Presence and mindfulness

The thing is, humans still have bodies. Fun fact right? And so as long as we have bodies, we can pay attention to them and learn the messages we can gain from our actual felt and sensed experience. So what’s the catch with all the recent years talks and best sellers about mindfulness. (check out this great article on this really cool website) As long as someone has a computer, a computer in their pocket or purse disguised under the name of phone or some kind of futuristic sounding b0t, people already tend to be in their mind. Are they actively engaged? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t really matter, because the blood and lymph and life juice of that body is hanging around the head a whole lot more than other parts of the body. Ok, so it’s not really that basic or literal as standing on your head for an hour to turn your face so red you pass out, but the point is people are often easily out of touch with their bodies in the first place. What else puts people in their heads and out of touch? Fear. Most people, reasonably speaking here, want to live. Depending on the person, it may not take a whole lot to turn a person over to hypervigilence, particularly if that person has had any kind of traumatic experience in their life. Trauma is far more common than we might think. And I’m not referring to embarrassment or temporary confusion that can lead to life difficulties, like not getting what you want (bum bum bum!) but physical and/or emotional trauma. Physical trauma often receiving the focus, and then emotional trauma, a trauma that may been more difficult to access for the means of perceiving such are not as direct and requiring a trained and critical approach. Still, neither are to diminish the other, trauma is not a this or that sort of thing, but as I have preferred to learn things, on a spectrum, and to which areas in that spectrum are functional, navigable, and sustainable versus dysfunctional, immobile and degenerative.

Think about how popular meditation, yoga, massage, and alternative medicine are becoming in the U.S and Europe. What culture would be best suited to developing functional resources to help people ease pain, relax, destress, than cultures where oppressive tyrrany and obsessive rules were the norm for the mass bodies of peoples. Sure life might have seemed amazing for the rulers since they lived in such a different way and ensuring their post in command to be protected, so as long as the rulers were not among the rest-people doing the work to keep life going. I do find it a bit easy to presume life was just peachy for such ruling folk? My imagination doesn’t come up with roses and sunshines when I picture what would motivate an individual or group of people to demand another body to enslave itself for some proclaimed higher good or moral order. And so now there are machines and conveniences that keep life going along, and then more tasks can be done in the same amount of time, and more people can enjoy a lifestyle like those who didn’t have to do the work of staying alive. It’s not an uncommon phrase for people to describe feeling like a cog. A cog to what, churning what machine? The body itself is not a machine. Perhaps through a metaphor, but not in the least an accurate description. The body is more biological, which though we have research pointing to knowing more, it’s all still pretty mysterious in terms of applying knowledge in a functional form. And this is the disjoint that I have come to witness in forms of medicine. Traditional Western medicine practices are demonstrative of the embodiment of a function of understating rooted in mechanics, situated in the mind through pathology. Traditional Chinese medicine practices are rooted in long term observation with simple means, situation in a framework of metaphor and literal attunement to nature cycles. And how many remember the facts from their high school math test versus those who can remember their favourite book or movie? The ability for humans to comprehend and integrate stories (and myths) often employing metaphor and examples gleaned from observation seems almost built right in. Of course there are some minds attuned to numbers and systems, I simply seek to emphasise the value of some of the functional resources humans have at hand.

In mindful practices, and sometimes in the academic practices, throw the word nature into the conversation and quite often people go on spin cycle with language and reasoning. All kind of emotional hot buttons can be triggered, cycled and compared, combativeness and basically any kind of form of discussion about nature becomes shut down unless it agrees to disagree or can concede how constructed nature as an idea is, regardless of its concrete implications on reality. In short, it just doesn’t make sense because it is in the mind. A sort of complex constructed and then contracted out to the ways in which people employ to keep life humming along the way they have been accustomed, by my understanding, since around the 1940’s and probably a lot earlier. (I never feel like I have all the information.) As much as things have changed, on a mass scale, I remain immensely skeptical. And so an act of presence can be something like observing a moment in a body, fulling engaging focus on a physical experience, not mediated by a device, or meditated by a device, but focusing on the sense of presence. Making art is a tremendous act of presence, available to anyone. (Don’t be tricked to thinking you need a special anything to create.) What other kind of activity can you conjur that returns direct sensory feedback? All kinds, not art alone, of course. For the sake of an example here’s a simple breakdown of a creative process: impulse or idea –> execution through materials –> review of what came to be …and here you can see how conceptualism became popular. Isolate an idea and see what comes from that. Ok. Crickets…now what? Well all kinds of other creative things, sell it, sit on it, destroy it, make something else out of it, and so on. Creating can really service humans in so many ways. And so when it comes to nature, I have really learned a lot about creating by observing nature. And its been far more lasting and sustainable than anything I cooked up in my mind. For what seems like nature exists in reality and whatever is in my head is not. It can be, but we have a lot of history showing not all ideas are experienced to create a wellbeing for life.

Keep in mind (oh hey now!) turning attention to the body is not some kind of anti-intellectualism. That kind of critique is way to simple, if you ask me. The point is to turn the attention toward the body, toward the function of the nervous system, emotions, the feeling and sense, for in doing so we may approach something that can provide all kinds of enlivening experiences. The thing is, they may likely not all be pleasant and cheese! smile for the camera! (also developed during the aforementioned time, since the last time a big change happened in North American and European society. Remember all these relaxing and alternative medicines were birthed out of deeply traumatising situations for people. This is not an element to discredit or be afraid, but simply realise a life of following a program, of complacency, of vague unease is not a life, lived at all. And a lot of people realise that and might be really scared to do anything at all. And that’s ok. Each person gets a life of their own to make choices on and for. For those that want life, to feel life deeply, to be present (and not in this be here now, perpetual state of singular beingness bullcrap which is offensive in that it coerces and individual to be forceful with themselves when feeling anything but wonderful and butterflies) but to go ahead and live, then getting down into the wisdom of the body and seeing what develops from there seems to be the ticket to a deep experience of life. An experience that, quite frankly, cannot be bought. Another post, and until next time. Thanks for your attention, and I look forward to your comments and future conversations. Tea or coffee? Here’s a fun internet meme:


Demystifying: Unconscious and Consciousness

In our Internet times, quotes are traded phrases, a designed currency to inspire you! Or wait…are they distractions, or worse, confusions? The flowing stream of orders to make you smarter, better, more interesting-as if there was something you had missed along the way, some profound insight or complex order of the world. One of the topics of growing interest revolves around the word consciousness, and its scary rival twin, unconsciousness. Nothing wrong with these words. But if you find yourself wondering WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, let`s take a look.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl Jung

Good one Mr. Jung. While Jung`s contributions and insights thankfully countered some of Freud`s fixations, the wording here can lend itself to a bit of confusion. Consciousness deals with philosophy of the mind, which in daily life can seem pretty nebulous, fast. The mind has all kinds of ways to be interpreted, understood…misunderstood. And the social media`s world of possibility and popularity of interests lends itself to a quick construction of fuzzy, feel-good aura around smart things, dead guys have said. These stories, or ideas, are told over and over, and without much consideration, can quickly become lies and confusions we spread around.

Let`s take a look at another way to say what Jung was saying in words you can touch and feel:

“When past traumas lie buried within, then they will excavate themselves in every life situation. When traumas past are transformed into fertilizer, you become the primary creative force in your life.“ 

Now you have pointers directly to recalling a time you felt hurt, injured, either physically or emotionally. You probably also know fertilizer has a strong smell. These things are in your unconsciousness until you bring them to your direct experience now-which you can call your consciousness. You probably don`t want to consciously conjure up pain or poo stink, so it`s definitely ok to leave those back in your unconsciousness sometime. The point is painful stuff, challenges, can be opportunities for sorting out what is important to you, what matters, and let yourself be in whatever state you are, without any far reach for higherness, betterment, or any kind of comparison at all. On the flipside, you can pretend like everything is hunky dory when it does not feel that way, and there you have stuff that hurt, getting stuck inside while the pretty show goes on outside. And fertilizer without something to grow is just plain ol poop. All this talk about unconscious and conscious are things as simple as being aware of what has happened, where you are, the reality of your situation, what you want, and while there might be some not so pleasant things between where you are and where you want to go, you don`t have to be afraid of some scary unconsciousness entity biting you in the butt. Rather, you may go about life, your business of creating what you want. Plain and simple. Like dirt. Dirt without chemicals. Yes, that`s a whole nuther topic. So for now, let`s leave it at dirt, and stuff you can touch and feel, and remember internet quotes are probably more useful translated into something tangible, otherwise, leave `em in the dust.

Real Love

Real love. Self love. True love.

There is no shortage of phrases about love. And the meaning of love, tied to deeply different meanings per culture. You’ll find no one dashing to the street proclaiming, DAMMIT! WHERE IS ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT LOVE?! No, we have plenty, and we are sure to have only more. Since you’ve got an important book reading list to tend to, let’s keep this one short.

In the culture of Internet, that vast differences seem to have neatly come together as a web, curated to a specific meaning, as a means of creating coherence out of difference.

Love, on its own is deeply complex, beautiful, enriching, maddening, fruitful experience, learning, all kinds of experiences are born out of love, or are claimed by the name of love.

But Self Love, the newly branded love of the internet has a perky ring to it but an insidious interior side to it’s lining.

Let’s look a coat as a metaphor. You build a lavish garment of quality materials, delightful with just the right amount adornment so as not to appear to garish and not to have tried too little, perfected the seams, and used only the best quality materials. Then you turn the damn thing inside out, and the interior other side gets an all-weather, cloak in whatever fabric you had laying around. And that’s your exterior. That’s the gift you bestow to the world. The rugged, I can handle it, all-weather, utility cover. All the love, went-inside.

Self-love sounds good in theory for the wounded, the people who actually have feelings and empathy for the suffering in the world. And it’s a way to pep-talk ourselves into feeling better instead of experiencing other kind of feelings that can be informative. Informative to your life. To use another metaphor, your feelings as a subway map. Pretending all the coloured routes will get you to where you are going, you say, oh, all the feelings are just the same, and end up going east when you really needed to go west. Your feelings, as a compass get the one-colour-fits-all treatment. It’s a subtle trick and a trap you end up walking yourself into. Help! I’m stuck in the closet of sameness, and I can’t get out!

You can though, there’s a door, that opens from the inside to the out, and offers a messier look at love that doesn’t involve getting all mirror-obsessed. Isn’t that what the self really is? After all, how do you know you exist without looking at yourself. You do! You have all these senses that tell you about what’s going on at the world.

Bringing us back to the ship of self-love. Boats, last time we checked, don’t just sail themselves. Even those nifty “smart” tech drivers, still require maintenance.

Then you’ve got a tree, for another example. One, hell, even 10 examples maybe isn’t a enough to finally get to the point, and it’s not karma kids…

Love goes around.

It seems well meaning, and for posterity, let’s assume self-love hashtaggery is well meaning. While grammar isn’t as important on the Internet anymore, words are. Since we are parsing them down into #hashtags for bots to learn from, to build a population of artificially intelligent life forms. AHCK! The words are important.

Let’s take a look at this word then: acceptance.

Self love-at its heart means to accept

darling and sirs are human

humans are not perfect

robots and others are not perfect either

there’s no getting out of this mess pretending you’re an all weather jacket

self love, at least at one time, was considered a form of psychological illness (hello narcissus in the pond!)

love goes around

There now, that you know love is coming to you, now, now! and the next breath and bite of food or smile on the street, does it up the odds of Acceptance? And if there isn’t something you have to be doing about yourself, or your well of love (hello! Anyone down in there), you are freed up to give love, freely! Really! Yes freed and freely in one poorly written phrase. Because hey, it’s the Internet. And what really counts here, is the deeper stuff, that part of your psyche that feels like home-you know, your soul and the part of you that IS your life and all you decide to make with it.

Love, is a feeling, in your body, not an idealistic image to snap, acquire, attain. The world is full of movies, articles, and other media full of ideas and stories of exponential and unending bliss. While these fancies may tickle the pleasure centers of your brain, ultimately you cannot change who or what you are. You can change how and what you think, which directly impacts the quality of the life you create. Do yourself and your life a favor and dig into the real love that flows from you, to you, in all kinds of ways that may not always feel delightful, but in the end keep your heart beating and feeding your soul.

Energy, as a force emanates in all kinds of ways, circuitry and directions, but energy flowing outwards, makes actions happen. Instead of circulating around ourselves, maybe we can explore the simple act of outward focus as a generative tool.

Because hey, those sloping birthrate articles around the internet lately show a generation on the decline. So let’s get to loving. Responsibly. But responsibility will be for another time.

For today, love. It’s enough.

#love #yotostudio #createbalance

Sunshine and Rainbows

The grass is not greener where the sun shines all the time. In fact, no grass grows there at all. The place where sun shines all the time is called a desert. Seasons, weather, change with time. What was once a glacier becomes a lake, what was once a forest becomes sandy slope. The landscape of life has always been this way, long before humans, and long after we transition. For as long as we have known and could foresee, all kinds of weather make the world go round, and it’s a gift for all of us to see.

Epsom Ease

Epsom SaltSimple does it best, again. Epsom salts are an effective way to rebalance your body from the outside. They are not for internal consumption. Create a simple paste of epsom salt and warm water and use as a face or body mask. Let the mixture dry and gently, key word GENTLY, massage the salt from your skin. Pat dry and revel in the softness of your skin.

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, an inorganic salt which contains healing elements of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. When you use epsom salt, the pH of your skin rebalances back to its original, healthy state. No special creams or potions needed.

The practice of undoing human doings

Websites, social media, business cards, conversations. In these spaces and sites are commonly recited titles for the activities we do. To give others a picture, a snapshot, of “who we are” by what we do. The tricky part of sharing a picture, is an attempt to connect the image to an identity.

The image reaches, as if to say this is who I am, and that is who they are, the understanding reflexive. This picture we send out to the wide web of others, whom we now biblically describe as followers, can prescribe a picture we make unto ourselves. This picture may follow some notions about what our expectations about what constitutes a human.

The funny bit about this situation is the boundary, or confines we make for ourselves. And if practiced over and over, muscle our ways into an exercise of inhumane practice of creating ideals to fill our time with. To drone out on our own recipe. Sounds like the recipe for a Hello! mid-life crisis at 20? 30? or how about another one at 70?

What if, because daydreaming is fun, each human were to practice softness? A kind of fluidity of boundaries? And I don’t mean in all the popular ways, because there are now boundless words for the proclaimed woke to put onto whatever they are putting their bodies into or around. Hey let’s not beat around the bush now!

Boundaries that are fluid, that don’t hunt for the badge of I AM AND YOU SHALL OBEY because I said I am take up the new technology in strides and puts the focus on the structure to provide human life. The common people are freer than written history to dedicate themselves to pursuits less (or sometimes more) material, the kinds of fulfilling from the inside sort of stuff the Internet culture cherishes.

Work and leisure are redefined, placing activities in the perspective of what you want to be doing with your life-you as the composer of the moving picture- the director, the casting agent, the set designer, stylist, cinematographer and audio guy (because someone needs to point a fuzzy microphone for anyone to hear what is being said!)

Phew, did you ever know you were going to be born onto a set of life? Usually there’s a whole crew making the story up, and now suddenly, with technology, it’s all been thrust upon you! Wait, but it was like that before technology-and probably 20 years from now, if we keep at the rate of development we are, people will be looking back at life, from the ending, wondering what the big production was really all about?

Was it really about making the world a better place? CHANGING THE WORLD? Oh my goodness! Can you imagine the weight of that responsibility? Does choosing the kind of milk, from the vast array of 30+ options make one qualified for such a task. Heavens! let’s stick to coats, shoes, milks, and yoga for now, ok?

In reality though, there are a lot of colors of paint, there are a lot of things you can do with your day. And the art of doing anything is in really doing it fully. Half assed living is about as enriching as half assed art. You can look at it, but you can’t really do much more than that. Full assed art, or making with life, takes guts and brains. You’re going to have to think about things.

Consideration is time to be creative, to choose, one of those little routes that seem like a detour, might be path to pick up the kind of things that enrich life-which isn’t reckless abandon but something more often resembling responsibility, instead of lazing around on a floatie, taking the opportunity to dive deeper. The spectrum of risk isn’t always to the reward, but content people are usually full of qualities like: humane, gentle, brash, funny, quirky, loving, jerks, -you get the picture. A diverse picture of things. All of which were done, so you could be given the art of today.

Pain and Paying Attention

Pain. Probably not the most favorite of topics. A sensation people often seek to avoid. Yet at some point crosses your path, invades or strikes your body. The key point in addressing pain is in developing a relationship with it. Not as a way to attach and identify with the pain, but to process the signal as an invitation to come to know something about your body or yourself that you hadn’t before.

As new life emerges into existence, pain is part of that process. The realities about pain are far more generative and serving toward development and learning when they are accepted, worked through and released than with a quick patch or attempt to fix.

There are times where softening pain can be of service to working through pain. There are times when numbing pain can be of service to addressing the root. The point is not about what is the right or wrong way to manage or work through pain, but to rather consider there is a message pain is attempting to signal-shining a bright pointer towards an awareness.

Tears often accompany pain. Tears may signal a passing of an ideal when confronted with reality. Think about going along during your day and then something happens that hurts- internally, physically, or psychologically- and this kind of disruption in the stream of reality may bring something to your attention that causes discomfort. In the passing of tears, a refresh. A salt bath, as something that heals and cleanses the body- tears can heal and cleanse the mind and imagination.

Addressing pain is not an invitation to be afraid, though fear may accompany pain, but rather requests great courage. For it takes courage to seek support, request assistance, find guidance in some way. Treating pain with directness is often more compassionate than attempting to pretend its not there or will it away. Yet excessive focus on pain itself can detract from gaining from the experience something that can be useful.

Developing a relationship to understanding pain are articulating the different ways the sensation arrives and passes through the body. Immediate pain, localized pain, the severity of the pain-these are all considerations worth noting. No pain, however small or large ought to be ignored-yet neither belaboured or blamed. And for those living with chronic pain-the experience of pain develops into something entirely different. With support and guidance, many hands of help may facilitate a learning of a way towards ease in experience, balance within the body. Pain can be a signal toward guiding choices towards healthy balance and being aware in your body, and interested in your life.

And your life, as one of a kind as it is, in all of the myriads of expression, offers an opportunity to make choices to navigate all kinds of experiences- guiding through pain, free from pain, and able to manage whatever pain that may or may not transpire in the future. By reaching out for guidance, taking active responsibility towards choosing support that helps in facing what life brings up for us-are actions of choosing to live towards health, balance and enjoyment. Pain becomes another shade of experience. One of the many waves of experience. And that kind of shift can produce all kinds of radical change.

Hello Yoto!

You may have felt it or experienced it before and never known what to call it. You know, that feeling of losing track of time. Maybe you have deja vu. Or perhaps you felt like you were doing magic and not sure where it was coming from. Well that it, that thing you were feeling is Yoto. Yoto is the flow of creative energy. Yoto is around us, within us, and our very bodies are made of this material. When you learn about Yoto,  you gain the ability to reveal the form of yourself, situations in your life, the perceptions and sensations you experience and are open to. Yoto is always available, like an old friend, a dear parent, teacher, or those best memories from childhood. Welcome to the creative process and say hello to Yoto.