When Less is More…

I’m just starting to get back onto my feet after being forced into complete rest… and it’s given my quite a lot of time on my hands to idle muse… It slowly dawned on me just after the last lunar eclipse that the first twinges of the pain that was going to lay me up began way back in April 2014… I ignored it at that point and didn’t really think much of it… with hindsight, maybe that is when I should have taken some rest voluntarily… as from that point, one way or another, series of events seemed to conspire to keep me desk bound rather than out and about on the hoof…

I pondered more over the recent blood moon and started thinking … On April 15, 2014, there was a total lunar eclipse… the first of four consecutive total eclipses in a series, a second one took place on October 8, 2014, third one on April 4, 2015 and the remaining one took place on September 27, 2015…

It’s with a wry smile that I now note that each of these dates in one way or another, tied in to removing certain things in my life that had turned rotten… times of cutting ties and connections… movement away from dead weights and things that had been dragging me down…

Right through that, most of that period, life felt to be a Sisyphean task… right up until a couple of months ago when the pain in my back grew so fierce and the muscles went into intense spasm every time that I moved, that I had no other option than to give in and lie down… to rest up… calm the pain and let it heal…

I don’t like being still… I don’t like being indoors… so the frustration and the thought of being laid up indefinitely almost had me in tears… I started to wonder how I would cope with it… and decided to turn it to my advantage and actually use the time to organise the chaos that has sprung up all around me since I started playing around with art just over 3 years ago…

Also, there’s a secret project that I’m working on, that I realised I had a few gaps in my knowledge as to how to turn that into a reality, so this would be a good time to learn some new tricks…

Now that brought me some laughter as often people suggest to me that I should make a deck and I say… yeah… maybe… if I get an idea… and then I’ll wander off and scratch my head and birth ideas and then kill them off…

Going through my artwork over the last year, I have all sorts of varied things going on but as I laid everything out… I started to notice something… there within all my experimental pieces was a consistent flow of pieces in encaustic wax… piece after piece that I’d made… each one made when I had something other on my mind… a problem to solve or a thought to resolve… an unease that needed soothing… idle meditations… all sitting in a pile…

I counted them up… there were 60 of them… the by-products of struggling with Sisyphean tasks… and somewhere in my head a little valve lit up… and that was the birth of The Waxing Oracle

So…I pull a card… yes! very funny! given I’m spending a lot of time sitting on ice of late… but then sitting frozen gives plenty of time to look for the patterns emerging…

I’m going to meditate on that further and consider the paradox of less effort yielding more results…

Though maybe I already know the answer…

As a good friend of mine recently said…

When you look for your lost pen, it’s always under your bum!

😉

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Pause for Reflection…

Monkey mind explosion

Indulge me if you will, whilst I tell you about what turned out to be the last time that I would practice the Buddhist walking meditation…

I can’t recall the exact date, but I do remember the location and that it was a dreary grey sort of day and I was rather nonplussed by that as it was early Autumn and in the weeks before, I’d imagined that I would be outside standing in that last gasp of Summer sun that watches the leaves throw out a swan song of colours before they depart… But instead… it was drab and almost on the brink of drizzle…

I was stood in a court yard behind an Abbey with a group of people… This was supposed to be a day retreat… yet my head was thumping… early afternoon and stranded for a few more hours before I could just drive home and I was weary… weary from the noise of people talking all morning… blah blah blah… I craved silence but instead I seemed to be surrounded by a chorus of dippy hippy clap trap and chants which basically sounded like – I art more spiritual than thou…

I’m an irascible old bitch at the best of times… but put me in a room full of people, who want to talk talk talk about how good they are at meditating… oh! I can do a whole hour now! every day! Oh really… I’ve built up to 90 minutes now… morning and evening… Yes lovely… well I have these mala beads handcrafted and fashioned from the sweat of the dali lama that was collected by hand maidens during… ok… i’m exaggerating now… but maybe not quite as much as you might think… But you get the picture… Trapped in a room that seemed to have turned in to a pissing contest and a game of metaphysical top trumps… and I stifled my laughter as it struck me just how competitive people are in supposedly non-competitive pastimes…

So… in the afternoon, I was glad to be outside, despite the imminent threat of rain… but then my heart sank…

We are going to do the Buddhist walking meditation…

Oh…no… Not again! I’d done it many times… I hated it… I hated it more each time I did it… That forced slowness… Yeah… I know… I know… it’s supposed to make you feel fully focused in the present… to rein in the monkey mind that likes to swing from branch to branch…

But every single time, I’d tried this practice… It drove me nuts…

FUCK!!! It made me over present!!! Aware of every irritation and annoyance… Monkey mind gibber gabbering… I want to walk faster… is that person going to change direction or will they walk into me… I wonder what’s for tea… I wish I hadn’t worn this bra today… I don’t even like this bra… I don’t know why I haven’t thrown it away… why am I keeping it… I wonder what time it is… I feel a bit thirsty… oh… my nose itches… damn… my pants are riding up my ass… how long does this go on for… why am I so grumpy… am I grumpy… what am I doing here… you’ve come to relax… hahahahaha… shhhhhhhh….. you’re not supposed to laugh in yoga… shhhhh….. stop it…. stop it…. no laughing…. not even when someone farts during salute to the sun… no… serene face… no sniggers… pretend you didn’t hear it…ha!!! but I can smell it… hahahahaha!!! stop it!!! stop it!!!! you’re rubbish at this!!!

And every time… I would think… OK… maybe you’ll crack this next time…

So… stood in the court yard… feeling heavy of heart and a head filled with a resigned silent sigh… slowly I placed one foot in front of the other… slow deliberate… s…t…e…p…s…

My peripheral vision filled by what looked like shuffling corpses… and off in the distance… a drone… a droning voice… that supposedly soothing monotone that delivers a guided meditation…

Feel… each… point…of your foot… as it makes contact…with the ground… feel yourself present… feel as you walk… feel your journey… where are you heading… feel…

FUCK!!! This hurts!!! I’m hobbling over god damn cobblestones!!! I’m carrying an old ankle injury that is screaming STOP IT!!! STOP!!!! PAIN!!!! LISTEN TO THE PAIN!!! AND STANDSTILL!!!

I stopped… motionless…

Behind me the voice drifted on… keep moving on your journey… keep walking…slowly…s…l…o…w…

Oh! Piss off!! I remained perfectly still and looked down… a whole trestle full of plant pots and seedlings…. green… green… green… I’m sure green has more tones than any other colour… life sprouting all around… ha! plants don’t walk… they grow…

I looked at their leaves… I looked at their textures… I took in the smell…

Keep walking…

Meh… no thanks… I like the view right here…

And then the strangest thing happened…

My mind went quiet… it stilled… it paused… monkey… where have you gone…

Whoosh…. a supernova… thoughts exploded and radiated out in every single direction… simultaneously… all at once… they felt to touch the very edge of the cosmos… a billion thoughts… a cosmic super highway… an extreme sense of knowing and being… but not one single word or memory of what they were…

I felt myself suddenly back in the courtyard… stood on those cobbles and I wiggled my toes and lifted my right foot to circle and rotate and stretch out that right ankle that had spoken to me… I wandered off, away from the group and found a quite bench under a tree to just sit…

And I asked myself… mmm…. what happened there…

Silence…

Then monkey came back…

Karen… you’ve just discovered the sublime joy of opting out…

The deliciousness of NO!

 

 

Musings on Mystereum Mountains… Part 4…

OK… so probably… technically… it’s a pyramid and not a mountain… but I see what I see and I see mountain or to be more exact a man perfectly at one with a mountain. But, the part of the card that always pops for me, is the orange around the neck… and during calm and centered days of deep thought, then I will ruminate upon words such as yoke and union and yoga and where ever those words may take me…

V The Hierophant (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

V The Hierophant (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

But then on other days, my monkey mind don’t swing that way and instead I find myself listening in to imagined conversations, that go a bit like this…

When Buddha met Atlas...

When Buddha met Atlas…

Buddha: Dude… You really need to sort that posture out… you’re gonna put your back out…

(Voice outta nowhere…)

BMAacc.jpg

B: Hey! Back off!! Health & Safety won’t exist for another 2500 years yet… Oh… Namaste ‘n’ all that jazz…

Atlas: You know man… my back does kinda ache…

B: You should try sitting like this…

A: Ha! I can’t sit around all day looking like a lotus! That’s not a good look for a Titan…

B: Ok… scrub the flowers… how about if just between you and me, we call it…a … ‘ seated mountain’..?

A: Mmmmm…. I’m not convinced…

B: Surely it won’t hurt to try?

A: Ok… I’ll try, if you let me try on your robe…

B: Ok… here… now try it.

A: Hey Man you’re right! This feels great! It’s taken such a weight off! At last I can think on other things…

B: Yeah… that’s great. I’m really happy for you, now can I have my robe back?

A: No way man! It’s got the whole of the cosmos resting on it!

B: Well how about you give me something in return?

A: I am… I’m giving you a lesson in non-attachment… you might wanna go and meditate on that…

Tarot in The Land of Mystereum

Charming Coatlicue…

I write regularly for  Soul Path Magazine…This month the focus was on Coatlicue and change…Instead of a spread, I decided to try  a meditation…I invite you to pick up a deck and come sit with me…

Get seated comfortably and hold your deck …

Take a few moments to become aware of your breath and when you feel that it has fallen into a relaxed state, start to shuffle your cards…

And whilst you shuffle, ask yourself…

Why do I want change?

Shuffle for as long as you like… whatever you feel guided to do… Then place down your cards and just write a few words to answer your question… remember… It’s not a test and this is just for you… So whatever you write, it will be the right answer for you…

Now split your deck into two roughly equal halves… wherever the deck naturally wants to part…

Now imagine two snakes and spread your cards to make the shape…

coatlicue2snakesjpg

 

Now call in Coatlicue and ask for her guidance…

Imagine that the snake on the left…

is the old snake that needs to shed its skin…

And on the right… Is the new snake, that has grown…

In your own time pull cards from where you sense they need to come from…

Alternate from left…

to right…

As you pull from the left…ask…

 What do I need to release?

Pull from the right and ask…

 How can I grow to incorporate more of what I desire and deserve into my life?

Charming Coatlicue

 

I  pulled myself a couple of cards from The Barbara Walker Tarot…

 

To read this  in full and more great articles by a host of talented people,

check out Soul Path Magazine

It’s a massive 75 pages this month themed around a mix of Coatlicue and Change…