Eudaimonia, according to Princeton, is a “contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.” While Aristotle would tell you that it mean “striving toward excellence based on one’s unique talents and potential.” Both are fabulous thoughts, right? I mean who doesn’t want to be in a contented state? However if I examine that old wily Greek’s words a bit more, I see a stumbling block.
Um, excuse me, Mr. wiser Than Athena’s Owl Philosopher Man, doesn’t strive mean WORK? You mean I gotta work to be happy? I just knew there was a catch, dang it. What’s that, Mr. Makes Robes Look Good? You don’t mean work when you say strive? You mean “try really hard and focus on the goal” striving?
Well why didn’t you just say so? Sheesh! Some people’s ancient Greek philosophers!
Joanna Powell Colbert posted that on Twitter. No, not all of that… just this bit:
Today I am practicing eudaimonia”!! “striving toward excellence based on one’s unique talents and potential.”
JPC’s blog is one of those I hit frequently. Sometimes I go to reread an older post because I need to be reminded of something. She, like Lisa Hunt, explores her world and personal vision through art. I love diving into her pictures to see what new thing I can find. I also follow both these talented women on Twitter (along with a whole slew of others). Very often I will read something from someone that sparks me.
Joanna’s eudaimonia twitter sparked me. No. I don’t think sparked is right. Set ablaze. Engulfed my spirit in creative flame. Set me on fire! What a world it would be if we all practiced this concept of Aristotle’s — this eudaimonia. Of course, you know me, I immediately saw a wealth of questions in this 140 character Twitter from Joanna.
Because, after my donkey moment about striving being working, I had to wonder what my unique talents really are? And potential? Sure I have potential but where would it be best applied? I have one or two irons in that proverbial fire, donchano! This Tarot business. My writing career. My day job in tech support. My going-back-to-school self.
So if I agree that I have unique talents (and I do), then maybe I “might should” figure out what they are. And more importantly, maybe I should get a handle on how to focus on those talents so I can reach that fabulous place of excellence that old Mr. Fancy Robes says my potential and talents can get me to.
So I knew I wanted to learn about my talents and how to focus those. I also knew I wanted to know about this elusive thing my mother used to worry about me wasting — that potential thingamabob. I did what you probably predicted. I designed a spread.
The first three cards represent three of your talents. These may be talents you know you have like ice skating or they may be hidden talents you need to explore like soothing savage beasts with your violin playing.
The cards next to them show you how you need to focus those talents. Consider this what you need to strive towards, if you will.
Then the potential cards are next. Here the Universe gets a chance to play the role of nagging parent where you are told what you are good at and what you need to haul out of the back of your “closet.” You know this routine. “Jane! Why don’t you volunteer at the soup kitchen? You are so good with making people feel better.” That sort of nag! Pay attention, please. You really don’t want to make the Universe have to repeat the message do you?
I didn’t think so.
That last card is the BOO-YAH card. Say that out loud and say it proud. BOOOO YAHHH! I can’t hear you! Louder! Now don’t you feel empowered? You earth signs who are saying you feel a bit silly, go sit over there. When you feel like playing with us again, you can come back. Remember that interview with Rachel Pollack where you commented about playfulness? Well? So we are being playful.
Ahem. Sorry about that other people who were happy to yell BOO YAH with me. So as I was saying, this is the card that shows us the contented state we are striving for. Those of you with heavy Fire or Air influences should not be surprised if you get a card that indicates you are most contented when multi-tasking. Remember that a “state of contentment” is not the same for you as it is your partner or best friend or whomever. Bliss for me is contemplating my toenail polish while sitting in total silence in a Japanese garden (okay or floating on the bayou in a canoe.) I happen to know that would drive quite a few of my friends insane.
So this last card is what your personal state of contentment is. If you violently disagree with it, take some time to explore why that is. Could it be there is a kernel of truth hidden in that card any way?
Because this is a very long post, I will do my own personal Eudaimonia Spread in a separate post in a day or two. Stay tuned!