Archive | February, 2014

All The Hemispheres

26 Feb

Tioman Sunset

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out 
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills. 
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire 
Chatting
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

-Hafiz

Why You Are Here

23 Feb

Life will break you.

Apple Tree

Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning.

You have to love. You have to feel.
It is the reason you are here on this earth.

You are here to risk your heart.

You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness.

Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

~Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Shiny Song #22

22 Feb

I can’t stop listening to this!

Australian artist Rai Thistlethwayte covering the Beatles with a piano & a loop pedal.
LOVE.

Lost

17 Feb
Zambo early morn
Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.
An old Native American elder story rendered into modern English by David Wagoner, in The Heart Aroused – Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte, Currency Doubleday, New York, 1996.

Shiny Song #21

15 Feb

Sometimes, all it takes is looking at something from a different perspective.

Beautiful Eye

I adore this film clip. It reminds me to hold a different prism in front of my problems and see them from another angle, in a new light.

“I try to push the colors through a prism back to white
To sync our different pulses into a blinding light
And if love is not the key. If love is not a key.
I hope that I can find a place where it could be…”

“I know that in your heart there is an answer to a question
That I’m not as yet aware that I have asked
And if that tree had not drunk my tears
I would have bled and cried for all the years
That I alone have let them pass…” 

How To Be Alone…

14 Feb

Oh, Valentine’s Day.

A joyous combination of love, commercialism and expectation.

LOVE

However you feel about it, VDay is definitely enough to give you a pang to see couples holding hands and canoodling around the city.

I’ve had single Valentines Days, celebrated raucously with girlfriends or quietly and softly with a broken heart.

Coupled Valentines Days, marred by disappointments or swept off my feet by flowers, jewellery and romance. It’s just another day, but for a girl with love on her mind, it’s a great time to reflect.

Last year, I met a wise woman who invited me to imagine the man of my dreams. She had me visualise him, the energy I experienced around him and to feel the love I had for him.

Then she had me imagine my world without him, but to maintain those emotions and energies.

“They exist within you, whether or not he’s in the picture,” she said.

It was such a lightbulb moment for me.

Alone Genius idea Lyvia Alexandra
In yoga, we talk about detachment and the ability to cultivate anything we desire within ourselves. We can learn to be content with a situation as it is and as it is not.

I noticed I was carrying around an idea that love was only available if somebody came along and gifted it to me, as though my lovability was somehow contingent on someone else.

By paying attention to the feelings I had about love, I realised it can only exist inside me. As such, nothing anyone could do to take that love away from me.

Learn to Be Alone

I have the ability to cultivate love within myself. For myself.
For anyone or anything I want, really…

Suddenly, love becomes a permanent fixture.
Suddenly, I start to appreciate the things about myself that I was waiting for someone else to notice. I start giving myself the love and attention I have been patiently waiting for.

I adore this poem, written and performed by Tanya Davis  and beautifully filmed and illustrated by Andrea Dorfman.

Take some time to yourself this Valentines and appreciate your unique and wonderful heart.

You really are worth it.

Come As You Are

13 Feb

My parents have two super cute dogs.

Puppies

They are the most affectionate little guys – all they want is love, love, love, cuddles expressing love and more love.

I think it’s one of the reasons I love dogs so much. They’re so unconditional. They run at you with such abandon. It’s such a delight to walk into my parents house and have them rush to see me, skid to a stop at my feet and wag their tails so hard they almost fall over, such is their joy.

I often think they are how I would be if I wasn’t scared: of rejection, of looking bad, of looking stupid.

Rowlf is nine years old but still a sprightly, excitable dog.

I can't play piano, but I've never had lessons

I can’t play piano, but I’ve never had lessons

Harry was bought after my parents cat died and Rowlf started howling at the moon, missing his feline friend. Harry arrived home as a gorgeous bundle of black and grey fluff and has been tearing around frenetically ever since. He takes on dogs three times his size at the dog park and has a penchant for “walking” other dogs by grabbing their leads and pulling them around the park.
He’s quite the cheeky, energetic character.

As long as my back legs are on the step, I'm technically not out of bounds...

As long as my back legs are on the step, I’m technically not out of bounds…

When I arrive at the house, Rowlf races to the front door and sits at my feet: cuddles and pats are the reward for sitting. Harry runs to the door too, but once he’s completed his initial greeting, he always races off to grab one of his toys and trots back to excitedly share it with me.

This is a really cute behaviour, but it makes me think of all the times I have felt like I need to bring something or do something with the idea that it will be loved and I, along with it.

I notice it’s a cute behaviour of my own: I need to offer to do something or buy something or bring something to make my presence worthwhile.

As though who I am by myself is not enough.

It gets me thinking about how I operate as a human being; that I am operating from a place of lack or trying to make up for my failings.

For me, it’s often in interactions with friends where I will offer more than I’m even able to give. It’s a “like me” mechanism that I’m becoming more and more present to.

The more I’ve watched the dogs play out this behaviour, the more I notice that Rowlf, as the older, alpha dog, simply expects his cuddles and attention. Harry seems to feel he needs to work for it, wait his turn, bring gifts to validate his rewards. In all his running around, he misses out on some of the love and attention I have for him, ready to go, as soon as I walk in the door.

I’m seeing how much I do that in my life: I run around, stress myself out, spread myself too thin, all in the pursuit of making people happy, to help them like me, to be of service.

When really, the love is there, waiting.

I’m not saying I don’t want to be someone who helps or does favours or brings beautiful gifts. I just don’t want to do it from a place of fear that people wouldn’t love me if I didn’t do it.

That coming from my own security, sense of self and love, as a complete human, I have so much to offer, just as I am.

Pups 2

The Summer Day

12 Feb

Zambo sunset

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver,
The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.

Inspiration + Purpose = ∞

11 Feb

Granada Sunset

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds:

Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. 

Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.

-Patanjali

Change & Judgement

10 Feb

How do you reconcile terrible happenings?

Mary-Oliver-Quote-Box-of-Darkness_edited-1

One of my very first yoga teachers, Yong Kooi, used to tell this story after our meditation practice:

In ancient China, there was once a farmer. He was poor and had only an old horse to plough his fields. 

One day, when he was working the field, the horse dropped dead.

All the farmer’s neighbours said, “What a terrible thing to happen!”

The farmer simply said, “We’ll see.”

The neighbours admired his attitude and felt sorry for him, so they banded together and gave him a new horse. 
Everyone’s reaction now was, “What a lucky man.” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.” 

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, “How terrible! You poor man…” 
The farmer smiled and said, “We’ll see.”

China Horse

The horse came back some days later, followed by another horse. Now all the neighbours said “Look how lucky you are! TWO horses!”
The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Later that year, the farmer’s son was thrown from one of the horses and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, “What a terrible thing for a young man.” 
The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.
All the neighbours were jealous and said “What fortune that he was thrown from the horse!” 
Once again, the farmer smiled  – and said “We’ll see.”

Moral of the story: Your reactions to events and circumstances may seem valid at that moment, but what looks like a setback could actually be a gift in disguise, or vice versa. And you won’t know which.
So spare your  judgements. Notice how quickly you apply them. Notice how much energy they take: the drama that comes with them, the tears, the ecstasy.
See if you can sit back, take a breath and say…”We’ll see.”

Don Draper