The self improvement paradox
Do ever get self help burnout? We are constantly hearing so many different narratives about how to live our lives.
Be yourself, but be a better you, create the life you want to live, but appreciate and be grateful for what you have. Be ambitious and take on more than you think you can handle but also, self care!
Whew! My head explodes when I hear these contradictions and paradoxes. Am I supposed to love my life the way it is or am I supposed to work so hard to change it?
I suppose that's why it's a paradox!
If you’re here, you're likely a person who cares about your own self improvement and wants to construct a future that feels authentic and aligned. I just want to give you props for being on this journey because it ain't easy but it's so truly worth it.
Straight lines belong in math, not life
Why is it so tough? The self improvement paradox exists because the path to self improvement isn’t a linear path. Often, we have a road map to where we are and where we want to be so it seems like it should be so simple to get from Point A to Point B. For instance, Point A could be that you have a job you do not like and Point B could be self employment. Simple, right? You just reverse engineer the plan so you know what points to hit on your map and you just follow those logically. How hard could that be?
Oh if only it worked that way.
But...we live in this little place called the world, which is filled with beings called, other people and we often need to have things called jobs while wanting to have a feeling called fun. This results in us taking leisurely detours, or following our muggle job down a rabbit hole, or our families tugging us on a side road that brings us somewhere different all together…but oh how we resist these detours We hem and haw at every turn, frustrated that things aren't progressing the way we think they SHOULD be.
Here's what the cards say:
Rider + Lilies + Coffin + Tower + Fish
8 of Swords Reversed
This month, the cards ask us to understand that there is SO much to gain where we are, right now.
With our summer leisure time coming to an end, we can forget that we have much abundance to glean from our daily routines and the current structures of our lives. We're asked to see the structures in our lives clearly and appreciate what we are gaining from school, our jobs, and the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Rider + Lilies = Leisure activities
Rider + Lilies + Coffin = Leisure activities ending
Tower + Fish = Abundance in structure
8 of Swords, Reversed = Seeing things clearly, removing the blindfold to reveal truth, able to move forward.
You’re like Link from Zelda with a mega backpack
Did you guys ever play those old school adventure games?
I wasn't ever a big gamer but I would watch my friends play Zelda when I was a kid. I would watch incredulous as they would venture all around tarnation to pick up this shield and weapon just to go back to the very beginning! I would think, gosh, they had to go ALL over just to complete a task that was at the beginning?! Ugh, how frustrating...
But…the thing I was missing is that the road to getting what you want is almost NEVER linear. There is not one direct route to fulfilling a goal…we need to acquire skills and tools that can be used to overcome obstacles along the way. We take these “detours” because we need these resources to overcome upcoming obstacles.
Pick it up won't ya?!
Right now, you may be literally filling your kids' or your own backpack as the routine of school/ work comes back in full swing. You may already miss the barbeques, the hot beach sand beneath our feet from our vacation. **Personally,I'm a basic PSL girl all the way so I'm breathing a sigh a relief**
As you reminisce about your summer days, it can be easy to wish we were back there and totally check out of where we are #brainvacay. But when we phone it in at school or our jobs, we may miss valuable lessons, experiences, and resources that we can fill our metaphorical pack with. I mean, that's like Link (the main character in Zelda) traveling to a far away place, facing many obstacles and finally when a needed item has appeared he just leaves it because he's mad he had to travel so far.
Boy, pick it up!
No matter where you are in your life, whether you're on a direct route, on a detour, or in a ditch, there are tools and skills for you to fill your pack with.
This is where that self-improvement paradox comes into play. We need to fully enjoy and appreciate where we are in order to move forward toward our goal. Keep an eye on the present and and eye on the future. The Eight of Swords, Reversed appeared here to say: open your eyes and see where you are in a new light. Glean what you can from your surroundings.
**Don't @ me about my bogus video game references okay...I know they're not perfect but just go with it**
But wait…what if I wandered into a big ole hole and I don't see anything valuable to fill my pack with. Help!
If you find yourself in an unsavory landscape, a job or major or circumstance you hate, you gotta create your item, love. You may not find one readily available to pick up. To create an opportunity, think:
What is this here to teach me?
Likely it is some essential skill that that you need to take your next step, or leap, or swim or whatever comes next for you.
Often, a very challenging situation causes you to utilize all of the skills and resources you have already gathered and forces you to use them in a new way. You are engaging then in personal alchemy, the ultimate way to change yourself and your circumstances.
When you find yourself in tricky situations and you don't know where to turn, look to your guides. Your helpers. I'm sure you're heard the expression, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Remember, these guides don't have to be physical people in your life. They can take the form of Tarot, Lenormand, podcasts, books, music, spirit guides, and so much more. Lean into wherever you can gain motivation and counsel.
Alright clear eyes, off you go
As you move into fall, look around you, clear eyed. What do you see? Maybe you see an opportunity to set some boundaries (like a Zelda shield) or you find a new way to tackle a problem (like a sword), or maybe you'll find the tools are already inside yourself, ready for you to pick them up and use them.
Safe travels <3