Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Greatest Love of All - June 2014

"You complete me.”

Remember that line? It was from the movie Jerry McGuire, a story about a sports agent who was fired after expressing his opinions about the hypocrisy rampant in his chosen career field. The irony is that Jerry was the biggest culprit of this behavior. He was the one that all the other agents tried to emulate. That was because on the outside, he had it all – a great job that had him traveling all over the world and rubbing elbows with the “who’s-who” of the sports world. He had a beautiful fiancĂ©, great wealth, an excellent reputation in his career and the admiration of his peers. From the outside looking in, he was living the dream.
And then it happened.

Jerry had a crisis of conscious. One night, as he sat alone in a hotel room, he had a breakdown – or perhaps a breakthrough depending on how you look at it. Jerry realized that while his chosen career had brought a lot to his 30-something lifestyle, there was something missing in his life. He knew there had to be more to his life than what he was doing. He wanted to believe he could use his profession to make a positive impact on the world. Feeling this great disparity between where he was at and where he should be, Jerry created a manifesto of sorts, mass produced copies and shared it with everyone attending the conference.

Let’s just say, it wasn’t as well-received as Jerry had expected it to be.
Within a very short period of time, Jerry lost his clients, was fired by his agency, and dumped by his materialistic and shallow fiancĂ©. All Jerry thought he knew about himself, his lifestyle, his friends, and his career disappeared. It was Jerry – alone against the world.
You think his crisis of conscious was a challenge before this? Guess what it was like after- when he was caste out from his safe and familiar niche and into a cold and lonely world, naked and afraid. Jerry now had to come to terms with who he really was, and learn how he fit into a world that did not share his ideals. He struggled unsuccessfully for quite a while to identify his path. He floundered because he refused to become the person he knew he should be. He thought it was easier to go back to what he knew.  Instead of going forward, he straddled the fence between the life that was familiar and the life he knew deep in his soul he was supposed to lead.

Eventually, Jerry did begin to walk-his-walk, and talk-his-talk. His “Come-to-Jesus” moment happened when he decided to become the sports agent about whom he wrote his mission statement. It was a painful evolution and there were a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. However, the movie does end happily ever after when Jerry was able to establish a sports management agency true to his beliefs, and eventually win the love of a supportive woman who shared his dreams.

This leads us to the famous line near the end of the story, “You complete me.” It happened when Jerry realized the very thing he really wanted in life had been there all along –waiting to be recognized and appreciated.  Although Jerry says this to his wife, Dorothy Boyd, in an attempt to convince her to take him back, you can’t help but see that Jerry himself had finally come into his own. The epiphany that started that night in the hotel room with the manifesto had finally manifested itself on earth. It was no longer an idea. It became the reality of his life, and Jerry became the person he was supposed to be. When he filled in the missing pieces of his own puzzle, Jerry was able to develop self-love which led him to the love of Dorothy. Her love was merely a reflection of his self love.
And therein lies the big secret of the Lover’s Tarot card. When this card arrives in a spread it will often signal a significant romantic relationship. This is a relationship that shows deep love, commitment and connection between the partners. This is the kind of love for which everyone yearns.

However, what people don’t realize is that if you want that deep “once-in-a-lifetime” kind-of love, you need to first give it to yourself. You need to complete yourself before anyone can complete you. Think about it. If you go into a relationship with “holes” in your being, then you will look to the other person to fill them. This is not only unfair to everyone involved, it is damaging to the other person. If you don’t love yourself enough, from where will the other person get the energy to fill your holes? By expecting them to complete you, you are taking away from their essence. You will suck the love from them without returning a healthy love in return.
This may be an unpopular statement that annoys people, but it is true.
The only way you can hope to ever have a “complete” relationship with another is to have a complete relationship with yourself. Read that line again!

To be part of a healthy union, you must be comfortable with who you are. You must enjoy your own company. You must have your own interests, and believe your own truths. That is the only way you will attract people who share the healthy patterns you desire in your life.
Your other option is to live an existence like Jerry had at the beginning of the movie –nice on the outside and hollow on the inside. While that may seem okay for a while, it gets old quick. You realize the questionable people around you are merely a reflection of the relationship you are choosing to have with yourself, and it becomes impossible to look at yourself in the mirror when you know the biggest betrayal in your life is the one you are choosing to inflict on your true self.

Let Your Light Shine - May 2014

Human beings are such creatures of habit. Most of us have a daily routine we follow religiously – we wake at a certain time, have a specific morning ritual, go to work by a specific route, come home by a specific route and usually try to follow a comfortable evening schedule.

Even within our days we have mini-routines. For instance, at work we may have a very clear approach to how we handle a specific task, organize a project or run a meeting. As a species we tend to gravitate toward the familiar and shy away from change.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. I am willing to bet this habit was learned via thousands – possibly millions – of years of evolution. You stick with what you know and with what works. As a result, you survive.

Our attachment to the familiar has also created an enriched environment where celebrations and milestones distract us from some of the more turbulent episodes that mark our life journeys. We have baby showers, baptisms, birthday parties, proms, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and vacations. We even celebrate the completion of a life well-live through the ceremony of a funeral.

We have gone so far as to structure our society in a way that encourages the honoring of these rituals. We have governments created to maintain order and protect the people from potential dangers. This keeps the physical body safe. We have schools set up to educate the youth about important concepts that will help them be successful in this well-ordered society. This cultivates the mental faculties of the individual. Finally, we have churches. These institutions are here to guide the soul in its earth-bound journey until it is able to reunite with its original source.

Yes, ritual has been a natural part of life for much of human existence and we often cling to them. While these structures were set up for noble reasons, there can be a very dark side to their existence.

We must be careful not to use these rituals, and the organizations that support them, as a place in which to hide from our true life purpose. We must remember that we did not come to this earth simply to physically exist, regurgitate memorized facts, and proselytize beliefs that don’t truly resonate with the core of our being.

The sad fact is that too many of us are doing this. We are afraid to stand up for what we know at our soul levels to be true. We are afraid of criticism and ostracism, and the consequences these types of punishment bring. We forget why we came to this earth and abandon our true gifts. As a result, we hide our inner light from the world and lose connection with our higher selves. We must realize that this type of follow-the-herd existence is far more empty than any life where one chooses to blaze his or her own path.
In this month’s A Fool’s Paradise, we discuss The Hierophant. His is a role of teaching and guidance. He reminds us that there is a time in everyone’s life where it is important to be the student; to learn from those who came before you.

But, The Hierophant also reminds us that there is a time for every one of us to lead; to bring forth our gifts and make this world a better place because we were alive in it. Yes, we do have rules that must be followed, and we do have organizations within our world that help us maintain order and structure. However, we must remember these structures are here to make our experience on this earth easier so that we can do what we really came here to do – share our inner light and make this earth-plane a bit more like heaven simply because of our existence.

It’s Not Easy Being Me - April 2014

I like who I am. It took me more than half my life to come to that conclusion, but I finally arrived at this point well past the end of my childhood.

When I say “I like who I am,” it is not an arrogant statement. Rather it is a courageous one. That comment is born out of years of soul-searching and self-examination. It follows a period in my life – many years ago – when I didn’t like myself so much. I didn’t like the way I felt, and as a result, I said (and did) some pretty stupid things. Many of my actions were the result of lack of direction, immaturity and foolish pride.

Sometimes it is hard for me to look back at my past. There is a lot to survey. Much of it is good. I have accomplished a lot, both on my own and with the help of others. I am very grateful for that.

However, I – like many people – have messed up on my path through life. I won’t air the gory details here, but trust me, I have some stories that are real whoppers! It is funny how we tend to glance past the moments of greatness and focus on our moments of weakness. I am not sure why people do that. Maybe it’s because often many of the mistakes we make are ones that can’t be unmade.

Whatever the reason for this need to obsess about our errors, the goal is to move beyond this skewed thinking, forgive ourselves, and let it go.  Maya Angelou put it most clearly when she said, “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”

Let’s face it, we didn’t get a rule book to follow when we came into this world. Aside from the basic laws of society, we did not have anything to guide us as we moved along life’s path except of course our inner voice. And what good is that voice if we had never been taught to listen to it. The truth is a lot of our lessons were learned via trial and error.

Just like the Emperor Tarot card (discussed in this month’s A Fool’s Paradise), we need to learn how to make responsible decisions that enhance our personal power. The Emperor is a person of action. He puts emotion aside to make the right decisions. He wasn’t born an emperor. He became one through trial and error. The Emperor is not always right. However, his actions are ones he can always defend.

That is how I got to where I am today. I am not sure at what point I made the decision to shift my focus to a higher, less-selfish thought process. I am guessing it was sometime around the birth of my first child. Prior to that, I was often operating from a more me-centered thinking. This is a very difficult point of view because it is insatiable and it is hard to justify.

Regardless of when it happened, I do know how it happened. My metamorphosis occurred when I finally stopped obsessing about how I felt the world viewed me.  When I accepted that I cannot control other people’s opinions and beliefs, I found an immediate sense of peace. My decisions were made like the Emperor. I weighed the facts, compared the benefits with the drawbacks, listened to my inner voice, and made choices I felt were best – ones I could defend.

Now, this isn’t to say I didn’t cultivate the softer, Empress, side of me. I most certainly did embrace her finer, gentler qualities. Actually, I tried to morph both the Emperor and Empress to create a person who could make decisions that touch upon the more subtle nuances of everyday life. The Empress qualities helped me feel the impact of my actions on others.

Despite this attempt to blend the two, there have been times when I had to assume the role of the Emperor. I don’t always like having to do that, but I am okay with it. That is the beauty of my past mistakes. By having to accept and live with them, I have constant reminders of what not to do; of how not to make bad choices. 
And that is why I like myself now. I trust myself to make the difficult decisions for the right reasons. This doesn’t guarantee success every time, but it does promise me that any future mistakes will be honest errors resulting from an unpredictable outcome despite thoughtful and considerate decision making.

Is it a perfect scenario? No. However, I am comfortable enough with myself to say I am pretty sure I can live with that.