Learn at first, concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light.
From the Magician Card – Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism, Anonymous
I was having lunch with a friend the other day who felt stuck in a soul sucking job “because it pays the bills,” while longing for something that made her heart sing. It brought me into question: what is more important, to “follow your bliss” as Joseph Campbell urged us to do, or to find joy in whatever fate has put before us? How does one know when to leap, or when to embrace “what is?”
The Magician Card in the Tarot suggests the ability to transform: lead into gold, sorrow into joy, work into play. That might mean that I have to change what I do, transform my career. Or it might mean that I have to look at my job in a new way, transforming it into something pleasurable. How do I choose? How do I know to pursue what I love, vs. loving what I do?
A lot of new thinkers say we have an “inner GPS” that tells us the direction to go. The other day, while following GPS, I literally ended up at “the end of the road.” The road simply ended, with a locked gate that said in no uncertain terms that this was private property. Another time, I followed GPS onto a road that got narrower and narrower. It was shortly after an ice storm and the melting ice had created two rivers on each side of what had now become a one lane dirt road. I stopped when I saw that the road was about to become a foot path. I couldn’t turn around because of the two ditches and had to back all the way out, cursing, sweating and shaking. How can I trust my inner GPS?
Emotions can cloud our thinking. Thinking can get muddled by emotions. But there is one thing we can trust: sensation. Tension in the face, jaw, shoulders, an ache in the stomach or the heart, wobbly knees, even tight buttocks reveal our truths to ourselves and to others. I can use this intelligence as the key to unlock my possibilities. When I think about something I’m longing to do, like change jobs, perhaps there’s a catch in the chest, a frisson of electricity down to the groin that stops my breath. That tension can keep me from “following my bliss.” Or perhaps the job is no longer rewarding because it has lost its novelty. The body becomes heavy, sluggish, the chest caves in. Everything becomes an effort. Could spending some time tuning into sensations like this help lighten the load?
I have noticed that when I am feeling anxious, negative, burdened or stressed, instead of trying to do more, I just lie down and do a Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement lesson. It really doesn’t seem to matter which one, as long as it calls my attention to physical self.
And often, after the lesson, besides feeling lighter and freer, an answer appears. The road widens again, and my inner GPS breathes a sigh of relief that the obstacles have been cleared. Try it – you may discover that like the Magician, you hold the power to transform feeling like lead into flowing like liquid gold.