Today's Draw Classic*: Seeker of Fire (Page of Swords) from the Shapeshifter Tarot by Lisa Hunt. Would you generally call yourself a diplomatic person? Do you tend to be diplomatic in your actions and words, but not in your thoughts? If diplomacy and discretion are society's defaults, what are your personal defaults?
The book for this deck speaks of messages and diplomacy when you get the Seeker of Fire.
Recently I've been thinking a lot about things like diplomacy and discretion. I think if you look around your life, you might not realize all the times in a day or week you are limited in what you can say or do for the sake of diplomacy or discretion.
In writing this blog, I frequently subject myself to that. Certainly I don't want to use peoples' names in a public place without their permission. Then there are situations where I'll talk about something, but hold back a lot of details so the situation or person can't be easily identified. Then there are the times you just can't discuss an issue at all, whether it's because you know someone involved will read it or because it's just too hot button to be diplomatic about.
Then there's work. How many times a day do you keep yourself from saying or doing something too personal or too crass at work....or from telling someone off? You stop in the store on the way home and run into a neighbor and the niceties come out, even though their dog is always peeing on your grass. You go home and keep from saying something because your partner has had a hard day.
Then there are those situations where you find yourself between friends, both sides wanting you to take up their cause. One side thinks the diplomatic thing for you to do would be to choose their side. Because they're in the right. The other side thinks the same. So you can't win. And if you choose both sides...or if you choose Switzerland...you're really screwed. So you choose whatever you feel is right, because you can't win for losing.
After a while with all this jockeying around to be diplomatic and whatnot, we lose touch with what's genuine to us, though. We become socially trained automatons. Even outspoken people with no filter will find themselves saying or doing the socially acceptable thing from time to time. And there's good reason for a lot of it. It's how we get by in a civil society.
I think it's worth considering what's really beneath your choices, though. Because when we're in those situations where diplomacy isn't going to do us any favors, we should be able to know what's really driving our decisions—a socially trained desire to not create waves or something that is truly genuine to ourselves. It sounds very simple. but if you really explore, you may find that it's really hard to separate the programmed part of you from the "you" part of you. One way to tell the difference is, do your thoughts mirror your words and actions? If not, it may not be genuine to you.
But what about those situations that weren't in the guidebook? Or the ones we're not prepared to encounter? Like the time I was briefly stuck in an elevator with a dude with Tourettes who was trying to chat me up about the "n-word people" he worked with. Or when the neighborhood meth addicts stopped by to borrow my phone and ask if they could siphon a gallon of gas from my car. That's when having a personal default comes in handy.
In the past year or so, I've been using a personal default of kindness, drama avoidance and quietly walking away from situations that don't serve me. I find this covers most situations and it's not always the diplomatic or popular thing to do. Especially in the midst of a drama, because it doesn't preclude saying no and detaching from the situation. It's not always easy to follow, and my thoughts are still catching up to my words and actions. I'm still limiting what I might say or do, but I'm doing it for my own personal growth and aligning with the spiritual path I'm on, not because of any societal agenda. I'm not 100%, but I'm doing pretty well, considering my old personal default was loudly telling people off and using the "f" word a lot. That covered most situations, too. :D
So what's your default? You could consider it a personal code or philosophy of dealing with others. Have you ever considered this before? And if you have, how consistent are you with it? Is is something you just say or use when it's convenient? Or is something you stick to, even if it pisses other people off?
*Today's entry is a reprise of the one posted on 2/15/12. In the context of this week's readings, not speaking your mind is another way of resisting the natural flow, limiting the expression of your divine self. It bears comment, however, to say that, if we're going to express ourselves, to do so in the way we would like the same message delivered to us.