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Ron Mueck baby with mother

sculpture by Ron Mueck

Life is a process. Life is a process of awakening. Life is a process of awakening completely. Life is a process of awakening completely into the truth. Life is a process of awakening completely into the truth of yourself.

In order to completely and fully awaken you must open your eyes. In order to completely and fully awaken you must open your eyes to see. In order to completely and fully awaken you must open your eyes to see the possibilities. In order to completely and fully awaken you must open your eyes to see the possibilities of who you might be.

When you first wake, you are mostly asleep. When you first wake you are mostly asleep until you awake more. When you first wake you are mostly asleep until you awake more than you are asleep.

When you are completely and fully awake, your eyes are open and you can appreciate the degrees of awakeness between being asleep and being awake. You can count the breaths between being awake and asleep. You can count the blinks of your eye between being awake and asleep. If you are counting, you might fall back asleep.

Instead, once you are awake enjoy the moment of awakeness. Breathe fully into it and awaken deeper. Awaken more profoundly to the moment of being here. Be here NOW. No matter what is happening to you, be here NOW. This is the journey of awakening. You are exactly where you are with each awakening, and when you are exactly where you are, you can go exactly where you want to go. Welcome the perfection of your awakening. Let this unfold for you. Awakening is everything. Awakening is nothing.

Rest in the lullaby of awakening. Be everything. Be nothing. Be everything. Be nothing. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. Allow it to be. Make peace with your struggle to open your eyes. Let it be not a struggle. Let it be. Let it be. Let it be the lullaby of awaking. Let it be the lullaby of awaking to the truth of yourself.

30 March 2014

toe in water
Big toe stuck in the water.

“Stick your toe in,” now stuck.
Paralyzed.

One foot in and one foot out.
Out of balance,

Fearful that I shall fall –
Fail.

Slip under and drown.
Faced with the murky possibilities of
Unknown muddied waters.

Neck, hips and knee
Painfully holding on
To the moment just before
I let go.

B e c om i n g a statue,
I am
Marmoreal.
A mere imitation of myself,
Naked for all to see in a museum of highly polished possibilities.

I am b e c o m i n g very hard and cold,
Eyes, wide discs dilated,
Stone of expression.
Unresponsive in my angle of repose.
A great monument for a moment.

Then,
Questioning –
“Who’s hands are at the rims of the pupils,
Waving frantically,
Screaming from loud, black holes,
Sounding all the world?”
But me? Stone deaf to the call.

Until,
I notice.
Sensate.
Somewhere off center,
Deep and tucked-in,
The cerebellum hums.
I B l i n k!

Dorsal nexus lights,
Thinking runs,
Feeling rolls.
Breathing in deep,
I
AM
pp iiii nnnnn gggggg kkkkkkk dddddaah
PINK! as a new born.

The water is cold.
Knee bends to the ball of my foot.
Body leans into the surrender.
Metatarsals grip and lift.
Arms, lovingly
Prepare for flight.
B e s i d e me,
Then,
Up
Over my head,
Graceful, like an ancient bird,
Leading the way.
Knee bows to the vertebrate,
Ball springs,
Up
And big toe is the last one in.

UNSTUCK!

September 2013

taurus

The sky continues to be dominated by planets in Taurus as we head into the Thursday’s solar eclipse in Taurus. We have been feeling this push and pull energy for a bit. Hold tight, you may continue to notice the stress of it this week. It can feel like a tight rope or a line to toe. It can feel restricting to notice this and interpret it as leaving you little room for error. Use your breath to expand your field and give yourself more time and space.

Be mindful of Taurus’s influence for self-indulgence while Saturn is bearing down hard for control. Notice the tendency for all or nothing thinking. Stay on course and ride it out, like the wave of energy that it is. Use your breath and the intention “To stay in the flow”. Surprisingly, it is these times that teach us our true strength, abilities, and purpose.

And if you are not noticing the tension, go ahead and harness it’s power.

take-a-deep-breath...-fox
I am living in this moment NOW.

By the time you read this, this will all be yesterday’s news. It will be in the past and I will have moved forward in my life in ways that are expected and in ways that are unexpected. And you will be different when you read this then how I imagined you might be when I wrote it. And so, you can imagine my challenge in writing to you to tell you about what I am doing. That, as I communicate my message, it slips with each strike of commuter key from being current, to existing in the past. And through my frustration with this clumsy and antiquated system of communication, I find, that I place the task of writing to you for another day. Only furthering my dilemma of how to tell you about what I am doing NOW. So I breathe in and remember that I am a part of something very cool. I breathe in oxygen and it benefits me and my health and well-being and as swiftly as I breathe in, I transform the oxygen to carbon dioxide and exhale benefiting the trees and the plants. And so it goes. And this is how I have learned living in the NOW. And when I live in the NOW, I am reminded that I never know what will happen next. I don’t know if you are still reading my note to you. I don’t know if you are confused or if you are delighted. I don’t know if you have invited others to read it too. I don’t know if you brows are furrowed or arched. I don’t know.

So you ask, what do you know? And HERE I am conjuring, inventing, creating. I don’t know if you really ask. And I notice that when I admit that I am creating, it feels very good. And after, all there is a 50% chance that you are asking. And so it feels good to create my own reality where you and I have interest in each other. And so, NOW that I have created a space for us to talk, I invite you in to hear about what I know.

I know that when I breath and allow myself to remember that breath is a natural reminded of my greater purpose here on this planet, that, that reminder instills me with the confidence to create. And I know, that when I create, I feel the power of my purpose. And with each breath I make the necessary adjustments in the NOW to proceed forward toward the future that I would like to create. And in doing this, I practice making NOW the place I live.

So there is more. And I am very excited to share with you how this works and how this contributes to feeling good.

And NOW, I see a place where we can learn more about this together. So for NOW, join me in preparing for a busy day. With your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your thighs, make yourself comfortable. Breathe. Bring your attention to the bottoms of your feet. And NOW, bring your attention to the palms of your hands. And when you are ready, practice 3 relaxing breaths that I will suggest go like this: breathe in for the count of 4, hold it for 2, and exhale for 6- but trust that however you do it, it will be just right.

Enjoy the sensations of pleasure you have made for yourself. Acknowledge your ability to have a day filled with pleasurable sensations by thanking yourself. And NOW, let’s go forth in the day!

world hands
“If something is difficult for you to accomplish, do not think it is impossible for any human being, if it is humanly possible and corresponds to human nature, know that it is attainable by you as well.” Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180)

The Mayan people are small in physical stature with great and worldly influence.

I am short in stature. Today, I will notice my capacity for great and worldly influence. If you are looking for inspiration to notice your capacity for great and worldly influence, the Mayan people have teeth in their heads and many with two eyes and ears.

My life begins and ends. And begins and ends again. In this constant exchange of breath, where, indeed, do I begin and end? And so it is no surprise that I wake from my dreams to know that, “It is the end of the world as we know it. It is the end of the world as we know it. It is the end of the world as we know and I FEEL FINE.” R.E.M (1987)

stillness

The next couple of days will be busy and in the words of Modest Mouse, “we’ll all float on okay.” There are some choppy waters ahead over the weekend and into the week. It may feel similar to some of the “tight” energy we experienced in mid November. If you notice tendencies for wanting it your way, this same energy can be transformed for agreeable action that provides you deep healing. Keep perspective. Look for other ways and feel liberated by the choice that perspective may provide. Practice patience before any drastic action as this is a significant time. Use it for compassionate healing, notice if you find yourself wielding the surgeon’s knife. It is possible to cut something or someone out, be mindful that the time is right.

You may notice some confusion and misdirection into the week. There may be the tendency to boast or exaggerate. Temper the buoyant inspiration of Jupiter by opening your mind and think about one drop of water in an ocean of drops. Breathe with both feet on the ground. With good balance you can find good perspective. Look for the opportunities in the obstacles and remember: “we’ll all float on okay.”

 

“I see at last that if I don’t breathe, I breathe…”  F. M. Alexander

Many people are concerned about how to breathe in the “correct” way, or they may be interested in the relationship between breathing and “stress.”  And there is often an idea that they don’t breathe “deeply enough.”  One can find much advice in books and from fitness people about taking deeper breaths, or “breathing from the abdomen.” But the problem with almost all approaches is that they assume that the average person has access to their breathing mechanisms in such a way that they could be simply told to breathe differently, and they could do it correctly.  As is the case with all efforts to change habitual activity, most approaches overlook the complexity and subtlety of the problem.

In the first place, breathing is not simply one isolated function of our bodies that we can change without changing the way we use our entire bodies.   Breathing “correctly” and naturally means not interfering with the design of our bodies.  The ribs attach to the spine in the back, and the diaphragm has signficant attachments to the spine and the back of the ribs:  the support of the spine allows the ribs and diaphragm to move freely and efficiently in the act of breathing.  When our breathing takes place according to our design, the lower ribs swing out sideways, and the lower back fills out in back as the diaphragm descends, pushing the abdominal contents sideways, backwards, and some forwards.  The conventional idea of “breathing from the abdomen” interferes with the delicate articulation of the ribs with the back, and prevents the lateral and backwards component of the movement of the ribs and lower back. 

As discussed elsewhere (see “Stability and Balance”) most of us, in the process of growing up, have acquired habits which interfere with the natural, integrated functioning of the body.  In a very young child, the muscles of the spine form a unified support for the body in all its activities. As we begin interfering with this natural support (through unconsciously imitating the habits of our parents and friends, sitting in front of the TV or computer, and so on) we build up a network of tension which substitutes for the support of the spine.  As a part of this network of tension, we begin to recruit the ribs and diaphragm to help support the body.  Once this takes place, our breathing is seriously compromised, as the breathing mechanisms can no longer function as they were designed to. The diaphragm then becomes stuck, and cannot fully release into a complete exhale.  It is as if people learn to hold their breath all the time.

The problem, then, is that when people are told to breathe in a different way, they will recruit the same patterns of tension as they always do, except in a more exaggerated form.  No matter what they are told, to “breathe” means, in practice, to activate the pattern of tension they have associated with breathing.  There is no way, without more understanding and more skill, to breathe in any other way, since the breathing mechanism is now being used to help support the body. 

Does this mean that the problem is insoluble?  Not at all.  But we need more awareness, more understanding, and more skill.  Through lessons in the Alexander Technique, people learn to re-activate the natural support of the postural muscles of the back.  This starts to free the breathing mechanisms to return to their proper function as they are released from their incorrect role of supporting the body. 

Next, through focusing on the exhale (which is a relaxation and release of the diaphragm) NOT on the inhale, students learn to let go of the spasm which prevents a full exhale.  The inhale then comes in as a reflex, and a deeper pattern of breathing can be established.  Again, if someone is simply told to breathe more deeply, or to “breathe from the abdomen,” they will simply breathe the way they always do, except with more force.

As is the case with all attempts to change our habits, once we have an idea of “doing” some activity, including breathing, we will do it in the same habitual way that we have always done it.  In effect, we must learn “not to breathe” (as we understand breathing) in order to truly breathe in a new a different way. As Alexander said to one of his students “I see at last that if I don’t breathe, I breathe.”

s" -Oil painting by T. Boehle.

"The observed shift of the spectra to longer wavelengths reflects the relaxation process" -oil painting by T. Boehle

Relaxation is a state that you come into. It involves change and participation. When you are willing to change your perspective to connect differently from your present state you are prepared to begin.

Find a comfortable chair to sit in and place your feet flat on the floor. This provides you the connection with the support of the earth and its magnetic fields that assist you in balance. With you feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your thighs, begin to feel the warmth within the palms of your hands. Notice the pleasant feeling the warmth provides your hands and your thighs as your hands warm the fabric between your hands and your thighs.

Shift your attention from the pleasant sensation between your hands and your thighs and find a spot across the room on which to focus. This spot will be just above your line of site. It can be remarkable in its interest or simply a place on the wall. Allow your eyes to focus on your spot while making all the necessary adjustments for comfort of your entire body.

And now, with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your thighs and your focused ahead of you, bring your attention to your breath. Notice your belly as it you bring oxygen in through your nose. Notice the rise in your belly and bring your awareness to the rise and fall of your belly while your eyes are focused on your spot and your feet are flat on the floor with your hands resting on your thighs.

This coordination is work. Allow your self to experience it as it is for you. If the complexity of this new work is challenging allow yourself to feel okay with your ability as well as your concern. However you do this is okay. It is perfect. Bring no judgments of yourself and your abilities. And if you like, practice breathing in for the count of four holding for the count of two and exhaling for the count of six.

Practice 3-5 of these breaths. Feel yourself settling deeper into the chair as you breath with your feet flat on the floor, your hands on your thighs and your eyes focused forward. Notice that your eyes may begin to experience a change in your vision. As you focus forward you may notice a narrowing of your vision similar to the idea of tunnel vision where that outside your focus falls into the darkness. Your eyes may begin to feel heavy and you may want to close them. With your eyes closed, your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your thighs bring your awareness to your breath.

Let your mind drift as you notice your breath in and out and as your mind returns and attempt to capture your attention with ideas acknowledge it without any judgment and then bring your awareness back to your breath. As you relax your mind’s activity may increase and provide you distraction from your breath. Whatever happens is okay. It is perfect. You welcome the distraction of the mind’s activity as you bring your awareness back to your breath acknowledging that the mind’s activity is a reminder of all the distractions life provides you. You are grateful for this reminder as it serves to strengthen your practice of being present. And you know that when you are present you can become relaxed.