Archive for May, 2017

see her? you think you're overwhelmed!

no matter what BIG upset comes along — Trust and you won’t suffer!

One of my most respected spiritual teachers said the other day, “Everything that’s happening right here, right now, is the accumulation of every single choice made up to this point —in your personal life and out in the world around us. Trust that this present moment is happening for all the right reasons. You may not know what those reasons are … yet! … but in time, more shall be revealed. Trust is what a child first learns from good parentage and upbringing. If you don’t have it, look back and fill in the cracks. Repair your trust leaks.”Because I want to have a pure approach to Trust, at this moment I’m going to (for the first time here on Lord Flea!) “tune “out” of my ordinary, rational mind … and go within. To that still, deep place within … where I connect with my inner Self. Because I want “him” (I call my special Spirit Guide Noname — and yes long ago “he” told me that’s his name, so yeah laugh if you want because I, LordFlea — am female!) and I want Noname to speak about this, not me. I invite Noname, whom I have been contacting for special messages, to talk today, and not me, about this pivotal topic: Trust.

The way I connect (and you can, too) is to get quiet, breathe deeply, and ask Noname to “take over” … and then I simply (after having trained myself to) trust what comes out … as I sit at my keyboard (I type as fast as I think, as swiftly as the flow of receiving is). I’ve been doing this exercise — tapping Noname’s wisdom — for years. So … here we go! Allow me to introduce you to our guest blogger today, my very own spirit guide … Noname!

flies-at-beach

relax, listen, here’s what Noname has to say!

Noname says:

Without trust, life on earth is miserable, at best; and bearable, at most. Those aren’t such great choices, are they?

If a person can let go of their pre-determined ideas about how things should be: their worry, fears, apprehensions, expectations — they have a chance of experiencing the real prize of being born a human — and that is:

to marry the mind with the soul.

In other words, when a grown person brings issues leftover from, say, their childhood, or even another lifetime, into their present, they will never experience the full glory of each moment’s possibility. That’s the only sure thing: that without trust, the present moment will forever be tainted, judged, or compared to others. And that’s no fun.

For instance, when people are young they live in the flow of life, experiencing each moment as it arises, fully, completely, without Yeses or Nos. Kids relate through the filters of their immediate surroundings, their parents, their caregivers, what they are taught and demonstrated from the earliest possible moment of life. All humans arrive at adolescence, and probably way before that, as early as four years of age, with already set parameters cemented into their little psyches by their parents, their culture, their religion or lack thereof, their influences from all around them.

For an awakened person, which I’m sure all of you are who choose to read this, wanting to experience the heights of your humanhood — it is crucial to be conscious of every bit of judging/setness/childhood impressions leftover in your beingness … and get ready to eradicate any source of unsettledness. Bit by bit. Judgement by judgement. Because anything that stops you from experiencing the present moment is holding you back. From what?

From being One with All.

That’s the payoff, the grand slam prize, of being able to Trust.

It’s not some momentary relief. It’s not some jovial haha I’ve “got it!” … No! I’m here to tell you that Trust is the key that fits nicely into the lock that allows all living creatures to experience the fullest of their existence. And for humans, that’s to truly know the state of consciousness some call God-within, others call Cosmic consciousness. Some just call inner peace and calm.

A happy life. Who doesn’t want that?

But without trust, and recognizing how not being able to trust pops up in myriads of ways … this creates the iron bars of a person’s spiritual prison.

So now that we’ve defined what it is, this mistrust that keeps us from ever experiencing true happiness as a human being — what can we do to achieve Trust?

The answer is simpler than one might expect. It starts with that famous saying that makes me smile whenever I hear it … “If you spot it, you got it!”

That means that if you sense an unease within yourself, whatever or however it arises, from whichever source imaginable, that’s your particular distrust of being alive. It may be about the present administration (so many mistrust the new Pres, I know I know, but bear with me here), or it may be as simple as not trusting you can do a simple back-bend, or a headstand in a yoga practice, afraid you’re going to hurt yourself, and not trusting a teacher who tells you — you won’t.

Whenever you feel the uneasiness of being out of sorts, uncomfortable, not able to breathe easily, a kicking, unsettled sensation in the gut, a wanting to shout NO! to something you hear or see … or feel suspicion that people are doing something behind your back, your girlfriend looking at that guy because she likes him better than you, or you think a spider will lurch out of that dark closet and bite you, inflicting woe and misery on your life forever — stop and ask yourself:

“Am I bringing my mind’s mistrust into this situation? Or … should I just stop a moment and practice discernment, and weigh whatever’s making me uncomfortable?”

Let’s take the first situation: the one of mistrusting the present administration. Lots of Americans feel their neck hairs raise on this one. But ask yourself, “Have I given Trump a chance? Have I reached beyond my disappointments and anger, put aside my honest belief that he’s ruining all our lives — to ask myself: Am I willing to trust that maybe, just maybe, the Universe allowed this person to become President of the United States for a purpose that little ol’ me just can’t fathom?” Have you taken the time to ask yourself this question? Well, this is a good place to start.

Things are never what they appear to be.

getting lost along The Way

sometimes the Lighthouse is a pile of rocks!

Let’s look at the scenario of the young hunk sitting at a table watching his beautiful new girlfriend glance around the room. And the hunk says to himself, “What! She’s looking at that guy over there, and thinking she wants to be with him more than me! How dare she! She’s just like Suzybelle, my last girlfriend, who did the same damn thing to me. Suzy ruined my life! So I’m outta here, NOW!”

Only to find out — many long hours of back-and-forthing, endless texts, beggings, pleadings on the behalf of the girlfriend who swears she was just innocently “looking around the room” — that she hadn’t even one person in her eye’s focus in the restaurant, and that whatever Mr. hunk was imagining, came from within himself, not from what was really happening. Hunk judged beauty’s actions based on his own fears, not on what she was actually doing. And when hunk “saw” her looking with desire at another guy across the room and accused her of being unfaithful (already!) this only made beauty afraid to go any further with hunk (who was perfect in every other respect) — because he exhibited the killer of all great loves — jealousy.

Maybe the two situations seem unrelated to you, but really, they are the same. A person objecting to Trump before letting him have a chance to be a president, and hunk assuming beauty to be the same fickle bitch Suzy was. The sour-grapes political disser and the sure-of-himself jealous boyfriend: both make judgements based on their past experiences, not on what’s happening right there, right then, in the present moment before them.

With the hunk/beauty situation, they spoke their peace, they decided to practice trusting each other. Their immediate attraction to each other was strong enough, special enough for each to weigh the pros and cons of continuing their newly formed bond … and they mutually decided to work on their “issues.” The hunk claims he wants to let go of jealousy, and is willing to admit that it’s his baggage that caused the scene in the restaurant, not beauty’s wandering eye. Hunk wants to grow. He wants to be trustful. He doesn’t want to be like his parents (ahhh, herein lies his misfitting key) who are experiencing marital problems after thirty some years together.

The hunk is now in a place where he wants to see with his own eyes, hear with his own heart. He feels his spirit drawn to this woman who sits before him. To move forward though, he has to let go of his fears. He knows he must learn to trust. Especially her. But of course once mistrust has been spotted somewhere in a person’s life, it’s usually spread all over the spectrum, like veins going deep inside a hunk of blue cheese.

But the good news is … once a person learns to “spot it” … if they want to be happy people, they certainly are also ready now to admit they “got it.” And once this recognition occurs,  called “Awareness” … a person then reaches the threshold of being able to choose.

If we want to be happy, we must be willing to let go of fear and choose to let goodness into our lives. We must be willing to replace mistrust with trust.

How?

Ahhh, here comes the leap of faith stuff we keep hearing about.

earth energy with yo#19151E

one by one, we need to take that Leap!

Pretend you’re at the edge of a very high, very dangerous cliff, and behind you there’s a stampeding herd of demons spread out in all directions — coming straight for you! There’s no escape! You will die if you don’t do something quick. The angry, vicious monsters (mistrust, judgement, fear of all sorts) are closing in on you. You can see the mob, huffing and puffing fire and murderous intent streams from their flared nostrils. You can see them tightly packed as they rampage right toward you, their hoofs pounding the ground making the earth shake beneath your feet, now just thirty yards away! You have only a few seconds to decide what to do before you die! You glance down. There’s nothing but a canyon far far below you. But … you have come to believe in the Spirit, the eternal Spirit of your humanness, and this is your saving grace. In fact, you have even had glimpses of yourself, before this moment, when you knew you were something more than a mere blood and guts human. Before, in more quiet moments, you remembered. So now you flash-recall that memory! Now you have to choose! Stay stuck and die by fear-raging monsters who’ll destroy you — or — leap off the cliff and spread those spiritual wings of your Higher Self that you’ve suspected yourself having … since first sensing them in early childhood.

If you’re smart you’ll leap. If you’re not, you’ll die. Of course you’re smart! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!

Congratulate yourself! You’ve just taken that leap of faith you need to let go of everything holding you back, destroying your chance at real happiness.

Now … as you jump from the cliff the monsters are far behind you. You look upward, spread those wings of freedom (metaphor here, dear ones) and fly high. Higher than you’ve ever been. You certainly may come back to earth whenever you need to. But once you’ve experienced this release of unfounded fear — you’re truly free!

I hope you get an opportunity to have this leap of faith very soon.

Noname over and out.

***

And also me, your loving pal, Lordflea, aka teZa Lord

Please, if you like what I offer, please send me a note and let me add you to my email list of upcoming posts and NOW — books! I’m publishing books! Wheeeee! I’m spreading my wings, like you, too.

Playing, working, living, hunting -- we get what we put into it

Playing, working, living, hunting — we get what we put into it

When I first heard this phrase “Right Effort” from my meditation teacher a couple decades ago, my ears pointed up sky-high. What did she mean? What could possibly be more expected of me than … just showing up? I was there, wasn’t I? I was sitting on my cushion, spending time with a great master of mindfulness — wasn’t that enough?

Well, according to the Teacher, no.

Just showing up ain’t enough, sorry to say. Don’t be discouraged. Just let me explain. I learned this from the greatest spiritual teacher I could find, and I searched high and low until I found her. I’ll explain using the same approach that I currently teach my students how to achieve a balanced and beautiful yoga pose.

When we first learn how to move our body, the temple of our soul, into a new position for the purpose of strengthening and stretching, a good enough reason to start a yoga practice, I start with a simple approach. I teach the ABCDs, and this automatically develops mindfulness. Whether you’re interested in the physical, mental, or spiritual aspects of life, I hope you check out yoga (which means, simply, “union”), Right Effort, no matter what your approach to life, is easiest to achieve if we remember  …

Always, the BREATH, the CORE, and the DRISHTI — these are my ABCDs! Always comes first the …

Guardian of the People, protecting us

How I depicted Breath as a Spirit-Guardian of all Humankind

BREATH — naturally, it’s the easiest to do because without breathing, we’re dead. So our job as aware and awakened individuals (and those who are just starting out, wanting to be more conscious of life’s great mysteries) is to watch ourselves breathing. Nothing more. Just focus your attention as you breathe In, mindfully, fully, with the intention that this is the “key” to developing an uplifted perception of life (the goal of meditation/mindfulness). And as you breathe out, continue to maintain that same watchfulness, witnessing yourself breathing. Until, after many breaths In and Out you discover — your breath is breathing YOU. I know that sounds funny, but once you get used to working with your full awareness riveted on your breathing, nothing else is in there, your mind I mean, where your thoughts and distractions originate. Everything becomes stilled through breathing, and you, in cohoots with your breath, become … calm. This is crucial to any practice. Whether you’re training as a singer, an athlete, having a baby, or … driving a car. If your focus is diverted (hello, text and phone addicts!) you will never have the pleasure of inner peace. Period. Just won’t happen until you shift that need of yours to divert attention every which way — and focus it on the breath. Next … comes the need to be aware of your …

 

One Life---each of ours, amounting to the total of all our decisions

Your CORE is your body’s essence, the axis upon which you spin your life

CORE — by this great teachers, in yoga especially, mean the mulabandha, the “root lock.” In the gym world, the core is what people think is what you see on the outside, which is, in reality, only the outside set of abs, the abdominal muscles. This is just superficial stuff. This is NOT the core. A six-pack of abs means just that. It doesn’t mean that core strength is engaged. When the core is engaged, there’s an interior engagement of the entire pelvic floor, known in the medical world as the perineum. This engagement of the entire internal structure of many combined muscles, ligaments and connective tissue and fascia — this is your core. How does one know it’s there, and how can you “engage” it? The best way to explain is a little childish, but, hey, anything to get a person more interested, focused, and on their way to attaining a higher perspective of life. The best way to engage the core is to pretend you have to pee, and you squeeze “down there” inside, like we’ve done since we were kids, controlling the pee from not leaking out. This is the core. This is the mulabanda. In hatha yoga, the physical aspect of yoga, a balancing pose is impossible to do without the mulabanda engaged. In meditation, after focusing on the breath, being mindful of the core adds to the “effort” one makes, and increases your focus (helping thoughts to dissolve). So engage the core, just to say “hello core!” if nothing else. It doesn’t have to be a big engagement. It could just be a mindful, thoughtful awareness of the core being there. Squeeze it a few times as one settles into a comfortable meditating pose. Or … just feel your ability to engage an invisible, internal “lock.” These bandhas, or locks, are important to yogis, and there are at least two others that are useful for maintaining more active, steadier poses. The second lock (coming UP from the root one, the mulabandha) is around the navel. The other, ascending the spine, happens when the chin meets the throat. But … the mulabandha is the most important. And if you at least have an awareness of it, your efforts will be greatly rewarded. That, by the way, is the payoff, the benefit, the great grace of practicing Right Effort in the first place. Sort of a spiritual “more bang for the buck” philosophy. The last focusing tool I’m sharing today is …

DRISHTI — the “gaze.” This final crucial engagement of one’s spiritual/mental/physical abilities is most evident when you look at a person’s face. For a seasoned yogi/ini (he/she) has their eyes fixed on one spot at a time, even during a vinyasa (continuous movement) series. Along with the “fixed-eyes” is a pleasant expression, and a slight upturn of the mouth into what is known as “the buddha smile.” If you walk into a gym you can see right away the basic difference between yoga and weight training. The people who use machines or weights are looking all over, wincing, grimacing, grunting, high-fiving, butt-slapping, sometimes making more primeval sounds (although most high-quality gyms have signs saying “no grunting” so that at least limits the jungle-like noises that weight-training individuals like to do; I know because I’ve indulged). If you walk into a much quieter yoga studio there’s usually only the sound of a soothing chant, and maybe everyone’s combined breathing, especially if the instructor has urged people to use the ujjayi breath, engaging the muscle used for whispering/candle-blowing located at the base of the throat that results in what’s called “ocean breathing.” When you’re in a room full of individuals doing the ocean breath you feel like you’re in the middle of a meditative beach walk, even though everyone is holding seriously challenging physical poses (asanas) … Their breath is regular (same amount of In breath and same amount of Out breath) … And, most stunningly different from the weight-lifters, their faces look unstressed. In yoga we focus on a point, called a drishti point, that can be a speck on the floor, the ceiling, a wall, a leaf outside. And if a pose changes direction, so does our drishti point. In meditation and in more restorative poses (held for longer times, in a relaxed manner) the drishti point is held inside. With eyes closed, our “gaze” is internal. But still, we have a steady gaze. We’re not “looking” all around even if our eyes are shut.

Stillness, the inner drama

Stillness, the inner drama of internal drishti

When a person remembers these ABCDs, Always the Breath, Core, Drishti — Right Effort comes naturally. Without remembering these focusing tools, a person will have a much harder time stilling the mind, balancing the body, and “becoming one” with a pose. Using these tools, also makes one’s practice a lot of fun!

Because sometimes a pose is a mental challenge (how many times I’ve heard “I can’t do a headstand, I’m too scared my neck will get injured!” A good teacher can show that in headstand there’s no pressure on the neck at all, that the triangle formed from the forearms takes the weight of the upside-down body). Sometimes a certain pose presents a spiritual hurdle a person is not ready for, yet (heart-opening back bends are especially challenging for people who have emotional issues they’re not ready to address). And sometimes, a pose presents a real physical challenge (such as a person with extremely tight hamstrings, tight hips, tight shoulders, all of which un-tighten if anyone decides to, little by little, continue with their yoga practice).

Little by little, the body opens. When a muscle, or a group of muscles, or a tendon has become tight, it slowly unloosens from stretching. A seasoned yogi has kept their body as loose as they were when they were a child, that’s all. Or … they began with a once-tightened body and slowly unloosened it, little by little. Anybody can, if they make that choice.

Right Effort, by the way, is also about not going too far in the opposite direction. In a recent workshop about the fascia I learned, from a real scholarly yoga teacher, that once a person’s fascia has been over-stretched (such as happens with all the extreme poses yogis are doing these days, my goodness!) there is real danger that, later in life, injuries will happen. Why? Because if there’s too much stretching, the fascia — the interlocking channel of connective tissue that literally holds our skeleton in place, and our entire physiology together — will get over-stretched. And if that happens, it never comes back to “normal.” Think of your favorite sweater that got stretched out at the neck, or the elbows, and how the individual knitted loops just won’t go back to that sweater’s original shape that you adored. Well, the body’s interlocking fascia (the myofascia) is just like a sweater that encompasses everything within our physical structure. Including our organs. If an extreme yogi goes too far in their stretching, they are risking the danger of over-stretching their fascia — and that wrong effort will endanger their physical health later in life.

Right Effort, like so much in a mindful practice, is making our lives balanced. We don’t want to put SO much effort into things that we become OCD, or … our fascia gets permanently over-stretched, and woefully damaged. Or, like I have done in the past, by going too far in a pose: experienced vertigo when my neck nerves got pinched from a too-deep side-or-back neck stretch pose. Today, I’m mindful about putting my ABCDs into practice, and … thankfully not killing myself by going beyond my body’s limitations.

Hope this post is helpful.

Please tell me your experience about Right Effort. I’d love to hear from you.

Your pal sending much love to ALL, Lord Flea, aka teZa Lord

ps. Watch for my Right Effort now underway in social media, and other internet communications. I’m readying to indie-publish my first book and I’m practicing all that I’ve spoken about above.

the Courage to BE

Posted: May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized
the dance of meeting needs

spreading JOY … courageously!

I’ve always loved pulling pranks, being wild, climbing the highest of trees, pulling stunts to get people to laugh! I equate humor with high intelligence, and anyone who can’t laugh at life ain’t my favorite. Imagine how pleased I was when I started on the seeker’s path and heard from one of my teachers for the first time (consequently, I’ve heard it so many times from so many sources) — that —

One of the most obvious signs of how enlightened we are is an incredibly light sense of humor.

And since I’ve always been fascinated with this thing called enlightenment … how delighted I was to know that doing funny, weird, inexplicably strange stuff, as I have always been compelled to do, wasn’t just being a clown, or a jerk, or annoying, as I’d sometimes wondered about myself—but maybe just okay. And maybe, just maybe, being a funny-kid was just part of being me. So I stopped worrying about it.

One of the first things I did as a kid was to go around trying to sell a stash of Easter Seal stamps I’d found among the basement junk. I thought, ‘How cool! I get to sell these for pennies, and the joke will be on the unsuspecting person at their front door, because I’m just a kid! I’m not an Easter Seal person. haha.” The joke backfired, of course, when my neighbors ratted me out to my parents and I got in trouble. For a six-year-old this was my idea of being brave enough to follow through on what I felt coming from inside me.

there's always hope

we act from our heart-natures, our mysterious Being-ness

Where was the source of this stuff inside me? Who or what was directing me to be so mischievous? When I reached my teens I leapt onto this questioning quest of mine and threw myself into the seeker’s life. I started off looking for Nirvana (which I’d read about) under tree stumps, behind rocks, in secret cave openings everywhere I went, but always in natural settings. The forest. The rocky cliffs, the waves. The tops of those tall trees I mentioned earlier. Until I fell out of one, wrecked my back, and thought I was dying because I couldn’t catch my breath. My first narrow escape. But I kept looking for this Nirvana thing.

It would take me finding meditation, in 1967 or ’68 when I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation, to discover that Nirvana was right inside me. Not anywhere on the outside. And when I found that place within, it didn’t take courage for me to leap into it. It was as natural as breathing, to go as deep as I could, inside myself.

The spiritual adventure started daring-me “to do courage” every time I felt the impulse to create arise from inside me. Merrily, I took the dual-road of being both an artist and a writer. Sometimes I felt the impulse to create so strongly, from each aspect, writing and arting, that I literally was turning my head in one direction, then another, then back to the other, between art-making supplies and the paper upon which I could write. After experimenting with how to balance this impulse to create that arises from inside, I finally learned to do both, writing and arting. It took years to balance these impulses.

The courage to create that arises from inside led to focusing on that exact subject. Because of course when an artist or a writer does “their thing” —they have a topic, a focus, a theme they usually wish to explore. Sometimes it’s just a story. Sometimes it’s to prove a point. Sometimes it’s just to have fun, be mischievous, or scratch an itch.

When I feel the impulse to create, I follow it, and don’t question it. I no longer try to talk myself out of it, or say “That’s too weird,” nobody will unravel the knots, or you’re foolish, nobody will “get” these symbolic puzzles. Like, the puzzle of why I sold really old Easter Seal stamps. What was that? A Duchamp-ian performance piece in suburbia? Why not just a kid having fun!

Lord Flea has done it again!

Lord Flea has done it again!

This now leads me to reveal what happened the other night. I still can’t quite believe the antics my “inside me” leads me to. But like I said, I no longer question these impulses, I just follow them. Fortunately, nobody has ever gotten hurt, too terribly shocked, and I always manage to get a few laughs, and now maybe you will, too.

The story of the boob and the box

My consort Carter was away on a business trip. That day we’d had our house’s thirty-year-old electrical box replaced, a big deal for any homeowner. I wanted to send Carter a photo of the new electrical box, big and grey and shiny and impressive with all the wires having new home-switches, professionally organized, and not at all dangerous anymore.

From within me came the spontaneous impulse: “Oh, send a photo of the box with something else really special! That’ll be a real statement, a sign of my highly developed sense of humor, a good chuckle for Carter, at least that!” Oh yeah. That’s my mind.

So naturally, because this was a box we’re talking about, I thought, “Boob.”

an OLD fan of Lordflea Sings

usually I’m a well buttoned-up kind of gal

That’s right. From deep within myself, for no good reason (where’s the sense of a little kid going around selling used Easter Seal stamps? Unless I was a mastermind-crook in training, this illicit exercise possibly might have signaled an inevitable attraction to a life of crime. But it wasn’t that. It was just good clean stupid fun, why not!)—boob and box, that made perfect sense to me.

A boob (mine) and the box (ours) made absolute and completely rational sense to me as a “message” art-piece. I’d never taken a photo of my boob before. I thought, “This is so cool! Carter will get it! Won’t he?” There was never a doubt in my mind that my beloved, a funny, eccentric creative artist in his own right (two feature films under his belt) wouldn’t understand this creative impulse that arises from deep within. (no, you will not see the photo here!)

Okay, the back story here is that my phone was malfunctioning this night. I’d wondered why I hadn’t received the text a friend told me he’d sent, when he finally phoned to tell me he had freshly caught fish to deliver (don’t ask! this is 10pm in St. Augustine, Florida, where things like this happen all the time, if you happen to have fishermen as your dear friends).

By now I’m sure you know where this story’s going. That’s right: Malfunction junction. Texts gone awry. Internet misfires. Swearing off sexting, And naturally, the gorgeous shot of my nicely lit, well arranged boob smack in front of the new box, with my face hardly discernible in the shadows, got lost somewhere in cyberspace. I didn’t know this, however, until I greeted my consort Carter in our next morning’s Hello-phone call, “How’d you like that text I sent you last night, sweetheart?” and Carter said, “What text?”

A loud gulp. Disbelief ringing in my ears. What!? How could my boob in front of the box, my masterpiece of impulsive creative messaging, possibly have gotten—lost! No! It can’t happen. It’s MY boob. It was meant only for my lover, my man, my cherished double-me.

Swiftly I got off the phone with Carter and checked my texts. Cringing, thinking that could I, no! I couldn’t have sent it accidentally to my kind, old-fashioned, bachelor fisherman friend, who’d come over to deliver a blue, a mackerel, a sea trout, nicely cleaned and ready to eat, at 11pm? No, I shivered, I couldn’t have. Looking at my text stream, I found I hadn’t. Phew! But—hold on—it gets weirder—the text stream showed me that it’d been inadvertently sent to the other name on my recent texts that began with the letter “C” as Carter’s does … our son, Cully.

Immediately I sent texts, phone calls, emails, everything! begging my stepson Cully’s forgiveness for ruining his life by his getting that weird sext from his baggy old stepmom. Carter, when he found out, laughed and replied “That’ll cost us another couple grand of counseling to help the poor guy get over it”. Even though Cully is now thirty, Carter knew rightly that my sext would cause severe trauma, making up for all the wonderfness I’d showered on our two kids all the years I’d been a good, well-meaning and oh-so-properly-behaved stepmom.

When Cully finally wrote back, he said simply, “Nope, never got it.”

Another loud whew!

So—where did the boob sext go? (the caption read, “how do you like our new box?”)

Did it matter?

Hardly.

I rebooted my phone, again got the texting to function as it always had, and counted my lucky stars that my creative impulse, as weird as it is, hadn’t ruined my life (or Cully’s) on this gigantic boo-boo boob.

But—the other times? Did they end as well, and as innocently?

Like the time I drove away from Victoria’s dinner party? The party where I was the only one not drinking (yup, sober for 35 years!) yet somehow no one managed to create as much of a loud ruckus as I did, while driving off. How do these creative courageous burps from our naturally inspired impulses end up being so … funny one moment, and so pathetically inane the next? Ahhh, creativity. Courage. Yup!

Leela on the moves

is there any reasonable explanation for — courageous creation?

As I drove away from Victoria’s that recent cold winter night, with the windows rolled up tightly, the radio came on just as loudly as I had left it when I’d parked, hours earlier, arriving for the potluck. Driving slowly away from Victoria’s and listening to the jazz station playing that Saturday night, as it does every Saturday, I shouted to myself, “Good God! They call that music!” I couldn’t believe how awful it sounded. The noise was atrocious! The notes discordant, the harmonies nonexistent. I’m a jazz fan but I thought as I drove slowly away from Victoria’s on her deserted street, “This is the absolute worst composition I have ever heard in my life!” And it went on and on. The rattling, the YokoOno-like screams and terrors of what someone chose to call jazz but I, now irritated, shouted loudly to the radio station, “You call that crap music!” and finally, after a few more moments of waiting for some musical respite, some relief to the ear torture—I shut the radio off. And drove on, sighing, enjoying the silence of the serene night as I meandered through the darkened streets of my hood to my house, ten blocks away. Not a single car did I see. Not a single person walking their dog. No one was anywhere that dark, near-midnight, now-finally-quiet night.

As I opened the front door of my house my cell rang. I looked and was surprised to see it was Victoria.

“You didn’t stop!”

“What do you mean?”

“We were screaming at you to stop driving!”

“What are you talking about?

“Your car was parked right next to my recycling bin, and when you drove away your car caught and dragged my recycling bin underneath, letting loose everywhere broken wine bottles, empty cans, glass jars, all over the next two blocks! We tried running after you, screaming to get you to stop but … I guess you didn’t hear us!”

No … I hadn’t.

The creative impulse sometimes is so strong … erupting from deep within … that it blocks out the naysayers, the truth-sharers, the thought-catchers. The critics, and the finger-pointers, too. I love this creative impulse! I want to always be courageous and follow it! I shout that loudly right here, right now! I just hope I don’t hurt anyone, in the process.

So, as quickly as I made sure I didn’t have to run back to help clean up (“We did that right behind your car, broken glass everywhere, big plastic jugs, jagged sharp tin cans, you silly deaf goose!” Victoria thankfully laughing instead of being angry)—I relaxed.

I realized that having the courage to be me, sometimes means taking responsibility for the idiocy, the nonsensical-ness of where creative impulses lead us to, Shenanigans must be fun to be appreciated. I wonder sometimes how much of what I do, the stuff that gets me in trouble, is the Universe’s way of showing us we all need to laugh a lot more than we do. Okay, I’ll be the clown, I don’t mind. LightenUp is my new indigenous name.

I’ll take the clown-role as a good reason for my particular within-me impulse. And here I renew my pledge to always follow joy. It takes courage, to be joyful. No matter where it leads me, I will follow the joy.

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LordFlea and her consort Carter–creative courageous junkieS!

So this, my friend, is my definition of courage.

To follow our bliss.

To do that which we don’t understand why we need to do it, but … we must, in order to feel we are being true to who we really are. Make it count, what we’re doing here, on this planet. Be courageous. Be filled with joy, too! LightenUP!

Lovingly laughed at with you,

LordFlea aka teZa Lord

What Grace Means to Me

Posted: May 9, 2017 in Uncategorized
earth energy with yogis at work

grace works 24/7 whether we’re aware of It or not

I’ve been asking my inner muse, “What is grace?” since deciding to have this as our theme at the once-a-week yoga class I lead at Discovery Yoga, here in sunny St. Augustine. Words have always carried an intrigue for me. Since earliest memories I’ve been interested in their origin, their common usage, their symbolism, their impact. I must credit my beautiful yogini-pal Pam Esty for having shared that she’d dedicated a recent class of hers as well, to the same theme: Grace. It set my mind to thinking:

I’m no philosophy teacher, but I do know how yoga works in my life. I’ve seen how it works in others’ lives, too. From the very first start of my personal journey with the practice of tuning into my spiritual side (which is yoga, the union of mind-body-spirit) I have experienced grace. Starting in my teens I’ve had one grace-laden experience after another, so I have a strong relationship with grace.

When I talk about grace here I’m strictly talking about my own experience. Others may have different meanings attached to that word “grace.” When I was was forced to study catechism as a kid the word grace pretty much seemed to be the name of God’s breath. That’s as good a place to start with as any here today. Although today I also think of the action behind “grace” just as spontaneously, along with the superior, sacred quality implied in its origin.

To be filled with the grace of God, is to be alive. We are filled with holy breath. Everything starts with breath.

The grace I was told about as a kid, at the time, appeared to be like an invisible shower of Good Luck and pats-on-back from heaven on high, given to only those who deserved it. That sure wasn’t me, I thought back then. But today, that religious definition of grace doesn’t work for me anymore. Never did. I always felt left out. Now I feel All-One, not alone.

Right NOW, when I think of grace, I think of the reward I get for having a belief in something.

For me, the biggest reward of all is the inner peace I get from knowing that something much bigger than my little ‘I’ is in charge of things. I’m thinking a lot about this subject of HIgher Power these days, because I’m just completing a book about this very subject. How I taught at-risk teenage girls in high-security lockup, how to have a relationship with that deepest, most intimate place of all. Our inner Self. (Inner Self is another name for Higher Power, for me).

Back in ’04 I volunteered to teach yoga and meditation to a population of imprisoned juvie youth offenders in the most central part of Florida: No Man’s Land. This next book I”ll be publishing is the story of how a killer-hurricane happened to hit dead-on this same facility, terrifying all its isolated occupants. Because I’d spent the previous two years teaching the inmates how to access their inner state of calmness, they avoided a catastrophe. Instead of the trauma and horror of going through the eye of hurricane Charley, the girls at the academy (full security youth prison) stayed calm, and had a beautiful life-altering experience.

the LIGHT within the Darkness

the Calm within our life-storm

Such is the power of grace.

It takes us to the next right place, at the right time, with the right people. Knowing exactly what grace-filled action to take, or not to take. (in yoga, inaction is as much of a choice as action is). Grace is when we’re at ease We know we’re there by how peaceful our “gut” feels. How settled our inner being is.

Of course we have to trust that grace exists. And that is the key. This takes having a belief.

For me, I learned to trust yoga and meditation not because someone else told me to, extolled its great characteristics, or convinced me. I simple “did it” because it arrived in my life’s path. The back story will be revealed, bit by bit, in the series of books I will be publishing. I learned hatha yoga (the poses) at 18 when I bought a book to help my bad back. The rest … is history.

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I asked … and I received direction … this is grace

Right here I’d like to announce the next right step for me. I am committing to publishing three of my books—that’s right, THREE!—right in a row during the next year’s time. Stay tuned!

Grace showed me (because I asked) that I was not to despair that my super wonderful literary agent couldn’t sell the book she’s been showing to major publishers for the past year. Grace showed me that this was meant to be. Grace strongly whispered, “It’s much better for you to do your own publishing.” I listened. Grace pointed out to me that, once again, what I thought was best, wasn’t. Grace gifted me with the reward of following my bliss, so the next step could be revealed. Everything counts. Nothing is a mistake.

Grace shows me (when I get quiet and listen, within) what to do, every time I’m wondering. Through breath work, mantra repetition, withdrawal from negatives, I seek my inner guide. And Grace is the language this inner guide speaks.

In order for me to understand the very plain directives this inner guide gives me, I must be on its same level. That means I have to let go of any negative feelings, because those are nothing but blocks to what Grace tries to impart.

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grace appears when … we let it

Here’s how grace worked in my life recently:

Couple weeks ago I had a bout of the “poor-me’s”. That’s prime-time negative thinking, betcha all agree. So I wallowed for a while, felt my disappointment—shared to my consort about feeling low, allowed myself to feel human—and then asked for the pain of disappointment to be lifted. Then, almost as if by magic! The negatives disappeared. Vanished! And in place was a clear message of … “what to do next.”

I knew I was supposed to take action, and I did.

Both the receiving of the “direct message” and the fact that I took action … both ARE grace.

Let me explain further this two-fold aspect of grace: the action and the origin.

When a dancer (whether of salsa, hip-hop, , ballet, or Mark Morris modern) glides into action, s/he does so with grace. Even if at first appearance, such as with contemporary dance’s oft-jarring moves, grace is at work even if it appears to be clumsy and far from graceful.

A dancer practices their moves. They know how the flow/steps go. They have the rhythm in their head even if there’s no music playing. The grace comes from an internal connection with the flow the dancer has already “fixed” in their minds and hearts. Even an improvisational dancer at least knows some things: the limited area to dance within; a time limitation; knowing if audience can see all angles? Does an audience even matter (not to all dancers)?

The action a dancer takes is energy harnessed with effort in a graceful manner. The grace is the ease with which the dance is executed. For instance, if a dancer hasn’t prepared sufficiently, there might be a fall, a crash, a harsh grimace. All those are missing from a graceful execution of dance of any kind. There’s nothing like a smile! And a smile is impossible if one does not feel at ease.

When one’s at ease … that’s grace.

The action is the effort. So where does the creation of the dance itself come from? What is the origin of the idea behind a graceful action?

This is probably the most important aspect of grace. The source from which all grace descends into those willing to receive it.

Ahhhh—receive!

That’s key to grace! To be able to receive! How many people do we/I know that simply can’t or won’t receive grace? Don’t believe it exists. Don’t feel they need it in their lives.

To explain, allow me to go back to a yoga approach. In my own practice, I think of “doing yoga” as if I’m “praying with my body-soul-spirit.” It’s a ritual. I set an intention. Even if it’s just to feel better. Sometimes I direct the energy I’m about to generate (my effort) toward a certain thought/person/cause. After setting my intention, I then release that thought and go about focusing all my senses onto creating the most balanced, breath-filled, eye-stilling, muscle-joint-engaging pose I know how. This is not only so much fun, but of course … challenging.

this is what a pose looks like from outside

this is what a pose looks like from outside

this is what the same pose

this is what the same pose “feels” like to me, inside

The grace I receive from my efforts is absolutely commensurate with the amount of effort, focus, detailed adjusting, etc. entailed in each and every move of my hatha yoga practice. I’ll give you a for-instance.

When I’m standing in tadasana, the mountain pose, on the outside it seems like the epitome of simple. But on the inside it’s a real effort to get all my joints lined up, engaged, yet remaining still, like a mountain. To do this, I have to look down each of my sides to see that knees are stacked over my hips, shoulders over feet, head aligned with neck angle, etc. And the belly breathing! I have to remember that, don’t I? And the eyes focused on one itsy-spot. Gotta do that! I have to remember the ABCDs (the A-B-C-Ds of yoga, teZa style).

Always

the Breath

the Core (the mulabandha, the base-of-spine “lock,” an engaged perineum)

the Drishti (the gaze focused, inside and out)

If I’m doing all these 3: breath/core/drishti … I’m in a yogic state of grace. My pose is awesome! To me, on the inside.

So where does this grace come from?

I believe in the Magic of Life. The Mystery. I’ve experienced it in my day-to-day. I’ve had magical events pounce on me out of the blue (the time I saw our old dog “appear in the bedclothes, the blankets” … hey, this is real! Here’s the photo for skeptics taken by moi).

i love michael franti

Fred’s all ears! What blankets?

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I did NOT arrange these blankets!

Magic happens. Some like to call it God’s Grace. The cosmic clown. Some call it serendipity, the Force, or … how ’bout weird. Whatever we call it, this unexplainable energy-occurence is as real as the keys I’m typing on. Some of us learn how to work with this ever-present energy in our lives. Others scoff at it, and that’s okay, too. Chances are if you’ve made it this far in this post you know magic intimately.

Another word for magic is grace.

If we ask, we will receive all the magic/grace we need/want in our lives.

If we are closed to it, we will wonder where the hell is all this stuff everyone’s so sure about?

It’s each our own decision, to remain open to grace or closed to it. I think the very best way to start, if any of you are still skeptical, is to start asking for something. And watch what happens. Don’t get obsessed about it. Just whenever you get a negative thought in your mind, replace it with a positive thought. That’s “asking” to be relieved of negative thinking. This is asking for grace to fill our lives. Try it!

With much love,

your pal LordFlea aka teZa

ps. I’m starting a mailing list to keep people informed of the THREE BOOKS I’ll be publishing soon. Please write me at dearlordflea@gmail.com or leave me a note here if you’d like to be included in this list.