Hold onto your hats, folks, it’s about to get metaphysical in here.
On my writing desk, I keep a handful of things: an array of notebooks, a tin of pens, random memorabilia like a sumo wrestler paperweight and a glass fish within a fish, a scattering of framed photographs, Japanese candy, tissues, hand lotion, scotch tape, and a deck of Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue called “Healing with the Angels.”
There are a number of writers who work with tarot cards including Stephen King, John Steinbeck, and Italo Calvino, who is quoted as saying that the tarot is “a machine for writing stories.” If you Google “writers and the tarot,” you’ll encounter a slew of websites that offer the tarot as a useful tool for writers (including this one that helps you choose a tarot deck and this one that offers different writerly spreads and this one that connects a group of Minnesota writers in an online forum). Each presents ideas on exploring plot, developing characters, understanding setting, and other ways of overcoming writerly obstacles.
While I’ve used tarot cards in the past, over my own systems of trial and error, I have worked through different decks of cards and wound up with the Angel ones at my desk because, unlike the above authors, I don’t usually seek plot or character insight, I seek encouragement. Whenever I am at a loss or feeling down or unsure why I am doing this thing writing thing anyway, I pull a card.
Today, I pulled a card for Writer’s March, and here is what I got:
And so, the angels offer up the advice of “Focus.” I had to laugh because this is one card I pull for myself nearly every day, no matter how many times I shuffle the deck (which is crazy because there are 44 to choose from). And here is the message:
Think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Guard your thoughts carefully, because they create your experiences.
Sometimes it seems that our thoughts choose us, but this is never the case. We always choose our thoughts–every moment. Our thoughts always have an effect, and there are no neutral thoughts. One-half second before you hold a thought, you decide to hold it. So, with practice, you can learn to monitor and alter your thoughts. This is the equivalent of putting your hands on the steering wheel of your life.
I love this card. I usually pull it when I find myself getting distracted or making excuses for work. It appears when I tell myself things like, “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too tired,” or “I can’t do this right now.” The message of the card is simple. Our thoughts have power. When we think in the word “can’t,” we cut ourselves down because thoughts equal actions. If we think in can’t, then we won’t. If we believe we can write, then we will. If we believe we don’t have enough time or can’t muster the effort, then we won’t even try. If we believe our work has meaning, then it does.
I cannot think of a more fitting message for Day 20 of this Writer’s March. Perhaps, if you are like me, you are feeling the weight of the month. It’s easy at this time, to cast our goals aside, to forget, to put off, to defer, to decline. Well, friends, as the Angel oracle says: “Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.” If you committed to this month, it is because you wanted to put writing in your life. Remind yourself of why. Now, go to it. Act. Write.