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Join Date: 07 Apr 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
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21 Ways - Step Nine


Step NINE - Dark Carnival Tarot, The Hierophant

9-1. Go back over the descriptions you've given for your chosen card....ask at least three open-ended questions.

From step 2
Who have I really looked up to in a "hero-worship" way? Was I able to learn from them?

Raising my hand in Harold Bloom's class at Yale. Everyone else seems to be too intimidated, and heck, I'm intimidated, but I think I have a good answer to the question he just asked. OMG he's calling on me. And now he's agreeing with me. And I feel such overwhelming relief and gratitude and pride. I can hang with THE greatest Shakespeare scholar of the century. I don't have to be afraid to speak up...my mind, my thoughts, my knowledge, are all good enough. I'm full of confidence and I'm not afraid to speak my mind.

From step 3
When have I felt like I was exactly where I belonged and reveled in what I was doing?

(I had a lot of snapshots here but I crossed out all the ones that happened when I was in a manic phase or drinking...)

Blacklighting in Texas. I can hardly believe I'm deep in the heart of a highly-restricted nature reserve with Eric Eaton and Ed Riley and a slew of other professional entomologists, and they're asking me to identify lady beetles. The lights are bringing all the insects off the lake and out of the marshes and trees...there's a big moth that won't let go of my shirt, I've got bugs up my sleeves and in my hair and I don't care. Bugs all over the sheets, hundreds of thousands if I could start counting them all. Such diversity. I wish the night would never end. Here, this place, these people, all this life...I've never felt so much like I belonged exactly where I was.

From step 7
When has connecting with a higher power helped me deal with the difficulties of the world around me?

Early in AA, developing an attitude of gratitude by thanking God for everything that happens. Standing at the bus stop as a squirrel dashes back and forth in the street till it's struck and killed by a car. I know it's just a squirrel but it's really upsetting, and so random; how do I thank God for this? Well...I work hard at it. In the middle of the city, squirrels have no natural predators; no hawks or owls or foxes. Something has to keep the population under control...so....Thank God for maintaining the balance of the urban ecosystem. Maybe it's a stretch but it works. I've turned a random upsetting experience into a grounding and enlightening one. I can handle anything if I hand it to God.

(That was probably not the deepest story of sobriety I could've come up with but it was the clearest snapshot. I'm sticking with it.)

9-2. What do you most need to look at in your life right now...? Where was the strongest emotion?

All three answers involve feeling like I belong somewhere, I'm being recognized by people I respect, and things make sense and fit into place. All of which are missing from my life right now. I'm going around in circles trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing with my life, I can't find any real meaning in it right now. (I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and I'm almost 40....) I like my job but I feel like I'm never getting praise or recognition, never moving up the ladder - people I trained a year ago have been given more responsibility than I have, and I've been here 12 years. Jeez, you'd think I'd at least be recognized as a good trainer, if they're doing that well already! I need to stop relying on other people to validate me, to be able to realize that I've done well and internalize that. I shouldn't have to wait for someone to pat me on the head. I'm not a success story because I'm not telling the story myself.

That's it. I need to star in my own story. I need to write the plot myself. Maybe the story is about someone who's stuck in a job where she isn't respected, but there can be subplots...she has friends and hobbies and outside interests and spiritual guidance. She's happy and successful on her own terms. She tells herself she's good enough, and that's good enough. No, I'm writing it, so that's better that good enough. It's good. She's good. I'm good.

Good. Now stop crying.
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