I've been struggling lately. It's not that things have been hard-- they haven't. It's an internal thing and I know that. I think its part of healing and in the long run it will be good, but in the moment it kind of sucks. I'm only telling you this to give you context for the actual post though. When things feel internally difficult, I am more consistent about using cards for insight.
An interesting thing happened when I pulled cards this morning. I was using Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, and in the West position of the spread (the position that represents the path you need to take to manifest dreams) I got the fear card (rabbit) for the second day in the row.
Yesterday when I saw that card I thought, Okay. That makes sense I need to do the thing I'm afraid of to become the kind of person I want to be in the future. Yesterday I also woke up at 3 am after a restless sleep because my cousin had planned a bon-fire at the beach and even though I knew it was meant to be a fun event I was terrified. I've mentioned agoraphobia before-- basically leaving the house is scary. Leaving the house for an all day event with a bunch of people (even if I'm related to them) was making me feel sick, but even without the aid of the cards I knew it would be good for me to go and it was. Once I finished panicking I had a lot of fun.
Today when the same card came up in the same spot I stared at it.
Except I didn't have anything specifically terrifying in mind to do today so I wasn't sure how to apply it. I shrugged and pulled the next card: the North position. In this spread the North position is supposed to represent the internal source of wisdom for how to integrate all the other lessons in the spread. The card was joy (humming bird).
So I use joy to integrate fear? I thought. How?
It seemed like it should make sense, but it wasn't until the day was half-over that it started to sort itself into a concept I could use: Roller Coasters. I love them.
Because they are terrifying and fun. Then it clicked.
Joy and Fear go together.
Not all of the time of course, but there is a relationship between the two. There is something exhilarating about embracing fear. That's why people like horror movies and amusement parks and jumping in ocean waves that tower over you and then pummel you into the sand if your timing is off.
It's scary (not dangerous) but in those moments there is something else too; something transformative.
What is the purpose of fear? I thought as I walked my dogs in the evening, still not fully grasping whatever my mind was working on.
When there is danger it is protective, but when it's the fear itself that you embrace (and not a dangerous situation) then it has the power to transform. Then I saw an image. It was a giant wave coming towards a figure crouched in the sand.
Fear is like the wave, I understood, it is powerful and frightening and can seem to arise out of nowhere. We are like the person. We can cower and let the wave of fear hit us. It will toss us around and transform us into a small, scared, terrified shell of a person. Or we can stand up, embrace the wave and ride it to shore. We can be transformed into something bigger and freer and we can also transform the fear into wings and use it to fly.
Of course we can also choose not to go into the ocean at all, but that's not relevant to this particular post.
It just made me think, because I've been struggling with fear for a while. I've heard people talk about fear as the opposite of love and in a way it made sense to me, but it also seemed wrong. Fear is also the only card in this particular deck that doesn't have a positive trait to go with it-- and that has bothered me. Fear is challenging. It sucks to have to face it when you don't want to-- but it can't be all bad.
No. I don't think it is completely bad. I think there is a joyful element sitting on the other side of that fear. There is something beautiful about the power that fear possess and when that power is embraced instead of avoided I believe that amazing transformations can take place.
Again, I'm not talking about danger-- I'm talking about those things that are scary but not dangerous. Things like roller coasters, but also every day things like trying something new, telling someone you love them, or going after your dreams. I think that there is a time when you have to make the choice to face your fear and that time is extremely difficult. In it you go back and forth about whether to do it or not. Then there is this moment where you make the decision to go for it and in that moment you are infinite and limitless regardless of the outcome. Even if it is only for a second, in that second you are able to feel what it is to be free and do anything. It might not last long, but it is one amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful second.