Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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Bumps in the Night – New Lessons

My father loved to rearrange the furniture in our house. The furniture would be changed so often, that you didn’t dare walk through in the dark for fear of bumping in to something that wasn’t there before. Not quite so often, but a least once a year he rotated bedrooms. There were three in the house – one for me, one for my older sisters, and one for my parents. I particularly enjoyed the bedroom in the front of the house because there was so much to see out of the front window. I could watch the neighbors come and go and the traffic that was always motoring up and down the street. The other two bedrooms were at the side and back of the house. Not nearly as much going on.

One time however, when I was happily living in the front bedroom, things turned not so happy. Several nights in row, after I had gone to bed, something or someone scratched on my adored front window screen. I hesitated to tell my parents at first, since they were not keen on my stories and always accused me of making things up for attention or to delay going to bed. But after several sleepless and frightened nights, I couldn’t cope with it any longer. I just knew something was trying to get me. I called them into my room and told them my plight. At first, as expected, they doubted my story. To my delight though, the scratching began – with them in the room! My father bolted out the door to the front of the house. A few minutes later he returned with a frond cut from the bush in front of my window. Here’s your scratcher, he said! I was so relieved and felt foolish for being so frightened over nothing, but at the time it sure felt like something to me.

A few weeks later, I heard the phone ring in the middle of the night; then my father’s hushed voice as he stood in the hall and quietly responded. I must have rationalized that it was a wrong number. No one ever called in the night. I woke as usual the next morning, but before I could get out of bed, my mother came in and sat down beside me. She explained that my grandfather had died in his sleep. My dad went there to help his mother. She said I didn’t have to go to school.

Two events. What I feared and worried about for days was nothing. The real tragedy came out of nowhere without worry, without warning. I think that’s how things usually are. We worry and fear things that never come to pass and rarely see the real monster coming. Perhaps we shouldn’t waste that energy over nothing, so we have more strength to defeat the monster when it does come.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

 

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Sunday Dinner – first published 8-6-16

In this highly charged political climate we are living in today, I have come to the conclusion that the biggest problem we face is everyone believes they are right. This belief can cause dire results and sometimes alter the course of one little girl. My parents were solid, 50s parents. They did everything the way they were supposed to, with no wiggle room. Right was right and anything else was wrong.

I was born hating the taste of meat. There is no other explanation for it. When I put meat in my mouth, I would gag. Now, my father was a butcher for most of my growing up years. He would bring home the choicest meats to be prepared for Sunday diner. The worst was roast beef. Mother would blacken the hunk of meat in an iron skillet, pour water over it to cook for a while and then, after church, add potatoes and carrots to the mix. The only seasonings she ever used was salt and pepper. On those unfortunate Sundays, I would awaken to the smell of it cooking. I knew what was coming.

When the family sat down to the table for dinner, a sizable chunk of the dreaded meat would be on my plate. It would begin with encouragement and end with threats. Throughout the whole meal I was berated, belittled and verbally tortured while I begged and cried for them not to make me eat it. After all, I couldn’t. My parents were of the mind that little girls should eat meat and definitely should do as they were told. I ate everything else on my plate but that wasn’t good enough. I was told I wouldn’t be healthy if I didn’t eat that meat. On and on it would go. My sisters would finish their meals and leave the table. Finally and thankfully my father would go and Mother would clear all the dishes, except my plate while I continued to cry. Eventually she’d take my plate without a word. This happened at least once a month for about ten years.

One day I just got up and left the table without eating anything. It ended and was never spoken of again. People all over the world were surviving without eating meat. And I could manage chicken and even pork without gagging, although I didn’t like it. My parents believed they were right and there was no other way than to have this same scenario time and time again. Over the years I have thought of this often. I can’t for the life of me understand why being right, not being open to another opinion was more important than the well-being of a child. What is right is subject to change and it has changed many times in human history. When we are so right that we can’t hear the cries of another, we are wrong.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Never Say Never – New Lessons

Several years ago I decided to get rid of my dishwasher. I have a very small kitchen and wanted the space instead of the convenience. I’ve never really regretted it. Sometimes I‘d rather not do dishes, but it is really no big deal most of the time. As I wash, I spend time looking out the kitchen window into our back yard. It is very relaxing.  We have a carport and lots trees, which entice the birds and squirrels. I can watch the spring flowers blooming, the leaves turning in the fall and most importantly, keep an eye on our outside cats.

About ten years ago, our neighbors moved and abandoned two bonded sisters. These girls are semi-feral so they aren’t too friendly to us but devoted to each other. Over the years, other cats have come and gone, but one other remained, (most of the time) so he, too makes up our outdoor family. Then this past Halloween, a black cat with yellow/orange eyes showed up, (I kid you not) so our total right now is four.

The two girls are beautiful cats. Although they are sisters, and both light yellow striped, one is big and the other is little.  The big one we call Whitey because she almost beige, and the little one is Miss Kitty. From my kitchen window, I can tell when their food bowls are low or their water needs attending. On cold days, I watch for them to come out of their (heated) house, so I can feed them quickly and they can return to shelter. I also watch for anyone who may come along to threaten them – usually another stray cat.

We have a wooden fence along one side of the yard. The fence and the carport make a perfect, dry place to feed the cats. The squirrels run up and down the fence constantly, swooping down now and then for a snack too. The cats used to chase the squirrels, but I think they are too old now to care much about them.  Not too long ago, my husband noticed one of the gray squirrels had a bright red tail! I don’t know how this happened but obviously some ancestor traveled pretty far at one time. I started watching this squirrel every day. Then one day the most amazing thing happened. I had just gone out to feed the cats, who obediently came out of their house to eat, when I saw the red tailed squirrel run down the fence and attack Whitey! It was a full on, lunge at her chest attack. Whitey pulled back with the most startled look on her face. She was more outraged than hurt. This squirrel doesn’t know the rules! The cats may not chase squirrels anymore, but in her day, Whitey was quite a hunter. I was shocked too. I’d never seen anything like that. Squirrels do not attack cats! It is the other way around! I’ve saved many squirrels and birds too over the years.

Nothing is certain in this life. If you had asked me if squirrels attacked cats a few months ago, I would have laughed and said never. Cats eat squirrels! But I saw this with my own eyes. One red tailed super squirrel just didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to do it. It is true that anything is possible. There really are no rules, no limits, no boundaries. If we want to, we can. There is no end to the possibilities if rigid thinking and stagnant inaction don’t interfere. If a squirrel can do it, surely we can too.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Running Away With Puff – first published 2012

My very first major adventure happened when I was just eighteen months old. My mother had been in the back yard, hanging up laundry and my older sisters and I were playing not far away. At some point, Mother went back into the house, telling my sisters to watch me. I don’t remember this of course. I have only been told. I don’t really know what happened. Neither did my mother or my sisters. Mother thought I was outside with my sisters. They either didn’t hear that they were to watch me or got distracted as kids will, or perhaps something more sinister – I don’t really know. They swore that they thought I was inside with my mother. Anyway, I had the opportunity to pick up our big yellow/orange tabby cat, Puff and take off out of the yard. I don’t know whose idea it was really. Maybe I was ready to get out of there or maybe Puff wanted to show me a bit of the neighborhood. However it was I was on my way. And wherever I was going, the one thing of value that I took along was a cat. A little while later Mother got a phone call from a woman who lived several blocks away. Mother didn’t really know her, although they went to the same church. She asked Mother if she was missing something. Mother didn’t have a clue what she was talking about at first. And then panic, mayhem, shouting, and hysteria quickly set in. Clothed only in a diaper, I had carried Puff (who was nearly the same size as me – I’ve seen pictures) down the street, through a busy intersection and on up the road. The woman just happened to be looking out her window and recognized me. My parents always told this as a cautionary tale to pay attention to what they told us. But I always suspected that my mother felt as guilty as she made my sisters feel. It is just so important to pay attention. You never know what might slip by (or toddle away carrying a big yellow cat) if you allow yourself to become complacent to what is going on around you. Evidently I was the only one that day that knew exactly what was going on. Me and Puff were hitting the road.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

 


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A Very Special Birthday – New Lessons

Sometime next month, our baby cat, Oz will turn one year old. This is a very special occasion for anyone, but it is especially true of little Oz. We don’t really know what day that will be. Oz was outside alone, wandering by himself at about three months old, when he was picked up and taken to the humane society. He was a lost boy whose origins and family were unknown, a stray as we say. How frightened he must have been, not to mention hungry and uncomfortable. So many strays don’t make it until their first birthday. He was fed and taken care of at the shelter, the best they could, but poor little Oz contracted every shelter illness imaginable from the other inhabitants. His eyes swelled shut with mucus. He couldn’t breathe through his nose. His ears were full of dirt and infection. Fleas feasted on his little body at will and intestinal parasites ravished his food. It is only luck that none of these were fatal diseases. He was neutered, immunized and bathed repeatedly as the humans tried to make him fit for adoption. Not yet more than two pounds.

He lives with us now. Although he could barely see when we brought him home, his gratitude overwhelmed me as he explored the toys we gave him and the soft warm bed that was his. He seemed to live as if the world suddenly became filled with gold. He couldn’t play hard enough or eat enough or purr enough. He never whined or complained in any way. Our vet was horrified when she first saw him, but with a lot of love, attention and her guidance, Oz slowly regained his health. He suffers from many psychological wounds. He is very frightened of humans and although we can love on him sometimes and he responds with gargantuan purrs, at other times he flees from us in terror, from what we cannot imagine.  He also doesn’t know how to do two things that Siamese are famous for. He doesn’t know he can jump and he doesn’t know how to meow. By the time our Thai was six months old he was jumping to the top of the bathroom door – much to my horror. Oz still just climbs like a kitten or elderly cat. He spent so much time in an isolation cage at the shelter, there was nowhere to jump. Although most Siamese are persistent talkers, Oz only makes little squeaking noises when he plays with his sister, Melody. The rest of the time he is eerily silent.

We chose the Spring Equinox, March 20, for Oz’s birthday. As we begin to see the signs of the renewal of the Earth, we will also celebrate a new birth for Oz. He’s healthy now and much loved. He has the chance to grow into the magnificent animal he was meant to be. As I think on what he’s been through – that I know of – it causes me to reflect on humanity’s intolerance of any disruption in our lives. How angry we get if the cable goes out or the lines are long at the grocery. How we complain and bicker and make each other miserable over the little things in life. Imagine for a second what Oz has endured. He did it all without any way of knowing why.  He’s a survivor, not quite one year old. He’s my hero.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Valentine’s Day – first published 1-7-16

About the only thing February has going for it (unless you like cold weather) is Valentine’s Day. It is a contentious holiday at best. I am as romantic as the next person, maybe even more so. I’ve had a few really good Valentine’s Days. I got engaged once on that day. Can’t get more romantic than that (even though the marriage was not so good). But the really memorable, romantic moments in my life did not fall on February 14th.  For the most part Valentine’s Day is designed for failure. Those who do not have a significant other, or their other isn’t so significant can be very lonely and sad while they imagine the rest of the world in a romantic, blissful encounter. Some receive the contrived and guilt driven obligatory acknowledgement. The card manufacturers do okay and flower shops, restaurants and jewelry stores. There are definitely some people who spend that day celebrating their love for each other. I think that is the key to saving Valentine’s Day. Why is it limited to romantic love which is oftentimes fleeting? Everyone loves someone – their mother, daughter, grandfather, grandson, uncle, best friend, treasured animal friend, co-worker, the list is endless. And why should we stop there? We shouldn’t of course. Imagine a day set aside to express love for all beings on the planet! Imagine no greeting cards, just true expressions of caring and support! There has been a trend of late where many people have begun to widen the circle of those they include in their Valentine tribute. I say we keep that going! Maybe we should start a movement proclaiming Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers but for love! One loving act on that day from each of us would change the world.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Garage – New Lessons

Shortly after my parents were married in 1938, my father’s uncles, began building them a house. My parents ended up living in that house their entire married life of over fifty years, so my sisters and I were raised there. It was a nice, well-built home with a basement, and a one car garage beside the house. My father loved his cars. They were always garage kept, serviced and cleaned religiously, and gassed every Saturday night. I am sure (although I wasn’t born yet) that Dad’s car at the time, fit perfectly in that little garage where everything was neat and tidy – tools and such. The problem was that over the years, cars got bigger. By the time I was born in the 1950s Dad had already removed the garage door to accommodate longer cars. I can remember the dilemma that plagued him every time he got a new car. Will it fit? Tools and lawn equipment were eventually relegated to the basement. There was nothing on the garage walls at all. Soon, by the 1960s, we had to squeeze out of the car through barely open doors. Eventually Dad began stopping the car outside for all of us to pile out, before he parked it in the garage. Not long before I moved out in 1972, he fixed something at the front of the garage that the car could lightly tap and he would know it was in as far as it could go.

Isn’t it funny the lengths we will go to accommodate things as they are? I mean, why didn’t he tear the garage down or at least remodel it to make more room? I know what he would say. He would say he couldn’t afford such construction. That may have been true at first, but in later years, I think he could have managed it. For fifty years he fretted over that garage, worried that his cars would be damaged and drove us crazy. I guess it was better to deal with the garage the way it was, than make any major change. After all he was used to it, and the challenges and concerns it brought. Maybe, deep down he even liked them.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”