“In case you haven’t guessed already, I loves me the bullwhips. The meticulous, repetitive, stretching, checking, cutting, lacing; it is deeply meditative.”
Adam Savage, speaking on Mythbusters about whip making.
Intuitive messages are wily things. Sometimes they as clear and as forceful as a frying pan to the face, other times they are cagey and elusive and evolve slowly.
We’ve seen this recently as the cards speak in a cascade over the course of the wek. They have been speaking about various aspects of rest & respite. Rest through finding quiet, introspection, and literal physical rest (Four of Swords) rest through a change of perspective (Hanged Man) and today, mental respite through physical activity. Physical activity can be at any level. Some people find a long run the best possible way to clear the mind and ease stress. For me, running IS a stress. Any repetitive activity that doesn’t require a high degree of mental involvement can very much take on the deeply meditative quality that Mr. Savage describes. Putting the neurochemistry and endocrinology of running aside, the key here is the degree of mental involvement, not the cardiovascular involvement. Repetition can be soothing for some people. Mantra & bead meditation is an example, too. Arguably, low key repetitive activity occupies or so-active “monkey mind” enough to allow allow a meditative state to emerge.
Bonus points for doing the thing by yourself. Social behavior, even with one other very close person, engages our mind more than meditation or whatever meditative activity alone, or at least if we are left alone to our thoughts by the people around.
Anything can be a meditative activity. Tai chi is a classic example. But you can add jogging, knitting, and bullwhip making to the list too. Today, maybe this weekend too, is an excellent time to find that physical thing to do that gives rest to mind and spirit.
Maybe it’s a message for me as much as anyone else. But that’s how these things often work. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? My intent is that the blog will help somebody out there somewhere at some time or another, whenever they happen to see this. At risk of sounding like Prince lyrics, the whole point of Tarot is to help any and all of us get through this thing called life
The Four of Swords ties in to several energies that have already stepped forward lately. I still get a strong mental image of the different color flecks in stones from this weeks interactive reading Speckles. It feels like we are at long last getting a respite from the communal, zeitgeist energies that have so strong for the past year or so. It isn’t so much that we are being asked to stay in our lane and stick to our knitting – but rather the communal energy has disengaged and left us to our own devices. It is almost as if the universe has given us a day off to have a play date with ourselves. We are a collective of individuals. There is beauty in diversity. In a very gentle way, today feels like permission to get down with your bad self in a sense, whatever level of frenetic or zen energy that may be for you.
There is also the idea of lifelong learning (Growing Ogres) It is a mark of excellence in any profession. It seems the best of the best are always learning, evolving, growing new onion layers and letting old ones fall away. That’s what a sabbatical is; an opportunity for professors to study more stuff.
It doesn’t have to be forever. A break in the energetic action is a very different thing from being stuck or stagnant or lazy. It certainly isn’t a sign of failure. In Reiki, the five core precepts (letting go of worry, letting go of anger, working honestly, being grateful, being kind) are focused on the present moment. “Just for today” is a liberating, enabling, empowering thought. Just for today, take the Four of Sword’s advice. Just for today, get some rest. Just for today, give yourself a break and work on something else. “Respite”and “Sabbatical” doesn’t mean be unproductive. You can rest one thing while doing something else. Or not.
It’s so easy that it is almost impossible to stop yourself from snapping at loved ones when you are stressed, cranky, tired, hangry or pushed to the limit by whatever. It’s proximity, just like the nerve reflexes your doctor checks with the little rubber hammer thingy. Particular nerve reflexes are wired so that they basically short out across the spinal cord and bypass the brain entirely. Your leg moves with the hammer boink without you thinking about it or willing it to do it…or not do it. It’s the same brain-bypass that lets you snap your hand back from a hot pan so you don’t get burned.
Reflexes bypass language editing centers. I don’t know about you, but when one of those injury avoiding ‘ouch’ reflexes happen, it is usually accompanied by at least “OW” and usually a swear or two. Reflexes happen faster than cognitive processing, they don’t go all the way to the brain and have a shorter distance for the nerve impulse to travel, for a simplified way to look at it.
The same is true when we are under stress. It is quick and easy to take it out on loved ones because, with any kind of luck, they are relatively close at hand. The stress has a short distance to travel. If you are the stressed one, it is hard to stop yourself from doing that. If you are the one in the splash zone of your loved one’s stress, it is hard to stop yourself from getting reflexively defensive and splashing a little bit too.
I’ve learned this from my spouse who is a freaking saint to put up with me my crankies, but taking care of yourself is an act of love for the ones you are closest to. Get a nap, have a snack, whatever it is that works to manage your stress…DO it. You’ll be doing a favor for your own mental health as well as giving a token of affection to those who you love…and who love you.
Protector, provider, maker, craftsman, successful…shout out to everyone out there relaxing on a sunday feeding minds with books, feeding maker fingers with you favorite hobbies, feeding families with special meals, or just setting yourself up for a productive week with some self care and all out rest
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