“What I remember saying is much more wonderful than what I actually said.”
Richard Feynman

What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Ken Robinson – Changing Education Paradigms

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Education seems to be a sticky theme with me this week – this excellent 10 minute talk + animation is Ken Robinson again excellently reframing education. If you aren’t one of the 3.5 million people who have already viewed it – now is a good time:

From death comes life.

This video came to me complement of @raymondpirouz

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-20

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  • @ecominimalnick did you ever vote for Blair? #
  • Pranayama (breathing) can help the mind gradually wind down in preparation for meditation: http://bit.ly/gYbEkA #
  • @raymondpirouz a key to sustainable altenative energy is first and foremost less consumption! #
  • every time I witness a fault I am in the presence of an inner witness http://bit.ly/fUwcBb #
  • @raymondpirouz the challenge of producing alternative energy changes drastically when the consumption is first reduced #
  • just sent out 1st invitations to sponsors for our house (http://bhudeva.org) and Feminitate (http://www.feminitate.org) – woooohooooo 🙂 #
  • aligning breath and movement in Yoga: opening movement on inhale, closing movement on exhale: http://bit.ly/h8kqUW #
  • the best part of the coffee is that little bit of leftover I rediscover hours later #
  • @raymondpirouz industry and consumerism are in a spiraling loop down #
  • @raymondpirouz industrialism gave birth to consumerism (geting rid of surplus) … change will have to come from consumers this time #
  • @raymondpirouz otherwise buckle up and prepare to pay the price, no "alternative industry" is coming to the rescue http://bit.ly/16ffm #
  • After some trial & error finally settled on using the new WordPress 3.1 post-formats to integrate a link library http://bit.ly/gPJiB4 #
  • one Romanian women in a Japanese Tsunami: http://bit.ly/hqBteo #
  • @lucglasbeek tell me about it 🙂 #
  • some more resources on work-benches, but more importantly I finally know how to build a saw-horse! http://bit.ly/f3tFc9 #
  • @lucglasbeek thank you for looking at http://bhudeva.org … the best is yet to come 🙂 #
  • difficult and steady #
  • we found a small mountain of hemp in #Romania – but is it suitable for construction? http://bit.ly/fDpdTL #
  • oiling my Shakuhachi #
  • watched "Waiting for Superman" http://bit.ly/bSMYkc … and my thoughts … every tool has a purpose … #
  • what if education isn't the problem? what if the purpose of education is the problem? #
  • what if education is "broken" because the purpose of education is "broken"? #
  • what if the "collapse of education" is actuall an expression of a deeper and better purpose shaking off a lesser purpose? #
  • I am thankful for being able 2 appreciate the richness of my own life & my self confidence that I will be able 2 pass on to my kids directly #
  • I am thankful that my kids will have an option of making a life without going anywhere near a "system of education" #
  • @raymondpirouz "a reorientation of the profit motive" – what does that mean? let's face it … #
  • @raymondpirouz alternative energy is not a business opportunity – add to that there is no alternative to "alternative energy" #
  • @raymondpirouz and you have to wonder about the future of "business" as we know it! #
  • @raymondpirouz what if there is no room for "for-profit business" in the future? how cool is that? 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz amen … that raises the question – what is a decent business? 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz when you die from nuclear radiation from an exploded power plant does that count as "stop being human"? #
  • @raymondpirouz maybe the purpose of global economic collapse is to make the "for-profit-humans" an extinct species? #
  • @raymondpirouz I would wish for a future construct with the drive & focus of business and the purposefulness of non-profit #
  • @raymondpirouz there are other options … I hope that by this time next year I'll be able to invite you to see one! #
  • @raymondpirouz did you know that ~50% of the Romanian population are peasants? they don't know much about economic collapses and such #
  • @raymondpirouz and they will have food on their table long after all of the banks in the world have collapsed #
  • @raymondpirouz dude working the land is Star Trek 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz you've been duped for looking in the wrong places by education systems that are FINALLY collapsing #
  • @raymondpirouz question is what are the "anemities of the city" and will they be there for you in the future #
  • @raymondpirouz what if there isn't an option? food doesn't grow in silicon valley! #
  • @raymondpirouz from what I see … that ""city" thing doesn't seem to be working out so great! #
  • @raymondpirouz I honestly don't know … but I am going to find out … I've tried other modern options and they were miserable 4me #
  • @raymondpirouz against what is it exactly that you are "making your stand?" #
  • @raymondpirouz amen 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz http://iamronen.com/2008/08/vc-philanthropy-related-links/ #
  • Dear Romanians, I'll be teaching Yoga as part of an upcoming (next week) permaculture workshop in a beautiful location: http://bit.ly/fEuV9R #
  • @lucglasbeek we are members of EcoRuralis – met some great people with exceptional knowledge on traditional farming … preparing 🙂 #
  • if you have rules you should either (a) forget about them or (b) be ready to break them #
  • having a sack of hemp at home really helps us make our case for hemp-construction 🙂 touch is king ! #
  • bankers have finished demolishing USA home-ownership with refinancing, and now they are selling it to Romanians … so sad #
  • Shakuhachi has again found its way into my morning practice routine – Pranayama & Pratyahara & Shakuhachi is a sweet sequence #
  • reading about shit (literally) brought me back to "Waiting for Superman" & the USA education system (no pun intended): http://bit.ly/g7pVwN #
  • we finally found some healthy & quality mattresses in Romania http://materflex.ro/en/ #
  • If you haven't already, you may want to check out one of the origins of composting toilets – The Humanure Handbook: http://bit.ly/hp1scn #
  • odd combination of quality breath and distracted mind in this mornings Pranayama practice, mind continued 2 dance during Dharana #
  • and Libya topples Japan for top media spot … it was kinda getting boring and repetitive in Japan! #
  • anyways … Rocket Stoves … simple to build and highly efficient wood-burning stoves: http://bit.ly/fDj8bV #

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A Shitty Lesson

n

A few days ago I completed watching (I watched it in chunks) the movie ‘Waiting for Superman” which offers a dramatic and critical view of the USA education system.

I made some twitter comments about it but I didn’t feel like writing a post (that was me practicing being less critical – this post is me failing at it). The whole time I was watching the movie I had a feeling it was completely sidestepping the problem. Almost every experience I have that originates in the USA is that it has fallen for the “American Dream” it represents – it has deluded itself into believing that capitalism is an end.

Life is purpose (dharma) PERIOD(.) Living in ignorance of purpose is a life that is bound to break. Consumerism and ownership (cornerstones of capitalism) are devoid of purpose and if that is all your system (capitalism) is geared to do (whether you are an individual or a country) then that system is going to break down. The “success” of the system IS in breaking down.

Just now, Andreea and I were discussing, again, our waste-management options (there are no sewers) in a village house we are building. The most difficult challenge we face is, bluntly put, how to remove shit from the house. The conventional and comfortable way is by using flushing water. The most simple and ecological way is by carrying it out (into composting bins). It’s a major decision with many aspects and effects. It’s a difficult decision because we really like not having to carry around our own shit (aint that a rich metaphor).

We then came across The Humanure Handbook – a prominent resource in ecological circles. There in chapter 4 I found this quote that went to the heart of the education problem:

By emphasizing the intellect at the expense of intuition, creativity, and conscience, our educational systems yield spiritually imbalanced individuals. No discussion of a subject should be considered complete without an examination of its moral, philosophical, and ethical considerations, as well as a review of the intellectual and scientific data. When we ignore the ethics behind a particular issue, and instead focus on intellectual achievements, it’s great for our egos. We can pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves how smart we are. It deflates our egos, on the other hand, to realize that we are actually insignificant creatures on a speck of dust in a corner of the universe, and that we are only one of the millions of life forms on this speck, all of whom must live together.

Education systems in almost every developed country (east and west) are either in overdrive or collapse, and no attempt to fix them seems to work. This, to me, is a classis platypus situation where rational observers are ignoring and denying what is actually there. Education systems don’t need to be fixed, they need to die. Education needs to be reinvented – from scratch. Our kids will not go anywhere near a system of education. For better or worse they will be nurtured by us and by others in our community – learning through life and naturally gravitating towards and discovering their own sense of purpose.

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

The Non-Jewish Jew

n

4 or 5 years ago were living in Raanana a small city north of Tel-Aviv. We lived on the first floor of a small apartment building. One of our neighbors was an old man who lived by himself in a second floor apartment. He was a private, polite, soft-spoken individual. He spoke Hebrew with a rare accuracy and punctuality.

One day we encountered him on the footpath leading from the sidewalk and into the building. He tripped and fell and slightly injured his knee. We helped him up and Andreea helped him clean and bandage his wound.

A few days later he came to us carrying a gift. It was a paper he had recently written and published (or was about to be published). It was then that we discovered that he was a Professor of psychology at the Tel-Aviv University. His paper (in Hebrew) was titled “Psycho-history of the Jewish People”. Though I still haven’t read the entire article, it was in it’s first few pages that I encountered some vague connection to being Jewish.

Most people that know me have probably heard me say that the only thing that makes me Jewish is having been born to a Jewish mother. I have purposefully distanced myself from any religious practices, I know very little about Jewish traditions and I object to it as I do to any religion or, for that matter, any ritual that is performed blindly. In fact the modern incarnation of Judaism as it manifests through the state of Israel has been a source of much conflict and suffering for me.

Yet in this paper I encountered something which resonated with me. According to the paper the term The Non-Jewish Jew was first coined by Isaac Deutscher who was born to an orthodox Jewish family. Though he denounced Jewish faith and Jewish national aspirations he refused to forfeit his Judaism. The paper then quotes a letter written by Freud to a local Jewish organization in Vienna (following is my own rough translation from the Hebrew article into English:

“I must admit that I share neither Jewish faith nor national pride … but there are other qualities that endowed Jews and Judaism with an irresistible attraction. This attraction is rooted in mysterious forces and feelings which draw their power from an inexplicable source that defies definition”.

When I contemplate this I can feel a movement somewhere deep inside but it does not have enough momentum to reach the surface and sustain itself. My Israeli (and Jewish) Yoga teacher is my primary source of Jewish inspiration. Through her I have, in recent years, learned to appreciate and wonder about the spiritual qualities of the Hebrew language. Yet as I think of her, my heart and mind travel on to other people who have inspired me and with whom I feel a connection and the thread that connects this small and special group is indeed something that defies definition and it is the only tradition where I feel at home. I know of no clear religious, tradition, national, social, intellectual or ideological thread that passes through me.

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

One Romanian Woman in a Japanese Tsunami

n

A single Tsunami has shaken up the lives of so many people, yet it’s too far away for me to relate to it. I spent a few minutes consuming a bit of mass media (TV, Internet) and I despaired – it’s hard for me to connect to any real human experience beyond the superficial, sensationalistic and overly dramatic repetition by plastic reporters dressed up as humans.

I am however carrying with me in my heart and thoughts one Romanian woman, the woman we regularly buy milk from at the market. We first purchased milk from her during our first weeks here. Over recent weeks something has happened to her. She doesn’t look well, her smile is almost gone. We’ve asked her and she said she isn’t feeling well, but the hectic-market is not a place for lengthy intimate conversations.

Last week we purchased fresh milk from her. On the way home we drank from it (it went really well with the cookies we were snacking on) and Andreea sensed something is not right with the milk. When we got home we placed it in a pot to boil, Andreea went out again and I drifted off at the computer, forgot to turn off the gas, and spoiled the milk. When Andreea came home and looked at it she found traces of milk-powder.

What is happening to our milk-woman? What is her suffering? What could cause here to dilute her marvelous fresh milk with milk-powder? Will a few more lei make her suffering go away? Can I do something for her? Should I speak to her? Should I buy my milk elsewhere?

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Witness Fault

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Every time I witness a fault in myself I am in the presence of  an inner witness
A witness in me that knows better
Every time I embrace the witness I drift gently towards better
Every time I grasp the fault I fall swiftly away

Every time I witness a fault in another I am in the presence of an inner witness
A witness in me that knows better
Every time I am softly present for the other we drift closer together
Every time I am harshly critical we drift quickly apart

Every time I embrace
Every time I am present
My witness grows stronger
Every time I grasp
Every time I am harsh
My witness grows silent

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Pranayama Prepares Mind for Meditation

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Have you ever noticed that when you sit down to meditate the mind becomes frantic? No matter how soft a meditation practice you have, when you first sit down and observe the mind it’s all over the place. Then when you want to gently help it settle is seems to run around even more.

Dropping directly from life into a meditation can be a sudden transition for the mind. The mind is usually busy getting things done, remembering what needs to be done and anticipating what may need to get done – it’s driving around the city in a rush to get from place to place. If you’ve ever been in a car that’s come to a full and sudden stop then you know what happens to the mind when you sit down to meditate. The sudden and radical change from hectic business to sudden stillness is a shock.

Pranayama (Yoga breathing practices) are a transitional practice for the  mind. The use of formulated, measured and repeated breathing keeps the mind busy and involved. It gives the mind something to do. So now instead of driving hectically around the city we’re asking the mind to drive around the block a few times. The first few rounds may still be fast and furious but then repetition kicks in. The familiarity of driving around the same block over and over again brings the mind into familiar territory – repetition reduces surprises, places less demand on the mind and enables it to relax.

Bringing the mind to stillness is much easier this way. The mind has slowed down making the transition to stillness easier. The mind is also less anxious making it less resistant to the qualitative change from movement to stillness. The transition into stillness is no longer an attack on it or even against its nature. The transition into stillness is now completing that last drive around the block, pulling into the driveway and coming to a soft and welcome rest.

Posted in Meditation, Pranayama, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-13

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  • shoulder-blades are odd bones … unless … you realize that's where wings grow! #
  • Feminitate is celebrating two years http://bit.ly/hkpX8V #
  • how can I allow myself to be simultaneously touched and unmoved? #
  • It's womens day 2day & we are heading out, Andreea is going 2b interviewed on local TV (Cluj – AlfaTV) about http://www.feminitate.org 🙂 #
  • it's a day late but here's me celebrating femininity in my life: http://bit.ly/e5Tv8d #
  • "hands up for love y'alll" that dude formerly known as Prince 🙂 #
  • thinking back on natural disasters in recent months, reminded of George Carlin: the planet does seem 2b shaking off us: http://bit.ly/16ffm #
  • heads up Sting is coming to Bucharest on June 6th: http://bit.ly/i8dH7o living in Europe definitely has its perks 🙂 #
  • @lifeinromania thanks for the heads up on Samsara http://bit.ly/fQorm9 will check it out soon and report back 🙂 a pleasant day 2 u 🙂 #
  • I just checked and discovered that WordPress.com blogs do not have access to IntenseDebate comments. How disappointing 🙁 #
  • thinking in terms of male and female is so much richer then man and woman http://bit.ly/e5Tv8d #
  • observing and experiencing recovery through Pranayama http://bit.ly/i5dyTW … and feeling a tsunami coming on? #
  • never had a mortgage, never had an Apple product, I had a Facebook account 4a short time … but that's in the past and won't happen again #
  • @dallasclayton earlier today read your post, and we just returned from looking at, amongst other things, large bathtubs together 🙂 #
  • @cjrock please do let me know when you do 🙂 #

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Recovering with Pranayama: Flow, Space, Ease

n

The past week (give or take) has been awkward. It began with a disturbed feeling all over –  I felt energetically drained and emotionally heavy – this lasted two days. Then the disturbance moved into my digestive system – I lost my appetite – also for two days (though it still hasn’t resumed completely). Then it was as if a weight was lifted from me.

My Pranayama practice was irregular during the stormy days but over the last few days (4 at least) I have been practicing consistently. Over these days I’ve seen a gradual recovery of my breathing, which seems to be aligned with my overall recovery:

  1. Flow – at first the flow of the breath was shaky and that effected everything else. That was also the first thing to improve – a steady quiet flow of breath.
  2. Space – when the flow was better I felt that my capacity to exhale was limited – as if I had just enough breath to complete the long exhale. I know from past experience that I do have the capacity for this practice – which meant that it was again a reflection of my overall process of recovery.
  3. Ease – today it all came together again – there was both a quality of flow and space and I returned to the overall ease with which the practice usually comes to me.

This is an example and confirmation of my intuitive choice to not change my Pranayama. Having a steady and accessible practice gives me an anchor, something I can come back to and know myself again in this turbulent period of life.

I came out of this mornings practice with a somewhat startling realization. On March 6th I published a post celebrating two years of Feminitate in spite of feeling down and disturbed. In the first sentence of that post I wrote “is there a tsunami happening some where?”. Yesterday a tsunami hit Japan.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Pranayama Journal, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Moving into Femininity

n

Yesterday was an International Women’s Day and I had hoped to publish this post to acknowledge it – but life had other plans. Still, a day late, I offer it in the context of a great feminine power.

Our move to Romania was a change in many ways but to me the most interesting aspect was the move into a feminine energy. This movement began during our last year in Israel and, of all things, around the issue of money. I made at first a silent wish and then a vocal one to distance myself from money – I want to have as little as possible to do with money. Money makes me uncomfortable, I feel as if I don’t understand it and I am very critical of the parts of it that I do understand. I also believe that this harsh relationship with it harms our financial well-being. So I want to distance myself from it and to give myself a chance to get a fresh perspective on it.

But for me to get away from it Andreea had to agree to take over in my place. At first she was hesitant but then something changed and she embraced it passionately. She started paying at the supermarket and paying our bills and she needed to know more or less what was happening in our bank account. I began to withdraw. When we went shopping I didn’t reach for my wallet and I forwarded all of our bills to Andreea.

But it wasn’t a complete nor a smooth process. Both of us were used to me handling our financials. I was used to doing it and I was comfortable knowing I was doing it with my usual order and thoroughness. I was also comfortable knowing that she was not involved in it – our past experience showed that she was irresponsible with money and so I didn’t trust her to be able to do it. Andreea is also way more messy then me – she can easily lose the bills instead of paying them.

While in Israel we both lived in a world where I was dominant. In many ways Andreea joined my bubble of existence. When we moved to Romania that all changed abruptly. The language barrier (I don’t speak Romanian) immediately forced things away from me and towards Andreea. We moved into a life dominated by her.

A part of me is thrilled about the change. I am no longer in the driver seat – someone else is driving and I can now look at the view instead of at the road. But is still isn’t a smooth process. Money flows away from Andreea faster then it does from me. She is still messy – just the other day she went to pay one of our bills and took the wrong one (and couldn’t find the right one). All this is to say that I want to enjoy the view but I am still not confident in her driving so there is a tension in me – I am still glimpsing in the rear-view mirrors and still stepping down on the floor of the car on an imaginary break.

Now it isn’t just with money – it’s everything. We have so much work to do with building our house. I am learning tons of new things in English but then Andreea has to also learn them and then translate them into Romanian so that she can make inquiries with local suppliers and professionals with whom I cannot communicate. We are also doing things that have never been done in Romania … and it all falls on her shoulders. Just last week we started negotiations to buy the land that we already call our home – it was completely hers.

… and she is still messier then I … and slower then I … and … oh so very different then me … and sometimes that drives me crazy … which is how I am learning to appreciate the qualities of femininity.

I am  learning that it isn’t enough to simply hand the keys over to her – that unless I do so with clear intention and faith in her I am going to be worst off then before – in my mind I will still be trying to steer and break – only without a steering wheel in my hands and without a break pedal under my foot. I can easily slip into a constant state of distrust toward her – and that would be a terrible loss. I am learning that being in the passenger seat is not a passive place but another kind of active place – I am now free to support and guide her in any way I can and to do so with complete faith (sometimes blind faith) in her better judegement.

where male will push female will wait
where male will demand female will inquire
where male will force female will contemplate
where male will judge female will embrace
where male will be arrogant female will be humble
where male will be insistent female will be patient
where male will be agitated female will be settled
where male will be forceful female will be soft
where male will be angry female will be understanding
where male will be confused female will be curious
where male will be doubtful female will have faith

As our life moves into her bubble of existence we are both experiencing friction. Where once male was dominant now female is dominant. It is a huge change. It is a beautiful change. It is magical for me to witness time and again the direction that her female qualities take us, which my male qualities may have completely missed. It is inspiring for me to witness her learn and grow into this new dominant role – is isn’t so much that we have moved into a new bubble because she is creating this new bubble as we go.

It is a daily practice of faith for me to witness her movements, to feel my objections and then to find my back to patience and support. I am starting to see that female energy is awakening for both of us. Her female energy grows by moving outward. My female energy grows by moving inward. Both are happening because (in part) my male energy cannot interfere.

Maybe instead of celebrating a International Women’s Day we should be celebrating an International Feminine Day? Our personal life is moving in a direction full-of-wonder thanks to the appearance of female energy  – I would be happy to see this kind of energy spread throughout our currently male-dominated world.  Is isn’t necessary for women to replace men (which often leads to women sacrificing their female energy for male energy) – it is necessary to reign in male energies and give rise to female energies.

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

2 Years of Feminitate

n

My energy is really messed up (it has been since yesterday)… is there a tsunami happening some where?

Anyways I didn’t want to put off this small celebration … because a celebration really is in order.

During most of our years together Andreea swore she would never come back to Romania. A few years ago she had a hebrew website around femininity – it didn’t strike a chord with Israeli women. Then out of nowhere … and all of a sudden she asked to create a Romanian speaking website on the same theme. Feminitate has been online for 2 years now and I am writing this short post from a rented apartment in Romania.

Feminitate has about 200 articles on various aspects of Feminity including health, fertility, pregnancy, birth and awareness. It currently sees about 500 visitors a day who view ~2000 pages of content. It has reached  over 160,000 visitors who have read over 620,000 pages of content.

It’s most viewed page with over 24,000 views is a page explaining the basics of female anatomy. This page is, to me, a landmark achievement. It isn’t about some fasionable or entertaining topic – it’s literally an anatomy lesson that has reached thousands of Romanian-speaking women. Sure, it has a picture of a vagina on it so that main have gained some indirect traffic but this page about cervical mucus (I know way more than I care to admit about female anatomy) was viewed over 23,000 times and it doesn’t have any pictures on it.

Not only has Feminitate led us to Romania but it is a core energy that shapes everything we do. Even now, when Feminitate is in 2nd place on our list of priorities, our 1st priority – creating a home – grows out of Feminitate – as our home is destined to become a physical manifestation where Feminitate can transcend posts, comments and email and grow into physical presence and contact.

On days like this, when I feel really lousy and filled with fear in the face of so much unknown, Feminitate and the tapestry of our lives into which it is woven is a bright and shining and comforting and supporting light.

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-06

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  • on the phone with Israel again – what a fucking pain in the ass country – can't wait to be completely past it … soon soon … #
  • every interaction with Israel authorities is painful and abusive, sad 2feel "good riddance" towards a country where I spent most of my life #
  • "Just because you do something for a living doesn’t mean it has to be serious." Dallas Clayton http://dallasclayton.com/ #
  • "subtley is just never going to be me specialty" http://fb.me/GgKpqXiN another soft gem from @tanyadavismusic #
  • ironic that unsubscribing from annoying mailing lists ends up with one last annoying email letting you know that you are "unsubscribed" #
  • @lucglasbeek I watched "Inside Job" & here's a thought … anyone who has ever taken a loan from a bank (credit debt to mortgage) #
  • @lucglasbeek and anyone who has ever had savings in a bank is an active part and supporter of the banking system that is now condemned #
  • @lucglasbeek have u ever given thought/asked/cared what happened 2 your savings? where does interest coming from? where do loans come from? #
  • @luglasbeek anyone who partook in banking went to a great party, had a nice time … but now … hungover and looking to place blame #
  • @lucglasbeek as I wrote on ur blog, it isn't just Israel that I left, I am checking out of a lot of systems I no longer care to be a part of #
  • so far all the iBreathe practitioners are women, where are the men? http://bit.ly/ee3CBi #
  • "time is money" is bullshit #

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Subtlety

n

“Subtley is just never going to be me specialty”

Tanya Davis

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-02-27

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-02-20

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  • Starting this week I'll be teaching Yoga on Thursday mornings in Cluj: http://bit.ly/dWqkRS #thankyou #romania #
  • @zenpeacekeeper another reflection on the theme of: "nothing fluffy about love" http://bit.ly/eAc4we 🙂 #
  • if you are Looking for happiness then you are probably Looking in vain, stop looking, settle down … it will appear #
  • looking for land in Suceagu – a village near Cluj: http://bit.ly/eKwLYl #
  • what to do with the contact information in my mobile phone of someone who has passed away? #
  • we have found a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l location to build our home … unbelievable … more words and pictures soon 🙂 #

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Not Changing My Pranayama

n

I am still practicing Pranayama only once a day – in the morning. I am using the practice my teacher gave to me over 4 months ago. The regularity of my practices changes depending on life’s vibrations . I don’t struggle to practice – when life throws me off I wait or try to do something to settle myself so that practice shimmers for me once again.

I have recently felt an opening up in my practice. There is no more effort where occassionaly there was. There is a better quality to the practice and it is better sustained throughout the practice. So I had some thoughts to contact my teacher and consult about moving on with the practice. I’ve decided not to.

Despite the overall improvement in my practice it is still effected by the movements in my life. There is plenty of irregular movement in my life – and it manifests in my practices. Had my life circumstances been settled, steady and supportive of a refined practice then I would probably want to move on with my practice. But if I change my practice now then I will create another instability on-the-mat which I really don’t need or want. I expect the turmoil in my life to continue for some time yet and so I am grateful for the relatively calm waters of my practice.

So I am sticking with my current practice. I will let it continue to stabilize, expand and refine within me. I am also looking to the horizon hoping to find my way back to a second practice.

Sidenote: This morning as I was sitting quietly after my Pranayama practice I placed my attention on the physical movement of breathing in my torso. I encountered an odd sensation – my breathing was relaxed and abdominal but it felt like only the right side of my abdomen was moving – the left side felt lifeless. There wasn’t any tension or pain or even discomfort in the left side – it simply felt cut off from my breathing. Odd sensation.

Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-02-13

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  • when you really care about something there is no "maybe": http://bit.ly/eGSTSF the question is then what do you really care about? #
  • "… it's not the materials but the builder that makes a building green" http://bit.ly/fdDVLs #
  • I am saying this because I can, it's true & it blows my mind … heading out soon to another Romanian peasants meeting http://bit.ly/eFjsPi #
  • I know of only one book that seriously approaches hemp-lime based construction: http://bit.ly/fJryhv #
  • looking for a Good php open-source software for basic project management … and couldn't find a single one #
  • there are so many projects out there putting so much effort into development …. but such horrible design #
  • it pains me to the see the huge effort that goes into an open-source and the poor results that it delivers #
  • open-source has a very poor understanding of design and user experience … what a waste #
  • @raymondpirouz agreed, but u r talking about good design … open-source has zero design awareness … 1st some design … then we'll see #
  • @emirce I stopped looking … lousy products, wasteful and sad … using a desktop client on Ubuntu and will try exporting to HTML #
  • a super-cool invention "hydro-electric-barrel": http://bit.ly/fMUb12 #
  • ideology sucks … go get a heartology instead #
  • our first excursion to see land for creating a home in #romania was with friends in Suncuius http://bit.ly/hUVdLs #
  • @lifeinromania thanks for the shout out 🙂 The article has its quirks – a better version should be coming out soon in the national version #
  • even though my Pranayama practice has improved greatly I chose not to change it yet: http://bit.ly/f7Bboj #

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Maybe

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A precious lesson that stuck with me from my creative explorations is that “maybe is no”. When I am doing something I am passionate about and a question arises, there are only two possible answers – “yes” or “no”. If I encounter a “maybe” – than I take it to be a “no”. Yes, it’s that simple.

This became second nature to me when I was in a creative space and it was a huge support. It cut cleanly through any hesitation and let me focus on what mattered to me most. I really wanted to take this beyond my creative space and into my life and it is a practice with me to this very day.

Though I am tempted to say that life is more complicated then creativity – I don’t feel that’s quite true. Life is a creative space and at the same time the raw honesty of creative spaces can be tougher then life. A (good) creative space is setup to support creativity, life can be like that but often isn’t. Therefore life has more potential to throw “maybe” at you. This is what I do with it.

I ask myself if the question touches on something that is important to me or that I care about deeply. You will not believe (a) how quickly you  will be able to answer this question clearly and (b) how much noise and garbage it filters out. There is no “maybe” answer to this question. If I don’t get a clear resounding “yes” then I consider the answer to be “no”. If I do get a “yes” I set the question aside and wait (another useful trick I learned in my creative explorations). Sometimes I wait an hour, sometimes a day, sometimes a year …. sometimes what seems like a lifetime. At some point, assuming the question really is important to me (!), it will come up again. I then revisit it and either get a clear resounding answer or I again reconsider it’s importance to me.

As time goes by I realize that this kind of movement towards a clear “yes” or “no” answer pushes me towards better. This process prevents me from getting caught up and hung up on a specific question. Instead it transforms the specific question to a question of values – that’s what happens when I ask myself “Is this really important to me?”. Living with these questions in the background (waiting) gives me an opportunity to observe and question my own values. Sometimes questions from different aspects of my life are funneled together as I realize they are expressions of similar values.

It is an eventual shift or refinment in my values that causes a “maybe” question to become a “yes” or “no” question. It is curious to me that a momentum towards improvement lies in  “maybe” questions. It is the things I don’t know that, if I let them, lead me to Quality.

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-02-06

n
  • a theory on what happened to hemp: it has many industrial applications that would simply crush existing industries http://bit.ly/14bTF #
  • my official romanian name is Nutzu "Boom" Icewalker #
  • 3 months ago I could not have imagined myself participating in a Romanian peasant meetingand yet here I am … http://bit.ly/eFjsPi #
  • today we met the architect of our future home … another piece in the puzzle falls into place … so exciting 🙂 #
  • going off-the-grid in Romania in 3 steps: http://bit.ly/f21TG2 #
  • remember: meditation is also a physical practice and should be treated as such: http://bit.ly/fBiIZA #
  • this is no laughing matter: http://bit.ly/fjhQZt #
  • my #monthofmindfulness was off to a rocky start – but already a new friendship is emerging from it: http://bit.ly/fAAqil #
  • growing is forever: http://bit.ly/eRg1yF #
  • philanthropy and business are not necessarily exclusive #
  • Asana (physical) practices are a case of body training mind, it is more about relearning how the body works then actually changing it #

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Mind Friend Heart

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This February comes with a special twist. I’ve been gifted with an opportunity to partake in Peter Fernando’s A Month of Mindfulness online meditation course. For the past 12 years I’ve been studying and practicing exlusively under the guidance of my two Yoga teachers. This is the first time I am venturing off my spiritual-treasure-island to spend time with another teacher and other teachings.

When I scanned the five themes offered in the course my impulse was to go with “Focusing on Rest”. When I explored them in more depth I gravitated towards “Opening the Heart” and began my month with it. Each of the themes is offered with an article that gives a context and direction to the practice and a ~30 minute guided meditation. And so, with an open heart I sat down for my first guided meditation of the month.

In Yoga there is a distinction between Dhyana (meditation, Dharana (focusing the mind) and Pratyahara (quieting the mind). To this day my teachers have not prescribed to me Dhyana (meditation) practices but all of my practices are inherently infused with Dharana qualities. This includes a practice that to an outside observer may look like Dhyana (meditation) but to me is still a Dharana (focusing of the mind) or Pratyahara (quieting the mind) practice. In any case this is a quiet and intimate practice that does not involve an outside voice. Therefore, I am not versed or particularly skilled at guided meditations.

This guided meditation opened with surprising friction. Peter’s voice is soothing and friendly and joyful … but I couldn’t keep up. Listening is, for me, an act of mind – hearing and understading the words requires that I engage thought – so the very essence of the practice – a guided meditation – seemed to be in conflict with the intention of the practice – moving into the heart. I encountered words and phrases I could meditate on for weeks but when they finally did reach my heart new words came into my mind and again pulled me back into the mind. On occasion I ignored some of the words so that I could spend some time in my heart – but then when more words came I had already lost the thread of the story. I had to spend even more time in my mind trying to figure out where I am and what I missed. I felt tossed around, agitated and disturbed … and I did not want to experience that again, let alone for an entire month.

Peter was open and receptive to my experience and offered numerous alternative directions to go,of which I chose to return to my initial impulse to the “Focusing on Rest” theme. So the next day I sat with the guided meditation from that theme. There was still friction, though less then before. Still the act of listening and understanding words brought me into my mind – and I have a trigger happy mind. It can easily turn on itself and, if nothing else is available, think about thinking itself. This time I stopped about 20 minutes into the practice. Though I wasn’t very emotional about it I felt alone and confused.

Yesterday we had a long (and inspiring) day away from home so there was no space for practice. Today I resumed practice and as I approached it I asked myself what to do. I decided to resume my existing practices – Pranayama and then sitting – and to simply add an idea of “not doing” to my sitting. I was doubtful when I began the practice because I seemed to be gravitating towards my existing and familiar patterns and avoiding the opportunity to explore a new teaching. My doubts were unwarranted.

The “not doing” theme led to a fascinating “dialogue” between my mind and my heart. My mind introduced itself to my heart as a “doer” – it identifies challenges, obstacles, problems and it  solves them by either moving thoughts or limbs. It could not “do” anything with “not doing” – it couldn’t see the point. Then my heart smiled and offered to help – it said it loves not-doing and was willing to “help” my mind by shouldering the burden of “not doing”. My mind didn’t object and said “ok” and my heart began to “not do”.

But at that point, my disinterested mind began to wonder off in another direction of “doing”. My heart, as if clearing its throat, gently called my mind back and said “but I prefer that you stick around”. To which my mind replied “what for?”. To which my heart replied “I just want you here with me”. This happened numerous times until in my mind there seemed to grow a sense of respect and recognition towards my heart. This way, my mind realized it did not need to surrender its nature of “doing” for some inconceivable and senseless notion of “not doing”. Instead it found in my heart a friend who seemed to be able to do something it couldn’t … and all it had to “do” was observe – which is something it felt comfortable “doing”.

And so I found myself in a miraculous dialoge of mind and heart and ironically engaged in both of the themes that called out to me. It didn’t need to be (as my mind had assumed) a choice of either one or the other. It apparently could also be one through the other. I am now looking forward to the remainder of my month of mindfulness 🙂

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