Every week from now until Christmas I will write a post in a series I’m calling “Tarot Tips for the Holidays.” Each post will be a sort of guided reflection using Tarot cards to explore ways you can foster peace, understanding, compassion and Love this holiday season. As much as I love the holidays, I always seem to get overly stressed out. Shopping for gifts, sending packages, planning and coordinating…it can really be a lot sometimes! Everyone seems to have good intentions, but inevitably some sort of family or relationship drama finds its way into all the merriment. I hope these posts help you prepare your mind, body and Spirit for this holiday season and that your days will be merry and bright! ❤
Today’s Tip: Open Up Your Heart
Emphasis: Emotional Awareness
Chakras: Heart Chakra & Throat Chakra
The Two of Swords can teach us to open up to our friends and family this season. If you are too guarded with your emotions you run the risk of accidentally hurting people. You may wish to communicate love, but inadvertently sound critical, judgmental or cold. This card reminds us to be wary of becoming aloof and defensive with our loved ones. From this card we can learn how to make changes that will allow us to channel and communicate our emotions in healthier ways.
What causes us to close ourselves off?
Often times we carry our baggage from the past into our present relationships. It is painful to lose someone we love or to be abused by someone we trust. When these, or other traumatic events, we close ourselves in a natural act of self protection (imagine curling up into the fetal position). Sometimes this automatic constriction of energy is the key to survival and healing. Once we are safe, however, we must be willing to open up again. This is how we grow and how our relationships can grow with us. If we remain closed off, we continue to experience the world in a disconnected way, causing problems in our personal relationships. Fear of being hurt again is what keeps us from opening up once we are safe.
What does it feel like to be closed off?
You can feel the closed energy in your body in a number of ways. Usually, you will first notice that certain things “trigger” you emotionally. A trigger is any word, phrase or behavior that sets off a chain reaction in your body. The chain reaction will be a series of mental, physical and emotional phenomena including, but not limited to, the following:
- short, shallow breathing
- tightness or tension in the body
- arousal of intense emotions (e.g. anger, fear, resentment, guilt, etc.)
- difficulty expressing emotions
- desire to find a place to hide/be alone
- feeling lethargic/low energy
- feeling hopeless or depressed
- desire to lash out physically (e.g. hit something/someone, throw something, etc.)
- negative thoughts (e.g. “I shouldn’t have said that, I’m so stupid!” “Why is he being such a jerk?” “She’s always picking on me…”)
All of these are signs that some, or all, of your chakras are closed and your body is not getting the energy flow it needs to perform at its best. A healthy, balanced mind-body feels at ease, at peace, safe and confident, if you don’t feel that way something needs to change so that your body can restore itself to equilibrium.
How can I open up?
Disclaimer: Do not try these exercises if the environment you are living in is not safe. If you live with an abusive partner or your basic physical needs are not being met then you need to seek support and get yourself to a SAFE place. Feel free to contact me privately if you don’t have anyone else you can reach out to! ❤
Exercise 1: Release old mental patterns and replace them with positive affirmations
Try doing this activity once or twice a day for a week straight. You’ll notice a difference, I promise!
Stand in front of a mirror and say the following affirmations aloud:
I release any and all patterns that block me from having the experiences I desire.
I am safe. I am loved.
I open myself up to the others.
I receive the positive things that the Universe offers me.
I deserve to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer.
Exercise 1: Plan B
If you can’t get yourself to try this activity then you may not be ready to open up yet (that is OK! take your time with this stuff!). If this is the case, please reflect on why you are resisting this simple exercise. Also, keep in mind that if it feels “silly” or you simply don’t believe in the words you are saying, that’s OK! It does feel funny at first! Keep in mind that repetition is the key with affirmations. They may not feel like the truth at first, but over time they begin to sink in and you start to truly believe in them!
Also, take a moment to acknowledge that all thoughts are a form of affirmations. If you are not ready to do the affirmations above, instead try noticing the affirmations you are already using. Anytime you have a thought that either lifts you up or puts you down take a mental note. Observe your thoughts. Are they mostly positive, self-esteem building thoughts, or are they mostly negative, self-loathing thoughts? Are they neutral? Are they optimistic/pessimistic? Just take some time to get a feel for the affirmations you are already using, and then decide if you want to change some of them.
Exercise 2: Journaling
In my opinion, the most valuable thing you can do for yourself is to keep a private journal. This is a safe place for you to create some space between your mind and your emotions. Often times emotions feel out of our control. Emotions assail us. They come on fast and strong and have the power to overwhelm us. There are a lot of techniques you can try to create space for yourself to process your emotions, and journaling is by far one of the most effective and easiest to implement that I’ve found.
Here are some questions you can reflect upon in your journal (I recommend choosing 1-2 that resonate with you per journal entry, do as many or as few as you need, but don’t do them all at once):
- Do I trust people? If not, why?
- Do I feel loved?
- Do I love myself?
- Do I feel accepted?
- Do I accept myself?
- Do I feel guilty? If so, what for?
- Do I feel ashamed? If so, of what?
- What am I most afraid of?
- Do I surround myself with people who make me feel good?
This activity can be difficult. These are not easy questions to answer. Just remember, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Simply reflecting on a few of these questions will help you discover why you are cutting yourself off from others. It can sometimes be painful to learn these Truths. In my experience, releasing heavy emotional baggage feels the worst right before I finally release it…so hang in there, you will feel a huge relief once you allow yourself to fully process this stuff!
Journaling can also help you uncover your triggers so that you can be more prepared when they come up. I find doing this kind of inner work has helped me become less reactive. Instead of simply being triggered, I pause for a moment and think to myself “uh oh…that’s one of my triggers…take a deep breath…” Just a couple of seconds can make a huge difference in an emotionally charged situation with my loved ones. The goal here is learning to sort through our own baggage so that we don’t inadvertently take it out on the people close to us.
Exercise 3: Tarot Card Meditation
I love meditating with my Tarot cards. You don’t need to know anything about Tarot to do this activity. Just allow yourself to explore the card and let the energy of the card guide you through your imagination. This is a particularly wonderful card to work with because the energy is SO positive and full of joy.
Sit upright in a comfortable position. Don’t be too stiff, don’t slouch either.
Take 3-4 long, slow, deep breaths. Relax your entire body.
Focus on the card for 3-5 minutes. Allow your imagination to engage with the card. If you like, you can picture what it would be like to step into the card and interact with the environment.
When the time is up take a moment to journal about your experience.
Reach out in the comments or by email if these activities help you in any way. Share your healing experiences with friends and family. Remember we are all alone in this together. We each have our own separate journey, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other out from time to time! Happy Holidays and happy healing!