It’s late November. The days are short, the nights are long, the world is cold. It’s time to light candles, to sip warm drinks by the fire and to come together with loved ones to fight back the chill and warm our hearts. But as beautiful as these images are—warm fires, snowy trees beyond a frosted window pane, chunky knits and warm boots—this can also be a difficult time of year. It’s easy to become over-committed, to lack the time and space needed for rest and self-care. Goals and dreams can be pushed aside as our attention goes towards the parties we’re attending or hosting, shopping for gifts, preparing for family gatherings and other obligations of the season. Many people feel lonely. Some worry about money, or about the weight they’re gaining.
What’s heralded as a magical time of year often feels just the opposite. But the possibility is always there. We can always stop, take a deep breath and reconnect to the magic around us.
One of the many things I’ve learned from studying tarot cards is the importance of asking good questions. A vague question tends to produce a vague answer. Similarly, a disempowering question (what will happen? vs. how can I encourage what I want to happen?) gives little useful information and can, in fact, discourage the questioner from doing anything at all.
This applies to much more than tarot readings. If you don’t understand what you’re asking, how can you understand the answer you get? (Think of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is “42,” as determined after 7.5 million years by a supercomputer. The problem is we never really understood the question.)
So what makes a good question? In my experience, the best questions are specific but open-ended and empowering. “How can I help my daughter prepare for her graduation” is much more useful than “will my daughter be ok at college?” The first gives useful, actionable advice; the second might be reassuring (or not), but gives you little to work with. It’s also worth remembering that the future isn’t set in stone–our actions always create results and can change the path we’re on. So assuming a fixed destiny is not only disempowering, but just plain wrong.
Whenever you’re asking a question, of tarot cards or anything (or anyone) else, keep a spirit of true inquiry and curiosity. What can you learn? What will help you make a decision, change your outlook or learn more about a situation? Those are the best questions to ask.
And if the answer still doesn’t make sense? Change the question, and try again.
It began accidentally. I work from home so, while I don’t quite lounge around in pajamas all day, my dress code is casual and comfortable, particularly during the hot desert summer. Shorts, tank tops, flip flops… that’s my normal work outfit (please don’t hate me. I spent years in suits and other business attire, so I’ve paid my dues). But one day I needed to break in some heels. Some leopard print heels. And I figured I might as well wear them around the house, even with my shorts and tank top.
Strangely enough, it had a magical affect on my work that day. I was focused. Confident. Creative. I launched into new projects, reached out to new contacts, dreamed up new classes. And it was fun. In a strange way, wearing heels reminded me of my office days, but since these were leopard print stilettos, they also brought some fun and glamour into my normal work routine (and can’t we all use that?).
So there it is, my new secret weapon. Whenever I’m feeling a bit drab, uninspired or even just a bit unfocused, on go the heels.
Do you have any secret weapons to help make your work day a bit more fun, productive or creative? Could you create one?