Archive | April, 2013

mind habits

30 Apr

Mind won a round last night.  Instead of going and doing something, I chose the easy path of staying home in my comfort zone.

Breaking the long time, heavily-grooved patterns can SEEM really, bloody hard.

I think this is my task right now.  I can focus on the instances where I am successful, but in reality, I recognize some patterns that seem so close to the core as to actually BE me.  These patterns are not the definition of a person, they are just familiar.  They are habits of how one tends to inhabit the world.  In-HABIT – what an encoded word!

Actually many of my habits give me such nice interactions:  the cloak of accommodation, the hat of approachability, the gloves of kindness, the air of acquiescence – these patterns have gotten me far in the face to face dance with others.  But now the ground is shaky – All is in flux when you start messing with the early programming.   I don’t know how to be anymore.  This  is good.

Besides the habit of nice, open, accommodation, I also retreat.  I love to be alone.  I love the familiar.  When trying to socialize, I feel such strong resistance.  I am lifting a 10 ton car out of the road, I am bending solid steel spoons, I am groaning with the strain.  In one mind state such EFFORT, then all of this can fall away and the 10 ton car becomes an imaginary feather.

I can psychoanalyze why but that doesn’t stop the fact that in times of mind stress, habits return; they drop down like a trap door around the spaciousness, as quickly as a rigged mouse trap pops over the head of the rodent – POW,  my pattern and  I’m back to my shoe box house.

Writing this down makes my habits here seem so SILLY.

Social-Butterfly-small

Social gatherings, oye,  my Achilles heel.   I will get out of socializing faster than you can say boo.  But here is an interesting thing – when I go out of my comfort zone, I am richly rewarded.  Every path walking friend has come about because I stepped outside of the marga identity and did something different.  Living this life for me, is recognizing the paradox in learning when to go with the flow and when to step out of the stream and do something that feels uncomfortable.  Taoism is not describing a passive  practice.  The Vedas are not describing a way to walk from birth to death as a ghost.  Meditation and walking with awareness are not about staying the same.

So last night there was an improv gathering at the Riverdogs baseball game.  The mind won.

I had arranged a ride for Eden to get to her play rehearsal.  I had finished my work.  I made the night clear and knew the value of getting to know everyone better so I could be more comfortable on stage and open to the moment with people who were not “strangers!”  Granted it was pouring rain…

These improvisors who were gathering are the nicest and most open people I can imagine, which makes it all the more SILLY!  My mind habit of social anxiety kept seeing images of myself having to walk in alone, sitting by the most standoffish person, playing a scenario where i actually make things worse by showing up. Instead of seeing myself making friends, I see myself alienating others.  This is the power of the mind.

I had the most magnificent walk in the rain around my neighborhood alone,  I  got some extra work done ,  I got a good night’s sleep, and I am in good shape to face this new day.  I had a good night alone, but that is not the point here.  The quiet voice of awareness feels like a gentle prodding for me to be new and fresh, without the burden of habits and patterns.

Every moment always gives me the opportunity to make a new choice.  Here’s to new choices for me and for you with whatever your mind habits happen to be!

an improvised life

30 Apr

one of my improv classmates, Michael Lacey, won a speech contest at the Citadel here in Charleston.  This is his winning speech – An Improvised Life…

http://mediasite.nation.citadel.edu/Mediasite/Play/642fcf27e8664ee9870849323bae9eb01d

Flights of Fancy, finding perspective…

28 Apr

Feels natural to share such rich word nuggets as these. I was unfamiliar with the author of these assorted quotes from her recent post – and found just a tidbit here: C. Joybell: : A true bell of Joy ! Thanks Maddy!

1EarthUnited

“I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love and to lust, to be so human.”

“We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. Too much of the time, we are blinded by our own pursuits of people to love us, people that don’t even matter, while all that time we waste and the people who do love us have to stand on the sidewalk and watch us beg in the streets! It’s time to put an end to this. It’s time for us to let ourselves be loved.”

“You will manage to keep a woman in love with you…

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I don’t mind

26 Apr

Dream_Chaser_by_cypherx

It might seem like maybe if you lose some weight, maybe if you get more money, maybe if you find a person who really understands you, maybe if you finally figure out how to have lots of friends, maybe if you get recognized for being famous, maybe if your face were a bit prettier, maybe if you could be a great athlete, maybe you could finally find yourself at the cool table in the middle school lunchroom, maybe if you were taller, maybe when the kids leave home, maybe when you can see things in the world, maybe if you could learn enough, maybe if you were a bit smarter, maybe if you weren’t so tongue tied, maybe if your family cared about you more, maybe if you could look perfect to others, maybe if you got promoted, maybe if your job involved cool travel, maybe if you could do what you thought was helping others as your job, maybe if you could support yourself as an artist, maybe if your house didn’t have clutter, maybe if a good day never ended, maybe if your kids were better behaved, maybe if you didn’t have to worry, maybe if you were important, maybe if you could be alone, maybe if you finally found yourself, maybe if your mind got quiet and you were enlightened, maybe if other people listened to your words, maybe if you didn’t feel invisible, maybe if you finally felt good enough, maybe if you figured it all out…

When one accepts what comes with equanimity, one is more open and present to deal with the moment with whatever is needed because the mind is not clouded by trying to cling to the good or run from the bad of what is occurring.  What happens, I don’t mind.    There is nothing wrong with me or you or this moment.

the art of leaving the nests

24 Apr

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.  Pema Chodron

When holding on to the sticks of my little nest and refusing to fly on, the weather can get so stormy as to blow me out of my home.

I am being pushed out of the nest of passivity into participation.  My debut at improv is tonight.

My oldest daughter is going through the beginning of her college application process and show signs of finding her niches, more and more.

My youngest is entering high school this fall and already feels the shift of that, if she doesn’t get recruited into Cirque du Soleil, first. 🙂

My school is transitioning to a whole new format, combining shorter classes and online components, while reliable, English department strongholds – gone overnight; nothing is guaranteed – is it ever?

My girls want to move into a home that feels more like a home than this condo.  Despite the overwhelming task of taking all we own and carrying it out and down and across and through…

My “yes, and…” is to say why not? to all of it.

We are throwing ourselves out of these nests, eyeing others…which starts in the imagination, in openness, in flowing, and finally sweat!  Let us see how this goes.

do the opposite

20 Apr

maskwoman

Basically this –  I’m afraid.

My acceptance into the improv company and the reality of actually performing in front of a live audience as a regular gig has me quite afraid.  Who is afraid?  Who watches the fear?

The body increases the heart rate in response to thoughts; the air flow constricts, the body pulls into itself, almost wanting to opossum itself under her chair.

What a  gift – to be feeling fear – and to get to experience the body and mind in this fear and to recognize the infinite array of choice here.

I’ve had a tendency (I guess that is what we do as human animals-have tendencies toward certain behaviors) to retreat.  I can get into my passive mode fairly easily, allowing myself to be taken by the currents, flowing with the go :), but not initiating the go, so much.

Where does the teaching come from that suggests one do the opposite of the habit or tendency as a practice toward the middle path?    One guru would be George Costanza from the Sienfeld show 😛

What compels us to do anything on this planet in our human bodies?  Dancers dance, singers sing:  why do I have hangups about just doing what it is I seem to be able to do?

The opposite for me here is that instead of retreating, I am walking straight into the fire of my fear.  My self doubt is tedious to me.  When I went to see a show this week, my little self was screaming inside, “You can’t do that.  Why did they want you in this company?  These people are all so funny and clever and spontaneous!”  And then those thoughts got old.  And I realized that I can say the opposite to myself,  of course.   I can stay open to the moment of whatever all of this brings.

What is difficult is that while you learn a new way of doing something, you make a lot of mistakes.  I say improv is a failure-based art form because inexperienced players fail almost every time they try to do a scene.[…]  Improvisors need to recondition themselves to see failure not as a negative.  Greg Tavares, Improv for Everyone  (Greg is one of my teachers)

Do I really care about success here?  NO, not really.  I just like to play.  And having an audience watch me play with others who like to stay in the moment in a massive game of silly pretend is of no matter.  I can do this.  Improv is a failure driven art form.  Life is a failure driven art form.  To live your life – the life of your own – you ultimately give up expectations and definitions of success and failure and just do what you are going to do.  The praise or rejection comes to no consequence.

In the world of improv,  My name is George, I’m unemployed and I live with my parents can even become a most powerful and attracting introduction.

pressing dream

17 Apr

there is something I’ve forgotten that is gnawing at the edges, licking behind my ear lobe, pressing the top of my skull as I sleep. I’ve had this before, the edges of dreams that press up against my waking with an urgency – a map – a need that once awake, fades into nothing but an ache  that cannot be named but wants to be soothed – there is something I am being told to remember.

this happened before years ago, a feeling of knowing in the night, of task, of connection, certainty that fades yet still shoves up against me for days.  I often wonder if I am being prepared for the shipwrecks coming into my life – my dreams are a locker room talk with spirit, complete with a game time strategy drawn on a dry erase board by my higher self.

dreamFor some reason, my conscious brain is kept out of loop so often.  In my experience in another realm after hovering between life and death with the birth of my daughter, I remember being held – full body held in the arms of someone immense who whispered in my ear the love and support that was with me.  And I was told then of the game plan too, but the details never came back.  I live in the moment with a constant case of deja vu.

The being came again and again for years giving me refreshers, downloads, and reboots, all of it fading upon light.  The matches are stowed safely away from this baby.

It doesn’t even matter; the knowledge of the reality beyond this little life is first hand.  The love and support and peek behind the veil is first hand.  Perhaps Rabbit holes and traps exist for the identity with too much information.  Or may be that fulfilling my path takes a certain blindness to make it the real journey and not a cake walk 😉

 

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