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Posts Tagged ‘natural’

Early Childhood Progress Report

Posted by Amanda Gray on August 9, 2014

Alright… movin’ on…

Here I am, in this paradise city they call Vancouver, British Columbia, surrounded by massive luscious gorgeousness of every kind; a boundless shining city offering more opportunity than I dare fathom with my pretty little head.  And in this new cornucopia of plenty, I’m conducting a serious reassessment (sigh… again???) about who I am, and whittling down what I really want to do with the narrowing years of my life.  I’m carefully weeding out extraneous self concepts and interests where my motivation is limited, or where the realities become severely diminished at my age.  For example: I’m not going to be a Rock Star.  I can’t even play an instrument.  I tried.  I’m terrible.  Please, give it up, Amanda… your time is OVER… please, just… STOP.  And, as much as my intentions have been earnest to relearn some computer programming, after applying myself to a course of study on two separate occasions, and both times experiencing my interest completely vanish shortly along, I have to concede that this activity doesn’t float my boat as much as I might wish it did.  Curses!  Foiled again!

It’s quickly becoming a precarious position, as I attempt to reconcile myself with the genuine motivations of my heart, and yet, secure an actual paying position.  I’ve always been interested in many things.  I’ve amassed a vast wealth of experience in applying myself to many functions and roles.  And, because I’m smart and resourceful, I’m capable of doing exceedingly well at these many things too.  But I’ve been like a canon that fires balls in all directions.  It’s really not the most useful contraption!  And employers don’t like it, because they can’t easily classify me into a tiny, miniscule, microscopic box.  So, I have to learn to fire my canon in ONE direction.   There’s some job ads I look at and think, “Yeah, I could do that, and I’d probably enjoy it too,” and I apply.  No problem.  And there’s other job ads, things I could definitely do, but, my heart recoils into the bitter cage of my chest, and I feel like I’d rather kill myself than apply!  Crap!  I mean, I NEED A JOB!!!  This is getting REAL here, people!!  I can’t continue to be this picky… can I????  Not for long, as my financial condition is fast transforming into a stuttering, stumbling, black-blooded zombie – no pulse, no life, no hope!  ACK, BLECK, &%%$** slobber **&*%^^%$, GLOOT!!!

This morning I came across some report cards from my early childhood.  Hmmm…  what did others say about my young, most natural, being?  Might they reveal some clues as to my most dear personal leanings?  I’ve transcribed the reports completely, for posterity, but I’ll highlight the most positive points in red.  Also, note that I was called ‘Ann’ back then.

Edmonton Public Schools

Early Childhood Progress Report

School – Delton

Grade – 01

Principal – G. E. Eliasson

Teacher – Miss J. Hawkins

First Report Date – Nov 20, 1975 Second Report Date – March 12, 1976 Third Report Date – June 23, 1976
Social and Emotional Development: Ann is a cooperative and capable student.  She behaves responsibly towards school rules and gets along well with others.  Ann puts forth a commendable effort on all her projects.  [Yes, of course.  I still do.  Potential employers: please read.] Social and Emotional Development: Ann continues to show persistence in her work habits.  She participates actively and has made commendable progress.  Ann is developing good work habits. [Potential employers: please read.] Social and Emotional Development:  Ann has been a capable and cooperative student.  She has put forth her best effort throughout the year.  Ann has been an asset to our class.  Good luck to her in her grade two year.
Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Ann is developing good speaking and listening skills.  She has made very good progress in the reading program.  Her printing is neatly done. Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Ann enjoys reading.  She has learned her sounds and basic vocabulary well.  Her oral reading could be more fluent.  Ann continues to work carefully on her written projects. Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Ann has made commendable progress in word attack skills and reading comprehension.  Her oral reading has good expression.  She can use her spelling vocabulary to compose simple stories.  [Expression… yup.  Still true.]
Mathematics:  Ann is learning the numbers to thirty.  She is developing a good problem solving ability.  [All the better to computer program with, my dear!] Mathematics: Ann knows her numbers to 100.  She is learning her basic facts to 8.  We are now practicing the counting of money.  [Yay – money!] Mathematics:  Ann works quickly and accurately with numbers.  She has had no difficulties in the grade one arithmetic program.
Social Studies – Science – Health:  Ann is a very good participant in group activities.  [Collaboration is important to me.] Social Studies – Science – Health:  Ann shows much initiative in her independent projects.  She enjoys group work but could show more maturity when working with others.  [Note that I was an only child.] Social Studies – Science – Health:  [Blank]
Physical Education:  Ann participates willingly.  She is a good sport during these activities. Physical Education:  Satisfactory participation. Physical Education:   Satisfactory progress.
Art – Drama – Music:  Ann has made very good progress.  She enjoys these subjects and puts forth her best work.  [Naturally.] Art – Drama – Music:  Satisfactory work. Art – Drama – Music:  Satisfactory progress.

 

Edmonton Public Schools

Early Childhood Progress Report

School – Delton Elementary

Grade – 02

Principal – G. E. Eliasson

Teacher – Mrs. M. Kaastrup  [I called her Mrs. Ketchup!]

First Report Date – November 26, 1976 Second Report Date – March 11, 1977 Third Report Date – June 30, 1977
Social and Emotional Development: Ann is becoming much more responsive to reason while still maintaining that great sense of individualism she possesses.  She has proven herself capable of producing very neat and presentable work when she so chooses.  Although, Ann accepts the responsibility for completing her assignments, she should concentrate on using her free time more constructively and minimizing the tendency to socialize.  [Haha!  Nothing ever changes!] Social and Emotional Development: Ann’s vivacious and enthusiastic disposition are most refreshing.  She possesses the courage to speak her mind.  Ann is very pleased with her increased effort to respect the rules of the classroom more conscientiously in the past few weeks. Social and Emotional Development:  Lately Ann has taken considerable more pride in the appearance of her work.  She has also displayed better judgement as to which projects should have priority at a given time.  Her greater willingness to co-operate has been much appreciated, not to mention her vitality.
Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Ann is developing an effective speaking vocabulary.  She shows determination in reading a library book.  Her recall of sounds is acceptable but when attacking a word she is not always as conscious of the letters involved causing her to say ‘was’ for ‘has’, or ‘his’ for ‘this’, or ‘cops’ for ‘cop’.  Ann could improve the accuracy of her comprehension by attending to details. Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Ann takes great pleasure in reading expressively.  She has made great strides in distinguishing the long and short vowel sounds.  As well she has become much more accurate in word attack and less inclined to confuse words similar in structure (example – went for want).  Her comprehension skills and ability to follow written directions are maturing very acceptably.  Ann is capable of producing printing of a fine quality when she chooses to exert the effort; however frequently she does not take enough care with slant. Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing:  Since the beginning of the term Ann has made a marked improvement in her accuracy in word attack through the development of very respectable decoding skills as well as greater concentration.  Her ability to make inferences and read critically are up to par.  She can capably interpret literal meaning.  Ann’s effective use expression makes her oral reading pleasant to listen to.  As of late, Ann has improved her printing considerably.  She delights in new words. [YES!]
Mathematics:  Ann capably handles ordering series of numbers, supplying numbers missing in a sequence & counting by fives & tens to 100.  Her rate of recall for addition facts to 10 is acceptable. Mathematics:  Ann has mastered the properties of addition and subtraction studied, the concepts covered in hundreds, tens and ones, as well as the types of problems she has encountered.  She can readily tell time on the hour and the half.  Ann could make an effort to increase her rate of recall for addition facts to 18 (example 5+8=13, 7+9=16 etc.) Mathematics:  Ann has a sound grasp of the concepts covered in grade two mathematics.  Encourage Ann to form the habit of starting in the ones column when adding or subtracting 2 or 3 digit numbers as this will be essential for success in grade three when she will be confronted with ‘borrowing’ and ‘carrying’.  Her accuracy of recall for facts to 18 is good, but she should strive to increase her rate. [I still, most naturally, add & subtract backwards.  And, yes, in grade three I was completely lambasted in math!]
Social Studies – Science – Health:  Ann has developed an acceptable understanding of the concepts of change that result in various forms of life with the advance of fall.  Although she was active in the related projects, her enthusiasm for becoming involved in discussions tended to fluctuate from day to day.  Science: Ann participates well in class activities.  She does, however, find it difficult to remember the task at hand.  She has an excellent knowledge of living/not living, symmetry, names of shapes, measurement and negative numbers. Social Studies – Science – Health:  Ann has done excellent work in our units on information, magnets and balance scales.  She did good work with our weather, volume, measurement, color change and graph units.  In Social Studies Ann has been studying People and Their Feelings. [I imagine I enjoyed that.] As well she has had the opportunity to gain greater experience in co-operating as a group member, still thinking for herself, but at the same time, respecting other people’s opinions. Social Studies – Science – Health:  Ann showed great enthusiasm in our units on shadows, angles, time and area.  She has a good knowledge of those concepts.  Ann gained some experience in written and oral reporting in connection with the unit on Fables.  She enjoyed writing book reports on fables she had studied on her own.  Ann could have accepted more responsibility for bringing in material on the Supermarkets so that she could have participated more effectively in the unit.
Physical Education:  Ann enjoys participating in phys ed.  She has been active in solving tasks in gymnastics as well as refining her skill in handling balls. Physical Education:  Ann has developed reasonably good control in dribbling balls. She has applied herself diligently in solving tasks in gymnastics and obviously has much increased body awareness as is evidenced in the various combination of body parts she uses in travelling and balancing.  Ann should make an effort to develop more sportsmanship with regard to who her partner is. Physical Education:  Ann delighted in communicating ideas through body movements.  [Oh, yes, always love expressing IDEAS!]  She developed considerable skill in the paddle bat activities.  As well Ann has been involved in track and field events.
Art – Drama – Music:  Ann displays a tendency to overlap colors both while painting and crayoning which in many cases makes her work more realistic.  As well she enjoys experimenting with the development of various textural effects in both mediums.  [I still LOVE color and texture!!] Art – Drama – Music: Ann is in her element when she can be involved in art projects.  She is beginning to depict more detail in her work and to use facial features to convey emotion.  In modelling Ann showed an awareness of the great textural possibilities.  In drama, Ann is most expressive and a natural at providing appropriate dialogue.  Music – Ann appears to enjoy music.  She is progressing very well. Art – Drama – Music:  Ann continues to plan her work ever more consciously utilizing more realistic proportions, and introducing more than one baseline where she deems necessary.  Music – Excellent.

 

SUMMARY:

Hasn’t it been said that we learn everything we need to by Grade 2?  Or something like that?  I wonder if this would get me a job if I transcribed these reports word-for-word on my resume?  LOL!

It’s no surprise that I had lots of interest in reading, speaking, art, drama and music.  I enjoyed being independent, studying on my own, and communicating ideas.  I enjoyed working with color, shading and texture.  These qualities are all still applicable for me.  So, it must be true that people rarely change much over a lifetime.  I thought I did, but perhaps I’ve just become more conscious of traits that have always been.

There’s a couple more reports that are relevant to this discussion.  These are from my teenage acting classes:

 

The Citadel Theatre Drama Classes

Final Report

Age Group: 13 – 14 Beginners

General Remarks: An outgoing and exuberant girl.  A natural ‘clown’ but must learn to discipline herself and concentrate.

Attitude: Good – very interested – as she gets older she will I think understand what I have tried to tell her all the season – the importance of discipline in the art.

Ability: A natural performer – if interested enough will develop well.

Recommendation: Advanced class next season.

 

Citadel Theatre School Student Evaluation

Class/Level: 2B

Voice:  You have the ability to achieve great heights Amanda.  Very insightful and moving work was accomplished.  I am so sorry you have decided to side-step an acting career, I know you’d be successful.

Improvisation: A good talent. Watch the trap of being caught impressing the class – work for yourself – develop knowledge and understanding.  Term 1 was unfocused and more work in term 2 would have allowed greater benefits.  Keep up the journey!

Movement:  You actually made some remarkable progress in movement, Amanda!  You move well when you allow yourself to do so, because you seem to have convinced yourself that you can’t do it!!  That makes you undermine your own work with lack of focus & concentration – but you DO have the ability!!  Hope you use it in the future.

 

SUMMARY:

A natural CLOWN – haha – no JOKE!!  It’s true – but humour can also be used as a defense, or to ‘people please’ (impressing the class) – so I have to be conscious when it’s going that way.  It’s also interesting to note that while my participation in phys ed was completely normal in Grades 1 and 2, I installed a block about it by my teen years.  And you’d think that all that good work with balls and dribbling in Grade 2 would have made it easier to learn to juggle – but it didn’t!  So… boo… whatever.

Today, I was considering applying for Cirque du Soleil (they’re auditioning in town soon), but because their shows are so physical, I don’t consider it a realistic path.  As much as I’m happy to stretch myself into more physical expression as much as I can, and while I’m generally relaxed with facial and upper body movement… I’m not likely to roll on the floor, do somersaults, go to an aerobics class, or shovel gravel anytime soon.  And that’s just how it is.  I think I’m more interested in expressing myself with words and ideas.  Or with color and texture!  🙂

I have a fondness for thinking of myself as an ‘actor’.  This is a self concept I’m pretty attached to.  Yet, several times in my life, apparently including my Citadel 2B class, I decided to ‘side-step’ an acting career.  As much as it calls me, it also seems to repel me.  My recent 12 year gap from acting has impacted greatly.  Even while I dip my toes in the possibility by doing some background film work, overall,  it’s not coming easily or naturally.  Ultimately, I feel like I lost my best chance, and now I’m too old and fat, and it’s too late.  And now I’m afraid in ways I never was before.  Like when I do improv – I’m good, and relaxed, and I’m in it — and then, suddenly, a wall comes down in my mind and I get totally shy!  I’m letting go of the limited idea that the only work I’ll be happy with is ‘acting’.  I could happily communicate in many occupations.  In fact, everything I do in this world can accurately be called acting.  We all take on various roles in our lives: parent, teacher, mother, child, etc.  Grocery store clerk, blackjack dealer, blogger, data manager, etc.  And I’m pretty sure my ego is simply attracted to the role of ‘actor’ as a method of ‘specialness’.  Fame as a method of world domination – lol – no, but of being ‘loved’.  It’s the ‘seek but do not find’ routine.  And, this, I have to weed out.

EDITED:  Yet, here’s where I’m most deeply conflicted.  It feels like this is the very thing my heart most wants.  ARGGGGGG!  Again, when I go back to my earliest childhood, I pretended at characters all the time.  Coloring, Barbie’s, and acting out characters.  So what if everyone on the planet wants to be an actor too.  So what if my ego has come in and bastardized an entirely natural drive.  So what if it’s so obviously an attempt at making a body ‘special’.  But I CAN’T STOP MYSELF!!!!  No matter how much I try to surrender the desire, it comes back.  And here’s something I learned about desires that won’t go away – sometimes you just have to LIVE THEM OUT.  Allow them to EXPRESS.  The only way out is THROUGH.

So… maybe I can’t get a job.  Maybe I can just do what I want.  *BOINK*  *blink*  *blink*  I tried doing some of the audition they want for Cirque du Soleil in my mirror last night… and it surprised me.  And inspired me.  Hmmmm….

A few days ago, I was watching Jerry Seinfeld in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  He was interviewing Jon Stewart and he asked, “Do you think actors can play comedians?”  The both agreed that they couldn’t.  And I see their point.  There’s people who can be funny (like me, once in a while, usually by accident) and then there’s FUN-NY PEO-PLE.  They’re a particular breed.  They think in an entirely particular way.  And if you’re not on that level, well, you’re not.  So that’s another one of those things I’m weeding out – I’m, clearly, not going to be a comedian.  Or a clown.  For real – it’s an unnatural stretch.  I’m glad I took the clown class, and there’s lots that I’ll be keeping forefront in my mind (like playing!), but clowning’s not going to be my whole thing.  I always get excited about stuff at the beginning, like it’s finally the thing that’ll save my life, finally DEFINE WHAT I AM, but then it never does.  I have to quit looking for that.  It’s not going to happen.

So, OK.  Weeding out and weeding out.  Eventually, I’ll have a direction to aim my cannon.  Then, look out!

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Choices and Consequences

Posted by Amanda Gray on August 1, 2014

I’m still thinking a great deal about the death of my cat.  Specifically, regarding the choices that were made along the way.

Dr. David R. Hawkins says that events do not actually happen in an A = B = C linear fashion.  It’s more like once a choice has been made, then the EVENT ‘ABC’ is created, involving all it’s resultant consequences, but then experienced in a, seemingly, linear progression.  There have been several incidences in my life where I observed this theory in action, and I hold it to be fairly accurate, at least, at my current level of awareness.  This idea is also inherent in the statement, “You can’t mess it up.”  You can’t, because you always make the decision that’s right for you in the moment, and then the consequences are, as they unfold, pretty much out of your hands.

My cat, Jonas, was 19 years old.  Even if he hadn’t gotten suddenly sick, he would have died, of something, soon anyway.  I made a decision, early in his sickness, not to take him to the vet.  Even in my own mind, it was an extremely difficult decision.   Do I put him through the fear and stress of a trip, a battery of tests, and an overwhelming expense, only to learn that compassionate euthanasia is the, most likely, resort?  Could I made a decision for euthanasia, with even the slightest, tiniest chance of recovery?  Could I leave him at the vet clinic for any length of time, for tests, and the possibility that he could die while away from me?   Could I nurse him at home, giving him my full attention, and every chance possible of recovery, while, if necessary, providing as much comfort as I could in his passing, like hospice?  I made the choice that was, to me, the most courageous and most natural.

Jonas started going downhill from the beginning of May, concurrent with my move to BC.  He lost a lot of weight, ate little, and slept most of the time.  But whatever sickness led to his eventual demise, it began with an acute attack in the night.  It was a big shock, and I thought he was going to die, right then and there, but he didn’t.  He recovered seemingly well in a few minutes.  What was the attack?  Heart attack?  Stroke? Was he poisoned by a bad can of food?  An acute renal failure?  Whatever it was, it was done.  There was no going back from it, and then, after a few days, I noticed that his health was definitely going downhill.

I provided all possible avenues of recovery.  He was still drinking water, peeing, moving about (with great difficulty in his back legs), but not eating.  I got high nutritional food and oral syringes at the vet and began to force feed him, a couple of teaspoons, every three hours.  I also started giving him 1/2 tablet of baby aspirin 2 to 3 times a day to minimize any pain he might be experiencing.  He took the food and the aspirin, I helped him drink water, and he rallied for a couple of days.  His will to live was strong and persistent.  I thought he might actually make it.  Yet, his eyes had changed.  They were small, and sunken.

In the third day of treatment, Jonas would spit out more food than he would swallow.  And he made an irreversible decision.  He stopped drinking water.  Looking back, I see that as the point of no return.  He was ready to die.

What happens in nature when an animal is passing?  They go off, alone, and hide.  They stop eating and drinking.  And they die.  No muss, no fuss, no intervention.  No resistance, no refusal.  I made a critical decision at that point too.  That I would allow him to die naturally, and I would stay with him until his last breath.  That was the most important thing to me, that we would be together.  Again, I deeply questioned my motivation.  If he was going to die anyway, why not make it quick with an injection?  Well, because I hoped and expected that he would go to sleep and slip peacefully away.  And I wanted to do for him, what I think I’d want others to do for me.  If I’m ready to die – just bugger off and let me go!

I stopped force feeding him.  I gave him as much water as I could with the oral syringe, to moisten his mouth, but he wouldn’t drink it down.  With great difficulty, I got him to swallow another 1/2 aspirin.  I kept his bed directly on my lap most of the day, looking into his eyes, holding him, hugging him, talking to him.  At bedtime, I took him to my bed.

But that was when he took another turn for the worse.  He began to make a horrible cry.  He vomited a couple of times.  I felt so helpless!  I forced another 1/2 aspirin down his throat.  I moistened his mouth.  Did we have anything else to give him – a sleeping pill?  No.  What if this went on all night?  OH GOD!  Why didn’t I get the injection while I had the chance???  I was terrified that I chose wrongly!  I said to Jonas, “We’re in it now.  No turning back.  We made our decisions and now we have to go down this road.”  Then I knew that I couldn’t have chosen any other way, because all choices would still lead to the same end – an end that I didn’t WANT – but that would happen anyway.  Is an injection ‘better’ than a natural death?  Is a natural death ‘better’?  What defines the word ‘better’ when all choices lead only to certain pain?  I don’t know – NOBODY KNOWS!!  I told Jonas, “You can go, little baby.  You don’t have to fight anymore.  Just let go.  It will be ok.”

He was quiet only when I had my hand on him, and when I kept the light on.  I discovered that he peed a little in his bed, so I gently cleaned it up and put a layer of paper towel under him.  This seemed to offer great solace, as it always disturbed him tremendously to be ‘unclean’.  That may even have been why he cried.  It didn’t take long after that, maybe 10 or 20 minutes.  I was so sleepy… I rested my head against his bed, near his head, with my arm around his back.  I couldn’t see his face, but I could see his body and hind legs.  His legs flicked out, once… then again.  I knew this was the moment.  I watched his last breath leave his body and he was still.   I sat up and looked fully at him.  He looked completely peaceful.  Was it over?  Could he still come back?  No.  He was gone.  His body soon began to feel stiff and cold.

I write about this because I want to remember these details, as morbid as they may seem.  Perhaps it’ll be helpful to another who’s faced with these same decisions with a beloved pet.  Perhaps it will be helpful to me in the future, with another pet or person, even.  And, who knows, this was the way I chose this time, but I might choose differently next time.  As a society, a culture, and as human beings, we still have a long way to go in learning about and dealing maturely with the process of death.  Shouldn’t it be a natural thing?  As natural as birth?  What if, wherever Jonas went, it was a WONDERFUL place?

Ultimately, my intention was love.  I’m confident that Jonas knew that.  Although I’m still grieving, I have no regrets, and I’m confident that I made the ‘right’ and ‘best’ choices that I could.  There is a giant hole in the energetic fabric of my existence right now and I just have to deal with it.  Nothing will make it feel ‘better’.  Jonas isn’t coming back.  All resistance and loss I feel is merely the denial of the fact.  I feel his energy missing at the foot of my sofa during the day, and a sweeping sadness at bedtime when I used to carry him with me to bed.  I actually feel an aversion to my bedroom now, as the pervasive empty loneliness in my chest is greatest there.  And I’ve developed a, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to a bone shaped neck pillow that I’ve been holding at night, in the crook of my arm, as if it’s Jonas.  I’m letting it happen.  Because I know that all of it, in time, will pass.

 

MOV02620_0020

 

God bless Jonas.  5 Sept 1995 – 26 July 2014.

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Right Brain

Posted by Amanda Gray on March 23, 2014

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Sufferin’ Subterranean Subconscious Subterfuge!  Digging a little further under the surface of some of life’s little goings ons, I’m starting to think about the concept of ‘work’ vs. ‘play’.  About a year ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to ‘work’ anymore – I was only ever going to ‘play’.  It’s all a matter of thought anyway, so why shouldn’t I simply decide for what I really want?  Well, that was all well and good, and I proceeded, in general, to live accordingly, yet now I see that I’ve had an underlying belief system that has been surreptitiously objecting.

I see it from my experience at the Living Miracles Monastery in Utah, when I got a terrible migraine headache that prevented me from joining in a much desired project to paint the tipi.  I simply couldn’t allow myself to enjoy the project.  In essence, I punished myself for my creative desire.

I also see it from my recent clown workshop.  The first two days were excellent and full-on, but the final two days were difficult because I was in a lot of resistance.  Particularly, I was resistant to moving my body, to open-heartedly playing with the group – and even more specifically – joining freely with the (in my opinion) more physically rambunctious boys.  Instead of saying, “yes” to the experience, I began to say “no.”

I also see it from my recent firing at work.  Particularly, since starting, I kept a fundamental attitude of ‘play’.  It made the day go by more pleasantly to maintain this attitude, and, particularly when I felt most down or resistant, I made concerted efforts to change my mind as soon as possible.  One of the other mental adjustments I was practicing regularly was to speak freely with my customers – even if I was feeling angry, tired, sick – all the entirely human qualities a customer service person isn’t supposed to share.  After some experimentation, I learned that people would allow me to say anything as long as my intention was relaxed, open and sharing – and I learned that limits only occurred if my intention slipped to attack, judgement or punishment.  As I learned this, I began to share myself more and more freely – and, especially as I began to know people more personally –I tentatively shared my sense of humour – which, at times, could be obtusely abstract, playfully teasing, or confusingly deadpan.  I was learning about it for myself along the way, as well, and it would surprise me at times, as much as it might surprise the customer.  So, it wasn’t entirely a shock to hear that some customers didn’t understand my humour and complained to the boss.  I now think it’s particularly interesting that I was ‘judged’ and  ‘punished’ (losing my job) for expressing myself more freely, openly and honestly – and just as I was genuinely allowing my sense of humour to come out and play.

This all leads me to a realization that I must still hold a deeper belief about personal self-expression; a belief that I must repress my natural expression for fear of being misunderstood, judged and punished.  I must have fears about playing openly with others, and sharing my stranger – but also more unique and interesting – quirks.  I can also see how this connects to my early childhood experience when, in the exuberance and excitement of playing with some older boys, it got me into life-threatening trouble.  I bet I decided then that ‘play’ – right brain, creative, abstract – was bad or dangerous, and I abandoned it, completely, in favour of the serious, safe, logical, fact based left brain.  I think most of us do it.  As adults, we decide that life is about ‘work’ and we forget about the joy, light and freedom of our curious, lively, foolish inner child.  We forget our child’s easy laughter and the ability to accept others however they are in every moment.  We begin to think our ‘judgement’ will protect us.  We begin to ‘juice’ our grievances and let our thoughts linger on the ‘injustices’ we face.  We begin to believe that other people are ‘against’ us – that they’re only there to present obstacles to our desires – and that the only way to get what we want is to manipulate, force or remove these obstacle-people.  We think that if we could just remove everybody, perhaps we’ll finally get the peace and freedom we feel entitled to.

But it’s a lie.  A pretty convincing set of concepts, I’ll give it that, but entirely, a grievous, pitiful lie.  The left brain is extremely limited.  It can only give us what it ‘knows,’ which means it’s always bound by the past.  Only the right brain, the open aspect of mind that’s ‘unknown,’ can truly extend us into the infinite.

I expressed in my last post ( Kitties, Clowns, Authority and Desire ), that I LOVE my kitty clown, Zephyr.  What I realized in clown class, and what I’m accessing in that character, is my natural right brain creativity that feels SOOOOO FREE!!  It’s powerful because it’s the true self I always wanted to express, or, at least, it’s the denied and repressed part of myself that’s required for complete mental equilibrium.  My deepest desires and passions are linked in there too and, of course, as these passions awaken, they’ll probably drag out a few demons from the arcane depths too.

Which is fine.  It’s worth it.  I’m going there.  Nothing can stop me – except ME.  And, like A Course in Miracles says, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind.”  And so it will.  AMEN!

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No One Can Fail Who Seeks to Reach the Truth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 11, 2011

Today I seek and find all that I want.  My single purpose offers it to me.  No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
A Course in Miracles, Lesson131, Pg. 240

Last night, I listened to a recording by spiritual teacher, Adyashanti.  His teaching, like the Course in Miracles, is very direct.  It brought up some intriguing questions and inspiration:

  • If I’m waiting for the mind or my feelings to still, I’ll wait forever.  No waiting is necessary.  The truth – on every level of being (physical/spiritual) – is available immediately.
  • How is my apathy (anger, fear, etc.) seeing the world?  What would it say?  My apathy says, I don’t want to be here.
  • Then: Is it true? (That I don’t want to be here.)
  • Then, an inspiration: When did I first decide not to BE… HERE?  (Here, in the Self.)
  • Then: When did I first choose to hide my Self?

I’ve been working with this riddle of ‘hiding my Self’ since it first came up in a dream about a month ago.  Several of my consciously developed friends pointed it out as well, and I make it a policy never to ignore advice that’s corroborated by a couple or more sources.  I agree that it’s an important area to examine, but, so far, I’m not getting anything.  So, alas, it’s still percolating.  Perhaps the more direct questions, as above, will help further.

Adyashanti also said that the ‘instantaneous downloads’ of knowledge I’ve experienced on occasion, are natural to the Self, and that it’s actually natural to get them all the time.  Adya called it PRAJNA.  Yes, please, I’d like to have more prajna.  Continuous prajna.  That’d be awesome!

Also, after some further thought about the Course lesson from yesterday – about surrendering all value I’ve placed in the world – I remember that, yes, that is how it goes.  I had forgotten.  Of course, I can continue to play in the world, keep seeking endlessly for useless trinkets, and delay myself for eons, even, if I really want to.  But do I want that?  NOOOOO!!!  Because I really want the ONLY useful, meaningful thing there is: the Self.  I want to rest in the source, the ground, of my being.  It is, absolutely, the most important thing to me, but sometimes, it seems I forget, and then I have to re-focus and re-establish my intention. Adya suggested that it’s painful to leave the Self – and yes, I think that perhaps I’m conscious of that when I’m wandering and getting wrapped up in goofy worldly distractions.  Perhaps it’s related to a particular anxiety I’ve experienced lately too.  Perhaps seeking out in the world has truly become anathema to me now.  Well, that, or I’ve become agoraphobic.  So, really, I don’t know.  I’m just guessing.  Is it appropriate for me to relinquish the world at this time?  Is it natural to have lost most of my interest in it?  I want to take care that I’m not creating aversions, or rejecting it, or hiding from it, but it’s true that I see very little point in most worldly activities – and I don’t think it sees much point in me either, frankly.  That sounds funny, but it does seem to be letting go of me, just as much as I’m letting go of it.  So, it’s a mutual relinquishment.

Like my Course lesson says, I can’t fail.  Whew.  Good.  I’m really sick of being a total failure.  The spiritual path is sometimes difficult, and it’s certainly strange, but there’s nothing else for me to do.  Spirit has it’s own energy now and I simply need to follow… or I’ll be dragged.  Yeah, I think I prefer to follow willingly.

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