08/29/13: Inspiration of Discontent / 4 of Cups

Before I started working for myself, I spent a lot of time daydreaming, about what it would be like to work from home, choose my own clients (and treat them well), wear what I wanted, do work I felt good about in a way I felt good about it, and in general try out my own ideas on how a business should be run in the real world. I spent a lot of time dreaming this up! My conception of what my own business would be was firmly rooted in what I didn’t like about the jobs I’d held.

Eventually, I put my ideas into practice. Not all of them worked out well—my roommate matching service was a bust, despite the many hours of toil. But I didn’t give up and some took, like making websites. And the entire process led me to the place where I’m able to do what I do today, one building block atop another.

Sometimes discontent can be a good thing, if it leads somewhere.

The Four of Cups can represent any sort of discontent, including the divine kind. This version indeed emphasizes the discontent as the man pictured isn’t even looking at the new cup, mystically held above him by a spiritual hand. He’s simply contemplating what he is not happy about, apparently.

The sense of being unsettled, unhappy and “missing something” can indeed be a gift if you use it properly. The trick is to stop looking downward at regrets, past hurts, whatever has grounded you to the earth as it is, and start looking up at possibilities, potentials, avenues for change and growth.

Where you’ve been, the world as you know it, doesn’t matter much beyond instructive value, when you’re at this place. Even then, it’s limited because how many of us have the objectivity to fairly weigh out uncomfortable situations and judge our own roles in them? There are lessons there, sure, but they can be learned without depressive self-castigation.

However, if we shift our goals from what we do not want to what we would like to have instead, every annoyance, every missing piece, every area of discontent becomes a gift conferring clarity, insight and possibility for change.

If you don’t like where you are, for God’s sakes, DO SOMETHING about it! Realizing that you don’t like where you are is a gift from God plain and simple. To avail yourself, call an quick end to the pity party and gather up what you have in hand. The resources and lessons from the present inform the future. And that is how you get there from here!

Have you found discontent inspiring?

Tarot Illuminati by Eric Dunne & Kim Huggens

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07/24/13: Never enough? / rev 4 of Cups


“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’” –Dalai Lama

When our air conditioner went out during a week of 100-degree temperatures, comfort I normally take for granted suddenly became quite…important. Suddenly, all the other little bothers about my home ceased to exist. Everything would be perfect, as long as we had air conditioning.

When the power had gone out not so long before, of course it was electricity that made for true happiness. Had the water been shut off, had the van broken down, had my internet gone out (shudder), then, well, THAT would have been the most important component of contentment. Just ask me what counts most when I don’t have it!

All of this is ignoring the fact that we have the conditions necessary for survival and on top of that, love; even with just those two things, we’ve got SO much more than many can call their own. Big picture makes my agitation over living with just a window AC unit appear ridiculous.

In an ironic twist to human nature, we seem to value most fiercely whatever is missing. What we have? Well, sure, that’s nice and all. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But really, everything would be great IF…whatever that “if” is.

This version of the Four of Cups reversed expresses the concept with a bit of a greedy twist. Johnny Apple-eater seems to already have a stomachache from previous snacking, but has yet to push away that big, juicy apple before him. The worm visible suggests it may not be a perfect apple anyway but in his over-indulgent stupor, he still appears to be considering it.

I’m not saying there’s a damn thing wrong with wanting what you want—be it air conditioning, a better job, a happy relationship, more money, a nicer home, whatever. Striving and growing is all kinds of awesome! It’s fine to want more. Hell, I do!

But remember: discontent is not a function of what you don’t have; discontent is a function of ignoring what you do have. Discontent is a state of mind.

Maybe you need a little discontent to get moving? If so, fair enough. Use it as catalyst, a springboard to achievement to launch you safely out of the mire of denial. But for many of us, discontent is little more than a pseudonym for “ungrateful.” I want to be more grateful for what I have every day, because that attitude both blesses my life and leaves me squarely in control of my state of mind.

My advice for today is to count and honor blessings as they exist in the present. “Enough for today” does not preclude “more for tomorrow.” Enough for today helps strengthen and encourage in the process of building for tomorrow.

Do you have enough for today?

Tarot: The Complete Kit
by Dennis Fairchild

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07/13/13: Not-Now Excursions / 4 of Cups


I keep spiral notebooks and steno pads filled with a mishmash of topics, little threads of my life, just for me. I’ve done so off and on for as long as I can remember. Notes, to-do lists, budgets, plans, and little bits of writing find their way into the pages.

Especially prominent are brainstorming sessions about whatever is important to me at the time, usually taking form as hard-to-decipher scrawling with underlines or stars in different colored pens, page after page. When I get into a free-flow rapid-thought mode, ideas can fire off so quickly they become difficult to retain, just like the memory of a dream starts to dissolve upon sitting up in bed. So I take notes to help me capture some of that, just in case it’s as brilliant as it feels at the time.

Sometimes, these ideas find their way into my personal reality; other times, not. But either way, I’m certain the process is useful.

The Four of Cups is a daydreamy, sometimes dissatisfied but always disconnected-in-time energy. The focus may be on the past or more often, the future, but it’s never in the now. Shadowscapes rendition isn’t as sad as some, which often convey a sense of longing or regret. Here, the feeling I get is more of just being somewhere else.

It reminds me of my notebook sessions.

When we’re in a dream state untethered to present reality constraints, we can access past for perspective or future for visualization. Reflections and aspirations can educate, direct and inspire present and future paths, serving much the same functions as my notebooks. Avoiding self-pity or aimless pining, excursions to the not-now can be enormously fruitful. I wouldn’t advise permanently taking up residence in the not-now, but it’s a solid vacation destination.

Do you travel to the not-now? 

Shadowscapes Tarot
by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

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06/13/13: Reflection of What-if? / 4 of Cups


The Four of Cups (or Water, from the Gaian Tarot deck) shows a woman considering a reflection in a manhole of sorts. The deck’s book (neither little nor white) identifies this as the holy Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England. Evidently, the water in real life is less blue and more rust colored from Iron deposits and is believed to possess healing properties.

Like all versions of the Four of Cups, the theme that stands out to me right now is gazing up a reflection—an expression, a potential—as opposed to looking at what is.

I’m not saying one is better than the other. There are places for both reflecting on “what-if” and recognizing “what-is.” The key  seems to be making good use of the potential you want by backing it up with action. You know?

Are you looking at what-ifs?

Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

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06/11/12: Ditching Drama / Knight Cups, 4 Cups, Page Swords


One of the things I dig about the Transparent Tarot is how it seems to hand out such fluid, clear messages…here it’s the Knight of Cups, Four of Cups and Page of Swords talking.

Emotionality (and maybe a teensy penchant for drama) may be getting things carried away and leading to unnecessary dissatisfaction. Seek clarity and rationality to break free.

Are you feeling this?

The Transparent Tarot
by Emily Carding

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04/15/13: Perspective of Lack / 4 of Cups


This Four of Cups is bluer than most (blue skin is a notable quirk of the Cosmic Tarot deck)—and the young man here is even more inattentive than most Four of Cups residents. He isn’t paying the least bit of attention to even one of the cups before him, nor does he seem aware of the lush fields, the lovely horse, the fruit and wine, or the stately castle off in the distance. He pines and suffers in his own world.

To some extent, it’s human nature to complain, to ignore the 100 compliments in favor of the single criticism, to worry and brood. But does it help? Does it add anything to you existence? Does it solve a problem or improve a life or get you any closer to anything worth having? This is a perspective of lack. Directing attention to the positive doesn’t alter the objective reality, but it sure alters the experience!

In the Tarot flow, I find it interesting that the dissatisfaction of the Four of Cups comes and before the loss of the Five of Cups. In the Four, we aren’t recognizing what we have. In the Five, we’re only seeing losses. Both involve selective attention. The sense of a balanced give-and-take returns in the Six, with the theme of trust and childhood nostalgia—a time where, for most of us, we worried little about things working out as they should.

He sees life with blinders focused on what’s not there. Were he to look up, he’d see an awful lot that IS there. I’ll cop, I’ve been there. But today, I’m doing my best not to be.

Can you relate to the Four of Cups guy?

Cosmic Tarot Deck
by Norbert Losche

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