May 2, 2013
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between their work and their play; their labor and their leisure; their mind and their body; their education and their recreation. They hardly know which is which. They simply pursue their vision of excellence through whatever they are doing, and leave others to determine whether they are working or playing. To themselves, they always appear to be doing both.”
-Francoise Rene Auguste Chateaubriand
I want to live like this!!!
I’m getting closer. Today was a lovely mix of work/play. Which eventually will just be play. “Productive Play” I suppose would be a better term.
I’m still trying to upload yesterday’s video – It’s very very strange that every time I try to upload it to Youtube, it doesn’t upload the file I tell it to, it uploads Day 12′s fireside video. There must be a reason.
I’ve found in my life that there’s a good reason when technology doesn’t cooperate with me. And it’s always in my favor. I’ve been saved from purchasing something I didn’t need to/the wrong thing on a number of occasions. Like at the end of the great Road Trip of 2011 when I tried to buy a $167 Amtrak train ticket from Boston to Washington DC. I made a number of attempts, but the Amtrak site wouldn’t accept my credit card. I eventually gave up and decided to wait til the next day to try buying the $167 ticket again.
That next day, while on a whale-watching cruise with a girl from Slovenia (or Slovakia?) who I was couchsurfing with, I met a woman who was celebrating her birthday. We got to chatting and over the course of the boat ride – during which we saw about 20 amazing humpback whales – this woman mentioned that her husband, sitting next to her, was a train conductor.
For Amtrak. And…. the train he conducted… went from Boston to Washington DC.
I am not making this is#t up.
Two days later, they picked me up and put me on a train to DC with him. For free.
The woman even made me a gift package – cookies, juice, a sudoku puzzle book, a pen and a journal. These people gave from the pure kindness of their hearts. It was a beautiful, magical, heart-opening experience for me.
And the point I started with was – if technology doesn’t want me to upload that video for you, fine. I trust there’s a reason. I’ll try re-editing it tomorrow, or just moving on.
So today, after work/playing on Academy affairs this morning, I took the rest of the day to follow blisses. It turned out to be a beautiful magical day. I feel intensely connected to myself, my soul – authentic, in-joy, in the Vortex, in the Flow. Intensely happy with life, with what I’m doing, with the Me that I’m becoming, with the open potential and possibilities of the future.
Clearing out half my clothing feels like it’s unblocked a lot of energy. OR, the energy was unblocked, enabling me to have the clarity to release so much. Chicken/egg/chicken/egg.
Also, rather unfortunately, my bedroom has been invaded by ants tonight. They’re big black and red ones, and they’re streaming in a crack in my window, crawling up my legs, across my keyboard, on my arms. I don’t want to smoosh them but I also don’t want to be bitten. So far so good. Every few minutes I’ll send one air-born from my arm or leg with a whoosh of air. I hope they don’t break legs or carapaces upon landing. Ok wait ants don’t have carapaces. Thoraxes, I suppose.
Like the Bumblebees, the Ants must have a message for me – so I went to Google Guru for answers.
Here’s the main message of Ant medicine:
“PATIENCE. Ant’s medicine is the strategy of patience.
Ant people are active, community-minded folks who see the greater future needs of their town. Ant people are planners, like Squirrel, and are content to see their dreams being built a little at a time.
If you have Ant medicine, you … are content in knowing that “what is yours will come to you.” This knowing is good medicine. It shows a trust in the Universe to provide. If Ant meandered into your spread today, it is time to show a little trust and patience in some life situation. You may have forgotten that you will always receive that which you need, at the time you need it most. It is not on the horizon or just around the next anthill, you may need to use some strategy. How can you put to use your power of creation until “it” arrives -whatever “it” means to you at this time? Ant is working for the good of the whole. Are you? If you are, be assured that the whole wants the same goodness for you, and that it will be provided.”
Well, I’m definitely working on building my dreams. And I’m definitely community-and-greater-future-minded. And Trust has been my main focus lately. Trusting that everything is working out, trusting that I don’t need to worry. And lastly, I’m definitely putting my powers of creation in, and things are shifting, things are happening…
April 29, 2013
While I was living with a wise woman in Patagonia a year ago, I learned about Native American traditions and spirituality, and I learned about the meanings of animals. This wise woman had a deck of cards and book about Animal ‘Medicine’, as the Native American teachings refer to it.
I think that anything that we use to bring meaning to our lives can be helpful – it can be belief systems, astrology, religion, ‘signs’ from the Universe/god, synchronicity, even science (what we think of as modern “science” has really become more like Scientism - just another set of beliefs that makes us feel safe). Anyways, it’s all about the meaning you give to these beliefs, and if you use these ‘clues’ as part of your personal growth, development and expansion.
Twice in the past month while recording videos, I’ve been interrupted by Bumblebees.
Back on March 10, 2013, I was recording a video out in front of the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness in Italy on a beautiful spring day. I was talking about life, about figuring out my calling/purpose, and about attempting to authentically follow my dreams and intuition.
Cue Bumblebee. Later that day I googled the meaning of Bumblebees and meant to blog about it, but never did.
Then again on April 18th a Bumblebee gets right up in my/your/our faces/the camera lens. Ok, ok, I’ll write about Bumblebees!
The fascinating thing is how synchronistically aligned the symbolism of the Bumblebee is with what I’d been talking about in the video, what my focus has been the last month or two (focus itself, and creativity), and the lifestyle I’m living (COMMUNITY! If you don’t know, I’m living in a spiritual community in Italy…).
Creative endeavors (hello making videos!)
The following info was gathered from various websites:
Bumble Bees are focused, industrious, powerful, loud, and proud.
Bee is the ancient symbol of good fortune, joy and harmony. In the dream world, bee comes as a gift from Spirit. He buzzes about in order to awaken us into the moment. Alert and aware, we see that life is sweet and filled with brightness, color and light. Bee also teaches us to engage fully in our creative endeavors. The key is to focus with intention and to be single-minded in purpose.
The bee symbolizes community, brightness and personal power. Follow the bee to discover your new destination.
The ancient Druids saw the bee as symbolising the sun, the Goddess, celebration, and community.
ALL bees are productive, they stay focused on whatever they are doing and do not get sidetracked from their goal.
They hold the power of service. Their movement from one plant to plant represents the interconnectedness of all living things. It’s their drive to contribute to the common good of the community that is noteworthy. The bumblebee is a messenger bringing the secrets of life and service.
If this is your power animal and your energy is scattered, the bumblebee can show you how to become focused again.
If you are stung, the message here is – WAKE UP! Follow the rhythm of your own heartbeat. Listen to your true self, your higher self. Heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Ask for bumble bee help when:
• You need help communicating with other people.
• You question if you are aligned with your goals in life.
• You wish to heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Access bumble bee power by…
• Extracting the sweetness of life.
• Being productive while the sun shines
• Pursuing your dream, no matter how great it seems.
The meaning of bees in dreams speak of:
• communication, and
• our ability to consciously choose the results we want in our lives
When we dream of bees it may be an indication that we are ready to communicate our spiritual gifts, or perhaps we should more clearly recognize the treasures that reside within us.
Fascinating stuff. So I encourage you: look into those little clues that the Universe gives you. If certain animals pop up often in your life, or in your dreams, google their meaning and symbolism. These clues and synchronicities might be mirrors of what you’re seeking to learn.
P.S. Random Wiki fact: Bumblebee colonies are often placed in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of buzzing that a bumblebee exhibits effectively releases tomato pollen.
Is that not AMAZING??!? That a FREQUENCY can release pollen from a PLANT??????
April 28, 2013
Good news – I made it through last night without puking! Woo hoo! Felt much better in the morning.
So for today’s keeps and releases:
Releases (all necklaces I made – either putting up for sale or gifting):
1. Lapis lazuli necklace
4. Prayer Wheel necklace
6. Turquoise howlite necklace
1. Book: Barron’s Italian Verbs
2. Book: L’Italiano Perfetto
3. Panasonic Lumix camera
While I was cleaning out my hard drive today, trying to get enough disc space free to upload this video, I came across a PDF I’d downloaded called ‘The Soulmate Secret: Three Keys to Manifesting Your True Love.’ Speaking of soulmates, I actually really like an article I read the other day of Ram Dass’s explanation of Soulmates (“then you are left with the work to do. And it’s the same work. When you trade in one partner for another, you still have the same work. You’re going to have to do it sooner or later.”)
Anyways Key #2 from the Soulmate Secret PDF: “You must let go of physical, psychic, and emotional clutter.”
Workin’ on it! (and virtual clutter too…argh!)
April 26, 2013
The Five Releases:
1. String bracelet from when I saw the Dalai Lama last year
2. ‘Cooperating with Grace’ CD – given to me
3. Notebook - given to me
4. Book: Il Viaggio Meraviglioso di Nils Holgersson – children’s story, was using to study Italian, not that into it
5. Book: Journey to Self-Realization – donating to the Ananda library
The Three Keeps:
1. White Hard Tail top – I aspire to wear more white like I’m an aspiring minimalist.
2. Blue Hard Tail yoga pants – love them!
3. Black Sansara yoga pants – love these too!
So I’m pretty sure I have food poisoning. What’s more terrifying than when you feel like you have to burp but there’s a 50% chance it’ll be puke? I hate suspense.
April 26, 2013
Today was a very long day, and I did not feel like picking my 5/3.
So I didn’t.
I did, however, still record a video for you!
I mentioned a few of these things in the video, but here’s a full recap of my day:
I started the day with some of my morning rituals round 6:30am, meditation at 7:30am, then breakfast with friends out in the sunshine; over to the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness to clean and translate some marketing materials for our open house in the afternoon; more cleaning and organizing and chatting with friends. Then ate a giant lunch out in the sunshine with friends again. Washed some dishes, back to the Academy for some schmoozing and translating Italian/English, enjoyed a moving classical music rehearsal, a short hike with a friend, ate some INCREDIBLE homemade cheesecake for another friend’s birthday; talked with friends some more, met some new people, schmoozed some more til dinner time. Ate dinner with friends and watched the sun set. Helped wash dishes in the kitchen for an hour and a half (with some Russians and two monks who’d flown in from India, one originally from Las Vegas and the other from Uruguay), took a little moonlit stroll and listened to Radiolab, recorded the video above, Skyped with China, chatted with my friends/roommates, edited the video above, took a shower.
It’s now 1:30am Italy time, and I’m about to head over to the Temple of Light. I signed up for a shift to sit vigil for Swamiji, who left his body on April 21st. I’ll be meditating in the temple with him from 2am-4am. Should be a beautiful experience. The moon’s full tonight, and with springtime here the weather’s slowly been warming up.
My day was busy but full of friendship and laughter and stories and hugs and deep conversations about the meaningful things in life – relationships, truth, reality, death, love, joy, creation… So grateful, so appreciative of this wonderful community and the amazing life that I have.
April 25, 2013
Letting go of clothing is particularly difficult for me. I have let go of so much of my clothing in the past two years – first clearing out 3/4 of my wardrobe before leaving California, then slowly releasing items as I traipsed around the world.
I always feel like I have too many clothes. I think it’s because I aspire to have only items that I love; since I haven’t yet reached that goal, it naggles at me.
It’s interesting, clothing. I suppose in my formative years I identified very strongly with my clothing – I puffy painted every single item I wore until I hit puberty; then in high school I wore all kinds of ‘weird’ stuff – metallic satin silver skirts, gold velvet pants, blue velour 70s thrift shop finds. I think the fear of the difficulty of finding stuff that I love has stuck with me. And so much of our worth and perceived attractiveness – mine, anyways – is tied up with the packaging we present ourselves in. I have a fear that I might be getting rid of some of my value if I get rid of something that I might “need” to make me look good. I know it’s crazy but it’s still there.
I’ve also realized that my fear of not having money in the future to get what I need when I need it is tied to my general lack of self-worth when it comes to work – ie, deep down I don’t believe that what I have to give is of any value, so any kind of work situation makes me extremely uncomfortable on deep subconscious levels. Part of the personal healing work I’ve been doing lately is working through those blocks.
I came across this list of characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics. A lot of what I said above is tied to the characteristics listed; it’s comforting to see them listed and know that I’m not just innately flawed, retarded or lazy; there are reasons for my blocks and fears, and that I can work through them with time. And I see the progress I’ve made. I’m getting close to some breakthroughs. Hell, doing this video challenge is somewhat of a breakthrough, in a way.
Today’s Five Releases
1. Grey skirt
2. Black tights
3. Turquoise sweater
4. White sweater
5. Magenta sarong
Today’s Three Keeps
1. Turquoise sarong
2. Smartwool zipper sweater
3. Blue & brown Hard Tail top
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
April 23, 2013
Things are a bit crazy here with Swamiji’s passing and the gearing up for the big weekend – they’re premiering the film about Ananda communities, called Finding Happiness, and there was already going to be a big group here for the weekend, now compounded by people flying in from all over the world for the funeral service tomorrow. Plus the Academy of Art Creativity & Consciousness has to be prepped for the visitors, along with all our marketing stuff finished…
Anyways, I’m keeping up!
Here is yesterday’s video:
And here’s today’s:
The Three Keeps:
1. Hard Tail top – I LOVE Hard Tail! Aside from Green Apple, Hard Tail make my favorite beautiful comfy yoga clothes. I would love to have a wardrobe of entirely GA & HT. I’ve had this top for a few years and it still looks great. It’s got holes that have been sewn up all over.
2. Book: La Legge dell’Attrazione e le Relazioni Affettive – The Law of Attraction and Emotional Relationships. I don’t think this book was printed in English. I found it in an Italian grocery store about a week after I was wishing I had an Abraham-Hicks book to read. AND it was on sale. Manifest!!
“Se vi abituate a cercare aspetti positivi, li troverete in voi stessi oltre che negli altri. Se siete abituati a notare gli aspetti negativi, li troverete anche in voi stessi. Non sbagliamo, quindi, quando affermiamo che chi critica gli altri non ama se stesso. Va contra la Legge. Quando vedete persone molto critiche verso gli altri, sappiate che sono individui che non si amano.”
If you’re used to looking for positive aspects, you will find them in yourself as well as in others. If you are used to noticing negative aspects, you will find those also in yourselves. We’re not mistaken, then, when we affirm that he who criticizes others doesn’t love himself. It goes against the Law. When you see people being very critical of others, you know that they are individuals who don’t love themselves.”
3. Canon camera – I love the colors of Canon. However my beat-up, sometimes-working Panasonic Lumix takes better video (minus the dust spots from Burning Man) and wide-angle shots. So until my next high-end camera purchase, I’ll keep both.
The Five Releases:
1. Blue gloves – handed down from a friend. Winter’s over!
2. Mystery cable – I think I came with my last camera purchase. Haven’t needed it since I bought the camera a year ago. Adios!
3. Wool skirt – Found in the attic; wore it a few times but don’t love it; throwing it back!
4. Book: Babaji – Gifted by a friend; talks more about the follower of Babaji who wrote this than actual words of Babaji. Didn’t finish it.
5. Book: The Lathe of Heaven - Great book about a man who changes the world when he dreams – but he’s the only one who notices it changing. He’s then used by a egomaniacal psychologist, whose attempts at making the world a better place always end up making it worse. An interesting commentary on reality, sanity, and courage. Highly recommended but passing it on for someone else to enjoy.
Thanks for joining me on my journey!!!
April 22, 2013
I did record a video today, but I’m unable to edit it because iMovie isn’t loading because…
My hard drive is full. Ha! Ain’t that ironic??
No, not really. It’s part of this whole clutter/hoarding pattern I have, that fear that makes me hold on. That pattern I’m working through with this challenge!
I’m starting to see that my clutter is slowly diminishing – my stack of books a few books shorter, a few less lipsticks in my toiletries bag. Slowly and surely… I’m the turtle of decluttering.
It’s almost midnight here in Italy, and I want to get in bed soon. Tomorrow I will transfer more photos to my quickly-filling terrabyte hard drive so I have enough disc space to run iMovie so I can make you more movies.
In the meantime, here are today’s lists:
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Orange Buddha statue – gift from a friend. Don’t love it, letting it go.
2. Lip balm – bought here in Assisi. I think it chaps my lips more. Out!
3. Book: The Little Flowers of St. Francis – Not even sure where I found this. St. Francis is awesome but not into reading the book. Bye!
4. Socks – another lovely gift from a friend who mailed these socks to me from KOREA! But I don’t wear socks. Gifting!
5. Hiking boots – I wore these frequently in Patagonia whilst I lived there for two months. - the rocky terrain was a bit much for my Vibrams and I was out of practice hiking. I used them so much I actually wore a hole in the bottom of the sole. Which actually isn’t all that impressive if you take into account how shoddy Argentine manufacturing is. Time to toss these.
Today’s Three Keeps:
1. Wool scarf – I wore this scarf almost every day this past winter in Italy. It’s my very favorite scarf for the following reasons: a. It matches my eyes! b. I bought it in one of the best cities ever, San Francisco! c. It’s made in Ireland, like my dad was d. it’s lambswool so it’s soft and super warm. Love it!
2. 1T External hard drive – I’m slowly transferring all (most) of my 14,000 pictures over onto it… so now I LOVE it. (please last forever, hard drive!!)
3. Typewriter messenger bag – I got this bag off of Etsy to put my laptop in. It’s got an awesome turquoise typewriter graphic over a global map. Love it.
Thanks for being on this journey with me! Two videos for you tomorrow!
- – -
Update – here’s the video!
April 19, 2013
Yesterday’s video was accidentally set on private; sorry about that! It’s now public so check it out:
And here’s today’s video, Day 7:
(Check out the beautiful Italian clouds!!!)
The Three Keeps List:
1. Black Vibrams – I’ve been wearing Vibrams for three or four years now. I love them so much I can’t imagine life without them. Well, I could, but it would be really blistery. I really should be sponsored by Vibram, considering how many people I’ve prosthelytized to over the years and around the world (Argentina REALLY wants Vibrams!).
2. Inspiration book 2009 – I started making these little books in 2006. They’re part inspiring quotes and photos, part mini vision board, part life tips, part happy memories.
3. Inspiration book 2010 – Out of one of these books I read the 12 Keys to Happiness from scientist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness - These are keepers too!
1. Expressing Gratitude
2. Cultivating Optimism
3. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
4. Practicing Acts of Kindness
5. Nurturing Social Relationships
6. Developing Strategies for Coping
7. Learning to Forgive
8. Increasing Flow Experiences
9. Savoring Life’s Joys
10. Committing to Your Goals
11. Practicing Religion and Spirituality
12. Taking Care of Your Body: Meditation + Physical Activity + Acting Like a Happy Person
Yep. That’s pretty much it. I think I’ve got these covered! (At least, I work on them all every day. Still fine tuning, of course.) I origionally heard about Sonja’s book from Philosophers Notes, one of my favorite things ever – all the best personal growth/spirituality books summarized into 20 minute audio bites and 6-page PDFs. Highly recommended.
The Five Releases List:
1. X-mini MAX speaker - I did a TON of research when trying to find good portable travel speakers (I always obsessively research any electronics pre-purchasing) and I finally went with these guys. Not only is the sound excellent for their size, they’re not outrageously expensive, they charge via USB (no need to buy batteries) AND they run for 4-5 hours without being plugged in – perfection! I ordered these while I was living in Argentina and had a friend from the States bring them down as it’s quite difficult/expensive to get electronics with Argentina’s closed economy… they lasted for about 6 months until someone else broke one; then I used the single one for another 6 months until this one fritzed out too. Damned planned obsolescence.
2. Cannon charger – Also while in Argentina I had my friend bring me a new Cannon camera to replace the old Panasonic Lumix (which I’ve been recording most of these videos on). The Lumix stops working occasionally – ever since I took it to Burning Man and it got playa dust inside the lens – hence those spots that show up in most of my videos. Anyways, after more obsessive electronics researching, I got the Canon Powershot ELPH 300. It was my very favorite camera ever. Super compact, clear bright colors… the Lumix’s High def video and wide lens is a bit better for video but the ELPH definitely too better photos. And then, one day, I was hiking in some mountains in Patagonia, and somewhere during an off-trail 3 hour hike, my camera disappeared. Poof. I did the extremely steep 3 hour trail every day for the next 7 days, until it rained. Then I gave up. I never did find the camera. I hope some gaucho found it while he was horseback riding and was able to see the video of me and my friend Anne standing at the top of the mountain in high wind, screaming. Anyways, the camera was claimed by mother earth, and I no longer have any need for this charger. Why do I still have this charger one full year after losing that camera? No idea.
3. Art Eraser – I thought I lost my Faber-Castell eraser (oh, that name makes me feel like I’m back in art school). But then I found it. Donating this to the Academy!
4. Mystery key – I hate having old mystery keys. It torments me.
5. Brown hat – I was given this very good Wallaroo hat by a friend shortly before I left LA. I’ve worn it maybe twice in the past two years. They’re really good quality hats, but I just never wear it.
I ran across this Anais Nin quote that I love:
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”
I feel like this challenge is slowing putting a few mosaic squares in every day… gradual change, transformation, unfolding. I’m really enjoying this challenge, but I’m not sure how I’ll still have stuff to get rid of at Day 30. We’ll see…
“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.” - Paramahansa Yogananda
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” - Eckhart Tolle
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” -Aristotle
“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
April 19, 2013
This is why most technology (esp medical technology) is not sustainable or healthy in the long run – it is not integrated.
If it’s not integrated and holistic, it will have unintended consequences, negative side effects that are equal and opposite counterbalances to the gains attempting to be made.
“Natural ecosystems do not forget about anything; they embody integration. Everything has a specific role, and this diversity of function must be maintained to keep the healthy equilibrium of the biosphere. Unlike linear problem solving, nature always comes up with complex and integrated solutions. These solutions do not rely on simply one organism or function, but rather a network of many that are prepared to adapt. Linear problem solving creates a solution for one problem, whereas in biology, nature is anticipating many. That is why an understanding of biology can play a crucial role in the process of design science. By injecting biological understanding into the preliminary phases of the design process, the designer’s foundation for problem solving can be more integrated, and hopefully it will be easier for them to create a whole systems solution.”