what victories are you not claiming?

this is the question i’m sitting with as i contemplate the Six of Wands in reverse.

upright, it is a card of victory, of triumph. it is the moment of coming back from battle victorious, welcomed and seen by your community. it is a showing up in fullness, proud of the shit you’ve made it through and what you have to show for it.

this is a hard card for me, hence it being in reverse. it is difficult for me to claim my victories, to allow myself to celebrate how far i’ve come. because it never feels like enough.

it’s easy to forget that surviving in this world is an accomplishment in and of itself.

often, when people invite me to celebrate small victories, such as, “you got out of bed today!” i roll my eyes, like you want me to be proud of that. (it’s not my cutest look.)
(as someone who struggles with depression, you’d think i’d be able to appreciate the simple victory of getting out of bed in the morning.)

but when i create space to really sit with life and how hard it is, how easy it would be to collapse under the pressure of it all, i’m able to get enough distance from my own bullshit to realize:
holy shit, ya, getting out of bed, showing up for the day in whatever form you’re in, is a fucking win!

hell, just waking up in the morning is an accomplishment — we’ve made it to another day, another opportunity to practice!

i think i have a general sense, which i imagine is influenced heavily by culture, that if i allow myself to find satisfaction and fulfillment through the small wins in life, it will make me less ambitious. and i mean, what’s worse than not being “ambitious” in America?

my therapist and i have a practice for when i express shame or feeling like i’ve done something “bad” — she’ll ask,

Where does that come from?

the intention behind this is to find the source of whatever belief i’m grappling with. because when i get to the root of a belief i hold, i’m able to assess its origin and in-turn its validity in my life. it gives me the given the agency to choose whether or not i want to co-sign it.

in a consumer, capitalist society, satisfaction is threatening to the status quo. if we’re satisfied, we’re not grasping for the next thing to consume, to distract, to give us a hit of dopamine.

it also means our worth becomes less tied to doing.
if i were to tell someone i celebrated waking up in the morning, i can hear the voice of that asshole dude whose opinion i didn’t ask for responding with, “why? you didn’t even do anything?”

the mainstream wants us to believe our worth has to be earned (vs being our birthright), and only through whatever means they deem valid. which, of course, is reflective of whatever serves them.

it continues to shock me, as someone who considers myself progressive and radical, when i take a step back from my behavior and see how much of my life, actions, thoughts, and feelings are dictated by mainstream bullshit. but then again, as they say,

It’s the water we’re swimming in.

so as i sit with the Six of Wands, letting the power of the card wash over me, i ponder,
what are the victories i’m overlooking in my life..? so here’s a brief list i’ve compiled:

  • the hard conversations i’ve showed up for
  • the decision to rest, even when i felt i hadn’t “earned” it
  • the meals i’ve cooked when i didn’t feel like it
  • the choice to serve my body food that nurtures me
  • doing yoga this morning
  • every moment i remember to be in my body
  • telling myself “i love you” when i catch my eye in the bathroom mirror
  • practicing boundaries and being honest with capacity and limitations
  • waking up this morning
  • making a bomb cup of chai
  • stopping eating when i feel satisfied
  • this is a repeat but i’ll say it again: being honest with myself and others
  • crying, even if just a little bit
  • putting my clothes away before i go to bed
  • honoring a cannabis dose that works well for me
  • becoming more open about my queer and poly nature

it’s funny how initially, it was hard to think of things i’m proud of, but then once i started flowing, it came so easily, so fluidly. this makes me think of the power of the intentional pause.

more and more, i’m realizing the life hack that is the pause. whether it’s to breathe, to find presence, to be in my body, to find appreciation or gratitude, to find space between something activating me and responding to it..
i think of how people with meditation practices speak to this as something meditation gives them, even if it’s just an extra breath in between moments.

the pause to me feels like the moment we allow ourselves to feel our aliveness in its fullness, in whatever form its taking in that moment.

to quote something Jenny Odell said in an interview (paraphrasing here) — in that pause, i remember

I’m alive, and I won’t always be alive.

when i remember that life is temporary, that nothing is guaranteed, everything suddenly becomes precious. the annoying kid, my hip hurting, my hunger, driving, wearing clothes, etc.

and although i don’t think this is a place we can necessarily live, a daily reminder, however brief, feels life-altering.

this also makes me think of a phrase that inspired a screenplay i wrote with a friend and has lingered as a tattoo idea:

Memento mori.

which in my crude Latin translation means, remember death.”

this reminder that we are going to die puts all of this life shit in perspective. in my experience, it makes it much easier to care less about all of the bullshit that fills our day.

the reminder of death is, in certain ways, liberating. it gives me permission to not give a fuck about so much of the shit that wears me down throughout the day.

it reminds me that this life thing, which i find so tedious and upsetting at times, is precious. even in moments when i am struggling desperately to make it through..

well, loves, i gotta make my day happen.

as far as what i’m practicing today, it’s acknowledging and appreciating the victories of life, from living my truth to putting the dishes away, it’s all worthy of celebration.

may we remember our true nature, as divine beings in service of each other and this earth. may we savor every delicious moment and gain insight from the hard ones.

love y’all ❤ ❤ ❤

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