Archive for the ‘play’ Category

7 Tips for Riding the Wave

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

the waveCan you believe this wave machine? This surfer was one of the only ones who stayed on for any length of time. And that included people who appeared to have surfing experience. Probably that’s because this is a new kind of wave–harder to ride than the usual ones. Kind of like the events and changes out in the world that are new kinds of challenges, harder ones to ride than the usual ones.

So here are some surfing tips I picked up from my early history as a surfing groupie, and from my observations:

1. Watch first. Good surfers check it out, watch how the waves are breaking, observe how other surfers are doing, see where the wind is, and know whether the tide is in or out. Whatever your challenges are, be the detached observer before you try to act.

2. Pick your spot. You don’t want to sit and wait for a good wave in a bad place. No point in being in too thick a crowd, or too near the pier pilings or in a place where the waves aren’t breaking well. Position yourself to get the best ride possible. Be smart about where you start and how you place yourself before you try to make a move.

3. Be in front of the wave. Clearly surfing is about being carried by the energy of the wave, so you have to have it at your back. This is like the old Irish blessing about having the wind at your back. That’s the only way to get assistance from the Universe.

4.  Paddle like hell until you catch the wave. You have to act. it’s about timing, and it’s also about effort, at least until you know you’re being carried. Then you get to play and experiment.

5. Get all you can out of the ride. Surfers don’t come toward the beach in a straight line; they angle so that they are at the breaking edge of the wave or sometimes then inside the curl, so that they get the maximum time and opportunity to try out their skills. When the Universe is carrying you, get all you can while the getting is good!

6. When you wipe out, try again. It’s clear that wipeouts are part of the deal. We get tumbled and crunched. So we paddle out and give it another go.

7. Have a blast. If it isn’t fun, then why are we surfing? This is a ride on earth, and it’s meant to be a joyous one whenever we can make that happen.

And your tips? Let’s hear them!

Food and the Life Force

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
rainbow carrots

rainbow carrots

Wow!  Have you seen these rainbow carrots? I thought they were so lovely that I decided to buy them no matter what the high-end grocery store was charging. They would be so fun to cut up! I couldn’t wait to see how much they held their color when cooked.  And would the purple ones taste any different from the plain ol’ carrots I’ve been eating all my life?

I love it when something fairly simple and completely natural takes my breath away. Somehow it’s proof of persistent innocence. And of the real things that tend to give us the  most pleasure.

It occured to me when I roasted these carrots with garlic and good olive oil, rosemary potatoes next to them, that food we consider beautiful probably gives us extra nourishment. All the research being done about the mind/body and about the body’s propensity to open with pleasure and close with fear on all its levels of functioning–well, the facts are a blur. But the impression I have is that when we take time, when we choose foods that are beautiful and pleasurable, our body breaks out into a big purr and is able to use the nutrients in the food to bolster the life force. And life force is what we want.

I had a client the other day who has been through such a major trauma that I feared she might be in a depression too deep for me to handle. I asked her how big she pictured the life force inside her to be.  I asked her to picture it in the form of a flame, figuring she might tell me it was the size of a pilot light.  She floored me by telling me it was as big as a house. I’m not worried about her now. Sure, I’m empathetic about the grief and the pain she has to go through, but I’m not worried about her in the long run because she has a life force as big as a house.  She has rainbow carrots inside her.

Sand Spirit #18

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

18.09Often I pick a Sand Spirit Insight card at random, trusting that I know which one will tell me what I need to remember for the day.

This is an image I’ve always loved. I see a woman with a heart-shaped face, wearing flowing robes and bedecked with ceremonial scarves and decorations. Her body looks relaxed and she is walking forward gracefully, her right hand over her belly.

This woman is full of love and grace, and she is very earthy.  She loves her body and loves and cares for herself in the best sense.  She has a sense of humor and loves pleasure. All who come across her feel better just for being in her presence.  I feel better just drawing the card with her image on it.

This Sand Spirit has come to remind me that we all–men or women–have this juicy, beautiful, fun and holy feminine energy within us. I think today my message is to bring her out and let her show, let her walk in the world. That ought to make today a magical day.

What do you see in this card? What does the form or figure that pops out for you have to say? And how do you respond?

Tea with Henry and Ella

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Henry and EllaWhenever I go to visit my grandchildren in South Pasadena, CA, I stay at a sweet B&B called the Artists’ Inn, where every room is decorated to honor a different artist. I’m especially fond of the Georgia O’Keefe room, but really the best part of my stay is afternoon tea. Ella and Henry, the eldest of the grandchildren, come and have tea with me. They each choose a china cup, and every day a different treat has been freshly baked. I flavor the tea (you can guess that sugar is a major ingredient) and set us up in the dining room. Their mom gets a little break, and I have the pleasure of giving them a ritual they only do with me. I also have the pleasure of giving myself a ritual I only do with them.

Ella and Henry look like little European children to me in their black hats, seated in front of lace curtains. And, there’s something about them having tea that suggests another country. We don’t pause for tea in America; in fact it’s hard to pause at all. Maybe that’s why Starbucks has become such a phenomenon.

I wonder what would happen if I treated the child inside me to a sweet pause in the middle of every afternoon.  A china cup with sweetened tea, a conversation with a friend or a poem to read and consider. I might be healthier and stronger for it, and perhaps more peaceful.

Our pace of living today is frightening. And my only choices seem to be to 1. complain about what the world’s coming to or 2. take control of my own pace and regulate it.

How do you regulate your pace? Do you pause every day? Do you give yourself something sweet–sweet tastes or sweet music or sweet musings? I invite you to share your thoughts–they might help preserve life seen through an artist’s lens–or through a child’s.

Teeter totter

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Ever been on a seesaw? I’m not just talking about when you were little. How about in a relationship where one minute you’re up and the next you’re oh-so-down? How about in our economy where a couple of years ago you were way up there on Easy Street and now you’re wondering if you could end up down on Skid Row?

Every spiritual tradition teaches that when we can give up our attachment to these conditions, these poles of up and down, we are freed and enlightened. Easy for “them” to say when you’re on the seesaw! How do you do it?

Today it occurred to me (dizzy from the descent from up to down) that the only way to find stability on a seesaw is to go toward center. The center is the fulcrum, the support, the still point. It must be sturdy and securely positioned in the earth for the seesaw to be safe. It is what needs to be maintained first.

How do you maintain the center support? Well, for one thing, you have to just pay attention to it. I forget sometimes to just ask how my center support is and whether it needs maintenance.

Then I ask myself what kind of maintenance it needs. One day it might be meditation. At other times a walk on the earth works best. For me, solitude is essential. Yet there are those days when there’s nothing like a good friend to reminds you you’re not crazy. Finding my sense of humor is always a relief. Spiritual practices are meant for maintaining the center.

So when you’re up, that’s great—and we know that we will eventually come down. And, being down is also a temporary state. Being human, it seems we are a seesaw and are influenced to a degree by the changing “weather” outside us.

And, we are the center. We are the fulcrum, the still point. We are the essence and we are connected to the earth.

When we find our center, we can tolerate ups and downs and keep our balance. At least we can as long as we keep the part of us alive that is forever the child—and remember that this journey is really play.