IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

 

 

I had this dream the other night. Truth be told, I have dreams most every night. Stairwells, old, empty houses, haunted houses, attic spaces. Hmmm, I see a theme.

 

Well, anyway, I had this dream the other night. I was boarding a jet, one of those big airbus things. My mother was there, my nephew. I had a black, rolling carry-on.

 

I am boarding for my flight to Paris! I am in my seat. I am buckled in. I remember: I don’t have my camera.

 

For me, this is a weird dream. Paris is on my bucket list. I am in my seat thinking, well, I could buy one when I get there. I wonder how much Parisian cameras cost. Should I buy disposable cameras? Should I buy a nice fancy thing with lots of buttons? But mostly I am pretty unconcerned that I have forgotten my camera.

 

I’ve mildly contemplated this dream for a few days. Shrinks, on the whole, agree that dreams are there for your brain to work out a problem. Pickles are pickles. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose (ah, Gertrude, how we love you). This jet is not some sort of Freudian man-issue.

 

I digress. What if you are supposed to go on the trip of your imagination and not record everything you see? What if you are supposed to lock it into your mind, and forget about all the people who will never see the Paris you saw.

 

You know how long the camera has been in existence? The Daguerreotype was built around 1835. That’s nothing. That’s only 179 years of recording things. That means for a gazillion years man has put his memories in that little walnut shaped brain of his. In 179 years, we have not been able to solve poverty, loneliness, hunger, illness, but we sure can take a selfie and call it empowerment.

 

A while back, I broke up with someone, and in my need to shred every ounce of memory, I tossed photos like Nixon shredded audiotape. Then, I started digging deeper, getting into childhood photos. Did I need every image of me in a gingham nightie holding a dolly at Christmas? I remember the dolly. I remember the nightie. Do I need the photo? Do I need to carry this dusty thing with me everywhere I go? Some would say yes. My mother would say YES! But I don’t.

 

We live in this world where we photograph, illustrate, journal every single moment. Here we are reading this via Facebook, we can open a "window," and we can take a quick spin and see everyone’s memory. (Go ahead. I’ll wait). We post pics of our manicured toes, our ice cream cones, and our meal from our birthday, our new car / bike / house / apartment…… None of these are Paris, surely, but do we need to record every moment?

 

I am guilty as all of you for recording the splendid moments of my life, but what does it matter? If there were a tornado or hurricane or fire, there it goes. Gone.

 

As I write this I am at a local watering hole, people are chatting, catching up on the daily gossip of who did what, the game is on the TV, the bartender is wiping down a tray, he smiles at the server. He pours a pint with one wrist on the tap, with a laziness like waiting for a pay phone to ring. When he lifts the land line, his pinky knuckle is on his cheekbone. The girls are busy as bees, even in their resting moments their eyes are busy as FBI at a presidential parade. And, I’m ok not recording them, or the Edison bulbs, or exposed bricks.

 

Look. Don’t stop recording your stuff. I like your stuff. I like to know how you are and what you find beautiful. Here’s the thing: if I go to Paris, and I take a pic of the Eiffel tower, is that any different from any other postcard of the Eiffel tower. Of course, it is my moment. In that moment, it is my Eiffel tower.

 

Should I experience the moment fully? Should I just breathe in every forged bit of iron, every pair of lover who ever kissed, the souls who jumped, who cried, who lost their way. Should I smell the grass, the Galoises wafting, should I wait for Gertrude and Anais to shed their love on me?

 

Oui. We should fall in love with the present. It is the only now that matters.

The Truth is in the Choice, Guest Editor Michelle Ladwig

Thursday, May 01, 2014

 

Sometimes I think it’s funny that both of my professions, both of my creative loves, involve precision, creativity, attempts and failures, and no-holds-barred shoot outs with my nemesis.  The difference is here:  In academia, the nemesis is the editor.  In yoga, the nemesis is the self.


When I go to school, I dress appropriately:  slacks or skirt, blouse (no cleavage), suitably heeled shoes (no toe cleavage), proper under garments; i.e. things are covered.  I carry a bag filled with books, red-inked papers, pencils, pens, and “Good Job Stickers.”  When I head out to the studio, I carry a bag filled with a mat, a towel, water, one MP3 player, hairbands, pose-driven choreography in my head, and ambition.  When I slack off the outer garments of propriety, I am in barely anything:  a sports bra and hot shorts.


I teach and practice in the tradition of hot yoga.  We keep the room at a lovely 105 degrees.  (If you were from the south like I am, you’d agree 105 degrees ain’t nothing).  The tradition beyond the temperature is in the wall-to-wall sheet of truth staring me down.  We like mirrors!


Truth: once in a while I look in the mirror and think I should cover up. I am too old to bare my belly; too old to wear hot pants. Too old.  And here, right here, is where I not only question my wardrobe, I question where did that come from!


Mother Nature and I have been at it for about a year now.  If you are unsure, let me tell you, shit happens and it happens at glacial speed.   My mother said that one day my skinny body and my metabolism would go to pot.  Well, I haven’t gone to pot.  I’m still doing worlds better than my high school peers, but man, things are a-changing.


Now, all kinds of chicks and dudes come to hot yoga.  All bodies, all ages.  Tall boys, full-figured gals, double sport bra ta-tas, shaved legs, unshaved legs, fitness fanatics and chill lotus flowers.  Here’s the thing:  I don’t care how you look or if you shave your legs.  That’s your body and it’s a beautiful thing.    I have never once noticed if you gained weight.  I do notice when your tricep heads start defining, or your delts get sculpted, or when you finally master THAT pose.


But, when I look at my body in the big ole’ horizon of mirror, I notice things.  And, here, I am tempted to create the laundry list of ughs and wtfs, but that would be counter-productive.
I don’t like it, but what am I going to do?  Diet?  I hate grapefruit.  Run til I drop?  Hurts my everything.  No, I am going to yoga.


I am going to look in the mirror and study the body I have earned.  Positive Laundry List: I like the shape of my lips and the color of my eyes, and my curly red, Moppet hair.  I have strong core muscles, arms and back muscles that allow me into hand stands and arm balance work.  I have two healthy breasts, a hale libido, toes that point, feet that flex, and a body willing to go where the heart goes.

And my heart wants to swing from aerial hoops and silks, fly in AcroYoga with my friends and my husband, go for bike rides above water puddles and below apple blossoms, and I want to paddle the Mississippi on a SUP board.  If the nemesis is the self, then the heart is the child with no caution, only wild abandon.  I am choosing to turn that voice off.  I am choosing this body.


Who's Got the Reins?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Attachment, Aversion, or Apathy:  How We Relate to the World Around Us


Our conditioned existence is perpetuated by our lack of control over our senses.  Like a chariot driven out of control by a horse with broken reins, our reactions to any given situation leaves us in a constant state of stress and tension.  Our reactions tend to fall into these 3 major themes:  attachment, aversion, and apathy.

When we firmly grasp at something we have developed an attachment for it.  That feeling that we absolutely NEED this particular thing (food, money, sex, substances, relationships, etc.) because we’re addicted to the chemical responses that happen in our bodies when we relate to whatever it might be.  Gratuitous experiences bring momentary ecstasy and the fear of losing that feeling causes us to grasp very tightly to them.

But then, what happens we have a very negative experience with a particular attachment?  Very easily we can develop the flip side of this, which is aversion.  Hating, despising, turning or pushing harshly away from something is another strong fear-based reaction to a thing, substance, person, etc.   How easily can the human psyche switch from one to the other?  Each can lead to great mental & emotional anguish and suffering. 

I believe that out of this suffering we begin to develop apathy towards the outside world.  No longer do we desire or despise…we stop caring and become hardened.  The phrase, “I just don’t give a shit anymore,” comes to mind.  

All of these states of being lead to suffering and can shut down the emotional, spiritual, and physical energetic centers of the body. 

There are at least 7 main centers of energy, known as “chakras” that govern all the functions of the body.  From these spinning, energetic vortices flow rivers of energy (or “nadis”) throughout the entire being and field of consciousness.  When these areas become affected they slow down, become sluggish, or can become completely clogged or closed off. 

After these subtle energies become affected, like dominoes the effect moves through the layers of the body and eventually manifest as physical symptoms, dis-orders, and dis-eases.  Patterns and cycles of reaction/pain/suffering begin to repeat themselves and the attachment/aversion/apathy wheel continues to spin.  Suffering ensues.

Enter yoga, meditation, and mindfulness!  We absolutely have the power and ability to change these patterns and transform suffering into peace, deep contentment & joy.  The reason for these practices is to develop equanimity (mental calmness, composure, or even-temperedness especially in difficult situations).  Through the practice of observation, awareness, breath control, physical conditioning, and deep concentration we can begin to ‘repair the reins of the wild horses’ or control our senses by learning non-reactiveness.  With these tools we can give space to our conditioned reactions…observe them mindfully…acknowledge the emotion is there but look at it through compassionate, non-judgmental eyes without grasping.  In time, the ‘chariot ride’ becomes smooth and the stress and tension melt away.  These emotional/mental shifts bring about health, vitality, and life-force to the energy centers improving not only the physical health of our bodies but also the way in which we relate to food, money, sex, relationships, etc. 

Whole health functions on many, many levels.  The more conscious we become of these subtle energies and relationships, the less we suffer in this existence.  With continued awareness and practice of letting go of attachments, aversions, and apathy we can transform our suffering into liberation and joy.  It sounds like a big task, but by taking small steps everyday (with patience, persistence, and practice) we can really learn to enjoy the process of the journey within.

Namaste,

IndigoGrrl



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