5 x seeker

I had the great fortune of staying at the Yasodhara Ashram for a month as a karma yogi in their young adult program. It was a beautiful transition between seasons, and deepening thirsty roots that had been forgotten. During my time there I got take a closer look at the motivating forces in my life, and really hone in on how I would like to focus these energies in my next chapter. Entering this community enriched my personal practice deeply, and reignited a deep desire within me to ~know~ more. I'm currently reading Ram Das's book Be Here Now and he talks about the searching feeling of each of us looking into each other's eyes "do you know?" And the ultimate satisfaction of finding someone who Knows. It was encouraging to be in a community of such earnest seekers. I've spent the last couple weeks transitioning back, and here are a few of the things I have been considering as I do. Enjoy ~

  1. Oprah Winfrey talks to Thich Nhat Hanh an 20 min excerpt via Super Soul Sunday
  2. Kardinsky on the Spiritual Element of Art & The Artist's Three Responsibilities via Brain Pickings
  3. Something About Mary via Ascent Magazine
  4. Marias: Faith in Womanhood on Netflix
  5. Music by Sheenah Ko

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30 day commitment

I am beginning a 30 day yoga commitment as I settle into my new home in Montreal. Fall is decidedly in the air which means letting go, accepting change of pace as days grow shorter, and harvesting for the winter ahead. This is a commitment to dedicating my days to the divine, and surrendering to what is as the seasons change in my heart & home.

October 30 day commitment:

  • Reflection on dreams
  • Divine Light Invocation in the morning
  • 4 sides of sun salutations in the morning
  • Karma yoga 1-2 hours minimum
  • Reflection on Swami Sivananda's Daily Readings
  • 108 Divine Mother prayers/mantras
  • Thich Nhat Hanh visualization exercise before bed
  • Reflection on days actions before bed
  • Media black out before bed & before yoga practice
  • Practice single pointed focus, no blame, compassionate listening, and mindful breathing in daily actions.

Hari Om Tat Sat

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26

I have not always been sure of my success, but I am here today to realize it in all my glory. 

My goal for the next 6 months is to move to Montreal and secure a sustainable income in order to presue my dreams of building an internationally recognized performance arts career by the age of 35.

The last year has been one year long celebration of life. Finding the joy in the everyday, and relishing being alive in this body, with these experiences, surrounded by so many kind hearts. There has been such doubt, and yet I am still here. Surviving.

Twenty-six is about making bold moves.

I am taking the first baby step towards my nine year goal, and endeavouring to put my best foot forward on this journey. I am (re)committing here to my goals for the year to help me along this path.

First, I honour my highest self through these commitments

1. I commit to 10 minutes of seated meditation in the morning before I start my day

2. I commit to 10 minutes yoga asana, particularly inversions & heart openers, everyday 

3. I commit to 10 minutes of silence with my journal everyday

4. I commit to being mindful of how I am nourishing my body on a daily basis 

5. I commit to practice the O Divine Mother prayer every morning & every night

In addition to these commitments I seek to begin to release the following obstacles as I seek to know myself more deeply 

6. I release patterns of emotional repression & disassociation habits in order to get to know the transformational power of my emotional self

7. I release patterns of negative self talk to practice compassionate truth speaking towards myself & others

8. I release generational fears that keep me small & too shy to know my true expansiveness 

9. I release my limiting beliefs around money so that I may value my time & energy appropriately 

10. I release the pain that I am holding onto to defend myself with in order to write my next chapter in bold ink 

I offer gratitude for all of the blessings already heaped before me, and invite these goals into my life in alignment with my highest good, and the highest good of all involved. I hereby release any dense stale energy that clouds my judgement in reaching my goals, and banish any bonds of failure throughout time & space that would prevent me from realizing my truth & transforming my life in accordance with natural divine order. And so it is.

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5x good morning

A tool kit for a good morning, enjoy.

  1. M x Blouse debut EP Bloom via SoundCloud 
  2. Taurus Super Moon Ritual via The Hood Witch
  3. Tanya Tagaq’s latest video 
  4. How Oakland’s Experimental Music Scene Became Queerer, Browner, and More Femme via BandCamp
  5. Jessica Zollman via The Great Discontent
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Chinook

Winter can’t decide if it’s thawing or freezing, but I’m ready to hibernate for another three months. 2017 started with a bang with Alt Alt DIY Fest which was such a huge success on so many levels that I could not have anticipated. However it left me feeling quite emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually drained for most of January and the better part of February. I’ve been in denial about how much that event took out of me because it was so truly obviously worth it, but living in denial is not the start to being able to adequately replenish myself.

Now that it is nearly March, and new projects are on the horizon, I am taking time to reflect on what it is I need to move forward. Burn out is a luxury I am afforded as a single person with good support networks and steady employment with health benefits. I can work myself to the bone for my community then collapse inwardly because no one is counting on me for their 24/7 sustenance, and because I know there are people around me who will catch me if I fall too deeply into depression or self loathing. It is truly a privileged position that I feel blessed to occupy, but this is not how I want to create in my career. Periods of intense creation, and intense seclusion will always be necessary to my practice, but neither state should be so extreme that it put such unnecessary strain on my day to day ability to live my life.

A huge part of the burn out taking two months is that I need to work 35 hours a week in addition to the 20-30 hours of creative & community work required by projects of this scale in order to support myself. It is hard for me currently to imagine a point when that level of work would not be required in order to stay a float, however I recognize that is a limitation in my belief structure rather than a hard fact. The question then becomes how to move beyond that bias in order to start to look at ways to become more self sufficient.

This is a powerful lesson to take from Alt Alt, the gift that keeps on giving, and now that I’ve identified what I want to avoid I need to set my imagination to work to find a new way. How can I create a practice that allows for projects of this scale without sacrificing my well-being?

It’s Pisces season, and spring is just around the corner which I feel is a good time to reflect on this question. I’m asking for creative vision to guide me in the next month as I look inwards to recenter. This is a time for tinkering, for dreaming, for meditating, for empathy, for love, for reflection. Planting seeds this month to harvest come June.

If you have experience or resources relating to managing burn out as a creative, or transitioning out of the work force let me know in the comments.

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End of the year goals

Checking in my New Years resolutions I’m feeling really good about the place I’m at. Feel very on target & happy with results. That being said there are always a few loose ends to wrap up as well as seeds to plant for the coming year.

My personal goals aka a recipe to flourish:

  • Paint/draw/craft 12 fruits & flowers in 12 weeks
  • Play more bass, write more songs
  • Cook more meals with less meat, consume less alcohol/intoxicants, practice mindful consumption for 8 months
  • Adjust morning rituals to darker season
  • Publish book of poetry, throw a party to celebrate (November)
  • Create dance/video collaboration in bloom (December)
  • Meditate, journal, observation, contemplation, yoga, mindful body work, presence, gentle focus, careful attention, joyful curiosity
  • Leave time for more reading, laughing, loving, hand holding, sharing, listening, dreaming

Community goals aka a offering for tomorrow:

  • Next stage of development for SPC engaging with membership to build thriving community results by May
  • Alt alt producing & mentoring learning cycle – a celebration of weirdos cummulate in January
  • Join international mentorship program (December)
  • Continue to support friends and cultivate strong bonds with women/non-binary folks

Professional goals aka ambition’s map:

  • Spend time catching up on administrative details that have escaped (December)
  • Build portfolio, documentation, and website (March)
  • Develop alternate revenue streams (November)
  • Continue to reach out and build bridges between creatives & businesses 
  • Keep saying no to offers that don’t make sense to leave room for the opportunities that excite me
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The pupil asks the teacher

Once upon a time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait, was it a very sleepy teacher and a very smart pupil? Once upon a time there was a very smart teacher and a very smart pupil. They sat down to a battle of wits, but they lost because they couldn’t stay awake long enough to see the conclusion. No wait, they were both asleep in a dream about a question neither of them could answer. Wait, I’m going to start again. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher why they always slept through their lessons “wouldn’t it be much easier to draw conclusions on the chalkboard awake?” The teacher said to the student “I am too tired to draw your conclusions for you anymore why don’t you dream some up yourself?” No, this is all wrong. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher to tell them a story that could illustrate this lesson, but the teacher asked the student to dream up their own. After a time the student said “Once upon the time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait-“

Often what unschooling looks like is a series of fascinating questions. 

One of my favourite books as a child was a little picture book called Ernie Follows His Nose. It was a simple story of someone innocently following their curios nose to explore the world around them. It sounds silly in its naivety, but neatly illustrates one of the corner stones of student directed learning.

To make a crude comparison: the traditional industrial education model is structured to have a single point of authority stand at the front and deliver a lot of information that is meant to impart a series of answers which students are then graded on for accuracy. In this model questions only arise as a means to get to the end of the lesson. There is a shame for having too many questions. They gum up the flow of the knowledge machine, which is why we separate students out for learning too quickly or too slowly to improve efficency.

By contrast, unschooling dives in question first with no time to raise hands to authority. The student is at the front of the expedition actively engaged in wrestling with their personal multitudinous sea of questions “Where did that smell come from? Why did this happen? How does that work? When will this occur? Who is that? What am I?” The lessons are an accumulative experience as students gather information while following their curiosity only measuring success against their own appetite. The unschooling motto is “the world is my classroom – learning all of the time.”

I believe that to be deeply curios is to hold a simultaneous respect for rigor & whimsy. Curiosity must be nimble enough to chase after the glittering fascinating thing while also plying fastidious attention to the understanding of it. Questions manifest more curiosity manifest more questions. A healthy appetite for the unknown is essential to my creative practice & self studies.

With all that in mind here are…

Questions I am currently contemplating:

  1. What is the mind/body connection? How does this connection affect our health & growth?
  2. What is catharsis? What is its role in art, and what is its role in healing, and are the two related?
  3. What does it mean to be useful in society? Is it necessary?
  4. How do we cultivate nurturing love? 
  5. How does the expression of self impact the relation to self & the selves experience of the world?
  6. What does it mean to be androgynous? In a post-binary world would androgyny be necessary?
  7. What does it mean to be in alignment? Is the idea of a best self a subtle expression of internalized shame, and if so what does self acceptance & actualization look like beyond that?
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