Saturday, June 30, 2012

Changes Confirmed

Today's event got turned inside out when 80 mph winds blew all the tents down. This is not the first time that I have participated in an outdoor festival that was brought to a halt before the day was half over.

Weird the way it works sometimes. The air is quiet, the sun is out, maybe a little breeze. Then all of a sudden a powerful wind kicks up, knocks everything down, breaking things, tearing things up, then just as fast as it came, it's over.

Problem is when you are in a festival like that, you just have to write off your investment for the day, and if you have a tent or goods that are ruined, the total for the day dips into more of a loss.

A couple years ago, I took almost all outdoor festivals off my schedule, then this year, I thought I would try a few different ones. Still have to try new ideas sometimes.

I enjoy doing festivals because I like meeting new people and sometimes you get a bonus thrown in if there are great musicians playing.

I will continue to participate in festivals, but for the most part, they will be indoor events.

However, I am continuing to focus my attention on developing the private aspect of my practice working with individuals who would like to do more in depth work than we can do at festivals.

It is very satisfying to work with someone who wants to create change in their lives and observe what happens after that is done. It is satisfying to teach someone and then see them put those lessons to work. Or to see the healing take effect.

I continue to affirm the private sessions as the principal focus of my work today and tomorrow and for the times ahead. Life is good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Heat Relief

Perfect time for cold infusions. Just put some herbs into a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, and as the water cools, the herbs steep, and in a little while you have a very refreshing herbal ice tea. Couldn't be any simpler.

Lots of herbs you would not usually think of make a great tea, like basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, as well as the mints, lemon balm and chamomile. Add a little zest from citrus fruits to jazz it up. That's been a tremendous help to me during this heat wave.

Those herbs you are growing in your garden that you plan on using for cooking plus the ones you are planning on using for medicinal purposes are all good candidates for cool tea.

Just use your imagination and ingest the healing benefits of herbs along with your water. For example, if headaches or arthritis bother you, try blending equal amounts of feverfew with black tea, and if you are so inclined, add a little bit of orange peel.

A little creativity can bring a lot of relief, and you don't even have to boil a pot of water. Try some cool, soothing relief from this heat. It will be ready when you are.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wondering About Fires & Water

The forest fires must bew a factor in the heat wave we are having. How could they not be? People can smell the smoke in the air even if they cannot see it.

There have been so many fires out here in recent years that it seems like they are a regular feature of the summer months.

Tonight it sprinkled just a little bit. Probably everyone in the region would love to see a big downpour right now. I wonder why they don't seed the clouds to make it rain?

I wouldn't normally recommend it, but in an extreme situation like this, it would seem like a solution.

Of course, I am just a free thinker. I also wonder why coastal cities like LA don't built plants to take the salt out of sea water so that it can be used. It is something they do in other countries. That way they would not need to draw water from the Colorado River. Makes sense to me. Why haven't the people who run the states worked on solutions like this?

If enough people ask these kinds of questions, maybe something will change.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are You Contained in Your Body?

No, we are not contained in our bodies. When we are feeling really good, our aura reaches out and touches those near us, even when they are not that near. That's why some people light up a room when they walk in.

Physically, yes, we are here. We are consciously moving our bodies. And when we are flying along with new ideas and we are excited about what we are doing, and we are looking forward to what we have to do today, our bodies are not containing our whole beings.

Well, they never really are, it's just that sometimes it feels like it all fits in, like when we may be a little down or withdrawn or disappointed, we are not expanding out into the universe. There is no joy emanating from us to other people in the room. There is no lightness or levity in our interactions. At these times, when we have pulled our energy in, maybe our energy body does fit within the parameters of our physical bodies.

I have measured this and tested it on many people, and it always shows up. Be aware then, that your thoughts project physically out and around us and they do affect how others interact with us in a real way.

If you have not given this much thought until now, try it and see.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Beginner's Mind

Zen embraces the concept of beginner's mind as an attitude of openness, eagerness and a lack of preconceptions as not only a great way to learn, but a necessary way to learn.

Of course, we offer value to others when we have some expertise or ability to share, which comes from having studied and practiced until we have accomplishments under our belt.

At the same time, I have found that being a beginner at something keeps me fresh and enlivens all the other things I do, even the things I am already good at.

It could be something simple, like learning a new dance, cultivating a new plant in the garden or it could be some kind work that I have not done before.

Beginner's mind can be a useful habit to cultivate to keep yourself fresh. If there is something that you find interesting, try it. If you don't like it, you can quit. If you do like it, you can keep it in your schedule.

Even a little bit of beginner's mind lets a lot of air and light in to keep us alert and feed our consciousness to a higher level.

What is it that you have been curious about that you have not tried yet? Why not try it now? If someone offers you an opportunity, even if it is not one you were looking for or planning on, what would happen if you said yes?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ray Bradbury and Our Future

You may have already been aware that Ray Bradbury died last week at 91. There are several amazing aspects of Ray Bradbury's amazing career that are worth noting.

How about the fact that he was a prolific writer all the way to the end? He claimed that in his entire life, he never got writer's block. He was well known and loved as the author of Farenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and many other books.

One of his less famous titles that can be helpful to any writer is his book Zen and the Art of Writing. A key point that he makes in there is that the things that tick you off can be just as much a source of inspired writing as the things that you love. And that was one of the dynamics that he claimed kept him from getting stuck. If you can name one thing that you love or one thing that you hate, you have a starting point.

Curiosity always leads me to learn what I want to learn and Bradbury was the same way. He never finished school, but made great use of the public libraries to learn what he wanted to learn, and later in life, he became a fundraiser for public libraries.

Finally, consider this. When we were younger, most of us thought that 91 was incredibly old. But here was a brilliant example of a person who was brilliant and active all the way to that age.

Bradbury will continue to inspire readers on many levels for a long time to come, whether it is his beautiful writing style that opened new territory for many sci-fi writers, the ideas contained within his writing, or simply the fact that he was able to do it until the day his body gave out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chop Wood and Dance with a Partner

I spent this afternoon chopping firewood for my sister. This is one of those tasks that has a beautiful rhythm to it. Once you get into that rhythm, all of a sudden you have a cord of wood.

There is an old saying that some of you may be familiar with. It goes like this. "What do you do before enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water. What do you do after enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water."

Simple tasks like this are rewarding in a couple of ways. For one, you can see the direct result of your effort. The other is that the simple repetitious movements require you to pay attention to what you are doing, yet that very simplicity allows you to empty your mind of chatter. You have one simple focus: chopping wood. Other thoughts just drop off the radar. It is calming in that way.

So after chopping wood, I cleaned up and went contra dancing this evening. Another simple pleasure. For those hours, I was not doing anything but dancing and appreciating all the other people who were there to dance with. There was just the joy of the music and the movement, and nothing more. It was enough.

Sometimes enlightenment comes in simple packages. It can mean a lightening of our load. Just doing what is in front of us to do and getting satisfaction from that. Focusing is a good lesson. When we focus on cutting the wood, then we provide ourselves with something useful and our focus prevents us from hurting ourselves.

It is when we do not pay attention that we hurt ourselves. I notice the same thing in dancing. When we try and carry on conversations and take our minds off what we are doing, we can fall out of the groove of the dance. We lose our place and get lost, forgetting which way to go next. And when we just pay attention to the dance you feel good, your partners are happy, you are happy and the dance is a pleasure.

Just focus on what is in front of you to do, and everything gets done in good order and everyone is satisfied. So one definition of enlightenment is that you are able to get more joy out of those things that you choose to do and that brings lightness to our lives.

Chopping wood can lead to enlightenment. Dancing with a partner can lead to enlightenment. The path is not always mysterious, although our simple actions can have profound consequences. There are many paths to enlightenment. This is part of it for me. What is it for you?