|Posted on August 2, 2016 at 12:20 AM|
I bought myself a necklace for my birthday. I saw a picture of it at the shop and decided that if it was still there on my birthday, I would buy it.
It’s a handcrafted piece done by a local artist who has put tarot cards on a pendant. Since I first learned the tarot, the Fool has been one of my favorite cards. But I got special insight into WHY this weekend.
I wore the necklace on a trip. As our whole family was sitting at the airport, one of my daughter’s asked me about the picture. I told her about the Fool… how most often the fool is taken for an idiot, someone who doesn’t know much or whose ideas are so strange that people think they make no sense. And sometimes, that is true. But the Fool can also be the shadow side of Wisdom. Ancient texts talk about the wisdom of fools… and partly this paradox is why I love the fool card so much.
But try explaining this to a young child. So I tried to go even more concrete…. Because young children relate to the concrete world first – then get to abstractions from there. So we looked at the number 0 at the top. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the cards that are Roman numerals, it doesn’t fit with the court cards that have suits. It’s all by itself. It’s an exception. The digit ‘0’ is an odd thing. It means nothing. But it occupies a VERY important space. In fact, it holds space. It’s a place holder that is absolutely necessary in our numeric system in order for us to represent much larger numbers.
And therein lies the wisdom of the fool. A fool holds space. Quite often in the king’s court, the fool was actually very influential. Although the wise men and counselors had the king’s ear, most kings became very familiar with how even the most wise could be politically influenced by power or money… or how they could become mere ‘yes’ men. A great fool for a king was one who could speak the truth to the king in nonsensical ways – ways that would not make the king look bad but that would also point out another perspective or truth that the king might not have seen otherwise. Thus, the best court fools were also some of the most intelligent people in the room. A placeholder… a holder of space.
Although my daughter may not have gotten all of those abstract ideas from asking her question and listening to the story I told, I know that I will never look at the 0 the same way again. And I fell just a little more deeply in love with the Fool.
Postscript: Just to make the learning fun, we got out the tarot deck and looked through each card to see if we could find the 'match'. My preschooler greatly enjoyed this game with all of the fun pictures. She eagerly took in each picture to see if it matched mommy's necklace. When it came down to it though, she made a VERY important discovery. "Mommy, it doesn't match. This sun is orange, and this sun is yellow." Ah, the wisdom!
|Posted on January 8, 2016 at 1:30 AM|
For me personally, I would LOVE to state a label for my Personal Belief System. But practically speaking that would be impossible - and ridiculous - as it is unique to me. In my individualism, I am most like a humanist.
However, just 7 years ago I had a completely differenent religious belief system that I could name and adhere to... I was on top of the world and navigating it as best I could. Then I started looking for answers to nagging questions that I had carried since childhood. I examined the teachings of new preachers who were teaching things I had never heard before. But once I started questioning, everything about my personal belief system as it functioned within the larger Belief System started to unravel.
At this point, I know I am not a Christian - but I believe in Christ-consciousness. I am not a Baptist... but I believe that individuals can powerfully and intentionally symbolize a change in themselves by finding a place to 'dunk themselves' underwater. This fits with both humanism and mysticism, both of which I truly appreciate.
I like parts of Buddhism especially as it applies to being mindful of the moment and aware of the power of the words that I choose to speak.
I have a violent reaction to the concept of identifying oneself with anyone else's way of thinking. I'm doing my best to pick and choose what works for me and stick with those things. I am my own authority and I regularly check in with body, mind, and 'spirit' to see if how my life is moving is in harmony with how I am receiving input (physically, socially, intellectually, and yes, spiritually).
Four years ago, I had the impression that I could rebuild myself a new worldview in as short as a year. At this point, I think I'm facing a lifetime of experiences that will cause me to renegotiate and resettle my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything - on a semi-regular basis.
I am a mystic. I believe in spirit - within all life forms. I believe things exist that so far defy human understanding. I believe we have the capacity to understand more fully some of those things but not if we limit ourselves to the understanding of the mind. I believe the heart and other 'senses' beside the five physical senses are necessary to integrate with the mind in order to achieve full understanding of our entire environment.
This is most of what I have discovered in my personal digging. It's the tip of the iceburg compared to a lot of the detritus sitting on the rubbish pile of beliefs and ideas I have thrown out. I have to say, the more I do, though, the clearer I become and the less weighted-down by a lot of imposed ideas that culture or sub-culture had placed on me for a long time.
|Posted on January 8, 2016 at 12:40 AM|
It may seem to some to be futile mind-numbing work to examine the fundamental story that lies behind most of our individual behavior and thought. And don't get me wrong. It IS a lot of work. It's hard to face some of the basic, simplistic questions and answers that we wrestled with at a time in our lives when we were very dependent on others for our survival.
Most of us have compromised on what we truly wanted because of a real or perceived threat from how someone(usually a loving caregiver) responded to our own "story", ideas, motivations. Quite often we never go back and revisit those stuffed ideas because we have reached an age where those memories have either all but receded, or are written off as childish ideas.
And yet, if you observe children, they have some of the most honest and interested motivations because they DON'T have a well-developed story-line/worldview (aka belief system) that they have to defend against threat (real or perceived). So why should we brush aside an honest childlike desire just because it's personal?
If as individuals we can get to the basic storyline of the purpose of our own life we may find not only some things that no longer serve us - we may also find solid gold among the forgotten desires of our childhood.
For instance, in the process of walking away from the religion of my upbringing, I have had to not only take off the label, I have also had to sift through the whole ethical hierarchy of what is right and wrong and why. I have not come far in the excruciatingly minute sifting through the rubble to find what is still valuable to me. But what I have come up with is a series of statements of things that I believe. Some of them I have included here.
I believe that what is right and wrong can be defined by a basic respect for individuals. This gets hairy the more individuals there are interacting in an environment because statistically-speaking the ability for their goals, identities, and values to mesh harmoniously spikes dramatically. But I stubbornly believe it is possible for people to have different perspectives and still respect each other. I would love to see it demonstrated more often and be a part of a group like that. Unfortunately, most of us have a hard time with self-examination in order to make real change in the only people we have control over – ourselves.
I believe religion is a control system and an attempt to help people modify their behavior. Self-improvement could be said to be one of its goals. And I have seen it fail over and over again if the desire for change is not resident within the person who adheres to the religion. I have also seen it fail when the desired change does not serve the individual and their current situation, when the desired change is imposed by others, and when the desired change is completely unnecessary.
I believe religion also serves a community function and that this is the aspect that holds people inside religion. Because without a community that lends support, it is very difficult for individuals or even lone families to thrive. I believe there are many people who adhere to religion not because they agree with the tenets of the faith but because they are too afraid to move away from the community.
I have come to learn that "my way is the RIGHT way" is not something that religions have a corner on. It seems that any adherent to any worldview may feel that their way is the ‘right’ way of thinking to the exclusion of all others. Because of my indoctrination I thought that black and white rigidity was a hallmark of religious belief systems. I am encountering the same kind of attitude in all kinds of worldviews (belief systems) whether associated with a deity or disassociated with a deity or not influenced by a deity at all. There is a spectrum within any worldview that runs from exclusive, fundamental, zealot, black-&-white dualism all the way to the other end which is more inclusive, liberal, open to interpretation, and loose. Both ends of the spectrum have their strengths and their weaknesses.
I believe that although most of us try to find a label of belief that helps us identify others that believe similarly - we actually pick and choose subpoints under these 'labels' so that each one of us actually has a unique system. Whether or not the system is coherent is irrelevant - especially since it is usually unexamined. It's in the examining our various beliefs and how we interact with them daily that we discover how our beliefs inform our thoughts, which in turn produce emotions and quite often a lot of stress.
I believe that doing the work of digging into our own beliefs can help each one of us reprogram our own thoughts and beliefs and lose a lot of personal stress. In addition, I believe that we can rebuild new beliefs and thought patterns that help us reimagine our lives and achieve the goals and ideals that we hold in high regard.
I hope to share some of my personal sifting process and currently held beliefs tomorrow.
|Posted on December 17, 2015 at 6:05 PM|
What about you? How would you identify your Personal Belief System, PBS. This one I’m going to capitalize – not because it belongs to a collective. I believe we are each a sovereign representative of the collective. So each Personal Belief System that is held, is intrinsic to the one holding it. I believe a healthy PBS will be one that is still growing, one that is willing to be challenged and perhaps even change.
I also believe that the more people with a healthy PBS, the more people are confident in their own inner authority and who can interact with each other in the way I described above – with a high level of trust and a healthy control of their fear.
How does one move from a stagnant Belief System or belief system that no longer suits, fits, or serves them? This is what I am called to do. Help people sort through what they value, how they hear their own inner authority, and how they can interact with others by respecting all people, themselves included.
I believe that we can each access some of our primary motivations by looking at the prevalent symbols in our lives. Jung called them archetypes. In stories we call them characters. Natives have worked with totems. To get caught up in the semantics only leads to stagnant doctrines. My aim is to help every individual dig out their guiding truth by highlighting the symbols, dreams, and guidance that has been following them around all of their lives.
These things can and do offer clarity to each one of us. I believe that harmony is possible if we allow our treasure to come forth. Contact me if you want to unearth more.
|Posted on December 15, 2015 at 12:55 AM|
There are as many belief systems in the world as there are people. A belief system is that idea in your brain that you have created or co-created that tells you how life works. It attempts to answer those three universal questions discussed in philosophy classes: Who AM I? What am I here FOR? Where am I going? Also known as: Identity, Purpose, Destiny
Many people have found that they either inherit and adhere to a belief system or find a new one or strike out on their own.
But here's the thing about a belief system. No matter what it's called, no matter what it's high ideals and priorities, a belief system either serves you -- or you serve it.
People use their belief systems in one of two ways. The belief system can lead them to freedom and purpose, or it can define and imprison them in their own effort to stay safe and protected.
The first way to use your belief system is to actually face your fears. This seems counter-intuitive if you have always used your belief system to calm your fears and satisfy your needs.
Any belief system that does not lead to greater maturity and freedom will stop helping you and start imprisoning you. You will use it to identify yourself, and you will also be polarized against any 'opposing' belief system.
In truth, there is no opposite belief system. Just details that seem incompatible in our attempts to sort out within our own minds how the world works and how to answer the big three questions.
For an individual who is using their system as their own identity and protection, the belief system will imprison you until you start questioning the beliefs that no longer work. It will feed off of your service and promotional words until you are bone weary and can't understand how your devotion looks completely opposite of the high ideals you promote.
For a whole group that identifies with a dying belief system, your belief system will shut down unless new life is breathed into it. New life looks like questions, like fears, like doubt, like reinterpretation. In fact, new life often looks like heresy. At least, it has historically.
So no matter what religious or a-religious system you espouse, ask yourself, how rigid are you? What do you have to fear from asking yourself some honest, but tough, questions?
I am especially interested in helping anyone who is walking away from an outgrown Belief System and unwilling to just step into a new one without examining it first. I excel at helping people sort through the wreckage of past systems, finding the valuable pieces, and helping to forge a Personal Belief System that will serve you and lead to purpose and freedom.