Friday, February 10, 2017

Be Your Own Warrior (Not Worrier)

It has taken me a long time to recognize that I am a worrier. I've always been very laid back, flexible, calm, relaxed. Those aren't characteristics that I tend to associate with neurosis! And yet under the surface I would indeed be very anxious - always analyzing (and over-analyzing) conversations and events, worrying about people and responsibilities. During the day it was relatively easy to push it all back in the shadows, but it would inevitably rear its head in the darkest hours of the night. I would wake up at 2am and instead of turning over and falling back to sleep, I would wrap myself in a blanket of all of those fears. In most cases I was blowing things far out of proportion; during the day my rational mind helped mitigate the anxiety, but at night that balance disappeared, and reality felt as dark as the sky. I would lay awake for hours until close to dawn when it felt safe to sleep again.

This is a perfect description of the 9 of Swords.
Golden Tarot - Kat Black
For nearly a year I've held a stanza of the Hávamál like a mantra in my mind:
Jackson Crawford translation
This is extremely sensible, of course, and yet I was having a hard time putting it into practice. I know it's useless to lie awake worrying about concerns both real and imagined, only to have to trudge through the next day exhausted from lack of sleep, the same concerns yet to be solved. Isn't it easier to approach challenges with a clear, rested mind?

A while ago I decided to pull a couple of cards for myself about how to help myself and drew the 7 of Wands as the source, and the reversed waxing crescent as the solution.
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi
The 7 of Wands made a lot of sense to me: it evokes a feeling of "me against the world." While I always manage to sort things out and stay on top of it all, I was tending to focus on the dread associated with the need to solve various matters, rather than trusting myself. I felt like I was giving my power away. The Luna card was an interesting and yet very fitting response. Upright this would be a waxing crescent, but reversed it becomes a waning moon. What this told me was that as my fears began to grow, I needed to let them go. This seemed like obvious advice, and I still didn't know if I would be able to implement it. Just "let it go"? Is it really that easy, though?

The funny thing is that I found that it was. That same night I woke up in the early hours. My body was drowsy, and I knew that this was the magical point at which I could either allow my worries to take over, or I could go back to sleep. I wanted to go back to sleep. With some amount of irritation, I thought something along the lines of: "Not now, worry, not tonight." And I turned over and went back to sleep. Yes, just like that. I refused to permit my irrational fears to ruin my rest. I banished them. And every other time since then that I've awoken in the middle of the night and found myself in similar circumstances, I've just said, "Nope," and have settled back into sleep.

Last night I decided to make space to write my first "Post It Note Poem" (this is something happening on Instagram) as I was sipping hot tea, nestled into the couch to watch the nightly news. I actually produced quite a few poems, but this is the one that struck me most:
I didn't intend to describe those late night fear sessions, but I did. The funny thing is, the 7 of Wands was both the source of my worry, and part of the solution. In order to release those fears I had to take my power back and become an advocate for my own well-being. I am in the dark, and there are no stars, no light to ease my mind. There is only me. So it is my responsibility to be my own warrior.


  1. From worrier to Warrior with a simple NO. It seems to good to be true but this small word, spoken with honest intent, can make big things happen! Good for you my dear; well done and sleep well tonight! :)

    1. Thanks, Ellen! :) Yes, I sat staring at those cards for a while, thinking, "really?" But in practice (and with, as you say, focused intention) it is quite powerful!

  2. Yeah, Olivia, just "let it go" like the song, you know? Yep, that easy :P

    All jokes aside, I'm happy that it was that easy for you. Fortunately, I've never had worries overcome my sleep, but I know many people for whom that is the norm. Maybe I'll give them your advice next time :)

    I love how this post contextualizes the poem. Thank you for sharing.

    Also also - I pulled the nine of swords for message from my present self for my full moon spread last night so this adds a couple layers to think about.

    1. Ha, exactly like the song ;) I think that if I hadn't already been increasing my mindfulness around my tendency toward worrying, I might not have had such an easy time "just turning it off" - but I was certainly grateful for the relative ease!!