Today, we continue our work with the Artists Way and Tarot and look at a theme that I have seen over and over in artistic folks over the years: Skepticism
What is a Skepticism?
Skepticism can be defined as any doubt, distrust, disbelief, or suspicion in a belief. Julia calls this *the secret doubt and suggests that it could be the greatest barrier for any of us as we begin to live an expanded life. Many times, we chalk up our initial successes to good luck or coincidence rather than attribute it to our skills and abilities. This can be quite prevalent among Tarot readers, beginners especially. When we are right and have an incredible flash of insight during a reading, we attribute it to luck or coincidence. If we keep up such a mindset, it can sabotage us and we ourselves become our own worst enemy.
Julia states that the reason that we do this may be because we still doubt that it’s okay for us to be creative. We do not easily open ourselves up to any sort of self-nurturing. We are often reluctant to admit the possibility that the universe just might be conspiring in our favor and is actually helping us with our plans for an expanded, creative life. Instead, we sabotage ourselves by telling us that it must be only a coincidence that we read the cards correctly or that our story sold to a magazine.
Julia states that:
We’ve gotten brave enough to try recovery but we don’t want the universe to really pay attention. We still feel too much like frauds to handle some success.
I call this the “Fraud Syndrome” and it is something I’m sure many of us can relate to. I remember my first day of teaching French before a university freshmen class. I sat at the desk and practically convinced myself that I was a fraud, a fake and had no business trying to teach these people anything. I felt that I had somehow managed to bamboozle all of my professors into thinking that I could actually speak French and was qualified to teach it. Likewise, I’ve had Tarot students tell me that they feel that they are just “winging it” every time they do a reading for someone else, that they actually have no card reading skills. We’ve all been through this! In fact,skepticism still tries to sneak in the back door every now in my own work.
I sometimes think of the Fraud Syndrome as represented by the 7 of Swords. I often refer to this card as “the sneaky bastard card” because it can suggest that we are pulling the wool over someone’s eyes or getting away with something – that we should not be enjoying the success we receive because no doubt we do not deserve it. Our success was just dumb luck and we are nothing but a big old fake. This is what our mind tells us, the skeptic within.
As you work through this program and begin noticing positive changes in your life, skepticism may begin rearing its ugly head. According to Julia, we need to set skepticism aside, even briefly, and learn to approach the situation with an open mind. If you begin to doubt that your success is legitimate, spend some time examining this belief. Rather than closing the door to success, think about the work you have done to get where you are now. Realize that your internal work manifests in the external world and because you are putting in the time, your efforts will pay off. It’s time to open your mind to the new possibilities that are out there and allow yourself to enjoy the rewards you have worked for.
I see the 9 of Pentacles as a card of success, of someone who is not only successful, but also has a strong self-worth and knowledge they they deserve their success. It can sometimes help to build a bridge from where we are to where we want to be.
Take the 7 of Swords (the card of the fake/fraud) and place it in the position on the left side of the table. Take the 9 of Pentacles card and place it on the right side of the table. Now, take 2 (or more) cards and lay them horizontally between the 7 of Swords and 9 of Pentacles as a bridge as shown below – a bridge that will get you from 7 of Swords mentality to 9 of Pentacles. This spread may provide some steps that you can take to slowly move away from the skeptic mindset towards a mindset that is more self-confident. Journal the results of your reading.
Artist’s Way Exercise
Ten Tiny Changes: List ten changes that you’d like to make for yourself, from the significant to the small or vice versa (organize my junk drawer, go to Ireland, get up an hour earlier every day, etc.). Organize the list as follows:
I would like to____________________ I would like to____________________
Now select one small item and make it a goal for the coming week.
Now do that item.