hacked

i heard this word on NPR this morning as in…

“several people were beaten and hacked to death today in ethnic fighting as warring rebel gangs clashed outside nairobi.”

hacked?

i can’t even articulate the depth of my horror at this thought. and meanwhile in iraq we’re facilitating the blowing up of innocent children for no reason. and bush is still lying his way through a state of the union (i’m sorry…did he actually say the word “hope”?).

but more importantly, let’s go now to perez hilton in hollywood …

perez, can you give us an update on britney’s mental health, oh and what did she buy on that shopping trip? the american people really want to know.

the artist’s way…

creativity is one of the most amazing human abilities. we are lucky as a species to have this ability to create things of beauty…and truly it must be some biological imperative because for many people the need to create is so strong that the inability to do it causes much distress and depression. i think it is maslow’s idea of self-actualization that basically says that creativity is a basic human need on the path to being a fully realized person.
what is wonderful too about creativity is that it isn’t limited to traditional ‘artistic’ pursuits. writing a new financial algorithm can be creative and beautiful, we often hear of mathematical or philosophical solutions to problems as being ‘elegant’. great thinkers are creative in their ways of viewing and shaping our world.

a couple of years ago i read the artist’s way, a self-help book for artists written by julia cameron. it’s a bit like a 12-step program for artists…guiding you through an understanding of why your creativity may be blocked and ways to help unblock it. a lot of what i learned from that book helped me in my creation of my life as it is now and one of the BEST pieces of advice i ever received is her suggestion to do ‘morning pages’.

morning pages are three pages of writing that happen every morning. pretty much the first thing you do. it is so important that she recommends rising early to be sure to fit this into your day. then you just write. empty your head, it doesn’t matter what you write at all. there is no need to ever go back and read or reflect on what you wrote and if you are comfortable you can burn the pages or throw them away, it is that unimportant what is actually written on them. i can’t do that, so i do save them and i have gone back (usually months later) out of curiosity to see what i’ve written…and sometimes it really is just: “i have no idea what to say, my mind is a blank, isn’t duncan cute.” sometimes it really is “blah, blah, blah”. sometimes it is insightful, sometimes it is a laundry list. but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

what is important is the process of getting all that “junk” out of your mind that hinders clear thought, vision, and spontaneity in your thinking. don’t edit yourself while you are writing. just let it out. when i am doing my morning pages my dreams open up and become more vivid and i remember them more clearly (and i get to write about that in my pages!).

i also find my meditation comes more easily, my teaching becomes more spontaneous, and random, fun, ideas for all kinds of things suddenly start to appear out of nowhere (now that is another post!). the best part is that i’m just generally much happier and able to share that happiness. i have also learned to appreciate my version of creativity – i’m not a painter, or a potter, or a filmmaker, or a photographer, or a furniture designer. i’m definitely not crafty. and honestly i have a hard time completing projects like these. maybe i can’t even label my version of creativity. but so what.

i’ve always held up those who are creative in this way, put them on a well-deserved pedestal, but never allowed myself to sit on the pedestal too. after going through the artist’s way – i’m more comfortable thinking of myself as a creative person. the pedestal may be a little wobbly, but i’ll sit on it!

namaste!

p.s. if you are interested in going through the artist’s way. there is a group forming online:

http://theartistswayblog.wordpress.com

they plan to start on february 14 so get your book and join the community!

inspiration…

in my teaching…i often guide my students through the creation of a personal mantra. i ask that they let breath swirl around in the body and clear out the cobwebs, i ask that they breath out something they need to release, something they need to let go of, something they no longer need in their lives (invoking shiva, the destroyer). they create space in the body as they breathe out, and as nature abhors a vacuum, that space will be filled so we need to connect that filling to some intention. i ask that their inhalations be used to then draw in goodness, something positive, something inspiring, a quality they want to infuse into their lives, their bodies, their beings. ultimately with the ins and outs it become clear what needs to be released and what needs to be drawn in until we distill these breaths down to a personal mantra.

what i love about this practice is the universal truths that it embodies…the in with the good out with the bad old wives tale sort of wisdom.

and i love that inhalations are also inspirations. what i mean by that is that the word *inspire* also means to inhale. so each inhalation really is an inspiration…literally and figuratively.

so…. what is your inspiration? your personal mantra? what do you need to let go of and what do you need to bring in?

we only have moments to live…

i woke up with a wide smile today – just for a moment.

it snowed today – just for a moment.

it hailed today – just for a moment.

i breathed in the smell of sage, cedar, and lavender – just for a moment

i chanted a cherokee song today – just for a moment.

i looked deeply into duncan’s eyes today – just for a moment.

i enjoyed the poached eggs, mushrooms & spinach i made today – just for a moment.

i laughed at myself today – just for a moment.

i witnessed the view from the top of the dune – just for a moment.

i felt my feet warm in ugg boots – just for a moment.

i loved bryan, sophie, and duncan – just for a moment…

and another…

and another.

on wonder…

been thinking a lot about mindfulness lately, and suffering, and the connection between the two. how mindfulness gives rise to those infinite tiny pleasures. those sparkling moments of joy that flit about and how suffering is when you can’t stop, can’t slow down, can’t set aside the negativity to enjoy even a second of being humanely alive.

is it possible that even in the most tragic, the most horrific moment that there is also beauty? joy? to be found, a shift in perspective?

are our minds really that powerful?

kara at one point spoke of wanting to live in wonder, and this einstein quote inspired her:

“there are two ways to live your life.  one is as though nothing is a miracle.  the other is as though everything is a miracle.”

in which case, suffering too is a miracle. a possibility. an open door…

i’ve known suffering, but i’ve also known mindfulness, i’ve been comfortable both places. but i prefer wonder and miracles and bliss and joy (with some reality thrown in for good measure, like salt!).

it’s on replay. i’m listening over and over and over

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reckoner…

i love the way it builds and builds and then warms into this orchestral hymn. i love the ethereal quality of his voice…and all the weird little percussive lines that weave throughout and in between the violins. it resonates with every fiber of my body and makes me want to move.

it’s a bit o’bliss in a harsh digital world.

seriously, go buy radiohead’s new in rainbows. pay double for it even.

i’ve got it on replay…over and over and over…

reckoner…

i love the way it builds and builds and then warms into this orchestral hymn. i love the ethereal quality of his voice…and all the weird little percussive lines that weave throughout and in between the violins. it resonates with every fiber of my body and makes me want to move.

it’s a bit o’bliss in a harsh digital world.

seriously, go buy radiohead’s new in rainbows. pay double for it even.

…new haircut blues…

what started as ‘let’s take some off the ends’…turned into a 9″ loss. heartbreaking because if i were really going for it i could have sent it off to some sort of locks of love type organization. now it is just wasted bits all over the floor of the salon. and i don’t even like it. ugh.