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New Start & September Anticipations

If this is scattered (more so than usual) it’s because of 1) slight stress headache due I think to 2) EXCITEMENT because I’ve been told to watch out for a DHL delivery today–it’s a present and I’m pretty sure it’s an iPad!!!

But I’m telling myself it may not be, no point looking up apps/getting excited. There are lots of things that qualify as a ‘portal to new experiences’… it could be concert tickets, tarot cards, an umbrella…

No, I mustn’t speculate. Must wait & see. Must stay calm and have lunch first…

I haven’t been writing regularly here since all the excitement of last year’s AWARE takeover partly because there hasn’t been anything big and public I wanted to focus on and all my little issues/doings/happenings get aired on Facebook; and partly because I was taken aback by some of the comments I got on those pieces–fundies who send ALL CAPS rants in bad English and links to Pastor Prince sermons–but I realise that even with my morning pages (on the wonderful 750 Words site) I miss this blog.

I miss the accountability. Thanks to the Artist’s Way Journey I’ve been taking (we’re on Week 10 now) I’m going to miss this group so much when the journey is over!
Of course it’s possible we’ll all stay in touch but that won’t be the same as knowing we’re all working on the same chapters week by week all over the world.

(Sorry, I know it’s a lot of links for one post but these are places I’ve been en route to here!)

Thanks to The Artist’s Way Journey and the books & experiences it’s led me to explore I’ve become more aware of the incredible energy, blessings & synchronicity surrounding me now. I want some kind of record for myself that can also serve as a general route guide.

Like I find I walk more when I wear a pedometer & set a target I hope I’ll be more focused in my reading and writing and yoga practice if I write about where I hope to be going in these areas. Setting goals helps define them so at least I know what I’m trying to do!

Reading is on my current list thanks largely to Steve Leveen for pointing out 1) We each have individual ‘great’ books lists 2) Don’t waste your time on books you don’t connect with–there’s so much great writing out there waiting for you 3) With all the great writing and so little time it’s a huge waste not to plan what we want to read/love to read.

He may not have meant to say those things in his book The Little Guide to Your Well Read Life but that’s what I got out of it and according to him that’s what counts!

Another book that’s inspired me to try this is Nick Hornby’s Housekeeping vs The Dirt, a chronicle of fourteen months of reading which starts each chapter/month with Books Bought: and Books Read. Haven’t finished it yet but I’m enjoying the read so far. It’s tremendously freeing to feel I don’t ‘Have’ to finish what I start reading if it doesn’t work for me at the time.

I’m hoping to post twice a month: Once in the first week and once in the final week.

September Intentions:
1. Finish corkboarding the mystery novel on Scrivener. I’m switching from first person to third person which means rewriting it completely, also cutting it down from 70,000 ++ words to 50,000 words. For a while I thought ‘no way’ I can do that in 3 months but that was exactly when ‘Creative U-turns’ came up in TAW and it could have been addressed directly at me. I’m going to practice the process and keep going till I’m stopped–this time I won’t stop myself. I’m also reminding myself that a publisher giving rewrite suggestions is a very GOOD sign and actually once I got over the panic most of the suggestions are very very good. It’s due at the end of the year so if I manage to put down a structure I’m happy with I think I can make it. In September I hope to put down at least 15,000 words.

2) Children’s Book. Why not? I wrote 2 for SPCA (they’re only taking one) so when I heard about the NBDCS children’s book competition I thought–why not? It will be an interesting experience. I’m targeting 40,000 words for this. In September I hope to finish the outline & roughly 12.000 words.

3) Yoga. Back at yoga after so long I realise how limp wimp I’ve become! But I’ve cut myself down to doing part of Primary Series at least twice, ideally three times a week. September goal: Back to doing Full Primary Series three times a week

4) Reading: I’ve just discovered the world of audiobooks but don’t want to give up reading paper just yet so… first step is to finish the Nick Hornby and the Artist’s Way course and then I’ll see. I have 4 library books and Swan Thieves and I feel like rereading stuff after surprising myself by enjoying The Scarlet Pimpernel so much…

5) Travel: Going to Paris for just over a week–hoping to try art journaling the trip. If that doesn’t work out just mean to enjoy it.

6) Blogging–mean to get back on the page for my September round up!


Attempt at New Work Process

I’m printing out 93 pages (15922 words!) of my novel-in-progress so I can work on paper, reading & doing corrections this weekend.

It feels like such a waste of paper (almost 50 sheets double sided!) but I’m justifying it to myself this way:

I want to get it published eventually–as a real book on real paper & many many many copies…

So what I’m doing now is trying to make it as good a book as possible… & so reduce the printing ‘waste’!

I know, I’m not making sense. But it’s been a long long long week. I got four practices in since Monday, though. Including yesterday which was a moon day. And two bike rides (short ones, to Cold Storage for soya milk & chocolate) & I’m really enjoying ‘The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas’. There are times it feels like I’m reading society news except slanted to artists & writers & then suddenly there’s something so touching on the war (WW I) & how people on the ground tried to survive and how the young people were rushing to enlist/volunteer… a friend of Gertrude Stein’s worried because she hadn’t heard from her son who had gone back to university. She was sure he was going to try to enlist & this proved to be correct. But ‘fortunately’ there was a long queue & the office closed before it was his turn. So she telegraphed him & he came & she saw Kitchener who got him a commission & he went to France as an officer the next week. This was North Whitehead btw, son of Alfred North Whitehead who up till now I only knew as a mathematician-philosopher.

Incredible as it seems now I once considered focusing on Mathematics. I thought there was less ‘work’ as in reading / memorizing involved & it would be interesting. Problem with that was I couldn’t see any profession other than teaching coming out of it & I didn’t want to teach.

As incredible as once upon an even more distant time I once thought medical research would be an interesting field.

Yes, I’m exhausted & rambling… but the printer has done it’s job & now I’ve got my printouts I’ll sat goodbye to the computer till Monday!

John & Lucy Scott, continued

Day 1 Evening & Day 2 Morning

Day 1 evening session was incredible. JS went back to the foundations of our practice & I realised I haven’t been practising ‘yoga’ all along–just playing around with moves & breaths.

No, it isn’t enough to follow through with ‘inhale/exhale’ as I’ve been doing/trying to do.

There are actually ‘set’ breaths that I’ve been getting all ‘wrong’!

eg something as basic as utthita trikonasana.

What I’ve been doing with my own old in-out-in-out practice was ‘inhale 1–step to the right. exhale 2… well, pause. inhale 3–check foot positions & lengthen. exhale 4–grab toe & look at other hand. Count 5 breaths. Inhale 5–to standing. Exhale 6–pause & watch the grass grow. Inhale 7–swivel feet. Exhale 8–down. Inhale 9–rise, Exhale 10–back to the grass & daisies growing. Inhale 11 back to samasthitih.

Ah, but there are 5 vinyasas (which is what I should focus on breathing through, not the asanas I tend to worry about) in this sequence, not 11!!!

So what I found it Should be is just 5 vinyasas:
Samasthitih–Inhale 1–step right. Exhale 2–go down grab toe (yes–swivelling, foot arranging, lengthening, balancing getting all in this one inhale!!!) 5 breaths there. Inhale 3–lift from core & square feet. Exhale 4–do the turn, swivel & toe grab in one move. 5 breaths here. Inhale 5–back to standing, feet parallel. Exhaling back to samasthitih (not included in vinyasa count).

I was trying to do ‘mind’ practice last night & ended up having difficulty sleeping especially as I was trying to remember sanskrit (I mean, if you’re going to get insomnia over something might as well get insomnia over the real something right?) & going ‘ekam-dwe-trini-chatvari-pancha–so far so good what’s next the one that sounds like the past tense of ‘shit’ right? and losing track of where I got to every time I did my breaths X5.

But clumsily as I was doing it this morning, it really felt really really good–my focus was actually focused & though I am normally a light sweater (just barely get damp skin & ‘glow’) today I was pouring buckets & buckets!
Till I started skidding on jump backs & Lucy said ‘maybe you need a cotton mat’… hey, maybe I do! One more prop, true, but hey, I’m getting ‘grown up’ yogi props!

Yes, it was a great session. He talked about why we practice, what we want out of practice, & compared it to making music where loss of focus on any one component (lyrics/music/rhythm) means something is wrong.

And he shared what sounded like a moment of samadhi for him, though he did not call it that. After his father’s death, he had a moment while driving when he felt his late father’s presence–& ‘saw’ in that moment how his father was in him & also in his father & his father’s father… going back & forwards in time.

That was striking for me because it so echoed the ‘all things are one’ I’ve been encountering in several books I’ve read recently (Zen Mind, Eckhart Tolle, Conversations With God) & though in abstract it seems frightening & diminishing of me as an individual, his experience of it sounded enriching & strengthening–like an insight ‘flash’ moment given as a blessing.

Anyway it was a good session. And it was good trying to put last night’s ‘theory’ on the mat this morning.

& I treated myself to a massage after… nice & deep!

Now… after this will try to do some writing & then get myself back to the shala!

Oh, & I finished reading Sue Grafton’s Q is for Quarry. Liked: 1) finding out Kinsey’s pretty–she looks like her late mom who was considered pretty 2) the paeans to fast food burgers. I don’t eat them but she writes about them so well I want to! 3) the fact that Sue Grafton based this on an actual unsolved murder. Was wondering how she keeps this ‘new’ & thought maybe you don’t have to when you are Sue Grafton & people know what they want from you… but still she did find this way & it’s incredible. The reconstruction of the actual dead/unknown person is at the back of the book & it would be so great/sad but wonderful if, as a result, she gets her identity back!

Busy But Good…

Reading Twyla Tharp in an attempt not to be too rooted in one discipline…

Reading Rachel Rosenthal because my discipline is my discipline…

Love them both incredibly in different ways!!!

Am terrified of them both too!

Discovered I was too late to sign up for editing workshop organised by readtheselips because I’m probably the only writer who doesn’t understand how PayPal works (!)

But found an old Borders card with $69 on it & went to Borders to comfort myself!!!

Tried a yoga class at Cali Fit–Hatha 2. Interesting. Trying to figure out whether I can say I did practise today because I put in an hour on the mat… but it’s like doing Yin right? Getting on the mat is the thing. In some ways it was much more basic than an hour of ashtanga. In other ways–we did things that were definitely more ‘advanced’ than primary series–like camel & side plank.

I’m very happy I went, though. One thing not to be too attached to is one form of practice!

Still feeling a bit disconnected after Sunday’s sermon. Susan spoke on choices & why we are at FCC. Ultimately it’s a choice, it’s a group we choose to join. We should then recognise ourselves as a group of people who have made that decision.

It made me think how in Second Life (old addiction) & Facebook (current addiction) I spend time thinking about choices & groups & keeping in contact with people even if only to play scrabulous with them or send them ‘blessings’ but in real life I tend to drift into stuff then do my best to avoid them if I’m uncomfortable.

Online I would do a housecleaning & press ‘delete’ which is much healthier.

Twyla Tharp was even talking about names–what name would you give yourself if you could choose? Again online we spend more time finding names & tags that suit our personalities–choosing pets, plants, decorations–but in real life?

People getting married ‘to apply for flat’, getting pregnant ‘because don’t want to wait till it’s too late’… or by accident ‘because you know how periods are so unpredictable when you are breastfeeding,’ (I swear–she was going around telling everybody–not that anyone asked!!)

Okay. I suppose the equivalent is the ‘life gifts’ already named that people send you.
But then the consequences are a lot less serious if you go into things unprepared.

Actually I want to see how it would be if I take steps in the opposite direction & live a little More as though I was structuring an online life. ‘Take responsibility’, because doing so in real life always seems somewhat presumptuous (good little methodist girls should wait for what God & good men give them & not ask or expect too much)

Like Susan said, if I have joined a church by choice, it’s like joining an online group or team by choice–I should be thinking in terms of allegiance & contribution as well. This is not just a Sunday habit thing; it’s about a piece added to my identity and how my being part of the group adds to the group.

(Would you believe she was actually preaching on the Psalms 84? )

End of March

On one hand it feels like this month went past really really fast & I’m wondering where did it go?

On the other hand, I did manage to get stuff down on paper–(well & into the computer), reconnect with some long-lost friends & meet a couple of new people who have been living on ‘parallel’ courses (we’ve been doing similar stuff, interested in similar stuff, fired up by similar causes… just never met up till now) & that’s very good too.

& though I haven’t managed the daily 90 min 5.30am practice, I think my practice as a whole is stabilizing. I’ve been reading more theory, focusing more on service & meditation & balance…

& I just found Louise Penny’s website! Plus she has a blog!  (For those of you who missed her Singapore visit & are still unaware of her books, this lady comes closest to being a contemporary heir to Agatha Christie… you’ll read her books first time for the mystery whodunnit, true. But you’ll go back again & again for the details & the human touches–the quirky irascible poet, the lovely flamboyant gay couple, the hesitant yet talented art photographer… & the food details are wonderfully evoked…)

The Short Story Is…

… going to be Read this year!!!


Last Blood Test Of The Year!

This afternoon will be going for my last blood test of the year! Don’t expect the results till next week & don’t expect anything spectacular but even that is good… compared to what could be!

Didn’t do much at practice today… it was a very empty class… but stayed & talked to Celeste after about all we did over Christmas, will be doing over new year etc. She also said she wanted to start the year ‘pure’, like I wanted to start with an early practice… I’ve already turned down 2 new year’s eve invites & then one more came (sms over lunch) and each time you feel bad because these are people you might not see for another year (but guess that goes to show we’re not that close!) and she said ‘yes’ to one because there’s family involved but said she’s skipping out right after dinner to get to bed early… being countdown parties, most of them start at 9pm and people like us tend to be asleep by 9.30 so you can see how tricky it is!

I discovered when trying to update it that I must have deleted my visual bookcase on Facebook while housekeeping applications. Well, I get to start over with the new year I guess. I wanted to write up the new books I’ve received & been reading.. The Laughing Buddha Cab Company by Chris Mooney Singh (from Chris Mooney Singh) To Know Where I’m Coming From by Johann S Lee (from Johann Lee) and yes, it gives me a big, big, big thrill and a very special feeling to receive their writing out from their hands; reminds me of just why we all write and that the bottom line of it all is making a connection/communicating with a reader. I’m partway through both books and have just finished a re-read of h. murakami’s After Dark, one which I really love for the atmosphere & the spot on characters which give you the feeling of people I recognise without having met yet. I still don’t like the pull back & tie in, or rather lack of… but he would say that is because I’m not into jazz and can’t accept the flow & the mood as being sufficient. No, I can’t–yes. It is my non-jazz brain. Also my non-Americanophile brain.

But yes, I swallow the translation whole.

And I’ve been playing with all the bookmarks I’ve received. Didn’t realise how many people know I collect them… got quite a few beauties too… & Shane’s lovely papers are not going to become book wrappers or liners–I’m making a book marker set for myself!