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 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 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 17, 2013
Today’s Five Releases
1. Nail file from yesterday – I realized I already had a metal nail file! So no need for this pink one.
2. Black top – Here at Ananda Europa there’s an attic where everyone puts the clothing and stuff they no longer want; I found this top there. It has the Gayatri Mantra written on it, which is one of my favorites chants. But, it’s too short (the top, not the chant). Out!
3. Book: Release Your Brilliance by Simon T. Bailey – I didn’t even recognize the synchronicity of this title. RELEASE! Ha!
“Seek the guidance of people who can help you live your assignment. Some people pass through your life, and others come into your life. Those who pass through will intersect with your life at a specific point in time or during a particular event. Be open to those who appear during these times. Whether or not you or they know it on a conscious level, their sole purpose is to help you reach the next level of fulfilling your Universal Assignment and releasing your brilliance.”
4. Book: El Principito by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry – I love the Little Prince. I bought this copy in Spanish in Argentina.
-No, pero puedo depositarlas en el banco.
-Qué quiere decir eso?
-Quiere decire que escribo en un papelito la cantidad de mis estrellas. Y después cierro el papelito, bajo llave, en un cajón.
I just realized who I’m going to give this to – a friend is doing the Camino del Santiago next month (and I would absolutely love to go with him…). I’ll give him this book to brush up on his Spanish!
5. Business cards – I got these cards ages ago when I started blogging. Actually they’ve got the same ship that you see at the top of the page. My name isn’t the same now so time to toss them.
Today’s Three Keeps
2. My Life Book – Get instructions on how to make your very own Life Book here: chinabrooks.com/life-book
AND I JUST discovered her little video of us working on our life books – that’s me on the floor back in 2011, I guess, cuz I was still blonde! (I didn’t even know this video was out there. Love it).
3. Manduka Eco Travel Yoga Mat – I love this mat. Most yoga mats are made with chemical crap, and they’re too thick or heavy to travel well with, or your hands slip. I’ve been traveling with and using this mat for a year and a half now and it’s still in great condition. Highly recommended!
In the video I talk about the process of releasing triggering the fear of abandonment – I originally heard the idea from Eloheim – see the video on clearing clutter here. Good wisdom.
Also in the video you saw some photos in my Life Book of the Abraham-Hicks cruise to Greece – I WANT TO GO ON THIS. Feel free to buy us both tickets!
April 17, 2013
“One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”
-Tenzin Palmo, 1943
Clutter and confusion come down to a lack of faith, a lack of trust in something greater in yourself, a lack of belief that everything will work out perfectly for you.
Hasn’t it always worked out for you? Even when it seems something horrible happened, didn’t it have an equally beneficial flipside, of growth, learning, opening, wisdom, compassion, help from others? It has for me! And until we change our beliefs – ie whether or not the Universe is a friendly place, whether or not we’re always provided for and taken care of – we will continue to be unhappy, even if it’s just a simmering, low-grade dissatisfaction that you can’t quite explain, can’t quite put your finger on.
The Release List
1. Red dress I bought in Buenos Aires after coveting it for a few months; I wore it once and probably won’t wear it again. Luckily I don’t do that often.
2. Thermos – I wanted it do drink yerba mate out of my gourd+bombilla but it made the water taste really metallic-y. Yuck.
3. Lipstick – Bought at Whole Foods eons ago. Before I started boycotting them.
4. Nail file – I know, lipstick and nail files are piddlly things, but I’ve stll got 26 days to go!!! Gimme a break! I also want to ditch my last remaining lipsticks I’ve been carrying around as I never wear them. It’s good to start slowly.
5. Reading lamp – bulb broken, and I don’t need it anyways since my first-edition Kindle broke and I now read on my iPod touch. Backlighting’s hard on the eyes but it’s convenient.
The Keep List
1. My Macbook …
2. Deodorant! (Lucky you!)
3. Nail file, handed to me today by someone who didn’t know that my old nail file is pretty much useless. Manifest!
I did go more utilitarian on my Keeps today for some reason, and I realized that I want to stick to the LOVES instead of the NEEDS. So I’ll go back to the LOVES tomorrow. I get the feeling that I don’t have that many LOVES… interesting.
I do really enjoy how slow and non-threatening this process is. I always feel like I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff, and then overwhelm kicks in so I don’t even start the process.
Five things a day is so small, so easy, so doable. Not that it still doesn’t take me awhile to choose; it still does. But it feels much better. Less pressure. Less terror.
P.S. Here are the links from the video:
April 15, 2013
Life is Choice. Choose what you don’t want. Choose what you do.
Your choices in this moment create your life.
What are you choosing?
(In this video I also show off a bit of the Italian springtime at the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness and the surrounding Umbrian countryside).
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Mittens that someone gave me for the cold Italian winter. Winter’s over! Woo hoo!
2. Book: The Language of Soul, Harold Klemp, left to me by a friend who moved to Portugal.
3. Earplugs (I haven’t worn earplugs for 2 years. Bye bye).
4. Hat. I don’t love it. Also – WINTER’S OVER!
5. Robe from 1996ish. Yes, the 90′s.
Today’s Three Keepers:
1. Nacho Monkey, my travel buddy of the past 11 years that I originally bought at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory with my best buddy and fellow Italo-phile K one night after Italian class at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood, Los Angeles. That same evening K bought a little dog and named him Winchell after the donut joint. She and I loved eating nachos and late-night donuts after a few hours of dancing.
2. Teeny tiny Ganesha statue that I bought a few days ago here at Ananda. I love Ganesh and I love teeny tiny things!
3. Pocket belt from Esty which is one of the best things ever because I generally dislike purses and they’re impossible to dance with. This purse/belt perfectly fits my camera, cell phone.
“Release is necessary for growth, for space is needed for growth. And the truth that all of you share is that 5-10 years from now your lives will not be the same. Your energy will not be the same; your emotions will not be the same. So trust that. Trust that you are always moving, and that is as it should be.” ~ Zapharia/Lee Harris
April 14, 2013
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen
Today I picked my first ‘five to release’ and ‘three to keep’ in my 30-day Challenge. Oddly enough, I discovered that picking the five to release was easier than choosing the three to keep.
The Five Releases:
1. An old black purse from Target that I’d kept so I’d have a decent-looking black bag for ‘nice’ occasions. But I never go to ‘nice’ occasions anymore, and I have my tan Mandarin Duck bag that’s nice enough if I ever do.
2. A box that someone gave me to store/organize jewelry supplies. It was originally a chocolate-covered date box from Abu Dhabi. The idea’s nice but it’s cardboard so not really sturdy enough.
3. A book called The Spirit of Prophecy from the Land of Assisi Refuge and Salvation by Massimo Coppo. A friend met this pilgrim man who was traveling through Assisi and selling this self-published book; to be nice he bought a copy, but since my Italian friend doesn’t read English very well, he gave it to me. At first I was excited by the gift, hoping it would have some profound truths, or at least some crazy ravings. But it’s not very interesting. Here’s an excerpt, picked at random:
“Well, this is what Marcello later wrote about his retreat, in a note for which some priests had pressed him, and which he first of all submitted to his confessor (who wanted it to be given the title: Fragments of a prophetic story which the Lord is accomplishing inthe land of Assisi”): “On the 15th August 1981, the feast of the Assumption, I withdrew myself for forty days, as it were into the desert, in the former barn of a farmhouse at Rocca Sant’Angelo… I wanted to imitate Jesus, Moses and St. Francis.”
4. A book called Un Indovino Mi Disse (A Fortune Teller Told Me) by Tiziano Terzani. This book sounds much more interesting. I found it in a book swap box by Santa Chiara church in the Bosco di San Francesco (St. Francis’ Woods).
“Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for an entire year, Tiziano Terzani—a vastly experienced Asia correspondent—took what he called “the first step into an unknown world. . . . It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years I have ever spent: I was marked for death, and instead I was reborn.”
However, I’ve had the book since November, and though I can read Italian, it takes a bit of effort, and if I haven’t read it yet I probably won’t. So I’m going to pass it on.
5. My very favorite very comfortable pair of Teva flip flops that I absolutely love. I think I’ve had these for five years (maybe more), and though there’s an ever-growing hole in the bottom of one of them, I still kinda want to keep them, just so I have a pair of flip flops for around the house. But I’ve decided to toss them and make room for a new pair – otherwise I never really think I NEED a new pair, as I’ve still got these disintegrating ones hanging out.
The three things I love that I’m choosing to keep:
1. A journal my friend Kalyani gave me for my birthday last month.
2. A compass and hematite necklace that I made.
3. A golden Ganesh and citrine necklace that I also made.
The keepers were harder to choose than the letting go-ofs because I really only want to keep things that I LOVE. And I realized while looking around that I have a lot of items that I’m ambivalent about.
Though I’m already having doubts about what I’m releasing – What if I need a black purse? (answer: I can borrow one from someone). What if I can’t find comfortable flip flops so far from REI? (answer: I’ll be fine even if I don’t own flip flops right now). What if it turns out I do want to read ‘Un indovino mi disse’? (answer: I can get it in English via Kindle).
I opened to a random passage in another book that I’m keeping for the moment. Here’s some poignant wisdom from Paramahansa Yogananda:
“It is rare to see a truly “free” man. Most people think they aer free, while their minds are utterly fettered by psychological chains. These are harder to get rid of than ordinary chains; for in their subtlety they are difficult even to recognize, not to speak of how to destroy them! It requires a great deal of knowledge to cut those psychological restraints.”
- from Journey to Self-Realization
I’m very aware of my self-imposed limits to how free I am. I’ve freed myself from a lot these past two years, but it’s a continual process of letting go. I feel that this challenge will give me a final solid push through the paper chains of my fears. At least, I hope so!