Rant-ology!

pithy-rants of Renée Roehl.com site

the gratitude attitude

mercury

Gratitude is the new Happy in terms of writing trends and with Thanksgiving a few days away there’s plenty of syrupy pieces being written. We all know how much the rant-ress loves those. [see: chin-up my ass or pollyanna is passive aggressive]

Recently, a friend linked an article in their “marketing” email suggesting that “love, praise and gratitude” can change your DNA. When I tried to find an actual study, there was no veritable science I could cite. Though there were some fuzzy pictures of altered cells that had been ‘praised and appreciated,’ along with one abused cell entitled, “You make me sick; I will kill you.”

Regardless, I discovered something about practicing appreciation when a friend of mine decided to do something she called, 100 Days of Gratitude on her FB page. She’d post a photo that embodied some aspect of her world that she’d observed and admired adding words of acknowledgement. She told me that after the initial 10 or so obvious picks, she had to look deeper and it changed the way she looked at her whole life. I joined her in this cheery activity doing 50 Days, writing crisp little descriptors of what delighted my whimsy, adding direct or oblique photos I’d taken.

I love to take on miniature ‘assigned’ creative ventures. Venture, after all, is the other half of ‘adventure.’ What I found was that—like when working with poems/songs where snippets amoeba about my mind all day taking shape, flitting apart—I’d be secondarily thinking and watching through this new lens as my work-a-day life rolled through me.

Endorphin hits were sweet and available in bite-sized bits each day. I couldn’t keep up with all the joy-giving ‘conditions’ surrounding me. Most adults are often looking for some feel-good chemicals but have been culturally trained that the best place to get them is from without: drugs, alcohol, weed, random hook-ups, gambling, shopping, etc.. If your endorphins depend on stimulation instead of inspiration, they’re not sustainable.

So for fun, why not try a 28 day exercise (to match moon cycles). I said, FUN, not another ‘uplifting’ yet soul-smothering head dictum about “right living” but an enjoyable uncomplicated way to “change your life” as the galvanizing New Age-ers love to wax on about. Okay, it won’t be that dramatic but it will inspire your vision of existence.

Pick a start date and take your camera or iPhone out for a walk engaging your imagination in hoarfrost, ice puddles, Larch “fur.” Drops of water on Lacinato kale, art, a sparkling Riedel glass of chianti, candlelight. Downy comforters, Italian leather boots, an 3-foot anthill, fluffy snowflakes, lake swimming, hiking boots… Share on Facebook, Tumblr, email, wherever.

Let Bruce Cockburn’s lyrics prompt you:

Little round planet in a big universe / Sometimes it looks bless-ed, sometimes it looks cursed / Depends on what you look at obviously/ But even more it depends on the way that you see.

Go! Go! GO!

*photo is of planet Mercury

i’m sorry my apology sounds insincere, I’ll try to make it more convincing next time

apology-form

Most of what I do as a counselor, besides deep listening, is to help hold pain. Injuries linger long after the horror of events/words have slithered across my clients’ fragile hearts. Age matters not a bit; traumas big or small, remain. One reason I’m contracted to assist in the soothing of psychic wounds is that the ‘perpetrators’ and witnesses haven’t acknowledged the hurt, haven’t apologized.

Apologies don’t have to mean you’re wrong, the other’s right, you did anything deliberately. They’re more about empathy, about caring that the other’s hurt, that the relationship means more to you than your self-pride or the polarized world of right/wrong, bad/good.

No one wants reasons either, at least not up front; those won’t salve the wound. There can be explanations but only after one is attentive to the others’ pain. Apologies are not about you or about being forgiven; they’re about compassion.

My friend, “Fred,” was often left waiting for his dad to pick him up from elementary school, sometimes over two hours, as other kids left, then teachers, then janitors…there was Fred leaping on curbs, skidding rocks and otherwise entertaining himself until his dad finally showed. Before Fred would get into the car he’d hear, “Wow, you’ll never guess who I met up with,” or “The coolest thing happened,” ad nauseum. Fred wasn’t given an apology but a “fun” excuse so there wasn’t room for him to have his own feelings of frustration, fear or anger—but he’d learned long before 3rd grade to suppress pretty much any true emotions around his self-absorbed parents.

Once, when Dario was two-ish, we biked past a crying toddler. He became distressed and asked me to turn back to “see her again” suggesting we hug her. By then her mom was there comforting. For the rest of the ride home, Dario continued to postulate why she’d been crying and what we might’ve done to “happy her.” There’s nary a young kid who doesn’t have natural empathy.

This is what happens to empathy:

  • If you don’t receive any you don’t have any to give. You can’t dispense something you rarely feel. If apologizing is seen as weakness or fulfilled in right/wrong thinking instead of a compassionate act of soothing distress, pride sets in and spins kindness into selfishness.
  • Our paradigm shames or belittles those who want to care, who’re exhibiting emotional pain or grief and often reveres those who don’t. It’s manly to disregard needs in others, in themselves, to not cry, to be “strong.”

Ironically, compassion is where true strength lives.

Attempt an apology that’s NOT about defending your position. Instead: Listen! Accept another’s suffering whether you think it’s justified or not. Remember? It’s not about you. What you think doesn’t really matter. Lastly, ask what can be done to resolve the hurt. There’ll be space for explanations, for your opinion afterwards. Be a soft witness to the other first. Especially with children—Please!

But truthfully, we all have a “fair/unfair meter” within us and we hunger for this same tender treatment.

gas pedal’s on the right!!

giddyupSo, I’m having a conversation about tailgaters with a friend and the quasi-spouse. Close-call stories are being related that illustrate the hazards of tailgating but what I mainly construe is how slow the person in front of the “close call” was going. The loathing of people who text-while-driving obviously extends to bumper-humpers, too.

There’re many bumper-stickers about this topic:

  • The closer you get, the slower I drive
  • In a hurry? Not my problem
  • Sorry for driving so close in front of you
  • Faster than Molasses. 

My personal favorite because I’m often crabbily saying, “Could you drive any slower?”:

  •  YES, I can drive slower.

A rebuttal bumper-sticker:

  • If you drove any slower, you’d be parked.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of tailgating, but, if I’m passing you on the right while driving the freeway, you’re in the wrong lane for leisurely travel. In Italy, it’s illegal to be in the left lane—as in the USA—unless you’re passing. Cars will flash lights, honk and tailgate until you change lanes. Those drivers may drive at speeds that some in the States feel is ridiculously fast but, over there, slower drivers are thoughtful and courteous instead of stubbornly self-righteous like here in the USA. And THEY OBLIGINGLY MOVE OVER.

I come by my feelings naturally. My mamma was a lead-foot, and I grew up with gentle verbal venting from both parents: “What?! You have cakes/eggs in the trunk?!” (mamma) “If I had that guy’s car and he had a feather up his ass, we’d both be tickled.”(dad) Next, my ex, who would regularly remark, “Green means GO in Colorado” or “Gas pedal’s on the right.”

We who listened to our adults amicably bitch about “other drivers” tend to pass this behavior on. When Tara was a toddler and we were waiting for Steve in the car, she stood in the driver’s seat turning the wheel, pretended to honk and in her sweet baby voice said, “Beep Beep!” Futching Atso!!” When Steve slid in, I said, “Hmmm, we don’t want Tara’s first phrase to be ‘Fucking Asshole,’ do we?” We probably managed about 4-5 days before ineffectively spouting some useless language that other drivers couldn’t even hear. Some years later I remember saying to Dario, “See how pointless this is? Their window’s closed; my window’s closed…Don’t do this when you drive.” Unfortunately, we often learn by osmosis.

Yes, tailgating is foolish. Texting is downright deadly. But couldn’t we all be a bit kinder? A tad more tolerant, less mean speech? At least my parents, my ex, myself and my kids are just venting. We’re not spewing self-righteous toxins at those who’re young, or untaught or just different. Nothing justifies nasty.

Which is worse, tailgating or poky driving? Both suck. Still, for me it’s about consideration. Couldn’t we all carry a bit more grace? Grace for the fearful, old or mellow; grace for those who hear a speedier rhythm and prefer to drive that pace. There is no right or wrong here, except intolerance.

 

 

orgasm smorgasm

three-bacchante

You who regularly read this blog know that the Rant-ress is a longtime, happy-to-be-one feminist which is often mistaken for a person who hates men—mostly by men—instead of someone who yearns for justice & parity. Yet—somehow, amazingly—she manages to write critiques about women as well. See: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself or spandex with a side of breasts or you stink!

That said, could we speak about female orgasm* for a few minutes without the specter of “porn-orgasm” that informs many women’s sex lives and fabricates dramatic moments of moaning and panting that are rarely real?

About 10% of females experience Anorgasmia, the inability to ever reach orgasm, but many women who can orgasm only climax about 50 – 70%  of the time, so says the Mayo Clinic, often choosing not to. Or they would choose that if they felt it wouldn’t create insecurity or cognitively disturb their partners.

A recent study illuminated the main reasons women lie:

1. Altruistic deceit (faking out of concern for a partner’s feelings)
2. Fear and insecurity (faking to avoid negative emotions associated with the sexual experience)
3. Elevated arousal (attempting increase one’s own arousal)
4. Sexual adjournment (faking orgasm to end sex)

Women’s sexuality often feels like a barren wasteland of lasciviousness with little sensual delights. Mainly because our erotic life is primarily defined by male sexual tastes, male psychology. And why wouldn’t it be? Until very recently, 97% of ALL MEDIA was male written, produced, directed so most female parts didn’t come from female brains.

Not everyone likes asparagus, wine or even dark chocolate, nor should they, so why should we expect every sexual encounter to be as sumptuous and exceptional as a holiday dinner? Must every meal have a decadent dessert?

Once again, allow things, experiences, people, animals be what they are without enhancement, expectation or disappointment.

So, ladies. It’s crucial that you stop faking and start requesting. If your man can’t/won’t hear you in something as lovely and fun as  lovemaking, he’s not going to listen to you anywhere else. Vacate now. And besides, you’re ruining sex for the rest of us, not just yourself.

You’re inadvertently creating a bunch of clueless men who are already overly indoctrinated by movies, internet and porn into thinking their selfish lovemaking is effective, that all women cum in two minutes, that we moan and writhe and call them “King.” The truth? Some of us like it like this and not that. Some want it smooth or fast or both, take longer or prefer to take longer, and most of us like what we like. One “size” does NOT fit all.

So, you men? Don’t be dimwitted. Admit you don’t know and ask; each women is unique. There’s no ONE technique and no matter who you are, none of you are “King.” Women? Speak. Please! Most of us would like to get our sexual needs met without having to do it ourselves later in the bathroom, and men won’t learn unless we teach them. Stop lying and start laying it out.

*the post is only discussing heterosexual sexuality

more power!!!*

American culture is obsessed with “power.” In politics, business dealings, weight lifting, visualizations, sacred circles, sex, pickup trucks, vitamins, parenting, love, torque, tools, speed boats, chain saws, intention, foods, drugs. Everything.

Everything except authentic power.

Marianne Williamson said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

The dictionary definition of power is the ability to act or accomplish something. I postulate that one exerts self-discipline in order to prepare for power. Hence, the word: disciple. This takes intention and consistent effort.

Control, exploitation, domination, manipulation are not interchangeable with power regardless of what the current paradigm posits. The former attributes are cold, narrow, “myth-of-scarcity-“ish and dis-integrated.

Power, on the other hand, can be tranquil, transmits by being, allows, has faith in and is integris with all of Self. It’s more about letting go not grasping. Control consists of constraint or supremacy over something or Self. Power inspires and influences; control dominates and bullies. The more control you brandish, the less actual power.

To confuse and misuse your power for selfish reasons, for greed, sex, money or out of fear is odious. More than just the physical and/or psychological damage it causes, it destroys trust. Not only to the victims but just as importantly, belief in one’s Self. These actions close doors to healing, spirituality, love. This is the archetype of the dark wizard, black magic, representative of those who don’t trust in their power as it is but believe the myth that one has to augment it (become controlling) or cheat to “win.”

But there’s the rub: “winning” is one of the biggest lies most of us don’t question. There is no actual WIN; there just IS. Yet people believe they can get the things they want by managing any challenge and controlling all aspects of it. When it doesn’t go their way, they get frustrated, blame someone/something and give up. What doesn’t appear to occur to them is that the only true way to claim their power is to align with their “higher” Self and… let go. Unfortunately, you can’t choose a choice you don’t see.

What can work?—in the genuine way of how things work, which is not foolproof? Like attracts like, a universal law of great magnetizing force. For instance, the healer’s power comes from seeing the wound, “matching” it in vibration (whether through talk, Reiki, herbs, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies or drugs, etc.) and harmonizing that vibration up to health.

We’re most effective when we engage in the “effortless effort” of focusing on the present moment, participating in the process—or with the person—while simultaneously holding the aim, but “out of sight” because it distracts us from the NOW. True triumph rarely comes from zeroing in on the win. Most champions, all holistically successful people have a “personal best” goal, not a competitive one.

Control steals our energy, obliterating the NOW. Real power resides in the Present, and in being present.

*(“Tim Taylor” of Home Improvement)

pursuit of happiness = oxymoron

experience addition

In the last few years, “happiness” has been a major publishing craze. A plethora of books, articles and blogs were obsessed with happy. Suggestions like:

  • surround yourself with happy people (who’s authentic and cheerful all the time?)
  • think happy thoughts (if only life were that easy)
  • walk in nature (of course)
  • drink red wine (xoxo)
  • go to church (hmmmm)
  • be with family (lots will cringe at this)
  • breathe deep (yup)
  • exercise (yes)
  • do fun things (sure)
  • get high (okay)

The trouble is many people do some or all of the above and happiness still eludes them. Maybe because happiness doesn’t exist. At least not in the way marketing tells us it does. The secret to happiness won’t be found in the striving for it.

In progressive circles, the “bucket list” trend—a checklist of non-ordinary things to get done before one dies—is quite popular, but I find it wearying. Lists help me organize my life but checking things off doesn’t make me happy. I know people who raise kids, have sex, travel and live with a mindset of ticking off an agenda. That’s not living as much as orchestrating.

Where’s the being with? Where’s the sitting still? The reflection? Residing from the inside out?

Distracting oneself from ordinary life gives momentary pleasure but that’s not being in it. If bliss lies in what you do and where you go, then you’ll be chasing experiences all your life. A ‘geographical-new mate-new job’ cure is no better than a ‘heroin-Jack Daniels-cannabis-random hook-up’ cure. One’s just culturally faddish, less moralistic and it only seems like you’re moving toward happiness.

I’ve got nothing against big experiences but none of them have made me any happier than brushing my cats, working with clients, playing guitar, talking with friends, writing, cooking, weeding with my grandson, reading, hiking in big trees, lake swimming, sweeping, staring at clouds, drinking red wine, washing dishes.

Here’s the deal: When we get the new relationship/new city/house/dog/tool/job we feel great but not necessarily because we’ve gotten something or done whatever, but because—for that very fleeting minute—we’re free from desire.

True happiness isn’t so much about getting what we crave, it’s about appreciating what we already have. Bertrand Russell said: “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

If you see your life as tedious and in need of “amusement,” you aren’t in your life; you’re in the future and that future is the dangling carrot just out of reach of your ravenous mouth. Distractions are delusions of delight.

It’s the gorgeous journey not the destination that’s genuinely enjoyable.

So what will work?

  • Be where you are, as you are (like a toddler)—sorrowful, laughing, angry, singing
  • Enjoy bathing your baby as much as eating foccacia in Firenze—don’t value one over the other
  • Cultivate sincere depth of connection with others
  • View play and work as identical
  • Accept what is [see after ecstasy, the laundry]
  • Appreciate what you have
  • Inspiration over Stimulation
  • Quit trying to be happy

 

 

spandex with a side of breasts

1

A few days ago, I saw a foursome playing tennis. The guys on the court looked like dudes [see: usa fashion: men are just taller boys]. Sadly, the women’s clothing style was reminiscent of cheesy porn intros: sexy nurse, student, delivery/repairmen, people “playing tennis” set-ups, those tacky five-minute segues before the sucking/fucking starts.

I’m adverse to victim blaming, so it makes me nervous to point out how the women were dressed but I’m regularly subjected to complaints from—particularly—younger women how they aren’t viewed as whole beings by men.** Well, I’d like to suggest that if you arrange your boobs like jewelry or wear virtually see-through yoga pants to many functions then some personal responsibility should probably be taken.

A male friend observed that almost no woman looks good in spandex—and he’s right, since real women aren’t photo-shopped. Another friend groused how he was attempting to read small words displayed across a woman’s chest and when she objected, he snapped, “Don’t put fine print on places you don’t want me to study.” And then I saw a 20s woman sporting pink short-shorts with “JUICY” spelled out in puffy paint across her butt. Can she really be too offended if men cat-call her? We’re so used to female sexualization slathered ubiquitously that it appears some women think revealing clothing is dressing up and they’re “shocked” to the effect it brings.

In the USA, most men wear such baggy swimsuits it’s a wonder they can swim. A Speedo is nary to be found. Why? Too contouring, they say. You mean, like yoga pants?? As a woman who swims in board-shorts and a tank top, I also don’t like so much exposure—mostly out of comfort. I enjoy swimming, jumping, bending, without having to constantly consider what my suit might decide to lay bare. I’m wondering if much of women’s styles are deliberately designed to create a clothing “malfunction.” How titillating. Not.

Before I get flamed as a reactionary prude, let’s fabricate a check point. Remove sexualization in media and replace it with, say, eating or sleeping: a snoozing (not suggestively) woman on a shiny new car, a woman swallowing a banana or popping strawberries into her mouth (as a regular person would eat them). Anyone remember what that naturally looks like? Sex should be a non sequitur here.

Yes, the Hollywood and TV industries sprinkle shows with random boffing throughout every conceivable female activity—except maybe vomiting and pooping—but must we carry it over into ordinary life? Do men really want arousal potential omnipresent, like at the dentist or buying groceries? Maybe. Seems tiring to me. I hate how this aspect translates into life imitating “art” [sic].

The female beauty rituals—a euphemism for body torture or, at minimum, inconvenient time-wasters—are rampant in our culture [see: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself] and how we dress is part of this. Couldn’t we return to sexy-tasteful? Leave a little to discover when we undress?

Life isn’t porn, or is it?

**see [women aren’t food] for the other viewpoint

yoga boo boo

yoga

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 40 years along with lifting weights and working out in gyms. I’ve seen trends come and go in both arenas. Changing it up can make it fresh, especially gym classes. But with yoga, the shift has been from listening deeply to the body, holding an asana/posture while allowing the body to release on it’s own terms, into a westernized bullying practice.

Popular yoga forms:

  • Ashtanga: succession of tedious asanas (series 1, 2, 3) for weight loss, can’t-find-your-breath work
  • Power yoga: restyled Ashtanga from the 80’s for aggressive westerners
  • Birkrim: repetitive overkill in high heat to torture the body, developed by a said-to-be sociopath; not surprised if that were true
  • Kundalini: constantly moving, energizing, no genuine breath work except for the out-of-breath kind
  • Vinyasa Flow: also adapted from Ashtanga (and other traditions) for weight loss and aerobic work

You get the drift: it’s more about a workout, losing weight, being fit, etc. and not so much about focus, stillness, being or breath. Unfortunately, these unkind types of yoga now dominate most studios. Good luck finding one that regularly offers (more than once a week) a yoga class of yesteryear that is varied, centered and truly cares about the breath/body/spirit like these adaptations:

  • Hatha: what we used to think of as yoga but originally meant the physical aspect of yoga practice
  • Yin: more like the old “hatha” but not quite challenging enough and often seen as a compliment to “yang” (the above yoga types) rather than a practice of it’s own
  • Iyengar: similar sequences enacted, inclined to more standing poses and use of props

Seems to me that if a “major workout” is what you’re looking for why not do TRX, Zumba, Parkour or Crossfit? Much “yoga” appears as a disguised gym class. Maybe it’s just trendy to say you take yoga. I don’t know.

In my day, if you had back injuries, insomnia or other maladies, yoga was prescribed (think Lilias Folan here). Anymore, I hear from doctors/PT practitioners that more and more people are regularly being treated for yoga-related injuries. Something feels wrong about that.

I’m not against “vigorous” yoga styles; I’d just like options. I dislike the ‘either/or’ atmosphere of a punishing toughness or the “newbie” too gentle/old people yoga. How about ‘and & both?’ A variety of asanas besides the same 20-ish. Instead of a facetious nod to breath work there’s an actual incorporation of it.

I’d like more respect of the body, not the badgering it. Trust it to know itself instead of the continual, callous imposition upon it—in exercise, in food. Listen with deference and understanding and then…let go. Yoga taught me that years ago. I no longer see that message sincerely conveyed in today’s classes (O, the words are spoken but the undercurrent and movements don’t back it up) which is why my yoga practice is mainly done at home.

Our culture does enough manipulating, hustling and shoving of our spirits, minds and bodies. Can we please have yoga back?

 

usa fashion: men are just taller boys

In the USA (unless you live in big cities, particularly the coasts), many men dress like little boys: ball caps, striped shirts (not the hip type), dumpy pants, sports jerseys, warm-up “suits,” button-downs seemingly snatched off the floor, sneakers, flip-flops, t-shirts with literally stupid words on them.

It doesn’t get much better when guys “dress up.” Boring characterless suits of cheaper fabrics like polyester that are too tight, too large, ill-fitted across the shoulders and with wrists gangling out; they look like their wife or mom scored them at Goodwill. Same goes for tacky sport coats. Even most ties have no pizzazz. Payless “fashion” shoes, bland socks, generic belts. Bad haircuts and errant hairs emerging from…orifices.

boulder jersey-shore pittsburghbuffalo

And then there are “international men,” regardless of age: sweaters, dashing overcoats, masculine scarves and cravats, hats of all types, boots, shoes and belts of fine tooled flair that one can’t help notice and admire. Hair is styled whether there’s a little or a lot that befits their face and head. There’s thought and care, yet comfort and allure. In other words, they’re as attractive and fetching as most women are.

We women like to gaze at beautiful humans, too, and we’d like some of them to be men.

10913Neg6960Web 10913FabR6950Web 11813JNWATNBE3385_web 10813StrPld6034Webshutterstock_60745798

The word “romance” originally meant things Roman. Maybe there’s a reason that the Italians and Spanish are considered the most romantic. They certainly dress the part.

With many birds, the males are stunningly more colorful, gorgeous, plumed to the nines than the females. I swear human chanteuses take their cues for boas and headdresses from peacocks, pheasants and ducks. Male birds perform lovely dances and Bower birds build impressively decorated homes to charm the female.

So, men—wherever you live—take a cue. Get a clue. Most females aren’t expecting hand built homes but, geez, couldn’t you take a little time with yourself so we might think you’d take a little time with us, too?

We women do want to be wooed and wowed with some “plumage” action. You don’t have to have a plethora of clothes or shoes; it’s more about effort than financial investment:

  • Get a pleasing haircut and then style it in the morning. Don’t just gel or paste it. Ask your hair stylist for a tutorial.
  • Buy quality fabrics in shirts, pants, suits that FIT. Experiment with colors, patterns or sophisticated “simple.”
  • Wash your clothes, then IRON THEM. Sorry, you must.
  • Graduate to real shoes. Unless you’re jogging/running or at the beach don’t wear sneakers or flip-flops. There are many types of snazzy/smart comfortable shoes, sandals and boots.
  • Accessories ‘make it’ as mentioned above: scarves, belts, hats but also a simple silver bracelet, modest gold earring, patterned vests, classy socks, tasteful satchels…
  • Go for elegance whether it’s for nighttime chic or easy-going.

who’s an artist?

modern-art

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it” ~Vonnegut

What makes an artist? Maybe the ability to deep listen to the subconscious/collective unconsciousness of the zeitgeist to reveal something fresh. By my definition, they’re pushing the envelope of the unseen to illuminate, soothe, disturb, delight.

Not all artists (by this I mean writers, songwriters, filmmakers, etc.) are doing this. Many of us know who is and who isn’t, except everyone has different “levels of vision.” Hence: Art is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe. But there’s quite a bit of narcissistic crap passing as art, particularly in film and most know it when we see it. [see: wolves & liars & cons, so what?]

A few craft-people do create art, but most don’t. Most go for safe. Nothing wrong with safe; it sells. And it’s art-like. But I think the idea for what they make is just that, an idea. From the head. I think artists hear/see something beyond anything the head can conjure. This opens up the can of worms whereby the more you do something the more layers you see and explore. If you do safe, you usually don’t, see more, that is. I wish we had a distinctive word—that’s not derogatory—for “prudent” art, one definitely not defined by the elitist art world or academia, those experts at marginalizing.

Moving on: there are those who must have the perfect desk, computer, pen to begin writing or the ideal studio space to paint. Every duck in an uptight row. They collect tools but rarely use them. Are they artists?

The trick is to be in the middle:

  1. Hold true to your vibratory vision. When it’s “right” you’ll know. There’s no short cuts/easy ways out. No artist does this. Easy is the refuge of fools.
  2. No perfectionism, believing those critical voices that if we only did X, acquired Y, explored Z…we’d do it then. Unfortunately the bar gets pushed farther and farther out by unrealistic “head lies.”
  3. Accept “good enough.” This doesn’t mean settle. As William Stafford says: Lower your standards. He wrote a poem a day and felt blessed if he got 12 good poems a year. By just doing. That’s how we get better and better and thwart the unfeasible, unreasonable voices within.

So, do whatever level of “art” calls you. My teacher noted we only know the level we’re on and the ones we’ve already done. This is where faith that we’ll be able to tune in deeper and deeper as we immerse ourselves in listening, doing, listening, doing, listening…

A friend’s current healing plan away from his childhood coping strategy of delusion may be helpful:

“Faith is doing what you have to even though you can’t see it. It’s not about religion. Whatever we’re doing in our lives which appears immutable and real—like being in the business world—the leap of faith is to realize that what seems true is not, and leap toward that part you trust is right.”

It won’t be easy, may even be painful but just keep on.

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