Theme–Right Action and Balance

Wow, it's hard to believe that we're half way through the year! Sticking with our tarot themes for the year, you'll think we're either going to talk about Strength or Justice depending on which card you think comes next (there's much esoteric discussion and argument about this).

We're going to go with Justice, but go on a bit of a tarot nerd diversion and explain where we get "Right Action and Balance" out of that. Justice traditionally refers to fairness, truth, and the rule of law. That would be so not fun to write about. Regardless, that's in the Rider-Waite Smith tradition, which is the most common "category" of decks. If you look at the other major category, the ones in the Thoth tradition, Card 8 is called "Adjustment."

That gets us a little closer to something juicy. "Adjustment" is something you do, whereas "Justice" is generally something that is done, hopefully to other people, who undoubtedly deserve it. Once we start talking about adjustment, we begin to see how this might relate to the concept of balance.

M. M. Meleen, in her book "The Book of Seshet," says this:

"Traditionally this card was called Justice, but in the renamed card Adjustment the principle it represents has to do with maintaining the equilibrium and the balance of nature. "Adjustment" as an active, neutral procedure should be contrasted to "Justice," a static, moralistic stance. Nature is exact, and unyielding, but it is not just."

So. Wow. How does this relate to our daily life? Everyone wants to know how to balance their lives, how to act, instead of react, and basically how to not screw things up. This is easier if you think of balance rather than as a possession or a goal but in a highly physical, almost muscular sense.

Usually, when we're worried about balance, we're focused on the *stuff* we're trying to balance--kids, career, health. Someone walking a tightrope and carrying things in either hand, though, is totally not thinking about those things--they're focused on their own center of balance. It's a very internal, meditative state almost. If they focused on what they were carrying, they'd fall.

Most importantly, they likely don't spend a lot of time with that center perfectly over the line they're walking. But chances are, if they're still on the rope, they're never far from equilibrium and know how to make the minor corrections that keep them from shifting so far they lose their balance. It's a constant effort to pull toward the center.

In terms of pulling towards the center, if you've gone to a chiropractor, you're probably familiar with the word "adjustment" in terms of getting your muscles and spine into proper alignment. Again, the theory is that there is a natural point of where things are "right," and the goal is to try and return you to that state. There's times in our life when we feel "right," even if we don't know how we got there. 

So we've talked about being centered and going inward, but what does that have to do with "right action" and how to act outwardly?

We're always concerned with balance, and we always worry if we're doing the right thing, but we don't usually connect the two or understand how they interrelate. In order to know balance, you need to have a center. Theoretically, it doesn't matter how many different things you're balancing--as long as your center of mass is in alignment with your point of support, you're good. But you need to have that support, that place which you know you've got strong footing and which is your "home base." This gives us a reference point, a place from which to act.

Once you have that center--and it can be metaphorical, spiritual, or a totally physical and precisely calculated balance between time spent in various life areas--you know that if you venture far from that place, you must come back. That makes it a lot easier to know what the "right" thing to do is in any situation, because it will keep you close to that center, or at least not take so far as to move you out of your control. And if you're not in that center, you'll know which way to pull to get back there.

In a relationship, with a spouse, or a child, you might have a "groove" -- you know it if you're in it, it's that place where everyone's happy, and things are going well. And you know if you're not in it. You may not even know how to get back to it, but that can at least give you a direction to go in. Does more time together get you closer to that feeling? Or is more independence what you need? If you're feeling achy or tired, does your body need more exercise, or rest? 

Don't judge the act by itself--instead, figure out whether it's getting you where you need to go. Even if it's small, you can get a sense of whether it's moving you in the right direction; this is what the trim tabs on a boat are for. Do you feel like taking the day off and sitting around and reading a book? If you've been doing that too much, and you've veered too far away from solid responsibility, that might be a bad plan. But if you're burned out and far from your ideal mental health, well then it's a no-brainer.

The other useful difference between the words "Justice" and "Adjustment" is that adjustment is something manageable that we can do all the time. Actions do not need to be big to make a difference. What's one small thing you can do today that will make you healthier? What can you do to restore your connection with someone you love? Look at the areas of your life and see if you can brainstorm little things you can do to help you come to center, especially if you've been stretching yourself at all in any of them and ignoring others.

If you go to the chiropractor, "adjustment," while it may feel weird for a second, is always for your best good. Justice, on the other hand, can kick your ass. Let's raise a glass (in moderation, of course) to "adjustment" this month!