Pondering in my post-exam relief, and in a flash of spirituality, I blew the dust from my tarot cards last night and picked one. The issue in my mind: what do I think of medicine as a career for me, and will I actually become a doctor?
I ended up being so amazed at what resulted that I thought I’d share it here. I simply picked one card and interpreted the complementary narrative with regard to me and my situation, beliefs, and thoughts.
The commentary accompanying the card reads as follows:
'What we call love is really a whole spectrum of relating, reaching from the earth to the sky. At the most earthy level, love is sexual attraction. Many of us remain stuck there, because our conditioning has burdened our sexuality with all kinds of expectations and repressions. Actually the biggest 'problem' with sexual love is that it never lasts. Only if we accept this fact can we then really celebrate it for what it is - welcome it’s happening, and say good-bye with gratitude when it’s not. Then as we mature, we can begin to experience the love that exists beyond sexuality and honors the unique individuality of the other. We begin to understand that our partner often functions as a mirror, reflecting unseen aspects of our deeper self and supporting us to become whole. This love is based in freedom, not expectation or need. Its wings take us higher and higher towards the universal love that experiences all as one.'
Sometimes, at first glance, these narratives seem rather obscure. Nevertheless, with a bit of laterality and an open mind, they can often become quite clear. Here I’ll explain how I believe this card applies to me.
In many ways I could describe my rapport with medicine as a love-hate relationship: I was attracted to it superficially at age eighteen, it was good looking, but it wasn’t until much later that I took another look and saw the grey, the wrinkles, the blemishes. I don’t mean this with scorn or regret, simply that I was young and idealistic, with no real experience or knowledge of life or the world. Even now, I am full of doubts about the future. Even so, we medics all made a decision at a tender age that would shape our entire future. We are always attracted to things in the first instance by their appearance. I still am more keen to buy a book if I like the cover. Obviously, if something is ugly to us, we are repelled. But what we want is to pursue the thrill we get from looking at that item, to develop it and surrender to our animalistic lust. But this polarity plunges me between satisfaction and uneasiness like a clocks pendulum, the tick amplifying with every swing.
Conditioning for me represents parental influence. A medical degree is of social advantage to one’s parents! If anyone were to be devastated should I not become a doctor, it would be my parents (you can’t blame them really). I resent the social implications of not finishing a degree: having a BSc makes me ponder my new potential and ability to finally finish my education: I am so sick of assessment. Although I am determined to finish my degree, I can’t deny the temptation of deserting. My current temping job with a marketing company is refreshing enough alone without the thought that a decent qualification is on its way. I just don’t want to be shot for cowardice.
So sexual love never lasts. It dies away, fading thrill. We all become impotent one day. Does medicine no longer do it for me? A combination of dread at the challenges of the next two years, the hardest of my life, combined with the satisfaction of a degree, intermixed with the lure of resting on my laurels feeling very pleased with myself floods over me. Call me old, but the idea of a salary and a mortgage seems quite nice – especially when weighed against two more years of tuition fees, rent, loan and overdraft.
So perhaps this is my epiphany. If I realise I have fallen out of love with medicine, perchance I can continue relax and enjoy it during the good times as normal, but not worry when feeling caged, unable to stretch my wings, and simply enjoy the possibilities out there that there are for me should I choose to pursue them.
Moreover, I can give medicine a bit more respect. Sometimes I resent it not for what it is, but for those medical traits I see in myself that I despise. It is always easy to blame someone else, but the truth is, when you take a good look inside, a fair amount of blame can usually be discovered within. Why shouldn’t I be able to join forces with medicine, instead of struggle against assimilation? A merger, not a takeover. A mirror, highlighting what is good and valued, not that I do not wish to become. The key here is it is all based in freedom – when I realise the door to the cage has never been closed at all will I be able to admire it, as opposed to bemoaning the bars. In this way I will realise it has never really been a cage at all – more an incubator sheltering a trembling hatchling.
So whether it’s a lover’s tiff or an acrimonious divorce, this period has been one of reflection and analysis. I cannot say with any conviction that I would ever quit medicine – but I’d like to imagine I might not spend my career wholly as a doctor. That certainly makes those clouds on the horizon seem less ominous and more bearable.
I was amazed by the pertinence of this card I chose. It is not the first time these cards have cut straight into my consciousness, and I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who ever feels that a bit of guidance wouldn’t go amiss. The key is interpretation – they can be about whatever you think they are about. You will be surprised at the explicitness your own subconscious.