Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Rain

In the depth of your eyes
I see the brown of an exhausted river
that once proudly filled its banks
I hear fishermen songs
as they sail contently
and I ask their ghosts
How do you sail back to your lovers
on the shores of a dried river?
A tear blossoms ...

***************************
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKteTq8mpVU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSHVhBp78LU



m

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2046

Summer of 2010
Someone
enticed me to leave
she began a trip
in my dream
and left me behind

I started my journey
as soon as I woke up

I felt extremely lonely
I begged for company
asked all friends
even her
I made new friends

I only realize now
I could not take anyone

Part of me knows
what is happening
maybe even
where I am going
Part of me thinks
I am still dreaming

What if there are no friends
for a journey in dreams?

***************************


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37Jwr_PLhks


2046: A film

Monday, December 27, 2010

Peace and Void

REVISED:

A lazy Saturday afternoon
sitting on the couch
feet on the ottoman
listening carelessly to lady friends
watching her preparing tea
snow flakes quiet dance

Something broke

Heard it the next morning
felt it, in my soul
and insatiable need to cry


ORIGINAL:

A lazy Saturday afternoon
sitting on the couch
with my feet on the ottoman

Listening carelessly to our lady friends
a former doctoral student
and a former colleague

Watching Sima preparing tea
and snow flakes quiet dance
I felt something broke

I heard the crack the next morning
and felt the void in my soul
and the insatiable need to cry

********************************

My first painting (in black and white :) - acrylic on canvas

Brene Brown on Vulnerability (TED talk)

Amazing talk, HIGHLY recommended:

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html



Plus, an article about wandering mind, or do things wholeheartedly even if it is dish-washing :)


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-wandering-mind-is-an-un

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Willpower

There is an interesting article in today (December 22, 2010) issue of Wall Street Journal by Sue Shellenbarger
titled, "How to Keep a Resolution: Forget Willpower, Reaching a Goal Means Retraining Brain to Form New Habits." Here is the (temporary) link:
http://online.wsj.com/article/work_and_family.html
Updated link:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703581204576033824100634278.html

I have discussed many of these points here before, but it is nice to see someone else telling them in a different way. I specially like the part on willpower experiments that I was totally unaware of. Here are some interesting quotes:

"Willpower springs from a part of the brain, in the prefrontal cortex, that is easily overloaded and exhausted. What works far better, researchers say, is training other parts of the brain responsible for linking positive emotions to new habits and conditioning yourself to new behaviors.

When setting a resolution, simply deciding to change your behavior may work for a while. But when the cognitive parts of the brain responsible for decision-making become stressed by other life events, that resolve is likely to succumb to an emotional desire for instant gratification.
In one study of how emotion and cognition interact in decision-making, Dr. Shiv asked some subjects to complete a challenging mental task, memorizing a seven-digit number, while others were asked to remember only two digits. When the same subjects were later given a choice between eating a delicious piece of chocolate cake or a healthy fruit salad, Dr. Shiv says, those who had memorized seven digits were more likely to choose the cake, suggesting that the mental exertion affected their ability to repress the desire for instant gratification and make a healthy choice.

It may be possible to strengthen your self control before starting your resolution by exercising it on small tasks, says Mark Muraven, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany. In a study, college students who practiced self control for two weeks by consciously improving their posture or keeping a food diary, performed better afterward on tests of will, such as squeezing a hand grip for an extended time, he says.
Any technique that requires you to suppress a normal impulse should work, such as cutting back on swearing or using your non-dominant hand for routine tasks. "By doing small things that take a certain amount of self-control, you can build up your 'muscle'" for tackling larger changes, Dr. Muraven says.

Planning ahead to reduce other stress in your life will increase chances of success."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vision?! :)

After a few weeks of high traffic, my blog is quiet again. I am not sure whether the nude picture I posted had any effect :) but I will discuss my idea about nudity, art, and pornography in another post.
I have been thinking about the topic of this post for a few days now, and there has been some events that encouraged me to finally publish this.

So, what do you think having visions or intuitions about things in other people's soul?

I have realized recently that it is a curse rather than a gift. Well, the following two aspects are interesting to me:
  1. Visions are like feelings in that they change shape when they are expressed. Once you interpret a vision, you have already put your thoughts into it and pollute it.
  2.  What can you do with a vision? A lot of times you cannot even explain it to the person because it may be too personal. Other times, even if you can explain it, there is no reason that the person would believe it (specially in the light of point "1" above). Ultimately, they turn out to be quite useless.
I do not know why these matter at all. I just felt that I had to write this :)

PS 1. maybe the point is that I have to focus on life as it happens, on people as I see them, and stop obsessing with my feelings and intuitions, and accept that someone's soul is a private place that I have no business looking into :)

PS 2. Funny, here is an example of "1" that just happened. Since it is related to me (and not someone else) I can share it here. So, I was watching "Men of Certain Age", which is a great show on TNT (highly recommended). Right after it finished, CSI-NY started, and it showed a boy shot by a gun and his gun wound. When I saw the wound, I had a very strange feeling. Interpreting that feeling, however, is an obscure job ... I can say that a gun wound will have some significance in my life, or I can be more dramatic and say that I saw that I will die from a gun wound, and ... there are endless other possibilities.
I guess what normal people do is that they take the feeling less seriously and go on with their lives, LOL

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mirror Relationships

I have been dealing with difficulty in my relationships from the time I can remember. For the last couple of years, since I opened up my self, I have been even more disappointed. I have had some intuitions in the past few days that I want to document here, at least for my own reference in the future. Here, "relationship" does not have to be romantic. It is more general, and can be related to work, parents, neighbors, friends, and more.

First, a couple of basic observations:
Observation-0. If you are an adult in a bad relationship, part of you needs or enjoys that relationship.

Therefore,  until you find the root of the bad relationship, even if you terminate one, another will emerge.
Observation-1. There is no point in terminating a bad relationship, learn from them.

Our relationships are the results of our habits. To change habits, the first step is to observe them carefully and non-judgmentally.
Observation-2. Observe your bad relationships with calm and without passing judgments.

Because a lot of emotions are involved, "observation-2" above is much more difficult in practice than it sound. Having a ``fair'' understanding of your relationships can be very helpful.
Observation-3. Relationships can be asymmetric.

What you feel about a relationship can be completely different from what the other side feels. 
Mirror Relationships.  Suppose you are in a bad relationship with "A".
1- Observe your feelings and your thoughts, specially in response to "A"s actions. Also, observe the action and reflection of feelings and thoughts in "A".
2- Find another relationship, say with "B", such that  "B"'s actions and feelings about the relationship with you (as far as you can observe) is close to your actions and feelings in the relationship with "A", and your actions and thoughts in relationship with "B" is close to "A"s actions and thoughts (as far as you can observe) in the relationship with you.
Now, "you <-> A " and "B <-> you" are mirror relationships.
3- Every time you are in a difficult situation in either of the two relationships (with "A" or with "B"), make a parallel to the mirror relationship and try to remember a similar situation there.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reality Show

I have been watching a couple of episodes of "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" tonight. It has been one of my favorite reality shows, because it is full of raw emotions combined with introspection and reflection.
Anyway, what freaked me out this time was that I felt a deep connection to the addicts and their behavior made perfect sense to me, even though I have not been an addict :)

Some moments, when an addict decided to be present rather than refuge to a habitual behavior, were just beautiful and I just saw it as if it was happening to me. The question of what to do when you face pain,  specially rejection and abandonment, is central to the recovery process.

Another interesting observation was the importance of the support group as a safe place to return to. Similarly, true friends offer a place that you can go back to even after you leave, kind of like the immediate family when you grow up. For most of these addicts, however, the origin of the problem has been childhood abuses and the family not being there as a safe place.

**********************
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpzAAUVrT7g

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Heart Pounding

Do you remember the first time
you fell in love?
The first time
that seeing someone
would make every cell in your body
scream,
would make you heart sink

I was only a kid
seven or eight years young
and I stole a match box
from the small shop
on the corner of our street

And I felt free
and I felt a current
revitalizing me
and I felt my heart
crazy as a wounded tiger
ready to jump out of my chest

I remember that moment

******************
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcY7wpGcfw8

Spatial Inconsistency, or Dream in Dream!

About an hour ago, after quite some time, I had a dream in which I was sleeping and had another dream! How is that possible? Here it goes:

I was driving a small car in a country road to a place in mountains. I have been to this place many times in my dreams but do not know if it actually exists or is completely made up by my mind. Then, I started to feel sleepy while driving. Then, I could not see the road anymore, except when I looked down to a place under the steering wheel! At that point, I realized in my dream that something was not quite right. So I pulled over and stopped by the road. Then, suddenly I could see my car in front of me ... as if I was parked perpendicular to the road ... so me and my car were in two places! I saw the traffic behind me was blocked because I had not completely cleared the road, but I could not move the car, because I was not sure in which direction the car would go! Then, I realized that I was dreaming in dream. The waking up process was quite torturous: I had to wake up from the second dream first and then from the first dream!

******

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sit Tight

  • What do you do when everything seems to go wrong? when everything seems confusing? and your thoughts are all over the place? what do you do?
  • Look, asshole, just sit tight and do whatever small tasks you've got to do, because when you think things are going wrong, it is just you "thinking" and 99% of the time nothing is really happening, at least not until you start panicing!
Disclaimer: This post is supposed to be humorous :) Excuse the language! The underlying idea, however, has helped me recently to cope with periods of anxiety and depression.

*****

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7R-bR0cW8c



    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Remixing [Do You Love Me?]

    I did -not- have any idea that "remixing" can have such an effect on a music video. If you have not heard the original song, first listen to it here [YouTube Link]. Here are two remixes that I found, both of them are interesting. Observe how the whole video atmosphere and your feelings change from original to the remixes!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUXjJeXSt7k




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoxljR1s4aw

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Apple Orchard

    Sima found the following quote from this article [Link] from Richard Wiseman web site [Link] She thinks this applies to me very well :)))


    ``Imagine living in the center of a large apple orchard. Each day you have to venture into the orchard and collect a large basket of apples. The first few times it won’t matter where you decide to visit. All parts of the orchard will have apples and so you will be able to find them wherever you go. But as time goes on it will become more and more difficult to find apples in the places that you have visited before. And the more you return to the same locations, the harder it will be to find apples there. But if you decide to always go to parts of the orchard that you have never visited before, or even randomly decide where to go, your chances of finding apples will be dramatically increased. And it is exactly the same with luck. It is easy for people to exhaust the opportunities in their life. Keep on talking to the same people in the same way. Keep taking the same route to and from work. Keep going to the same places on vacation. But new or even random experiences introduce the potential for new opportunities.''

    I am terrific ...

    I wrote my deepest, darkest, emotions in the previous three poems ( OneLetter to Santa , Wolves ) and now I feel relaxed, relieved, and happy to be alive and to be able to express myself!    :D

    Wolves

    Night is descending
    Something moves among trees
    humming, hissing, and howling
    just like an angry beast

    It finds demons inside me
    they are circling around me
    their eyes impatient
    waiting for their feast

    In a moment of weakness
    they will attack me
    tear me apart
    salty sweat and blood mist

    Letter to Santa

    Dear Santa,
    Please ask North Pole winds
    to get me to arctics
    where my thoughts would freeze
    and my soul would rest in peace
    Coldest regards,
    Lotus

    One

    Giant pines
    dancing carelessly
    Soon,
    it will flow
    all over me
    and we'll be united
    in indifferent coldness
    of snow flurries
    and winter gusts

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Engraved - A Story - Part 2

    [Link: Part 1]

    In the beginning, he played a lot with the stones. Specially with the more beautiful ones. Those, he would take everywhere, probably to show off. To be honest, I was amused by how he made everything so complicated. He worried about what others would think of him playing and talking to stones.

    Oh, I forgot to tell you this. As his initial enthusiasm for the stones was wearing off, one day he realized that he could talk to the stones, about his dream, his fantasies, and most importantly, about his insecurities. Even though he felt that stones were much less judgmental, he could not help worrying what stones would make of him. I told you, he thought way too much!

    You see, stones are simple creatures. True, there are young stones, newly broken off a rock or carried by a river, that are too emotional. They feel soft to the touch and willing to express themselves. Consider old stones, on the other hand. They have been through so much pressure for so many years that they have lost interest in everyday worries of life.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Engraved - A Story - Part 1

    He was a man of few words, sitting all day long behind his computer working, except for short cigarette breaks and except for those depression days when he could not even lift a finger. He barely paid attention to his surroundings, and was engaged with his thoughts and worries about work, even when he was not working.

    One day, as he was getting close to the fourth decade of his life, he stopped and looked around. He was mesmerized by a few stones of different types, shapes, and colors. He put them in his pocket and decided to attend to them. Little he knew at the time!

    He was not a man of the world. He was unaware of the simple fact that stones are totally different creatures and, for example, that most of them have very tiny hearts that they prefer not to open up to others.

    ********************************
    Stones - Links

    LAAAAAAAF

    • I decided to listen to "Shadi A" advice and take my self and my writings less seriously. Well, she did not say that, but it is my very free interpretation of her comment on my previous post    ;)
    • Today, for 1-2 seconds I felt the freedom, that I can choose what my life will be. As soon as I noticed the feeling and started to analyze it, it was gone    :D
    • You are one step closer to Zen when you realize that small fingers can change your world    :P

    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    BS

    • Something terrifying is happening. I read my old poems and I find them all BS. ... :P     I do not enjoy reading my posts, poems or otherwise, at all. This is a disaster :D
    • If it is so hard to let go of objects, and even harder to let go of habits, imagine how hard it would be to let go of a friend :(    I guess no one wants to do that unless absolutely have to.

    Stare

    Our deepest wounds,
    I imagine,
    are secret pathways to the abyss
    where you can watch a soul struggle


    ****************************
    This is not really a poem, it is my interpretation of a famous, very powerful, quote from Friedrich Nietzsche:
    If you stare into abyss long enough, the abyss stares back at you!

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010

    Paths

    Every now and then
    I remember the day
    we looked you up,
    almost randomly,
    on internet
    A phone call,
    that changed our lives

    Fragile

    You never appreciate
    how fragile trust can be
    until you touch
    a broken heart
    ********************
    My second version, but the first one is simpler and I think I like it better :)

    We never realize
    how fragile
    trust could be
    Then, one day
    you stumble upon
    a broken heart

    **********************
    Daisy's version :)

    We never realize
    how fragile
    trust could be
    until someone broke my heart 

    Velvet

    One day, I should write a poem
    about an ordinary, cold, winter morning
    and an old lady,
    wearing velvet gloves,
    walking her dog

    One day, I should write a poem
    about a truck
    stopping on a highway overpass
    and the red Coca Cola flashing
    between green highway signs

    One day, I should write a poem
    about my small fingers,
    my insignificant pinkies,
    and how they are changing
    my whole life

    One day,
    in near future,
    before I forget them all

    Tuesday, December 07, 2010

    Lines

    You want to know what death is?
    my friend,
    It is the line you just read
    and emotions you experienced
    Life flows in now


    **********************
    Ahmad Ebadi, rest in piece, improvisation in Shur:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQjBSdvZ-ak

    Monday, December 06, 2010

    Burning

    Old poem, I do not know the poet:

    You, you always wished to watch me burning
    You should come to see my days now!

    AANKE DAA'EM HAVASE SOOKHTANE MAA MIKARD
    KAASH MI'AAMAD 'O EEN ROOZ TAMASHA MIKARD

    Bonus!
    KOOCHE SAARE SHAB

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epcc9r_borc

    SAZ O AVAZ

    I cannot get Abu Atta out of my system (or get enough of it?) especially when the instrument player is a true master!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNKNZvsSgo4



    Afshari, Shajarian and Shahnaz:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOE5HPhkPnI



    Also:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgFEYUiRmuw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdo27-frQh4

    Sense of Urgency

    I am eating lunch and listening to Jalil Shahnaz improvisations in Abu Atta [youtube link], debating whether to ask friends who travel back home to bring the CD for me, when I feel that it does not really matter, and I remember a comment that I made earlier today, while watching a set of fine photos with a friend, that I do not know what to do when I see good art (photos, paintings, ...) these days. And suddenly,  a sense of immediacy comes upon me, that my life will change drastically in near future and I should not worry too much about keeping things because they will be gone soon anyway.

    PS 1. Abu Atta is said to be the DASTGAAH for wanderers, as notes move in a "circle that is not round."
    PS 2. Once I felt the sense of urgency, or temporariness, that I described above then it became much easier to appreciate what is happening in the now.

    2013-6-18: I am embedding the video below. This is one of the best pieces of music I have heard in my life, not just Iranian music, any sort!!! Jalil Shahnaz passed away yesterday, rest in peace!

    Reflections

    Life is looking out
    and seeing downtown Atlanta
    reflected,
    in a window of a tall building,
    as an abstract painting

    Sunday, December 05, 2010

    Colors by Tameshk :)

    If I could keep colors of a moment
    fresh,
    I often wonder,
    would it be the end of my gray landscapes?

    This poem is a slightly modified version of a beautiful poem by Tameshk  [link to her blog post]. She also has a delightful picture there that just makes perfect sense with the poem:


    I hope this post is not a shameless plagiarism case :)
    Tameshk jann,
    If you are even slightly bothered by this post, please let me know and I will remove the poem/picture as you wish!!!

    Arab Voices

    While we are in the domain of Arab voices, here are a couple of amazing ones :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FusV28xVr4



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEnqBUdIGc4



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAiYscbRQBU

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Broken into Pieces

    Thoughts pop up in my head
    gradually metastasize into
    deformed monsters that are not
    supposed to see the daylight

    Those who love me dearly
    are the most vulnerable
    so I wait for a madness
    to unleash those monsters
    that will chew their hearts alive

    And someone in the shadows
    is watching me in joy
    as I painfully destroy
    my self and soul of those
    who care for me with love

    Red Lights and Stop Signs

    A close friend called
    on a Tuesday evening
    and invited us
    to Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania

    I said yes, immediately,
    and yet spend the next day, debating
    until the clarity came

    We drove 1500 miles
    within four days
    that would become
    my best Thanksgiving holiday
    a perfect flow

    Monday,
    I was back to work,
    my everyday worries
    and depression

    You drive smoothly
    all lights are green
    til one turns red
    and you cling your fists

    You may not notice
    that a stop is an opportunity
    to come back to present
    to let the moment
    decide the path you take

    You drive on a highway
    and glance at other drivers
    beautiful faces, ugly faces
    happy faces and sad faces
    momentary faces

    And you may not notice
    that a stop is an opportunity
    to look into their eyes
    and say hi
    or waive a goodbye

    Thursday, December 02, 2010

    Hookers, Madmen, and Doomed

    Here is a poem by Charles Bukowski, that I heard on public radio's "writers' almanac'', and I instantly liked it. You can listen to the program (5 minutes, the poem comes at the end) here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2010/12/01

    Enjoy!

    the hookers, the madmen and the doomed

    today at the track
    2 or 3 days after
    the death of the
    jock
    came this voice
    over the speaker
    asking us all to stand
    and observe
    a few moments
    of silence. well,
    that's a tired
    formula and
    I don't like it
    but I do like
    silence. so we
    all stood: the
    hookers and the
    madmen and the
    doomed. I was
    set to be dis-
    pleased but then
    I looked up at the
    TV screen
    and there
    standing silently
    in the paddock
    waiting to mount
    up
    stood the other jocks
    along with
    the officials and
    the trainers:
    quiet and thinking
    of death and the
    one gone,
    they stood
    in a semi-circle
    the brave little
    men in boots and
    silks,
    the legions of death
    appeared and
    vanished, the sun
    blinked once
    I thought of love
    with its head ripped
    off
    still trying to
    sing and
    then the announcer
    said, thank you
    and we all went on about
    our business.

    "the hookers, the madmen and the doomed" by Charles Bukowski, from What Matters Most is How Well You Work Through the Fire. © Black Sparrow Press, 1999. 

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Picture and Sound

    An old man
    standing by a canary cage
    looking at the camera

    I am listening to his music
    Setar improvisations
    in Abu Atta

    And something in his eyes
    years after his death
    sets me on fire

    ********

    I am listening to this clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tDqg8nIm8Y , Ahmad Ebadi's Setar improvisations in Abu Atta. And there is this picture, between 3:45 and 5:30 minutes, of him standing by a canary cage, that when combines with his Setar voice affects me in way I cannot describe!

    Body Intelligence

    As Lucy reflected on her outrageous behavior of the night before, the memory only served to draw her upward, like a flower toward the sun...