Wednesday, May 13, 2015

need want have

Things I consider integral to life as I like to live it: fresh food, sharing, laughter, music, movement, creativity. Give me these outlets and I am as happy anywhere in Provence or elsewhere.

You may need more than that, or none of it all. Your list, likely, looks quite different, but we all seem to need certain things to feel in love with life, and ourselves in it. We all have ideals that create the perfect circumstances for our existence, and we create them wherever we are living to offer a sense of comfortable familiarity. Some of us need routine and stability, some need to feel productive, challenged, purposeful, others need silence while still others thrive in chaos. We have specific hours that we want to devote to sleep, to work, to play. We have scenarios in which we claim to function at our most fine tuned, and though we can adapt to adventure, excitement, new ness, and change at varying degrees of steadiness, for the most part we keep a short list of essentials that keeps our heads and hearts from spiraling too far outside of how we choose to live.

And it is a choice. What we take in from our surroundings, what we offer back to it, how we live in harmony with our environment and ourselves by how we adapt is a choice. On my very first day in Marseille, I--though seemingly unconsciously--began to create my ideal circumstances; but in time they, again, seemingly unconsciously, began to take new shapes, rearrange themselves, almost became diluted in their specific identity and instead became more sensational. That whole statement seems diluted, stay with me....

But pause with me for a minute too. Because I should note that in the same way that my ideal environment to be my greatest self in shimmied its way around Europe, so has this very piece of writing. I started this bit early on in Marseille, and revisited it after some travelling, some conversations, a couple of tipiffany's and eventually wrote in capslocks FINISH AT HOME. I wanted to test something that I was learning through the writing of this: it is more of an emotional climate in which we flourish, and the physical mediums, the more descript details of our list of essentials has a leniency to it. In other words, not only do we choose what we "need," we choose to see rather, what it is we get from such needs--we see the product of our physical space show up in our emotional well being.

So the list of things I "need" that began this post is notably non-descript. That is because it can be adapted to whatever place I am calling home for however long. Fresh food here looks a lot different than the organic markets on every corner within five minutes walking from my French home. Fresh food itself can sometimes mean to me that it is grown in soil close enough for me to touch, other times, it means an apple without a Washington sticker and coat of wax on it--both ideals create a harmonious reaction in me towards food and my relationship with it; both nourish my body and my moral vote to eat organically and healthily. That said, the same reaction can come from eating a bag of licorice allsorts from a touristy pirate candy shop because in that moment, its soul food. Similarly movement once meant that I needed to run every morning and now it means that I love to practice every day--and that some days practice means a five minute child's pose or a couple of handstands on the beach, or just pausing for a minute to notice and lengthen my breath. And then comes the realization that none of these needs are actually needs at all, but things we have responded well too and have an ingrained desire for that elicits, again, that positive emotional response that in turn allows us to vibrate at our highest frequency; be the raddest us we can be. But if these circumstances are so flexible, and if desires can change as we discover alternative ways of bettering ourselves or realize something doesn't serve us as well as the next thing, then comes the opportunity to really learn that everything you need you already have.

Because everything already exists within you.

Its a lesson, in this material world, where we can, truly have everything we want, and how we throw around the term "I need" as casually as we say "I love you," that we learn and relearn. We know that it does not take escaping from or to another city to get away or start over, earning more money, being able to stand on your head or swim in the sea, its not the eight hours of sleep or coffee in your cup in the morning. You may want these things, but you do not need them. If they make you happy, inspire you, get your ass out of bed, keep that fire burning in your heart then do them. But know that it is you stoking the flames.

Those emotional responses to whatever your ideal situation is are vibrational reminders of how you are in control if, if of anything at all, how you respond to the world around you--what you are willing to see and receive. When we give ourselves the opportunity to notice our reactions, we see that the positive are the same as the negative, that neither is truly related to something not fitting into our ideals, but ourselves not able to move beyond them. That person you hope to be when all the stars are in line and your favourite song is playing and you have time to paint in your dream house while wearing your lucky socks--that person already exists. Tucked right underneath all the attachment to perfect circumstance, place, and time.

Now, finishing off this piece from the floor of my paint splattered goddess lair, thinking of that floral rug in my home sweet Marseille, I'm more sure that our ideal circumstances are created more in full from the very centre of our being than they are the extremities of the world around us, We respond to places. We respond to people. To ideas. To excitement, fear, curiosity, comfort, love. We are malleable beings, and it is only when you are the moulder, listening and believing that you have all that you "need", that you grow in the way that you want within change. You continue to create yourself--or simply be yourself--in response to who you already are. The greatest response then, is self love. Love on. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Heart space

It is not the finality
of love
that swells inside
of you,
suffocating your heart---

it is
the intoxicating realization
of the capacity of your heart
to feel.


Its over, the grand French adventure. And my heart is caught up in my esophagus and sometimes I can barely breathe--either for not wanting it to have ended, to be back there with it lasting and lasting.... or realizing all that it has been and steeping in that.

To be honest with you, I have hardly been steeping. Its more like wallowing. Wallowing and missing and longing for, mourning even. Yet France hasn't died. Nor has the me that was there. So what am I mourning?

The only answer I have to that is space.

I did not go to do anything other than write while pantsless and smoking cigarettes. You know this. There were no grand intentions beyond eating, beyond experience, beyond adventure, beyond opportunity; I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for D and R creating the space for me to join them. Long story short, I didn't go to do anything but go.

But it turned into a much longer story than that.

It turned into creating a space for exactly the experience, adventure, opportunities to grow and learn and simply be that I could not have done otherwise. Without a prerogative I was able to be the most present and most grounded I have ever felt in all of my evers. I learned, really learned the power of time, and how to play within its constraints, finding meaning in the playfulness and productivity in the least serious of intentions. I trusted myself to know everything and nothing at all. There, in Marseille, I was steeping: in my values, my questions, my learned answers, my desires, my I- don't- give- a- fuck-ed-ness and my I- care- too- god- damn- much-ed-ness, this rich brew of reactions and thoughtful responses, of learned behaviours being unlearned all on their own. Being in so much space, free from agendas, indebted relationships, nexts and laters, left only time for now; a spaciousness that allowed me to be in a constant moving meditation that now has me remarkably still in trying to, adversely, steep myself within it--absorb it all.

ooh la la. The story continues, and I continue to give myself space for it.

Your turn to be honest with you: when have you given yourself the space you need? Space to absorb your reactions, your questions, the answers you receive, your impulses, your deepest desires, your fears, what attracts you, deters you, and what leaves you apathetic. When was the last time you allowed your mind to clear in a way that creates enough space to truly see outside of your own perspective? In this space seeing, hearing, listening, and when the time is right or you feel so empassioned, speaking to all of the energies inevitably sharing in your space. When did you last feel fully present? Take your time; think about it....


It was the last time you loved a little deeper, a little more intimately, much more fearlessly.

It was a moment when you stopped trying so hard; when you chose not to suffer through or force something that was showing up so wrongly in your body and mind and shifted yourself energetically to soften into what was more true for you.

When you let something have you. Let yourself be swept up and cast into a dizzying vortex of maybes. When you let yourself and your agenda rest in hammock like surrender to possibility.

When you didn't know. When you had no fucking clue. And you loved it.

Whew. Honesty--right?

What I have gotten most out of my time in Marseille is how integral it is to be honest with what you are doing with your precious time here. Is what you are doing making you happy? Someone else? Something greater? Don't do something simply to suffer through, pay your dues, get to the next bit. We don't get to something great by suffering, we get there by loving the work we are doing and creating the space for ourselves to do it. Creating room for all that we experience to percolate, to steep so that we are not left mourning what could have been.

So I am not mourning, I actually am steeping. Allowing all of that permeable space to be saturated with the experiences I may not have intended to have but am more full for having them, and taking them with me into this next space of here and now. A learned behaviour of gifting myself whatever space is needed to remain clear and grounded, happily human.

Just as I am thinking that that trip was not long enough, I know just how god damn much it has been. So much more than just time. So much more than can be allotted to any amount of tangible space, for the space to intimately connect with who you are on a cellular level exists within the limitless capacity of your heart. We have all of the space we need.

Monday, May 4, 2015


When I first started teaching, Xaviar Rudd "Spirit Bird" was my jam. Now, hearing it for the first time in over a year is shocking my heart. It is incredible how the familiar chord sequence of a guitar, a melody that your soul knows by heart, a voice that your heart quivers at can take you back to a space that was so transformative, so shaped by the harmony of all of the song's components with your own life's--your thoughts, actions, intentions, joy and hurt, that you retransform every time after that you hear it again. Right now I am being transformed back into that vulnerable new teacher, thrusted from the life I knew as a cook into one standing in front of students expecting more from me than filling their bellies. I was there to fill their souls.

Or so I thought. The truth is, I couldn't do it from that forum anymore than I could from the kitchen. It wasn't that I could not satisfy my audience, it remains that I cannot satisfy myself.

I love food. I love to cook, to eat. I love to feed people.

I love yoga. I love the practice, it's spirituality. I love to share this with people.

But I get stuck in both. Lost in the vortex that is our desire to define ourselves by something, all the while knowing that while you can love something, it doesn't need be your life's work; it does not even need to be a definitive part of you.

{insert quote at random}
there is only one you in all time. This expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. -Martha Graham

We are all made up of so and so many talents--unique bits of business that come to define who we are, that set us apart as an individual, although similar to so many others, unique in the compilation of characteristics and interests, abilities and offerings. But there always seems to be that one detail, that something special that allows you to reach out, move even, so many others, at once connecting to them and your sense of self. That detail that is so satiating, so unnervingly true to the being you are being here that you catch more than a glimpse of purpose.

Purpose. Heavy word. It is what most of us are seeking, what many philosophize about. Easily generalized, we can insist we are here to love, to pass on wisdom, genetics, platforms to build upon and shape the future. We are meant to grow in integrity, to affect and effect others, to keep this planet populated with our species and our intellect. But all of that is so goddamned broad. I'm not going to get too specific here, but I am asking you to do so for yourself.

What are you here for? Not you human being you, but you you. You as you were created in all of your uniqueness. You in your individual way of understanding, experiencing, and making an offering to this life; your life. In what format, what expression do you feel like you are most authentic, most stripped down to your bare bones real, most generous of heart mind and soul, most willing to give and give up, most terrified but willing to do it anyways? From what medium do you sing at the top of your vibrating lungs? That's what you are here for.

To vibrate. At your highest frequency so that what you have to offer permeates the waves of what everyone else is offering up into this existence. We fuel each other, receiving humbly the offerings of others, and needing them to receive our humble offering; within this exchange is what keeps all of us energetically thriving, willing to continue to give and acknowledge the gifts of others. But again, I ask, what is your gift?

Whatever it is embrace it. Have humility, yes, of course; see that others may have the same gift but do not allow that to enforce a need to compete. Instead, embrace your radness not as being masterful or superior at something, but as an honest acceptance of your offering. As something that offers you a sense of purpose. Your voice. 

Rudd's voice is his voice, literally. Lyrics, instrumentation, the ability to honor the emotional attachment to music that people feel and use the resonation of that to connect to the rest of us is his purpose. Mine is not in the kitchen or the studio. It is here. Writing.

Find your voice. And use it. Fucking loudly.

and thank you for reading.