sabrinamari: (Default)
I'm not writing, but I know why...I think. I'm writing more to individual people, and that seems to be taking care of some the need to process on paper, so to speak. I've also spent a lot of time communicating directly to a whole group of my friends about multiple things, and all this communication seems to be helping me move forward.

Perhaps journaling is an adaptation to not talking as much as I maybe should.

So many of my friends and collaborators are transforming themselves right now....I think it's due to FoV. Indirectly, at least. I think I'm changing less, but that could just be because my changes are a bit quieter, less spectacular---perhaps a bit slower.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Quick moment of insight: probably the most important thing I did at Fires of Venus was something I didn't expect to do. I told the truth about what I was feeling and who I was becoming over and over again, in several different contexts. It felt odd to speak about things I had been holding back, and it left me feeling somewhat vulnerable. But on reflection, I think it was a good thing.

It is better to live in truth, with everyone knowing who you really are and what you really think, than it is to live under the illusion that holding back will protect you.

As someone said at FoV, nothing protects you but an open and fearless heart.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Much. much to think about today. But I have three book talks and a journal review to begin, so it will have to wait until tonight. That's going to be tricky---I want to think with fingers now.

Still, it was a classic kind of FoV for me: gloriousness, intense tears, insecurity, affirmation of my value, deep connection to community and to others, love, fear, joy, trust and everything else.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Love is not actually mind. Love is experienced. Love has nothing to do with concept or thought. So the only way that we can experience love--boundless love, love as devotion, love as compassion, love as joy--the only way we can experience that level of love, that bodhichitta, is by going beyond our own mind.

Anam Thubten Rinpoche, "Always Question Your Mind"


...we can connect with the very best of ourselves and help others to do the same. Bodhichitta is a basic human wisdom that can drive away the sorrows of the world. Bodhi means "awake": free from ordinary, confused mind, free from the illusion that we're separate from one another. Chitta means "heart" or "mind".

...At this point we might ask why bodhichitta has such power. Perhaps the simplest answer is that it lifts us out of self-centeredness and gives us a chance to leave dysfunctional habits behind. Moreover, everything we encounter becomes an opportunity to develop the outrageous courage of the bodhi heart.

When we get hit hard, we look outward and see how other people also have difficult times. When we feel lonely or angry or depressed, we let these dark moods link us with the sorrows of others.

We share the same reactivity, the same grasping and resisting. By aspiring for all beings to be free of their suffering, we free ourselves from our own cocoons and life becomes bigger than "me". No matter how dark and gloomy or joyful and uplifted our lives are, we can cultivate a sense of shared humanity.

This expands our whole perspective. Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, "The essence of the mahayana is thinking bigger".

This opportunity to awaken bodhichitta is so precious and rare. To experience something that liberates us from the narrow-mindedness of our biases and preconceptions is...truly wondrous. What's more, there is no one who cannot experience this, if they're willing to give it a try.

Pema Chodron, "No Time to Lose"

****

If someone asked me, today, "What is the central goal of Fires of Venus?" I would show them these passages and say, "At its best, FoV offers us an opportunity to practice thinking bigger".
sabrinamari: (Godhooks/Transformation)
Just heard about this:

"Wanna go to Fires of Venus? Wanna discount? I got one for ya!

Simply go to http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=974879 , select "Affiliate Member Attendee" and put "firemeup" (without the quotes) in the "Survey Responder Code" box for $25 off your registration. If you don't belong to one of the groups, select Free Spirit Alliance at the appropriate time."
sabrinamari: (Venus)
There's so much to process, as usual, from the retreat. But this time, what's captured my attention is what happened when I got home. The crucible of change spares no one, not even my beautiful Michael. He is transforming in front of my eyes, and parts of that process are difficult. Every part of his life is shifting. Watching him work through pain, I feel a tremulousness in my throat and my heart. The best I can do is keep quiet, listen, and love him intensely as he reflects on who he has been, who he is becoming, and what he is feeling. It's surprisingly easy, though, to keep my ego out of it. I didn't expect that. No worries, though. Give me a few days. My self-centered insecurities will probably come back...smiling...

Isn't it funny that the things I thought of as scary and hard for so long have been so easy, and the things I thought would be easier have been so scary and hard?

Strange.

It's impossible to know for sure, in advance, what you will be capable of doing and what will bring you to your knees. You can guess, you can imagine, you can expect...but in the end, much of what you discover will surprise you. Weaknesses will turn out to carry profound strengths, and advantages you thought you had at your disposal may well evaporate on the wind.

So far, in the last year, the trade-offs have been good. Right now, they're good. I am feeling strong love in my heart, and I can move from that place to offer tenderness when and where I am needed most.

What I'm learning: there's more than enough love and support to go around. I have plenty to give, and I'm learning to take more and more. And that is beautiful.

FoV again

Aug. 11th, 2011 09:23 pm
sabrinamari: (Venus)
So tonight I spent several hours buying a new tent, putting it up, and testing all my equipment. The whole time I was thinking, thinking, thinking. Every time an FoV event comes around, I know I'm due for some serious growth. I can almost predict that I'll spend some time shaking in fright or some other emotion, trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing there. (And my internal sassy gay friend is practically yelling "What, what, WHAT are you DOING???")

There will also be moments when I transcend myself and stop caring about anything related to my transient neuroses, moments when the other Keepers shine shine shine, and I just watch and listen in awe.

Sometimes, I imagine that I've come a long way on my path.

I think FoV is probably the hardest and most rewarding Priestly work I've ever done, and I believe it has changed me.

This time, I feel a little more solid than I have in the past: a little less tumultuous, a little less buffeted by the ebb and flow of this process.

Still, I have no. fucking. idea. what I'm doing.

Not really. But this time, I'm OK with it.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
I'm thinking a lot today. I'm thinking about FoV: what is its guiding mission? What is its purpose, at every level, and what does it really have to offer those who come?

I've thought about these questions many times, but every time I return to them, my answers have deepened, opened, shifted and changed. The Keeper's Retreat is coming, and I want to express myself there in an articulate and authentic way. I also want to explain what I think about it and what I feel it has to offer to someone I admire. It's not as easy to do as it should be...
sabrinamari: (The Star)
Listen, I will tell you an awful secret,

A terrible heresy, a forbidden Truth:
This life is meant to be enjoyed.
We are here to play in the Garden-
To be ourselves, only more so
To make happy and be happy, love and be loved.
(Beloved, be Love!)

Say this and be damned,
Do this and be scorned,
Dare this and win!
Dance this life, grow drunken on it,
Make laughter your ally
In this alchemy.

All the biggest lies of history deny this:
Life is not meant to be suffering;
The addition of those words-
Click as tumblers fall, the lock moves,
Light shines around the edges
Of the door to Joy.

- 7/19/2004

[livejournal.com profile] evcelt


I follow your instructions.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Heard at FoV Keeper's Retreat 1:

"When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth......

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, it directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully."

— Khalil Gibran (The Prophet)
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Read more... )

Waking up

Apr. 13th, 2011 07:42 am
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Woke up this morning with that sort of queasy feeling, like I want to stay in bed and not re-enter the world. "What is that?" I wondered. "Oh yeah, FoV is starting up. I'm going to grow as a human being again. Oh no!" Then I thought, "No, it's cool, this is just the normal thing that happens when I grow. It will be alright."
sabrinamari: (Venus)
I forgot to tell a story of this weekend, a story that's important to me.

I spent a lot of time talking to someone I love, and I learned that whole new worlds are opening up for her right now, right this minute. And she has that shaky feeling, the one I have so much of the time: she knows she has to take a big set of risks to grow. She knows she has to do it now. And she's going to do it, but she feels kind of like throwing up. Sometimes, she starts to shake.

I knew exactly what to tell her, because I've spent so much time feeling this.

"It's OK," I said. "It's even good. Every incredibly good thing that happened to me last year was preceded by just this feeling. When you're standing in your doorway, about to leave, thinking, 'Why am I doing this? Maybe I shouldn't...' that means that probably, something wonderful is about to happen. This is a chance to retrain yourself, so that when you have this feeling, you know it's a good sign, and it means you should go ahead. It means that you are giving yourself a chance to be really happy."

She gave me a shaky smile, and I smiled right back. And it was good. She was still shaky. I will still be shaky. But it's OK. It's how we know we're walking the right path.

******

One thing I didn't tell her: every time you face a new round of possibilities, this feeling will come back. With every new start, every new chapter, you will experience it again.

There's probably never going to be a time when it stops completely. Trying to make it stop is useless, but learning to become stronger, to see this feeling as the ally it really is---that will make all the difference. That will take you in the direction you want to go.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Please read it. It's short, it's clear and it sums up a huge proportion of what communities and traditions like FoV and Blue Star are trying to help us grasp about ourselves and each other:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/01/give.up.perfection/index.html?iref=obinsite

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ingridsummers for sending this link my way.

A key point:

"A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick."

And this leads to the one-sentence take-away:

"If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging."

There's no way around this. Believe me, I've tried.
sabrinamari: (Team Venus)
"Better [traditions? groups? organizations?] are local, robust, and resilient teams of agents who coevolve, interdependently, with their local environments, learn from their mistakes, change assumptions when necessary, and work with [each other] pragmatically, using appropriate science and [alternate forms of] knowledge to care for the [well being] of their [core members]...[their local] communities and...[the greater] population[s they reach]".

From Miller, Crabtree, Nutting, Stange and Jaen 2010, Primary Care Practice Development: A Relationship-Centered Approach, altered for reflection

Article focuses on transforming U.S. primary care practices, but introduces change models of wide applicability: http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/8/Suppl_1/S68

Blue Star leaders: there's plenty of utility/much to learn from here. [livejournal.com profile] ingridsummers and [livejournal.com profile] wild_place_king, I'm thinking especially of you---you have the interest and the reach to apply this knowledge.
sabrinamari: (Team Venus)
"...[Group] transformation is more about learning how to become a learning organization that creates an emergent future than it is about learning from experts [about] how to build something already known. The level of change needed is daunting and requires tremendous motivation [among] all participants, defining new roles, understanding the local landscape and paying attention to multiple relationships."

Crabtree, Nutting, Miller, Stange, Stewart and Jaen

Venus

Oct. 31st, 2010 11:33 am
sabrinamari: (Venus)
This morning one of my Venus necklaces broke, sending beads everywhere. I thought, "Oh no!" and scrambled to pick them all up. But because I was in the tub, I think I got them all.

And then I thought, "Wait, this is good preparation for my Aphrodite year. Instead of just taking what I was given, I'll restring the necklace myself, bringing my own discernment and open heart to the process."

Good.

Yes/and

Oct. 26th, 2010 02:16 pm
sabrinamari: (Team Venus)
One of the mental and emotional traps I'm learning to identify is either/or thinking. I've become so used to operating from this paradigm that it's a struggle to remind myself that love and caring are not finite, like a piece of cake that can be subdivided into only so many parts. All around me, friends and collaborators make their choices and live their lives from a yes/and model. Still, either/or is the easiest place---the default place---from which to see the world.

Over the last year, though, I've come to the conclusion that either/or is worth nipping in the bud whenever possible. No matter how I look, it doesn't map to the world around me in an accurate or helpful fashion. Worse, left unchecked, it leads to stressed emotions and unproductive thinking. After all, if life's best things are finite, then stretching one's self too thin can only lead to disaster, right? And the opportunity for catastrophic thinking only expands from there...

But if love, caring and all the good things that come with them are boundless and infinitely available, then everything changes, and there is no need for stress.

Being around Christine and O has helped with this immensely. As nearly as I can tell, they live their lives from a yes/and model and they care for each other very much. Their tribe, like mine, operates on the principle that there are more than enough good things in the world for everyone, and more than enough love to share.

This is a good thing, and it's one of the reasons that I enjoy their company so much. I like watching beautiful alternative models of living in the world. I like the notion that there is enough and enough and enough to share on an emotional basis as well as a physical one. I like to discover uniquely nuanced models of sane living and roll them around in my head to see if they might fit me.

And having watched them, it's easier to catch myself when I begin to fall into the trap of either/or thinking and remind myself that I believe in an infinite universe where there's more than enough love to go around.

Opening

Oct. 24th, 2010 08:44 pm
sabrinamari: (Venus)
Tonight I'm feeling an ache in my heart. It's a little sad, but it's not negative. I don't want it to stop or anything like that.

It's almost as though it's so full that it's aching as it stretches beyond where it's been before.

Everything I've experienced this week has brought me joy, so I think this is probably a good thing.

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