The 8 of Swords – Pondering Dysfunctional Thinking 

Tarot Thoughts

Dysfunctional thinking- we all do it. It’s a part of being human. Limiting beliefs, critical self talk, feeling trapped by circumstance, and the list goes on. Some of us can recognise it quickly and adjust our thoughts, and some of us wallow in it because it’s all we know.


For us to change anything we must want to change. Break free of the patterns and thoughts that we have been so used to for so long. This is huge, this is hard, this takes courage!

I was watching a documentary on the television in bits and pieces and caught a small segment in which the presenter asked one of the subjects why she leaves her home and does crystal meth every day. Her response “to stop the pain of my baby daddy leaving me”.

At first I was gobsmacked at this, and then I felt rage. Why I reacted so strongly I’m not certain. You see, we all, every one of us experience pain and tragedy and loss. Running to something like meth to escape hurt is reminiscent of our focus card, the 8 of Swords. It’s not escaping, its binding oneself up tighter and tighter.

I thought long after I watched that small segment. I thought about that woman’s children. I thought about that woman’s selfishness.  I thought about her pain and that poor choice that led her to her addiction. I thought about all the ways we as humans try and mask our pain. The more we mask it, the tighter our bindings become.  

We delude ourselves into thinking that we have drawn the short straw in life. We believe we are failures and less than.  We wait to be rescued. Our thoughts and ideas compound and we become more lonely, more desperate and more trapped.

The focus on how terrible it is for us excludes our caring for anyone or anything with the depth and breadth that as a human being we are so capable of. So there we stand, alone, bound, blindfolded, seemingly helpless.

Yes – people can be cruel, and we all have encountered this either first hand or otherwise.  But are we really designed to let that or those moments define the rest of our lives? No one can take away the spirit and wonder that lies within us. It might feel like it’s gone. It might feel like there is no way that you can ever escape the torment and pain that replays over and over. 

 But there is a fighter in all of us. There is strength and resilience in all of us.

Taking the first step to notice that the bindings can be loosened little bit by little bit is the most difficult but most important part of the journey. We are only trapped if we believe it. We are only helpless if we believe it. We are only useless if we allow ourselves to be. No one is going to gallop up on a white horse and rescue us! Life is not like that unfortunately.

For those of us who have not had to fight so hard for freedom from the dysfunction and wounds of time, the past and thought, empathy is a gift that all of us as sentient beings can cultivate. I found myself judging the woman on the documentary. I felt self righteous for a moment. I felt rage at her actions for her children. This was not a loving nor compassionate response. I too must work hard on having empathy for those that I don’t understand.

As I ponder the 8 of Swords and the dysfunction it can show, I truly hope that I can become a better person. A person who chooses freedom. A person who is not afraid of feeling the pain that life brings to all of us, so that I may move through it and continue to feel the sun on my face. I wish you the same..x

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