This one here is a little tricky. You have to keep the rope to the inside of the knees and ankles and squeeze towards the middle. This is when it really helps to have a butt, the bigger the better. I find it demands a lot of trust in my abilities as it feels as if I could slip off at any moment. However, this is exactly what makes it such a great technique to practice as it is this very quality that enables me to descend into handstand. I'll talk about this and demonstrate it in another post.
In his article HYPNOSIS AND MEDITATION, which appeared in the Dec. 2009 issue of the JOURNAL OF HYPNOTISM, Philip H. Farber, CH introduced me to the concept of a "default network" — a set of neurological processes — of the brain. He says that when your brain is not occupied with conscious activity the default network kicks in with random activity (stories, daydreams, memories etc). As I understand it, if we don't fuel the flames of the story (and its attendant thoughts, emotions, judgment, drama, fear etc) or try to push the story away, it will "flash off" like steam from a boiling kettle and be replaced by others. Over time the stories will diminish and calm mind will break through with greater frequency.
In this blog entry of MENGSTUPIDITIS, Chade-meng Tan states that when we stop agitating the mind it becomes calm and clear and happiness is revealed as the default state of the mind. Deepak Choprah is in agreement and adds that we can't just will ourselves to be happy. We must work to let go of the "baggage" (aka karma) that we've accumulated in this life as well as past ones, attain a calm mind through meditation practice and then we will discover that happiness resides underneath all. Nothing can make me happy; happiness just is.
Throughout my lomi training and in the works of Abraham channeled by Esther Hicks the concept that happiness is our birthright was oft repeated. Some people are blessed with having a naturally happy and optimistic nature. Perhaps, subconsciously, they recognize more often than most, when they can choose between sadness and happiness and choose the latter. It has been proven that these fortunate types experience more success in their lives. Their success doesn't make them happy, rather their happiness draws successful outcomes to them.
Much of my meditation practice is spent observing thoughts, emotions and sensations as they pass through my mind while maintaining the non-judgmental stance of the observer. If I stop agitating the mind I witness the movement of energy in my brain as the default network of the brain in action; then I can discern when the default has gotten stuck on a thought or emotion, indicating in all probability that karma is affecting my present situation and actions.
But just how does one let go of this stuff? Emotions and thoughts can be explored through journalling, inquiry and reality checking, while: dream work, shamanic journeying and spiritual/energy based body work such as Lomi bypass the conscious mind and clear the way for resolution on other levels.
Lately, due to my virtually daily viewing of FIFA World Cup soccer, my default seems to be set on the sound of Vuvuzela's. It is said that if one was to go out into deep space, where there is no external sound at all, the universal hum of "OM" could be detected; the sound underlying all. Well, it feels like I'm actually hearing the Vuvuzela's as they are being played; that I'm connected to the world wide buzz of humanity.
Ah ha, maybe that's why the wasp has been attracted to our house and has been building its nest outside our door!
Yup, I'm not proud to admit that this really happened. Within the time span of a few clicks of the remote my emotions travelled from superiority to envy and returned to rest in the more comfortable superiority — and I didn't have to do a thing but lift a finger.
I was watching TV when I saw this item in a newsmagazine about a young woman who was helping save Jaguars in some country and realized that she was in fact the sister of a woman I went to school with from kindergarten to grade 13. I don't know, the fact that she was someone who had an upbringing not unlike my own touched something in me wiped out any accomplishments I'd achieved and made me wistful for paths not taken. Here she was making a real contribution to the world and living this exciting life and here I was in channel surfing in suburbia. Where had I gone wrong?
The actions of these 2 women had no real bearing on my life and actions, I remained on the couch a non-involved observer of life. Though, in truth, someone's failure to attain excellence doesn't make me successful any more than someone's excellence makes me a failure but I catch myself in this mind trap on occasion.
I've often wondered why the media often creates, falls from grace of successful and powerful individuals with such relish. One minute you're the golden child and then next a pariah. Is it because we find it difficult to truly celebrate the success of others without feeling it somehow reflects badly on us and in our hearts their fall assures our superiority? Is it because, underlying admiration, envy and remorse always exists? Is it because it's easier to witness someone's fall than it is to strive for grace ourselves? What makes us say, "it looks good on ya"?
This post was prompted by watching the media frenzy that's been growing around Abby Sunderland and her family. I have a new appreciation for the social media of blogging and facebook as through these mediums you can get the perspective and truth straight from the horse's mouth. Check it out at ABBY'S BLOGand on her facebook.
This is a little blogging test piece, which just happens to continue the theme of yesterday's post, only this time it is result of drawing a plant in a planter instead of planting a plant in a planter.
It was a sunny wintery day that January 10th, 2007 sometime before or after lunchtime (I try to avoid going to any place at noon, too crowded) at CJ's Cafe in Bronte (please people, pronounced Bron tea NOT Bron ta-a-y). I was taking a break between clients - I sometimes just have to get out of the home office and go to where something is going on outside of inside of my head — when I got the urge to just draw something.
I hadn't drawn in a long, long while but did have my small, black, hard cover, sketch book with me and a crummy little ball point pen (the kind you get in packs of 30 or so). I really enjoy the tactile, kinaesthetic feeling of drawing; it gives me indescribable pleasure and I can get lost in it forever.
My favourite thing to draw is the nude figure, but, as it was unlikely that anyone would happen by and be inspired to strip off then and there, I had to make do with this plant that was sitting atop the counter near a mirror.
So, there I sat drawing to my heart's content, for just how long I don't know...
That was going to be all I was going to write but Rod and I are in the den. I'm writing this post and he's mucking about on Youtube, playing some Willie Nelson songs. He just said, "Oh, did you know that Willie Nelson died?"
Well, now I love Willie. We'd just seen him on TV just a few weeks ago on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS (?) and I'd recently read that he cut his hair because he has a problem with his rotator cuff and he found it too difficult to wash his waist length hair. Having once had hair below my butt, I can relate.
Anyway, distracted though I was, I'm a little taken aback to hear this. "Get out, really?"
And Rod says, "yup, he was playing on the road again."
That doesn't make any sense at all. I'm still partly focused on writing about the drawing and writing affects me much the same way drawing does, I get lost in it. Don't talk to me and don't ask me to engage you in conversation cus you'll get "ums and ahs" and nods if you want them. I'll agree with you, probably even make plans to do things, anything just to keep you satisfied and allow me to keep doing what I'm doing, but really it's like talking with a sleep walker and I probably won't look you in the eyes. So you really need to keep knockin'.
"He was playing on the road again...WILLIE DIED CUS HE WAS PLAYING ON THE ROAD AGAIN."
(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1983, all rights reserved)
(to enlarge click on image)
I've been playing around with the yoga ropes which prompted me to post this cartoon. I feel very at home being upside down and maybe this is the reason why...
The family room at 139 was the place where we all hung out. Since there was usually multiple activities going on at once in this room it was also the place where I learned to shut out everything going on around me and concentrate. It was also where I did my yoga practice, but, when I was 12 it was where I practiced gymnastics and where my younger brother, Nor, and I invented leg wrestling.
* * *
It is the much simpler time of my youth. In my memory, two children's figures appear. They are in their parents' family room, in headstand, side by side, facing opposite directions. Each entwines the leg nearest the other's. They pull and tug at the other's leg.
Their mother, watching from the vantage point of her favourite chair, winces in fear of seeing bones broken, and must return her attention to the newspaper in her hands.
"It's good for them," the father says, passing off all thought of possible harm; after all, children are resilient beings. He returns his attention to the TV just out of range of the combatants.
Finally, there is the dull thump of a roll well executed, followed by children's laughs of delight which threaten to topple the victorious figure remaining in headstand. The challenger returns to headstand in a brief, effortless move and the game begins again and again.
* * *
The cartoon and a version of that story were originally published in the Yoga Centre of Victoria Newsletter (I don't have the issue date, but it would have been in 1983) after my participation in a workshop led by Aadil Palkhivala. In the workshop we performed yoga asanas while standing on blocks. Later this evolved into walking a course of blocks set on their sides and ends placed at varying distances and angles, spanning the width of the room. Although this was hard work, devised to explore the nature of balance, it was also fun for the former gymnast in me.
As I wrote further on in the article:
* * *
"This (working on the blocks) sensitized our feet -- the foundation -- revealed our centre to be around the area of the hara (a little lower for women than men) and demanded that we draw attention away from the front brain, bringing it more to the root of balance located between the ears, producing a feeling of calm...Physical balance seems to be situated in, and released, through the core of our being, and true enough, when we are emotionally and mentally balanced, we say we are 'centred'.
As I walked the blocks I felt as a child, and as I watched the others walk I saw the child contained within each. Now, remembering the workshop, I recall the balancing game of leg wrestling invented by my brother Nor and I.
Being mature adults, Nor and I no longer leg wrestle. It is no longer my brother "pulling my leg" to get me off balance, but my approach to life, its circumstances and my own seriousness about myself."
Tonight, Rod and I were enjoying of a lovely tilapia, baked potato and asparagus dinner, in our dimly lit dining area, while watching Rick Mercer, when suddenly Flippy ejected out of her kitty litter box (Pic is of the kitties cute "throne room" that Rod built into the wall at the end of the dining area, conveniently accessed through the garage for easy cleaning.) like something shot out of a cannon.
She flew past us almost hitting the glass sliding doors at the far end of the room before executing a one eighty, flying past us again on her trajectory out the room, down the hall and up the stairs.
For a brief moment I thought umm something's up her ass, maybe you should check up on her.
But, she's a cat, what can be the big deal? Probably got a case of leprosy. And so, without missing a beat, we continued eating.
So, I'm up here in the den checking out other peoples' blogs when Rod comes into the room. "Boy, somethin' doesn't smell right up here" he says.
Rod, of all people, notices something smelling bad, unheard of.
I have to say this is a first especially since I don't smell it. He says, "It smells like someone's had a dump." Immediately I know where to look. Aaargh, sure enough Poopy Butt Girl has struck again, depositing a gloppy, blob of diarrhea on my freshly changed duvet.
As I'm heading down the stairs on my way to the laundry room with duvet in hand I catch a whiff of poo as she runs past me in the other direction, no doubt to eager to rub the cling-ons (neologism: bits of poo stuck to someone's butt) on to my futon.
I throw her into the clink (the upstairs bathroom) so that she might consider the severity of her crimes against humanity and have a chance to clean her butt as penance, but, when I come to check on her, she shows no sense of remorse and has declined to tend to the matter.
Is she the cat's ass? A term described in the urban dictionary as: "A person, thing or event to be held in high regard. From the meticulous treatment and devotional attention a feline bestows on its hindquarters." Hah, no!
Does she have a cat's ass? Yes, but now it's sporting a summer butt clip.
Peering into the coffin during a visitation, six-year-old Daniel was admiring the new suit his deceased grandfather was wearing. No matter what the occasion Daniel had only ever seen "farmer Joe", much to his family's consternation, dressed in well worn, weathered, permanently stained work clothes.
Daniel turns to his mother and says innocently, "Wasn't it nice of grandpa to get dressed up to die."
Totally true and dialogue is verbatim
This was told to me, years after the fact, by Daniel's mother.
Although I don't know the circumstances around Daniel's grandpa's death, I love that it wouldn't dawn on this sweet, guileless kid that someone would dress his grandfather after he was dead. After all, as every kid knows, grown ups dress themselves — don't they?
To Jan, Di, Pam (since we referred to this incidence repeatedly throughout the day) and to the other members of the COUNCIL OF THE SLEEPOVER who couldn't go on our outing today, this cartoon memory is for you.
How lucky I am to have spent a glorious day, the sun was shining and the weather warm with a gentle breeze, 20 years after drawing this cartoon, checking out the town of Jordan: eating, shopping and hanging out with 3 other council members and life-long friends.
Lunch was at Zooma Zooma Cafe where I enjoyed a delicious crab and lobster wrap and a glass of local white unoaked Chardonnay wine!
STITCH a lovely knitting and quilting shop was loaded with delicious yarns in every colour and blend offered at 20% off, we couldn't resist and all came away with materials for our next knitting projects. We soaked in the ambiance of their homey living room/knitting area drinking iced tea and munching cookies. Di isn't a knitter (yet) so I will knit up a scarf for her in exchange for the amber jewellery she gifted me with during her impromptu "give away" earlier this morning (Sat morning). And, though it felt like it, I'm pretty sure today wasn't my birthday.
The sales ladies at SANTA-FE LIFESTYLES stayed w-a-a-a-y beyond closing time, indulging us, as we tried on pretty much every item in the store, mixing and matching tops, scarves, necklaces and shoes. They pulled out their smallest sizes for me, which to my surprise fit! So today instead of CD's or books (consolation purchases I usually resort to when I find everything's usually too big) - I came home with a sheer jacket.
We ended the outing at the local ice cream shop called Toute Sweet— where they blend your choice of ice cream with any number of chopped up treats ranging from baked goods to chocolate bars, nuts or fruit, although I enjoyed my choice of delicate honey lavender ice cream, unadorned.
There was no sleep over tonight, we will save that for another time, as we all had to scatter in our different directions tomorrow, but we reminisced about that gathering 20 years ago and talked about family and the future over a cup of coffee at Di's before heading out.
Thanks Di, for being our gracious hostess and chauffeur and showing us the local delights. Thanks Jan and Pam for the lift and the pleasure of your company too! And, thanks to the powers that be for blessing me with these wonderful friends. I wish you all have such good fortune.