Sunday, March 01, 2015

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Here is a little more to add to my Right Association post from the other day.

Removing toxic people from your life is one of the most empowering and healthy things we can do. But that doesn't mean we should project negativity towards them forever.  Of course we have to go through our healing process.

There needs to be space and time for anger, resentment, bitterness, all those things.  It is normal and natural.  But those feelings aren't meant to be permanent, in the same way that pus must be drained out of a wound.  They have to move through so they can be released.

In his book A Path with Heart (which is excellent),  Jack Cornfield talks about loving-kindness meditation.

This is a wonderful and simple meditation which is extremely powerful.

First you practice doing it only for yourself for a while (could even be months).
Then you do it for someone you love for a while.

As you progress, start doing it for people you feel neutral towards and, finally, do it for people you absolutely cannot stand.  Or the people who have caused you the most pain.

This is the meditation:

May ___ be filled with loving-kindness
May ___ be well
May ___ be peaceful and at ease
May ___ be happy

Just fill in the blank with "I" or a person's name.  This is good for situations, too.
Sit quietly and repeat it, either aloud or in your mind like a mantra.  It transmutes negativity and will raise your frequency, especially if done over time.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Move!

Why.  Why do people stop and stand HERE.  ALL THE TIME. Every station.


When you come down the stairs, do not stand right in front of the pole next to the stairs- it is very difficult and ANNOYING for people to walk past you in that 6 inch space behind you.  

There is a whole entire large platform to stand on USE IT!!!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Right Association


Truth from my amazing friend and Angel, Mary

In Buddhism, there is something called 'Right Association'.

Basically, what this means be careful and conscious about the people with whom you closely engage with- relationships, friends, etc.

I read somewhere recently that our main influence comes from the top 5 (or was it three?) people we are in closest association with.  Notice I say "closest association"- this can be either positive or negative depending on the person.  It doesn't necessarily mean a positive relationship.  Often it is a very toxic relationship.

  • Are the people you are most closely associated with the kind of person you admire?  
  • Do they treat you well or is everything on their terms and they just feed off your energy?  
  • Do you feel weak or strong around them? 
  • Does their presence enrich your life and make you a better person?  
  • Do they genuinely care about you as a person and support you in your life, or do they just expect you to bend over and accommodate them all the time, with no regard for your needs and desires?  
  • Do they speak to you kindly or are their words unkind?  
  • Do they build your spirit or break it?  
  • Are they invested in you as a person, sharing joy in your success and supporting you in failure? 
  • Do they take responsibility for themselves or blame you for everything? 
  • Are they nice to you only because they want something? 
  • Do they feel entitled or do they share generously?  
  • Are they manipulative or genuine?  
  • Do they encourage you to develop your own inner strength and power, or do they just want to have power over you?

It is pretty much impossible to heal and be strong when you are closely associated with toxic people.  The people we are closely associated with can make or break us.

If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone.
If you see a wise person who steers you away from the wrong path, follow him.
The company of the wise is joyful, like reunion with one’s family.
Therefore, live among the wise,who are understanding, patient, responsible and noble.
Keep their company like the moon moving among the stars.”

— Dhammapada (Words Of The Buddha)



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Please?

I just cannot seem to get a break when it comes to people.  It's one thing after another.  And when I thought there was no one left and I was all done, finally, I was proven wrong.  It comes out of somehere AND out of nowhere.  I just cannot get a break.  Ever.

I'm just so tired of it.

All I want is for a positive experience.  Is that wanting too much?  Too much hope?  Too much expectation? At this point the why of it all doesn't even matter.  What is more important is the present and going forward.

Can't life cut me a break for once when it comes to people? Just once?  Please?


How apt that this article found me:

It's so good I'm re-posting the entire thing.

******
Never Settle For Someone Who Wants You Over Someone Who Would Do Anything To Keep You

Human beings are almost entirely governed by two instincts: desire and the need to avoid loss. We are loss-adverse animals who constantly want something.

The instinct to want and to avoid loss are so strong and so deeply ingrained in our psyches that we see little purpose to life outside of them.

Wanting to own and to hold on to things is the reason we believe life has value to us as individuals; if we were unable to keep things for ourselves, then we would find little reason to participate whatsoever.

The problem arises when people are more worried about satisfying their wants than they are of satisfying their instinct to avoid loss — when the scale tips in this direction, you have people who attain things they don’t need and then find it difficult to appreciate any of the things they already have.

Not being capable of appreciating the things in your life is one thing — a bad thing — but not being capable of appreciating the people in your life is another.

As a rule of thumb, if you are in a relationship and do not fear the thought of losing the person you are with — if you wouldn’t do just about anything to keep them in your life, if you don’t feel that you need them — then either you don’t have your priorities straight or they simply aren’t worth keeping.

If you find yourself with someone whom you feel only wants you but wouldn’t move heaven and earth to keep you, then move on. You’re not a thing and you deserve better.

But how can you tell the difference?
A person who wants you…

Only gives you attention when it’s convenient. If this person is in the mood to see and to interact with you, if this person wants or needs that interaction, then this person will give you attention.

Otherwise, if this person isn’t in the mood to talk to you, to help you, to spend time with you, to be there for you, he or she will simply be unavailable – until, of course, it’s convenient to be there.
A person who needs you…

Is there for you because being there for you is something this person needs to do. This person needs to keep you safe and happy. This person needs you to enjoy life so that he or she, in turn, can enjoy life.

Regardless of whether it’s convenient or not, this person will be there for you. This person will do anything to avoid losing you, even if it means sucking it up from time to time and doing the little things he or she isn’t especially excited to do.
A person who wants you…

Will keep the conversations to a minimum. This person puts up with you because you serve a purpose.

This person understands that this means he or she will have to talk to you in order for you to feel comfortable enough to allow him or her to use you, but if this person could have it his or her way, conversations would be avoided altogether. This person doesn’t care what you have to say because this person doesn’t really care about you.
A person who needs you…

Will do anything to keep you. This is the type of person who is always interested to hear what you have to say. This person wants to know about your day, to know what you did, what you ate, whom you interacted with.

This person wants to know every little bit about you because he or she is still trying to figure out why it is that he or she needs you so much.

This person knows he or she couldn’t bear living without you, but this person can’t exactly pinpoint the reason why.

This person is in love with you because this person is in love with you, and although that’s enough of an explanation, this person still wants to figure you out.
A person who wants you…

Never makes long-term plans with you and avoids talking about your future. This person doesn’t want to plan any trips for next month — hell, he or she may not even want to plan dinner for next week.

This person doesn’t want to promise that he or she will see you again because it may never happen.

Every time this person leaves you, there’s a good chance it will be for the last time. You never know… maybe this person will find something better, or simply newer, later this week.
A person who needs you…

Has no problems planning trips or discussing your relationship. This person may not be able to promise you forever, but at the moment, he or she sees no reason not to.

During conversation, this person will mention things that you need to do together, that you need to see and experience together.

This person will talk as if the two of you were the same person, living life side by side. When a person needs you — really needs you — that person sees his or her entire future with you in it.
A person who wants you…

Will never love you. If you pay close attention and remain as objective as possible, you can tell how much a person cares about you.

It can be difficult to distance ourselves in such a way when we believe ourselves to be falling in love, but it must be done if you wish to avoid wasting your time and getting your heart broken.

If this person looks at you and smiles and you can tell he or she isn’t just looking at you, but looking into you, then you may have a keeper on your hands.
A person who needs you…

Either loves you or will soon accept that he or she loves you. A person who only wants you will never love you. It can be difficult for people to admit to themselves that they love other people — forget about admitting it to them. It takes some people significantly more time than others.

However, just because people can’t admit it — to you or themselves — that they love you doesn’t mean they will never admit that they love you. You have to be patient with people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Need to Paint

Last week Carey and I started a sketchbook project.  Carey is my Great Motivator.  I need to feel accountable. I do better with deadlines.  Often, we are both in the same slump.  Except she is better at getting out of it than I am.  Anyhow, we are supposed to do three sketchbook things a week.  She did hers, these incredible collage things.

I did half a page (sky) and the background of a double page spread.  Not so great.

Despite having a lovely pile of new acrylics to play with, I can't seem to muster up the focus to finish anything.  Now I feel guilty, so I have to do better this week.  And I have to make up for last week.

What blocks me:
  • Laziness (I have so much to do, it is overwhelming so I shut down and do nothing)
  • New sketchbook (I really, really DO NOT LIKE starting new sketchbooks)
  • I'm upset (still furious. and sad.)
  • General disheartened feeling (people, disappointment)
  • Cats in the way (yes I know that is lame)
I need to kickstart myself somehow.  Usually showing up at the easel does it, but even that hasn't been working lately. Where my motivation went....I just have no clue but I sure wish it would come back.

While I always will be a die-hard Oily Girl, I am going over to the Quick-Dry Side and doing acrylic work in my sketchbook.  I have a bunch of Golden Opens, and I like them a lot but I prefer superfast drying for my sketchbook.  So I have acquired some more Golden regulars.

Here is something very annoying I have learned:

The cats like to drink my dirty paint water.  While I don't have any toxic acrylic pigments--Nevermind I have cadmium and cobalt!-- Well, it's probably not the best thing for them to be drinking.  Of course they have fresh water out at all times but they want acrylic paint water.  Stupid cats.  This is definitely not something I ever have to deal with in oils.


Isis goes up there, drinks the water, 
settles down and will not move.
Pebbles and Furball saw her and now they do it too.
Copycats.

Jerry's started carrying the non-Jerry's brands!
I had a 20% off ALL paint coupon!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Love Sucks

One of the worst things about life is when you really love someone and they don't love you back.  It's one of those things I'm sure everyone has gone through at least once on some level.  Unfortunately I have a lot of experience with this- from family, friends, men.

Sometimes people pretend for a while, sometimes they don't. In any case, the only way to tell what is real and genuine is by actions, never words.  It is so hard to really love and care for someone who, for whatever reason, does not reciprocate.  It makes me wonder sometimes what the point of it all even is.

I'm too much of an emotional realist to play any pretend games. Besides, I like knowing where I stand, no matter what. I don't do pretend-love.  If I care about someone I will give them every chance- and then some- I'm no perfectionist by any means. I don't believe in perfectionism.  Not in myself and not in others. But I have my limits. And if there is no reciprocation, there is nothing worth giving my energy to. IMHO, it is definitely a loss for the other person. (Well, it's true.)

But that doesn't mean feelings go away, which can be really maddening.

I don't like going through it, and I don't like seeing people I care about go through it.  The other day my friend was hurting pretty badly and she asked me for love advice and perspective.  I told her what I really believe is the truth, and I think she knows it but needed someone to tell her point blank: "He doesn't love you."

I have become good at recognizing it.  Sometimes I have to help other people recognize it, and it is very sad.  It is not possible to love someone enough to make them love you back.  It has to be a dual effort. And those that would be loved, they miss out on something special.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Commute

Just another day in the life...even Storm Troopers have to go to work.

Happy Monday, world!

Walking West on 42nd street near 5th ave

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Catechism

When I was around 7, we went to a Lutheran church and we had to memorize the Catechism.  There were a lot of things that began with "We are to fear and love God.....".

My 7 year-old mind tried to puzzle this one out.  Fear and love God.  It really put my mind in a quandary.  I didn't understand it.  I wondered about it.  Finally I came to the conclusion it meant I love God but I should be really afraid of him at the same time.

As I got older I still thought about it.  I'm writing about it now, so I guess I'm still thinking about it!

Neale Donald Walsh talks about love and fear being polar opposites in Conversations with God, which I read in college.

I do not fear God.  There is just no reason to.  Besides, when your motivations, intentions, and actions stem from fear that is not good.  Not good at all. You cannot increase your frequency if you are acting from fear.

Take this quote:

This is awful. 

Motivation, intention, and action should stem from Love- never fear.  Love is connection with God- fear is separation.  You cannot truly know God through a fear-based connection.  Acting out of love, because you love God, is what drives integrity.  It is strength.

Fear is an ill-chosen word.  Perhaps the correct one is reverence.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wrong Number Texts

Now and then, I get texts from wrong numbers.  I have gotten wrong number texts with pictures of people, people saying I love you, some guy texting his "bae"....

I usually mess with them and text back.  Have a little fun.  Except the lady who sent her nice selfie because she looked good. I told her so.

It really baffles me how people can text to people who (I assume) are significant, and they get the number wrong.  This is why we save numbers and contacts.

Here is a wrong number text I got- it is the BEST EVER, even though it was not supposed to get to me, it did.  Since I don't believe in random, it was uplifting.  Like God saying hi.  :)

Although I hope the person it was meant for gets it- I replied letting the person know and didn't hear back.

Such a nice message, thank you stranger!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blue Chips


Daya: What are blue chips?
Me:  What? Blue chips?
Daya: What are they made of?
Me: Do you mean stocks?
Daya: Yes.
Me: Blue chip stocks are shares in companies that have been around for a long time and are generally thought to be very stable.
Daya: But what do they taste like?
Me:  Huh?  Ohhhhhhhh! Blue corn chips!
Daya:  Yeah!


 
Blue Chip



Also Blue Chips

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Furiouser and Furiouser

I don't get Really Angry often at all.  It takes a lot.  Sure, I get annoyed, irritated- but it passes quickly.  But Really Angry...smoldering simmering Real Deal Angry- that takes a lot.

And I am smoldering simmering angry.  It is a slow anger. It is moving slowly.  I am processing all of this very slowly. I will let this move through me and then I will release it and Move On.

I want to keep loving people- to stay soft- not have a hard heart.  That is a huge challenge when people repeatedly- intentionally- lie, betray, and take advantage.

Mistakes happen, we all have our issues, shortcomings, challenges, etc.  That is all fine. I will forgive or overlook a LOT.  But deliberate shadiness, broken promises, complete disregard and dishonesty- that is a whole different matter altogether.  I desperately want to have a different experience with someone, because I believe it must be possible even though life proves me wrong again and again.

I have to keep believing it is possible.

Because I don't want to lose my capacity to love and trust- which is never something I do lightly to begin with- so the only option is to keep trying and remember my Lessons Learned.

Actions say everything.  Words without corresponding actions are useless.  I know when someone doesn't really care, isn't interested, doesn't  value our relationship.  And yet I still keep trying, because I want it to work, because I care very deeply. And because I still keep hope, until I just cannot anymore. If people care they will act like it.  And if they don't, they won't.  And I don't need any more people that don't care.

I'm just trying so hard right now to not be downhearted, dispirited, and negative.  I'm trying so hard not to see people as one disappointment after another. Because it is true that I have some amazing friends, and I will focus on them.

And hope I meet someone else, some day, who is really capable of true integrity. Who truly values me as much as I would truly value them.  Someone who values loyalty.  It is a rare thing. I have to believe it exists.

I am so, so deeply tired.

*****
One of the Reiki principles states:

"Just for today I will not anger."

In general, that is good and solid.  It applies to a lot- minor life irritations, stupid people, your kids, work, situations out of your control, the state of the world in general, not taking things personally...however- sometimes Anger just needs to happen. It needs its space.  Repressing things is no good.  It will make you sick.  Sometimes you just have to let Anger flow through you.  Don't let it drive for you and take over, but let it be a passenger and honor it, allow it, if that is what it needs.  And it will run its course.

Sekhmet
Image by sanjayaisland

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sviata

Daya went to the dentist last night.  (Perfect checkup, grape fluoride)

We took the bus back and got off a few blocks from home. We were walking through the neighborhood, quiet residential streets- no one else out.

Then, out of nowhere an Asian lady of unknown origin called to me from across the street.

Her: "Do you want some sviata?"
Me: "What?"

She crossed the street and came over to us.

Her: "You want sviata?  You buy sviata?  I have sviata."
Me: "What?  No.  I don't know what that is."

But I sure was curious.

Her: "Sviata."
Me: "I don't know what that is."

She opens her bag.  I'm thinking... Oh, great she's selling weed. In front of my kid.

Her: "Sviata.  For you, five dollars."  She pointed to Daya.  "Sviata for her." 

She pulled out what might have been a hat, a scarf, or a sweater. We couldn't tell.

Now, I'm really, really good with foreign accents, and figuring out what people are saying.  I can usually even figure out what they are saying over the subway loudspeaker on the old trains.  For real.

But "sviata"- nope.  No clue.

I said no thanks and walked away.

Daya and I just could not get over how incredibly weird that was.  And then I had to explain to her why I was surprised the woman wanted to sell what we think meant "sweater", but I would not have been surprised if she was trying to sell weed.

Daya LOVES her dentist.  For real.
She wears my sunglasses because she is "allergic to light".

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Small Comforts

Small comforts are everywhere, and that is what I am focusing on.
  • Kind words from friends. (thanks Dru, you have been a really truly incredible friend)
  • Fluffy purring cats
  • Daya being happy
  • A whole lot of paint
  • Wise words and prayers
  • A clean drawing table
  • A hot scrubby lavender bath that lasted for three Walking Dead episodes, leaving me with a nice clean feeling all over
  • Candle and incense
  • This video of pretty fish
  • A hot cup of green tea
I want this bath!
Purple Water!

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Downfall


I am not the lonely type
I like my own company
It's not that I always like myself
But I know what I can expect from me
-Breck Alan

I have really learned my lesson.  My downfall is that when I love someone I really will give too much and it always bites me in the end.  Hard.  It is my fault for over-giving.  Over and over.  And I have really learned now, I can say that for certain.

I guess I keep doing it because I want it to turn out differently for once.  And because if I can help someone I trust and care about I want to.  But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I'm not insane anymore.

Sometimes I am too naive, or I have blinders on, or things that I would never do just never occur to me - that someone else would do it- it just doesn't even occur to me.

One thing I just cannot stomach is dishonesty. I am nuts about lying when it comes to Daya. I always tell her- tell the truth, even if it isn't what someone wants to hear- that is better than lying.  Lies always come back.  It might take a while but they come back.

I really wanted things to be different this time. And truly, I thought they were.

Now I know better for real.  Never again.  Never.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kid Perspective

Daya is so cute, I love the way she looks at the world.  :)


When I got off the train I went to the store.  She called to see where I was.  When I told her "at the store", she informed me that "It is ok if bring her a surprise."  So of course I did.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine

Daya woke up to a box of chocolates that is also a chalkboard.  It is one of those hazards of having a painter mom. She drew a cute picture.

Pebbles, of course, had to insert herself into the photo.
Daya says all cats are Cat of the Day for Valentine's.

Valentine :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love


Listen children to my simple song
The human life is not so very long
Taking heed, as you grasp for goals
For destiny is full of holes
Back on earth I pray you won't go wrong



Here is an excerpt from Out of Mo's Mind.  I like Mo. He has good things to say.  And his latest article was about love- apt, for Valentine's Day, which is tomorrow.  But this really applies to every day, every moment.

This is not the full article- I pulled some bits out, bits I like.

*********
What would the world be without romantic love?

Love is a constant, a thread that connects the human experience throughout the ages, like beads on a Mala. It weaves its way through every aspect of our existence and links us to our ancestors and to those who will follow.
~~~
Throughout history, love has been objectified, moralized, petrified, monetized, confused, burdened with lead ingots of guilt, denied, vilified and turned into a device to sell products. Yet, love itself hasn't changed.
~~~
Love is a constant. Love is a baseline of the human experience and without it, we lose our humanity.

Love is not a weakness. Love is strength. Love is the ability to share emotional honesty and be fully confident in the security of spiritual intimacy. True love does not cause misery in our lives, but brings us joy and fulfills us. True love is always a risk, one worth a leap into the abyss of vulnerability.
~~~
Each one of us has to believe in love in order for it to be in our lives. Often, it sneaks up and suddenly pounces onto our path, but If we don't believe in it, we'll shove it out of our way and push on. If we are to recognize love, we have to hold the truth that it's real and that we're entitled to have it.
~~~
Yes, we've all been disappointed and many of us have been fooled by what we thought was love. Many of us have been betrayed or have talked ourselves into something that turned out to be more nightmare than dream. There's no question that love isn't easy.

There's also not a single atom in me that doesn't fully believe that the search for love must go on and is more important than almost anything else we do. This doesn't necessarily mean seeking other partners or being dissatisfied in what you have, but it means always looking for the happiness that you deserve and the love that you are capable of as a human being on this planet.

You know this is true. Your own heart whispers these hopes to you in your daydreams and in your most secret of moments. Never deny the utterings of your heart.
~~~
Until next week I wish you peace, love and certainty.

*********
In life we are constantly choosing between fear and love.  These forces are interwoven in every detail of our lives.  Fear may seem stronger, but love is always more powerful.  It is always ours to consciously choose.

I read a blog post recently; this paragraph is quite powerful.

All of this–my experiences in Guatemala each time I went there, my experiences in other countries where we’ve traveled, our time in Honduras, our lives as nomads, it all got me thinking about fear and how, so often, we allow fear to be the deciding factor in our lives. It comes in many forms; fear of the unknown, fear based on one-dimensional pictures of a place or a person, fear of failure, fear of taking that first leap, fear of being vulnerable, but it all ends the same way, in deprivation.

If you want your dreams here and now
Pull- don't push- the sacred cow
-Stuart Wilde

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ELECTRIC

Denise Linn mentioned once- maybe on her radio show? Maybe in a recorded lecture? I can't remember, it was a while ago- anyhow, she mentioned a study done in Sweden with elderly patients and the way they dressed.

Basically, they stopped "dressing like old people" and started wearing clothing that was more fashionable and "younger". The result was that it changed how they felt about themselves- in a very positive way.  They felt younger, more alive.  Their moods improved. Their health improved.  I wish I had a link to the study but I don't.

This whole idea is one of the reasons I started going ELECTRIC.  What the heck does that mean, you ask?
In my case, mostly makeup. And clothing too, but primarily my eye makeup. I have gone through periods of wearing it or not wearing it, but I always kept it pretty basic and simple.  Taupe, silver, or copper eyeshadow, mascara.  Maybe lipstick.  The end.

And then a few years ago I got really into Urban Decay. I started wearing colors.  Learned how to do it properly. I felt really weird and uncomfortable at first, and then I settled into it and started having a ton of fun.  It only takes a few minutes.  And people were saying how much they like it.  They still do.

ELECTRIC

So these days I will wear any color.  Even to work.  It is fun to do different looks and coordinate.  I like my brushes and my pigments. Four years ago, I wouldn't have ever considered it.  It is a small thing but it was a successful lesson in stepping out of my comfort zone and opening my mind.  I feel more dynamic, daring, and adventurous. And for the record I have no problem going out with no makeup- I do it often.

Doing stuff like this- or makeovers- will change the energy currents that are spinning in your energy field.

This same principle applies to your body posture and your mood.  If you carry yourself in a slumped position, it reflects your mood.  There are postures you can take, putting your body language in a posture of confidence and power that will change your mood.  So if you are feeling glum and need a simple way to elevate your mood, check out your posture.  Straighten up.  (Purple eye shadow might help too.)

It's all about comfort zones and getting out of them- expanding as a person.  It doesn't have to be big and dramatic.  The small silent things are most often the most powerful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tooth Faerie Failures

Jenn texted me at 7:30am on Saturday morning.

She needed advice on what to do if the Tooth Faerie fell asleep before switching out a tooth for a reward.

As it turns out, the very same thing has happened here.  In fact, I have a whole list of Tooth Faerie Failures, including:

1. Falling asleep, tooth still under pillow in the morning
2. Unexpected tooth loss resulting in no cash, so the Tooth Faerie left a note redeemable for cash. (I thought that was pretty clever.  Daya did not.)
3. Having to surrender my leopard nail stickers in place of cash.
4. Less-than-expected amounts of cash.

The Tooth Faerie has been inconsistent, to say the least. Daya knows it is me.  I had to tell her last year and she was really mad at me for spoiling it. Usually I'm pretty good at my role of Mythical Being- but even I had to fire myself from being the Tooth Faerie.

Jenn's kids still believe in the Tooth Faerie.  So I told her to tell them not to talk to Daya about it.  She might still be bitter.

The Tooth Faerie bubble burst for me when I was in first grade...so I am shocked Jenn has been able to keep it going for so long.

Back when Daya got her first wigglers (she calls the teeth coming in "growers"), I asked around for the going Tooth Faerie rate. The answer was almost unanimous.

$5 a tooth!  The kid gets $120 just for all their teeth to fall out of their head!  Talk about inflation.  I got a quarter, maybe a dollar when I was older.

I am a really bad Tooth Faerie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Am Batshit Crazy.

There is something that makes me batshit crazy in about 1/11th of a second.

It is nothing new, but as I get older it gets worse.

I cannot stand, tolerate, or even be around..... whistling.

I can't.

I will ask people to stop.  I will leave subway cars.  I will leave stores.  I will walk down different streets.  I will remove myself almost immediately from any vicinity of whistling.

Whistling has the effect on me like a razor blade slicing right through my brain.  Like little sharp shards of glass embedding themselves into my head.

It is absolutely intolerable.  It is actually physically painful.

Please Stop Whistling!


Monday, February 09, 2015

Snow Leopard


Deep inside the Tracker's rib
I saw the leopard as eternal,
As immortal spirit breathing
Fur so white and teeth so gleaming
Resolving all through heaven's love

Back in 2008 there was a super fantastic snowstorm. So I went to the Bronx Zoo.  There were maybe five people in the whole place.  It was so magical and spectacular. A crystalline world.

When we approached the Snow Leopard, it came running over to us, like it was so happy to have someone to talk to.  It stayed, too. It was such a deeply magical experience.







Holy light in living temple
Timeless soul you are beloved
Heart enshrined in snowcaps dreaming
Noble is the leopard sleeping
Now sleeping close to heaven's gate

The snow leopard's soul from nature sings
Man, take care of the little things
The snow leopard's heart from heaven calls
Man, take care lest nature spoils
Rest inside the ancient Law
Respect for all is at the fore
At one with all the living things
In love and peace with all living things
-Stuart Wilde

Sunday, February 08, 2015

I Don't Know


God has spoken promises over you; He’s put dreams in your heart. It may seem too big, and you don’t think you have the talent. You may not, but God does. He’s already put your name on that dream. - Joel Osteen

There is something I just don't know about.
I have asked my Angels for clarity but I do not find it. Either they are just being quiet or I am not receiving my guidance properly. Or I have already received it but I keep asking anyhow.  But I really just don't know.

It is a really difficult thing to know, sometimes, when to have faith and hold on or let go.

*****
To quote Carolyn Myss...

What is the difference between perseverance, endurance, and knowing it is time to move on?

When you are manufacturing excuses as to why you cant try something  you are sabotaging, vs trying and accepting the outcome that says "I don't see any movement here. I'm being asked to wait."

*****
The right answer is to always have faith and give it to God.  Wait for instruction and guidance. And that can be so, so hard.  Keeping faith is not an easy thing.  I have to consciously invoke it, many times every day. It is my lifeline, and I do hold onto it for dear life.


God knows how to get people to change. Your job is to love them, pray for them, and help them when you can. - Joel Osteen

I like the sentiment of that quote, except that we do have the choice over our change.

Holy Mother God,
Please keep my emotions steady and 
my heart open so that I can learn what I need to learn today. 
And please keep me cool.
Amen
                                                                 -Sonia Choquette

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Important Secrets

Here is some very essential parenting advice:

Have a secret chocolate stash.
Under no circumstances should your child/ren discover your stash. 
It is yours and yours alone.

I had to replenish mine, and I also had to get Daya, which presented the challenge of having Bags With Stuff that she can see.  When Daya sees I have a shopping bag she usually needs to know immediately what is in it, and she has to paw through it just to make sure.  In case there is something for her, which often there is.

Triumph was mine, however, and she did not ask about my two shopping bags (tho I had an answer ready) and she did not go through them.

The challenge now is ongoing secrecy, which gets harder and harder the older she gets.

Secret Chocolate is Essential

IMPORTANT NOTE: Art supplies may also fall under this category.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Contrast

Sometimes I can be very sensitive and sometimes things have no impact whatsoever on me.  Perhaps it depends on the people involved- that must be it because I can't think of any other reason.

Last weekend brought some drama.  Someone did not like a minor action I took as a moderator on the oils forum and they went off the deep end.  Like, really off the deep end.  Including a few youtube videos with virulently hateful comments directed at me.  It went on for a couple of days.

And it didn't bother me at all.  Truly.  It took up a lot of time, but it did not bother me at all on an emotional level.  I was more concerned for the person than anything else because I think they need some medical help, and I don't want them to hurt them self or someone else.  But as far as the hate they were throwing at me- I couldn't care less.

Something else happened last weekend too, which was a very small thing that upset me greatly. Recently, I had a conversation with my friends at a time when we were being silly and having fun. It reminded me of an old picture from 2009- which I couldn't find at the time but then I found it and posted it on Facebook.

Here is the picture.

We really are Close Personal Friends

Now, I have shown this picture to many people through the years.  I even won a blog contest with it.  Everyone- including religious people- has thought it is cute and funny, without exception.  And I was told by two people very close to my heart last weekend that they think it is offensive.  I asked why....and they said religious people think that is offensive.  To which I replied that I have shown it to many religious people who all think it is cute and funny.

The really puzzling thing is that these are the same people who think I am "in a box" because I don't want to go to a strip club. (It is offensive for me to be photo pals with JC but something is wrong with me if I don't want to go to a strip club?)

Why can we sing "What a friend we have in Jesus", and we are encouraged to be close with JC, but we can't be photo friends?

Also, I know for a fact that God has a fantastic (and seriously annoying sometimes :/ ) sense of humor.  We have to laugh to get through this life.  There is already way too much Serious Stuff to deal with.  Being human is really hard.  We have to have a good sense of humor.  And isn't laughing, and making other people smile and laugh a God-sent way of bringing joy and healing?

So anyhow, their reaction upset me quite a lot.  Not because I feel badly about the picture- I don't- but because I really can't handle it when people I love and am close to feel negatively towards me. (Except Daya- I don't care when she gets mad at me)  I get so upset if one of my friends is mad at me.  I'm not seeking their approval- but it upsets me and takes a few days to work out of my system.  I even called Sid to talk to him about it, as he is a Christian religious church-going guy- and he didn't understand their reaction either. He thought the picture was cute and funny.

I also asked Carey, who is a very devout Christian, and also deeply spiritual.  I asked her if she found it offensive- her response: "Oh my gosh that makes me laugh so hard.  So I guess not."

I don't think my friends are even mad at me.  It is their right not to like the picture.  It isn't even a big deal- but I was upset.  Yet some stranger slings very directed hate at me and I couldn't care less.  Emotions and reactions are so strange sometimes.  I also feel a bit misunderstood- because anyone who is really close to me should know that the two most important things about me as a person are my spirituality and my art.  I don't talk about my spiritual stuff much at all unless someone brings it up or asks me something- I like being quiet and invisible about it- but it is still something my closest friends should know by now- they should know how seriously I take that spiritual connection, so I could not act from an offensive mindset.  And there is a lot more to deep spirituality than solemn seriousness.

That's probably why Laughing Meditation exists.

Also, if you meet the Buddha 
on the road, kill him!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

A Prayer

This is a prayer by Rev. Jim Cotter.  I found it in Caroline Myss's Anatomy of the Spirit.

It is so beautiful I had to turn it into a picture with the Reiki symbols.



Rev. Jim Cotter


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Personal Power

Reflections FEBRUARY 4 - Your Spirit and Power

Power is the fundamental ingredient of the human experience. Everything we believe in and every choice we make and every action we initiate is a negotiation of power.

The experience of life is, in fact, a theater of creation in which we set energy into countless acts of creation through how we interpret the world around us.

When we feel powerless, we make powerless choices. When we feel empowered, we are in a position to make empowered choices.

Every choice we make begins with us first referring to our inner sense of power and whether we perceive ourselves as safe, as victimized, as victorious, as respected, as loved, as alone, as abused, as entitled....as something.

True power lies in taking control of your perceptions and your capacity to control the illusions commanding your spirit.

-Caroline Myss

Be Your Own Hero!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

For Julie

My awesome friend Julie asked me some questions in her comments.

Are you Wiccan, or have you studied the Wiccan ideas? My Mom and I went into a store one time and were truely intrigued by this. They told my mom she was a Crone (a wise, older woman), but my mom was familiar with the earths seasons, tides, moons. She was in a natural way, a Wiccan woman. It was an eye opening experience for her, and me too.
I am not Wiccan or any specific religion.  I love them all.  Yes I have been immersed in a few pagan religions, I know a lot about them.  I am nothing and everything, but at my core I'm a nice pagan girl.  :)  I also LOVE the Tao and Buddhism, Gnostic Christianity, the Talmud, the Koran, Sufism,  Rumi...all of it.  When you get to the center of the sphere, everything is one and it is bliss.

From Little Green Book
I like this very much. I want to start a notebook too. Is there any specific way to set one up?

Well, as far as Reiki goes, you use the Reiki symbols and send Reiki into it.  But you could have a prayer book or box where you write down people, things, etc that you want prayers/loving energy for. There isn't any right or wrong.

Lol! The time just keeps flying by, sadly. I have tried to write in a journal, and I just can't think of anything to write. Its weird. I need to read someone else's to see how its done...no lie!!!!
Silly Julie, you have been reading my journal for the past seven years!  And you have a rather nice one of your own!  Automatic writing is just stream of consciousness writing where you just write down your thoughts as you are having them.  It's generally pretty boring and incoherent but it is still a great thing to do if your mind is very noisy.

My Mom always said "You have 20 mins to cry, then get up and get busy"
Your mom was nicer than me.  I give Daya 2 minutes...and you know what?  It totally works.  There are, of course, hurts that need more time but I very firmly believe in expiration dates.  After a while you just have to move on and live life...call your spirit back....otherwise you just become a walking ghost which is very sad.

Do you have a Universal Unitarian Church near you? Have you ever been to one?
Yes and yes... I don't feel the need for community in my spiritual practice. I don't isolate it to certain times, or places- rather it is a constant thing.

I never saw you with red before, but can we call you Ariel anyway???? ;)
lol I have been called worse...I guess so!

Rumi

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Math Bee

Daya has been working very hard to prepare for the Math Bee.  It is something she has been very excited about.  She made it to the final round this year, but she lost.  I love how she handled it, it makes me so happy.


Daya is so cool

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Cat of the Day

Every day, Daya chooses who will be Cat of the Day.
While I am not exactly sure how she determines it, she has mentioned things about cats gaining and losing points.  Only she knows her system.  I will not even try to figure it out.

Here is a picture of Isis as Cat of the Day.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Little Green Book

Sometimes people make something called a Reiki Box, which is a box containing the reiki symbols and whatever prayers/intentions etc, all charged with reiki.

A modified version is a reiki notebook, which suits me much better.  My notebook is a little green Moleskine, not too much bigger than my phone.  I chose green because it is the color of the heart chakra, a good healing color.

In my little reiki notebook, there is lots of space for me to write whatever and whoever needs some energy.
It's like making hundreds of prayers all at once.  I send prayers and reiki to everything in my book every day.

There are people in my book I don't like, or have had difficulty with, etc.  It's good to send them good energy too, but they have their own Energetic Quarantine section.  Thankfully, it is a short list.

Little Green Book


Friday, January 30, 2015

Nice Neat Healing Packages

Sonia Choquette wrote another book.

I haven't read it yet but since I'm writing about it, I should.  I got a copy for Kindle because it was only $1.99.  The book has a lot of very positive reviews.

Here's the jist: Sonia Choquette is a well-known New Age-type of author.  She experienced a bunch of Life Crap including some deaths and the end of her marriage.  So, she took a pilgrimage through Camino de Santiago, an 820-kilometer trek over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain.  There, apparently she found healing and renewal.  The book is her story of that.

Camino de Santiago

That's all well and good HOWEVER:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the average person, when faced with Life Crap such as a divorce (yes let's use that as an example)- cannot just leave their life to go on a trip like that to "heal".  It's presented as such a nice neat healing package- life implodes, chaos reigns, long expensive trip is taken, resolution and healing is found at the end of it.  So nice and tidy.

I am not at all knocking Ms. Choquette's book or her experience, what I am saying is that most of us have to go through our healing process while still living everyday life--being functional at work, taking care of kids, hopefully taking care of ourselves, trying to pick up our pieces. Those of us who don't have a lot of money (or any money), or time, or that kind of opportunity to have such a nice neat healing package with results delivered at the end along with a book deal- that anonymous everyday journey, while less dramatic, is no less powerful.  Perhaps it is even more powerful: struggling to heal while at the same time struggling to keep a roof over your head and deal with the pressures of mundane everyday life.

That healing journey isn't so nice and neat and predictable either- it is a process that can be back and forth. Through that process, each person has to decide for themselves that they WANT to heal and move on.  It is that intention which is the ultimate deciding factor.  It is something internal.  A lot of people don't actually want to heal, but it is a choice that is available at all times.  And moving on is so worth it.

Anyhow, I'm happy for Ms Choquette that her pilgrimage worked for her but most of us don't have that luxury.  And truly it is not necessary.  So be nice to all the crazy strangers around you, because they might be one of those anonymous heros struggling to get through.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Good Shower

The simplest, most common things in life are often the best.  Although my bathtub is my oasis, I highly value a good shower.

A good shower is truly one of the finest things in life.  Nice scented soap, good water pressure, hot hot HOT steaming water- it is a fine and wonderful thing.

Most people I know shower in the morning- but not me.  I have always been a night-showerer.  Not only because I like to keep my morning routine as short as possible, but symbolically, I like to clear the debris of the day away and enter into each new day fresh.  And I like being clean in bed.

Some members of my little household also like to be clean in my bed.


Cat & Child Hygeine

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Not Boxed In

I was out with my friends recently and they were discussing something they want to do for someone's birthday that I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.

They want to go to a (female) strip club.  While I have nothing against it, and don't think there is anything weird or wrong or whatever with it, it's just simply not my thing.  Not my idea of fun.  It doesn't resonate with me. At all.  I don't even want to go to a male strip club.  (Now if you say figure drawing......I'm so there....)  Frankly, I think it's a gross environment.  I'm not interested in seeing people flaunt their bits around for money.  And I have better things to spend my money on.  I also don't think I should have to justify or defend the fact that I am not interested.

My friend asked me in a challenging way if I would consider "coming out of my box" to celebrate with my friends.  My answer:  it depends.

But here's the thing which- I'm not sure "bothered" is the right word, it is too strong- I really disagree with-

I am not in a box.  

My friend might disagree with me, but that would tell me she doesn't really understand me.  And that is ok.  I don't expect everyone to always understand me.  I didn't get into it with her, it's just not worth it.  I have to let it go.  I guess what bothers me is feeling judged and misunderstood simply for being different.

I love new experiences, going new places, trying new things, I will take risks, I love adventure, and I am an extremely open-minded person.  Whatever floats your boat- as long as it is not causing harm to you or others- I'm totally fine with it.

I know myself really, REALLY well. And I am always looking to expand as a person.  But people are different- and just because I am different from my friends in this regard does not mean I am uptight, or repressed, or a prude, or in a box.   I am none of those things. Different things appeal to different people and I'm just really not into it.  If they are that's fine.  It should be fine with them that I just simply am not into it.  I'm not into clubbing (have been, several times, don't like it)- why is it that they don't judge me for that, but if I don't want to go to a strip club I'm "in a box"?

Not only did I spend all of college staring at and drawing naked people, but I also modeled for fellow artists.
Nudity does not bother me.

So I don't want to be judged as being in a box just because I am different.  I don't have to like what they like, they don't have to like what I like.  I don't judge them for it, and I wish they wouldn't judge me.

If they go, I'm going to pass. Even for a birthday.  Not because I am in a box, but because I know myself, and I respect myself enough to honor my choices no matter what my closest and dearest people might think about it.  It is ok for me to be different and I will honor that.  I hope they have fun, even if they are thinking less of me.

Don't judge me just because I am different

There is a LOT about me that my closest friends do not know about, nor will they ever understand.  And that is OK.  There are things that are important to me, things I focus on, things I am actively developing that are simply not a part of their spheres.  They think something is wrong with me if I am too quiet.  They don't understand that most of the time I am very quiet, and I require a lot of silence and solitude.  They do not need these things, they do not relate, and that is ok. There are things in their worlds they like and enjoy, which I do not relate to, that are not part of my sphere.  It's ok.  I'm not judging them, and I wish they would not judge me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stacks of Horrid Drivel

I started keeping journals in high school. I never had a passion for writing (and I still do not) but keeping a journal has literally been lifesaving.  I started automatic writing when a guest speaker came in and introduced my art class to The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  Every day (mostly) for years I did my three pages of automatic writing. (My morning pages)  It is a form of meditation.

Occasionally I still revert to paper journals or my sketchbook.  But most of my personal writing is here now.

Writing stuff down, especially automatic writing, is such a simple yet powerful thing to do.  It is a fantastic way to empty yourself out, to get all that mental and emotional junk out.  We are filled with so many things in every day, in life in general- we have to empty ourselves continually.

One of my biggest fears in high school (and college...and maybe for several years after that...) was dying and someone finding and reading my journals!  Gasp! Horrors!  As if anyone would have the patience to decipher my handwriting. As if anyone would really want to do that.  Back then I would have been stunned to know I write personal things and other people can read it!  And it is true that there is some very personal stuff on this blog!  It's ironic because I am a very private person.  I value my privacy and I respect others' privacy. I don't often share really personal stuff with people.  Not unless I feel a very good connection with them. There are many things on this blog that I don't talk about at all with anyone.

Writing- especially automatic writing- gives me the space to sort myself out and also very directly and honestly look at and give voice to anything in my mind and heart.  If you are not truly honest with yourself, how can you be honest with anyone else?

One day perhaps Daya will read my blog, when she is older, and know me a little better through it.  A side of me, a perspective that she really doesn't know. It is a nice record to have, especially because I tend to forget a lot of stuff.

Here is a journal snippet from 1996, my first year in college! I have a lot of journals, mostly filled with angst and complete nonsense.  It's not interesting, it's not a good record, it's not profound, it's not memorable, it's a bunch of utter drivel. I wish I documented college better than I did.  But it helped me cope in a way nothing else could have.  It served its purpose.

One day I probably should throw them all in a bonfire.

No one would want to decipher this rot.

I'm realizing that I wrote the above entry almost 19 years ago.  How the hell did THAT happen!

I need to go faint now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

On Being Trapped By Wonky Eyes

Some years back, when Daya was very little, I wanted to relocate out of NYC.

I am so glad it never happened.

While NYC is truly the ultimate love-hate relationship, it is home.  I just can't imagine living anywhere else.  I have a sense of belonging here, that I am where I am supposed to be.  Every time I leave, I have a nice time but I am always glad to come back.  My roots are here.

A lot of the reasoning behind my desire to move had to do with feeling very scared and trapped.  I was alone with a baby, which in itself is a restricting experience- physically, financially, timewise, energy-wise...and I felt very trapped and reactive to that.  And I was going through the aftermath of my ill-fated marriage fallout.  It was a vulnerable time.

Another reason is that I don't drive.  This is something most people take for granted and it is not a big deal.  For me it is a very big deal.  I have a pair of extremely wonky eyes, they are green which is nice but they just don't work very well at all.  I was told as a teenager that I would never be able to drive.  So I went to college here in NYC where that wasn't an issue.  And I stayed because you really don't need a car here.

My Stupid Wonky Eyes

In 2006 I mentioned something about not being able to get a driver's license and my eye dr told me I actually could- that I composite correct to (just barely) 20/40 which is the minimum requirement.  He has to fill out the exam paper for me though, I can't pass the eye test at the DMV.  My vision didn't get better, the other doctor was just wrong.  (He also said I have no peripheral vision, which is completely false as my visual field tests every year are textbook perfect.)

So I got a driver's license.  And I haven't driven since my driving test in 2006.  But that was such a big deal for me, getting that license.  I felt less trapped, like I had more control/choice.  I did something I had believed was impossible for so many years.

However, I do not trust my eyes enough to drive.  I really don't.  That, plus a complete lack of road experience makes me Not Roadworthy.  I really should not be driving.  You don't want me on the road, honest.  Also, I would definitely lose my car.

When I tell people about my eyes and driving, they seem not to believe me based on their own visual shortcomings.  And also because I paint. (It doesn't make sense to me either)  Please believe me when I tell you that in all seriousness, your eyes really are better than mine unless you are worse than a minus 16 and/or legally blind in BOTH eyes. (Hey, let's trade!)  I am legally blind in my right eye (even with contacts), whose main function is to provide moral support for my left eye.  I compensate in other ways for my lack of vision.  And no I can't get the laser surgery because you have to be within a certain vision range to get it (I am out of that range) and because no doctor will touch me for non-essential surgery because I am functionally one-eyed.

My eye wonkiness has had an enormous impact on my life- socially and otherwise.  It has enclosed me in ways I might not have been enclosed otherwise, because I really just do not see everything (and everyone) around me. I don't even notice things other people point out, until they say something.  I can be totally oblivious.  I was the runty kid with the coke bottle glasses.  And I know my eyes look funny sometimes. (People often point it out.  Adults and kids.  For my whole life.)  I'm pretty self-conscious about it.

So, I'm not very good at eyesight but I'm very good at other things.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

But anyhow, I am at peace now with living here now, though I wasn't for a long time.  I suppose if I have to be trapped somewhere, NYC is probably one of the best places in the world.

Home.
(Pic is from the top of the Central Park reservoir 
from over the summer)