Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot contemplation in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. I’m glad you are here.
Today’s card is the Two of Pentacles.
When you look at a fine art sculpture the space it defines around it as sometimes as much a part of the composition as the space it occupies. Today’s card has a little of that energy. It’s not a caution energy, but it isn’t quite straightforward advice either. It feels a little like a power slide into a parallel parking space in a movie, or one of those internet memes where Wong portals in, gives some disturbing trivia and leaves out the same interdimensional portal.
Or maybe that’s just me because I’m a lazy, lazy girl.
If someone says “self care” to me, my first thought is coffee, readings a good book or taking a nap. The thing that the Two of Pents pointing toward is the fact that mental rest and re-balancing is not dependent on physical inactivity. Physical rest is easy. In modern America, we need a reminder to easy up on the mental stress.
You can do stuff without stressing over it. Arguable, you do more stuff and do it better when you are in a calm, relaxed state of mind.
This goes along with that Two of Coin’s quality of dynamic equilibrium. Maintaining balance often requires movement and adaptation. Spinning things are more stable, like a top or a bicycle or a gyroscope.
The sweet spot is a balance between activity and calm, being physically busy but not psychologically stressed about it.
Taoist philosophy describes it as wu wei. Chinese is notoriously difficult to translate. Sometimes wu wei is translated as inaction or not-doing. That isn’t to say that Taoists somehow think things will magically get done while we sit and to nothing. The translation “effortless action” seems more apt, especially in the context of this card. Both wu wei and the two of pentacles are pointing toward physical activity without mental stress.
A sense of accomplishment and productivity is a pretty nice feeling at the end of the day. Mental stress is not. A significant amount of stress is pressure we put on ourselves. It is almost as if we think easy things are somehow less valuable or less worthy of our precious little time. Again, the two card points us toward a sweet spot of balance. You don’t want to underestimate, neglect or minimize a situation, but you don’t want blow a molehill up to be Mount Everest either. That’s the balance the Two of Pentacles brings to us today.
Busy isn’t bad when it is balanced with inner calm. Mental rest and quiet is still self care, even when it happens in the center of a storm of external activity. Moving meditation is the perfect example, and a perfect way to practice mental calm in the middle of physical business. Walking meditation is very much a part of some Buddhist traditions. Of course, Tai Chi is the best known example of meditation in motion. Which circles back around to one of my very favorite Alan Watts quotes “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about god while one is peeling the potatoes. Zen spirituality is to just peel the potatoes.”
It’s ok for things to be busy. It’s just as ok for busy things to feel easy while you do them.
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See you at the next sip!