Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unblock the Mind, Heart, Body and Spirit Flow


[I am trying to unblock myself Pema. I wish that you were here to give me some mentoring from the heart! I need it.]

The river flows rapidly down the mountain, and then all of a sudden it gets blocked with big boulders and a lot of trees. The water can't go any farther, even though it has tremendous force and forward energy. It just gets blocked there. That's what happens with us, too; we get blocked like that. Letting go at the end of the out-breath, letting the thoughts go, is like moving one of those boulders away so that the water can keep flowing, so that our energy and our life force can keep evolving and going forward. We don't, out of fear of the unknown, have to put up these blocks, these dams, that basically say no to life and to feeling life.

-Pema Chodron, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. I, #1

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Girls Got Balls

Thought Provoking Quotes

From: The Gay Quote Book by Brandon Judell

To hell with the missionary position! (I don’t agree with this message 100 percent, but it has a rebel yell ring to it that shakes the status quo boat. That, I like.)

“I don’t think there is such a thing as a precise sexual orientation. I think we’re all ambiguous sexually.” Tennessee Williams

“Love can read the writing on the remotest star.” Oscar Wilde

“This morning even my pencil’s got your tooth marks.” May Swenson, writer

“Poison kills the body, but moral poison kills the soul.” James Douglas, Editor of the Sunday Express, 1928

“Girls got balls. They’re just a little higher up.” Joan Jett, musician

Learning Nudes

Title: Abdomens & The Chihuahua
Current mood: working
Category: Art and Photography


The bubbly electronic music playing in the background was accompanied by 40 mile-an-hour winds blowing through the coconut palms and lauhala trees. The gusts and bursts of power from Mother Nature caused the Chihuahua sitting in my lap to twitch nervously from his Batman cape ears to the tip of his rat-like tail. After making ten to twelve attempts to snooze in my lap, he yawned wide-mouthed and decided to investigate the light-blue sweatshirt balled up in the corner of the futon. First, he sniffed the medium weight cotton thoroughly, and then he drug one arm of the sweatshirt into his territory.

Biting and sucking the fabric, he growled when I tried to reclaim my possession. Wrinkling his brow and powering his stick-like hind legs into high gear, the little brown bundle of nervous ticks pulled the sweatshirt to the middle of the futon where he could dominate and make love to it doggy fashion.

I put my sketches and pencils down so that I could address the situation, but once the sweatshirt was out of the little rascal’s jaws, my raincoat became his desired mate. Gently setting his four paws on the wooden floorboards, I returned to my drawing.

When the dog was no longer a problem, I realized that I enjoyed gazing at Neil’s flat muscular stomach. The first part of a man that catches my eye is his abdomen if it’s exposed, and here in Hawaii, exposed male abdomens abound aplenty. If I were to work on a sculpture, Neil’s well-defined abdominal muscles would be the body part that I would chose to isolate, knead and caress- spreading clay erotically through my fingers to replicate an adoration for that part of the male anatomy.

Neil was about five feet six inches tall, mildly hairy from his lower calves to his upper thighs, smooth on his back and topped with brown curly tresses sun kissed yellow. The hair under his arms was not too thick; sexy due to its sparseness and soft texture. Neil held his poses from one minute to twenty- twirling, spinning and yoga posturing until he found a comfortable position to freeze for our interpretations.

The music was changing, picking up tempo, lifting me spiritually higher off the futon’s cushion. The wind spun through the ceiling, rocking the metal supports with creaks and groans while the large-eared Chihuahua temporarily slept peacefully in my lap after I had hidden my excess clothing from his view. I realized that there is no right or wrong way to represent our physical world on paper. As I looked around the studio at various easels, I saw Neil represented in skin tone, passion purple, tingling teal, pencil, watercolor and oil: the consciousness of the artist whose energy brought the drawing to life hovered above each hand.

Step away from the binding constructs of right and wrong, left and right, homo and hetero and into your own being. Slip into the present moment’s teaching and the act of living itself. Step outside cultural conditioning and find your own space: the personal heart, mind, body and spirit comfort zone that gives you bliss.

The dog slept for perhaps two to three minutes in my lap, only to wake, turn his head 180 degrees, reshuffle his protruding bones into a new position and search again for the peace of slumber.

Wind chimes flavored the air with smells of dew kisses and honey.

The model relaxed the pose, stretching his stiff limbs with a sigh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Law of Growth

Each day at work in the landscaping department at an eco-resort on the Hilo side of the island of Hawaii, I witness greedy vegetation reach for the sun at the expense of what slouches and festers beneath the surface. As lava rock cracks and ohia trees and sword ferns emerge from the black ground, sensitive plants and morning glory vines root in the fertilizer of fallen leaves and rotting lehua flowers. The cycle of volcanic activity and the reclamation of lava by plant life is an organic process that transforms the landscape from the barren, rocky playground of Pele to lush swaths of variegated green growing at amazing speeds. The lovers Ohia and Lehua continue their love story high in the branches dropping life on the ground below.

I agree with Louise Erdrich, who in her collection of short stories “The Red Convertible,” describes the law of growth like this:

“In the woods, there is no right way to go, of course, no trail to follow but the law of growth. You must leave behind the notion that things are right. Just look around you. Here is the way things are. Twisted, fallen, split at the root. What grows best does so at the expense of what’s beneath.”

Monday, January 05, 2009

Seek Pleasure

Bliss and the Adventurer

Increasing pleasure was the focus of a day-long workshop I attended in January '09 at Kalani Oceanside Retreat in Pahoa, Hawaii. Stewart, the pleasure workshop facilitator, described himself as a serious student of bliss. That's the best job description I have heard to date.

One of the assumptions I embraced from Stewart's teachings was that the universe wants me to be happy because it's a place filled with excitement and joy. These are five points from the workshop that I want to remember in my own personal quest for pleasure.

1. My body is my friend.
2. When in doubt, forgive. Always be in doubt.
3. Say "yes" over and over again as the body accepts this promise of openness to possibility. Yes is an affirmation to the universe.
4. Integrate mind, body, heart and spirit. (The most important point for me!)
5. The following affirmation makes life more pleasurable: "I refuse to endure discomfort and pain, and I give myself permission to experience multiple daily pleasures in pursuit of a life complete with delight and harmony."

Of the eight steps to increasing pleasure that Stewart discussed at the workshop, my personal favorite was adopting the spirit of an adventurer. I have followed the adventurer's path for most of my life, and if I were to lead you on a tour of that path, it would look something like this.

An adventurer accepts risks, including the possibility of feeling pain, showing vulnerability, seeking out intensity and successfully handling challenges. A curiosity and sense of awe for the unfamiliar and unexplored territory define the adventurer's state of mind. Flexibility and openness to exploration and change are personality traits we cultivate. We allow curiosity, imagination and wonder to be our inspiration for action as our imaginations lead us to greater pleasures. We know how to manage expectations of ourselves and others and enjoy variety, contrast and novelty.

My advice is to adopt the attitude of an adventurer if you haven't already and bliss out at least once today and every following day.

About Me

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What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.