We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Why, Oh Why Can't I?

No sooner had I finished posting about depression yesterday when I was shown a ray of light. It was like a hand reaching out from the Universe and holding me up just enough so I could keep my head above water. It came by way of email, not even a personal email, and after fiddling with my computer so I could watch the videos smoothly, I enjoyed a two-part episode of Larry King Live called "Beyond the Power of Positive Thinking." The guests on the show, many of them, were involved with the movie The Secret, which I have also seen. Have you? Now, I don't know about all the claims made in the movie or in the program I watched, but I do know one thing they say is true: your thinking impacts your life in a tremendous way.

Much of what they say does make sense. Our conscious mind is but a small portion of our brain and that is the ten or so percent that we are aware of and use on a daily basis. However, most of our actions and reactions are governed by that whole other part: the subconscious. The goal, then, is to reprogram that part, the hidden part. It isn't easy, but it isn't difficult either. It's a process. I've seen what happens when I tap into that part while reading tarot. It's amazing, honestly. When I first looked at a deck of tarot cards, the pictures hardly meant anything to me. Sure, I could see that the Sun looked like a happy card and Death seemed a bit frightening, but it wasn't until I trained my subconscious mind to associate these images with meaning, feeling, experience and began listening to what bubbled up from beneath that the cards actually revealed more than pretty pictures to me.

While I won't go into the theories and teachings here, you can watch the videos for yourself if you're interested, the very first step all the panel members agreed is crucial is to spend time each day reflecting on what you are grateful for in your life, truly appreciating with heartfelt emotion the things that bless you. Tell that to someone in the throes of depression. There are some days that just being alive is not so thrilling. So I began by saying I was grateful for my bed. Yes, my comfy bed which is situated in a nice home with electricity through which I was able to access the internet. And my dog, Sophie, who has been my best friend and comfort and who makes me laugh with her silliness. I then felt grateful that my kids were healthy and safe. On it went until I filled half a page in my journal, prose style, with things I was truly grateful for when at first I could think of nothing.

Associations. It's all about associations. Because as I began to reconnect with more positive feelings, a tarot card image came to mind. The Ten of Cups. Lately I've been looking at this card a bit derisively because, well, let's just say that dream has pretty much died and my jadedness has been projected all over the card. What we often neglect to see with the Ten of Cups is that while it often portrays an emotional fulfillment we all hope to achieve we also know from life's bitter experiences that these moments, like the rainbow often seen in the picture, are transitory. Tens are transitions. They fill the space between the nines of completion and the Aces of beginning. As a minor card, the Ten of Cups is not supposed to represent the be all and end all of emotional peaks. It is but one moment in time and it is supposed to propel you onward, not keep you ensconced in a happy bubble forever. It's not the "happily ever after" card. It's the "happy right now" card.

Then, I thought, but "right now" is all we really have.

And then I went to the thought of rainbows. Illusory refractions of light through prisms of water that delight us with their beauty. They seem so magical. It was with a rainbow that God, in the Biblical book of Genesis, showed Noah his promise that he would never again deluge the entire planet with water. The rains were over and now light breaks through. Rainbows tell us there's something to look forward to.

My mind then filled with a song. And you know how that is, you have to hear it if only to stop it from playing on repeat in your head. So I hurried over to YouTube to find it and I found a montage version that someone had created that lifted me up, for just a moment anyway, to that truly happy ten of cups place. The song is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's medley of Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World. You've no doubt heard this song as it has been featured on several movies, television commercials and shows. I 've heard it many times but for some reason I sorely needed to hear it last night.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true
Someday I'll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops thats where you'll find me oh
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
And the dream that you dare to,why, oh why can't I?

Well I see trees of green and
Red roses too,
I'll watch them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Well I see skies of blue and I see clouds of white
And the brightness of day
I like the dark
and I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying, I...I love you
I hear babies cry and I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more
Than we'll know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Someday I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top that's where you'll find me
Oh, Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
And the dream that you dare to, why, oh why can't I?

Hudes Tarot Deck by Susan Hudes Published by US Games Copyright 1995

Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World medley by Harold Arlen, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, George David Weiss, Artist: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole Album: Facing Future 1993 Mountain Apple Music.


  1. Thanks so much, Ginny, for both your most recent posts. I'm a SAD person myself some years, only mine starts in late September and begins lifting now (right after my birthday, which was yesterday). Yes, full spectrum bulbs help and proper diet, but mostly it has to do with how I manage (or don't) my deepest inner world...as your second post speaks to. Thanks for the reminder. It's a bit like pulling one's self up by one's own bootstraps. But what else have I to do when lying around depressed? :-)

    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy Birthday, Roswila! And Happy New Year to you as well. This is such a common thing that many, many people experience and deal with and as such can be plainly seen in the tarot cards as well. Sometimes we're reluctant to talk about it, but why not? I mean, if I can talk about the sexual proclivities of the court cards and I can't talk about the depths of the 9 of swords and the heights of the 10 of cups, what is that? Heh.

  3. I want to second the happy birthday to roswila.

    And on transitory-ness. It's so hard for me to accept that it's all transitory. Everything is transition. Everything. All the time. Even time. Sigh. {{{{}}}}

  4. Yeah, it is hard. We do a relationship reading, say, and the outcome card is the 10 of cups. It's so natural to assume everything is going to work out great in the long run when actually it is saying that yes, you will enjoy a period of happiness, but long term? Magical thinking.

  5. Anonymous2:59 PM

    I do think our thoughts tend to define our lives from day to day. I struggled with some depression, since retiring and dealing with menopause, less income, a still flailing writing "career" and lots of other stuff. I kept waking up in the morning with this sense of intense DREAD that I couldn't shake.

    Recently I discovered some books by Thomas Ashley-Farrand on using Sanskrit mantra, and I feel as if I've found a hidden reset button for my brain. It's amazing the difference this is making in my life. It may not be for everyone, and I certainly don't want to sound like I'm proselytizing or something. (Get thee white shirts away from my doorbell!) But for me this is a phenomenal change in my day-to-day life, and if not the practice, then the change itself I would wish on anyone.

    Just thought I'd share. I'm glad you found a way to shake your gray mood. I do think we all have to go through gray periods now and then, that just seems to be part of life. But no one should have to suffer it their entire life or let it settle in for a long visit. Houseguests, fish, and *depression* stink after three days. ;)

  6. Barbara, your comment made me smile and these days that's a feat. So thank you! :D You're not the first person to mention mantras as a help. Is it the repetition or?

  7. Maybe it's the repetition? That would make sense.

    In the past I've found deep meditative breathing to be a help in anxiety. And sometimes I've done "walking meditation" à la Thich Nhat Hanh, where you pattern your breath to your steps and you can repeat a variety of mantras, in English if you want.

    When I was using those techniques I found them very helpful. It may have been connected to doing that exercise outside in the fresh air with mountains in view and lots of native vegetation around me. Maybe that environment alone would have dispelled the anxiety.

    Still, in the end, that wasn't enough for me. I'm using a medication right now since things began to spiral recently. I needed more help! I would like to get to a point where I can rely on breath alone, but I'm not there yet!

  8. Anonymous1:56 AM

    Ginny, I'm sure it is partly the repetition, just focusing on one thing, as in most meditation.

    It's also believed by Hindus and Buddhists that Sanskrit is a holy language (it's the root of most European languages -- aka Indo-European in our dictionaries), and that the mantras cause a vibratory response in our chakras. Most of the mantras also call on one Hindu or Buddhist deity or saint or another, and the gifts attributed to them. For instance one calls on on Ganesha to help remove obstacles to what one seeks, or on Rama, who was considered an avatar of Vishnu (as Buddha and Jesus are also believed by some to have been) to aid in healing, since he is believed to have performed healing miracles. So there's a lot of room for possibility there. Some mantras are related to astrology, and some directly to the chakras.

    The author I mentioned is a Hindu and a Christian -- and he doesn't seem to believe either of his religions interferes with the other. I found that alone fascinating. I'm an eclectic (little bit of everything) myself.

  9. Hello Ginny,
    You write beautifully. I just came across your blog today and started reading your archives. It is such an amazing coincidence that I also associated the Ten of Cups with the song "What a wonderful world" and wrote about it in my blog http://www.tarotlab.blogspot.com


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