“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:

Artist Lakshmi

The Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness in Italy

Artist Sandro da Verscio

The Life of Words

March 17, 2013

Peace Jesus! *(more info at end of blog) - Photo by Michelle Perry 2013

Peace Jesus! *(more info at end of blog)


There’s something I love and had forgotten it had a name: Etymology, “the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.”

I often look up the roots of a word to get a more profound sense of what exactly is behind its normal, assumed, mundane meaning. When it comes to words and language, I think it’s important to remember that language is a living thing that evolves. Which means to say languages moves, it rolls, it twists, it changes. It never stays the same, and its purpose is not to stay the same, because that would mean that it’s dead. Like Latin.

So, 1. Language is a living being that evolves and 2. translating changes meaning considerably. If you’re the kind of person who’s interested in Truth, I think it’s of tantamount importance to remember that much, if not the majority, of historical texts we have have been translated, often many times. Take Jesus’ teachings, and the Bible. Both translated over thousands of years, many times. The more you translate, the farther you get from the original intended meaning.

What’s up with the Biblical talk? Well, this morning I somehow ended up in a conversation with a friend about Jesus and persecution… Oh yes – My 34th birthday is coming up in a few days, and this friend mentioned something about Jesus dying at age 33. I quipped, “Well, at least I haven’t been crucified yet.” Yet. I feel like I might be getting close here at the Ashram, as the pressure has been growing for me to make some Choices about what I’m doing here and what path I want to be on.

Anyways, said friend brought up how Jesus, Paramahansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda all said that if you follow god, you’ll be persecuted.

So I asked: What does “persecuted” really mean?

Of course, we think of persecuted as a negative – punished, attacked, abused, jailed.

The current definition is:

1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
2. To annoy persistently; bother.
I’m not sure I’d classify being killed by having your hands nailed onto chunks of wood a “bother.” Though I suppose if you look at it from the perspective of an eternal infinite god being, it’s not that big a deal.
Then I looked at the roots of the word ‘persecution’:
Middle English, from Old French persecuter, back-formation from persecuteur, persecutor, from Late Latin persector, from persectus, past participle of persequ, to persecute, from Latin, to pursue : per-, per- + sequ, to follow; see sekw-1 in Indo-European roots.
To pursue, to follow. MUCH different from oppressing, harassing or annoying. And ‘sekw’ sure looks like ‘seek’ to me.
So, maybe what was REALLY being said was that if you are true to and follow your innate, divine, authentic nature, others will follow. Yeah, Jesus’s physical body sack got pinned to a tree, but 2,000 years later he’s still one of the most famous dudes in history.

Basically, in modern lingo: Consciousness is Contagious.

*photo description: Gesù Che Benedice statue by Sandro Da Verscio, available for purchase; and Fatima Moonstone Necklace, available for purchase; if interested in more info on either, leave a comment below with your email address.

Crazy Goldfish Art

February 12, 2012

When I understood what this guy was doing, I was totally flabbergasted. My jaw literally dropped open as I watched the video.

Quickly glancing at the photos in <this blog>, I thought Riusuke Fukahori was painting resin onto REAL dead goldfish:

Photo by Dominic Alves

By Dominic Alves

But what he’s actually doing is PAINTING goldfish on LAYERS of resin, creating a sculptural/painted 3-D fish…

Watch the video of his process (for some reason I can’t embed it). Stunning. Human creativity never ceases to amaze.

 

Battling the Resistance

February 5, 2012

"The Only Barriers Are Mental" Buenos Aires, Jan 2012

I feel like I haven’t blogged in ages. I’ve been struggling with the Resistance.

Not the Resistance to writing, but the Resistance to doing watercolors for a friend’s children’s book that I’m illustrating, and the Resistance to working as a Music Manager and booking venues here in Buenos Aires and in New York for a tour with the artist I manage, Jonisio il Solista. I feel inadequate at painting, and inadequate at booking a tour. One I haven’t done in about 10 years and the other I’ve never done. I’ve been trying to remind myself that every single person who’s ever done something was first a beginner, but I don’t like being a beginner. I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing. It freaks me out and the Resistance steps in and says, “We’ll start tomorrow. Instead, why don’t you stay up til 4am reading Anthony Keidi’s autobiography, or go get a coffee at your favorite cafe, or meditate, or see if anyone loves you on Facebook, or read some fascinating science article about how incense is an antidepressant. We’ll start tomorrow.”

Of course, tomorrow never comes, because it’s always only ever NOW, NOW, NOW, and if I don’t make the choice to start NOW, I never start. And then the anxiety builds, and the time runs out, and people ask, “But what have you been doing?” And I don’t write or blog because I feel like I shouldn’t be writing or blogging, I should be ‘working,’ even though I know it’s only work to my fearful, overprotective ego, and in reality it’s PLAY. I mean, painting and researching music venues????? How retarded can I be, to let myself convince myself that that’s work that I don’t want to do/am afraid to do/can’t do well enough?

As I realized when I got down here, and all the things that I believed were barriers to my ideal life were removed: living your dreams is terrifying to the ego.

And you, dear  reader, may be sitting there saying, “Well, she’s got it made. She’s getting to do all this cool stuff in Argentina. MY life sucks, though. I have REAL barriers. I have a crappy job. If I were in her shoes, I would totally be doing those things, I would totally be happy.”

Maybe you would be. But unless you are already creating, already living your ideal life, I bet if you were freed from the things you feel are currently limiting you, you’d be doing the same thing I am. Because what some Argentinian spray-painted on a bridge in the photo above is true – the only barriers are mental. They are never external. Our only barrier is our ego’s fear.

And every day I’m witnessing what a tricky bastard the ego is. Tricky bastard, but also, at heart, a loving thing that really only wants to protect us from pain and from the “death” of failure.

So, that’s where me and my ego are at right now. As soon as I post this, I intend to put on the audiobook The Alchemist to remind me that what I’m doing here is attempting to live my Personal Legend, and I’m going to sit down and paint.

My first watercolor after ~10 years, Dec 2011

My second watercolor (in progress), Jan 2012

Below is an excerpt and multiple quotes (ok, practically half the book, but it’s just so TRUE) from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, a book that gives me hope and makes me feel less retarded:

There’s a secret that real writers [artists/creators] know that wannabe writers [artists/creators] don’t and the secret is this: it’s not the writing [painting/creating] part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write [paint/create].

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever resolved on a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever felt a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.

Every sun casts a shadow, and genius‘ shadow is Resistance. As powerful as is our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We’re not alone if we’ve been mown down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us. And here’s the biggest bitch: we don’t even know what hit us. I never did. From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed. I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

 

The instinct that pulls us toward art is the impulse to evolve, to learn, to heighten and elevate our consciousness. The Ego hates this. Because the more awake we become, the less we need the Ego.

The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential… Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.

The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work.

Evolution has programmed us to feel rejection in our guts. This is how the tribe enforced obedience, by wielding the threat of expulsion. Fear of rejection isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. It’s in our cells.

The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come.

We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are… That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity… because, if it’s true, then we become estranged from all we know.

New Shel Silverstein Poems

September 20, 2011

A new collection of Shel Silverstein’s unpublished poetry has just been released. Here’s one of the new poems, which of course I love, considering the subject matter:

Italian Food

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.

 

And a quick google search turned up this video of Shel performing Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too, a simple poem that takes the listener through the emotional gamut, from exhilaration to melancholy:

 

I can’t begin to quantify what an influence this man had on me – I read and re-read his books of poems literally hundreds of times. I had cassette tapes of him reading them aloud that I listened to until they warped. It’s incredible how well-connected he was to his inner child. If I ever have kids, his books will definitely be in their library.

What a weekend. Live figure drawing and up late drinking at Catalyst on Friday night (definitely got that out of my system for a while…massive hangover, missing memories).

This:

Helped me to produce this:

On Saturday, I spent most of the day writing content for the iPhone app that I’m working on, then headed back to Catalyst for more live figure drawing and a dance party. Tommy rocked the decks and I got nice and sweaty (sober!).

Sunday morning I got up at 6:30am and did a few more hours of writing, then back to Catalyst one more time for a bike ride through downtown LA to see Kick Ass (which did kick ass, though I thought it was funny that outside the theater the movie title sign said Kick A**). More bike riding through downtown, and back home.

I think I got about 6 hours of sleep between the two nights. I am BEAT.

Below are some of the goals I’ll be aiming for during the month of May. Some are daily, and some are goals to accomplish within the month. For the first two days I hit the blogging, meditation, being alcohol-free, flossing and harmonica. I was again too tired this morning to go without coffee, especially since I had to write. I love coffee + writing. But I know it’s a crutch. Haven’t cut down on the Facebook yet either – I uploaded a buncha pictures and organized them. I love taking + playing with photos.

DAILY CHECKLIST – MAY CHALLENGES

Today, I:

o Posted a blog (journal, stuff I’ve read, music, quotes, activities etc).

o Meditated (ideally 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after work).

o Visualized for 5 minutes and FELT my ideal life.

o Ate only foods in my Ayurvedic diet.

o Flossed.

o Practiced Harmonica for 15 minutes.

o Was alcohol-free.

o Was caffeine-free.

o Was sugar-free.

o Spent less than 15 minutes on Facebook (ideally just to post blog entry).

o Did not log into Facebook on my work computer.

o Did the Consumer Fast (bought only essentials).

o Goal: Yoga 3 days this week (so far = ___).

o Goal: Shop at farmer’s markets (so far = ___).

o Goal: 10 Prayer Wheel Necklaces to sell to Fern (so far = ___).

o Goal: Work on Livifi 10 hours per week (so far = ___).

o Goal: Get business license/logo/business cards.

o Goal: Organize closet (plastic bins).

o Goal: Clear out, simplify – only Ab-SOUL-utely love.

o Goal: Organize garage.

o Goal: Repair Damone’s necklace, Katy’s necklace, Mom’s bracelet.

o Goal: Fulfill the Prayer Wheel Necklace orders – China & Millicent.