Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Further Thoughts On Reversals of Elements - Reversed Queen Of Cups (when nurture goes awry)

Anyone who has ever remotely worked on a committee or in a group effort, often will see certain human traits that surface in themselves and others. Archetypes that show up again and again and human frailties and booby traps we can all fall into.

There is the very self sacrificing person who perpetually saves the day, does too much and is often teetering on the brink of burnout. They often hear "we don't know how we'd get by without you", but the flip side (which can be detrimental) is the organization then is one person away from falling apart.

Martyrs aren't great role models. It is a great truth that healthy compassion is not about needlessly suffering along with others, but rather being in a place of well being and caring from there. This is not easy (at least it hasn't been for me, I don't know, but if it's been a walk in the park for you from the get go then I'd love to read YOUR blog, send me the link). 

I often remember a quote from Dorothy Parker -one of my favorite authors (see left), -she was very ironic and a lightning wit.

Someone once commented that Claire Booth Luce (see right) - who Dorothy didn't like - just "lived for others", to which Dorothy replied "Yup and you can tell the "others" by their hunted look".

In another instance, someone said "Claire is so kind to her inferiors" and Dorothy responded "wherever does she find them?"

I'd probably put Dot's take on Claire as Queen of Cups reversed. Important to note though that Dorothy was at times a suicidally romantic alcoholic, (rather Queen of Cups reversed-ish herself). Maybe that's why Claire rankled her so, there is an ancient saying; "who smelt it dealt it".

Righting The Reversal

Personally I've had to go through bumps and discomforts (and no doubt still will from time to time) before I've seen my own patterns and baggage and been able to find release from them. I sometimes have cycles where I find I'm doing way too much in some areas and am off track in others. 

I have found that whenever I am living under the threat of an "or else", that in some way I am already in it. The first times I had to recognize this were the hardest. Many of the people who were around playing into that pattern DID leave, they found another person to play into that pattern with, some got fed up and moved on in their growth. The crisis of letting go of that addictive behavior of rescuing was frightening but moving through that "or else" turned out to be one of the most positive things I could do. I had a lot of help (we usually do when we are honestly trying to move beyond this).

I listened to what some good people had been trying to tell me all along. I spent time alone and found it wasn't bad, as a matter of fact it was nourishing. I sought (and still seek) the counsel of others with experience. I know I haven't seen the last of these lessons, in truth I think we always are moving through them in some way. I can tell you it does get easier, and the neat thing is, it's very very ok. We can see it more readily and move through it more gently. When the poop hits the fan and that "or else" plays out, there's a lot more that comes into view, a lot of it very good possibilities and potentials that are hard to see when you're busy turning yourself into a pretzel. It's usually been there all along waiting to be discovered.

After a while, we start to see too, that the universe never gave us a gift by mistake. It didn't get the name tags mixed up on the presents. If we have been abusing gifts, they sustain damage, but the human spirit is very resilient. When we recognize that we're in that trap, when we release the "or else", there's an opportunity to come back and work with our gifts. They come into more graceful use, they evolve. We are given the chance to see something more than acceptance. Acceptance is important but there is something greater, recognition is seeing the genuine potential that has always been there and the use of the gift starts coming from that place instead. We start being kind for kindness sake (instead of a gritted teeth kind of NICE), we can give more freely with less of a drain or a price tag. People find us more comfortable to be with as we are more on a level playing field. Reciprocation goes on and we start to experience the intimacy of sharing ourselves and being shared with.

On that perky note -I have a good friend who closes most of his messages with "LIFD": Life Is Fabulous Dahling!


  1. lots of food for thought here. for me, at least, contemplating the notion of "giving oneself," and "altruistic" gestures in general is difficult at best. mauss pointed out that every gift has a value exchange, every gesture is conditional. i'd like to think that my monthly charitable contributions are a reflection of the "good" in my character, and unfortunately, that in itself cancels out any altruistic merit in the exchange. this is doubly true of the codependent nature of martyrs, who like psychic-vampires feed off the misery of others and effectively avoid the issues that propel them in search of distraction in the first place. your interpretation begs the question, how is it possible to "give" freely, and if it is not possible, how to get as close to it as you can. great article! again, lots to mull over.

  2. Trevor, you always make me think about stuff, which I really enjoy. Its also a little eerie just lately how relevant a lot of your comments are to what's going on in my life .... committee work and self-sacrifice (and the sacrificer's ego involvement). Plus, I just enjoyed The Portable Dorothy Parker. She was a very intelligent and perceptive woman and so, not surprisingly, a pretty unhappy one.

  3. thanks to you both, a response is coming in the next about "anonymous" 's question.
    Catspajamas, if you enjoyed reading Parker, note that a lot of her stories contain irony (which always triumphs over tragedy. She did know a lot of unhappiness but she also knew and wrote of humor and joy.
    Her biography by Marion Meade "What Fresh hell Is This"? is very good, I recommend it highly.
    I would only slightly disagree with you Cats, I know of many who are intelligent, perceptive and relatively happy. I also know a few idiots who are miserable :)
    Thanks again for your kind words and interest.