An ally for any season
I’m pulling something from my personal archives for this post, as time around the holidays has been a bit more scarce than I planned for. For better or worse, though, this feels just as true now as it did two years ago.
I’ve been spending a lot of time, recently, feeling like the world around me – both the local world and the “real” world – is lost in scarcity. It’s partly a seasonal thing, I suppose, but it’s also a societal thing, and I’ve been hoping to find a way to move through that feeling of scarcity and toward a greater sense of abundance.
As I often do when I’m looking to make that sort of mental shift (or at least to gain a bit of perspective), I pulled a tarot card as an ally. I wound up with the 5 of Swords.
So we have several people in this card and one who is, to my eye, collecting the swords that others have thrown down or have been forced to surrender. I know that the faces in these cards are generally set in a neutral expression, but this dude looks really happy with himself, doesn’t he? I’ve worn a satisfied smirk more than once, and let me tell you – this dude is smirking.
Facial expressions aside, this card speaks to a way of being that I struggle with. Namely, the assumption that what I get must be at the expense of another. It’s pervasive in our culture and I believe that it’s the root of so many of our problems (and so many of my problems, for that matter). Here’s the thing about that view of the world: it has as its fundamental belief the idea that there isn’t enough for all of us, so you’d damn well better grab what you can and let everyone else hang. Maybe get enough for your family and kids while you’re at it, but outside of that, the world isn’t to factor into your thinking at all. That is one messed up way of looking at life, isn’t it? And naturally it works the other way, too. When I operate from that place of scarcity, of the knowledge that there isn’t enough, then I look at what others have and I’m angry that they have it…because it came from my pocket, or at least the pocket of a hypothetical me, see? Everything that you have is a thing that I can’t have. And if there’s not enough to go around, then I’m damned well going to stockpile these swords, y’know, even if I only need the one.
This image, at least as I look at it right now, feels like the opposite of abundance for me. Instead, it embodies that “I’ve got mine” attitude that sickens me…and that I fall pretty to all too often when I’m worried about my own resources, whether that worry is rational or not. So if I’m looking at the card as an ally, that makes things a little more complicated. I think it’s important to note that allies don’t always need to be friends, and the best teachers sometimes are here to demonstrate what we should avoid.
This post was written by Jason Frey