Category Archives: freedom

Mojo Monday ~ Express Yourself

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Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon.  The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed.  Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity.  And yet it is said that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”
Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.

“Everyone is creative.  Creativity is our very nature.  But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening. But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”

“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.  The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.  To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop.  The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance.  And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth.  And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job.  We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely.  This is the voice that can liberate us.  If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”

“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer.  In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”
What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise’s book?
Has someone you know ever stated I am not creative?  Did you respond?

Have you ever felt that you weren’t very creative?

This week if you hear that voice that says “stop” when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la la la” until you can’t hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go.  See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind.  

What do you gravitate to first  – paints, crayons, scissors and glue?
As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. 

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
 

Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San RafaelCalifornia.
http://www.ninawise.com/

Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.

Mojo Monday ~ In Your Own Skin Project

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What word or phrase would be
absolutely true about you;
but not obvious to strangers?

With her camera, body paint, and the quest to explore how people choose to show themselves to the world, Katheryn Trenshaw—photographer, documentarian, and artist— approaches total strangers and asks: What is true of you that is not obvious to strangers?
After conferring with Katheryn and consulting with their hearts, those who agree to participate choose a word (or phrase) that reveals something about themselves that is unknown to others. Katheryn then paints the word on the skin of the person and photographs them. The result is as moving as it is unexpected.
Her background in art, psychology, and language allows her to connect with her subjects on a variety of levels. This multi-layered perspective comes through to the viewers of her moving photographs. Over the past year, Katheryn has created nearly 150 portraits of subjects from more than thirty countries and all walks of life. Each photograph documents a personal story.

Katheryn Trenshaw shares this about the In Your Own Skin Project:
“Some years ago during a silent retreat I had an epiphany. I realized that the greatest treasure I hold is buried deep inside the thing I least want anyone to know about. Within this wound inside of me lay a rich treasure trove. I was a living paradox and the sooner I could learn to dance with this, the sooner I could unabashedly share my gifts.
I have been inspired by the work of many, especially Brené Brown. She comes from a social work research background and began wanting to know more about what makes us happy. She teamed up with neurobiologists and other researchers and basically discovered that if you want to look at happiness you need to look at shame. Happiness is directly linked with reducing shame, and this takes us to vulnerability, authenticity and ultimately to resilience in transition / changing times.
As an artist, I have specialized all of my professional life in the masks we wear, and am passionate about ritualistic mark making on skin and bodies. Breaking the Silence was a body or work I created consisting of 100 masks that toured the United States and Europe for over 15 years. It was all about revealing our true nature and looking at what we conceal and has had a huge influence on my subsequent work, life and respect for peoples traditions throughout the World.
I’ve always been fascinated with “shadow” material, the taboo that no one wants to speak about. I tend toward, what Robert Bly calls “our shadow bags”: Sex, death, money, and power. These more hidden aspects of ourselves hold great treasures and vitality when they are freed.
These elements combine to create what is now the In Your Own Skin project: A community multimedia art project, connecting us all by revealing hidden truths from around the world. With your participation we can create the powerful 1st documentary short to share the normally hidden wealth of wisdom that unites us all. And I have to say that I haven’t been so passionate about anything since the birth of my son.”

The overall project as described by Katheryn:

This In Your Own Skin documentary short is about nothing short of unlocking human potential and joy. I’ve seen the potential for human beings to share in such a powerful openhearted way. The further I go into this project, the more I trust our deep intelligence. I experience people being genuinely authentic. We are living differently now in these challenging times. We are living more and more in community and in ways that we really support each other.

Projects like this one and the others I have created ( like my Breaking the Silence Project) show that love always trumps fear.
I am passionate about this project! I love every minute of this mad and wonderful process: creating these ways to reveal and share our hidden stories with each other. I love how this process can weave into the every day aspects of my life, parenting, community and travels. I recently was reminded of the obvious… that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give that gift. Each of the In Your Own Skin portraits gives a gift and reveals a part of each of us. Now that is worth getting up for in the morning! I am so very grateful.


To learn more about the In Your Own Skin ProjectYou can visit the following web sites:

Kick Starter Fund Raising site –

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456356865/in-your-own-skin-project

Facebook Page –
https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Your-Own-Skin-Project/177799442314881

Mojo Monday ~ Unresolvable Dilemmas

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“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” 

~ Mother Teresa




Learning 
to live with
unresolvable 
dilemmas

Those 
tug of wars
that pull
you this
way
and then
that way

Unresolvable 
dilemmas

Freedom or
commitment
free spirit or
responsibility
striving or
letting it be

Unresolvable 
dilemmas


Desire to control or
desire to surrender
wanting to play it safe or 
wanting to risk it all
desire to connect or
desire to separate

Unresolvable 
dilemmas


Mind’s eye or
mystic’s eye
trust or 
doubt
being alone or
being together

Unresolvable 
dilemmas

Sometimes
there isn’t 
really
a perfect
choice

Unresolvable 
dilemmas

Spiritual life or
material life
part of a team or
independent
taking action or
letting things happen
planning or
spontaneity

Unresolvable 
dilemmas

Life
is
full
of 
paradox


by Michelle Fairchild


___________________________________________


Learn more about paradox and learning to live with unresolvable dilemmas in the book Unflappable: 6 Steps to Staying Happy, Centered, Peaceful No Matter What by Ragini Elizabeth Michaels.




Mojo Monday ~ Express Yourself

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Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon.  The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed.  Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity.  And yet it is sad that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”
Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.

“Everyone is creative.  Creativity is our very nature.  But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening.  But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”

“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.  The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.  To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop.  The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance.  And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth.  And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job.  We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely.  This is the voice that can liberate us.  If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”

“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer.  In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”

What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise’s book?

Has someone you know ever stated “I am not creative.”?  Did you respond?

This week if you hear that voice that says “stop” when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la la la” until you can’t hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go.  See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind.  What do you gravitate to first  – paints, crayons, scissors and glue?

As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. 

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

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Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San Rafael, California.
http://www.ninawise.com/

Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.

Mojo Monday: Freedom

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“Every human has four endowments ~ self awareness, consciousness, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…The power to choose, to respond, to change.” ~Stephen R. Covey

Freedom: 1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another

An incredibly historical speech about Freedom was made by Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington DC.  It was his I Have A Dream speech.

 


Nelson Mandela said that during the twenty-six years he spent in a South African prison that “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free.” Yet his embrace of the Ubuntu philosophy gave him a great perspective, “It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black.  I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed.  A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bard of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.  The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.  When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both…For to be free is not merely to case off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Victor Frankel, a Viennese psychiatrist, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz during WWII, made this observation about the essence of freedom: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread….They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances — to choose one’s own way.”

What are your thoughts on Freedom? 
What does Freedom mean to you?

If you want to contemplate the meaning of Freedom even more, one place to start is a web site called The Campaign to Liberate Freedom.

Finding Freedom

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Finding Freedom
by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

What if we woke up today

And the old stories didn’t have their sting?

What if we didn’t resist what there is to do?

And set about our tasks, whether grand or mundane

As if we were serving the world through our tending.

What if we gave ourselves permission to love,

really love,

those who previously, we framed with our thoughts

as if we always know how they will be,

What if we treated them differently? Made ourselves.

What if we did a simultaneous cleansing,

a right of forgiveness…

If we took responsibility for what has gone before

and then choose to move forward powerfully

Instead of guiltily.

We know, how guilt does not inspire

but condemns us to hidden silences.

Let us be honest with ourselves

If things have not turned out as we hoped for.

If our dreams feel dashed or doomed.

Just say it.

Are there ties that need cutting?

Are there others that need re-tieing? Mending?

Heal it, Mourn it.

But only for less than a day or two

Then it is time to move forward.

Slowly, surely we move toward hope again.

So – it is foolish to love again, try again, risk again.

But what else is there to do?

Really. Really?

We are living in a broken hearted world.

Because some of us are hungry.

Some of us are hurting.

Some damage is too far done.

To admit what is, is not to enforce a negative reality.

We have what we have and words and thoughts

do not change what we have.

But we can change our futures.

We can love beyond reason.

We can choose to move ahead with as much joy as we can find.

Some of us are happy – some of us have enough.

We can rejoice in what we have,

Guilt is not the bedfellow of true joy.

Let us be truly truly thankful for what we have.

And when we are, what we no longer need

Comes into clear view. And we can make changes.

We see how we can give, and serve.

Finding freedom comes from telling ourselves the truth

About us.

Finding freedom comes from admitting and releasing.

Finding freedom comes after a lifetime of pain or pleasure.

When we allow ourselves to see what is truly here.

In our lives in the world.

A space is opened up in us when we are no longer

hiding from our conscience, our soul, our heart.

Finding freedom comes after grieving.

Freedom is not free, or easy, or even likely.