Tonight, I want to do a tarot-inspired talk. That means I ask for a card out of a deck, and go with what I get. Enjoy!
Here's what we have happening this evening:
Deck: The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans
Image: A hand-drawn tarot card features a white bird rising above a flock of dark birds. Rays of light cast to the sides of the bird. The Roman numerals "XX" are at the top of the card and the word "judgement" is written at the bottom.
Card Meaning: Truth, Accountability, Rising Up
How I'm Spinning That: Empowering Our Hearts by Removing Our Belief-Armor
By the time we reach adulthood, we’re all wearing a coat of armor. We spend our entire lives building and putting on this coat of armor, and we didn’t realize it, and we didn’t do it on purpose. Like a real coat of armor protects a body, we built this armor to protect our inner selves. In one sense, protecting our inner selves feels necessary, but the problem with the armor is that it's also preventing a lot of good from coming into our lives. It also limits our movements without our own world, restricting our opportunities, self-expression, and adventures. Also, it's really fucking heavy.
Like a real coat of armor, there are several individual pieces that we put on, and they materialized over time based on the different influences in our lives. These influences include parents, family, religion, society and culture, media messages, schooling, and less obvious sources - even a nasty comment made by a stranger can lodge in our minds and contribute to the armor. The less positive messages shaped our beliefs, our perception of ourselves, and our concept of how we’re supposed to show up in this world.
These influences don't even always need to be something we read, hear, or are told - sometimes we observe things that shape how we believe the world functions. Anyone who has ever been talking in church, or perhaps out to eat with a loud friend, and has gotten The Look from across the room knows what I means. Two parents exhibiting massive tension between them but not verbally arguing, maybe in hopes of "protecting their child," are still sending big messages without saying a word.
ANATOMY OF OUR ARMOR
Our armor can be broken down like this (and yes, my knight is pink and I really like it):
Shin Guards and Gauntlets (Owie Gloves): our arms and legs do a lot of the work in our lives, whether it’s an actual career, or cleaning the kitchen, and what all that means in terms of whether we’re “successful” or not
Skirty Thing: our bodies and gender and sexual identities get armored really quickly, especially when we hit adolescence. We absorb body shame and internalize messages about our personalities and worth based on how we look or dress
Chesty Plate: our hearts are taught that playtime must end when we grow up, and that following our dreams is less important than earning a steady paycheck. Our emotions may get stifled by our influences, and we’re taught that love is dangerous
Helmetor: worst of all, our heads are covered in a thick layer of illusion, with the little eye protector thing in the down position. The helmet blocks our potential, prevents life-changing thoughts, and may tell us stories about ourselves and other groups that blind us from seeing our common traits
This is genuinely how I see a lot of us walking around every day, in this cloud, or weighted down by things they can’t articulate. We are prevented from even considering that we could achieve our highest goals, and it’s as if the metal of this armor is primarily made up of self-doubt. Limiting beliefs are a plague, but one that has a cure.
LET'S DO THIS
So let’s bring it back to the card: judgment. While the fear of being judged may bring up fear or guilt, another form of judgment is that which seeks the truth in all situations. When we seek truth in ourselves, we judge what we’ve been taught (or what our mind and ego tell us) against what we want to believe (what our hearts tell us). And this isn’t to say that living from a “mind” point of view is wrong, it’s just that we were raised with a critical imbalance between mind and heart. This card is also about not placing blame around – we take accountability, right here and now for our own actions, choices, and thoughts, forgiving ourselves and those that contributed to our armor. This card tell us to drop the fear and seek expansion, because on the other side is incredible brilliance and flight.
The biggest trick of the armor is this: the more influences that support the same message, the thicker that particular piece of armor gets, and the harder it is to take off. Here's why: when you have many influences in your life telling you the same thing, you begin to see that thing as truth instead of something you choose to believe in. When something feels like the truth, it's harder to pry off.
So if our task is seeking truth in this lifetime and living from a place of joy and fulfillment, the armor needs to come off, yeah? While this is a task not always easy, liberation is so totally worth it! To start removing your coat of belief-armor, do these 5 things:
1. Acknowledge that it’s there.
Even if consciously you can’t pick out which beliefs are really yours or were given to you, be open to exploring the idea without taking things personally or feeling stressed about it. Acknowledge that your truths need exploring, and commit to exploring things that challenge your truths to see if there's merit in them.
2. Decide that you can dismantle it, if you really want to.
Forget the “how” and commit to deciding that it can be done, because that armor lives and breathes on your self-doubt. You also need to want to dismantle it; many millions of people are comfortable living in illusion, because it's safer there, beneath the armor. Less can hurt you. You just need to decide if that's where you want to be.
3. Find others doing this work.
Your family and friends may be totally fine with never addressing their own armor, and you need to be okay with that or it will drive you bananas. Find groups or others doing this work so you can have support and guidance. (There’s no coincidence in you choosing this scope tonight.) There IS a community out there dealing with what you're going through, and all you have to do is find them. It's really as simple as that.
4. Be gentle with yourself, but push yourself.
Some things will be harder to dismantle than others. Maybe you have unaddressed trauma, or family members that will freak out when you start to change. It’s okay - personal growth is emotionally charged. Be gentle with yourself, and keep working towards #3. Also don't give up just because something gets uncomfortable. We are so averse to experience emotional discomfort that we'll just go to our graves miserable rather than challenging the misery - so push yourself.
5. Find what brings your heart joy and fulfillment.
Brush away any apathy or overwhelm, and figure this one out. It will help guide the rest of your journey. It doesn’t mean quit your job and throw out your family, okay? (At least not in the beginning) It just means seek true joy in those tiny moments in between life until you feel sure about what moves your whole being into joy.
When we dismantle our own armor, a couple of things happen: first, we feel so light that everything about our thoughts and feelings are uplifted, like the bird on the card. We are taken out of that chaotic darkness of those still living in the illusion that the armor is a good thing (like the birds at the bottom of the card). Second, we inspire others to heal and remove their own armor. It's only through changing ourselves than we can effect real change around us.
What are your experiences in addressing and removing your own limiting belief systems? Which beliefs were given to you by others?
Let me know in the comments and as always, please feel free to share this post! Catch me on Periscope @_wildfrancesca_ for more scopes and posts like this.