A theme that’s been coming up a lot in my tarot readings lately is a (gentle) warning against sending mixed messages to the universe.
A mixed message happens when we’re clear on what we want, or don’t want, but instead of aiming our efforts in the direction we know we need to go in, our actions and energies end up spent on something completely different.
Often, when this comes up in readings, there’s a lot of confusion within the cards. The message is that the universe is waiting to help a client out, but it’s not sure exactly what to do because it’s waiting for that client to make a move, almost saying, “They’ve got to take the first step, at least, and trust in what they’re wishing for.”
Because for as much goal-setting, intention-setting, praying, chanting, wishing on birthday candles – whatever it is you do to put your dreams out there – if those dreams are within our control, the universe is going to need to see that you’re willing to take on some of the work.
As much as I would love to say otherwise, things don’t just get handed to us most of the time. We still need to work for them, even if they are part of our path.
Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where George decided to do the opposite of everything he’d ever done?
George: “My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat… It’s often wrong.”
Jerry: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”
Now, I would put good money down to bet that most of us are much more attuned to our own instincts than a character like George Costanza.
But there is something to making a change. And that change doesn’t have to be so much about swinging like a pendulum in an opposite or extreme direction as it is about doing something that is more likely to work in your favour, especially when what you’re doing now isn’t getting the results you want to see.
If you’re already clear on what you want – even if it’s just one thing, like a relationship, or a new bed, or a fresh start – you’re already tapped into your instincts. The things we dream about, the things we crave, are all pushes from our instincts – our deepest selves – saying, “Head this way. Follow this direction.”
But often, intention isn’t enough. I’ve talked before about the BIG mistake I made – one that lasted eight years long when I decided, somewhat impulsively, to give up my freelance writing career and get an office job instead in a totally different industry. But I still wanted to be a writer, and even though I wrote three books in those eight years, I was unhappy and very aware that I’d made the wrong decision.
But I did nothing to correct my course. Things got to a point where I didn’t even know how I could continue to work towards my own goals outside of the 9-5 world I’d put myself in. I was hemorrhaging energy by the end. There were many times along the way I’d thought, “You know, I could just give up writing altogether and only focus on working my job and that would that be that.”
I was scared by how much relief I felt in thinking of that, but I was also scared in knowing it wasn’t right for me.
Because it didn’t feel right. And every time I did try to dip my toes back into the freelance world with some story ideas, they went nowhere. Plus, in the back of my mind, I knew I would be under major stress to pull off a decent freelance assignment on top of my regular schedule.
While I was saying I wanted to write, I wasn’t making the time or space for it to happen. I wasn’t sending out a message that I was committed to it, and I’d done nothing to actually be able to properly invite in certain opportunities anyway.
Instead, I’d sent out a message saying I wanted a job, and that’s what I got. And once I was in that 9-5 world, I kept showing I was committed by showing up every day even though I’d long hit a point where I knew with my entire being that I wasn’t supposed to be there.
But by showing up, that was what the universe was hearing from me. That was where my actions were speaking loudest, because it was where I was spending most of my time and where I was overriding my own instincts.
So it was a big mixed message to be putting out there, especially from someone who wanted to be a writer and who had also always dreamed of being self-employed. Working 9-5 for someone else, I wasn’t giving myself much time to focus on either of my true goals.
If I’d chosen to quit my job and dive back into freelancing, well, that would have sent out a very different message saying, “I’m not just talking about wanting this. I am showing that I want this.”
A few years ago a friend (who kindly allowed me to share her story here) was talking about how much she wanted a relationship. She worked for a huge company and there were a lot of single guys, but she’d made a rule for herself that she would never date at work.
It was hard for her to meet anyone else, though, because she put in long hours at her desk and her routine throughout the week was to go to work and then go directly home. Most weekends, she would pull out her laptop and catch up on any lingering office emails, and then stay in and watch Netflix.
So her routine could feel quite nomadic: Sleep / work / stay in / repeat. Once or twice a month, she would let herself leave early and meet up with a friend for a drink after work.
Even though she didn’t want to date any of the guys in her office, they were the only guys she had a chance of talking to throughout the week, unless she had a chance encounter in a line-up at Starbucks. She’d thought about online dating, but kept hesitating – another mixed message.
“So how will you meet anyone if you’re not in a position to cross paths with new people?” I’d asked.
This is where George Costanza’s rule of opposites – really, it’s more like making a 180 – can come into play. Once my friend decided to break out of her routine, thing started to change. She started taking classes at a gym. She tested the waters with an online dating profile. She started saying yes to more social invitations and started leaving work at 5 p.m. instead of voluntarily staying late every night.
Through these small changes, she wasn’t just saying, “I want a relationship.” She was putting actions out there that helped her create the time and space for new people to enter her life, and in the process she not only started dating, but also became happier overall.
She was no longer feeling resigned to a routine that didn’t offer her much in the way of what she really wanted.
If you want new friends but are never the one to extend an invitation to someone, take a step to put yourself out there. Show someone that you want to spend time with them.
If you want to save money for a trip but spend more than you save, start finding ways to adjust your budget.
If you’re working in an industry that you don’t want to be in, start figuring out how you can make a change. Look for other jobs. See if there is a class you could take. Try to connect with someone who made a transition similar to yours and ask how they did it.
If you want to find a publisher for your manuscript but never make the time to start putting together submission packages, put it in your schedule and get to work. Saying, “I really want my book to be published one day” isn’t going to make it happen on its own.
Again, it’s not enough to simply want something. We need to show that we’re willing to take whatever steps we can towards a goal. That’s when the true power of manifestation can start to kick in. That’s when we stop confusing our messages. If you’re always saying you want one thing, but then you do another, well, the universe is going to have trouble helping you get the results you want.
And if you’re already taking steps towards something but still not feeling like it’s getting you anywhere? Start to think about what else you can do instead. What other actions can you take? What haven’t you tried yet? What are the alternatives? Where do things need to be shaken up?
When it comes to taking ourselves in an opposite direction, it’s not so much about going from one extreme to the other, like deciding one day to dye your hair pink and get twenty tattoos when no one would expect it of you.
It’s often instead about looking at what’s not working for you and trying something new. It’s about making an effort that’s in alignment with what you’re hoping for.
Want to get in alignment with your path? A tarot reading can help.