Learning the Interior Map

It was fascinating for me to observe myself this past week. With all of the progress I have made in self-discovery, with meditative practice and setting intention, I fell off of the wagon.
For two days I felt sad, depressed and while I was working full- out on those things that needed to be completed, I was crying. What is it that is said, “Crying for all my lost days.” The sense of heaviness in my heart was so great that I actually saw a vision of my heart as a large, black boulder. The list was being dissolved. I was moving through doing that which I intended to do. However, I was dragging my spirit along behind me forcefully.

Om Mani Padme Hum

On the third day, the pain in my wrists, head and back manifested. Was this because I was depressed and ,therefore, more open to viruses? I don’t know. However, I immediately went into coping mode. I headed out to buy sugary drinks and a giant cookie. I rented videos to distract me. I holed up in the dark living room.
Leaving behind meditation practice, working out and connecting to friends, left me deep into the coping mechanisms that had worked out…. not at all… in the past. After a day of couch- floating, the pain grew more and more intense. I suddenly got the message. My son had visited me five days previously and he was getting sick. I was sick. Fever for two nights, racking back pain and sick to my stomach.
So now what most interests me is the question:Did I get sick because my defenses were down due to a negative mind-set or did I take the on- slaught of virus and interpret it as depression?

Was the pattern of old mind, of disaster mind so ingrained in me that because I was sluggish, unwell and fighting off a virus, I immediately attributed that to emotional pain.
Well that is fascinating!!! If my meditation practice were to do something for me, I understand that I should have not avoided sitting. It was a time to sit and experience all that was going on in my body and to release the emotional turmoil around it. “You feel like shit. Oh yes you do.”However, just let that be and experience it.

eye of the storm

Also, running toward sugar and movies. That will fix everything. Just a hit of this and a hit of that. What about going for a walk or calling my daughter? No can’t do that!
So the ego waits to find situations whereby it can act out. Things are so bad you “need” this. The world sucks so you “deserve” that.
In addition, I am wondering if watching all of the videos of the Tsunami and world upheaval has not affected a change in my energy. I like to be informed. But, I am a sensitive. After enough years on this planet, I know this to be true.
I am not just sympathetic, I am empathetic. Once when my brother fell out of the car and broke his collar bone, we took him to the hospital. While he was in being examined, I cried and cried. My parents asked what was wrong. I told them I hurt. My shoulder hurt where he was injured and it was intense. It was not sympathy. I was experiencing his pain.
So what are the lessons… oh for Pete sake… again. Take care of the body. Sit meditation to connect to the body. Seek ways to be joyous that are healthy. Stay close to loving friends. And, lastly, allow yourself to make mistakes without judging or condemning yourself. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Buddha tells us that we have many life times for this work. And that is a good thing.
May your day be full of love


Cultural Community

Tonight I went to two events. The first was a group of people interested in working on their presence in the world through retreats, conferences and reading. The second was a group gathered together by UBC-O’s creative studies department to learn which individuals were to be awarded the top three places by guest judge Annabell Lyons. http://annabellyon.blogspot.com/
It was a joyous, relaxed evening.
At the first event, I met three people formally that I had passed in my life. We shared many experiences. One used to own a book store where I was selling art work on commission. Another taught dance in the building where I had my studio. A third was a close friend of a friend. It is interesting to see where connections can lead. It is why my daughter keeps telling me to go out the door. Staying home in my diaphanous Emily Dickens reclusiveness is not moving me on from this stuck place in my life.

Original photograph of a piece of string on the floor

At the short story competition announcement, I got to hear readings from four writer’s works. It was varied, skilled and interesting work. I had the audacity to take flyers of my poetry anthology which is for sale on LuLu and handed them out to four people. It took guts. I felt very hesitant but know that I have to start getting behind my talent if I want to make money from the work I am doing. My anthology is 36 pages of poetry written over the last year and posted to facebook.

My hopes are that the process of advertising my work becomes easier and more natural for me. Finding a gallery, an agent, a way to run the work I have been doing for thirty years up to a point where it begins to create it’s own energy is what will happen if I keep working to that goal.
I am going to a retreat in Victoria for the last week in March and really happy about having some time away. Life has been very lonely and quiet. Shows are coming up: Myths and Legends opens Saturday night at 273 Bernard; Digital Art show in Vernon t.b.a.; Sopa Under 8 in April. Currently, I have a show at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall which is a wonderful space to show art.

Plans to attend the Permaculture group meeting for tomorrow night are flying around in my head. I also feel like getting out to see a movie or go to Chapters. I have been disciplined this week working on art, cleaning the house, feeding my blog. Tomorrow, I need to prepare for my course at UBC-O Continuing Studies teaching Grammar Lite. Being back in the classroom is always a rush for me. I love to react to what it is my students need. Teaching, for me, is not about feeding a baby. Open the door. Here it comes. Neither is it like teaching steps in a dance routine. People need to know what they are ready to learn. I guess the really challenging aspect of teaching is being able to deal with four or five levels at the same time. It is a challenge; however, it is a thrill to walk out of a room knowing that you have awakened confidence and curiosity in your students. I love it.

I am thinking that it is time to go through all of the boxes of ballast I have in the shed. Clothing, books and fabrics can be freed, reorganized and utilized to create some revue for me. What I am not wearing, I must sell. The separation settlement left me in a position whereby I must start doing things to dig myself out. Listening to Tony Robbins was inspiring yesterday. Tomorrow I will sit down and brain storm 200 methods of bringing in prosperity to deal with the giant debt I had to take on to be free. Now I will find a way to be free of the weight of this debt.

Recently, I created two book jackets for a client who is a poet. I also created a banner for his web site. I worked images as far as I could in Gimp then I finally broke down and downloaded a free trial of Photoshop. Some of the images I created from playing with photoshop were interesting. I am missing my Flaming Pear, Eye Candy and Painter filters that went bye bye with the multiple crashes on my computer during my dark and disheveled days this last year. My creativity is coming back and the feeling of anticipation for what will be is like the pink shoots in my flower bed. Promising.

chocolate enclosure

Setting Intention

I am bathing my brain cells in CD’s, DVD’s, on line radio broadcasts, web sites that are all to one end. This time in my life is so clearly a falling away of the past and a moving into a new way of existing in the world. Much of what I have read or experienced in the past provides me with direction. It is easier to read the map now that delusions have fallen away.

piece I sold at Under 8 Sopa Gallery

Each day begins with meditation. I sit in the wonderful, turquoise green chair that was discovered¬† on a walk when I was still “married” and my husband brought it home. I light candles and incense and sit quietly. Sometimes I concentrate on my breath, sometimes I concentrate on concentrating on my breath, sometimes I watch my thoughts. What I have learned after over a year of daily practice is to not attach to non-attachment. That sly ogre under the bridge , the ego- troll waits. The grading or judging of the efficacy of the meditation is just the troll. It was good. It was bad. My mind was busy. All of these thoughts are unimportant. It is the sitting itself that is important.

What have I learned in the year:

I have learned not to judge my judging.

I have learned to have empathy and compassion for the pain I feel.

I have learned that my mind seeks narrative. (The seduction of a story draws me. I will…. story begins. I did…. story begins.)

I have learned that my childhood has left me with a deep seated feeling of emptiness that I crave to fill with thoughts and work.

I have learned that I can teach myself new skills by NOT moving.

I have learned that my tenacity and rigidity is a gift because once I teach myself, I will commit to a new pattern.

I have learned that tears will come when I think of those I have lost no matter how good or how damaged our relationship was, I still feel the loss.

I have learned that I can create a sense of safety and love by relaxing into the moment.

I have learned that by sitting still the day becomes calmer and I become capable of loving others.

My rituals also include writing five things for which I am grateful each day. I am surrounded by loving friends who have become more a family to me than my family ever was. My sisters call me on my delusions, applaud my victories which they fully understand are acts of courage, come to my side when I need one of them, answer my phone calls even when they are busy, check in with me every day, dream about me and most of all want the best for me. This is the gift that I have been given.

My children have been honest and kind to me through this tearing transition. I don’t know how many times I was raging with heart break and crying into the phone as my daughter held her crying baby and talked with her two toddlers. She never said, “Mom, I can’t talk.” She held me in her heart and listened even as she cared for her three children. After I became stronger, I laughingly said she had four whining babies to deal with all at once.

My son has given me his brusque, no holds barred opinion of how my last several years look to him. It is good to be moving into a place where we can be honest with one another as equals.

After I complete my gratitude journal which is a red linen book with the Chinese symbol for Happiness embroidered on the cover, I read affirmations. A few moments of reading the Tao of Pooh, the Tao, Walt Whitman or some other literary form deepens my practice before I step out to the day.

Lately, I have been feeling much stronger. I have a show up at the Unitarian Church that someone told me was “elegant”. I like that. April 1st I will hang a show at the Kelowna Blood Bank. Tomorrow I take three pieces to the Myths and Legends show downtown Kelowna. A Vernon art gallery will be hosting a Digital Artist’s show and I want to have three pieces up in that. Also in April, I have three pieces up for the Under 8 Show at Sopa.

Currently, I have completed an ebook called FACING IT; POEMS POSTED ON FACEBOOK 2010 to 2011. As soon as the ISBN arrives, I will load it into LULU and mash my way through getting a paypal button on this web site so that people can download it from here as well. Today I finished a book cover design for a poet named David Brydges. I have now done four book jackets for him, a web site and business cards. In addition, I completed several sketches for former students who purchased a really beautiful piece in my Canadian Beige series.

CAnadian Beige Circle 22 by 24 Mixed Media

I still have a couple of monologues to write for a theatre company in Sacramento. And the body…

My intention is to get my body very strong. Why? Because. I. Want. To. So I am doing 150 crunches a day, lunges, squats, weights for arms and shoulders and (with great resistance) gone for two hour long walks this week. Patterns, breaking patterns. I have to tell myself…. I know you don’t want to go outside. I know you want to keep working but you can’t change if you don’t make changes. And when I talk to myself very, very gently I listen.

crunches can be worth it

Because I am a workaholic, I frequently have to pull myself back. Whoa Nellie. Step by step. The adrenal glands don’t need to be flooded. Doing without doing. Training. Being aware. Watching. What a journey I am on. And I know I am about to step into a new land very, very soon.