it’s okay to stand still

armed with a citrine cluster to help release negativity, i came to my cards today with a bit of desperation. i feel so alone, so lost, so exhausted. i just need some guidance, some help, some advice. how can i let go of these miserable thoughts? what can i do to make today feel a little bit easier?

the daughter of pentacles is a card of grounding, positive energy. she is eager to explore, interested in learning everything she can, unafraid to experiment or to fail – she knows that even when things go wrong, we can find lessons in mistakes. she’s IMG_0328practical, resourceful, creative, intelligent, ready for whatever comes next. there is so much to learn from this child of the earth, this eager explorer, this kind, naive daughter. but what really resonates is that she is fully present in each moment, taking things as they come. she doesn’t use up all of her energy planning every step, trying to predict the future – and she doesn’t spend time dwelling on past mistakes, either. she breathes deep, smiles, notices her surroundings, enjoys the sights and sounds she is immersed in, and lets her feet lead her somewhere new and magical. she fully trusts her instincts, even though she knows that they may not be fully developed – after all, she is still a child, still a student, still has so much to learn and experience. but she knows that her innate abilities, her powers of observation and exploration, her intelligence and strength and connection to the earth will guide her. she knows that she is capable of great things, even if they don’t all happen today.

how does this translate to my depression, to my need for reassurance, to my self-care? this fawn has such a fresh, lovely innocence about her – but i feel ancient and crumbling in my pain, withering away to nothing. she’s eager to see the world, curious and excited to experience everything she can – but i feel exhausted, bitter, and all i want to do is curl up and hide from everyone and everything. of course i wish i was more like her at this moment, but how can i possibly get there today?

the short answer is that i can’t. depression is so tangled in guilt for me: all the things i’m not doing, all the ways i’m letting my friends and family down, all the ways i make everything about me me me instead of helping others. but i have to accept that this is where i am right now, and while i may not have a colorful rainbow overhead, or be surrounded by people that love me, or feel like i can accomplish much of anything on any given day, i’m still here. i’m still visiting my therapist, still talking to a psychiatrist about additional treatment options, still reading my cards when i can. i’m still talking to my husband, still taking care of my dog, still eating and even showering occasionally. i’m still answering work emails, still trying to stay in touch with friends, still keeping my family in the loop. i’m still alive.

it may not feel like much, not right now. but this is where i am, and if i can learn to accept that, perhaps today will bring a little bit of peace, and a little less pain.

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inner light

today’s card is a reminder for peace, calm, finding quiet spaces, and channeling that inner light: the four of swords.

IMG_0291swords can be a stressful suit for me, and the more i work through the elemental aspects the more i understand that air and i just don’t quite fit. something about all that open space, nowhere to hide, the clarity of truth and the forceful nature of wind and storms – it all makes me a bit uneasy. i like my swirling tides and churning waves, feel safer when i can hide in the depths of stormy seas and sink beneath the currents. but i can’t live solely in those mysterious waters – sometimes honesty and openness are the only way to find contentment. and with those big swords hanging overhead, the lamb has to look within herself to find the eye of the storm, has to set her own boundaries and find peace even when everything around her is tense.

we head back home today, after a crazy week in california. there have been some stressful times, some difficult times, some sad times. i don’t feel nearly as rested or relaxed as i hoped to feel, and catching a cold halfway through didn’t help. but i’m grateful to have been able to spend even a few days in one of my favorite places, and thankful to have spent time with family and new friends. IMG_1517

today is a travel day, which are hardly known for being restful or quiet. but as i fly through the air to my home, perhaps i can find some rest, create some moments of peace and calm for myself. i want to be able to learn from each element, rather than wrapping myself up in one and ignoring the rest. my mental space may often be cluttered, may be dark and twisty and confusing, but that doesn’t mean i can just pretend it’s not there. especially after so much stress, it’s critical for me to rest even in tension, to set boundaries for myself so that i can take some deep breaths and find center again.

strength in stillness

today’s card is one of my favorites: the four of swords.

four-of-swordspeaceful and strong, the lamb is confident in the power and clarity of her third eye. she’s aware of the swords hanging overhead, but she still smiles in the face of the unknown, allowing herself some much-needed rest. as the guidebook says, she sits in stillness and without fear. fours can represent stability and balance, so combined with the strong air energy and mental power of the swords, this card is all about quiet, rest, and finding space. it can remind us to set gentle boundaries, to protect ourselves, to seek tranquility and self-care practices that gives us peace and strength.

it’s absolutely possible to find moments of peaceful retreat while under pressure, and it’s an important skill to develop. not everything can be done by sprinting or pushing hard – sometimes we have to pause, to breathe, and give ourselves some time to rest and evaluate our progress before we can continue facing those swords again. knowing how to set those boundaries, both for others and for ourselves, is essential for healing and self-care. i’m not very good at creating those gentle barriers, but i relish the quiet times when i can find them. and with so much going on lately, both professionally and socially and mentally and emotionally, i’ve been craving some still moments for myself.

perhaps some time of meditation and solitude will help keep those swords overhead at bay for a little while longer.

choosing to pause

today’s card is one of my favorites, and a welcome friend in this moment: the hermit.

IMG_0361solitary, wise, strong, careful, and extremely aware of personal needs and challenges, the hermit doesn’t do anything without thinking it through. he cherishes stillness, embraces reflection, and thrives in the quiet moments. he will not be rushed, and does not push himself to simply get things done – rather, he knows when it’s essential to be thoughtful and considerate. he knows that things worth doing are worth doing well.

this card encourages us to be still, to breathe, to mediate. there’s a lovely sense of time and space here, a deep awareness of the need to be quiet and simply listen. there’s so much happening in the world and in our country and in our day-to-day lives, and so little time set aside for honest reflection. and without those quiet moments between all the loud conversations and dizzying adventures and hard choices and everyday stresses, how do we keep hold of ourselves?

i’ve written so much about my depression in this space, and my cards recently have been pushing me to act, to seize opportunities, to find new adventures and exciting beginnings and fresh starts. and i have pushed back mentally, saying to myself, not yet. i’m not totally in the clear. i’m not safe yet. the fog is still surrounding me, though i sense it’s starting to clear. but cards like the hermit, and the seven of wands, and the empress – they give me permission to stand alone for a bit, to be myself, to find a way to bring a bit of light into that darkness. there’s beauty in a pause, in a breath, in choosing to examine what matters. and i’m not afraid of stillness, not when it’s a choice instead of a trap.