I Sing Because I Am Free – Thank You

aretha_franklin_thank_you

The last time I was brought to my knees in tears and gratitude must have been 3 or 4 years ago. I don’t know what sparked it then, but I do know what sparked it now. Somehow, I stumbled across a Jennifer Holliday video, and that lead me down a path of more gospel videos. I found myself in complete awe of how self-expressed the singers were. As if they were empty, a complete open vessel for Spirit to pass though. Each singer was unique, yet each signer belting out gratitude & grace equally.

I’m left humble, and speechless. Open, and so grateful for what is my life. Being grateful is very much like being loving. It’s the highest path, highest road, without limits or an end. It’s all-encompassing and powerful. Like love, it can shake you at your core and sober you, wake you up to the truth.

Someone asked me recently, what I recommend to turn one’s life around, to cause a transformation. I said only Grace can propel a real transformation and awakening, but gratitude is a sure-fire way to get someone’s life on track fast.

I wrote a blog post on Grace in 2010. My definition of Grace might be different from the average person’s. The blog post was titled, Cultivating Grace: Survival of the Most Harmonious When I talk about Grace, it isn’t linked to a religion or meant in a religious way at all. But I do consider it spiritual, and of Spirit.

In the song Jennifer Holliday sang, I heard the words, “I sing because I am happy, I sing because I am free.” Deep moments of gratitude show me that no matter what the circumstances, I am always free, and joy is always present. Like peace, joy & freedom are not things that you can physically get or strive for — they can only be known & felt. They are available always, in every moment. But it usually takes an unconditional acceptance of the world and of one’s life. Seeing the whole, instead of fragmented pieces. Seeing how divine & miraculous life is.

I’ve embedded the video of Jennifer Holliday singing ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow,’ and also of Al Green, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin. The songs Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin sing in the videos are not gospel songs, but you can see the gospel influence in how they sing them.

Al Green

Jennifer Holliday

Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross & Aretha Franklin

Leave a comment

Filed under *, gratitude, inspirational people, singers

Stop Suffering and Start Trusting: Buckminster Fuller Paves The Way

“Dare to think for yourself.”

“Do more with less.”

“Be aware of the power of your word.”

“Don’t be preoccupied with the negative, be preoccupied with the constructive.”

“Forget the trouble, go to work!”

[This blog post was previously written and posted in October of 2011.]

Richard Buckminster Fuller is by far one of my most beloved thinkers. When I feel overwhelmed, when I don’t know where to start, when I think it’s all too much – he nails it. He says just what I need to hear in order to get to work!

I will share two of my favorite videos from a 5 part interview with Buckminster Fuller for this blog post. I have also transcribed a few of my favorite quotes for you. I hope these videos resonate with you as much as they do for me. If not, come back next year (after 2012) and view them again! You might feel differently.

“What I see in doing my own thinking is the following: that the animals don’t have any money, and the sun and the wind doesn’t have any money. If money is some kind of invention of humans, and I see that all of ecology on board of our planet is inter-supportive and the Universe itself by the best we know in physics is eternally regenerative, it’s 100 percent efficient, that what goes on in our little planet must be in support of the eternal regeneration of the greater Universe itself. So I said, I see ecology is inter-regenerative, and it could be, that if I understood what human beings are here for on our planet, what we are supposed to be doing in the local Universe – if I were then to undertake, to support and make that a success, to make the human beings a success themselves, to get rid of the “it has to be you or me earning a living” idea, to get that out of the way, if I could commit myself to that effectively, it might be that nature would support me just the way she has the hummingbird supporting this other little nest and so forth. So, it needs then a commitment to doing a big task on a working assumption of absolute faith in the integrity of the Universe itself. There is a greater intelligence operating in the Universe then that of human beings. And, if you can commit yourself to faith in that, you may find that you can get on.”

“Only the impossible happens. I’ve been up against miracle after miracle. Just as I need things at the critical moment, the last critical moment, then I have what I need.”

“I have now come to the most extraordinary realization: that all of the great governments, all of the great religions, all of the great businesses would find it devastating to their activity to have man be a success, they are all predicated on man being an inherent failure.”

“If success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I do… HOW WOULD I BE? WHAT WOULD I DO?”

The remaining videos…
Part 1video link.
Part 4video link.
Part 5video link.

Leave a comment

Filed under bright minds, brilliant people, GREAT QUOTES

Tao Te Ching & Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tao Te Ching Nisargadatta Maharaj

There are two approaches, or two views, you can even say two books, that sum up what I innately know; Tao Te Ching and I Am That, or you can say the views of Lao Tzu and Nisargadatta Maharaj. When I teach mediation, I reference them, or when I want to be reminded of what I know to be true, they both bring me to clarity and balance. They instantly answer any problem, any confusion, and any disharmony I could ever have. Even though one is from the 6th century BC, written by a sage — and the other is from the 1970s, written by a beedis (leaf-rolled cigarettes) shop keeper — they both speak similarly to the same unspeakable truth. They both communicated something beyond words in a way that is supreme.

Below I will list quotes by both Nisargadatta and Lao Tzu (also spelled Laozi and LaoTze). As you read the quotes, feel the finely balanced infinitesimal thread they dance upon. It’s the thread of complete surrender and unconditional love. To most of us, it’s the invisible thread that is rarely seen. The one we seem to trip over, in a clumsy manor on our worst days. Usually suffering, pain and death bring us the eyes to see what is always there. But anguish is not needed to be reminded of true wisdom. One only needs to see, and be reminded of what they already know, but have forgotten.

Tao_Te_Ching_Lao_Tzu

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”  ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“The Tao is called the Great Mother: empty yet inexhaustible, it gives birth to infinite worlds. It is always present within you. You can use it any way you want.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Nisargadatta_portrait

“In order to let go of something, you must first know what it is.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well …desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing; food, sex, power, fame — will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real Self can make you truly and lastingly happy.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“It has nothing to do with effort. Just turn away, look between the thoughts, rather than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every man you meet, you just find your way between. When you fight, you invite a fight. But when you do not resist, you meet no resistance. When you refuse to play the game, you are out of it.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“You will receive everything you need when you stop asking for what you do not need.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

2 Comments

Filed under AWARENESS, GOOD BOOKS, GREAT QUOTES

The 3 Mules, Koyaanisqatsi, and Us : Life Out of Balance

life out of balance

Think about airplanes, trains and automobiles. Think about the need for a job, then being at that job 40+ hours a week. Think about being home, enclosed, private, away — often far away — from forests, oceans and deserts. The air is stale, movement is limited. Egos get out of control. We forget how fragile and vulnerable we are. Wild animals, harsh weather, powerful plants, mysterious stars, endless waters — remain foreign to us. Even walking long distances, something we are made to do, seems like a thing forgotten and lost. Where are we taking ourselves? With all of this boxed-in living and plastic dreams? We think our technology and creativity has made us powerful, and more secure. Yet we are more afraid of the real world with each approaching day. We no longer grow our own food, or fix our own equipment, or make our own medicines. We no longer sleep outside, or live in awe of our feral surroundings. We’ve built a thick, seemingly impenetrable layer between us and the cosmos. And we wonder why we remain unfulfilled and always hungry for more. Nothing is ever enough. Nothing is the answer. And life seems meaningless, and often cruel. This is the result of a massive disconnect. It’s the result of an imagination so vast, that we’ve dreamed up an entirely different reality for ourselves. Yet, the one we dreamed away, hoping to escape from, is still part of us. Still deeply attached to our being. It continues to pull us back, and gently wake us up. But our ability to see, feel and hear is dull. It’s dim at best. We aren’t as sensitive as we used to be. Gradually and slowly, we can regain this. We can re-wild ourselves. In increments, we can allow ourselves to be more exposed, more vulnerable, more open. We can make it a practice to get out in the rain, in the cold, in the wind, in the sun. We can watch animals in the oceans, forests and deserts, and be reminded of what we intuitively know. Each day can be a lesson of unlearning. Each day can make us wiser, if we are willing to give up our efforts to control everything. Life is not meant to be controlled, it’s meant to be lived. Just as stars have no agenda book, nor stress about their existence or path, neither should we. Are we not made of stars? We are literally made of their dust. Yet here we are. Trying to figure things out and get the world in order. It’s not our job. Our job is literally to Be. How many people do you know that can simply be? Unfortunately, I know not a single one. yet we are all human be-ings — living beings. My only reference for what it means to be is in nature; watching trees, stars, plants and wild animals. Other living beings, the ones that trust the Unknown, are the ones that show me how to live, and what it means to be alive.

This week I was reminded of the 3 Mules. Have you heard of them? I adore their story. There is currently a documentary being made about them. If you can support it, please do. It is currently looking for funding to finish its project. I’ll embed a short ‘work in progress’ of the film below for you. I will also embed in the post the full movie of Koyaanisqatsi. The title Koyaanisqatsi means “crazy life, life of moral corruption and turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living” in the Hopi language. It’s a film that was ahead of it’s time, like I believe the 3 Mules are. I’m sharing the work of both today (as well as my rant in the paragraph above), in hopes of raising awareness. Giving us all (including myself, of course) a moment to re-focus, and re-prioritize. To realign ourselves with what matters most. And to let go of the constant need to control and monopolize. This includes our own lives. They aren’t ours. We live for the Whole, and the Whole lives in us.

3 MULES DOCUMENTARY TEASER

“We just feel a presence around us that protects and guides us. We don’t feel alone at all. It’s more a collective sense of being.” -John “Mule” Sears

“The outside world is disappearing. Man is building an inside world, he’s locked himself up. Everywhere you go, it’s getting harder and harder to move around.” – John “Mule” Sears

KOYAANISQATSI FULL MOVIE

Leave a comment

Filed under nature outdoors, rewilding, UNLEARNING

Life in Black Mountain

black mountain nc

This blog post is long overdue, and is dedicated to all the people that love me and ask what my life is like in Black Mountain. I apologize for it taking a while, for me to take and gather photos. Although I would love to take pictures regularly, I just don’t like carrying a camera around. I’d really like to get used to that habit though, because there is always so much I’d like to share.

My current life in Black Mountain is not on the land I purchased in 2012. It’s downtown, and closer to all the things I need to get to on a somewhat daily basis. The move to the land probably won’t happen for another 2 – 5 years. There is so much to do to the land to make it livable. It’s way more work than I can currently afford or do at the moment (like fixing and paving the road, building a tiny home, clearing plots and paths, growing a garden, building a greenhouse, getting wifi set-up, digging a well, etc.).

Daily life for me is pretty similar to life in New York City (where I lived from summer 1996 to summer 2014). I go to the post office several times a week (to ship orders from my Etsy shop), I walk to the grocery store or farmers’ markets for small batches of groceries, I walk the dogs in the park, and I go to my classes. What’s different now is, instead of dance classes, I am taking ceramics classes, and instead of going to Fort Green Park, I take the dogs to the Greenway.

The major difference is not really what I am doing, but how it feels. Everything is much more relaxed here in the south. The pace is easier, and things flow effortlessly. Everyone I meet seems to be super sweet & friendly (9 times out of 10). Everywhere I go is super-clean and very well taken care of (for the most part). After moving here, my stress level immediately went down, I lost some weight (physically, but I’m sure mentally too), and my skin issues began to clear. I noticed the difference right away. It could be due to the fresh air I now breathe, and the clean streets I walk down — but it is mostly due to the fact that the energy is not intense here. The city isn’t crowded and the pace isn’t rushed.

Below is a bunch of pictures for you to see of what I see daily. What I am sharing today is only scratching the surface, there is so much more to share. If you would like more blog posts about my daily life, just let me know. I usually don’t share those kinds of posts on Sunday Is For Lovers (they are usually posted on The Rainbow Farmer). But if you would like for me to share them here too, I’d be happy to. Email me or leave a comment below, and that’ll let me know if everyone wants to see more of these types of blog posts here. –Have a great autumn!

Late night, while walking the dogs. Notice the rainbow ring around the moon.

Late night, while walking the dogs.

moon clouds morning

I think this was early morning’s moon.

I just walked out of that door you see on the side with the bright light on. I'm out walking the dogs on the front lawn..

I just walked out of that door you see on the side with the bright light on. I’m out walking the dogs on the front lawn.

IMG_3657

The sun is up! And this is the front lawn.

..more lawn...

..more lawn…

..caught my shadow..

..caught my shadow..

Mushrooms growing on the lawn.

Mushrooms growing on the lawn.

Penny walking on mushrooms.

Penny walking on mushrooms.

She could care less about them. But I love 'em!

She could care less about them. But I love ‘em!

..smashed..

..smashed..

On my way to the post office.

On my way to the post office.

..passing a church..

..passing a church..

..still on my way..

..still on my way..

IMG_3700

Almost reached the Greenway path.

This sign is at the entrance to the Greenway.

This sign is at the entrance to the Greenway.

This is the Greenway.

This is the Greenway.

..more Greenway path..

..more Greenway path..

..and more..

..and more..

..last pic of the Greenway, I only waked in a bit, then turned around, just to show you..

..last pic of the Greenway, I only waked in a bit, then turned around, just to show you..

..in downtown black mountain nc..

..in downtown black mountain nc..

..almost at the post office..

..almost at the post office..

..Black Mountain Post Office..

..Black Mountain Post Office..

On my way to the market...

On my way to the market…

I'm in the parking lot of Roots and Fruits.

I’m in the parking lot of Roots and Fruits.

They have squashes growing in their parking lot, and the ladybugs love it!

They have squashes growing in their parking lot, and the ladybugs love it!

I am now at Roots and Fruits.

I am now at Roots and Fruits.

Inside the market buying tomatoes.

Inside the market buying tomatoes.

I also bought this super-yummy kale & quinoa salad.

I also bought this super-yummy kale & quinoa salad.

It was raw, vegan, and it was good!

It was raw, vegan, and it was good!

Silver Moon's Medicine Ball (amazing raw vegan chocolate!)

Silver Moon’s Medicine Ball (An amazing raw chocolate treat!)

Woh! It's good!

Woh! It’s good! And it’s full of amazing things, like bee pollen, chlorella, hemp seeds, pau d’ arco, milk thistle, and much more!

Walking through the back of Roots and Fruits, they also have a big garden and chicken coup. The produce they sell is mostly their own. Home grown!

Walking through the back of Roots and Fruits, they also have a big garden and chicken coup. The produce they sell is mostly their own. Home grown!

Passing through downtown...

Passing through downtown…

Passing the Dripolator coffee shop. Sometimes I hang out their with a cup of tea and people watch.

Passing the Dripolator coffee shop. Sometimes I hang out their with a cup of tea and people watch.

..still passing through..

..cutting through a parking lot to ceramics class..

Next to the Black Mountain Arts Center is the Clay Studio.

Next to the Black Mountain Arts Center is the Clay Studio.

I take classes here and I attend open studio work times.

I take classes here and I attend open studio work times.

This is Penny and Apple. They have brought so much sunshine to my life.

This is Penny and Apple. They have brought so much sunshine to my life.

The sun is going down, and it's time to bring the girls home.

The sun is going down, and it’s time to bring the girls home.

Saying goodbye to the French Broad River.

Saying goodbye to the French Broad River.

2 Comments

Filed under black mountain, down south, north carolina

Very Few People : Grimes Quote

Grimes_ Claire Elise Boucher

Very few people on the planet have the opportunity to even follow their dreams at all. Most people live in poverty, or in communities where the repercussions for behaving how they want are a lot worse than just people talking shit. If doing what you want is an option for you, you should do it, because you’re one of the few lucky people who can. And even if you fail, you will be in a better position than if you’d never tried. Every horrible thing that has ever happened to me has added integrity to my art and improved my understanding of the human race.
Grimes.

(The very people Grimes speaks about is me & you. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.)

Filmed May 30th, 2011 at The Sub in San Fransisco, California.

Grimes, is a Canadian producer, artist, musician, singer-songwriter and music video director. You can find out more information about her through her website, wiki page, and Tumblr account.

Grimes - Artist  - Production

Grimes Artwork

Leave a comment

Filed under artists, GREAT QUOTES, INSPIRATION, inspirational people

Russell Brand: The Trews

russell brand the trews

I stopped watching the news years ago. I began avoiding it in the late 90s, and then more stringently (including magazines, newspapers, etc.) when I started to live a more bubble-like existence starting in 2002. So at this point, it’s probably been almost 25 years since I’ve followed the news. But recently, that has changed. About 5 months ago I stumbled across Russell Brand‘s, The Trews. It’s his take on the current news. After all these years, I finally found a news outlet that resonates with me. An outlet that isn’t puppet-like, manipulative, fear mongering or ruthlessly depressing. But one with a blunt sense of humor, that takes a closer look at what is happening in the world. I’ve been a subscriber to Russell Brand’s Youtube channel, and have enjoyed many of the episodes of The Trews.

The Trews Introduction:

Obama’s Bombs:

End The Monarchy:

Naked Celebrity Photo Leak:

The Apple Watch:

Robin Williams Suicide:

David Cameron & ISIS:

Link to subscribe to Russell Brand’s The Trews: http://tinyurl.com/opragcg

Leave a comment

Filed under AWARENESS, media, news, russell brand, videos