The Fool's Journey: Take the First Step
Sam looked over the house one last time...
With the final box balanced on her hip, she moved from room to room with only the pantings of the dogs at her heels breaking the silence. Memories played in her mind, and although there were good times, the bad tipped heavier on the scale.
And for all of its large windows, the house was always dim—outright gray, even—and for the millionth time she wondered how she stood the energy-draining place for so long. But an unsuspecting frog doesn’t know it’s boiling in the pot if the temperature is only increased slightly over time, right?
Moving to the front of the house she stopped at the front door with her hand on the knob; surprised to find she had some hesitation. The flash of fear was real. How could she do this on her own? She didn’t have the same luck as other people. Wasn’t that already evident in the decisions she’d made in her life so far?
Before the voice of Old Scratch (as she was apt to call her ex-husband) took over, she interrupted its usual diatribe. She wasn’t always this way, she reminded herself. She had ambition once. Tenacity and all that. She prided herself on being strong (though it took some work to get back there). She could roll with the punches. Hadn’t she already proven that ability time and time again? Because here she was; finally leaving a relationship based on control, misery and projected self-hate. So give yourself some credit, woman, she chided herself.
Looking down at Max and Athena, who smiled back doggishly with encouragement, she twisted the doorknob with more confidence, and walked openly and bravely into the sun-filled world.
Permission to play The Fool
We like to beat ourselves up over the choices we make. Likely because someone, somewhere, at some point in time downed those choices, and made you feel like shit for it. Ever since then, you’ve carried their condescending voice in your head; your own version of Old Scratch. It’s time to change that toxic narrative. Especially, because you are the author of your story. Do not—I repeat—Do not let someone else dictate how your story should play out. If you do, the chance of living a life of misery are great.
At the risk of sounding cliché, you are way stronger than you give yourself credit. A lot of times, others are keenly aware of your power, your potential, and in turn feel threatened by it. As a result, they become hell bent on making sure that power is never maximized, but still want to benefit from it. And so begins the long journey of you being trained to be less than you are. Less than what you could be.
Hopefully, there will come a time in which you see the light. To take a stand to fiercely grasp onto the power you know you possess. The mantle of The Fool allows for the beginning of this transition. It allows you to begin living life in the moment with an open, wide-eyed, childlike glee that leads to a better you. This don'ts mean you won't experience pain, but come what may, you will submerge yourself in the good and the bad experience and learn from it. On your own terms.
But realize that you don’t have to make grandiose gestures to show that you have successfully beat your fears and are ready to take on the world. If you’re afraid of heights, I wouldn’t recommend bungee jumping off a bridge anytime soon. You can simply work to alleviate fear by living in the moment but also reminding yourself of how far you have come. By pausing and checking in with yourself whenever you feel anxious or hear that voice whispering in your ear, you can do yourself a great service.
Take a mental inventory
When something makes you feel anxious or unsure, try taking a mental inventory
- What triggered the anxiety?
- Why does it make you feel anxious/fearful?
- Is it accusatory? If so is it true?
- If not, should you continue to fret?
Remind yourself of the accomplishments you have achieved. Don't knock this, but even getting out of bed in the morning can take superhero strength, but you did that shit. Congrats! And if you are reading this, this proves that you are made of tougher stuff, because you had bad times before this and yet...Here you are.
Better yet, make a list--5-10 things, will do--of good stuff you've accomplished so far. Carry that ish in your pocket, wallet, phone case...Whatever you use. When you are feeling low, or someone is trying to make you feel less than, take out that list and prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think.
If it's a task that makes you feel anxious,
- Again, what triggered the anxiety?
- Why does it make you feel anxious/fearful?
- Is it an emergency?
- If not, can it wait and be tackled later?
If it can wait, take some calming breaths to get refocused. If possible, jot down one or two to-dos (Only one or two! Try not to spend too much time on it) in regard to that particular issue, and then move on. The feelings of loss of control can be lessoned by having some semblance of an action plan in place.
But if in either of these cases adrenaline pumps through your veins and you “just can’t,” immediately step away from what you’re doing and allow yourself some time to find peace to better wrap your head around the situation. Self-care is just as important as OtherPeople-care. Actually, tending to your own needs is more important than anyone else’s in that moment. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and make no apologies as your feelings are real. Your experience is real.
The Fool is the start; the symbol of gathering strength for the journey ahead, and acceptance of what the Universe has in store for you. Though you know the going may be rough, there will be significant moments of triumph, too. But out of all of the acts you will commit on this journey, like Sam and The Fool, the bravest of them all will be quieting your fears and taking the first step.
Journey well, my friend.
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