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The 5 of Pentacles & Spiritual Lessons Learned from Snow-Shoveling

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This week may have been the week of the “Snowpocalypse That Never Was” in the media, and people complaining about how the press and the people making the decisions overreacted. Me? I’m firmly in the “better safe than sorry” camp in that regard. Even my card of the day for the start of the storm was the 5 of Pentacles… I was tending to agree with the weathermen that the storm would be as bad as they said it would be.

My day job’s office was closed, and I had plenty of editing work I could do from home. My commute at 8:30am was from my bed to my kitchen table. I was warm, the coffee machine was a mere 5 steps away, and I had my red pen. I was working with my pjs on. I really couldn’t complain.

At noon, I took a break from my editing for some manual labor: removing the snow from my car and digging out. As I went outside, I had another reason to be thankful: the wind. Though it was blustering around, and it made it much colder than it could be, the wind was also helping to do the shoveling work for me, and the pile next to the driver’s side tires of my car was much more manageable because of it. Another small blessing was laid at my feet, and I wasn’t going to waste it by complaining.

As I shoveled, I looked around. It was very quiet. I took stock of the other cars on my street and noted that many of them were still covered over. I looked at the car behind me. Also not shoveled out. As I worked, I cleared the snow at the back of my car and the front of the person’s car behind me. More so than I would have done normally. All of it, in fact. Because it was one less thing for that person to have to do now, and besides, I was already outside shoveling. Better I took care of it now then shovel out only myself and wait for the un-shoveled snow to turn to ice and become unmanageable to the other person.

I cleaned out the front of my car. And then more, tackling the snow pile that had formed from the plows going by earlier. I took some breaks, but mostly I stayed outside until the job was done.

When I came back inside, my mother commented to me that she was about to send a search party after me. I said simply, “I was able to do more shoveling than I thought. So I did.”

As I shoveled, I learned some valuable lessons about business, spirituality, and how I want to conduct myself in the world in general.

  • Do the work. Not much further explanation is needed there, besides recommending the myriad of Steven Pressfield’s books on the subject, such as The War of Art, Turning Pro, and Do the Work.
  • Complaining only serves to slow you down. As I said, it was quiet outside, but as the time went on, people started to emerge from their houses. I heard some of my neighbors complaining to each other they were boxed in, that the snow had been plowed too tight to their cars, etc. Did the complaining change the situation they were in? No. Only doing the work can change your situation.
  • When you want to volunteer to help, do so at the start of the project, and not at the end. One year after a snowstorm, I was shoveling out my car. There was at least a foot of snow that fell, and I was 3/4 of the way done. Just a little bit more of the front of my car, and I could drive myself out of the parking spot. A neighbor of mine who I had never seen before came up to me and asked if he could help me. I stood there, stunned. This was someone that I saw walk glibly by almost an hour before, saw my 5 foot nothing frame shoveling out my equally tiny car, and said nothing to me then. Now that the work was near complete, he volunteered gallantly to help. Needless to say… I said no thank you with the subtext “because I’m almost done…” left unsaid. The lesson? Volunteering shouldn’t be an afterthought.
  • Ask for help. Sometimes the work you have to do you simply cannot do alone. Doing it alone may result in more suffering and struggling through than is necessary. When help is not offered and you find yourself resentful for it, instead of stewing, ask for the help you need.
  • Leave the world better than you found it. This can apply to big and small things, and it really does circle back to something I wrote at least three years ago about client care and leaving them in a better position than they were at the start of the reading. That particular article was tarot-related, but this concept really should apply across the board. Why did I shovel in front of the car behind me when I didn’t have to? Because I was able to do more in that particular moment. Maybe that small amount of “more” from me then somehow made that person’s life a little better whenever they came outside to move their car.

In the end, I want to apply this simple phrase to everything I do:

I was able to do more than I thought. So I did.



Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

Do you have any experiences of lessons learned that seemed to come from a mundane task? What were you doing, and what did you learn? Feel free to describe them in the Comments section… I would love to hear them!

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Owner and content-provider of Tarot by Hilary, professional tarot reader with over fourteen years of experience slinging the cards, posts weekly on the Tarot by Hilary blog, and all around woman-about-town. My clients are awesome, and you should be one of them.


  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer Saturday, 31 January 2015

    What a great post, Hilary. I'll never look at snow-shoveling. winter volunteering, or the 5 of Pentacles quite the same way again. :)

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