Okay, okay, everyone stop what you’re doing right now. Put down the pastry or po-go stick or small child you’re holding and listen to this.
I am freaking the fuck out, mmkay.
And not because Oprah or Spielberg called to deliver contracts for my movie rights.
I am freaking the fuck out because I just had my Tarot cards read this week, all right. And boy was it a doozy. Like the kind of doozy that makes you write blog posts about while you listen to the hum of a washing machine as three little angels sleep in their beds instead of passing out from pure exhaustion covered in stickers and macaroni noodles.
That’s right. The kids are asleep, the kitchen’s clean, and I’m ready to get into this shit.
But before I take you on the epic quasi-acid-trip that was my tarot reading, I’d first like to point out a couple of key details to this story.
I have never had my tarot cards read in my life.
I have never had interest in having my tarot cards read in my life.
I still don’t know what a tarot is.
But I think it’s a small animal of some kind.
In the past week I have discovered “Bumble Bizz,” a much cooler side of the classic dating app Bumble. I’d never noticed it before, but I swiped over to find one million professionals of all kinds of industries at my swipey little fingertips. Way cooler than trying to make a myriad of Steve’s, Chad’s, and Tyler’s more interesting than they actually are. Oh, your profile says you’re 6ft1, how fascinating!
I switched over to the Business side and quickly adjusted my profile to read “Seeking Ted Talks and Brain Gigs. LMK if you want to make my book into a movie” and began the ol’ swiperoo.
Within minutes I’d found a potential new student for my weekly writing class, neuroscientists that I wanted to interview for my podcast, and a lovely woman who was offering discounted Tarot readings.
Who doesn’t love a discount, amiright?
I guess the last time I’d heard the word ‘tarot’ was in the movie Ghost. I think there were tarots in that movie, right? Maybe it was just Whoopi Goldberg doing a séance when Patrick Swayze shows up and says she’s full of shit.
Well, as curious as I may be, I definitely didn’t believe in spiritual mumbo-jumbo like tarot cards any more than I believed Beatle Juice would show up in my livingroom if I said his annoying name three times.
But for whatever reason I right-swiped on this Tarot Reader and quickly messaged her to tell her I was game. We exchanged numbers and I picked my favorite coffee shop near the Brooklyn Museum to meet up in broad daylight. No dimly lit basements or side alleys for me, okay, I’m not a moron.
So I get to the coffee shop early and set up shop with a little notepad to record my thoughts pre-tarot. Here I am waiting to have my future told! I scribbled. I’m so excited! Although I was skeptical about the whole thing, I was still excited to hear thoughts on my life. It was way better than getting catfished, I decided.
A lovely Latina-looking woman roughly my age greeted me and I was immediately drawn to her energy, literally, I got out of my chair and squished around the crowded tables to give her a hug. She looked like a friend I’d known for years, or maybe in a past life, if I believed in that sort of thing, which I probably didn’t. But she was just so adorable.
We walked through what the cards did and didn’t do…
They can open up channels within you.
They cannot predict your future.
They can reveal things on your mind or in your life that you’ve been suppressing.
They cannot tell you when or how you’re going to die.
I was a little fixated on the death thing, probably because it’s that time of year and it would be so cool to know the year in which I’m finally allowed to shed my gooey human body and fuck with all my friends and enemies as a ghost.
She asked me to shuffle the deck in any way I chose. So I scrambled them around for a good minute or so, repeating back to her that the cards do not actually predict death.
Then she placed the deck to my left and gracefully pulled them to the right of the counter, making a perfect line between us. For some reason I expected her next move to be to pull one randomly from the deck and shout, “IS THIS YOUR CARD?” But she didn’t. Instead she asked me what I wanted to ask the cards.
“Ask them?” I clarified.
“Yes, ask them something you’d like to work out in your life that you are unsure about right now.”
“Ask them…ask them…” I hadn’t really prepared any questions for the session. I kind of thought she’d be doing all the work. “Oh, I got it! Can I ask them about my art? I want to know…like am I going to be successful at my art actually or am I just going to be a flash in the pan and not be relevant at all?”
Yes, it’s been weighing on me. Since releasing my first memoir and discovering it behind a ladder this week in Barnes and Noble, far from any wandering eyes to possibly find, I’ve been wondering if I’m truly going to become the author I want to be.
Do you guys know how many books there are in the world? Just think about that for a second, okay. Just think about how unlikely it really is that my little blue-green cover will make its way out of the slush pile of J.K. Rowling’s, Roxanne Gay’s, and apparently, Tim Tebow’s.
Yes. You guys. Tim Tebow is even writing books now. Or he pays someone else to and gets his face plastered all over them. And he gets his own fucking table at Barnes and Noble.
Where is the justice in the world, hmm?
New York Times Best-Seller?
Can somebody explain to me what the actual fuck is going on here?
All right, I’m calm.
Back to the cards.
She asked me to pull three cards with my left hand. Why the left hand, you ask? Yeah, I asked about that too. I forgot what she said but it was something about the heart’s connection to the brain. I’ll look it up later.
I pulled them a little apprehensively, after all I didn’t want to come this far to pull shitty cards. I’d just asked if I was going to be a best-seller or toil into a career as a has-never-really-been. I chose the cards one at a time, making sure to pick the first ones I laid my eyes on and not second-guess myself.
Here’s what I pulled:
“The Master in Zen is not a master over others, but a master of himself. His every gesture and his every word reflect his enlightened state. He has no private goals, no desire that anything should be other than the way it is. His disciples gather around him not to follow him, but to soak up his presence and be inspired by his example. In his eyes they find their own truth reflected, and in his silence they fall more easily into the silence of their own beings.”
”The master welcomes the disciples not because he wants to lead them, but because he has so much to share. Together, they create an energy field that supports each unique individual in finding his or her own light. If you can find such a master you are blessed. If you cannot, keep on searching. Learn from the teachers, and the would-be masters, and move on. Charaiveti, charaiveti, said Gautam Buddha. Keep on moving.”
She explained: In order to be successful at my art, I need to be the Master of it. 10,000 hours, all that shit, mmkay. I didn’t tell her I was a writer or a comedian but she told me whatever my art was, I need to take it seriously and get. to. fucking. work. I need to live an breathe it. Why? Because I’ve got “disciples” now, all right. I’ve got people gathering around me listening to what I have to say. And not only that. What I say, or as the card would tell me, what I don’t say (i.e. “silence”) is helping others understand who they are. Holy fucking shit, you guys.
Also: Can we just talk about the Sanskrit word “charaiveti” for a second? I had to look this up, but when I did my brain literally walked out of the room for a smoke break that’s how overwhelmed with emotions it was, okay.
Chara = moving
Eva = alone; only
Iti = Thus
It is said that Buddha concluded his sermons with “Charaiveti, Charaiveti”, or “keep moving, keep moving,” which is part of a larger phrase:
“The honey bee, by its motion, collects honey, and birds enjoy tasty fruits by constant movement. The sun is revered, by virtue of its constant shining movement; therefore, one should be constantly in motion. Keep moving, keep moving on!”
If you need some context as to why I’m flipping out right now, which you likely do: I am so constantly in motion my parents literally say “that one, she’s always moving, always got her hair on fire.” So for me to draw this card which is to become constantly in motion and to become the master of my art so as to inspire others, well, I’m shook to say the least.
Let’s charaiveti, shall we?
I also pulled…
Clinging to the Past:
“The figure pictured in this card is so preoccupied with clutching her box of memories that she has turned her back on the sparkling champagne glass of blessings available here and now. Her nostalgia for the past really makes her a 'blockhead', and a beggar besides, as we can see from her patched and ragged clothes. She needn't be a beggar, of course--but she is not available to taste the pleasures that offer themselves in the present.”
“It's time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn't been so busy clinging to what you have already been through. Take a deep breath, put the box down, tie it up in a pretty ribbon if you must, and bid it a fond and reverent farewell. Life is passing you by, and you're in danger of becoming an old fossil before your time!”
She interpreted: I’m literally obsessed with my past. Which is also to say, I’m obsessed with my trauma. Again, she didn’t even know about my book, my brain, or any of the other shit I’m currently not working on with a trained medical professional like I should be. She told me I need to “let it go.” Whatever “it” was that I’ve been holding onto, I need to get that old stuff out of my face.
My thoughts: No. Fucking. Shit. If you didn’t know, I spent four whole years reliving and rewriting my trauma into a memoir that is now sitting proudly in the front window of a least 1-2 Barnes and Nobles in Brooklyn where I have strategically placed them so as to not be sandwiched between Arthritis Pain 101 and Heal Your MIGRAINES Now on the very bottom row of the book shelf.
Honestly, I’m glad I spent four years clinging to my past. It made me tough AF and ain’t nobody can tell me shit. Why? Because resiliency that’s fucking why.
But the cards are right. I have to let it all go now. Which isn’t to say I have to pretend it didn’t happen, but it’s time for me to truly move on, move on, dear traveler.
Should I still tour my book and comedy and use my brain injury to promote my identity as the most adorable and funny brain-injured chick in all the land? Abso-fuckin-lutely. Should I toil with every book sale and allow myself to linger in yesteryear? Nope. Not. Gonna. Do. It.
I also pulled…
“These three women are high in the air, playful and free, yet alert and interdependent. In a trapeze act, nobody can afford to be a little bit "absent" even for a split second. And it is this quality of total attentiveness to the moment at hand that is represented here. We may feel there are too many things to do at once, but get bogged down in trying to do a bit here, a bit there, instead of taking one task at a time and getting on with it. Or perhaps we think our task is "boring" because we've forgotten that it's not what you do but how you do it that matters.”
”Developing the knack of being total in responding to whatever comes, as it comes, is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Taking one step through life at a time, giving each step your complete attention and energy, can bring a wondrous new vitality and creativity to all that you do.”
She interpreted: I have to focus. Just like a cast member in Cirque du Soleil, I gotta be on the ball and never take my eye off that same ball. I have to be the ball, okay. She also said when I am The Master and I stop Clinging to the Past, then I will have totality. I will be in the moment and I will thrive.
My thoughts: Yeah, I’m a hummingbird and my hair is on fire like all the time so yeah, you know what I do get distracted. I experience these flow or “total” states when I’m writing. I literally forget to go to the bathroom or eat or drink for like eight hour increments, it’s insane. But I’ve got too many damn balls floating around.
And try not to laugh at that, okay, I’m trying to be serious here, you guys.
If I were a juggler I would suck right now and Cirque du Soleil would surely blacklist me from every future circus gig. I need to focus. I need to zen. I need to take some shit off my plate like right this very moment.
So if you’re reading this, that’s me telling you that I’m going to take a tiny pause from my podcast, Mimi and The Brain, for about a month, just to get my little zen head back on my neck for a minute.
Don’t worry! I’m not going anywhere, OK!
And if you are itching for some prime Mimi content might I direct you to like…everything else I’m doing right now. Including but not limited to my very fun and very dramatic book that is available right the fuck now, Fam!
Anyway, this post is getting long. And if I were to walk you through every single card we pulled with my questions like:
Is there anything holding me back from being successful?
Will I truly find love? And
Should I let someone else be responsible for my art or produce it solo?
I think I’d end up with a full-blown book proposal so we’re not going to do that, okay?
But I will leave you on a couple juicy bits and some emotional aftershock to stew on for the next month while you’re waiting for more content from me.
I asked the deck more about pursuing my writing and I got Past Lives, a card which says in all of my past lives I encountered a choice to pursue a thing, or not and to regret it like a loser the rest of that life. My Tarot Spirit Guide said that every life I’ve lived before* I haven’t pursued it. Which is why leaning into my identity as an artist is so hard in this life.
*What do you guys think, hmm? Former Prime Minister of India? A carpenter in Renaissance Italy? One-armed juggler in 1930’s Chicago? Hit me up with your best predictions of my past lives! WHAT A FUN GAME I JUST MADE.
As you knew I would, I also asked the deck if I would find love or remain an old dusty hag with lots of dogs and a cabin all for myself. Which doesn’t sound so bad minus the dusty hag part.
I got the Schizophrenia, Morality, and Sorrow cards. Sounds promising, right? Well, actually it kind of is.
“The person on this card brings a new twist to the old idea of "getting stuck between a rock and a hard place!" But we are in precisely this sort of situation when we get stuck in the indecisive and dualistic aspect of the mind. Should I let my arms go and fall head-first, or let my legs go and fall feet-first? Should I go here or there? Should I say yes or no? And whatever decision we make, we will always wonder if we should have decided the other way.”
”The only way out of this dilemma is, unfortunately, to let go of both at once. You can't work your way out of this one by solving it, making lists of pros and cons, or in any way working it out with your mind. Better to follow your heart, if you can find it. If you can't find it, just jump--your heart will start beating so fast there will be no mistake about where it is!”
She explained: When I go on dates, I’m kind of two-faced. I’m not being my truest self. And guys can see it a mile away. They are so good at spotting my two-facedness, in fact, that not one of them has seriously approached me as a romantic possibility in over a year. What does the deck Have to say about my future as that dusty dog lady, you ask?
Well…then I pulled:
“Morality has restricted all the juice and energy of life to the narrow confines of her mind. It can't flow there, so she really has become 'a dried-up old prune'. Her whole manner is very proper and stiff and severe, and she is always ready to see every situation as black and white, like the jewel she wears around her neck.”
”The Queen of Clouds lurks in the minds of all of us who have been brought up with rigid ideas of good and bad, sinful and virtuous, acceptable and unacceptable, moral and immoral. It's important to remember that all these judgments of the mind are just products of our conditioning. And whether our judgments are applied to ourselves or to others, they keep us from experiencing the beauty and godliness that lies within. Only when we break through the cage of our conditioning and reach the truth of our own hearts can we begin to see life as it really is.”
She said: In order to find love, I need to let go of that desire to hold back my true self, the master, totality, all that. I gotta quit being such a dried-up old prune. OK, so she didn’t say that, but how goddamn hilarious is that?
I think: This card is spot-on. I don’t have any jewels around my neck but I’m pretty sure I’ve been pretty stubborn lately when it comes to dating. And like my new schizophrenia diagnosis, I have to quit hiding my full self from these dudes. Otherwise…
“The image is of Ananda, the cousin and disciple of Gautam Buddha. He was at Buddha's side constantly, attending to his every need for forty-two years. When Buddha died, the story is told that Ananda was still at his side, weeping. The other disciples chastised him for his misunderstanding: Buddha had died absolutely fulfilled; he should be rejoicing. But Ananda said, "You misunderstand. I'm weeping not for him but for myself, because for all these years I have been constantly at his side but I have still not attained." Ananda stayed awake for the whole night, meditating deeply and feeling his pain and sorrow. By the morning, it is said, he was enlightened.”
”Times of great sorrow have the potential to be times of great transformation. But in order for transformation to happen we must go deep, to the very roots of our pain, and experience it as it is, without blame or self-pity.”
She said: Yeah. You better get your shit straight or you’re gonna be in peril, Mimi. Whoopi said it best:
This seemed grim, but she actually told me I’m about to find love, like the real kind. She told me I’m going to meet the man of my dreams and have everything I’ve ever wanted. The catch? I’m going to go very on-brand and freak the fuck out about it which will lead me to this lovely card of a man weeping uncontrollably. And that just doesn’t really sound fun for me, personally.
So: I can pursue the man* of my dreams but only if 1) I’m being my most authentic and awesome self and 2) I chill the hell out
*I’m not going to be dramatic…but I did meet a super cute guy at a party this weekend. Have my dusty old prune days come to an end? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT.
Okay, okay, I’m going to talk about two more cards followed by a story, mmkay?
Next Question: Am I gonna be OK? i.e. “listen you little deck of cards I have seen some shit and I really want to achieve all these awesome dreams so am I going to or not?”
“When we are truly in a spirit of adventure, we are moving just like this child. Full of trust, out of the darkness of the forest into the rainbow of the light, we go step by step, drawn by our sense of wonder into the unknown. Adventure really has nothing to do with plans and maps and programs and organization.”
”The Page of Rainbows represents a quality that can come to us anywhere--at home or in the office, in the wilderness or in the city, in a creative project or in our relationships with others. Whenever we move into the new and unknown with the trusting spirit of a child, innocent and open and vulnerable, even the smallest things of life can become the greatest adventures.”
She told me: There’s this story of this guy who asks his guru what he should do to be happy, OK. And so the guru is like yeah sure go to this mountain. And there aren’t like planes or even like boats really he has to travel all across the world, literally swim the Pacific or something to get to this mountain. Twenty years this guy is trying to get to this fucking mountain. Along the way he meets the love of his life, has some crazy stories, all this stuff. But he gets to the mountain, all right, and it suuuuucks. Literally the mountain is dumb and he hates it. But then he looks back at his twenty-year journey and he’s like okay it’s not so bad I did all that cool stuff on the way here.
My thoughts: Wow I would hate to be that guy right now. But what a cool story. And so perfectly intertwined with my life and my constant pursuits to find the next best thing but never really enjoying the moments that get me there. “Drawn by our sense of wonder into the unknown?” Oh hell yeah. Let’s go find that lame-ass mountain!
Question asked next: What are my best qualities?
“Moment to moment, and with every step, the Fool leaves the past behind. He carries nothing more than his purity, innocence and trust, symbolized by the white rose in his hand. The pattern on his waistcoat contains the colors of all four elements of the tarot, indicating that he is in harmony with all that surrounds him. His intuition is functioning at its peak. At this moment the Fool has the support of the universe to make this jump into the unknown. Adventures await him in the river of life.”
”The card indicates that if you trust your intuition right now, your feeling of the 'rightness' of things, you cannot go wrong. Your actions may appear 'foolish' to others, or even to yourself, if you try to analyze them with the rational mind. But the 'zero' place occupied by the Fool is the numberless number where trust and innocence are the guides, not skepticism and past experience.”
Guru said: I have the ability to continue trusting, loving, and existing even when bad things happen to me. I am “foolish” in that I have an aura of innocence that allows me to bounce back from the past in a way that others cannot.
Me: At this moment in the session I was ugly crying. Why? Because the cards were right. The cards knew. They knew that I’ve been hurt by others and betrayed by my own body. They knew that on a daily basis I foolishly forget all the pain I’ve been through.
The card goes on to say:
“A fool is one who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it.”
”Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don't try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, here-now, as if just born, just a babe.”
”In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you...let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you.”
”And each time you don't allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized.”
At this point in the session I had to blow my nose. Which my guru was totally cool about. I explained to her in vague terms why I was crying and that it was true, I’m resilient because I am not burdened by my traumas, I use them to get me places.
Now for the final story.
I’ve been carrying on my week like normal, despite having been totally shaken by the truths told to me by a deck of cards I’d never even heard of before. I went to work like normal, did a few after-work social gatherings, and continued to stalk the shelves of every bookstore I could find for my book.
But something crazy happened tonight.
I went to go see A Star is Born with a friend, ugly cried, as was predicted, made a trip to the eye doctor for some new contacts and glasses, met a complete stranger at a coffee shop who grew up in Colorado, is a writer, teacher, and probably my new best friend…but the weirdest thing happened when I was reading my copy of my own book on the subway home.
I got to the part where I get a little humbled and deep. No spoilers, but I talk about feeling lucky that I’m not disabled, dead, or blind.
I went to my first eye exam in three years earlier today. And aside from being that idiot that wears a single pair of contacts for six months until they literally rip themselves out of my eye sockets, my eyes are fine.
I have some double-vision in the corners of my eyes still. Mostly just in the morning or if I look at something really fast in that upper left corner. Do you understand how fucking lucky I am?
I woke up from brain surgery seeing double and sideways. Are we on the same page now?
I closed my book on the end of this chapter right as the subway doors opened and began sobbing. All of a sudden I remembered. The Fool remembered what I’d been through and all of the sudden that was very heavy.
I ugly-cried myself the two blocks home while calling my mom. As I slowly puttered down the street leaving puddles of eyeball goo behind me, bodega owners and taxi guys on the street started shouting at me “What’s wrong, Baby? What’s wrong?” It was like reverse catcalling, it was kind of awesome.
But I kept walking, telling my mother that I was probably just overly emotional because of Bradley Cooper but also that I almost died four years ago and I kind of thought that was a lot to process.
I hadn’t realized in that teary phone call, but my brain was lining up all the information from the tarot cards and delivering them in real time. This wasn’t just some random thing I did. I’d opened up a window into my soul.
Added bonus? I got this all for $30.
Talk about a mind-fuck.
Well. That’s all I have for you this…morning? It’s currently 2:32AM as I’m wrapping this lil’ puppy up. Which I guess makes me The Master of Writing.
And also really fucking tired.
Charaiveti, charaiveti friends, I’ve got some REM cycles to attend to…
Editor’s Note: The cards used in the Tarot session were called “Osho Zen” Tarot cards and reflect the teachings of Osho, an Indian spiritual teacher who died in the 1990’s. During his lifetime he was viewed as a controversial new religious movement leader and mystic. The descriptions for each card were pulled from a site I found online that appear to be from a book published from Osho himself. I do not know the credibility of this source, however the descriptions found on the site matched what the Tarot reader said to me.