Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the city and the mind

One of my yoga teachers is always talking about the scientific fact that working memory, the conscious mind, can only hold 4 things at a time.

If this is true, how does a place like NYC, that bombards the senses and mind continuously, effect us?

I found This Article really interesting....good thing I've always lived with trees outside my NYC apt. windows.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Addictions and the Mind: Ram Das

kinda trippy video, but very clear description of addictions and the mind...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Erich Schiffman is Googling the Universe

<----- good book

When I say yoga changed me, its not because my arms grew stronger or butt got tighter or injuries healed (but thanks!) Its because of the insight I gain from the practice. The intuition-practicing, the call-and-response, the stilling of the mind, the prayer and meditation, the making space, the opening of the heart, the re-learning of wholeness, the rememberance of harmony.

Or, as Erich puts it, the "Googling of the Universe."

I've become a better person since yoga found me, and am joyfully indebted.

Complete Googling talk:

Monday, February 16, 2009


If we are not empty, we become a block of matter.
We cannot breathe, we cannot think.
To be empty means to be alive, to breathe in and to breathe out.
We cannot be alive if we are not empty.
Emptiness is impermanence, it is change.
We should not complain about impermanence,
because without impermanence, nothing is possible.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Open Heart

I was talking to my friend about Life and she was talking about Ram Das and the idea of keeping your heart open in hell. If you're going to talk about Life, hell will come up and if you're talking with this friend, Heart will come up, so it made sense.

"If you have to write it down it doesn't mean anything." she said. It didn't matter, the phrase keep your heart open in hell was post-it-noted to my brain already.

And the days went on with Life and stuff, and I just kept thinking about the idea of keeping your heart open in hell. And how many hellish opportunities we have, really, how many things are jabbling at that pulpy beating thing, trying to get it to recoil, and permanently shut up. How many things ask the shoulders to curve over it, permanently, like a bone-umbrella, protecting its soft pitter-patters and even its loud ba-bums. How many things ask for a bullet-proof breast-plate, a book hugged to a chest, a quiet tongue, a dark eye. There are just too many opportunities for it to harden or close or darken, it can almost seem the natural course of things, it can almost seem part of being adult, to grow jaded.

And when I went to yoga I was in bound side-angle, noticing how my arms and legs wrapped and sweaty made a salty pretzel out of my limbs, but my heart still peeled open toward the ceiling. And in chair pose, as close to hell as my thighs got during those 90 minutes, I noticed my heart was still open and yearning, I practiced peeling open my shoulders and shining the heart out like highbeams even though I was uncomfortable, and I did not flinch. I was reminded again of the metaphor of yoga, and thankful for the space to physicaly, viserally practice keeping my heart open and receptive and non-reactive in moments of discomfort.

"Most of life is uncomfortable," said my friend. And I knew this wasn't pessimism, but optimism, at having so many opportunities to practice keeping open and receptive in the face of loss, pain, confusion, etc, etc.

Large City Love

Its the day after Valentine's Day, and I'm going through old writing looking for love. Next weekend I'll be somewhere sunny workshopping writing about Love, so I'm seeing what I've written on the topic so far. The idea of Love is so big, you could almost say all writing is about it, one way or another.

As I search, I thought I'd post a few Love (ly) old pieces from the achieves.......the first, an ode to the Love-Hate relationship I have with my city:

Large City Poem

Large city, you’ve gridded me in.
I had to give you my bank account and blood type.
you dragged my heart under the tracks over the Williamsburg Bridge on the J train at Rush Hour.
Large city, you said you loved me.
Why did you slam the door?
I love you, I love you too,
I have to get away from you,
I have to get back.

Large city, you are an energy-overdose-vitacap I swallow and digest
in the time it takes to walk from 4th to 14th-

Large city, I heard you the first time.
I heard you the first time,
you don’t need to scream.
Large city, I heard you the first time.
Give me some rest,
Large city, why do I come back to you when you say the same thing over and over, running across my mind like
the Nasdaq ticker in Times Square?

Large city, Weekends in the country just aren’t the same without you.
Did you feel the earthquake at 14th and 1st?
Did you feel the hurricane, the tornado,
whirling us in and spitting us out the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty?

I climbed to her crown once, looked out the top.
Her eyes were tiny from inside.
Her staircase was petite, of course,
she was French!
She wore high heels under her long dress
and still wasn't as tall as you.

Large city I wrote your name in sharpie
on the white t-shirt I always wear
like a bullet-proof vest
over the heart
I gave to you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Meat Poets for Vegetarians

"We were the Meat poets, baby. We got down to the bone. levy, Doug Blazek in Chicago, Ole, some pretty good writing came out of that period. Not like today. Too many out there with too little to say. --Charles Bukowski

I like the meat poets. I like that macho stuff, which in theory might seem strange since I'm all pro-women and vegetarian. But I like it, always have. The viseral directness, the knowing where you stand next to it. The challenge of it, even. The realness, the poetic use of everyman's language, the black coffee and beer at 2 AM slap in the face of it. The struggle.

The struggle against the female. "The Meat School of Poets was engaged in an all-out war with The Female," said Bukowski. There is a bumbling force to this struggle against something as complex as the Feminine, which feels frank and honest.

Is there room for a woman in the Meat School? Maybe Braverman, who I mentioned in an earlier post. Is it a battle of the sexes, or about language, about being red-meat raw and exposing, speaking something real and stripping away the florid? About not using swear words to get off, that's where meat-school-wanna-be's get stupid, but to express if that's what's most real?

Is a Meat Poet a Beat Poet with a little extra swagger and a little extra cynicism, 20 years later?

It is interesting to notice female poets with this type of swagger are often deemed "unstable" while the men are rugged-glamourous. The women immortalized for their victim, tragic fall status and the men for their charging through, dumb blunt fall status. Maybe some of the best language comes out of rugged-glamour, thrown off the deep end, a burning star on it way out? The trick is to know how to catch your light and boomerang it back into creativity, keep the cycle going. Touch the center of things, and come up to tell about it.

As my writing mentor said, "We're a different generation of women writers" than the Plaths and the Sextons, who were as meaty as Meat Poets, but an ill-fit in their world at their time. Its not like Plath wasn't a little macho, talking about 2 am emotions and swaggering through kitchens and throwing dissatisfactions off burning roofs. But the page couldn't hold her, the emotions eventually looping back into herself where they were too big to live. The Meat Poets spewed and let go beautifully well, let the page soak up what was there, and kept staggering on.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I realize I haven't written on here in weeks. Don't blame me, blame Mercury Retrograde.

At the risk of sounding way "new-agey," I've really come to believe in Mercury Retrograde and its effects. Whenever I sense things are "off," aka, I'm mentally or energetically sluggish, overly introverted, communications are consistently getting crossed, things seem to be progressing slower than usual, I find out its Mercury Retrograde. And vice versa. Things get lost in the mail. Friends misunderstand each other. Cell phones and computers conk out. Things seem frustrating or uncertain.

Here's a lil' info:

Mercury goes retrograde three times a year for three weeks. During this time, one often feels mentally wobbly, forgetful, and introverted. This can be a great time for renewal and self-reflection.

Awareness can help reduce the frustrations and aggravations that are typically associated with the retrograde period. To keep from being knocked off center, it's important to be prepared in advance for the challenging aspects. Similarly, recognizing the potential of the retrograde helps us to take advantage of the aspect and accomplish more.

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backward through the zodiac. Retrograde planets present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control. Mercury turns retrograde three times a year as a rule, but the effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens.

Be warned:

Mercury Retrograde Schedule 2009:
January 11th – February 1st,
May –May 31st ,
September 7th – September 29th,
December 26th –January 15th 2010

I've sorta come to dread the retrograde happenings. Its good to think there are positive things to it, like increased reflection, renewal, re-assessing. Just not blogging.