Monday, April 4, 2011
The Queen of Hearts commands the loyalty of her little deck of followers by force, and moves through the tiny magical garden with purpose, albeit indiscriminately.
Ironically, the Queen of Hearts appears to have no heart whatsoever. She coldly orders the beheading of everyone who does not please her every whim. The Queen is not as icy as she would seem, however. Her tough and reckless exterior hides a very sensitive heart that has been broken. On top of it all, her delicious tarts have been stolen! No wonder the Queen is screaming bloody murder!
There is a bit of wisdom to be found within the domineering behavior of the Queen of Hearts. Making atrocious demands, which are impossible to fulfill, and throwing out idle threats, which are unrealistic, only undermines the authority placed in one’s hands. Alice soon realizes that the Queen is not so intimidating as she first suspected. Those who do fear the Queen are more concerned with the surface appearance of what they do, rather than being genuinely acquiescent. The guards are found in the garden, frantically painting the white roses on the rosebush red, because the Queen wants red ones. The roses aren’t really red, and the guards aren’t really concerned with actually getting the request right. They are acting out of fear, not respect. If they felt comfortable approaching the Queen with their dilemma, the problem could be easily remedied, and the Queen would be more likely to get exactly what she wanted: a rosebush of red roses. And she’d be more likely to be playing croquet in the Garden with a full deck.
In Chinese medicine, the body is considered to have 3 brains. The one that resides in the head, one in the belly, and the other one operates within the heart, so in the case of an unfortunate beheading, one can always rely on the sensitive and powerful intuitions of the heart . . . for one’s own truth, that is. Don’t suppose that your heart is any freer than the Queen’s; we all can get clouded when emotions run high.
Power must be balanced with compassion (from the heart), and mindfulness (from the head). A true Queen knows that respect and cooperation of one’s kingdom, comes from kindness, self-discipline, and gratitude.
The Queen of Hearts offers several possible messages here:
There is the possibility of making decisions too swiftly, and without connecting the consequences with the heart’s knowing. Do you avoid uncomfortable emotions by escaping into your head? If so, you are undermining your own power and preventing yourself from attaining your true majesty. You will be able to trust your decisions much better if you take a moment to really feel what the heart has to add to the process. Spend some time connecting with your heart so that you can reign over your life with authentic power.
Maybe the Queen of Hearts has shown up to encourage you to speak with confidence, even if you don’t feel you have it at this time.
Meditation #1 The Golden Thread: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, eyes closed, and face relaxed, (especially the eyes and the jaw). Place your hands over your heart. For women, it is suggested that the left is at the heart, and the right is on top, men, it is suggested that the right is underneath at the heart, and the left is on top of the right. (However, you should do what feels best, being aware that doing something uncomfortable may help us break out of a rut that has thrown us off balance, or it can be beneficial to honor your intuition. It’s up to you to decide what is best for you). Inhale deeply into the heart, feeling the chest expand, feeling and filling the front and back of the heart. Keep taking in deep breaths, gradually bringing the breath into a deep slow inhale and exhale. Keep breathing into the heart, and focus on filling the whole area up, as if the chest is a balloon, and the inhale is filling it up completely. With each inhale, loosen up and dissolve any tightness or discomfort here, and with each exhale, release it and let it leave your body. Once you feel that you have cleared out the heart space, imagine a small golden light being activated by each inhale. With each inhale, imagine this golden ball getting larger and more radiant. Remember to check in with the eyes, and the jaw, keeping them relaxed. Now, imagine, with each inhale, the golden ball opening up into the form of a beautiful, golden rose. You see it slowly bud, and come to blossom in full, radiant glory. Keep inhaling deep into this golden, open rose that has become your heart. Now, imagine, with the inhale, that there is a tiny golden thread, which emerges from the very center of this rose. This thread, with each inhale, becomes longer, and longer, stretching up through the throat, the third eye, and into the center of your head. Feel this thread connecting to, and then merging with all of the different nerves and synapse points in the brain. Sit with this image until it feels very clear, and then slowly come back, feeling your feet and your body touching and connecting with the earth.
It is possible that the Queen of Hearts has stomped into your life to take your head off altogether. Do you escape the true consequences of your behavior by going into your head to find an excuse for what you do? The Queen has put a momentary stop to that. Take some time to get out of your head completely and be present with what your body is trying to tell you. In the long run, it’s much easier to face the music you are making now, so that you may work to change it, than to continue down the wrong path, only to find you need to backtrack to get into the magical garden. Enjoying the richness of life requires the participation of creating your whole being.
Meditation #2 Sit comfortably with a straight spine and start to breath deeper and deeper into your body. Imagine that with each breath, you are opening a tunnel, like the rabbit hole, from your mouth, deep into your belly. As you imagine opening this space up within your body, allow it to become as big as the Universe. Notice if you have any thoughts that are not a part of this experience. If you find a distracting thought has come, allow the exhale to suck the thought out of your body. Keep breathing deeply and opening up the body from the inside out, becoming as spacious as the Universe. Continue to let go of any stuck parts or mental intrusions, and let them exit the body with the exhale. Once you feel you have cleared out the internal space of your being, sit in this spaciousness in silence.
Another perspective to consider is that the Queen of Hearts is not all bad. She offers some qualities that you may be lacking at this time. The Queen is confident, and removes the obstacles in her way with strength and authority. As long as you do not forget to be mindful of the consequences of your decisions, it can be very helpful to speak with strength and unwavering certainty. Sometimes the only way to become a sovereign being is to just dive right in and act as if it is already true. Practice makes perfect, and you won’t attain much if you don’t put in the discipline to learn what you want to be. “Fake it ‘til you make it” can be good advice here.
Meditation #3 Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Allow yourself some time to visualize yourself as moving through a difficult or challenging situation with ease; continue to visualize it from beginning to end, as if you are the graceful Queen, or elegant and loving King until it feels like it’s in your bones. Breathe this experience into your bones. With each inhale, breathe this reality into the bones, and with each exhale, squeeze out to make space for more breath. Sit in this energy; bathe in it until every part of you has absorbed what this feels like, and then allow yourself to slowly come back, feeling the body, connected to the earth, and knowing that this reality has been integrated into your being.
Finally, if you are finding yourself faced with a blood-thirsty tyrant, take a moment to step back from the situation. Alice doesn’t take any of the Queen’s rants and raves seriously, and though she is threatened with a beheading, she makes it out of the rabbit hole in one piece. Reacting to the madness of someone else (like the Queen), puts her in charge of the chess board, and leaves you following behind. Moving from your own truth (which can frequently be found through the wisdom of the heart) will allow you to set down your own, maybe more reasonable, set of guidelines, and will help you to keep the Queen in check.
Meditation #4 Allow yourself time to check in with your heart. If it is feeling contracted or in distress, breathe into this place, imagining a color that best represents love and compassion. Keep breathing this healing into the heart, and with the exhale, letting go of any stuck or constricted energy. Once you have a sense of filling your heart with love and compassion, bring your focus to the situation at hand, and allow this healing energy to fill up this experience as well. Without trying to map out the details, just allow yourself to imagine that you are moving through the situation with love and compassion, and that your best interests will be honored and preserved. Allow yourself this visualization any time you feel a tenseness in your heart around the circumstances for which you have inquired.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Alice finds herself in a garden of beautiful flowers that can talk, however these flowers are not as pleasant to speak with as to look at: “I never saw anybody that looked stupider,” says the Violet to poor Alice who is only trying to be polite and get to know these strange and lovely creatures. Alice discovers that the reason the flowers can talk (and maybe the reason they are so disagreeable) is because they are stuck in a hard bed of dirt, which keeps them from their sleep. Despite Alice’s attempts at being cordial, they continue to criticize and condescend.
The talking flowers have surfaced for a few possible reasons. One is the old fashioned cliché about beauty and it being only skin deep. In this case, it is only petal deep. It may be that there is only a surface level appeal or connection going on in the circumstances of your inquiry. Another way to look at this card is to go a little deeper into the flower bed, and dig into the reasons for the unpleasant behavior. Not enough rest will make the most amiable petals curl. The flowers are talking, and maybe being so nasty simply due to the fact that they cannot get any sleep (And we all know how valuable sleep is. Just ask the Red King, who is dreaming this whole reality up. On second thought, don’t disturb him). It might just be possible that a little bit of rest and a spot of insight and compassion will lead to a breakthrough in your situation at hand. Finally, these flowers suffer from being stuck in a rut, unable to move, and this makes for a bit of eccentric and elitist thinking. If one doesn’t get out much and see the world, it’s difficult to open one’s heart and mind to new experiences. The flowers don’t even comprehend that Alice isn’t just a strange and faded flower because they haven’t had the opportunity to know anything different. Are you being tempted into a situation that offers surface level appeal, but keeps you limited in your thinking or even self-centered? It’s time to let go of the elements that are merely serving as eye-candy, and time to allow more depth into your experience. You do reap what you sew, so check in on what your real intentions are as you plant your garden.
Meditation: Take a moment to relax and call in the circumstances you are currently inquiring about. Take a good close look at what the motivations and agendas are of all those involved. Is it possible that things are stuck in a hard bed of dirt that is keeping the situation from moving forward in a progressive way? Is it possible that there are shallow values at play? Now see if you can look a little bit deeper into the topsoil. What might be keeping things on such a surface level or stuck in its place? Would a bit of compassion help to loosen things up? Is there some insight that would help everyone to move beyond the current flower bed and out into the kingdom of Wonderland? Allow yourself to take a break from the hard earth. Step away as an artist does from a painting, and then take a look at what is happening. Sometimes it is necessary to move away from something to see it in its entirety. Allow this space and time so you can get clarity on your inquiry. Don’t worry about leaving those superficial flora behind. Your insight will bring you into circumstances that are much more suited to your needs. Who knows, you might even find the tools to free up those flowers’ facades so they can have a more enriching experience as well.