Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Eyes on Me

One way that people can become better acquainted with their cards and interpreting the symbols is to do a "Daily Drawing" - choosing one card to meditate on for that particular day. I'd seen it suggested before in Tarot workbooks and blogs, and I was reminded of it again when I read a comment from a reader on my Giveaway blog post and I saw that she devoted her blog to daily readings of cards.

I've never done it before, so I shuffled the cards and pulled this one at random from the deck:

My personal interpretation of this card is that it is one of "playing a new role." Generally in readings for other people, I see this card come up when someone has had a change of circumstance (be it a conscious decision or thrust upon them) and must take on new responsibilities or display aspects of themselves that they aren't used to - for example, they have made a change in their career or they are no longer in a certain relationship that defined them and they now see different meaning in themselves and to the people around them.

I always think of the woman in the card as reaching for a garment or costume, something to clothe her in an outward facade that matches what she feels (or wants to feel) on the inside. Something struck me about this card today - her nakedness. That might seem obvious, but I'd never considered it in quite this way before - keep reading...

I've been teaching art workshops to kids all summer. While I've had some very focused and creative kids in my classes, I've also had some rambunctious ones that have been the cause of some very draining moments. I'm very sensitive to noise, and last week I started to develop a low-grade headache during class because of children that wouldn't stop talking or playing around when I tried to call them to attention. Yesterday, I had a sinking feeling that my new round of 6 - 8 year-olds was going to be even harder to handle than the last. I still don't feel totally comfortable being an authoritative figure. When I first started teaching children three years ago, I hated telling kids, "No" or "Stop that." I do it freely now. But there are still times when kids ask me questions and there is a grey area in the answer. I ask myself, what would an "adult" say in this situation? Or times when I don't know exactly how to react to what a child does or says. How do I teach wrong from right when there are so many larger issues at play? Teaching has taught me many things, and one is that I must be fully present and responsive, or I can let an opportunity pass and be unchallenged. I can now understand why teachers get lazy and pretend not to see what is going on. It takes so much responsibility to absorb and react to every single moment.

I thought about what Card #29 had to teach me about my present situation. When someone goes through a shift and has to play a role that is new or uncomfortable to them, they experience a moment of transition where they must strip themselves of former notions and reach for the garment that will clothe them in the confidence required to "play their part." Within that transition is a moment of nudity - of utter starkness and vulnerability. As humans, we go through these kinds of shifts everyday. In the very practiced, that shift may be imperceptible. In others, it may be empowering as they choose to see and present themselves in a new light. And in others, the shift may seem clunky and even embarrassing. It can be painful to watch others' uncertainty. We don't always have to be comfortable with the roles we play. But if it's important enough to us, we need to at least give it a try - even if that means merely pretending until we feel that we can embody the part.

This morning before I set off to my class, I thought about the freshness of such shifting roles. That I can choose play the role of "Teacher" and take it off more easily than I used to when I first began teaching. That within that role there is a multitude of variables and factors in every moment - in myself, in my students, in our relationship to each other. It reminded me that each day is new and full of possibilities, and that I don't have to weigh myself down with my own expectations. I can allow that nakedness to clear the slate.

Today during class, my kids seemed more focused. I still had a little trouble getting them to listen to directions, but I got a tip from one of them. While helping Logan glue bits of "grass" - green paper paper that he had fringed on the edges - onto his pop-up card, he gave me a tip: "You should say '1-2-3, eyes on me!' the way our other teacher does. Then all the students will look straight into your eyes like this," and he proceeded to give me a wide-eyed, mesmerized stare. I agreed that I would try it out.

When I next needed the class's attention, I called out "1-2-3, eyes on me!" I got about half of the kids to look up at me quietly, which was more than normal. I looked over at Logan. He beamed and nodded his head at me. I guess I'd done something right.

What does Card #29 mean to you? Were/Are you in a situation where you had to take on a new role? How did that feel? What role do you fear? What role do you desire? What role liberates you?

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