5/17/15

who is alana davis:

maria popova ~ wow cool, smart, innovative ~ thank you for this feature:


The Heart and the Bottle: A Tender Illustrated Fable of What Happens When We Deny Our Difficult Emotions

by A gentle reminder of what we stand to lose when we lock away loss.
“Children … are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth,” E.B. White famously asserted in an interview, admonishing: “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.” And yet down we write still, deaf to White’s wisdom and to Tolkien’s insistence that there is no such thing as writing “for children” and to Gaiman’s crusade against the spiritual disservice of shielding children from difficult emotions.
Nowhere is this disservice clearer than in how we address children’s experience of life’s darkest moments, as evidenced by the minuscule the pool of intelligent and imaginative books that help kids make sense of death and loss. And nowhere is there more heartening an antidote than in The Heart and the Bottle(public library) by the inimitable Oliver Jeffers.
Jeffers tells the story of a little girl, “much like any other,” whose expansive and exuberant curiosity her father fuels by reading to her all sorts of fascinating books about the sea and the stars and the wonders of our world.
We witness the duo’s blissful explorations until, one day, we realize that the father is gone — the little girl finds herself facing the empty chair.
With exquisite subtlety and economy of words, Jeffers — whose mastery of the interplay between darkness and light extends as much to the paintbrush as it does to the psyche — silently uncorks the outpour of hollowing emotions engendered by loss.
But if grief is so disorienting and crushing an emotion for adults, how are unprepared little hearts expected to handle its weight? The little girl cannot, and so she doesn’t.
Feeling unsure, the girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place.
Just for the time being.
So she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck.
And that seemed to fix things … at first.
But as Simone Weil knew when she considered how resisting our suffering splits the psyche asunder, and as Rilke knew when he wrote that “death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love,” the little girl soon finds out that locking away the pain also locks away her capacity for love and aliveness.
Although, in truth, nothing was the same.
She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea.
She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…
One day, while walking on the beach where she had once strolled blissfully with her father, the “girl” — now a grown woman — encounters another girl still little and still filled with the boundless and buoyant curiosity that had once been hers. Suddenly, she is reminded of all she lost when she locked away loss.
So she sets out to liberate her heart from its glassy prison — but the bottle has been fortified by years of self-protection.
The bottle couldn’t be broken. It just bounced and bounced … right down to the sea.
But there, it occurred to someone smaller and still curious about the world that she might know a way.
The heart was put back where it came from. And the chair wasn’t so empty anymore.
The mind that turns ever outward
Will have no end to craving.
Only the mind turned inward
Will find a still-point of peace.
~ the Tao

Mercury Stations Retrograde at the Taurus New Moon
"Mercury will turn Retrograde tomorrow (May 18, 6:49pm Pacific), though we’ve been “in the shadow” – i.e., under the influence – since May 4. And this has felt like a particularly noticeable shadow period, replete with techno-glitches, miscommunications and mental confusion, perhaps because the Messenger God is in its home sign of Gemini. As Mercury stands still in the sky preparing to reverse directions (or appearing to, from our earthly perspective), we’re advised to do the same – to slow down, hit the pause button on our busy lives, and take time to reflect and simply BEFor the next three weeks, until June 11, Mercury Retro is ideal for turning inward, reviewing and resolving past issues, and rethinking how you want to move forward. Generally speaking, this is not the best time to launch a brand-new project or life direction. Now IS the time to back up computer data, take care of any car maintenance or repairs, and double-check all travel-related details. In Gemini, the sign that rules the mind, this Mercury Retro puts an extra emphasis on rewiring perception – we have the opportunity to release old belief systems that block us from seeing clearly in present time, and to get new and useful perspectives that can help us resolve challenging situations. We’re more likely to get these “ahas” by softening our minds, being receptive and open to intuitive insights, rather than through logical analysis or looking outside ourselves for answers.
Tonight’s New Moon in Taurus (9:14pm Pacific) is infused with the Retro vibe, meaning that, while the New Moon typically inspires a new beginning, this lunar cycle may be more about REnewing.  Here are some thoughts about how to combine these Mercury Retro/Taurus New Moon energies:
- realign with your values and priorities
- rewire your perceptions about money, security and abundance
- recommit to your creativity
- reawaken pleasure, sensuality and beauty
- reconnect with your body’s wisdom and with the Earth
- regenerate self-love and self-worth
- restore self-care practices
- release feelings of lack, scarcity and being in survival mode"
~Emily Trinkaus

5/15/15

"Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'" 
~ The Talmud

5/1/15

4/24/15

4/21/15

dear blog,
i want you to know one thing: i miss you!
huge transitional time in my life, which occupies my concentration, attention, care and creativity.
i love you.
laure

4/6/15

4/3/15

3/24/15

just
move

3/20/15

3/17/15

dear blog,
i miss you!
me

3/6/15

3/3/15

3/1/15

who is bob dylan:

There is a tendency to judge Bob Dylan, first and foremost, by his musical output and not as an artist in the widest sense, which is what he truly is. Musician, painter, draughtsman, sculptor – these disciplines are not so far removed from each other, all requiring their own imaginative input, time and practice. That Dylan, this artistic live wire, is responsible for magnificent, intriguing iron sculptures should not be a shock at all, and on reflection they are entirely of a piece with what has come before. 
Growing up in Hibbing, in an area of Minnesota known as the ‘Iron Range‘, Bob Dylan was surrounded by the influence of industry during his childhood in the region: the hulking machinery and huge workforce going to and from the mines; the truckloads of taconite rock and rust-coloured haematite ore being driven down to the port. These are the kinds of images that would tattoo themselves on to an impressionable young mind – images of a world where raw materials and man-made objects were bound by the grass roots of production. The influence of iron and nature on Bob Dylan’s youth is also the juxtaposition contained within his Gates: the material of the structures and the division of landscape that they represent. These works allow you to see what lies behind them, while at the same time barring your path – although not with a sense of confinement, but as a signifier of a change of scenery, a doorway, a symbolic entry point to a new world. With their symbolic potential, the Gates reveal a reverence for the past, for industry and agriculture of the kind now being consigned to the past in our developed world. As opposed to the relentless march of technology, the artist’s faith is still in the soil and the hand and the tool.
“I’ve been around iron all my life ever since I was a kid. I was born and raised in iron ore country – where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I’ve always worked with it in one form or another. Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference.”
~ Bob Dylan

2/27/15

Madonna returns to the cover of Rolling Stone today. Here are a few gems from the article on the subject of 
ageism:
"It's still the one area where you can totally discriminate against somebody, and talk shit. Because of their age. Only females, though. Not males. So in that respect we still live in a very sexist society. No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black or dare to say a degrading remark on Instagram about someone being gay. But my age – anybody and everybody would say something degrading to me. And I always think to myself, why is that accepted? What's the difference between that and racism, or any discrimination? They're judging me by my age. I don't understand. I'm trying to get my head around it. Because women, generally, when they reach a certain age, have accepted that they're not allowed to behave a certain way. But I don't follow the rules. I never did, and I'm not going to start." And to the suggestion that her awe-inspiring physique isn't exactly average, she retorts, "You know what? It could be the average some day! That's the thing. When I did my sex book, it wasn't the average, when I performed 'Like a Virgin' on the MTV Awards and my dress went up and my ass was showing, it was considered a total scandal. It was never the average, and now it's the average. When I did Truth or Dare and the cameras followed me around, it was not the average. So if I have to be the person who opens the door for women to believe and understand and embrace the idea that they can be sexual and look good and be as relevant in their fifties or their sixties or whatever as they were in their twenties, then so be it."

what is le catch:

Someone who is angry is someone who doesn't know how to handle their suffering. They are the first victim of their suffering, and you are actually the second victim. Once we can see this, compassion is born in our heart and anger evaporates. We don't want to punish them any more, but instead we want to say something or do something to help them suffer less.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

2/25/15

who is andrea baker:

5 ways to break the addiction to sadness
by andrea baker
I spent almost the entire month of December walking around feeling sorry for myself. I hate to admit that but it’s true. As soon as December hit, I began reminding others that I was going to be sad that month and asked them to be gentle with me. What hit me one morning, about three weeks into the month, was that I was choosing to be sad - like, actively - though not necessarily consciously choosing to be sad. Sadness is not my default setting, so it took great effort to create and sustain this emotion. Admittedly, I’d had some stressful and shitty things happen over the past few months. However, I realized within minutes of waking up that morning that I had been making a habit of being sad. I hadn’t just been reminding others that I was going to be sad that month, I had actually been reminding myself that I was supposed to be sad, too.
Here’s how it played out that morning - how a series of thoughts chain-linked to allow me to tune into the scripts that had been insidiously running through my brain: It was Sunday morning. The winter solstice. The script that is set to autoplay every year on that date reflects my love of sunshine, light, and summer… and my fear and loathing of the dark days. That one was already running when I woke up. Then I immediately hit the start button on the track that was freshly laid down Friday evening when I got a wound-opening and heart-lacerating message from someone who had once been a huge and lovely part of my life. Next, I began to gradually mix in the track in my head that had been reminding me that Christmas was just four days away and that I was not going to be spending it with my family.
I was sincerely convinced that all of this sadness was real. I was preparing to spend the morning under my covers journaling it all out and chronicling the heaviness of my heart. By the time I opened my blinds to see the sun shining, started the coffee, turned the lights on in my little Christmas tree, and made my way back to my room, I was smiling and singing Blondie’s Dreaming. It’s just what happened. Then the voices in my head got super irritated with me. They loudly and unequivocally reminded me that I wasn’t supposed to be smiling and singing. Obviously they won that round of the argument because I suddenly heard the gloomy triple track mix that I had been listening to earlier. It drowned out Debbie Harry, and I felt drained of energy. Unfortunately for the voices, they came in too heavy. I was suddenly too tired to write out my world is too much with me late and soon list of woes. Instead, I started flipping through my Instagram feed in search of suitable distraction. I locked on to a post about the solstice. Instead of focusing on the day’s lack of all that is light and bright, the post issued a reminder: “Be a leader with honor and integrity. Be bold. Be courageous. You want to breathe deeply. Ground and center yourself before taking action. Then you can move from your heart.” Then the author quoted Mandela and said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
What? Choose hope, not fear? Like, actually choose it? The trifecta of soul-sucking tracks in my head suddenly stopped. It seems so obvious now, but it was a completely revolutionary moment for me - a full-on legitimate miracle. In an instant, I realized how hard I had been working to prevent myself from choosing hope. Instead, I had been choosing to manufacture sadness and its evil cousins (loneliness, anxiety, fear, resentment, jealousy). It was exhausting. The second I read that quote, my head cleared and I felt settled and, yup, even happy. More myself. It’s like the auto-hypnosis I had been under suddenly broke.
I did end up journaling, but it wasn’t a macabre list of malcontent. Instead it turned into a record of counterpoint evidence as to why my sadness wasn’t real. It had been fabricated, and choosing it had become nothing more than a bad habit. To be clear, I knew I would miss my family during holiday season and I was sincerely hurt by the message I received Friday evening. And everyone knows that I am a full-on summer girl who can’t grasp how anyone could ever choose winter as their favorite season. So the sadness associated with those things was real. However, I had been giving it way too much power and energy, way too much space in my head. The things in my life for which I was (am) grateful far outweigh all of the other stuff. I know I have written these lists before (eventually I will know them all by heart), but here are a few of the things that helped me that day. These are things I recommend trying whenever you catch yourself making choices based on sadness (or fear, etc.) instead of hope:
GratitudeThe list of things for which I am grateful each and every week easily fills pages in my journal. So, do it! Write out the things (big and small, temporary and enduring) for which you are grateful.
MusicMusic always helps me. In addition to Blondie, Joel Thomas Hynes’ new song Livingstone and Lime was in regular rotation as I moved through my day today. If you combine music with dancing, it’s almost impossible to be sad.
ExerciseJust move. Do something: sweat, get the endorphins flowing.       Pick The Good PeopleI know there are a million inspirational quotes floating around cyberspace right now about not wasting time on the people who don’t treat you well but it sometimes takes a long time for that to sink in (especially when you are an optimist at heart and truly believe that love changes the world). I realized that day that I needed to let go of (like, truly let go of) someone who was no longer bringing positive energy to my life. It’s a hard thing for me to do.
Always Take The High RoadBe brave and kind, but know that taking the high road doesn’t always mean letting things pass unanswered. Sometimes the high road involves standing up for yourself. Sometimes it involves saying things to set the record straight.
If all of that fails, eat chocolate and watch Elf. That was going to be my Plan B that day.

2/21/15

bring your breath to life this march:

"There is a way of breathing
That is a shame and a suffocation
And there is another kind of breath, a love breath,
That opens you infinitely."
Rumi

The Living Breath with Margaret Townsend ... Bring your Breath to Life
Learn how to use your breath to access relaxation, vitality, present moment awareness, inner peace and outer harmony.

In this Renewal Workshop, you will learn:
* how to become more mindful of "how" and "why" you breathe the way you do
* breathing techniques that will free your mind and relax your body
* the emotion/breath connection
* how facilitated breathwork is a powerful way to reduce stress/anxiety/mental overload

Saturday, March 7, 2015 
1:00 - 4:00 pm
$55
Full Day Renewal Special
Stretch Appeal ~ soft
11:30 - 12:30
$65
space is limited ~ reserve now:
2. 503-780 -4964 (text or call)

Margaret Townsend has been practicing as a certified breathwork facilitator since 1993 and is also a certified Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy practitioner. Her focus on body awareness grew through her work as a Shiatsu and Reiki practitioner and a teacher of dance, yoga and fitness for over 30 years. Margaret brings a wide range of experience to her individual and group sessions including her studies in Qi Gong, Nonviolent Communication and spiritual practices.

2/18/15

patti smith talks:

What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
"The thing that bothered me the most was when I had to return to the public eye in ’95 or ’96 when my husband died. We lived a very simple lifestyle in a more reclusive way in which he was king of our domain. I don’t drive, I didn’t have much of an income, and without him, I had to find a way of making a living. Besides working in a bookstore, the only thing I knew how to do was to make records—or to write poetry, which isn’t going to help put your kids through school. But when I started doing interviews, people kept saying “Well, you didn’t do anything in the 80s,” and I just want to get Elvis Presley’s gun out and shoot the television out of their soul. How could you say that? The conceit of people, to think that if they’re not reading about you in a newspaper or magazine, then you’re not doing anything. I’m not a celebrity, I’m a worker. I’ve always worked. I was working before people read anything about me, and the day they stopped reading about me, I was doing even more work. And the idea that if you’re a mother, you’re not doing anything—it’s the hardest job there is, being a mother or father requires great sacrifice, discipline, selflessness, and to think that we weren’t doing anything while we were raising a son or daughter is appalling. It makes me understand why some human beings question their worth if they’re not making a huge amount of money or aren’t famous, and that’s not right."
(painting by me)

2/17/15

You're an artist when you say you are. 
And you're a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.
~ Amanda Palmer
(photo: my sister's sheet ~ NYC)
The Sweetness of Dogs
by Mary Oliver
What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go
and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself
thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.

2/16/15

This is Bobbie Sue as a baby ...
I received this photo today from the mama that raised her until she was two years old, before she became my baby.
She died on September 2, 2014, just five months and 14 days ago.
I miss her so much that tears still stream at the thought that I will never see her again. We connected on such a deep, soulful level; now she shows up by dropping her framed photo after I touch the box that holds her ashes.
I still think I hear her running down the hall or waiting for me outside of my closed-door bathroom.
She was the most trusted friend I have ever had.
True Love.
An amazing experience!