All posts by senlowes@icloud.com

Building A Nest

Four of Air from ‘Gaian Tarot’ by Joanna Powell Colbert

 

Now some of you may not like the Tarot. You may think that it is occult, or just quackery and nonsense. All I can say about it is this: I pray each time before I use it, asking Jesus to speak to me through the cards and I am constantly amazed at how accurate it is.

I use the Gaian Tarot, created  by Joanna Powell Colbert and I did her training course to learn how to read it.

A few days ago, I decided to do a three card reading for myself to somehow get clear on how to best spend my time, (as opposed to messing about doing little bits of everything and never really achieving anything !)

Card 1 shows my Opportunity – The Four of Air, (or Swords in some decks). The eggs are my creative ideas, still needing to be kept warm, still developing. The nest is the protective boundary that I need to protect those ideas from external forces that can steal my time, (and internal ones such as housework and Fb…)

Card 2 was my Challenge – The Two of Earth, (or Pentacles in some decks). This picture shows a father holding a pair of twins and trying to buy food at a market stall at the same time. I am doing too much multi-tasking – always my weakness! I seem to be allergic to doing one task at a time and actually completing it. But how to change?

Card 3 is the Resolution – The Canoe, or in some decks, The Chariot. The picture shows a woman determinedly paddling her canoe and it indicates that I need to live authentically, which can mean against the current of what is thought of as the norm. In my life, this means ignoring people and my inner voice who say : “Shouldn’t you be out there earning money?” “Shouldn’t you be giving time and energy to other things and not your creative work?”

Luckily, this card reassures me that I have the courage and determination to paddle my own canoe – upstream, if necessary.

I’m holding onto all this advice and putting into practice. It’s hard because as usual, I  want to do 100 things all at once, but I’m narrowing my focus. This is going to be new, unchartered territory for me. I wonder what will happen?

 

 

Black Snake Mother

A big black snake came to me in a dream. It was a Black Mamba – the most venomous snake in the whole of Africa. In real life, these snakes are a dullish grey-brown but this one was a shiny jet black and that was important.

I was terrified and repulsed at the same time and ran out of the room. That was strange because in real life, I quite like snakes.

When I woke up and thought about the dream, I could still feel the shiver of fear and panic that the sight of the snake produced.

Frightening figures in dreams usually have important messages. Even though I know this, I had to steel myself to feel into what the snake might have to say.

I realised that the colour black was important and referred to rich, black soil – a reminder that I need to be grounded. Jet itself, the shiny aspect of the snake’s scales is formed deep in the ground. The dream coincides with a period in my life where after a year spent in the wilderness of grief, life is finally taking off again. I am presented with offers, opportunities, creative projects…

As a number 7 on the Enneagram of personality and someone who loves possibilities, this is intoxicating. It fills me up like a helium balloon and my feet soon leave the ground as I float away on dreams of what could, might be…

The snake reminds me that I am free to dream but that my feet must remain buried in the soil, like a plant, because that’s where the roots of my creativity are. Without it, I am just drifting.

This is a black snake mother who will coil around my feet and keep me anchored. No need to be frightened of her, but every need to be grateful.

Suffering – How Can We Live with It?

IMG_0269Sometimes life is hard. Damn hard. Watching loved ones suffer is particularly challenging and soul destroying. It’s challenging because it can bring up all our own fears around suffering and lack and absence and helplessness; it’s soul destroying because suffering is the one thing that can make me doubt the existence of the Divine.

Many times I’ve asked myself: how can God/dess allow such woe? Such terrible suffering? Why do these things have to happen?

Then I realise I can’t know the bigger picture. If I could only step back from the jigsaw of life, I would be able to see where the missing bits are and what needs to go there, but I can’t and my job in this life is to try to get on and help wherever I can.

When I’m with psychotherapy  clients I can witness their suffering and help them to find meaning and a way through it, and I know that many of you reading this do similar work – but how do you cope when it’s you or your own family who are suffering?

When it’s me, I pray, write, use affirmations, send Chi to wherever it’s needed in the body and sometimes, hell, I just grit my teeth!

But when it’s a family member as it is right now, I feel helpless. I can’t try to foist a belief system or methods that I’ve worked out through trial and error that work for me onto someone else, because it just wouldn’t help.

I’m back, staring at the jigsaw of life again.

This time, I try to cultivate the humility to accept that I can’t fix everything and that if I could, it would mean taking away someone else’s chance to grow.

Growing can look pretty painful sometimes, but  I can’t know what someone else needs, only the Divine can know that.  So that brings us back to the fact that there is a Divine beauty that loves us and holds us in the palm of her hand.

Hope this helps. It helps me.

How Can I Be Successful in 2015?

IMG_0166

Dear Friends,

This, as you know, is New Year’s Eve and as well as feeling we ought to be out partying, (although we haven’t actually been invited to any parties), we feel we ought to be taking stock and forming new resolutions.

So as well as feeling friendless and unloved, we end up feeling guilty and determined to punish ourselves some more with strict new rules!

How can we really be assured of success in the New Year?

Try taking a leaf out of Danielle La Porte’s book ‘The Desire Map’ and start by deciding how you want to feel in 2015 instead of thinking about what you ought to do.

Once you get clear about how you want to feel, (no more than three or four feelings), begin to work out what you can do that will create those feelings within you. Those are the things you need to do and they may not include going to the gym!

Bringing your actions in line with your feelings and not the other way round, is far more likely to succeed because how we feel drives what we do far more than we think.

One last tip – whatever you decide and whatever you do, be as kind to yourself as you would to a small kitten or puppy and you are laying the foundations for success far more than giving yourself a telling off. Recriminations and punishment never work and kindness and love always do.

Happy New Year!

Shy and Self Conscious or Alluring and Mysterious??

Guess which one is the introvert?
Guess which one is the introvert?

My friend Shirley Razbully recently shared a piece from The Huffington Post about the way introverts react with the world.

I have worked with many introverted clients who believe that they are at fault in some way because they are not more extroverted. Is this something to do with the increasing Americanisation of our culture through films, TV and adverts? You see, the US is roughly 75% extrovert and only 25% introvert, whereas the UK is the opposite. I am also disgusted to learn that the US psychiatrist’s manual DSM5 lists introversion as a psychological problem!

The Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Jung’s view was that  we are born introverted or extroverted, just as we have blue, green or brown eyes – it is a fact, not a fault. All eye colours are beautiful and both personality orientations have a lot to recommend them.

I often have to work hard to persuade introverted clients to accept that last point, but consider this if you are an introvert reading this page – you actually know the inner landscape of your own mind, what an advantage that is! If that seems unremarkable to you, then you have no idea what it is to be an extrovert, always looking outwards because you fear the chaos/void within.

To the introvert, their inner world is a familiar place with few hidden surprises – somewhere they feel at home. The extrovert seeks more company, more talk, more going out – anything but spend time alone and look within! They have a long way to go before they can find the courage to discover what the introvert knew all along – your mind is a friendly place, albeit with some painful parts.

If you’re an introvert, I bet you have an extrovert friend. That’s because extroverts secretly admire introverts and believe them to have some inner knowledge and serenity that is forever denied them. They are drawn to the introvert’s seeming self possession and air of mystery.

You may be laughing at being told you are mysterious and alluring, but see it from the extrovert’s point of view: they have to hold court when in a group because they would never have the confidence or self control to remain silent like you.

How do I know all this? I am a natural extrovert who spent two years in therapy trying to understand and amplify the little bit of introversion that I have access to – and I have never regretted it.