“You would also do well to remember that what I say and how you perceive what I say can be completely different depending upon your awareness of yourself and the level of skill you have attained.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings

Overtone

n

This is the most discerning demonstration I’ve heard of overtone singing!

Feels like I needed to hear this now … two tones: sometimes one is still and the other moving, sometimes the other way around, sometimes moving together … sometimes moving apart … always relating.

… works for me as a sound that sends me in … doesn’t work for me in the context of western music.

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Yoga Practice – Winter 2018/19

n

I am again nearing a review with my teacher and so decided to take note of where I am in practice.

Current Practice

My current practice routine fills my morning and is about 120-150 minutes:

Part 1: Entering Practice (~ 5 minutes)

  1. Samasthithi – hands on my heart space, allowing the mind to settle and come to body and breath + transition to Ujjayi breathing.
  2. Short chant (currently: ma aham)
  3. Kapalabhati 3×40 breaths

Part 2: Asana (~75 minutes / ~ 140 breaths)

the asana sequence is still very close to what it has been (<- link includes stick figures diagram of very similar practice) for some time now, with the addition of shoulder-stand and a continuous evolution of breath within the practice.

(the sequence below does not include counter-postures and rests).

Standing TOTAL: 34 breaths
tadasana R4 10.2.0.2 4 breaths
uttanasana R2+S2 10.4.12.4 6 breaths
parsva uttanasana R2+S2 / – 12.4.12.6 12 breaths
trikonasana (uddhita + parivrti) ALT4 + [ALT4 + S1] 8.2.10.2 12 breaths
utkatasana R6 8.2.10.2 6 breaths
Kneeling TOTAL: 6 breaths
adhomukha svanasana S6 8.0.10.0 6 breaths
Lying TOTAL: 18 breaths
raised leg variations 10.2.10.2 8 breaths
dvipada pitham R4 – S0/1/2/3 10.2.12.2 10 breaths
Inverted TOTAL: 10 breaths
sarvangasana S10 8.0.8.0 10 breaths
Backbending TOTAL: 20 breaths
bhujangasana R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
bhujangasana + bent knees R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
ardha salabhasana R4 + S1 8.0.8.0 8 breaths
salabhasana (incremental) R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
Seated TOTAL: 52 breaths
dandasana R2+S2 10.2.12.2 4 breaths
janusirsasana R2+S2 (midrange + micro) 10.4.12.4 12 breaths
matsyendrasana R6 8.0.10.0 12 breaths
mahamudra R12 / – 4×12.2.12.2

4×12.2.12.4

4×12.4.12.4

24 breaths

Part 3: Sitting (~30-60 minutes)

  1. Resting: a couple of minutes
  2. Pranayama – 36 breaths: ~ 15 minutes. I am comfortable with all the variations I’ve been exploring (for over two years now?), recently I’ve worked with variation 3 and before that 1.
  3. Sitting:
    1. Bringing my attention to the space between each thumb and index finger … if that works
    2. Seeing which hands calls for attention first
    3. Very slowly (butoh style) bringing the thumb and index finger together until they touch (cit mudra) on that hand
    4. Very slowly bringing the thumb and index finger together until they touch on the other hand
    5. Placing my attention on the two points of contact
    6. Staying …
    7. Gently disconnecting the two contact points – first one hand then the other
  4. Closing ritual
  5. Counterpostures

Part4: Chanting (~10 minutes)

  1. Yoga Sutra verses 1-11 incremental

Questions for my teacher

  1. In what direction to evolve pranayama? I have had quite some days where I felt my channels open enough to support nadi-sodhana (quite a milestone after years of practice) … but I am not sure that there is enough stability for such a transition.
  2. How to continue my chanting practice and exploration? I like the YS chanting because it has body … depth enough for me to experience immersion … I don’t get that feeling from short chants.
  3. Overall balance of practice.
  4. Psychedelics

 

Posted in Pranayama Journal, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Indra Adnan On New Politics, Soft Power and the Feminine

n

I am increasingly feeling disconnected from podcasts (and other materials) about subjects I care about (or think I care about!). I mostly feel that ideas are not well grounded and talk about (what strikes me as) disassociated fantasies. The latest wave of disappointment comes from this list from Richard Bartlett (whose work and person I admire very much!). But then I came across this podcast with Indra Adnan who talks about politics from a practical and actionable feminine perspective – a nourishing and soothing listening experience.

There were quite a few shimmering thoughts in the interview, but what stood out and stuck in my mind was an invitation to explicitly re-ask what politics is about – what are we coming together to do when we “do politics” … do we automatically inherit the (seemingly default) work of keeping the economic-growth machine running, or do we want something else … maybe the well-being of our society?

I also felt softly and intimately “seen” when she talked about people who have stepped outside of society and who have acquired tools and offerings that society needs. That also triggered some sadness in me as I don’t feel hopeful about that happening for me.

I am not currently engaged in anything political, but I did want to make a note of this so I can share with a few relevant people.

 

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Yoga Practice – Closing Ritual

n

I have an instinctual distrust of ritual behavior. Though I can understand that rituals can act as anchors for desired attention and action, my impression is that they can easily default into a training of absence – blind repetition devoid of attention or context. So it was interesting for me to witness over the last year or so, a ritual form at the end of my practice. It is a living ritual that has been changing, growing and refining and may continue to do so. It comes at the end of my sitting practice and before my chanting practice. This is its current state:

  1. Inhale opening and raising my palms up in front of me.
  2. Exhale covering my eyes (still closed from the sitting practice) with my palms.
  3. Stay for a breath or two.
  4. Inhale moving my palms away from my eyes back to an open and raised position.
  5. Exhale placing my hands on my heart space.
  6. Staying here at least for a few breaths … though this is growing and becoming a place I can inhabit for quite some time. It starts by bringing my attention to my own heart, offering softness and inviting healing. If there is something in my body that calls for healing, I spend some time there. After settling in my heart, if I feel called to do so, I open my heart and send it outwards. Sometimes I connect with one specific person. Sometimes I connect with “everyone and everything”. Sometimes I invite connection with people in my life … and I let them flow freely through my consciousness … offering them, as they appear, my heart.
  7. Inhale moving my palms away from my heart space back to an open and raised position.
  8. Exhale bowing forward my head and bringing my two palms together – cupped forming a space between them – to my forehead.
  9. I stay one or two breaths to arrive at this place.
  10. I dedicate a breath to the student in me.
  11. I dedicate a breath to the teacher.
  12. I dedicate a breath to my teacher Ziva.
  13. I dedicate a breath to my teacher Paul.
  14. I dedicate a breath to Paul’s teacher Desikachar.
  15. I dedicate a breath to Desikachar’s teacher (and father) Krishnamacharya.
  16. I dedicate a breath to all of their teachers.
  17. I dedicate a breath to all their teacher’s teachers.
  18. I dedicate a breath to the teachings.
  19. I dedicate a breath to prakrti – that which is eternally changing.
  20. I dedicate a breath to purusa – that which eternally sees.
  21. I dedicate a breath or two to the wholeness held by the preceding breaths – to Yoga. I  imagine breathing that wholeness into a small ball of light cupped in the space between my palms.
  22. I inhale moving my palms away from my forehead back to an open and raised position.
  23. I exhale opening my palms wider and lowering them further down. Staying for a breath or two, I offer the fruits of practice to … all … and imagine the small ball of light growing and expanding infinitely.
  24. On the next exhale I lower my palms to my knees and turn them facing down to indicate completion of the practice.
  25. I stay for another few breaths and gently open my eyes.
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We don’t stop the bad, it stops

n

“Even when some things are good, we cannot prompt ourselves to do them even by will. Some people try forcibly to restrain themselves from doing certain things. This will never work because the activity of forcing, constraining, and struggling tends to become a distraction. We become so involved in the negative action that we never progress … Someone might smoke sixty cigarettes a day, and he might understand intellectually that he should not smoke, but he cannot stop. Nobody smokes because they like the idea of inhaling tar and nicotine. There is some other reason … something must happen to such a  person that will tell him, “Look here, I can do without cigarettes.” Ideally when we move into the practice of yoga, we begin to develop a process that stops the detrimental. This stopping is not caused directly — we don’t stop the bad, it stops.”

TKV Desikachar – Religiousness in Yoga

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Deeper & Discerning Perception

n

This scientific article was not written for me to read, but the essense of it does resonate with me: there is value in learning to better discern between how things appear and what they are, to learn to perceive deeper, beyond surface phenomena to deeper underlying dynamics:

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Emotions & Feelings

n

A few days this thought seeded in me:

emotions are a scent from the past, feelings are aromas from the future

I feel a need to discern, at least for myself, between emotions and feelings (I can think of reasons why, but that may become more clear in the future). The question this seed left in me was: how can I tell the difference between emotions and feelings?

Emotions are intense and demanding. They are extreme – they can suddenly lift me very high or drop me very low. They tend to fill me up and overwhelm me. They want to occupy me completely. They demand attention and they demand it now. They reject reflection and demand immediate action. It is as if they block me out: I become the emotion. They activate mind and make it bounce around considering options, leaving a trail of doubt.

Feelings are soft and subtle. They can be penetrating but not overwhelming … somehow they appear, in a just right intensity, at the edge of my peripheral vision as if to inquire if I am ready for them. If I’m not ready, they go away, they don’t hold a grudge, and if the circumstances are right they appear again. They are not imperative, they generate peace, presence and contentment. They settle in heart, leaving a sense of sweet, clear, vague knowing with a scent of soft confidence.

Emotions erupt from the inside out, consume and burn out wildly. Feelings move gently from the outside in and light a delicate candle that burns slowly and gives good light.

Emotions are social, they seek others, they want to be spoken out, shared, acknowledged and celebrated. Feelings are private and shy, they seek a quiet, undisturbed presence in heart.

The purpose of of emotions seems to be conservation through inhbition. They are an established past meeting an unknown present. They sense change and ask for re-consideration. They ask that what is established not be blindy rejected for an unknown promise. If possible (depending on both past and present) they speak moderately. If unheard they speak louder.

The purpose of feelings seems to be to navigate gracefully into an unknown future. They are stepping stones that appear just in time, forming a path that has not yet been traveled. They are like magical breadcrumbs that show not the way back to a familiar shelter, but a way forward to a new potential.

Confusion seems to live amongst emotions. There is an abundance of not-knowing in feelings, but since they live in heart, they seem to be relatively immune to confusion (which seems to be a capacity of mind). Clarity, not specific, seems to live amongst feelings.

There is a shifting, living relationship between emotions & feelings, (confusion & clarity). An excess of emotions creates an imbalance that leans towards excessive and ineffective action – doing much of little consequence. An excess of feelings creates an immobilizing stillness. Excess emotions create instability outside, excesss feeling create instability inside.

These features are indicators of what is manifesting. I want to be able to recognize when I am emoting from the past and when I am sensing from the future. I want to be able to experience both clearly and know which is which. I want to be held by both: supported by the familiar ground of emotions, levitated by the flickering invitation of feelings.


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Yoga of Groups

n

Yoga is a solitary practice, it focuses inwards … my body, my breath, my attention. Maybe that is one of the reasons it appealed to me. When I researched Yoga, I also considered martial arts where there seems to me to be more potential for interaction with at least one other human being. But I settled on Yoga.

The deeper I ventured into Yoga practice the more I experienced meditative qualities in action. I became convinced that such qualities are key to good outcomes. Yet in business meetings I felt these qualities were, for the most part, absent. I wondered what could be done to improve the business environment? My naive conclusion was that everyone needs to practice Yoga before we get on with business. That conclusion did not lead me to profound discoveries but, ultimately, away from work and deeper into practice.

Fast-forward 8 years and I had a chance meeting with Sociocracy in Cluj with Andrei Iuroaia. Annelieke and Iulia “convinced” me to go despite my skepticism. It was a one day workshop and I was surprised and impressed (even though the work and presentation did not yet feel mature). I felt then and still feel that this is the most practical (sensible, accessible, inexpensive to adopt… ) framework I’ve encountered for good group decision making.

I haven’t gone deeper because there are currently no social contexts in my life where these tools can be applied. However, I’ve been watching it from the sidelines (and occassionally sharing it where I felt it may be relevant). Fast-forward another 4 ot 5 years and this video is published. In it James Priest demonstrates, in a facilitator role, decision making guided by Sociocracy 3.0:

I am grateful and relieved that this modality of being, discussing and deciding together exists and that it is penetrating into organizational bubbles. It confirms that better group decisions are possible and it softly (yet undeniably) illuminates the flaws and limitations of current modalities. Our current hierarchical societies, on so many levels, seem to take for granted the capacity of a group to come together and make informed, good, safe, gradual decisions. I felt sad that this was not around when I was engaged and working. It feels that this approach would have greatly altered my experience of working with others and my potential to contribute.

From where I am now though, this work shimmers as an expression of Yogic qualities in group settings. I see parallels to my experience of personal Yoga practice. I see a practice space where a group, as a cohesive entity, can explore and discover itself in action and that the exploration itself is the technique through which subtle change is introduced. I sense a clear path of invigorating (awakening ideas – asana), containing (giving the awakened ideas coherent flow – pranayama) and focusing energy (directing ideas toward specific outcomes – dhyana).

Beautiful and inspiring work.

Posted in AltEco, Business, Community, Design, Intake, Oameni, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Hilma af Klint

n

A few months ago an article appeared in my twitter feed (I believe via Michael Pollan) about the Hilma af Klint exhibition at the Guggenheim museum. I do not consider myself at all associated or in touch with the world of art so I hesitated to engage, but because if came from Michael Pollan (who’s context at this time is psychedelics) I did … and, like many other tabs, it stayed open until I had an opportunity to look into it.

When I finally got around to it … I was going to use the expression “it took my breath away” but the opposite happened … I experienced a long and relaxing exhale into these incredible drawings and into myself. I did an image search to see more and the search result itself felt like a mesmerizing work of art.

I spent quite some time with these images and then did some more searching and reading … until I discovered an article that had an image like this, where the physical scale of her work (especially the series of ten images titled “The Ten Largest”) became clear … and I can only imagine what it is to take these works in at full scale

Discovering Hilma af Klint’s work was an experience similar to meeting Shahar. It cut through layers of intellectual inhibition and pretense. It reminded me that art does not require intellectualized understanding, that it is a felt experience. It reminded me to trust myself, to trust in my own felt experience. It penetrated my heart. It sat there and resonated clearly, softly and intensely inside me. It shattered through alienation and made me feel a belonging.

A book of her work now lives next to me. Actually it came with another book, but that is for another sharing. The context of her life, in which her work was created is as touching as her work … a woman, 120 years ago!, within a small group of 5 women exploring the occult, inviting and acting on spiritual guidance … birthing abstract expression when the very notion of such work was still on the horizon of imagination. Then asking that her work be kept private until the time was right for it to meet the world (long after she departed her body) … which took almost a century. So much of that story resonates with me and gives me a sense of … distant, lonely and intimate companionship.

HIlma af Klint

I’ve been playing around with painting for some time. The current iteration of paint-play was triggered by Christopher Alexander mentioning gouache in The Nature of Order (book 4 goes into color). It took me some time to pronounce the word gouache out-loud and recognize it as something I’d already met it in my childhood. It took me some more time to experiment with it again and then to find and experience the qualities of good paint. I was curious and amused to discover that “The Ten Largest” were painted with tempera (a water color similar in quality to gouache).

I felt and continue to feel that something came loose inside me when absorbing Hilma af Klint’s work. It is inviting me to explore something in my own painting. I’m curious to see over time what that may look like.

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Leonard Cohen on Foundations of Gratitude | Soil & Soul

n
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Flowes in the Guns – Reloaded

n

A couple of days ago Iulia came back from the village postoffice with a letter for me … mail … the snail kind. I, who only receive SMS notifications from Iulia or from Orange remiding me to ask Iulia to recharge my phone with credit, received a writte letter that physically traveled half way around the planet to get to me!

It came from Australia, from Stu. Years ago, around the time we moved to the village, Stu connected with me and now after more than 7 years, there is finally a video-clip that makes it easier to share Flowers in the Guns by The Lovebombs off their album Love & Peace:

Thank you Stu, for remembering me and for writing on a piece of paper, putting it in an envelope with a good old-fashioned stamp and sending it to me 🙂

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Cande Buasso and Paulo Carrizo

n

I have a thing for women base players, and this … well … delicious … and the angelic masculine presence that surrounds and holds her:

 

 

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Stop, pause and look around you at everything you see

n

 

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Dear Sweet Child of Mine

n

There’s a mulberry tree here at Bhudeva
It has taught me both abundance and harshness
There have been years during which it overflowed with sweet fruit
There have been years during which young fruits were met with an early harsh frost that with one cold breath consumed the promise of sweetness of the year
I used to think that my life, this time of life, is like the life of the tree, cycling through the years, some sweet, some harsh
I am starting to think that my life, this lifetime, is more like the life of a single mulberry
That maybe, my season of potential sweetness has come and gone

When I was a tree, you were a promise of sweet fruit
And though many of my winters felt cold and frosty
If I look back honestly, I have to admit that your sweet potential has been around me for so long now
There were a few times when I felt your presence directly
Today, looking back, I recognize your constant, soft and clear presence
I recognize it in the mother-lovers you sent into my life
Women who came to me, endured storms with me and presenced you
But the winters were harsh

I’ve watched many mulberries, some grow, some die, some eaten
I’ve not encountered a mulberry that seemed to carry a burden of responsibility
I’ve not encountered a mulberry that seemed to carry guilt
Yet for a long time, long before I met mulberries, I felt guilty
Guilty for not being strong enough to withstand the cold biting winds
Guilty for not being smart enough to find a way to avoid the cold
I’ve not felt guilty for not meeting you

I’ve grown a bit older and I’ve been & seen a bit further
I’ve learned that my feelings carry not just me but also some truth
It seems that the world-winds didn’t just feel harsh
They were harsh and they are getting harsher
Harshness was teaching me to struggle but I wasn’t a good student
My body and soul resisted struggle
My heart hardened to shelter a delicate light that burns inside it

Now the storms are not just inside me, many others have seen and felt them
I’ve arrived at a valley that has a small cave that offers some protection from the stormy climate
There is more peace in me now that I am sheltered here
There is more aloneness in me now that I am sheltered here
There is more sadness in me as I witness the storms grow stronger and fiercer and crash into the lives of many others
There is more surrender in me and less struggle
I haven’t given up
I am giving in

This cave is small, I wanted and want to give you more
I feel that a spirit like yours requires more to live a purposeful and fulfilled life
I fear that I will not be able to give you the space and range I want to give you
I fear that you will become struggle … an enemy

So, I am digging and etching in stone … it is slow work … it requires and builds patience
I am trying to make the cave more beautiful, more spacious, more warm, more illuminated
I am curious to see if there is a chamber somewhere in here with a hopeful light
If at some point the spirit of this cave appeals to you, please make your feelings known to me
I do not know, I do not wonder, I do not pray, I do not hope
I wake up every day and look at the chisel and hammer and listen to sense if I feel invited to dig some more
When I feel invited, I try to move with grace
… and the winds blow and the chisel etches

No, I’ve not felt guilty for not meeting you
I have felt sad that our eyes have not met and our fingers have not touched
I have felt awe and fear from the intense passion with which your mother-lovers wanted to bring you forth
I have felt crushed by their disappointment, loss and their pain
I feel deep appreciation and love for your mother-lovers for finding, joining, trusting, tolerating and opening to me … and you
I feel trust in Great Mother Lover who sends her winds flowing around the planet trying to tune and hold everything together
I feel joy knowing you are out there
I feel peaceful knowing this is all so much bigger than you and I
and also … sad that we may have missed each other this time around

 

 

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Wrapped Around Your Finger

n

I used to love Sting … but we’ve grown apart over the past 10 or 15 years. I couldn’t listen to his last album from start to finish once. He doesn’t feel as present and hungry as he was when I was into him. And I’ve changed too …

Rufus Wainwright has been gravitating in and out my field of perception for some years (maybe the same time frame during which Stin ghas been gravitating out) … Today I caught a glimpse of him again.

First with this political statement:

Then with this sweet delicate cover:

Then THIS blew me away and brought me back to Sting:

And then I realized that this was part of something … and found this video (only the first half is edible because of audio/video quality) which reminded me of what I used to like about Sting:

This is another small reminder that I too am getting older!

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Shumacher College Alumni Gathering

n

Disclaimer: this post is a note to myself, it may change as memories and reflections from the event continue to move in me.

That which touched me personally and deeply

  1. Jerome (from France) seeing an Israeli in me and for softly offering this insight to me with an open heart. I usually feel deeply alienated from Israel (hence living in Romania) and distance myself from being associated with it. Yet sometimes, somewhere deep inside me I can recognize a connection to and appreciation of qualities that have very little to do with what is currently manifesting on the face of the planet in the place that calls itself Israel. Jerome saw it, valued it, showed it to me and gave it a place on the earth.
  2. Manu seeing and acknowledging pain and grief in me. He saw through the superficial layers of a conversation, through my alienating words. He saw this and with a soft firmness shared what he saw with me.
  3. Feeling welcome, held and secure in Ivo & Lili’s home. On the second morning I asked Ivo’s permission to play the Shakuhachi in their home. The Shakuhachi felt open and full of resonance and brought me to tears. The resonance of the home, the shakuhachi, myself … opened the door to introducing the Shakuhachi to the group.
  4. Karsten’s (the spirit that chose Lars and Robyn as parents) soft, whole and sweet presence touched me deeply. He touched my confusion, struggle and pain around not having kids. He gave me hope. His presence complimented, illuminated and even challenged the qualities of elders that was presenced by Satish and June.
  5. Playing Shakuhachi with the group at the end of an intense mental session … arriving at a shared-silence. Thank you Ingrid for opening the door and to everyone for softly walking in together and Jerome for the spacious recording.
  6. A surprising sequence of a few eternal moments with Ingrid … when our eyes met and we connected and I felt as if we sank into each other.
  7. Dan and Tincuta’s dedication to nourishing my body and in doing so allowing me to be free to be present with others. I know Dan to be a profound person who has so much to contribute to a gathering. I am (again!) in awe of his recurring clear choice to come into service of others. I am also inspired by how he and his family have come and grown together, not just as a family (which seems to me to be a remarkable achievement in this day and age) but also in service of purpose together.
  8. Pepik’s fatherly embraces.
  9. Men – this probably deserves more than just another bullet … suffice to say that for most of my life I’ve had a less-than-positive opinion of men (with only a precious few men giving me a sense of a masculine I could embrace) … but the men I met in this weekend turned that around for me. I enjoyed being with and a part of them.

That which shimmered for me

  1. The astral paintings of Vlad, the taxi driver.
  2. A group that is willing  to step together into an unknown space. My life has made this an almost regular personal practice, but I’ve never witnessed such a move in a large group. I do not recall a single person who expressed (implicitly or explicitly) discomfort that the gathering did not have a clearly stated purpose or objective.
  3. Real feminine leadership – this gathering was made possible by a team of organizers who, as far as I could tell, were almost all women. This made it possible not only to pleasantly step into an unknown space but to continue to inhabit and respond to it.
  4. Feminine & masculine balance both within individuals and within the group. I looked around during the closing circle and got the impression that the group was close to evenly divided between men and women. It was then that I realized that also within most (possibly all!) the individuals in the group there was a pleasant combination of masculine and feminine qualities. My feelings about the men in the group were informed by feminine qualities present in them. And, the attentive and detailed organization and direction and redirection of the group spoke of masculine qualities among the women.
  5. A conversation with Collin about fermented cabbage (and its seasonal absence from our meals) that started off with friction but ended up building a bridge between cultures, and maybe even getting a better sense of culture itself.
  6. A soft, humble, wise, available and unimposing presence of Satish and June, the elders of the group present when called for, gently offering re-views.
  7. Richard’s soft spoken balanced present.
  8. Delia who, in private conversation, invited deeper (usually less spoken) aspects of Cutia Taranului to emerge.
  9. Seeing a working traditional loom … and how it echoed a simplicity I find to be typical of Romanian village culture.

That which disturbed me

  1. Happy Hall – our first meeting took place in a large hall that was build by one of Ivo’s members. It was a large wooden hall and we found it in a welcoming state. Satish in his positive outlook named it “Happy Hall”. I was impressed and somewhat envious of the wooden timbers that went into making the space. I immediately thought about the many trees that were cut down to make it possible. Then, when I learned that it was built by its owner because he could not find a better place for for the marriage of his daughter (and remained mostly unused since!) … that made me sad. It takes quite some aggression and arrogance to cut down so many trees for one personal event. The name “Happy Hall” felt like insult was being added to injury. It was also interesting to note that we spent the rest of the time (except the “village celebration”) in the more intimate space of Ivo and Lily’s home!
  2. Ivo and Lily’s fireplace … which kept me warm and peaceful gazing into it … yet knowing that it is such a wasteful device … that the slow burning wood is mostly converted into carbon that is released to the atmosphere instead of heat in the room … made me wonder what keeps us from collectively doing better? It made me recall flying once over Romania and seeing the vast fields plowed into straight lines and feeling a conflict: on the one hand there was an aesthetic there that appealed to me (man made order in the world), but on the other hand I also knew that was a vision of ecological destruction. It left me wondering about my likes/dislikes, my sense of aesthetics … and how all that informs choices that I make. Is the world burning in giant corporate furnaces or billions of home fires?
  3. The evening of mingling with the villagers … though I understood and appreciated the intentions and effort to make this happen … for me it brutally broke a bubble of presence that was born of the gathering. When the “celebration” ended … I felt a need for personal and communal energetic healing. This invites, for me, more reflection on the space between stories … there are things in the world that are only beign conceived (maybe one day born) and there are things that are dying because their time is up, because they are no longer relevant (though their essence will live on deep inside us).
  4. Romantic Village – a recurring theme in our conversations (supposedly inspired by the village setting in which the gathering took place) kept coming back to what felt to me like a romanticized image of a village, far removed from the reality of village life in Romania. I recognized that may have spoken to a deep wish many of us carry to experience a true “village-life”. But it felt like a lie when it pretended to be inspired by “village life in Romania”. It felt to me like a weak foundation for a reality we may aspire to really create in our lives.
  5. Guided Meditation – guided meditations, since I first encountered them and through to this weekend, alienate me. For a person like me, who feels alone in the world, the index finger touching the thumb or that we all breathe does not act as a reminder that we are all connected. Hearing these words tramples my personal experience and feels … well … like being trampled. It does not facilitate meditative qualities in me.My understanding of meditation itself makes the very notion of “guided meditation” an oximoron. Every word of “guidance” that I hear activates my mental mind and, if I was lucky enough to experience a meditative quality, snaps me out. My personal practice experience has been that no amount of word repetition (though it can always be argued that if only I repeat them a few  more times … ) leads to change.As I see it, mind, like a falling snowflake, forms in response to life experiences and it changes in a similar way – from the feedback that comes from actions acted out in the world. I do not meditate to change my life, I change my life so that I my experience of it may become more meditative. I did not feel comfortable speaking out about this.I joined the morning sittings to share quietness and presence with the group and this was despite the “guided meditation” (and because I am usually awake at this hour and had nowhere else to be).When asked about religion and spirituality, Satish offered a generous answer – he said that religion is a doorway into spirituality but that too many people are getting stuck at the door and not walking into the space. I feel similarly about guided meditations (and most practices that I’ve encountered that are labeled as “meditation”) – they provide a taste of what meditation can be, but they are, to my understanding, as far from meditation as religion is from spirituality.

    I feel that meditative qualities are vital to gracefully inhabiting life. For this, we need to be able to recognize that we are at the door and that we have yet to walk into the room of meditation. For that to be possible we need to better discern between the door and the room, between sitting/mindfulness practices that seem to be popular and meditation itself. I feel that if we keep using the word meditation too loosely, we may forget there is a room to step into. Maybe if we spoke more of sitting (and set aside the fashionable spiritual halo of “meditation”) we could remember and grow towards dhyana.

  6. Posture – Satish was asked about the importance of posture in “meditation” and the answer he gave saddened me. As a practitioner of Yoga I believe there is so much more to be said. There did seem to be an agreement that posture is important, and yet no actions were taken for care for body and posture (neither in preparation for sitting nor after it).Consider the amount of time, attention and work that made this short gathering possible … how much preparation (by everyone: organizers, hosts, participants) was required for us to come together for three days. that I believe, can give us a good indication about the relationship between preparation and action: a recurring pattern seems that preparation is much larger (the unseen iceberg that we tend to under-estimate) in relation to action itself (the visible tip of the iceberg) . Yet when it comes to posture and placing the body in a seated position … where is the preparation? Are our thoughts and our actions aligned?

Thank you

Thank you to Satish and his co-founders for birthing and nurturing Shumacher College (whatever and wherever it is) in such a way that I, knowing very little of it, was welcome and embraced.

Thank you to Ivo & Lily and Lars & Robyn for wanting this and creating the conditions for it to happen.

Thank you to the organizers & volunteers who chose to create the gathering here (from my perspective: coming to me so that I may partake) and for providing the precious (and easy to overlook) life foundations (food, shelter, warmth) for the gathering.

Thank you to the participants who travelled and came here to be together and for together holding that shared sense of being which can’t be named.

Will I see you again?
Will there be a second date?
Will we get to come into a relationship where we act together in the world?

Posted in Intake, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Spiraling Together?

n

Context

This post is an echo from a short interaction between Nora Bateson and I on Twitter:

Nora: The distraction of fighting for the meager leftovers after the wealthy corporate robbery of life, future, human rights and ecology while trillions in off shore accounts could be used for building a new way of life: #Refugees #permaculture #ecology #education #health #cleanenergy

Nora: The tone matters.The tone provides the logic of the arc of our communication. It forms the brackets that hold what is possible to say. Helping, caring, being tender, alert, gentle, humble…these tones add possibility where comptetion, meanness, and gotcha limit our conversation.

Me: yes … and should that not also apply to the subject matter of your previous message? wouldn’t alert gentleness be better for engaging, understanding and disarming the “robbers”?

Nora: …robbery seems a fairly fair way to describe the level of exploitation and extraction that has brought us to this ecological degradation and cruelty. Calling out institutions is not the same as dehumanizing groups of people. But i do see your point 🙂

Spiraling with my Father

I was born into my father’s world. I grew into his values, his patterns, his beliefs. Theoretically (though I don’t recall it ever really feeling quite like this) we started off like this:

For part of my life as an adult I was able to participate successfully in the kind of life I was raised to believe in. As I gradually transitioned into acting on my own in the world I felt, subtly, at first, that some ideas are out of alignment, that some actions are not yielding the results I expected.

But something inside me was simmering and coming closer to the surface. I felt increasingly out of alignment (between what was an inside me and what was expected of me externally). As my life progressed I felt increasingly in opposition to my father, our relationship looked more and more like this:

It was only a few years ago, in my early 40’s that a change consolidated in my perspective. I was nearing the age that my father was when he was dealing with me, a rebelling, depressed and suicidal teenager (the first memory that popped into my mind as I was reflecting on this post was a moment when I was around 19 or 20 where I experienced “defeating” my father with my depression – that he came [I brought him!?] to a point where he didn’t know how to help me). That affected me and I began to feel a curiosity and ultimately respect for the challenges that my father faced and for his efforts to meet them. It was around this time that I glimpsed a different perspective on the seemingly deep opposition I experienced with my father for so long. I shifted from a 2 dimensional perspective to a 3 dimensional one and saw us both in a spiral:

Regardless of how I feel about it or him, the fact is that I stand on my father’s shoulders. I started off in the world with the toolbox (the only one he had) he gave me  and moved forward from there. The spiral told me a story of a continuum between my father and I. The “toolbox” has a surprise hidden in it – a powerful freedom: a freedom to turn itself upon itself – a freedom to examine the box itself, to question it, to reject it and if necessary to dismantle it and try something else. Not only are my father and I are on a continuum and we are facing in the same direction … and as we both move through life and get caught up in the illusion of a linear life (and forget about the spiral we are on) our feeling of alignment may fluctuate.

This sense of continuum evokes ease and softness in me. It makes it easier for me to relate to my father. It makes it possible for me to appreciate his views and the choices and actions they lead him to make. It makes it possible for me to accept there are some things in my life and consciousness that my father will not be able to understand (though he may get a sense that “there’s something there”, that there are some things I won’t be able to communicate to him and some things I shouldn’t even try. It makes it possible for me to relate to him softly. It reminds me that there is something deeper holding us together. It makes me appreciate the subtle dynamic of change in which we are embedded … and that all this extends not just to my father.

Spiraling from Robbery

First I’d like to get this out of the way: “Calling out institutions is not the same as dehumanizing groups of people” – that falls into the trap of humanizing institutions (which the robbers seem keen to do). Institutions do not have ears and are not listening … people (who participate in institutions or benefit from their existence) are listening. In my mind this is a conversation between people.

I agree, robbery is a fair way to describe where we are and how we got here. Most of the modern world as we know it is a result of a stack of crimes that we either committed or were committed on our behalf. But there is no changing that past, it is something we need to acknowledge, come to terms with and find ways to avoid in the future.

As I am on a continuum with my father, so is aware-We (who are having this conversation) on a continuum with robbing-We (our ancestral iterations that made the present world possible). The privilege of awakened & aware seeing, of being able to discover each other, of being able to converse and resonate together … all of it is possible because of past robberies.

My grandparents life was about surviving, my parents life was about achieving predictable stability and security … and me, I get to ask what I want to do, what do I believe in, what is in my heart! As I have come to understand, accept and appreciate my father’s place and his role in providing the foundations for my journey through this world, so, I believe, we need to come to to terms with the robbing that made this world possible. Looking at that past with judgement and disdain is like hating an older version of yourself. Disdain is a fundamental tool from the robber’s-toolbox: disdain towards another is a prerequisite for robbery.

Can we create a world of “Helping, caring, being tender, alert, gentle, humble” while resenting our past-collective-self?

 

Posted in AltEco, Intake, Oameni, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Elinor Ostrom and the Tragedy of the Commons

n

I see the tragedy of the commons for manifesting around me, and though I do believe it doesn’t have to manifest, it seems that often it does.

This article pays respect to the work of Elinor Ostrom and cites her set of design principles for avoiding the tragedy of the commons:

 

  1. Clearly defined boundaries: members knew they were part of a group and what the group was about (e.g., fisherman with access to a bay or farmers managing an irrigation system)
  2. Proportional equivalence between benefits and costs: meant that members had to earn their benefits and couldn’t just appropriate them
  3. Collective choice arrangements: meant that group members had to agree upon decisions so nobody could be bossed around
  4. Monitoring (together with 5)
  5. Graduated sanctions: meant that disruptive self-serving behaviors could be detected and punished
  6. Fast and fair conflict resolution: meant that the group would not be torn apart by internal conflicts of interest
  7. Local autonomy: meant that the group had the elbow room to manage its own affairs
  8. Appropriate relations with other tiers of rule-making authority (polycentric governance): meant that everything regulating the conduct of individuals within a given group also was needed to regulate conduct among groups in a multi group population

 

In the world as I know it that seems like a big ask and that these patterns the tragedy of the commons is bound to manifest. To me, this seems like a good map for an aspiring group or community.

  1. Boundaries to be drawn based on who is really vested and who is not.
  2. Currencies as signaling mechanisms that indicate an “earned status”.
  3. Sociocracy for collective decision framing and making.
  4. Transparency using information technology to create a unfungable audit trail and inherent, continuous “monitoring”.
  5. Sanctions manifest initially as negative currency signals and ultimately as shifting boundaries.
  6. Non violent communication with abundant of space and time for expression, digestion, experimentation and resolution.
  7. Sociocractic circles keep decision making and actions as close as possible to the ground affected by those decisions and actiong.
  8. Assuming  these tools serve one group well … how do they (intentionally?) propogate to others?

 

Posted in AltEco, Community, Intake, Oameni, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Lime and Clay under a Microscope

n

Since I’ve been immersed in working with natural binders on our earthbag-cellar journey I’ve been in awe of and thinking a lot about the natural binders lime and clay.

Yesterday this image of chalk under an electron microscope appeared in my twitter feed and took my breath away:

I then searched for and found this image of clay under an electron microscope:

The rich geomtery of these water-loving natural materials seems to explain their amazing binding qualities.

It seems that the lime particle (chalk) is approximately three times larger than the clay particle!

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Nick Cave – Distant Sky

n

“They told us our gods would outlive us, but they lied … this is not for our eyes”

… feeling tired … the deep kind …

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment