Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looking Forward

While working too long this weekend on a job that is likely to invite me to leave if I don’t agree to move to North Carolina for a reduced salary, I mused that so many people including me want to know what’s coming up next.
Victorian Trade Card Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

One of my clients has to know if a $100 investment would pay off because they really need the money. I hesitate to pull a card on that. Am I chicken or is it too much like financial advice, something specifically I won’t give, partly because of the day job and partly because of basic ethics: I’m not a professionally trained financial adviser? I pull a card. What a relief! It’s the Wheel of Fortune.

“It’s a crap shoot,” I tell my client. “Timing is everything.”

The $100 is a membership to be considered for work in a specific industry, the sales equivalent of buying leads, betting on some percentage of outcome based on your skills…and luck. I flash on Groucho Marx’ remark that he didn’t want to belong to an organization that would have him as a member. Something about that fits here, but can’t quite put my finger on it.

Knowing my client, they are going to do what they want to do anyway. It’s a free-will thing. I’m a big fan of free will. Little enough is up to us the way things are. I don’t like to see people give up their right to choose. My client doesn’t want to waste time and money on a fruitless venture. I sympathize, but I also think that when you focus on just one kind of fruit, you’re probably frustrated a lot. Maybe “fruitless ventures” are there to help us with some larger purpose.

Getting the Wheel of Fortune here at least validates my hesitation to say whether this will be a good deal or a bad deal. It’s a maybe yes, maybe no answer that maybe masks the real answer of there’s no sure thing in this life. That doesn’t keep any of us from wishing there were a sure thing.

People who are really good at what they do wish for a merit-based arrangement. The best should get what they deserve. People who suffer even a moment’s self-doubt wish for a stroke of undeserved good fortune. People want good things to happen for themselves and their loved ones. Sometimes good things happen; sometimes they don’t. And sometimes people who do what I do get an inkling of whether or not something will be a good thing. I don’t know why or how.

I don’t necessarily feel the need to attribute it to divine gift or the influence of evil, either, no more so than breathing, seeing, liking butter or being allergic to mold is a gift or a curse. It’s just a thing and, well, since I’m an optimist, I tend to think of all those things as some kind of gift. It takes less energy to say thank you than it does to spend time cursing. So, thanks, You Out There, just in case you intended my life to have these gifts and, well, thanks, too, if it’s just some accident.

I live in earthquake country in addition to wine country, agreeable weather country and any other description you might need. Because of that, I check out the USGS Earthquake site for recent activity, mostly because it interests me. While finishing up my degree in English, I nearly switched my major to geology, having become enamored of large systems and long-term cause and effect. In the end, I took a few geology courses and decided I needed the degree in the low-hanging fruit so I could get out into the workaday world. I still think it’s cool, though, that while people focus on, say, the devastating 1906 earthquake in San Francisco perhaps not realizing that what was really devastating was the resultant fire, unnoticed by most is that in the very few years (emphasis on very if you count geological time) around that event, there were major earthquakes all over the world. When it comes to plate tectonics, it basically works like that children’s song where all the piggies are in bed and they all rolled over and one fell out. It’s all connected, this earth, in a pattern larger than the burning of a city.

Of course, if the fire burned down your house, you’re going to focus on your immediate issue. If an entire economy is experiencing “piggy rolling” and you lose your job, you’re going to focus on that. You should. But larger patterns are likely in play, too. Sometimes the larger pattern is easier to see than the immediate effect; sometimes, the immediacy is all you can see. Reading cards can be like that too.

I have just as strong an urge to know what’s coming up as anyone else. So how can I be relieved that my reading for my client basically came up with, “It’s a crap shoot” for an answer? Maybe it’s because I’ve been working so hard on the microcosm all weekend, trying to get something done for Monday morning that in the grand scheme of things is not likely to prevent war, save homeless people or pets or cure even a case of the hiccups. But sometimes, it can be a comfort to focus on what’s right under your nose instead of being buried in the avalanche of what is to come.

What I do know is that I don’t want my client to be dependent on me as a card reader to be the determining factor of what they do in their lives. That’s my client’s responsibility, the burden, the obligation of free will.

The words we’re all searching for are “thank you”.

Best wishes.