Weighs A Ton,Weighs You Down

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I was intrigued by this suit of armour at the Tower of London when I visited there in October.

Shiny, superbly crafted and protective to the nth degree…lots to admire then.

But…

“When we have built up armour against all the bad things we think might happen in the world, we have a false sense of protection and have only built up isolation”.  -Tara Stiles

You name it – defensiveness, cynicism, aloofness – they only will only leave you alone in your corner in the end.

And those eye slits are not the best way to view the wonder and possibilities of the world!

Lift

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“I think it is incumbent on anyone who can, to lift human dignity to the highest possible levels, maintaining one’s own and helping to raise that of others.”

        – Henry Rollins

Great words from former Black Flag frontman and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.

Emphasises to me the togetherness of humanity – sometimes you will be the lifter (when you can) and sometimes the one lifted up (when you need to be).

As an aside, Rollins has also been a keen lifter of weights and famously said of the iron he lifted:

“The  Iron is the great reference point, the all knowing perspective giver. I have found the Iron to be  my greatest friend……..Friends may come and go but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

I agree…what gets lifted, and what lifts us up … is the Truth.

Abundance

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“The source of all abundance is not outside you. It is part of who you are. However, start by acknowledging and recognising abundance without. See the fullness of life all around you. The warmth of the sun on your skin… or getting soaked in an abundance of water falling from the sky. The fullness of life is there at every step. The acknowledgment of that abundance that is all around you awakens the dormant abundance within. Then let it flow out”

 -Eckhart Tolle, from “A New Earth”

Sea Cave Treasure Seeker

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“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

     –  Joseph Campbell

Mighty sea cave on New Zealand’s west coast at Muriwai Beach.

I would be more than a little afraid to explore beyond the cave’s entrance – the power of the sea ,the damp rock walls and general darkness puts me off. Plus, a tiny fear of drowning…

The  uncovering of the mystery of the cave’s depths and discovery of its ‘treasure’ will fall to someone else braver than me…..

Fear holds us back from discovery so often. Even when we know that at the times we have been most brave, we have learned and gained much.

As an aside, sea caves are products of erosive wave action –  it is amazing that the destruction of the softish cliff rock over time actually creates something ‘other’ and new!

The Real You

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“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be when you were a child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions  took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”

      – Don Miguel Ruiz (Mexican author and philosopher)

 –

Art Ascending

 “Art, when inspired with love, leads to higher realms”

 – Baba Meher

Two community art gallery stairways, in NZ’s Nelson (left) and Taumaranui (right), echo the above quote.

You can feel the love and passion transforming humble carpentry.

Stairs inviting you upwards with rainbow colours to discover more artful wonder.

Which is what inspired art does, I suppose – takes you out of yourself and beyond.

I fumble around with this blog, and I don’t really know  what qualifies as ‘good’ art ,but I have come to learn that the act of creating something that is real to me has actually taken me ‘beyond’. The creativity of others (bloggers like you included!) inspires that journey too.

Onwards and upwards!

 

 

The Widening Gyre

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 “Turning and turning in the widening gyre

  The falcon cannot hear the falconer

  Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold…”

                        – W.B.Yeats ,excerpt from ‘The Second Coming’

These often quoted lines of poetry are mesmerising and terrifying to me , and the whole work is said to be prophetical and allegorical.

I’ll leave the latter for the scholars of literature to debate.

But the words have spoken to me deeply and personally of a time when my centre could no longer hold.

Things fell apart.

I was a lost falcon without direction.

Forces were beyond my  control.

Mesmerising.

Terrifying.

As shockingly vivid as the hues and shapes of this picture, but thankfully in the past.

All I can say, if you’re in the eye of a chaotic hurricane , is that ” this too, shall pass.”

 

Labels Are For Jars

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 “How many cares one loses ,when one decides not to be something ,but someone.”

        – Coco Chanel

This quote has almost been my mantra in the past year or so.

The creeping realisation came that I was defining myself by my various jobs,roles and external expectations , not by my core,essence and natural intuition. And I was losing myself in the process.

The labels that the world uses to pigeonhole us should not stick to us through everything , or anything all really, but they do .

Be warned ,you might just have to break a jar or two to lose those labels, and just be someone – you.

Glass broken, cares lost….

The Monkey Mind

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I only became aware this week of the Buddhist concept of the “monkey mind” when I was reading  a story online about a depressed US army veteran who had been taught tai chi in order to quiet the negative voices in his head.

Another magazine article at home awhile back described an acquaintance of mine as having a “manic, fizzing mind.” The description was bang on.

I can relate …in fact this blog reflects a lot of things that just bounce around inside my head …I have to get rid of some of them in cyberspace…sorry!

But seriously ,apparently the average person has about 50,000 separate thoughts a day(many about the same thing) and a lot of those are not relaxing or mindful thoughts.They are of the “need to do this..now”  and  “next, that”, or just general worry bead handling.

Some of this is necessary for personal organisation and survival; too much of it causes mental and physical fatigue.We simply can’t unwind and become restless and unsettled.

Buddha wrote: “Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought,mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.”

The trick,supposedly, is to understand that aspect of ourselves and then tame the monkey, not fight it.

I won’t get into the mindfulness techniques to do that because I am no expert,but  it is good start just to realise that maybe we can hold a thought,if a beneficial one, before launching for the next “branch” .

Lastly,the monkey picture was taken at a popular tourist island in  Langkawi, Malaysia. There are constant warnings to the boatloads of  visitors:”Do not feed the monkeys”,as they can be quite excitable and  aggressive.

Good advice for those with “monkey minds” too!

 

Zen Gate At The Snake Temple

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 Gate At The Snake Temple, Penang, Malaysia

“In Zen they say: “Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions”. What does that mean? Let go of identifications with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself “.

– Eckhart Tolle, from ‘A New Earth’.

We love our opinions and our right to have them .

To hang on to them, defend them, fight others over theirs.

We sometimes identify with our opinions, forgetting that they are not actually us.

I think of opinions I have held strongly, then later discarded.Who I am didn’t actually change.`

Some thoughts and opinions I have are kind and beautiful; others, like the snakes who inhabit the Buddhist temple where I took this photo, are just a bit twisted and scary!

 

Collapse Into Fall

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“All at once, summer collapsed into fall” – Oscar Wilde

Easter approaches  – almost on cue summer disappears speedily, and the first autumn chills arrive.

Leaves start to fall; beautiful golden, reddish debris will soon cover the ground.

In the Southern Hemisphere ,Easter sits seemingly opposed to the new season, with its imagery of eggs ,new life and rebirth more redolent of  spring.

But not really, as for every birth there needs to be the death of something ; there is no beginning without a  prior ending….I know myself what it is like to have collapsed, fallen and then started afresh in life.

(PS: Grateful for the end of humidity, hot sleep-disturbed nights and mosquitoes!)