Hybrid Vigor — an Amazed and Astounded Me

In the eighties I took all my earlier, darker attempts of visually documenting my life-discoveries to the dump, where I watched the scavengers come and take my “old” works. These people, poor and without any outside semblance of artistic taste, looked like pack rats scurrying off with leftover crumbs. The crumbs that were paintings made by my own blood, sweat, and tears.

That day at the dump in East Hampton, New York, symbolized the day I was ready to say “No” to the old, useless, no-longer needed part of me, and to say hello and “Yes” to the new, improved, better version of myself.

When I committed to living a sober life I wanted to start all over. A fresh start. It took awhile, but finally I was ready to do it. I loaded my car with all my pre-sober art — feeble attempts (some of them astounding really, and because I’ve always kept photographic records of my art work, none are forever lost) — to the public dump in the fancy East Hampton where I was living at the time. I hid behind some big bulging objects and watched as the gray-faced human scavengers came, and grabbed my brightly colored, weirdly surreal depictions of … dare I say … fear trying to beat up trust. What an exciting subject, eh? Not! If I had to describe what the theme of my “old, pre-sober” work was, it depicted the inner battle between me and my demons. For a subject. boring; but art work astounds without having to benefit the viewer. Nonetheless, I never regretted throwing the crap away, not for a minute.

That day, a new “me” was born: that part of myself I like to call my own Hybrid Vigor. Back when I was a botanical illustrator and assisting with Phd studies, my friend Tim Plowman — then the world’s most renowned authority on coca, the plant from which cocaine was made and the subject of the US Federa; study Harvard was involved in at the time — taught me what a hybrid vigor is, in biological terms.

“If you take two plants of a species which exhibit far superior qualities than any others, and breed them — their offspring is a new, better, vastly improved version of what their parents were. This new plant, a unique sub-species, is a hybrid vigor.”

That day at the dump — getting rid of what didn’t work for me any more, things I didn’t need — I felt reborn. My commitment to living according to a higher code of ethics became my reality. No longer would I abuse myself, nor would I allow anyone else to. I sealed that new reality by sending all my “babies,” my old art, representing years of hard work, learning, experimenting, yet unfortunately also delving in the dimensions of fear and despair, but beautifully, I’d like to think — sent it all far far away from me. By “dumping” these old works I let myself be free, be reborn. Ironically, East Hampton’s dump happens to be in one of the most affluent and fashionable towns in America, so you might be seeing some of these early works on mine as an anonymous collector’s “find” one day.

By ridding myself of what I didn’t need (about my own work, part of my own being) I willed myself to become a hybrid version of myself. I did this without having to physically die and be reborn, to my great good fortune!

I know, I know, this all sounds very fantastical, but this is the way I prefer to see life, as magical, and ever-changing. All things possible, and all that. Technicalities aside, I did become a better, improved version of myself that day.

And so I put to each and every person I can communicate with: you too can become a hybrid vigor version of your old former, no longer needed self, and give birth to your new Self, just by wanting to

When the day arrived, in 1984, when I was ready to get real, get honest, and put down the two decades of trying to self-annihilate the innate sense of connectedness I’d had since childhood (and which I’m sure all children are born with, before losing it due to life’s outside circumstances) — the time had arrived, two years before the dump episode, when I finally decided to get sober. It took that long for me to get clear enough, in my mind, that letting go of old stuff was what I needed to do. Finally, when I took my old “babies” to the dump and gave them to perfect strangers, that’s when I really started living for my true life’s purpose. This what I mean by the “hybrid vigor” version of myself. Not the old, blaming, shamed, victim-one I’d been for thirty-six years previously.

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Something similar as what happened to me goes on all the time with the rest of the world. Demons abound. In people and in governments, but like my own former demons (the subjects of my old work), they’re all illusions.

When stress or crisis strikes, we humans have to let our fears out. We have to watch ourselves scream, demand change, prepare to battle the demons, and make known to everyone that evil does not deserve to reside on earth without a damn good fight. We who have conquered our own demons must help others to not hide theirs within their hearts.  Or blame others for what every person alive has the power to change within themselves.

My hybrid vigor self says this: Express the fear, speak about it, share with others. And in that the Light of consciousness will dissipate whatever demon you have, whatever mask fear wears, simply by no longer allowing it to be hidden within your stony, hopeless heart.

Do not pretend fear doesn’t exist. Let our society, our trusted leaders and elected officials know that each and every one of us is responsible for the state our social climate has sunk to. If we see, hear, or feel someone to be mentally in a fragile, dangerous state of murderous rage, it’s our responsibility to get involved. To ask that person who’s in distress if they want help, then go for help. Hybrid vigors speak our fears aloud, because then, because they are not real, the ugly demons inside us run and hide and disappear from the Light of awareness being pointed at them by our own inner Light.

Our job as human beans is not to be paranoid, or worse, pretend fear doesn’t happen. Our job as hybrid vigors is to celebrate great and glorious things, yes! but also to face the evil shadow that lurks beneath the fabric of everyday life and call it what it is — demonic. And then prepare to do battle to slay the demons, one by one, until they are all gone.

I sometimes like to think of we awakened hybrid vigors as “the Army of Love” and I’m one of its active lieutenants. This images makes me smile. So I’ll keep working with that idea.

When more of us (the Army of Love increasing every day with the awakening of humankind happening in vast numbers) can all admit that yes, there is a shadow of hatred in some hearts, we can lovingly help each other heal from this breach, this tear in the fabric of our toxic, fear-filled world. With each unfortunate, next violent senseless action, another rip happens in the fabric of our human civilization, as if our Oneness is a gigantic weaving of humanity. We are all One. We can help each other heal, re-build trust, mend our brokenness, but only when we’re able to admit that fear must be spoken about, in order to eradicate it. Only then we’ll come to trust that love is much much stronger than hate.

Fear remains in our hearts when we haven’t owned how we are all responsible for helping each other to climb higher, let go of mistrust and embrace a higher way of living. Hybrid vigors helping others to peel off their lesser shells, and step out into the Light of their new, better, higher Selves.

Together, we will get over our individual and collective fears. As hybrid vigors we will all thrive on the same level of awareness — of openness to our highest potential. We must trust that Universal Love, also called Compassion, and Oneness. Love in its most expansive, inclusive form is bringing us together for a reason.

We must never pretend that all is well when it’s so obvious that our society is sick. Every bit of energy we spend to help heal our human condition is worth the endeavor.

First, we must firmly believe our world, its environment, humankind’s fear-based structures, are completely heal-able. This fact of our toxicity is proven each times a person, or a leader, goes off, gets unkind, does scarry and unreasonable things with others’ trust. When life’s evil and darkness is revealed, like it is during a mass shooting, or a bizarre politic event as have occurred in recent time, we must trust that the worst, most depraved individual can be mended. And if one person can change themself into a hybrid vigor, so can all of us.

Every person who has ever put down a negative, addictive way of thinking, for instance, is proof of that.

When the world comes together by means of our combined, positively-focused minds, focused on fostering healing energies instead of endless manifestations of fear — our world will take the giant leap to our next step in spiritual evolution.

Send healing wherever it’s needed. Even to the most deranged, hopeless individual. Even to a scary leader whose volatile nature nobody trusts.

The group is much greater than any individual. We are all connected.

We can heal anything. We can spread the balm of love as surely as some try to deny its existence.

How can I say these things?

Because it is my reality. It is how I have chosen to see life. After experiencing the other side, I have the authority to speak like this. I no longer care what others think of me. Fear leads nowhere but to self-destruction and I no longer choose that. People kill other people because they want the ultimate control over whether they live or die. Control and and Kindness are antithetical. If a controller can’t control others by simpler means, they sometimes do simply because they don’t have the courage to end their own lives, the ultimate control one has over themselves: taking themselves out. Suicide.

We can heal any darkness by focusing on the Light. Speak uplifting, kind words to one another. Spread joy and hope; say no to fear, blame, and anger. It takes practice, but changing fear into trust is the way I have sworn to live. There is no other choice for me. And I’m willing to take whatever consequences may arise, as a result of my being so sure that allowing ourselves to become a hybrid vigor, right in this lifetime, is the saving grace, the future of humankind’s survival.

Call me crazy, but I’d rather be crazy within infinitely expanding love than frozen with constricting fear. That former life of mine sucked.

united in our cause to make a difference--one person at a time

All Lives Matter

Compassion HEALS All Wounds

ALL LIVES MATTER!

The past couple weeks has seen much turmoil in my country, the USA. I’ve barely been able to crack a newspaper or a news site without shedding a tear, or at least bucking up, getting ready to feel more pain. Everyone I know is reeling from the violence in our nation. People want to blame. Blame Trump, Blame Obama, Blame Bush, Blame Blame Blame.

My response to anyone who says this to me is, “If there’s anything to blame, in my opinion it’s the way Hollywood and TV depict violence, with such randomness and regularity that we’ve all become inured to it. Violence just doesn’t seem real anymore, unless we become its personal victim.”

And now — most of us are feeling as violated as the victims. True, we’re not dead. We can still breathe. Yet our entire nation, and much of the so-called civilized world, is suffering from a soul-sickness in which violence and fear are on everyone’s mind. And people who see this as just an American problem, they are not as aware, or in denial of the prevalence of the growing trend of violence in our entertainment world.

There is no one thing or one person to blame.

If a friend or random person to whom I addressed my “violence in entertainment” opinion (usually following their more political rant) still wants to talk (most just turn away from me, only wanting a head to chop, a name to blame, a face to spit upon! not a rational conversation) I would then offer what I’m ready to state here, in my public forum.

Our Blended Family

United, we have STRENGTH!

I named my spiritual blog Lord Flea Sings because I always meant for it to be a place where all of us who care to join in, can sing a song of Love. Sing, as in state our case with joy, with strength, with clear notes, with rhythms that MOVE us. Just like the calypso singer, Lord Flea for whom this blog is named in honor of. So … if you want to join in the discussion, please do. I am curious to hear your point of view. Leave comments below and I’ll respond.

My sense is that the world is in the midst of a huge sea change.

We are at the crossroads of our moral evolution. The computer age has accelerated our growth so much, that … old norms just don’t work for us as well as they used to. Coming from a place of extreme materialism (for decades, since the industrial revolution at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century) humankind is quickly stepping into a new era  … the spiritualization of our entire race. One person at a time, it’s been happening for ages. Now personal transformations are happening at a much more accelerated pace, in part, due to the outrage of every human heart that is reacting to the calamities that are happening everyday around us, pushing us to change.

Anger and fear and melt downs are catalysts to change. We who experience these things must change inside, or else we suffer horribly. Some even commit suicide, not able to contend with the insanity of the world. Some retreat into drugs, alcohol, denial, numbing themselves with whatever they can get their hands on. Others — like you and me, certainly anyone reading this — realize that pain is a way that Nature (aka God) has of forcing us to change.

Yes, our world has become more violent. Yes, people are not feeling safe. Yes, the African-Americans of America are sick of being treated with disrespect. Yes, the good Muslims must help herd in the bad Muslims. Yes, most everybody realizes that something has to change in order to make our world a better, safer, more viable place to live. It used to be people were scared of an enemy, like some still are of radical fundamentalism of any sort (evil is color blind and non-discriminatory in regards to race, religion, origins or politics). But now … we have a strain of discontent that doesn’t even have a name, although people are pouring out on the streets in scores this week to bring attention to “Black Lives Matter.” The latest of the unspeakable signs of our society’s silent sickness: Intolerance

To me, the real issue is that ALL lives matter, not just a certain group. Of course I feel for my black brothers and sisters. For years I was one of a handful of whites who lived on an all-black island nation. I know first-hand what it feels like to be singled out, treated differently because of the color of my skin. Even accused of crimes I didn’t commit, because of my race. I’ve been thrown in jail because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and have had to fight for my own survival because I wasn’t like all the rest. I know what it’s like to be unfairly treated. I know how upsetting it is and agree that change is what’s called for.

But to my mind there is more to this issue of intolerance (of any kind) than what meets the eye.

united in our cause to make a difference--one person at a time

The Sacredness of ALL LIFE

It really is about ALL Lives mattering. Life itself. All in existence, from the smallest snail to the largest lunar spot, everything in this multiVerse is sacred. But yet there are the masses who still believe life on Earth is a silly game of power, prestige, and who rules who, and who gets to sit on the throne and who gets to shine whoever-is-in-power’s lowly shoes. It may be the final chapter of our color-story in the limelight today (although in the USA with our mixed-race President I don’t see how our black people can’t see the vast improvements since the desegregation of our country, in the sixties). But who and what-kind of person(s) is in power today will change tomorrow, for sure. Power people come and go. What really needs to be changed is something much more basic.

The only really worthwhile change I see that can come out of the current tragedies of black men and women being gunned down, forcibly held, dying in police presence or custody, and the ensuing hatred like the (black) sniper who aimed at (white) police people (how could he really tell with their helmets on?) are all indicators of how much more work we have to do, as a nation of people, not divided by race, religion or any other factors — to accept each and every person as what every single one of us is: a sacred being.

Whether a person acts or even thinks they are sacred, depends on how aware each of us is about our true nature. The more people who make it their pleasure, their personal quest, to become as aware and awake as possible, the more our society gets influenced by so-and-so’s positive energy, instead of barraged by the negative energy that causes more mishaps and tragedies, which then sells more papers, clicks, air time, and catches the attention of greedy Hollywood vampires.

People love to be scared. Look at the crowds at roller-coaster parks. Without fear and vomit-producing twists and turns, lots of people think life is pretty dull. So the drama that unfolds in our real life, on real streets, in real gay nightclubs, and real Bible study classes, and real traffic stops by trigger-happy cops are now re-enacting the thrills that are innately a part of our thus-far-evolved human experience. Most of us love thrills! We love drama. We love … to be scared to death!

Personally, as an artist who writes, I don’t think the censor laws will ever go backward from where they are today. We’ve fought too hard to have the freedom of expression that has become the modern way. And I know for a fact that it was artists (in Lithuania) that singlehandedly started the internal revolution that brought down the Soviet bloc. Creative censorship is considered unAmerican. Un-Freedom of Speech. Un-cool. So the guns and bombs and slashings and accompanying rudenesses that go along with all that mind garbage won’t stop. Hollywood loves violence. There will always be a place for trash. But that doesn’t mean we have to fill our own minds with it. Trash, and violent trash especially makes tons of money, pockets are filled from every slaying, and woe to the producer who comes up with a sweet story of spiritual transformation, without a murder or two, ’cause nobody will come to see it in the theaters. Not yet, that is.

True, there are lobbyists who are out in force, trying to get Hollywood to stop making such sex and violence-themed movies, groups like the Dove Foundation and Ted Baehr, who have attempted for years, to great effect, to introduce more family values into the film and entertainment industry. So let’s face it, the cleaning up of America’s entertainment industry, including gyrating, ripped-lace pop and hip hop and gangsta rap singers, ain’t gonna happen. Dirt and shame and taboos are too much a part of our culture to deny.

What we can do is … each and every individual … is to clean up our own act.

dharma brat images 7.09 068

There’s always HOPE

Yup, that’s right. The BIG answer to all this hair-wrenching worry over “Where’s our humanity going?” boils down to “What are you doing about your own life?”

The only thing each of us has power over, is our own individual life, and the choices we make. Of course if we have young children, we’re also responsible for instilling Love and Inner Peace in their own life quests, and prepare them, best we can, for the world that’s outside the comfortable nest we all want to make for ourselves, for our family.

Take a look around you. Are you doing enough? Is your inner life as peaceful as you’d like? Are you able to read today’s news without getting freaked out? Can you see as many positive things happening in the world as there are negatives?

If you’ve assessed your own life, and feel you want more inner peace, more happiness, more joy–then take some action, my friend. There are so many things anyone can do, in this day of YouTube’s abundant offerings from mindfulness teachers (Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, to name just a few of my favorites). If you are unhappy with the state of the world, you can join a prayer or protest group, click on an instructional video and learn to calm your fears, or … go take a walk and look up at the clouds and let go of angry thoughts that you’ve let rule your life.

We don’t have to let heinous actions of others ruin our own lives. We can choose what we do with the strong feelings that injustices evoke in each and every human heart.

That’s the remedy I do when I feel powerless over another’s violent and scary actions. I breathe. I do yoga, meditate, take a swim in the sea, go for a bike ride … garden in my yard, talk with other mindful folks. Anything but go deeper in that feeling of powerlessness. Because I DO have power — over my own self! And I can take action to remedy the severe sadness that each and every intolerant act of one human upon another brings to my consciousness. The action might be … to take no action other than to pray, to meditate, to focus anger into tolerance. That’s a very high form of action.

I don’t deny the hurt. I don’t try to brush it off as “not my problem.” It is a human problem we are all facing. To me the answer, the pivot upon which change revolves, lies within each of our own hearts. To be as true as we can to what we really are, this is the spiritual challenge of today’s scary world. We are all pure spirits wearing a human body … for just a little while longer.

Let’s make the most of what time we’ve got here. Let’s make a difference, and let’s celebrate Love. By focusing on love, acceptance, tolerance, we increase the power of Love all around us. It’s like spreading an atomizing of Love cells wherever we go. Love is a consciousness, not just a verb. Love is a way of life, not just a saying. I have made it a pledge to live from love, not fear. With each day, I renew my pledge. I believe in Love.

I wish I could say the same for the political process, or the power of government to help change society, truly, at its core. I don’t believe governments or political parties have that kind of power. The power of true transformation only comes from the human spirit. I believe it comes from our core, from each of our heart (not the brain necessarily, although that comes in handy when it comes to taking action). The heart of each human being is where we feel the connection of Love. I feel it for everything and everyone.

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

the currency of LOVE … our life!

Maybe someday we will have enlightened Hollywood directors and producers who come from their opened hearts and minds, but for now (believe me, I know, I have a close relative who’s in the Hollywood game) money rules. Wherever the money comes from, that’s where Hollywood’s decisions go. Until enlightened artists transform our tastes … violence and sex are still a lot more entertaining (but not forever) so tolerate unscrupulous images and blood-gushing stories will keep coming to our screens. Just don’t watch them and they will … in time … go away.

Just turn off your mind, your screen clicked off to those kinds of choices. Open your screen as you do your heart and mind. Explore the endless possibilities of … an awakened life. It truly is the best show on earth!

we are ONE

lifting ourselves UP UP UP!

 

 

How “Doing” Yoga Makes “Doing Anything” Possible

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This week the great yoga teacher BKS Iyengar died at the ripe ol’ age of 95. I’m feeling especially thoughtful today about this. I want to share with you how this man influenced not just millions of other seekers throughout his long and blessed life — but how he personally affected me.

I can honestly say Iyengar’s influence on my life was as great, if not greater than my own mother’s, who happens to also be 95. Mom never once ever wanted to do “that weird thing you do on your head” — or any other yoga asana or any type of yoga exercise, like breathing or meditating — but she has lived a good healthy life. She’s still going strong, and no doubt will see many more birthdays than just her upcoming one in a few weeks. If you looked at her, you would think she was as fit as any asana-strong yogi or yogini. On any given day of the week you could sit by Eve’s kitchen table and watch as Mom bent right over from her waist to quickly mop up her kitchen floor with a damp rag, something she does on more days than not. Only yogis can bend so agilely — unless you happen to have been a farm-raised hard worker, like Mom, accustomed to the arduous labors of haying, weeding, milking cows and making butter and cheese by hand, picking fruit trees balanced high on a ladder, and any number of other physically demanding things a farm girl born in 1918, raised in America’s Great Depression does. Mom was raised to be capable, the oldest of three farm kids of Lithuanian immigrants. She learned to take care of herself and the two younger kids as well as flocks of poultry, pens of pigs, fruit orchards and fields of garden ripened vegetables that were sold at the family’s roadside stand. Grandpop would drive truckloads of tomatoes into nearby Philadelphia for Campbell Soup Company’s famous tomato soup. Mom’s life was an exercise in early discipline, hard work, and healthy, nutritiously-rich food. That’s one of the reason she’s still alive, and driving and living by herself! Unfortunately for me, I didn’t learn much more than domestic and intellectual rigors and how to keep a clean house from Mom. But I did get to learn about body-wisdom from B.K.S. Iyengar when I finally left my mother’s domain.

You see, somehow I just didn’t jive with my mom’s way of presenting things. Call me rebel or call her control-freak, I don’t know. All I know is I didn’t want anything she had to offer. Pity, but I’m making up for that early mistake now, as I spend a lot of time with my mom on an almost daily basis. But back when I was growing up, when I was asked by her to weed the garden I felt I’d been sentenced to death. When I was given the chore of mopping the kitchen floor, I felt unmercifully picked upon, preferring to spend all my time outside playing baseball with the neighborhood gang, mostly boys, because I wasn’t interested in playing with girls and their dolls, or dressing up. I wanted to run, shout, wrestle, get muddy, and climb tall trees. Actually, I’d find out later that mom did too, when she was a kid. But mom never told us stories about herself back then, and she sure didn’t want her daughters doing the same as her, no sirree. She felt her farm-background was not to be admired, but today, she’s the lucky one if you ask me.

When I finally left home and headed for college, I took a badly injured spine that had grown crooked along with me. My bad back was the result of having fallen from one of my tall perches. I remember lying on the ground, my breath kicked out of me from the long fall to the hard hard ground, my chest felt crushed. I was dizzy, not able to breathe, and senseless with pain, not able to move or draw a single breath for what seemed like a long time. Finally, I dragged myself home and never spoke of my mishap. But from that moment on I had what later I would find a word for: scoliosis, a severe disruption of my lower spine’s alignment.

Severe pain became my middle name. From the age of ten I couldn’t keep up with my addiction to baseball, couldn’t sleep too long on Saturdays, or do any repetitive, bent-over chore too long without causing such excruciating pain in my coccyx that it would take another couple of weeks to recover from. And this happened over and over. My parents didn’t know what was wrong with me. They didn’t know about scoliosis, and the doctors they sent me to only said things like, “She has one leg longer than the other” and sent me on my way taped up, strapped up, confined to back braces for weeks at a time, instead of offering exercises that might help re-align my crooked lower sacrum area. Years later I would see an X-ray of my spine. The only way to describe what my lower spine looks like is, “like an AmTrak train gone off its track!”

In my first year away at college, I begged two friends to grab hold of both my feet as I held onto a windowsill, instructing them to “Pull as hard as you can and maybe my back will be forced back into place!” Pain often ruled my awake and sleep states. When my lower back got re-injured, I couldn’t walk, and at the ripe old age of 18, I knew I was headed for a life of being crippled if I didn’t do something. I remembered with humiliation going to a chiropractor on my own. This man told me in an honest attempt to help, “Try with all your might, to stand in a hot hot shower, after getting your back as steamy-loose as you can stand it, then try to bend over and touch maybe your knee, maybe your shins.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when this guy said this to me. Me! A healthy specimen (except for the lousy crooked spine) who studied dance, bowled on a league, played ball with the best roughnecks, could run as fast as anyone, and arm wrestled anyone off the table who dared try to defeat me. I prided myself on having a good strong healthy, Big Bodacious Body, even though when the back went out, it was nervy-hell up and down the entire spine, and legs sometimes, for sometimes up to two weeks before the pain subsided.

So I learned how to not get injured. I became “aware” of what set my back off, pinching sciatica and other nerves, activating shooting nerve-pain up and down my very long spine and ultra-long legs. I never ever ever slept past my usual time allotment, because lounging horizontally for too long caused me to suffer immeasurably, and the extra sleep time was never worth the long hassle of dealing with back pain.

The windowsill trick didn’t work, naturally. Nothing worked, but being “body-smart.” And as I was determined to get better at this body-smart business, I was one of the first to hear, back in 1966, during my first school-year away from my parent’s domain and the very year that Iyengar published his book “Light on Yoga” — that yoga might be a possible solution for the end of my constant companion — pain.

I don’t remember where I heard about yoga for the first time. Maybe I just saw Iyengar’s book in a window as I roamed the streets of latest-and-greatest hip-stuff Harvard Yard, when I was investigating the rest of Boston and Cambridge from the art school I attended. However I discovered that book, “Light on Yoga” changed everything for me. Everything!

I bought “Light on Yoga” and took it home to my first apartment. Alone, with no one as mentor other than photos of a middle-age, preztal-shaped, asana-bent Iyengar, I was desperate to change. My body was troubling me so much I knew only desperation and depression were my future if I couldn’t stop the pain. With great hope and a funny feeling in my gut, of a Truth I would begin to understand, see its effect, and continue seeking further and further with each new pose — I opened Iyengar’s book.

First I learned how to get into one simple pose. Then I learned another. Slowly, trying to figure out the hows and whys, and where to put arms and legs. Breathing? Oh yeah, I had to learn that from the book, too. All over again as what Iyengar said didn’t fit with how I was so shallowly breathing up to then. But by the end of my first solitary session, with Iyengar’s book as my guru, my teacher, I knew I had found the “secret of my life’s true happiness.”

Instantly, my back sighed relief. I could tell, in that one session, that things had changed deep, way inside my body. A shift had occurred. I couldn’t explain how, or why or what. But …. I knew my life would never be the same again. It would take many years in the future for me to understand exactly how this shift happened. It is the miracle of the chakras opening in a person’s body-temple that hatha yoga gifts the person who is disciplined enough to “do yoga.”

And now it’s …. what??? practically fifty years later and I feel no pain, absolutely no pain — unless I don’t practice my regular hatha yoga (hatha means the “physical aspect” of yogic discipline) for a couple of weeks. And that hasn’t happened for many decades, me forgetting to do yoga, that is. When you finally find something that works, which takes away one’s pain, and gives joy and fulfillment within one’s own abilities, with no outside source (other than a teacher, or a book, in my case) — who wouldn’t stick to that! Today I “do yoga” at least 5 days a week, and swim and bike and dance as much as I can other days. Today I never say my age any other way, when someone asks, other than, “I’m sexy-sex.” And I mean that.

Truly, Iyengar changed my life. I love this great teacher! I never met him. I only read his books. Besides Iyengar I have had other teachers along the way, as I continue to learn, and impart to others, too, the many methods of yogic practices that expand our human understanding and abilities.

Someday, I may learn to fly!

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Keep doing yoga, dear friends, keep breathing, thinking, and sending out positive energy, turn your back on negativity, and watch our experience, as we, our entire human family, keeps expanding, keeps getting more enlightened. The same that happens within our own body happens outside, in the world around us. Our solitary life is the microcosm of a much bigger picture. Have fun exploring its unbounded possibilities. Live in Love. Breathe in Love. Share Love with Others.

Om Namah IyengarOm

My love to you all, your pal Lord Flea, aka teZa Lord

 

 

 

 

Where are you up to, Lordflea?

First Glance, What IS

First Glance, What IS

Second LooK: Hmm, something more than first appearing

Second LooK: Hmm, something more than first appearing

Third time SEEING: under the obvious is the Energy connecting All

Third time SEEING: under the obvious is the Energy connecting All

Hello Friends,

Some blogger, huh, averaging a post a month these recent days. Seriously, folks, this is what happens when you’re writing a book. In my MIND I’m writing all sorts of interesting things. As I fall asleep each night, I can actually visualize the image I’d like to share with you, and how it relates to what I want to say, too. But … when it comes down to whether I take time off of getting the book prepared for the next step, or writing the Lordflea post, putting it up on WordPress (which couldn’t be easier, by the way) I usually opt to not blogging. For this I apologize to anyone who comes and visit and expects BREAKING NEWS a la Lordflea Sings. Naw. Not that kind of fluff here at Lord Flea. Only what’s deep and steadfast, and stands the test of time is what I’m going to share with you.

So here I am deep in the throes of the final stage of this book, that has, since I have been telling you about it, been completely transformed from what I first thought it was going to be. Everything about it has now evolving, becoming something quite different, totally unlike what it first appeared to be. In fact, its former title has disappeared (I won’t even mentioned what that was, so you won’t get confused) and it’s premise has completely changed, also.

Not unlike what happened, many years ago, when I set out to paint what the myth of Apollo and Daphne means to me.

From the first time I heard about this ancient story of love, both unrequitted and obsessively passionate — I’ve been fascinated by how it applies to what all of us experience in our pursuit of love. I must have been barely twenty when I first drew a fleeing woman turning into a tree, something that seems natural to me, nature lover that I am, back then always either chasing or running away from love. In my drawing I put an outstretched arm belonging to some smitten man who was trying to win her back from her drastic state of shape-shifting transformation, all in the name of love. Transformation to something greater, higher, came as natural to my composition as jelly to a peanut butter sandwich. What was truly surprising to me, back then, was when when a friend came to visit me and, standing over my drawing table, told me that I had clearly depicted in my watercolor and black-ink drawing-painting, the iconic story of Apollo and Daphne. Lost to me as a clear memory, but perhaps known by by subconscious and within all our DNA, laid waiting, wondering, resonating — the story of a half-human, half-goddess young woman named Daphne being pursued by the handsome and athletic Apollo, I had indeed drawn the story of these two ill-fated lovers. I had created my own story also.

Years later I visit this same theme again, but this time decided to make a trilogy, a series of what this myth means to me.

I started out with “First Glance” depicting the moment of Daphne’s transformation in a clearly recognizible fashion, although using collage-style cutouts and washes of colors instead of purely classical lines.

First Glance, What IS

First Glance, What IS

The “Second Look” came next, with a squint-like approach to the moment, stripping Daphne of her outer layers, putting her in a more severe posture of angst but using the same, men’s underwear packaging (by Calvin Klein) cutouts for Apollo’s arms. The scene is more raw, more passionate than the first one, don’t you think.

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And the last image, “Seeing” is the total absorption of Daphne into her new-found energy source, human female as part of nature, with only the underwear-arms of Apollo remaining for us to see that their combined image is the true source of energy that unites all things, whether human, myth, dreams, or what we call the realism of life on earth.

041

This is exactly the process I’m going through, what it’s like writing this book. What I share here today, and will continue to bring you, each time I post for a while now, is more of my art works and how its message relates to what both you and me, and all of us, can apply to our earthly experiences, right here, right now.

We are ONE! Never forget this simple fact. No matter what I’m experiencing, the energy of what I’m doing with my life is part of what you, too, are experiencing, each moment.

In the Light of Oneness,

Lordflea, aka teZa Lord

Things Are Never What They Appear To Be

Lapis Sky, mixed media, 5'x4'

After months and months of hard, brain-wracking work I thought I was done. Yay! I shouted, bring on the bubbly! A whole year’s worth of blood-sweat and yes, a few tears, now completed. Oh how I was enjoying celebrating, doing things I’d denied myself for quite some time, all in the spirit of having done as good a job as I thought I possibly could.

Until, that is, I got another person’s perspective. Or, in this case, two, then three other persons’ worth.

What had been in my estimation a job well done, a fait accompli, turned out to be … well, a good start. Put it that way. A rough draft of a book that is lurking between the shadows of what I meant to say, and what I actually did. But a rough draft is at least something more than what I had before I’d begun. The bubblies persist, and I congratulate myself I’ve arrived this far. A lot of work, exhausting hours, many sacrifices – yet nowhere near finished, my dear. I’m talking to myself a lot these days, friends.

Of course for those of you following Lord Flea you’ll know what I’m talking about. The book I’ve been writing for the better part of this last year started off being called “Family Bliss NOW” then evolved into “Global Bliss Now” until — until the pretty recent day when I was fortunate enough to have an editor of a publishing company, a very esteemed publisher, take a look at it. I found this particular publisher by a fluke, an offhand referral by an old friend that brought us in contact because, after all, I had given up soliciting agents and publishers some years ago, having had more than my share of rejections.

“We like the premise, teZa” I was told right off. “But” (ahhh, the great but) your book needs clarification. When you get it more polished please be sure to show it to us again.”

I wasn’t so much disappointed as terrifically encouraged. Considered quite a feat it is, to have a publisher tell you they want to take a second look at a book. Usually you have only one chance. Obviously I was on to something. Trouble was, I really didn’t know how to “clarify” the writing anymore than I’d already done, having worked on it until I was quite sick of it. Sometimes a writer can only do so much before words, and ideas behind those words, start to swim in front of one’s eyes.

So I asked the publisher’s advice. “Well, now that you ask …” and he gave me very definite points that he felt needed to be attended to. Great! With this information in hand, I could take the next step. After giving myself a few days of down-in-the-dumpsville because my book had not been the great and completed masterpiece I thought it was (ahhh, the ego of the artist/writer, will we ever learn?) I now decided to … no, not set out to fix it myself. I’d already tried that. And look where I was, anyway. Being given clear instructions about what was wrong along with what I had to do next. And remember, words were swimming before mine eyes, ideas had turned to mush. I needed a break. or at least a Caribbean vaca.

“Get an editor,” the publisher kindly told me. “I’ll do my best to help you find one that will be a good match for your style and genre.”

After much soul-searching I have decided to work with what I’m calling my “book mentor” instead of calling her “my editor.” Of course she is an editor, and a damn fine one from what I researched. But more than that, this writer/editor has already given me enough inspiration to refill my sails. Her vivid insights into my project have set me back on the track of my original intention for writing this book: to share my experiences, good and bad, of raising Carter’s (my paramour’s) two kids. To show how my life expanded, and hopefully all the rest of my family’s did as well. And to perhaps help all the folks out there these days who have step-families, what are now more appropriately called blended families.

And so I am rolling up my shirtsleeves for another round of all day and many midnight-to-dawn efforts, digging back into what I thought was going to be a quickly written offering so I can get back to the three novels I’ve already written and are tucked away, incubating, anxiously awaiting mommy’s riveted attention. My attention.

For this endeavor of rewriting my book (yes, I’m completely re-writing it, as in RE-writing, not editing, my friends) I’m trying on new titles. Tell me which you like of these?

Hold That Thought: how one woman discovered her self raising others

From She Pirate to Angel Mom: transformation via my blended family

The Alchemy of Transformation: a personal journey of nurturing a blended family

Thanks for your support! I’ll keep you all posted about the developments of this daunting task, that I’m looking forward to because … I already have a First Draft! Lucky Me!

In the Light,

Your pal, Lord Flea

aka teZa Lord

Global Transformation … one blended family at a time–coming SOON!!

“Family Bliss NOW: a holistic approach for global transformation … one blended family at a time

global transformation ... one blended family at a time

global transformation … one blended family at a time

Official Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:                                                                                                                       Sylvana Joseph

            Cornucopia Press

                                                                                                                        215-921-3291

                                                                                                            CornucopiaPress@gmail.com

 

 

Cornucopia Press Signs Blogger and Inspirational Speaker teZa Lord to Produce
Family Bliss NOW: a holistic approach to global transformation . . .
one blended family at a time

Philadelphia:  June 11, 2012 – Cornucopia Press announced today that it has signed popular spiritual blogger teZa Lord to produce a new non-fiction title called Family Bliss NOW: a holistic approach to global transformation . . . one blended family at a time, a step-by-step guide in which Lord inspires readers to bring balance and healing to any nurturing relationship, especially within today’s “blended” (non-traditional, non-nuclear) families.

 

teZa Lord, aka Lord Flea, has been a spiritual blogger for many years.  Lordflea.com is where she discusses topics that appeal to people committed to helping change our world by first becoming more aware, and more spiritually balanced themselves. The blog’s archive is filled with stories and illustrations of paintings, sculptures, botanical studies and drawings, in addition to her own unique offbeat photos.  Ms. Lord offers positive tweets at twitter.com/tezalord, and through her Facebook page.  Describing her latest project with Cornucopia Press, Ms. Lord called the title, “a practical primer designed to help every family, no matter how complicated, create an intimate heart-connection, the source of familial bliss.”

 

“Today, so-called blended families are the norm,” said Sylvana Joseph of Cornucopia Press.  “For almost a decade, identifying the most popular show on television was easy:  American Idol.  But that’s not a given anymore.  Among the group that determines much of the revenue of the television business – viewers ages 18 to 49 – ABC’s Modern Family now is the most popular show on TV.  That’s not an accident.  Indie-filmmaker, painter and blogger teZa Lord has written a book that meets the needs of this new American family – the blended, non-traditional family – providing practical tips on how to find spiritual balance and bliss not only for yourself, but for those who make up your modern family.”
A gallery exhibiting the artist’s work is available at tezalord.com, and you can learn more about her award-winning, independent eco-comedy at lithiumsprings.com.

 

Ms. Lord’s new title is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012.  In addition to this non-fiction title, the artist is currently working on a socially-inspiring, transformational fictional tale, a trilogy also to be released by Cornucopia Press beginning next year called Heart Island.

 

Cornucopia Press is dedicated to helping unrecognized authors self-publish and promote their work.  We empower writers to join the ranks of authors like the Bronte sisters, Willa Cather, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Wolf and James Joyce, all of whom self-published at one point in their careers.  So have many of today’s top writers, from John Grisham with A Time to Kill, to Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath and E.L. James, author of 50 Shades of Grey.  We help take the stress out of self-publishing, providing authors with both Book Packaging (from title selection to print and eBook production) and Book Promotion services (helping you get the word out cost-effectively so that your title sells).

 

For more information, visit CornucopiaPress.com.

Developing the Willingness to Change

Why do you think the topic of willingness to change comes after Finding the Courage (see the previous Maya post, September 15) instead of before it? I’m asking that to help gather my thoughts. Originally, these chapters-headings came to me in a flash, in quick succession, when I first decided I wanted to write about this subject of change. Without courage, of course, nothing is possible. A person can’t even leave their house without a certain amount of courage to open the door and leave their familiarity, evidenced by the disorder of agoraphobia that many people suffer from.

So yes, courage has to come first!

But this willingness thing is something that is closely tied to courage, yet very different in that it encompasses much more action, much more persistence and daily reinforcements, sometimes hourly recommitments, than what it takes to muster up the initial courage to change that begins our journey of spiritual transformation.

Willingness, at least to me, means that I’m ready to try on different things, maybe many things, until I find those that work better than what I had before, or—at the least, I get to reinforce that my “old familiar ways” work best for me after having given due credit to other methods. Applying this theory of willingness to something simple, let’s talk about, say … how to paint a room.

Some painters think they have the best method; others claim no, theirs is the most effective. In my experience there is always room for improvement in the area of “how to” do just about anything, from peeling a garlic clove to tuning a carburetor (no, I don’t know how to do that!) to applying paint to a surface. But before us now we’re talking about something a little more serious: how to change one’s attitude toward life, the subject of this writing.

For life changes, Willingness means to be open to another philosophy, another perspective, point of view, another creed, another faith even, than what we have been used to measuring our experiences as right, worthy, or true.

Some of us never think about what we believe in. We just live our lives, and do what our parents taught us to do. Others set out to rebel and do everything the opposite of how we were raised. In my case, I was extremely uncomfortable with a lot of rigid social customs, dictates and dogma that I was handed in my parent’s home, and by the particular religion in which I was raised. Another person might never have had any religion, political view, or any formal structure of life-thought introduced to them in their home of origin. But for me, when I reached the age when we all begin thinking about what life is, what its meaning might be or if it even has one, and things like what might happen after death and before birth — the subject of truth, my truth, intrigued me from my earliest recollections.

searching for life's Big Truths

searching for life's Big Truths

The core of what we’re discussing here in Maya’s Book of Change is what life is all about. Not my life, but your life. Only you can discover what your life means to you. Because my friend Maya is facing the end of her life, battling brain cancer the best she can under the most severe circumstances of impending doom, having received the death sentence her oncologists spelled out to her in black-and-white — all the radiation, chemotherapy, surgeries and other modalities of healing she does, they say to her, only postpone the inevitable demise she’s facing. Unless, of course, a miracle occurs, which I always believe can happen, and of course, so does Maya.

I say these things to remind us about our journey together, how we’re exploring spiritual change here. Sharing Maya’s story is not about pitying her. No, on the contrary. We can celebrate because already, Maya has shown quite a change in her thinking. Today, she is forgiving of what used to be unforgiveable to her. She is detached, where before getting cancer she was committed to her anger and incapable of forgiveness. I credit her change of heart, this radical change of thinking to her having the terminal disease of glioblastoma, the most voracious of brain cancers that fate hands a person.

Currently, four months into her diagnosis, with the large tumor removed, yet knowing the cancer still spreads in her brain like veins in blue cheese, Maya is in a sweet stage of acceptance. Having gone through many weeks of grief, tears, lamentations, and plenty of “why me’s!” she’s now willing to look at the stark reality of her life. Now she can admit, and prepare, for the fate that draws ever close to her. And each one of us, truly, is in a varying degree of the same situation that has befallen Maya: the imminence of our death.

Yet I cheerily say to my friend, “Maybe I’ll die before you do, Maya, you never know! Maybe I’ll get run over by a truck this afternoon, or get done in by a shark attack during my daily ocean swim.” I say these things not to invite negativity into my life, but—to empathize with my friend. Maybe I will succumb to something just as deadly before Maya actually dies of incurable cancer, is what I’m saying to her. Having cancer is no guarantee that her life is definitely going to be shorter than mine, if something as unpredictable and shocking as sudden death, a reality of life, happens to be my destiny.

Just because a person has a terminal disease—call it bum luck or a rotten deal of the life-cards we’re each given by providence—doesn’t mean a person can’t have a good life, a terrific day, week, month, with whatever time they’ve got.

(this is the 6th installment in the “Maya’s Book of Change” series. See August  7, 2011 post on Lordflea for beginning of series.)