I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Great Benefactor

From the Whimsical Tarot, the Page of Swords; from the Over the Moon Oracle, Increase (3 of Diamonds):
          The Pages all learn in different ways; the ones from the Pentacles and Cups group are very much grounded in the present, aware of what is immediately around them. But those in the Swords and Wands bunch have an eye to the future, imagining what they will accomplish there. The old telescope reminds me not to get so mired down in the details of today, but to also look towards the horizon. If I keep looking at my feet, I might miss that train headed in my direction. Which in this case is rain, meaning we have a few short days to save what can be saved in my friend's house. Yet even though she has lost her home and 95% of what was in it, I feel like the Increase card confirms that most all of what was lost can be replaced. It may take time, but patience is a great benefactor when matched with effort.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Luminous Goodness

From the Whimsical Tarot, the High Priestess; from the Over the Moon Oracle, Division (2 of Diamonds):
         The High Priestess is portrayed by Cinderella's fairy godmother; she knew Cindy needed more than to run away from the life of a slave. She needed to learn to trust and love again - she needed someone to run toward. The High Priestess knows there is a difference between a brief interlude of happiness and a joy and peace that isn't easily disrupted. The first comes from the ego's desires, and the second from something deeper. Mystics have described this inner space in various ways. Walt Whitman wrote, "I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness." However it can be hard to get past our self-absorption to this luminous place of true wisdom and compassion. As the Division card implies, the ego wants to be satisfied immediately without much effort. Much like the parched man dying of thirst who drinks ocean water and vomits it back up, those self-gratifying options will leave us even thirstier.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Fool's Wisdom

This week I'll be using the Whimsical Tarot, a deck created by Dorothy Morrison and illustrated by Mary Hanson Roberts; it is published by U.S. Games. The other deck I'll be using with the Whimsical is the Over the Moon Oracle, created and self-published by Kristen through PrinterStudio.com. Today's draws are the Fool and Sweetheart (Queen of Hearts):
          The Fool is represented by the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The Scarecrow's deepest desire was to have a brain; he didn't realize that his actual problem was ignorance. His subsequent adventures with Dorothy teach him that reality is full of joy and perils. He lacked education, but not insight. He might leap into the fire, but he'll learn from his mistake. Here in the South, 'sweetheart' is meant not as a romantic term, but as a description of someone who is kind and thoughtful. This lass appears to be communicating with a plant; every living thing deserves respect in her eyes. I'm sure she would willingly nurture the Fool and patiently teach him (while replacing his singed hay with fresh stuffing). People who are childlike can be frustrating when they act impulsively, but they can also teach us how to embrace each moment.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~ Jim Elliot

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Spacious Heart

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Queen of Cups; from the Rune Cards, Algiz:
When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. 
~ Pema Chodron
          The Queen of Cups reminds me of this quote by Chodron. She's one of those folks who leans in to strong emotions instead of collapsing or running away. She knows that when you stay present, especially during the hard stuff, you can find gems of wisdom (the eel in the heron's beak) that can help dislodge the suffering we're mired in. She is like the sedge grass of Algiz - resilient and able to withstand harsh conditions. Yet the sedge grass has razor-sharp edges; as the poem reminds us: "The blood burns of every man who makes any grasp at it." I can't save another person, and neither can they save me. But I can draw strength from their support and wisdom, just as I can offer the same to another person. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Two Sides

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Knight of Stones (Pentacles); from the Rune Cards, Thurisaz:
          A wolf walks above a Pictish depiction of a wolf as the midsummer sun streams through a dolmen. Potter suggests the actual wolf is a protective, loyal friend who helps defend boundaries. The enduring light of the summer solstice seems a perfect analogy for this Knight who is willing to go the distance no matter what. In contrast, the Picts saw the wolf as a marauder who killed their livestock and threatened night travelers. The rune Thurisaz (often translated as 'thorn') also has two sides; it can be used to stab or tear, but it can also be used to protect what is beloved. The opposite intentions - to harm or to help - suggest a check of underlying motives is in order. It's easy to step into those brambles, but mighty hard to get back out again.
The Thorn is sorely sharp for any thane 
Hurtful to hold 
Uncommonly severe 
To every man who lies among them. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Safety First

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Two of Stones (Pentacles); from the Rune Cards, Ihwaz/Eoh:
           Potter illustrates this card with two hares boxing on a bridge over two stones. The European hare's breeding season begins in March, making them behave strangely and sometimes violently (thus the saying 'mad as a March hare'). But in all fairness, these animals are prey not predator; it is urgent that they procreate to continue the species. I'm well aware of that feeling of needing to get something accomplished before time runs out. Yet the board these two hares stand on remind me to stay mindful and keep my balance. Getting hurt or sick won't be helpful and surely will only impede progress. Ihwaz/Eoh is associated with the yew tree, a symbol of protection and continuance. Often seen in graveyards, the toxicity of this tree was thought to deter scavenging animals. A reassessment of values might be in order. Challenges should not be tackled without adhering to safety protocols. Staying alert as I move through the day is a message to heed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sharing the Light

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Six of Wands; from the Rune Cards, Ac/Ansuz:
          Potter has created a harvest mandala of acorns, apples, blackberries, elderberries, rowan berries, and hazelnuts to represent the Six of Wands. It is a time to acknowledge and appreciate the gifts of what one has reaped. But is simply being grateful for getting to this point enough? I know innumerable people who have had a hand in the harvest I now enjoy, some who are no longer with me. I would not be enjoying these fruits if I didn't have their support. Ansuz/Ac, often know as Odin's rune, is associated with the oak as well as reason and language. The Anglo-Saxon poem for it reads:
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.
Even the oak tree in its own way offers sustenance and shelter - a pillar of wisdom and comfort. This rune suggests that a true test of gratitude for one's blessings (even accomplishments) will reach beyond words and produce compassionate action. 
Therefore, when others light our candle, we issue forth light. When out of gratitude we use our candle to light other people’s candles, the whole room gets brighter.
~  Master Sheng Yen

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fruit from Seeds

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Four of Stones (Pentacles); from the Rune Cards, Jera:
          Rather than make the Four of Stones a miserly card, Potter gives it the meaning of protection. The fawn takes shelter under a dolmen, resting until it becomes stronger and it's legs more stable. This body that carries the mind, emotions and will around needs to be cared for and nurtured. The Jera card corresponds to the time of harvest in the year. What has been done will produce results of one kind or another. Hopefully it will be of a type that is nourishing and beneficial to that fawn.
The law of karma refers to the law of cause and effect: that every volitional act brings about a certain result. If we act motivated by greed, hatred, or delusion, we are planting the seed of suffering; when our acts are motivated by generosity, love, or wisdom, then we are creating the karmic conditions for abundance and happiness. ~ Joseph Goldstein

Monday, January 23, 2017

Water All Around

From the Greenwood Tarot, the Moon; from the Rune Cards, Lagu/Laguz:
           Sometimes you just have to laugh when you pull cards. My house looks like that egg-like stone surrounded by water (which is the translation for the rune Laguz). First, I'd like to say thank you to all my wonderful friends in the blog-osphere who left such compassionate messages. Yes, our home has a lake around it (had ducks paddling down the road this morning), but the water is beginning to recede. We are among the lucky ones; others in our community lost homes, possessions and in some cases loved ones. The rescue teams are still looking for missing people. One couple who died in the tornadoes had lovingly wrapped their baby and placed it in the dryer where it was found unharmed. There are miracles even among the losses. We will not let the tide overwhelm us with despondency, but will put our hands to the rudder to help each other rebuild and recover.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pocket of Light

This week I'll be using the Greenwood Tarot, created by Chesca Potter and published by Thorsons. The oracle I'll be using is the Rune Cards, created by Tony Linsell and Brian Partridge and published by Anglo-Saxon Books. Today's draws are the Eight of Arrows (Swords) and Sigel/Sowilo:
          This card accurately depicts the darkness of last night; the Dragon returned to the South, bringing strong storms, tornadoes and flash flooding. I finally fell asleep around 5 a.m. this morning after being on watch all night. Potter describes it as thoughts of loneliness and struggle with a need to reach out. I will admit to thinking "We're going to get walloped again," as I watched the continuous lighting and listened to the hail hit the roof and windows. My support and connection was weather.com on my phone; in the darkness it allowed me to "see" what was going on. Thankfully this morning we still have electricity and no trees down (though we do have a moat around the house). The Dragon is supposed to reawaken later today, but at least the sun will be out when it returns. Sigel/Sowilo means 'sun,' and the poem associated with this rune is welcome today:
Sun ever proves a joy to seamen
when they cross the fishes' bath
Till the brine-steed brings them to land.
The warmth and clarity of the sun does chase away the negative thoughts that tie my insides into knots. Symbolically it reminds me not to give in to paranoia or despair in those dark nights, but to keep my pockets full of light too.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Room for All

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, Death; from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, the Lemon Myrtle:
          Herzel writes, "We have to be prepared to let things go, thereby embracing the undeniable impermanence of life." Release allows for transformation. Endings allow for new beginnings. The blackbird is dying, but the green bottle fly will lay its eggs in the carcass (changing dead matter into something living). As the yew's massive trunk begins to die, its branches lower to the ground, allowing them to take root and develop into another tree. Yet unless there is great pain, welcoming the death or ending of anything is not easy. We cling and grieve for what is passing away. The Lemon Myrtle is named for its strongly scented leaves; fully grown, it can reach 2 to 3 meters in height. If planting several together, they are going to require space, which is this plant's keyword. Both of these cards together remind me of two quotes from Pema Chodron (When Things Fall Apart):

The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

Time to focus on solutions instead of dwelling in the problem. The following posters by Shepard Fairey reflect this attitude and can be downloaded for free here (along with others).

Choose Responsibly

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Seven of Cups; from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, the Fairy Fan Flower:
          Seven calla lilies (the primary symbol of the Cups suit) are filled with other plants: cherry blossoms (beauty), walnut (wisdom), pears (love), nasturium (success), wheat (wealth), corn (abundance) and dandelion (spiritual connection). Personally, I was happy to see dandelion - an ordinary herb often labeled a weed - representing the spiritual. The pink-tongued skink from Australia has finely tuned senses, and thus is said to symbolize being skilled in the area of perception. It suggests that before I choose a cup, I should look at my motivation underneath that desire. What fears or hopes are driving my choice? When I feel empty, it is tempting to fill that void quickly. Yet if I want to choose wisely and with clarity, patience can be a friend. The Fairy Fan Flower is actually a small shrub; it can be propagated by layering (a low branch is covered with soil and eventually develops roots). My mind can do the same sort of thing by unintentionally feeding negative thoughts until fear or desperation take root. If I'm not paying attention, I'll start accepting these thoughts as reality instead of pausing to check for evidence. My choices and actions will then be heavily influenced by what is rooted in the mind. And though I might try to blame the results on someone else, the responsibility will be solely my own.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Feed the Body, Feed the Spirit

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Empress; from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, Fairy Aprons:
If a man finds himself with bread in both hands, he should exchange one loaf for some flowers of the narcissus, because the loaf feeds the body, but the the flowers feed the soul.
—The Prophet Muhammad  
          The Empress (a white peafowl) feeds those she loves, not just physically (wheat) but emotionally too. The heart chakra 'pillow' made from a wild ginger leaf shows where her priorities rest. The Great Mother creates, but she also continues to nurture what has been created. The bark of the white willow (left side of the card), has been used to reduce aches and fevers since the time of Hippocrates. And the Allium (scepter) herb has been used medicinally and as a spice. Keep the focus on the well-being of others and myself, she tells me. The Fairy Apron is a bladderwort - an aquatic plant with bladders that open when triggered by sensitive hairs on the plant. Microscopic organisms and insects that are sucked in are eaten by the plant. The guidance message of this plant suggests I pay attention to my triggers - what sets off my emotions - and look beneath them. If physical or emotional needs aren't being met, what can I do to change my priorities so that they are?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kinship and Courage

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Hierophant; from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, Sturt's Desert Rose:
          The cardinal (because of its color) was named for the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church, making it a perfect symbol for this card. The prairie rose and the white trillium represent the passion and purity associated with not only religion, but other groups who disperse knowledge and traditions as well. I am a member of a few nonreligious groups; though I like to learn, they also fulfill a need to belong. To have a sense of belonging means to feel loved and a part of something larger than oneself, which makes me think of a poem fragment written by Raymond Carver as he lay dying:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth. 
It is our relationships, whether with humans or other inhabitants of the earth, that we find such love and kinship. Yet Sturt's Desert Rose, a delicate-looking flower that has developed the ability to thrive in harsh conditions, brings a message of courage: "stay true to your core beliefs." Any group that asks me to ignore my principles and ethics is not worth what it will cost my integrity bank account.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Intoxication and Detox

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, Sturt's Desert Pea:
          The Pentacles suit is primarily represented by daffodils in this deck, also known as Narcissus. The genus name comes from the Greek language and means 'intoxicated.' I can't think of a better description for the physical world, especially in finding balance between what we need and what we simply desire. The giant silk moth (a cousin to the silkworm) are sometimes cultivated for the coarse silk from their cocoons. Likewise, with hard work, we can take our resources and generate even more. But what do we do with that extra when we have all we need and then some? The bamboo in the card suggests flexibility, the ability to not hold so tightly to any excess but to give to those in need. The unusual Sturt's Desert Pea is in the legume family, which means that although it takes nutrients and water from the soil, it also adds nitrogen back. The booklet suggests that in order to overcome, we must be willing to let go. It is interesting that of all the Buddhist paramitas ('far-reaching attitudes'), generosity is number one on the list. It involves compassionately giving in three ways: material things, protection or understanding. Generosity is the detox practice for grasping and clinging.
Greed is the salty water consumed by those who thirst for self-centered gratification. This kind of thirst can never be quenched and becomes the source of increasing torment. 
—Matthieu Ricard

Monday, January 16, 2017

But Did You Die?

From the Nature Spirit Tarot, the Eight of Swords; from the Australian Wildflower Cards, Royal Bluebell:
          Our mind can be the wellspring of wonderful ideas, but it also has the power to immobilize us, just as the black widow spider's web seems to be doing to the anemones (aka windflowers). The fears and insecurities that grow there can develop into a feeling of vulnerability and indecision. According to Greek mythology, the anemone flower grew from Aphrodite's tears when her beloved Adonis was killed by a boar. I was listening to a talk by Vidyamala Burch, and she said we often deal with great loss or drastic change in two ways: blocking or drowning. We may try to block (deny) it through busyness or a myriad of addictive behavior patterns (shopping, alcohol, etc.). On the other hand, we may decide the pain we feel is all that there is and choose to drown in it. We withdraw and lose all sense of perspective. The generosity of the Royal Bluebell suggests we not be so frugal with the possibilities of our mind. There is room to accept our loss with room for joy too. When we expand our mind, we also find alternatives and resources to help us adapt and accept reality. A friend who works at a wildlife park told me a phrase the employees often say to each other: "But did you die?" It isn't meant to invalidate a terrible experience, but to remind the other that they are still alive and thus have the freedom to choose how they respond from this point on.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Watering the Roots

This week I'll be using the Nature Spirit Tarot, a book and deck set created and self-published by Jean Marie Herzel. I'll also be drawing from the Australian Wildflower Reading Cards, a set created by Cheralyn Darcey and published by Rockpool. Today's cards are the Four of Swords and the Native Passionflower:
          The Swords suit in this deck is primarily represented by the prairie coneflower (aka 'Mexican hat), a drought-tolerant plant. Yet every plant eventually needs a deep drink of water, just as humans all require some quiet and rest to stay sane. The praying mantis represents the stillness this card encourages, and the lily of the valley (in the window) symbolizes stopping to notice and enjoy the sweetness in life. The northern red oak the mantis rests on has a deep tap root as well as extensive lateral roots; it is a reminder to ground ourselves in order to stay balanced in our busy lives. The acorns on this tree require two years to develop before they are mature, suggesting rest can't be rushed. How is it that our society today has decided grown-ups don't get to play or take time off except when we go on vacation (often with the people who stress us out the most)? Even weekends seem relegated to fulfilling obligations rather than taking a time-out. The Native Passionflower card brings the message that "Love starts from within and grows out." There is nothing self-indulgent about taking care of one's body, mind and spirit. A dead tree has no shade to offer or fruit to give anyone; self-compassion requires that I keep my own roots watered if I want to be helpful or effective in whatever I do.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Smart or Sexy?

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Queen of Swords; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, Choice:
          This Queen of Swords has the exact scene from the Lovers card in her window. Yet she appears serene without needing all the hot and heavy passion (like the dove resting by her arm). She's an intellect who'd rather be honest than have a mouth full of sugar lumps, but that doesn't mean she's heartless. She can't afford for her her heart to sit on the throne; too much could go wrong. The Choice card makes me think of two roads - one full of passion and turmoil and one that has less drama and more discernment. Is excitement and chaos better than logic and harmony? I was attracted to my husband because he was a reader and could discuss what he read. The romance came later. I've always thought you could teach a smart man (if he were also kind) how to be a good lover, but I'm not so sure that works in reverse.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Protective Gardener

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Empress; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, Trouble:
          The Empress' star-like earring and a phrase from the booklet ('pregnant with possibilities') seems a callback to yesterday's card, the Star. While she holds the emotional reins in her marriage, the pentacle she wears testifies to her concern with all things earthly and creative as well. Like the soil beneath her, she provides a safe haven for things to awaken and develop. I'm impressed that a mockingbird (a bird well known for aggressively defending his winter food supply) offers her a berry. Even he knows which side of his bread is buttered. Don't forget to feed this nurturing, creative side, he reminds me. The Trouble card shows an apple with a beetle and worm on it. Beside it sits a hickory nut; unlike the fruit, its hard shell protects what is tender inside. It is easy to become so absorbed in whatever my 'garden' is growing, I forget to keep an eye out for the pests who would destroy it. Often it is not the outer challenges that can ruin all that is good, but the destructive thoughts and negative emotions I allow to wander unattended in my head. The nut's hard shell represents my awareness that can prevent a small bug from growing into a large bear.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wide Range of Possibilities

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Star; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, Expectation:
          I must say I was glad to see the optimism and hope reflected in the Star card appear, though my enthusiasm was dampened a bit by the Expectation card. The opening verse of the Dhammapada states: "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." (Another translation says: "All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind.") It is tempting to do as some New Age movements and translate this into a philosophy that says "If you think it, you can have it," as if whatever you want will be given to you if you frame it in a positive light. Yet the Buddha was actually saying that our cognitive patterns shape the kind of mental experience we have. If your mind's habits are like Eeyore's, then you'll have an Eeyore attitude in response to your world. Now there's nothing wrong with positive thinking - it just means you aren't expecting doom and gloom. And having hope that is not attached to a certain outcome lightens the spirit considerably. This kind of hope allows us to lift our eyes and hearts to the fact that the future is unknown, which means it has a wider range of possibilities than my ego can come up with.
The Buddha’s view on positive thinking was that if it violates reality, it’s worthless. ~ Bodhipaksa

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Leave the Swords Behind

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Six of Swords; from L'Oeil de Lotus, Interdiction:
          This dancer, in a type of arabesque pose, could almost be a weather vane. His back arm and leg point toward a pole with a caduceus on top. An article I recently read stated that this symbol was used during Roman times like a white flag (an emblem of peace or neutrality); the bearer using it could deliver a message to the enemy without being harmed. In 1902, the Surgeon General chose it rather than the Staff of Asklepios (a symbol of healing) for himself and the US Army Medical Corps to signify them as noncombatants. It is interesting that the Six of Swords represents a movement in attitude and thought, yet the Interdiction card (with a sign that says 'Road Closed') indicates preventing the movement of someone or something. Perhaps it is a message to look at how I turn and move away - my motive for leaving. Does my departure look like someone huffing, stomping their feet and slamming the door on the way out? Are there any hints of passive-aggression? The swords on the ground (an agenda) suggest I leave empty-handed, without slashing anything or anyone on the way out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


From the Cosmic Tarot, the Prince (Knight) of Pentacles; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, Force:
         This Knight reminds me of a long-haired, young Clark Gable, perhaps best known for his line in Gone with the Wind: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." His character in the story, Rhett Butler, predicted the South would never win the Civil War. Butler was one of the few characters clear-eyed enough to see Southerners and their "cause" for the romanticized self-centeredness it was. Though his Achilles's heel was Scarlet, he eventually left her, choosing real life over drama. This Knight likes his feet firmly planted in the ground with concrete tasks to do and goals to attain. But the bull (and sun) in Force point out his stubborn side. Just because he has a plan doesn't mean he can bulldoze other people into accepting it. Anyone who's ever had to manage employees will instantly recognize his dilemma. In order to get anything accomplished, he's going to have to be willing to be flexible and learn how to compromise.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Wisdom of Company

From the Cosmic Tarot, the Three of Cups; from the L'Oeil de Lotus, Wisdom:
While I dance I cannot judge,
I cannot hate,
I cannot separate myself from life.
I can only be joyful and whole. 
-- Hans Bos 
          I've never been trained in any sort of dance (I grew up in a fundamental church that thought dancing was sinful - a doorway to carnal sins). I generally just shake and move in free-form style to the music. And like the quote suggests, I've never been angry, afraid or sad when dancing, just full of joy. The best times have been dancing with a group of girl friends - no one had to impress anyone, we were just there to have fun. It is one of the purest ways to celebrate being alive. Wisdom shows several lotus plants in full bloom. Their seeds start in the mud, then must move through the murky water to the sky above. While I have my 'fun-time' friends, I also have those who've shared a similar dark journey through mud and murky water with me. We delight in having made it to light and air, while simultaneously pointing the way for those still in the muck. I was with such a group of ladies last night. We've dubbed ourselves the 'Ladybugs;' like the insects that congregate for warmth in the winter, we are a haven for each others' hearts.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Roll the Dice

This week I'll be using the Cosmic Tarot, created by Norbert Losche and published by U.S. Games. I'll also be drawing from L'Oeil de Lotus (Eye of the Lotus), created by Colette and Gérard Lougarre and published by Vox Arkhana. Today's cards are the Seven of Cups and Chance:
          This guy is so overcome by options to choose that he's fallen to his knees. He reminds me of an overly dramatic actor on a telenovela. The longer I live the more I'm beginning to realize that emotional fulfillment is not the same as a temporary pleasure. Joy and contentment are created within me, not from something outside myself. Consider Tom Bodett's words: “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” Notice he does not say someone who loves me and does things for me. I am the lover and the doer; I make my own happiness. Can the act of loving and doing be the reward itself instead of some outcome I'm trying to grab? Chance shows up with a roll of the dice cup to warn me to drop my expectations. No one can accurately predict what will happen and how things will turn out.There's nothing wrong with hope as long as it's not fixed, made of concrete and iron.