The Card of the Day: The Knight of Swords

 “Slow down.”


The Knight of Swords is an ambitious man. He is always striving to prove he is a successful adult. No matter how much he achieves, he can't seem to be happy or rest. The only thing he knows how to do is push ahead. Once he has completed his objective he doesn't even know how to absorb it. He is already rushing ahead to the next task, driving himself mercilessly to win, hoping that someone will acknowledge his value through deeds.

Are you rushing through life? Do you stop to savor successes you've already achieved, or do you rush ahead to the next task?  Do you feel guilty about resting when there's so much to do? Do you cram your day with so much activity that you feel drained and depressed?

The Knight of Swords reminds us that this is no way to go through life. In fact it is downright harmful to your health. In this card's imagery, the horse represents our physical body. The horse is uneasy, anxious, tight, and trying to outrun his rider. The horse looks back at his master with an expression that says "Seriously, you want me to run faster?!" The Knight brandishing the sword represents the "cruel master" within. That nasty voice that tells us to shut up and keep going, even when we feel we are going to drop.

Our culture glorifies suffering through work. When someone says you are "a hard worker," that's almost as good as being one of the troops! "She worked until the day she died," is another one of our highest honors. But is your tombstone really going to be inscribed with all the hours you heroically put into your job? Is that really an authentic encapsulation of what you amount to? Our country has the highest death rates for stress related illnesses. Why don't we allow ourselves a siesta like other healthier countries? Is it a sin to have more "vacation time" than one paltry week a year?

Today, you must take responsibility for your own health and wellness by actually scheduling relaxation. No one is going to say "Boy he needs a break, let's make him take one!" Working toward achievement is marvelous, but as with everything it needs balance. The Oracle at Delphi had a saying that guaranteed a satisfying life. "Nothing too much." That includes work, activity, play, food, drinking...everything!

Slow down today. Turn off the phone and take a relaxing walk or sit in the yard for twenty minutes. Stop being a slave to clocks, demands, emails, texts, televisions, and social media updates. You aren't living a full life if you are constantly cracking the whip across your own back to achieve. Balance work with rest today and your body will thank you.

Elliot Oracle