I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Beltane and the Union of Opposites.
More and more I have a challenge with opposites, or more specifically, binaries. Here’s what I mean. I think that they can be useful way to frame things, and in fact, I think people naturally think in binary terms. However, binary also creates black/white thinking. We humans get too used to the boxes, the pendulum swing…and we forget about the spectrum in the middle. This causes us no end of problems; typically when I write about that it’s in one of my leadership blog posts, but it finds its way into our magical and personal growth work as well.
On the other hand, there is some seriously powerful magic when we find that centerpoint, that balance of opposites.
I’m taking a break from my ongoing series on Grassroots Leadership to join the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Spring Equinox. Although, the particular magical act that is the rebirth of spring–and planting the seeds for the dreams you wish to bring into fruition–is an important part of a leader’s work.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long, hard winter for me. I’ve been in a wrestling match with the depression that tried to take hold after my car accident in December, and I’m so grateful for the longer days and melting snow. The past month has been incredibly reinvigorating for me and I’m really ready for spring planting.
Some people are physically planting seeds at this time of year, but for most of us it’s more of a metaphor. And yet, the seasons still have their pull on the ecosystem of our bodies. I often look at the time November through the silence of winter as the time to release what we really need to let go of. To identify what seeds we need to actively not plant in our garden again.
If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. But asking is sometimes the hard part.
“Let’s meet at ___ location at about 6pm.” What does “about” mean here? Does “about” mean, “I want you to meet me exactly at 6pm?” Does it mean that we might be there by 5:45, but that it also is acceptable if we aren’t there until 6:15?
“I like it when someone else takes the trash out.” What does that mean? Does that mean the person is hinting that I should take the trash out?
“Someone needs to design a flyer.” What does that mean? Is someone being asked to design a flyer?
I’ll be totally transparent here: I don’t believe in curses and hexes. Or–to be more clear, I don’t believe that curses work in the way most people think. And most of the people who I hear talking about being under psychic attack or dealing with an energy vampire have very different issues going on.
But then again, I’m a pretty pragmatic Pagan, and I tend to lean on the idea that psychology and science are core pieces of magic. As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me back up and explain where I’m coming from on this. And let me also be clear–my intention is not to be dismissive of your experience. Rather, to offer a different perspective on what might be going on beneath the hex.
There are a lot of problems common to leadership that trip up people who haven’t had training in group dynamics, communication, or who haven’t been encouraged to do self-reflective work. Or even just people who have poor self esteem and have no idea how that impacts them and the group they are running.
We’ll call this “honest mistakes.” These are the honest mistakes that can cost us a great deal; they can blow up a group, and leave us wondering what happened.
Authenticity is a complicated word. We are told to be authentic. However, we also face a lifetime of expectations, of being conditioned by the cultural norms to try to meet the expectations of others.
When we begin to first stretch our wings, to be authentic to what we really want, there’s sometimes a clash between trying to continue satisfying everyone else’s expectations of my actions and doing what I have previously committed to….This sometimes conflicts with our desire to live an authentic life, to follow the dreams we may have only just admitted we have for our lives.
And those dreams may be very different from what everyone around us “wants” for us or expects of us. Trying to become more authentic is where many of us first learn to say, “No, that’s not what I want for my life.”
In the previous posts in this series, we’ve talked a bit about the challenge when you have issue with a leader. I’ve focused primarily on leaders who are in the level of incurable jerk, in other words, folks who aren’t going to listen to any feedback.
Dissent is part of a healthy group. There’s a difference between dissent and dissension–dissent is a disagreement, dissension is a quarrel. The problem in our communities is twofold; leaders don’t always provide a way to offer feedback about their leadership. So people gossip behind their backs. Feedback happens. But, how can we make it more constructive?
I’m taking a break from my ongoing series on Grassroots Leadership to join the Tarot Blog Hop. In most Tarot readings there’s some kind of future or “outcome” card. The reader might pull a 3-card spread, a Celtic Cross, or some other format. The outcome card is, what is the outcome of this. Essentially, it’s the card that determines your future. However, I don’t really do predictive readings. I tend to work with Tarot more from a perspective of personal growth work. What do I need to understand about this issue? What do I need to understand about myself?
Here are the red flags that I observed about the problematic person I mentioned in Part 5 (and others in similar situations) that allowed me to paint a fairly accurate profile of how they were going to behave. You’ll really want to read at least Part 5 in the Conflict Resolution series, if not the whole set of articles, to get context for the profile of behaviors below.
I touched on this a little in the previous 4 articles on Conflict Resolution and the rest of the leadership series. However, it’s worth stating more explicitly. Sometimes, it’s not worth bending over backwards to try and sheepdog people into a conflict resolution. Sometimes, people are just going to keep causing drama.
In fact, the very drama of trying to get them into a mediated session is the drama that they want. Usually these are the egomaniacs and unstable mentally ill people I’ve mentioned before. Typically they have no idea that they are literally bending situations to create even more drama.