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If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unxpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor; then everything will beome easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost sonciousness, waking and cognizance.

...(B)e patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves.

There is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.

Think of the world you carry within you (...) What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love.

And to speak of solitude again, it becomes always clearer that this is at bottom not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary.

When we hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us.

So you must not be frightened, if a sadness rises up before you larger than any oyou have ever seen; if a resitveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must htink that something is happening with oyu, that likfe has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it wil not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any agitation, any pain, any melancholy, since you really do not know what these states are working upon you? Why do you want to persecut eyourself with the question whence all this may be coming and whither it is bound? Since you know that you are in the midst of transitions and wished for nothign so much as to change. (...) Do not observe yourself too much. Do not draw too hasty conclusions from what happens to you; let it simply happen to you. Otherwise you will too easily look with reproach (that is, morally) upon your past, which naturally has its share in all that you are now meeting. (...) And the expenditture of energy seems to you so great only because you overvalue victory; it is not the victory that is the "great thing" you think to have done, although you are right in your feeling; the great thing is that there was already something there which you could put in the place of that delustion, something true and real.

And if there is one thing more that I must say to you, it is this: Do not belive that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among teh simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find these words.

===

What I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring outer and inner life into unison, or about all the other things that worry you--: it is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe, that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, adn in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.
     And about emotions: all emotions are pure whcich gather you you and lift you up. (...) Everything that makes more of you than you have heretofore been in your best hours, is right. Every heightening is good if it is in your whole blood, if it is not intoxication, not turbidity, but joy which one can see clear to the bottom. (...)
     And your doubt may become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become critical. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perplexed and embarrassed perhaps, or perhaps rebellious. But don't give in, insist on arguments and act this way, watchful and consistent, every time, and the day will arrive when from a destroyer it will become one of your best workers-- perhaps the cleverest of all that are building your life.

===

Plans bear no fruit.

(From a letter to Clara-  )
Life has unending possibliities of renewal. (And) teh using of strength in a certain sense is always incresae of strength, also; for fundamentally we have to do only with a wide cycle: all strength taht we give away comes over us again, experienced and altered. Thus it is in prayer. And what is there, truly done, that is not prayer? 
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The openness and warmth of bodhichitta (awakened mind) is in fact our true nature and condition. Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we’re feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta—like the open sky—is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.

We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid.

We can practice for years without its penetrating our hearts and minds. We can use meditation to reinforce our false beliefs: it will protect us from discomfort; it will fix us; it will fulfill our hopes and remove our fears. … Trying to fix ourselves is not helpful. It implies struggle and self-denigration. Denigrating ourselves is probably the major way that we cover over bodhichitta. … (L)asting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion.

The three difficulties are (1) acknowledging our neurosis as neurosis, (2) doing something different, and (3) aspiring to continue practicing this way.
Acknowledging that we are all churned up is the first and most difficult step in any practice. Without compassionate recognition that we’re stuck, it’s impossible to liberate ourselves from confusion. “Doing something different” is anything that interrupts our ancient habit of tenaciously indulging in our emotions. We do anything to cut the strong tendency to spin out. We can let the story line go and connect with the underlying energy or do any of the bodhichitta practices introduced in this book. Anything that’s nonhabitual will do—even sing and dance or run around the block. We do anything that doesn’t reinforce our crippling habits. The third difficult practice is to then remember that this is not something we do just once or twice. Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.

This is the time to ask, “Why am I doing this to myself again?” Contemplating the causes of suffering right on the spot empowers us. We begin to recognize that we have what it takes to cut through our habit of eating poison. Even if it takes the rest of our lives, nevertheless, we can do it.

When people ask me how long this will take, I say, “At least until you die.”

We might assume that as we train in bodhichitta, our habitual patterns will start to unwind—that day by day, month by month, we’ll be more open-minded, more flexible, more of a warrior. But what actually happens with ongoing practice is that our patterns intensify. … It’s not something we do on purpose. It just happens. We catch the scent of groundlessness, and despite our wishes to remain steady, open, and flexible, we hold on tight in very habitual ways.

If we train to become a “good” warrior or to escape from being a “bad” person, then our thinking will remain just as polarized, just as stuck in right and wrong, as before. We will use the training against ourselves, trying to jump over issues that we’re avoiding so as to attain some idealized notion of all-rightness. I’m not meaning to imply that this is unusual. Welcome to the human race. 
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Aggressive annihilation of the self is still the ego.
It’s not just letting everything in, in, in. It is also putting yourself out into the universe. Not because you are perfect, or what you do is perfect, or any expectation of any result at all. Not doing so is also a form of withholding.
You have broken down the barriers for the universe to come in. Now let your self come out into the universe. Because of joy. And life.
The light is within. Now allow it to shine.
Interconnection. Universe *and* self.
====
And what am I?
City mystic
Artist
Designer
Business owner
Woman
Naturalist
Person

I am the one who walks through the forest
I am the one who directs my energy
I am the one who flies effotlessly
I am the one who stands on the mountain
I am the one who creates by the river
I am the one who finds amazing seedpods, stones, flowers, plants
I am the one who feels loved
I am the one who __________________________________

====

The realm of the nature goddess:
breath, life, death, day, night, moon phases, seasons, the circle of the year

====

the golden field;
the star filled sky;
the baby turtle in the ocean;
the golden bird flying free like the phoenix;
the scales of past and future ... and the sun-bright shining now
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"God sleeps in minerals, awakens in plants, walks in animals, and thinks in man." - Sanskrit apothegm

Then, across the blackness, a slash of keen-edged light, and it's as if I've been lying inside a great gourd deftly sliced open by a long and gleaming blade that quickly withdraws. Then there is another meteor, its track shorter and less bright, and, over the next minutes, more star-chips glancing off the black dome, hail off a tin roof, but all this falling in universal silence. From the west an owl call, then a high and wavering warble of a coyote, a yipping answer, then the owl again, and it seems the white intrusions have stirred things into turmoil, the silent dark abruptly strung with light and voice; then it's all finished, and it's one more moment you could doubt you actually encountered, an occurrence of not more substance than a dream remembered. 
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(A)s I try and understand how life works -- and why some people cope better than others with adversity -- I come back to something to do with saying yes to life, which is love of life, however inadequate, and love for the self, however found.

There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.

I have noticed that doing the sensible thing is only a good idea when the decision is quite small. For the life-changing things, you must risk it.

I know now that we heal up through being loved, and through loving others.

But what is really your own never does leave you. (...) I could be my own flare to see by. Then the light went out again.

I love the natural world and I never ceased to see it.

Later that night, lying on the gravel and looking up at teh stars -- the miraculous stars adn the wood that deepens teh dark -- I could hear a voice.
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"To go out not quite knowing why is the very reason for going out at all, and to discover the why is the most promising and potentially fulfilling of outcomes."

His restatement of an ancient notion: "Wandering can help restore one's humanity and reestablish the harmony once existing between us and the cosmos."

American earthworks: Cahokia, Poverty Point, Etowah, Spiro, Serpent Mound, Newark Octagon (Ohio)

“It is good to collect things, it is better to take walks.” ― Anatole France

"...That wisdom of long-lasting prosperity for the many over short-term profit for the few..."
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"No, I won't!" cried the Fillyjonk and rose on cramped legs. "If I try to make everything the same as before, then I'll be the same as before myself. I'll be afraid once more...I can feel that. And the tornadoes will come back to lurk around me, and the typhoons, too..."
 -from The Fillyjonk Who Believed in Disasters, in Tales from Moominvalley, by Tove Jansson
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Some things that are not okay will never be okay. Maybe there will always be the things that you will always feel sad about. Maybe there will always be the things that frustrate you about yourself, that cannot be cleared away, that must be borne, that must be dealt with, because they are part of you, for some inexplicable reason you don't even maybe have to understand. And it can just come around again, like springtime, like a cycle of the earth, it's okay, and you can get through it, and you can yell or you can roll your eyes or you can swear and say i can't believe it's this, again, again... you can react how you want, but rage and self-hatred, it's like raging at snow in wintertime. Your inner spirit wants you to put on a fuzzy hat and scarf, when you are crumpled in the snow, cold and sobbing. I want you to know that you are beautiful, and that I love you. You, as you are. All that you are. It is enough.
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Bob likes reading the kind of self-help books that are, in some ways, about motivating yourself to get out of your own way. I like to read them after he has, because then, when he references them all the time, I know what the heck he's talking about. The latest is "Choose Yourself" by James Altucher. Much like other books in this genre, the book definitely isn't for everyone; as the author himself points out, plenty of people will just say he's a douchebag. As (almost) always, though, there are some really interesting and thought-provoking things that can help show your life patterns in a different light. Anyway, I could probably find a passage I liked out of a book I absolutely hated (I've done it before!), so, that said, here are key concepts and quotes from this book:

"You can't hate the people who reject you. You can't let them get the best of you. Nor can you bless the people who love you."

How do you become free?
1. Only do things you enjoy. (This can sound impossible, but, if you reflect, only certain things are impossible, some are just difficult, and some may be easy.)
2. The Daily Practice:
 A. Your physical body (eat, sleep, activity)
 B. Your emotional body (add energy, and surround yourself with others who also add energy)
 C. Your mental body (occupy the mind by creativity, as opposed to worry/anxiety/fear)
 D. Your spiritual body (what is happening right now, mindfulness.)

"Try any one of these things each day:
A) Sleep eight hours.
B) Eat two meals instead of three.
C) No TV.
D) No junk food.
E) No complaining for one whole day.
F) No gossip.
G) Return an e-mail from five years ago.
H)Express thanks to a friend.
I) Watch a funny movie or a stan-up comic.
J) Write down a list of ideas. The ideas can be about anything.
K) Read a spiritual text. Any one that is inspirational to you. ...
L) Say to yourself when you wake up, "I'm going to save a life today." Keep an eye out fo rthat life you can save.
M) Take up a hobby. ...
N) Write down your entire schedul. The eschedul you do every day. Cros out one item and don't do that anymore.
O) Surprise someone.
P) Think of ten people you are grateful for.
Q Forgive someone. ...
R) Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
S) ... (when you think of something causing you grief), think very quietly, "No." ..."
etc etc etc, including deep breathing.

"(B)y saying "I love myself" over and over, Kamal was protecting the thought, nourishing it, and the love was nourishing the rest of his body, his emotions, his mind, and his spirit."

"I like to:"
Make my own hours.
Help people.
Deal with clients I like.
Be artistic.
Make a lot of money. (*as an aside: striving for success has a taboo, which I feel, so I feel it even by just writing down someone else's words on the topic!)
Deal only with colleagues I like.
Come up with ideas.
Not be at the whim of one decision maker.
Be around like-minded people.
Be an expert.

Have themes, not goals. "Every day, what do I need to do to practice those themes?"

Sell, don't negotiate.

"So many things have put useless, wasteful, thoughts in my head. If you think back to all of your best moments in life, were they moments when there were tons of thoughts happening in your head? Or moments when there were fewer thoughts, i.e., when you were calm and contemplative?" and then work to subtract those things (paranoia, fear, resentment etc) from your life.

"(P)eople sense and appreciate honesty, and honesty about imperfections, believe it or not, creates enormous opportunities."

"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse to avoid trouble." -Gandhi

No matter what you do, something like 30% of people will love you, 30% will hate you, and 30% couldn't care less. Don't spend time on people who hate you or couldn't care less.

Use your strengths to bring balance to the world, in some way that you can.

tl;dr: If I were to remember only one thing from this book, it would be: The idea of the daily practice of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, and using that base to help people. Generating dozens of ideas every day - bad ones, good ones, great ones - to become accustomed to coming up with ideas, until it is second nature. 
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From 'Moral Ground', ed. Kathleen Dean Moore & Michael P Nelson

Quote:

1. Live with the seasons. There is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time for strawberries and melons, a time for acorn squash. A time for basking in the sun, a time for playing in the snow. A time for rain, a time for drought. The seasons bring their ripeness and their joy. Live with them, plant for them, celebrate them, anticipate what each will bring.
2. Stay close to the ground. Walk where you are going; go where you can walk. Refuse to fly. Move close to your family. Sit on the steps or the curb or the fallen log. Dig potatoes. Pick up wind-thrown apples. Gather your neighbors and plant food in the vacant lots. Sled. Lie on your back and watch the stars or the reflection of the city on the clouds. It's connection with the Earth that gives us life and grounds our joys.
3. Honor the Earth. Have you forgotten how? Then think of how you honor your grandmother, the wizened woman in the nursing home-- by visiting her, spending time holding her hand, singing her songs of the season, telling her stories of how she cared for you, asking her to remember how you were, bringing her small gifts, stroking her arm, listening to her, making sure her hair is clean and people are kind to her. The Earth is equally beloved and holy: honor it the same way.
###

How can we express gratitude to the Earth for all its gifts?
Write a song of praise and sing it in the street.
   Say thank you before morning coffee, which is a gift of grace from the water and the soil, which owe you nothing.
  Celebrate the season of harvest with feasting, the season of scarcity with fasting, the season of new life with dancing, and the season of ripeness with listening.
  For every gift you are given, give something in return: a planted seed, a suet scrap, a moment to notice the moon.
  Be glad for ponds.
  Take nothing without noticing. A deep breath, a carrot salad, a drink of water or wine.
  Write thank-you notes, which is what your mother taught you. Write to the soil, “This is a great gift and your are kind to give it and I hope you are well in the new year.” Bury the note in the garden.
  Hold each gift in your hands—fresh snow, a tomato, a child’s crayon drawing; examine it closely to understand how beautiful it is, and astounding. This is how a gift becomes sacred.
  Make something of every gift you are given.
  Use it, but use it wisely and well.
  Imagine, when you awake each morning, what you will make of the new day, that greatest of all astonishing gifts.
  Listen closely when the gift is music. Return it abundantly when the gift is love. Touch it gently when the gift is fragile. Protect it fiercely when the gift is vulnerable. Laugh aloud when the gift is joyous. Share it when the gift is truth. Use it bravely when the gift is freedom. When the gift is money, give it away.
  Above all, do not pretend to understand why you have been chosen to receive these gifts. This is the mystery of life.
###

"Your calling," philosopher Frederick Buechner said, "is at the intersection of your great joy adn the world's great need." Go to that place. Do that work.

###

It's not just the sun in winter, the salmon sky that lights the snow, or blue rivers through glacial ice. It's the small things, too-- the kinglet's golden crown, the lacy skeletons of decaying leaves, and the way all these relate to one another in patterns that are beautiful and wondrous. The timeless unfurling of the universe, or the glory of God, or an unknown mystery, or all of these together have brought the Earth to a glorious richness that awakens in the human heart a sense of joy and wonder.

###

Let the reliable rhythms of the moon and the tides reassure you. Let the smells return memories of other seas and times. Let the reflecting light magnify your perception. Let the rhythm of the rushing water flood your spirit. Walk and walk until your heart is full.
###


The following quotes are from Robin W. Kimmerer, in an essay entitled The Giveaway that is every line a revelation on multiple levels:

"In a culture of gratitude, everyone knows that gifts will follow the circle of reciprocity and flow back to you again. This time you give and then you receive. Both the honor of giving and the humility of receiving are necessary halves of the equation. The grass in the ring is trodden down in a path from gratitude to reciprocity. We dance in a circle, not in a line."

"I don't know the origin of the giveaway, but I think that we learned it from watching the plants, especially the berries, who offer up their gifts all wrapped in red and blue."

"Something beyond gratitude is asked of us. ... They remind us that all flourishing is mutual."

"And then, as the drum begins, we will dance, wearing regalia in celebration of the living Earth: a waving fringe of tallgrass prairie, a whirl of butterfly shawls, with nodding plumes of egrets, jeweled with the glitter of a phosphorescent wave. When the song pauses for the honor beats, we'll hold high our gifts and ululate their praises: a shining fish, a branch of blossoms, and a starlit night."

###

From Sulak Sivaraksa:

"Politics without spirituality or ethic is cold and blind. Spirituality wtihout politics is simply inconsequential--it regresses into a form of New Age self-help and escapism."

###

From Hank Lentfer:

"The notion of prevention, I realized, leaves me paralyzed and numb. The notion of preparation, on the other hand, fills me with purpose and meaning."

###
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"Everything is going to be all right, no matter the outcome. It is then our duty to carry that optimism out into the world, to be a beacon of light for others to see and from which find inspiration." -- Christopher Penczak, re: St. John's Wort
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 I am really, super terrified to die. I have no idea what the heck I am supposed to be doing on this green earth, and I'm pretty sure I am not doing it most of the time. Most days I can manage to not worry about this all. But some days circumstances remind one of mortality. Also there's possible tornadoes today, which doesn't help my nerves. 
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"So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness."

"Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. ... That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed, there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhappiness. They *bring out* the pain and unhappiness that is already in you."

"Focus not on the 100 things that you will do or may have to do at some future tim but on the one thing that you can do now."

--Ekhart Tolle
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Via Anne Lamott.

"Of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor."

"There is an ecstasy in paying attention."

"So why, if someone says something (awful or aggressively unkind) like this to you, would you want anything further to do with him?"

"...how I automatically think that closing down is safe, but that really staying open and loving is safer, because then we're connected to all that life and love."
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Quotes, again. This time, from 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience' by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Some things in this book strike me as way off base and just plain wrong. But other parts I found interesting, or at least thought-provoking, and these are those parts.

Where things are not in quotes, they are paraphrased. It is obvious that in several areas, his hypotheses are overly simplified and could be used for victim-blaming; he does not address that weakness of the theory in this book, his focus is more on his theories of how one can improve the experience (not the content) of one's own life.
==============================================

The primacy of attention, immersion, absorption

"Attention determines what will and will not appear in consciousness."
"The shape and content of life depend on how attention has been used."
"Attention can be invested in innumerable ways, ways that can make life either rich or miserable."
"Attention shapes the self, and is in turn shaped by it."

The meaning of one's life will feel most full if it is: authentic, discovered, and from the self (as opposed to from outside the self). Consider what is holding one back, and consider what is the altruistic generalized solution for that. Then, action & building skills, in iterations, with realistic expectations that are in balance.

The phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components:
1. When you confront a task you have a chance of completing
2. When you are able to concentrate on what you are doing.
3. When the task has clear goals
4. When it provides immediate feedback
5. When one is involved deeply yet effortlessly, absorbed in the activity and removed from awareness of the worries and frustrations of everyday life
6. When you have sense of control over your actions
7. When self-consciousness fades away and when the sense of self emerges stronger after the experience is over.
8. When the sense of duration of time is altered

The family context that seems to lead to someone becoming happier, more satisfied, and stronger in life:
1. Clarity - unambiguous expectations, goals, and feedback
2. Centering - concern for them in the present, as they are now, rather than preoccupation with future possibilities or "potential"
3. Choice - a variety of possibilities are available, as long as they face the consequences
4. Commitment - an atmosphere of sufficient trust and comfort that allows unselfconscious involvement in interests
5. Challenge - expanding opportunities

To transform a task to produce flow:
1. Set an overall goal, and as many subgoals as are realistically feasible
2. Find ways of measuring progress in terms of the goals chosen
3. Keep concentrating on it, and keep making finer & finer distinctions in the challenges
4. Continue expanding skills whenever it's too challenging
5. Keep raising the stakes whenever it becomes boring

Challenge| Anxiety
                |             ////
                |        ////
                |   ////          Boredom
                --------------------
                              Skill
     where the diagonal line is flow, above the line is challenge, below the line is boredom.

"When we fell that we are investing attention in a task against our will, it is as if our psychic energy is being wasted. Instead of helping us to reach our own goals, it is called upon to make someone else's come true."

"These ways that people find to hurt or frighten themselves do not require a great deal of skill, but they do help one to achieve the sensation of direct experience. Even pain is better than the chaos that seeps into an unfocused mind. Hurting oneself, whether physically or emotionally, ensures that attention can be focused on something that, although painful, is at least controllable -- since we are the ones causing it." (he relates this to numbing activities like tv, too.)

"In each person's life, the chances of only good things happening are extremely slim. The likelihood that our desires will be always fulfilled is so minute as to be negligible. Sooner or later everyone will have to confront events that contradict his goals: disappointments, sever illness, financial reversal, and eventually the inevitability of one's death. Each even of this kind is negative feedback that produces disorder in the mind. Each threatens the self and impairs its functioning...  (in some cases, the self) retreats behind massive defenses and vegetates in a state of continuous suspicion...." "It is for this reason that courage, resilience, perseverance, mature defense, or transformational coping, are so essential."  "Partly this ability to control consciousness) is a product of the mere passage of time: having been disappointed before, and having survived the disappointment (...)" "Why are some people weakened by stress, while others gain strength from it? ... Those who know how to transform a hopeless situation into a new flow activity that can be controlled will be able to enjoy themselves, and emerge stronger from the ordeal. There are three main steps that seem to be involved in such transformations:
1. Unselfconscious self-assurance
2. Focusing attention in the world
3. The discovery of new solutions

===
Same author, different book, which really reads like a re-write of the previous book. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. This author has some good points and, again, it's totally overshadowed by some ugly and false gender essentialism & rigid gender role expectations. Not to mention the most dismal view of introversion I've ever seen. It's amusing, actually; in the previous book, he exhorts others not to pathologize things that bring joy, but then he tends to describe introversion as a an abnormality, or, certainly nothing anyone could desire, lol. But, as before, gleaning the bits of good from the rest.

"(Study sample subgroup) might have lower self-esteem not because they are accomplishing less, but because they expect more from themselves than they possibly deliver."

"When idleness is forced on someone without a handsome income, it just produces a severe drop in self-esteem, and general listlessness."

"Without goals and without others to ineract with, most people begin to lose motivation and concentration. The mind begins to wander, and more often than not it will focus on unresolvable problems that cause anxiety."
"But when they are alone with nothing to do, their minds begin to be occupied by depressing thoughts, and their consciousness becomes entropic." ... "(W)hen we are alone with nothing to do there is no reason to concentrate,and what happens then is that the mind begins to unravel,and soon finds something to worry about."

Actual flow activities, that you will enjoy, often require an upfront activation energy, before getting to the flow, and they also have a chance of creating anxiety than purely passive leisure, but the level of anxiety invested ultimately ends up worth it, if you can get past the activation energy requirement.

"How to avoid the danger of polarizing life into work that is meaningless because it us unfree, and leisure that is meaningless because it has no purpose?" To use leisure creatively, to find flow, to explore beauty and knowledge. And if you have too much psychic entropy (delusions, irrational fears, etc.), then add more structure. Try to find joie de vivre, and do what you like to do. Pay genuine attention, devote attention to it. At each moment. Seek actions where 'there is no room in your awareness for conflicts or contradictions; you know that a distracting thought or emotion might get you buried facedown in the snow. And who wants to get distracted? The run is so perfect that all you want is for it to last forever, to immerseyourself completely in the experience." ... when "what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony."

Take ownership of your actions. Act deliberately, and have it be reaching a goal you have chosen. (Hey, that's very Tiffany Aching!)

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 Ralph Waldo Emerson -  Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.

“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. ”
― Lewis Thomas

Rilke - I would like to step out of my heart / and go walking beneath the enormous sky


Asters - look up Astraea. (Though aren't they really named after stars?)
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Eight breaths for the difficult of the last couple weeks:
(Format is borrowed from www.fluentself.com. Wanted to try releasing the worries from last week, to start a new week anew.)

1. Fire burning my favorite place. Not knowing how bad it would be. Not knowing when it would be over. A breath for peace wtihin all that is unknown, for trusting that the firefighters are safe, for trusting that they are doing all they can, for knowing that nature recovers, knowing that it was not as bad as I feared.
2. Because of the fire, very unhealthy & hazardous air quality, which combined with almost zero% humidity, seems to be making me feel really really tired. A breath of actual clean air, and being able to rest, and health.
3. Giant design project. All good stuff, and still, lots of work. Good work. But, you know. Big. Difficult. A breath for feeling the completeness of a finished project.
4. Confronted with a higher level of widespread misogyny and racism and violence than I had realized existed, in response to the shooting in California. A breath for breathing love and peacefulness into the world.
5. Feeling fearful to speak (write) out loud. Feeling fearful of being judged and lashed out at. A breath for knowing that everyone has a right to be.
6. Restlessness while resting. A breath for allowing rest.
7. Finding 8 things isn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be, because the things are always the same things, and one, of course, is feeling like a failure because it’s always the same things. A breath for releasing self-criticism.
8. Inhale, exhale. Goodbye, mysteries and hard moments of this week.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled:
1. Inhale, exhale. Yoga was wonderful, and I hadn’t been in a while. It’s because I grant myself that time. And during that time, I can see patterns and relationships. A breath for both halves of all circles.
2. I did a kind thing without over-worrying, about how it would be received &etc. A breath for kind things without expectation.
3. Someone said something we did a year ago filled her day with joy, and she remembered it and loved it. A breath for generosity, silly mysteries and surprises, sharing, and playfulness.
4. Pomegranate blossoms. I showed up, and so I got to see the pomegranate blossoms still blooming, which is probably my favorite color. A breath for seeing that the other half of sharing beauty and wonder is allowing myself to see beauty and wonder.
5. Visiting the canyon, and seeing how much of the ecosystem is still there and will definitely recover. A breath for letting go of worry.
6. Pancakes. With whipped cream. And syrup, and berries. A breath for ease, and doing things that are fun.
7. My work is work that I really feel good about creating in the world. A breath for gratitude.
8. Appreciation and thankfulness. For so much. B is the best. My sister is great and she’s moving to relatively near to me. My mom & dad are great and I will see the fam next week post-sister-moving. Inlaws are great, including lots of laughs over the first summertime kickoff of tostadas & margaritas. My friends are great (thank you thank you thank you). Puck & Fiona our cats are great. (side-note: Fiona snuggled! On my lap! last night. She is not a snuggler, so this is Breaking Cat News.) A breath for appreciation and thankfulness.

And, now, a seed for this week: Well, the seed for this week can be circles, both halves of circles. Photo, Source
sqwook: (poppy)
(ok since i let my lj lapse, i guess I lost userpics including the one that had become my default, so eventually I'll fix that.)

When I get looped on the cycle of ruminating thoughts, I can feel myself turn inward & become consumed by fear. But. The ruminating thoughts may not be true. If true, they are not helpful to me. And they are not kind to me. They do not need to be "worked out" or resolved, there is no working them out, that's why they're ruminating thoughts.

I can let them go. Deep breaths, and actions, and remembering that I am a person, as much as any other person.

Distorted thoughts:
It helps to write these down, because the distortions are more clear when I can look at them plainly.
* when I feel anxiety, I don't deserve to interact with others
* when I feel anxiety, interacting with others will go really badly
* I have certain interactions I need to prompt, and if I don't prompt them then I'm a bad person


When I write it down, I can see that anxiety creates a lose-lose, self-fulfilling cycle. So, that was yesterday. For today:
* It's ok for me to interact with people even if I'm feeling anxious
* Interacting with people when I'm anxious won't mean the end of the world.
* Anxiety is going to happen. It doesn't make me a bad person.
* Anyone can contact anyone.
* Maybe other people feel anxious too.
* People who like me, it's ok if I'm not super-bubbly or something at a given moment, they don't expect me to always be only one certain way.
* My heart is open.

It's so weird untangling these thoughts. They are really looped up in the tangle of my mind, and seeing them written down in the light of day, well, haha, I am well aware it's the type of thing that most people do not write down. But I think there can be value in openness. I'm leaving it here in the open in case it's interesting to others.

Edited to add: Okay, I just realized that initial /cause/ of the anxiety is, in fact, none of the things listed above, it's the $workissue. So it will help me to not let the feeling of anxiety bleed over into a bunch of other stuff, and also I really need to make progress on $workissue.
sqwook: (flame)
Per Naomi Wolf (x), the feeling of being unsafe has physical impacts in the body that also lead to actual psychological & emotional effects of feeling unsafe, impacting "the overall capacity for joy, hopefulness, and creativity."
" If (women) are stressed regularly in this way, they will indeed depress the whole subtle and delicate network of neurobiological triggers and reactions that make them feel good, happy, competent, and as if they know themselves."
sqwook: (flame)
Yoga (the word, I mean) = union, says my yoga instructor. If you let go, you will fall into grace. And grace is all that is. (let go of the past & memory, the future & worry, and judgment & comparison).

Via http://labelleizzy.livejournal.com about massage but pertinent to my yoga & life, & important to remember:

"working with Danniel feels like Safe Space. He has proved i can trust him.  But it is WORK, sometimes more than others... to trust, to consciously relax and let someone cause me PAIN because I know if I can relax, and let him do what he's proved he's excellent at, I will make further physical progress in my struggle to gain full body Strength and Flexibility. (your mileage may vary, of course)

(...)
and he does deep painful work, and uses my sounds as guides, digging in or holding steady as is needed.

Today there were a few moments where I was hyperventilating because the pain was pretty intense, but I could feel the muscle fibers lengthening and the moment where I conquered the pain by enduring it was the moment that the muscle relaxed and gave in, and then the pain got less. (story of my life in a nutshell, right here.)"

keep breathing & enduring & breathe into it. Can you remember to go in to the pain, go totally there, do not shy away, go straight there, unflinching, and will yourself to be there, and let go of control, and breathe, relax the muscle, breathe.

And, in other topics. The anxiety & panic & feelings of overwhelmedness (& correlated "relief" or "coping" activities that are actually self harming) are energy, it is all energy. Redirect, redirect, redirect. There are other much better ways to cope with intense emotions. It is actual physical energy in your actual physical body, it is not just inventions or emotions in the mind, and reason may not be able to reason past the distress, which is okay - do something physical. Stand up. Actual deep breath, in & out. Then, think: what else could you do that would help your highest self?  What is one small thing you could do, right now? Okay, then do that, right now. 
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