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

Monday, April 30, 2018

In Search of Joy

From the Albano-Waite Tarot, the Knight of Wands; from the Rumi Cards, 'Open your heart:'
          An image of the Knight of Wands would make an excellent logo for an energy drink. He's already moving while most people are still considering their options. Full of confidence and enthusiasm, he'll kindle any fire that looks exciting. What he won't do is remember to water the seeds he plants. He's not much of a follow-through kind of guy. Rumi's words encourage us to open our hearts. Many people have shuttered their hearts after trauma or experiencing betrayal in an attempt to heal, and some may forget to open them up once again. But perhaps one of the most prevalent reasons for closing the heart is busyness. We have only so many hours in a day to accomplish all on our to-do lists, and we don't want any distractions. Yet Rumi reminds us it is an open heart that allows us to experience true joy rather than manufactured happiness.

We can’t control joy. It is something that bobs up when we are truly alive and meet the whole world in an instant.
Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Unfettered Mind

This week I'll be using the Albano Waite Tarot, a recolored version of the RWS created by Frankie Albano and published by U.S. Games. The oracle deck I'll be pairing with it is the Rumi Cards, created by Eryk Hanut and Michelle Wetherbee and published by Tuttle Publishing. Today's draws are the Queen of Wands and 'Humiliated like pharaoh:'
          The Queen of Wands holds a sunflower as her scepter - a good symbol of how she rules and views life. She prefers to look at the sunny side of things and insists folks be as flexible as her cat in their thinking. Sure there are plenty of things that are wrong, but if that's all we concentrate on, we'll never get off our bums to do anything. Knowing pessimism will drain the energy out of any group or project, her strategy is to dwell on solutions rather than just the problem. The Rumi card brings up the story of Moses who led the Hebrews out of the Pharaoh's slavery. While confidence is a needed trait in a leader, Rumi's words suggest that humility is also a must-have. In the Queen's case, it makes no sense to expect other people to have an open mind if she can't also make space in hers for other ideas or ways of doing things. Rather than get stuck defending her own views (which will stagnate any progress), she can open up to other possibilities. In the words of Pema Chodron, "If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that's endlessly interesting and alive."

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Source of Happiness

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Ten of Cups; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Imprudence:'
          A merman and his lover swirl and swim together in the ocean as the sun warms the waters. There are no huge sea castles or treasures in sight, yet they seem perfectly satisfied with life as it is. The emotional fulfillment suggested by this card fits well with an emailed quote by Mark Coleman I received this morning: "Nature teaches us simplicity and contentment, because in its presence we realize we need very little to be happy." Perhaps the people who are most at peace are those who recognize that 'stuff' is not what brings lasting joy, but open-hearted relationships with those around us. Imprudence is an illustration of Shakespeare's line, "Tis almost fairy time." A Midsummer's Night Dream includes a human child taken by the fairy queen. In this drawing, it appears pixies are interested in the unwatched baby in the cradle. The card warns that while emotional bliss is wonderful, it shouldn't make one forget one's duties or obligations.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Operator, Connect Me to the Emperor Please

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Emperor; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Disquiet:'
          If one is under the rule of the Emperor, it's easy to cast shade on his authority. "Just look at him with his big horns! He just loves to be in charge of everything." Yet the Emperor's job isn't easy - he must create order from chaos. In most cases, his laws are in place for good reason. Those who've been in leadership roles or had to manage a group of people and resources would likely agree. The Rackham card 'Disquiet' comes from an illustration of A Midsummer's Night Dream. In this scene, Puck is explaining to the fairy king that his turning the head of someone into a donkey caused all of the folks in the vicinity to lose their heads as well. They scattered like birds upon hearing a gunshot. When insanity reigns, it's best to have someone who knows how to look at the situation with logic rather than simply yelling and running around in circles. Now where was the number of that Emperor...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lead a Horse to Water...

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the King of Cups; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Obstruction:'
         Like the sea turtles, the King of Cups guides with a steady calmness no matter what depths are reached. He offers the seahorse a sip from his cup; his inner peace is like a balm to those in emotional turmoil. The seaweed that surrounds him helps him maintain his own balance. Unlike land plants that have roots, seaweed has a 'holdfast,' a specialized structure at the base which allows it to attach to something like a rock. Without his own anchor, the king wouldn't be able to help those who are troubled. Obstruction shows an illustration from the fairy tale of Snow-White and Rose-Red. These two kind-hearted sisters came across a dwarf whose long beard had gotten stuck in a tree's roots. The sisters cut part of his beard to release him, but instead of thanking him for their rescue, he only complained about his trimmed beard. Both these cards imply that just because sincere help or advice is offered, it doesn't mean it will be accepted.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beatings and Lullabies

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Six of Pentacles; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Ending:'
          A man plays an instrument in gratitude and joy for the life he has; that gratitude, in turn, is showered upon the little plants of the forest. Generosity appears not only in the form of money but also in time and energy. Philanthropists who help the human race are usually well-known, but there are many others who work to save the land and oceans as well as animals and plant life. What we pay attention to, we come to appreciate. What we appreciate, we come to love and care for. The Rackham illustration comes from Peer Gynt, a play about a self-centered Norwegian farm boy. He leaves his widowed mother and takes off to have many adventures only to arrive back home and find his mother dying. At her death, he closes her eyes and says, "Ay, ay, now the journey's done ... For all my days I thank you, for your beatings and your lullabies." At her passing, he recognizes both the good and bad times of their life together. No one is without their faults, though we might use what they have as an excuse not to offer aid. Yet which sentiment would we rather have on our gravestone: 'She lived as a spendthrift and died with lots of money' or 'She lived in kindness and loved wastefully?'

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Knight of Cups; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Afflatus:'
          This card brings to mind the Arthurian legends and the search for the Holy Grail. Arthur already had the sword Excalibur - a masculine archetype that represented earthly power, justice, and truth. What was missing was the feminine archetype - the grail that symbolized both internal and external healing. Wielding one without the other destroys the well-being of society. Power must be balanced with compassion, which is why this knight seeks to bring back the grail to his king. Afflatus is a Latin word that means 'a breathing upon' and refers to divine communication. In Rackham's illustration, Puck sends a sincere warning to a fairy he meets in the enchanted forest. Both these cards imply it is the spiritual path - the Way - that is important, not all of the external trappings of dogma and other props that folks get caught up in that only feed the ego.

Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.

~ Tao Te Ching

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Beginning and End of Naivety

From the Shadowscapes Tarot, the Fool; from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, 'Beginning:'
          This lass is at a point where there is nothing to grasp on to with certainty - no memories or knowledge that will give her guidance. She operates not on logic or emotion, but pure animal instinct as she readies to step into the unknown. The doves attempt to lighten her fall, but the fox appears calm and expectant, knowing this risk is one this young woman needs to take. She may land on her feet or end up with a few bumps and bruises, but she will never be naive about such a situation again. The oracle card's full title is 'Beginning at the End,' which suggests looking back with hindsight. It illustrates the story of Rumplestiltskin, a tale which describes the dangers of overconfidence and the willingness to risk the lives of innocents (the miller risked the daughter, and the daughter risked her newborn child). The Fool's trust will need to be tempered with some logic and lessons learned before she takes another dive into the unknown.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Wake Up Laughing

This week I'll be using the Shadowscapes book and deck set published by Llewellyn. The artwork is done by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and the book is written by Barbara Moore. I'll also be drawing from the Arthur Rackham Oracle, created and self-published by Doug Thornsjo (Duck Soup). Today's cards are Judgment and 'Devilment:'
          This angel's horn wakes the flowers and butterflies, heralding the end of winter and beginning of spring. Outside (for those in the Northern Hemisphere) there are signs that the season of renewal is here. Yet her call is also for the human folk to wake from complacency or apathy and see with clear eyes and an open heart. What needs to be transformed in your life or in the place you live? Being set in our ways, it can be hard to get off our comfy couches and chairs and do something different. Yet Puck (A Midsummer's Night Dream) shows up to prod us. Puck, who was a jester to the fairy king, loved to tangle things up. When chaos ensued, he had a good laugh, yet he would set things right eventually. His purpose was not to be mean but to grab folk's attention. Our family has its own little Puck in the form of a kitten that showed up at the library where my daughter works. Life has not been boring since she arrived!
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
~ Victor Hugo

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Color Outside of the Lines

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Queen of Staves (Wands); from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Chi:'
          Another Queen is back today; this one encourages people to create something beautiful or useful. She rallies people to do something with the minds and bodies they've been given. All humans have the ability to create, but our diversity means that we have different skills. Some may be artists, wordsmiths, relationship builders or problem solvers. This Queen appreciates all skill sets - but only if they're put to use and not gathering dust. Chi is a letter that has been used to represent Euler's Principle in geometry. Basically, for any polyhedron that doesn't intersect itself, the number of faces plus the number of corner points minus the number of edges always equals 2. While stability and reliability are great qualities, in the case of creativity it can lead to the 'same old same old.' Take a look at the Queen of Staves expression and body language as she glances over at Chi. This queen would definitely recommend taking a risk by stepping outside the norm in order to produce something original.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Equal Emotional Footing

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Queen of Cups; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Lamda:'
          The Queen holds a cup with a cover. She knows that an outward show of feelings may not actually be what is going on in the unconscious. A person who is in a rage might simply be using an emotion that feels more powerful to hide a fear that lurks underneath. Burston has assigned the keyword 'encouraging' to the queens, and the Queen of the Cups does this in a very patient and tolerant way. Being in touch with her own feelings, she knows its not always possible to dig out the root of emotions in one day. Lamda symbols (uppercase) are painted on NATO vehicles for alliance identification. In the early 1970s, in the wake of the Stonewall Rebellion, New York City's Gay Activists Alliance selected the lowercase version of this letter to represent gays and lesbians. Adding Lamda with the Queen of Cups, these draws imply a partnership of equals. In the words of Pema Chodron:
 Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bonding Agent

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Two of Cups; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Kappa:'
          The two Piscean fish - known for swimming in opposite directions - come face to face in this card. Bursten assigns 'interacting' to the Cups suit and 'dialogue' to the Twos. Those fish are obviously having a positive meeting and a productive conversation judging by the blooms sprouting between them. Yet the covered cup below suggests there is more to come if things keep progressing in this direction. Kappa is a letter used in psychology and psychiatry as a symbol for measuring reliability. In Japanese folklore, the kappa were creatures who were incapable of breaking an oath. These draws imply that this relationship (Two of Cups) hinges on honesty and trustworthiness. Even when two people look at situations from opposite viewpoints, dependability, loyalty, and truthfulness can be the glue that holds the connection together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Go Deeper, Not Wider

From Hadar's Le Veritable de Marseille, the Eight of Coins; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Rho:'
          Bursten assigns the verb 'obtaining' to the Coins suit and 'efficiency' to the number eight. Looking at the flowers still connected to the vine (with one in full bloom), it's obvious that discipline and hard work have resulted in skills and knowledge. The leafy parts of the vine seem to divide the coins into different levels, suggesting that one must progress in study and practice to achieve mastery. This card reminded me of the philosophy 'Go deeper, not wider:'

The guiding philosophy is 'Go deeper, not wider.' Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. Turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively.
~ David Cain

There's an allure to starting something new. Yet a commitment to staying in what you know and digging deeper opens a world of possibilities that fewer and fewer ever gain access to. There's a mastery that comes from going deeper.
 ~ Dan Cumberland

The Greek letter 'Rho' is often used to designate a former Rhodes scholar, a person chosen from a pool of outstanding international students for a postgraduate award to study at Oxford University. Just as the person who consistently applies him or herself in the Eight of Coins suggests, focus and sustained effort will be rewarded.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Might Makes Right?

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Emperor; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Psi:'
          The Emperor was thought to be divinely appointed and represented earthly power and authority. According to Bursten, he was often used as a moral allegory to warn against arrogance and excessive pride. He is 'trumped' quite early in the tarot line-up; he has no power over death or over the passions that drive humans. Bursten writes, "The fate of one's kingdom, whether it be a nation, an office or a home, depends on the spiritual state of its ruler." Just look at the ethics of any leader, whether of a country or business, and it's easy to see there is truth in his statement. Psi has been used to represent psychic phenomenon, or things that cannot be explained biologically. It is used as a symbol of the International Honor Society of Psychology (Psi Chi). The Emperor rules by logic and often concludes that 'might makes right.' However, he would make a much better and more successful leader if he considered what motivated people to do the things they do. A person may steal because their family is hungry. If he can correct the imbalances that create such impulses, his kingdom would likely be more stable.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Defensive Stance

From Hadar's Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, the Nine of Swords; from the Greek Alphabet Runes, 'Phi:'
          According to Bursten's interpretation of the Marseille Tarot, the Sword suit represents 'defending' and the Nine is the result of one's efforts. Looking at the boundary created by the curved swords, there is a sense of being walled inside of a fortress. But is this worry without an evident cause? The flower buds at the four corners point outward as if they too are an attempt to be a part of the boundary. But they have been cut off from the plant and therefore have no chance to blossom. The fortress created may end up becoming more of a prison for the person inside. Phi is the Greek letter in mathematics associated with the golden mean, a special ratio found in nature and intentionally produced in art and architecture. It was thought this ratio made creations more pleasing to the eye, and thus this letter symbolizes an appreciation of beauty. Together with the Nine of Swords, these draws suggest not letting anxiety become so much of a focus that it completely blocks out all else, including the beauty and joy of life.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Avoiding Side Effects

This week I'll be using Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille, restored and reconstructed by Kris Hadar and published by Mortagne. Lee Bursten's The Marseille Tarot Companion will be a resource for reading with this deck. The oracle I'll be using is one I created myself called the Greek Alphabet Runes. AlaskaLaserMaid on Etsy burned the designs on cedar tiles for me. Today's draws are Temperance and 'Zeta:'
          Temperance was a common subject in medieval and Renaissance art. Her title and action symbolize the practice of mixing water with wine to temper the wine's effect. This card is also connected to the Greek theory of the four humors or temperaments; it was believed that an imbalance of these liquids in the human body caused illness. Temperance offers the encouragement to avoid extremes, physically or psychologically, which will result in a more balanced mind and body.  Zeta is a letter that has been used to represent vorticity, the measure of rotation in fluid or air as seen in whirlpools and tornadoes. It cautions us not to get caught up in the kind of busyness or mental rumination that results in 'spinning our wheels.' These two draws are not about restriction so much as being able to enjoy life without experiencing the side effects that extremes cause.
Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.     
~ Epicurus

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Be Still and Listen

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Four of Birds (Swords); from the Animal Tiles, 'Woodpecker:'
          This tarot image comes from a healing visualization. A woman rests on a ledge and is warmed by the sun, letting the other birds fly freely. We often try to force ourselves to come up with solutions, but the more we anxiously think about the problem, the more muddled things become. Alan Watts wrote, "Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." Clarity comes when we rest the mind, not through over-analysis or strategy-making. The 'thunk-thunk-thunk' of a woodpecker drilling a tree is a common sound in areas where there are older trees. Yet they often tap on tin roofs, light poles and other man-made objects. They haven't mistaken these things for trees but are using the sound as signals. Thus the message of Woodpecker is that opportunity will knock at some point; we just have to rest and listen until then.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Nature's Pace

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Hanging Woman; from the Animal Tiles, 'Spider:'
          Everything has been put on hold in this woman's life. Instead of being busy, she listens in stillness. Surrender is not an easy mantle to wear, but once we place it on our shoulders, we can relax rather than fight the dish life has served us. Pollack suggests that we "attach ourselves to the rhythms of the universe." Control is not an option, but learning can be. Spider teaches both responsibility and patience. She asks, "What are you weaving in your life? Each thread in your web is a choice you have made, so why blame another?" Spider also knows that waiting (like the Hanging Woman) can have better results than trying to force something to happen. "Let things happen in their own time," she advises.
Don't cross the bridge til you come to it.      
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Seeking Forgiveness

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Four of Rivers (Cups); from the Animal Tiles, 'Bumblebee:'
In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls...
Leviticus 16:29
          Pollack associates this card with the Jewish 'Day of Atonement,' Yom Kippur. It is a celebration of one's essence and its indestructible relationship with G-d. Before this day, one must first seek reconciliation with others, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. This day of forgiveness is a reminder to be mindful of daily actions, making a choice to do what is good and beneficial instead of what is self-serving. This card represents casting off the old self to find healing and connection. Bumblebees are wonderful pollinators. Yet unlike the honey bee, they produce only the amount of honey they need to feed themselves and their young. These insects are reminders that we can do good work, but we must not hold ourselves to an impossible standard. Sometimes forgiving ourselves can be the hardest work of all.
Realize, right now, that there is a very big difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. ~ Michael Davidson

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Before Choosing a Cup...

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Seven of Rivers (Cups); from the Animal Tiles, the 'Owl:'
          We all have fantasies about what would make our lives easier: a new job or relationship, paying off a large debt, having our kids become responsible adults or getting relief from a health issue. But the stones on the right bank of this seven lane river caution that wishing won't change reality. There is a necessary effort behind each change we seek. Yet what we often forget is that everyone, no matter how charmed their life looks on the outside, has challenges. True fulfillment comes when we are able to find joy even when swimming upstream. The Owl's night vision suggests that there may be a delusion or two that is hiding. Is there self-pity or a sense of entitlement scurrying around in the corners of the mind? Best to confront it rather than let it continue to grow, or joy won't have a snowball's chance in hell.
From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It's covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are, so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience. ~Pema Chodron

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Drop Anchor

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Ace of Stones (Pentacles); from the Animal Tiles, 'Bear:'
          This standing stone reminded me of the natural formation found in Australia known as Uluru. Sacred to the Aboriginees, Uluru stands less than a fourth of a mile tall yet extends over a mile and a half underground. The Shining Tribe companion book suggests anchoring oneself in ordinary things. Thinking may get a lot of credit in our culture, but concrete action is what will actually help secure and stabilize things. If the weather will cooperate, today may be a good day for digging in the soil; it is one of the best solutions for grounding my body, mind, and spirit. The Bear symbolizes strength, a stable foundation, and healing. Bear doesn't get in a hurry unless there is an emergency situation. She reminds me to go slow and seek progress rather than perfection. It's only when I believe that life must bend to my will that I become panicked. In the words of Baloo the Bear, "Don't spend your time looking around for something you want that can't be found."

Monday, April 9, 2018

River Guides

From the Shining Tribe Tarot, the Speaker of Rivers (King of Cups); from the Animal Tiles, 'Green Anole:'
          The big fish leading the others through the river is like a therapist or anam cara who can guide us through emotionally turbulent times. The Speaker of Rivers has enough experience and wisdom to help without becoming swept away in the drama. It is important, however, that this guide has been vetted and found trustworthy. Anoles are ectotherms, meaning they must use the sun or an environmental heat source to regulate their body temperature. In the same way, the King must regulate his relationship with those he helps to avoid becoming enmeshed himself. Like the anole's tail that can break off to distract a predator, emotional detachment is a skill that this King needs to develop. Such detachment does not cut off compassion or kindness. It is the realization that one person does not have the power to create change in another - that is solely the responsibility of the individual.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Beginning Flier

This week I'll be using the Shining Tribe Tarot, a deck and book set created by Rachel Pollack and published by Llewellyn. The oracle I'll be using is a wooden set of Animal Tiles, hand pyroetched by my multi-talented friend Carole Beasley. My draws this morning are the Fool and 'Hawk:'
          This young Fool follows the bird right off the side of the mountain. There is no hesitation or question that this is her path; her ego is not strong enough to sway her from instinct. She is completely comfortable with uncertainty and even finds it exciting. Every moment is a wonder and feeds her insatiable curiosity. Though she will eventually fall to earth, literally and figuratively, hopefully she will retain some of her child-like openness. Hawk flies in to lend some clarity to the Fool's trust. It's almost a guarantee that her earthly bumps and bruises will bring some emotional clouds. Yet mistakes and challenges can be useful for her development if she sees the lessons clearly without becoming saturated by the emotions they bring.
Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance. ~Tara Brach

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Fine Print and Compromise

From the Tarot of Durer, the Knave (Page) of Wands; from the Philosopher's Stone Deck, 'Contrast:'
          The Page of Wands is a go-getter who doesn't dally when it comes to getting things done. For procrastinators and indecisive hesitators, he's a good archetype to embody. Yet for those who use him as a model, they should make sure to read the fine print: "not liable for any breakage or destruction that might occur." The plant behind him that's had its stem broken is a good example. His excitement and enthusiasm easily override common sense and caution when he gets moving. The two face stones on the Contrast card - one new and one weathered - remind me of the differences between generations. The youngsters complain that the older folks don't want to try anything new, while the elders reply "if it's not broken, it doesn't need to be fixed." Yet both sides have wisdom that might benefit the other. It doesn't necessarily have to be only one way or the other, it can be a combination of both.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Mental Upgrade

From the Tarot of Durer, the Six of Swords; from the Philosopher's Stone Deck, 'Impression:'
 No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea.
― Shunryu Suzuki
          This fellow is following Suzuki's definition of 'beginner's mind,' as he leaves all his swords on the shore. His strategies, fundamental beliefs, and ideas about how things should be have been left behind. He has realized that the self-centered thoughts he tightly held greatly limited his world. Most every belief framework has a dividend plan of sorts - if you do this, you get that. Serve God well and go to heaven. Study hard and make good grades, then get a diploma. Be a responsible employee and be rewarded with a paycheck. Seems simple, right? But what happens if you're gay, and God thinks it's sinful? What if you struggle in school because of a learning disability? What if your employer wants you to do something unethical? Sometimes we must step out of the framework and into something more spacious. The handprint impressed upon the stone face is a reminder that every experience (good or bad) leaves a mark in the memory. Knee-jerk reactions are a strong indication that we are operating from an experience of which we may not be mindful. As Pema Chodron says, "they're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck." Yet once we're aware of them, we can choose to allow their influence or not.