Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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Guilt (first published October 2012)

Sometimes I think we are born feeling guilty. I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t things to feel guilty about. Like everybody else, I have a long, long list. The one at the top for a long time though was missing my grandmother’s funeral. My first husband and I were on vacation in Mexico. I knew when I left that Grandma wasn’t doing very well. She had been in a nursing home several years and was near her 90th birthday. But there didn’t seem to be any imminent danger. While in Mexico, I succumbed to “Montezuma’s revenge”. Oh I wasn’t stupid enough to drink the water, but I didn’t think about the iced drink in a little cantina we stopped at for dinner. Ice comes from water. The hotel doctor did what he could but I was very ill. During one of my worst episodes, my mother called. She told me that Grandma had died. My brain was barely functioning, but I told her we’d come right home. She insisted that there wasn’t any reason for me to do that. There was nothing I could do and I should just stay and enjoy the rest of my vacation. Well I wasn’t enjoying my vacation but I did decide to stay – mostly because she insisted that I do. I might have made a different decision if I hadn’t been so sick. I felt weird that I was not at home with my family. That weirdness quickly changed to guilt. I worked myself into a major guilt trip for not being at the funeral. When I got home, no one seemed upset that I hadn’t been there. Everyone understood. I knew I’d missed an important milestone event in my family and I was truly sorry for that. But the guilt did not go away. I felt I’d let everybody down – especially my grandmother. It took years before I was able to understand that I hadn’t let her down. Grandma wasn’t there either.

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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New Lessons – Lily’s New Seat

Our kitty friend, Lily is almost seven years old.  Over those years she has chosen her territory in the house; where she likes to sleep, which window she prefers to look out, and the food bowl and litter box she chooses to use. Being a Taurus, she is rather consistent in her preferences and doesn’t like her routine changed in any way. For almost thirty years, I have sat on the left side of the couch. I don’t know why I chose it to begin with, but no other location offers the same relaxation and convenience to me. A few months ago I noticed Lily sitting in front of the couch and staring at me while I enjoyed my usual comfy spot. This was not her way. She usually slept on the foot stool or snuggled in beside my husband, Ben. It was a bit unnerving having her stare at me like that. After several evenings of this, I mentioned it to Ben. He had noticed that as soon as I got up to go to bed, Lily curled up in my spot. (I am always the first one to leave the couch.) For the life of me I couldn’t figure this out. Why the change in behavior? It only got worse. Instead of just sitting and staring, she began approaching the couch and scolding me, clearly wanting me to move. Since I adamantly believe cats should be indulged in all things, I finally moved over to the center of the couch. Lily triumphantly sprung to my old spot. There are definitely disadvantages sitting there. It is not as easy to reach the side table, where my phone, glasses, TV guide, and glass of water are, but I can reach them. The other side of the couch belongs to Ben and I would hate to uproot him too. It’s not awful sitting in the center though. It offers a little different perspective of the room and I am square in front of the TV. The big plus is a warm, purring kitty by my side with her feet pushing against my leg. Maybe I should have changed seats sooner.

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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Magic – New Blog

Some time ago a woman came to see me. I don’t remember how she got my name. We must have had an acquaintance in common.  She said wanted to talk to someone about metaphysics.  On the phone, as I remember, she was cordial and seemed sincere. So I agreed to meet with her and answer whatever questions I could. Or at least steer her in the right direction, depending on her interests. We met at my house, in my office. She wasn’t here but a few minutes before I began to suspect this was an inquisition. I learned long ago that arguing with someone about spiritualty is a pointless endeavor. No one’s mind is ever changed and why would I want to? What someone else believes is none of my business. So I remained courteous and vague and tried to get through the meeting. Finally at one point she pointed to my bookcase and shrieked, “you even have a book on magic right here”! What? I looked where she was pointing and sure enough there was a book with large letters that said “Magic” right down the spine.  After a few moments of shock, I muttered that she was pointing to a cookbook! She made a hasty retreat, clearly not believing me. Ok, we all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case it was very literal. The book belonged to my mother-in-law. She collected cookbooks and we inherited quite a few after she died. The only magic associated with it was what she could do in the kitchen. Ordinary ingredients indeed turned into magical creations.  People are just too complex to make snap judgements about their character, but we do it all the time; by what they wear or have in their possession, where the live, how they talk or what they believe and especially their ethnicity.  It’s not a good idea. If the book is never opened you will miss out on all the yummy treats inside.

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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Dad’s Workbench first published 2014

My father had a workbench in the basement of our house. It was a large space that took up a whole corner. After supper every night when he couldn’t be outside, he would disappear downstairs to his tools and saws. I was never allowed to touch anything connected to the bench – which had multiple drawers and cool looking stuff hanging all around. They told me it was dangerous, and I suppose it was. He wasn’t a carpenter or craftsman. He spent his days in a grocery store, owned by his father. My father was the butcher and the store was known for his expertise. But he didn’t like the job. It was hard work in those days, lugging huge sides of beef around and standing all day, cutting up and packaging meat. My grandfather was not a generous employer and there was a lot of friction between them that I was not privy to. Dad worked six days a week, twelve hours a day. He never had a vacation in the seventeen years he did this. I used to beg to follow him to the basement. I promised to sit quietly and just watch what he was doing (an empty promise for a chatty child). He finally relented one day and from then on I was his companion in that forbidden place. I couldn’t see what he was doing that was so important. He messed with his tools, sorted his nails, sawed boards in half, and cleaned out drawers. A few times he used his big saw to cut out a wooden doll, just for me. But what I did see, was a different man from the stressed, angry, disciplinarian he usually was. He was kind and gentle and happy. I often wished he and I could stay there forever.

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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New Lessons: Melody’s Eccentricity

I might as well come out and say it. Our beautiful kitty friend, Melody is different. I don’t know if she has always been this way or if it was something we did.  Since we’ve had her from babyhood, it must be our fault somehow. I don’t even know how it started.  One morning I was putting on my makeup at the bathroom mirror and felt some activity at my feet.  I looked down and Mel had her head stuck in the cabinet, licking the spilled toothpaste from the tray where it’s kept. She wasn’t going for the brushes (thank goodness for a lot of reasons), but was enjoying herself immensely with what had oozed out into the tray. I wipe the tray clean on a regular basis, but on this day, I confess I was a couple of days behind. I couldn’t believe it. I called Ben to witness the event and he admitted that he already knew her little secret. I guess he was just afraid to mention it, thinking like I was that there might be something wrong with Mel. Cats aren’t supposed to like toothpaste. I’ve known a lot of cats and never have any of them shown the slightest interest in it. What did this mean? What could it mean? Should I call a doctor? A kitty psychiatrist? I analyzed it carefully. It wasn’t a danger to her and as a plus, her breath was minty fresh. She only did it when the cabinet was already open so there was no demand on us to be constantly opening and closing the door. It made her happy and satisfied and she was sort of spending time with me instead of being off and aloof somewhere. It didn’t hurt anyone else.  So, Melody is different. She does something that maybe few, if any, other cats do. I just can’t see anything wrong with that.

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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New Lessons:Winter Blues

This time of year is not my favorite. I don’t anxiously anticipate winter sports or snow days that keep me trapped indoors for days on end. After a recent cold snap I was thinking about this. Other people seem to have no aversion to the cold and in fact get practically giddy as the first snowflake of the season falls. Perhaps they didn’t have my experience of walking to school as a child. Yes, this is going to be one of those “I walked ten miles in snow drifts over my head stories”.  Actually I walked maybe fifteen blocks in my town. In elementary school there was no problem. The school was only a block and a half away from home, but middle school was a different story.  The middle and high school campus was on the other side of town. My father was at work by 6:00 a.m. and my mother didn’t get a driver’s license until I was in high school (a story for another time). So I walked. First of all, life was slightly different then. Girls had to wear dresses to school. I was a pre-teen age girl. There were things that I would do, and things I was never going to do. I was never going to wear pants under my dress. I was never going to wear knee socks, a hat or gloves. For some reason, buttoning a coat wasn’t cool either. Thankfully book bags came in style in my era but huge notebooks and heavy textbooks were also the norm. Secondly, because I wanted to be just like my sister, I chose to play her alto saxophone in the band. I had to carry it to school each morning and place it in the band room for her to use for class.  The sax was heavy and the case weighed as much or more than it did. It slowed me down considerably. I would have to stop and switch hands every few steps and I often visited the lobby of the post office (about the halfway mark of my trip) to warm up and regain feeling in my hands. Basically I was freezing and miserable. So I have subconsciously linked this association of unhappy winter walks to school to anything to do with winter.  I’m sure my mother volunteered to call other moms to get me a ride. I could have chosen a light weight clarinet, my other sister’s instrument, to play in the band and drag to school every morning. I could have traded vanity for a warm hat and gloves. As I look at it now, winter had very little to do with my dilemma. It was my own choices that made the difference. I suppose it always is.

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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Catching Your Prey (first published 2012)

Living with two kitty friends who are polar opposites of one another offers many opportunities to observe the different approaches they take at just about everything. Thai for example, jumps at anything that moves. Sometimes he gets what he’s after, but more times than not, he misses and ends up falling flat – his prey rolling away and out of his reach. This does not seem to faze him though. He just moves on to something else. Lily on the other hand, studies her prey – even if it is a non-moving object like a paper wad on the couch. She’ll watch it for a while and then just before she strikes, her eyes go dark, she squints and lunges. She never misses. She never falls or looses her prey. She’ll play with it until she tires of it and then take a nap. This characteristic may have more to do with her being a Taurus than a cat, but nevertheless it is very effective. Perhaps if we go through our lives just jumping at one thing or another, we never really accomplish what we’re after. We could get hurt, definitely get frustrated and sometimes lose sight of what we wanted in the first place. I think it might be better to be watchful and observant – mindful of what is going on around us. If we wait for the right opportunity and stay focused on our goal, it is always obtainable. It may not turn out to be what we wanted after all, but like Lily, we can play with it for a while and then take a nap.