Meditation, say what?!
The art of meditation is the current theme of my creative endevours.
I hear it all the time people telling me they can’t meditate, when what they mean is they can’t quieten the mind. Guess what? Neither can I for extended periods of time, and by extended periods of time I probably mean more than a few seconds.
Seriously though; meditation is not quietening the mind.
I repeat, meditation is not quietening the mind; but rather becoming intimate with our experience, intimate with the nature of the mind, intimate with sensation.
And by intimacy I do not mean kissing and canoodling, I mean developing a relationship with. Becoming familiar. Gaining insight, and understanding. Being honest. Being compassionate.
It’s sitting with oneself and attending what is happening fully. So, if there are thoughts, being aware of the thoughts, yet once we realize that is what’s happening, coming back to attend our experience without being taken away and lost in thought.
It’s allowing for that which is actually happening to happen, to experience it, to meet the present moment with our full attention. To shine the light of awareness back upon itself.
It’s not trying to do or to achieve, it’s BEing. It’s allowing. It’s experiencing.
It’s setting the intention to BE with the present moment.
It’s slowing down, though it may not feel like it, as we’re suddenly aware of the 20 000 thoughts we have running around our mind all at once.
Yet it is, and with practice it evolves and develops, we change. Ever so subtly, and overtime. But we do, as what we learn in meditation, however subconsciously, gradually trickles through into our everyday lives; and we begin to be more present in our daily situations. As we begin to attend the moments with our full attention. As we begin to really BE, truly immersing ourselves in the Here & Now.
The alchemy of spirit. The magic that happens when the search begins. It comes as a calling for something more, a longing for connection. To FEEL Alive. To reconnect with that which we’ve forgotten, to reconnect with both ourselves and life itself.
We ALL know there’s so much more to life than that which meets the eye. Embrace it darling, embrace that truth, embrace that calling. Listen. It’s hard to hear, to accept that there isn something so inherently off with the life we’re living. Be brave, listen. It’s truth.
Listen to the calling, the whispers, the inklings.. some like to call it intuition.. what it is a deep knowing, beyond logic and rational.
If we’re not familiar with it, it requires becoming acquainted with, familiarising it. Yet we have all experienced it; that moment when we get this gut feeling that we should make a certain decision, yet the rational mind tells us otherwise, so we go with the rational mind only later to regret it saying “I knew it!” So why didn’t you listen?
It takes courage at the beginning, being brave, and jumping. When we’re so used to operating from the rational mind, from logic, it takes guts to defy it, to not listen, and to trust that deep internal knowing. At the beginnings its leaps of faith, yet the more we experience that those leaps of faith lead us in the right direction, the more faith we have, the more we trust, the more we realize that that deep internal knowing is truth. That we can trust ourselves, that we can trust our intuition.
It’s deeply empowering to be able to trust ones self; to reconnect with that aspect of ourselves, to reconnect with ourselves fullstop.
So what tools can we use for this? The first most essential part of the process, is practice, practice, practice! As with anything, the more we practice, the more familiar it becomes, the more innate it becomes. It requires trust, being brave, become acquainted with yourself.
A great tool that I began to use was feeling it in the body. I’d say no and feel how that felt in the body, and then say yes and feel how that felt in the body. For me the sensation is more present in the chest, no had a heavier feeling while yes had a lighter more tingly sensation. It will probably feel different for you, so check it out.
Then I progressed to asking myself yes and no questions to questions I knew the answer to so “is my name john?” “is my birthday in January?” “do I have 2 siblings?” and became familiar with the sensations when the answer was no or yes. Once I was familiar with the sensations I learned to apply this tool to everyday life when I’m struggling to find an answer to a question or struggling to make a decision, or simply am not quite sure about the decision I’m making.
So there you go, that’s an exercise I recommend trying. An empowering one at that, as you’re giving the power back yourself, not relying on anyone or anything else. Coming back to the body, coming back to your personal experience. Learning to trust yourself. Reconnecting with yourself. Which is what healings all about right?
There are days where inspiration comes in explosions, oozing out of my skin from every single pore. There’s a bounce in my step, I’m so excited and so passionate about being alive. I want to jump, dance, sing, scream, shout, paint, write.. I want to let the whole world know how beautiful life is, how miraculous it is to be alive. There is so much I want to share and express I don’t even know how to beging getting out.. but I sit down with paint and paper or pen and paper or whatever mode of expression it is, perhaps even song, and it all comes flooding out. Like a dam has been opened, and finally it can all be expressed.
Then there are days that seem so dark I lose faith the light even exists. Moments of joy and excitement are a distant memory, and I’m not even sure what the point in any of it is. I feel tired, exhausted, energy-less, lifeless… Like I just want to lay in a crumpled pile on the floor and do nothing. Or that I want to cry. Or I feel so much rage that I want to break things and tear them apart. This energy can be creative sometimes and I can find myself writing or painting, expressing what might traditionally be judged as dark and negative.
While other times, in these darker days; I’ll lie for ages and ages, doing nothing.. sometimes it begins to spiral into darker and darker places as the negative self talk berates me for lying and doing nothing, and as I feel worse about myself, I become meaner to myself and feel worse about myself, and it feeds on itself, spiralling on and on and on.
Then there are the other times, in these darkers days, when I can lie in my sadness, and cry and let it all out without spiralling out so much; and even within that spiralling out I can remind myself that I’ve been here before, that I’ve been through this before,and that it has passed many times before, and this time too it shall pass. Sometimes it helps, and others it's futile.
Human Beings we’re emotional creatures, undeniably so, with some of us are more in touch with this, and able to be more fluid within the motions. Sometimes we hold onto whatever emotion we’re feeling, like happiness we never want it to end, yet honestly it’s exhausting feeling ecstatic all the time. Whilst in times of deep sadness sometimes we really don’t want to be feeling that way, we resist it, tell ourself not to feel like this, berate ourselves for going through this, but this is also counterproductive as we’re feeding it and giving it more power.
Then there’s this thing of positive affirmations, which have their value and place; and if youre in a really dark spot and that’s going to get you out of there maybe it’s helpful. Personally I feel that if in times of sadness and pain we start rambling out positive affirmations we’re not truly facing whats going on, we’re not being with ourselves and our experiences, and if we don’t get to know these parts of ourself, how are we going to come to terms with them? How is it ever going to become easier for ourselves? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m right, maybe I’m both and some things work for some while others for others. Let me know you’re experience for sure.
Anyway! Throughout my teens I went through some dark times of deep self hatred and self loathing, which is a story for another time. But in short, as an expression of this I was cutting myself to express this pain, this suffering, in an attempt to escape, to runaway from what was happening. Physical pain is so much easier to cope with than emotional pain; and then of course there’s the high, the release.
We all have our coping mechanisms we use to cope with life.;be it drugs, alcohol, sugar, sex, exercise, whatever. Some of us cope with our coping mechanisms better than others; some of us are fine with them, and others of us beats ourselves up over them.
The reality is: when we resist who we are, when we resist what’s happening, when we wish for things to be different than how they actually are; we’re actually giving more energy and focus to that which we don’t want, and in so doing create more of it. You've experienced it yourself: as soon as someone tells you not to think about butterflies, what are you going to think about? Butterflies of course.
So then perhaps is the solution to focus on what you do want? What you do want to be experiencing, how you want to be feeling. At the same time, you don't want this to be another escape mechanism either. For example, when you’re deep in a moment of sadness, by focusing on happiness you’re in denial of what is actually happening and indirectly are still resisting what is actually happening.
The most effective away for us to allow that which we don't want in our lives to dissipate is to allow for them to be, to feel the sadness, to be with the dislike, to make peace and come to terms with what is actually happening.
On the other hand there are plenty of situations in which we can focus on what we want to be happening. It's a matter of identifying when to apply which way of approach; and the only way to learn this is from personal experience.
But just to give you some insight: in creating your future, in long term goals, yes focus on what you want to create, how you want to feel, what you wish to experience.
Whilst in the short term, when in the turmoils of emotion, when witnessing negative self talk, when berating yourself; if you realize you’re trying to escape your experience, what’s happening, who you’re interacting with, THEN go into the emotion, the experience, allow yourself to fully experience what is happening without running away. Then you may even gain some insight into the core of what is happening, you may gain some understanding and realise the futility in your reaction.. and THEN all on its own it shall dissipate; something that will never happen if you keep resisting and running away from your actual experience.
Why not do what you Love? Life is too short not too.
Perhaps I'm a dreamer, an idealist.. yet I do believe we can live in a world where we can all do what we love to survive and thrive. In fact I believe it is essential that we do so. We are all so unique, composed of the unique sum totally of our experiences, and thus having something to share with the world that nobody else does. To further contribute to that when we are fuelled by the passion of doing what we love, when we are inspired, and motivated, we accomplish so much more.. and that energy of passion, inspiration, and motivation seems to energetically attract that which we need much more than when we are unmotivated and uninspired.
Personally I’m extremely passionate about self expression and through this self revelation.. Be it through writing, speaking, painting, yoga, dancing, singing, problem solving.. whatever shape or form it takes.. it is such a powerful tool for growth.
For it is through self expression that we grow. Nurturing what’s true to us and dear to our heart.
We empower ourselves
Empower our voices
Our entire BEingness
And through self expression we learn more about ourselves, reveal more of ourselves, and thus expand, grow and evolve.
For when we don’t do this. When we repress ourselves, resist who we are, what’s dear to our souls, we begin to shut down, shrivel up, we disconnect from ourselves and come to this place of dis-ease with ourselves.
Sometimes it seems easier to not express ourselves, to stay small, quiet, not too big, to not stand out.. but over time, that takes its toll.
And though it may seem scary at our first, in the long run, honest self expression is easier. there’s a feeling, of satisfaction, empowerment, self realization that comes with it. even though it may seem scary at the beginning, when we step through. it feels so damn good..
And with time, with practice
We gain experience
It becomes easier
Because we know we can do it
And we know It’s totally worth it.
So what could you do today to express yourself more fully?
It might be in the form of expressing an opinion that disagrees with somebody elses
Or it might be marching in the streets for a cause
Whatever shape or form it takes
Do not underestimate its value
And no, it’s not always easy.
But Be Brave. Be Brave. Be Brave.
What’s the worst that could happen?
And what’s the best that could happen?
And what’s the point in Being you, if you’re not going to BE you?!
The fears that hold us back. Little voices in our heads.
Who are they?
What do they say?
Where do they come from?
We all have dreams, passions, desires, inspirations, ways of BEing.. that when we're truly in our flow, when we feel good in our skin, when we truly honour ourselves.. it is no problem, following, feeling, BEing in these ways.
Yet when we're slightly off balance.. when we're not operating from our true authentic self.. when we begin to doubt, or fear... when we move away from the heart, and act from the mind...
These fears of failure, inadequacy, rejection, shame.. begin to surface. Though often irrational when we have clarity and perspective, yet when we're fully immersed in that emotion, that mindset, it's hard to see clearly.
And then again, these fears don't come from nowhere, they originally came from somewhere. A past interaction. A memory of something that happened. Or a learned habit from someone you looked up to.
So many elements make us who we are today. Who we are today is a culmination of the sum total of our interactions and experiences.
So you might say that who we are is inevitable. Which is true, yet we can have some influence on who we are to become.
And not through forcing us to be some ideolized version of ourselves, not by make ourselves be who we think we ought to be. But rather by witnessing who we are. By recognizing reactive habits when they come, by recognizing the patterns we've developed. For the simple act of noticing and witnessing allows us to recognize what is actually happening. What feels good, what doesn't, what works, and what doesn't.
The meer act of shining the light of awareness on ourselves, on the hidden automated responses we have. Bringing that which was in the darkness to surface.
This.. allows for ourselves to unravel, to unfold, to reveal, deeper, and deeper layers of our being. To reveal. More and more of who we are. To come and live more and more at ease with ourselves.
And from that we grow. And we flourish.
Those moments when we completely lose our sense of self, this sense of I seperate to the whole.
Those moments where we connect with something larger,
a sense of ease,
a sense of peace.
Perhaps immersed in nature listening to the sound of birds,
enjoying a good meal,
having a bath,
an intimate moment with a loved one,
the list goes on..
There are so many tools for BEing.
Isn't this something we all strive for?
that sense of connection,
that sense of belonging,
that sense of ease.
We get so busy sometimes, caught up in the neverending todo lists we create for ourselves.
Do Do Do, there will always be more to do, if there isn't we will find something.
We enjoy being productive, achieving, creating, whatever it is..
and there is nothing wrong with that.
Yet the value of BEing and enjoying the moment is worth so much, sometimes we forget.
a form of meditation even.
It feeds the soul,
a sense of satisfaction.
So what is it that stands in our way of BEing?
with connecting with ourselves.
taking it easy.
It's ok not to be busy all the time,
it's ok to take time off,
it's ok to enjoy yourself a little.
So how can we incorporate more of this BEing time,
these spaces of peace and ease?
Perhaps it starts with simply giving ourselves permission,
even just for 15 minutes,
15 minutes of your day
15 minutes to BE.
Life is for living,
and it goes so fast,
and in the end we all die.
So why not BE?
why not appreciate, the moment?
"Time you enjoyed wasting, is not wasted time."
To be, and to feel free.
I feel that creativity and healing are deeply intertwined,
for each time I begin a new project, a process begins:
Of letting go, and releasing the need to control.
Surpassing doubt, fear, and judgement.
Trusting that which is within,
and allowing for all that is.
Embracing all that I am.
Embracing all that we are.
When I come to the canvas, each time it's a process.
Of transformation. Release. And revelation.
My approach to painting is intuitive.
That which reveals itself can be psychedelic, experimental, visionary, or simply abstract.
To let go of preconceived of ideas of how things ought to be, and our perceived limitations.
Without goals and objectives, we open the doors for the unlimited potential that resides within.
Allowing the current to flow, and witnessing whatever comes about.
So each time I come to the canvas I let go, and I let flow.
Simply following whatever feels good, whatever feels fun, playful, nurturing.
Mark by mark each painting goes through an intricate journey of layer upon layer,
until eventually the final piece reveals itself.
It's not always easy, and it is a process, yet it teaches me so much.
It is what brings me here today.
It’s not always easy to trust, and just see what happens.
It takes releasing wanting to be in control, and really allowing yourself to be whoever you are in each moment,
knowing that no matter what happens, it’s ok.
Joy, Anger, Laughter, and sadness.
Mistakes. Experimentation. Confusion
It’s a journey that goes on, we all live it everyday.
New sensations to experience, lessons to be learned, and others to be unlearned.
It's life and it's beautiful.
Embrace the moment.
Here we go. First post on new website, how exciting! .. and a little bit daunting; but that's what new beginnings are like, aren't they?
Shedding the old, and creating space for the new to unfold.
It can be scary stepping into the unknown, out of our comfort zone. And moving beyond the little voices in your head that question, that doubt, that challenge...
"who do you think you are to be able to do this?"
"you're not good enough"
"now's not the time"
"you're not ready"
"there's so many other people better than you"
"it's already been done"
Reality check: now is always the time, and maybe the perfect moment will never come. We always have to begin somewhere, so why not begin now?
Often the fear of the idea of something, is much greater than the reality of it.
And more often than not the reality is not even remotely closely to how frightening it seemed before.
For it is when we step out of our comfort zone, and into the unknown, that we create the fertile lands for change. It's a powerful place to be. Owning our truth. And honouring it.
And I suppose it's that not knowing what exactly will come about, that being out of control, that can be a little bit daunting.
But I find consolation in remembering, that as a whole we all go through these processes time and time again. As we journey to manifest our dreams into reality. Releasing these limiting believes, and stepping beyond into our power. I recognise that it isn't always easy. But if we can share these experiences and talk about them, and realize that we are all going through these processes together. Then we can empower each other on our journeys.
So please feel free to share your journey, your obstacles, your doubts, and your victories!
and WELCOME to Love.Dream.Create.