The other day I was at the dentist for a cleaning. Usually this wouldn’t be an event worth mentioning, but for the past two pandemic years any kind of outing is noteworthy.
I’ve always had some trepidation around going to the dentist. There is something about the experience that activates my mild claustrophobia. I don’t like being in a position that I can’t easily get out of, like being told to stay in a dentist’s chair. I think this is an introvert trait too, I also like to sit in the aisle seat in the movie theatre so that I can make a quick getaway, or near an exit in a meeting room, that kind of thing.
But now there is the layer of being around PEOPLE, without a mask on, along with the joy of having plaque scraped off my teeth (don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for dental professionals and all they do for us).
During this visit to the dentist I was ANXIOUS. I saw it in myself, and I recognized that I needed to manage it. Of course, there was no reason to be scared, and my feelings were not accurately aligned with the situation I was in. Nevertheless, there it was.
As the hygienist did her work, I made a conscious effort to relax my body, to unclench my hands and feet, to soften my neck and brow. This helped, but it didn’t occupy my busy mind long enough. I needed something that I could enjoyably focus on.
I hit upon a kind of mindfulness/distraction technique that worked so well that the hygienist thought I might have fallen asleep (I hadn’t, but I had transcended the physical discomfort and took myself to a happy place).
I want to share it with you so that you can use it, too.
In my mind’s eye, I pulled up each and every Tarot card. I started with the Major Arcana, with The Fool. I tried to remember every detail of the card. I’ve looked at that card thousands of times, and it was a pleasure to recreate it in my mind, and it also amazed me that there were some details that it was challenging to recall.
After that, I came up with one sentence or phrase for each card.
I asked myself, what would I say if I had to tell someone the meaning of this card in just one phrase? What if I couldn’t talk for hours about all of the nuances and stories and symbols as I love to do? It wasn’t easy to be so concise, but it was really fun, and I surprised myself with what I came up with.
For The Fool, the first thing that came into my mind was something along the lines of, “It is time to take that leap of faith”. Then I asked myself, what do I really mean by that? What does it mean to take a leap of faith, and what do I think will happen if you do that? Does it mean that if you take a risk, it will pay off in your favor? Does it mean you will be successful, or just have a necessary or worthwhile experience? And, does it mean you should be joyful about it, even though you don’t know where you will land?
The more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I love The Fool so much because to me it means that you are in a place and time when ANYTHING is possible. Everything is possible. You aren’t limited by fear, or circumstances, or lack of preparedness, or responsibilities. The Fool is a release, an expansion, a time of zero expectation (with a an intuitive tickle that tells you that you are on the cusp of something epic).
So, at this point in time and space in my life, The Fool means to me, “Anything is possible.”
During my next visit to the dentist, The Fool may come through in a different way. Who knows, anything is possible!
I am sharing this technique with you (and revealing just a bit of what goes on in my head) so that you can use it when you are in a situation that brings you stress, particularly to your body. Try it when you can’t fall asleep, or when you’re on a long and uncomfortable car or plane or bus ride, or when you want to occupy your mind with something other than what you are focused on. Do not attempt this when driving or operating heavy machinery.
RECAP of Tarot Mindfulness/Mind Occupying Technique:
- Step 1: Go through the cards in sequence, start with the Majors, then go into the suits from Ace to Ten, Page to King. Pull up the image of the card in your mind in as much detail as you can. Challenge yourself to remember all the details, while also having fun communing with these beloved and magical scenes.
- Step 2: Come up with one phrase or sentence that encapsulates the meaning of the card for you, right now. Again, challenge yourself to go beyond your rote meaning, and question your assumptions about the card.
After the stressful experience is over, make note of what you remember. Pull out your cards and have a look, see how accurate you were and how your vision of the card differs from the actual one.
BONUS: if you get good at this, when you don’t have a Tarot deck with you (I know that sounds crazy, but it could happen) you can ask your intuition to pull a mental/metaphysical card for you and see what comes up in your mind’s eye.
Wishing you peacefully engaged mind and a kind inner voice during this strange time we are in, and beyond.