Tarot Cards read my stars

At the very beginning of my Peace Corps journey, a wonderfully warm and open volunteer, who I am now glad to call my close friend Libby Ferris, did a reading for me, that I still find relevant today. Taro readings are just another tool or lens to look at one’s situation and to explore the depths of oneself.

1st card: The Situation

08traveling

The tiny figure moving on the path through this beautiful landscape is not concerned about the goal. He or she knows that the journey is the goal, the pilgrimage itself is the sacred place. Each step on the path is important in itself. When this card appears in a reading, it indicates a time of movement and change. It may be a physical movement from one place to the next, or an inner movement from one way of being to another. But whatever the case, this card promises that the going will be easy and will bring a sense of adventure and growth; there is no need to struggle or plan too much.

The Traveling card also reminds us to accept and embrace the new, just as when we travel to another country with a different culture and environment than the one we are accustomed to. This attitude of openness and acceptance invites new friends and experiences into our lives.

2nd card: Internal Struggle

knight-fighting

The figure in this card is completely covered in armor. Only his glare of rage is visible, and the whites of the knuckles on his clenched fists. If you look closely at the armor, you can see it’s covered with buttons, ready to detonate if anybody so much as brushes up against them. In the background we see the shadowy movie that plays in this man’s mind–two figures fighting for a castle. An explosive temper or a smoldering rage often masks a deep feeling of pain.

We think that if we frighten people away, we can avoid being hurt even more. In fact, just the opposite is the case. By covering our wounds with armor we are preventing them from being healed. By lashing out at others we keep ourselves from getting the love and nourishment we need. If this description seems to fit you, it’s time to stop fighting. There is so much love available to you if you just let it in. Start by forgiving yourself: you’re worth it.

3rd card: External Struggle

03ice-olation

In our society, men in particular have been taught not to cry, to put a brave face on things when they get hurt and not show that they are in pain. But women can fall into this trap too, and all of us at one time or another might feel that the only way to survive is to close off our feelings and emotions so we can’t be hurt again. If our pain is particularly deep, we might even try to hide it from ourselves. This can make us frozen, rigid, because deep down we know that one small break in the ice will free the hurt to start circulating through us again.

The rainbow-colored tears on this person’s face hold the key to breaking out of this ‘ice-olation’. The tears, and only the tears, have the power to melt the ice. It’s okay to cry, and there is no reason to feel ashamed of your tears. Crying helps us to let go of pain, allows us to be gentle with ourselves, and finally helps us to heal.

4th card: The Solution

knight-intensity

The figure in this card has taken on the shape of an arrow, moving with the single-pointed focus of one who knows precisely where she is going. She is moving so fast that she has become almost pure energy. But this intensity should not be mistaken for the manic energy that makes people drive their cars at top speed to get from point A to point B. That kind of intensity belongs to the horizontal world of space and time.

The intensity represented by the Knight of Fire belongs to the vertical world of the present moment–a recognition that now is the only moment there is, and here is the only space.

When you act with the intensity of the Knight of Fire it is likely to create ripples in the waters around you. Some will feel uplifted and refreshed by your presence, others may feel threatened or annoyed. But the opinions of others matter little; nothing can hold you back right now.

5th card: The Result

05clinging

The figure pictured in this card is so preoccupied with clutching her box of memories that she has turned her back on the sparkling champagne glass of blessings available here and now. Her nostalgia for the past really makes her a ‘blockhead’, and a beggar besides, as we can see from her patched and ragged clothes. She needn’t be a beggar, of course–but she is not available to taste the pleasures that offer themselves in the present.

It’s time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn’t been so busy clinging to what you have already been through. Take a deep breath, put the box down, tie it up in a pretty ribbon if you must, and bid it a fond and reverent farewell.

Thai basil chicken and loneliness

Cheers to a fellow PCV who is wise beyond his years and cooks up a mean meal 😉

so much to do, so little Thai

Today we will be learning how to cook the world-famous dish Pad Krapow Gai or Thai Basil Chicken. And how to combat loneliness. You will need:

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 5 Thai bird’s eye chilis, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (red onion works)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 8-12 oz chicken breast, diced  (thigh meat or ground chicken is fine)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water or your choice of stock
  • 1 bunch Thai holy basil
  • 1 egg

You will also need:

  • the courage to force yourself outside
  • some new hobbies
  • a sense of humor
  • a journal
  • patience
  • more patience
  • friends
  • the ability to live in and enjoy the present
  1. Turn burner on to the highest setting and add oil. Once warm, add chilis, shallots, and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (or until brown).
  2. Leave your bedroom. Go outside. Go on…

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Stormy Reflections

An imagined conversation with Alan Alda:

Lauren: Hi, Alan. Nice to talk to you. I am currently in a foreign city away from my friends, family and comforts and I’m feeling a bit lonely. Any suggestions?

Alan: You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

Lauren: Okay, so I have. Against my comfort, my intuition told me to dive into Thai waters, to explore the wilderness of fruit trees and tropical storms. I can see myself in everything and everything in me. It is wonderful AND frightening to see the sky reflect the storms in my soul. What now Alan?

Alan: Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.

Lauren: My assumptions, hm? Well, I assumed I was lonely based on the fact that I started a fake conversation with your famous quotes I found on Google, but maybe I’m not lonely… Maybe I’m just finding a unique way to entertain myself. Maybe I’m just bored? Ah yes, let the light shine through!

Alan: Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.

Lauren: Well, I’m not sure that anyone has ever had a fake conversation with you, while in Thailand, wearing a green flowered paa-sin, at 2:30 in the afternoon and eating an instant noodle soup before. Here, now, in this moment, I am in a place and time where no one else has ever been.

Alan: Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.

Lauren: You’re right for calling me a smart-ass (then again, that’s an assumption). Wisdom is telling me that personal reflection is healing for the stormy soul and that sharing it on social media makes one feel less alone even if no one actually reads what one is writing. Now, I think I should go write a poem or meditate or something…

Alan: When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing one another.

Lauren: True. I’ll keep humor in my heart to stop myself from killing this jumping spider hopping around my desk. I can’t just assume he is a he or that he/she desires to bite me. Maybe the spider is just as bored as I am and wants a companion. Maybe the spider just wants to be happy.

Alan: It isn’t necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. It’s only necessary to be rich.

Lauren: Looks like I’m doomed for unhappiness for the next few years if that is the case…

Although, I’d argue that “rich” in experiences, fueled by boredom and loneliness, that often breed creativeness and a search for humor, can challenge one’s typical ideas and assumptions and ultimately lead to a unique discovery of oneself and a clearer window of wisdom in which to view the world…

Thanks for the chat Alan. I feel like the storms have subsided for now. I’m going to go spend some time in the sunshine.