Take the Reins

“Time to move on. Time to get going. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing.”

– Tom Petty

When something comes along and calls you to make a choice about moving forward, there is no more important card than The Chariot. Driven by someone who can be perceived as a servant rather than a master, this card reminds us that there is much work to do and the time to act is now. The black and white “horses” are a fervent notice to keep your energies balanced. Logic and emotion are both relevant in your upcoming movement(s); it will behoove you to keep this in mind. 

The Charioteer drives his cart knowing that he will reach his destination safely if he can keep both of these energies in check with each other. One horse, or sphinx in the RWS deck, cannot move faster than the other. They must be in sync. If emotions are stronger than logic, decisions will be based on feelings. On the flip side, if logic takes over and no emotional intelligence is applied to the situation, the coldness of stoicism may likely cause disadvantage. 

Patience v. Complacency

Recently, a friend of mine posted online about patience. As everyone has been told repeatedly throughout their lives (I’m assuming this because I know I have!), patience is a virtue. It seems as though the practice of patience has become an evermore pressing need these days, what with long lines at all the restaurants and intentional delays to the USPS system. I’ve worked hard to cultivate my own patience, despite the nagging feeling of a panic attack every time I enter a grocery store. I’ve had them for years; it’s been decades since my first at age 14.

The problem with patience is, it can be confused with complacency.

I remember a few months ago, when I was waiting for help at the self-checkout line, the number 14 was flashing for assistance. “Temperance,” I thought to myself. Be patient. I made it through that one, but there have been many times I simply walked out the door empty-handed. 

The problem with patience is, it can be confused with complacency. This means waiting around for things to change because we need the universe to show us we are ready.

“Give me a sign, please! I don’t know which way to go, or what to do,” we beg and plead to our spiritguides/higherpower/God/Jesus/Ganesha/Allah/Buddha/hamster/watermelon/pillows. 

Crone in my coffee last week

We drink our coffee/tea and smoke our weed, hoping that perhaps, this time, we will find enlightenment in the bottom of that cup, or bowl. No more booze makes us feel like we’ve ascended. Maybe we have, but maybe it’s also time for the next step up towards ascension. Remember, God helps those who help themselves, right?

Acting Because of (and In Spite of) Our Fears

Fight-or-flight runs strong within me – possibly due to an enlarged amygdala and/or deterioration of the frontal lobes caused by the bipolar disorder. I had no choice but to quit my job this week due to an overwhelming sense of a mental breakdown coming on.

Truthfully, I struggle with my mental illness challenges every October. I’ve been hospitalized for my bipolar disorder a number of times – I think somewhere around 5. Every time I’ve been admitted, it was in October.  At this point, I don’t know if it is just the association with the anniversary, or if I really am that triggered by the seasonal change. Considering it’s been going on since I lived in California over 20 years ago – which did not experience the weather Michigan does – I’d have to guess it’s something deeper than just the difference in sunlight exposure. 

Next week, on October 20th, will be the 5-year anniversary of my last admittance to the psych ward. I’ve worked extremely hard to avoid returning there, which is part of why sobriety from alcohol is so important. I’ve battled intrusive thoughts all week, but I know it’s the illness talking. I refuse to give into The Well which so badly wants me to fall in. 

If you’re feeling adventurous check out this mashup featuring one of my favorite movies, synched with one of my favorite bands

Even getting through this post is an extreme challenge, as I am still struggling with an episode right now. The only reason I am able to write today is because I’ve been off work since last week, and I finally feel like I have enough energy to put something down. It remains difficult, however, because my brain is still not functioning at full capacity. It has taken me a week to recover from the merciless harangue that is serving. I’m still not well. It’s okay, because I will be after this weekend is over. I can feel it. I believe it.

Either way, leaving the restaurant was the right choice because it meant protecting my mental health. The place was a catalyst for a breakdown. I had to choose: me or them. 

Balancing Act

The Chariot can also be viewed from this lens: We are the Charioteer, who must balance the desires/needs of others with our own. Yes, it is important to make money. This is always a need, regardless of where you live.

However, to me, money is only second to health. If my health is in distress, no amount of money will make it right. Alternatively, if I am not working, I become distressed due to my extreme fear of homelessness (five of coins again.) This is where I must choose carefully. 

Since I was sick all week, I’ve failed to take action in any meaningful way towards finding a replacement position. I didn’t even respond to a girl who called me for a reading on Wednesday. I felt clouded and didn’t believe in my ability to help her at the time. 

I’m sorry, “S”, if you’re reading this. I wanted to call you back, but I was ill.

Please forgive me. 

Action is Required to Overcome Depression

The ultimate message behind the Chariot is that there is no time to waste. When action is needed, we must take the reins – or as my old therapist would say, “Take the bull by the horns.” Since I am Taurus sun, that one resonates with me most. If there is something we must do, whether or not we want to, the best choice is to take charge and make a decision about what we want from life. 

Like my little brother’s button reads, “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”

It is time to find direction and get moving (again). I’m walking for him tomorrow in the Out of the Darkness walk in Ferndale, Michigan, rain or shine. I know I have to be there, whether I feel like it or not.

If I go, I will feel better. If I stay home, I will stay in the same place: depressed and self-sorry. One thing I’ve learned about depression is that you can’t wait any longer than you have to try to feel better. You have to get up and make yourself do the things, especially when you don’t want to. 

“Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s goddamn right.” (Shawshank Redemption, 1994)

Much love, Heather XO

2 responses to “Take the Reins”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I think you’re right that we need to put ourselves and our health first. I hope time off work can help you recuperate and strengthen. Would it be ok to re-post this piece on my blog, with a link and credit to you? I write and share stories about anxiety and sensitivity.


    1. Hi, thanks for your response. I would appreciate the re-post, absolutely. Anything I can do to help others is great 🙂


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