Last month I tried to write some pieces in bulk to free up some extra time. No one ever tells you bulk writing can be dangerous. Maybe not for most, but for me, writing a ton at once to save the trouble of writing later comes with risk. Freedom has a cost and that cost, in this case, is momentum. Think of the acrobat spinning plates. Do you know how they do it? Well, I don’t know for certain either – I’ve yet to spin an actual plate – but I’ve heard it has to do with maintaining the speed of one plate before moving on to the next one.
The problem is you think you know how fast a plate needs to spin before it’s stable.
It can be easy to think you’re ready for another plate even though, in reality, you’ve already got your hands full. Especially when you are a beginner; especially before you have a system. But the challenge doesn’t stop there. It also matters which plate you spin. For me, plate number one needs to be self-care. Leading with anything else is short-lived. I often forget this fact, surprising myself with fantastical acrobatic feats and then completely unsurprised when things go smash.
I’ve written novels this way, tackled and aced impossible course-loads, been fired, broken ribs and a couple of times, went a little mad. Just what is the draw of juggling? To go even one step further: even though life feels like a balancing act, in actuality, there is only ever one plate and only one choice. We’re riding this dishware analogy all the way into the card I pulled face up for this post..
The Seven of Cups
Traditionally the Seven of Cups has to do with choices and with discerning or dissolving into illusions. I read a piece about this a few weeks ago over at Eternal Athena Tarot. It’s worth a read if you love details. (Spoiler alert: it’s absolute Tarot-geek porn.) The Seven of Cups is a card we can get mired in on multiple levels. And if we get too caught up on the sluggish surface of this card, we swim in a superficial bog of its meaning.
I did that recently. Pulled this card face down months ago and thought, I will decide between things. Then I made a mental list of what might war for my attention. One for each cup.
I thought I needed to choose. That’s what this card is about, right? Seeing through the fog. Noting projections. Choosing wisely. That’s all well and good – the top layer of the swamp is still the swamp. But in addition to decisions or disillusionment, this card is about matters of the spirit. To be nourished, we must descend the muck. Explore the corners of ourselves where the dark deities are, with their conditions and judgment, where our unworthiness lives.
There are no seven cups.
There is only the thirst for them, multilayered, engulfing, distracting. We want to be known. We want to have things. We want to be safe and so on. And this unfettered desire is what the seven of cups is really about. All the magnetism of the love planet, Venus, coupled with all the clandestine intensity of Scorpio.
In the Seven of Cups, we are life’s stalkers. We hunger for life’s physical details, for the juggling dance depicted on the Waite-Smith Two of Pentacles, or, in the Osho Zen Seven of Wands. We want to concern ourselves with things, their stress, and their satisfaction: the big move, the unfinished book, the sought earnings. We want the tension and the release, with all the pomp and circumstance of a forbidden orgasm.
There’re loads to learn as we make any choice. And there is a high likelihood that we’ll stick to the surface ones. Because the alternative is to risk discovering that the more choices we make day to day, the more energy we lose. The alternative is to recognize that only each breath matters, that we are both finite & short-lived and limitless & without characteristics of any kind. These alternatives are, in the best case, mind boggling and in the worst case, devastating.
How to Juggle Wishes
So how do we navigate this spiritual wetland? Start and end with the only plate: self-care. Also known as compassion. Once faced with desire or the sea of choices depicted in the Seven of Cups, you know two things:
- You may already be in the fog. You may not be aware of the driving force that led to that moment. That’s OK. You’re right where you need to be, and your best will do.
- You have an opportunity to transform – be careful what meaning you make of that. It could happen as a result of choices you make. It could happen as a natural response to things from the past. You might try something new or not do a thing, instead watching and staying present. Our inner critics are our dark deities. Remember compassion. It is our saving grace.
For those like me who just need to spin some plates, here are some suggestions: when you aren’t mired in overwhelm or desire, build systems in your life to limit your need for choices. This requires energy and is best done once the dust has settled or before there is any dust.
This process starts with knowing your values. Not things you want but ways of being that you find life-affirming and that are important. Pick the day to day activities that support these values and limit everything else.
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” -Bruce Lee
You choose your values, habits, and day to day activities to limit future extraneous choices. You choose now, to avoid needing to so in the midst of desire or illusion. This is the idea behind a morning ritual, which I talked about briefly last month, or any ritual. Knowing what you will do ahead of time, and more importantly why, frees up energy. Energy that you can then put toward intentions.
On that note, it will be a bit longer before you next hear from me. I’m moving soon, and as I said, there can only be one plate. ::grins:: My life circumstances mean that even some of the essentials occasionally get trimmed. But healthy boundaries today means you’ll definitely hear from me next month! Keep in touch!
How do you imbibe? What is one thing that you habitually indulge?
How does it relate to your values?
Answer in the comments or tweet me using #faceuptarot
The Mary-El Tarot Schiffer 2012
Osho Zen Tarot St Martin’s 1995
Centennial Smith – Waite US Games 2013