Saturday, August 31, 2013

help adventure

I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to make a plea for something that, as you know, is so close to my heart. My favorite street newspaper needs our help.

Please consider helping these folks out. They're some really dear friends of mine. Thank you.

[School is going well. I'm still getting my sea legs, but between my Pacifica classes and my kundalini yoga practice, it feels like something new and exciting is around the corner... More next week!]

Saturday, August 24, 2013

underway adventure


So as I was initially exploring Pacifica I would describe my inner state and need for growth as being like a little boat that has gone aground in a lagoon or inlet and now there's algae all around and no fresh water. It is no coincidence that on Thursday, when classes officially started, I felt like I'd boarded a schooner with my satchel of books and fellow passengers and we'd left port and were underway. I could practically feel the sea breeze on my face. Hooray! It does seem like a good sign that my first classes focus on "The Expressive Power of Archetypes" and "C.G. Jung, Individuation, and the Symbolic Life," since I seem full of analogies and images these days.

I've been spending some good time with Jung and here are a couple of favorite quotations so far:

"There is, however, a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in 'a tale told by an idiot.'" (Man and His Symbols, p. 76)

"That gives peace, when people feel that they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya compared with that one thing, that your life is meaningful." ("The Symbolic Life" in Collected Works, Vol. 18, p. 275)

Yep, this is going to be good stuff!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

video adventure

This week I have a few videos for you. The first is a book trailer for an AMAZING book I read for one of my classes that I start this week. Wow! I can't recommend it highly enough. Check out the trailer:

Also, the video of the awesome Anne Lamott/Ann Patchett event from this past spring was posted. Definitely worth watching the whole talk if you have time. If you don't have time for the whole thing, try the first five minutes...

And last, but definitely not least, Rodg has been making incredible Vinyl Community videos! If you thought his writing was fun, you've got to see these:

Stay tuned for a school update next weekend!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

green heart adventure

45 in its natural habitat

45. The Heart Has No Limits


When you are guided to this pathway,
take the opportunity to touch the part of your deepest being that has a
limitless capacity to hold and embrace whatever comes into its orbit.

~from The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish by Neil Douglas-Klotz

A really special part of Joe's Sufi day last weekend was getting to choose a number and hear the corresponding Sufi pathway of the heart. Yum! And I chose the number that I'll turn this year - 45. Isn't it beautiful - "The Heart Has No Limits"! And here are more words of wisdom on this pathway:

"When we consider the idea of simply being, we may have the impression that this means being passive. We don't know how to do without doing, or how to speak without speaking. Most of the Sufi path aims to expand our 'heart-sense,' a capacity that we often use without thinking about it."

"Perhaps life is asking you to stretch to include aspects of inner being that you have not encountered previously - even your own doubts - or to simply hold another being in the light of the One. We do not need to do anything for them, but rather need to be there as a presence, reminding them of the divine embrace."

"With this name, you have the opportunity to cultivate the sort of spacious capacity that can hold all because it knows that ultimately it holds nothing."

Is it a coincidence that I can't stop seeing green, the color of the heart chakra, everywhere I look? Here are a couple of pairings that have delighted me recently. Yes, there is even beauty in the dumpster and the weed. It is everywhere, my friend, especially in your heart.

green friends

more green friends

Sunday, August 4, 2013

torn open adventure

lion rose

You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,
your voice-thunder makes us very happy.
Roar, lion of the heart,
and tear me open.

~Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

I had a great day yesterday, Sitting with the Sufis with dear Joe Z. We listened to a lot of poetry by Rumi and some by Hafiz, but this was the poem that most spoke to me. There are days that I feel like I'm being torn open against my will and days where it feels like the best form of liberation.

Rollo May touches on some of this in his Courage to Create that I quoted from last week. There's a whole section about the anxiety of creating that really rang true for me and interestingly mirrors the theme of tearing open in the reference to Prometheus whose punishment for giving fire to mankind was to have an eagle (the symbol of Zeus) feast upon his liver (considered then to be the seat of emotions rather than the heart) each day only to grow back to be eaten again the next:

"The experience of encounter also brings with it anxiety. I need not remind you, after our discussion of Giacometti's experience, of the 'fear and trembling' of artists and creative people in their moments of creative encounter. The myth of Prometheus is the classical expression of this anxiety. W.H. Auden once remarked that he always experiences anxiety when he writes poetry except when he is 'playing.' Playing may be defined as an encounter in which anxiety is temporarily bracketed. But in mature creativity, anxiety must be confronted if the artist (and the rest of us who benefit from his work later on) is to experience the joy in creative work."

"Creative people, as I see them, are distinguished by the fact that they can live with anxiety, even though a high price may be paid in terms of insecurity, sensitivity, and defenselessness for the gift of the 'divine madness,' to borrow the term used by the classical Greeks. They do not run away from non-being, but by encountering and wrestling with it, force it to produce being. They knock on silence for an answering music; they pursue meaninglessness until they can force it to mean."

I've often pondered the shift from my obsession with Finnegans Wake to Buddhism in 2004. They seem interlinked. I will admit that I'm no stranger to creative anxiety and I wonder if my creative exploration of the Wake has been on pause, because it does feel like a pause to me, albeit a long one, in order for me to learn the tools to help me ride the waves of anxiety so I can better enjoy the whole process. To hear the roar of the lion and feel "very happy." I feel like the meditation practice and its encouragement to stay with whatever is happening is what I've needed.

Before you get your hopes up, dear friends, I don't see the project continuing in pop-up book form. That obsession seems to have run its course, but I do have some other ideas that may also delight you?