Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reclaiming my time, letting go

I almost didn't write a blog post about this, but half of the reason I read blogs is because people are honest about their experiments with living an artistic life, so here goes. It at least explains what I've been up to.

I have recently been on a path to retake my life.

I did buy the book I mentioned last blog post, the Tao Te Ching translated by Ursula K. Le Guin. Definitely worth it. Highly recommended. It's that book that got me started reexamining my life. And I've made some decisions and changes.

What's weird is it's not one of those self-help books with all the forms to fill out and 'examine' your life, it's just the Tao Te Ching, which isn't exactly a step by step manual. Although in many ways it is. It's hard to explain if you haven't read it. Read it.

I'm not about to announce the allegiance to any religion, I'm just experimenting with different ways of reclaiming myself.

So, changes.

I have let facebook take up much too much of my time. Really a lot of my internet use has been overindulgent. I like facebook, that it brings me closer to people that are far away, and has shown me people I thought I had lost. However the connection is almost false, it's this 'sort of' connection to other people. A feeling of connectedness that is not rooted in the real. At least not for me.

So I've taken some time off of facebook for awhile. And I've been limiting my internet use.

I've started (trying to anyway) meditating for at least ten minutes every morning, sometimes fifteen. I've really found myself lacking a spiritual center, and I'm hoping taking the time to be 'mindful', as Lao Tzu says, will be helpful to me.

I'm also trying to be more connected to Rayna when we go on walks. She's such a lovely little puppy it's really a shame when I just walk her. She has so much love and energy wrapped up in her I'm not sure how I ignore it sometimes. So lately I've been taking the time to listen to her and love her, and sometimes I'm just laying in the grass next to her and snuggling her, which is quite nice.

I re-read Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Being Peace', which is a lovely book, and has excellent ideas in it.

I'm working on the book 'Gift of Power' which is a very interesting read. Not sure what it's giving me, but it's definitely fascinating.

I'm finding myself sort of wandering mentally from my resolution to become a more mindful person and then returning to the path. I know this has already been a journey of many years, and I'm sure it will continue. I hope however, that some of the new changes (like meditation) that I've brought into my life will continue through the rough spots.

It's incredibly hard to do even the simplest things that are suggested by those who are spiritual and grounded in their bodies. I think that Western culture has this idea that the body and the mind are separate, and I guess they might be, but for me it certainly rings much more true that they are one and the same. And if they're one and the same, then what I eat, how I move, all the things that are bodily things are equally if not more important than my mental state. Or rather, they're not in a hierarchy over each other at all, because they're the same thing. In American culture it is really not that normal to be fully aware of your body. It's more like a machine you drive around, like a car, rather than half of yourself.

So I'm trying to remember that my body is me, just like my mind is me, and to move slower, and appreciate things more slowly. I'm trying out more meditative sewing (like the masks I've been making) and doing some of my crazy quilting more slowly and with more intent and intensity.

Of course I watch animals and bugs and things and it would be ridiculous if they went around over thinking everything. I think they're onto something.

It's really not new for me to be searching for my spiritual center. I go on a light quest every year or so, sometimes every six months. However I like to think that each time I go looking for myself I get a little closer.

A bit closer to the truth and the me that is underneath the 'baggage'.

I think it's common to dislike yourself, to see yourself as 'lesser' or 'not good enough', and as much as I fall prey to these feelings myself, I don't believe they are true. And I certainly don't think they're of any use to us. In a lot of ways they're just a reinforcement of our 'innate separateness'. And I don't buy that either. I really do believe we're all connected. And that part of being a good and spiritual person is to be able to forgive and understand yourself. And then maybe, hopefully, other people as well.

I think I need to take up 'The Summer Book' again because it's another text with a strong sense of nature and interconnectedness, and it's written by my second or third favorite author, Tove Jannson.

In fact there are probably only a few books that I love and need and have given me a lot of the teachings I've tried to pull into my life. The entire Moomintroll series, The Summer Book, The Telling, The Dispossessed, Cats Cradle, Anything by Edward Gorey, Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass...

And that's mostly it I think. I could throw in more favorites but those are some of the top picks. At least in terms of life lessons and ideas.

I love making things, but books will always be the wellspring for me, the source of my world. I cannot imagine living without books, and it's odd to me that books are pretty new in human history. I guess maybe hearing the stories audibly was just as good for many people before Gutenberg did his thing.

Thank you Mr. Gutenberg, thank you.

And now, on to the rest of my morning.

PS: Here's a great meditative song I know I've shared before. Go on, love it.