On the solstice & the moon

Theres been lots happening this week.  The weather, for one, has had the quality of instability.  Quickly changing its mind from one moment to the next.  Yesterday felt like an early spring day, with the  promise of  warmth to come.

To look outside the weather patterns,  this instability has been mapped and mirrored all around us.   In the midst of all this, we have the Winter Solstice,  right before the Full Cold Moon.

I’ve led many a Winter Solstice event over the years, and this one really did feel different.  It was even quieter, simpler, more introspective, less talking, less sharing, less ‘words’ period… than I can ever remember (and I’m not one to include a lot of that anyway!).    It was as though I couldn’t pull “in” far enough.

As I was aligning with the events this week, I was struck by how quickly and easily information on something as straightforward as the moon and the Solstice, became misunderstood and misrepresented.  Suddenly there were posts about the coinciding of the Full Moon ON the Winter Solstice.  Which, btw, is not what happened.  Close to each other?  Yes.  On the same day?  No.  By quickly fact checking straight up data driven astrology sites, its pretty easy to find the actual information.  How odd then, that so many were creating posts on Social Media claiming an untruth. And while the actual coinciding of the full moon on the winter solstice is a somewhat rare event, I wasn’t sure (despite the rarity) that I was feeling any particular resonance or significance of that alignment (which didn’t happen).  I had more of a “yeah…so?” read.

As I took a step back and watched this unfold curiously, I was reminded again of the messages I kept getting all week:  slow down, watch closely, pay attention, be diligent. Be SUPER mindful of our actions and words and be extremely discerning in all matters.  Take nothing for granted.  Watch everything with a larger perspective in mind.

So I stepped back even further and detached from the mini whirlwind of drama being stirred up.  It looked and felt to me just like that:  debris swirling around creating a kind of vortex.  Good to know… and to stay clear of.

Perhaps this gives me my final messages for the coming days.  When something doesn’t quite sound or seem right:  step back from it. Far enough back to see the bigger picture.  Without interfering in whatever might be unfolding in the unconscious realms, we can choose at least to notice, without judgement, and decide not be a part of it.

This year, as I launch into a new series of Full & New Moon ceremonies, of Solstice & Equinox events…. I want to remember this moment, here, now.  I want to disconnect from the need to pump up a particular lunation or celestial alignment to the point of frenzy.  To caution myself against the reflex to assign extraordinary and superfluous meaning to any event.  To get caught up in the hype.

Instead, may I continue on my steady, clear, course.  Celebrating with quiet reverence and consciousness. It is enough.  Enough to gather on the moons and the transitions.  Just to witness and notice and commune.  May we all find comfort and joy in these ordinary moments of cycling together.  May we learn that we are enough, that all of this is enough… just as it is.  May we be in true peace.

Happy Full Moon to all.

peace

Jeneen

 

 

The cult of the new

I only need one Gong.  One Crystal Bowl.  One drum.  One.  Only One.  More than one confuses things, can create chaos or can shift the focus.  The mind, the being then is trained to want more, to desire bigger, to yearn for “better”.  Both in the one who is receiving the work and, more problematic still, in the one who is guiding the work.  By “better” I don Not mean in the sense of of what is truly best for us, but in a false perception that more is better.  that bigger is better.  that larger, that stronger, that higher, is better.  

Perhaps this is human nature. The tendency to get caught in the trap that we need MORE.  That somehow, in this very moment, we, it, they, us….. are not ‘enough’.  That somehow if only:  we had more money, a new job, a bigger house,  more trainings, more tools, better marketing… that we’d take off and fly and leap into the life of our dreams. 

 I am here to hold the space of understanding that includes the life of our dreams as it is here and now. This heaven on earth. Through the radical lens of acceptance.  Not through the lens of wanting, desiring or grasping.    We have lost touch with the most fundamental knowledge we possess:  the completeness of simplicity, the truth of this moment, the wholeness of our being which needs nothing more to be Full except this very breath.  In fact, I don’t even need the Gong, or the Bowl, or the Drum or any “tool” at all.  And neither do you.  All the work, the depth, the transformation, the shift, the release, that you long for, can be achieved by simply sitting in silence together. With one who knows how to guide in the dark and in the stillenss. I don’t even need any technique, no scripted visualizations or guided imagery, no mantra or meditation ‘style’, no book or quote, no message cards or fun games,  none of it.  That is the truth.  The only truth. Every tool we use is in essence an illusion.  The danger being, we can confuse the path itself for the ultimate goal.   We can confuse the ‘method’ of our choice for the end result.  Then we will be stuck forever, on this treadmill of thinking we are progressing, but really being stuck .  We might be stuck in an “ok” place and so that may feel “ok”.  And we might even register “ok” as ‘good’! But sooner or later, sooner or later, our soul remembers its eternal longing and realizes it has been tricked and this is when we truly wake up.  And I must tell you, it is a rather rude and shocking awakening. (set apart by the many false awakening that arise in ones life which are often described as “aha” moments) And in that moment, we understand that we truly need nothing and we let it all go, without any hesitation. And then, only then, do we really know what it means to fly.   

Wo-manifesto for a new world.  

Part I.

I am weary of the masses.

of the places of the things of the activities of the drinks of the foods of the people

that are popular that are trending that are cool that are unique that are interesting

that are, “new”

I am wary of the multitude.

of the misplaced power in the perception of community

that is lacking any real depth, real connection, real “unity”

that at best, scratches the surface and at worst, totally distracts us

from the true work, the true change, the true collective.

I don’t want to chase the shiny objects, I don’t want the eye candy, I don’t want to feel clever and hip because because I do or have done the latest thing, because I know how to fill a room or because I have the most toys.  so there.

I don’t really care about any of that.  I don’t need to feel included.   I don’t need  approval.  My life doesn’t depend on societies conditions of success.

not anymore.

not anymore.

not this societies at least.

Pay attention to what is next.

to what color, to what season, to what style, to what animal, to what word, to what dance move, to what place, to what thing is suddenly what everybody’s doing now.

This is our drug.  Our collective addiction.

This is our prison.  Our self created cage.

This is our illusion.  Our mutual fraud.

And its time to come clean.

I’m ready.  And I’ve been ready for a long long time.

Are you?

Show me.

Let(’s) go.

Art &….

Recently I read something that triggered me.  It was an innocent enough description of a process of “art” making that involves following a kind of formula to create what they call: drawings that are “free from the anxiety of drawing” so you can embrace your inner artist, trust your instinct and let your creativity flow.

The truth is, this description made my heart hurt.  Made me literally want to cry.  It felt so utterly mis-directed to me about the one thing I hold absolutely dearest in my life and soul:  Art.  I felt sad beyond belief for the need to compartmentalize “art’ in this way. For the fact that people even need to create this kind of offering.  It felt to me, like the black hole of ART.  My initial physical response was to take a rapid deep inhale and my whole body said “Oh NO!  Don’t got THERE”. Like I want to save humanity from jumping off this particular cliff because I can see where it leads…. and it ain’t pretty.

But first, I had to let go of (or try to at least!) any judgement around this particular process so that I could come a place of clarity and discernment.   My belief system holds that when you clear away the mucky stuff (judgement, over analysis, expectation, false knowing, etc), you can come to the place where there is truer understanding of whether something is helpful, harmful, a good idea or a distraction. This place of discernment, in and of itself, is NOT judgy. Something can honestly have positive or negative impacts pending your desired outcome or intention.  Its kind of like when we think about a persons ‘behavior’ being disruptive in some way without intending to imply that the person themselves are disruptive.  Just because the process may be problematic, does not mean theres any ill will from the people leading the process or that the individual pieces of the process are problematic either.

But back to the “Art” class.  It has become fashionable to throw the term “Art” around so that everyone and anyone can participate and feel like they are an Artist.  Which, ironically, they already are anyway.  And, just to make it more trendy, we like to combine Art with all sorts of things now…..Art & Wine, Art & Dance,  Art & Yoga, Art & Meditation, Art & the Chakras, Art & Chickens, Art & Rollerderby, Art & Skydiving, Art & ….. AND the list goes on.  I assume here to make it more ‘accessible’ or ‘interesting’ perhaps?  None of these combination in and of themselves is ‘bad’.  And I’ve taught many of them (working on the Rollerderby bit… tricky to organize).  And again, the illusion here is in the perception, not in the Art itself.

How these offerrings are actually led/guided and taught and WHO is actually leading or guiding makes a tremendous difference.  Not to mention, how they are marketed, who they are trying to attract and where they are being taught.  I’m not particularly interested in prioritizing what is ‘successful’ in terms of bringing in the most people, being popular or making the most money. I’m concerned with what elevates us, and I use that term most carefully, to a place of deeper understanding about ourselves and the world.

I am reminded of a conversation with a student recently who was commenting on the common parlance among yoga teachers these days, I think it was about a comment such as “All levels, bodies, types…. are welcome in my class”  (or something like that)  and she said “You know, ALL yoga teachers say that (substitute in whatever you want for the “That”!), but they all mean really different things by it.  You have to do your work to find out who really means it. “

Anyone can claim to integrate “art” in their practices, but who really means it?  You might start by asking them: What Is Art?

This is where I believe, the divergence lies.  As someone who has studied, taught and created Art, both professionally and personally, for her entire life, who grew up in a family of Artists and who always thought of art kind of like breathing….. its just what you do….this question touches my heart and life deeply.  Not because I think I know more, or because I have studied longer, but simply because it is truly Who I Am.

What is Art?

Well, for starters, Art is not imitation. Art is not knowing how to follow directions.  Art is not easy.  Art is not quick. Art is not something you learn a process to ‘do’.  Art is not formulaic.  Art is not for profit.  Art is not something you judge.  Art is not good or bad or ugly or beautiful.  Art is not created to match the living room couch.  Art is not created to hang in frame on a wall.  Art is not an idea.  Art is not a method.  Art is not a place to show off your skills.  Art is not therapy (although art therapy is its own legit thing).  Art is not pretty.  Art is not repetitive.

Let me put something out there to consider. Art is real. Art is enough. Art is like the breath.  ART IS.  In and of itself.  When guided as an authentic process.  With patience and learning and understanding.  Art will teach you everything about this world, your life and your role in it.  Art is as deep a reflective and transformative process as any spiritual pursuit, as uplifting and mobilizing as any creative endeavor,  and as skillful and knowledge filled as any science.  There is no need for Art AND.  Art AND Nothing. For that matter…. Yoga AND Nothing.  Meditation AND Nothing.  These are all comparable processes that lead you to transformation through careful study and ability.  Why the need to combine them in “new” ways?  In actuality, we do them a huge disservice through many of these combinations.  We miss the point entirely.  We create distraction instead of progress.

I’m fascinated by this when it doesn’t make me want to bury my head in the sand and cry to the earth.

So back to the original post I read.  Heres the stinger for me “free from the anxiety of drawing”.  I need to take a long slow breath here to even continue.

Drawing is prayer.  Drawing is a discovery.  Drawing with authenticity is a personal journey of deep understanding. If there is anxiety around that, theres personal work to be done. Or a total misunderstanding.  The drawing process itself and finding your path through it can address the anxiety.  But not in one 90 minute class.  It takes time, commitment, patience, love, determination.  It takes mastery, courage and yes, actual learning. There’s a whole language to absorb that you then have at your disposal to create with.  Theres no skipping steps.  It is, in fact, a process.

So Instead of the commitment, we change the parameters of the drawing process.  To make us feel better?  To make it more “accessible”?  Why?

No … really…. WHY?

I’m suspect of anything that in the long term serves as a distraction or an escape because we are overwhelmed, tired or agitated in the moment. Lets deal with our “overwhelm” ing feelings and beings rather than to look the other way and stuff our challenging feelings in a box for temporariy relief.  Hell, lets do that together and muck through the journey with our hearts wide open and our minds freed and our footsteps bravely forward charting truly NEW territory.  Not what the mind wants to convince us is new through the lens of what is “unique”.  How’s this for something new:  slowing down, looking around consciously, taking a long deep inhale,  and bravely being STILL instead of running all the time.  We can do this through meditation, through true yoga, and yes, through ART.  Real Art.  But we must practice keeping it Real.  Supporting each other authentically.  Walking each other home.

Thats my journey, at least.  Its not the easy way necessarily, or the fast way, or the way that makes you feel like you’re a star or an artist or a badass….. at least not immediately.  Theres not immediate gratification as we are used to or want. Although, it depends on what you find gratifying.  Because, sooner or later, you come to realize you already ARE all those things anyway when you stop distracting yourself through these clever disguises we have so creatively designed.

In fact, you find, we all are.

 

Wednesday, Nov29th, 2017

Energy Musings.  Here. Now.

Today!

Each day is a brand new 24 hours.  But sometimes, it can feel like you’re stuck on repeat. Asking yourself “haven’t I DONE this already?” :  “haven’t I been here before?”.  The question is always:  what is new in what is old?

Patterns are a part of Nature and Life itself.  Patterns are present everywhere in our mind, body, pyche, history, family, and so on.  A pattern, by its nature, is repetitive.  In that repetition there can either be stability or blockage.  The blockage comes when you are a stuck in a loop.  Some kind of feedback creates a reactionary response and then you’re doing it all over again.   But a pattern, when seen in its expanse, can also be grounding, anchoring and freeing.

Which patterns serve you and which are your Achilles Heel?  These patterns are up for deep understanding.  Remember, deep understanding may have a component of analysis to it, but that is only a small piece.  Don’t just ask your brain what IT thinks, be sure to check in with your heart, your belly, your body, your soul, your higher self.  Balancing out these lenses, you will see a clearer picture of what is happening and were and how to direct your life force.

Is change needed now?  Is routine needed now?  Is whats comfortable needed now?  Look for the patterns and make a conscious choice on how to approach them.   Then breathe into the newness of the present moment.

 

Word of the day:  Pattern

Song of the day:  Patterns by Simon & Garfunkle

‘tools’ of the trade

Yesterday, after a quite extraordinary crystal bowl “meditation”, a student asked if I ever just sit in stillness.   It was a great question following back to back sound healing work.

The tools that I use are just that:  Tools. They are never to be mistaken for the goal, the end, or even the path itself.  They are simply helpers along the way.  Our crystal friends come from deep inside the earth to offer us their medicine. Our resident resonant tools offer vibrational healing, clearing and deep visioning. But this medicine is not “what its all about”.  What its “all about” IS stillness.  The greatest sound for healing IS silence.  If we mistake the tools for the goal, we have become lost along the way.

And sometimes, thats ok too.  Life’s diversions, like the fluctuations of the mind itself, are simply what they are.  Perhaps the path forward is clear, straight, efficient.  Perhaps it instead sends us on all sorts of detours, road blocks and obstacles.  Usually, its a bit of both.  Remember though, to gently come back to the path as soon as you notice you have become lost in a distraction.  We practice this in meditation to imprint that reflex in our whole life.

The key is to slowly, carefully and attentively become increasingly discerning.  So that, over practice and time, you learn to see clearly what is a diversion and what is, in that moment, a tool to move you forward. Everything and anything can be either one of these: distraction or valuable tool, depending on the timing and who you are, whats happening and where you are.  An authentic guide understands this and can offer tools as needed all while nudging you gently forward, encouraging a healthy detachment from any “tool” itself.

The question naturally arises:  what is the intention for your practice?  One intention of meditation & yoga as a path for example, is to bring you to a state of “thoughtless awareness”, an expansive mind in union with a clear body that allows you a perspective not based on biases, belief systems, judgement, analysis or expectations.

We become the still pond.  We are the clear blue sky.

Along the way we receive gifts, insights, benefits.  Sometimes the practice is joyful, fun and exciting: the gifts feel like blessings.  Sometimes the practice is difficult, challenging and painful: the gifts can feel like a curse.  All of it is inspiring, creative and essential,  coming from the same loving source.  All of it brings us into greater balance and understanding so that we may hear the silence and be with the stillness.

Balance. Stillness. Silence.

These are words I don’t use lightly.  I carry the depth of their authenticity deep within my  understanding.

But balance, stillness & silence are ultimately still just tools.

so, what its all about, anyway?

Monday, Nov 20, 2017

Energy Musings.  Here.  Now.

Today!

This week.  A week of Gratitude & Family, offers us the opportunity to embrace both the challenges and rewards of these personal, familial and societal traditions.  No matter if you celebrate, what you celebrate, how you celebrate or who you celebrate with.

To create the space for acceptance, love, wholeness, unity…. start with you.  Before the family, the friends, the events, the traveling, the cooking, the conversation, the activity, the liveliness of this holiday, take the time to spend time for YOU.  Perhaps alone even.

What are the practices that you go to for self care.  Massage?  Quiet time alone?  Meditation with your Sangha?  Creative outlets?  Something that both clears and fills you:  fills you with the spaciousness you require now to be the love and gratitude you know you are.  It might require getting away from the “busy-ness” temporarily.  Going out to the mountains, the sea or even the spa.

Take a moment today to ask yourself what you might need.  Remembering: this practice involves sensing these needs before we are in crisis mode.  The more we can practice THIS, the more truly present we can be in all situations for ourselves and each other.

Just breathe.  Place your hand on your heart and your belly.  Listen deeply to the information from these places.  Slow down, soften just a little, and keep listening.  How quiet do you need to become in order to really hear yourself?  Thats your work today and when you listen, acknowledge and respond to this inner voice for self care.

Poem of the Day: Buddha in Glory (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet–
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

 

Song of the Day: Don’t Bring Me Down by ELO