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26 September 2009

Super Star

Leave me alone. Go away and stop bothering me. Leave us all alone for that matter. We don't need you, we can figure it out amongst ourselves. I'm talking about this world we live in. It's so lame. Do this, eat that, buy this, have that. Is that all that is important? Where did you get so lost? When did you forget what matters? Relationships are where it's at. Connect the dots and you will see that we are all in this together. Love yourself, love eachother, love the earth, love the universe. You got to realize. Realize your priorities. That is what I'm sayin to you. Lose the facade, ditch the wish list of material things and start filling your re-usable bag with soul food. You and me are here because we chose to be here. I can tell you will not stop bugging me so I will shut you out, ignore you. I can live without your shallow materialism. For I am a star. My spirit came to earth for this experience and I will not let you misguide me. Open open open open your eyes and see the brilliance of this world. Many, too many in fact, have forgotten, so start now while you can. Resist the urge to lose yourself in the way of life that is almost in a way directed and demanded of us. You can live in the here and now and be happy. Hold onto your strength and your confidence and find the wonderful in today, in this very moment. Remain strong and confident, even when at times you only have a small thread to hold onto. You are stronger than this world, than this body you live in. You are a super star.

25 September 2009

How It Happens

So this is how it happens, the urgency, the anxiousness - the need to do something. But what? Start a project, rearrange my houseplants, go to vallue village? No, I need to write. I need to go to that place in my head and get lost for a while in my thoughts and I need to do it now. If there's no time, I'll jot down the concept to recall later. But when I do sit down and begin to type, I settle in and prepare to be carried away. My mind re-focuses and directs itself toward my intention. I am drawn further and further into the universe of my thoughts as they begin to take form and become words. This is the only moment that exists right now but strangely that feels ok. Soon my story is told and there are no more words to say. The trance begins to lift and a sense accompolishment rushes over me. Hurriedly, I publish my post and and view my blog to re-live what just poured out of my soul. I exhale contently and resume my life. And that is how it happens.

23 September 2009

Soul Practice

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. ~ Chinese proverb

So, as a spiritual being on a human journey, I am always renewing my soul. Sometimes it's a massage, time at the beach, a long walk in the mountains, a big long hug; or sometimes it's about more about a small change to a regular routine. I was vegetarian for 14 years. That small change to my diet lasted a while. It was good and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn't known about before. I added long jogs to my daily routines, a small hour in a long day but well worth the mental cleanse it gives me. I stopped wearing makeup years ago. A small change to my appearance but a vanity that I did not want to focus on anymore. Because of a lack of adequate funding and an insane urge for a good deal, I started shopping at second hand clothing stores. A small change to my wardrobe but a thrill each time I find cool clothes for dirt cheap. I started eating local and organic, buying less packaging, focusing more on friends and family, smiling at strangers, and on and on. These small changes happened one by one and over time. That must be why our elders are so wise. They have had many years to practice.

As is part of my nature, I am going to begin intentionally walking a new yet well worn path of soul practice. It consists of precepts (teachings, instructions) of which I will pick one per week that I will mindfully meditate and place my focus on. Some of these precepts will be those of Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tik · N'yat · Hawn) who is a Buddhist monk living in exile in France. He's only exiled from Vietnam because he tried to teach the people of his country about peace but apparently that was labeled as a communistic activity so he had to leave. I like his teachings and have come across quotations from him so often that I have decided it is a sign. A sign for me to acknowledge that I need to expand upon the inner depths of my soul and help quiet my mind. I was never one for sitting in a classroom. I learn hands on and at my own pace. I will be my own teacher but let the words of the wise ones and the spirits guide me.

And in the very own words of Thich Nhat Hanh I conclude with this: "Do not believe that I feel that I follow each and every of these precepts perfectly. I know I fail in many ways. None of us can fully fulfill any of these. However, I must work toward a goal. These are my goal. No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words."

19 September 2009

May the Wind Take Your Troubles Away

(not using proper punctuation tonight). i have a little bit of angst in me. i always do this time of year, mid september. the hot dry month of august is over, the sky sends down mists of rain here and there, the sun makes less daily appearances and the warm yet slight cool winds roll in. yet i can still wear my flip flops and get away without a sweatshirt at night.

i'm just not ready to give up my summer freedom yet. i love drinking my coffee in the backyard on weekday mornings, watching the sun rise as the dogs noses rise to read the morning air. i sit barefoot in the evenings out by the fire or i wander down to the neighbors with my hair in a bun on top of my head, shorts and glass of wine. no hesitation. it's all about a level of comfortableness that is thoroughly and satisfyingly achieved with ease. but that is all about to change and everyone senses it.

the mornings are little cooler, night falls slightly earlier than usual, and the internal debate is on if i need a sweatshirt or not or if i should put that warmer blanket on the bed at night. it's a little bit of denial and a little sense of excitement. the winds of change are near. if the seasons did not change, neither would we. it is time to prepare, it is an instinctual time. gather the harvests, stock up on necessities, begin to modify our wardrobes, all with the feeling of an eventual slowdown, a sort of hibernation you could say.

it's good that things don't stay the same. it makes me stronger and more aware of my surroundings. every shift in the seasonal climate affects me. i look forward to the different pace as much as i silently refuse to acknowledge it. summer time to me is when i get to be fully me, in the au naturale. hair long and wild, tanned arms and legs, barefeet, sundresses, skirts and tanktops. a light glow from the heat of the mid summer sun and fans blowing in every room. it is intoxicatingly lazy, for the overwhelming heat of the day prohibits you from doing a thing. that is my nature. my toes are never scrubbed clean and my nails have a permanent case of garden dirt tones.

yet if things stayed that way, there would be nothing to continually awake my senses, alerting me to pay attention and prepare for a change. i am just as much comfortable in my summer skin as i am in my fall, winter and spring skins. it's just the settling into and accepting of the coming cooler season that is troublesome at first. there's a secret in the air now. it is the wind that will carry any lingering troubles away and breathe the change with me. and soon, it will be just as fun to drink my my morning coffee bundled up warm in my robe and long socks, snuggled next to my husband, my dogs and of course, the heater.

10 September 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Football is not a game but a religion, a metaphysical island of fundamental truth in a highly verbalized, disguised society, a throwback of 30,000 generations of anthropological time. ~Arnold Mandell

Summer isn't yet over but Fall isn't quite here. We're kind of in limbo, seasonally speaking. But it is actually the most wonderful time of the year, for today, football season began. It is the first step towards summer's end. School just started, the sun is showing itself less and less, clouds dominate the sky and the yearly family and friends football pool is officially on.

Every Saturday will become filled with the urgent rush to get all chores and to do lists completed because every Sunday will be come sacred. Where you set your alarm clock to be sure you have enough time to get set up on the couch where you will spend the remainder of the day. Or if your team isn't being shown on regular TV, you haul your tired ass to a bar where you will wash down hashbrowns and eggs with too many bloody mary's. Either way, the whole day, or at least for the next 8 hours, you live and breathe football. Trips to the bathroom or for a smoke are timed perfectly for commercials. Foods are ordered in and by delivery. Half-time is left with just enough time to call your friends and family to discuss the first half highs and lows yet still leaves you rushing back to the couch to catch the beginning of the 3rd quarter, hopeful that the short rest gives your team the undeniable urge to win it for you.

As your team volleys back and forth between injuries, sacks, dropped balls, victory runs and amazing catches, you look hard at the football pool spreadsheet of picks. If you are victorious, will this win put you in the lead, tie you with your arch-rival, leave you bummed cuz you're dead last? Finally, in the last game of the day when the game clock hits 0 seconds, win or lose, there is a sense of accomplishment. You have vast new knowledge of each team and how they rank that week. Then you start thinking about next weeks game and discuss the possible outcomes.

I don't know why I like football and I have gone over this many times it my mind. The short season, 17 weeks, 1 day per week (usually), is easy to follow. The excitement of those few weeks is electric because every single game counts. Playoffs lead to the most celebrated should-be holiday of every year - the super bowl. Even the rules of the game itself can be caught onto easily. There's a fierce competitiveness that surfaces - people and bars are choreographed into team colors and paraphenalia extravaganzas. Plus, the fact that these players don't mind being clobbered over and over is almost like you have to keep seeing it to believe it. Thank you to replays, we can re-live those important game moments.

When it really comes down to it though, football season rules because as the winter months set in and we are homebound and wrapped up warm next to our heaters, for 17 weeks straight, we are in continual close touch with our friends and family members who are in the football pool. The texting, emails and phone calls go overboard as we send messages to eachother wishing luck or talking shit. So tonight, as tradition called for, we spent the opening night of football, eating sliders, drinking lemon drops, lounging on the couch and ending the night with our first win. Let the season begin!

09 September 2009

Interruptions of the Mind

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Remember that commercial - 'Calgon, Take Me Away' - with the busy woman who just needed to get away from it all so she took a soapy, perfumy, chemical-filled bubble bath? Give me a break, when was the last time I've had time to take a bath and I wouldn't touch our bathtub with a ten-foot pole because I haven't gotten my request to have a maid yet. But no matter... We've all been there, in total shock, in pain, in disbelief, in awe, in excitement, in sadness, in anger, in stress, where we forgot to breath and someone said, 'Just breath', and you did. Such a simple idea but so hard to do in those moments of chaos. Yet that gentle reminder helps you slip back into reality but this time with a renewed focus and a sense of calm.

It is true, breathing is the means we use to merge our body and soul. I found that out when I was taking hot yoga a couple of years ago. My first class was quite an awakening. The room was heated to 105 degrees and we were holding poses for long moments of time. The combination of the heat, sweat pouring out of me like niagra falls, concentrating on holding a position meant for a cat would make me forget to breathe. It must have been a common occurrence because our teacher constantly reminded us to breathe. She told us that we needed to focus only on our breathing which would take us away from the heat and the pain. She said after practicing, we would eventually find our breath. I had no idea what that meant so I just kept trying. But I soon found out. Probably 3 classes in, I wasn't even concentrating on remembering to breathe. I realized that I was naturally breathing and extremely centered. What amazed me was how quiet my mind had become. I wasn't worrying about the extreme heat or fighting with the continual nuances and interruptions that flow in and out of my head. As long as I breathed, I remained tranquil.

I've held onto this philosophy and made it a way of life for myself. When I get stressed out, I take 3 deep, long, slow breaths. Those breaths renew my sense of calm and help me prepare to deal with the present in a buddah-minded way. I can breathe subtly if there is no way for me to escape my situation or I can go hide in a bathroom stall and breathe deeply there (and roll my eyes and make faces at the wall).

Breathing will get me through those moments but there are other pieces to this puzzle of obtaining a calm mind. Breathe first, the forgive and let it go. Forgive yourself, forgive the other person and say it over and over and over until you believe it. This could take a while. Then let it go. It's seriously easy to let it go once you forgive. And don't reheat it for breakfast, ever. The final step is to absorb yourself in a strenuous activity - hot yoga, an extra long walk or jog, hike or ride your bike up a big hill, sex, etc... My philosophy is that if you get your heart rate up and get your breathing going for a period of time, you actually release (and sweat out) any lingering issues that are stubbornly staying in your mind.I don't know but it works for me. And I think you should give it a try - more than once. And if it doesn't work, and you are going to resort to a bubble bath, at least get the kind without perfume and chemicals!