Paper Towers and Invisible Walls
I have to tell you a secret.
I used to despise doing freelance graphic design. At first, it took me a long time to even realize I didn't like it. There were many times I felt anxious about an upcoming project. So I procrastinated or even cried or got angry without fully knowing why. They only increased when I finally correlated my unhappiness with my freelance work. I felt happier doing my fine art, so I decided to cut it off altogether and focus on my fine art.
...But the powers that be had different plans.
You see, even after taking virtually all of my graphic design work off the internet I was still getting freelance work. People just kept finding me, and I had a hard time saying "no" to extra cash. The day I finally started telling potential clients "no" to freelance jobs was the day my spirit guides practically bopped me on the nose and said I wasn't finished doing it yet.
So I listened to my guides, even though I still felt unhappy doing design work. It got to the point where I became overwhelmed with anxiety from the amount of freelance work I was doing. I had cabin fever and at the behest of my husband, we went for a walk at a local park.
Nature is an amazing tool for inflection. As we quietly strolled through the park, I could feel my anxiety pull towards the surface of my skin, yearning to escape—or perhaps Nature herself was pulling it out of me? I concentrated on my breathing and began to do my best to release the tension. We wandered over to a beautiful park bench by a river and I sat and began to inflect and meditate. It was at that time I realized graphic design was not the problem. I was the problem.
At that bench I listened to the wind rustle through the spring foliage and began to inflect on the true origins of my unhappiness. I found my unhappiness lied not in the skills, but in how I did not valued them enough. I was focusing too much on my fears of my client's dissatisfaction and not focusing enough on my own limits. I was too busy fretting over irrational fears of negative feedback than I was about my own boundaries.
I was building paper towers when I should've been building invisible walls.
I think everybody has what I'd like to call "paper towers". They're beliefs built on falsehoods or incorrect interpretations of other ideas, situations or circumstances. I best associate them with the Tower card in my Rider-Waite deck. The Tower card (for me anyways) represents a karma card. It can be an intimidating card to look at, but on the same token it can actually a good card. It represents karma and a towers built on false notions (the ego, selfishness) crumbling. In a way, it reminds me of the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. As you can see at the top of the card, the Roman Numerals "XVI" appear at the top, which in numerology represent the number 5—a number of chaos and change (both good and bad).
The Tower card can be a good card because when it appears in a reading, it is an opportunity to start anew. It represents a situation that may feel like chaos in the temporary, but from a long-term standpoint it causes us to inflect and build our towers on more virtuous foundations. Basically, it shakes things up so we can build better, stronger empires.
At the beginning of every year on New Year's Day (or New Year's Eve) I give myself a tarot reading and ask what my future holds for that year. For my 2016 reading, the Tower card showed up smack dab in the center of my spread. Indeed, at that present time it did feel like chaos, as if my world was being upheaved. But it caused me to inflect and be honest with myself about my beliefs. We had just moved and I was upset from the shock of moving so far away from my home and my friends. It was a hard time, but I am better and more stable now because of it.
In this case, my paper towers were my frustration with graphic design. It wasn't graphic design that was the problem, as I originally thought. It was the lack of invisible walls I was putting up. For me, boundaries are like invisible walls. We're not blocking people from seeing who we are when we put up an "invisible wall"—we're letting them know not to cross a personal boundary. Surprisingly, not a whole lot of people know how to do that.
The moral to the story
I guess the moral to the story is once we are willing to inflect and be honest about how we feel and why we feel a certain way, we can start setting boundaries. Once we learn to set boundaries, we start to respect ourselves more and enjoy life in ways we couldn't before.