A few days ago, this conversation took place:
Me, to one of my oldest friends from high school: I’ve always envied you, you know, because you have it all figured out about love and sex. It’s like, you always know just what to do and what you want – and here I am, feeling like an awkward 13-year-old who is still trying to understand where all the instructions are and why I never got a copy.
Her: Ha! That’s funny that you see me like that. Yeah, it’s probably because I make myself seem pretty cavalier when it comes to guys. But, Shelley, honestly – do any of us really know what we’re doing? I don’t know what I’m doing!
It was one of those beautiful, a-ha moments of honesty and vulnerability. Have you ever thought about how many of your perceptions are probably completely inaccurate? And have you ever thought about how, in many of your perceptions, you see yourself as the one who is lacking, and the other person or people as having it all figured out?
People! No one was given an instruction manual when they came into being on this great planet of ours. Each of us is a glorious, imperfect and shining conglomerate of our individual life experiences—our personalities, our desires, likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, failures, fears, environments, and opportunities.
There are lots of things we can control in our lives. But there are also lots of things we had no absolutely no control over whatsoever, and lots of things we’ll never have control over—and yet, all of this shapes us into who we are, how we do things, and our own particular way of seeing the world and all that’s in it.
Love and fear
When I was a teenager, someone told me that there are only two emotions in life: love and fear.
It seems quite reductive, but many things can easily be broken down and peeled back until the dust settles, and what remains are these two polarities of love and fear.
I’ve said many times that the two things I read about the most are love and work. Despite the fact that I read for clients ALL THE TIME about doubts, fears, and confusions regarding love, dating, and relationships, still—a part of me feels like I might be the only one who didn’t get the all-important love memo.
So I’m here to tell you that, in fact, NONE of us actually got the love memo. We’re all figuring it out as we go along. Some of us are more confident, perhaps, and some of us have had to overcome greater traumas and disadvantages, certainly, but in the end, what we choose to create day by day when it comes to love is still a lot of trial and error.
When it comes to love, in the face of fear: what can help?
Where can we take refuge when the uncertainties, fears, anger, disappointment, heartbreak, and just plain “I don’t think I’m doing this right” threaten to overwhelm us in the realm of love?
We can cultivate trust. Trust in ourselves. Trust in our inherent worth and value. Trust in the Universe to meet our needs. Trust that our Soul knows on a divine level exactly what it is striving for in terms of its evolution on a spiritual plane, through the use of our physical body.
Trust in the fact that our timeline isn’t the only one that counts.
Trust in the reality that there is a lot we have no control over.
Trust that ALL IS WELL.
This might sound like a lot of New Age fluffery, but I honestly stand by it. If we can cultivate a strong wellspring of trust within ourselves and in the world around us, I truly believe that we can face any unknown with a sense of peace and calm abiding.
I wonder what the cards might have to say about this?
- What is the biggest obstacle to cultivating trust in love?
- How can we develop a healthy, balanced approach to our fears in love?
- When fear threatens to take over our thoughts and our being, where can we take refuge?
The 6 of Swords comes up frequently when we are looking at a situation of leaving, especially leaving a relationship behind. Because it’s Swords, we’re looking at a highly mental activity, something we’ve thought a lot about and rationally come to the conclusion is best for us. The biggest obstacle then to cultivating trust in love, according to this particular card, is that we may think things through so much that we simply want to move on. We put all our intellectual challenges and struggles before us, taking them along with us and letting them lead the way, and we set off for new shores yet again, hoping for something better.
Cultivating trust in love is likely more an exercise of the heart than the head, so using our thoughts to decide that we will turn our back and move away for something different/better/unknown may seem easier than trusting love itself. This is the obstacle. We stir up the waters (see the right foreground of the card) with our own mental paddling, but in fact, the vast majority of the water is calm. That’s trust.
Judgement shows us that in order to develop a healthy, balanced approach to our fears in love, we must allow ourselves to be exposed to the possibility of total annihilation, even a metaphorical death, in order to see that we can rise again. This is an interesting point, given that we haven’t clearly specified what the exact fears are regarding love; however, many people would probably agree that these center around the fear of not being loved, not being accepted for who we really are, or of being left alone and abandoned.
Only by facing those fears head on, viscerally, can we “rise again” and see that, in so doing, we have actually been profoundly transformed in the process, along with our view of the world. If we are serious about cultivating trust, we have to accept and believe that nothing is final, and that salvation can continually come to those who are willing to hear the call and stand up to answer it. Love, therefore, is a transformative process. Look at where the waters have brought us (see the water in the middle, which looks quite similar to the water from the 6 of Swords).
The 7 of Swords adds one more sword to our collection, and is generally interpreted as a card of hidden deception, of trying to get away with something we know we shouldn’t, and consciously making an effort to ensure no one discovers what we’re doing. In terms of taking refuge, this card is telling us that we must first be quite clear about who we are trying to deceive and what we’re trying to make off with. What is our fear trying to expose us to, and how might this fear eventually cut our hands as we try to sneakily tiptoe away? Is this fear actually a form of self-deception? What are we quietly trying to avoid?
I draw another card to see what the man in the 7 of Swords is looking over his shoulder at, and it is The Sun. He is tiptoeing away from the Source of growth, from warmth and light and joy and playfulness. That is where he can take refuge: in the pure light of celebration of all that is.
Refuge, then, comes from openly admitting that joy is there for the taking. Rather than stealthily turning away from it, or looking at it longingly but then putting something into our hands that we know can make us bleed, we can trust that warmth and joy, the vulnerability of the naked child, arms spread wide open.