The NINE of SWORDS is a powerful image that most of us can relate to: Being kept awake at night by worries, regrets, the overwhelm of all of the things we need to get done, should have done, should have said, or shouldn’t have said. It’s the remnants of the argument we got into with someone, painful memories, jealous thoughts, imagining what others are saying or thinking about us, dreading a conversation we need to have with someone… It is also about all of the hurtful things we tell ourselves and all of the ways we doubt ourselves.
Yep, this is a heavy-ass card. But one I have a lot of heart and compassion for. I look at the person in the card (could be me) and I want to walk into that room and gently put my hand on their heart, and ask them to lay back down, take a deep breath, and simply observe. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking a deep breath and re-focusing our attention on something else, but with this card, the thoughts are winning this battle and there is nothing left to do but let it pass.
I like to think of it as crawling into a foxhole and waiting it out, imaging the out of control thoughts as bullets flying overhead. My only job is to lay low, so as to not get shot or braised, and wait. It may be a sleepless night or an afternoon of laying on the couch staring at the ceiling, but as long as I’m not trying to engage with the thoughts by fighting them, or surrendering to them, I know that they will pass and I will be able to crawl up out of that hole much sooner than if I give them my energy.
The swords are thoughts, nothing else. Thoughts are our interpretation of truth. As soon as something becomes a thought, it is not entirely truth because it goes through our personal filters and perception. So this is a great opportunity to observe our own perception and filters. We have a choice not to suffer in this moment.
Try this: Deep breath. Hold your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your left cheek. Another deep breath. Close your eyes and repeat.
(Thank you don Miguel Ruiz for teaching me this beautiful exercise)