let my client go to sleep until 1:00 AM. 

When I saw her the next morning, she was exhausted and started blaming all the piles of clutter stationed around the house.  The poor clutter!  It gets blamed for so much.  We know, though, it wasn’t the clutter’s fault—at least the physical piles of clutter.  Perhaps we can more accurately lay responsibility on her husband’s distracted (dare I say cluttered?) mind.  Apparently THE LETTER had been residing in the reviewed book along with a piece of junk mail for a while.  When the junk mail was tossed, so was THE LETTER. 

Slowing Down is Our Best Revenge

How many times have we done this–thrown something important away with something unimportant?  I confess, I’ve done it many times.  Maybe the best way to stave off these inadvertent mishaps is to just slow down.  I mean, where is the fire?  We have access these days to so many ideas and opportunities, it’s mind-boggling.  We want to do this, try that, go there, and acquire whatever.  We forget that life consists of small things, like details.  We go on to the next thing before we finish what we’ve been working on.  We rush through life. 

Perhaps a comedienne said it best, when she told her audience what she wants engraved on her tombstone—GOT IT ALL DONE, DEAD ANYWAY.  Yep, we are all going to kick the bucket one day.  So, let’s enjoy each moment in the meantime.  By slowing down we can be more conscious of what we are doing with stray pieces of paper, jackets we thought we left somewhere else besides in the back of our closet, and anything else we put some place for “the time being” rather than in its proper home.  We can circumvent the angst and anguish of looking for lost stuff.

Let’s exonerate our clutter.  We’re the ones who need to calm down and become more mindful our actions.  By giving ourselves a second or two more as to where we put things and what we’ve put where, we can imprint that moment onto our memory and possibly prevent our tossing important items into the trash.  After all, what’s two seconds compared to two hours of fruitless, frantic hunting?

Bev Hitchins © 2011

I was saying goodbye to my friend—let’s call her Molly—after a congenial lunch.  Before parting I casually mentioned an encounter between a friend of hers and a friend of mine—an encounter where I was not present.  There was a question of follow-up. 

I suggested her friend hadn’t followed up with my friend.  Did I know this for sure?  Absolutely not!  In a matter of seconds and in ignorance I maligned Molly’s friend and changed the tenor of our conversation.  Molly countered me, asserting her friend would never not follow up; it wasn’t like her.  When we parted, an uncomfortable feeling infiltrated my gut.

When we’re not mindful of what we say, our message can turn sloppy and inaccurate.  Not only that.  It affects both the listener and the speaker in ways we are unaware.  In the above example, I was careless.  I made an assumption I should never have made.  The harmony we enjoyed during lunch was now scrambled—at least for me. 

The Need to Feel Secure

Although each situation is different, deeper issues lie under these conversation blunders.  If we are conscious, we can pinpoint a blunder and then decipher why we let it happen.  Being conscious, of course, is tricky.  It means paying attention to our feelings.  I felt unsettled after my final exchange with Molly.  I knew I had said something that disturbed the harmony I so enjoyed during our lunch. 

When I thought about it more, I realized I was trying to impress Molly.  I knew a bit of information perhaps she didn’t, so I felt compelled to share it, inaccurate as it was.  Something got triggered in me to tell this story—something that would make me appear to be in the “know.”  What appears to be careless banter can have indelible, negative consequences. 

Weeks later I reminded Molly of the exchange.  Fortunately she had forgotten all about it even though, I believe, it’s been recorded in the recesses of her subconscious.  No negative consequences occurred at least to her knowledge.  I apologized anyway and felt better for it.

Thoughtless Outbursts

All this has got me paying closer attention to conversation blunders in general.  I’ve witnessed a couple lately where I among others was on the receiving end.  In both cases, these individuals ambushed their audience.  Their words lashed out of their mouth.  It seemed as if something deep within each person could no longer contain itself.  It had to be heard.  It didn’t matter whether it hurt or offended the listener(s).  It had to be spoken. 

Was their intent to upset the listener(s)?  Maybe, but I don’t think so.  I know both individuals; they care deeply how others view them.  They prefer others’ opinion of them to be favorable. 

From my perspective, these unexpected outbursts, mine included, reflect a deep need to feel secure and undergird personal power.  It seems to me if an insecurity around a certain issue remains unaddressed, or more precisely—suppressed, then it’s quite capable of showing up in a most ugly and untimely way.  Psychologists call it the inner child.  Imagine trying to keep your kid quiet.  The more you shush him, the more urgent it is for him to be heard.  After a while he has a temper tantrum.  And so it is with these thoughtless outbursts, a form of conversation clutter. 

When on the receiving end of these outbursts, I allow myself to be hurt or get angry.  Caught off-guard I am stunned by what happened and afraid to voice my instant reaction.  Another part of me wants to blurt the truth but usually with the intensity of the initial outburst.   What usually happens is that I leave the encounter stewing–not saying much.  That stewing turns into resentment, which stays with me for as long as I permit—weeks, months or years.   

Too Much Talk

“A moment of silence, please, for the lost art of shutting up.” 

This is how New York Times staff writer Neil Genzlinger opens his article “The Problem with Memoirs” (January 28, 2011).  Even though his focus is on memoirs and the written word, I salute his call to action, for it applies to oral conversation, too!

I have a friend whom I have the urge to call from time to time but rarely do.  I am reluctant because the conversation always lasts too long, and my friend does most of the talking.  I can’t get a word in edgewise, and sometimes she is so engrossed in her story, she talks over me.  Her conversation is filled with a multitude of small details, which she believes are worthy of sharing, but to be honest, they aren’t.  

At some point during the conversation I get frantic seeing the time tick by.  I stop listening to her and start listening for an appropriate moment when I can insert, “I’d better be going now.  I have another commitment.”  When I finally get the guts to end the conversation, I leave feeling frustrated and angry that I didn’t curtail it sooner. 

If I were more assertive, I would inform her upfront that I have only so much time.  I don’t need to know the small details, and, if I do, I can ask.  Cut to the chase, please, and cut the conversation clutter!

Do Your Audience Analysis

This example brings up a critical piece of advice I would give my clients when I was a public speaking consultant, “Always do your audience analysis.”  I advised them to analyze their audience before they developed their talk.  This kind of analysis applies to conversation, too. 

Asking ourselves the following questions would be a good idea:  Who am I talking to?  What is my relationship with her?  What does this person need to know?  What’s appropriate and interesting to share?  I suspect some of us do it subconsciously, but many of us don’t do it at all.   

Conversing with Care

Whether we or the person we are conversing with talks too much or is prone to thoughtless outbursts, it’s advisable to raise our awareness of the clutter in our conversations.  Consider asking yourself if there is anything you can do in the moment.  You have options, like ending the conversation, tabling the topic or offering to explore it in depth at another time. 

If we can be more mindful of the clutter we bring to our conversations, we can stop ourselves before we say it.  If we pay attention to how we feel during a conversation, we have a better chance to speak our truth in the moment and move on.  Listening with care, we can better equip ourselves to respond with compassion rather than outrage to any form of conversation clutter.

Bev Hitchins © 2011