Where do we go from here?
What can we do now to support the Ukrainians and take steps to prevent this type of aggression from happening again?
At first glance, the city in the cover photo could almost be any city in the world. Unless you are familiar with the area, you probably could only guess.
It's Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The photo is not one of Joe's, but I selected it because I know he would have liked it. I was also drawn to the "other-worldliness" feeling that suggests possibility or adventure if we choose to cross the bridge.
I can only imagine what the photographer, identified as Subbotina on the stock image site where I purchased the image, is thinking or doing now. Or any other resident of the city or the Ukraine. I feel certain, however, the prevalent feeling isn't anything as magical as this image suggests.
I don't know if it's my age, or the shifting energy of the planet, or perhaps both, but I am gutted by yet another assault on human life and our world. I do know I'm not alone in this reaction. Signs of universal condemnation in the forms of protests, statements, prayers, economic sanctions, and more have been the overwhelming response.
In the past, my empathic self would vacillate between withdrawing in an attempt to block out the pain and fighting back verbally (usually in written format) in an attempt to protect my sensitive inner nature.
Again perhaps because of my advancing years or the emergence of a new paradigm, today I find neither of these options are choices for me anymore. I sense I am not alone in this either, and that many others also seek a solution or resolution or at least a strategy to effect real change.
So, where do we go from here?
We all know what doesn't work: relying on the very people who bring us to war to stop the aggression. It simply is not in their best interests to do so.
Not being very knowledgeable in political science or managing societal behavior, I don't feel qualified to suggest what can be done on those levels.
But I am an astute observer of human behavior on both an individual and collective level. This is an innate trait for me. And one thing I have observed and know is true:
Change occurs when people join together for a common cause.
For some of us, activism fills that role. Others, like myself, find the connection and expression in speaking or writing. Still others are agents of change and create programs to address the various issues, whether it be climate change, racism, sexism, gender bias, or war.
And all of these are good, positive actions to take, serving at the very least as an outlet and at the very best to bring about real change.
But do you feel as I do... that I'm swimming upstream, going in circles, or encountering new obstacles every time one is overcome?
Is it possible that the reason for the lack of true progress is that we're looking for change on the outside, in someone or something else? That was our indoctrination in life via our parents, education, and society at large. Yet, such an attitude only disempowers us because it puts us and our futures in the hands of others to determine.
But what if we take back our power? And instead follow the advice of the most successful nonviolent change-agent in history:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."—Gandhi
It's time to be the change, not just talk about it or demand it. To be in the world, but not of it. If you yearn for peace, equality, and sovereignty over your soul, you are already those things. The action step? To exhibit them and turn away from all that is not.
And yet the one thing that every individual can change—self—is the one thing many people find hardest to do. Entrusting others with the responsibility to take care of things may give away your power, but it is an easier choice—a choice that is often made without conscious realization of the bad agreement you just signed.
But many are waking up to the realization of that bad deal and tearing up the old contract. You can because the only valid agreement you can make is the one you make with yourself. Anything that you've ever agreed to that is not in your best interest and/or the highest good of all is subject to be revoked immediately and without notice.
If you are new to these ideas and wonder where to begin or what agreements you will make with yourself, I suggest beginning with those outlined by Don Miguel Ruiz in his landmark work The Four Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
3. Don't Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.
Several years later don Miguel published a new title: The Fifth Agreement, which may be the most important today.
5. Be Skeptical and Learn to Listen.
(A quick trip to the website or an online search will provide images or text to explain these agreements in depth.)
Knowing the "what" is only the first step. How can you apply your agreements? And, very specifically, how can these or any agreements be applied today in regards to the Ukraine invasion?
Tarot for Healing
Sometimes I use Tarot or oracle cards to help shift my thinking or open up new ideas to consider. At the same time I was contemplating how I could personally offer help by raising the vibration of the planet myself and with others, I learned that the creator of one of my favorite Tarot decks, Chris-Anne, had a new video lesson on how to use The Light Seer's Tarot in a new spread she called "Tarot for Healing."
It's a 3-card spread. Card #1 indicates the "nocebo," or (false) belief that nothing you do or take will change your problem. Card #2 is the "placebo," or action you must take to change the situation. Card #3 reveals the opportunities or what can be achieved if you take action. She suggests using this spread when you feel overwhelmed or that circumstances are beyond your control.
So, I asked:
What can I and the people of the world do now to support the Ukrainians and take steps to prevent this type of aggression from happening again?
I did this with great ceremony, proportionate to the seriousness of my query. I lit candles, surrounded the cloth I used with protective crystals, and meditated on my question before pulling the three cards. Here's what I drew:
You probably noticed there are 4, not 3, cards. The bottom card was a "jumper," that fell from the deck as I was shuffling.
Card #1: 5 of Swords. Conflict, unfair advantage, desire for peace, feeling helpless or lack of skills.
Card # 2: Page of Swords. Showing up in reversed position doesn't indicate "opposite of." It means to give the card different or uncoventional attention or meaning. The Page of Swords represents young, restless energy, fast action, learning new things, being a student or apprentice.
Card #3. 8 of Pentacles indicates mastering a new skill, soul purpose, progress towards craftsmanship or expertise. Appearing in reverse gave me pause until I looked at the Jumper card more carefully.
Jumper: 4 of Swords. A time for deep rest, healing, renewal, self-care.
This is my interpretation of the results: Card 1 is self-explanatory and indicates to me that my query was being addressed. Card 2 in reverse tells me that new or quick solutions are not the answers to long-term problems and that additional learning is required. Card 3 suggests to me that mastering new skills and ideas will happen but appearing in reverse is another indication that there are no shortcuts.
The Jumper card confirms the need for deep introspection and healing, in this case on both personal and global levels.
The seven chakra stones help to balance and speed the healing.
To create peace, we must be peace. To create love, we must be love. To create connection, we must learn how to connect at a soul level.
This doesn't mean that we do nothing but meditate until the situation clears, but it does support the truth of the matter:
Nothing changes until we do.
Changing on the individual level is step one. Connecting with like-minded individuals is step 2. Embracing our unique talents and combining with the strengths of others in purposeful action is step 3.
The Ukraine situation presents urgency of action, so we'll just have to work on all three steps at once, if we truly desire to effect change.
Most of us have been around long enough to realize that this crisis will pass, but to put an end to the constant cycle of aggression and abuse of power, we must do more. We must decide how to act (be) and not react because the inevitable recurrence will happen—unless we change today.
Change begins with me—and you. I'd love to get your feedback. Please comment below or email me with your feelings and ideas on the topic.
Cover Image ©Subbotina, Deposit Photos.
Tarot Image © Shelley Lieber
Text ©Shelley Lieber
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