“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”— Cesare Pavese
“There is no reality
except the one contained within us.
That is why so many people
live such an unreal life.
They take the images
outside of them for reality
and never allow the world within
to assert itself.”—Herman Hesse (via chimneyfish)
It was possible, he understood, for a person’s life to become just a long series of mistakes, and that the end, when it came, was just one more instance in a chain of bad choices. The thing was, most of these mistakes were actually borrowed from other people. You took their bad ideas and, for whatever reason, made them your own.
“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”—Frederick Buechner
I finally got my copies! Wanted to share a few more interior images, and there’s also a big foldout in the middle showing the big fight. Seeing everything in person is even better than I imagined! The care taken with the binding and printing is simply amazing. A big thank you to Marco and everyone else involved in the production!
“You will find your own ethical dilemmas in all parts of your lives, both personal and professional. We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled. Sooner or later, we are all asked to compromise ourselves and the things we care about. We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are. Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.”—Bill Watterson on Success
A good partnership is not so much one between two healthy people (there aren’t many of these on the planet), it’s one between two demented people who have had the skill or luck to find a non-threatening conscious accommodation between their relative insanities.
While there is no quick fix for instant, pain-free creativity, creative recovery (or discovery) is a teachable, trackable spiritual process. Each of us is complex and highly individual, yet there are common recognizable denominators to the creative recovery process.
Working with this process, I see a certain amount of defiance and giddiness in the first few weeks. This entry stage is followed closely by explosive anger in the course’s midsection. The anger is followed by grief, then alternating waves of resistance and hope. This peaks-and-valleys phase of growth becomes a series of expansions and contractions, a birthing process in which students experience intense elation and defensive skepticism.
This choppy growth phase is followed by a strong urge to abandon the process and return to life as we know it. In other words, a bargaining period. People are often tempted to abandon the course at this point. I call this a creative U-turn. Re-commitment to the process next triggers the free-fall of a major ego surrender. Following this, the final phase of the course is characterized by a new sense of self marked by increased autonomy, resilience, expectancy, and excitement—as well as by the capacity to make and execute concrete creative plans.
If this sounds like a lot of emotional tumult, it is. When we engage in a creativity recovery, we enter into a withdrawal process from life as we know it. Withdrawal is another way of saying detachment or nonattachment, which is emblematic of consistent work with any meditation practice.
“Today everybody has a voice. And as a result, those who’ve won, retreat from interaction, they don’t want to be dragged down into the hole of the delusional, who just want to grab your tail and whip you around and around, wearing you out in the process.
Furthermore, feedback is so instant and the haters so vocal that today you need a new characteristic to make it, a tough skin, because if you rise above, you’re going to be inundated with feedback from nobodies…
You are not alone… We live in an incomprehensible world where the dumb reign and the smart check out.”—Bob Lefset
“For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with….all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.”—
“I think the work changes direction rather than improves. In some cases, I am envious of how I drew long ago. There is something about youthful ardour, which is full of zest and eager to experiment.”—From the marvelous drawings of John Vernon Lord
Self Observation is the simple technique of observing one’s thoughts and how they interplay with emotion. This is important because most people go through life never truly understanding how thought affects emotion. They simply think and feel even with they do not want to think and feel about a particular subject. In fact, most people are unaware that we even have the capability to do this. When we learn to observe our thoughts we come to the realization that there is a distinction between “I” and the inner talking. One cannot observe one. It takes two, an observed and an observer.
Then an amazing thing happens. When we start to self observe we gain control. You will observe a strange phenomena. This ball of negative emotion does not want to be observed. Somehow it has an awareness that to be observed is to be controlled.The simple fact of observing a thought and the emotion which follows gives us this ability. It starts slowly at first but then the more we do it the better at it we become.
This is how we do it:
Step out of your mind as if you were a completely dispassionate and objective observer. Listen to the thoughts and watch how they change the feeling. Visualize the sadness as a pulsating ball of feeling located about four fingers above your navel. Focus on it. Feel it change.
Now for the final part. Breathing. A very special, ancient kind of breathing. Sitting, back straight breath deeply through your nose and visualize the breath as it encounters the ball of sadness. Hold the breath for a few seconds and while you pull your abdomen inward and upward then release the breath slowly. Without your doing anything at all you will feel a lessening of the sorrow. Stay focused on the ball and use the breathing to dissipate it.
Experiment with this. Learn to use this technique to focus on your body. Learn to observe your body carefully and, most of all, mindfully. Listen when it is hungry, observe how your body reacts to hunger. Listen when it is fatigued. Listen when it is aroused. Listen to the body when you are angry. Feel the heart rate jump. note the effect on breathing. Pay attention to all of the sensations it offers you. See how mood changes with these factors.
Self observation offers immediate results and control comes fairly effortlessly once the observation starts.