Oooo, sorry for the delay on today’s blog post. I had a busy week, then spent my usual writing day (every Saturday) traveling to New Paltz. (Had a great time in New Paltz, got some sun & got some new seeds for my garden project!)
So here I am writing the blog post. Not sure what to chat about today, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been into lately. Over the spring season I’ve been super inspired by singing bowls. Something about them just clicked for me. They feel right. Crystal bowls & Tibetan/Himalayan bowls resonate with me so greatly. There is no way I can explain it, no way I can put it into words. You’ll have to give them a listen and see if they resonate with you too. (To check them out, listen to Tibetan bowls here & crystal bowls here.)
This summer I am planning on putting three (well, more like four or more) things together for the most blissful-experiential-fun-educational summer ever! I’ve already put a little program together for myself, and I’m transitioning into it little by little as summer slowly rolls in. Here is the general outline: I’m going to meditate daily with my singing bowl (I have an antique bowl that I really love, bought from Temple Sounds); I’m growing an edible garden in a sunny-breezy room indoors (lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, green beans — the works); I’m having fun with my own energy by moving my body & voice (taking fun dance classes & figuring out overtone singing). That is the general idea (along with a few other creative projects), and I’ll be turning up the volume/intensity on everything as the summer rolls in.
The plan is to really experience life: light & sound & color & energy (all the same really, just various vibrations). I want to connect with it (with life, with myself, with energy) on a deeper more intimate level, and do it on a daily basis in a mindful way. I also want to powerfully choose & surround myself with high-vibrations that really resonate with me. Of course this kind of energy is always within us and around us, but it’s usually drowned out by the chaos & noise, or unseen/not felt because of our constant ‘tuning out.’ It’s not often that we connect with what truly works for us in a healing & energizing way. We also rarely get silent or still, rarely tapping in & allowing ourselves to be moved consciously (mindfully, with full feeling).
In our very busy day-to-day lives, it’s easy to fall mindlessly into autopilot and forget about connecting to our deeper selves & to the deeper subtleties in life. That’s why I want to make going deep & ‘tuning in’ a daily habit. With time & practice, I imagine that my life would be more in tune. I would be more in tune with myself & others, more in tune with nature, more in tune with life itself.
In the past two weeks of transitioning into the program I have felt a super-healing difference in my overall well-being. It’s only been a short time, but adding sacred sounds from a singing bowl to my morning meditation; playing around with my voice & having fun with overtones; moving via yoga & dance, feeling the group energy in class or feeling the quiet energy at home when I practice alone; getting my hands in the rich black organic soil & watching things sprout & grow in the sun — what a difference — what a joy! It’s brought so much light/energy/color to my life. It feels like I’m adding more life to my life! As crazy as that sounds, it’s true.
I’m so excited to see what the summer will bring as I continue to make all these things a routine or daily habit. Life is so exciting when you get excited about it! Follow what inspires you. See where it leads. Decide what you want to explore this summer, and have fun watching it evolve. Watch yourself heal & grow & bloom in the process. Does that sound exciting or what?!
There was a hurricane on Monday. One that literally pulled the rug from underneath New York & New Jersey. For me, the hurricane was a mixed bag of feelings. Many that I might discuss in future posts. But the one feeling that remains strong, is the clarity. I feel that I had this clarity before the hurricane, but it is known that disasters put things in perspective. I feel that this clarity is even more apparent now, & that many others that experienced the hurricane, share a greater sense of clarity as well.
All of my work was canceled after the hurricane for various reasons (no public transportation, no electricity in lower Manhattan, etc.), except meditation. I continued to offer it online, as usual. My approach to sharing meditation changes, depending on what comes up spontaneously in each session. But for the session I lead on Friday, we previously decided that we would add a section of the Tao Te Ching to each of our weekly meetings. So before we mediate, I read a section, & share my thoughts on what I just read. But because of the hurricane forecast, I typed-out the brief section of the Tao Te Ching, & my thoughts on it in advance. I emailed it ahead of time, because I wasn’t sure if I would still have internet on the day I was scheduled to lead the session. This was a precaution that wasn’t needed. The session happened without interruption, & all was well. I felt fortunate to be able to work online, & to keep my mediation sessions going.
What I am sharing with you, is what I emailed. The Tao Te Ching section I shared is in RED, & my personal thoughts are in Black. For some reason, sharing this as my Sunday blog post this week feels more appropriate than talking about the hurricane (or my feeling about it) in detail. I’m not sure why, but I will trust this feeling.
If you over-esteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.
This shows that labeling and attaching meaning to things, is not only separating oneself from the truth, but also from their power — divisiveness sets in. Believing in contrast, or duality, or good/bad, or god/devil, creates an imbalance. Just like if in nature, people suddenly decided that eagles where bad for eating mice: “How dare they swoop-down and sneak-up on a mouse and eat it! Eagles are bad! Let’s do-away with them!” If they thought that and acted on it, the ecosystem would be thrown off balance. And when the ecosystem is off balance — we are off balance. Because everything has been designed perfectly to support the existence of the Whole. No right, no wrong — just is — nature just is, life just is. And because it just is, and because it allows itself to be as it is, it is the most powerful force we know of. The Master leads by emptying people’s minds and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve. He helps people lose everything they know, everything they desire, and creates confusion in those who think that they know.
A wise person knows that the answers to the greatest questions of man are unknowable. An adult would be much smarter if at a certain point, they unlearned all that they have been taught. School text books, cultural norms, the ideas and facts that have been programed into us, are all stifling. Compare a wild edible (a plant that is thriving in the wild) to one that has been cultivated, hybridized and mass-produced. The latter would be less hearty and ravished by insects. It must be protected in order to survive (with chemicals, enclosures, or other inventions). This is the current state of man. He is confused, and he has lost his inner knowing, his innate understanding. He was once the animal that knew exactly what to do, but is now the refined animal that has no idea how to survive without his inventions.
and everything will fall into place.
Understanding that you are not the doer is liberation. See that it is not you that created the sun, yet it is there for you daily. See that you have life, you were born; but you did not birth yourself, nor give yourself life. See that you are breathed, without any effort on your part. See that your heart pumps, yet never asks you for permission. See that you dance to a rhythm, without a thought, without a plan. See that you can fall in-love, with no say in the matter whatsoever. When you can see that there is such a thing as ‘being moved’, you stop trying so hard. You see that everything is energy, and of the same source. The weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders. The weight of your life is no longer a burden. Because you understand that you are being carried. You see that there is a flow and a dance to life; it moves with great beauty, and with great force. When you let go, when you relax, you see that life supports you — and has supported you all along. Like floating on the water, there is very little required of you, yet you are there — floating. When you stop resisting, blocking, or fighting life; when you move with it, as if you were in water — you will travel fast. You will find yourself doing — without doing. Succeeding — without trying. Powerful — without forcing. You will return to your natural state. You will be free.
Loving everyone feels so good. It feels kinda gooey & sweet, warm fuzzy & tingly — all at the same time. This feeling has been increasing slowly for me, over the last year or so.
Over the last year I have been facing one of my fears. I’ve always had a small aversion to furry friends. The kind that bark or bite or jump or kick. And let’s not forget poke or scratch. This fear stems from two traumatic experiences with animals from my childhood. Since then, I’ve had very little contact with animals, & because of that — very few pleasant memories. I do have some great memories with small turtles. Nice & slow. Easy does it. Never too excited. Usually fairly predictable. (Just how I like it!) But also, turtles aren’t considered furry. And they usually don’t bark or jump. So I guess I never made much progress on my issue with furry friends…. until now. :)
Let me clear up two things before I continue… 1. The two negative experiences I had with animals, were with animals that were being mistreated by others, & somehow, I innocently found myself near them (wrong place, wrong time I guess). And those furry friends were not happy. So I guess anyone that looked remotely human was a threat to them, & they reacted in fear for their own safety. 2. I had little contact with animals over my teenage & adult life, because I avoided them. After two totally different negative experiences with two totally different species, I didn’t allow myself to have a relationship with animals in general. Even though they were innocent & I was innocent, at the time of the incidents. It didn’t matter. I developed a fear, & I lumped everyone into a big pile.
Here I am. Almost three decades later, having a blast with furry friends! I’ve been working on my fear of dogs since last autumn. Allowing myself to be near them without fear. (I didn’t say touch them without fear. :) I said be near them.) This has felt so good & so liberating. Living in such a dog-friendly neighborhood, my day-to-day now feels much freer, and much more like the world is my home. I walk down the street with a new found confidence & intimacy with my surroundings.
Now I have moved on to all animals! Ohhhhhhhh, & has this been fun! Except for a few minor “ouch” experiences — but they were no big deal! At one animal farm, I got a little poke from a horn because I was in the way at feeding time. It was an accident. A hungry goat in a hurry bumped into me, as he was making his way through the crowd (the hungry herd that I was standing in the middle of). And it may have been on that same day, but I was wearing silly shoes on the farm (open toe sandals), & a hooved friend accidentally stepped on my pinky toe. No damage — just a small reminder to wear sensible shoes! Including the moments I just mentioned, all time spent with animals over the last year has been have been exciting. So beautiful, so sweet. And sometimes extremely blissful — like the most profound sense of peace I have ever felt. Wow. I really love these very big & very little guys. They have become my friends.
I’ve been learning so much from my “fearlessly love everyone” adventure. Aside from learning that I really love spending time with animals & love having them be a regular part of my life. I learned what it means to be oneself: To simply be, to be in a state of Grace or Flow; to feel effortless & relaxed & intuitive; to live in the moment. What better example of this than to spend time with an animal who lives at an animal sanctuary. They freely spend their days socializing, eating, sunning, drinking, walking, running, sleeping, playing… (repeat, repeat, repeat). Doesn’t that sound like what we should be doing too? And sometimes we do something very similar to that. But it seems like the animals do it without all the drama & meaning, without deadlines & obligations — without pressure to be someone, doing something, trying to get somewhere. (Or so it seems that way.)
When I watch them, I can’t help to think that they live an ancient secret that we have all forgotten: What it means to live fully in the moment, being one with the environment. Without pressures or mind-trips. Nowhere to be, but here. No one to be, but being — just as it is. I feel like this is the mantra the animals are silently repeating. (That I would like to learn as well.)
When I watch a pig get muddy, & lie in the sun, I really don’t think that he feels guilty. I don’t think that he feels like he doesn’t deserve this moment of rest. Or wonders what the other farm animals think of him (looking so sloppy & muddy). I don’t think he thinks it’s an unproductive activity & he should better invest his time elsewhere. I think he doesn’t even think about it. He’s just being. Being in the moment, until the next moment creates the next thing he will do.
There is a sense of peace I feel with animals when they have the opportunity to freely be themselves. I like to spend time just sitting with them. I swear to you, that 4 minutes of that, feels more powerful than 40 minutes of a formal meditation practice. When I’m just sitting with animals, it feels like being in the presence of a master. Someone who truly knows beingness. Someone that doesn’t have to teach it, because they exude it. They give-off this strong magnetic energy that just takes over your system & shows you how it is done. Everything my body & mind forgot — it remembers in their presence. We just sit together. Breathing. Looking. Loving unconditionally. We just sit. And something as simple as that is heaven.
And heaven continues. I decided to devote my time & love to these Masters of Beingness. To these great teachers of “how to simply be yourself”. I feel like their presence in my life is perfect timing. I’m at a place where all I want to study is how to See, Be & Love — what seeing in a holistic way is like, what simply being is like, what loving unconditionally is like. It’s what lights me up, keeps me inspired & interested, curious & excited about life. And once I opened myself up to that — to that sincere desire to learn — there walks in my teachers. Appearing in my life, at just the right time. There is a quote I have heard for years, but now I get to live it: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. How true it is. And how grateful I am.
There were quite a few things that gave me great pleasure over this past week or so. One thing that I noticed was that I have a soft spot sometimes for things that other people may call dark, or depressing, or melancholy. I see beauty (& love) in everything, so this doesn’t surprise me one bit. But also, I always liked moody music since I was a kid, as well as skeletons & skulls. I also felt inspired by people that walked their own path (even if they had to carve it out for themselves & risk being an outcast for it). I guess today is no different than 25 years ago. We are who we are. And that is a beautiful thing!
Seeing this video byAllison Schulnik makes me want to make an animated short film. I want to make something artsy with my usual message of love & awareness tied into it.
I love this photo. It was taken from the blogExercise Compassion. I think it’s perfect in every way. I can look at it for hours. [The photo of the banana tree leaf introducing this blog post is from the same source.] – This 1979 video ofAugustus Pablo&Hugh Mundellis so natural, so authentic, so beautiful. I wish I was there with them when they recorded it. Actually, I would have loved to be them at that moment. – This photo is of a skull in the Ganges River in India. It was found by chance & I don’t know who to give photo credit to. I adore the photo for many reasons. The number one reason is because when I look at it, I see that the water doesn’t judge. It doesn’t say, “Ew! Get out of here death, you dirty disgusting skull!”. The water embraces all that enters it. To me this is unconditional love, this is enlightenment, this is pure beingness. The photo is a reminder of my highest self, & a reminder of our true nature.
Xx! ;) That’s it for this week.
♥ For past You Give Me Pleasure blog posts clickHERE&HERE.♥
I’m going to present videos & photographs & information about the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS – also #OccupyWallStreet or #OWS, written as Twitter hashtags). Following that, I’ll write a few words on how I feel about the global need for change & what I think is on the horizon. And lastly, at the end of this post, I will leave information on how you can support the OWS movement.
Occupy Wall Street, New York City
I received a FAQs sheet at Occupy Wall Street being held at New York City’s Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza Park) near Ground Zero. What struck me is that the sheet clearly read: “We are not a protest movement. We do not protest against things, and we do not have one or two simple demands. We are a movement which does call for accountability, however – accountability to ourselves and to our country.” To me the key word is: accountability. Personal responsibility for all aspects of one’s life is very important. This movement stems out of people who are tired of living in a country that calls itself a democracy when it is not. And now they have held themselves accountable for being the ultimate source for creating this democracy.
It continues, “We must be accountable to ourselves. First and foremost, we are calling upon ourselves, and upon one another, to wake up and employ our power as citizens: to participate rather than observe, to raise our strong voices together, rather than complaining feebly in isolation. We cannot ‘whine’ about the injustices wreaked upon us if we have been complacent and silent in the face of these injustices. We must take responsibility for our own futures – and here at Liberty Plaza, that is exactly what we are doing, by modeling the kind of society in which everyone has the right to live. Here in Liberty Plaza, having lost our sense that we live in a democracy, we are reclaiming its practice.”
The next paragraph states, “Our government must be accountable to us, and corporations must be accountable to the government. We are saying definitively: We no longer live in a democracy, and we refuse to accept that. We seek an end to the collusion between corrupt politicians and corporate criminals, as democratic and capitalist institutions have become conflated. (*1) As such we must see major advances in the area of the relationship between corporations, and people, on par with the amendments which outlawed slavery and assured civil rights to all people regardless of race, sex, or class…”
I wish I could type the whole FAQs sheet out for you, but this blog post would be way too long (-it’s too long as it is!) So, I will just add one footnote that belongs to the paragraph above, I think it’s important.
*1 “In the United States, the right to become rich has become collapsed with the very notion of liberty. From the time we are children, Americans learn to confuse democracy (a system of decision-making and governance), with capitalism (a system for regulating and releasing money flows).”
Occupy Together: Occupations all over the USA
All over the USA “Occupations” have been popping up from city to city. It’s steadily growing in the number of supporters & in the number of locations.
I was so proud to see this video of my hometown, the East Bay in Northern California. The video is from Occupy Oakland (aka #HellaOcuppy).
No doubt about it, there is much more to come. Not only in the way of government reform, or even epidemics & environmental concerns – but in each one of us individually in a way we haven’t been challenged before.
We will eventually find that there is nowhere to turn for a sense of true security & peace. At that point it will be obvious that it can only come from the one who is seeking it.
The only thing we can truly change is ourselves. The only place we can truly find peace is within us.
Looking for answers or solutions outside of oneself never works in the long-term.
At the same time, yes! – Occupy Wall Street & other movements are important & necessary. Especially when it comes to waking people up & taking them out of their comfort zone – their automatic way of sheepishly & passively speeding through their lives. It makes total sense to be forward moving & create the external changes needed at the moment, but after that, the work just gets deeper.
Otherwise, everything reverts back to the way it was. The work will not be done until we have uprooted the source of the confusion & suffering within us, & cultivate a new way of being.
In my opinion we need a balance between the tangible side of ourselves & the intangible side. Our culture is so wrapped up in the importance of materialistic things, or external things (anyone or anything outside of ourselves). But it is the intangible experiences of love, harmony, joy, generosity, trust, balance, peace, & more, that truly make us happy, that make us come alive & make us feel whole.
Love, harmony, & joy are states of being & they can only be experienced & generated from within. The only one that ever has control of this is us. Each one of us has the power to create & maintain these states of well-being.
For lasting change, the most important revolution that needs to take place, is the one within.
Creating a daily lifestyle for ourselves that is meaningful & healthful, as well as building communities with others based on the values & qualities we believe in, this is what change in action is all about.
So let’s #OccupyLove! #OccupyBliss! #OccupyJoy! OccupyAwareness! #OccupyMindfulness #OcuppyPeacefulness #OccupyOneness!
The ways you can support Occupy Wall Street or other Occupations near you…
Every Occupation needs something, the most important thing you can give is you. Share your love & support by physically being there & by sharing your intentions (what you intend by showing your support) with others. If you aren’t able to be there in person, actions like: donating money, food, blankets, hygiene supplies, drinking water, rain gear, tarps, tents, etc, can also be a great way to show your support. So can blogging, taking & sharing photographs or video, spreading the word, & doing whatever you can to contribute.
To send a donation to Occupy Wall Street in New York, their shipping address along with a link for information on their current needs is listed below. There is also a link to all other city Occupations in the USA.
The UPS Store
C/O Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton Street #205
New York, New York 10038
“As I go through all kinds of feelings & experiences in my journey through life — delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay — I hold this question as a guiding light: “What do I really need right now to be happy?” What I come to over & over again is that only qualities as vast & deep as love, connection & kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way.”
– Sharon Salzberg
Everyone is invited!Freefruitluck in Central Park.-Just bring your sweet self & some sweet fruit!
Frickin’ Fruitlucks were started on the idea of having simple raw food gatherings focused on enjoying whole fresh ripe raw and preferably organic fruits and veggies in their natural state. The focus is on fruit, no need for prep work, bowls, knives forks or any tools, rather eating whole foods as you would in nature. Enjoying good conversation, yoga, play, exercise, mediation, handstands, ahah! really anything that fits the vibe-n-flow or the roll of any individual is welcomed and encouraged. Simply enjoying the sun with some fun fruit loving peoples, raw, raw-curious, vegan, vegan-curious, omnivorous, everyone is always welcome. Sure to grow into events of epic proportions bring your friends, family, pets, kids, even that cousin you rarely see. We can go over the concepts of raw foods, the low fat raw lifestyle, fitness, rainbows really anything your heart desires!
…meet us on Sheep Meadow by the the big rock across from the sand volleyball courts!(see it in right side of photo)
For more info about Chris, check outthe juicy postI wrote featuring him last year on Sunday Is For Lovers.