As some of you know, my husband Karl and I have a habit of choosing a Medicine Card every morning over coffee. We each take a turn, shuffling the deck and choosing a card. We also look to see what card is on the bottom of the deck because that can sometimes add nuance or spin to the top card, helping us figure out where that top card might "fit" in our life, or how to best interpret its meaning.
When there’s a blank card on the bottom, we call that "squaring." In other words, it means that the energy that the top card is bringing into our life for the day is squared – so whatever it is, we’d better pay attention because it’s packing a magnified wallop. As you might imagine, sometimes that can portend an exciting opportunity and starts our day with much anticipation. Other times…not so much.
This morning, I chose Squirrel reversed. Squared.
To the uninitiated (meaning those of you who haven’t yet acquired your own set of Medicine Cards), let me explain that Squirrel’s keyword is "Gathering." There is, as always, a rich description in the accompanying book, of how Squirrel’s energy might be recognized and perhaps even celebrated if you allow yourself to embrace its gifts.
Squirrel can be tough. But Squirrel Reversed? Squared?
Ugh. The lessons brought by Squirrel reversed almost always have to do with hoarding. Miserliness. A tight-fisted approach to life and living, either toward others or with yourself. Truthfully, I felt my stomach sink a bit when I chose it. I sighed. I read the card out loud…
"Yeah, whatever," was my insightful response to Karl.
Luckily, he had an appointment he needed to get to, so I escaped him attempting to coax a more honest or in-depth analysis out of me on how this might apply to my day.
I bristled at choosing Squirrel reversed in and of itself. But squared? Yikes. There was clearly a huge lack of generosity playing out in my life and I did not want to look at it.
As he made his way to the door, Karl tried to make me feel better by suggesting that maybe I was not being generous to myself – not giving myself the time and space to write, or encouraging myself to imagine new opportunities, or permitting myself to put my own dreams ahead of my tendency to always drop what I’m doing to help others discover or follow theirs.
It sounded good and was indeed plausible, but…that didn’t quite feel like "it."
A Different Form of Wealth
For the most part, I’m a relatively generous person. I give of my time, energy, treasure, and attention, if not all at the same time, certainly from each, and somewhat routinely. I’m far from a saint, but I’m decent. And yet, the visceral reaction I felt when I chose the card told me that there is something I’m not admitting, something I’m either denying or refusing to see, that’s holding me back, that I’m withholding.
Where am I hoarding? Where am I holding back, holding on, pulling away and turning my back on people, shielding my "Precious" as I hold it covetously in my hands? What is my Precious?
Karl had barely gotten out to his car when it hit me. Indeed, it was his parting remark as he closed the front door, which left its mark: "Well, whatever you do today, Lis," he said, "WRITE."
And there it was. That’s what I hoard. I hoard my words. I hoard my thoughts and my feelings. I hang on to my experiences, my "aha!" moments, the many small yet amazing pieces of my personal puzzle that, if I shared, might possibly help someone else make sense of their personal puzzle.
Why do I hoard them? Oh, I don’t know. I guess it’s because I think that maybe this or that little story will be much more meaningful or effective if I include it in my next book. You know, if I "spend" too many words now, on something "little," I might not have enough left over for the bigger stuff. Or maybe (more often, and more likely), I tell myself that my words simply have no value. My stories only have meaning – and thus value – to me.
I know this is error. How? Because I love reading, both my own words and others’. I’m always up for a personal story. I love shared experience. I revel in recognizing myself in others and others’ experiences in my own. I yearn to understand more. More about myself, more about you, more about the nature of reality, more about the meaning of this whole grand experience.
My words are a reflection of my life, my unique perspective. They’re part of me. They’re one of my most treasured gifts and greatest joys, even, oddly enough, when expressing heartache or outrage – but especially when sharing insight, love, appreciation and magic.
Fly Like An Eagle
I’m by nature an inherently generous person. I need to extend that to my words. It’s time to stop hanging on to them so tightly that I squeeze the very life out of them before I ever put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. As the conclusion to Squirrel reversed entreats, I need to remember the Squirrel who gathers the energy of Eagle, connects to Great Spirit – and flies!
Where, and what, are you hoarding in your generous and abundant life? Come ~ gather your courage and fly with me.