I’m in Ashland, Oregon!

November 11, 2013

Hello, people!

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Happy Autumn!

For the past six months I’ve been on somewhat of a sabbatical from consistent blogging. Though I haven’t been sharing as much as I’d prefer, I’ve still been focusing on my soul-healing and joy-following journey around the world. After about a year in Italy, I returned to the States in June of this year to celebrate the lives of my grandmother and father, who both made their transitions while I was out of the country.

Since returning stateside I’ve been roaming the west coast – Washington, Oregon and California. I spent a few months living in Rogue River/Grants Pass, Oregon, with my Aunt Jody and good friend China Brooks. I went on a gorgeous camping retreat on Mount Shasta, then roadtripped down to San Francisco and Los Angeles and San Diego, reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen in years. Reunion is one of my favorite things in the world – the joy of reunion is worth the separation.

My intuition talked me into going to Burning Man super last minute – two days before the Burn started. It was transformational, as always, and ended up redirecting the course of my life. I ended up living in San Francisco for a bit afterwards with friends I met on the playa, then went to visit Portland for the first time ever before coming back down to San Francisco for the month of October.

And now, I’m in Ashland, a spiritual town known for its Shakespeare festivals and for being the home of author Neale Donald Walsch, the guy who channeled “Conversations with God” (which I still haven’t read… I tried to read it in Italian but didn’t have the patience).

China and I are living in a beautiful 117-year-old yellow Victorian house for the month, working on creative projects and learning how to be in healthy relationship in close quarters. Ie, practicing talking about our feelings, being totally transparent about our fears and vulnerabilities, and laughing at our crazy egos!

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Yes, there are ghosts in the house, though after the first night they seem happy we’re here, and at our request they haven’t done anything to spook us… yet.

Here’s a tour of the downstairs!

 

New Paradigm

July 1, 2013

I feel like I’m living in a magical new reality. Which means that I AM living in a magical new reality.

I’ve been wanting to share all these stories and I’m not even sure where to start. Things have been happening so quickly, flowing so powerfully, that I can’t even seem to put the words together to describe what I’m going through.

“I’ve never been so alive…”

 

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Today's sky in Italy

Today’s sky in Italy

No video again today. Have I fallen off the wagon?? I suppose so. Will I get back on? Who knows! I’m working hard not to worry about it or feel guilty. Maybe the day of going through my entire wardrobe was more draining than I realized!

I think the main problem has been time. This week I’ve begun work/playin fixed hours at the Academy, 8:30am-1:30pm every day – the first time I’ve had fixed-hour work in almost two years – AND I now have THREE websites I’m building!!! Woohoooo! I am super excited about that. I’ll share the sites here when I’m done.

So between the Academy commitment and the other projects, I wasn’t able to motivate myself to film/edit/upload video today. It’s quite labor intensive.

Oh we also had an event at the Academy tonight – an expert on Vastu came and spoke. Vastu is kinda like feng shui, but the original Indian version. It deals with architecture and energy and human alignment.

A concept I really liked was sun time vs. moon time vs. earth time. Sun time is when the sun is up; moon time is when the moon is up (which changes over the course of the waxing and waning of the moon), and earth time is when neither sun nor moon is up. The different times have different energies.

I don’t know about you but for me these past few days have been super powerful energetically. Today I had all kinds of realizations, and I am feeling super ALIVE and clear. It’s exhilarating but also challenging to contain. Contain, that’s an interesting word, a remnant from the adults yelling at the children – CONTAIN YOURSELF! Sit still! I was definitely not taught as a child how to channel the immense energy I have – I was taught to suppress it, because the adults around me didn’t know how to manage their energy either. And both of my parents had a LOT of energy.

One of my realizations today:

All my life, people have labeled me a ‘free spirit.’

At first they love it about me.

And then they get disappointed when they place their expectations on me.

Half of it is me, of course, accepting their expectations. 

I no longer want other’s expectations.

I want to free others from the burden of my expectations, the burden of my choosing to feel bad and blaming it on them if my expectations aren’t met. 

Instead I choose to love others exactly as they are, in the present moment, in whatever reality we happen to be interacting in.

I choose freedom for others – the freedom from being responsible for my feelings.

I choose freedom for myself – the freedom from feeling shameful, bad, or guilty.

I choose to trust that everything works out for my highest good, and for the highest good of others.

“The greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” ~Lao Tzu

Photo by Me Italy 2013

Photo by Me Italy 2013

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That Italian light!

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Goodbye sun.

Naming Myself (Part 1)

April 6, 2013

I was planning on writing about my name change – I’m now Maya Lila – but as I’m learning more about the words, it’s turning into a huge production. I could probably write an ebook on this.

The short answer: Maya is the sanskrit word for the illusion of duality and separation; Lila is sanskrit for divine play or game. The name Maya came to me last September as I was sitting in an olive tree, feeling sad and having a good cry. Later that day I shared the name with some people who still live in a rather fear-based paradigm (the word Maya scares them a bit) so they insisted I add something lighter, and suggested Lila – which is actually my favorite sanskrit word.

So this new name is a mantra, a reminder, for Me – THIS IS ALL A GAME. You’re a divine creator, a bubble of cosmic consciousness in a skin suit. Play. Have fun. Lighten up!

The word Maya actually has a whole bunch of other meanings and is generally misunderstood. So I’ll go into more depth in another post, and also expound on the philosophy of the name, which perfectly resonates with my life philosophy.

In the meantime, I’ll share a bit about the beautiful day I had yesterday:

In the morning I helped out with a children’s workshop at the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness. The theme of the day was The Universe; I led the kids through some yoga poses (after sun saluation/moon/star, we moved on to animals… hey, animals are IN the Universe) and we showed them a video about our solar system and this AMAZING “Scale of the Universe” interactive game – click click click!!!. I translated everything into Italian and was impressed by my own ability to talk about Nebulae and Quarks in a foreign language. Woo hoo!

Kids Creating the Universe

Kids Creating the Universe

The kids here at Ananda are pretty amazing, much more able to regulate their emotions and focus than most kids I’ve worked with in the outside world.

In the afternoon a friend gave me a ride on his motorino, which ended up dying a few kilometers into the ride (the motorino, not the friend); luckily we were going downhill so we rolled along for a few more kilometers as I laughed my arse off, tried to distinguish sheep from goats, and enjoyed the rolling Umbrian hills and dramatic clouds.

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Eventually the motorino started up again and we got back safely.

Then I took a little nature walk. Spring is coming!!!

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Life is good.

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.

Dreaming You Are Not God

March 10, 2013

Oh, how I love Alan Watts. And oh, how I love beautiful nature scenery, and happy humans running about, and closeups of glittering human eyes.

Can you feel the truth of Alan’s words? All the confusion about this life, all the suffering, all the drama we create; if we could actually KNOW this truth he’s telling us, plain and simple, REALIZE our divinity while in this skin sack rather than waiting until we’ve died…

How much more fun would this life game be??? Games in general are infintely more fun when you don’t have the fear of being killed when you lose. We don’t live in ancient Rome. The lions are not coming for you. You are infinite, you are divine, you are free.

Can you feel it?

Photo by me, Rome, 2012

Photo by me, Rome 2012

It’s True!

March 2, 2013

“Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

– James Allen

Photo by me, Italy 2013

Photo by me, Italy 2013

Setting Inner Greatness Free

February 24, 2013

“The word education derives from the Latin educare, which means “to draw forth from within.” Unfortunately, much of our educational system has fallen into the regime of “pound in from without.” Real education recognizes that each student embodies genius unique to him- or herself, and the goal of learning is to set inner greatness free.”                                                            -Alan Cohen

Every morning I read the day’s entry in ‘A Daily Dose of Sanity’ by Alan Cohen. I started back in 2007 with ‘A Deep Breath of Life,’ also by Alan. He’s one of my favorite spiritual/self development authors for his insight and sense of humor.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m here to do: my purpose / soul’s calling / what I choose to create / how to use my gifts and enthusiasm and energy for the highest good. AND how to ‘survive’ in this material world – how to get paid (and be open to receiving) doing what I love. Getting over the fear blocks of not-good-enough and just GIVING, being of service, creating all the value I can for others.

Synchronistically, I took a break from writing this entry to attend the ‘sermon’ at the Ceremony of Light (like mass, but the Ananda Ashram version), and today’s talk was about education. The guest speaker was a man who’s the head of the Education for Life schooling system, inspired by Paramahansa Yogananda.  He spoke about how education up to this point was focused on suppression rather than encouraging the unique, individual growth and development of children; he spoke of the gifts and examples of love and trust that children have to offer, how children have higher vibrations than most adults, and how they’re naturally closer to God.

As a bright and talkative child, I received years of negative conditioning in school, being frequently punished, isolated, sent outside or to the principal’s office for not sitting down and shutting up. I’ve had to work hard to undo these internalized messages of wrongness, and am still doing the work today. Probably due to my experiences, I’m fascinated by the movement towards child-centered education, unschooling, and child-driven schooling. (check out an amazing TED talk here).

These last few years I’ve been teaching myself to tune out the negative conditioning and follow my bliss, follow what excites me, do what I love, and trust that everything will work out. It’s often uncomfortable, stressful, scary and challenging, but as my life becomes more and more what I want it to be and I feel freer and more fulfilled, the more I feel that I’m on the right path, and the easier it is to trust.

I was not raised and educated in a system that encouraged me to “set my inner greatness free,” but as an adult, this is what I’ve chosen to be my life’s work. And my life’s play. I hope that our children and future generations won’t have to do all of the un-doing that I see myself and many others having to do; the work of un-schooling, de-programming and healing.

Trust is still the biggest challenge at the moment – trusting that I have value to give, that I deserve to receive in return, and that if I continue to follow my bliss/intuitions/dreams, that everything will work out.

I’ve been moving beyond my fearful perfectionist/protectionist/procrastination habits and creating – like the building the temporary website for the Academy www.awakeningartsacademy.com and putting together this video – my first attempts at building websites and editing videos. I’ve also made more necklaces and will be posting them online, available for sale.

Garnet & Onyx Prayer Wheel Necklace on Snowy Buddha

Garnet & Onyx Prayer Wheel Necklace on Snowy Buddha, Feb 2013

And, inspired by my soul-sister and amazing blogger China Brooks, I’ve added a donation button at the bottom of my blog. Over this past year and a half of nomadic traveling and self-discovery, many have told me that I’ve inspired them. I know how good it feels to give, and I’ve been told that if you don’t allow others to give back, in a way you’re stealing from them – stealing the opportunity for them to show their appreciation and support, and to receive the gift of giving.

So, if you ever feel so inspired, I will happily and joyfully accept your donations!

I’m full of gratitude today as I transition into this next phase of my life, setting more and more of my inner greatness free! Thank you for coming along with me on this journey…

“Everyone has a bankable talent. You came to earth for a purpose. On the deepest level you are here for a spiritual purpose, to discover your identity and your value in the cosmic plan. You also have a form of expression in the world, to serve others while fulfilling yourself. Do not stop until you have tapped into your talent and expressed it. It is why you are here.

Talents are valuable only if you use them. If you “hide your light under a basket,” the light doesn’t get to do what it was created to do. If you ignore or deny your talents, the world misses the blessing you were born to bring to it, and you miss the spiritual and material reward you deserve.” – Alan Cohen, ‘Trust Your Talent’

“Never underestimate the power of any act of courage or kindness. When you live in alignment with your true self, you send out ripples that affect the entire universe.” – Alan Cohen, ‘Thank You For Eating The Cake’

Photo by Michelle Perry 2013 Montemezzo, Italy

Photo by Michelle Perry 2013 Montemezzo, Italy

It’s snowing.

You know what I find amazing? That during the darkest months of the year, crystals fall from the sky, turning everything a bright, reflective white, filling the space and sky with refracted and diffused beams from the low sun.

Balance. It’s so perfectly balanced. Summer: direct sunlight, lots of it, hot, dry, colorful life. Winter: indirect sunlight, lots of water in crystalline form, diffracting and magnifying the little light there is WHILE storing water to saturate the earth in preparation for the dry, hot, lively summer.

It’s like a purification, everything frozen and cleansed and simplified, reduced back to its roots, killed even. And then from that cycle of purification and reduction and simplification and death, new life bursts forth in spring, fed by the death of the old.

Fuckin’ incredible.

Totally unrelated – A question came to me this morning:
Why aren’t there different species of humans?
Why is there only one species?

There are different species of everything else. Insects: millions of species. Birds: about 10,000 species. Monkeys: somewhere between 230-270. (More on the lack of exact numbers later).

So why only one type of humanoid living on this planet today?

It seems a little weird.

I believe a lot of weird shit. Spiritual shit, divinity, channeling, the Law of Attraction, the effects of energy and vibration. I’ve been reading more into the fringe lately – ie about the the Pleiadians. I’m not entirely sold on the story that alien/reptilian beings that are messing with the earth, though I suppose I do believe in other dimensions and it’s kind of silly to believe in that and not believe there are other beings that I might not be sensitive enough/capable of seeing mucking around in the affairs of this little, ignorant planet.

BUT, I’m not entirely sold yet. I believe the things that resonate with me as truth, and for now, that stuff doesn’t really resonate with me. That we’re all divine expressions of creative consciousness, yes, that resonates. But aliens and reptilians who have sinister plans… I wonder if that’s just not our fearful ego-based selves projecting and giving form to things our limited minds can’t yet comprehend in a way that makes sense in our mythology.

Anyways, one species of human. I consulted google. Obviously I’m not the first person who’s wondered about this. BBC wrote an article about it, explaining in a rather arrogant fashion that Homo ergaster, Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis all died out between 30,000 to 12,000 years ago.

One thing that gets me riled up is how scientific theory and hypothesis is presented as fact. We don’t actually KNOW. I think that scientific writing should be presented as such: THEORY. We believe, we imagine, we theorize, it seems possible that… statements of possibility and imagination, not fact. We don’t have facts. We have imaginings. We have stories. We have theories. The understandings of science is continually in flux; it is not a stable ground on which to construct our imaginings of reality and of ourselves.

Science is a story we tell ourselves, a way to understand the mystery of reality. Much like religion. It’s a set of beliefs, of assumptions, of theories. I don’t believe it should be treated as something different than religion.

Definition of Religion: an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.

Well, science is also an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the physical world and the Universe; but in an attempt to separate it from spirituality and moral values.

There’s a fascinating course from UCLA called “Science, Magic and Religion,” 21 lectures given over the course of a semester that discuss how and why science, magic and religion were separated in recent history, and the implications. I found it on the on OpenCulture.com (fantastic for curious seeker gluttons like us). You can download the course for free from iTunes.

I won’t even get into the politics and economics of our broken scientific system, and the paradigm-shifting multi-reality particle/wave/observer effect of the quantum path. Let’s ignore the placebo effect, and I’ll just touch briefly on the problem with the scientific method: the decline effect, discussed in this article in the New Yorker, which posits that “many [scientific] results that are rigorously proved and accepted start shrinking in later studies.”

“It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants: Davis has a forthcoming analysis demonstrating that the efficacy of antidepressants has gone down as much as threefold in recent decades.

“For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved? Which results should we believe? Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to “put nature to the question.” But it appears that nature often gives us different answers.”

Let’s go back to species. Seems simple, right? Like something science comprehends, something we understand, something there shouldn’t be any confusion or mystery about. Species.

How many species on the planet? “This number is very difficult to assess, but the discussed range varies from tens of thousands to billions.”

Tens of thousands to BILLIONS!?! That’s a pretty huge fucking gap.
As I touched on before, here are a few numbers of currently identified species (this number is given to change: 9,998 birds, 5,490 mammals, as many as 10–30 million insects.

We can’t even scientifically assess and comprehend the species currently alive, dying, and evolving on our planet, right now; and we think we can understand and explain a few million years of evolution of the modern man?

Or the Universe?

NASA has a daily photo website. Oddly, the image they posted on January 20th 2013 was of an ancient chunk of something man-made, dredged up from a shipwreck in the Mediterranean sea in 1901. It seems to be from the ancient Greeks. And it appears to be some form of an early computer.

Where the hell did this come from?! Thanks for giving me more questions, NASA!

According to our society’s currently commonly accepted scientific “truths” (assumptions) about the linear history and evolution of man, it’s impossible that this technology existed when it did.

From NASA’s site:

“Explanation: What is it? It was found at the bottom of the sea aboard an ancient Greek ship. Its seeming complexity has prompted decades of study, although some of its functions remained unknown. X-ray images of the device have confirmed the nature of the Antikythera mechanism, and discovered several surprising functions. The Antikythera mechanism has been discovered to be a mechanical computer of an accuracy thought impossible in 80 BC, when the ship that carried it sank. Such sophisticated technology was not thought to be developed by humanity for another 1,000 years. Its wheels and gears create a portable orrery of the sky that predicted star and planet locations as well as lunar and solar eclipses. The Antikythera mechanism, shown above, is 33 centimeters high and therefore similar in size to a large book.”

This thrills me, because it brings the mystery of it all into sharp, real, in-your-face focus.

What if everything we think we know is wrong? Everything we assume we know about history; everything we believe about ourselves? All the stories that we’ve been taught are reality… What if they’re wrong? What would it mean for each one of us, individually, in our lives? I love this because it calls in the power of our imaginations. It begins to break through the limitations and boundaries of what’s accepted. Maybe what we all knew to be true as children but were educated out of believing is what’s really real – Maybe magic is real, and science is telling the lies. Titillating.

This kind of blog is what happens when I wake up early and decide to spend the first half of a Sunday doing whatever I feel like doing, which also included: yogaing, meditating, dancing around to the remix of Ascension by Maxwell, making some collages in my Life Vision book using images of Greece, Bora Bora, and pretty paper, drinking some yerba mate, listening to the Life Visioning techniques of Michael Bernard Beckwith, as summarized by Brian Johnson, and periodically stepping outside onto my front porch to be dusted with damp snowflakes and take deep fresh lungfuls of frigid, snowy Italian countryside air.

I’m a Maker, Baby

January 19, 2013

I realized today as I was walking through the snow that I am a content producer. I love to make stuff, and I love to share. When I’m going down the path of fear, I just consume stuff I find online and regurgitate it on Facebook and Twitter; some people say I post too much, some thank me for all the inspiration I fling about. But it’s not fulfilling.

I read so much, I listen to so much music, I take so many many pictures and videos, I have so many ideas to write about, I have so much jewelry crap I’ve been dragging around the world with me and hiding in my suitcase.

When I can shake The Resistance, when I’m allowing myself to be led up the path of my heart, I’m creating.

I’m starting to unblock. These past few weeks I’ve been making videos, making mash-ups, making mixes, making websites, making jewelry. I’ve been singing, playing harmonica, playing guitar, playing my chicken egg shaker. I’ve been creating. I can feel the floodgates opening. It’s about time.

I wonder if the inspiration is coming from the snow. I’ve never lived in snow before, and it’s certainly conducive for keeping one inside… creating.

Today’s Daily Dose of Sanity from the as-named book by Alan Cohen:

“God lives in your heart. If you take your heart to church, there God is. If you take your heart to the woods, there God is. There comes a time in every person’s evolution when he or she must decide the truth for him- or herself. You are the one who has to live with yourself, and the closer you live to what you believe to be true, the happier you will be and the greater the contribution you will make to the world.”

Lone tree near my house, somewhere in the Italian countryside, Italy 2013

Lone tree near my house, somewhere in the Italian countryside, Italy 2013