Beeman Pollination Blues

Beginnner’s Mind

Plant/Animal/Spirit---I Am

What’s going on? Open your mind! Be child-like!

One of my most treasured spiritual books is Suzuki Roshi’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” It has inspired millions, and truly is one of my go-to references about establishing the connection between our individual (smaller) self and universal (Higher) Self. In Roshi’s landmark book, which I try to re-read as often as I can (as well as the classic, Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”) I’m forever reminded to keep things fresh. To approach learning, especially about higher-consciousness, as if we are a beginner, each and every time we sit for meditation. What exactly does this mean, to be a beginner?

In today’s divided world especially, people are sure about how they feel. Whether the topic is politics or environment, or religious or spiritual, people are sure they are on the side of right and others who don’t speak the same doctrine are on the side of wrong. Sound familiar? I guess another way of saying “be a beginner” always, is to check to make sure you have an open mind and an open heart, always.

In my mixed-bag circle I hear some pretty strong stuff, and tend to overlook people’s hardcore emotionalism as a need to vent. I give plenty of leeway to those who have such strong opinions that their voices raise and their eyes widen. I watch these symptoms as indicators. Of what? That the person before me is closed to any discussion other than pats on their back that they’re right, right, right.

Sure, lots of people are in distress about the state of the world. When I was younger I even left America because I was so unforgiving about the Vietnam war, and didn’t return for a full decade. Today however, I am grateful to call the USA my home country. Even though it’s in a time of tumultuous cross-fires, this is the greatest country I’ve ever known, and I’ve traveled around lots. So bear with me as I share, from experience, how I learned that being set in my opinions only got me in deeper waters, than even the longstanding wars America fights in far off countries.

Baby Steps fisher

from one continent to the next … stretch out … learn from others …

Put aside your need “to be right” for just a moment and try following my thinking about how the need to be open is a spiritual practice. And how approaching things from a fresh, new angle (whether practicing a yoga pose or determining how bad things are in the public arena), sharing Roshi’s viewpoint on “Beginner’s Mind” just might add some bright sunshine on anyone’s dark and gloomy spots.

When Roshi wrote his book waaaay back in the sixties, he was mostly referring to the Zen Buddhist “art of meditation” when he spoke of having a Beginner’s Mind. I love his use of a waterfall to demonstrate the meaning of universal consciousness (the Self, Divine Mind, “God”) the continuous contacting of which is the supreme aim of practicing meditation. I’m going to paraphrase Roshi’s imagery here, but if anyone wants a real treat, I urge you to read the entire book for yourself.

The waterfall is Roshi’s metaphor for how our singular mind is connected to the infinite vastness, the ineffable Mystery of nothing less than — cosmic consciousness. Or Higher Power, or God, if you want to keep it simple. Although Zen Buddhists such as Suzuki Roshi never use the “G” word. And really, that’s a good idea in speaking of spiritual matters because that little bitty word has way too many stigmas attached to it. Many people either freak out if they hear it (those who are anti-G, calling themselves humanists or atheists, or maybe they’re traumatized from too-religious of an upbringing). Or, as one of my spiritual teachers (a wise old Christian monk) recently noted as he began his talk on mindful Presence:  “For every single one of you, there’s a different definition of God.” So he doesn’t use the G-word either, preferring, as I do too, to use Spirit (or Aum, Om) as readers of LordFlea know already.

In referring to the subject of how to tap into the spiritual side of life, the metaphor of Suzuki Roshi’s waterfall is the best analogy I’ve ever heard. He describes the state of connecting to this higher state — the universal consciousness that is all present — as this:

We, each one of us humans, is a tiny cell of consciousness that is connected to the whole, just as a drop of ocean water is still part of the unlimited ocean. If we came to a waterfall (or a stream, a river, an ocean) and took in our cupped hands, a tiny bit of the vastness before us, think of what you’re imagining holding in your hands, as you take it from the flowing waterfall to look at, and perhaps drink of — that this handful of water is symbolic of your human life. You are a separate being, but you are also part of the wholeness from which you came. You are both at the same time, even though some people never choose to experience this state of Oneness.

the waterfall of Life

the waterfall of Life

Even though you have been born in your human form (yoga scriptures calls this one-person connection to All, the Atman), you are still spiritually connected, and part of the whole spiritual consciousness (yogic Oneness, is Brahman, also called “the Self”) that permeates this existence, this universe …. the multiverse, as all of space discoveries is now more commonly called.

When I read Suzuki Roshi’s words for the first time many moons ago, I was struck about how similar his description of the waterfall was to my own inexplicable experiences of meditation. The Stillness. The Oneness. Totality. Yet, I was still me. How, after learning to follow a mantra and having trained my bad-ass monkey-mind to STOP obsessing, and keep it focused on a sound, and witness my thoughts, not engage in them —- how I felt connected to all that is.

And yet, when I came out of meditation and looked in the mirror, yes, I could verify that I was still this one same person named teZa (aka LordFlea, here). I have one body, not an endless array of cosmic-ness, yet my mind felt unlimited to any barrier, whether of skin or mental gymnastics. Even more deeply I felt this Oneness as my meditation practice grew stronger, as I went through layers of impurities. As my teacher told me I would. Until — I arrived at the place where each and every time I press my third eye (even for a breath or two, only!) I can jump into that state of Oneness, like a dog who’s learned to stand up on its hind legs for its tasty treat. I love the depth, the connected-ness of meditation.

Of course this took years of practice. But the payoff the stilling of the mind, is going deep inside Self, like sticking a finger into the CHARGED SOCKET of the Big Brain Itself (ha! it’s that shocking at first, so electrifying!). This place, state of mind, is beyond thought, and even if for just a glimpse that lasts only a few seconds, and eventually becomes longer in time and deeper in connection — all this amounts to cultivating a spiritual connected-ness. This, my friends, is Oneness consciousness.

So how does this meditative approach to “Fresh” apply to practicing yoga poses? And what, for goddess’ sake, does Oneness have to do with political or environmental angst? Bear with me, reader, a little longer.

Spread the Word: LOVE

approach each pose (downward dog here) as if it’s just you and the world around you

The same fresh electric jolt that Oneness brought me (at the beginning of my journey) is exactly the same, each and every time! — when approaching anything with a Beginner’s Mind. If I think, “I’m a lifelong yoga person, I know this pose” instead of “ahhh, try to feel it as if for the very first time I’m going into this pose” — then I am in Beginner’s Mind. To do this means I have to be more aware. The key here: Awareness. I must remind myself to think as a beginner, and not as a Know-It-All adept. Each time I start a yogic practice session, or just want to do a quick back stretch, but yogically, mindfully, I must remind myself that … “I know nothing! I am a beginner. I may know where to put my feet, my arms, my gaze .. but I am going to let this pose here and NOW teach me as if I’ve never had any experience of this same pose, before. Ever.”

This takes discipline. To let go of our “knowing”. This also requires humility. Some people have a hard time letting go of “thinking they know.” Why? Because they’re insecure. Without knowing something SURELY, they feel impotent, less than, and likely afraid of feeling vulnerable. Many people I know in the spiritual/mindful world (yes, as much in this tribe as in the political circles I skirt these days) are filled with self aggrandizement. Many yoga teachers I see being pumped out of the yoga-mills these days tend to think of themselves as so advanced and knowledgeable, so sure they have all the information they need after they’ve gotten their relatively easy-to-get certification. Suddenly they’re experts about breath, asana, stilling mind, opening heart — that many in the “extreme yoga world” only end up losing the opportunity to experience the electrifying delight of a beginner’s approach. And sadly, they end up shortchanging themselves (and their students) of having an incredible experience each and every time they begin their yoga session.

To have a beginner’s mind takes great humility. Want to try it? I encourage you to, the next time you hit the mat, or just sit to stretch for a few breaths holding a pose, and feel the connected-ness of your being a handful-of-water you’ve just pulled from the Waterfall of Existence. Feel this, yourself before you share it with others.

Let your mind go still. Focus on your breath. Let your breath show you what’s happening. Each yoga pose, each opportunity to grow from understanding another’s point-of-view is different, each day. Each and every time you move your body, it’s a new experience! Subtle changes occur. Awareness becomes more expanded as you scan your body and sense how today … is different. You may learn something new if you just open your mind … one breath at a time.

Try it.

For those whose breath gets choked up thinking about the state of the environment and other politically charged, topics, try this same kind of awareness exercise. The next time a news item, or a distressing topic arises, allow your breath to become your main focus, not the immediacy of this topic. And … as you focus on your breath … listen to those around you. Listen with something more than your ears, your eyes, your intellect. Listen to the sound of the universe that pulsates through your veins, in the form of your blood’s circulatory system, for instance. And remember: just as the moon and the sun and the stars are held in place, and don’t fall out of their orbits — you, too, and everyone here on Earth, is being taken care of by this Oneness consciousness that unites us all. And let go of any pre-determined judgement you have about this disturbing subject.  Open your mind and your heart and allow the possibility of — something happening that you might not be aware of, a bigger plan, a higher meaning — and practice complete trust. In what? That we are all One, and no politician, no human talking head can ever destroy that true, inexorable connection. It all starts with YOU, your mind, your heart — keep it open!

opening people's frozen hearts

remind yourSelf to keep your heart/mind OPEN

And let me know how these suggestions work for you.

Share your thoughts with me here, and let’s get a dialogue going, shall we?

I wish each and everyone of you a blessed and Beginner’s Mind kind of brand new day, each and every moment. May your outlook about the world’s events, and your own private life, be filled with the Light of higher understanding. May you be able to better discern what to do, and what to not do. It could be something as simple as not spending quite so much time on social media today. Spending more time in quiet contemplation about who to spend your time with, where to focus your life’s efforts — nurturing a challenging relationship. Or … do some yoga!

Each day is a new beginning. Each breath — a new you!

Please leave your email (by commenting) so I can send you some special give-aways I’m working on! Surprise Surprise!

Your pal, LordFlea, aka teZa Lord

Calm in the Midst of Stormy Chaos

Hello dear Friends,
I’ve been writing my next book, that’s why, no matter how much I want to, I can’t fit in more than a monthly post, here on Lord Flea Sings. I think you’ll agree though, that my current project is pretty relevant to what’s going on all around us, all of us. Read about that at end of this post. By the way, yes, these recent posts have been longer than usual because — the subject matter is way too important to synthesize into a convenient little sound bite. So bear with me, and stick with this lengthy exploration of our current times, if you wish to share what lies ahead for us in these exciting times, as I see things. If you’re looking for a “quickie” little sound bite … visit me on FB, Instagram or Twitter @tezalord. Thanks for your interest in my ongoing spiritual activism.
united in our cause to make a difference--one person at a time

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

Everywhere I turned this past month I heard the malaise of discontents arising from the Dems who lost. Many are scared, we hear in the media and they personally tell me. Some can’t even see any hope at all. “We’re doomed,” they say. Speaking of president-elect Trump as “That bastard!” instead of giving him a chance. They know he’s evil, they’re sure. Seems to me that these kinds of people think of politics as their religion, and I wonder why they give so much power to who wins and who doesn’t, in this power game called governance? It has made me sad, and truthfully, my sadness is what has fueled this post. What I want to share with you today is the endless possibilities that lie ahead. As always, I’m approaching my subject from the spiritual p.o.v. I’m not a teacher, I’m just as spiritual activist, remember please. I have an obligation to my chosen path to share my deepest thoughts. Here and Now.
I’ve spoken to many friends and strangers alike who can barely get out of bed in the morning these days. Even other yoga teachers I know of, couldn’t teach after the spiritual-crushing results (for them) of Nov. 7. Others, like us, my consort Carter and I, look forward to the upcoming changes that we felt were necessary in American society lately. If you’re new to Lord Flea, you might want to read the previous post to see how I interpreted this shocking event, and how upsetting our recent Presidential Election’s results were to … so many folks.
Sure, some areas of society are more tenuous now, especially the environmental progress that’s been fought for and successfully made so far. But, no matter how it looks from the outside, I truly believe that change is good. But change is hard, yes. However, many people, environmentalists and women’s rights activists, think we’re doomed because of who won, I thoroughly disagree. I think we have now, even more than ever, a greater possibility to spiritualize our society, one individual at a time. And that, my friend, is MY politics.
Perhaps what “the losers” (sorry, I hate using this term, but gee, this is the fact) feel is that the world now faces The Unknown. And to many, the unknown equals the increase of dangers. Again, I differ in this respect. As a confirmed “change-junkie” (except Carter, I’m keeping him) I believe that change propels every person, and all of society too, to make assessments and transform old don’t-work-anymore ways into a new and better versions.
This has happened in my life over and over, that’s how I can say this outrageous statement.
Allow me to give you a few examples.
I was abused as a child by an alcoholic family member. Instead of that being the catastrophe that ruined my life (as it does to many other child victims) from an early age “it” compelled me to … look at my unhappiness and make changes, always changes, so that eventually I found the “right answers” and finally — I found true inner peace. If I hadn’t been abused, perhaps I would have never been so propelled or even interested in “self-improvement.” I would have stayed the same miserable, freaked out, mistrusting, badly behaving person, only as a grown up.
I truly believe that having been traumatized at age 10 pushed me into becoming an addict (alcoholic by age 15, druggie by 20) and then, after I’d had my 21 years of self-abuse, I discovered the spiritual recovery of the 12-steps when I was 36. Because I’d done so much self-sabotaging by then, I was ready to surrender to a higher concept of living. But only after having experienced the most degrading, depressing, and dangerous side of life. Since then, I have devoted myself to living sober, and learning how to erase my negative tendencies. My progress on the spiritual path has been (now here’s the catch) equal to the degradation to which I drove myself, intent upon self-destruction that’s also defined as the dark realms of self-abuse.
Guardian of the Sky, mixed media, 27“x60”

the Spirit of Destiny sometimes ties to knock us over!”

So you see? Not every “catastrophe” is really that. Sometimes what we think of as a simply awful and untenable situation (such as some feel T’s ascendancy is), could really be Nature’s way of pushing us toward a higher path. Here’s another personal example:
Followers of my blog know that I’m Angel Mom to my consort Carter’s two children. At the time of deciding to marry Carter (when the kids were very young) all my friends shouted No No No! The situation just “appeared from the outside” to be fraught with negatives and dangers (for my inner peace and life’s success). Even my own mother tried to talk Carter out of marrying me (God rest her soul). But I was already 7 years sober then and I decided on my own, to follow my heart. I chose to not listen to all the naysayers. And … from the outside what appeared to be a disastrous situation (a bio-mom who was a troublemaker, to put it mildly; living in suburbia after decades of travel and adventure) … our household turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me to become who and what I truly am (artist/writer/spiritual seeker) more than any other situation that had ever presented itself before me. BTW, Carter and I just celebrated 25 years of fulfilling-to-both marriage, and believe me, we’ve worked hard to get here. We have moved from suburbia, thank you Goddess!
So, I hope you can see from these two examples, that “Things are not what they appear to be” in both our familial and now, our current political clime.
What the world faces now, with Trump’s radically different, sometimes Twitter-irreverent and oftentimes women-irreverent, environmentally-conscious dubious presidency soon to happen, will lead us — I know, intuitively — to a better, more functioning relationship with every aspect of our complex world. This is not just my hope and prayer– it is my expectation. I feel like I’m watching a long-awaited movie. I’m so excited about this RADICAL change that I’m literally on the edge of my seat, watching, monitoring, seeing the opportunities present themselves left and right. For those scoffing at me, just remember: change is hard, but change is always good.
Carter (a Rep) and I (totally non-political) are certainly not pessimists about the new administration. We personally feel that the Dems have — inadvertantly, in their zeal to “fix society” — caused a lot of stagnation and polarization in our society. Social media has added a discordant sensationalism to the mix, but this also is part of our changing times and we must learn to filter truth from hoaxes, constantly. Many in America are out of work. Many black friends of ours voted for Trump because they are sick of promises not kept, and jobs that kept disappearing. And when people can’t eat, they get scared. When they get scared enough, they change. These were the “silent Trump votes” that were so unexpected.

Instead of seeing possibilities in change, others continue to choose to suffer as malcontents who wail and wag their fingers “I told you so!” spewing hatred more than T ever did (his theatrics got him elected, didn’t it?), even after election shock has worn off for many of us. In our household we remain expectantly hopeful as we hear our disappointed and depressed Dem friends complain, wasting their precious energy.

the sound of Aum: Ohhhhhmmmmmmmm

Instead of negative, send out positive energy! Like … Ommmm

I believe that so-called negative things are really “catalysts” propelling us forward. This is the story of my life’s story, right? In my story I had to suffer and come close to death, in order to find the porthole through which, thanks to great teachers, I have learned to live in the Light. Acceptance is the portal to the Light, for those of you who want a hint how to get started on the spiritual path.

I am a former close associate of the Dark. I know the ways of the Dark intimately. I was never frightened to go right up to the hungry open-toothed maw of evil — until I learned to surrender. Then I learned to kick my way out of the Dark. Until … finally, I succeeded. I’ve never been back. I turn my back on the Dark today. But I am all too familiar with the Dark’s horrors, its crushing lack of trust, its pernicious suspicions — until I found my way out to discover, or remember, rather, who I really am.

We are all children of the Light. But in order to get there, we must not be afraid to confront the Dark that’s naturally found within each human’s heart. It’s simply part of our human nature, that’s all. The Dark is the back side of the Light, nothing more. I believe experiencing this, personally, is the true meaning behind Eve giving the apple of good and evil, of temptation to Adam, back in the Bible’s garden of paradise. Without  challenges, without choosing goodness over evil, what is life but doing what everyone else does, mindlessly? Why look for the Light, when the semi-grey (the in-between stage that hides both Dark and LIght) can be so comfortable, intoxicating … and … unchangeable.
Wake up people! That’s why shocking things like 9/11 and Trump’s winning are so necessary! It’s ALL good, really, truly. Once we accept things as they are.
The world needs all the waking up and shaking up and change that we can get!
Too much really really bad stuff is happening for complacency nowadays. Our environment is melting and souring. Indigenous People are not treated equally as the more politically powerful are (Standing Rock Unite!). Our oceans are sick, our society is sick, and many human individuals, are sick as well. Neurosis and disrespect is rampant. We need the biggest, baddest shake ups we can get. I herald Trump! I don’t like him as a person, but … I love the fact his Republican party has shaken up the status quo in my own country, and the entire world is already feeling the must-change ramifications of his win, big time.
It’s my belief that, in America, if the status quo had continued (with Clinton’s win) that complacency and discontent would have just fomented more, with four more years, at least, of economic woes, the gist of what’s been happening here and much of the world over. To me, a government’s main job is not to be a babysitter, but an economic, human rights’ leader.
In history, a government’s main responsibility has been to watch over its people and protect it from dire circumstances. Like establishing values for staples, and saving grain and other commodities in storerooms for times of drought. The U.S.A.’s democracy governs with laws that are in place (thanks to our forefather’s Constitution). To me, a government’s job is NOT to pay for someone’s ills, lacks, or wages. That’s up to individuals who engage in business, commerce, or philanthropy. And we who are “workers” and not “owners” of businesses, we earn wages. While the heads of businesses’ jobs are to watch over their workers. This is not a government’s job. Sadly, this socially, more than economically, conscious attitude seems to be the basic difference between Dems and Reps, as I understand it. I may be wrong, but from someone who’s not engaged in politics, that’s my take.
I look forward to Donald Trump, a successful businessman, to take the reins of governance with the same savoir faire as he did his controversial stint as an entrepreneur and entertainer. Sure, he doesn’t operate like the “common man.” I know many successful business people. They all operate, like Trump, using the established laws to benefit the growth of their companies. They’re not going to pay the same taxes as a “worker.” They are not workers. They are … leaders. Leaders think, act, and benefit society differently than common workers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
With a great bit of over-the-top showmanship and even bits of clownish inappropriateness, Trump reinvented himself, again. From business guy to now President. I for one am happy to see someone in power who’s not a die-in-the-wool politician, such as Hillary Clinton is. Who cares he’s silly sometimes, he’s not PC, he’s never claimed to be. That’s going to be his presidency, too. Get used to it! He’s elected, folks. Just relax, sit back, get yourself involved in some positive efforts that will satisfy your own needs to help others … become a leader yourself! and stop whining. Start a recovery meeting in your town, “12-step Trump-ism meetings” sounds good to me. Make something positive about something you think is negative.
Believe in Miracles

Believe in Miracles

And for those of you who aren’t the whiners (my many ultra-liberal friends really don’t want to hear the other side of Trump’s possibilities) … I look forward to sharing with you at deeper, more insightful levels about other things than the uproar of this year’s political climate in upcoming posts.

As a yogi/meditator, I see many who are suffering disproportionately from the change in our society’s power structure. Anger is everywhere. Blame, more hatred than compassion is more often spoken aloud than wonderment, or common decency. I have some friends who continually curse Trump and spend all their energy hating him, his choices, his affront to decorum (totally modern a la Twitter). Then they wonder why there seems to be more waves of hatred in the world. They don’t see how they themselves are feeding that same negative energy. Okay, they’ve had their time to mourn. Now they simply can’t see they’re part of the problem, and not using their energies to create better solutions to our world’s woes. The best one being, in my opinion — compassion — for all beings, including Mother Earth Gaia.

 

A good old friend of Carter’s put it straight back in spring of ’16 when Trump first announced his candidacy. This came from our Dem friend who happens to be in charge of the entire USA’s borders:
“When the new guy gets elected it’s time to stop complaining and get on board with the new administration.”

As one of the smartest guys in Carter’s Harvard class, who has worked in Obama’s administration all along, this guy Al, as we do, believes that the beauty of democracy is how the electoral vote chooses our leaders, not the popular vote. Now it’s the Rep’s turn. The pendulum of change has swung. Period. We have to watch and wait, and send positive energy that Trump listens and follows his hand-picked advisors.

We must respect the office of the President of the United States. That office demands our respect. Anyone who doesn’t respect Trump for having won this election … is not a compassionate person. You may disagree with me, and that’s your choice. But … compassion is not about right or wrong, Rep or Dem. It’s about respecting life: as it is. Accepting life, as it is. And changing what we can about what we don’t like. With respect and compassion.
My New Book
I wish I could write posts more than my recent once-a-month output, but … I’m too involved with my next book. Finally I’ve finished the second draft. This complex story is starting to shape up. I’m excited about the story:
Teaching yoga and meditation to teenage girls in high security lockup during a bulls-eye hurricane hit, and how that experience is parallel to staying in our inner core, where our inner calm always resides — if we can just remember.
When I first worked on this idea, a true story of my life, it was a mishmash of notes from those days of a decade ago. Based on written and memory-fueled vignettes, and recent reminders from speaking to the former-director of the facility, who is now a close friend, I started piecing my ideas together. The reason I chose to write this story from scratch, when in my closet I have five already-written books waiting to be published, is … I believe right now the world needs this special story of hope more than my others.

Weaving everything together in a timeline to show the progress of 2004’s hurricane Charley, and how the apprehension awaiting “the shoe to drop” relates to how anxious these at-risk girls were, in general, always acting out instead of knowing how to channel that energy of angst that was their commonality — this has been a challenging book to organize. To make sense out of the chaos within the girls’ psyches, plus the hurricane’s churning immensity. But I think I’ve got the organizational part of the book in a reasonable form. Now … to make it juicy, filled with inspirational stuff, nice word phrasing, and … a page-turning intriguing plot. I’m excited now. The hard work, the bones of the story, is mostly over.

 

This next book’s subject of “helping stressed out individuals calm down” is more appropriate in today’s clime, than sharing my “blended family” story was. That’s the spiritual memoir currently with an agent. Even though the story of my own uniquely blended family also parallels much of our worldwide blended family’s story of today.

 

Until we meet again, be well my friends! Stay positive!
With love,
your pal Lord Flea aka teZa Lord

Inspired by So Many Scintillating Things

Lordflea and her consort, Carter

Lordflea and her consort, Carter

I’m reading my first graphic novel: “Are You My Mother?” by Alison  Bechdel and suddenly I’m wondering if I could do something as insightful, as complex, as detailed, as … fun! … as this “Comic Drama.” I think I’ll try. It may take me years, but I think I’ll give it a go.

Today the sky is filled with the offshore winds of tropical storm Beryl … and this too, the weather, fills me with the kind of excitement that makes me want to communicate how exciting life is, how many varied flavors of enjoyment we can share, together.

The Charter for Compassion has become a focus of my long-held desires to put my artistic and spiritual overflow of energy toward something concretely useful, and applicable to social change. If you haven’t already, please commit to the Charter for Compassion (commit means you “sign” it electronically and this asserts you are conscious of wanting the entire world to bridge differences, and each of us live from the aspect of being humanly compassionate toward each other, ending differences brought about by nationality, race, religion, politics, etc.).

Art give me goosebumps, it can open the gateway from this world of nuts and bolts into the realm of the mystic and sublime. Here’s the latest discovery that thrills me: the Australian musician Gotye, who combines unique visuals and videos with his Sting-like voice and sensitive emotings. Check him out here: Gotye’s cool arty video  I’ve watched this video at least 5 times since discovering it just last night. Gotye was introduced to me via a re-run of Saturday Night Live last night where they did a parody-skit on this particular video. I’m a little slow on the uptake, folks … but wow, I gotcha gotya Gotye! I’m a fan now.

Yoga … ah, how I love doing, sharing, talking about, practicing, exploring, benefiting from, and being grateful that I discovered yoga at an early age. Studying the philosophy has opened my world to mysteries that i thought only belonged to my youthful dreams–but they’re real. The real world, to a yogi and yogini (like me) is the connection with the Inner Self. What else is there? At the moment when everything else dissolves, only the connection to Truth and Love is what counts. Chanting is one of my favorite practices. I do hatha yoga (the physical poses) most days. I try to practice household yoga, which means that i consider my home my temple and respect all people as I would like them to respect me.

Dance: moving the body to rhythms both inner and outer, these are delights of a healthy life. Enjoying others on stage performing structured dance is like watching people erect great architecture–it’s overwhelming in scope and talent, and only a few can do what they do. Aren’t we lucky to have so many diversified people on this glorious planet of ours?

Nature, my great Teacher. The Mother of us all. Whoever says that Nature and God are two different things don’t understand the depth some of us understand the power of Nature. Nature is the seen and felt expression of that which cannot be understood by any other resource but the inner perceptions. And all us humans have been given the gifts to understand Nature. Some of us have a more difficult time with abstract expressions of the Divine, certain forms of God Consciousness that are written about in sacred books. But Nature—ah, now this is something we can observe, merge with, and feel deeply in every pore of our being. There is no difference between God and Nature.

Just a few random thoughts to share with you today, my dear friends.

Your pal sending Love and Light to your heart, from mine,

Lordflea

an ordinary, extraordinary year—2011!

Ahhh, another turn of the year and here we are on the eve of 2011. How exciting! How enthalling! How positively intriguing. What will this year bring us? Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a most health-filled, posperous, and full-filled year, this blessed year of 2011. And I don’t say that lightly. A new year is a new beginning. When all of us (at least those of us who follow this solar calendar, not the lunar calendar of other cultures) have the opportunity to assess what’s come to us this last year, and how we’d like to set out course, so our sails will fill with promise and good intentions for this next year.

setting our sails for the far-off horizon of hope and love

setting our sails for the far-off horizon of hope and love

My wishes for all of us in 2011:

May all your dreams come true.

May all the world’s promise of a united family of man happen, one step at a time.

May all of us, each individual in the world, shine our lights a little brighter.

May we all come to believe that we are ONE, and that we are all in this thing called life–together!

May we all assist each other, in whatever way we can, to help the bigger picture become more filled with Light, more peaceful, more accepting of forward evolution.

May we put aside our differences and forgive, truly, in our deepest hearts.

May we approach each moment as if we’re seeing what is before us for the first time—with wonder, with curisoity, with excitement, with trust.

May our world leaders be filled with inspired, enlightened decisions, taking all of those under their wings, to a better place.

May we all believe in our dreams, and never let go of knowing we can achieve them….one little step at a time, one word at a time, one act, one thought, one breath at a time.

Lordflea is sending you all (the plural is ALL you all, kind of a southern jokey thing) the very best thoughts…from my heart to all of yours. To me, that is the most important social network there is—one heart united to ALL hearts. A heart-work, if you will.

May the Light shine upon all of us in this upcoming year of 2011!

earth energy with yogis at work

earth energy with yogis at work

in the Light, Lordflea

Life— and Death — what never changes

so here i am still discussing “change.” Besides what I’ve said previously about the constancy of change being the only thing one can rely on in our lives, and the reliance upon a Higher Power, for those of us lucky enough to hold this comforting Truth of the sanctity of life close to our hearts and minds—the other thing about change that never sways is the inevitability of Life one day ending in Death. 

the three aspects of mySelf

the three aspects of mySelf

This is a painting i did to portray what i’m talking about here. It’s a self-portrait, done on my 32nd birthday (not too long ago). The three different representations of my own Self are simply this, as lordflea sees IT:

the blue face, somewhat hidden, is how i perceive myself from an everyday, living-the-life-i-have point of view; how i can “see” the ever-beckoning choices before me and how I have the Inner Power to choose how my life decisions go: what i make of my life’s potential, what i came into life with, how i use my gifts, and how i see mySelf contributing to the uplifting evolution of humankind (instead of the opposite, contributing to our downfall).

the green side of my Being-ness: this is my ancestral Self: what i’ve inherited from the DNA within my body, the temple of my soul; what i’ve learned from the culture i was born into, and the many generations of cultural imprint upon my soul—even before i arrived in this life i have here and now, today.

the “flesh colored” figure: ahhhh, here is the REAL me. The naked Truth. This is my spiritual body, my glistening aura, my True Self. It is always within me, as all three aspects of mySelf are as well. But this part of mySelf is the most important to me. That’s why it is the most predominant, and fully formed.

By the way—when i painted this painting i hadn’t had ANY of this figured out. I just painted. It’s only in hindsight, after many journeys, many lessons, many teachers, that I’ve been able to decipher the totally WEIRD art that i create.

So why am I talking about this particular topic, life and death, and who we REALLY are, today? Well, a good friend of mine, Isabel, lost her mother yesterday. Isabel Senior died at home. A few of us gathered with our friend and sat with Isabel and her ritualistically cleansed, annoited, and nicely dressed and laid out dead mother’s body, and …. no, it wasn’t morbid! … it was quite beautiful. After the initial hotness of tears (because this lady who passed over into the Light, who would have been 90 on Sunday, was a dear heart i had known for years, and I was feeling a wave of sadness only because i couldn’t visit her anymore, even though we were all glad she’d finally been released from her too-long later-life journey of a major stroke, almost total immobility, and loss of so much of life’s great gifts)—it was a joy to celebrate Isabel Sr’s life, which had been lived well.

Unlike the contrasting and senseless loss of my friend, Michelle, three weeks ago. She was only 44 and died as a result of her own actions: drinking and drugging herself to death.

Choices. We can choose to live well, take good care of our temples and enjoy the benefits of health—even though we’ll always have SOME challenge to figure out (toe fungus? bad back? overweight? tennis elbow? diabetes?). Our bodies–our temples—are the greatest gift we’re given in this life, but it is not WHO or WHAT we actually are. People too often forget this. And for this reason, I am a yogi because in the scriptures of yoga that is clearly taught: we are the eternal Self…all of us, a part of the ONE.

Ooooooommmmmm

Oooooooommmmmmm

Life and Death. What else is there worth living for? It’s pretty intense stuff, when you’re right next to it. Either the birth of a gorgeous new soul entering our world, or the leaving of one after a life lived—-well, according to whatever choices were made.

Isabel Senior was a grand lady. Filled with love for her family and others. And in turn, she was always surrounded by adoring people. She was kind, open-hearted, yet sophisticated, stylish, and interested in all of life’s many offerings. If Isabel Sr. had demons she dealt with them quietly, and got on with her life at hand. On the other side of the coin Michelle struggled very loudly, very ego-centrically with her demons. And even though she too was blessed with intelligence, beauty, and a loving family—she made the bad choice of indulging in self pity, over and over. She never let go of the demons. That was her choice. And now she is dead, waaaaay too prematurely. Isabel Sr. is dead too, but everyone is celebrating her life, and her release from her old age harassment. Because her passing-over seems like a reward—whereas Michelle’s death is a horribly tragic end to a life filled with endlessly bad choices. Michelle’s little four-year-old Nicole, left behind in stunned confusion, will have to bear the stigma of what her mother’s choices meant to her life. Michelle’s other daughter, Carri, aged 24, is shocked into a stunned spiral of what can only be life-defining understanding—or not. Carri is the one who found her mother, dead from an overdose. What can one think of life, when faced with such trauma?

take time and breathe....look within your own Self

take time and breathe .... look within your own Self

 our choices direct our life’s experiences.

We can make our lives a prayer. This is why I do mantra repetition. CONSTANTLY. Om Namah Shivaya (I honor my Inner Self) is ONE with my breath, my mind, my life.

We can experience heaven on earth, right here, right now—even in the midst of life’s tragedies, violence of war and oppression, and personal adversity, if we choose to see life as an experience our spiritual Self is having—and realize this “life” we have is only a temporary stop on our REAL journey. To where? I know not. But I do know there is much more than meets the eye, in this existence called Life.

Or—the other choice—we can make our lives sheer hell, if our viewpoint is that of wanting to control everything about life, know every little thing about it. Some things are just plain un-knowable. Life is a mystery.

The choice is ours.

set your sails and let your breathe lead you to the Source

set your sails and let your breathe lead you to the Source

in the Light, lordflea

Goin’ to the Source

my dear friend
…life is often filled with shocks!
i know it must bring up so much for you, too, having lost your bro who’s only a few years older. guess we have to be prepared…at any minute…for the big shalambha (?) in the sky to take us up. my heartfelt condolences to you, and feel my hugs, my love, my caring.
 
so much going on in life, for all of us. i wonder how much stress has to do with the surge in youthful cancers and too-soon deaths, like your bro’ from a heart attack barely even 60. I think stress is tantamount to early health problems! fortunately, carter and i have good health–so far! but believe me, i guard mine like crazy, doing as much yoga as i can, meditating and thinking good thoughts, and of course, eating as well as we can. dropping the drugs and alcohol sure helped, too.
 
but we just never know, do we? our turn could be next. to be taken back to the Source. the thing about yoga, the philosophy-side i mean (not the poses) is we are preparing for death by actually experiencing a “mini death” each time we meditate. in other words, we go into that state of “nothingness”…and become familiar with it, and learn to trust it. it’s one of the “side-effects” of meditation, that we become trusting of that state, so when we actually do die (this is theoretical, of course) that state of non-being, of “nothingness”, well, it has become a familiar state to us, one we actually look forward to (those of us who are regular meditators, visitors of this gloriously peace-filled, infinitely joyous state of mind, where nothing happens except—everything!–plugging into the center of the Universe, the “energy” of existence).  because this state of nothingness is so gloriously peaceful, filled with love and light…really…it is a state that feels like a reward for having gone through life’s difficulties. and i personally think this is what death must “feel” like–a total nothingness, that is our reward for having shouldered this difficult life on earth.
the tiny figure in the wave--is you! Trust the Great Source of all. "It" protects us, keeping us snug in the middle of its tremendous potential energy--never crushing us unless we fail to trust its magnificence. Ride the wave of power...and watch where it takes you

the tiny figure in the wave--is you! Trust the Great Source of all. "It" protects us, keeping us snug in the middle of its tremendous potential energy--never crushing us unless we fail to trust its magnificence. Ride the wave of power...and watch where it takes you

 i love you, dear friend. call or write me anytime if you want to talk. the best thing to do when you’re grieving is to allow it to happen. just sit with the pain–of loss, anger, sadness, or any other emotion as it comes up–and let it ripple over you like a bitter-sweet waterfall. get it out of your heart and into your awareness. but once your grieving lessens, and the pain subsides–let it go. don’t get stuck in the grief. get on with the living. embrace the joy and partake of the dance! let the laughter fill your heart with joy once again, and say fare-thee-well to your beloved lost one. live your life as if you’re going to live forever…but be prepared, because today may be your last on Earth. so–DANCE!!!

 051
and congrats on your new granddaughter. how cute she is, baby Scarlet. how perfectly balanced this life is: someone dies. someone is born. ahhhh, the magic of life.
 
in the Light, lordflea

Hello life-giving sun

hi friend,

please check out my latest update to “We Are ONE” on the “page” side of my blog, to the right. every week i’ll upload a few more pages of this picture book for you.

wow, the “brains” behind wordpress have really messed me up! somehow they’ve changed the editing format and i can’t see what i’m typing, so bear with me if things are…weird. i’ll do my best, and shoot them an e-mail to tell them of their well-intentioned, but mis-placed latest updates!

i wanted to share today, the joy of stretching. simple hatha yoga changed my life, literally. yesterday i had the pleasure of introducing a new friend to sun salutes, and today i am with you, too. if you haven’t already tried this easy-to-do, yet life-changing method of stretching-along-with-breathing, i’m encouraging you, right here, right now, to try it.

this drawing is my version of a sun salute. i drew it to illustrate how one must imagine their own “private sun” above them, because i was teaching at the time to girls in prison. even if you’re in a cell, you can bow and honor the source of all life on Earth…the sun. here’s the 12 steps (poses, called “asanas”) of a sun salute, surya namaskar, a yoga vinyasa (series of flowing poses).

1208-ocean-ent-images-009

a series of poses called the sun salute, "surya namaskar"

and here are simple, step-by-step directions, and PLEASE, enjoy yourself!

1. go very slowly. you will increase speed as you loosen up. first poses is standing with hands folded at your heart, breathe in and out, and steady your busy mind by focusing your eyes on one spot. thank you says your body, your heart, and your mind.  end on an exhale.

2. inhale and lift your arms overhead, either to the side, like opening wings, or just up and over your head. keep your legs straight and only bend over backwards if you feel like it. that can come later. on this first round of the sun salute it’s good to stay in each of the 12 poses for several breaths. up to you, but don’t rush. eventually, you will coordinate the poses with your in and out breathing, but for now…just enjoy the stretch and stay with what your body tells you (huh?) it needs, like how many breaths do you want to stretch this particular way.

3. exhale and slowly arch your back and bend forward. let your head and neck completely relax. Hang there. Hang hang hang. let gravity do some work for a change. when you’re ready to go into the next pose, engage your abs so you protect your back.

4. inhale and take your right leg backwards into a full lunge. MOST IMPORTANT here is to make sure your left knee is directly over your left ankle. place fingertips of floor, torso goes downward, as your back gently bends upward. again, enjoy the stretch for several breaths at the beginning of your practice.

5. exhale and bring your left leg back along your right and make a high arch with your butt way up in the sky, into a “downward dog” pose. let your head go completely loose. don’t worry if your feet don’t completely go flat, that will happen eventually. point here is to PUSH away from the floor with your hands (shoulder-width apart) and up with your strong legs (hip-width apart) with your hands energetically engaged with the floor, the index fingers pointing straight ahead. enjoy your breath.

6. here you have a choice! ahhhh, choices. that which makes or breaks our lives. beginnings sink to your knees now, and slowly come forward onto your belly, not moving your arms, into a “small cobra.” more seasoned stretchers, you can, with your elbows CLOSE TO YOUR BODY 9otherwise you’ll compromise your rotator cuff, in shoulder joint), “swoop” your body in an arcing motion, from a bent-knee half-bow to… a beautiful, graceful “big cobra”…with arms more fully extended, but with your pelvic bones still on or nearly on the floor. enjoy your breath. eventually, this will all be accomplished on a single exhale. really.

7. inhale and enjoy the snake pose, bhujangasana, “the cobra.” keep your pelvic bones as close or on the floor as you can, while streching the lower back muscles, gentle!  

8. exhale and push yourself back into the downward dog position. check your alignment (arms shoulder-width; feet hips-width, arms pushing, butt upward…so much to remember, but hey! you’re your OWN TEACHER!!!) EMPOWERMENT…it’s YOU! right within your own self.

9.  inhale and bring your right leg forward into a lunge on the oother side. you may have to “help” your leg get up there at first, so just hop it along, but make sure your right knee is directly over that right ankle. thank you.

10. exhale and push yourself into a forward bend, and fell the difference. ommygod!! you are probably fainting from sheer pleasure at this point. i know i am with each first sun salute of the day. yummmmm.

11. inhale and please engage your abs before you stretch up and over your head with your arms straight, and palms eventually touching, into a small backbend, if you wish only. with ab muscles still engaged …

12. bring yourself from the little standing backbend into your original pose, the moutain, “tadasana.” With hands at your heart give great thanks to the sun (still above you, even if only in your mind!) and the life it shines upon this gorgeous blue garden planet of ours, which grows such delicious things as you, and all the food we need to sustain ourselves.

Repeat the above with your LEFT leg back, and bringing your left leg forward at end of the vinyasa.

By learning to empower your own self, using your body to strengthen your life, center your stormy emotions, and uplift your small-things centered mental faculties, your life will automatically expand. the teacher is within you. your body is a gift. keep it strong, clean, and agile, and you will be honoring the most important teacher–YOU!!–you’ll ever have. the Great Spirit lives within us all! really!

I hope you enjoy this little yoga lesson i’m sharing with you. occasionally i’ll give some tips. lordflea does love hatha yoga, the physical poses, so very much, that i want the entire world to know these ancient, but very effective moves that keep us fit, grateful, and calm (thanks to the breathing, the key to inner peace).

in the Light, lord flea singing our song of ONE