Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Accidental Employee/Psychic

when i haven't been taking pictures lately, i've been working -- A LOT. not sure what happened to change the flavor of my job so drastically. perhaps my coworkers noticed that i was twiddling thumbs and surfing the net most of the day or maybe they saw my untapped genius, because now my nose has been put to the grindstone. i'm now immersed in this crazy project my team at work has to deliver. it's a great 'office space' story: impossible deadlines imposed by the big cheeses upstairs who have no idea how much work is involved in a project of this scope, undermanned and overburdened employees, and oh, make sure the end result is flawless because we work in finance and managing other people's money is serious business.

so suddenly my boss came to me and said, "milla, we need you to do production on this project." i wasn't even sure what that meant, but of course i agreed, because the new girl needs to be the can-do girl. so now i'm doing production (whatever that is) in addition to my usual job as an editor -- two jobs, party people. and still only one salary. the result is one-stressed out new girl. now i'm running meetings and putting together documents, working in spreadsheets. it's, like, a real job and stuff. the good news is that i haven't fucked up (yet), but each day presents another opportunity for it. some days it's like walking into a shit storm. sometimes all at once, my phone will be ringing, email is pinging, people walking into my office, and pages i need to grab off the printer before running into another meeting where i should be saying something meaningful. many times i've felt ready to jump out that 49th floor window. it's overwhelming, exhausting and thoroughly gratifying.

after all this effort, i feel fully invested in seeing this project through to completion. i'm onboard, man. i love my team; we bond by commiserating. and with my responsibilities more varied, my work has become more creative. i get to do some problem-solving, brainstorming and other fun corporate things. the flipside is feeling rundown, putting in overtime and having panicky dreams about work. and this will probably last well into the fall, which is when the project is due (provided we make our deadline).

when all this madness began a few weeks ago, i had been toying with the idea of taking a class. i asked myself, what have i always wanted to learn? it was clear: the tarot -- cus i'm a metaphysical bitch like that. i had studied the tarot on my own a few years back so i'm familiar with the cards and the practice, but i knew only a class could drive it all home. so i did a little web search and found a dude in LA who teaches the tarot to small groups out of his house in hollywood.

i had to miss the first week's lesson because of my new york trip, so the teacher met with me separately to go over what was covered during that week. (lesson one, aptly, was about The Fool card.) i hit it off with Craig right away and spent a good while talking to him about life, spirituality, purpose, etc. i found him to be very terrific and knew i would take much away from the class, which i have. but don't all start bugging me about a reading just yet. i've only been to 3 out of 12 classes, so i'm far from being a pro. (plus, i already have a throng of other peeps who've been baggering me for a reading, so they get first dibs.)

toward the end of lesson one, and after our great conversation and review of The Fool, he asks me to draw a card. we start and end each lesson by drawing cards, which signify the flavor of our energy at that time. i'm shuffling my cards before i draw one and casually joke, "watch me draw The Tower," the card of destruction and catastrophe. that card has always startled me, as it depicts this brick tower on fire, flames shooting out its windows.

what card do i draw? The Tower. no shit. "wow," Craig says, "look how powerful you are." great, i think to myself, my misfortune is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. stranger still is that this has happened before -- many times, in fact. i'll think of a card and then draw it from the deck. during our last lesson, i drew the same card both at the beginning and end of class. that was last thursday when i was especially stressed over work. the card was the Four of Swords, the card of hermitism and repose. i figured i should use the weekend to take it easy, but after the universe told me twice in one night that i really needed to take it easy, i knew i had to listen.

that's really what the tarot does. it doesn't reveal the mysteries of one's life because, truthfully, life really isn't all that mysterious. it simply tells you what you already know but are reluctant to admit. it can often reinforce the obvious. and what's obvious is that humans are willful creatures with psychic energies in play. the position of cosmic elements like the moon and sun affects these energies. consider how the moon affects the tides and imagine what it does to the water in your body. if you study astrology -- and true astrology, not those lame daily horoscopes that don't amount to much -- you'll see that it's a science like any other, with rules, contingencies and proven results that are supported by history.

having said that, i don't belive that astrology and tarot are the ultimate gospel. because we are willful creatures, we are the ultimate gospel for our own lives. not everything is predetermined or 'written in the stars.' that's far too passive an approach. g-d's will is our will. those cosmic elements and psychic energies exist, absolutely, but our actions and reactions to them are our own doing. hopefully we'll react the way we should, so we can keep evolving as individuals, but sometimes you have to learn the same lesson twice. and sometimes you'll never learn it despite how many times the universe tries to teach it to you.

and that's what the tarot has begun teaching me -- to listen intently and patiently. it's a spiritual study. the cards are ordered and tell the story of a life's journey, with all its pitfalls, truimphs and lessons. it's highly relatable, leading to one ultimate truth: the answers are already out there and will reveal themselves in due time. certainly i had heard this concept before, but i never truly subscribed to it because i didn't have the patience. i was too busy rushing through life, pushing through each experience in a frenzy. though i'm still far from being cured of my restlessness, i'm rooting more into the present without becoming overly attached to it (if that makes sense). i'm trying to stay centered and nonjudgmental. i'm planning on doing more yoga and meditation.

soon, you'll find me on the mountaintop sitting in the lotus position, all zenlike, and with a big buddha belly you can rub for good luck. i shall say to you in a strange asian accent, "worry not, young grasshopper, for your time will come." you will roll your eyes at me and say, "milla, get over yourself. let's go to the bar and have a drink." and i will get up and follow.

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