Resolving your intentions

Tranquility

For the first week of January, I danced in the realms of intention and resolution. I looked at the definitions, I talked in class about them, began and ended each class with the Sankalpa Mudra and flowed with it throughout our asana practice. This exploration helped me realize how they both play an important role in our lives.

The thought with which I ended, suggests that Intention is the basis of our Resolution. To me, resolutions ended up being more of a to-do list. We see a problem and we resolve to fix it. They are the details of our life. But we have to know what the whole picture is to make sure the details are appropriate. We shouldn’t be drawing palm trees if our picture is of the desert.  Aligning ourselves with our highest truth, connecting with our Dharma and walking the path of intention allows our to-do list to be acts that keep us on our path. If an aspect of my intention is to be an artist, then my resolutions need to reflect that by including art in my daily/weekly activities. In yoga, we set an intention at the beginning of class and sometimes it is soon usurped by thoughts about the postures, about the teacher, other students, how we look in our yoga clothes, and a plethora of other tangent thoughts. It’s during these times that coming back to intention is crucial. It allows us the opportunity to weed out the irrelevant and stay true on our course.

Ultimately, the union of our daily, “individual” energy and our eternal, “universal” energy allows us to vibrate at our  highest frequency. This isn’t that easy, however. If we are lucky enough to have discovered our dharma, we may still be trying to alter our lifestyle in order to live it. And even then, shit happens and then shift happens. Using a mantra with the breath can help us quiet the distractions in order to get back to our essence.

The mantra, then, is a way to experience nonlocal consciousness. Aborigines, Indians, Native Americans, and many other traditional cultures have used it for thousands of years. In every tradition mantras involve chanting to create special vibrations, sounds of the universe that create something from nothingness, that move energy from the unmanifest into the manifest.
Deepak Chopra

It’s a continual commitment to maintain an awareness of our intention. To help, there is the So Hum Mantra, recommended by Deepak Chopra for synchrodestiny. The So Hum Mantra helps us connect with pure consciousness and to tap into the space where we connect with the universal vibrations. We quiet our minds and listen only to our breath to release distractions and create a space where we can just be…we can just exist. No thoughts, no emotions, no desires, no expectations…just the So Hum of our breath and of our existence.

 

Listen to the audio version here.

Find a quiet space and a comfortable seat. Soften your quads and your hips. Make any movements you need to find comfort. Engage your core bringing your navel in toward your spine to support the lower back. Elongate through the spine, stacking each vertebral body on top of each other. Soften your shoulders back and down, chin is parallel with the floor. Bring your hands down to your lap, palms face up. Eyes are closed. Bring your attention to your breath. Listen to your cadence and the length of your inhales and the length of your exhales. Feel the breath as you inhale it in, expanding through the lungs, lifting the chest; and, feel the breath as you exhale it, drawing the chest and the core in toward the spine, as the air leaves your body. Listen to yourself for a few moments…feel your own vibrations. Listen as your inhale whispers So…..and your exhale murmurs Hum. So…Hum…Stay attuned to the So Hum until your breath quiets, and your mind quiets. If your mind starts to wander, no worries, just let go of the tangent and come back to your So…Hum…until you disappear into the space of pure vibrational consciousness and being.

 

Crows and coconuts pt 1

Crow

There’s a paradox parable of sorts in the Vastishana about a crow and a coconut. It explores the idea of timing. Not in the sense of minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day but in the more eternal sense of fate. It’s a befuddling concept that has tickled man’s mind since we discovered opposable thumbs. For me it develops into a question of a conscious universe, in some ways law of attraction, power of the unconscious. What is the nature of energy? Can we influence our future or are we subject to whatever happens…Is it a dance with Fate the way I had come to think of it?

I had just experienced a devastating occurrence of life. I was desperate for the answer to the quandary: do things happen for a reason? I sat down, picked up my Hindu Mythology book and came across the aforementioned crow and coconut story.

A crow alights a branch at the same exact time a coconut falls to the ground. Did the crows’ touch cause the coconut to fall, or was the coconut about to fall anyway?

Cause and effect is a theme in life. We learn it in school in chemistry (I think) and see it on a molecular level. It’s those scientific notions, the law of conservation of energy, law of attraction, that support the energetic exchanges our ancestors intuitively knew. I leaned toward cause and effect and started seeking the crow that caused my coconut to fall. I looked in every possible corner of my mind, heart and soul. And let me tell you, I came up with a shitload of possible crows. But in a sky of crows, I couldn’t pick out one that satisfied the overwhelming feelings of a situation that rendered me baffled. So to choose one crow that landed on that branch causing the coconut to fall was impossible. I started to wonder if it was possible to choose just one and if there was even the possibility of one…is there a why to the things that happen to us? Is there a reason? Or does shit just happen? All possible crows.

Take a deep breath in, open mouth release it out. Crow is about hugging into center, arms externally rotate and squeeze in to create a stable shelf as a foundation for your crow, your core reaches for your spine so much they fuse in fluidity, your legs squeeze together to create a lift in the lower torso, your mind wraps around your breath, funneling your awareness into being Bakasana. Fingers come down to the mat, spread the fingers nice and wide, press down under the nails. Establish your chaturanga arms and bring your knees to the back of your arms. We are traditionally not weight bearing on our arms…just get used to the idea of holding yourself on your hands. Try picking up one foot, and then the other, and then maybe both. Look about 6 inches forward, settle your gaze on a single dristi (focal point), push down into the earth with your hands and as you do that, reach the forearms in toward each other and rotate your shoulders to the outer sides and then back and down your back. Bring your knees to the back of your arms, engage the core, look forward, pick the legs up from the floor, take flight into Bakasana, Crow.

Crow

 

Part II, Part III

Take a Break

Open Mouth Exhale

Take a break. Just breathe. Be present for a few moments. Close your eyes if you’d like. Relax the shoulders back and down. Take a huge breath in, suspend it for a moment, and then release it out.

Open Mouth Exhale

 

Feel better?

 

It’s important for us to take the occasional break during the day, the week, the month, life. We are an on-the-go society and that’s fine. It works for most. Keeping yourself healthy and aligned during the chaos is important. And sometimes that requires us giving ourselves permission to take a break, to step away. It could be from the computer, a goal, a relationship, a job, life in general. And it could be for 30 seconds, minutes, days. And that’s not to insinuate that what we are doing is bad, we could be dedicating our energy to cultivating beauty in our lives and manifesting our dreams, and still need to take a break.

I sometimes use breaks for reflection. I like to see from where I have come, how I have grown and who I am now. I feel like we all change so much and sometimes don’t even realize it ourselves and then one day we look in the mirror and holy shit how the hell did I get here and who is this person with the green hair and tattoos looking back at me. It can definitely be a giggle. Sometimes it’s a lesson that I need to learn so I can move forward with ease. Those moments when you see your dream and you keep bumping up against the same wall, the same damn situation and how the hell do you shift in ANY direction just to experience something new and hopefully rewarding this time. And we learn how to release stuck emotions and energy patterns. And sometimes it’s those times when you look at yourself and realize you need to reconnect with yourself and love yourself again b/c you have lost your connection with your divine soul.

It’s important to listen to your intuition and to be able to read the signs that say it’s time for a break. Otherwise it’s like a tree in a Primorye winter whose sap is freezing and expanding…it expands until the tree bursts, unable to contain what was growing within. And when an explosion like that happens, there is no going back, there is no putting the tree back together, scooping up the sap and stuffing it back into the tree.

So when you start to feel a little claustrophobic, overwhelmed, a little crazy, before you get to bat shit crazy…give yourself permission to take a break. Breathe, reflect, release, do whatever you need to do to feel better. Enjoy yourself, your life, your relationships. And just exist, in the moment.

 

XOXO

 

 

Living an artistic life

DesignALifeYouLove

I was chatting with my friend the other day about how much I dislike laundry. I actually have that conversation frequently. It’s one of my least favorite activities…right up there along any other cleaning-related  ideas. I’m not a fan of it so I rarely carve out space to do it and then it ends up just on my dresser and not in my dresser. At any rate, I had found myself in that situation of having laundry all around my room and just being frustrated. Obviously this is a perpetual problem and is something I’ve been aware of since…probably since I’ve been doing my own laundry. LOL, come on, don’t judge, I can’t be the only one out there that dislikes cleaning that much. So, I’m talking to her about it (amongst conversations of biocentrism and chakra energy) and she says to me, you just got to say fuck it and do it. Stop thinking about it and just do it. My response was something like, I’m not a Nike commercial, there are other things I’d much rather be doing. And she said, I know, trust me, I know. But I also know, and tell myself, that it’s helping my future self to do it now.

And it kind of blew my mind. Yep, just do it. Just get it over with so you don’t have to worry about it in the future. Such an easy solution. And I realized I was giving something so small and inconsequential too much power. So, I left work, went home and I wish I could say I just did it…just got the cleaning over with and the laundry over with, but I totally didn’t. I sat down on my couch and picked up the book on Dharma Art I was reading. And I shit you not, one of the first things I read was about how Dharma Art isn’t just about making masterpieces of art, it’s hardly about that at all actually. It’s about making your life your art, living artistically and coming from a beautiful and clear space so that everything you do is art, the way you put down your coffee mug, the way you do your laundry, the way you…<<<WTF? Really? The way I do my laundry?

If you want to become an artist and you want to have the best of everything, you can’t just have it. You have to start by paying attention to reality. You need to learn to eat properly, to cook properly, to clean your house or your room, to work with your clothes. You need to work with your basic reality. Then you go beyond that, and you begin to have something much more substantial. And beyond that, you actually begin to produce a master artistic world altogether. – Chogyam Trungpa

 

So I sat there. And sat there. And then a voice in my head said fuck it, and I just got up and put my laundry away. Hardly took anytime and I felt so much better afterward. But it’s not just about doing it. I mean, it can be, but then that feeling of resentment and irritation is allowed to exist and fester. That was the motivational point for me that night for sure, just fucking do it already. But I want to transform that into something beautiful. Not necessarily visually, but so it feels beautiful. And again, not just the action of doing it, but in how I feel while doing it. So while I was putting my laundry away, I tried to view it as an art project. How would I shift my perspective, how shall I smile with grace…can I turn it into something beautiful. I’m not sure I actually succeeded, but I did my best to not have a mantra of, I hate laundry, I hate cleaning, and more of a my environment is important to me and I want to nurture my environment. I want to nurture my environment as much as I want to nurture my soul, my friends, my family, my beloved. And that helped me make it in art. (As a side note, it was also interesting that I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water and upon realizing my dishwasher was clean, just quickly put the dishes away. Smile on my face, body swaying to the beat of the music…a byproduct of approaching my room as a work of art. Hopefully that’s a sign that as you bring that perspective into one activity, it will slowly expand to more and more activities.)

And how often is much of our life that way? There are certain things we do that we do beautifully, artistically. And there are the other things we do that are  handled with much less grace and too much aggression (in Dharma Art, anything done with aggression is not art. Aggression is seen as a bit of the anti-art element). I brought this concept into my yoga class and it’s so easy so see the energy shift from poses we love to poses we don’t so much enjoy. The muscles in our face clench, our shoulders rise, the aggression is obvious. Just as it’s obviously serene when we dance and flow through postures we love and that feel juicy. Living artistically, approaching everything, even the most mundane of things, like laundry, is a challenge. It takes a developed discipline. It’s a challenge to come from a space of calm clarity, non-judgement and just being purely observational. I think this is especially a challenge when having unpleasant conversations with people who tend to anger quick and their words quickly become mean and harmful. In those situations staying calm isn’t always enough and I haven’t figured out how to dharmically approach those situations. But I hope to…to be able to gracefully converse, even about difficult stuff, to come from a place of satya (truth) and ahimsa (nonviolence). Dharma art is awareness, of self, of the world, of all of the gorgeous phenomena happening in our little nook of the universe.

“Awareness practice is not just sitting meditation or meditation-in-action alone. it is a unique training practice in hose to behave as an inspired human being. That is what is meant by being an artist.” -Chogyam Trungpa

So take a moment to consider yourself as an artist. I am a believer that we are co-creators of our lives. I usually think in terms of law of attraction, what you put out you get back, and all of those ideas. I truly believe that you can manifest your intentions if coming from the right space. Dharma Art encourages us to go next level and to not just be a co-creator, but BE a work of art. Live as if you are a work of art. It’s not just about putting out the outlines of life into the ether, but also about adding the color to every detail of life. I tend toward visual art, but even consider your life as a symphony, the way the notes flow and merge and caress the ears, touching your heart, making you weep tears of joy and beauty. Or a succulent meal you are cooking that makes your mouth water, your stomach growl…Find something you naturally do and love and is your art, and then approach everything, your whole life, in the same manner.

Let go of aggression, of judgement, of self-hate…You are the artist and the work of art. Your life is art. Live life artistically.

 

 

Shift happens

I’m a bit of a work-a-holic. Not in the “I’m obsessed with my job and do it all the time” kind of work-a-holic. Mainly the kind that suddenly looks around and realizes she is an art director has more responsibilities at work and working more hours, teaches four yoga classes a week, has been kissed by the muse and craves the time to paint and draw, suddenly has a social life from out of nowhere and has some side projects that she’s working on. I even wrote a post about loving my fast-paced life a few weeks ago. Things kept coming up and I was moving along, moving, progressing, learning, breathing in a flurry of new experiences, diving into the unknown of that which I had not yet experienced. But as I was dancing along, I started to twirl, twirl and twirl, letting the blur of movement engulf me and when I tried to focus on one thing, I stumbled. The harder I tried to focus and get my balance, the more I fell. Ungraceful, a little crazy and loving it less as I started to tumble into the hole. That may be hyperbole. But I was stressed and not handling life the way I wanted to. <shrug> Shit Happens.

And then I went to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat.

And there were monkeys
And there were monkeys

And there, Shift Happened.

I was there in my element because I love and adore yoga and I was at a yoga retreat. And I was out of my element b/c I was literally out of my environmental element, and I was unplugged.

An entire week without a computer…without my email…without work…without an iPod…without my Nook (I turned pages, I didn’t tap them)…without my car…without Facebook….without Pinterest…without IM…without my phone…without my cats…without my bed…without my closet…without my stilettos…without my craziness…without my ‘my…’.

And in return for giving all of those up, I was able to watch the eagles soar. The way they dived, turned, breathed across their collarbones opening their hearts to ascend, and then, leading with their gaze dive to descend. I woke up in the mornings with the sun (and a rooster and his cockafuckingdoodle do) and walked down to the beach. I wandered. Ate clean, healthy food. Gazed upon the Lightening Bugs as they danced in the trees. I read and journaled. I went deeper inside and considered the essential over the superfluous. I looked. I listened. I listened to sounds of the ocean and the waves crashing and flowing on the beach. I laughed and had actual face-to-face conversations with friends. I hugged often. I paddle boarded in the middle of the ocean during a storm, drenched from the waves, the rain pattering my face and body, the thunder rumbling in my ears and the sun setting in this fiery red ball and me giggling with joy. I was able to do yoga twice a day, stretching my body, detoxing my muscles, discovering my strength. I meditated often…quieting my mind…observing without judgement, without thought. Experiencing the rawness of no-mind experiences. I walked around in flats and long dresses.

There was hair braiding
There was hair braiding

A shift happened. I let all the stress slip slowly down my shoulders and down my back with every Tadasana, down my hips and legs in every Uttanasana, and drip off my feet with every step I took. And I breathed in my connection to the universe with every Urdhva Mukha Svanasana and rooted deep into the earth with every Adho Mukha Svanasana. I felt and experienced harmony with nature.

It was bliss.

And for a week.

And at the end of the week, people didn’t want to leave, didn’t want to go back home. And totally me too! I mean, shit, it was pretty fucking awesome out there. It was Costa Rica. But ultimately, I was content to go home. I love my life. I just wasn’t loving the stress aspect. And I can change that. I can take the things I adored and felt amazing in while in Costa Rica, those things that helped me to shift and to be open to experiencing shift. I can make small micro-movements in my life and meld or wrap or fuse those shift-causing experiences into my daily, moment-to-moment experience.

There are so many things I came back with but my initial focus will be on enjoying and simplifying my life. Loving the people I surround myself with and enjoying how I live. Cutting back on the clutter that slows me down and creating space. Being aware of what I am eating/drinking and just making healthy decisions. I’ve been talking about meditating for a while now and finally just following through with that and sitting down for at little bit each day and quieting my mind.  And trying things. Trying different yoga classes that lend themselves to my practice so I can have a practice. Trying anything (within reason, I’m not going to eat weird things and go skydiving or anything nuts like that) at least once. Even if I don’t like it, I’ve still experienced it.

Shit happens. And then allow Shift to Happen.

____________________________
Enjoy and Simplify

Enjoy  life. This looks different for everyone. Choose your version. Choose to do things  that make you happy, that make you smile, that nurture you and things that you need to experience.  Spend time with family and friends, invest time in your life plans.  Find time to love being you. Bring awareness into your actions and intentions, and actually experience them. What’s the favorite part of your day? 

Simplify life. Again, this changes from individual to individual. Maybe it’s simplifying your apartment. De-cluttering, organizing…what ever suits you. Maybe learning to say no to invitations that don’t suit you and simplifying your calendar. Maybe it’s simplifying your thoughts. Quieting the voices and their chatter. Or following one line of thinking at a time (AKA meditation, which is also on the list). How can you simplify your life?

Clean eating

Eat clean, for the most part. Maybe try cooking more, playing with different spices and how they complement the dish and trying new combinations. Perhaps buy fresh produce and limit the microwave.  Creating a balance of foods and really just bringing awareness to what you bring into your body. Learning what you need and listening to your body. Learning what foods do what so you know their benefits and why you are eating them.

Meditate

It’s difficult to start a practice for many reasons but in part because you don’t know just how fabulous it is to have a meditation practice until you’ve experienced one. It’s difficult to make it a priority without first feeling and experiencing the effects of meditation. Try to quiet the mind. A seated meditation practice is obviously recommended, but it could be easier to start in a different spot. Focus on one task at a time. Quiet the voices that are leading your mind astray to to do lists, people to text, distractions that are dividing your focus. This kind of focus, in its own way, is meditation. You can also focus on your breath whenever you need to take a moment from life. So many different ways to incorporate meditation that don’t involve sitting on a cushion “Om-ing” Discover what, if anything, works for you.

Try it

I love yoga. So I say try it, experience it, find a class and just try it. Try a few different types if you have time. If you don’t enjoy it, if you simply aren’t interested in it, then don’t do it. It’s okay if it’s not for you. It’s okay if any of this stuff I am offering up for consideration doesn’t work for you. I’m speaking from my experience.What have you tried? What works for you? You don’t know until you try right? So try everything, even just once, so you know whether you like it or not. Even if you don’t like something, at least you’ve experienced it.

 

 

a Tidal Conversation

Waves splashing, water rolling at my feet.
My soul begins to weep.
Darkness deepens, silence is feigned
My ego simply stains
Fear streaks
Confidence is weak
I look to the night sky and scream
Lightening flashes, the horizon beams
As though I’m in a dream.
My soul grumbles so the world rumbles and whispers softly to me:
“You are worthy. Work on your energy and there you will find synergy.”
A smile caresses my face for I’ve had just enough taste
To trust in my Ajna and swim.
In the sea of intention
In the stream of consciousness
In the ocean of my life
Hands to heart I bow my head
In the deepest of respect and gratitude.
I turn around and walk back to the beach steeped in fortitude.
I sigh my thanks and walk the steps,
Glistening with the divine.

It’s a fast-paced life, for me.

We read all the time about how a fast-paced life is bad for us. How we need to be more mindful and move slowly through life. That if we feel stressed out there something wrong with our life and the decisions we have made.

But I’m calling bullshit on that.

I like my fast-paced life. I choose to live a fast-paced life every single day. I get stressed out. I feel like there’s not enough time in the day. I am running from one thing to another. And I love it. And yeah I talk shit and complain. I’m enjoying a human element of knowing what stress is, knowing that I have the power to change it, but knowing that I enjoy the little adrenaline rush I get from it. And ironically, knowing that I like this like stress and invite the stress, kind of stresses me out a little less.

Don’t get me wrong, things seem to be a little extra stressful right now, and a bit extra busy at work, but my routine is the same. I love waking up in the morning when I do. I love when I wake up and do the stair stepper while checking my email. I enjoy being an art director and all the responsibilities and stresses and things that come with that job. I love that I spend all day rushing to meet deadlines and working the nonprofit life because the results of my stress maybe, just maybe, are helping to save a life somewhere. And then I love rushing to shut down my computer and drive to the yoga studio where people trust me to guide their yoga practice.

I knowingly choose this.

Sometimes it’s that stress that makes me feel alive. Makes me feel connected. Helps me reach my goals and be more productive with my life. I do more and accomplish more when I have the most to do. And I’m not talking spreadsheets or data analysis…I paint more, I read more, I meditate more, I do more yoga. These things become crucial in a fast-paced life.

I run around all day. Having meetings, designing projects, ADDing on Pinterest, guiding yoga and my heart races wondering if I will survive. I IM my friend and tweak out b/c I have so many things to do on my to do list. Sometimes I cry to let that frustration and fear out. My head is a whirlwind of voices and demands.

But I love it.

I feel that pulsing energy rush through me as I teach my vinyasa flow, carefully paying attention to each student, striving to help them have the best experience possible. Their smiles and their sighs let me know that my stress is serviceable.

And when I finally walk through my door at night, I let out a deep sigh. All of that stress from the day is dropped at my doorstep, to be picked up on my way out. But in my home, I slow down, feeling and embodying the balance, the yin to my day’s yang. I get into my own element, into my own soul, and stretch my body free of the stress, artistically express what my soul still has to say, and I quiet into myself. Here, art is for me. Here, the yoga is for me. Here, I am for me.

But it’s knowing how much I do during the day, all of the stress and rushing around, that helps me truly appreciate when I slow down and take time for me.

It’s a fast-paced life, for me.

This IS your life. It already started

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“This is your life. It already started.”

These words brushed across my ear as I was stretching my body into a forward fold.

I had just spent the last couple of hours painting. I was trying to stand and paint. I sit all day so I try to paint standing now. Counterbalance my day with my night.

I was changing my painting a bit, getting freer with it. I started this painting a while ago and I reached a point and simply stopped. It’s a habit I have. To start something, reach a point, stop, and walk away from it. I sometimes think I have a fear of completion. But I’ve been working on that idea. Finishing things. Do you have that problem? I love to start things, it’s all exciting and fresh and new and then I become critical and stop. I’ve really been trying to not do that with art.Not being afraid of what the outcome will be but simply trying it. What’s the worst that could happen? I’m releasing the fear…fear of, well, probably tons of shit. But it’s better to just try it and actually do the art, than have a ton of blank or canvases half-finished sitting around me. If I am going to buy the canvases, I need to fucking paint on them.

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I’ve been working on discovering a safe place to paint from. I have so many critics in my head that I have had to learn to shut them up so I can just get shit done. I’ve started to do that with meditation on the breath. And more than that, awareness of the breath and meditation on my art. I am aware of my breath, that I am breathing, where I am sending that breath (when I paint it’s usually to my hand to help me make smoother strokes). It’s been creating more of a tranquil space. My mind kind of leaves for a while…takes a break from the day life, and I just flow. I just create. I just, paint. Most of the time it’s not any good, lol. But I’m less scared about that and more excited about the release I am experience and about the space I can visit for a while to relax.

So I was in this space when I had taken a moment to consider my painting. The voices suddenly decided to make an appearance again. “Name it Creative Energy” came into my mind. I looked at the painting, heard the name and liked it…saw how I could grow it and how that idea gave my painting life. Gave it a direction. Before I had just been painting, but now…now I knew where I had been painting from and what I was painting. I became excited about visualizing what that name meant and what I wanted to do with the painting now. “Make that area pulse more, add life here, why is this so dull, make it stand out…”And the voices started to grow, I was losing my breath. I was leaving the meditation state.

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I looked at my bookshelf, picked up a book, and opened up a page. I have no idea why. I haven’t looked at this book in ten years, but I opened it and read:

“Listening carefully to the tone, where or how does it move and in which direction? When you discover the answer, the tone itself will reveal many directions. do not try to control it yourself!” – Miyajima Sensei

20130918-135350.jpg

I instantly focused on my breath, quieted my mind, went back to my easel and began painting again. I trusted in my connection to the universe and didn’t try to control my brush. I had been given a name for the painting, and I breathed that into my body and embraced that concept, and I breathed it out through my brush onto the canvas.

I continued painting for a while and came to a natural stopping point. And it was here that I was in that forward fold. I was doing some gentle yoga moves to release my muscles and my body. I was slowly releasing the intensity of painting and equally as slowly was allowing the mind back in.

And I started thinking…I wonder if people will like this new direction…I wonder what everyone is doing…I wonder if I have a text message…I wonder if so-and-so is angry at me because I needed to stay home and do art…I wonder if it’s stupid that I chose to stay home and do art instead of going out…I should have just gone out…I’m not going to have any friends…well, I do have so-and-so and so-and-so…I’m not completely alone…but I won’t have those friends…they should be okay I’m in this space…You can imagine this went on for a few more thoughts and it ultimately it ended with an, “as soon as I’m…” statement. I have this vision of who I should be and what my life should look like. And most of my thoughts end there. I think it’s one reason I don’t finish paintings…I have an idea of something, but I’m scared it won’t turn out. And so my thoughts turned to, As soon as I’m…

A new voice piqued in and shrugged, and said, “This IS your life. It already started. Don’t miss out on what’s happening now for what you are hoping for in the future. The future will come regardless, enjoy now so you can enjoy the future. Live now.”

I’m making the choices and the decisions right now that are not only making me happy, feeling healthy and right, but are also growing me for the future I think the universe has planned. But to get there, I have to live now.

This IS your life. It already started. Don’t miss out on today waiting for tomorrow.

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Lines of focus

I forget the breath, and start to analyze

Breath in. Breath out. I’m watching the breath, being the breath, embracing the breath.

Breath leads my focus. It’s where the meditation begins. Going deeper into the breath narrows my focus. Distractions drop away as I consider the breath, the aspects and what it is saying. I look at my canvas, I pick up the brush – all with the rise and fall of my breath. The lines begin.
Line leading line following line.

lines
Line after line line

 

I deepen the gaze, narrow my focus. I unfurl my brow and breathe in the lines. I lengthen my breaths, matching exhale to inhale. It invigorates. I think to myself, “I think I am actually present right now. How awesome. I should tell —- . I wonder how I did it.” I glance at the lines, they have taken on an interesting flow as I lost my breath and entered into my mind. I had started analyzing. I brought myself back to my breath. I sat in stillness. Reconnecting to the breath, allowing energy to flow through me. I stopped analyzing the lines and just became the lines. The lines were expressing what I needed to express, what I needed to channel. I don’t need to analyze it yet, right now I just need to do it, to breath it, to create that focus. The lines, my focus, the union of body and breath. I took a breath and picked up my paintbrush.

 

I forget the breath, and start to analyze
I forget the breath, and start to analyze

 

I became entranced with the movement of the lines, the quality of the lines, how the brush was setting paint down and how if I adjusted my hands mid-flow it altered the line. What it looked like was unimportant, the breath and energy I was channeling was creating a focus I need. The chatter in my head is overwhelming, frustrating, distracting and inhibiting. The focus that connecting my breath to painting lines is a relief. It focuses my mind so I can find a bit of peace and quiet. The to do lists on 20 different projects drip away, the awkward conversation I had that afternoon and analyzing people’s reactions seemed ridiculous to waste my time on. What my schedule looked like seemed manageable and I started to trust in myself and in the universe. People may actually like me…and quieting my mind and using the breath and my art to release some ideas and thoughts no longer serving me. My breath drank in creative energy as the line danced upon the canvas. And my breath distinguished the destructive energy I was holding on to.

Lines of focus
Lines of focus

I hung the painting back on the wall and just kind of stared at it. My mind still quieted from the artistic mediation I just experienced for two hours (time flew). I just looked at it for a while and then cocked a hip and leaned to the left. In doing so I realized the interplay between the lights and the darks. The lines all depend on how you look at them from a specific angle. Which is exactly what my thoughts try to do…consider all of the perspectives. Glancing at it now, it pulses with energy…seems like all of the thoughts I usually kept in my head were expressed in the lines instead. I channeled them onto the canvas so my mind could quiet and enter a focused, artistic meditation. For those two hours my mind took a breather and my destructive energy was creatively channeled from my chest, down my arm, into my fingers and along the lines of my brush and into the focused lines on the canvas.

 

Depends on how you look at it
Depends on how you look at it

 

And then I went out to my balcony to enjoy the fresh air and to release and restore in my hammock.

 

Meditation with the gods

For an hour I sat and meditated with the gods.

I look up at the sky as I feel the first drops of rain on my face. I felt refreshed and invigorated. The moment was perfect. I took several breaths in, appreciating the water dampening my hoodie but not my spirits.

It was gorgeous outside. And I thought back to the last time I had felt so free. A smile crept across my face as I realized it had been so long and that I was excited for the unexpected, spontaneous visit to the gods. I remembered the text I had sent the friend I was supposed to be meeting up with who had texted me to tell me he was two hours delayed: No worries. I’ll go meditate with the gods.

There was something about just phrasing it that way that set it up for a divine experience.

To be clear, I was at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. A magnificent rock garden. It wasn’t my plan to be there, alone. But the universe knew…and had known all along because for some reason I had my camera and Mala beads with me.

And it was raining.

I saw people hiding under rocks to stay dry. Huddled in or leaving the park all together because of the storm. For me it was the most appropriate weather and I danced in it. I felt so alive and invigorated.

It was the connection to nature I had been missing. And I am a water soul.

 

I gently wandered around, deep into my freedom, trusting in my feet to lead me. I remember watching the rain fall into a puddle. I had never really taken the time to do that before, but the rain was whispering to me to watch. So I watched. And when I had drank in enough, I wandered on.

...trusting in my feet to lead.
…trusting in my feet to lead.

The storm was quieting and I found myself at the top of some rocks looking across (Manitou? The Springs?)…I took my camera out and shot a few, drawing in the air and earth energy. I had been burned out by fire energy for so long. I needed exposure to the other elements. And I drew myself into the moment, and sat quietly…

And I realized I was becoming happy with who I am. And that for the first time in years, I was living for me. I’ve always wanted to go to be Garden of the Gods alone but never did. Never really felt comfortable leaving my relationship behind (clearly unhealthy). For years I was in a manipulated, unhealthy space and hadn’t been making decisions for myself or for my needs. Sitting on top of those rocks, I knew that I was living a day of fate, and transformation. I knew that snake energy I had been drawing on was there helping me shed my old skin, and that I was becoming the new me. I’m still not sure who that is, but I knew in that moment, that I was where I was supposed to be and that I was grateful. That life was good and would continue to be good as long as I trusted in myself and the universe. That the earth was beautiful and I needed to connect with that energy more often. So many things went through my mind and I sat with the moment and observed. And it wasn’t amongst my normal chatter, but it was like a slow stream in a still mind…and I just paid attention…

The universe had given me a little shove that morning, and I had gratefully responded.

I smiled, gave myself a hug, and took off my Kali Ma Mala beads. And I sat quietly. And I sat still. And I sat grateful for all of the demons I had already consumed. I sat feeling grateful for the fearlessness and courage I was gaining and that had brought me out into the earth and rain. I sat with my freedom. And I sat with my self. For an hour I sat…

And meditated with the gods.

 

For an hour I sat and meditated with the gods.
For an hour I sat and meditated with the gods.

 

 

___________________________________________

An after thought…the music I was listening to. Music is huge in my life and I remember, standing in the rain, listening to the storm and wondering what I would put on my iPod…I would occasionally take the head phones off to listen to the sounds of nature, but I settled on Alcest. They are a french band and I’ve never understood the lyrics. But it felt appropriate to listen to while I wandered the gardens. While writing this post I put Faiseurs de Mondes, (click the link to listen) the song I really connected with. I decided to look up the lyrics and they seemed pretty appropriate to the experience so I thought I’d share. Please listen to it as well, it’s so beautiful.

Makers of the worlds 

Your ageless eyes
Are penetrating mirrors,
Shaping and beautifying the world

By their reflection.
The edge of the woods, far away
Becomes a moving temple, iridescent,
Celebrating the birth of spring.

And these immense mountains,
Wanting to join the heavens,
Whirling
Above out heads.

This reality around us,
Is the one you have chosen
And your dreams cover our sphere
With an ideal painting,
Unfolding in the light of your eyes,
At the sound of your voice.