The Tower Card, how cataclysmic change can bring about transformational growth.
In the Tarot the Tower card represents cataclysmic change. It is a symbol of something that happens in an instant, after which everything is changed forever. I think of it as an aha experience, a powerful paradigm shift.
My first experience with the Tarot was in college. My friend read my cards and predicted a horrible event. She said that sometime in the next three years my boyfriend would be killed in a red car and that it was undecided but that I might suffer the same fate with him. She went on to say that if it didn’t happen in the next 3 years then we had avoided the accident. Pretty intense for an 18-year-old to hear. I had no previous experience with psychics or Tarot. I thought it was just a story; I owned a red car at the time which I traded in for a beige car the next year.
When I was 20 years old I had a profoundly difficult experience.
The man I saw as holding my future in his hands was killed in a car accident. We had a fierce argument the night before he died. Silly, ridiculous, unnecessary mean words with stomping off…. I left to visit a friend in another state the next day and was not with him when he went off-roading in his red truck that he had just bought several months before. While away I had decided to take him up on his desire to get married and create our life together. When I returned my Dean of Students told me he had been killed. As you can imagine, I was in shock.
In one weekend I went from seeing my beautiful life in my imagination going on into infinity of joy and happiness to seeing nothing but eternal gray and all of that future falling off a cliff into nothingness; a powerful mini-internal cultural revolution.
How I incorporated this experience into my worldview is what could be interpreted as transformational. My innocent belief in the perfectness in the world changed into an understanding of my own strength to weather the im-perfectness of the world.
First, re-entering the world to develop a new view of my future required forgiveness of myself and my boyfriend. Forgiveness of myself for the things I said just before he died. Forgiveness of him for dying and leaving me.
Second, I had to make sense out of this bizarre change in fate. I incorporated the concept that life is connected. Recognizing that the fight we had may have been what saved my life – I would have stayed and been in that truck if it had not happened.
Third, I had to understand the experience such that I could trust enough to love again without or at least through the fear of loss, with an understanding of the impermanence of life and the permanence of love.
I have written about how we should try to learn from joy and that suffering isn’t required for growth. I have written about how we don’t need to look for adversity to teach strength to our children that adversity will find us regardless. This is an example of adversity finding me and teaching strength. It happens.
For me it was the connection to the joy and the desire to create positive meaning out of the experience that was transformational, not the horrible event.
How we choose to respond is what allows for the transformation – that is where the issue of choosing joy, and forgiveness, and seeing the figure/ground perspective is useful. The transformation is to reconnect with a deeper connection to oneself and one’s internal strength with increased wisdom.
I read this and I sound like I am always going for the positive and it is true but don’t be fooled there is a place for aggressive protectiveness too. It’s the focus on the positive within yourself that keeps you sufficiently connected to observe true evil that must be eradicated when identified.
I invite you to look at your own adverse experiences and see what wisdom you have derived from them. If it is something that makes you less strong then look at how you can re-frame and reorganize how you incorporate the truth of that event.
It can help you to change your relationship with your own power so that you can change how you teach about power to your children.
See you tomorrow.
March 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm
Your posts this week show that you and I have almost identical viewpoints. I just thought you were leaving out part of it before. Go for the positive while watching and defending against the negative. The laws of nature, physics and human behavior show that if you let things slide too much they will always slide to the negative. Yes, life is a struggle… but the better you get at it the more enjoyable it can become. Teach that to your children. Lord knows there are enough people trying to tell them it should be easy and automagic.
March 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Well how cool is that!
March 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm
It’s very cool to see that someone else thinks pretty much the way I do. It also illustrates that it takes more than a little communication to start understanding someone.
March 10, 2010 at 6:48 am
I agree it takes a lot of honest interaction and discussion to get to understanding. Your comments have allowed for increased understanding and development of these ideas.