Art fairyAuthentically, I share this practice crust. My fairy art godmother for 2013.

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In 2012, I listened  to a webcast led by Susan Piver (http://susanpiver.com/), from the Open Heart Project (http://susanpiver.com/open-heart-project/). I have a couple of people in my life I prefer to stay away from (forgiving is on the menu here). As I am on a path of opening my heart and sharing more loving-kindness, it seems to me I live in a real contradiction, a perfect dichotomy of sort. I listened to Susan’s webcast, and wanted to share a few ideas that helped me develop perspective, kindness for myself, acceptance of my weaknesses and limitations, and being open to gradually open my heart to people for whom I do not share anything in common but who are still part of my life.

My question to Susan was:

I am certain many people live confusing situations like mine and I would like to have the dharma (buddhist teachings) approach on this. My feelings towards specific people do not seem aligned with dharma teaching. Or are they?

I learned:

 

  • About the call of the warrior: to always evolve for a better world. Then, we do what we need to do. It is very personal.
  • The loving-kindness practice helps dealing with reality. For myself, and for other people.
  • The choices we make are about being authentic, aiming to pure authenticity.
  • Feeling the feelings open the heart and mind to more wisdom (dealing with guilt for example.)

 

I concluded:

 

  • Whether we forgive or not is not necessarily the point. Even if we forgive, that does not mean we want to share pizza & beer (or heal the relationship).
  • Society conditions us in certain ways (there is nothing more important than family, etc.) but using discernment in the choices we make is an acquired muscle.
  • The social expectation to demonstrate kindness towards family members has appeal to many disciplines and for us to think of ourselves as “a good person”: spirituality, psychology, emotions, social development, etc. In the end, for the simple sake or common sense of living with peace and dignity, someone with an ounce of basic emotional survival instinct (later on learning to pursue real joy), might decide to sever all ties with some family members or friends. We do not even need to be overly influenced by the social dictates. It does not need to be more complicated than this in many instances.
  • Loving-kindness toward oneself and our limitations (in the context of incapacity to forgive) is a starting point.
  • Sometimes, understanding the flaws, weaknesses or hurts of people who have hurt you is a milestone towards forgiving, sometimes not.
  • We human beings are intelligent and have heart, but let’s not forget we are animals too. The Fight or Flight response, instinct, and fundamental NO in the belly towards people we cannot see in paintings are also part of our intuitive life navigating tools to evolve as a human being.
  • Being a warrior also means learning to choose our own course of action. And there is not (most often than not) a prescribed or better way we “should” choose. The basic intention behind any action colors the level of purity (in the sense of a better world) of a choice.

 

We know:

 

  • We do not have more value as a human being than people we do not like. we have qualities and flaws that are different from them.
  • Most of us  commit to sincerely evolve on the path of loving-kindness, and to regularly questioning our intentions, choices. We should always come back rapidly to a point of peace, and work for the long-term so the internal “struggle” eventually becomes a thing of the past.
  • That being kind to oneself is not an open ticket to the path of least resistance or complacency.

 

 

Thank you for reading and openness. It is a work in progress.

IMG_1865_edited-2The gift ornament hangs from the antique chandelier lamp in the dining room, and the Santa, from the camera tripod in the living room.

Solitude is not loneliness. Solitude is a gift in the timespace of our existence. How can one befriend him/herself if not in solitude? How can I, as a human being, get to know myself better if I do not regularly take time with myself to learn, read, reflect on a full life, and my attitudes toward it?

I am lucky. I am an introvert. I am an only child. I do not have family, apart from my dear husband. I re-energize when I am by myself. I like to learn and discover. For me, crowds and parties are so superficial when a deep relationship does not exist with each and everyone of the guests. God whispers in the quietness of one’s heart. I make time to try to open my heart to listen to my intuition.

There is a whole other universe (in fact part of this one) that is to be discovered if we are willing to open our senses and intuition to the invisible realities. The world in which we live is the effect of everything to be discovered in solitude.

The life path I am following offers many opportunities for solitude. I learned a lot through that state, and I will continue to. I have deep gratitude for such circumstances that enable me to fully enjoy the freedom and time for endless discoveries and the  deepening of my quest for the mysteries of our life on this earth.

Thank you my shadows. I do not want to name you, but I recognize you when you are actively at work in my life.  I know I must befriend you, know you better, although I do not yet fully understand why. Probably it has do do with the radical acceptance of who I am in the present moment, the sum total of everything that has influenced me, good or bad, and that I have kept inside myself and carried with me, consciously or unconsciously. From my readings, I learned that there is a positive side to you all, shadows. I also realize I am the one to operate the transmutation from shadow to light.

I tasted the effects of your impacts on my life and did not like it. I have been misjudged and misunderstood so often it has become unfair. I am not a victim though. I have learned many things about myself, thanks to you shadows. I have learned that I was unconsciously living in fear. That because of those fears, I was constantly in a state of trance. This trance brought forward in me behaviors that did not fully reflect in the outside world the truth about my intentions.

Getting to know you well, my shadows, is the work of a lifetime. Getting to know oneself I find is the most adventurous journey. The transmutation to qualities of light, love, kindness and peace is my daily duty and commitment. It is not easy all the time.

Thank you for accepting to reaveal yourselves to me, and to morph into love gems as I gain, over time, the discipline and courage to face you, like the fierce warrior I want to become. Facing Truth and Reality, with Radical Acceptance, is what you all thought me my shadows. You can melt away now, and shine light.

Let’s not forget this series is called Letters of gratitude. How could I not have gratitude for lust? I cannot imagine anybody not interested in the call of nature.  I always had the feeling this Lust word had a bad reputation; maybe that is because English for me is a second language, a second culture. It seems to me that libido is an essential part of any healthy grown-up psychological and emotional landscape. In some cases, the emotions are left out (ok, many cases). I never understood why we human beings tend to give more importance to the excessively negative use of realities as opposed to the joyful aspect they bring to life when experienced with balance, honesty and love.

I cannot remember being alive and not having experienced lust. Even as a young child in hospital, I would reduce the adults around me to the size of a Barbie doll and strip them naked in my imagination. This certainly was a perfect example of a power trip. The learning of power we can have over others.

My childhood fantasies were filled with a lot of scenarios cradling my nights. At twelve years old, I was crying at night, envisioning the certainly numerous upcoming troubles and heartaches of dating I would have to go through to finally be able to choose a life partner. I understood early on that lust is an essential component of the growing up process. It was a big aha moment when I realized my desire for another was reason enough to honor my experience, to get to know myself better as opposed to align my choices and behaviors to social and religious impositions.

Lust helped me break barriers and invisible veils, dig deeper within myself to get to know myself better, identify my dreams, my own nature, my strengths and weaknesses, my expectations over others and life. When curiosity & joy have met and been fed, the slate is clean to address more serious considerations and choices. Lust is an emotion that can grab you viscerally. It is the call for joy, enthusiasm, appreciation for living and expressing in the moment. I am grateful to have welcomed the calls of lust, and experienced its gifts with all my senses. The legacy is a self-generating and permanent joy, deep inside myself, that nobody can steal. The assurance that this world is tremendously inviting, because it is never fully experienced.  Lust as freedom calling me to become who I really am with so many choices in this buffet called life. And ultimately, the path to learn to love ad infinitum, really.

I found it difficult to cut words here and there and come up with my own poetry. In the end, it is satisfying. Done with Pan Pastels, acrylics, ephemera.

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