Get your life in tune (a story)

George lives in the UK. He is in mid forties, good looking, generally serious and very busy with his career. The company he works for often sends him to visit customers or attend training classes in other countries across Europe, and sometimes to the United States.
George is married and has one daughter who he loves very dearly. He doesn’t think much of himself, because he always works too much and he doesn’t have time to spend with his family. But the work pays well, and he thinks that’s what a good man is supposed to do, so he keeps going. Since he often travels, he also doesn’t have a lot of intimacy with his wife, Susan. He makes jokes with other colleagues about this, and about how – after having had kids – things in the bedroom went on a slower lane.
George has been worried about Susan as she seems to grow grumpier and grumpier and he doesn’t understand what she wants of him. He’s doing everything that he’s supposed to do – works hard, brings money… but there’s something missing, she makes passive aggressive remarks and he feels pushed away when he asks for intimacy. He has been worried that Susan might be having an un-diagnosed depression, or maybe she might be cheating on him (albeit she’s very religious and he doubts she would go beyond her beliefs)? Or is this just his own confusion that he’s projecting onto the relationship?

Trying to distract himself, George kills some time on the Internet. On a social network stumbles across a page from a former colleague who everybody stamped as nuts once he quit his six figures salary with no clear plan about what to do next. The post advertises free tarot card readings to get insights and revelations in the spheres of love, career and health.
George has an inspiration to ask the cards for his questions, looks down on himself for having that idea, but then has a good laugh and decides “why not?”.

He clicks on the link and lands on a page with some text that invites him to concentrate on his question and then click on the image of a card deck to get the cards drawn.
He knows cards are cheap tricks and won’t tell him anything substantial, and yet he’s slightly afraid to be confronted with something potentially revealing… he would honestly like to understand himself, and what the best course of action would be in the interest of all parties involved.

George’s heartbeat feels slightly increased as he focuses on the question “What should I do in regards to the relationship between me and my wife?”.
He clicks on the link.

The page shows the results, 3 tarot cards – with short descriptions.

The first card represents the past, the reading says. This card is ‘The Fool’. The image of a boy going carefree thru life evokes something in George – he feels this was himself when he first met his wife, and they were both open to give ad receive love.
The second card is the ‘Page of Cups’, and it represents the opportunity that lies in the present moment. ‘Sing your song’, the description says, among other things. George remembers he used to play songs for his wife (then girlfriend) when they were younger. As they got ‘serious’ and busier, he stopped doing that. George knows he still deeply cares for his wife, he gets an insight maybe it’s not just her who’s pushing him away, maybe it is time he also does something from his side to be more caring and sweet, and not just bring the money. His wife didn’t marry him for his job nor his money – they knew each other and have been together before he was so drawn into his own career! Maybe she’s missing the old George, the one who used to sing songs for her? Damn, these cards are scaring me! – George thinks, as he delves into the third card, representing the likely outcome. This card is the ‘Ten of Pentacles’, and the description says ‘Happy family life filled with joys. Financial security’. Wow. This gives George a ton of hope. His love for his wife is real, the cards made him reflect upon. By being less self-absorbed and only consumed by work, he can be his better self again and restore harmony at home.
He was surely a ‘fool’ for believing these oracles, and yet he wants to hold on to a thread of hope.

That night George sleeps well and wakes up more rested than usual, feeling full of energy.
It is a Saturday, and he decides to surprise everybody by preparing breakfast for the family in the early hours when everybody is still asleep.
While everybody is enjoying their breakfast, his daughter starts speaking: “hey dad, do you know what they told me yesterday at school? We are going to have music lessons and learn to play the guitar! May I have a guitar?”
George is blown away by the synchronicity: that ‘sing your song’ echoes in the back of his mind when the guitar gets mentioned.
Susan jumps on the topic, replying to their daughter: “That’s wonderful, honey! I think your dad still has an old guitar he used to play, somewhere…””
“Really?” his daughter is surprised: “I didn’t know we had one. And I also didn’t know that dad used to play! Are you guys kidding me?”
“Your mum is right, dear” George acknowledges – “But I have not played it for a really long time.”
“Can you still play it?” – the girl is growing in excitement.
“Your dad used to play for me” – Susan enters the conversation – “before he turned into an asshole. This morning he must have bumped his head very hard…” she says sarcastically, with a smile.
George feels the instinct to snap back, but he knows his wife enough to realize that things would get worse, so he just ignores her – he’s sitting on the couch by now and he’s plucking the guitar’s old strings one by one, re-tuning the instrument that had not been used for a while.
He is quickly able to play a chord. Then another.
Before he knows he’s jamming on the few notes of an old classic he and Susan used to like, 20 years earlier, and now their little girl is clapping their hands. Susan has changed her expression – she appears to have abandoned her need to get into an argument, and a lot of emotions seem to be going thru her at once. She has found her color again, she is more relaxed by the time the song is finished. Everybody laughs.
Cards, you might be cheap tricks but I would have never expected you’d give me such a powerful tip to see what I was missing. – George admits to himself in his thoughts.

A couple of days later, George has a bad dream and he starts to doubt again. He wonders if maybe he mis-interpreted the cards, and he decides to contact his former colleague directly, to ask him for help. After all he’s not in the ‘circle’ of work anymore, and he feels he can trust him to keep his questions and their eventual conversations private.
George opens up a chat window on the social network:
“Hey, how are you doing? I see you are up to something completely different than last time, huh?” – he opens
he waits for a few minutes for a reply, then when he was almost concluding that Jeff – his contact – was maybe not really online or was busy, he gets an answer:
“Hey George! Long time no see! Doing great over here, what about yourself?”
“Hi! Great to hear you are doing well. Hey, listen, may I ask you something?”
“Sure, George, what’s up?”
“hum… well… things are not fantastic… at home, I mean. Me and my wife are at some sort of dead end… ”
“Sorry to hear”
“Yeah, I guess… I saw you set up that site to help people analyze their situations with the help of Tarot cards… I used it the other day, but I would like to hear from you, who are an expert at this, if what I am reading into them is correct – they first gave me courage, but now I am wondering if I was just under the spell of a moment…”
“I guess I need some more details to be able to help you. Why don’t you tell me something more about your situation, what question you asked, what cards you pulled? Start from the beginning… maybe it’s better if you give me a call for this?”

They turn the chat into a call. George goes ahead and explains some more of his story, the cards he got, the singing and playing guitar at home. In telling Jeff, George now also realizes how important his daughter has been – bringing up the guitar topic from school! – helpful in bringing forth the same intuition that came from the cards earlier. On that point, Jeff comments “our children are there to teach us” which is a new point of view that George has never thought about and sounds upside down: aren’t adults supposed to teach children, we send them to school, we help them grow in the world… “they come to teach us the other things that we forget when we grow up, our ancient wisdom of the heart” had been Jeff’s conclusion.

More than once, while he is letting himself be so naked and transparent with this other person, he wonders if he is not being a ‘fool’. Should he trust “Crazy Jeff” like this? There is something magnetic in Jeff, his simplicity and openness – he has good memories of the few times they interacted at work previously – that made him feel at ease. But he also had some very unconventional points of view on the life and the world…

When George is done telling his story, Jeff summarizes it: “I think what you got from those cards is to the point – you intuitively understood their essence, which was to be more involved and engaged in your family’s every day life… you need to give her time and space and be present. It will take time, but I sense she cares about you too, and you can fix this. But it sounds like you were pretty confused earlier. May I ask you if there was maybe something else that bothered you or her? Maybe she just feels you didn’t dedicate enough energy to her and to your family, that your priorities were somewhere else… you said you even thought she might be cheating on you… but she’s at home with your daughter, very busy cooking, doing the laundry and driving to school; you are the one who’s alone and away from home most of the time. Maybe she thinks you have an affair, if you spend so much time at work, and she is so afraid to be hurt that she rather won’t find out but her stress shows up in the way she acts and reacts to you…”

And here George cannot not keep it anymore, and he starts crying.
Jeff does not try to calm him down nor does he pressure him in explaining any further, he just listens to the cry, and says ‘gently “It’s OK. All things will be alright. We all have pains and bruises. I won’t judge you.”

George yearned so much someone who could listen to what had been going on in his mind, without judgment and without attempting to fix anything for him! Someone who could compassionately be a mirror to help him see parts of himself…
…and so he starts telling Jeff another part of the story that he had been to afraid to bring in the foreground earlier.

George has recently been to France for a training with a number of other colleagues from all over Europe. During the training he started having mixed feelings and he unconsciously started fantasizing about one of his female colleagues. He isn’t very proud of this, and yet some tempting voice in his head kept steering his gaze towards her. What made things more awkward was a feeling of reciprocal interest from the girl, who was very hot and younger than him.
During the dinner with colleagues they had been coincidentally sitting side by side and he had felt a warmth in his chest – was it love or the wine? – and the conversation became deeper and more personal in nature, cozy. Their mutual colleagues had started making jokes and assumptions about them having an affair so much in the open; they felt embarrassed and of course denied! – but could not get past the suspicion that maybe that was what was happening? Why did they blush immediately – he had noticed that. Also, now his colleagues had some rumor to spread behind his back and potentially blackmail him in the future – for something that did not even happen! Well, this was a distant thought, and probably not an immediate risk, but nevertheless George hated to be placed in situations like this. He would have rather been at home playing with his daughter than being here at this stupid training where he felt tempted and confused.

While George is telling this story, Jeff silently listens and maintains calm, showing no emotion. He sounds relaxed.
As George’s train of words reaches a natural stop, Jeff asks if that was everything that happened.

George explains that things got quieter, and as he traveled to other places after the training he has not seen this girl again and thus nothing had happened.
What he did not dare to say to Jeff – something he would never confess, not even under torture, to anyone, ever – was that he could not help but feeling guilty and angry at himself for the thoughts he had thought that night: when masturbating himself in a lonely hotel room, he had been thinking of the girl colleague and their conversations, not about his wife.

George dismisses that thought and continues explaining to Jeff that he tried to forget, but eventually – for seemingly casual work reasons and questions – he and this girl started chatting over the internet and from work-related, the conversations had turned deeper again.
Then, just recently, through unrelated coincidences, the girl got promoted and transferred to the same building where George’s office also is. George explains that this made him feel really confused, and he started wondering what is he supposed to do? Should he follow up on this emotion – he had not felt this kind of heart beating for his wife for a while, and it was a long time they had not talked with that intensity and curiosity for what each of them had to say… at the same time he is a honorable man, his promise of marriage to his wife, to honor and respect her – what would that be of it? And what about his daughter? Was this strong connection worth investigating, probably destroying his current marriage, or was he better off forgetting about this girl?
Was there a way the conversations he and his wife once used to have could be brought back to life, instead? Could they find the sparkle back they once had?

Oh my God – Jeff thinks – it looks like George can’t help his mind from spinning into a down spiral right now… and he really doesn’t know what to do…. I gotta help him more.

“Hey George” – Jeff interrupts the down spiral – “would you like me to do one of my manual readings as well?” then Jeff continued “I won’t charge you money (but we accept donations) and it might give you the opportunity to get further guidelines and not feel ‘alone’ in the interpretation. I know a lot of the underlying meanings, history and symbolism of those cards – but ultimately they speak something different to each and every one of us, and the key to unlock their messages resides in our own intuition.

“Oh, Jeff, wow – thank you, I would be glad to pay you if you do spend ‘working’ time for me – I think I have abused that a lot today already, haven’t I?”
“Not an issue, mate. I’ll do a proper reading for you later today and will come back to you. Now I do have to go out for some errands. Or actually, are you still in town? Why don’t we meet in person, if you prefer?”
“That could be possible. This week I am not traveling, and I working from the office – you still remember where that is – is it far from you to come closer to that part of town, maybe for a lunch?”
“That would be great. What about tomorrow at noon?”
“Sounds great. Thanks Jeff!”
“See ya tomorrow! Bye.”

The day after, the two meet for lunch, in a cafe not too far from George’s office, but one not usually frequented by other colleagues – as George is worried about people might be gossiping if they see or hear them.
The cafe overlooks a golf course. It’s an early summer day, and they can sit outside by the patio.

George notices how Jeff looks a lot younger than he did when they were working together. He feels a weight and sees himself as old and tired. Jeff has something magical about him, in his casual clothing, relaxed movements and enigmatic smile. It had not always been the case, he remembers Jeff frowning and being a lot more tense back in the days. “Changing his career and life around seems to have done him a lot of good! And yet everyone gave him no chance. Life is so unpredictable!”, George thinks.

Besides the initial handshakes and greetings, once they are sitting down, they order lunch. While they wait for their order, Jeff asks if George feels ready for the reading, if he wants to do it now. George acknowledges “Please go ahead!”, and Jeff pulls out from his jacket’s pocket a small pouch made of colorful fabric, with curious signs on it. He opens it and a card deck comes out of it. Jeff starts shuffling it. He makes sure he shuffled it really really well, then he asks George:
“Do you want to ask a specific question? Or shall I just ask for generic guidance or ‘what do you need to know’ in regards to your marriage?”
“Yes, do that, please.”
While still holding the card deck, Jeff closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, he splits the deck randomly a couple of times and pulls out a card and lays it face down on the table. Then he picks a second and a third card in the same way. All with his eyes closed.
It’s warm, and George feels a drop of sweat on his forehead.
He takes his jacket off and hangs it on the back of his chair, while Jeff seems to finally start coming out of his concentration. “Was he in a trance?” – George thinks.
“There we go!” – Jeff announces, palm of his hands open and facing upwards, indicating the three cards on the table. – “Ready?”
“Ready.”
Jeff twists and unveils the first card on the left. ‘The Moon’ – the card reads – and there’s an image with wolves howling at the moon against a starry night’s sky, among other elements.
“This is so natural” Jeff says, smiling. Then he pauses for a second, as if he’s trying to find the right words.
“What does it say, Jeff? Am I to turn in some sort of bloody wolf?”
Jeff laughs. George laughs, too.
“Not at all” says Jeff “you won’t turn into a werewolf or anything like that. This is actually a very nice card. Besides, the wolf wasn’t always seen as bad. The Moon is the opposite aspect of the Sun, like Yin and Yang, Female and Male. The Moon is source, it is the goddess. It is the qualities of the caring night with its powerful dreams that can heal you. It is introspection and analysis. But you are right in noticing the wolf first – that’s indeed you, but not as a slayer, rather as the devote adorer of the Moon! You might fear that you are a bad person towards your wife because society has raised you with the bad wolf image in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘The Three Little Pigs’, but in the original meaning it’s quite the opposite: while he might need his times alone, like a Hermit (which is another card in Tarot, related to this one, incidentally), the wolf is noble, loyal,/faithful, and he makes steady couples. He is always devoted to the moon.
The first part in a three cards reading represents the immediate past, and this is simply saying to me that you have been thinking a lot about this situation, lately, to find clarity about your own feelings.”
“Well, the last thing you said is true. Interesting to think of the meaning of the wolf that way.” – George admits.
“Absolutely. Wolf is a devoted ally of the Moon, which is strictly related to the rhythms of Nature, or women’s fertility cycles, of Mother Earth. I think you might be a good wolf, too.” Jeff jokes, and George smiles thru his eyes.

At that point a waitress comes to deliver their orders to the table: “who ordered the burger and who the soup?”
“I had the soup” Jeff clarifies, as he starts moving aside some objects on the table to make space.
While placing George’s hamburger and Jeff’s soup on the table, the waitress raises an eyebrow when her gaze meets the three cards, two still facing down.
George is warm and passes two fingers of his hand in between his neck and the fabric of his shirt.
The waitress checks if there was anything else she can help them with, greets them with an ‘Enjoy your meals’ and leaves towards the kitchen again, with that secure walk of a beautiful lady who knows those two blokes might be looking at her back this very moment but she isn’t going to dim herself down for them.
George is indeed remarking to Jeff – with a wink – that he thinks they hire pretty girls in this place.
“You know, George, I stopped eating meat long ago, and really, changing diet is the single, most important step you can do in your life to start seeing things differently.” Jeff says.
“Oh but, I was referring to the waitress, actually. Anyways, not important, yeah I know eating burger and fries isn’t healthy, but we only live once, and my blood levels were pretty good last time I had a checkup…”
“The two are related. I know you better than that, George – you remember I never really cared of stupid ‘men’s jokes’ and all of that… but while you keep a diet of animals that have been fed hormones and antibiotics their whole lite, and lived that live in miserable conditions, you can’t help but revert to automatic pilot and make remarks about women like society taught you to do since you were young… But when you get rid and detox from those animal, instinctual emotions of their suffering and their fear, then you can start seeing the world as the purest you, like when you were a child and didn’t think of those things, and actually live a more happy life… I know you won’t believe me right now and it might sound like new age mumbo jumbo to you. Bear with me. Rant over.”.
That was Jeff long-winded response.
George looked puzzled, but before he could bite back either apologetically or argumentative, Jeff continued: “Shall we look at this second card, which will show us what opportunity you have in the present moment?”
“Oh, yeah, sure… go ahead…” George acknowledged, all too happy to be out of the target of this vegetarian’s conversion goals – even if probably only for a while… and he kept eating his burger, big eyes watching over Jeff’s hands as he twisted the second card.

“Knight of Coins” Jeff said.
The card depicts a knight on a black horse, carrying a big gold coin. The horse’s garments are red, and they seem to be standing on a hilltop, overlooking a valley and other hills in the distance. To George it feels like the knight is patrolling the land to protect it. But then he starts thinking that probably the meaning is very different, after all he knows nothing of these cards… “lets’ see what Jeff says about it”, he thinks while he unconsciously shrugs his shoulders.
He raises his gaze from the table and Jeff looks at George straight in his eyes “Does this guy look familiar?”
George almost chokes, and has to spit a piece of his burger out on the table, and drink something to get out of a coughing fit. He felt pierced by Jeff’s eyes like he could telepathically say things he didn’t say. He is sure Jeff was hinting at George himself being the knight of something? What the heck would that imply?
“What do you mean? Who should that be?” – George asks, unconsciously giving Jeff a weird frown.
“Well, all Knights have to go on Quests, and you travel for work” – Jeff smiles, then continues – “and they are driven and loyal. The Coins represent material resources, richness and skills: this is a knight who knows what he’s doing, he is resourceful, and he provides for the people he loves, honoring his commitments.”
“I see where this is going…” George says, biting into his hamburger again.

At that point they get interrupted by the waitress who’s asking if they are enjoying their meal.
George nods with his head and he turns red, from the irritation of not being able to answer with his mouth full. Jeff seems to not even notice the girl, as he continues looking at the cards, then towards George, again. But when he starts to talk again, he does glance towards the waitress who’s now walking away from them and towards the kitchen.
“Did you mention you were fantasizing over some other girl, in our previous chat?” Jeff opens the topic.
George is not sure anymore that accepting this lunch was a good idea, after all.
“Who is she?” Jeff goes on. “Is this something you wanted to talk about?”
“She’s a younger colleague, she comes to my office, always with this big sweet smile, asking for this or that (but they all come and ask me stuff continuously anyway). When she looks at my daughter’s pictures on the wall I can sense a sort of jealousy…”
“But are you just fantasizing or did anything actually happen with her?”
“Well, no, not really. I never did anything but once I felt really double feelings about what to do: they took us out for a dinner with our team – it was at a conference – and we had all drunk a bit too much. You know how it goes. We were talking and talking, and eventually the conversations turned more personal, and there was a sparkle of hope in her eyes. I didn’t act on it, although my heart was racing….”
“And then what happened?”
“Nothing, the day after she even mentioned we were all a bit going crazy the night before, and she was thankful I didn’t try anything with her, but that she enjoyed the flirting. And she winked.”
“Sounds like she would have really liked you do try something with her… she said the politically-correct thing, but her body language was obviously saying the opposite, based upon your description…”
“But I don’t even know if I can – would this be an affair? Dude, I have only saw this stuff in movies, I have always been faithful to Susan. This would break us, wouldn’t it?”
“I guess it would. I am not even sure…” – Jeff can’t finish his sentence, as the waitress has appeared out of nowhere and she is now asking if the gentlemen would like a dessert.

Jeff looks at his wrist watch and declines the dessert offer: “I need to get going in a bit, let’s finish what we have and then I’ll have to run”. George understands and asks for the bill instead. The waitress leaves, swaying her hips as she walks away.

“What were you saying? What are you not sure of?” George tries to resume the previous thread of conversation.
“That this girl actually likes you.”
“You don’t think she does? But you said she probably wanted me to…”
“Yeah, sure, she would probably like to ride the merry-go-round with you and call you funny names, if you’d let her. You know what I mean. But it doesn’t mean she actually likes you for you or loves you. Maybe all she likes is that you have a good position at work, and she can use you as one step of her ladder…”

This last remark rings a bell with George. He had not thought of that. What an idiot, he was being charmed, he was being used…
To hell the girl at the office, she’s probably not even really interested in him – she just wants to step up the ladder, using him for his position! It makes sense. She might be young and maybe she likes him too, but she does not sincerely and truly loves him like his wife does; they have not shared all the emotions and all the good and bad experiences that he and his wife did. “What was I thinking?” George condemns himself, internally. He knows he loves Susan.

Jeff starts talking again:“So what would this pure knight do?”
“What? I guess he would follow his heart, not his dick…” – George admits, then he smiles, and he starts laughing.
They both laugh.

“I think you understood the message of the knight of coins: do the wise thing, do it from the heart.”
“Yes, I have”
“Shall I flip the third card? This would be the likely outcome…”
“Please go ahead”

Jeff turns the third card around, and George reads the big letters “Strength” on it. There is an image of a woman dressed in white, with flowers in her hair. The woman is caressing some sort of red lion, and she even has a hand in its mouth. But the beast doesn’t look aggressive, it’s licking her hand like a nice good kitten. She has tamed the beast.
The two men look at each other. Jeff is still thinking but George is squeezing his eyes and feeling a bit nervous: “What does it say?”
Jeff begins to explain: “Well, to me it means that you’ll gain strength from this situation. You can tame that beast inside of you, that you feel was going out of control, and with the help of your wife your relationship can grow stronger than ever. But you need to become more nurturing and caring, being more present with your family, really embody the values of integrity and passion of that knight, and that everyone would benefit from it”
Again , George is surprised by how he had already picked up intuitively the same meaning that Jeff went on to confirm. But the advice does sound true.
It’s really getting late for Jeff, he has to run and pick up his kids from school. They get their bill, they pay, and they quickly leave the place. George is very thankful to Jeff, but he really has to run.

A few weeks and months pass, in which George continues putting into practice the guidance and intuitions he’s got. Now that he sees the girl at the office in a different light, he sets his boundaries a lot more clearly and he’s less bothered by her. He spends more time at home doing things with his wife and his daughter – from cooking, to playing games, going in Nature, or even just cleaning the house. From this experience he has understood that he needs to grow beyond the ‘bread winner’ label, and be actually more involved as a person in family life.
In the end, his daughter gets a new guitar all for herself, for those lessons at school, because daddy also wants to play his guitar again. They are playing together now, and one day Jeff walks by their street and hears them play and sing and giggle together, and he knows that George is getting his life back in tune.

Get your life in tune with Tarot – Download eBook Now

Sanctuary of Joy’s blog

I am happy to be introducing the Sanctuary of Joy’s blog, where you can find the full version of all the ‘general’ card readings and inspirational posts and art that myself and my wife also share on the Sanctuary of Joy’s facebook page. Some of the writings over there are derived from earlier posts on this blog (which I still keep and use as ‘scratchpad’).

Please visit the Sanctuary of Joy’s blog of unconventional wisdom and bookmark it!

soj-blog

On being young parents

Having had kids early gave me and my wife a ton of confidence. By being young, we had ton of energies to invest in them (energies which otherwise would have been sucked by academia and the production system) and also to make mistakes. A parent cannot be possibly perfect. It’s OK to make mistakes, and learn from those, and apologize when due, and explain and clarify all the times, and show how you accept but also work on your limitations and that we are all never done growing and learning, and that’s why we come to this Earth in the first place. Many times, when you think “I need to do X before I am ready for Y” that’s just a delay tactic. I think that if you have kids too late – like many people do these days -, at that point you are way out of touch with your inner child, you have grown more grey, more bitter, way too disillusioned with the world and sometimes even decadent, that the generational gap becomes too wide for you and your offspring to really connect. It’s not about being the perfect parent, but it’s about being one for real, without delaying or delegating the task all the times.