Sunday, June 27, 2021

I'm Out of the Closet Now

37 years ago I first met one of the great loves of my life: Tarot cards. I've been studying and working with Tarot ever since. In Tarot and oracle cards, I have discovered one of my truest gifts and one of my life's deepest callings.

But for most of these 37 years, I kept this love hidden. I read Tarot cards mostly for myself, and occasionally for friends. I kept it on the down low. I didn't talk openly about it or present myself as a Tarot reader to people outside of my immediate circle.

I didn't dare.

I doubted myself, my intuition, and my ability to interpret the cards. I felt like an impostor.

And I feared what people might think. After all, the Tarot is mysterious and widely misunderstood, and people tend to fear and mock what they don't understand. Would I be mocked? Would I be rejected?

My own fears and insecurities led me to keep my gift to myself, hiding it from others for fear of how I might be judged. All along the way, I felt a persistent urge to express this part of myself and to share this gift with others. But I suppressed it.

No longer.

This year, in the wake of the pandemic lockdown and some precipitous life events, something shifted within me, and I knew it was time to come out of the Tarot closet. 37 years inside was enough. So I put it out there.

(This reminds me of another chapter in my life, and another kind of closet I had to come out of in order to be my authentic self. But that's a story for another time.)

What has happened since I came out of the Tarot closet has been nothing short of amazing.

I've done more than 100 readings for people in the past several months. A few for friends; most for strangers. Some that lasted 90 minutes; many that were shorter. Some in person; many online. Time and time again I've been astonished by the deep connections made during even short readings, and how the messages that people need to hear keep coming through.

Some people come out of curiosity, for a general reading. Others come seeking guidance for navigating a difficult or uncertain chapter in their lives, or for insights on how to deal with challenges in love, work, or family. Some are struggling with addiction, anxiety, or depression. Some are looking to turn a new page in life and wondering in which direction they should go next.

The woman whose husband passed in his sleep three months ago, and she's having troubles with his kids, relieved to hear from the cards that she is exactly where she is supposed to be right now in her journey with grief and healing.

The musician who wondered about love and relationships, and received a message about childhood trauma and how attachment styles formed in early childhood have shaped her adult relationship experiences.

The Tarot reader who came for a reading, and broke down in tears as she gained insights into some past relationship difficulties.

The CEO of a thriving startup company in finance, constantly taking care of his employees, hearing that he needs to make more time for himself to journey within and do his own soul work.

A woman who lost her twin brother, receiving a card depicting a pair of twins, male and female.

Some people get messages they already knew, but needed to hear confirmed. Others get messages they were not expecting, bringing them to tears of sadness or tears of laughter and joy, or some combination of the two.

And occasionally, someone gets the rug lovingly pulled out from under them, like the New Age person who wants to be all about love and light, good vibes and ascension, hearing from the cards that they need to descend into the dark depths of the psyche and reckon with their own hidden pain and shadow material. Not what they wanted to hear!

You never know what's going to come up in the cards until you lay them out, and look, and listen to the silent, wordless voice of intuition.

And so, I'm out now. All the way out.

Hello, I'm Hunter, and I'm a Tarot reader.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Let Go or Be Dragged

A conversation I had today prompted me to reflect back on one of my previous relationships. It was a really short-lived relationship, only a few months in actual "time" (whatever "actual" time is). But it occupied much more space than that in my heart and my mind. When it ended, I found it very difficult to let go. In fact, I didn't let go. I held on to the idea of it inside, even after it was gone, and that was really painful.

"Let go or be dragged." Some poorly informed sources on the Internet and social media have attributed this quote to the Buddha. He didn't say it, but he might as well have. It's very Buddhist in a quippy sort of way. < Oh, snap! >

Attachment is the cause of suffering. When we attach to things in a fixed way, we create suffering for ourselves, because guess what? Things change. When asked to summarize the Buddha's teachings in a single phrase, Zen master Suzuki Roshi simply replied: "Everything changes." 

And so he changed. He announced he was moving to a different state. And, abruptly, any fantasies I was harboring about our future together were suffocated. But because I wasn't willing or able to let go in my heart, I got dragged. And the dragging actually went on for longer than the relationship did. True story!

"You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers," says a pro-gun bumper sticker in some red states like the one where I grew up. For me, just substitute "relationship" for "gun" and the same was true. I wasn't willing to let go of my fixed idea of a relationship that was, in reality, bound to the laws of change.

There's a teaching story in Buddhism about hunters who trap monkeys by hiding a sweet inside an empty shell with a small hole. The monkeys reach inside and grasp the sweet, but then they can't withdraw their clasped fist from the shell. They're not trapped by anyone else. They are trapped by themselves. Because they don't let go.

That relationship was many years ago now, and one of the things that came through to me today when I reflected on it was how perspective changes everything. Looking back now on that relationship, there were so many red flags that I chose to ignore. And I actually can't imagine being attached to that person anymore, or who I thought he was. Hindsight is 20/20.

A certain moment came, as a result of meditation and introspective practices, when I finally (and rather suddenly) let go of any attachment to the ghost of that old relationship. And when I did, I experienced freedom and a renewed lightness of being. But I didn't get that freedom from him. I got it from myself.

I was no longer behaving like the monkey who traps itself by refusing to let go of the sweet.

Nobody else is holding the key to your inner freedom. Only you can hold that key. And only you can unlock the door.

And here's the thing: your capacity for joy and happiness in this life depends on your inner sense of freedom. So what do you want? Do you want to be trapped, or do you want to be free? It's really up to you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Contemplate This

Contemplate the way LIQUIDS move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way SOLIDS move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way GASES move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way GENES move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way MEMES move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way RELATIONSHIPS move through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way TRAUMA moves through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Contemplate the way HEALING moves through you. From the outside world, back into the outside world.

Stop pretending that you are a separate and unique being. You are a CONDUIT for the flow of the universe.