Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Harmony Integration

I have just finished day two and it feels like a lifetime of clearing debris and moving into bliss. Really, time has stopped, stretched and wrapped itself around my mind so that my heart gets a chance to flow unfettered. I have signed on for a five day training that is full on, non-stop, 12 hour days of Harmony Integration.
A combination of many modalities, this path has been perfected and honed to a fine art by master teacher Satyen Raja who leads by example into unchartered waters. With discipline, laughter and bold creativity his commitment is to coach us to dissolve pain easily and recognize it for what it is, simply a garment of fear.
Here is the amazing thing in this training, this is NOT hard work. It’s actually not work at all!
When we see something, even opposites, as being made of the same essential substance, when we fully experience it that way, it dissolves the conflict and all problems disappear. Sound like magic? It is. I swear I have shed skin and surrendered inner battles that I didn’t even know I had.

 He starts us off with the words, “All pain is ever saying, is that one is not in alignment with what one really is.” And since there is no one out there, only in here, we get down to going inside.

 Diving into the deep end, seventy of us begin our day with yoga of the wild kind, classic poses mixed with sultry tunes that generate some pretty serious booty shaking. We join in a rich commitment to be of service to one another as we recognize that even the worst problem states have a positive goal for us. We are making art out of our wounds.

And then there is an experience even deeper. An experience where we fall into the emptiness and cessation of duality, into the void, into everything and nothing. We are not creating this state, it is inside all of us and calling to be remembered. Imagine being led there by what you consider your problems, your obstacles and struggles. I can only sigh in gratitude as I repeat this, over and over.

 We are all having intense direct experiences of our essential nature and pure joy is the result. I think the words I used as tears flowed freely earlier today is, I am velvet, electric blue black vibration. I am vast. I am life-force. How does one get to this state? Asking and opening to the questions in body and energy sensation, in image and thought and feeling.
Who am I? What am I? What is another? You know simple little queries. I enter the wholeness and realize the only thing that creates separation is me.  I have to laugh. It's starting to feel like living in a cartoon where the lines of reality are blurred and only limited by imagination. I am getting lighter by the minute.
Eyes wide open... I see!
Branded by cosmic laughter,
Authentically Yours,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dropping the f-bomb.

I just got back from a weekend in Kamloops where our band, Fowl Mouth McPhee performed to a full house, two nights in a row.

Of course there are the usual jokes about our name.  Contrary to what gets conjured up in curious minds, it is simply a combination of our last names… few f-bombs were used in the making of this moniker.

It was a fun-filled, fabulous, and feel-good couple of days.  We sang our hearts out and laughed until we cried – over the silliest things – but for us it was a furthering of what the three of us share through our music.

The best part of the whole weekend was who showed up to support us.  It started with a long-time friend of mine, Tarzan, (yes, I have written about him before), just sauntering into the lounge as if to say “of course I’m here, where else would I be?” I couldn’t stop hugging him I was so happy to see him. Then Tammy’s sister, husband and a bunch of friends arrived.  The family-and-friend theme for the weekend was quickly emerging.

I had contacted my cousin who lives in Kamloops to let her know I’d be there on the weekend.  I hadn’t seen her for about 30 years and so I was excited that she was going to make it.  She completely surprised me by bringing her two sisters (also who I hadn’t seen for a number of years).  I’m sure you could hear us laughing for a city block when we started to reminisce about times long past and the fun we’d had as kids.  I grew up in Ontario and they in B.C. so while our times spent together were few and far between, they are cherished and memorable.

More family and friends arrived on the scene and by the time all was said and done, there were probably over 40 people who went out of their way to come and cheer us on.  Everyone socialized and got to know each other better. Some even realized that they had met before or had mutual friends.  There were some amazing connections made and I knew it wasn’t just coincidence. 

I’m struggling to describe how it felt.  Warm, inclusive, non-judgmental, supportive, forgiving, generous, poignant, and sacred.  The love was palpable.  From the stage, it felt as though I were singing to a room of open hearts.  It was hard to tell who was getting more enjoyment out of the show – us or them!

And we get to do this all over again in a few short weeks as we take part in our 6th annual celebration of my son Duncan’s life at the Backstage Lounge on Granville Island. Not only will I sing with Fowl Mouth McPhee, but I will join the stage for a few numbers with my son Sean. If previous years are any indication, it is sure to be another night celebrating love of family and friends through music. I can’t wait.

My favourite songs are in the key of F.

F is for family.  F is for friends.

Branded by the f-bomb,

Buns xoxox

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Discipline Of Pleasure

Really? Discipline? Doesn’t just the use of that word bring up connotations of will power and self control, none of which is even remotely pleasurable. Well I have been unraveling with this idea for a few days now and I’d love to share what I mean.
Receptors are message receivers on the surface of our cells and while most of our pleasure receptors are located in the brain they are also found throughout the body. I have even heard the molecules that bind to these receptors nicknamed the Bliss Molecule. This got me thinking. What if the art of opening to pleasure became a discipline, a way of life? I am not talking about abandoning oneself to hedonistic impulse or lack of discernment or compulsively filling ourselves up due to a sense of lack. I mean the conscious invitation to open to whatever arises in the present moment without judgment. My premise is that it is in the opening itself, in the acceptance of what is, that pleasure is the result.

When you think about something pleasurable, waking up to the sound of surf in the tropics, or the smell of crisp freshly laundered sheets, perhaps the feel of sun on your skin, bites of juicy fragrant mango, music so sweet that it makes your heart ache, the touch of a lovers lips or the first melting mouthful of the dark velvety bliss of chocolate…these are all chances for our senses to open wide in gratitude for the pleasure of the moment. Even simply imagining all of life’s bounty shifts ones mood and invites an experience of pleasure. So if pleasure is a choice based on perception perhaps one could get disciplined about it and include the pleasure of feeling everything, experiencing everything.

On the path of cultivating the bliss molecule I book a massage at Chi The Spa at Shangri-La.

Divinely decadent, expensive but totally worth the experience, especially since I was rewiring my cellular structure to create more receptors for pleasure :)  Now this won’t work if you are worried about the cost or racing to find time for the experience or judging whether you deserve it or whether it’s good or bad.  The discipline of pleasure calls for deep breaths and presence…no regrets: a full on, six sense journey into the present moment.

The names of the treatment rooms are all in Sanskrit and I was in Baskul which appropriately means ‘Starting point of journey to Shangri-La. I basked in the Feng Shui attention to detail. Each suite is different, from Jampa, Loving Kindness and Compassion to Namshe which means Consciousness, they all have a fireplace, soothing color tones, sitting areas for tea ceremonies, your own dressing room, steam shower and soaker tub.
Plush doesn’t even begin to describe the texture of the baby soft robes and blankets. You are immediately relaxed and cuddled in the embrace of a fluffy white cocoon. Fresh lemon water awaits and you can ask for your room 15 minutes before the massage in order to enjoy a steam or soak in the tub. My registered therapist Mai was lovely and her healing energy was skilled, sublime and appreciated.
 Afterwards I floated into the lounge and was met with a cup of fresh ginger tea, dates, apricots and cranberries.  My Chi was flowing and I moved with languid ease, step one on my path of being disciplined with pleasure was complete.

You may say, well it’s easy to feel pleasure when the circumstances are so pleasurable. Yes it’s true; however my goal here is to include all events, all encounters and to step out of the duality that appears to exist in this world of opposites. I share the spa experience because that is how I want to approach everything.
 I know that the inclusion of polarities and dropping the perception of good and bad, cracks the illusion of separateness. In that moment we can experience our Oneness. The aspect that is One has no distinction between this and that. It simply is. And it seems to me that pleasure can be as spiritual a pathway as any. Plus it seems like a heck of a lot of fun.

Trying to eliminate the negative to have more positive does NOT work. The very focus of trying to get rid of something, whether inside self or another, actually increases and intensifies its hold. 

And so ….The Discipline of Pleasure.  Let’s increase our dopamine receptors through a wide variety of pleasurable stimuli. Lets approach every feeling, every perceived opposite with the same welcome whether its anger, joy, chocolate, people, the irksome and the adorable, social interactions, work or spiritual practice.
It’s our attitude and living in the presence of enjoyment without judgment that will increase pleasure receptors. That’s when life goes beyond bearable into the realm of exciting, passionate and purposeful.  In giving up this futile attempt at fixing or eliminating, even in the name of healing, then all of life can be play.

So there is my new inner direction!!! And I am going to keep inviting synchronicity, playmates and experiences that align with inclusion, resulting in oneness . 
 I leave my flashlight behind as I step into knowing that not all dark places need light, that in fact they are one and the same. It is in accepting, loving and therefore integrating all aspects of these supposed opposites that separation disappears.

And in that knowing I can come to peace with desire…with all parts of myself.

Branded by the delight that what is….is.

Authentically Yours