Paranoid

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Mind scattering in a myriad of directions. Heart racing to a demanding beat. Confidence crumbling. Energy deteriorating. Worry and paranoia take over and you’ve suddenly puddled into a murky, slimey, pool of human consciousness. What began as a detail has escalated into a whirlwind of outrageous possibilities and you are blinded by the fear of what could go wrong.

“All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy. Think I’ll lose my mind if I don’t find something to pacify.  Can you help me occupy my brain?” Ozzy/Black Sabbath

Not an invalid consideration. Life twists and twirls us at times, like a marionette across a stage, we are at times flung to the furthest reaches of what we think we can handle. When we are in the depths of such despair we brood, we become anxious, we concentrate on that which can go wrong. And then things start to go wrong and we spiral out of any comprehension of positivity and the shit hits the fan. Most of us have been here. We know of the trials and tribulations of being stuck in a pattern of demise. Some of us get stuck in our heads so deeply all we see is a convoluted mess of the future. But! Worry is wasted imagination.

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Our thoughts help create our reality. Not only in our perception of our companions on our journey and the events unveiling around us, but also in our moods and emotions that orbit our activities. Our thoughts influence our experiences.

Most of us are going to worry, and there is little we can do about completely letting go of the gnawing sense of dread. What we can do is shift worry into imagination. Shift the paranoia into something more productive. Shift it into the place of healthy intention. Create a mantra that resonates within you and fills you with calm. Color your thoughts with possible amazing outcomes, as surreal as they may seem, and excite your soul. Stop choosing to waste your precious time in that human suit by ruminating on the negative. Instead imagine your life the way you dream it to be, allow your beautiful mind to circulate around the amazing, and start living the life of your own design.

He has a place in the garden too

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I was enjoying a pleasant afternoon in my front yard with my mom, starting to shift the garden from summer to autumn…the autumnal equinox right around the corner. There were some gorgeous white flowers we were cutting back. I put a few of them aside so I could bring them inside and enjoy them for a bit longer. As I was putting them down I was drawn to the funky bug walking around on the white petals. It was kind of cute, actually, his hands were walking along the edge of the petal and reminded me of a praying mantis a bit. And the colors were those of Halloween. He had wings, but didn’t immediately used them as he careful grasped the petal and walked up and down the razors edge. His antenna fluttered around, sensing and learning about its surroundings. Eventually he flew off and left a bit of a smile behind on my face.

A little later as I was putting the flowers in a vase my mom had prepared for me, a lady bug emerged from the flowers. I had just had a lady bug experience on my yoga mat while I was teaching last week, and I immediately smiled at the luck of seeing this one too. I encouraged him onto my hand and brought him outside so he could join the garden. He walked around on my hand for a while, feeling the breeze and then spreading his wings, allowing himself to be lifted off and taken back to the earth.

And then a pincher bug (apparently called earwigs) emerged. These bugs have always freaked me outEarwig2 a bit. Their pinchers seem sharp and able to rip my face off. They’re fast and slinky-like, skuttering around and being all intimidating like. Definitely no roly poly. And my breath got caught in the back of my throat as I watched it trying to figure out how to get off the flower and attack me. And then I had a flashback of holding my beloved’s scorpion in my hand (no, it’s not a euphemism). They were intimidating, are still intimidating, little Isis and Osiris, but watching the curiosity of my beloved has given me new perspectives on these little creatures that aren’t actually out to attack us, despite how we may perceive them, they’re just trying to live. So I took a deep breath and allowed the little pincher bug to crawl onto my gloved hand and then I took him outside to the garden as well. I didn’t necessarily just let him wander on my hand, I was a bit more efficient about getting him onto a blade of grass. And I reflected for a moment on what had happened, and had the simple thought, he has a place in the garden too.

It was one of those moments that made me realize the respect I had developed for all of life. It made me happy to realize I would go to the same efforts to save a bug that scared me a bit as I would any other bug. I know, they were bugs. But I’d like to think that I treat humans similarly. Or at least that’s my goal.

 

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.

 

 

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!