Always in the process of becoming,
always in flux,
life is movement, not stagnation…
so why do we yearn for
safety, stability, routine?
Our minds are hardwired
for familiarity, comfort and ease,
but our greatest potential
and truest growth
exist just outside of the comfort bubble.
Transcending the constraints
of the life we knew
will feel, by definition, uncomfortable,
as we leave the safety of our bubble
and venture into possibility.
Ask yourself who you’d rather be
as you lie on your deathbed about to take your last breath:
A person who took the familiar path
A person who lived an extraordinary life.
The choice, dear one, is yours.
I breathed in your fragrance and I didn’t stop breathing.
Now I am in a different dimension, constantly coupled with you.
I care nothing of the world I left behind.
This new world with you is all I’ve ever wanted.
It lies beneath the thoughts
of right and wrong
and good and bad…
it is the only true thought we can have:
Don’t try putting words or labels
on that which is unexplainable.
Don’t try to get everyone
to conform to your vision.
Everyone has their thoughts
of right and wrong
and good and bad…
everyone has their own
This world is a whole lot more expansive
that our thoughts can grasp.
Dive beneath the labels
and remember something greater:
We learn that we are not
so different from one another.
We lose some of the clouds
in our mind
and the sun shines a bit brighter.
In this light of this awakened mind
we reach out and experience
with all beings.
From this recognition flow the gifts
of compassion, kindness, generosity.
We realize that what we do to another
we do to ourselves
and we walk the earth
in the spirit of non-violence.
We learn how not to sabotage ourselves
with our self-absorption.
We awaken for the benefit of all beings.
Life expands beyond imagination.
Friends, turn off the TV and gather round.
Put down your laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
I have something to say about the deep core of existence.
Ah, but what I want to say really cannot be said.
I cannot sell it to you with words,
vagaries that only serve to further cloud
the intellect’s hazy understanding
of that which is incomprehensible…
And I see you are reaching for your device again.
Your fingers are itching to post a picture on Instagram,
type a response to a comment,
answer a text message.
Your eyes are wanting to read a remote friend’s status update,
or the five emails that just arrived in your inbox
or to count the number of likes on the picture you just posted.
Can you even feel your body anymore?
Just when did it come to this?
No, but wait!!!
Are you still there?
Okay, let’s try this then.
Let’s go into the woods
on a full moon night,
light a fire in a circle of stones.
Let someone take out an instrument,
play a beautiful song.
Let another dance without thinking,
just allowing the body to move the way it wants.
Let another sit with cupped hands,
gathering the moonlight to share with the fire.
And then in stillness,
let us watch the fire’s light
playing upon the faces of our companions
wordlessly soaking in this now moment.
Let the fire’s dying embers
remind us of this achingly real
where tomorrow is never promised to us.
It is here in this place of simple being
that the deep core of existence
opens itself, gives itself completely to you.
When being comes to you in this way,
you have no choice but to surrender.
There is a voice of fear that speaks loudly.
It says, “What? No TV? No laptops, tablets, or cellphones?”
It panics, asking just how you will spend your time
without the modern luxuries
to which you’ve become accustomed.
If you look up at the stars shining
beyond the silhouettes of the wise old trees,
they will give you courage.
They ask nothing of you,
as they silently shine their light
from billions of miles away
just to delight your eyes for this split second.
They will remind you of your purpose,
and it has nothing to do with social media,
or tweeting, or hashtags,
the number of views,
or how much one can make on paid ads.
Are you courageous enough to live for a moment
Say yes, friend.
Put it all down and walk away.
Look into your own eyes
and see the ancient stars shining in their depths,
clouds of cosmic dust circling a spiral dance
into which the old ones die and
the new are reborn.
Walk to the moon with empty hands
Wearing the silver cloak of nothingness
Let the gates of your heart swing open
and diving into that vast space,
know the meaning of true connection.
Close your eyes and be,
for just one moment,
I bought a sewing machine for myself one year ago this month. I was intimidated by it at first; it took me some time to take the thing out of the box and start playing around with it. The perfectionist in me is always really afraid I’ll make some kind of horrendous, irreparable mistake, and then the whole world will fall apart. It speaks to me with this whining voice of fear and says, “You better not, you might mess up!” But I was determined to learn how to sew, intrigued by all the beautiful crafts I’ve seen people make with their machines, so I ignored the perfectionist’s fearful admonishments, opened the user manual, and got down to teaching myself the basics.
Little by little, I managed to get the machine to wind some bobbin thread. I learned how to thread the machine, change stitches according to different needs, replace the needle, how to backstitch, turn corners, change the presser foot, troubleshoot, and many more little techniques I never knew went into sewing. One year later, I’ve made a couple of quilts, 3 fleece blankets, 70 flaxseed and lavender eye pillows (many of them with names embroidered on them), and three pairs of pajama pants. I even put pockets in the pair of pants I made for my husband, after he tried them on and told me he needed a pocket for his chapstick…
The perfectionist dovetails nicely with the inner critic, whom I discuss in this post, and who as you know likes to tell me repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms, “Don’t even bother.” If I listened to those two, I would never attempt anything creative. Luckily, sometimes I manage to listen to the kid in me who wants to play again, who wants to dabble in this or that, to spend time doing things with my hands, making things. I’m so glad I listen to the voice that wants to make things, because making things is fun.
These days I’m working on tote bags. The picture above shows the third one, and it’s about halfway done. This one is for my daughter. She saw the rainbow fabric at the store sometime last summer, and I couldn’t resist getting her some, because rainbows. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but you don’t need to have an idea of what you’re going to make in order to get pretty fabric, you just need to be able to appreciate the beauty of it, its colors, the texture, that’s enough.
I’ve really been enjoying making these reversible totes, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. The first tote I’ve nicknamed my “measure twice, cut once” tote, because I screwed up on my measurements and had to dig out additional fabric to make the thing work. The second tote should be called my “patience is a virtue” tote, because dang did I ever have to get out the seam ripper multiple times because I hurried through the pocket stage and sewed them in wrong. I just wanted to get the thing done, got distracted, and paid for it by having to backtrack.
Wouldn’t you know every time I make a mistake–even a teeny tiny, little, itty bitty mistake–the perfectionist whines, and the critic lets loose with a cry of victory. This noise can be really distracting when I’m trying to get beyond the frustration I’m feeling and just fix the freakin’ mistake already. I honestly think one of the reasons I began sewing in the first place is so that I could see how making mistakes is not such a big deal after all. Somewhere deep down, I’m terribly afraid that the world will realize that I’m not perfect. It took me a while to get to that point, and it might take a while to train myself to be comfortable with the inevitable imperfection. It might be quite a long journey before I can embrace the humanness in me–the messy, up and down, success and failure, fun and not fun humanness in me. But I know there’s hope. Even in the face of my worst mistakes, when it looks like the perfectionist and critic might win and send me back into a black hole of no creativity, all out shut-down, giving up, hopeless, lonely place, something inevitably calls me back and whispers, “You can try again.”
I’m so glad I have yoga. So glad I’ve been exploring the idea of transcending duality. It sheds some light on this process of reclaiming my creative self. I get to observe my thoughts jumping all over the place, and remember that the witness self within is unchanging in the midst of this infinitely changing universe. I can feel the anger and irritation arising, and realize that I have a choice, that I don’t have to be the victim of my own reactivity. I don’t have to remain in the prison of my conditioned thinking. I can create something different, now, today. I can witness the sunset, and appreciate it, knowing that its beauty is temporary, but the self who knows how to appreciate is limitless.
So maybe I’ll call this third tote my “self-realization” tote.