Meditation For Calming An Anxious Spirit

Meditation as a means of recovering the centre, a release of anxiety.

Meditation as a means of recovering the centre, a release of anxiety.

Writing is hard work. I have just finished my autobiography for the first part of my life which now requires that I redo the second part of my story which I wrote last year. I am also in the process of gathering photos for my second book of Naked Poetry. All of this has my “centre” a bit wobbly. Or, perhaps I could say that I am anxious at how all of this work is going to be received. Writing from the heart is risky business, sometimes risking more than one expects. That also adds to the unease and disequilibrium.

I worry about how my extended family will respond to the book of my first twenty years of life. Will my exposing skeletons cause divisions and increased distance? Will I be end up facing a firestorm and lose more than I gain? I doubt it, but that doesn’t stop the wondering.

I also worry about how family, friends, neighbours and others will respond to my second poetry book which I have opened up to include more than my wife and myself, with more nudity in the images that are paired with the poems.

I find myself going quieter, retreating even more into myself with the anxiety. And it is with relief that I take my seat on my cushion and disappear into my breath.

Naked, Exposed and Vulnerable

Waiting for the dawn.

Waiting for the dawn

Sometimes there is a real need for darkness. It is a place where we are least sure of ourselves and perhaps that is a good thing. Why do I say this? Well, more often than not, our ego gets in the way of our becoming wiser, more complete beings. In the darkness, we fall asleep and enter into a level of connection to something bigger than the boxes we put around the world and ourselves.We give up control and doors open to a universe beyond all of our imagining, a world within which we find ourselves at home – curious, isn’t it?

When we wake up to the light of a new day, when night is pushed away, we dismiss the dreams, the forebodings, the flying, the embracing of everything that is too absurd for our conscious mind to accept. We know better, or so we try to convince ourselves.

For me, there is that time in the space between night and day, when the light of the sun has yet to pierce the darkness, that I find is like a bridge between the conscious world of day, and the unconscious world of night. At this moment in time everything is. No, the preceding sentence isn’t unfinished; it says best what seems impossible to say and understand. As you can see in this image, I am there in that twilight zone of time and space where anything and everything is possible and knowable. It is a holy time when I am vulnerable, exposed to the universe without all of the armour and disguises which I wear during the waking hours of day, disguises which are too easily adopted as the essence of self.

When we are asleep in the night, we are naked whether our bodies are clothed or covered with blankets and sheets. We find ourselves in scenes and scenarios where we are participants but not the author. We are unable to hide, even from ourselves. And exposed, we come to see the shadows that make us feel uncomfortable and uneasy. We come to realise that these shadows are other faces of ourselves, denied faces that rebel against being banished. In the night, while asleep, we are stripped of our ego, our conscious control. What emerges is a rare kind of honesty which we dismiss when the light comes on moments after waking. In the light, we quickly put on our clothes to banish the lingering sense of vulnerability. But, we can’t cover up the gnawing sensation that we are still exposed, still vulnerable, and that life will discover our unease and unmask us as frauds. expose all of our warts, wrinkles, all the stains on our soul that lurk in the shadows waiting to erupt and embarrass us in the eyes of others in the world. No matter how many layers of clothing or makeup we put on, no matter whether there are designer labels or no-name brands of camouflage, we continue to feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable.

Soul Care and Shadows

A borrowed image found on Facebook - Soul Care and Shadows

A borrowed image found on Facebook – Soul Care and Shadows

Sometimes I find images without looking for them, images that are powerful statements. This image to the left is the latest image that found a path through my thinking mind to reach deep into the core of my psyche, that place that we call “Soul.” I hope someone knows the artist who created this masterpieces as she/he deserves recognition. The image was tied to an article on a depth psychology website belonging to Paul Deblaissie. The article is brief, but it does touch on a theme I have been writing about fairly often over the past few months, that of “Shadow.”

There is no doubt in my mind that we are hurting as a human race. We know that there is something wrong, but we aren’t exactly sure what it is that needs fixing in us, in others, and in the world in general. When we look in the mirror, we flinch and protest that this can’t really be who we are, this stranger in the mirror. Somehow, the internal images we have of ourselves don’t match what our eyes see. How do we solve this problem? Most often, we cover up the outer self as well as engage in all manner of efforts to physically change what is seen in the mirror. Make up, diets, exercise in expensive gyms, sunlamps, designer label clothing, tattoos and piercings, plastic surgery: the efforts to reshape and hide the ugly truth that is staring at us in the mirror. But, the image we want to achieve seems impossible to attain in spite of all the money, time and effort we devote to erase that ugly truth. Life just isn’t fair.

It isn’t just our bodies that are betraying us, we see that so many people around us are working overtime to convince us that we need to work harder and spend more money to become worthy humans, to be lovable. In spite of those closest to us who love us as we are and tell us that, we dismiss these affirmations of our outer and inner self. After all, regardless of the truth, they are obliged to affirm us in spite of our ugliness, our imperfections which we so desperately want to banish. We look out and see the images of perfection in all of our media. We see all those smart and fashionable people who seem to have what we are desperately seeking. And we become angry, especially with ourselves. We hate being defective, imperfect. And so we hide and deny as much about ourselves as we can.

What we need is what we can’t seem to give ourselves, a compassionate acceptance of our body, mind and soul.

Autumn Au Naturel

autum au naturel

autum au naturel

We are blessed with some warm weather, what we have traditionally called “Indian Summer” here in Canada. I am not so worried about being “politically correct” with this terminology as I am considered part of the aboriginal family here, what is referred to as a Métis. That means, I have both Native Canadian (First Nations) and European ancestry, an interesting blend of French, Austrian, Mohawk, Ojibway (Chippewan), and likely Cree bloodlines.

Ancestry and Indian Summer aside, I have a more serious topic in mind for today’s post. What angers me most is the attitudes of law and religion towards the natural human body. This news from the UK:

“Former Royal Marine Stephen Gough was found guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of breaching an anti-social behaviour order which bans him from taking off his clothes in public.”

This verdict has resulted in adding another two and a half years to his already served eight years for simply wanting to live “naturally.” Stephen Goughs’ persistence in living his belief has earned him the Spanish Human Rights Prize. Thnk about it, he has served more time in jail than many who have assaulted, murdered, or any number of other “serious” crimes. Somehow, this doesn’t bother too many people who simply respond that Gough must like being in jail because he continues to be naked.This then becomes Gough’s issue, not an issue of societal injustice, a typical “blame the victim” response. Ironically, there isn’t a law that makes it a crime to be unclothed in public. However,if someone becomes affronted with another person’s nudity, that affront or being offended (one’s peace of mind is disturbed) then a case can be made for a law being broken.

It’s enough to make a person want to . . .  ah, but that’s the point. . . we all take turns being offended and no time at being compassionate and understanding. We are all naked in spite of our best efforts at cover-ups. We wear clothes, we wear roles, we wear authority, we find all manner of ways to separate ourselves from others that make us uncomfortable, including ourselves as we hide our bodies and refuse to look in the mirror, honestly. It is hard to be compassionate when we are offended by our own body and by anyone or anything outside of our body that challenges whatever belief system we choose to adopt. The problem is always reduced to others out there and never within ourselves.

It doesn’t bode well for the future of the human species if we can’t find a way to learn to love our “natural” self and the swarming multitudes of others.

Life Is Good

I am trying out my newest lens for my Sony a6000 DSLR camera.

Trying out my newest lens for my Sony a6000 DSLR camera.

Yes, I finally got my new lens which has been sitting at my daughter’s home. A Sony telephoto lens 55-210mm. The lens is small, much smaller than the 18-250mm lens that I have for my Sony a550 camera, and extremely a lot lighter. I won’t have any issues carrying the new lens with me as I hike across Spain next August and September, the purpose for the new Sony a6000 camera and lenses. The camera came with a wide-angle lens which I will also be carrying on the 1000 km hike.

I am satisfied with the first photo taken with this lens which is posted here. I will be going out for a hike later today to get a number of other photos taken in nature settings.

I am staying at my daughter’s home in North Dakota for the next five days in order to watch all three of my grandsons here, play football. Tonight two of the boys are playing, with the youngest playing his game on Saturday morning. By the time the weekend is finished, my wife and I will be pleasantly worn out by the non-stop energy of the family. Life is good.

Naked At The Edges Of Awareness

There is something about early morning that is otherworldly.

There is something about early morning that is otherworldly.

Light. At the edges of light between day and night, there is a sense that one is at the edges of more than the world that we know as our world. It is as though there is a thin veil of possibility that there is more than we can ever know. Each of us has a conscious sense of who we are, our ego. When we are feeling strong and vibrant, we even believe that what we know about ourselves is the sum total of who we are and that we are masters of that self. It takes something to disturb that certainty and remind us that we are not as all-knowing as we had thought. We become aware of another reality in which we somehow are also existing, an underworld of sorts that exists in the shadows, at the edges of conscious knowing.

In this other world, the costumes we wear, the uniforms and masks behind which we protect ourselves don’t serve us well. We are stripped naked and our weaknesses are made visible, not only to ourselves, but to whatever presences that populate this other world. Somehow, we are not so shocked to see ourselves naked in this world which we meet under the cover of darkness. especially in our dreams. What most surprises is the power that begins to flow back into consciousness when one accepts this vulnerability of allowing our shadow selves to be acknowledge, our messy aspects to be admitted, to stop hiding behind masks and costumes.

Staying Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Yes, it is only 1 Celsius outside this morning with a forecast of snow on the way.

It’s 1 Celsius outside this morning with  snow on the way.

The photo isn’t all that great as the camera was in the house while I was outside. The glass and the screen added a few interesting visuals and textures to the image. But that aside, the objective was to simply show you just how cold it is here on the Canadian prairies. With overcast skies and strong winds, it feels like -6 Celsius according to the weather people. it definitely is a good day to be inside with the furnace ready to kick in should it be needed.

My wife thinks I am crazy running around without clothes on in this weather. She feels the cold more than I do. That said, I am crazy, but not that crazy as I am now back in the house at my desk writing. Of course, I am still not wearing clothes. That’s why we have a furnace and a couple of small electric heaters.

However, it isn’t winter yet. The forecast for the weekend looks promising with temperatures over 15 Celsius for two days in a row predicted. It does look like I will be enjoying mother nature while au naturel a few more times before snow comes and stays. Winter is coming, so stay warm and comfortable in your skin.