Monday, October 20, 2014

Pic and a Poem #5

    every day is a birth day,
    as long as we wake to another
    dawn with breath in our bodies
    we are called to bravely shine
    our lights into the world
     each one is unique
     each one is needed
     we are the constellation
     of sacred design
     don't doubt that the universe
     has a perfect space for you
     even now it is holding out it's open hand
     inviting you to take your place
     in this dazzling light show
     this cosmic song and dance
     this is not about trying,
     proving or perfecting
     this is about being
     this is about faith
     this is closing your eyes and
     leaping out into
    the seemingly dark void,
     knowing that leap
      is the only way
    through to true life  
   every day is a birth day
   a chance to get things right
   a chance to get things wrong
   no matter
   there is no unworthy experience
   and love is real
   let it come
   let it go 
   delight in all that is
   and simply shine 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pic and a Poem #4

I am a boat traveling
wave riding
soul questing
freedom chaser

Some other love junkies
 are on the journey with me
we have set off without
charts or maps,
not a compass or scope
to guide us

We close our eyes
and huddle close,
sailing by faith,
through the stormiest seas

When the wind gets whipping
and the waves crash down
we sing our song of love

Om namo away we go
with tears and joyful laughter

It might seem crazy
 to go this way
and this much we have been told

We are in the boat
the way is sure and
we are never alone

For the acharyas. Always in the boat.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Pic and a Poem #3

 the tangled  jungle of life
 may require a lion nature
sometimes to charge forward
with sharp claws, bared teeth,
weapons drawn and ready,
to do what is necessary
even drawing some blood
the bite and claw of battle
ferocious action
will and brave heart 
that is one way,
so easy to get lost there though
finding a fight in the mere
shifting of shadows
battling the wind or
the cycles of night and day
lion nature must also know
when to get quiet,
to sit back
 in powerful, ferocious stillness,
even in the face of oncoming arrows
or penetrating darkness
drawing back claws
unbaring teeth
no need to rise up roaring
in an attempt to hold
the universe of that life
but to cease action 
paws sunk into ground
turning in the direction of
the light
a stance of courageous surrender
witnessing the approach
of what will be
opening to what is

this courage can
turn daggers into flowers
and curses into gifts

I have a strong warrior archetype and this is a lesson I continue to learn. Some moments in life call for fierce courageous action and some call for fierce courageous stillness. I picked the lion image and that is what came through for me today.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pic and a Poem #2

 A world of green and bird songs
   fills me with the word holy
  oh, sacred temple of the wild
  I stand in awe of your beauty  
    we are all a part of you

    When I feel lost I come
          sit on the soil
     with all my trouble
           my longing
           my despair
     I cast my teary gaze
     up into your blessed
     canopy of branches
      I find myself and
            I find us,
           the world,
      I remember like
       a soft breeze
     or a bolt of clarity
      set into the open
       my becoming

Today I wrote this, and then I thought, this being a total experiment for me I might add notes about how I am feeling about it, challenges and triumphs that I might face. Right now I wonder, will I be able to sustain it, and for how long? I wonder if I will be able to successfully detach from the need for views, likes, external approval. Can I make some real shift around my tendency toward fearful strictness and perfectionism? It is an inquiry, and today I succeeded in presenting an offering from my heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pic and a Poem #1

                                                   Go out to the waters edge
                                                        ready your net,
                                                        close your eyes
                                                        open your vision
                                                        breathe in and out
                                                            like the waves
                                                      feel them on your feet
                                                        the flow of creation
                                                              around you
                                                              within you
                                                        knowing this union
                                                        how could you stay
                                                               in fear?
                                                        Cast your net wide!

      Just to clarify, the pictures I post may be from today or from the many hundreds of photos I have taken and have not shared, this one was taken a year ago in Phuket, Thailand. The poems will be written in the moment and my intention is to leave them raw and unpolished. I want to honor whatever words come to me in the moment, organically, spontaneously. My objective is not perfection or reaching a standard, it is merely to create.

Words and Pictures

  My family and I recently had a vacation in Japan. We all had a wonderful time and it was another visually stunning journey. I took hundreds of photos. In my adult life I have been a bit of a dabbler, and I took several courses in photography in my late twenties and early thirties, and although I never completed those studies, I still love photography as a creative outlet. I find when I get behind my camera I really open my eyes, I see things more deeply, I notice subtleties and delicate nuances, the light and dark of things, the beauty of the large and the minute. I attune to symmetry, color, pattern, as well as the feeling, the emotion of things and people. I think I start seeing from a soul level when I use my lens. I am not a highly gifted or well trained photographic artist, but I delight in what I capture and value what I create. I have been pondering how to further use my photography in some way in my creative life.

On the plane returning to China I watched a movie called "Words and Pictures". It was not the best movie I have ever seen, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. The movie's central plot is built around two characters, one of them a male high school English teacher, the other a female Art teacher. Each is convinced that their chosen form of creative expression is superior to the other and so they begin a war between their classes, a battle between words and pictures. In the end it becomes clear that both words and pictures are evocative, powerful, beautiful, heartbreaking, joy inducing and ultimately so essentially human that we need them both. There is also a particular scene in the movie that points out the way music can touch into deep feelings and emotions in a way that other means can not, and I personally feel that dance does this as well. All of these forms we call the arts are really the soul expression of humanity, we would be lost without them.

When I got home I was reflecting on this and my desire to be even more creative, to create without so much considering and over thinking. I want to find avenues for daily expression without worrying about what other people will think of it or if they will value it. I am feeling like if I open the doors to a more varied and less cautious relationship with what I am putting out, the more my energy will become free flowing, and the more access I will have to my creative source, to my spiritual self. Kurt Vonnegut said, "Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."

Besides photography, a form I used to invest enormous energy in, is poetry. In fact poetry is one of the first things I was recognized for at school. I remember in second grade, as part of a study unit on Japan (my, how things come full circle), being assigned the task of writing a haiku. When the teacher came to my desk and handed it back to me I saw it was marked ++, the best you could get, and a gold star sticker bonus. I remember her smiling at me and telling me what a good job I had done. This moment figures so crucial to me that, although I don't remember the teacher's name, I still remember my haiku.

                                            The Moth
                                      the moth in the dark
                                   flutters like the lost dew drops
                                      and then goes away

So it occurs to me that it would be interesting to take this idea of words and pictures and start my own personal creative inquiry around my use of both these forms. I will begin trying to post a picture and corresponding poem to this blog each day. I don't want to get too strict or rigid with myself though either, so that it is an intention with lots of breathing room and wiggle space. I will use this as an additional component to the work I am doing around self empowerment and letting go of the need for external validation or specific outcomes in my work.

This concept of doing actions without attachment to outcome is at the heart of true yoga practice, which is the central pillar of my life. In The Bhagavad Gita,  Krisha says to Arjuna, " You have a right to your actions, but never to your actions' fruits. Act for the actions sake. And do not be attached to inaction. Self possessed, resolute, act without any thought of results, open to success or failure. This equanimity is yoga."

Indeed, to simply open to the creative intelligence that lives in each of us is an astounding proposition, and if each of us started a curious and playful endeavor into our particular creative pathways, whatever they may be, without the dependence on external validation, it would be nothing less than revolutionary, evolutionary!

Do something that feels like art to you, that thing that makes you feel whole, engaged, alive, and do it. "Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  I would love to hear about your creative experiments as well!!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Taking the Stage

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.  ~ Rumi

 I love to dance. I love it from a soul place. It is my canvass, I paint with rhythm and movement. Dance lifts me up, connects me to my joy, it is my magic and my passion. When I am dancing I find myself. Everything else disappears, there is just me, pure and whole. I love other things too, but nothing goes right to the heart of me like dancing does. It sets me free.

When I am anywhere, and I mean anywhere, where there is music that moves me, and even a tiny space to to accommodate that movement, I find the magnetic lure, the call to the dance, irresistible.My inner impulse to dance overrides any shyness, any sense of propriety, any fear of embarrassment. POOF! My brain empties out and my body and soul are in command.

I recently put head phones on in an Apple Store here in Shanghai and the music got its hooks in me. I found myself dancing with abandon through the store. These were wireless headphones, I might add, so I could roam freely. Even more interesting than me, was the fact that all the locals in the store just ignored me, the crazy dancing foreign lady. Weird and awesomely liberating!

When I go to a club, which is once in a blue moon, I don't care if no one else is on the dance floor, I will get my groove on solo, I don't mind, more dance floor for me! Sure people might think I am audacious, or an attention seeker, I do admittedly have a strong performer archetype, people might judge me, but my love of dance is stronger than fear. What deep medicine it is!

Just this past weekend I went to an Oktoberfest celebration with my husband Stephen, and another couple. We donned our traditional German threads and proceeded to the festivities with gusto. We ate, drank the customary brew, and the band began to play. My friend and I made our way to the dance floor, the energy of the crowd and the music was big and boisterous, we entered the funky flow. We danced, and laughed, and danced some more.

As the evening was wrapping up I was high on the vibe, I felt like I could dance through the night. The band started to play 99 Red Balloons (or 99 Luftballoons), and that song hits a sentimental chord from my youth. I was swept up in it immediately. A woman near me suggested I should get up on stage. I immediately thought, "Wow! Yeah, what a great idea! I would love to be up there!" I got the attention of a band member in front of me and gestured to ask permission to come up, he shook his head no, so I was ready to let go of the idea, but a few moments later he was signalling to me to go ahead and come up.  A few helping hands boosted me up, and there I was dancing on stage! This felt amazing, so I took it upon myself to encourage other ladies, including my beautiful friend who I came with, to come up and join me. I am not sure if the band loved that part, but anyway, it all ended with me and my friend plus a number of other women up on stage having a ball! We finally made our way to exit stage left and allow the band to take back the entertainment.

Once we were back down there, one woman approached me and said, "Thank you so much, that was so fun and when I saw you get up there I thought, "I want to be like her.", and then I did it, I got up on stage! I would never have done that if you didn't go up there first." We hugged and parted ways. I probably will never see that woman again, but I will never forget her. Some friendships are momentary, but transformational.

The big deal of life is to know what we love and do it boldly. It is good to step out of our comfort zones and be a little wild, a little crazy. This is about being fully expressed as human beings, and not dulling down what lights us up, or makes us shine, for fear of what people will think. When one of us takes the stage, it gives others the permission and courage to go there too.

What stage is calling for you to come on up? In the moment, do you listen to your inner voice that is telling you to go for it, whatever your "it" is? We all must risk stepping out of the shadows and into the light in order to truly grow.  This is it, your life, dance on!!