Today's Draw: Four of Earth from the Gaian Tarot. Do you put out more energy than you receive in return? Do you feel more and more tired as months and years go by? Do you take better care of your pets—and everyone else—than you do of yourself?
The Four of Earth shows a squirrel gathering acorns in fall to help sustain him through an acornless winter. The card also shows an inukshuk nearby, a stack of stones each representing a prayer. In that way, the stone stack is also symbolic of a gathering of the things we need to be happy and survive.
Someone recently said something to me about saving energy for themselves—not just leftover energy, but some of the creamy good energy they're always giving to others. Doing this may (and should) require you to serve yourself first. I hear moms around the world gasping at that suggestion, but it's the same thing as putting the life support mask on yourself first. In order to help others, you have to take care of yourself first.
Such a simple thought, but often so hard to remember. Society scorns us for thinking of ourselves, rewarding only the image of the individual hooked up to a plow until their feet bleed from all the service, then collapsing in a pool until the next day when they get up and do it again. The poster child for this is the mother who tirelessly caters to all her children's needs, prepares dinner for her husband, totes that barge, lifts that bail, then is allowed three or four hours to recoup before it all starts again.
She may be on the poster, but most of do this every day. Between work, my dogs, my garden, friends, blogs, etc., I manage to tend to myself last every day...after I'm too tired to care. I have unlimited time, for example, to take my dog to doctor's appointments, unlimited funds to get him fixed up, unlimited resources to make sure he heals properly—hell, I've been sleeping in the living room for weeks now and will continue to do so for the next couple of months so he doesn't have to be lonely at night—but I don't seem to gather up the energy to take that kind of care of myself. And I need to.
In reality, I'm someone who could squeeze out the time and make the space for myself easier than some others, but I don't. I find myself giving my energy away, sometimes to people who mete their energy out toward me like a miser, but readily suck up every drop I put out toward them. Even as I write about this, I'm thinking "why are you complaining? You've got it so much better than most people. Stop whining and suck it up." Which is another way of putting myself last. As if I don't rate receiving. As if I don't matter as much as those of you who have REAL demands on your time. What does this type of behavior say about how I value myself? What does yours say about you?
So this card is a reminder to us all that we can only go so far on limited resources. We need to fuel up. We need to surround ourselves with people who give as good as they take. We need to stop worrying so much about what the neighbors will think about the dandelions in our front yard. We need to leave work at work. And, for me especially, even if it makes the dogs sad, I need to take time away from them to take care of myself. It's not because I don't love them, but because I love them enough to want to give from a healthier place.
I don't suggest neglecting anything important. But there is so much we do on a daily basis for others that doesn't return itself back to us in some way. What those things are are for you to figure out and that can sometimes be hard to do. For example, when I do anything in my front yard...weed, mow, whatever...it's not for me. It's for my neighbors. I never see my front yard. So now I pay someone else to care. But it took me a long time to figure out who I was doing all that for.
These things we HAVE to do, often don't really have to be done. And any relationships in which we've established dynamics of "I give, you take", we can change. If you think it's selfish to meet a friend for coffee instead of making snacks for your teen to eat after school, consider what you're teaching your teen about where food comes from, how things get done and what the role of a parent is...servant or teacher?
It's time to start amassing our stack of things that feed us...to build up some fuel for times when we need it...to find who we are outside of the roles we play...and to move away from things that only deplete. We all came here with purposes to fulfill and dreams to catch. We can't put that off any longer and we're going to need our entire stash of acorns to make it happen.