can't pin me down

how can i stay curious through the journey: five of cups

i am a clumsy person, and i spill things (a lot): water from the sink when i'm washing dishes all down my shirt, my coffee as i'm carrying it up the stairs to my desk, my new fancy conditioner all over the floor of the shower.

the five of cups is often depicted as someeone looking at cups that have spilled on the ground - usually three cups that have spilled, and two that are still upright, but out of their view. traditional tarot books will explain this card as the feeling where all you can see is what you've lost, and you're sad/heartbroken/fixated on that loss, to the exclusion of the full cups that you do still have.

but in my experience, this card is much more about the ways that grief (big and small and aren't those both the same) move through you - waxing and waning but never really leaving.

have you heard of the ball and box analogy? it's one of my favorites. there's a ball, and it's bouncing around in a box. there's a button on the side of the box, and every time the ball hits the button, we feel a fresh wave of grief. sometimes, the ball is really big in the box - every time it moves, it hits the button and we feel that wave all over again. and sometimes, the ball is a little smaller, and it hits the button less frequently. but every time it does hit, the wave is there, just as strong as ever. the button never goes away, and the ball never really goes away, and every time they make contact, the grief is there, as present and real as it ever was. that's why we can't really "get over" things like death or loss. we might have more time between button pushes, but that button is there.

grief can look a lot of different ways. sometimes there are a little losses that bring up big grief, and sometimes there are things that should knock us out and they barely make a blip on the radar.

i tend to fall into the latter camp. it can be hard for me to tap into my grief and feelings of loss because they don't often look the way i expect them to. i don't have a lot of times where i have fallen to my knees in despair, or cried to the point of hyperventilation, or taken to my bed for days.

this card is asking me to get curious about that. maybe it isn't that i am immune to grief, but that i am being asked to figure out where these feelings do move through me. i have some hunches.

i have a feeling that my grief comes out in my quick temper, my frustration when things don't go the way that i want them to IMMEDIATELY, when i have to be patient. i am continuously bewildered by the fact that i can intellectually understand something, and yet, the emotions around it continue. i am reticent to make any long term goals or commit to things more than a few days in advance because who knows what will happen?

i may never get those cups back that have spilled. i have loss that will be with me forever - all of us do. you can't take the water out of the ground once it has soaked in. but i can get curious about what cups i do have available to me that are outside of my immediate, constricted field of vision. they're different cups, sure - they aren't the ones i've lost, but they're mine all the same.

curiousity doesn't mean "learn how to fix this" - and it doesn't mean "learn how to overcome this so you never have to do it again." it means, be present with this so you can see how it impacts you. get to know it. don't rush the acquaintance. be patient. let it shift, let it change, watch it all the while. return to it, in a way that you would any other new, interesting thing.

get curious about the stuff that you most want to run away from, and see what changes.