Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Artist's Way

    So I have decided to embark on the "Artist's Way," a book by Julia Cameron, and do three morning pages every morning.  I even might incorporate a sketch with these morning pages because colors and art make me happy and jogs my right brain.  It helps ease me into this whole "creative" way of being. 
My picture of a sunflower
      Yesterday I watched a super interesting show on the Discovery Channel about black holes.  I never knew too much about black holes except that people seemed to joke about or mention them in random passing.  As if everything we didn't know or secrets we wanted to know were contained in that mysterious "black hole" in the universe.  The idea of such an existence rather scared me to tell the truth.  Is that where all of our old dreams go to die? I wondered.  But watching this cool show got me thinking.  About matter, and dimension, and space, and time, and light.  I mean if it's true that we are like insects living on the surface on a pond, going about our business and only perceiving the 2D reflection back on us, not realizing what exists and is happening beneath us in the deep pond... then what is our life?  The show said, the insect can feel and sometimes see the effects of "a fish moving underneath it in the pond," it's movements causing ripples undulating from beneath, but it never really knows the cause of such an effect.  Like that insect, we never really understand or see all of the other dimensions and realities occurring around us in space, in our universe and beyond. I mean that is some deep shit (please excuse my French)!

      It really got me thinking about life here on earth and this human existence.  When I looked at my reflection back at myself I thought, wow I am so small, so finite.  Like the amount of matter that makes up ME is so TINY compared to the whole existence of our earth, our galaxy and this UNIVERSE.  And yet even thinking of how tiny I am and how short my life is, I thought how amazing it is that certain people have done such extraordinary things for mankind.  Invented things like electricity, solved crazy math equations that explain cosmic reality, discovered things as minuscule as an atom and as gigantic as a black hole.  Even better certain people have done away with slavery, granted women the right to vote and been real leaders in the realm of spirituality, freedom and deep compassion.  Just think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa for starters...  And this miracle, this gift we have all been given, known as human intelligence and the human heart of compassion, sensitivity and love...  well it is just amazing that us finite beings, like tiny insects living on the surface of a deep pond, are still capable of such impossible feats.
      My adventure into a creative life has me thinking of the difference of our right and left brain.  I know when I've switched over into my right brain, because I become so much more visibly relaxed as if in a trance, I ease up.  But it's not always easy to see I'm in my left brain.  Probably because that's how we Westerners have been programed.  The left brain mentality has really been embedded in our everyday mindset.  Is this paradigm shifting? I sure hope so, and do believe it is slowly, but like any habit, often this change takes a long time and lots of awareness.  Thinking about my left brain and certain things I do habitually, often negatively, but sometimes very necessary.  I could create a list of these things to feed my left brain's need for control - to do lists, calendars, alarms, order... but these things sometimes make me feel very helpless.  I don't know if it's just me, or if other people feel the same way, but these conventional modes of behavior often make me feel stuck.  Literally my mind, heart and spirit feel like feet stuck in mud, and taking just one step feels as if it's taken a century.  It just doesn't seem to fit the way my mind works.  Certain things definitely require a particular order, however so often I believe I stunt my own growth by trying to depend too heavily on these outside means of control, rather than learning to trust and depend on my own innate sense of order.   When you just intuitively know something, you just do itNo doubt or fear paralyzing and analyzing your every stepThe flow abundant in this instinctive way is so strong, like a current or wave pulling you along, your movements and actions feel natural and effortless. Like a ballerina dancing to Mozart - the music seems to just call you into movement and grace. 

      When I went to Bhakti Yoga Shala yesterday for "Seva" (work exchange for classes), everything sort of had that "flow" to it.  Stars aligning, things were brought up in conversation I had been meaning to communicate for awhile.  Kalidas, a really interesting Indian guy who takes care of the studio daily, and a wonderful Kirtan musician and spiritual explorer, talked to me about his music, his plans and the deity Genesh.  He sweeped and I cleaned off the shrine mantle and set the little Hindu deity figures, crystals, incense, flowers, rocks and candles back on it.  He was kind enough to share his newly recorded Kirtan music CD with me.  It really inspired me to do want to shoot a movie for him and for myself.  The second song especially resonated a real human condition, where our heart longs for love with another... that probably being the highest and deepest desire compelling our everyday life from birth to our last breath. 

"Everywhere I go
I see you.
Everywhere I turn
I see you.
Everywhere I look
I see you."

      The bittersweet longing in his Kirtan song struck a chord in my heart and I felt absolutely certain this was a real link to our purpose here on earth.  Joining our life with another.  Loving someone infinitely and unconditionally.  As if our plight of life, all of the things we have to do to survive, are all in preparation for what we are here to do... which I believe is living in love with another, with humanity and with God.

      Now my left brain surely criticizes such epiphanies, saying it's all too simple, there's more to life than just that.  My left brain is like a dark blanket of fear, blinding what my heart truly sees... that substance and light called:  Love. Tenderness. Compassion. Longing. Truth. Spirit. Grace.  The left brains wants to point out all of the practicality of life, all those things you've left unchecked on your to do list - the laundry piling up at home, the dishes, the grocery list and weight loss strategy we need to attend to.  As much as that stuff is not only valid, but essential to our lives (productivity is very much an important motor that keeps us going in our finite lives), what does it matter if our laundry is all done and neat and tidy, if our hearts are dark and full of fear? 

      And so this quest for the deeper dimension of life, where we go on a journey toward our deep, true self and what we discover along the way is beckoning me every day.  Yesterday, after Seva, I took a Vinyassa class with the sweet and kind Govindas, owner of Bhakti Yoga Shala, Yoga teacher and spiritual leader.  I could feel all of these lessons and truths drumming in my heart, like loyal and strong soldiers marching to the tune of life.  Everything I have learned in yoga I believe is priceless.  It's more than just knowledge.  It is the light and power of my own heart combined with the light and power of all the gentle hearts around me. 
gorgeous sunset in Santa Monica beach
      I even surprised myself when I went into a lunge and quite naturally got into an arm balance with ease, which I've always been afraid of before.  Govindas pointed it out, "Good job Cassie."  I felt like everything was validated in that moment.  Not because I need approval, but because this practice is real and great and can make things that once seemed impossible, possible.   "Vinyassa" means to yoke together our breath and movement.  The benefits of this "solar" and "lunar" practice are wonderful.  It simultaneously fired me up, clearing away all of the old and toxic, and also brought about true relaxation.  The technical aspects I've learned in Anusara Yoga (of alignment, muscle/bone structure and spirals), really helped to give me support, strength and stability, so I could open up and enjoy the flow of energy and beautiful music.  I was really sweating in this class! Which made the last pose, and often my favorite pose, Shavasana, truly magical.

Arm balance
      Ultimately, I hope to link together the grace, flexibility, power, light, gratitude and grounded-ness that I've found in my Yoga practice, with my journey toward creativity and art.  I hope to bless others with what I am blessed to find on my quest.  What I am praying for is focus so I can pull together all of these gifts, and wisdom so that I may be guided in the right direction on my path.

Thanks so much for reading.


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post. I'm glad I followed the link you posted on FB. You made yoga sound intriguing to someone who is very skeptical.

    This was a very thought-provoking entry. I found my self thinking about Betty Edward's "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain" and the Hubble "Deepest Field" photograph at different times while reading. Those are two of my favorite things, by the way.

    Good stuff for sure, Cassie! You kick total butt! I'm pleased to know you.

    Here are links to the Edward's book and the Hubble photo:
    Excuse the cheesy "Pink Floyd" music in the background: