Renewing Strength; Card of the Week 4th August 2014


card 8.4.2014


It’s August and there is a “nature” theme for our cards this month.       It might be the middle of summer for most of us, but this week’s card is “RENEWAL/The Winter Willows”  – it shows a pair of willow trees standing at the shore of a lake.  A couple sits on a bench and watch a big cormorant stretch. This card represents the “renewal” part of the change and growth spectrum.  While change is inevitable, there is always motion and steady growth causing renewal and healing at the same time.  In the image,  one willow tree is a little worse for wear, the other is encouraging with spring buds forming on her branches and sap rising.   The cormorant standing on a log is spreading her wings… as the world warms back up.    This is a time of rebuilding, adding strength, and restoring balance.

One of the biggest ways we can renew our strength is to be ENCOURAGED.  This is a week of encouragement.      A friend of mine took part in the Ironman Triathlon festivities this past weekend.  What a scene; – strong men and women by the thousands from all over the world competing in an athletic event of endurance and stamina.   At dawn, they hop in the water for a 2.4 mile swim and from there they take a 112 mile bike-ride and then, with legs aching, it’s time for a full 26 mile marathon run!  Competitors have 17 hours in which to finish this gargantuan feat from 7am to midnight.     Along the race route, attendees held up signs of encouragement and underfoot, outlined in colourful chalk and pastels, were messages saying, “MIKE #such and such – you can do it! We believe in you!”  “Go dad! You are an Ironman!”   that friends and family lovingly scrawled in the hours before the race.  How many people might have been utterly flagging and on the verge of giving up when they saw that encouraging message?   Even towards the event’s end (at midnight) family members and friends cheered weary bodies across the finish tape.

You might not be in the Ironman this week, but  you do have both renewal and encouragement helping you accomplish whatever you set out to do.     Within you (and around you)  are those who would write your name in chalk on the race-route.    Let yourself feel both renewed and refreshed to carry on that extra mile.  Let yourself be encouraged and cheered on.  And most of all, ENCOURAGE YOURSELF because that is the voice that matters above all else.

This week, when you rest and take time to breathe, you’re actually renewing your strength and building yourself up!   Any athlete knows that it’s the RECOVERY period that builds both muscle and endurance, not just the effort itself.  Even after you run, your body is repairing muscle fibres and your body is reving  with metabolic action.  Don’t neglect the rest that comes in renewal this week.

This is not a time for chilling by the pool and neglecting effort though.  Within renewal and rebuilding there’s always action and growth taking place.   Don’t forget to cheer yourself on, and to cheer others on too!  You can run that extra mile, you can take on a lot and let your inner “winner” shine through this week!


About this deck :   

About this deck:    This is “Tree Affirmations”  a very whimsical and beautifully deck illustrated in ink and watercolour.   (one drawback though, the cards themselves are HUGE!)  The artwork is lovely and reminds me of my favourite childhood memories – spending time outdoors, painting, and of course, trees!  44 card self published deck by Victoria Lewis.

Simply Delighted: Card of the week, 3rd March 2014

card 3.3.2014

A theme I’m picking up on a lot lately is that while our energy might be more challenged, crabbier, or more critical, at the start of this month, there is plenty of room for innocent delight and our inner joy and “delight” selves are valiantly campaigning.   This week’s card has a directive, “Delight!”

Boy howdy.   I  usually take just two days off during the month, and these last two days off seemed to be anything but delightful;  a nagging headache caused nearly everything (even you, venerable vegan burrito?)  to annoy the living daylights out of me.  One of my favourite nights of the year is Oscar night but this year’s party was a bit of a downer, even though I still won the prediction game.  The telecast was allegedly no longer than usual, but it seemed nearly immortal.   (As many nay-saying cluckers on the interwebs have been reporting)

Between Ellen’s gradually evolving, in-audience-pizza-party and mugging for selfies  with A-listers and photobombers, (I LOVE that phone, so I’m cutting Samsung some slack for the ridiculously expensive product-placement Oscar sponsoring), the Divine Miss M singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” AFTER the in-memoriam segment instead of during it, an homage to Wizard of Oz (isn’t there always?)  and numerous time-consuming momentum breakers, the span between the first award and the last seemed an eternity.    Still,  there were delights:    a radiant and supernaturally beautiful Lupita Nyong’o  stepped on stage to accept her award for Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years a Slave”  and delivered one of the most humble and beautiful speeches in recent memory.   Bill Murray gave a loving tribute to his once estranged pal, the recently departed, genius film maker Harold Ramis.  John Travolta introduced a “wickedly talented  Adele Dazeem”  to the stage to sing “Let it Go” from Frozen (a bemused Idina Menzel took the stage and the imaginary “Adele Dazeem” soon had twitter account and thousands of followers.)

This week’s card reminds us that whatever irritations may seemingly be in our way, or whatever GREAT reasons, we once had to shut the doors to our heart, new life is here and knocking for us to open up.   This card shows a child regarding the small, rose-like blooms of the Hawthorn and delighting at how perfect they’ll be to make tiny roses for her doll house.

This great line of text appears in the book:

“While we may have been fearful in the past, there will come a time when we can take delight in the innocent joy at the heart of our being. This will happen regardless of what has happened to close us down. Look for that blossoming in yourself and take delight in it.”

There is part of ourselves that doesn’t want to see the world in the tight, closed, artificial vortex of critique and disappointment.  We want to get past old wounds the way Bill Murray did in reconciling with Harold Ramis.  We want to find Ellen as charming as she is good-natured and funny, and we want a slice of that Academy Award pizza.  We want to forgive John Travolta for getting ahead of the syllables on his tongue, and Kim Novak for stopping the hands of time with facial fillers and we want to see the world innocently.

In the metaphorical Oscar show of life, it doesn’t matter what has happened to us in the past (James Franco and Anne Hathaway, or that year in 1989 when there were no hosts at all)  — we will find some hawthorn tree in our path that says, “DELIGHT!”  and we will.  We will delight, we will be surprised at something small and perfect and innocent and we will remember that we are the same. All we have to do is make that choice.


About this deck:    This is “Tree Affirmations”  a very whimsical and beautifully deck illustrated in ink and watercolour by the wonderful and wise Victoria Lewis.   (one drawback though, the cards themselves are HUGE!)  The artwork is lovely and reminds me of my favourite childhood memories – spending time outdoors, painting, and of course, trees!  44 card self published deck by Victoria Lewis.

Card of the Week July 11th WALNUTS


It’s easy to look in the mirror and be crestfallen about the ravages of time… a silver hair here,  some arm-jiggle there,  – parts of your body look like that lumpy pillow you needed to get rid of months ago.   We forget the  gifts of time and experience; those that make us wiser, smarter, and more adapt to change.   The days where we feel like we’ve gotten NOWHERE and have nothing to show for our time in the game, make us forget about our true (and growing)  WISDOM.

Today’s card is from a really lovely deck (one of my favourite art decks)  by Vicki Lewis  — (more about that at the end)


— This tree, according to the artist, is a walnut standing in a central London park.   It has seen many changes in its hundreds of years being alive;  the Crimean war,  the degeneracy of class struggles,  women’s suffrage.    Under its boughs everything has happened  – countless conversations, fights, break-ups and make ups,  birth, death,  folks standing out of the sun, London fashion innovations from Victorian dresses  to Edwardian suits  to  the mini-skirt.   Two World Wars, crisp packets, punk-rockers, iPhones, and roller-blades.   It saw the inventions of  mankind: computers, the internal combustion engine, airplanes, the internet, bio-engineering, television, nuclear warheads.        This tree reminds us that no matter how bone-headed or inexperienced we feel,  that we have wisdom indeed and a part of you has been around the block a few times and knows many things!

You ARE growing, even if you don’t feel that you are and you are accumulating the wisdom of your experiences.  After all, if you watched that tree grow in London, you wouldn’t be able to perceive its growth with your human impatience.. but grow it does!    And just because you don’t feel wise, doesn’t mean that you do not have wisdom to call on or that no growth is underway.

Sometimes, as we ascend to new levels of awareness and growth, we see that we are re-hashing old issues or dredging up old fears. We may say, “Isn’t my wisdom helping me AVOID THIS, haven’t I learned?”     and then feel like we’re backsliding or aren’t that wise at all.     But this isn’t the case. I like to imagine that we’re climbing up a huge spiral shell stairway (or a mountain, as a friend chimed in; an even better analogy) – with each circle up the spiral we seem to be hitting the same part of the circle over and over but we are actually progressing with each turn.

Wisdom doesn’t mean that you know everything or that you know how to avoid all possible negative outcomes, rather it can mean that you can use all you’ve observed experiences to help you release your own stories, attachments and certainties about life so that you can be open to explore the world with bravery and with the wonder of the naïve…

Life is an ever changing, unfolding experience. There’s no “ultimate Wisdom” that will protect you.   Life is to be explored with the eyes of a child,  or as Socrates also said  (even though he also said “the unexamined life is not worth living”


“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”



About this deck:    This is “Tree Affirmations”  a very whimsical and beautifully deck illustrated in ink and watercolour.   (one drawback though, the cards themselves are HUGE!)  The artwork is lovely and reminds me of my favourite childhood memories – spending time outdoors, painting, and of course, trees!  44 card self published deck by Victoria Lewis.