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...know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run...

Now, Kenny Rogers wasn't talking about oracle cards when he sang "The Gambler," but he was certainly talking about life. The song opens with two strangers brought together for a moment in time, presumably one older and one younger. The older man offers the younger one advice in exchange for a swig of his whiskey as he can tell that the young man is lost (lost is the best word that comes to my mind as it can be applied theoretically in a large number of ways). As the greenhorn hands over the last of his whiskey & bums the man a cigarette, these simple words of wisdom manifest.

"You gotta know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
know when to walk away,
and know when to run.
You never count your money
when you're sittin' at the table,
there'll be time enough for countin' 
when the dealin's done."

In my opinion, the analogy to holding, folding, walking away, and running speaks for itself. We all have had to make decisions about risk: consider the pandemic as an obvious example. "Count your blessings," a well known saying in the Midwest, is intended to remind us all that we have so much to be thankful for. It does not actually mean - to count them - because each and every one of us has too many to actually count (whether or not you can see that at the time is up to you). Counting anything, especially money, tends to cause entrapment into the material world...the realm of comparisons...the capitalist consciousness...and does nothing but leave the human psyche feeling unfulfilled because counting means that there could always be more of something. Thus, the warning to avoid counting your money until you're done playing the game. When your body fails, when this incarnation as a human being comes to the end of its journey, you will have the opportunity to reflect and take inventory. What lessons still need to be learned? What karmic debts need to be paid?

"the secret to survivin', is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep."

Kenny's next verse is like a piece of advice from my Reiki master, Laurie: keep what resonates with you & discard what does not. If we keep "the cards," (the information, the words, the pain, behaviors, patterns, thoughts, material items, energetic ties, relationships) that do not align with our selves or the manner in which we want to live our lives, then it serves no other purpose than to bring us down. To lower our vibration. To cheapen our experience. To degrade and erode our self-worth, our power. Truly, our society as a whole could use this lesson right now. Instead of feeding the things that do not resonate, we should release it from our psyche - from our aura. Cut those energetic ties. If we hold onto it, continue to flow energy into it, it continues to fester.

For example: the goal of cancerous cells is to grow and divide. In order to do that, they need more the body increases the blood flow to that area. The more blood flow, the more nutrients & energy are available. The more proteins they have, the more quickly those cells can repackage the proteins into DNA, then the more quickly they can divide, allowing growth to become exponential. You can see how feeding the negative, feeding that which is detrimental, will cause a cancer that mechanisms to maintain homeostasis cannot keep up with. That cancer, if not removed, spreads throughout the body and causes surrounding tissues to fail, eventually leading to death of the physical body.

"'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser."

We all have the same opportunity to create our future with the decisions we make, the thoughts we allow, the feelings we cultivate, and the actions we take. Our mindset can foster growth or it can contribute to suffering. The choice is ours to make. In the end, one thing is certain: our human bodies will fail us sooner or later. We have all been faced with our own mortality and, generally, most would agree with Kenny's next thought:

"The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep. "

It is during sleep that our unconscious mind can freely connect, receive, reconcile, and more easily access the astral plane. It is a time that our conscious awareness no longer interferes with our unconscious knowing and the experiences of our higher selves. "The veil is the thinnest," as it is said. The next verse of the song follows the gambler as he falls asleep and breaks even as he walks away from the table and into the great beyond.

When I began writing this post, I didn't know that it was going to turn into a song analysis, I was just trying to think of a catchy title. In doing just that, Kenny Roger's lyrics whispered echoes of the wisdom that I have been working to integrate. These lessons are those that I have been learning...and also what I have known in my heart all along. Part of my awakening has been learning a new vocabulary; the words to explain an intangible internal landscape.

So - speaking of cards - as part of our guided meditation last Sunday, I drew oracle cards for the participants. Each received their own message to provide insight to their inner selves or guidance for their journey. I also drew one at the beginning of the session to help set intention for the meditation. Consistent with the time of year and the donation driven nature of the experience, the card that came out for us was called "offering" and focused on gratitude.

Sometimes I just have to giggle when things present in such alignment and serindipitous synchrony. In my experiences, the cards have never been wrong, even if we are unaware of how it fits at the moment. However, the premise remains the same: take what resonates and release what does not. Yet, I am consistently in awe at the workings of the universe (I mean, why wouldn't I be?!). When drawing cards for others, I also always draw one for myself, so I would like to share the one I received on Sunday:

The guidebook for Native Spirit Oracle Cards by Denise Linn provides this insight:

Grandfather Sky
Card Meaning: This is your time to reach for the sky! Expansive energy, vitality, health, healing, and passion - these qualities are expanding in your life. The sky's the limit. You are a healer and a channel for the life force of the Universe. Your ability to sense energy fields is increasing dramatically. Be prepared to soar to new heights. 
Your Native Spirit Wants You To Know: When you receive the Grandfather Sky card, you're entering into an expansive cycle. Do not hold back and repress what you feel; your body and spirit will become drained. If you strive to meet everyone's expectations, but forget to honor your own needs, your energy field becomes dull. If you allow your emotions and needs the freedom to be spontaneously expressed, waves of incredible energy will expand inside of you. Running on your own resources, it's easy to become drained; however, letting the divine light of the Creator flow through you easily replenishes your Soul.
The Journey: To deepen your connection to Grandfather Sky and bring an expansive energy into your life, stand outdoors with your arms reaching up to the sky. One of the fastest ways to bring joy and bounty into your life is through gratitude. Allow thankfulness to surge through you up into the heavens.

For me, this message resonates greatly because it is consistent with all of the other messaging that I have been receiving. It aligns. It speaks to my struggles, the inner work that I'm doing, and my desire to trust the Universe while stepping into my power.

It reinforces that which I already know.

Linn, D. (2015). Grandfather Sky. In Native Spirit Oracle Cards (pp. 54–55). guidebook, Hay House.

Rogers, K. (1978). The Gambler [Song]. On The Gambler. United Artists Records.

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