BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
2016 is a fresh start. Regardless of who you are, we all want one. We all want to feel as though we can become better, fiercer, happier versions of ourselves. Last year was a particularly rough year for many, both personally and globally--the horrors are too many to name. They have so many names--all the shootings, pointless deaths. Tamir Rice. San Bernardino. Syria. Israel.
This year has started on a strange note--it began with mercury retrograde (from January 5th to January 25th), which means that there are going to be setbacks and communication errors most of this month. That also means miscommunication galore is going to give your new year a stressful start.
So, I decided to pull a Tarot card out of the deck for 2016, to get an idea of how to live better, of where we're collectively headed, of what's brewing. I pulled the King of Swords. At this point, you're probably thinking: What does that mean?
The King of Swords is part of the minor arcana; it indicates that there is a powerful, stubborn, and opinionated person (or thing!) in your life right now. It is typically thought to be a man, but obviously, this doesn't have to be the case. It could be a woman, a job, a family member. This represents an obstacle in your life--a situation or person that doesn't want to groove the way you groove, or isn't leading you in the right path. You feel askew. Lost.
When it comes to work, there may be someone you don't vibe with too well. Instead of thinking this person is just a horrible, stuck-up jerk--think about why the relationship feels sour. This card indicates that you need to evaluate why you feel this way--are you being sensitive? Do you just speak a different language? You probably have the same intentions, but need to think well of the other person. Give them the benefit of the doubt, learn their "language." We all speak and act differently, it's important to remember this, because this will always be problematic if you think everyone is on the same verbal page all of the time.
Of course, when it comes to your love life, the King can represent a beloved who is opinionated and stubborn. This person doesn't want to change. And neither, of course, do you. No one really does. This person can be hard to deal with, but isn't that also part of the reason why you love them so much? This means you have to make a choice: Do you accept this person for who they are, flaws and all? Or do you run? Running is not always a bad thing--maybe you just aren't compatible for each other. You come first, and you need to protect yourself from being trampled over. Conversely, of course, differences in a relationship spur growth, and sometimes, being brave and allowing yourself to change can be transformative in its own way.
But then, there's always money. Money is what makes the world tick, right? Getting this card means that you aren't in charge of your finances, and there's a lot of messiness that needs to be taken care of. That being said, it's also a good time to donate, even if it means you're donating your time. Be generous--what you give will come back to you.
For you to be the best you, that means you have to be the healthiest version of yourself you can be. Educate yourself on what foods to eat, what kind of exercise you may like. Go to the doctor, but don't just take a doctor's word as face value--be a skeptic and an active participant. It's your health, after all.
Of course, we all know to live a full, happy life means you have to be content with yourself. Which means you need to seek out alone time. Schedule a date, a vacation, a writing retreat for yourself. What do you actually want? It's so easy to get bombarded when you have a full-time job, kids, relationships, and family strife to deal with. Try something new, whether it's yoga, a workshop, a class, a dating app, a book. Anything. This is the year to let yourself grow, because there's that giant elephant in the room, and you need to let it out.