To Learn by Going Where We Have to Go.

April 20th, 2015

The crows have built a magnificent nest in the long arms high up in my Maple tree. They have instinct, skill and whatever evolutionary magic is on their side.

As I struggle with the sticks of new skills, the structure I am building called “marketing” and “presence” is so much less compact and architectural. At times, I feel as if my head empties out. I learn how to record on Garage Band, change the file to an MP4, load it into IMovie and then… and then…

The next time I attempt it, my voice has so much reverb I am an opera diva soloist. The track sounds like I have a 500 pound barrel body with words careening off of intestines and ribs.

What also fell out of my head or perhaps is just not aligned electronically is the method of paying my PST for my art work. Then there is getting insurance on my art hanging in a local bnb. So far it is two days and multiple phone calls.

I think to myself that it must be some Zen Koan life. When I am dealing with electronics or institutional authority, I must first fall to my knees in humility and work through waves of frustration. Eventually, it will work. Eventually, I will learn it.

Maybe, one day the path will arise to meet my feet instead of being hidden in dense under brush.

What I have been learning is how to market my work. The first task is to allow people to see what I have created. So my store on the Redbubble site found at http://www.redbubble.com/people/covitch is being featured on my facebook page, on twitter, on linked in and every time I go out for a walk, I wear the leggins.

 

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

At the present time, I have a list of nine things that I am trying to learn. They are in a scrawled and numbered column on my neon orange index card.

I look like the crow when it sits watching me from its perch. I have my head to the side, blinking my eyes black with ignorance. I can feel the sharp beak of curiosity trying to figure out the way in, the way out, the best way to grasp that shining bit of knowledge and fly away. I can take it back to my nest of a mind where I now “own it.”

It is a process. It is all process.

Mike Leigh explores Mr. Turner

February 22nd, 2015

Mr. Turner is a brilliant movie in that it does through the director’s choices exactly what Turner did in his painting. In traditional movies, there is a steady through line. In biographies the trajectory of the primary character’s life forms a structure and the audience follows the plot to the end of the movie.

 

sky lifts

The movie that I saw tonight presented fragmented stories framed separately from one another much as if we were walking through the Royal Academy’s yearly exhibition. These side scenarios are framed with importance.

Turner stands on a boat deck and a harsh faced woman refuses to interact with the man standing next to her. Her extremely broad, flat face is angry and she pulls away from him.

Turner sits sketching in a drawing room and one sister is singing. Another sister who is silly and exuberant flies into the room. They have an exchange. A deformed, unnaturally small man gets angry after a flirtatious song and storms out of the room.
In an earlier scene, the artist sings a song with a young rich, plain woman at the pianoforte. There is an exchange that is suggestive that there is more between them, a past acquaintance, a shared experience of life which the movie audience is not privy to.

We have the feeling that there is a completeness in the unfolding of that thread of others’ lives that is running past Turner’s as he sits and sketches or stands and observes.The use of extras to create scenarios which have begun at some point in time and intersect with the narrative of Turner’s life give unique substance to what would be just background fill with another director at the helm.

In a reversal of the practice of dramatic construction, story after story is revealed in mere minutes of film. Yet Turner’s story is not focused on a linear telling of either the artist’s biography or an exploration of his experience of finding his artistic voice. Each additional bit of information is given in a short exchange. But there is no effort to have a flow.

Even the aspects of his life that are revealed are created as framed, expressionistic moments. His guilt about his daughter’s death shows only in his reddened hands twisted behind his back in a grotesque grasping. His black coat and stooped shape blends into the black of his wife and daughter’s clothing so that the visual emphasis is greater.

In one scene as he is leaving his housekeeper and sometimes sexual partner, she helps him on with his coat. The next scene is of his arrival at his seaside residence. His landlady and sexual partner is removing his coat.

 

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

So for those who are looking for the typical bio picture, you will not find it in Mr. Turner. Mike Leigh has given us much more than the running of the usual dramatic curve through the movie. He has given us a sense of the age with framed up scenes. Expect the unusual. The portrait of emotions, the sense of the man and the age is the subject but the technique is unexpected, like the depiction of a ship on the seas. It is all there but the viewer has to do some work.

How do you reform the mindscape?

February 17th, 2015

Sloping

sunlight shoulder season

 

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

My discovery of books such as SWITCH and REWIRE always delights me. The experience reminds me of times when I have a sharp bit of tooth somewhere in my mouth and use a dentist’s mirror and a flashlight to see what is “going on”. Only it is my brain function, my mind set that I am trying to get an angle on and to cast a light on when I study books that explain the process of creating my mental landscape.

Something I read recently in the book Autobiography of a Yogi which I found in an on line bibliography of 12 spiritual books you should have read, really delivered a message.

The statement was that, essentially, our relationships with our bodies is a DNA type of Karma hangover from past lifetimes. So when we make a positive step forward, the good news is the change in habit behavior is inculcated into our very DNA which then carries on with us in the next lifetimes.

So the good news is, nothing learned and conquered is ever lost.

The bad news is we have strong habit memory from past lives as well as from this lifetime to address when we are ready to change into a more loving relationship with our own bodies and spirits. Lay onto that the belief that Buddhists and Taoists hold that family history also leaves a DNA karma habit on us in addition and it becomes clear why it can be such a struggle to shift.

 

 

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

No wonder when I simply decide I wish to move into a new territory of growth it takes such intention and will. I am trying to move out of what is to create what is more fully.

In REWIRE, Richard O’Connor made a statement which illuminated some dark mind cave space for me. He mentions countless studies where-by mindfulness practice can cause changes to the very structure of the brain. However, he states, mindfulness practice only allows us to see what thoughts we have and gives us the ability to not react to what is arising. The difficulty lies with the past experience informing the present dynamic. In order to think thoughts about being more powerful, creative, healthier, dynamic we need to build in those experiences. So for a while, we tread out onto thin ice and it feels risky.

For example, My mind will only allow me to think that I can pay down my debt slowly, with care and self sacrifice. My processes can take me out onto the new surface of knowing I can have my debt paid, my future secure and my financial struggle at an end. But at first it is thin ice because that “story” is not in my experience. I have not seen this in my parent’s lives, nor in mine.

O’Connor points to research that shows that it takes three months to rebuild, rewire the brain and it is through establishing new habits. The habits will have to be intentional, conscious efforts toward ease of selection. The steps are 1. Make a public commitment. 2. Recognize every step of your growth 3. When you slip get up and climb again.

All habits have a physical existence in the structure of the brain. O’Connor cheers the reader up by pointing to studies that show will power can increase will power. We become more proficient at heavy lifting.

 

2014-02-17 09.47.54

We are basically strangers to ourselves. We have a strong tendency to make unfamiliar things fit into our pre-programed assumptions about the world, or our stories. My reading leads me to believe these assumptive stories are laid down under the age of seven years of age. We are constantly dodging paradigms, narratives, scripts, schemata, mind sets and life traps.

Another statement that he made and I responded to strongly is how we need to learn the value of trying without succeeding. We can encourage growth by cheerleading our attempts at things that we know for sure will not work out at first, will be difficult, or stepping into the unknown.

We all know people who took that first step onto what looked like very thin, brittle ice and succeeded in walking out of a mediocre life. We all know people who changed their assumptions about what world they exist within.

For me, it is encouraging to see that mindscape can be redesigned. I am all for mindscape architecture which can be a build out from a risky, thin ice place on the path. Think of all those you know of from history, from people around you who have succeeded by failing. Building new conduits changes the brain which changes the thoughts which changes the results. Isn’t that wonderful to think about?

Finding Connection: What I learned in San Francisco

December 16th, 2014

This year is the first year I will be totally alone at Christmas. Because of circumstances, I will not spend time with either my daughter’s family or with my son.

In a way, it opens up the season as if a construct is changing the very shape of expectation. What Christmas will become to me in the future, I do not know. What is certain is that the present is engineering a new formulation of what is coming.

 

getting caught in the whirl wind

getting caught in the whirl wind

I overlook a stretch of space, of time and there are stepping stones ink- scratched on my calendar saying,’ in this place is a coffee with a friend, in this place is an appointment’. Having these scheduled events anchors the flow of days.

When I sit with others and hear their lives cycling unresolved issues, it causes me to examine my own. One day an image appeared. It is as if there were a pool of vomit on the floor in front of the refrigerator. As the dweller prepares meals and puts things away, he or she steps around the splatter of chaos. The smell becomes stronger and stronger and still, the dweller simply avoids the nasty thing. There is a mess of what could not be digested, processed and passed through in that life. Its presence causes greater and greater tension.

When I explained the metaphor one day to a friend she corrected me. “No,” she said, “we walk right through it because we don’t even register the presence of the mess.” I burst out in laughter at the picture.

But what if the decision was made to simply clean up? What things in my life do not work, what aspects are recycling negative outcomes? What emotional, spiritual, physical, financial messes am I stepping around?

 

love waits

When I returned from a conference in San Francisco, I concentrated on the physical. I painted scratched trim, I took all of the hidden treasures out of drawers, cupboards and closets. Most of the items taking up space were ridiculously old, dried up, never used or three or four partial bottles of the same fluids. So with joy I just threw the unnecessary out.

Next I have a hanging lamp I have owned for almost 10 years. I called a handy man and paid to have it hung.

It is such a pleasing thing to see how it shifts the energy when the environment becomes cleaner, more orderly and calmer. I had the area rug cleaned. Over 12 years ago I laid that in my livingroom and twice have taken it to the back yard to run water through it from my hose.

The carpet cleaner asked when I had had it cleaned professionally, because he said the black water was coming out of it for a long time, and the sand. Lots of sand fell though it (maybe it was time). I said, “Never.”

My computer housed thousands of files and pictures. With a mind to action, I ordered, labeled, put then into folders that my future self could discern. Then I dragged them off to Dropbox to be stored.

I thought about the possibilities, the almost touching filaments that could carry energy and bring prosperity into me. The facebook, twitter, linked in, red bubble, google plus should flow to one another. They could work together to fling information from site to site exciting the internet neurons. So I loaded 45 images into the red bubble account, selected products and started posting and reposting with links from one window to the other.

Loneliness has been leaving me feeling as if a cannon ball had blown my heart out. “And whose fault is that?” Yep. I was talking to myself again. So I started reaching out to friends and setting up coffee dates. On Mondays I now establish a schedule of events for the week. In the past I eye the calendar and just sigh myself deeper into my covers But now I have come to realize that like most other things in life, if I want friendships I need to maintain them.

 

neon

I think back to when I was just a discarded rag doll on the floor five years ago and how I got better and went to Chapters to sit. I was around people but not with people. How much deficit I have created from my attitude of marginality.

So if it something just stinking in life; if it is making more work ignoring it than it is dealing with it; if it is creating drama when the desire is for peace and laughter, then clean it up.

Today I hired a dating coach. At 70 years of age, I have finally learned I need help. There are things that are not working. There are things in my life that I don’t know how to do, how to solve, how to correct.

But one thing I learned from the conference organizers in San Francisco, is that those billionaires who I talked to there learned to ask for help. They hired life coaches, and tech workers, and personal trainers. And they did it when they were barely hanging on financially.

It isn’t weakness to bend down and clean things up. But maybe looking at a you tube video about the best way to go about it is a good idea.

If something is not working, make it work. Find somebody who knows how to make it work. Get rid of the old crap in life and the old drama. Stop hoarding and ignoring. And don’t worry about being bored. There will always be more smelly mess to deal with. No worries, there.

 

flow stab water thumb 3

Judith Orloff, Theodore Roosevelt and David Bowie

October 16th, 2014

The cave dweller, ego creature covered in the unkempt hair of despair has needed care. Sometimes I say, “I was raised by wolves,” because it is kinder to those who have to listen to me than for me to unload my story.

The most effective tool that has helped to deal with the squint- eyed dark dwelling drama beast,  was reading. I was drawn to it as if I intuited that books, narratives, biographies could show me a way out.

As a teenager, I stacked books against my chest and lengthened my arms so I could get them all home. Biographies of pioneer girls who had shown inordinate courage in the face of a hostile land; stories of great female role models like Marie Curie and Golda Meir fell into my out stretched hands. Sacagawea was perfect for a 6th grade girl living in the Columbia River Gorge. The history of Lewis and Clark surrounded us. I found role models that were focused, strong, reliable, dedicated to solving problems.

Golda Meir, Prime Minister, Israel

Golda Meir, Prime Minister, Israel

Who knows, in life, what is cause and what is effect? The books and I found one another.

At times when life was challenging, I had my cupboard full of role models and I could imagine myself to be the teen aged girl reloading rifles in the besieged fort, increasing the morale of those around me until help would arrive. I was drawn to extraordinary female power of one sort or another. And it helped me survive all of the stories my ego creature could possibly hiss to me.

Lately, I noticed that the books I am reading, the documentaries I watch all seem to build an architectural form of a lesson.

 

Judith Orloff, psychiatrist, intuitive, author

Judith Orloff, psychiatrist, intuitive, author

Judith Orloff is a psychiatrist with unblemished medical credentials who is also psychic. She has “come out” and lets the world know that her intuitive powers are one of her tools. Her success as a writer, teacher, lecturer and a doctor are based on her ability to be authentic and straight forward.

I love it when she says she is suspicious of those who waft about in robes waving wands while sprinkling pixie dust. One does not need to be unbalanced or a showman to be intuitive. We all have it. The work in life is to maintain balance. Her books speak to me of how to grow the intuitive gifts I already have and at the same time maintain my love of calm, cleanliness, solitude and order.

Doris Kerns Goodwin’s beautifully written Bully Pulpit allowed me to be encouraged about my life. Theodore Roosevelt was very sickly as a boy but he decided to make himself strong. His father built a gym in the family home and Theodore worked assiduously on building himself up to radiant health. He read on average of a book a day because he was constantly curious and drawn to a path of self improvement. But it was not a harsh regime. He was just mesmerized by life and let his joy lead him. At one point, Goodwin explains that Theodore was undertaking a new disciple. I believe it was sword fighting. He was abysmally bad at it for years. He was wretched at it for years. And yet he kept going until he became skilled.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

I thought of how quickly I become discouraged and close the door if I do not immediately succeed at a new task. I am short changing my future self.

This evening I watched a documentary about David Bowie who was told in the 60′s that he was too quirky and outsider to ever have a career. The music and the idea that was so clear in his head drowned out the voices of those who criticized him. He had a sense of what he wanted to be, to say. In an interview, he said that the way he was that day was David Bowie, but he was moving toward becoming “myself.”

David Bowie

David Bowie

So the recent teachers have reiterated to me that those around you can feed back to you the limiting self concepts that they are locked within. They may say, “You can’t be psychic. It is too weird and you won’t be respected.” They perhaps will hold up the mirror of disability and illness to lock you into that model of yourself. The critics and the specialists and the keepers of the scrolls may chant to you that you are too unusual or out of step.

But the glory of these three people who are so different from one another is that they pursued the imprint of who they knew themselves to be. They stepped out and exposed the power of publicly becoming so strong in authenticity that they have inspired me.

The ego has weakened its negative hold on me when I surround myself with others who did not chose the victim path; the lesser, the safer and the more disasterous path. And, finally, if we are going to choose a life to enable us to fit in….why not fit in to our own bodies with health, fit into our own spirits by honoring the inspirations, fit into our own truth by taking the risk to stand up in our endowment. Let it shine out.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in Yourself

Life becomes less crowded when the ego is quiet and the voices feeding back a smaller life are stilled. There is only you, the joy that calls to you and the excitement of finding out who you are. Thank you Judith, Theodore and David!

Yielding to Autumn

August 28th, 2014

sky lifts

My teachers, my readings bang the rhythmic message, the beats of the restrictions of attachment. I see a hand grabbing a string pulled through to cut the flesh. I see a hand reaching to the wire fence of periphery which clearly defines the territory of now and this and what is known, sustaining injury as the plane of time and habit tilt.

At times I see myself as a moth trapped in a jar. The space inside has all that needs to sustain me. Nothing is missing for continuance of all that now is. And yet I fly into the glass trying to get beyond these limits.

It is strange that being human, riding in the body is a state of such conflict. The summer is fading. A few leaves on the giant Maple tree which stands sentinel outside my bedroom window have died back. They are shriveled beige paper.

I want change. I yearn for a more exciting life, a more stimulating life, a life filled with more opportunities to step into my power supported by my tribe.

And yet I mourn the season’s change. I mourn the end of the ease of bodies walking loose in the heat. I resist the shrouding of people, the winter entombing of my neighbours, the withdrawal into a time of low, colorless light.

bench 2

The conflict of the figures of desire and release step around one another like bodies in a Baroque dance. The struggle between keeping the smallness of the simple and expanding into a larger field of energy is an illusion. I know that whenever I get to either/or thinking I am trapped. I am in a blind alley. I took a wrong turn.

And so I desire change and grieve change. The work is to stop the Baroque dance and sit. If I can yield to that which is and that which is, I am no longer trapped by my circumstances or by my reactions to my circumstances.

I bend my head to autumn but in my heart there burns a summer ferocity that is looking for a way to shine. There is no either/or, no two dimensions. All is all. I make my way the best I can.

IMG_7025

And so I watch the flowers fade, the sun turned down, the clouds coming to hunker down over the valley graying out the sky. I am working at releasing my attachment to the unkept promises of summer, the hopes to find a way to a larger life.

I yield to Autumn.

Kryon, Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton speak at Mount Shasta

July 21st, 2014

IMG_7447

The message beneath the mountain from these three powerful presences was heartening. I will begin backwards with the summary of what they had to teach their audience.
1. Do what it takes to get out of survival mode.
2. Trust yourself then trust others because they are you.
3. See everything.
4. Relax into it.
5. Expect answers.
6. The universe is helping you right now, in this moment.
7. Be honest with yourself.

columbine

Those who take the upper path end up nowhere, according to mythology. The easy path that appears to bring reward is a dead end. It is by knowing oneself, by the capacity to embrace uncertainty that resilience is achieved. The two structures are: comfort, greed and profit or love, strength and balance.

The biology is stress was explained. Recently, I listened to an Ideas program about the effect of stress as having the resultant lowering of IQ as its outcome. The conference introduced these new studies to the audience. Believing in a competitive, frightening world makes it less possible for an individual or a group to move out of survival mode. Survival mode insures that you will not bring a strong mind to your problems.

The magical feeling in the room of close to 700 people was palpable when Kryon channeled that there was “no going back. It cannot be stopped.”

Humanity is now on the fast track to a more conscious and spiritual relationship with the earth and with one another.
There was a time when human kind could stop the earth. There was a time when man could destroy his home. There was a time when the end game was in sight. But Kryon spoke about how the collective awareness has grown so strongly that we have moved beyond that disaster scenario. The sense of being awake is spreading. The feeling of hopeless sleep walking is done for so many that we cannot go back. The knowing that we are here to move out of competitiveness and into compassion is so strong that we cannot be stopped.

I felt such a rush of hope, such an eruption of high heart energy that I dissolved into it. To hold the faith that we can hold the faith was like having someone hand each of us a heart torch that we could carry with us out into our lives.

believe

Bruce Lipton was magnificent. He spoke with flashing energy about allowing the limbic, unconscious mind which is active 95 % of the time choose our reactions and our actions. The conscious, higher mind is only operative 5% of the time. His recommendation was that audience members practice observation of self.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGi8KFraN-U

I was very impressed with his vitality, excitement and sense of purpose as he spoke. He lit up the stage.

Gregg Braden took us through an exercise of how it feels to be in a high heart state so that we could use the ability to “plug in” empathy and love when we meet people. My reading of Tonglin practice and my teaching in compassion practice from our local Buddhist monk, Sandon, gave me an understanding of how effective the practice is. Standing in a room of hundreds of people going into compassion mode was absolutely magical. The energy in the room shifted and became so infused with calm and light that it ran through everyone there.

Gegg Bradon brings a sense of person to person to his presentations. He is so approachable, relaxed and centered that his information comes from a place of genuine caring about others.

All in all, I felt these three presenters did much to remind me of the path I have set out upon in the last five years. The sense that there is a change in the air; there is a place for the open and authentic to dwell; there is a basic electrical field of love through us, around us and enlivening all of us was what I came away with.

Sometimes all of the reading, Shamanic retreats, vision quests and facing demons results in a moment of clarity. I am thankful for having attended the conference not for any new information which I experienced but rather for the sense of having learned chords and patterns. It was at the conference that I heard the music of the lessons.

Kryon, Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden

July 4th, 2014

I left my fairy tale bungalow with the roses blooming surround to visit Mount Shasta and Crater Lake recently.

crater lake 6

A friend informed me that this area was a highly spiritual place for native Indians.

Standing at the teetering edge of Crater Lake is hyper real. The blues are reminiscent of 1950′s technicolored film scenes. The whites are unearthly floating in lazer blue water and sky. The contrast between the tranquility of the scene and the violence which created this high vibration sight is jarring. Even today, Native Indians and New Age mystics come to interact with the deepest water lake in North America.

crater lake 13

My friend, Laura and I stood on the dark rock at the edge. She turned to me and said, “The last time I came here was about twenty years ago on my honeymoon.”

I smiled and looked down at the bottomless water holding sky. “The last time I came here was about twenty years ago on my honeymoon.”

We were both quiet. I searched around inside my body closet for emotions… wondering if I would hit a monster memory or a little demon pain and was finding only calm. I felt good. I felt so opened up and enveloped by the beauty before and beneath me. That was all.

Afterward, I went to the gift shop to buy a tee shirt. I would wear it as a victory emblem. I had not returned to Crater Lake. I was seeing it for the first time free of any past story.

crater lake tranquility from violence

When we arrived in Mount Shasta, our hostess told us her own narrative. We found our place to stay during the conference through the airbnb.com site. Chi is a Japanese. She is a Japanese concert pianist who moved to New York. During the summers she taught short courses at Mount Shasta but it called to her. She left her life in New York behind and moved without a place to live, without a job, without a clear purpose and alone.

shasta above us

One year and six months later she now lives in a house, teaches at nearby institutions, tours with local symphonies.She now has a large and luscious garden which she planted. She found a man who loves her and is her equal in skills, openness and gratitude for their new life. In eighteen months she created an entirely new way of being in the world.

Because she trusted herself, she grew.

When she first moved to Mount Shasta, there was a blizzard that shut down the town for weeks. Her friends in New York thought she was crazy. She thought she might be crazy. Now, She has made a new structured reality to live within and it is far better.

The conference itself was uneven. Some speakers were inspirational… but I always find that a waste of time. I brought my own sparkler spirit. I was inspired to travel, to spend money, to leave my house. Yep.

rainbow sun 2

I was so high school girl giggling in the back of the room when my new friend turned to me. We are both open notebook, furiously scribbling types of people.

“I haven’t got anything in my notebook. Did she say anything?” She said.

“You haven’t got anything in your notebook and I don’t have anything in my notebook because there is no content,” I replied.

She looked relieved as we both laughed.

So much of the conference was light on actual information. I felt like a sixth grader in a third grade class and my body was unused to sitting for such long periods of time. I stop to analyze my reaction. Am I wrong to feel this way? Is it ego to want to find those beautiful revelations of information that open a person up, that challenge a person’s mind?

I frequently get up and go outside to do some yoga poses and just stare at Mount Shasta. I am yearning to get up onto her pathways, to interact with the spirits purported to be on the mountainside.

Sitting in the dark room barely able to see my notebook, I still persisted in taking notes. As I read them scrawled like a insect trail over the pages, it is like reading from one possessed. I will share a few with you to be puzzled by along with me or to amuse you.

“My baby body cleaning me.
Calling the Elders to be with us.
The Telos beings are crying.
I give this day to all that is divine.
A big white puffy woman like a cloud.
Blah blah blah blah so far nothing. only her visions.”

We are asked to stand facing another participant. I am hit. I am hit hard in the chest. The woman I face appears to me as a severed tree broken off in a storm with no branches left. She is a sharp asymmetrical point. The trunk still lives but she has lost all her foliage. I lean into her and whisper, “It will be alright.” I am telling her the truth. She needs to hope and grow her branches back.

We repeat the exercise with another person and this time the woman I face is surrounded by blossoms. She is surrounded by beautiful, healthy, radiant flowers. I tell her. I say, “You have a blooming garden all around you.” She hugs me and quietly responds, “Thank you.” She knows exactly what I have seen. She knows.

The energy in the room from the 700 people is immense. Some are on walkers, some are large with despair, some are healers or lightworkers. Everyone wants to know how to be better at this, at this being alive, at this walking the earth. There are many, many who are here to find a key to the gate of hope.

Mount Shasta 2

One speaker talks about personality types and informs the audience of a web site with a test that will lead them to an analysis of their type. She delineated the types and the percentages of the population that are that mode of person. I know immediately from her description that I am a “reflector.” I am in the 1% of the population whose job is to stay outside. My job is to not join the groups. My job is to not follow others, participate in that which others feel is fun or entertaining. A reflector’s calling is to observe from the distant place and allow others to see who they are. By not becoming part of the social organism, we can remain sociological anthropologist. No question. Absolutely.

My notes at this point say: “Moss growing on a paper cutter blade.”

And then I write a poem about falling in love…. with myself.

to be continued. to be continued.

What am I? Why do I do that? Who do I want to be?

May 15th, 2014

The question of who I am comes to mind frequently. Brain studies indicate that much of the thought habits that fill my mind are left over scenarios of survival advice from the script of childhood. We are discovering that 90% of thoughts are from the limbic brain or the subconscious mind. Buddhist, Tao studies and scientific investigation reveals to us that much of the cellular memory has been constructed from the decisions of our ancestors. The society, the culture, the sub-culture, the familial culture all create our “impact geography” of structured self.

looking for self

looking for self

Where in the conflux of all of these elements is the place to stand? Where in the dynamic of conditioning, imprinting, inheritance is my soul space?

The question of who I am comes to mind frequently. And it is to be discovered, this continent of me, in the space between thought and the habit of action. As Eckhart Tolle explained, the pain body has a driving motivation. How fully we see ourselves depends on how quickly we understand the motivation of our own thoughts. To ask the question, “Why do you want to do that?” can give me time to be curious. To ask the question, “What is your body feeling right now? can give me the manner to connect to what emotions are being triggered.

The calm place between thought and action is how I find myself. It is how I discover and learn to love myself.

At the bottom of the well, if I stick my head way, way down with a flashlight, is fear. I will crust it over, armour it in anger. Because anger feels strong and because anger will protect me, I place anger in front of fear to protect it. But the problem is that I have now hidden my fear. It is in a costume. In the deepest part of the dark cave, is a scared being.

We yearn to love

We yearn to love

The problem with anger is that it gets in the way. When I feel angry, defensive, I have now put myself into a state where I cannot love. I cannot love others, but most harmful of all, I can no longer love myself. When we step out into the world gently, with no armour, with an authentic smile on our faces, our hearts feel big. We feel at home in the world.

The problem with anger is it masks the real problem of feeling unsafe. The frightened child is still hiding and now it feels even more unloveable.

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The abused child clings more tightly to the parent who is hurting him or her. Why is that? People say, “Oh that child is not abused, look how much the child holds on to the parent.” All children have one need that ensures survival and it is the driving hunger for bonding. An abused child is like a child starving or eating unsustaining food. He or she will eat more and more in the intention of being satisfied. In order to choose to remain in life, an infant must be able to love the parent. And so the child will make him or herself take on the responsibility for the relationship. It is not a weakness to choose to love the parent that damages or hurts you. It is a survival tactic.

The unprotected child chooses to feel shame for not being loveable. The hurt child self chooses anger in order not to feel fear. Being angry, means being unloveable. And now, the coping tactics that unmindful behavior establishes begin to become a source of shame.

We become ashamed that we cannot love, that we are hurt, that we are in defensive mode. And in order to anesthetize the shame we take action. The pain body tells us that we have to numb the sharp emotions, the dull hopeless emotions, the chaotic emotions, the dead end lost depression. The mind tells us stories as we take upon ourselves once again the guilt. The acting out to quell the shame becomes a bank account to which we make deposit with every additional act.

And so we are caught. We are caught in a confused place where nothing is working. But at the bottom of the well is fear.

The time between thought and action, the space between the mind’s dialogue and following instruction is where the magic lies. We can stop and go to the dark place. We can stop and pick up the terrified child and hold that child. We can say to the child, ” I know you are afraid. I know you are afraid you will die from the yearning in your heart to be loved. I know you are afraid you are not loveable. But I love you. You are safe with me. I will protect you.”

taking action without understanding can set us back

taking action without understanding can set us back

We can stop between the conditioned, DNA driven, family damaged story of desperation and survival and encourage ourselves to do what is our greatest desire. We can encourage ourselves to be loving. No matter what. It is safe to love. Others. Ourselves. It is safe.

Who am I? I have no idea yet. I am evolving.

Grief about Grief

March 26th, 2014

Recently, I have been dealing with the deep sadness of watching loved ones go through grief. The layers are many. First there is the loss of my own expectations of seeing that sweet person filled with joy through the promises to come.

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

The “supposed to” and “It is your job to” also comes into it as well. We break upon the rocks of expectation so frequently. What we want most in life is to see those we raise and nurture to step confidently into life. What we want most is for those we have brought into the world to be somehow safe from the bruising of reality, restriction and restlessness. And death. How do we protect them from death and loss?

winter limbs

Yesterday, was a heavy day when the end of a dream came to my family member. I found that I could not manage doing much. My mind constantly went back to allowing. “Just allow yourself to feel sad,” I would say. “Just allow the dark heart to be.” I would occasionally breathe out slow releasing the tension from my body.

But the other layers came into play as always. The ego is so good at creating a mummified creature by wrapping layers of narrative around and around an already distressing event. The stories of failure, mine, theirs, his, its, the world’s, the universe’s just kept wrapping around me. Then came the swaddling of future narratives…. life is so sad that this will happen, and this, and this.

The inside of my Dark Knight Rises mind movie lead me to just crawl into bed. I prayed. I did some deep breathing but the parasite fear was so firmly attached that I could do nothing but be with it.

I thought about death. I thought about the time I had lost half of the blood in my body and floated above the hospital recovery room to hear a nurse screaming about somebody being gone and a doctor rushing over. I thought about spinning around on the Coquihalla with the sides of the car being crushed in first on one side of the highway and then the other as a semi truck was weaving behind trying not to end lives. I thought about my cancer operations and the feeling of waking up every morning to the realization that I might die soon.

I thought about the friends and family who have passed. So many of those I have loved, who were part of the holographic identity of myself that I had constructed, are in spirit now.

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And the grief. The grief of being in a body. The grief of others who cannot help their loved ones no matter how much they wish to reach out and take that burden upon themselves. The overwhelming sadness of knowing that inevitably the price of being alive is to experience the multitudinous ways in which we are limited by our own belief systems about what it is to be alive.

Finally, I thought of how each of us deserves comfort. Each of us deserves arms that will wrap around the body that we walk around in; the body that delights us; the body that condemns us. The warmth of being held for all we are, for all of our failures, all of our un-enlighted moments, all of our inability to go beyond our own limitations of thought. Just held in love.

It is the only way to make sense of this lesson of life and grief and death: that there is, finally, love.

I slept with my arms around sadness
I slept with my arms around grief.
I lay down with prayers for my loved ones
finding, words spoken in darkness
finding, a way to believe.