“We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give.”
Norman MacEwan

Stuff I Did – Photography

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We are taking apart our things, preparing to move to Romania in a few weeks. We have already whittled down our belongings a few times – so there isn’t too much. There is a lot of accumulated paperwork. As I’ve been sifting through it I’ve come across a few memoirs and memories.

I am using this transition down as a karmic cleansing – so I really don’t want to continue carrying around with me any unnecessary physical items. So I’ve done a little scanning and I am going to be postin up some memories – they are an opportunity for me to remember and cherish the richness of experience I’ve been gifted in this life (so far) and maybe even to make note and share a few interesting things I haven’t mentioned here before. This is the first post in a series which will go from the present to the past 🙂

A few months ago I took down my photography website – I wasn’t happy about it. Some of my work can be seen at SweetClarity, some here in the photography section and some found a pleasant home in the Reading Lila section.

Improvisation

My journey in improvisation was surprising, intense and sweet. I was invited in by by Shahar:

Within a year we produced a self produced solo exhibition. Some of my images decorated an interview with Shahar published in a cultural magazine in Tel-Aviv:

A couple of years later we began our retreat from the center area of Israel and our first stop in the area Shahar lives. It created many opportunities for us to work together and for a time I partook in his efforts to establish a studio and art-center in the area. I eventually faded away from that initiate, but his relentless efforts have born fruits and a new studio will be opening very soon:

Music

I loved doing music concert photography. I had a bit of friendly support from a cultural events organizer who gave me access to many popular concerts. Later, as I got swept away into Shahar’s world of improvisation, I also spent quite a bit of time photographing improvisation musicians as well. My images decorated an occasional printed invitation or concert notice:

I was honored to be approached by two inspiring musicians who asked to use my images as cd covers:

I was even approached once by Spin magazine about publishing an image I took of Balkan Beat Box (third at the bottom of the page):

Sports

I had a short stint with sports photography. I went out once to photograph a running event in the city and ran into an ambitious teenager who was both into sports and the internet – and together we did some nice things together. One of my images made a cover of a local sports magazine.

A set of my images decorated an entire article:

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I Shakuhachi – October 5, 2010: Definite & True

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This is not for you, it’s for me …

Definite & True

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Going to Romania

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We have finally decided to jump head first into the unknown that was calling us. By the end of Novemeber Andreea & I will be in Cluj-Napoca in Romania. A stranger on Twitter asked me why – so here goes nothing.

Andreea and I have been together for almost 10 years. We met in a blind-date (very blind – a couple of my friends set it up with a couple of their friends – neither knew both of us). Andreea was a foreign national working in Israel (legally). We didn’t speak for almost a week after our first date. We made love for the first time on 9/11 – while the towers in New York were collapsing (it was nice, but not THAT powerful). Our relationship soon outgrew her legal visa and we ended up fighting the state of Israel for permission to make a life together. It was a long and painful struggle – but we won.

Over the years we have been together much has changed. I left behind a career, I was then gifted by an inspiring creative journey as a photographer, I created SweetClarity , I completed my Yoga teacher training,  and I’ve learned a few things about WordPress which is how I make this online home. and I have now gravitated towards an almost monastic existence – quiet and isolated. Andreea has emerged as a tremendously powerful woman – she has acquired a rich hollistic toolbox (she is an aromethapist, masseuse specializing on work with pregnant women, doula and self-trained herbalist) and life experience (I wouldn’t know where to begin) which she shares with other women who take an interest in their own health & awareness, fertility, pregnancy, motherhood, etc.

We haven’t been able to create a sustaintable and pleasant life in Israel – our values seem out of touch and often in collission with the realities and norms of Israel. 18 months ago we escaped to a quiet and remote house in the north of Israel where we experience less friction with Israel and it’s people. I am fairly content (except for worries about money) but Andreea is less so. Shortly after we moved here a strange awakening occured in Andreea – her heart opened to and called to Romania (though in the past she swore she would never go back there). We began an online project – Feminitate – dedicated to women in Romania. The project has been well-received (it has over 150 articles which have been viewed over 400,000 times by more then 100,000 visiting women). She has also begun doing some long-distance one-on-one consulting there with women.

Over recent months our finances have dwindled and we’ve been through a very challenging period. The idea of going to Romania has been with us for some time – but Romania is no picnic. There are many difficulties awaiting us in Romania. Most of the people we know think it’s a risky and odd decision. A few of the people we know realize that Romania has the potential to be aligned with the kind of life we want to make for ourselves. It has lot’s of space, great agricultural land and and an abundance of water – all of which make it possible to create a highly self-sustaining home. I can continue to be quiet and isolated there and Andreea can be closer to the women with whom she wants to work.

Over the last two months as our intentions crystallized and solidified – the general idea of moving to Romania has become more and more specific. Andreea has decided to study midwifery as a way to earn an “official” position there as a qualified professional – a position from which she believes she will be able to facilitate a change in Romania. She already carries many tools with her, which she will put to use once we get there and continue to do so during her studies. The need for a university has diverted us from our original destination of Sibiu to nearby Cluj which is a thriving and developing city in Romania.

As we achieved more clarity we were also able to create better communication channels with our immediate family – especially my parents. Both they and my sister have offered support both in the form of guidance and financial assistance. The intensity of the situation is escalating and seems to be doing us good in many ways.

Over the last 4 years we have lived off mostly short term savings that accumulated during my professional career and what income we were able to generate. I have decided to knock down one of the last holy-grails of money in my life. I have begun to  liquidate all the funds I have saved up in pension funds (also from my career years). When this option first surfaced I said to Andreea that I want us to find a way to leverage these funds in a better way – not to let them get sucked into our current stuck existence.

Well it seems to be working out in a very curious and surprising way. Once Andreea collected some information about the costs of living in Romania we realized that renting there is going to be yet again a major expense over 4 or 5 years. So we are now looking into options of purchasing or building a small house on a few acres of land near the city shortly after we arrive. If this works out we may suddenly find ourselves living in a reality that is very close to our dreams. Andreea will be on her mission and I will be on the ground – it’s too good to be true. It definitely feels like we are moving towards a home.

I began writing this post yesterday morning. Since then we have been visited by a relocation company and we are awaiting a quote for moving some of our stuff. People have already come to see the house and it seems we may be packing up and out sooner then expected (beginning of November instead of mid or end of November). At the end of yesterday we felt as if we are living in a movie and somebody hit the fast forward button – and our consciousness was still dragging behind trying to catch up – kind of like the pit of the stomach feels left behind on a roller coaster.

The vibrations of change are intensifying. I feel as if I can almost touch change – it is in our physical world (taking apart a house), it is demanding on the mind, it is emotionally draining and it is spiritually challenging. This morning it becamse a physical sensation – as if an external force is pounding on the door of my internal peace. The regularity of my practices is already challenged. I summoned it and now I need to open the door to it knowing it will storm through me and leave a mess behind.

It is one of the greatest tests of faith I have ever experienced. We are moving from a life that was dominated by my bubble and moving into a life dominated by Andreea’s bubble. I am in a practice of surrender and she is in a practice of taking power. I get agitated and distant, she gets emotional and overwhelmed. We go through moments of divine unity and then moments of raw-collission. My 20’s were an exciting and dynamic 10 years. My 30’s have not relented. I am in awe of the forces in my life – a break would be nice – but the horizon is still completely unknown 🙂


Grover Washington Jr. & Bill Withers – Just The Tw… – MyVideo

Posted in About, Expanding, inside, Israel, Myself | You are welcome to read 11 comments and to add yours

Flowers in the Guns

n

I don’t recall how I came across this twitter update:

But when I did it sent me back … way back … I kept it open and began a search until I found what I was looking for:

I drew this picture when we were living in Los Angeles. I was apparently into my 10th year of life, still attending a Jewish school (where I believe I lost any connections I may have still had to Judaism) which was a “base” for the Jewish community in that area (the synagogue we attended was on the same campus). One day we were notified that a famous Israeli poet/singer – Naomi Shemer – was coming to give a concert and that there would be some kind of drawing competition. I drew this drawing and I was one of the lucky winners.

Our prize included going up on stage and shaking her hand or giving her flowers or something like that (doesn’t figure, I won, shouldn’t she be giving me flowers?). What I remember is a few hectic moments and a fat sweaty woman.

This is one of her most famous, powerfully entrenched in the Israeli psyche, songs Jerusalem of Gold performed by a popular Israeli rock band (ironically called “Hayehudim” – which translates as “The Jews”):

Thank you Trystan for the flash-down memory lane 🙂

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-10-03

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  • My teacher has changed my morning #Pranayama practice – seems to be about surrender: http://bit.ly/coE2i5 #Yoga #
  • every once in a while a strange flag appears in my site-stats reading about Ubuntu – usually an up&coming country – proud 2b on #Ubuntu #
  • loving love is an addiction too #
  • "Greed&thoughtless consumption of1st World causes gr8 harm in othr parts of world &destroys our common human heritage." http://bit.ly/9nUrhN #
  • RT @msurman The Document Foundation: this is a part of the future I want. http://bit.ly/dshMnJ RT @patrickf #
  • a challenge with spiritual questions isnt 2 solve them but rather 2 stay in touch with them, to keep them relevant & vital as life changes #
  • @msurman Keepnote open-source alternative to Evernote http://bit.ly/9kkhax stores HTML files so ez2sync w/Dropbox – don't know about Android in reply to msurman #

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I Shakuhachi – October 2, 2010: Demanding Peace

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Demanding peace

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I Shakuhachi – September 29, 2010: Stranger

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Shakuhachi has recently found its way back into my being – it’s been a while since I’ve made a shakuhachi recording.

This world is not meant for me … still looking for one that is.

dedicated to a stranger walking the earth with my name.

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Her Breath My Shoulder

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I sleep on the left side of the bed and Andreea sleeps on the right. A couple of nights ago I draped my hand over her body and my left shoulder hurt (my left shoulder, in spirit with my left dynamics, has been sensitive lately and requires caring attention). I moved away from her to relieve my shoulder – I felt I was with her for only a few seconds. The following morning I told her about my experience and she said I actually had my arm around her for a long time. Apparently I was not very conscious of time.

Then yesterday night, in the early morning hours, I turned to her again, slid into a spooning position and placed my arm around her and again my shoulder began to ache – but this time I was more conscious. I chose to surrender to the pain, to contain it consciously and peacefully. Very quickly I found myself in tune with her breathing – every breath moving my shoulder gently – a healing movement. It was a moment of perfection – a blissful connection.

Only a few seconds had gone by and I felt an itch in my nose and though I tried to move away I didn’t make it in time. I sneezed violently in her ear,disturbed her sleep, she moved and the moment was gone. Apparently that’s what happens when I am conscious of time 🙂

We should spoon more often.

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Myself – August 2010 – Abundance

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It’s really hard for me to write about August without mentionin September – they are so full of continuing and contradicting movements. But as I make it a point to reflect back  on the previous month, I suppose that the present from which I am reflecting inevitably effects the reflections I see.

The defining event of August was when the balance of our bank account dropped for the first time below 10k NIS (it continued to drop further). That means that we have finances left for less then 2 months at our current minimal rate of spending. It is frightening – and is placing me in the most challenging spiritual practice – I am failing quite a bit – but I am definitely getting better.

There’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time titles “Cows don’t have pockets”. During recent months the cows have stopped gracing us with their grazing visits across the valley – everything has dried up. Before that they were there almost every day and I enjoyed watching them. They exist in what looks like a simple ecological cycle which somehow seems to work. They graze on weeds and grasses that have grown naturally from the rain, and as they graze they also fertilize the ground. They have a set path they repeat, they seem to take their time but always arrive on time. They have no “savings”, no “margins”.

After almost 20 years as a self-sustaining adult in which I grew accustomed to creating and having financial reserves – my life is now shifting to be more like the cows. There is a minimal income that keeps our heads above the water – but not much more. Whenever the money seems to be running out, a bit more appears and buys us a little more time. It’s been going on for a long time. But now we are closer then ever to an end. That’s how august began – and then some money began trickling in again – little sums from numerous sources – it was really amusing to watch money appear 🙂

I’ve stopped trying to figure out this money issue. There are some things I know, some things I don’t know but I feel I can get my head around if I apply correct-effort, and something I just don’t get. Money is one of those things I just don’t get (metaphysically and literally). I have a long standing wish to remove the quality of money from my life – I want nothing to do with it. I don’t want to have a wallet, cash money or a credit card – nothing. This wish has started to come true – as August marked a first step in Andreea taking over our finances. She now carries the credit card with her, she is now the one carrying the wallet and she is now the one paying others money. I love it – it’s absolutely wonderful.

Andreea has taken a break from Feminitate – there was pressure building, it was blocking her writing – so we agreed she should embrace a welcome break instead of being in guilty break. Once the space opened she started painting – she created a captivating mandala. She is aligning herself with financial wealth – which makes me happy now that she’s navigating us through this dimension in which I can’t find north.

August was a pleasantly consistent month of Yoga practice. I’ve also been blessed with two new and precious paths of learning. My teacher is now supporting and guiding my Pranayama practice – and I am taking this opportunity to document my personal journey and experience in the hope that it will shed some web-light on the intricate art that Pranayama can be. My teacher has also agreed to teach me Samkhya – Yoga’s sister Indian  system of philosophy. It is a special and rare learning opportunity and setting.

Posted in About, Myself | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Deep Beautiful Sadness

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I wasn’t very social as a kid, I didn’t like to travel with my family or schools, I didn’t go to parties, I wasn’t very happy. I was drastically misinformed and misformed. In my late teens and early twenties my misformation bloomed into a healthy depression. Depression got the world off my shoulders and I found a temporary peace and bliss. It wasn’t a pleasant place, but it was a major improvement on what I had before. The experience of that period of my life is bookmarked in my consciousness – I would sit with headpones on for hours listening to a loop of Sting’s album “The Soul Cages“. There was especially one song “The Wild Wild Sea” which became a meditative experience – I would get lost in it’s opening seconds and feel as if hours had gone by:

To this day listening to the album draws me inwards to a place of special sadness that envelops me in serenity and brings tears to my eyes.

Present day … I live so off the-grid that I didn’t know Sting had recently put out an album and is on tour (I used to be on the cutting edge of all things Sting : ). A few years ago I saw him in a disappointing concert in Israel and his recent years have been very desolate and uninspiring – so I went to check out the news with very low expectations. At first glance I saw a collaboration with a symphony orchestra and thought to myself “not again”. Then I switched to youtube and though the videos are of poor quality – it looks like something good has happened to Sting. Amongst the videos from recent performance I came across “Why Should I Cry For You” from “The Soul Cages” album:

… yes North has been true … and yet … sure enough there it was – that deep beautiful sadness. It was just one song – so I didn’t get to sink too far inside. Instead I had a chance to be with it and ask myself “Why was I sad? Why am I sad?”. I wasn’t sad because of where I was – I was in a comfortable place. I was sad because of the pressures to be somewhere else. I was sad because everyone seemed to be (sympathetically) blind to or denying what my senses told me about the world around me.

That hasn’t changed much. I have since been blessed with the presence of a few rare individual with whom I’ve shared a connection and view, with whom I’ve communicated in peace, with whom I’ve created. I have also been blessed with circumstances that granted me over recent years an opportunity to live in relative peace and isolation. An isolation that protectes me from a ferocious onslought of caring people who would gently but persistently erode my sense of truth.

20 years ago I was sad for myself, sad because the future seemed to hold an inevtiable, painful and purposeless existence. Today, feeling that I’ve been blessed with a rare freedom, I am sad for a world from which I am separated by an invisible wall. A world with which I wanted to share, a world it seems I am leaving behind – a remote world that some small part of me still longs for.

I wonder if this is what Buddhists mean when they dedicate their practices to all the living beings.

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

Change in Morning Pranayama Practice – Surrender?

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A couple of days ago my teacher changed my morning Pranayama from this:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

To this:

8 – 0 – 16 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
8  – 4  – 16 – 4 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 4  – (8 – 4)2 x12 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 0  – 16 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi

My evening practice continues to be:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

Both practices are built around a 1-2 ratio which demand longer exhales. In both practices I’ve encountered resistance in mind and embrace in body – I thought I didn’t have enough capacity but I did.

Emphasis on the exhale has had an immediate effect on attention. If I am present and stable and attentive to the breath – then I can comfortably contain both practices. But if my attention wavers, a strain develops – the practices place pressue on me from the inside out.

After 2 or 3 practices (of the new morning sequence) I came to wonder about my previous practices (which I had set out for myself). Generally, the stop afer the inhale has a quality of strength and control, while the stop after the exhale has a quality of surrender and assimilation. The direction I chose for myself was to stir up a sense/experience of vitality – placing emphasis on the stop after the inhale. My teacher seems to be redirecting me towards a sense of surrender.

I am in a state of intense transition – an intense transition in which many things seem to be coming to an end and in their place is a large void of unknowns. I am taking my faith to new heights – and I am doing this with an almost complete sense of surrender. I feel I have very little control over what’s to come – and most of me wants to keep it that way. All this is to say that my life off-the-mat is about surrender – and yet my choice of practice was to counter that by trying to conjur up vitality – as if I was going against the grain. The practices my teacher gave me seem to be going in a different direction – embracing the quality of surrender. There is still a challenge – but it is now with the grain – refining my experience of surrender.

Both of the pranayama practices deliver me smoother then before into a meditative state. They demand more attention and lead to a more subtle experience.

Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Rain

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תודה שרה 🙂

Turn on your speakers (to dispell any potential doubts), press play and close your eyes 🙂

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Hanging Humanity

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I encountered this wonderful quote in an odd and special book. It is from a speech that was given by Dwight Eisenhower shortly after he took office in 1953. In the book the speech was referred to as the “Cross of Iron” speech, though online I found it as the “Chance for Peace” speech (though it seems to be referenced with both names).

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Because the quote is obviously insightful & direct I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) to find that the speech draws an unbalanced picture that promotes a political agenda. In my mind it is an immoral speech – as it subverts a higher intellectual truth to a lesser social need. I believe that it exemplifies a kind of subtle compromise which can go unnoticed at first but slowly festers and eventually manifests as destruction.

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Inside First

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Shulamit has, over the past few months, brought to my attention the idea of Restorative Circles. I have read a couple of articles and my thoughts & feelings about it are mixed. The last of these articles consolidated my thoughts.

I have not invested enough time and attention to properly describe what Restorative Circles is – so I will call upon the words of it’s founder Dominic Barter:

“Restorative Justice is effective when our intentions are those of social cohesion, community resilience, healing and sustainable changes in behaviour towards underlying values of well being, inclusion, mutual aid, learning and responsibility. The restorative approach looks not at who has done wrong but at what needs are unmet. It seeks not to label and condemn but to alert us to our place in the web of relationships, to our power to act and our power to mend.”

That is a wonderful outlook but when I first read it I had some reservations about it’s applicability. I have no doubt its a good direction to go, but there has to be both personal and social readiness to approach it. The applied tools of Restorative circles as I understand them are based on communication. Communication relies on other subtle skills such as observation, listening, speech, openness. These are not trivial skills, they are not inherently available to people in modern societies – and their absence may be one of the root causes for the very conflicts Restorative Circles tends to:

“Restorative practices rely on social conventions and emotional literacy. Such conventions are far from new – in fact some believe they are older than our current, punitive view of justice. However they have been marginalised and devalued for centuries. The process of remembering and revaluing them is still gathering ground. The capacity to articulate our feelings and needs without attributing blame is also both ancient and only recently rediscovered in urban cultures.”

My initial feeling was and remains that an approach such as Restorative Circles cannot (yet!?) replace punitive approaches. When dialogue is possible dialogue should prevail, when it isn’t then punitive interventions are required (maybe punitive systems can be improved by taking the opportunity to gift social-outlaws with communication skills that can give them access to the alternative restorative approach).

“The idea that biological crimes can be ended by intellect alone, that you can talk crime to death, doesn’t work … The instrument of conversation between society & biology has always been a policeman or a soldier and his gun. All the laws of history … Constitutions & the Bills of Rights & Declarations of Independence are … instructions to the military & police.”

( Robert Pirsig from Lila on the relationship between social, intellectual & biological )

But here’s what I found truly interesting. Here is a quote taken from a recent interview with Dominic Barter:

“Being afraid and not listening yourself and avoiding conflict, that’s what’s dangerous. The conflict has to speak louder to get your attention. The way to raise the volume is to violate others.”

I recently spent some time at a cancer-radiation facility (visiting a relative). The center provides one of the most lethal self-inflicted interventions invented by man. The body is exposed to lethal radiation aimed at cancer cells. The center is equipped with modern machinery and is overbooked/overloaded with work. There are both hospitalized and out-patients waiting in an ever-busy queue to get their lethal dosage of radiation.

I sat there wondering how has a so-called modern society reached the point where cancer wards are over-populated and people are lined up for lethal radiation? Can no one see that something is terribly wrong? Can no one see that the “internal conflict has become so loud because we are not paying attention to it“? Is it reasonable for us to pursue an advanced idea such as Restorative Circles when we are unable, as individuals and a society, to achieve basic biological health and a corresponding peace of mind?

I feel there is an inner Restorative Circle that everyone of us has to nurture, develop and maintain. That is the point of greatest leverage available to us. I feel that “fixing society” is becoming an escape, a fashion of our times that is actually diverting our attention from where it is direly needed. If “fixing society” gives you hope and inspiration then harness that inspiration and turn it back inward – maybe one day you will arrive at a humbling realization that there is nothing outside that needs fixing.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Observing Pranayama – September 2010

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This period of observation continues the previous 10 days and brings it to a total of 30 days.

My current morning Pranayama practice is:

10 –  0  – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 –  0  – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 –  5  – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 –  5  – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0   – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 –   0 –   6 –   0 x6 Ujjayi

My current evening practice is either the same as my morning practice – or a slightly altered version (generally more exhale weighted).

10 –  0   – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 –  0  – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 –  0  – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 –  5  – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 –  0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

On Sep12 the evening practice was changed to reduce the brahmana quality and increase the langhana quality:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

Observations

Date Time Observations
Aug 31 Morning
  • Heaviness in body reluctance in mind, blocked nasal passages
  • Shakuhachi + short standing sequence + pranayama
  • Feeling of congestion eased throughout the practice. At the beginning both sides felt congested, byt the end the right side was better then the left( as usual)
Evening
  • No practice
Sep 1 Morning
  • Again nasal passages feel more blocked then usual. Avoided (where possible) head-down postures in practice sequence. OK practice.
  • Slight internal pressure pain at left temple
  • Feeling of congestion partially resolved by pranama practice.
  • Left side more blocked then right side.
Afternoon
  • Surprising space opened up around 15:00 for practice.
  • Short forward bend sequence + Pranayama + long savasana
  • Slight internal pressure pain at left temple
  • Left side more blocked then right side
Sep 2 Morning
  • Almond oil arrived – started using it
  • Full morning practice + pranayama
  • Slight internal pressure pain at left temple at beginning of practice, then more subtly present in Prayaname practice.
  • Left more blocked then right
  • Some effort requires to sustain full pranayama practice.
  • Presence OK
Sep 2 Evening
  • Shakuhachi + short standing sequence + pranayama
  • Usual practice – usual qualities.
Sep 3 Morning
  • Started practicing late – had to cut the practice short as I felt Andreea’s presence, she was silent bu needed to make food – turned out I was right so …
  • Shakuhachi + full standing sequence +Pranayama
  • Nicer then usual Pranayama practice – better flow in both sides (almond oil?)
  • Smoother beginnings of exhales with better sustain (felt invited to approach 20 second exhale again).
Evening
  • No practice, dropped down and fell asleep watching a movie
Sep 4 Morning
  • Full practice + pranayama
  • Left way more blocked then right
  • Disturbed presence
Evening
  • No practice

I’m headed into a week of disturbance – including 4 or 5 days away from home:

Date Time Observations
Sep 5 Morning
  • Shakuhachi + pranayama practice (no asana)
  • Disturbed pranayama practice – I may have skipped a step in the practice – not sure
  • Left blocked compared to right
Sep 6 Morning
  • Visited with death yesterday – returned home late an night
  • Full standing sequence + Pranayama
  • Nice pranayama practice – peaceful
  • Left blocked compared to right – but slightly better then usual flow
Evening
  • Much fear.
  • Forward bends practice – seated and standing.
  • Pranayama – nice, present (despite noise from outside).
  • Low endurance – had to find support from within towards end of practice.
  • Left more blocked then right.
Sep 7 Morning
  • Forward bends practice – seated and standing.
  • Pranayama – nothing to note
  • Left more blocked then right – today there’s congestion
Evening
  • Lousy, disturbed practice
  • Very blocked left nostril
Sep 8 Morning
  • Day of travels today – so a bit on the clock
  • Nice pranayama – the usual left blockage.
Sep 9 Morning
  • 10-0-15-0 x 24 ujjayi breathing practice + counter postres + savasana
Sep 10 Morning
  • A constricted body – left soulder accumulating tension and sensitivity
  • Did the morning pranayama practice without the crown formula.
  • Counter postures + savasana
Sep 11 Morning
  • A short meditation (no asana and no pranayama)

Back from travels – looking forward to much less movement:

Date Time Observations
Sep 12 Morning
  • Shakuhachi + short standing sequence + pranayama + meditation
  • OK presence
  • Less difference (though still there) between left and right
Evening
  • Shakuhachi + short standing sequence + pranayama
  • First time practicing the modified evening practice – which was surprisingly accessible (first time in a many weeks since I’ve moved to a 20 second exhale).
  • Absolutely no inclination towards staying for a short meditation – there was no rush to finish the practice either – just finished, lay on my back for a little counter-posture and the practice was over.
Sep 13 Morning
  • Nice standing sequence + pranayana + short meditation
  • Much better then usual left nostril flow – even better then right side.
  • Difficulty sustaining crown practice – exhale required effort and then inhale was pushing to go
Evening
  • Nice practice + pranayama + meditation
  • Surpisingly pleasant pranayama – it’s been a while since I have been reminded of the direct effect of presence on the ability to sustain a quality exhale – when there is good stead presence – exhale takes on new level of refinment and feels like it can go on forever. This also led to an experience of a meditational journey quality of a long exhale – counting seems to become clear and continuous – and there is a sensation of physical elation. Nice lead into meditation.
  • Nostril seem to be in a similar state.
Sep 14 Morning
  • a few forward bends + Pranayama + creative savasana (creative things on my demanded a space to manifest and I obliged them).
  • Left nostril flow better then right nostril flow
  • Presence poor – things on my mind struggling for stage time – but practice OK
Afternoon
  • Just pranayama – at a surprising time
Sep 15 Morning
  • A complete asana practice + pranayama + short meditation
  • The first complete asana practice since returning home – it was a nice practice but it also exposed weakness – still not fully collected. Right knee in warrior pose acted up – hasn’t happened in a long time.
  • Nice pranayama – left and right fairly balanced
Sep 16 Morning
  • Pretty much the same as the previous morning.
  • Left and right fairly balanced – right slighly better.
Sep 17
  • No practice
Sep 18 Morning
  • Tired and heavy – short standing sequence + savasana + pranayama.
  • I didn’t feel I could make the transition from savasana to sitting – but I did.
  • Pranayama was soft and subtle.
  • I drifted off in the first sequence and ended up doing 8 breaths instead of 6 – so I stuck with 8 breaths for the entire sequence.
  • Overall the flow throgh nostrils felt lesser after the practice then it did before.
Sep 19 Morning
  • Again tired and heavy and also stiff – short standing sequence + long savasana with a “body-scan” meditation + pranayama.
  • Pranayama was nice and subtle … refined despite the heaviness (or because of it?).
  • Again overall flow through nostrils felt lesser after the practice then it did before.
  • I am not feeling a well – but the pranayama practice left “me” feeling “apart from” my feelings.
Sep 20 Morning
  • Still stiff, tired and heavy … getting out of bed was hindered.
  • Shakuhachi + Breathing practice + Short Meditation
  • I did 12 rounds of 10.015.0 AU and when I realized that I didn’t have the vitality to carry on with the practice, turned off the metronome and stayed in free Ujjayi breathing around the same ratio.
  • Still not feeling well – today it is less remote and more encompassing.
Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-19

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  • first time reading a book in PDF – scrolling is a bummer compared to flipping pages … locks me into my real world … #
  • a business that overlooked the potential of blogging as a business-tool: http://bit.ly/codTDV #
  • It seems that the only place I can "be" in a community (online and offline) is on it's fringes #
  • marriage is a ha-tha yoga practice #

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Better Business

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Yes there is a way to do better business. Matt Mullenweg of Automatic, the company behind (amongst other things) WordPress.com has announced that Automattic has donated the WordPress trademark – a major assett – to a separate legal entity the WordPress Foundation to ensure that it remains protected and free:

“Automattic might not always be under my influence, so from the beginning I envisioned a structure where for-profit, non-profit, and not-just-for-profit could coexist and balance each other out. It’s important for me to know that WordPress will be protected and that the brand will continue to be a beacon of open source freedom regardless of whether any company is as benevolent as Automattic has been thus far.”

Posted in AltEco, Business, Open Source, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

My Client

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I’ve long wanted to write about and acknowledge the one client (software design) I’ve truly enjoyed working with over the years. Today they inspired me to do it. I have no idea why this video-clip was created nor what game/competition it has been submitted to – but it is a great way to introduce Cyber-Ark:

I first met Cyber-Ark when I was working in a design consulting firm. The first project’s scope was limited (it was, to the best of my knowledge, their first product design process – so they were carefully testing the waters) to a web-client of one of their core products. Like many software/technology products it’s user experience reflected mostly the product’s internal/technical capabilities rather then a captivating user experience. The design process unveiled a very different product – way beyond what they were expecting. They were very attentive and receptive (they really are great people to work with) – but what amazed me was their brave decision to drastically delay their release schedule to make the time to create an excellent product. It paid off greatly and it’s effects spread throught the company (and we continued to work together with other projects and products).

The design firm has since closed it’s doors yet I’ve had the pleasure of doing additional design projects with Cyber-Ark. I am grateful for the recurring trust they have demonstrated in choosing to work with me and accommodating my approach, circumstances and wishes (which are not very conventional).

Though I generally consider my career to have ended 4 years ago, the crown of my career was the last project I did with Cyber-Ark (some months ago). It was the purest design process I have performed. They came to me with a core idea they wanted to develop into a design concept. The objective was to develop the core idea into something that could be communicated with others inside and outside the company – to collect feedback and make an assessment if the idea warrants further development. There was a time-frame but no deadline and the software development team was not breathing down our neck to deliver something they could create by yesterday. It was a patient and intriguing movement from an abstract thought into a potential product.

Mostly I look back at my career with doubts and questions. Most of my career I encountered debilitating mediocrity that wore me down and eventually out. I don’t know if it’s just Israeli hi-tech or if it is a general quality of hi-tech companies – but I didn’t enjoy my work – especially during the design (and final) phase of my career – most projects ended up feeling like missed opportunities. Cyber-Ark’s team, management and ultimately (selling!) products are the one (and only) confirmation I have (and  need) that I was doing something right and that quality can prevail in business.

This is great opportunity for me to acknowledge and thank the people at Cyber-Ark that trusted me and confirmed that I was doing something right. Thank you friends.

Posted in Business, Expanding, inside, outside, Quality | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-05

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How to be Alone

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Fantastic video by Tanya Davis brought to my attention by Grant who constantly decorates my RSS reader with inspiring bits of beauty.

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