Friday, March 1, 2013

A Sip of the Eclectic Cool-aid

From time to time I sip from the eclectic cool-aid and post on more avant-garde subjects—or, as KristenLamb dubbed my log line when I took one of her classes on promotion through social media a year ago, speaking from the Mothership

Today is another one of those days.

If you are feeling stuck—take heed, it is kick-in-the-butt time.

Whenever I “feel” stuck, I know it is time to shift my definition of self and reality; time to bust out of some paradigm that is no longer serving me and liberate myself or stretch my identity.

The paradigm I’m speaking of is the accumulation of ideas, built by others before you that you have adopted and functioned under up to now. Every day I read about the changing world of the internet, writing, publishing—like shifting sand that is in constant movement. If we are to stay current, we must be willing to change as well.

When your paradigm is no longer serving you effectively anymore, you may feel “itchy and restless,” and have a desire to break out and become more. That’s the feeling that tells you it is time.

So what are we breaking out of and how do we do it?

I visualize the paradigm as a box in which you have fit yourself. You have been “living” within the constraints of those six sides. While inside that box you have been unaware of the other parts of yourself that are outside, growing 
unrecognized and unacknowledged. And, like a pair of clothes you grow out of, it now limits your movement because it no longer fits you—you have been expanding beyond it but you have not acknowledged that growth.

If you think of that box as a chain that binds you, (I know, I know—I’m throwing lots of metaphors at the wall hoping one will stick) the strongest link on that chain is the one called “fear.” 

That is the biggest hurdle to get through on your way out of the box. 

(I can hear Bob Marley singing Get Up Stand Up with my own title: Break Out Free Up: That would be the 8th song down )

The fastest way out of that fear is meditation—I have mentioned it before, and people have different ideas of what meditation is. My simple explanation on how to do it: find a place free of distractions and empty your mind of the voices—you know the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” (I should be cleaning the house. I should be writing. I should be a better person. I shouldn’t be wasting my time doing nothing. I shouldn’t be listening to this freakin’ California liberal hippie’s advice)—you know: that voice.

It is time you open yourself up, break out, free your spirit so you can sing your song, paint your picture, dance your jig, write your story. Time to shift the definition of yourself and reality—bust the paradigm. 

Think Dr. Who and the Tardis.

You need to know that you are not simply the sum total of your daddy’s religion or your mama’s cooking. You have pieces of yourself that are totally unique to you and you need to find them and unite them back into yourself, letting go of those things that no longer serve you and that continue to hold you back through the grip that fear of change has on you.

Part of this process involves the forgiveness/letting-go mobius strip, a cycle you need to go through—until you can break free and move on.

If I haven’ lost you yet, back to the meditation. 

Now that you have emptied your mind (don’t give up because it hasn’t happened yet, it takes time to wade through those mind voices that keep the doubt and resistance going and it will vary from person to person), you will be ready to listen to that quiet voice that is outside the box, the one that is hard to hear, but never-the-less is there, trying to reveal those other parts of who you are.

Are you still with me? Some have said WTF and have dropped off. But you have chosen to hang in there and see where I’m going with this—good for you.

I could give you all the eclectic cool-aid today, but for the moment, do the above exercise/meditation to be ready for the next step. Otherwise, it will remain half complete and easily dismissible as ineffective. It’s this part of the process that is the bit@h and needs at least a week of practice just to quiet the shoulds, shouldn’ts and fears. For some it will take longer, and if nothing else, you will feel better and more energized.

Until I post the next part, meditate each day-say 15-20 minutes. YES YOU CAN. Even if you lock yourself in the bathroom for 20 minutes, you can spend time with yourself—for yourself. Do this for you. By next week see how many should/shouldn’t mind constructs you have quieted.

Anyone in your past you still haven’t forgiven? You say you can’t? Realize this is not for them, this is for you. You can’t move forward to envision a bright new future while holding onto a dark event from your past.

A quick aside: many of you practice yoga or some other exercise that stretches your body—this is good because what the mind resists, the body can often help open. Yoga and deep tissue massage free up the energy pockets in the body that hold on to stuck energy (acupuncture and acupressure are a few other systems that help release that energy and get it flowing better if you can’t do yoga). Starting from the body first sometimes works to open and release those resistant mind constructs).

Next time in PART 2: Haven't had enough metaphors yet? There will be a bit of web metaphor for you Sci-fi fans of the Matrix coming up.

I guess I haven't lost you yet. Maybe next time.

How do you clear out the mind garbage? Or do you?


Dac said...

Very nice. My meditation is walking. I have a two-mile loop - like Darwin. Sometimes i shorten it.

I can't do the "forgive myself" bit. Others whom I've offended (there are many) may forgive me. I can't forgive myself.

You right about the "letting go" thing. Wish I could - I guess I feel some kind of obligation to finish projects that just aren't working.

I have a sketch of a man in prayer - "Lord, help me to meet this self-imposed and totally unnecessary obligation."

Cora said...

Thanks for commenting and letting me know I am not blowing smoke into the wind. Dac,you can forgive yourself--just give it time. That is a struggle that is worth the effort. Try the meditation to eliminate recriminations for 20 min a day. I promise you it will work if you are persistent.

Walking is great way to do meditation-combining the physical exercise with the mental--easier to let go of the thoughts if you are in nature--our great teacher.

Mike Schulenberg said...

When I first started writing fiction again after not doing it for like 20 years or so, I used to do a meditation kind of thing before every writing session. Mainly because writing fiction then was actually somewhat stressful for me, so meditating was a way of relaxing a little bit before facing the blank screen. But these days it's a little tough to justify 15-20 minutes a day on meditation, so I usually just dive right into the writing when I have a chance.

When I do actually meditate, I use a piece of primitive electronic music from an album recorded in 1975. It's pretty simplistic and repetitive, but somehow I never get tired of listening to it and it creates a vibe that works for me.

Cora said...

I used to have a LP record like that that I used for meditation. It was recorded in the Pyramid at Giza. Sometimes you find a piece of music that falls right in that wavelength that seems to suit your brain and mellow you out--and as you said, you never get tired of it. Nice.

Unknown said...

This was an uplifting and motivating blog! I enjoyed the metaphors and the subtle ideas for helping ourselves. Thanks for sharing.

marta chausée said...

OMG. My mom just sent me an email with photos of our old heroes and heroines and how they look today. If you want to get depressed and feel you're trapped in a box, take a gander. Go to my email address and I'll forward you the photos.

My advice: don't meditate on aging. Grab a joint and listen to Bob Marley (and I don't smoke joints).
Go to a Willie Nelson concert-- he's almost 80 and still performing 300 nights a week, spending 2 hours at a time on his feet, performing on stage. Whatever he's doing, it works. Maybe I should start smoking dope. Is it a form of meditation?

Ellen Gregory said...

Great post, Cora!

I've recently joined a singing group -- kind of a community choir -- and we spend a few minutes on breathing at the beginning of each session. I keep thinking I should do this daily (not sure about 20 minutes).

I do have a Wii Yoga disk I should dig out again. It has meditations on it, which I rather enjoyed. Again, it's hard to justify the time, but that's exactly because my head is spinning with all those voices and it's hard to shut them out.

Yesterday, to shut them down I went for a walk to a cafe with my kindle. That made me feel better. :-)