New Year, Yoga and Writing

This year I have avoided the usual obsession with new year’s resolutions versus intentions and turning over new leaves, etc. Usually I get excited to start new habits, make all kinds of exciting changes and feel like I’m going to accomplish all these goals, then, like most people, run out of steam and keep very little going or follow through.

A while ago, as a way to look at the new year differently, I started picking words for the year. Last year was “Abundance”. It really turned into a year of abundance, which required patience and trust because abundance doesn’t just pour into your life on day one or month one or two! This year the first word I came up with was “AWESOME”. Then I picked two other words, “Quiet” and “Concentration” as intentions/motivation to continue things I’m already doing, especially my yoga practice.

My yoga practice has been the one thing I’ve kept up regularly for the last 3 and a half years. I already wrote two very long disorganized posts about it and realized I do want to write about it, but I need it to be organized and as usual, much shorter.

So this year, to add to my 6-7 times weekly 25-40 minute home yoga practice, I decided to link yoga with writing, as my intuition was that the two will go together well.

So this post is just a short post about my new year’s intention to link my yoga with writing. Since the new year, I have read a bunch of blog posts about different aspects of yoga, found some books, and started writing about my yoga practice.

Yesterday I wrote a long draft for a post on this blog, journaled a bunch before doing yoga, and then attempted to write in my journal a little while doing yoga and filled a page after my daily yoga in the evening. I decided to try to write immediately after doing yoga at least 3 times a week.

It’s going to be an experiment to see what comes up that I feel like writing about and how I am thinking about my practice, or what comes up specifically in any sequences or poses or other things that come up that may have little to do with yoga or seem to have little to do with it.

The words “Quiet” and “Concentration” can be connected to my writing and yoga. Sometimes doing yoga on my own is for the goal of getting quiet and working on disciplining the mind and body and learning how to be able to really focus and concentrate, which is definitely challenging with an undisciplined disorganized and full ADHD mind. I also associate these concepts with a story that I read a few years ago with my daughter that we’ve read several times and is one of both her and my favorite stories,  “The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar”, by Roal Dahl. It’s written long ago but the basic concepts are very universal and the story is about the use and misuse of yoga/training the mind. It’s a great transformation story in the category of stories like A Christmas Carol and the movie Groundhog Day. A selfish self involved character full of flaws, who goes through a spiritual transformation and becomes an enlightened evolved person who gives of themselves to the world, very uplifting. Everyone loves a sinner to “saint” type of story!

Sometimes getting quiet while doing yoga involves just noticing how not quiet my mind is and how distracted I am or how I am focused on what the next yoga pose will be or getting over with each pose. The challenge of concentration involves a lot of mindfulness/DBT “Radical Acceptance”.

Other topics I’d like to write about that go with yoga/writing are:

-how I got going with my home practice after 7 year hiatus of not doing yoga

-what my home yoga practice actually involves and how I learned to sequence from an intuitive approach in the moment

-the role of my yoga “coach” and teacher Liza in helping me learn about the physical, mental, and spiritual practice and deepen my practice

-yoga in everyday life and ways to use yoga to live life from a more accepting and moment to moment awareness

-yoga and “failure”

-the yoga of speech

-my specific challenges with my writing process

-yoga and ADHD and other issues like anxiety

 

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The Mid Life Crisis, Continued. Movies

There have been great movies made about people having a mid life crisis. Too many are about men experiencing one: “American Beauty”, “Lost in Translation”, “Manhattan”, etc.

Are there any good movies about women or other gender identified people having a good old fashioned mid life crisis? Woody Allen made one, “Another Woman”, (1988). It’s a great def fpiction of a woman going through all the aspects of a mid life crisis. There’s the idea of having a sudden break of time, where you’re not doing everything as usual, in this case a sabbatical, then the way things can suddenly appear different and give you a different view of yourself, noticing other people’s perceptions of you not matching your own, the typical suddenly looking at a long marriage and seeing it and yourself and your partner differently. Noticing someone else and it having a big effect on your own self identity and concept of who you are. Big changes happening as a result, some that you don’t engage in as a choice. I found the movie very compelling even when I wasn’t viewing it as a mid life crisis movie.

I can’t really think of or find many movies about women having a mid life crisis. The Huffington Post dug up movies that will make you feel better about your mid life crisis, with women as the protagonist, “Enough Said”, “It’s Complicated”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, “Kramer vs. Kramer”. I draw the line at that one. Just because Meryl Streep is in the movie does not mean it’s a genuine mid life crisis movie. Yes, it has a lot of the ingredients, and she is the character that’s going through a crisis of identity, but she is just too young to make it convincing to me. It feels like she is questioning her life and choices, but it doesn’t have the elements of urgency having to do with a sense of the life span. It’s more like, she’s still young and wants to rewrite her story, but it isn’t that she wakes up and looks back on a long life with many choices and all the other complicated elements of a mid life crisis.

This is movie land, so all the movies you could dig up on this topic are full of the usual drama. There has to be a lot of extreme stuff going on on the outside to portray the big conflicts of mid life that go on inside the character.

In real life, it isn’t always about affairs, divorce, affairs, losing one’s mind, affairs, falling in love with someone really young to gain back one’s youth.

The title “In Search of Lost Time” sums it up well. I haven’t read the book, so it’s the title that appeals to me.

To be continued…

The New Mid Life Crisis

What is a mid life crisis? Everyone thinks of some middle aged guy with a receding hairline in a red Porsche having an affair with a 20 year old when they here the phrase.

Well, we’ve come a long way baby, since those backwards days. Now your gender doesn’t matter, it’s age that does. It doesn’t have to be about feeling physically past your prime either.

Maybe being 40-45 used to be when people had this “syndrome”. Now it could happen to you in your late 30’s, early to late 40’s or 50’s. Whatever feels mid life to you.

You don’t have to leave your spouse or disappear or find a new identity. You don’t have to spend tons of money on something stupid that is supposed to represent your last threads of holding on to your youth.

What is a mid life crisis? My definition is, you reach an age in your life, where you start looking back on your life, and wondering, sometimes regretting, sometimes wishing, sometimes scared to death. Usually it sinks in that you have less days ahead of you than behind you (I just heard that one, and it shook me). Even if you think you may live to 100, you have an equal number of days ahead of you than behind you, or you feel the weight of whatever many years are behind you and the time ahead of you looms as time you don’t want to waste, time you want to do something that makes you feel alive.

If you’re even thinking in terms of days you’ve spent that are over and days you have got left, you’re probably in the land of the Mid Life Crisis.

So it starts or is defined by a sense of urgency, thinking about your life as limited, ta a thinking about your death and what you did, could have done, could be doing, could do, might miss forever if you don’t do it now.

The actions that go with this self conception, the “red Porsche”, can take many forms. It may seem mild to some, getting a tattoo, changing your hair, going on a trip, taking trapeze or tango lessons, sky diving or bigger things, moving, spending a lot of money on something, whether a house, a car, a swimming pool, a horse, or picking some collection of books to read you never were interested in before. Its could be crazier, starting a drug habit, doing stuff that you always thought were “against the rules”…

There are other types of actions that are not so “bucket list” like things. Changing careers, suddenly realizing you want to run a bed and breakfast instead of working in a big city. Taking up some creative activity nobody thought you were interested in.

What do you think of when you think of Mid Life Crisis? What have you done or seen others do? To be continued…

Day 2 of Writing Class: List

These are the choices:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish
  • Things You’re Good At

I wrote a whole draft of a list of Things I’ve Learned, but I decided to do something different with the same topic.

Things I’ve Learned about My “Writer” Identity:

  1. I’ve been hiding in the writer “closet” for years, at least 30 years.
  2. I was struggling with this beast back in 1985 in my writer’s journal for an English Creative Writing class in high school.
  3. It’s always been, “What do I write about?”, “What do I have to say that people will want to read?”, having this urge to write but not having anything to write or write about, least of all fiction.
  4. I try in every way possible to destroy my thinking of myself as a writer or at least place obstacles in my pat. I left the 1985 writers journal on a subway two weeks ago. I was terribly upset and angry at myself. I had lost a big clue to who I was, not as a teenager, but as a budding writer back in 1985. When I first discovered that journal in the spring, I felt like I had been given a time capsule to this person that had been me, at least, what she wrote and how she thought about writing. I found it at this point where I had started writing a lot more again, so it seemed so just right that it fell into my lap.
  5. Did I lose that journal to tell myself that I can’t write or to make things hard for me, did I lose that writer in me, or that key into my mind as a 17 year old, or, did I lose that journal because I don’t need it and have already incorporated that writer inside me and need to focus on what I am writing now or my writing process? the Maybe both are true. The reason I was carelessly carrying around this old green covered Meade notebook was that I brought it to my therapy session that morning to show my therapist. This is a new therapist I am working with after several years hiatus from therapy. One main focus of my therapy is my struggle to be ok with being a writer and with my writing. It seemed even more of a message from the universe that the last event with that journal was for that very purpose. I texted my therapist about it right after I lost it. I seemed to need for him to know that he was the last person to see it and hear it.
  6. The more I write, the more I delete my writing and sometimes edit it but no longer just look at a first draft as finished. I used to write posts for this blog and fling them out there. Now even for the blog, I write many drafts I never post.
  7. I started writing something new in the spring that was a new kind of writing and a new sort of genre I tried out, some kind of  personal narrative. I did not know until then how much my work as an art therapist from the past especially was going into my writing. The other thing I discovered was writing and my daughter, writing about being her mother and writing with her. I already considered her a good writer back when she got excited by writing in second grade.
  8. The whole writing issue, beast or monster is intricately connected with my  GraphicNovel, started in 2000, which is a sort of memoir of the mind. This graphic novel has been torturing me for the past 16 years, most of which have been “writers block” years. It was started with the goal of publishing it; that goal has always been there despite my success in squashing it.
  9. My writing and my art have been coexisting with my Graphic Novel illness. I only realized it with writing recently when I saw that the more I write the more likely I am to get back to the graphic novel, and that whatever I’m writing somehow seems to be an act of avoiding working on the graphic novel, but sometimes seems to get me back to it. The art coexisting has been going on since the beginning. This last project involving cartoons, Bathroom Art Only, is the first series of work where my art directly connected to the graphic novel and sort of spilled into it and the art work threw me back into it after a long block. Then the door closed a few months until my writing flung me back at it. At other times, my art has seemed to focus on being as different and far away from the graphic novel as possible, as if it is trying to keep me away from it.
  10. The graphic novel has become a strange realization of my personal “Pictures and Words” struggle. More on that another time. End of list!

 

No Surprise: I said organizized!

I am not surprised to say that I just had to look up my own post to figure out the blog task for Wednesday. It was to post an image, and yesterday was Day Off, so I didn’t follow my own schedule, but at least I am disorganized in a timely manner!

I’m not sure where the word “organizized” came from. I think I made it up a long time ago, but, having a disorganized memory recall, I could be making that up.

Ok, as usual, just by thinking about one word, I find out crazy things in the middle of blogging. (Side note: I’m actually glad there was no internet when I was in high school and college. My papers would be so off topic and meandering, even more than they were, and I wouldn’t have been able to get to the point at all, and would have taken hours looking up irrelevant relevant stuff and hours trying to make the paper make sense. Kudos to the people/students in school in 2016 trying to organize anything.)

The word “organizized” has a hashtag on Twitter. Not sure if that means it’s now a word. Thank you to Eric Thornton for this tweet:

One of these days I’m going to get organizized, which is a Cherokee word meaning “mauled to death by gerbils”.

And of course I got distracted by looking into Eric Thornton on Twitter. Turns out he has a great sense of humor. For example:

Police are just people, though that’s an impression they’ve labored to their very utmost to eradicate.

Here’s something brilliant from his Tumblr explaining the writing process that totally makes sense:

Step One: This is awesome!

Step Two: This is shit!

Step Three: This is salvageable!

Step Four: I don’t know what this is, but maybe someone else will!

Repeat until you get a real job.

ooh. I just found a irrelevant/slightly relevant (semi-relevant would be an obvious choice.. Anyway I will reblog this blog as it shows DeNiro In Taxi Driver, a great film, using the word “organizized”…

As I am citing Eric Thornton, I will give the link to his Tumblr post I quoted and his Twitter. Click on the link to get there. and thank you Eric Thornton for finally given an origin to “organizized”!

Eric Thornton, Tumblr Post

Here is his Twitter: Eric Thornton Twitter

Happy Kwanzaa and Do you know anything about it?

Here comes Kwanzaa! Starting today with the principle of Unity, “Umoja”

No I do not know much about it and would like to learn more about it. Some things I did not know that I learned from history.com:

It was founded in 1967.

A child lights each candle  in the evening.

Other information is in this article:

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history

Here is the info on the candles and colors. The bllack middle one is lit first and then the red, then green. The kinara is the candle holder.

In the above article the ritual is outlined…

Poem: I Will Not Be Reasonable

I don’t like

When people say,

“Everything happens for a reason.”

I will not be reasonable. Yes, I won’t.

I don’t want to miss

the seven impossible things before breakfast.

Or the disappearance of the missing socks

that will not stay with their twins.

Those socks are not reasonable. Yes, I won’t be too.

I will put on my shirt backwards inside out

And wear a gold fancy dress to coffee.

Yes, I will disturb

The state of Things.

I will eat cupcakes for breakfast.

I will not be reasonable. Yes, I won’t

I will put my elbows on the table

And eat my fork, knife and spoon.

I will drop stitches, forget to cross my t’s

I will forget my pleases.

I will stand on my head and walk on my nose,

And start my sentences with and.

I will ride my purple unicorn

All over your reasonable explanations.

I will mess up your reasons one by one

And give them back to you glued to the

Outside of your Box so you have to peek out and take them back;

I don’t care if they shrank and turned pink in the wash.

Now we can both say seven impossible things

to each other

Before every meal.

What does not kill you makes you stronger? True or False

Did this one in way fewer sentences:

I have a bigger problem with this one as Nietzche said it, so for a long time I thought it was great; now I prefer, “Finishing requires a heart of steel.” from Delacroix, which could be applied to the first one, that what does not kill you does NOT make you stronger; what does not kill you, you obviously survive, and sometimes it requires a heart of steel, whatever that is, to keep on surviving. Well no actually. What does not kill you does not shape who you are; what does not kill you does not kill you, meaning you survived and now are faced with PTSD and healing from it, as being almost killed, whether emotionally or physically or mentally or all of them, is a traumatic event. Because it was what it was and you now are still you but what it was almost killed you which is what it is and so, how do you go on anyway, feeling weaker in body, mind and spirit…

20 Creative Quotes on Giving & Gratitude

Great Post!

creativity in motion

20 Creative Quotes on Giving and Gratitude | creativity in motion

The Thanksgiving holiday will soon be here, which encourages me to reflect on & share this collection of new quotes I’ve gathered that embody the act of giving, creating, and gratitude.  These musings of thankfulness, graciousness & the power of art are wonderful to remember no matter the time of year!  I believe this lens can also help offer some creative counteraction to fear, judgement, and shame during times of distress, suffering, and sorrow.

What creative quotes or practices help ground you in gratefulness & generosity?

  • The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche
  • All art arises out of gratitude, a deep pervasive feeling that you are glad something exists outside yourself, that something can complete you.  ~Dorothy Koppelman
  • I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir.  ~Vincent van Gogh
  • Artists are among the most generous…

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