Doing vs. Being, and the Father of Swords

February 9, 2017

This past summer, I decided I needed to reinvigorate my morning routine (as in make one). I wanted to exercise, meditate a little, maybe read a few pages of an inspiring book to get my head ready for the day. I really wanted to do these things, or so I thought.

The problem was, I'd wake up in the morning, and -- well, not want to do them. Like, REALLY not want to do them, as in "you can't make me, I'm going to throw a tantrum" not want to. What the heck?It confused me, because I figured that these were all nurturing, beneficial things, and they would make me feel better, and I needed more "going within" time. Shouldn't I be wanting to do them?

But clearly that argument wasn't holding water. So I pulled a card from my favorite deck, The Wild Unknown, to try and shed a little light on the situation. It was the Father of Swords, a very stern-looking owl with a piercing gaze. This card is pretty much the ultimate male voice, the lord of intellect and structure. What on earth did he have to tell me? Suddenly it struck me that doing these things in the morning wasn't a matter of my FEELING like I wanted to do them. It wasn't about being in the mood, or being anything. It was about DOING. It was a matter of structure and discipline, and just not letting myself off the hook.

I was surprised that I hadn't even thought of that as a solution, and it occurred to me that maybe it's because I discount that male voice, or associate it with the craptastic inner critic and won't even hear it. This was a big eureka moment for me -- that a rather stern and uncompromising structure and sticking to a plan was what I needed, even in relation to something as internal as meditation. 

Learning to discern the voices within us is an important part of self-development -- or just getting anything done. Sometimes the voices are those of our parents, or the media, or the congealed whine of unhelpful feelings such as guilt or shame. Sometimes the voices are parts of us that we're just unfamiliar with. Regardless, our assumptions of who we are and how we work are often incorrect. Using the tarot can be a way of holding a mirror to ourselves to see what we wouldn't otherwise look at.