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.

 

Conversations…about Chakras

A lovely conversation about chakras:

Not Me

don’t really believe in chakras but i do believe in the mental clarity and neural pathway realignment that comes with meditation.

Me

why don’t you believe in chakras?

because it’s just a philosophical construct.

they’re not real. they’re more like metaphors for our own personal dramas and how to overcome them.

Me

it’s one of those things science is finally getting around to having the instruments to detect them

Kundalini and chakras are things I am actually really strong in feeling about.

Not Me

how do you know?

(not being argumentative, just genuinely curious)

Me

Have you ever read the studies about a group of people praying/meditating for a sick person in a hospital far away, without that person knowing, and that person’s health improves?

Not Me

i saw it in a documentary…something about that.

Me

It’s things like that that encourage me to believe in Chakras

Not Me

so, in your words, what do you think chakras are?

Me

And my own experiences

Wow. here’s an analogy that I just thought of, and I want to play with it so I’ll share it with you…

You’ve heard of the three blind men and the elephant analogy?

Not Me

ok

um…

no

Me

Incredibly abridged version: three blind guys come up on an elephant, one feels the leg says, wrinkly, hairy, strudy. Another feels the ear and says, no way, flimpsy, soft maleable, another feels the trunk and is like, no way, long, thin, hollow, muscular…you get the idea of how those three different parts, when isoloated, are completely different

but it’s still part of a bigger whole?

Not Me

ok yeah

Me

One of my favorite lines from the Person Letters, also in the same vein, says, “If God is truly so omnipotent as we say, how can one of our religions truly cover the entire scope of that omnipotence? Is it possible that each religion highlights an aspect of said omnipotence?”

still with me?

Not Me

ok sure… “all ways lead to the Way”. I read that in a book.

Me

probably a Tao book, lol

Taoist

Not Me

it was fiction but yeah, the character was based on a taoist monk

Me

Ha! Totally fucking called it

So, track with me.

Instead of god, think of our body

we have energy, right, you do believe that we have energy

and are made up of vibrations and energy, yes?

Not Me

yes

vibrations are energy resonating

Me

And would you agree that humans are multi-faceted individuals that has a large internal dynamic and external expressions?

tons of different moods, perspectives, thoughts, etc?

Not Me

yep.

Me

And we go through a ton of different transitions in life, yes? Different areas grow at different times, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, and the such, yes?

Not Me

don’t know what that is necessarily but yes.

Me

Never heard of Maslows Hierarchy of needs?

Not Me

mmmno

Me

Not Me

oh ok yes

Me

Okay, let’s bring it back to chakras, lol

we are a being of energy

that is multi-faceted

Not Me

like a 12-side die

in dungeons and dragons

lol

jk

carry on

Me

so why not have different energy centers that focus on certain facets, that specialize in certain facets, instead of a free for all, that all contribute to the larger whole (bring back in the elephant) so that similar vibrations vortex with similar vibrations…bring in the rainbow here and you get the various frequencies of vibrations pulsing to produce color, those same colors relate to the chakras as well

and then bring in Maslow’s triangle, which also tracks with the chakras

why, if we are intellegent beings, would our energy not separate into sub energies to focus on different aspects.

Not Me

there’s a storm going on in my brain. please hold.

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

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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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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.

 

 

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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.

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.

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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

Sometimes I forget

Sometimes I forget.

To listen. To actually shut my mouth and quiet my thoughts and listen. My shallow desire to connect, to share, to be seen as someone who knows has left me as someone waiting to speak.

It has left me inauthentic.

Sometimes I forget, that it’s not about me. That though I am the center of my world, that so is everyone else.

I forget that we are all connected. That we share in the universal energy.

Sometimes I forget.
To appreciate the silence.

 

Syncing with the seasons

I have many times said that I am an inconsistent person. That my habits cycle as the moon does. I was discussing this with my acupuncturist/hypnotherapist last week, hoping that she could somehow help me find balance and consistency. In a nutshell, she said she could help me direct my energy there but that I must do something every day to cultivate the habit I was trying to assimilate into my life.

As I was finishing up my yoga asana this morning and about to proceed to my meditation pillow, it occurred to me how good I felt and that this should be a morning practice, that I can wake up 30 minutes early to help my body feel wonderful. And as I began my meditation outside, and felt the warmth of the sun flow across my body, it occurred to me how great the sun is and how its’ warmth helps me feel good about the day and that I should meditate for at least 10 minutes in the morning sun before going to work to help prepare me for the day. And so I sat in meditation content and placing an intention to make this routine a regular morning routine for me.

And I sat there basking in the sun.

And then it occurred to me. The idea of making this a morning routine is a great one albeit not a possible one. Well, I should say it’s not possible to make this a year round morning routine, that I could make it a summer morning routine, but I couldn’t do it in the summer. I experience four seasons. To wake up at 8:00 in the morning in the summer is to already have the sun risen but it in the winter, this has not yet happened. My routines cannot be the same because the environment I am basing my routines on is not the same. I need to tune into these seasonal changes and sync my energy.

I do not know why it took me so long to realize this. But for whatever reason it is happening now. I have long thought that my inconsistency is a bad thing, a weakness. But in reality it is simply nature, earth nature, animal nature and human nature. And it doesn’t have to control me. I can adjust myself accordingly to find balance in each season. To find consistency in change.

Life in Dreams; a walking meditation

 


Random walking.
Needed fresh air.
Meditation with exercise.

The trees whispered creation.
The water soothed my angst.


The cool fresh air of the setting sun ignited my need. My need for art.
Walking out from under the bridge, I was exposed.

It’s time to be honest with myself.
Time to start living my dreams.
I need to stop waiting for a miracle to help me.
I am already the miracle.
It’s time for me to realize this and start living in my dreams.

Peace first, then art.

I really don”t do enough art. I”m ashamed to admit that I look at so many other artists that I become paralyzed. The fear of not being as good stifles me.

And the irony is that I would rather sit here and type, again, about how I want to do more art, than actually do art. My to-do list is miles long, and I have yet to cross anything off. I keep getting resolved to do more, to actually develop my artistic style to live my art and yoga life, but I don”t follow through. I go to the bars, watch football, watch Extreme Midget Wrestling, watch a movie, hang out with friends…everything else.

It”s depressing.

I am getting better about developing my home yoga practice. So that”s positive. And I definitely meditate more. I guess that”s just my learning curve. I am finding peace through yoga and meditation first, it seems, to hopefully explore art without stress and angst.

For being an artist and a yogi…I”m crazily stressed-out.