eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


The Bears

From Jo-Anne McArthur’s We Animals, this is a beautifully filmed piece sharing the wonderful work that Animals Asia and Free the Bears are doing for Moon and Sun Bears.

Please take a moment to watch this uplifting and beautifully moving demonstration of compassion in action.

Thank you to all the change-makers out there!


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Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen.  One of my favourite bards.
These particular lyrics are reverberating in my heart today.

“And even though it all went wrong,
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of song,
with nothing on my tongue but ‘Hallelujah’.”

It’s, as I say, a desire to affirm my faith in life,
not in some formal religious way
but with enthusiasm, with emotion…
It’s a rather joyous song.
I wanted to write something in the tradition
of the hallelujah choruses but from
a different point of view…
It’s the notion that there is no perfection—
that this is a broken world and
we live with broken hearts and broken lives
but still that is no alibi for anything.
On the contrary, you have to stand up
and say hallelujah under those circumstances.

~ Leonard Cohen

In that spirit, here are two beautiful renditions.


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A Word on Authenticity

On the eve of my wedding anniversary with my pending ex-husband, my thoughts and emotions are scattered all over the map.

I considered writing about healing:  it continues.

I considered writing about coping:  I am.

I considered writing about rebirth:  in progress.

Without question, all of the above applies.

Yet there is one subject in particular taking up a hefty share of real estate in my thoughts the past couple of days.  To that end, I would like to address this little nugget:

Authenticity.

Before going any further with this, I must first own up to the fact that I’ve been subjecting myself to many a self-help book in recent months.  Oh, you’ve been there too?  Good.  I’m not the only bleeding heart on the block then.  But seriously, I think it is simply a side effect of being human.  When something inside feels broken, it seems natural to try to fix it.  I’ve been going to counseling, reading the books, journaling, expressing on the blog, getting back into yoga and meditation, saying affirmations, and even creating a dream board.  All good things.  Healing things.  Helpful things.  Positive things.  There is no doubt in my mind that these methods of self-care are effective personal growth techniques.

But you know what?  It doesn’t always feel authentic.

Sometimes I feel like I’m literally living the cliche of “fake it, ’til I make it”.  Other times, I feel like saying “fuck it, let’s get real”.

For instance:

Sometimes when I’m feeling especially angry or frustrated, having a book tell me that I should look in the mirror and say “I love and accept you just the way you are”, makes me want to smash the mirror and burn the book.

On days where I’ve been feeling so incredibly sad that I don’t want to get out of bed or speak to another living soul, reading that I should “connect with my tribe” makes me want to dig a hole and crawl in.

In moments that I’ve been feeling particularly fragile and betrayed, to be told “let go and forgive” feels like being asked to hang myself for the transgressions of another.

This is sometimes referred to as the shadow side.  The darkness.  Where the nasty bits live.  These are the parts of ourselves that we don’t like to talk about.  We often fight hard to escape the nasties, and with excellent reason.  Those feelings are heavy to move through and difficult to witness in ourselves.  While I’m certainly not advocating that we dwell in those places should we choose to admit that is where we are, I think it is important to acknowledge that those emotions, while unpleasant, are a normal part of the human experience at some point or another.

So today, on the eve of my wedding anniversary, I am fully open to the authenticity of my emotions. I am confessing the fact that I have a post sitting in my drafts entitled “Friday, The 13th” with some text I’ll just chalk up to “processing” a difficult milestone.  My better judgment is dictating that those words will remain in draft. But I can’t resist posting the image I chose to accompany it.

Friday the 13th?  I’m feeling a little bitchy about it.  Authentically bitchy.

Friday the 13th

And for Godssakes Don’t Get Married.


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Welcome Back, Yoga

“There are two ways to change things:
Either you are forced to change or you have the intuition to change.”

Yogi Bhajan

Change.  Rumour has it this is inevitable, like death and taxes.

Agreed.

Over the past few months I have been navigating my way through change forced upon me.  It has been uncomfortable.  And unwanted.  And painful.  And sad.  And weird.  And lonely.  Yet sometimes surprisingly exciting.  Let’s just call it educational.

These past few days, I’ve felt a subtle but significant switch in focus from change thrust upon me to change I am now willingly catalyzing.  It feels precisely in tune with the idea that change is either forced or intuitively chosen.

After years of swimming in that pit known as what is “perceptually expected”, I am walking forward into the realm of that which is “personally desired”.  I am intuitively and resolutely moving away from the comfort zone that has been my day-to-day existence for far too long into an uncertain, scary, unknown abyss.  Interestingly, I am not experiencing intense fear so much as a sense of certainty that stepping into the unknown feels infinitely better than remaining trapped in the stagnant, dead zone of the familiar.

I have no idea what is coming next.  Who does?  All I can say is that I restarted sadhana this morning after a time away and it has been my experience that shit shifts big time whenever I’m regularly practising yoga and meditation.

Welcome back, yoga.  Bring it.

Photo by Jim Marshall during 1972 Rolling Stones tour

Photo by Jim Marshall during 1972 Rolling Stones tour


Dear John (or Kathryn) as the case may be

young poetry

Photo credit: eleventhbeatnik

My beautiful friend,

I came across this bit of writing tonight.  Neatly folded into squares.  Written in crazy yellow ink with flower embellishments.  I cannot recall the identity of the Romeo my younger self was so enamored.  What I do remember is that it was not the object of my love, but the opinion of my closest friend that mattered and transcended the passage of time.  I wrote my heart out in silly verses and covertly passed along the words to you for approval.  Likely under the classroom wall divider in Mr. Taylor’s class.

You kept this piece of paper in your safekeeping for years; and then unearthed it and returned it to me unexpectedly in a moment that turned out to be a remarkable rite of passage.

Yup . All of this from two rebellious young women convinced we’d never see a day past 30.  Cosmic joke, yeah?  And yet, here we are, well past our anticipated expiry date.

A poet I am not.  But here’s what I wrote all those years ago.  On lined paper.  In friggin’ yellow.

Life without love
Is an existence without life.
I love you more
Than words can say.

Life without love
Is not really living.
What I feel for you
Words cannot express.

Life without love
Is a garden without flowers.
I feel so empty
When I cannot hold you near.

Life without love
Is like sorrow without tears.
You can’t have one
Without the other.

And I cannot live
Without you.

***

If that’s not enough nostalgia for ya, check out my spiral perm circa late ’80s.  Oy!  Now there’s some serious entertainment.

Big love to you.  xo