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tea leaves are next

This morning, I was looking at myself in the mirror and thought that maybe I should institute a Negativity Jar for myself. It would be like a Swear Jar that some people have, where they deposit some amount of money (a quarter or a dollar or whatever) every time they swear, the thought being that it’ll prevent them from swearing so much or at the very least help them to set aside some fucking money. You’re familiar with the concept, I’m sure.

Anyway, the Negativity Jar would require me to deposit some money every time I had a negative thought in the hopes that I would start being more positive. But then I realized that, while most of my negativity is my just my usual charming self, a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t have very much money and if I start paying the Negativity Jar, I’m just going to get pissed that it has all of my fucking money (score one for Swear Jar).

By the time I was done thinking of all of this, I owed these hypothetical jars about 300 bucks each.

So, yes, Thanksgiving is upon us and I am, indeed, thankful for being upright and having a chin that I can still hold high and the people who I love do, too. I think dealing with me the last few months has been especially rough on those closest to me. Recognizing that my basket case act might be tiresome, I decided that I needed some perspective. I sought it out in a way that was entirely novel to me.

I met up with my buddy Jennie, and she did me a huge favor and did a Tarot reading for me. Now, I am quite possibly the biggest skeptic in my ZIP code and I didn’t set out to make all of my decisions forthwith from the reading. I just…needed something different.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my thoughts on spirituality and religion and all things mystical before. If I had to classify myself, I would say that I’m a puzzled agnostic. I don’t play well with others, so organized religions are out and I just don’t buy the concept of God as it’s already laid out. But I do think that there’s something connecting us, the something that enabled us to develop empathy and understand cause and effect and whatnot. And it’s that something that helps us to identify things in others and if there’s any scientific explanation for why things like Tarot readings hit pretty hard to home, aside from them being broad enough to be interpreted, it’s that.

If nothing else, it was a relief to hear my troubles explained by someone other than me. Articulated in a way that I’ve been too upset to achieve. And it reminded me that nothing, not even shitty periods in life, lasts forever.

Perhaps the best part of my Tarot reading was after it was over, when Jennie and I just talked about things that were on our minds. But major arcana and Negativity Jars aside, I know things will get better somehow. And for that I’m thankful.

2 comments to tea leaves are next

  • kent williams

    You don’t need God to love your fellow man. You can even argue altruism is an evolutionary advantage. People who just take care of #1 make enemies, and people who help others make friends. Everyone eventually needs someone’s help, and when that day comes, who has more potential helpers, the selfish person or the helpful person?

    Same for the Golden rule. In the absence of absolute moral codes or divine retribution for wrongdoing, it makes sense that others will feel justified in treating you as poorly or as well as you’ve treated them.

    You don’t have to believe in Tarot for it to ‘work.’ The Tarot, like the I Ching, gives you a new narrative to describe what you’re feeling and what’s happening to you. Getting outside your self-constructed narrative can be, err, constructive.

    When people talk about belief it’s impoosible for me to accept anyone’s beliefs as being absolute. What you believe — and more to the point, those things in which you have faith, despite the lack of direct evidence — is a model of the world you use to make decisions about what to do. No one has a 100% accurate view of the world, so all models of the world are provisional.

    Given the aforementioned inaccuracy of said models of the world, it’s hard even to say one model is more accurate than another with any certainty. You can judge — provisionally, of course — whether a model allows a person a more or less successful way to negotiate their way through life. But it raises the question: what if a less complete, more faith-based model actually makes someone a better, happier person? Some of the most loving, apparently happy people I know are committed Christians, and to my way of thinking their beliefs don’t stand even first level tests of provability.

    Now this kind of reasoning can feel like a hall of mirrors. So I take great comfort in 1 Corinthians 13, which I interpret to be precisely about the limits of knowlege. To me it says ‘we don’t know anything for sure, we don’t even know what we don’t know, so until we do, the thing to do is love and care for each other as best we can.’

  • I think I am going to start telling people that I am a puzzled Agnostic instead of an Angry Atheist and maybe they won’t be so frightened.

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