What is my relationship to myself as the creator of my reality?
This question came up this morning in a mindful meeting led by a dear friend, who is a health, fitness, and wellness guide during her program, called Get Fit, Be Well. I’m grateful for those in my life who call me to consider broad questions and life themes such as these. You can keep up with her via her instagram if health and wellness are on your mind too.
I journaled for a little bit then pulled a card to add imagery to my reflection and was met with Temperance Reversed.
It feels like a relationship that I’m coming more and more to terms with over time. Growing in my understanding of the extent to which I choose everything around me, and challenging — or learning to challenge — myself when I feel as if things are wildly out of my control. I am learning to actively choose what goes on in my environment and reconciling with my resistance to things that I feel have been handed to me.
Temperance reversed, as I’m writing and reflecting and reading on it, shows me an imbalance, a desire or an impulse to move from one extreme to another, and in some way, reflecting my inability to be still.
From Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self Awareness, Temperance is a card of behavior, one that signals action of some kind, and very often that action is to be still. “The intemperate person always needs to be doing something, but very often a situation requires a person to simply wait.”
From this same text is where I’m reminded of and called to reflect on that impulse to oscillate between extremes. “In Temperance this is because the person lacks the inner awareness to know what is appropriate to the situation.” An inability, perhaps, to see things as they are. This reversal also calls for reflection on fragmentation within the situation or within life, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
I often find myself struggling to sit still. I fear stillness as I confuse it with stagnation, as I perceive it as a passivity and as a halt along my path to my goals. Is there a habit for me to break within this? A habit to fill my stillness with things to do or fill it with some version of who I think I need to be, a habit that ultimately creates more fragments, disrupts harmony more than it creates it, and leaves me more confused and feeling more disconnected from myself than I did when I started out.
I’m coming at this reflection from weeks (or months, or a lifetime really) of feeling like I’m not doing enough. I’ve been feeling that I’ve shown up to certain aspects of my life day in and day out and have grown more and more frustrated as more time has passed without seeing what I would consider to be tangible results. My fixation on outcomes might be one of the hardest habits for me to break. One so deeply rooted in a distrust of the process, a distrust in my process as I come to understand it, and a consistent feeling of not having enough time.
But what is time in this case if not something that we can co-create with the world around us, as the initial question would suggest? If I am the creator of my own reality, can I create a greater appreciation for the time that I do have rather than perceiving it as a constant lack?
Time feels like something that is constantly running out. From the moment we’re born into this world it seems like the clock is always ticking down. I wake up so many days with my eyes and mind fixated on the time that I have left. A glass that is perpetually half empty. But I’m starting to feel that there has to be, or I want there to be, something more to it than that.
When I pulled Temperance in the reversed position for this question, I initially felt disappointed at that result. Disappointed and I guess reluctant to look at that card as a mirror of the imbalance within myself. The imbalance that I am actively creating as I construct my reality in this space and time. As I raise my inner consciousness and awareness, it gets harder and harder more often than not to intentionally look at the ways that I hold myself back, fully take ownership over them, and try to change these habits of blockage so that I can continue on my way.
But sometimes, as written earlier, the action that is asked of us when Temperance appears is to be still.
One of the ways that I’ve learned to avoid these kinds of realizations about myself is to move. To run. To hide behind tasks and chores and work and friends and intellectual conversations and so on… All to run away from taking these deep and critical looks at the inner workings of myself. I don’t necessarily feel that I’m always running, but right now I can be honest and say that the struggle I keep coming back to, or keep getting called back to, is to learn to be where I am.
I am enough.
And I am exactly where I need to be.
I am exactly where I need to be in the work to reflect on my habits and work to choose those that are working for me, and shift to welcome new ones that can better serve where I am.
It’s interesting as I write this (actually I’m now editing, so I’m coming back to these thoughts after some time) to realize that though I feel tension or hesitation whenever I’m called to be still, I do know how to tap into and activate that energy. I pulled the card early this afternoon, felt my dissatisfaction with it, and felt the call to sit with it, be still, and allow it’s guidance and message to unfold over time. So what I’m working with more so, maybe, is self doubt and distrust that I can understand and know when it’s time for me to stay in place. But that feels like another piece of writing for another time.
I’m in a Death year currently as calculated by adding the digits of my birthday with the digits of the calendar year and making the connection of that number thirteen to the card Death. I’m in a personal year to reflect and shed and release, to die so that I can be reborn in some, or in many, ways. Death of old habits, Death of ego, Death of anything in my environment that is not in support of my current needs.
Maybe it’s fitting that I’m writing this while Christians are reflecting on The Resurrection. What might that death and rebirth symbolize in our own lives?
In this Death period, I need this reminder from Temperance reversed to be still. To be with the process, to grieve as I need to, and to work to release the habit of getting caught up in the desire to always be “doing” to distract myself from what is right now. This is my current balancing act. To recognize when plowing forward might not be the best choice (she says as she resists taking a nap to “produce” this writing… We’ll call it the spirit of reflection and creativity taking over, with a nap soon to follow), as I will have to come back and face what I have left behind at some time (that nap, as a light example). Those boxes, those mental and emotional containers that we store parts of ourselves in always seem to creak open no matter how much we thought we’ve left them behind.
In this process I’m being asked to revisit and really take a look at past versions of myself. To sit with them, have lunch with them, listen deeply to what they have to say. And it’s uncomfortable so far, to read old journals and to feel disconnected, embarrassed, even ashamed at some of the things I had to say. Guilty, maybe, from the ways that I spoke about others and mostly how I spoke about and to myself. How I still speak about and to myself. Part of the work is seeing things exactly as they are, and that includes myself, too. Strengthening that inner awareness. Moving on from what I’ve ingrained as my beliefs and seeing what is actually True for me, right here, right now.
Today, I realized, is a sort of countdown. 4.3.21. An exhale, a descent, coming back from the visions of where I want to be, down to exactly where I am. To nitpick my own language, down doesn’t necessarily feel “right” here, as it feels like it’s creating a hierarchy between where I see myself versus where I am. No place is better than the other. Where I am can be just as fulfilling and joyful and powerful as where I want to be, as long as I allow it to be.
There’s something about permission here as it relates to the act of creation. What have I allowed myself to bring into this world? From idea to process to iteration? From passing thought to concrete and visible time and space? And on the flipside, what am I too afraid to let myself and others see?
I need to check in with myself here. I notice my breath changing pace as I write this. My palms growing sweaty, my focus darting around the room. Finding myself in a state of fear, edging on panic, as I look at a plant in front of me that I can’t tell if it’s wilting or just adjusting to the sun (I have since repotted and added support for said plant and put it in a larger pot. Turns out it had gotten top heavy). As my mind darts from this moment in which I am writing to all the things that I want to do or say later on. Once again in the challenge zone (I like that, “challenge zone”, as it might align with the idea of the discomfort zone where there is the most potential for growth) of being exactly where I am, jumping so far ahead, leaping to the place I think I should be, creating artificial tension between now and That Other Place, perhaps doing a disservice to both, and myself, and distancing myself from them as I allow myself to get caught up in this habitual game.
It always comes back to the self. I am the creator of my reality. I allow myself to get caught up in this habitual game. And I have to remind myself to be patient as I break this habit. As I take that slow Death walk to let these habits fade away, to come into Temperance (which follows Death in sequence, I forgot to mention) when it is my time.
Temperance reversed, as it relates to my relationship to myself as Creator of my reality, reminds me that I will come into this balance when it is my time. I have to let go of some things first. I have to let go of the fear that if I’m still for too long I’ll miss my “chance” — and, surprise, in order to let this and other things go, I need to sit with and be with them first. So that I might understand them better, make friends or at least peace with them, and thank them for what they’ve taught me as I show them out the door. Stillness is the action that I want and feel I need to bring myself back to. Stillness and trust that those things that are for me will still be there whenever it is time. I’m in a Death year, like I said, so though I want to be and embody Temperance, that calm and ethereal balance, that image of harmony of all parts of my life and myself, I have some work to do Here first.
I am doing enough.
I am enough.
I am exactly where I need to be.
(And I’ll remind myself as many times as I need to. Write that down and reflect on it and grant myself the permission to revisit as I need to, even if I feel pressured to “move on”. I trust that I will move when it is time. Grief takes time. Grieving the habits and parts of myself that I’ve come to identify with takes time. I am the Creator of my reality, so I can grant myself the time that I need.)
But what about those aspects outside of myself that make me feel that I should move faster? I don’t know yet, but I’ll keep circling back to this train of thought until it’s time for those insights to come. Can I still be still within those moments? Maybe. I have to explore them to find out.
Temperance can also signal integration. Integration of all parts of the self. Removing those artificial boundaries and containers around ourselves at work, at home, in love, in play, and so on. Integration of those things that are all Us and the movement of that self in all of our different worlds.
When I pulled this card earlier I asked myself, what’s blocking me from fully integrating the self that is Creator with the self that I most often perceive? More often than not these days, I’m not so sure who that Self of Perception even is — so again I’m reminded to be still and be with myself in process right now, because how can I know what to integrate if I don’t even know what I am to bring along? I cannot integrate without understanding who these Selves are. I can’t demand harmony before I take the time to deepen my awareness of who they are, together and by themselves. I wrote earlier in my journal that I felt it was and is fear that is blocking me from this integration. Fear of fully bringing the idea of myself as Creator into my actualized world. Fear of being seen trying. Fear of not knowing what I’m doing. Fear of being a beginner alchemist at this stage of my life. Fear of letting go of the comfort and/or sense of security that I feel might shift and change as I step into and surrender to the flow state that I perceive in Temperance. As I reflected on my fears (and this list of fears is by no means exhaustive), I asked myself, why am I so afraid of stepping into my own peace?
But now as I’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole that feels like this piece of writing, I wonder if it’s not fear but impatience that I’m feeling. Once again, that habitual restlessness in which I won’t allow myself to trust that I can be still.
I am enough.
It is ok and safe for me to be present with this moment.
It is ok and safe for me to be exactly where I am.
4. 3. 2. 1.
And what if this sensation in my body right now, the quickened pace of the breath and the perspiration of the palms that I mentioned before, is not just or only fear but excitement? Excitement for coming to this realization and this affirmation that Temperance reversed may not be a warning or a negative sign, but a reminder that it’s ok to be exactly where I am?
Something to mention is that the Hanged Man, Death, and Temperance work in sequence. It takes the surrender to see a new perspective, to grieve and understand those things that need to be released, to then integrate with the reality and new found acceptance. To then reach the point of harmony with all aspects of who we are, and recognize that that person in that moment in time is exactly who we need to be.
This can be a thrilling pursuit if I allow it to be. It can be a joyful and peaceful experience to be where I am if I resist the habit to rush. Or maybe not resist but learn to work with and understand, but you get what I mean at this point.
Temperance reversed is my reminder to step back. That I’m rushing myself along the road to try and integrate as soon as possible. That there is no need for me to run from one extreme to the next. That I still have plenty to process in this time of Deeath. That I still need to tend to This Place where I am. And that’s ok.
Where are you?
What is your relationship with yourself as the Creator of your own reality?
What’s stopping you or blocking you from realizing that you are exactly where you need to be?
You and I are both enough.
We are doing enough.
We are exactly where we need to be.
4. 3. 2. 1.