Y3 – Day 38 – Morning Breaks

The fine, light breeze blows through the treetops like silky, wispy, corn threads – as I sit on my balcony, the sky breaks wide open, the morning drizzle melts the dark.

Sun kissed clouds part into mango, lemon and rose colored petals.

Humidity drenched air seeps into my lungs, drowning labored breaths, anchoring my body down, calming the current that runs through me, soothing the morning restlessness.

Y3 – Day 36 – The Gunas

In yogic and Vedic tradition, there are three tiers of happiness that are taught, called the three Gunas. Basically, two are illusions and one is believed to be the right path.

The lower, base kind of happiness is not happy at all. It is mostly based on pleasure and darkness which leads to further debasement and loss of self. It begins as innocent, harmless fun and betrays and turns on you in the end, ensnaring you, for example, in addictions, alcoholism, pornography, prostitution, etc.

Then there is the level of happiness where it seems like it is what you want and everyone else says it is also, but it is outside yourself so it turns out to be deceptive and poisonous in the end. This would be the unending and unsatisfactory search for money, prestige, power and outward beauty. Another avenue where the fantasy reveals the foolishness of falling for this sort of ambitious and selfish pursuit, imprisoning its victim with falsehoods and emptiness.

Then there is the real happiness that is disguised as poison and you want to avoid it at all costs and it is painful but it turns out to be the true, sweet nectar of the gods by fulfilling and rewarding you with veritable bliss and lasting happiness. These are the storms of life that turn out to be blessings. These are the down turns, heartaches or efforts in life that turn out to be instrumental to your growth and depth of understanding, bringing joy, gratitude and freedom to your existence, from the inside.

I thought of the three gunas, and especially authentic happiness, when I received some pictures from back east this week. Please allow me the wide and large latitude of metaphor.

Here is the beginnings of the storm: You fear it, you prepare for it but you don’t know what it will look like, you know it will be grim, but how scary and for how long will it last? Will it be as bad as everyone says it will be? IMG_3682Then, you are in the middle of the storm: It is dark and lonely and you have never been or seen this before, it is unpredictable and you are navigating new territory, the feelings are unbearable and you may think you will never make it out alive.IMG_3683Finally, it is over: You assess the damage, you look around you and see what you can salvage. You process the destruction, you pick up the pieces, you re-evaluate again and you process some more. You may talk or write about it incessantly in order to release it as well as to gain the proper perspective.IMG_3684

You are on the other side of it: We all rejoice! You realize what a gift the storm was and you take the time to make something beautiful, lovely and cheery out of it! NAMASTE!IMG_3688

 Thank you to V in NYC for the pictures and inspiration.


Y3 – Day 35 – Bower’s Lecture Series

I am so grateful to have a museum of quality nearby. As a member, many programs and lectures are free. I had never attended one and I am happy to report the first in a 6-week series of lectures on Early 20th Century American Art was outstanding. Given by Kristin Mihaylovich, Associate Professor of Art History at Santa Monica College, I was wowed by the slide show she presented, the personal biographies of the artists and her description of the era. A perfect outing.

Today was Part 1: How the other Half Lives: From Gilded Age to Ashcan School. How the Other Half Lives is a tome by photojournalist and social reformer, Jacob Riis, published in1889. We journeyed from copying European nudes (late 1800’s) to Portraiture of the East Coast Aristocratic Society (including my favorite prolific artist, John Singer Sargent, heavily represented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY) to Portraits of immigrant children, tenement landscapes and the movement to expose the plight of the overcrowded city slums.

In 1938, a tenement building was shuttered due to the owner’s lack of interest to update it and bring it up to code. It remained closed up till the 1980’s when a group of women were interested in finding a place for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to house artifacts, photographs, furniture and stories about the many Russian Jews, Italians and Irish that arrived on Ellis Island from its opening in 1892 and made their way through from the tenements to all walks of life.

I was reminded of several historical novels as we traveled through time, using art as our vehicle.

If you get a chance this series runs for the next 5 more Wednesdays and is a bargain for $10 a lecture for non-members. Members get free parking also.

Next week: Part 2: American Modernism and the Avant-garde.


Y3 – Day 34 – Positivity

There is a new branch of psychology called positivity. Pollyana had it right all along and knew the deal before modern man called it. All meditators since ancient times knew it too. They found our thoughts create our perception. The glass half full vs. the glass half empty idea finally has a name and science to back up what believers always knew.

Trust and know that positive influences will open the doors when you exhibit positive feelings and exude positive thoughts. This is powerful knowledge.

Endeavor to focus on the positive. Every last one of us has negative thoughts, we are not yet Gurus. Practicing to shake off the worry, anxiety and fatalistic thinking and replacing it with optimism and hope is healthy. Try It.

Instead of watching or reading the news, programs on devastation, doomsday and zombies, movies or books full of violent descriptions… Go within, meditate on peace in silence and send it out to the world. Switch out your old, scary tapes with new and improved ones.

Don’t complain, judge or criticize for 24 hours. Notice how it feels emotionally and how your outlook lightens, even for an hour. Focus instead on gratitude, giving compliments, encouraging others, acknowledging the good you see in the world and validating your right to happiness. Test it out. I dare you.

Y3 – Day 32 – Advice

Advice from a mountain tapestry I would like to share:DSC00118And from a Tree: Stand Tall and Proud – Sink Your Roots Into the Earth – Be Content with your Natural Beauty – Go Out on a Limb – Drink Plenty of Water – Remember your Roots.

I did not write these cute observations and comparisons but I sure wish I had.

Y3 – Day 31 – Inspire

It is good to get inspiration and there are so many ways to find it when you are open and naturally inclined to creative thinking. But to inspire is to animate someone else’s imagination. How do we do that?

Questions that ask someone to reveal something they have never looked at closely are one way. That is why we love taking personality quizzes.

Invigorating another’s mind can happen when you supply them with tools like a full color paint palette for them to use.

We can stir up the juices by setting up a problem, a subject or a theme.

Encouraging and awakening someone’s internal butterfly to come out and spread their wings is beneficial to the world. For creativity has solved scientific queries, revived and invented whole art movements, ended wars, created peace, saved habitats, made spellbinding music, written classics and ignited souls.

It is no small feat to rouse another human being’s vision, to impart enthusiasm and to embolden them to be themselves.

HAIL to all the teachers, elders, professors, parents, volunteers and artists that do this on a daily basis, all of their lives.DSC00112“What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.” – Deepak Chopra