Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Little Bill: “Why, they seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn’t be in Bill’s place for a good deal!”
As Alice finds herself, once again, an inconvenient size (this time too big to escape the home of the White Rabbit where she was sent to fetch some white gloves), a controversy ensues. The White Rabbit wants her out, or to be let in, but there is no option. Alice is simply too large to leave or allow room for entry. In an urgent and not so thoughtful attempt at meeting the problem head-on, a small lizard by the name of Little Bill is catapulted into the home via the chimney which only leads to a brief launch into space for Bill, and the further agitation of the crowd that has gathered outside the over-occupied abode. “Why Bill?” you may ask. It isn’t his house, and except for the fact that he’s been coerced into the matter, it isn’t even his problem. Little Bill is being played as a pawn. He apparently doesn’t have any strength of will to protest, and will pay the consequences for allowing others to push him into taking on a problem that isn’t his and is much too big for such a little lizard.
Little Bill has fallen into your reading, perhaps, as a sign that you are being asked to do something completely ridiculous and much beyond your means, just as Little Bill was asked to go in and retrieve the oversized Alice from the White Rabbit’s home. This is either going to take a great deal of courage and creative efforts (verging on the magical), or maybe it is important for you to avoid an almost certain painful and abrupt ejection by saying “no.” Little Bill goes along with the commands of the White Rabbit without stopping to protest or consider the likelihood of failure, pain and suffering on his part . . . and all for the retrieval of a pair of kid gloves! It hardly seems worth all of the drama! Do you find you are unable to stand up for yourself? Do you find yourself ambling down metaphorical chimneys, knowing the dreadful consequences that await, yet unable to voice your wants, needs and limits? It is time to start the empowering practice of “just say no.” I know it may not be as easy as it sounds if you are used to pleasing others and feel a sense of being small when confronted by friends, bosses, co-workers, or lovers to do things you aren’t comfortable with. So, now is the time to start working on strengthening this skill.
Meditation #1: Take a moment to relax, sitting up straight, and just breathe. Imagine the circumstances you are being faced with that seem overwhelming, and before going any further, just take a deep breath and let go. Make sure you are breathing deep and long. (It is easy to unconsciously hold the breath when we are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed). Once you are naturally breathing nice, deep, long breaths, allow yourself to connect with the situation again, and in your hand is a small cake that says “Eat Me” on it. Put it in your mouth, chew it up and swallow, and allow yourself to grow bigger and bigger until you are at a size that feels big enough to face the person/people who are pressuring you to do the impossible. Notice how little everyone else is compared to you. Notice what it is like to be so big. Now, before you say anything, take a moment to breathe into your belly, filling it up with any color that you feel will help bring strength. When your belly feels full of strength, move the breath up into the heart, and fill it with any color that you feel will help bring compassion. When your heart feels full of compassion (and love if this feels appropriate), move the breath up into the head, and fill it with any color that you feel will bring clear communication. When your head feels full of clarity, look at the person/people you need to face, and let them know exactly how you feel. Describe how your body feels, fears, thoughts, and let them know what you feel you are and are not capable of. Maybe allow for a conversation about some sort of compromise that feels reasonable to you, and work through this conversation until you have come to an agreement that feels good in your head, your heart, and your belly. Do a check in with all of these parts and notice if there is any sense of contraction, and keep breathing and working on negotiations until you are at a place of harmony inside and out.
Now, in real life it will take time to be able to face challenges like these with confidence and a sense of knowing what is okay for you, so continue to practice. If you are asked to do something that you are unsure of, ask for time to consider, and use this meditation to find where your boundaries are. In time you will notice that your ability to feel what is okay and what isn’t is easier and faster to access, and your ability to communicate those feelings will also come easier and faster.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Humpty Dumpty has wobbled into the picture as a symbol of growth and the fragility of the ego as it develops from embryo into full-blown being. Our egg-shaped friend has a lot of clever things to say to Alice and likes to trick her with riddles and making up meanings for words, but he is obviously very green around the edges when it comes to engaging in a pleasant sort of way. He seems to view his whole interaction with Alice as some sort of game, his goal for which is, to win. At this very surface level (which is about as thin as the egg-shell that holds the fragile contents of our nursery rhyme character together), the ego pontificates and confuses to avoid a depth that would quickly crack the protective container and reveal a very soft and undeveloped interior. Humpty Dumpty is also a bit overconfident, not only in his ridiculous arguments and cleverness, but in his precarious situation. Indeed, it is good to have self-confidence, but if it leads one into a false sense of security, the consequence might be a nasty fall. (It is very possible that the fear of such a shattering experience is frightening enough to keep Humpty in a limbo of denial). It seems like in both the Looking Glass and the ordinary worlds, there isn’t anything so reliable as a good whack to one’s sense of reality now and then to make us take a second look at assumptions we have limited ourselves with, but Humpty Dumpty’s abrupt crash might not offer a second chance (“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,” you know . . . ). On the positive side, Humpty is the only one who can decipher the Jabberwocky poem for Alice, which is infamous for its nonsensical words. Yes, he is making it all up, but it’s all nonsense anyway, so it’s all fair game. It’s the arrogance that allows such a bold gesture, and it ends up being quite entertaining. Maybe since Humpty isn’t a fully formed being, it allows him to create new meaning to old concepts, which can be a great strength if done with self-awareness. As Humpty Dumpty is an actual egg (in an early state of eg(g)o formation) he represents growth, and he also represents the need to find proper balance in the current circumstances.
It would seem that you are dealing with some, possibly, infantile and egoic level issues in your query. This isn’t to say that the troubles aren’t incredibly powerful and real, and it isn’t to say that they are of little consequence, but they are triggering ego-based responses (maybe childhood issues which are triggering some child-like behaviors) which could lead to a fall and a cracking open. This will inevitably lead to growth, for what doesn’t kill us does, indeed, make us stronger. The only questions is whether we can find the balance and move our own way out of the struggles of the egoic shell before something on the outside cracks things open for us. One thing to remember as you move through this seemingly awkward growth spurt is to take advantage of the moments of ridiculousness. Allow it to feed your creativity and sense of adventure. If you can be entertained by the silliness of the situation as you move through it, all the better.
Meditation #1: In a comfortable position, imagine yourself as you are now, grown up, with wisdom and strength of an adult. Now, imagine you are standing with a child. This child could be you, if you feel you are the one who is working with ego conflicts, or it could be a boss, a lover, a friend, or merely a symbolic child. Allow your adult self to be the protector and guardian of the child. Accompany the child down the rabbit hole and into the current circumstances that are coming up at this time, and, always being present but not intrusive, encourage this child to confront whatever it is that needs to be faced, knowing that the adult you is right there, by his or her side, willing and able to help out if there is any sense of threat. Encourage the child to say anything or do anything that needs to be said or done, and when this feels complete, allow yourselves to emerge from the rabbit hole (say, through a doorway, another hole, climbing up through a chimney . . . just making sure you physically leave behind that scene). Once you have come back out, tell the child that you will check back in later to see how things are going. If it feels okay, give the child a hug and really allow a sense of compassion and love for this being.
Make sure to, within the week, take time to do another meditation where you, as your adult self, revisit this child to do what you said you would do.
Journal any ideas, feelings, dreams or unusual physical experiences. Notice if there is any change in how you see the situation, and notice if you see or feel things any differently,
Meditation #2: Allow yourself to stand in a place that requires balance. Maybe just standing on one foot will do, but if you can stand on a parking divider or something similar, that would be best. Now, focus on your balance, and as you do, look around at what surrounds you. Point to the first thing you see, and, instead of saying the name of that thing, say the name of something else. For example, if you see a car, you could say anything but car, like “fish,” or “Humpty Dumpty.” Keep doing this until there is nothing left to point at. Now point at yourself and say the first thing that comes to you. Let the word that comes out of your mouth continue to sit in your consciousness in silence until you feel a sense of understanding. If the word that comes really seems silly and not something you can identify with, I encourage you to do some free-writing about the word or make a collage based on the image that came to you until a deeper insight is gained.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
After leaving the chaos of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Alice comes across a door in a tree which, without so much as a “how d’ye do,” she enters. Upon entering, she finds herself back in the hallway she had fallen into from the rabbit hole, which seems ever so long ago. She is now looking at the glass table that holds the elusive key, the focus of her frustration for quite some time in her fledgling attempts at mastering the underworld of Wonderland and getting into the garden. Of course, Alice has had many adventures since that first fiasco, and so now she feels quite prepared to go back at the task of entering into the little garden behind the tiny door with her new sense of experience and wisdom: “Now, I’ll manage better this time,” and she does at that, accomplishing in less than two shakes of a lambs tale what had previously taken ever so long only to end in tears and futility.
So now Alice has finally reached her initial goal: “ . . . at last in the beautiful garden, among the bright flower beds and the cool fountains.” She had probably long given up and forgotten about the whole ordeal, but now has found an opportunity to go back and successfully complete what had been left undone.
The Doorway in the Tree was a deus ex machina, a tool sent by the gods (or maybe the Cheshire Cat) to help Alice get a second chance at accomplishing a goal that she had previously been unprepared for and unable to complete. It is obvious that she is more than capable now, to get where she wants without much second thought.
You, too, are being given the opportunity to revisit an old experience with new wisdom and confidence under your belt. Something that may have lead to tears and frustration is now easily mastered if you are willing to give it one more try.
Take a moment to sit with this meditation and see if you are ready to claim mastery in a long lost part of your life.
Meditation: With eyes closed, start breathing deeply and allow your mind to focus on what it is that you had once left behind as an impossible task. Let it become clearer and clearer until the picture feels complete. Take a moment to revisit who you were at this time. What were your capabilities? Your limitations? What were your goals? What was your perspective? Really connect with this old past self for a moment until you have a good picture in your mind. Now, take a moment to tap into who you are now. What new insights, wisdom, experience, and capacities do you have now? Can you see a way of accomplishing that which had been left for impossible? How have you grown? Sometimes a simple walk through a magical forest will give you all you need to master what once seemed impossible. Don’t hold back. You are ready for this new opportunity to take care of old business.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Pool of Tears: “I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” said Alice . . . “I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears!”
Alice is swept away by a flood of her own tears that she’d cried when she was 9 feet tall and unable to fit inside the door to the garden. Alice scolds herself for crying so much and feels there is some sort of punishment that awaits her as a result of showing such emotion. She spends a good deal of time throughout her journey correcting herself and criticizing her behavior, though it doesn’t seem to keep her out of the perils that lie down the rabbit hole.
She is merely adding salt to the wounds, so to speak, with her harsh reprimands. Going down the rabbit hole isn't something people do every day, and sometimes it takes a bit of getting used to. While it isn't healthy to get swept away by emotion, it is usually essential to allow oneself to really feel them and let them go before continuing through Wonderland.
The pool of tears has flowed into your reading to mark a possibly intense emotional time. Something that you initiated in your past is coming around and having an impact in your tea party now. It won’t do any good to get stuck in a cycle of self-criticism over things that were done in the past that are having an effect on your current circumstances. What is done is done, and we can either learn from past mistakes and work with what we’ve got, or allow ourselves to go down with the ship.
As Alice is swept away, she is taken from her vicious cycle of growing large and getting small in a futile attempt at entering the garden behind the tiny door. By being deluged by her own tears, Alice leaves behind that rut and moves on to new adventures. In a way, this flood is a chance to start over again and try something new. Hopefully something better. Tears should not be feared or avoided. They are actually a really helpful way, like other water flows, to wash away that which no longer serves.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, look at what you have that you can work with and navigate yourself towards a new and more useful state. The only punishment that awaits is the suffering you impose upon yourself by dwelling in the past and allowing it to drowned you in its inundation. If you can swim your way to shore, shake off those old salty tears and move on, you may find that life is still full of wonder and delight.
Meditation: Take a moment to get yourself comfortable and think about what it is in your past that is haunting your inquiry today. Notice how you feel about this past circumstance. Is there guilt, resentment, or regrets? Tell yourself that now is the time to let go of these things. Ask if there is anything you have learned about these circumstances that you can use as wisdom along your path through Wonderland. If you can, take a moment to forgive yourself and/or others who may have been involved in the past events. Really let it go, because it is weighing you down like an anchor in a stormy sea. Pull off the lead weight and feel yourself become lighter. You can cry to let it go, or you can imaging some other way of releasing the heaviness of this old burden. Now look at where you are without that weight. What do you now know and what resources do you have at your disposal to help you move forward? It might help to take a moment to ask what you can be grateful for, as this helps to open our eyes to what we have that’s good, instead of focusing on what we don’t have, or what we are dealing with that is challenging. Take your time to sit with this until you have completely let go of your thoughts of the past, and are focusing on what you can do with your current resources that will serve you best. Come back to this meditation as much as you need until you can see your way past the flood of tears and onto a safe shore.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Unicorn has pranced into your reading to remind you of the power of the mind. There are plenty of times to be skeptical and to question one’s circumstances, the actions of others, the dogma of a nation or religion . . . And there are times when it is miraculously good to allow oneself to believe what might be assumed to be impossible, like Faerie majik and, say, Unicorns. If the believing is for the purpose of expanding the limits of the mind and opening us up to that which is greater than we can possibly imagine, then the act of believing can be life-saving. The Unicorn is a legendary mythical creature, but very real in the land of the looking glass. At first, he has a hard time believing in Alice, until they both declare they have never seen such creatures as each other before, and in a moment of trust, they agree to believe in what they had previously thought to be impossible. In the looking glass world, the White Queen tells Alice, “. . . sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” And maybe we could take the advice as well. As long as we recognize that we are in control of the beliefs that enter our heads, it might be a beneficial practice to allow ourselves to think of and maybe even believe in things we wouldn’t normally fathom.
We all hear about amazing new inventions and breakthroughs and miracles that occur out in this global community called earth, and it might be possible to manifest such miracles for ourselves if we could first allow ourselves to think differently.
One possibility is to do the meditation on the manifestation loop suggested for the Alice card, and another is to simply spend some time each day imagining 6 impossible things before breakfast. Go ahead, see what happens!
Meditation #1: Get comfortable, preferably soon after you wake up, and allow yourself to connect with the place of dreams, day dreams, fantasy and fairytale. Allow your mind to come upon the wildest wish you could possibly hope for, and when you have it, allow yourself time to imagine as many details as possible. What is the weather like? What are you and/or any other personas in the dream wearing, if anything? What is happening? Are the laws of physics the same in this world as they are in the ordinary realm? What are the colors around you? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell? Once you’ve created a very clear experience in your mind, allow yourself to shift, slowly to another impossible thought, maybe something that pertains to the world around you or a relationship. You could fantasize about the perfect job, the best vacation ever, the most romantic moment imaginable . . . Go ahead, indulge your imagination in 6 impossible things. Notice if you have a desire to experience something that other parts of you are resistant to imagining. Continue to do this practice, preferably journaling about your experiences, until something has shifted in the way you perceive the world. It may be as simple as noticing that you are finding different ways to do old routines, or maybe you notice a sense of openness to new situations, or just a greater sense of creativity. Whatever it is, give yourself the credit you deserve for strengthening your believing muscles, and if you ever, in the future, find yourself surrounded by skeptical thoughts, take a break and allow yourself to believe the impossible, if only for a moment. Go ahead, and see what happens.
Another way of looking at this card is to consider the position of the Unicorn. He is in a fabled battle with the Lion, and the two beasts continue to follow the same old nursery rhyme over and over without ever thinking about breaking outside the prescribed cycle of behavior: . A very wise person, Albert Einstein, I believe it was, once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Now, if the Looking Glass world isn’t insane, I don’t know what is, and the never ending, never changing battle between the Unicorn and the Lion are a perfect example of being stuck in a crazy rut. If we are looking to break out of an old habit, cycle, pattern of behavior, or something that continually arises in relationships with others or on the job, then we must allow ourselves the ability to think differently about them. Similarly to the above meditation, allow yourself to connect with the Alice manifestation meditation, and you can also throw in this helpful meditation practice:
Meditation #2: Allow yourself to call to mind a circumstance, behavior, or pattern you would like to change. Instead of going into a mental process about how to go about doing this, allow your mind to relax and to hop down the rabbit hole for a moment. Once you have arrived in the Looking Glass world, do a little check in with what you really want to see happening that is different from what you have now. Don’t worry about the mundane details. Focus on how you feel, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you are currently experiencing a loss of power in a situation, it might be helpful to see/feel/hear yourself with a lot of strength, confidence. You are in the land of dreams and imagination, so you can allow yourself to pretend. Notice how it feels to have a new experience. If you are facing a daunting life change that currently makes you feel disempowered, imagine yourself navigating the circumstances with grace, wisdom, and mindfulness. Keep practicing putting on new ways of being, like a costume change, until it doesn’t feel so much like a costume, and is more like an old familiar skin, and see how this new skin can guide you in your ordinary life circumstances into a different result than you could have even imagined before.