where the writers are
Inviting the Narrative

Telling the Story: Invitation

 

I

A dear friend, Tony K,  gave me a Tarot reading on Friday night. He asked me if I wanted the reading to be one of “letting go” or one of “invitation.” In the history of our readings over the last twenty years, we always talked about the question inside of the reading, but never this choice: “letting go” or “invitation.”

You could say life is always about this, about preparing ourselves for the next step by releasing the blocks, the fears, the old tropes and by taking on the powers that allow us to move forth. If it were only that easy--if we actually stood at crossroads, dropped the pack from the last journey and took on the necessities for the next. Truth is, we have a hard time getting rid of what we’re attached to, even if it is pain.

My parents are prayers—they channeled every need and joy through their prayer—their ways of letting go or of inviting. Let my daughter be more beautiful and less stupid about her choices. Rosary upon rosary of hope, begging, asking forgiveness and praising. I don’t know, because I couldn't, if they every prayed to release their own dysfunctions and open their road ahead.  How much reflection was in the process of their praying? How much did they give up to God?

In the processes of therapy, letting go is always the emphasis; invitation may be impossible without it. We arrive at a complication in life, realizing ourselves as our own worse enemy and have to find a way to more forward—that means shedding something, the thing that has held us down. This has been the counterpoint of my parents’ praying, my healing was up to me.  I didn’t give it up to God—tried to stir up the powers hidden behind the webs strung throughout the years that contained messages, patterns, and weaknesses.

Letting go is  personal: meditating, yoga, squash, yelling, singing, dancing, writing, running, hiking, running away. It has also been commoditized:  bungee jumping, zip-lining, paintball, shooting ranges—you can find diversion to release and get hyped. Then we return to our selves with the same baggage.

I have had years of all of the above: prayer, therapy, excitement, exercise and have struck a balance on my paths. So of course, my answer to Tony was “invitation.” What could I open to that would bring me closer to fulfillment of “the question?”

The first card I drew was the Chariot. This depicts a Warrior driving forth a stone chariot, driven by two beasts who are yin and yang. In the Spiral Tarot that I own, these beasts are fem
inized and they are black and white. The Chariot is also a number 7. The chariot is heavy, but the warrior is determined to move it. The beasts represent the force of will.

I wanted the reading to stop there, to have nothing to diminish this image of a force so powerful, it could move that stone chariot, that it could finish the book she’s been working on for a while, for instance.

Of course we continued to look at the cards that modified the reading, Wheel of Fortune, Five of Swords—when I flinched, Tony purposely softened the interpretation because he wanted me to stay in the mode of invitation.  I do too, the idea of drawing in from outside and nourishing the inside, has a hopeful triteness to it. I like the simplicity.

 

II

When we finished the reading, we talked about my book and about the story. He has been helpful as a resource since the novel takes place in the city where he grew up and during a period of time in his life, although he is nowhere in the book (nor is a character based on him).

My character, D, is about to do something I have trouble writing and so I wanted his perspective on her and maybe that would clue me into the particular barrier I'm having (or perhaps, she’s having). What did she need to let go or invite? Since he didn’t know her well enough, he answered for himself—it was too soon. Maybe.

Maybe not.  One of the things that shows itself as true over and over is we allow ourselves various experiences when we’re ready for them (or need them?).  D has am empty spot in her body, how long would she wait to fill it up? Would the emptiness make her wise or foolish in her decision making? Would she do it at the right time, or be so desperate, at the wrong time?

I couldn’t have had my current relationship any other time in my life. Notions of type or my interpretation of my lifestyle synchronizing with someone like my husband, Anthony, would have prevented me from inviting the relationship. It wasn’t too soon. It was right on time.

Did I let go of something?

Or just invite more?

Or resisted less?

 

The notion of invitation, as simple as it is, creates a new energy toward my work. In the next few days, I expect to crack the wall between D’s present and her future and write the chapter that has been cramped in my fingers for several months. In all the quiet times, I meditate on it, walk with her through her neighborhood, sit with her on the train, open her eyes in the tunnels, close them in the light. If this is the right move for her, it will come.

I take my place in the chariot. Beasts reined to my will and power myself to the next chapter of her life and mine