the opposite of gravity

I somehow managed my way into a very interesting conversation about pyramids and the Stonehenge. Two of my friends are making two separate trips to see these man-made wonders. Initially, my response was one of minimal jealousy and excitement for the trips my friends have planned.

Because I am taking the approach at this point in life that every interaction has a message and a meaning, I had to ask why.

My friend who is planning the visit to the Stonehenge said that he wants to make his trip because there was something that ancient peoples understood that we do not. He went on to say that every thing in the world has an opposite and that every action has a re-action (things we have all heard and said before). So, his idea was that these ancient peoples understood the opposite of gravity in a way that we do not.

I’m sure, knowing my current state of mind, that I will think about that statement for weeks, if not months, to come.

I do think, though, that sometimes we get so wrapped up in all of our technology and how it makes everything “easier” that we forget that there are some very basic, fundamental principles at work in our universe. A lot of them, I believe, come from the energy that we possess inside. And I can’t help but think that it is a balance of those opposites, even within us, that makes us more human. If we learn to get out of the way of ourselves and simply let them be.

I’m sure there’s a very scientific approach to figuring out the opposite of gravity as we fly and put people on the moon, but I don’t think that’s the answer at all. The opposite comes from something a lot deeper. And perhaps, it is simply understanding that everything exists in opposites that makes anything possible–even something as great as a pyramid.

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signs all around us

I think the answers truly came in a 3-year period, but in a two-week period, they all appeared in one fell swoop. As I write this, I have to laugh because the first time something like this happened, I was completely terrified. This time, I think I was so worn down with what wasn’t working, that I was relieved by the signs–and the eventual beginning of the answer.

I’m trying to think about the best way to write this out. I did it in a chronology of a friend with side notes about what they all mean, but that was truly an attempt to give a condensed version. I think I’d rather go sign by sign and explain them all. I’ve already done a couple of them, so it won’t be too hard to finish.

At any rate, the signs (in order of appearance):

writing
the lizards
St. Jude
the May crowning
the tattoo of St. Teresa
3 a.m. texting session
R.S. (my coworker)
the Interior Castle
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist
the desert
the dream about hiking
writing
el Santo Niño
my great-grandma
the dream about the angel
St. Jude (again)

The best part is if this were a diagram, they would all intertwine. The arrows would create a mess of associations and relationships. AND the other best part is that all of these signs have appeared before on multiple occasions. In fact, the only thing I think that was truly different about this time was that so many came together all at once.

More Coelho

I just finished the third Coelho book I’ve picked up in the past week. “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” is probably best described as a love story. But it’s not at the same time.

It’s hard for me to explain right now because the answer is just formulating in my mind. The better parts of me understand it–I can feel it–but my brain is always the last to figure these things out.

At any rate, the last question R. and I had three weeks ago was “Why St. Mary’s?” And this book definitely had the answer to that.

It’s about divinity. And the energy that is female that is often left out of beliefs about God. It’s an interesting theory, and something that has been coming to me in pieces like everything else in the last four months.

From that horror of that day awakening something inside of me. To a friend’s tattoo. To a dream.

I haven’t told anyone about this, but I’ve started having recurring dreams again. They’re not as frequent or painful as the desert ones, and I know exactly where I am in these dreams. Well, sort of. But I know who would know where I am.

There was a hike I took once. I had to be between the ages of 8 and 10. It ended in a canyon with a lake. And there was a small dock. My father took three of us and sat us at the end of the dock. He told us to take our shoes off and let our feet feel the water. Then, he told us to be quiet and listen.

He always made camping about God. I think that’s why I miss it so much. He wasn’t and isn’t too preach-y, but he would always say that “one thing” that I carry with me to this day.

Now, in the dreams I’m alone. And I walk to the end of the dock and take my shoes off. I sit there, and a woman appears. I didn’t know who it was until yesterday. I had an idea, but I wanted to be sure.

Sometimes she says something simple like hello. Most times she just sits with me. She always has a message though.

The female form of divinity.

I get it.

The Miracle of This Is It

I’ve spent a substantial amount of time in the last few months thinking about energy. I started at the beginning of October to take note each day of what I devoted my energy to. I did this for a week without making any changes. I simply noted what consumed my thoughts, what was part of my physical tiredness, who I was loving, and what I was dreaming. At the end of each day, I used this review as my meditation.

After seeing where the energy was going, I started something new. I woke up determined each day to focus my energy on all things positive, all thoughts positive and to be surrounded by positive people.

Except for one brief lapse on the Tuesday of the third week, I have noticed a remarkable difference in my own demeanor, the amount of physical energy I have, and the joy I take in seeing people.

I will admit that I laugh at myself because it all sounds so very strange. It does and it doesn’t. It seems an odd undertaking to channel your own energy. It seems stranger to record it. My job takes every ounce of physical and mental energy that I possess five days a week, and I just found that it was virtually impossible to do it well and devote energy to anything negative whatsoever.

There is a certain joy to life that I strive for. It’s not a major thing at all. It’s a joy that is so simple that it gets overly complicated a lot of times.

When I was 12 years old, my aunt gave me a book called “The Miracle of the Bells.” In it a very young woman is trying to become an actress. She is never quite good enough, but get a “break” one day from her admirer and is cast in a film. At the same time, she is dying. She resolves to finish the film and does. After her death, it is decided that the film will not be released. Her friend develops a plan as he prepares for her burial. He asks that church bells in the small town she is from ring for days on end. As the bells ring, notice is paid to her story and the film opens with resounding success. He is so pleased that her spirit is not only preserved in the film but that she shines for the world to see.

If that were not life lesson enough, I took away from it a very simple passage. In it, the characters are discussing life. It is decided that she lived her life to the fullest she could. She did what she loved until the very day she died, and the world was left with her beautiful spirit. Her friend went on to say that had she lived past her fame, she would have been forgotten and her spirit would have died.

I have held onto that for the past 15 years.

I laughed at Matt Kemp throughout the entire baseball season because he was so gleeful as he played baseball for the Dodgers. Then, one night, I realized I shouldn’t be laughing at him, and I thought if I could take half as much joy in my work as he does, life would be pretty amazing.

I watched “This Is It.” The film made from footage of Michael Jackson’s rehearsals right up to his death. I was struck by the joy. The joy he took in his art. The way that he used his entire self as an expression of that joy. It may seem that he had an easier means for doing that because his body was his art. That was simply his way.

Really, though, that is true for all that we do.

I describe what I do every day as an ‘artistic science.’ And I wrote about this last night, I know. I may be so exhausted but those moments that I share with my students, I am so unbelievably joyful.

I said I am lucky. But I’m not. It’s hard to work to find your joy. It’s hard work to get past what the world says you should do and be. It’s very hard work to make your work an expression of your beliefs. I may not dance. I may not play baseball. I may have one of the quietest talents that is out there. But I get to share it in such amazing ways. I get to receive twice as much as I give.

And I consider it to be a miracle. A miracle to do something that one loves. To feel that time suspends for you. To feel that you can create what you will. To be able to blend everything that inspires you, everything you love, everyone you respect into a body of work.

I love the ideas. I love thought. I love crafting both into something that can be shared. And I love knowing that if this were it, the memory of me would be one of joyful sharing.

A Goal

Four years ago this month, I went on a silent retreat. It was the first retreat I had ever done silently, and it was the first I had done for 6 days. It turned into 8 days as I made my way slowly down the California Coast alone.

On the first day of the retreat, I was asked to set a goal for myself.

I was  painfully grandiose in my goal as I said to my adviser, “I don’t want to want to understand anymore. I just want to accept.”

I remember his reaction very clearly. “That’s a major goal,” he said.

“I know,” I said to him shaking my head. I had driven up to Los Altos very empty. I was very confused and in a lot of pain. I had spent life from 14 till that moment trying to understand why things happened, to force meaning onto them, and to create plans.

Somewhere inside me, I knew something wasn’t working right. It was stifling.

So I started the six days with that simple and major goal.

I let a lot go on that trip. It made me a lot free-r in some ways. It definitely wasn’t a night and day difference. I didn’t come home magically able to not care why things were happening or to analyze them. Nope.

But I can see the difference now. I can even see the transformation. I can pinpoint certain moments where I surprised people. I can pinpoint fights with friends. I can pinpoint moments where I wanted to end friendships because I was being questioned. And I can pinpoint other moments where friendships actually did end.

It’s only been in the last three months that I think I’ve made the most major of changes.  At a time when things have gone colossally wrong in a lot of different ways, I feel that I don’t have a worry in the world. In fact, I rarely worry now. I know that bugs the daylights out of people. I try to be considerate of that, but sometimes I can’t even care about that. I hate to sound callous about it, but the certain freedom that I found would be destroyed even with the simple act of truly caring about other people’s worry.

I make new “plans” every few weeks. I think it’s funny in a lot of ways. I like the idea of infinite possibility. I like the idea of making my own decisions.

The one thing I didn’t let go of was looking for meaning. The difference now is that I don’t force it. Years ago when dreams and nightmares would plague me, I would suffer with them. Now, I just wait them out. I enjoy that moment of inspiration where it becomes clear. It’s that much sweeter than trying to force the meaning or the answer.

The best part of making that goal is I have been free to make decisions. I have had three jobs now. I have had amazing trips, alone and with others. I have seen awe-inspiring things. It takes me back to one of my favorite lines from Janis Joplin: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I always took it quite literally, but I realize now that it has a much deeper meaning. Freedom to me is not needing to understand.

It also allowed me to find people who have such amazing spirits that I can’t help but want to be around them and feel their energy. That life-giving force makes me sure that everything is going to be all right.

I think about these things a lot during the summer time. It’s the time I feel most alive. Maybe it’s because of the sun. Or maybe it’s because of all of the happy memories. Whatever it is, it’s the time that I feel most like myself. It’s when I can run away (and not tell people). It’s when I can feel the sun most warmly on my skin. And when I can see a lot more clearly.

Sundays

I was super dreading this weekend because even though my days off were supposed to be Thursday and Friday, I ended up doing a lot of things and not getting the rest I needed or wanted. Yesterday, we had the photoshoot, which turned out to be a pretty amazing day. And today, I had plans that would take me out to Rowland Heights.

I was thrilled to have woken up in time to take care of some other things I needed to take care and get some work in. The life of a virtually unemployed person is very interesting. I call this work because it is. The act of searching for a job and writing cover letters and other things is very time-consuming. Between that and launching a blog and working on photography things, it gets somewhat more hectic that I could have imagined. I edited my shots from the cowboy shoot.

After running a couple of errands, I spent some time with my parents before heading with my youngest brother to see a wrestling match featuring Sindarin. I’m going to have to admit that I’m honestly becoming a fan of wrestling. From there, I returned to my parents home to watch the end of the Lakers game.

I also got to see my “Filmmaker of the Year” younger brother’s final project for his film class. Not just because I’m his big sister, but his scripts blow me away. I have such talented younger brothers!

I did a second round of photo editing with the pictures I shot at the wrestling match. Some more writing and other odds and ends.

The best thing I did today, though, was a Sanskrit meditation. Some other things happened today that were not so fun, and as I said to my mom, I’m trying to be as positive about everything as possible but it seems as though I’m really being tested right now. The meditation helped me to clear my head and discard some of the negativity. Stuff happens, after all. Not much we can do about it.

So, on that note….back to my writing. Oh, one picture I did want to share from today:

He calls it a Sindersault! Woohoo!

He calls it a Sindersault! And I REALLY think he should teach me how to do it.

Sanskrit & Sleepovers

There are some people in my life who brim with such positive energy that I can’t help but feel a little more complete when I’m around them. I have started to realize that my desire for some sort of internal balance that I have not been able to name thus far is starting to be a sticking point.

This all started with imaginative meditation I did on a silent retreat now four years ago. It completely opened up this floodgate of desire to slow down and find balance. This retreat came after a spring of recurring dreams of the desert. It was almost violent in its effect at the time. I felt that I was genuinely being tortured with a mystery that I was not understanding.

When I realized that the desert was the manifestation of God in my life, everything started to fall into place.

I said that to Nicole on Thursday night. She’s the one of a few people who can call me up and request a sleepover, and I can respond with the excited-ness of a teenager who is being allowed to play with a friend till 2 a.m. She has such a beautiful spirit and energy about her that I can’t help but feed off of it when she’s around. Our conversation turned to God and spirituality as it often does. I told her about my trip to Sedona, and she told me about becoming a certified Reiki practitioner. That is the most perfect thing for her because I don’t think she even realizes that she always shares her energy with people.

The very next day, what was supposed to be a four-hour subsitution job turned into an 11-hour day that was remarkable in its own right. I have always been somewhat in awe of Danae. She has such an amazing presence about her. I love talking to her, and had such an amazing time talking to her about spirituality.

She introduced me to someone who is studying Sanskrit, and he gave us both exercises for meditation. For the first one we both sat under huge Styrofoam domes. I have to say that the energy around it was pretty amazing. It was instantly relaxing. What followed after was something Nicole had also brought up—Sanskrit. amen2

It was almost as thought the writing itself was healing. I have Greek, Hebrew and Sanskrit writings of the word “Amen” (that is “so be it”).

I was thinking today that the meditation over something as simple as “so be it” is incredibly powerful. It is completely giving into knowing that you cannot control anything in this life.

So simply, let it be.