Maybe I’ll start teaching #hermetics…

Instead of marketing myself as a private yoga teacher. This came up in conversation when Sam was here, the fact that I could try marketing myself to locals who can afford a minimum of $75 an hour for private instruction. I’ve got 28 years of experience in yoga. And meditation! My introduction to both occurred at once, when I enrolled in two six-week intensive, college credit classes during the summer 1998 at Rivier University in NH. I wanted to get some non studio credits out of the way so I could focus even more on painting my junior year. I took Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism and The Psychology of Communication.

During my first experiences with basic, hatha yoga, the meditation was of equal importance.

I like the fact that with my introduction to yoga, there was a simultaneous introduction to experiential learning in meditation. We used the basic method outlined in Lawrence Leshan’s How to Meditate. See? I still remember the f-ing title. I’ve been recommending it ever since is why.

The class was taught by a couple in their early 70s, thereabouts, and met twice a week for 3-hours a session. During each class we sat for meditation for 20-minutes, and also did 40-minutes of very basic, democratic asana. The rest of the time we discussed our reading and writing assignments, the history and philosophy part.

It took awhile, but I did get the RISD liberal arts department to accept BOTH of my grade A credits. I got into a phone fight with the head of the department while I was still in NH. Must’ve gotten a notice of the rejection of that course in the mail… I’d done my homework though, and had checked to see that Rivier was fully accredited before I enrolled. I’d worked hard too! Taking two classes together was so intense I couldn’t work my normal menial summer job at the same time. I wanted my As, see… As part of Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism I’d vowed to do the 20-min sit and 40-min yoga every single day the entire 6-weeks of the program, while completing all the reading and writing assignments of course. This had a profound and lasting effect.

There were some total bullshit liberal arts classes at RISD, like one where you grew a plant and kept a journal of its progress for a semester. Didn’t waste my brain cells on that one but I’d heard about it and snorted. I’d slammed the phone down on the department head, after he said I “must be crazy” if I thought he was going to accept those credits. I decided to wear him down. When I got back to school in the fall, I brought all of my heavily highlighted course books and all my papers for the class tied up in a nice, little bundle with a bow. I dumped the lot on his desk and said, “You can’t tell me this isn’t as much real work as a lot of the classes you’ve got going here.

I got my way.


How might I market myself?

If I do this, I’ll still teach whatever yoga (cardio and strength training) would be appropriate to the client, but I’ll include the meditation and advise from the beginning that meditation takes priority. Five minutes is a good place to start for beginners.

Kabbalah, Magic & the Great Work of Self Transformation

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My new read

I’m still reading Initiation into Hermetics, but I’ll be in that for 2-3 years if I stick with it. It’s more like a bookshelf of encyclopedias crammed into one tomb of practical exercises than a mere book, and it’s not all that user friendly in figuring out the practical application of all the insanely difficult, mental exercises. As in the first chapter title of Kabbalah Magic, Though Only a Few Will Rise. And this is another set of practical exercises – “A COMPLETE COURSE” – though I haven’t gotten that far into it yet.

The first ritual detailed is the LBRP, which I already know. I wouldn’t include the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentegram in any yoga teaching program! It’s far (+1,000,000) more esoteric than any asana class or (the lite description) “relaxation exercise”.


My visitor

Figures that it’s suddenly much warmer and brighter outside, the last morning my friend is in town. She’s at the airport now… We had a last afternoon of sight seeing and hanging out yesterday. I’ll post some pictures once I get clearance.

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I’m all into archangel Gabriel still.

Stopped by New Renaissance Bookstore yesterday for a second time. She picked up some things for the kids. I got two goldstones, specifically for working with the archangel Gabriel, and a pear candle (ditto). I’d been looking for another of the inexpensive, great light & long burning apple candle. All they had was pears. Then I revisited this site and noticed that his/her “angelic thoughtform” is a pear. All right then! They’re the same price as the apple shape and probably just as good.

Writing & studying in the morning is relaxing / my latest read

On my creative slacker existence & a little on my personal artistic process

Another late start today! I did a NB¹ yesterday. Despite that I wasn’t out of bed in time to see Ch off for work. I was gathering up my stuff for coffee time (glasses, phone, laptop, snot rag) and saw him drive off in the van. I waved. Toodles! So what will the renunciate hermit occupy herself with today? I’ll sit. I’ll repeat my mantra. I’ll work on The Deck, the latest thing.

I drag my heels when it comes to the “finishing”. I don’t want to commit. It’s not as fraught with danger as it used to be, when I was in art school and would sometimes “kill” a piece. I’d be going along and the composition would be balanced and healthy, and then I’d over work, realize things had gone wrong, keep working (with increasing desperation) until it was truly dead and then continue to flog it for some time.

Now it’s different. For one I’m not doing anything for approval or validation (“winning” the group critique, the solid As I pursued so vigorously). Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser I see all of the marks as valid in a way. I’m not so much making something as I am forming a record of my observances and actions. I’m also mixing media at will. Hardly anything I do is just one media. This is very new. There are no rules! This is because nothing really matters, anyone can see…

I’m finally ok-again with really working on something. After an intense session, it’s best to put it away, and not look at it at ALL, for a week. Even just 24 hours is hugely beneficial though, if your deadline doesn’t permit such a leisurely pace.


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I did make it to Powell’s yesterday, after having stopped for a vegan high school lunch at Veggie Grill and a new hoodie at Gap. I was looking for another historical, non fiction title actually, but this is about another student of Hermes Trismegestus, named and translated (saved) by the Greeks in 2 or 3rd century BC / also known as the ancient Egyptian god Thoth.

The star of our biography: Acarat, Count Cagliostro, otherwise known as Joseph Balsamo to the French, lived 1743 – 1795. Sentenced to life in prison at the end, by the good, old Inquisition. I’m pretty sure Franz Bardon got harassed by the god police at the end as well, but I haven’t found a bio of him yet.

Whatever you call him, our Count Cagliostro lead an amazing life. He seems both highly shady, and spiritually talented, in healing and other occult arts like very accurate psychic predictions. (I’m only on page 30 but I’m taking notes. When I read to study, I require physical books, as well as a pen and highlighter, lol.)


¹ no booze

Annoyances can be like games, tests of your powers of mental avoidance

Blocking shit out is a VIRTUE in hermetics.

You want to be able to focus on shit you want to attract and foster, and extremely honed focus is a skill that requires constant practice. I never heard of anyone really working on that in Astanga. In my experience, and observance of that world when I was in it, The Cult seems to mostly produce more obsessiveness and attachment. Useful tools though, the asana, when not fixated upon.

Super late start today! Granted I was hiding in my room from like 7pm on last night, avoiding jam night, indulging in a Magicians & tequila binge until midnight. Pretty sure my next episode is #11, and I’d started on 3 or 4. (Read & enjoyed all 3 of the books and I don’t much mind the made-for-TV elements of the show.) Since I can, I slept in until 9:30, not including temporary feline interruptions.

I’m going to take the bus downtown on a field trip today! Need a new hoodie FFS. I finally retired my beloved, worn to DEATH Aeropostale. Try as I might, I could never find a satisfactorily form fitting and heavy replacement. I’m pretty sure I only paid about $30, during one post Christmas sale about 10 years ago. I’d go there every winter and order up a ton of stuff. Charlie googled up an okay looking example at Gap this morning though, so I reserved one and I’ll go see. Maybe I’ll have lunch at Veggie Grill too…

I’m planning on “plein air” as soon as it gets into at least 50-degree weather.

Seriously WTF is up with all this New England weather in Portland this year? Le sigh. Too cold. But… look what’s on its way.

I know I just got my huge, studio easel back after 20 years, but the thing is I want to do more outside drawings and water media, including watercolor, watercolor, watercolor. I now have a shit ton of paint!¹ My old easel is mostly suited for oil painting, or acrylic if you can deal that. You also can’t lug it down to the waterfront to work on a touristy kind of promotional piece. I need to be doing more architecture. I should toss in some government buildings. I want to be downtown more again, and this is the kind of work I want to produce so…

I did a little bit of that last year – link 1, link 2, link 3 –  when I was tentatively getting going on spending longer amounts of time on drawings and making more of a commitment to a level of finish above “doodle”. These were volunteer illustrations for the cool, though unorganized Sustainable Today. It could’ve gone further, but then they wanted something on the level that should be billed for at least $5,000, and they waited too long to ask. Fall and winter last year I was still working frantically toward anything that could cover my second apartment, but all those efforts were not quite right. (At least she tried.)

Maybe all I need, eventually, is studio space downtown

I’ve got my doubts about oil painting working out downstairs in the dining room. It’s not a dedicated space and there would be ventilation and clean-up issues. Working in oil is also SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE. I’ve decided that the universe needs to pony up significantly first. All of my spiritual practices of the past six months are pointed in this direction, like an army of missiles. That’s what it’s all in service of, so we’ll see.


Maybe I’ll exercise tonight, maybe I won’t.


¹ Since I’ve started working in traditional media again, out here in Portland, I’ve decided that Utrecht is my favorite brand. Other companies make interesting novelty colors. I like some of the metallics and “shimmers”. But overall the consistency and spread is best in Utrecht. You don’t get all this oily goop that spits out.

 

 

Book recommendation: The Permanent Pain Cure

I kept hardly any books when I moved cross country to Portland. If I kept this, you can bet I found it particularly useful.

IMG_9632.JPGEven people who aren’t OCD Ashtangis and/or HIIT athletes get pain! I have a long history of fixing various tweaks and injuries, and I bought this back in January 2011. I love how you can look up old purchases on Amazon, I’ve gotta say. It’s keeping a no-effort diary of interests. I’m pretty sure it was when my 3rd year of full third series finally started to shred what’d been my impervious knees. (People used to describe me as “indestructible”. For a couple glorious years of expansion it certainly felt that way.)

Impermanence and injury are closely related

Had a rest day yesterday, I got the book out this morning because for the second time within a week and a half, I’ve tweaked out the left side of my neck by sleeping wrong. That’s right. How annoying! I try to be careful not to fall asleep in any overly neck-stretched position, and still… I have to admit, though, I haven’t been very good about practicing my easy-ish yoga as often or thoroughly as I know I should. I can get little minor tweaks in my weaker left arm & just ignore them…

There are specific sets stretches per area of pain, so I looked up neck pain & will try out a set tonight. Some of them I’ve done before, of course, having worked on issues with: shoulder, mid back, both knees. Ashtanga! I remember when I was learning just the beginning of second series and I did a Manju week at Shiva Shala, its lower First Ave location. That was the era of the throbbing right shoulder. I pointed to it before a back bending assist, I think, and let him know I had an injury. And he made a joke! Oh yes, yoga is a cure for everything except that which is caused by the yoga. Then he guffawed merrily. I was completely taken aback, confused and truthfully a bit scandalized. Still in my rose-colored glasses phase. How can you say that??? is what I was thinking. Later on of course I would greatly appreciate that early irreverence.

It’ll still take me probably 20/25 min at first because I have to skim through all the instructions. I’ve picked out 7 moves, but all but 2 of those are 2-sided. And I’ll work out today but I’ll leave the weighted vest out of it for a few days. I don’t need 8lbs of dead weight bouncing around on my shoulders at the moment.


Tomorrow’s the new moon (in Sagittarius I believe) ! I already set up the coffee maker in my bathroom, so when I get up just past 4 I can just hit the start button. There are preparations for the ritual!

 

 

 

 

 

Word of the day is #tonglen. Thank gods for #meditation

The start of my day needed a near immediate do-over

But at least I deleted the screen shots of the nastygram from my mother. Just did my morning meditation, which was a bit difficult, and did the banishing ritual which comes right after the sit.

I wasn’t in a great mood last night and came to a section on tonglen in a current reread, When Things Fall Apart. You can practice breathing in pain that you are feeling & exhaling relief of the suffering to all those experiencing the same.

“On the in-breath, you breathe in whatever particular area, group of people, country, or even one particular person… maybe it’s not this more global situation, maybe it’s breathing in the physical discomfort and mental anguish of chemotherapy; of all the people who are undergoing chemotherapy. And if you’ve undergone chemotherapy and come out the other side, it’s very real to you. Or maybe it’s the pain of those who have lost loved ones; suddenly, or recently, unexpectedly or over a long period of time, some dying. But the in-breath is… you find some place on the planet in your personal life or something you know about, and you breathe in with the wish that those human beings or those mistreated animals or whoever it is, that they could be free of that suffering, and you breathe in with the longing to remove their suffering.

And then you send out – just relax out… send enough space so that peoples’ hearts and minds feel big enough to live with their discomfort, their fear, their anger or their despair, or their physical or mental anguish. But you can also breathe out for those who have no food and drink, you can breathe out food and drink. For those who are homeless, you can breathe out/send them shelter. For those who are suffering in any way, you can send out safety, comfort.

So in the in-breath you breathe in with the wish to take away the suffering, and breathe out with the wish to send comfort and happiness to the same people, animals, nations, or whatever it is you decide.

Do this for an individual, or do this for large areas, and if you do this with more than one subject in mind, that’s fine… breathing in as fully as you can, radiating out as widely as you can.”[7]

I practiced a little bit of that… This morning brought a new challenge! And I failed to maintain equilibrium. Whatever! I’m going to eat some delicious leftovers and get to work drawing.

Rewatched #Melancholia last night

I love a good end of the world drama, and I liked this much more the second time. First time I watched it was also online, with my friends Jody and Daniel in NYC, when they lived just a block north of me in the East Village. If you’re expecting Hollywood fare this will be a hard movie to get into! We were all sort of dismissive then because we were expecting a more superficial type of entertainment.

Melancholia is slow moving, but very deep and well acted, and it has a powerful ending. That’s when the deeply depressed individual – who had it all and threw it all away – shows how strong she truly is.

The therapist told him that depressive people tend to act more calmly than others under heavy pressure, because they already expect bad things to happen.

There are two halves to the movie.

By splitting the film up into two parts in this way, “Melancholia” explores the themes of loss, destruction, impermanence, and loneliness, first on an intimate scale (“Justine”) and then on a global scale (“Claire”).

I’m familiar with being the only person in a room willing and able to see the ridiculousness and (sometimes) base evil of a situation and actually SAY something. I can relate to Claire. “You don’t need to mourn this world.” Actually the only area where I disagree is I don’t believe that humans are alone in the universe. I’m pretty sure there’s other fuck-ups out there.


Planning my day. Gonna do a little reading. I need to read the entire servitor book & then start conceptualizing my 24/7 helper. What I need is something to inspire me to create art without deadlines or expectations and THEN direct clients to me.

My seat is strong in my daily, morning meditation. So THIS is what all the yoga was for! – a thought that sprang up today, before I returned my attention to the edges of my nostrils.

Julia posted a shorter workout! Of course if it’s rep based and 40min for her it’ll be an hour for me, at least, but that’s ok. A little exercise and a little yoga would be fine for today.

I think I’m pretty well versed in groundlessness 

Some notes from: When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron.

Trying to get a lasting security* teaches us a lot, because if we never try to do it, we never noticed that it can’t be done.

We can drop the fundamental hope that there is a better “me” who will one day emerge

Hopelessness is the basic ground. Otherwise, we’re going to make the journey with the hope of getting security. If we make the journey to get security, we’re completely missing the point.

Begin the journey without hope of getting ground under your feet. Begin with hopelessness. (✅)

This is the beginning of the beginning. Without giving up hope – that there somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be – we will never relax with where we are or who we are.🆗

* Or any security whatsoever in some cases. 🔚