Book Review – Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People by Jessica Leigh Levin

You might be surprised to see a review of a “business book” on a tarot site, but there are specific reasons why I’m doing that here. Firstly, this book firmly straddles the line between business and self help/self improvement and that makes it relevant to many people I do readings for. Secondly, as you’ll read below, Perfect Pairings has changed the way I think and will certainly influence the advice I give to some of my clients.

perf5.000x8.000.inddI was originally going to preface my review of Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People by Jessica Leigh Levin with a disclaimer, saying that the author is a personal friend of mine (in fact, she gives me a shout-out on page 80!); however, I realised that being a friend of the author put me in somewhat of a unique position to add something to my review that I think is particularly important. You see, this isn’t a book containing armchair theories and “pipe-dreams.” I know from personal experience that Jessica practices what she preaches – she lives her life as a “connector.”

You’re probably familiar with “networking,” the technique of meeting people at events, etc., and finding out how those people can help us and vice versa. Connecting, as Ms. Levin describes it, is an alternative that can yield extraordinary and far-reaching results. Here’s an example of how the connector mindset works: I may be talking with someone, either in-person or online. I will be thinking of someone in my network who might be able to help this person meet their challenges, or I may be thinking of someone in my network who might benefit from the experience or expertise of the person I’m talking with. On the surface, it’s a very selfless act, but there are hidden benefits to the connector, as the author describes.

I always think that one of the signs of a great business or self-help book is that it gets you thinking about things you can do yourself, and Perfect Pairings is a perfect example of this. On almost every page I found myself thinking of parallels in my own life and how I could put the techniques and suggestions in the book to immediate use (and the book has inspired me to actually follow through with that); in addition, Jessica helpfully ends most chapters with an action item that pretty much anyone can do. The book also reassured me that, while networking is often an extrovert’s game, connecting works well for introverts too.

While Jessica started writing her book with the intention of it being a “business book,” she soon realized that the connector mindset could be a benefit to many aspects of one’s life, and so the book is full of great advice for not just making business connections, but personal ones too.

In conclusion, this is an easy-to-understand, practical, life-changing book that can benefit almost anyone.

Purchase the book from Amazon using the links below:

Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People (Paperback)

Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People (Kindle)

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You Are “The One”

As I write this, it’s about a week before Valentine’s Day, and many people are thinking about love right now. Those with partners may be planning something they could do for their special someone to celebrate – maybe take them out for a meal, buy a gift, etc. But those without a partner may be, quite frankly, sick of the whole thing, as Valentine’s Day seems to just be there to rub their noses in the fact that they are single and would rather not be.

L'Amoureux

Detail from L’Amoureux from the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille

It will probably be no surprise to you that quite a large number of people who come to me for tarot card readings want to know about matters of the heart. They may want to know whether they will find love soon, or if the person they are currently with is “The One.” When I do a reading for someone, I’m reading them – I can’t really predict random things from some random place in the universe, or tell you about someone you nor I have ever met. Unless there’s something you can do to influence the situation, I probably can’t help you. What I can do, however, is help put you in a better position to find that person, or help you see whether you’ve found “The One.”

A very good friend of mine recently shared an article about relationships on Facebook, and it prompted a very interesting discussion. Like many people – indeed many people who were involved in that discussion – my friend has become disillusioned with dating, especially online dating, following a disappointing run of bad dates, no-shows, etc. She has decided that she’s “retiring” from that scene. I don’t blame her – in fact, I think that’s the best thing she can do right now. She’s an amazing woman and one day, the right person will realize that.

A couple of comments in the discussion really resonated with me. One woman talked about how she had heard many stories of women who had stopped looking for “The One” and decided to focus on themselves and their own happiness and suddenly found themselves in love. What she said next was really profound, and I use her exact words here (with permission) since I couldn’t put it better myself:

Sometimes, I just think we try too hard to find The One, forgetting that really, WE ourselves are The One.

The reason these words resonated with me was that they completely echoed my own experience. I wasted way too many years “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I spent time in bars, clubs, trying to date women at work, etc., and while I had some dates and even some short relationships, they were not satisfying. When I say “wasted” perhaps that’s a poor choice of word, because I always try to stress that there’s no such thing as a bad experience, it’s just experience and it goes to shape the person you are today.

It was only when I decided to stop the nonsense and concentrate on me that things happened. Almost magically. Once you start working on you, on your personal growth, you pretty much are guaranteed to become a more interesting person. And interesting people are very attractive!

In my case, I was fortunate to stumble upon someone who was in almost exactly the same phase at the same point in life as I was. And this March, we’ll be celebrating 16 years of marriage.

Time For a Tarot Reading?

watch imageSometimes when I’m looking for ideas or inspiration for a new blog post or business direction, I’ll turn to social media to see what’s being said about tarot. It can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, but occasionally a gem will appear. Doing such a search on Twitter a little while back, I found a post from someone who said she thought she was going to go get a tarot reading the following week because “it felt like it was about time.” I’ve been on Twitter a long time and I’m guessing she was probably bombarded very soon after with messages from tarot readers offering to do her reading. I was not one of them. I just felt like reaching out to her and saying that I would hope any decent reader would likely tell her that she’s wasting her time and energy getting readings under those circumstances and to go out and make her own destiny!

In my experience, treating tarot like a game to play when you’re bored, rather than using it as a tool when you have important decisions to make, usually results in frivolous answers… which will probably bore you even more. Don’t get me wrong – you’re not going to somehow wear out the tarot deck by getting readings like this, but you could become disillusioned with tarot, which would be a great shame. That’s one reason I’m not keen on reading tarot at parties or similar events. At a lot of parties, the presence of a tarot reader is quite exciting, and many people will want a reading. The trouble is that a lot of those people won’t really know what questions to ask because they’re not at a stage in their lives where they need to make a big decision (which is, in my opinion, the best time to get a reading).

When someone is first learning tarot, it’s common to want to do many readings. The temptation to read for oneself, for all one’s friends, for celebrities or even for fictional characters (it happens!) is huge. And in itself, it’s not a terrible thing. But some people take it to extremes, especially when reading for themselves, and a dependency on tarot can be the result; a situation where someone can’t make their own decisions without asking tarot, almost like asking permission to do the smallest things. And that’s not a good thing.

Thankfully, and largely because of the way I present my reading style, most of the people who come to me for readings do so when they have big life-decisions to make. It probably costs me clients, but I don’t regret taking my approach at all. Come to me for a reading when you’re ready, not when I’m ready.

 

(Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The Death Card – Will I Die?

One night, I stayed up all night playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. – Steven Wright

I love Steven Wright, but I always cringe just a little when someone repeats his joke on Twitter – and it happens a lot! It plays into the hands (excuse the pun) of those who are a little afraid of tarot cards. As I have been known to say: There’s nothing magic about tarot cards; they are simply paper, paste, and some pretty pictures in ink. The magic is in our heads.

La Mort - DeathA little while back, a potential client was enquiring about a reading, and made a bit of a joke about avoiding the “Death” card, because (and I’m paraphrasing here) while he knew that having the “Death” card come up in a reading didn’t always actually mean death, presumably it could mean death, right?

The way that my readings work is to give you information to empower you. My aim is always to enable you to write your own story. This means that really the only way that the card we call “Death” would represent physical death is if you were engaged in risky behavior that might lead to your demise if you didn’t do something about it. I would assume you’d want to know about that! The truth is that this card, depending on the context, can have many meanings. Sometimes it means making a “clean sweep” and discarding something from the past and moving on into the future. Sometimes it can mean divesting yourself of toxic “friends.” Just the other day, I had “Death” come up at the conclusion of a reading about a relationship; knowing that it would worry the client, I pointed out that in this context, my interpretation was that if something did not change, the likely result would be that the relationship would end. I was delighted when my client got back to me and said they had already done something about it, and the situation was much better.

So, my recommendation would be to stop seeing the “Death” card as a “bad card” and maybe start seeing it as a wake-up call or a card of opportunity.

How Can a Tarot Reading Be “Empowering?”

Directly underneath my website’s title “Tarot Readings by Graham,” I make the following bold statement:

“No-Nonsense, EMPOWERING Tarot Card Readings”

Empowering

I have discussed the “No-Nonsense” part of this statement elsewhere within my “Musings” section. But how about the “EMPOWERING” part? Can a tarot reading be empowering? If you are a believer in fate, then a tarot reading will surely just predict what’s going to happen, right?

Well I for one do not believe in a fate that’s set in stone. I do believe that some things are meant to be, for sure; but I think that for the most part we can shape our own fate. Which is a very good thing – life would be very boring if everything was completely mapped out for us.

One way that tarot can help with the future is by showing you what is likely to be the result if you continue to take the path you are currently on. That way, if you don’t like where you’re headed, you can do something about it.

When you come to me with a question, no matter how “fuzzy” the concept is, I will always try to phrase it in the form “What’s the best way for (your name goes here!) to achieve (insert goal here)?” or similar. No beating around the bush with vagueries. By asking questions in this direct way, what I will come up with during our reading is something that you can actually do.

And that is empowering!

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