Anger at an Adage

I sometimes don’t like when I have moments of enlightenment. And it’s not that I don’t like being enlightened, but it’s frustrating to look at the repercussions of said enlightenment. For example, I’ve always considered the adage that how you are on the inside is a reflected in your external environment to be true for me. And on a regular basis I am surprised about what I see going on with me. It’s funny how I can know such things but how easily they can slip aside…how easily they are forgotten when my world gets a little crazy. Astrologically speaking, I am a cancer. And true to form I cycle like the moon. And I guess it’s about this time in the cycle when I look around realize how much control I’ve lost. Or rather, where my focus is. I’m really been trying to focus on work, yoga and eating healthier right now. And when I look around, my dedicated yoga area is clean, clear and pulsating wonderful bright vibes. It’s calling to me and I want to go and practice. My home yoga practice has been phenomenal and my body is grateful. I’ve even started a meditation practice. Nothing too amazing or consistent, but still, it exists 🙂 And my work area isn’t bad. It’s not great, but when I throw myself into my work I get a little disorganized. In this area, if I’m organized it means I’m not passionately focused on a project so much that I ignore everything else. Looking at my area, you can tell I’ve been decently productive in my work. I even completed three projects this weekend and worked on a few personal pieces. I was pretty happy. I have healthy food in the fridge and I’m pretty solid. But my room.

My room.

I feel like an adolescent that needs to be grounded until I clean my room. It’s a disaster area. I mean, dangerous. And hell, I’ve locked my cat in my room a ton of times this month simply because it’s so crazy I didn’t even see her in there. And my sex life is the exact same. I have a little sex goddess in me somewhere but there is so much other crap whirling around I can’t seem to locate her. And at this stage, it’s such a disaster area I’m a little frightened to even go there.

That damn adage, dude…The external reflects the internal. And it always sneaks up on me. I need to set an alert, everyday, to stop and look around. Evaluate what I see and figure out what the hell is going on on the inside. I get caught up so much in the go go go, achieve achieve achieve, produce produce produce, that I am missing what’s happening around me. And as a result, I’m missing on what’s going on inside of me.

And of course, this is why my focus has been on yoga…but it’s time I take my yoga off of my mat and into my world. The fantasy I live in, explore in, vibrate in when on the mat is a far cry from my life off of the mat. That acceptance, peace, calm and love that flows and emanates from me as I flow through my postures…I can’t seem to hold onto it. I can’t seem to intertwine and meld that energy into my subtle body. To blend and integrate and hold onto that feeling throughout the day. Something’s in my way. I’m in my way. My Samskara’s.

Isn’t that a bit titillating?

The chance to explore me as I am now. Not who I was, but who I am right now. To get to know me…it could be a life-changing experience 😉 And maybe in a couple months, when the moon shines her nurturing light on me once again in fullness, my external environment will reflect calm, peaceful, adoring and satiated vibrations.

 

meditationArea

Prioritizing a spiritual practice?

I’m trying to clean out some crap from my apartment and I found a bag full of information I received at a health fair last year. I’m going through recipes, trying to decide if I will try them or if I should just throw them away (I kept the almond pancake recipe but not the granola recipe.) I reviewed information for a Health Coach and pondered if that is perhaps something that would help me align my goals with my actual lifestyle. And then I came to this hand out on “the Integrated Nutrition Plan: 12 Steps to Better Health” (pictured below). I was reading the 12 steps in order.

  1. Drink more water (well, I already drink a fair share of water, but word, I can probably use to increase the amount).
  2. Practice cooking (yep, definitely something I am trying to integrate into my life).
  3. Increase whole grains (eh, maybe, not sold on that one)
  4. Increase sweet vegetables (yeah, yeah, the veggie thing. True enough)
  5. Increase leafy green vegetables (okay, more health stuff, sweet…I get it, eat clean and healthy)

12steps

I scanned through the next few realizing that they were all food and then skipped ahead to number 12: Develop a spiritual practice. The only thing I could think of was why was this at the end of the list? Granted, the fine print does say you can pick the steps in whatever order you want; however, my personality type appreciates the numbers and would follow that. Okay, and that may be a different issue altogether, but I do think that the list suggests a best practice. But that’s beside the point, actually. Because really, it just helped me realize how essential my spiritual practice is in my life. And it’s one that is often neglected. I’ve gone to maybe 2-3 yoga classes this year…but the amount of bars I’ve been too, well, drastically exceeds that number. And when I think about it, my current state of being reflects that. I’m overwhelmed, I feel behind, I feel like my apartment is a disaster, I eat like shit and I haven’t done any art in ages. Yoga calms me, brings me into myself and really encourages me to treat my body as the beautiful temple it is. Yoga makes me want to be healthier…yoga is my impetus for doing the 12 steps of nutritional health. Unfortunately me just thinking about it and wanting to be healthy isn’t my impetus, or it isn’t strong enough to make it happen. That want, that thought process, is overshadowed by responsibilities, by stress, by a busy, multifaceted life. I can really suck at times when dealing with stress and it’s my spiritual practice that brings me home, that brings me into light and that invigorates my soul that I make better health decisions. I need my spiritual practice to do art. It creates a healthy space in my life for creativity. It balances me and allows me to align with the universe so I can learn my truth and speak it through my art, and in all areas of my life.

 

These are all great and important steps. It’s awesome for me to recognize I want to start with step 12 and cultivate my spiritual practice.

 

When I have my spiritual practice I am united with myself and can approach life with a clear mind and beautiful inclinations. I open myself up to the vibrant and illuminating aspects of life. I have a clean, comforting space in which I live a productive and serene life. It’s my spiritual life that helps me choose to have a salad over a frozen entree at work, and to cook fish and veggies over ordering pizza for dinner. It’s because I have the 12th step, having my spiritual practice, that I choose to embody steps 1-11. It’s amazing to realize this b/c I know instead of trying to do several of these steps all at once and feeling the failure of integrating those steps into my lifestyle, that if I just embrace my spiritual practice, my yoga and meditation, that the rest will fall into place.

Meditation

My soul is a bit crazy

Feeling a bit crazy

It’s amazing all the shit that can happen. And it’s so fucking stupid that here I am again…still with an aching heart and a confused soul. It all really does happen all at once and in a mean fury. Or maybe I just refused to recognize the warning signs so the universe needed to slap me in the face. And the punchline is that I just need to focus on myself.

It’s so interesting how you can be living life thinking that you are supporting yourself and living for yourself and then to all of a sudden realize you have no idea who you are or what you need and that you’ve just been barely surviving and not actually nurturing your soul. I’ve been doing and accomplishing so much over the years. I have been forging an amazing life and feel pretty damn successful for my age in a variety of areas. And don’t get me wrong, I feel great about it and know that they are all steps to living the life I dream of. My life is still all about art, yoga and music. But despite the fact that those are really the only three things in my life (outside of friends and family) I am stressed the fuck out, sleeping all the time, not working out and eating like shit.

It’s like a whirlwind has picked me up and is swinging me around and around and around and I have no idea how to find a dristi, a focal point, and yet I keep going. And it’s sad, I’m not too sure when this whirlwind came. I’m not sure how long I’ve been picked up into it. I realize that I could easily say it was a few months ago, back in September, when I had car problems, I was the sole designer for my job, all of my freelance clients needed something, blah blah blah. I think it’s been longer than a few months.  I think I haven’t been cultivating a calming energy…probably since I graduated college. Damn. Seven fucking years.

Feeling a bit crazy
Feeling a bit crazy

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a lot in those seven years and it has been amazing. I was focused on building the life I wanted and of which I dreamed (yes, I just redid that sentence so I didn’t end on a preposition.) But now it may be time to cultivate a space for myself so I have time to fucking enjoy what I’ve been building. I am tired. I need to now slow down and enjoy it all. That’s not at all to say I’m going to stop progressing, but I think for a moment, I can slow down and just spend time loving…loving myself, loving my art, loving my family and friends, loving my job, loving my cats, fuck, just loving life. I can take a moment to rest and relax. Maybe read a few of the hundreds of books I own (I literally have purchased probably 25-50 new books and have had the time to read not even one of them.)

I do work a lot. And that’s good and fine. But I need to find the time to curl up on the floor in my 10lb blanket (Love love love and love to my Mom for making it!! Here’s the concept behind it.), cuddling with my cats, enjoying their company. Or even getting back to my personal art and enjoying what I with that. I probably could be an amazing artist. Some of my recent work is pretty damn good. I surprised myself anyway…and I do want to play the violin…just for myself. I basically love to express myself and I have given myself little time to explore my self-expression. And that is central to my life.

I have a pretty awesome life. I’ve been moving so fast I didn’t even realize it. I mean, I “knew” it but now it’s time I fucking slow down, rest up and enjoy it!

 

Experiencing a merge

Tonight I feel like I connected with myself. The first time in a long time. And I wasn’t even trying. After a long, exhausting and painful day, I slopped down and had some dinner. Turned on the computer and tried to disconnect with reality. And I was succeeding. And then I was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to do art. Not do any specific kind of art, I just wanted to be making lines, no purpose, no design, just art. I slept the computer, turned on Type O Negative, grabbed oil pastels (because I don’t usually work with them, just thought they would make less of a mess), and sat down with a big pad of paper.

20130103-231518.jpg
I just started making lines. No real purpose. I had seen a few images today I had connected with and was thinking about their lines and what I liked about them. It turned into a very awkwardly drawn body. I stared a

t it and suddenly knew that I should draw the energy centers. I started with the root chakra, making a very large red blur of color. And while I was doing that, I remembered some visions I had just before drifting to sleep last night and knew that was what I was supposed to be doing. And I proceeded drawing the other energy centers. And I really just focused on the way the color left the pastel and went on to the paper, the beautiful, uneven lines it made. And I watched as my hand moved the pastel across the page, how my fingers held the pastel and how my wrist turned as I made circles with the pastels. Pete Steele was singing in the background. It was a really intimate phenomenological moment. That one when you literally watch like an outsider what you are doing and yet at the same time being consciously/unconsciously(?) intentional in movement. Time stopped. I stayed on one color and focused on that energy center for as long as I was drawn to it. I noticed how I responded to various colors. Sometimes my hand moved quicker, sometimes slower. And then I realized I was out of space, still had to do the last chakra and that I really wanted to stretch my legs. No idea how much time passed. I stretched while looking at what I had spent time doing.

And I realized, maybe for the first time, I read myself in my art. It was like I had done a tarot reading…I was looking and could read in my art exactly where I was at as a human being. What I needed to be working on and what I needed to do to grow. I was excited to quiet my mind for long enough to listen to my energy. It’s been so long since I’ve felt quiet. I find it, at times, during yoga. In yoga class I feel my muscles like I watched my hand. I feel the pleasure of stretching them and releasing the emotions from them. But it doesn’t carry with me. But I had another little taste of the calm tonight. I felt that moment where the ethereal and corporal meet…where they merge and connect. You feel the beauty of each of them, simultaneously.

 

 

 

Dancing in the kitchen

I pretty much hate my kitchen. It really isn’t a great space for me. It’s so small and cramped and dark. It’s so small that I can sit on one counter and reach the other counter with my feet…and I’m short people. Plus the lighting is terrible, and since I hate doing dishes, I tend to want to avoid that room entirely.

However.

I do like to cook. Not all the time, of course, and I haven’t quite figured out how to attempt something simple like a hamburger, but right now I’m totally into soup and greens. So on an occasional night, I’ll let lose my inner Diva Chef, and go to town, and for me, the right music makes all the difference. Granted, it takes me longer to cook because I spend a ton of time shaking my ass and drinking wine. But there is nothing like listening to the sexy Danzig serenade me…fucking damn! He’s amazing.


 

Damn. Back to the cooking thing…well, really, the dancing thing. I love to dance and cook at the same time. It makes cooking such a better experience for me…could be the wine too, but just saying. I also bought an immersion blender so that has helped shorten my time spent in the kitchen as well as helped out immensely. Please note, if you enjoy soups or shakes…buy one of those. It’s delightful.

As lame as it sounds, I’ve added some personality to my kitchen to replace the drabness. It really is the small things that I’ve added or changed that have made being in my kitchen a much more pleasant experience. I’ve put some color into the room, added a speaker for my iPod…And since I am only cooking for myself, it’s great that I can try whatever I want without the pressure. No pressure that someone is grumpy and hungry, no pressure that they want something simple instead of the elaborate and scrumptious meal I am preparing them…it’s all about me eating what I want, when I want and after I have satisfied my need to express myself with my body.

Since I’ve started making these smaller changes (and the obvious big change of forging ahead solo), I’ve decided my soups are succulent and melt my palette, my “quickie greens” are delicious and rejuvenating and I have to admit…my new tofu chocolate shake is surprisingly savory. (BTW: shout out to Pinterest here for the amazing recipes I am always finding. So many great ideas there. Thank you!!)

Point is, it’s the small things that have helped me find the beauty of my kitchen, and really, isn’t that how it is with many things in life? The small things that pick you up and make you smile. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when all the shit is going down and people are walking all over your heart and soul. So much anger and resentment in the world tend to consume and overwhelm me. Really, it drains me…You know that part in TrueBlood where Sookie finds out she is a fairy and that Bill, as a vampire, is stealing her light? Well, I’ve definitely had my vampire…so there is very little light in me right now. But it’s these small things, an hour enjoyed seducing Danzig over the radio waves, stirring some soup and drinking some wine…that make me appreciate that even Darkness Screams in the Midst of Beauty.

Darkness Screams in the Midst of Beauty painting

A reflection of the heart

She's on the verge of letting go...

The heart. It is not to be taken lightly. It is a motivator, an inventor, an artist, a lover. It’s said that people can discern your state of being by the energy pouring forth from your heart. The quality of the energy is essential. It’s difficult to add a happy veneer to such energy when you are heartbroken. It’s difficult to tame the enthusiasm when you are happy. The heart opens up to the vast, infinite possibilities of the universe. The expanse that we wake up to every day, and influences the decisions we make. My heart aches. I feel the heaviness, the constriction, the knowledge of what has been lost and never will be again.

My heart cries the tears feeding into the River Styx.

I bend, I bow, I love, I hurt. Always I hurt. The sadness begins with the first alarm, permeates by day, marinates by night and infiltrates my dreams. It fuels my subconscious, I never want to think. Trying to wrap my head around my heart is futile, is disturbing, is depressing. Situations change, people change, this I know. My heart still beats to the melody of what was. For how do we let go, of the impressions that we’ve made, the pain that we’ve caused, the anger that we feel? Fuck me, the stupidity, the tears and all of the drunken rages. Those spirits give life to the damaged soul.

The heart is a special part of me. It is not a plaything, or a toy…but I gave it away to a boy.

The energy from my heart is stained with desolation. Residue of pain. Vital energy gone, taken, and given to another, a shadow of me.

The energy of the heart is essential. It is the story of your being, writing the current page of your life. It is a guide, a friend, an enemy. It is the novel you read each day, the lens through which you see. The heart supports you, beats for you, is your lifeline, and yet can betray you. The heart can be your link to the world, the space from which you connect. It is your personal Grimmoire, the spell and curse you cast.

The heart is tremendous. It can weigh you down or lift you up. It can grace your lips with a smile or your cheek with tears. It creates and destroys, is precious and mundane. It is the place of emotions, the place of blood. Both pulsate life.

I gave part of my heart away. And he still has it. Toys with it. A friend with benefits nothing more. To be used and played with. Acknowledged when it suits the lover, discarded when there’s another.

The heart can infuriate, the heart can soothe. The red cadence consumes.

Woman in red painting by MSaxxy

Compassion

Compassion…sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others.

Such a noble and wonderful notion. Buddha says that living a life of compassion is living in happiness. And I can see it. Being able to just sympathize with others, without judgment, without expectations, knowing that they are a kindred suffering soul that simply needs understanding.

I find that from afar I can cultivate compassion. But I struggle with those closest to me. I guess I think it’s hard to feel compassion for others when they’re experiences, what they are going through negatively impacts me. And because of that, I lack acceptance. It really saddens me, to know that I am this way, that my anger and fury are stronger than my love and compassion. That if something is painful to me, I can’t still look upon that person with understanding.

Compassion is difficult for me, a challenge. I admire those that can step away from their own selves and accept whatever happens. And accept it in a way that is both mundane and precious. To have a deepening understanding of another soul, to share and express openly, with compassion and love. To have debates, discussions, both verbal and non, to feel like someone’s presence is a dialogue. To know that whatever the outcome is, it’ll be alright b/c you came to the situation with compassion.

To have that, to cultivate that, is something I am striving for. I am at a loss on how to achieve it, but I am trying. I am starting with just trying to have compassion and love for myself. To allow myself to be who I am, and not trying to be what I admire and love in others. So hard. And it’s a long journey that will toil in my mind. One that will force me to question my own reality, opinions, beliefs…question me.

 
Photography Prints
 

Meditation

(via rhivanz) OMG. I love this. This is so me chilling out at home!! Gorgeous and peaceful.

I have been reading a lot on meditation lately. In a previous post I mentioned some of the benefits of mediation and really, those were just scratching the surface. And yet I still couldn’t decide why wasn’t sitting down to meditate. I knew I could benefit from it and that it would be good for me. So why wasn’t I doing it?

I think I just realized why: I don’t want to sit down.

Like most of us I sit behind a desk all day. And then I come and sit behind a desk some more. If I’m doing art I’m sitting down to do it. I literally sit all day.

And then It occurred to me that I sometimes meditate in the morning. Granted it’s an excuse to stay in bed longer. Because I meditate right when I wake up. I open my eyes stretchout long get the kinks out of my muscles and lay down in a comfortable position and meditate.

I was just Setting a reminder for myself to do something first thing in the morning so I would get out of bed and not waste time laying in bed. And I was simultaneously wondering why I don’t meditate more. Putting the two together I realized I want to lay down when I meditate. I don’t want to sit for even longer. It doesn’t feel good in my body.

So I’m giving myself permission to break the sitting down rule of meditation and lay down.

20121027-164854.jpg

Tense up to fly

As I was planning one of my Vinyasa classes I realized how many of the asana’s named for birds require some sort of tension or even a bind first.

Bakasana (crow) needs a squeezing in of the the forearms and the shins. A tightening of the Uddiyana Bandha and the engaging of the Mula Bandha. (For more information on Bandha’s click here.)  All of these areas need to be engaged in order for flight to occur. Svarga Dvidasana (Birds of Paradise) requires that you squat down, bind, and then root to rise, extending the leg out.

What’s obvious about these postures when you think about them, is that sometimes adversity leads you into flight. Utilizing tensions, putting them where they belong and where they are appropriate, can free you. In crow, if you don’t engage the Bandha’s it’s harder to life and easier to fall on your face (it’s not a far fall! Doesn’t hurt…much!) Maybe the lesson in that statement is that if you embrace the tension and learn to live with it and breathe through it and use it, it will prevent you from falling.

And really, this is true about everything from art to music to work to life to love. Obviously I’m not some insightful genius that had an epiphany strike my brain. Well, actually, that did happen but it’s not unique to me. It’s everyday we encounter tension, and we can either succumb to it or use it. We can run from it or learn to understand it and grow from it.

Of course, that’s the kind of statement that’s easier said than done, and oft times when currently in the tense moment, especially the really bad ones, we all want to cry bullshit and crawl under our pillows. And fair enough. I highly recommend doing just that. And under that pillow, just breathe. Not in the Faith Hill “Breathe” kind of way, but in the Willie Nelson kind of “Just Breathe.” (Pearl Jam does a great cover). The kind of breath that allows you to feel pain. The kind of breathe that allows you to feel comfort and love. The breath that accepts the gamut of emotions that we as human beings experience.

 

 


The answer to everything seems to be: Meditation

meditationArea

 

Maybe it’s because I do yoga and that tends to influence the randomness I read on the internet, but most articles I read seem to suggest that meditation is the key. Everywhere I look there is new evidence on meditation and how wonderful it is.

For example, this article on Mind Body Green shows pictures of some people’s transformation at a month-long meditation retreat. And Tiny Buddha has an article dispelling meditation myths and telling everyone why they should start today.

 

To be that girl, I’ve been trying to meditate for a long time now. And let me tell you, it is freakin’ difficult. The actual meditating part isn’t so hard. I love just sitting down on my soft meditation pillow, putting on my over-sized headphones (yes, I normally listen to music), and settling in. I can normally get into those Delta waves pretty quickly and I am zoned in. Although I do appreciate the help of my Om Harmonics download. But once I’m there, I’m pretty good. Mind you, I think 15 minutes of meditation is awesome, it’s not like I’m sitting there for hours.

However, finding my way to my meditation cushion is a challenge. I only try for 15 minutes and yet I still haven’t been able to find a consistent time that works (my schedule is pretty inconsistent). I should probably just start out slowly and meditate one day a week or something, until I can work it in as a habit. And I really really want to. All of the articles describing the benefits of meditating scream out to me to sit my ass down and meditate. It would be so beneficial in every area of my life. It’s amazing that it is so beneficial and should be essential to my lifestyle, and I yet in my social media, technology-tapped world, I feel like it is a luxury.

 

It’s amazing that I can know how beneficial meditating is and yet can’t seem to find the time to sit my ass down to do it.

 

How do you find the time? What tips do you have that have helped you make meditating a habit? Or are you in the same Paripurna Navasana asana I’m in and haven’t been able to cultivate the meditation habit?

Photography Prints