The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: II High Priestess
Coming from the Magician, The High Priestess’ way seems counter-intuitive. Productivity = actively producing, right?
If we’re not actively participating in the creation of our lives, then are we not wasting precious time? Shouldn’t we be always on the move, always working?
Those are rhetorical questions, by the way. Burn-out and exhaustion are real things for real human beings. Ironically, we are culturally and socially predisposed to regard burn-out as a sign of our weakness or incapability to excel in life. We give ourselves a lot of shit for it. This is especially true when the majority of our work is creative and self-expressive in nature. How are we supposed to get tired from that? How about folks who are working a not-so-favourable-job in order to put food on the table for themselves and their family!? How do we get out of that guilt-trip?
If we’re not busy or always doing something, we get criticized (by others or ourselves) to be lazy, procrastinatory, or unambitious. Or worse, we are said to be ungrateful, undeserving, and/or unworthy of free time. It’s a vicious cycle that feeds into the conflicting thoughts and paradoxes in our psyche regarding productivity, making us breathless…and unhealthy. Our desire to become or remain productive really is a slippery slope, is it not?
Well, this is when the High Priestess comes in. As gentle as she is, she gets straight to the point by telling us to “cut the crap” with our busy schedules.
How much of it are really productive work, and how much of it are automated modes of action in which we attempt to busy ourselves to create a sense of achievement or movement? Are we productive humans, or zombies posing as productive humans?
We need breathing room in our space-time. We need to break from our busy behaviorual and mental patterns and enter the space of stillness so we don’t lose sense of what we are trying to achieve and send our poor physical bodies into over-drive. We are mortals, by the way. Humans are mortals. I mean, even your almighty multi-tasking apps-in-the-background Smartphone or iPhone needs to be recharged every night to keep on rockin’. How are you not the same? After we move, we naturally need to pause. Not only is this how our creative and energetic cycles work, this is also just how our brain works. As human beings, we need to allow the information and experiences we have accumulated to be processed and “filed into the appropriate mental folders”. We need that space so our thoughts and energies can settle, and we create space by clearing the “cache” in our brain to ensure optimal performance.
If we don’t decompress, unwind and process all the “input” (emotional, mental, social, energetic, physical etc), all that information is going to overload your brain and your body because they’re ruthlessly piling on top of each other, squeezing and pushing each other down, trying to make room but failing.
You know that feeling when you get to high level Tetris, and those Z-shaped blocks just keep falling and you have absolutely nowhere to put them? While you panic, you desperately pray for an I-shaped bar to save you from your misery, but when it finally arrives, it lands right in the middle of your screwed up arrangement and goes off-screen, ending the round. Beep. Game over.
If you know what I’m talking about, you definitely don’t want to reenact this in real life. By the time you recognize your need for an “I-shaped block” and it finally comes, you would have been too burned out for the rescue. Need I remind you, as a human person (again), it is nearly impossible for something not to happen to your mortal self while dealing with this kind of pressure?
Like the game of Tetris, the game of life also needs to be strategic and well-paced.
One of the ways in which you can be strategic is, like mentioned before, to make and hold space for yourself so you have time to be still and engage with an inner dialogue with yourself. You are still actively creating, but you are simply switching gears. Instead of carving something out with a pick-axe, you are gently playing Tetris as you process your information and decompress slowly. Free more space for yourself so you have room for more creative work.
There are many ways to do this, and everybody may have a different mode of stillness and a different way of engaging with that stillness. Basically, you want to get a clear picture of how much stuff is there and has piled up in your psyche. How do you do this? Well, why, you ask, of course! You do this by engaging with meaningful and reflective conversations with yourself, asking yourself if you’re on the right track, reflecting on your answers and evaluating your progress, and adjusting course or seeking help to overcome the challenges you face. Journaling, blogging/vlogging, meditating, doing a tarot reading, getting a tarot reading done, and/or praying are all awesome ways to listen to yourself and unwind.
Once you’ve done that, you sort the information and your experiences in the right places.
Emotional garbage? That belongs with the rest of your garbage: the garbage can. Useful information and wisdom? File that for future reference and problem-solving. Screwing up your self-care routines? Analyze what’s not working and try something different next week. Loved ones demanding too much of your time? Figure out how to set healthy boundaries that benefit everyone…
Also, just so you know, it is unwise to try to do this while you’re going at 120 miles per hour. First of all, you won’t be able to do a good job. Second of all, distracted driving is dangerous, yo! And if you’ve driven a car or been a basket on a car (as in like, you just sat there while you are being driven somewhere), you will know that driving gets you to places, but it is also incredibly tiring after a while. Make sure you figure out where you bathroom breaks are, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids while you check over Google map to make sure you’re on the right path.
Take consistent breaks in life so you can consistently break a leg in life!
Not literally, of course. That would be terrible.