Five of Cups

I’m on vacation this week, up at our family’s camp on Lake Carmi.  This place always makes me think of the Tarot, as it was here that I first learned to read the cards.  Though it’s been over a year since I’ve had time to touch a deck, I love the early morning reflection of a daily card, especially here where the world is peaceful and beautiful (and everyone else sleeps in).

This morning I drew the Five of Cups, which is an unusual card for me.  It’s about regret – looking at what you’ve done and wishing it had been different.  This is totally foreign to my personality.  On the rare occasions I’ve seen that card – most often in readings for other people, I have focused almost exclusively on the two full cups in the background.  Don’t dwell on the past!  I point out.  There’s so much more to see and do and LIVE than the three spilled cups – look around and find the joy instead of the sorrow.

But this morning I think the other aspect of the card is speaking to me, and reminding me not to gloss over the mistakes and regrets, but to allow myself to experience and feel them.  I’m here in this beautiful place with my family, and I’m not connecting with them as deeply as I would like.  I’m relaxing, reading, swimming daily with my awesome daughter – but I’m nothing but irritated with my mother and I’ve barely had a conversation with my brother and Steve is ready to tear his hair out with boredom.  The card is reminding me to do better.

Similarly, on the oboe (you knew it would come back here, didn’t you?) I have never been one to obsess over a past mistake.  I observe the problems, in the moment, and then move on.  This is an excellent way to stay focused on the present and avoid making more mistakes during the concert I’m in, and I have known people (students, mostly, but pros as well) who are nearly crippled by a miss.  They keep thinking back on what went wrong, and analyzing, and worrying, and I cannot be bothered with that kind of energy. 

HOWEVER,  I can see how my attitude might cause me to become complacent about errors.  If I don’t worry about the things that have gone wrong, I might not spend the necessary effort to keep them from happening again.  For my practicing purposes, a little more GUILT about the previous night’s concert would probably do me good.  I might work harder if I felt that I was climbing out of a hole I’d dug instead of skating along on the surface.  I’d surely be less apt to let the problem happen twice. 

So I thank the Tarot for pointing this out to me this morning.  I have a few more days of vacation to enjoy with my family, and a lifetime of great oboe work ahead, and it wouldn’t hurt me to allow a little more regret into my consciousness every now and then.