Friday, July 31, 2009

Creative Every Day's August Theme

Today, Leah over at Creative Every Day announced her August theme: Move.

I always find it so interesting how topics will take over segments of the internet. All of a sudden, for instance, about two weeks ago, everyone was writing about food choices.

Well, now, at least for Leah and I, the thinking is all about the moving. Of your body. Of your goals. Of your life. Go check her out. Join in.

enCouragingBliss: Movement = Bliss, Part 2


Yesterday after I wrote about movement and its importance in our quest to be more present, more mindful, I realized that I'd not said everything I wanted to say. (When will that happen, I wonder?!)

That post grew out of many thoughts coming together suddenly in one specific moment.

The moment that happened was a vital part of the story of the idea.

Every day now, I do a variety of movement work. I usually take a bike ride or walk some time early in the day. I have added arm weights to my daily routine. And, finally, around 2 or 3, I have the Big Sweat. Three days a week, I do very traditional dance work. All the other days, it's kundalini yoga.

Wednesday was a dance day.

I have learned recently about letting go of the concept of dance and dancer and just focusing on how my body wants to move. This is a sideways sort of focus.

You know how at night if you want to see dimmer stars you look at them kinda askance, a bit out of the corner of your eye rather than directly?

That kind of focus. Sideways. Soft. With no grasping.

For dance, this means moving from the inside out. I don't try to "DANCE;" I don't choreograph myself.

There are these really lucky moments when it becomes pure meditation. I am so in my body that I am no longer thinking.

It feels ecstatic.

It was one of those moments that I got hit with the flash of inspiration that became yesterday's post.

And then I forgot to mention the importance of this. OYE.

You see, all movement is great, essential, wonderful. All of it will add to your being in your body which will add to your sense of the now and your awareness and eventually your overall enjoyment of your life.

You will become more spontaneous and more intuitive when you are more fully in your body.

But it is this ecstatic movement that will help you the most.

Think I'm pushing it? That maybe I'm just a bit full of crap?

Think of Rumi. Think of the Sufis. Think of the Whirling Freaking Dervishes!

Rumi's poetry did not come from sitting around on his butt!

Because here's the inherent paradox to all of this:

When you become fully in your body, you get to the point where you forget you are a body at all and that is when you are most open to your internal divinity and when you will feel the energy of God all around and in and through you.

So that is your assignment for this enCouraging Bliss: Find a way, a path, a method through which you can get to this ecstatic place.

Think back to when you were little...

Did you love doing cartwheel after cartwheel after cartwheel over the green grass?

Did you love riding your bike dangerously fast down big hills?

Did you love to run so hard that it felt like you could run right out of your skin?

Push yourself.

Reintroduce yourself to yourself.


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Movement = Bliss


Is it any wonder that diagnosis of depression has risen over time as we have become more and more sedentary?

We were not built for this.

The training starts in grade school -- sometimes earlier -- where we expect small children (the very humans that should be allowed to act most like animals) -- we expect small children to sit all day, for 8 hours.

Many schools have gotten rid of physical education, along with art -- that other full body experience.

Then we enter the workforce and the real butt-melting begins. Most of us (and this may not be reflective of the Blisschick readership!) sit in chairs and then go home and sit in chairs -- much of this in front of some sort of screen.

To combat this, maybe we take an hour or two or three of yoga a week. So many yogis don't have a home practice. If they do, it's the fifteen minute variety -- as if this will make up for all the being still and stiff and uncomfortable.

Or perhaps to combat the drudgery that is our day to day lives, we have a meditation practice -- where we sit, trying to still minds that are perhaps too stilled already, never challenged or pushed in growth-inducing ways.

Humans were built to move. We stand upright. We have great balance. Our legs evolved to get away from danger. Our muscles are long.

But we sit. And we sit some more. And we sit and wonder why we feel so badly -- or not at all.

We pontificate about the connection of mind and body, but too often, we are really talking about the mind's supremacy to body.

If mind and body are really one, there is no hierarchy and we are missing out on an important part of our spiritual lives when we sit and meditate rather than get up and move.

Some people think there is a difference between
mindfulness and meditation, but this is not correct.
The practice of mindfulness is simply to bring
awareness into each moment of our lives.
Mindful living is an art.

--Thich Nhat Hanh, Creating True Peace

Meditation is simply meant to create this daily, hourly mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about being in the present moment.

How are we, as humans, alive to the present moment?

Yes. Through the body. The body is the vehicle through which we are present in the now.

To be in the body is to be mindful.

But most of us live in our heads and thus the solution to our woes is Movement.

I have had the delight of meeting someone via Twitter who really gets this: Shamsi. Here's her website, including her blog.

Besides yoga, which is amazing (of course!), here are some simple ideas to start becoming Mindful in Movement:

Turn on some great music really loud and close the curtains and just GO!

Try to feel the fact that, as Ravi Singh, says you are walking in the sky. Imagine that the sky starts exactly where the earth stops. Feel your foot moving through the sky to touch down on earth.

Do something physically difficult. Do it until you feel like you can't do it anymore. NOW, at this point, focus on your large muscle groups and feel them relax into the movement. I bet you can keep going.

As you move through your day, be aware of your body breaking through space. As you get near to other humans or trees, feel the energy they emanate and how you must break through that also.

Do isolation work. For example, put on some drumming and only allow yourself to move your arms or even just your hands.

Go outside and lay down on the grass. Close your eyes. Become aware of all the smells and sounds. Start feeling your body from the skin and move inward. Now, let it all go and feel yourself float above yourself. This can take some practice.

Do the obvious: walk more rather than drive. Anything good for the planet is also good for you.

If you must drive, park as far away as you can so that you have a built in walk.

Use stairs.


Challenge your body: walk backwards in your house.


If you practice yoga, do it more. Push. Make priorities. Cut the crap out of your life so you are doing what really matters.

Do you have any suggestions?

How do you stay in your body? How do you reconnect your head to your heart?


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can You Remember What You Want?


I have a framed quote in my writing room: Discipline is remembering what you want.*

(*By David Campbell. A "Canadian politician," which is all I could find on him.)

Along those same lines, the Dalai Lama is often reminding us that this life, this awakening, this being awake takes "Constant Effort."

"Constant Effort" does not mean "when you are on your zafu/yoga mat" or "when you can" or "when you have time" or "when you think of it."

It means Constant Effort. Constant.

One of my favorite scenes in Kundun is when the young Dalai Lama's father dies and he must go take care of the rituals. His mentor tells him, "Do not be distracted, Kundun."

He says this to a little boy whose father lies dead. A little boy. It is an astonishing segment of the movie.

No distractions. Constant Effort. Remembering.

This is what it takes to be fully present, to live in the now, to be the Constant Becoming that I said is our essence in yesterday's post.

For Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie asks: What do you wish to Remember?

I wish to remember to remember. I wish to remember what I want.

When I am tempted to skip my yoga or dance time, I wish to remember that these things make me Shiny. I wish to remember that being in my body every day is vital to my emotional health.

When I am tempted to stay on the computer for too long, I wish to remember that breathing in fresh air and watching birds calms my soul.

When I am tempted to not work on my novel, I wish to remember that writing is who I am, that I have many novels to write after this one.

When I am tempted to slip into negativity, I wish to remember the Constant Effort of staying present and grateful.

When I am tempted to react out of Anger, I wish to remember that this is the part of me that is in greatest need of Love.


What are the things that you need to remember if you are to have the life you so deeply desire?


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Evidence of the Beach


Today, I took a couple of hours and recharged my battery at the edge of the lake. Here's some evidence of said field trip.

Reading Stephen Cope: Will the Real You Please Rise?


The causes of affliction contain within themselves the possible vehicles of their own destruction. We can enlist the very tendency to habit and pattern as an aid to end habit and pattern.

--Stephen Cope, Chapter 8, The Wisdom of Yoga

Chapter 7 of this book led us to Thursday's discussion of the various StuckChicks that we over-identify with which leads to our suffering. Friday, we talked about a collage method we could use to get to know these StuckChicks better, which led to my AngerChick collage yesterday.

To listen to these parts of ourselves is to discern what needs we have in this life that are not being met. So within the StuckChicks is the solution to the StuckChicks, as Cope asserts above.

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy.

&

Happiness is not something ready made.
It comes from your own actions.

--The Dalai Lama

Working on the assumption that the Dalai Lama is correct -- and I believe that he is -- many of us have the task of figuring out what happiness looks like for us as individuals. This can be a life's work if your beginning foundations are not strong, i.e. if you were abused or neglected.

Added to my belief in what the Dalai Lama says here, I believe that we are all sent to this life with a purpose, with a set of gifts and that it is our primary task to use those gifts or we end up unfulfilled, not self-actualized.

What does this all mean?

For me, it means that our StuckChicks exist because we are not fulfilling our life's purpose or using our gifts to our highest abilities.

Our StuckChicks exist because we have chosen or we continue to choose on a daily basis to feed parts of ourselves that are not our, let's say, "shiniest."

Instead, we, perhaps, are stuck in other people's expectations or we have not awakened to our part in the larger culturally-induced Coma known as the Rat Race.

We have, perhaps, become Cogs in the Machine, and our StuckChicks are really our Spirits screaming for help, yelling to be noticed, asking to be set free.

Our StuckChicks, then, are really our Best Friends.

If anyone is going to Wake You Up, it is these StuckChicks.

I had a HUGE realization about the center image in my AngerChick collage, thanks to a coffee chat with a very good and wise friend on Monday morning.

It took until later in the day for me to put it all together.

As I was putting on my dancing shoes, it hit me who AngerChick actually is.

She is BlissChick, the absolute best part of me, turned against me.

AngerChick shows up when I am not writing enough, dancing enough, singing enough...

When I am getting too angry, too often, it is because I am not Pursuing my Happiness, Expressing Who I was Born to Be.

Though, yes, there is no solid "I" to be found, but rather an ever-evolving and changing and growing small-s self, there is an ultimate, I believe, core essence to who we are.

We are Divinity Experiencing.

We are individual manifestations of the Divine playing.

We are the conduits through which an eternity of possibility comes to be.

When we sit really still, we know this.

But it's when we are doing that we are this.

A Constant Becoming -- that's the Real You.

Can you make your StuckChicks your teachers, your mentors, your guides?


(Text & Photo Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Waldameer Amusement Park, Erie)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Working On Our StuckChicks: First Up -- Anger


On Thursday, I wrote about the concept of StuckChicks, and I followed up with Friday's post on integrating StuckChicks, suggesting that we might start with some intuitive collage work to get to know these parts of ourselves better.

At first, I felt compelled to work on my BabyChick, but it was really AngerChick who wanted to come out and play, and so you see my finished collage at the top of this post.

If we are talking about psychological development, I know perfectly well where my AngerChick comes from, of what she was born.

She, of course, has everything to do with my own insecurities -- as all of these StuckChicks do.

What are those insecurities with AngerChick?

As you can see from the collage, there is a lot of FEAR underlying this Anger, as is usually the case. I am afraid that injustice will go unpunished; I am afraid that those who are most vulnerable will be hurt; I am afraid that the world is just too much, too sad, too far gone, too in need.

Not hard to read between those lines, is it? Imagine the child who developed into this adult. Poor thing.

Now, what I find most interesting about this collage -- and what I find interesting about the intuitive part of work like this -- is the little surprise in the center.

Who is this person trying to get out? Why is she trapped to begin with? Where is she trapped and who put her there? Why is she so anonymous?

This is the stuff of contemplation.

Which is the whole point of the exercise.

Now, again, don't get stuck in my collage or my particular StuckChick. Just use it as an example if you are having a hard time with this work. See if anything about it resonates with you or feels familiar or right...or maybe, totally wrong. For you.

How is your StuckChick work going now that you are looking at those "negative" parts of yourself in a bit of a different light?

How is the collage work going?

Has there been any kind of breakthrough -- or perhaps, like me, just a hint at something you weren't quite expecting?


(Text Copyright Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yoga Mat Special for Blisschick Readers!


So how COOL is this?

I got this email the other day and it was an offer for Blisschick readers from Manduka, a company that sells some rockin' earth friendly yoga mats, bags, and props.

From now til August 1st, all Blisschick readers can get 20% off of any purchase just by using this secret code: HEALTH20.

Shhh...it's just for us. (We're special!)

The item above has caught my eye. A yoga mat made of natural rubber that will not flake! And, as they say on their site:

This natural rubber mat uses a toxic-free softening process and is completely free of foaming agents and plasticizers found in other mats.

YUCK! Who knew there was so much crap on our mats?!

Check out their site and find your, as they say, Soul Mat. (Okay, this geek digs the pun!)

enCouragingBliss: Loving & Reintegrating All of Our StuckChicks


I have found being compassionate to my old ways has helped tremendously in the morphing process. Not saying this is just who I am, but rather, this is who I believed I had to be. Now I can be something different.

-- A Comment to yesterday's post by Hmmbrd

When I read this comment, I knew Hmmbrd was onto something really important, and something that, I think, is a key "next step."

First, we identify all these Chicks that stand in the way of our essence, our BlissChick, our evolving, and then we show them compassion, as we would any annoying stranger who enters our "work space."

These StuckChicks (for want of a better moniker) are telling us something if only we would get still and listen.

These StuckChicks are cheerleaders, really, for all of our old wounds and unmet needs and just generally hurt and unloved parts.

Poor parts!

StuckChicks are not to be ignored or shut out. Oh, no, then they will just grow in their power, eventually taking over the office with all their passive-aggressiveness or repression or whatever psychological technique is the favorite of our minds.

My StuckChicks? They love to beat me up! Attack my self-esteem. Tell me that what I do does not matter and so why do I bother? Mean!

This is really a case of killing them with kindness.

We're going to tell them that we see them and that we understand them and then eventually we'll figure out what all their yelling or sabotaging is about and some day, in the not so distant future, we will realize that we have brought all our StuckChicks into the flow of our Bliss.

Let's start the process with a little fun!

I want you to pick your "favorite" stuck chick -- or even two or three of your favorites. You know, the ones that are taking up most of your precious time -- the ones that you feel the most intense negativity toward.

Then I want you to make a collage of some sort that represents her or them.

Include images that express who she is and how she manifests in your life.

But also include images of WHY she acts like this in your life.

Try to let this process be as intuitive as possible. Don't question. Just do. Think about her and see what she shows you.

The last step would be to make an altar area for her and then to spend some time with her. Meditate on her. Really listen.

Because somewhere in your past, she wasn't listened to at all and that is the core issue.

Hear her out.

She has needs and we're eventually going to meet them.

If you blog this, please come back and leave a link; we would all love to see what we all do for this exercise.

I may include my work in a blog post next week.



(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Contradict Myself...I Contain Multitudes


No, the title of this post does not come from the DSM-IV!

Walt Whitman's Song of Myself came to mind as I began to construct this piece after reading chapter seven of Stephen Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga:

Yogis discovered that consciousness is dominated by highly conditioned patterns of reactivity -- patterns that are deeply grooved and very difficult to change once established. And as Freud also discovered, the power of these patterns is mostly denied in daily life.

How many times have you heard yourself say to someone: "This is just who I am."

Most of the time, we are saying this to defend an action that is perceived as inappropriate at the very least or destructive at the very worst.

Yogis would answer that we are acting out of past actions when we claim "this is who we are" and so we are not free in each moment but rather enslaved by past moments.

This is not good. The organisms that survive are the most malleable, the most able to adapt. When we stay stuck in past behavior, we are not evolving, and human life is all about evolving.

Assuming then that we want to evolve -- in spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual ways -- our first task is to overcome old patterns. But how?

The first step would be to identify the patterns. Be aware of them.

For this step, I have decided to call each of these parts of me some sort of Chick. Of course!

Please: Do not get stuck in MY list. This is just for example's sake. I hope that it helps you to think up your own list of Chicks.

I like this method very much because it turns these destructive or stuck patterns into something we can make fun of, tease ourselves about, and I find that that is hugely helpful when trying to become aware for the purpose of personal evolution.

So here they are -- the BlissChick's Multitudes:

AngryChick

AngryChick comes out, most often, when I think an "underdog" is in trouble. When I think someone is being treated unfairly, when I think Lady Justice is in Peril, AngryChick puts on her SuperHero Cape and starts the Mighty Tongue Lashings.

AngryChick has been with me for a very long time. She is stronger and braver than any SadChick would ever be, and so she feels much safer to me.

SuperstitiousChick

SuperstitiousChick believes that she can ward off Bad Things by not asking for any more Good Things in her life.

She believes that if she is ever grateful and always humble that nothing bad will happen.

She leads to ApathyChick if she sticks around long enough. SuperstitiousChick thinks that asking for any more than she already has would be Totally Greedy and would prove that she is actually GiantGreedyPigChick.

(oh...this gets so complicated, doesn't it!?)

SeriousChick

Anytime I feel like someone is thinking that I don't know what I'm talking about, SeriousChick comes out to kick some intellectual ass.

Her greatest fear in life is that someone may think she is stupid.

BabyChick

BabyChick is one of the deepest layers of all the Chicks. She is kinda the FoundationChick.

Whenever I get over-tired, over-hungry, or overstimulated, BabyChick shows up. She refuses to take good care of herself and pushes herself to her edges so that she finally kinda collapses.

She believes, in her heart, that she is not worth taking care of.

Okay. That's a start.

How about you?

Who are your Multitudes of Chicks? Can you identify them and what their triggers are? Can you start to name them, so that you can more clearly see them?

Share here in the comments or feel free to write about this yourself and leave a link.


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WishCasting: Three Wishes for My New Friends


I am not great at having house guests. I am not great at having my routine interrupted. I am an introvert who likes things...a certain way.

I am not great at meeting new people. Though I am quite sociable, I feel shy and intimidated at first meetings.

So to have a first meeting be when someone new is coming to stay at our house for a few nights...you can see how hard this was for me.

And yet, because it was Lisa, it turned out to be quite easy. What a delight it was to meet her in person, to spend time with her, to create a bond beyond the virtual one that we already had.

That is her in that top photo taking photos atop out environmental center's tower. The horizon would be where Canada lies.

Lisa and I also were lucky enough to meet up with another blogger in New York state for lunch and a wacky excursion to a candy and statue shop that was a bit, well, wacky. Here is Dolly. She is even scarier in person!


And here is the other mysterious blogger, Graciel of Evenstar Art.

Again, I wasn't sure I wanted to do this, but Graciel was more than I had even anticipated. It's nice to say, I like her very much. In real life!


Graciel is camera shy like me and I think this shot would be approved of. She looks totally "together" and that bag rocks.


The candy shop was filled with candies from our youth, and I will be posting many, many more shots like this one.

Today is Wishcasting Wednesday and Jamie asks, What do you wish to tell the world?

This is all connected. Trust me.

These two new friends are at crossroads in both their lives. It's decision time. It's change time.

So I would like to make three wishes for them and these three wishes are also for all of us:

Be Brave.

Take Risks.

Choose Bliss.


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisshick.net, 2009)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Extending the Deadline

I've gotten some posters in for the Wild Woman Eccentricity Revolution poster contest. (Details here.)

But I'd like to extend the deadline for submissions to Tuesday, July 28th.

Keep 'em coming!

Perfection Is Impossible but Fun Is...FUN!


Every generation of humans who has ever lived thinks they Know Things For Sure, and they make Big Decisions, Life & Death Decisions, based on these Things They Know For Sure.

And then later, when they are part of history, successive generations inevitably laugh at them.

And each generation thinks they are The Generation Who Actually Does Know Stuff -- unlike those silly generations before us who were obviously delusional.

All of this is a way to get to something that's on my mind: this search for Individual Perfection.
We seem to think that if we could only make a certain, perfect set of choices, we could save the planet, save ourselves, save the whales, save, save, save. In the process, our true agenda, is that we think we will make our own lives longer and better.

If we could only figure out exactly what to eat for dinner...

If we could only figure out exactly what religion or spiritual tradition to follow...

If we could only figure out exactly what mantra to repeat daily, hourly, by the minute...

If we could find the right guru...

the right date book...

the right partner...

the right life.

Everything could be Perfect, If Only.

If you think you aren't looking for perfection, ask yourself why you are so determined to find labels to define who you are. These are shorthand to let other seekers of perfection know you are in the club, and they are usually a red flag.

Labeling yourself is all about being afraid to be yourself. Afraid that you aren't good enough. Afraid that you might make a mistake, miss out on something, not be understood.

Afraid that you might Die Not Having lived.

But the only path to full living is the one of releasing labels -- letting go of rules that help you to feel comfortable and safe.

Admitting to your imperfection and having a little, freaking Fun.

I am imperfect. How about you?

I don't do yoga every day. Hell! Sometimes I skip whole entire weeks.

I can eat so much food that I feel like I'm going to vomit and then I complain that I am overweight.

I am vain! So there.

I still watch way too much TV even though I don't have a TV.

I LOVE CHEESE! I WANT TO MARRY IT!

Sometimes I get so mad that I yell. Loud. I can be mean.

I swear like a fucking sailor.

I am impatient.

I get annoyed.

I make fun of people. Yes. I. do.

This Search for Perfection, I think, is making us all so Grouchy and WAY NOT FUN.

MORE FUN!

Joie de Vivre!

La Bella Vita!

Laughing and loving is the way to happiness.

Giggling until you are crying.

Being unafraid to try something new and look stupid.

Loving food and not seeing it as medicine or the enemy or the Fountain of Life but simply as one of the greatest, sensual joys a human can experience.

Riding your bike to work because it makes you smile, not because it makes you feel like you are one of the Good Ones.

Doing yoga or dancing or just playing with a hoola hoop because human bodies were made to enjoy moving and stretching and jumping and bouncing.

Gardening because you love putting your hands in the dirt and not because you think the world is going to end and you have to feed yourself.

Feeling all of your emotions -- even the big and ugly ones because feeling emotions means you are Human.

Being imperfect, sloppy, beautiful, pissy, happy, joyful, grouchy, ecstatic, and filled with Awe and Wonder and Curiosity.

Being all of these things because they are what you are -- not because some movement or book tells you it's The Thing To Know.

(Disclaimer: PUH-Lease...this is NOT about being some care-for-no-one-but-yourself asshole. It's about freeing YourSELF from the tyranny of rules and definitions and not comparing yourself to others and defining your life by their expectations and assumptions.)

(Photo & Text Credit: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Cleveland Market)

Monday, July 20, 2009

How's Your Bliss, Chick?


This past weekend, Marcy and I have had this delightful company with us, and so today, a short but, I think, important post.

We are already over halfway through July and so over halfway through the year.
Here's what I want you think about and then leave a comment or a link to a post that you write in response:

What have you learned so far this year about being a Chick who intentionally lives her Bliss?

What have you learned about making daily choices to be that Chick?

How far have you come and how far would you like to go?

What are your intentions for the rest of this year?


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Calliope, CMA, Charles Meynier)

Friday, July 17, 2009

enCouragingBliss: The New To Do List


Marcy and I are fast approaching the 8th anniversary of intentionally giving up our car.

As I have written about in the past, we occasionally rent a car for the weekend to run errands, go to family events, and (rarely) get out of town. These occasions for rental become fewer and fewer as we become more and more discerning about out time and (personal) energy usage.

When I know we are going to be renting a car in the near future, I start what I entitle the "Car List."

This is a list of things that we need to get or to do. Over a couple of weeks, we add and add to these lists.

These lists always start the same: Cat litter. When you have four cats, buying cat litter in large quantities is imperative when one has a vehicle to do so. When we first decided to go car free, cat litter was the one thing I couldn't figure out how to get any other way.

But from there, these lists can go anywhere from new jeans to candles to a rug for the bathroom and on and on.

Over a few weeks, the list gets very...very...very long.

Until one day, perhaps a week or so before the actual rental, I realize we have created a big enough list to put a small country into debt.

And so the next phase begins: the crossing off.

For many days, the crossing off continues as we pare down and really focus on what it is we need -- as opposed to all those things that we want.

Sometimes by the end, the list barely contains more than the original cat litter.

Besides teaching us about simplicity when it comes to shopping, car rental (as opposed to owning) has taught us a lot about priorities.

So, here is the new way for you to make lists that more closely reflect who you are and what you really, truly, deeply, in-your-heart want out of this short and sweet life.

At the beginning of each week, make a To-Do list.

Then, sit down with a cup of tea or a bit of wine and some relaxing music and do some soul searching.

Your task -- if you should choose to be this brave -- is to cut out, at minimum, 50% of what you've written down.

I double dog dare you.

This is a chance to get really clear about your life.

Are you willing to take that chance?


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Outside Cleveland Museum of Art)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are Yoga Clothes Making You Lazy?


I have these super comfy capri yoga pants. I have two pair of them, actually. They are supposed to be for yoga and now for dance, but I have been wearing them...all...the...time.

And I have noticed something about these pants: They make me lazy.

They are too comfortable, too much like pajamas.

How sad is that!?

I have this vision of my essential, Wild Woman, eccentric Self: She is walking down the street having been at a dance class or a yoga class as a student or a teacher; she is carrying a wonderful bag filled with symbolic sorts of things.

(What would be in your bag?)

In this vision, I am very fit, and I wear yoga clothes at all times. You know -- the flowy pant, the fitted top with something flowy over that, the casual but chic shoes, a bit of jewelry, my hair messily and stylishly thrown up atop my head.

So I buy these capris and I think, cool, time to manifest this particular visual. I won't have to change three times a day or more for the different activities I do, so not only am I cute (ha!) but I am also uber-efficient.

Not.

Yoga clothes, for me, it turns out, are great for yoga, but they make me lazy in the other parts of my day.

They make me feel too casual.

I put on a skirt -- nothing fancy but a summery sort of skirt -- and I find myself gettin' back to business. I write more; I work on other projects.

And before you think this is trivial, let me tell you about the founder of the Shambhala lineage of Buddhism, Chogyam Trungpa who wrote the classic Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior.

He thought dressing more formally was a tool and that people in the West were getting too informal. He believed this would lead to a lack of discipline and a sloppiness in relations.

Yep. Smart guy.

So...sigh...the yoga pants have to wait for the yoga.

How about you?

Does how you dress affect your work, your mission in life, your bliss?

Do you harbor a secret vision of yourself that includes a style of clothing?

What would your Wild Woman self wear if she could wear anything?



A Reminder: Are you participating in the Wild Woman poster contest? The due date is fast approaching!


(Photo & Text Credit: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Rodin at Cleveland Museum of Art)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do You Need to Be Less Serious?


The roof line of the Cleveland building pictured above is not very practical, but there is a spontaneous beauty and joy and playfulness to it that immediately pleases the eye and makes the heart flutter at the daring of the architect.

These qualities can sometimes be lacking in our day to day lives as we get caught up in details and to-do lists and goals.

Spontaneous beauty and joy and playfulness, though, are as essential to the human heart as is a good workout.

To return to the Sci-Fi geekiness of our little Lilypad, Marcy and I mostly watch shows like Star Trek -- all the different variations.

As we watch, we are constantly giggling about how much I am a bit like a Klingon and a Vulcan at times.

Like a Klingon, I can be a bit territorial, protective, and grouchy -- but in the endearing way of Worf. And like a Vulcan, I have been known to say, along the lines of Tuvok, not everyone prizes the concept of fun as highly as humans.

But as I open up to parts of me previously shut down, as I dance and sketch, I become lighter and I can feel that human playfulness trying to reassert itself.

Blogging has been a huge contributor to this opening. Being an introvert, blogging has been an amazing way for me to develop some very deep friendships.

This Friday, one of those blogging friends will materialize right before my eyes, as Lisa of Nerdy Renegade News is coming for a few nights visit from Dayton, Ohio.

The old me, the more Vulcan-Klingon me, would never have done this. I would never have had a (physical) stranger come to stay at our house.

But this is the more evolved, playful me.

And I wish for more of this.

I wish for more playfulness.

I wish for more risk taking adventure.

I wish for more openness and softening of my protective shell.


(Join Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday right here.)

(Photo & Text Credit: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reading Stephen Cope: What Are You Starved For?


There is a story that my family used to tell about me that was supposed to be funny. (How many of these do we all have?)

It goes something like this:

I was almost three years old. (Still a baby, remember.) And I was so cute, but I was also so very pudgy. Pudgy (strong) little legs and a belly that was proud of itself.

One night after dinner, we had cupcakes, and as I reached for my second, which I guess was normal, I was told no. I was now on a diet. I pouted and looked angry.

Isn't that funny?

And thus the beginning of my Love/Hate relationship with food, but more detrimentally, my Love/Hate relationship with this body.

This body that wants the second cupcake. How dare it?

This body that likes to be a bit soft. How dare it?

This body that has always been so strong and so flexible but not quite thin enough.

How dare it?

When the subject of Hungry Ghosts came up in this recent chapter of Stephen Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga, I knew we'd have a lot to talk about here on Blisschick.

Now forget that specific story of my love of cupcakes, because really, there is nothing at all wrong with that.

Move forward to my teens and to my twenties and even into my thirties...

Look at how much I hate my body. Look at how much I go up and down, chunky to too skinny, over-exercising, under eating, a little bit of vomiting here and there.

Does that sound familiar to you, at all?

What was really going on?

Only with years of yoga and journaling and praying could I come to know those cravings for what they really were, of course. It is obvious when you are outside the craving, isn't it?

I crave love and acceptance. A love and acceptance that I never received, because I simply was not enough or was too much.

At three years, I knew this. I was taught this (and yes, the lessons continued and got much more...directed).

I will always and forever struggle with my relationship to food, but thanks to yoga and journaling and prayer, I see it for what it is: a manifestation of my sadness and anger.

Here are some questions for you:

What do you regularly crave but deny yourself? This can be food, clothes, shoes, books, retreats, whatever...

Why do you deny yourself? Watch your Self: are you operating from abundance or scarcity, health or control?

What do you get from the denial? How does it make you feel? Do you feel righteous, indignant...how old do you feel?

Do you remember the first time you felt this way? Recall the circumstances and the emotions in as much detail as you can.


You might be interested in our previous conversations about body image issues.


(Image: Botticelli at the Cleveland Museum of Art) (Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back is Still Moving!


Things have been wonderful around here at the Lilypad. A lot of creativity and self discovery and giggling and Star Trek (yes, we are geeks).

Since I got my dancing shoes, I've been renewed and reconnected in ways I did not imagine possible even just two months ago.

And then this introvert committed a grave error: she totally over-scheduled herself.

Now, do not misunderstand me: every single thing we did within a few days last week was worth the time. That is never the question. Not really. We are pretty careful about how we expend our energy.

But it was too many very high energy activities and not enough down time, not enough Marcy and Christine time, not enough just stare at the sky time.

The good part of this, of course, is that every time I do it, I decrease the likelihood of it happening as badly or as often. I learn something new. I notice something new.

This time it is helping me, for example, to figure out that there are some projects that I have committed to that are not deserving of that commitment. I have limited personal energy and so I must use it wisely.

And today, I was supposed to be writing about the next chapter of Stephen Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga, but those posts take a lot of thinking. I don't have any extra brain space right now and so am writing about what is immediately on my mind instead. In the past, I would have just pushed through. Not good.

Which brings me to some questions for you:

What are the red flags in your life when you are beginning to step backwards?

When you notice these read flags, what do you do about them?

What is your favorite and most effective form of regeneration?


(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Rodin, Cleveland Museum of Art)