Tag Archives: inspiration

Learning to do the back float.

20 Feb

After all these years, you would think I’d be a pro at letting the mighty river of life gracefully carry me as it courses along. I’ve read enough books; have had the rug pulled out too many times to know that I’m definitely not in control here. On most days, I have learned to go with the flow, show up open and excited. I trust that I will flow over the rough and smooth and all will be well.

Then there are the other days.

Quietly, my ego has seized a tiny foothold of control somewhere. Some little negativity or offence has been noted. Someone cut me off in traffic. The jeans are a little tight. It could be anything. Whether this perceived offence shows up in the form of others bringing me down, intolerable situations or unexpected events, it’s a given that it will now be magnified beyond recognition with fear, worry and self-doubt. Like the genie emerging from its bottle, my ego, now the size of our galaxy, is ready to make things right again.

I’m not saying my ego is the bad guy. Far from it. It would be difficult to be a participating member of society-especially in the west- without it. The ego’s crucial mistake is believing that permanence and control are possible. The ego will fight against the huge current of life, insisting that the show is run according to its myopic view of life. Not very clever, but unfortunately, very comfortable and habitual.

My crucial mistake is allowing the ego the reins in the first place. But when I’m feeling bowled over by life, I just want to get back on my feet again. Feel powerful again. How else do I lessen my fear? My ego’s big bully stance certainly seems like the best bet here. Soon I find myself desperately grasping for anything that will support and hold my head above water. As I struggle, my struggle causes me to sink, and I hold on tighter. Fighting…….

Often, I do realize that what I am doing is senseless. I now take over the reins. My rational mind kicks into overdrive and I come up with plans, action steps, lists…the control at my fingertips now is astonishing. The river of life changes its direction, now flowing where I command, annihilating all obstacles, giving me the cosmic green light.

I wish.

Letting my ego and all its fear – or my rational mind and all its control -run my life is a sure recipe for big time disaster.

This idea of being stuck, of not participating with life was Joseph Campbell’s idea of hell. He said it’s the place of people who could not yield their ego system to allow the grace of a trans-personal power to move them.

When you are in agreement with the universe, accepting that everything is just as it is supposed to be, without judgment, you will be cared for. You will meet who you are supposed to meet, go where you are supposed to go – you will experience guidance and direction.

Here’s the quickest, kindest way to quiet the emotional storm and return to your source of power and guidance that I’ve found.

THE BACK FLOAT.

It will restore your ability to ride the current (wherever it takes you)

Getting back into touch with your physical body is one of the best ways to get centered again. Your body is wonderfully uncomplicated when it comes to ‘thinking’:

‘Ouch. That hurts.’

‘Oh! I like that!’

Use this simplicity. Your body is very good at just being. Trust it. Trust yourself.

Ok.  Back float position. Just like you did at the YMCA for your ‘Guppy’ swimming badge…

Lay down flat on the floor.

Lift your chin towards the ceiling

Relax your arms, lift your chest and stomach, and slightly bend your knees. Breathe deeply and relax.

Imagine you are floating down a lazy river on a hot summer’s day. Your ego isn’t going to want to do this, and your rational mind will balk, but it works.

1) Let go. Allow everything to be just as it is. If you are fighting anything in your life, then you are in disharmony with the entire universe. Don’t waste your energy pushing against what-is– against the universe– which is presenting itself to you just as it is. Your acceptance of what-is allows energy to flow to you. Breathe.

2.  Realize that you don’t have to DO anything. Let go of the need to control the situation. When you feel the need to force change on a person or situation, you are adding to the emotional upheaval. When you get caught up in the drama of the situation, you are focused on the problem, struggling, and effectively shut down your ability to go with the flow.

Get up slowly. Give thanks. Be aware you are always on sacred ground. You are loved.

Newgrange and a little non-action

30 Jul

Working on a still life of sorts, rocks and some local plants. Local as in my garden- which is a lovely mess right now! All the full blooms of summer.

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The rock in the center will hold the design of the entrance stone to Newgrange, an ancient structure on the north side of the river Boyne in Ireland. Older than Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids -built  5000 years ago. Beautiful theory that the 3 spiral/triskele design represents the human gestation period, with each spiral representing 3 months. Nine months of our year, incubating, whether an actual child (or dreams and ideas,) sets the stage for a future birth or harvest…
In this piece I’m wishing to create a feeling of dynamic contemplation, of that place before action, where we create, fine tune and imagine our dreams into being.
I think that this introspective, before-action period is critical- most times our creations stay with us throughout our lives in one way or another.
It’s against my impulsive nature, but I’ve learned that it pays huge dividends to spend time with my imaginations before I let them trot out into the big wide world alone. What is the saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Harder to change things once they show up and have a life of their own. So I’m learning to …sit…still…

Thursday

10 May

psst…. I ran again this morning…only saying because this is sooo unusual. I feel so much better- usually I wait until the end of the day when I’m tired and ready for a glass of wine. So I am trying this new approach. The app is C25K – couch to 5k – and she tells me when to walk, when to jog…brilliant.

anyway… coffee in hand, I’m in my studio this morning needing to finish up my Green Man. It’s Rob’s birthday present, which is in a couple weeks. I originally set out to do a very simple piece- and as always, there is more in the wings than I expect. I was surprised at what showed up – I only saw the green man and the knot work border. It  says ‘you are love – you are loved’ around the circle, with a very fancy scroll/leafy background. These are the things that I do not see in the ‘planning’ stages. Which is why I suppose, I love to just start with a half-formed concept – because what I did not intend is often so lovely.

I was helping my daughter last night with a homework assignment- argumentative paper on overpopulation. Her main challenge is focusing- narrowing down such a broad topic to a very specific statement which she then can argue and to which she can propose a solution. She is a very creative type and kept coming up with new ideas, new realizations of what we are doing to our beautiful planet, and as the spirit took her and she got passionate about it, it became very difficult for her to niche down and limit herself to one narrow corridor of thought. ‘ There’s just so much to say about it…’ she sighed.

I mention this because I find in the ‘real’ world, one’s ability to be specific, set goals, have a plan, to niche down, to limit oneself – is expected and encouraged. But as I sit here, half in the ‘real’ world and half in the ‘other’ world, straddling both of my hemispheres, I am choosing to be influenced by something else. I am seeking, waiting for that which pulls me out of myself – that which allows me to see countless possibilities, infinite arrangements -the clamoring of the infinite for expression in finite. It’s such a dance- to be able to be ok with uncertainty, to allow overwhelm, to sit in complete wonder at ‘what is’ and to not want to change it, just to witness it. As artists, we are surrounded and influenced by our culture, and its attachment to ego and certainty. The two killers of creativity. As artists, we hold a position that is overlooked (by ourselves and by our society) in its importance. We hold the curtain back so that others may get a glimpse of that which is beyond- to build a bridge, to help others see what we see- to look with non-physical eyes at what exists beyond our limited perceptions. We allow infinity, mystery and uncertainty into this world. As Einstein is often paraphrased- you can’t solve a problem on the level it was created – it takes new ideas, fresh thought, and inspiration to bring something new into being. Part of my job with my students is to teach them that this uncertainty is a good thing; a necessary thing. That our culture and our souls desperately need inspiration – to be filled with fresh breath, to experience the mystery of life – in addition to our amazing ability to think, to limit and define. Both halves of our brains are necessary in the curiously human ability and purpose of endlessly creating  finite expressions of the infinite – whether an English paper, a decent cup of coffee or a work of art.

Inspiration.

4 May

I am always looking around for inspiration- color, a bit of fabric, a flower, a poem. I even have this great little book The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood. It’s many pages of short ideas, quotes and images to jumpstart the right brain – great for those times when I’ve become too reasonable. Stuff like this:

‘There comes a point in any long piece of writing(or any project really) – and even in some short ones- where the writer loses faith in her ability to unwind the ball of yarn that has taken so long to tangle up in just the right way. Don’t quit on yourself. You might need a few weeks away from the piece to gain greater perspective, but the solution exists somewhere in your subconscious. Faith is exactly the right word for what you need right now. Keep going.’

And I wonder -really? Not every one else knows exactly what they are doing? They don’t always know the next step? Just like me. The poet David Whyte said that if you know the next step that you are going to take- you’re living someone else’s life. If you have absolutely no idea what your next step will be, you can be fully confident that you are firmly settled in your path. That’s nice -I’m right on track.

Anyway- inspiration. I find this absolutely amazing – this, Tangerine Tango – is the Pantone color of the year. Released every year, a new color is revealed, eagerly awaited by the fashion, design and many other industries. Google  ‘ Tangerine tango’ or ‘pantone color of the year’ and see what I mean. Talk about inspiration! Always fresh, and in this case uplifting- orange, color of change (appropriate for supposed ending of world), sacral chakra, creative expression. Who gets to pick this color of the year? I’m just glad someone does.

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