Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friends

Sensei: With true friends, sharing time is wonderful, sharing heart is amazing, and sharing soul is indescribable.
Student: What about sharing bed?

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Stillness and a Monkey

Jumping around has become a habit.
Thus, a monkey does not miss
food, sleep, or love.
Stillness opens the void.

The Bitch and a Monkey

The angry bitch only knows violence
to protect her puppies.
A monkey too absorbed in pursuing success
does not pay attention to signs.

Depression is an angry, overprotective bitch.
Addiction, with bleeding throat,
is her first victim.

****************
http://www.jeremytaylor.com/pages/menaced_animals.html

Voice

A voice in my head,
keeps reminding me:
You are lonely,
weak, and worthless.
All your life, you seek
help from the others.
But no one loves you,
no one cares for you.
Everyone is tired.
Your parents are sick of you,
and so your wife and friends.
They wish you die,
and maybe stop complaining.
You finished nothing good,
and did everything wrong.
Go smoke another cigarette,
watch porn, or cut your arm,
or even better, hang yourself.
No one cares, and in fact,
you will do them a big favor.
You are lonely and empty,
deal with it, if you can.
We internalizes voices
along the path of our lives.
Is this an internalized voice,
or is this who I really am?
Or does it matter at all?
It is what it is.
Deal with it,
or go hang yourself.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Mirror and a Monkey

The mirror looking for a place to rest
comes across a monkey's naive heart.
Thus, a heart reflects everyone.
Everyone and a monkey lie to save face.

Depression brings the path to a monkey.

[Sunday, 2014-03-16] I changed it a little and put it on "Hello Poetry":
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/632870/mirror-and-monkey/

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Death and a Monkey

The death, on its path, finds a monkey
searching for the fifth stone.

As a monkey starts grieving,
saying farewell to unilateral love,
the formless nightmares ease off.

*****
ORIGINALLY:

A Monkey in the search of the fifth stone
finds himself on the path of the death
saying farewell to his unilateral love.

And the formless nightmares stopped
as a monkey started grieving.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Rain and a Monkey

The rain was relentless.
But a monkey was more eager,
searching the whole backyard
for the missing fifth stone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Coconut and a Monkey

A hungry monkey searched for five stones.
Thus, the coconut opened an eager monkey.
As they were working with each other,
they decided to write a book,
the book of five stone practices.

PS. Still searching for the fifth.

Balancing Acts and Humor: Gone with the Fart!

"Try farting in front of your lover; the louder the better, and if s/he dumps you, send me a prayer. A love taken by a fart, better be gone by the fart.'' ---Lotus

The spiritual quest can be overwhelming, dangerously so, and hence we need acts of balance. In the first stage of stopping the current of life and becoming a detached observer, i.e., the mindfulness practices, the balancing act centers around paying attention to small matters. As it says in the ``Ghost Dog" movie, take small matters seriously and grave issues lightly, or something to the effect.

In the second stage of opening the heart, i.e., the heartfulness practices, the danger of becoming too self-indulgent crystallizes in the extreme, almost unbearable, pain of a broken heart. The balancing act here is to develop a healthy sense of humor. The beauty is in the balance. Without love, humor turns into mockery and humiliation. Without humor, love becomes grave and deadly.

That is why in Hafez poems, the idea of a "RIND" (رند), a rogue lover, is so important. A "RIND" has a few defining characteristic. First and foremost, he is a lover. He is ready to set his livelihood on fire. Second, he has a sharp sense of humor. He sees the irony in his own imperfections and flaws while trying to achieve something much bigger than himself. Therefore, he is humble and takes grave matters with a grain of salt.


In terms of practices, my last night experience with bad love poems was enlightening. You can always do things a little imperfectly, tolerate imperfection, be compassionate about it but ultimately laugh at it. As long as you have love in your heart, humor won't offend anyone, and if it does, you won't feel bad about it. "Farting in front of your lover" is definitely a good exercise. Liberating. Remember love as the balancing act of humor. If you fart in front of strangers, you run the risk of offending them, except when your love mixes with your fart and hopefully mellow their heart toward your natural imperfections. Good luck!

Ridiculous, Bad, Painful, Poem

I write childish poems.
They don't rhyme,
and don't have a deep meaning!
But this is the only way I know
to stay sane.

I smoke cigarettes in the backyard
and sing loudly in my horrible voice.
All my neighbors think I am insane.
But this is the only way I know
to stop shedding tears.

You told me not to feel humiliated
for my feelings and emotions.
But how can I?
When I know you don't care for me,
and, for God's sake,
you hate my poems!


When I cannot write any more
everything to be said is told
and even the absurdity of these poems
these ridiculous, bad, painful poems,
become dull,
then I will set myself on fire
and let my flesh burn.
Because this is the only way I know
to stop by heart from aching.

Beer, Wine, and Spirit

That day in the package store!
For those of you who don't know,
it is a place that sells beer, wine, and spirit.

I entered the store
went directly to the fridge
and without a moment of hesitation
picked a 6-pack of beer
that I never had known existed before.
And a strange feeling came over me,
as if I am buying it for you.

Later when you told me
that you used to buy beers
from that store
I knew that only for  a moment
there I had met your spirit.

Too bad you never tasted that beer.
It meant to be
just for you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Your Eyes

I am deep in the sea of love
and all I want to ask is:
Will you have a look at me?

I know all about your boundaries
and I do not care
I am far beyond any boundary
and all I want to ask is:
Will you ever embrace me?

I can read stories in your eyes
so do not lie to me
because all I want to ask is:
Will ever your eyes spoil me?

تمساح

غضنفر زنگ میزنه به دوستش, میگه من یه تمساح گرفتم چیکار کنم؟ دوستش میگه خوب ببرش باغ وحش. فرداش دوستش زنگ میزنه میگه خوب بردیش؟ غضنفر میگه آره، امشب هم قراره ببرمش سینما
 
 
غضنفر یه پازل رو بعد از 3 سال تموم میکنه بهش میگن یکم زیاد طول نکشید؟ میگه نه بابا روش نوشته 5 تا 7 سال!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Voices

Until we learn to separate the conflicting urges and directives within, and establish an authentic voice for ourselves, we don't know which beliefs and values are our own, and which ones are primarily adopted from our familial and cultural conditioning. We can't answer questions like ``What matters most to me?'' or ``What do I really want?'' We can't make wise decisions that lead to happy lives when we don't know our own true self. And we can't have healthy relationships when we can't let the other person know what are want, or value, or need. --- p.183, The Seeker's Guide

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heartfulness

A quote from ``The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure,'' by Elizabeth Lesser, that I got in the mail this evening, after I had written my previous post, and I felt the book in the mailbox when I woke up from my afternoon sleep :) I feel the luck once in a while! ;)

You may recognize in yourself the most common emotional copying strategy: in order not to feel the darker emotions---sadness, or pain, or hatred---we turn off the heart's capacity to feel at all. And then we are puzzled by why it is so hard to love, to enjoy, and even to know what we feel or want.

... If the purpose of life is to ``feel the rapture of being alive,'' .... then it follows that an important part of the spiritual path is to heal the heart and to become emotionally intelligent. ... the heart's contradictory, messy, and passionate nature seems at odds with some religions. ... The less controllable aspects of our humanness---erotic love, rage and anger, beauty and sadness---have been labeled too passionate or irrational to be trusted.

... Once opened, the heart wants to feel the rapture of being alive. It longs to know love; it remembers pain; it feels rage, it demands change. It wants to know joy in the here and now, in the body, with other people, through the senses.---The Seeker's Guide, pp. 159-160

Path of Love

Difficult, way too difficult, specially if you do not get enough sleep!

اهل کام و ناز را در کوی رندی راه نیست ره‌روی باید، جهانْ سوزی، نه خامی بی‌غمی
در طریقِ عشقبازی امن و آسایش بلاست ریش باد آن دل که با درد تو خواهد مرهمی

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlXHnZMqE8E

Friday, December 09, 2011

Frogs

When it rains in summer, the day after a heavy rain, I always see a couple of small frogs in the pool. Sometimes dead.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Luck

Sometimes you need to give up everything and everyone to be able to salvage your soul.
Sometimes you leave everything and everyone behind, only to receive a middle finger!
Therefore, wise men like Hafez have emphasized the role of good luck in life.

Break

Should take it easy, must, have to, ought to. Who knows how long I will be around. Let's not think, let's just do whatever crazy, stupid thing comes into mind, or at least those that I have the courage to do.
Let's fuck everything up.
Well, only if I could be free, even in this stupid way; this is just a dream.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Shadow

From ``Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side,'' by David Richo:
There is a way to recognize the shadow: what strongly attracts or repels us in others is a clue to where our own darkness lurks. As we begin accepting our shadow, we acknowledge our projections of our shadow qualities onto others as truths about ourselves. My hatred of your controlling ways may cloak controlling ways in me that I do not see. The negative shadow in us is projected onto others as strong dislike or disgust. The positive shadow is projected onto others as admiration or envy.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Farewell

What is behind the curtain?
Walk the way of moderation ...

What is behind the curtain?
Prepare yourself, take only a glimpse ....

What is behind the curtain?
Be cautious, it will burn your being ...

What is behind the curtain?
Force of all forces, love of all loves, essence of existence ...

I have waited forty years ... ?!?
Do -NOT- drop the curtain, you will burn alive ...

What is this? What do I do now? My eyes are going blind!!!
Way of moderation, moderation ...

What is burning me? What do I do now? Where do I go now?


Where are you? Why don't you answer me? Why ...


_________________________________________
Welcome!

_________________________________________
Welcome my dear old friend!

Who are you? I cannot see anything! Who are you?
Welcome to your source, where you came from!

Who are you? I do not know you, do I? I cannot see anything!
You asked for me, you called me, I am the sea of darkness!

I don't ... I called you?
Your dream, the flood that took you, I am here to take you ...

I am afraid, I cannot see anything!
I am the night of all nights, the essence of non-existence!

I am afraid, what do you want from me? I called you ...
You lacked the power to deal with what was behind the curtain, it took your sight and you were lost ...

I know you, you are my depression, my darkest moments ...
I am where you came from, nothingness, and you are back to me, welcome!

I have good friends, where are they?
Your friends? Huh ...

I love them and they love me ... where is love?
You left them ... when you decided ...

When I decided?
To drop the curtain, it was a one way street, now it is only us and we have the eternity ...

But I have to say goodbye ...
Goodbye?

To those whom I love, those who love me ...
That is what you are doing!

That is what?
What you are doing now!

Oh ... But why am I so afraid? So anxious? Where is the calm of nothingness?
You are still desperately moving and resisting, calm down!

Calm down? I am afraid ...
Don't be, stay still, let me infuse in you ...

Calm down ...
Still, free, freedom of nothingness, we will be one ...

Still ...
Shshshsh ... calm and free, nothing can hurt you anymore

________________________________________________
________________________________________________

I am not ready for calm and peace, yet. I rather keep struggling blindly ...


******************************************
http://www.telesterion.com/meeting1.htm
``There is an anguish implicit in being a fragile living being -- doomed to live in an uncaring eternal universe, doomed to suffer and die and disappear -- that is universal and absolute. This anguish cannot be explained away, and it cannot be fought. The spiritual literature claims that the cosmological dark side only appears terrible, and that, in fact, its nature is love. The truth of this assertion can only be verified in the crucible of personal experience.''
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/087477618X/telesterionbooks

http://www.angelfire.com/moon/fae/shadow.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkp5ENs8e5g

دیدار شمس و مولانا

اپرای مولوی - قسمت ششم 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvm69InmflE


اپرای مولوی - قسمت هفتم


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC5x9fjXyD8

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A friend's heart

Your true friend speaks from his heart. It is a priceless gift. Appreciate it and be grateful.

Today, two of my best friends, Maziar and Sima, gave a lesson to me when I was sad. They were present for me, accepted me as I were, listened to me, and opened their hearts to me.

That is what I need to be to my self, as my closest friend, when I am sad. Accept my condition, listen to what is inside me, and be present with an open heart.

Things will be alright.

در کار گلاب و گل ...

جام می و خون دل هر یک به کسی دادند
در دایره‌ی قسمت اوضاع چنین باشد

در کار گلاب و گل حکم ازلی این بود
کین شاهد بازاری، وآن پرده‌نشین باشد

 غمناک نباید بود از طعن حسود ای دل
شاید که چو وابینی خیر تو درین باشد

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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Restoring Justice

In response to my question in a previous post [Question on Justice], I have come up with one idea so far. In order for a victim to feel the sense of justice, that a wrong is made right, it is important that the victim is given---ideally---the same choice. In practice, it is impossible to give the victim exactly the same choice, but the closer is the situation to what the victim of injustice has experienced, the more liberating will be the outcome. This may be the idea behind the Islamic law of "ghesas".

In the personal situation that I discussed in my earlier post [Question on Justice], this means that you revisit the situation again. This is a situation that you have made a decision that has hurt part of your personality and has unduly deprived parts of you from pleasure. You give yourself the true freedom to make that decision again. For example, if you have chosen a carrier for a wrong reason (such as social pressures) then you give yourself a ---GENUINE--- opportunity to make the same choice against. It is very important that you feel the realness of the choice, that you embrace the outcome whatever it may be. Then, even if you decide to continue the same career, you feel more integrated and in peace with your situation.

Yeah! I found my answer!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Change Metaphor

A good way of thinking about "change" and its appropriate pace is through the metaphor of "weight loss". I saw an article a few weeks ago that unless weight loss is very gradual, the body treat it as starvation and does its best to reverse it! Implementing any meaningful change must be very gradual too; otherwise our body and subconscious mind will reject it as an anomaly and does its best to reverse it!

This is very important insight. If you don't want to get into fight with yourself, you have to be very patient in implementing any change. Here is the fine line between accepting who we are and growing into a better person: Time and patience. A friend told me once not to expect overnight changes. Now I see the wisdom in this simple advice. Sudden and extreme changes are cancerous and deforming, and may lead to self-hatred and self-loathing attitudes and actions.

Link [NPR story on weight loss]: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/10/31/141794801/losing-weight-a-battle-against-fat-and-biology

Monday, November 21, 2011

Intense Moments

Intense moments hijack our soul. ---LOTUS

It is not that moments of intense pleasure are detrimental to your soul; if anything, they can be nourishing. It's the attachment to their memory and the desire to repeat them that steal our soul from what is in the present.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Question on Justice

Tonight, I accidentally came across a PBS documentary, ``Elusive Justice,'' about bringing World War II Nazi criminals into justice after many decades. Many people interviewed in the program emphasized the importance of bringing justice to those suffered the war atrocities by punishing the criminals.

Watching the program brought an interesting novel idea into my mind. It has been a while that I have observed serious self-destructive tendencies in myself. These acts of self-destruction are particularly forceful when I do things that deprive some parts of me from pleasure or expose them to hardship. What if there are some parts of me who have suffered undue hardship throughout my life and they act out like an angry victim of injustice? How can you deal with such a hypothetical situation?

A possible immediate answer is to be kind to those parts. This is what I have been thinking about for the past couple of years and, very recently, I have made good progress in it. I have been able, for the first time, to make some meaningful connections to those parts. I have found ways to please them. And more importantly, I have found useful practices, what I label acts of kindness, that I am in the process of writing down. But is ``kindness'' a replacement for ``justice''?

I am thinking that the answer is, ``No, justice is not replaced by kindness.'' I am not proficient in religious studies but it seems to me that many religions separate ``kindness'' from ``justice''. Justice is more related with a sense of closure, that something unjust has become just. But if so, then how do you makes things right for part of your psyche? How do you bring a sense of justice and closure to parts of you who have suffered undue hardship and deprivation?

It is obvious to me that parts of me have already engaged in taking revenge. The unfortunate thing is that revenge is blind and destroys both sides (which, in this case, are essentially parts of me!) These acts of revenge typically end up in sinking the ship that will drown me and may even harm people close to me. Therefore, even though these questions seem very hypothetical and abstract, in fact, they are practically important.

If you have any insight into these questions please share. I do not remember seeing anything like this in my studies of the texts on self-awareness and spiritual paths. Thanks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beethoven - Cello Sonata - Glenn Gould & Leonard Rose

Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69. Composed in 1808.
Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GchB9unYkOE


Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w2T7JMCxxg



Part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF15KPegFYY



Rostropovich & Richter - Beethoven: Sonatas for Cello and Piano (Edinburgh 1964)--- A 2 hour program!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca4iYDlzYo8



Sviatoslav Richter approach to performance [from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sviatoslav_Richter]

Richter explained his approach to performance as follows: "The interpreter is really an executant, carrying out the composer's intentions to the letter. He doesn't add anything that isn't already in the work. If he is talented, he allows us to glimpse the truth of the work that is in itself a thing of genius and that is reflected in him. He shouldn't dominate the music, but should dissolve into it." Or, similarly: "I am not a complete idiot, but whether from weakness or laziness have no talent for thinking. I know only how to reflect: I am a mirror . . . Logic does not exist for me. I float on the waves of art and life and never really know how to distinguish what belongs to the one or the other or what is common to both. Life unfolds for me like a theatre presenting a sequence of somewhat unreal sentiments; while the things of art are real to me and go straight to my heart."

Richter's belief that musicians should "carry ... out the composer's intentions to the letter", led him to be critical of others and, most often, himself. After attending a recital of Murray Perahia, where Perahia performed Chopin's Third Piano Sonata without observing the first movement repeat, Richter asked him backstage to explain the omission. Similarly, after Richter realized that he had been playing a wrong note in Bach's Italian Concerto for decades, he insisted that the following disclaimer/apology be printed on a CD containing a performance thereof: "Just now Sviatoslav Richter realized, much to his regret, that he always made a mistake in the third measure before the end of the second part of the 'Italian Concerto'. As a matter of fact, through forty years -- and no musician or technician ever pointed it out to him -- he played 'F-sharp' rather than 'F'. The same mistake can be found in the previous recording made by Maestro Richter in the fifties."

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Right Moment

An apple never misses the right moment to drop. ---Lotus (ME :)
I woke up in the morning thinking intensely about the right time to do things. I realized that a more subtle dimension of ``doing the right thing'' is "finding the right time'' to make a decision. What does this mean? When it is time for an apple to drop, it falls with all its weight. It does not debate whether to fall or not. When you make a decision at the right time, all you heart and soul will fall behind your decision. You execute with you wholeness.

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

Amid these thoughts, I relaxed and entered a state between awakeness and sleep. In that state, I could observe my thoughts as they were formed in my head, as separate entities. When I came out of the state, I was very excited!

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

In the afternoon I accidentally visited a colleague's web profile. A long impressive profile. I immediately started comparing myself to him and beating myself up for wasting my time on everything that I have been doing for the past 2-3 years. I felt I am escaping from the reality of life and do not appreciate my abilities and my opportunities. My depressed mood persisted even after some yard work, raking and gathering leaves. I was ashamed of being unfocused and lazy and dreamy.

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

After an hour of late afternoon sleep, I woke up with a sense of calmness. I realized that I cannot change things much anyway. That, all I can do now is to continue my practices and hope that over time I find some inner guidance and power to improve my life. It was an important insight. All we can do is to do the small things well and quit worrying about grave matters that are essentially out of our control.

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

In Kyudo, the concept of "the right time" is best captured in the release of an arrow. The idea is that the arrow releases itself at the right time, and not by the conscious effort of the archer. It is one of the most difficult parts of the Kyudo practice and developing it requires long practice, developing trust, establishing a relaxed focus, and perfecting the form of the shooting, among other things.

If I can come up with some practices to help with this (acting at the right moment) it would be great.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Expectations: My Worst Enemy

I was taking a shower this morning. I suddenly remembered something, a feeling maybe, from my childhood. That I "must" not stay happy or successful for a long period of time. That would raise everyone's expectations from me. It would raise my own expectations of myself. The best way to avoid people's demand is to fail, to show weakness, and to be sad. If you are sad and weak and miserable, then you have a good excuse and people will leave you alone. This is what happened to my mom, essentially, after we moved to Tehran. Under a lot of pressure from different sides, she broke down and became depressed and got severe anxiety. I have a vague memory of one day that my mom could not go to work and a doctor and my father came to our house. She was lying in the bed and was the center of attention. And maybe for the first time, she did not have to worry about us and with a free conscious enjoyed receiving others' attention.

I had a very good, caring, and relatively normal family given the norm of the days. My parents attended to us and our needs, maybe sometimes too much. They had high expectations of us and I was the first child. I started to read and write and draw and do math and play chess before age of 5 or 6. They were really proud of me. I remember my dad showing my works to our guests with pride. In the summer between my second and third grade, everyone in the family decided to study one grade in summer and jump ahead. I have good memories from elementary school before that. But my memories from the fourth grade (I studied the third grade in that summer) is very vague. That was the year of the revolution as well.

As some point, high expectations became internal. At that point, it did not really matter much what others thought or expected from me. I was my own worst enemy. I would constantly predict and worried about what other  people thought of me and expected of me. I still do that. The most stressful situations for me are when I imagine others' direct expectations from me. For example, I avoid playing tennis matches, especially doubles matches, even though I am a good player.

What is the solution to extreme internal expectations? What are some possible exercises and simple practices that would help in moderating one's self expectations?
My experience is that a direct approach to this type of problems, that is, a practice that directly deals with the issue, is not typically successful.

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

This evening I was supposed to go to an award ceremony. At about the time to get ready, I felt that I did not want to go there. Suddenly, all those expectations, my own and my prediction of others' expectation, came upon me: What if this? And what if that? What do I tell this? Then, I just decided to do the right thing and listen to my internal voice. So, I emailed the coordinator that I did not feel well and could not make it. Did some sweeping of dead leaves and went to the coffee shop to do some work. At the coffee shop, I did some work (on my book as well as on a review for a journal). On my way back home, I felt satisfied and fulfilled, so much that I did not buy cigarettes, happily! Reflecting on my feelings made me see the answer to my question!

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

A few days ago I developed a simple practice and wrote it on my other blog, [Practice: Doing The Right Thing---Fearlessness], to encourage listening to the voice within. Doing this practice also helps with moderating our expectations of ourselves, helps us to be forgiving to ourselves, and to love ourselves as we are. So here is the answer, or at least one answer: It is quite simple and yet quite amazing!

Summary of the Practice
During normal daily activities stop yourself:
  1. If necessary meditate for a few minutes to calm your mind.  
  2. Ask yourself this question: `What is the right thing to do in this particular moment?'
  3. Announce your decision to yourself in a loud and clear voice: `The Right Thing to Do here and now is ...'. 
  4. Implement your decision with total focus and with whole heart, as if it is the last thing you will do in your life. 
  5. Evaluate your decision. Criteria for the evaluation: (1) Feeling fulfilled. (2) Feeling courageous.



Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Let's have faith in the start of the cold season

ایمان بیاوریم به آغاز فصل سرد
And this is I
a woman alone
at the threshold of a cold season
at the beginning of understanding
the polluted existence of the earth
and the simple and sad pessimism of the sky
and the incapacity of these concrete hands.

This is the start of one the most beautiful, and yet darkest, Forough Farokhzad's poem titled, "Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season". She was apparently suffering from depression. And this believe, in the ultimate return of the darkness is the pillar of depression. No matter what you do, what great, amazing insight you arrive at, it is the darkness that is awaiting you. Maybe that is the true acceptance. And maybe it is not such a bad thing. Like the turn of seasons, or the cycle of day and night. The depression time is a signal to stop and to take a rest, and to accept. 

See the Complete English translation here (A Lonely Woman Michael C. Hillmann page 126-127 )
Link: http://www.forughfarrokhzad.org/analysis/analysis3.asp   

And the complete poem in Farsi here:


Disclaimer :)

My last three posts are all about my own struggles and not my friends. When I am around people whom I love, be it my best friends like Sima and Maziar or those who do not love me back, I am visibly happier. I know this and several times others have told me so. Moreover, all of the people whom I love are so kind and gracious to let me enjoy their company. As I have said before, for example in [Love is Gratefulness], I feel grateful to all of them for providing me the opportunity to experience love and happiness.

So whatever is discussed in the previous posts are essentially my own internal struggles. For example, I tend to go to extreme and over-exploit my relationships and in general anything that may bring me happiness. This is true specially when I am depressed. I just need to learn how to work out my own issues and problems.

Freedom

Yesterday, after I wrote the last post [Strange Deal], I had lunch with Sima and then slept for a couple of hours :) I woke up with an amazing sense of freedom. Quite new feeling. To give a better perspective on what happened, I need to mention a simple incident from Sunday.

Both Sima and Maziar have been telling me to be friend with myself but I had had little sense of what they meant. On Sunday evening, I felt a craving to watch the "Ghost Dog" film another time (after I recommended it to a friend passionately earlier in the afternoon :) I was talking myself out of going all the way to the "Videodrome" store to rent the film. Suddenly, I thought, ``If Maziar was here and he would tell you that he craved watching the film, you would go instantly and would get the film for him. Why shouldn't you do the same for yourself?'' So, I did it!

Last evening, I enjoyed the sense of freedom. I kept sweeping and collecting leaves, instead of going to Kyudo practice and then did some work. I had this strange sense that I am the master of myself and can decide what to do or not.

Last night, I recounted all the events for Maziar and going through them I realized a couple of things:
  1. I feel that for the first time I was able to talk to part of me that was hurt and angry for a long long time. I think the act of kindness that I did toward this part on Sunday was helpful in convincing him to listen :)
  2. I know that my current feelings and insights, are temporary. I know for a fact that I will be feeling sad or angry or depressed. What is important is that my body learns things slowly through each of these experiences. Every time that I get this sense of freedom, or satisfaction from doing the right thing, or deep happiness from performing acts of kindness toward myself, the feelings are stored somewhere in me, and after a while my body, like the body of an addict, starts craving for those good feelings and tries to repeat them. I think this is the true way.
  3. It seems to me that "feeling love toward yourself" is rather an abstract concept, but "performing acts of kindness for yourself" is a concrete task that we can practice.

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

A folklore piece with DoTar:
http://nematolahi.com/mosighi/sonati/155%20yani%20che.mp3

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Strange Deal

I have entered a very strange deal. Why strange? First, I am not sure how I got into it. I was telling Sima, complaining really, that many of my relationships are asymmetric: There are many  whom I love and they do not care for me, and some who love me and I do not care for them as much.
Then the idea came to me that I need to stop imposing myself on the life of the first group of people (those whom I love and who do not love me back).
Second, I am not sure whom is the deal made with. I guess part of myself. I have tried to distance myself from people many times, out of self-destructive anger and spite, and always part of me would get extremely sad and angry at me, like a kid that resents his parents for not letting him do as he wishes.
Interestingly, that part has been quite patient with me this time, maybe because I promised him something in return, which brings us to the third strange aspect of this deal. Third, I do not know what is the other side of the deal, that is, what do I get back in return for not imposing myself into the life of others. I have some feeling that I get something that has been denied of me for a long time. Maybe respect or true love? I don't know. But as I said, so far I am OK.
Finally, when you give up a pleasurable activity, like being with people whom you love, you need to find a replacement. And the fourth strange aspect of the deal is the nature of this replacement activity: cleaning dead Autumn leaves.
Sima has told me for years that cleaning dead leaves is a great meditation and very pleasurable. I refused to follow her suggestions, until a couple of weeks ago. This past weekend I cleaned the whole backyard with the most primitive tool, a broom, and collected the dead leaves in ``Whole Foods'' paper bags.
Notice that sweeping leaves is not enough, collecting them and disposing them is essential. I believe the sheer pointlessness of this activity is very important. It is almost like playing a video game, but much much more meditative.

Anyway, this is my new craziness. We will see how it goes and how long I will be able to keep the deal. Good luck!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Acceptance: My New Obsession

How can I accept who I am? How do I measure up against what I dreamed to be in this age, when I was a teenager? Does it matter what I had wanted to be?
I guess I need to be more honest with myself. At the age of 41, you better be able to look in the mirror and see yourself for what you are. I am a moderately successful assistant professor of finance at an average-low research university in the US. I am told I am smart and I know that I learn fast but do not stay with what I learn long enough (swimming is the exception) to become really good at it. As you can see in the previous sentences, I am obsessed with my mediocrity in my career. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be many things, animal-scientist, football player, volleyball player, assassin, sorcerer, a mystic figure, women seducer, musician, gymnast, almost anything other than normal. I have a rather normal life now and I am unable to enjoy it. I feel that I do not have time to be good at anything anymore. The best I can do is to get in terms with who I am and live in peace for a few years.
I have loved many people who did not love me back. I have been loved by many people whom I did not love. Maybe in a few occasions the two sets intersects. That is being lucky.

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

I had a dream last night. I had parked my car in the parking of a building and the car had a problem, so I walked back and forth between another place and the parking,  trying to get stuff to fix my car. I noticed another car close by with a few suspicious men around it; they looked like gangsters. When I approached my car for the last time to leave the parking lot, they surrounded me and took me into a car. We drove around and their boss asked me questions to find out what I saw. I was terrified, almost in tears. At the end, he appeared convinced that I was no threat to them and I thought they would let me go. We stopped and everyone got out of the car and formed a circle around me, the boss and two other men. Then, the boss made a profane gesture implying that I could be free if I gave the three of them oral sex (blow job). I thought for 2-3 very long seconds, many images passed before my eyes. I finally knelt and said, shoot me! One of the men in the circle start firing an automatic gun and everyone except me was killed. I woke up.

My interpretation: There is something, some situation, that I have to make the right decision, do what I feel is the "right thing to do". [See my recent post on the other blog on doing the right thing, it's another recent obsession of mine: http://donotsaybenotdo.blogspot.com/2011/10/practice-doing-right-thing-fearlessness.html ] I may be really afraid and it may seem that doing the right thing get me into serious trouble, but in reality that is the only thing that will save me!

Seeing gangsters in my dream is probably related to the fact that I watched "Ghost Dog" film, maybe for the fourth or fifth time, last night:
Link on rovi: http://www.allrovi.com/movies/movie/ghost-dog-the-way-of-the-samurai-v180005

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

I feel there is something simple right in front of my eye, too close to be seen, that is the cause of all this. It is something that I have to accept or something that I have to do the right thing about, or both. It is the worst situation when something IS in front of your eye, and you know it, but you cannot see it!

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

Here is a very interesting interview on "Fresh Air". Terry Gross talks to the SNL's Darrell Hammond. Very emotional.
http://www.npr.org/2011/11/07/141990958/snls-darrell-hammond-reveals-cutting-abuse

Monday, October 31, 2011

Artist Point of View

Here is a set of quotes from the book, ``Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,'' by Betty Edwards, that fascinates me. It is from ``Chapter 5: Drawing on Memories,'' in which Betty Edwards explains the reason most people stop drawing at the age of 10-11 when they try to make their drawings look more realistic, but confront an inherent dilemma of representing a real image via unreal shapes!!!!

This topic is also interesting to me, because for me the process was somehow different. I did very real drawings at very early ages. At age 4 or 5, for example, I draw a horse head (from a photo or painting) that was so real that my father kept it for 20 something years. (Until he lost it in one of our moves, around the time of the peak of my first depression phase.)
I have a faint memory also that someone explained the concept of ``perspective'' in drawing for me when I was little, around 6 or 7, and I tried afterward to implement it in my drawings!

By around age ten or eleven, children's passion for realism is in full bloom ... When their drawings don't come out ``right''---meaning that they don't look realistic---children often become discouraged and ask their teachers for help. ... ---p.78

Say that a ten-year-old wants to draw a picture of a cube, ...

...the child must suppress knowing that the cube is square and draw shapes that are ``funny.'' The drawn cube will look like a cube only if it is comprised of oddly angled shapes. Put another way, the child must draw unsquare shapes to draw a square cube. The child must accept this paradox, this illogical process, which conflicts with verbal, conceptual knowledge. ... ---p.79

If verbal knowledge of the cube's real shape overwhelms the student's purely visual perception, ```incorrect'' drawing results---drawing with the kind of problems that make adolescents despair ...

    The painter who strives to represents must transcend his own perception. He must ignore the very mechanism in his mind that create objects out of images. ... The artist, like the eye, must provide true images and the clues of distance to tell his magic lies.'' ---Colin Blakemore, Mechanics of the Mind, 1977

From childhood onward, we have learned to see things in terms of words, We name things, and we know facts about them. The dominant left verbal system doesn't want too much information about things it perceives---just enough to recognize and to categorize. It seems that one of its functions is to screen out a large proportion of contextual perceptions. This is a necessary process and one that works very well for us most of the time, enabling us to focus our attention. The left brain, in this sense, learns to take a quick look and say, ``Right, that's a chair ...'' But drawing requires that you look at something for a long time, perceiving lots of details and how they fit together, registering as much information as possible ... ---p.80

Is this somehow related to my previous observation that developing an artist point of view requires working with specifics?

... adult students beginning in art generally do not really see what is in front of their eyes---that is, they do not perceive in the special way required for drawing. They take note of what's there, and quickly translate the perception into words and symbols mainly based on the symbol system developed throughout childhood and on what they know about the perceived object. ---pp.81-82

``I must begin, not with hypothesis, but with specific instances, no matter how minute.'' ---Paul Klee   

What is the solution to this dilemma? Psychologist Robert Ornstein suggests that in order to draw, the artist must ``mirror'' things or perceive them exactly as they are. Thus, you must set aside your usual verbal categorizing an turn your full visual attention to what you re perceiving---to all of its details and how each detail fits into the whole configuration. In short, you must see the way an artist sees. ---p.82

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here and Now

A quote from ``The Inner Game of Tennis,'' by W. Timothy Gallwey:

It is perplexing to wonder why we leave the here and now. Here and now are the only place and time when one ever enjoys himself or accomplish anything. Most of our suffering takes place when we allow our minds to imagine the future or mull over the past. Nonetheless, few people are ever satisfied with what is before them at the moment. Our desire that things be different from what they are pulls our mind into an unreal world, and consequently we are less able to appreciate what the present has to offer. Our minds leave the reality of present when we prefer the unreality of the past or future. To begin to understand my own lapses of concentration I had to know what I was really desiring, and it soon became clear to me that there were more desires operating in me on the court than simply to play tennis. In other words, tennis was not the only game I was playing on the court. Part of the the process of attaining  a concentrated state of mind is to know and resolve these conflicting desires; ... ---p.89, The Inner Game of Tennis

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzR8x5MgvDw


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n_i4b4Wy-M

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking Clear Stands

There is a notion of ``taking clear'' stands in life as a way of knowing who we are. I have already quoted, and discussed, a similar concept of ``being specific'' from both the acting book (The Actor's Art and Craft) and the writing book (Writing Down the Bones). Here are quotes from the writing book, the chapter, ``Make Statements and Answer Questions,'' that discuss two related ideas. Make clear statements and answer questions.

In the early seventies there was a study done on women and language that affected me very deeply and also affected my writing. One of the things the study said was that women add on qualifiers to their statements. ... In their sentence structure women were always looking for reinforcement for their feelings and opinions. They didn't just make statements and stand behind them. .... They needed encouragement from outside themselves. [Similar findings for minorities.]

Another thing women did in their speech was to use a lot of words like {\it perhaps}, {\it maybe}, {\it somehow}. Indefinite modifiers. ... ---p.110

The world isn't always black and white. A person may not be sure if she can go some place, but it is important, especially for a beginning writer, to make clear, assertive statements. ... Making statements is practice in trusting your own mind, in learning to stand up with your thoughts. ---pp.110-111

After I read the article, I went home and looked at a poem I had just written. I made myself take out all vague, indefinite words and phrases. It felt as though I were pulling towels off my body, and I was left standing naked after a shower, exposing who I really was and how I felt. It was scary for the first time, but it felt good. It made the poem much better.

But while you are practicing writing, do not worry if you see yourself using those indefinite words. Don't condemn yourself or be critical. Just be aware of it. Keep writing. When you go back over it, you can cut them out.

Another thing you should watch out for are questions. If you can write a question, you can answer it. When you are writing, if you write a question, that is fine. But immediately go to a deeper level inside yourself and answer it in the next line. ---p.111

Don't be afraid to answer the questions. You will find endless resources inside yourself. Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind. Don't carry the fog out on paper. Even if you are not sure of something, express it as though you know yourself. With this practice you eventually will. ---p.112

Monday, October 17, 2011

Neutral Interest

There is certain beauty, very subtle and at the same time profound, in these quotes. Or, I simply love them :) It is indeed a superb example of my previous post, Extraordinary in Ordinary, and shows how paying attention to small details and connecting with them deeply creates something extraordinary from the simplest events in life.
From ``A Gate at the Stairs,'' by Lorrie Moore.

Once Mary-Emma was changed and sprinkled piney and dry with some silky herbal rice starch, I carried her downstairs, stepping awkwardly over the plastic baby gates. I found myself saying ``Wheeeee!'' and ``Upsy-oopsy.'' Mary-Emma just looked at me with neutral interest. It was a look I'd forgotten and never saw anymore in grown people. But it was the best. It was fantastically engaged: scholarly, unjudging, and angelic.  ---p.134

In the warm-up house I rented us both some skates---Sarah had left a twenty on the counter for this---and then we stepped out onto the nicked and bumpily formed ice. I propped Mary-Emma up, bracing her with my legs, and scooted her around. It was all new to her and she laughed like it was a joke. Her skates were double-bladed, and when I let her go she could glide a little on her own but them made off with a choppy step just running artlessly across the lagoon until she would hit a yellowish carbuncle in the ice and fall forward, her swimsuit cushioning her landing. She would then lie there staring into the cracks of the ice; beneath it were wavy weeds and lily pads frozen cloudily in place as if in a botanical glass paperweight. ``Fish!'' she cried to me, and I went over and she was poking with her mitten at the ice, believing the flora to be fauna. ``Well, kinda,'' I said. She was happy, the sun was shining, and she got up again and took off in her choppy gait. She had great spirit for this sport---it seemed to come naturally to her---and then I remembered her birth mother, who had spent her Saturdays skating with the nuns, and I thought, Well, of course. ---p.138

The Extraordinary in Ordinary

There is something light and refreshing about doing small, pointless tasks in life, for example, sweeping dead leaves off an outdoor area in Autumn when you know that the area will be covered again within a day, if not less.
I felt sad and depleted this weekend, Saturday afternoon and most of the Sunday, and I felt such a loss of energy last night that I had to drag myself everywhere. Today started late, around noon, but I had energy to do things, work-related and stuff around the house, and I realized how beautiful it is to be able to do small, pointless chores. There is extra-ordinary in the ordinary as the following quotes from ``Writing Down the Bones,'' by Natalie Goldberg, show so elegantly:

I looked and looked in wonder. ``How could I every write about these vast expanses and mythic rituals?'' ... We think of detail as small, not the realm of the cosmic mind or these big hills of New Mexico. That isn't true. No Matter how large a thing is, how fantastic, it is also ordinary. We think of details as daily and mundane. Even miracles are mundane happenings that an awakened mind can see in a fantastic way.

So it is not merely a materialistic handling of objects that is the base for writing, but using details to step through to the other side---to the vast emptiness behind it all. ....

Original details are very ordinary, except to the mind that sees their extra-ordinariness. It's not that we need to go to the Hopi mesas to see greatness; we need to view what we already have in a different way. It is very deep for the Hopis to have a snake dance, but it is also one of their festivals that has been performed every other year for their whole lives. ... If we see their lives and festivals as fantastic and our lives as ordinary, we come to writing with a sense of poverty. We must remember that everything is ordinary and extraordinary. It is our mind that either open or close ...

The snake dance was made up of detail after detail with extreme concentration; it had to be that way---the snakes were in the Hopis' mouths. We who watched thought it was unfathomable and fantastic because it was new and foreign. It was also ordinary and had been done for hundreds of years. In order to write about it, we have to go to the heart of it and know it, so the ordinary and extraordinary flash before our eyes simultaneously. Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things. Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable.

... We are all interwoven and create each other's universe. When one person dies out of his time, it affects us all. We don't live for ourselves; we are interconnected. ... We have a responsibility to treat ourselves kindly; then we all treat the world in the same way.

This understanding is how we should come to writing. Then we can handle details not as individual, material objects alone but as reflections of everything. ... Understand that when we write about a cup or a mesa or the sky or a bobby pin, we must give them good attention and penetrate into their heart. Doing this, we all naturally make those leaps that poetry talks about, because we are aware of the interconnection of all things.  ---pp. 95-98, Writing Down the Bones

Monday, October 10, 2011

Truth

Truth will come back at you. In the form of your genes, your habits. Your past will catch up with you. You fuck things over and you think it's over? Things will fuck you back. You step into darkness? There is no way out. You look into abyss? It will reach and pull you in. You can run as much as you want. There is no running from yourself. You meditate, practice, pray for salvation? You are alone and there is no escape.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWZaZH0qnOI



************************
WaterWorld:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Ir4C73660

Friday, October 07, 2011

Love is gratefulness

Love is the single indication of being truly alive. We have unlimited capacity for love. From hundreds of people we love throughout our lives, most never notice us. If we have a free soul, we may express our love to a handful of them, and most of them won't love us back. It is natural to feel rejected, but do not stay there. Love is about being open and vulnerable. And, even though it is absolutely necessary, yet it is not enough to appreciate only those who love us back. We must acknowledge those who never notice our love and those who do not love us back. We should be grateful to all of them for providing us with this amazing opportunity to stay alive and remain human. Be ready for being hurt. Love is opening your heart and embracing the pain. No one said life is pure joy. If anything, life is about being hurt. Embrace life. Be grateful.

Justifications

Previously, we saw the importance of ``being specific'' in our interactions. I have even made that idea into a simple exercise (Link: http://donotsaybenotdo.blogspot.com/2011/10/practice-being-specific.html). Next, I provide some quotes on the issue of ``justifications''. This concept is still new to me and I am trying to digest it :) Again, from ``The Actor's Art and Craft,'' by William Esper and Damon DiMarco.

I want you to think about something. ... Consider how important justifications are to your craft. It's only when the actor asks the question 'Why?' that he becomes truly creative.

Every good actor must be intimately acquainted with the specific reasons that would motivate him or her into a specific action. Keep in mind that reasons are personal and differ drastically from one person to the next. ... ---p.97

You will never be able to tap the deepest wells of your individual talent until you really explore your own personal justifications. You must ask yourself: What excites me? What repulses me? What would make me kill? What would cause me to walk barefoot over a field of cut glass from here to San Francisco? What would I give up everything for? What would make me jump off a bridge? This is the work of actor. This is the work of artist.

I say that all art is based upon this type of speculation. Michelangelo once speculated, How would I go about releasing the magnificent form of David from this block of stone. ...

The sheer power of speculation! Remember, for an artist it's never a question of `what if' that matters. It's always a question of what might be that stimulates the actor's imagination. Life will never be as wonderful or as terrible as you can imagine it to be. Ernest Hemingway once said that imagination `is the one thing besides honesty that a good writer must have. The more he learns from experience, the more truly he can imagine. If he gets so he can imagine truly enough, people will think the things he relates all really happened.' The same could be said for actors. ---p.98

Friday, September 30, 2011

Specifics in Art

I appreciate art, in its infinite forms, as the surest way to self-discovery. Hence, I find insights from arts very useful even when they seem very specific in their scope. Here are some more quotes from "The Actor's Art and Craft,'' by William Esper and Damon DiMarco, that signify the importance of dealing with specifics, rather than generalities, in order to understand who we are:

I want you to consider that there are no generalities in nature. Therefore, there can be no generalities in art, because the artist---as Hamlet put it so eloquently---seeks to hold the mirror up to nature.

To be an actor, you must train yourself to think unswervingly in specifics. How else can you seek to illuminate the world around you? But the skill of thinking in specifics is not something ordinary people do in everyday life. Most people walk around spouting generalities. Just think of the so-called conversations we engage in all the time. ...

Some money. A job. A party. Descriptions like these cannot feed the imagination. They cannot transmit how we truly feel about things. Until we acknowledge what's truly going on within ourselves---the specifics of who we are and how we feel---how can we possibly seek to be understood by others? ---pp.91-92, The Actor's Art and Craft   

Truthfulness in Acting and in Life

A quote from "The Actor's Art and Craft," by William Esper and Damon DiMarco on truthfulness in acting and in life:

... you've trained yourself to behave in ways that you  think will be attractive to the people around you. Like many others, you want people to see you as noble, generous, compassionate, and understanding. You prefer to believe that these images reflect your true nature. ... How many of us portray ourselves as vulnerable? Malicious? Vain? Arrogant? How many of us will even admit that we carry these less-than-flattering qualities within us? Precious few. But these qualities, too, are facets of every human being. They are aspects of our humanity, and we must embrace them. ---pp.86-87, The Actor's Art and Craft

Monday, September 26, 2011

White sheet

Songs of night, crickets--cheeeer-cheer, occasional owl--hooo-hooo, a dog in the distance--hofff-hofff, pen moves on a paper------. Everything calms down, what an evening, nothing happened and everything happened.
Slept two hours, to wake up to the wake of the evening. Burning with impatience, to get out, to leave the house, and do something. 
Cigarette, coffee. Coffee, cigarette. Evening closes down, on me, darkness creeps, my mind goes mad. Free fall.
What am I doing? Hiding behind my laptop, outside a coffee shop, in a strip mall, Tocco Hill shopping center!
Writing, yeah, writing. Who is this lunatic? What does he think he is doing? Everyone after his business, busyness, and this guy is writing, what the fuck?!?!
And I did not stop, my hand kept moving, and words came out, poured on white sheets, dancing to their own song. I did not cry, even, could not cry, did not feel anything, except a heaviness. Crushing, annihilating, terminating.
Coffee went cold, cigarettes burnt my throat, I felt dizzy, I kept writing.
Words, more words, what are they? Creatures of our dreams, our nightmares too. They appear out of nowhere, pour on the white sheets, from a place called my mind. Mind, another word. Words, coming out of words. Spinning head, nausea. Throw up! Throw up more words. Meaningless, wild creatures, on a white sheet.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

subconscious-2






Funky, jazzy, cool and energetic :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoY2cfg0QTM&feature=share


Interesting instrumentation, beautiful poem:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZKZ3Hvkqvs&feature=share


Shajarian, Ebadi, Shahnaz, WOW!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6mLj_QL9eI

Interesting instrumental piece-guitar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VAkOhXIsI0

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nobody's perfect :)

A quote from "A Gate at the Stairs,'' by Lorrie Moore:

Edward now decided to close up the file. ``Nobody's perfect. Everyone has a relative or two that's come down with some crud or stuck a fork in someone's eye or dynamited a perfectly good shed.''
This astounded me. ``Absolutely,'' I said.  ---p.113, A Gate at the Stairs

``Well, I should take Tassie home, is what,'' said Edward.
``And leave me here all alone?'' Sarah said in mock terror, still in her goofy hat. ``You must be joking.'' She clutched his sleeve.
``You must be joking,'' said Edward.
``I am, I'm joking,'' said Sarah.
Sort of, I thought. And then she said it herself.
``Sort of.'' She smiled. There was a flash of mutual disgust between them.
Then Edward drove me back to my apartment. ``Thank you for helping us on this very complex mission.''
``You're very welcome,'' I said. What else was there to say?
``We'll see you in a couple of days. I'm sure Sarah will phone very soon.''
``Sounds good,'' I sang out into the dark of the car. Sounds good, that same midwestern girl's slightly frightened reply. It appeared to clinch a deal, and was meant to sound the same as the more solidly Good to go, except it was promiseless----mere affirmative description. It got you away, out the door. Once again. ---pp.121-122, A Gate at the Stairs

Subconscious

Here is my subconscious. What do you see?



Friday, September 23, 2011

Nod

As you embark on a path of heart, world sometimes looks at you and nods in approval. Don't discount the nod, acknowledge it, appreciate it, and be grateful, so that you receive more of it in future.
Today, on my way back home I received a nod. Listening to the "Performance Today", I found out about a new section in the program called, "art of practice". A good sign for me and my new journey on writing a book about "life practices". Practices to deepen and enrich our lives.
Link - Performance Today: http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/
Link - Life Practices: http://donotsaybenotdo.blogspot.com/

PS. Here is a short piece on marketplace (NPR) regarding employing career coaches---an article appeared in the New Yorker originally.
Link-NPR: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/09/29/pm-the-benefits-of-having-a-career-coach/
Link-New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/03/111003fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all

PS 2. This piece is about CEO's and poetry. This is very encouraging for me :)
Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/21/business/21libraries.html

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Secondhand Smoke

A quote from ``A Gate at the Stairs'' by Lorrie Moore.

As soon as I saw them in the lobby, I realized my mistake. They were looking at their watches, holding hands, then looking at their watches again. Their glance up at me was quick, perfunctory, and when I got into the car and sat in the back like their sullen teenage daughter I could see that this was not an outing I should be on. Edward started to light up a cigarette, and Sarah swatted it away.
``Afraid of secondhand smoke? There's conflicting science on that,'' he said.
Sarah gave him a look but said nothing. From my awkward place in the backseat I remembered a headline from the student paper. ``You know what they say about secondhand smoke,'' I said. I was a girl still finding her jokey party voice and borrowing from others'.
``What?'' said Sarah.
``Leads to secondhand coolness.''
Edward turned in his seat to look at me. I had pleased him with this stupidity, and he was getting a better look at me to see who I was today.
``Did you have a good breakfast?'' he said.
``I did,'' I lied.
``Sometimes that's all it takes,'' he said, turning back around, and I studied his hair-cape some more, its weird, warm flip. ---p.100, A Gate at the Stairs

Monday, September 12, 2011

30-day Experiments

I finished my second 30-day experiment yesterday, September 11, 2011. For a month, the first thing I did in the morning was "writing", for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour. I specifically worked on a project that I call "Life Practices". Most of the writings on this subject are also posted here:
Very interesting experiment, I am glad I started it.
Somewhere along the road I decided to start writing in Farsi/Persian language as well. This was even more amazing experience. I have put those writings here:
I am learning so much about myself, gradually and patiently, by doing these simple writing practices. I highly recommend doing them to everyone:
 
PS. My first 30-day experiment was taking pictures in the neighborhood, first thing in the morning. That was a great experiment of looking at the same scene over and over and observing new things. From more than 400 pictures I took I selected 50 that are posted here:  

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tattoos

I do not have any tattoos. When I was a teenager, in the 80's, back in Iran tattoos were something else, ugly perhaps. They were not art forms, something to show around, they were bad dreams. You would not wear tattoos, they were nightmares who would carry you around.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Revelations: Compliments, touches of souls

Compliments are touches of souls.

I was reading ``Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer within,'' by Natalie Goldberg and I cam across the following:

We want honest support and encouragement. When we receive it, we don't believe it, but we are quick to accept criticism to reinforce our deepest beliefs that, in truth, we are not good and not really writers. ...
Stop! Really stop when someone is complimenting you. Even if it's painful and you are not used to it, just keep breathing, listen and let yourself take it in. Feel how good it is. Build up a tolerance for positive honest support.''  ---p. 73, Writing Down the Bones

I realized that the book is describing my problem with accepting compliments and honest support, specially more so from people closer to me. I was at the Atlanta Coffee Roasters, and a few baristas were there. So, I asked Juno and Cameron: What do you do when you receive compliments? The discussions moved across different topics, from complimenting to attention to touch and I suddenly realized that complimenting someone closely resembles touching his/her soul. And the reactions are also interestingly related.

This can lead to better understanding of why I am so sensitive to compliments of people very close to me. Maybe because they touch me very intimately and I feel naked to their touch and cannot tolerate it?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Control

Lose control while writing, just like the bike rider who lift his hands off the steering wheel and let go of control. That is how pure writing can be, that is how exciting and fulfilling life can be:


http://negarkhanedel.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_8296.html

یک چیزی ‌ست که باید بگیرد، به نوشتنت، و آن موقع است که لذت می‌بری، از توصیف ظرایف، مثل زرگری که غرق میشود در نقش دادن طلای اش. چون که جریان طبیعی است و میدانی که قضایا چگونه شکل خواهند گرفت بدون آنکه نقشه بریزی برایشان، حس میکنی‌ تعادل در حال حرکت را، مثل دوچرخه سوار‌ی که رها می‌کند فرمان را، انگار که بدنش شده یکی‌ با چرخش و دیگر چه نیازی دارد به هدایت با دستانش. رها می‌کند فرمان را و رها می‌کند فرمان دهی‌ را. همین طور میتواند باشد نوشتن که سهل ‌ترین و ممتنع ‌ترین فعالیت‌های بشر است، نون و القلم و ما یسطرون شاید. و همین طور شاید، باید، بتواند باشد زندگی‌، همسان دوچرخه سوار‌ی که رها کرده است فرمان را. و تصور کن تو، اضطراب را و هیجان را، و آن حس یکی‌ شدن. عجب حسی است آن،  آنچه زندگی‌ میتواند باشد!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Jumping Moments

Don't jump over moments, parts of your soul stay with them, and before you realize, you have a hole in your soul that makes everything impossible, specially loving and being loved, and you don't know why ...
http://negarkhanedel.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_2130.html
نمی‌شود از روی لحظات زندگی‌ پرید، خطرناک است، بیش از آنچه فکرش را می‌کنید. روحتان به این ور و آن ور گیر می‌کند، وقت پریدن، و ذره ذره جدا میشود با جوهرهٔ زنده گی تان. بعد احساس می‌کنید خالی‌ هستید، به جائی‌ بند نیستید ، نگرانید و غمناک بابت هیچ. دور و برتان را نگاه می‌کنید، چیزی نمی‌بینید، چیزی که اذیّت تان کند نمی‌‌بینید. عزیزانتان هستند دور و بر، و ... چیزی نیست یا آن نیستی‌ است، که هر کلام و حرکت افراد را غیر قبل تحمل می‌کند، از جانب هر کس، حتا عزیزانتان، یعنی‌ به خصوص عزیزانتان. چون آن جائی‌ از روحتان که باید با آنها همراه شود، آن جوهرهٔ حیاتی که نیاز دارید برای معاشقه با روح آدم ها، آن نیست، و آن جائی‌ که عشق آنها باید وصل شود در روحتان، آن مانده است جائی‌ در بیخ یکی‌ از همان لحظه ها، که خیلی‌ عجله داشتید بگذرد. حالا دیدید چه میشود؟
 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Experimental Confessions in Farsi

این دقیقا همان چیزی است که من آرزو دارم، که حالا به تعبیر خودتان هر چه اسمش را می‌خواهید بگذارید. یا مثلا من پذیرنده شوم و باز، و ناخود آگاهم سکان به دست بگیرد. یا اینکه واقعا چیز دیگری باشد و هستی‌ برتری که به نوعی سر رشته در دستش باشد. و البته میدانم که این‌ها هر دو یک چیز است و وا دادن است، و کلیشه افسار به دست دیگری دادن، الی‌ الاخر. ولی‌ خوب است که زیادی هم فکر نکنی‌ چون بالاخره آنها هم که خیلی‌ فکر کردند زیر خاک پوسید اند، هفت کفن. و حالا که سر منزل مقصود یکی‌ است میماند مسیر، که کجاها را ببینیم و چه جور مناظری، و اگر میخواهیم دشت ببینیم، یا دریا، یا صخره. و اگر بخواهیم دقیق راجب منازل بین راه مته به خشخاش بگذریم که سخت میشود، یا اصلا نمی‌شود. یعنی‌ شاید برای بعضی‌‌ها هم بشود که همه اینها را برنامه بریزند ولی‌ آیا واقعا این کنترل مسیر زندگی‌ واقعیت است یا توهم. البته شما حق دارید بگوید که بنده خدا اول خوب بود و استعدادی داشت و شاگرد دوم کنکور، ولی‌ خیلی‌ راه عوض کرد و موفق نشد، سرش خیلی‌ خورد به سنگ تا بالاخره کس خل شد و رفت. و ما هم البته شاید جان به جان آفرین بدهیم در همین وادی‌های کس خلی خودمان.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Revelation:

I reveal your choices: you choose and face consequences.

To the right is the path of acceptance, peace and harmony. It goes through the meadow that extends to the edges of tranquility. To the left is the path of passion, truth, and love. It hovers over rugged terrains and high mountains. They take you to the same destination, Death. Pick one and enjoy!

Experimental Writing (in Farsi)

گفتن بعضی‌ حرف‌ها اصلا لازم نیست. طرف باید خودش بفهمد. من صد بار هم یاد آوری کنم، با ایما و اشاره، باز هم به خرج این اصغر نمی‌رود. دوست دارد خودش را با کارهای ساده سر گرم کند. گاهی چای که می‌ریزد برای مردم، چند دقیقه‌ای می‌‌ایستد کناری تا به گفتگوها گوش کند. بیشتره موقعها ولی‌ ساکت به آبدار خانه برمیگردد. پشتش به من است. سلامی‌ می‌کنم. "چای تازه داری؟" چیزی نمی‌گوید. خوش اخلاق نیست. کسی‌ را هم تحویل نمیگیرد. یعنی‌ معلوم نیست کاری از دست کسی‌ هم ساخته باشد. این را وقتی‌ فهمید که دخترش را عمل جراحی کردند. خوش بر و رو بود، دختر. عمل مهمی‌ هم نبود، به قول اصغر، ولی‌ زنده بیرون نیامد. کاری از دست کسی‌ بر نمی‌آید این موقع ها.

شاهکار اصغر چاقوی کند بد شکلش بود که همیشه به این و آن نشان میداد. چاقو به زحمت نان می‌برید. اما مایه قوت قالب اصغر بود. یک روز برایش داستان مثنوی را گفتم؛ داستان آن ابنه‌ای که خنجر به کمر می‌بست. دیگر جواب سلامم را هم نداد. تا پارسال. پارسال سر کوچه دیدمش . حلوا دستش بود. پدرش تازه فوت کرده بود. من را که دید جلو آمد و گفت، "دعا کن برا پیرمرد، همیشه میگفت تو ذاتت ابنه‌ای است، اصغر!" دو تا تیکه برداشتم، ولی‌ نگاه تو چشم هایش نینداختم. خنده‌ای کرد و رفت.

بالای لبش خطی‌ لرزید. همان کافی‌ بود، همه وسوسه‌ها با همان یک خط آغاز میشوند، همان لرزش. تصور لذتی که می‌توانست ببرد مانند چشمهٔ زیر زمینی‌ جوشید و تمام هشیاریش را فرا گرفت. کاش چیزی بود، که می‌توانست به آن چنگ بزند. تپش قلبش، اما، همه چیز را تحت پوشش خود قرار داده بود، خفه کرده بود. پایش را اندکی‌ جا به جا کرد. انگار که قرنی طول کشید. مسیر نگاه پسرک را، بدون نگاه کردن به او، می‌‌دانست. فقط کافی‌ بود خودش را رها کند، همه چیز طبیعی پیش میرفت، بدون دخالت او.

بعدازظهر‌ها به خواندن زن روز‌های قدیمی‌ میگذشت. مال خاله‌هایم بودند که در اتاق بالای پشت بام خانه گذشته بودند، نامرتب، خاک خورده، در کارتون‌های میوه، اینور و انور. شاید اول تابستان مرتب بودند ولی‌ نه بعد از آمدن من. مامان بزرگ نمیخواند شان، و آگر نه نمی‌‌گذاشت من بخوانم. مذهبی‌ بود و سالها در مکتب خانه قرآن درس داده بود. صبحا هم به من و خواهرم، هر صبح یک سوره کوچک از آخر ها، درس میداد که بخوانیم و حفظ کنیم و هر از گاهی یک خط کشی‌ هم بخوریم. زن روز‌ها انواع داستان داشت، بعضی‌‌ها‌شان هم سکسی‌ بود، زن و مرد و برنامه، و ما هم بچه بودیم، شش، هفت، هشت، این طورها، و نمی‌دانستیم دقیقا چه می‌گذرد، ولی‌ خوب تحریک میشودیم، و سرمان نمی‌شد که با آلت گنده شده مان چه خاکی به سرمان بریزیم، و خجالت میکشیدیم ولی‌ باز هم طاقواز میشودیم و می‌خواندیم تا از شق درد بمیریم. خلاصه برنامهٔ تابستان این بود، صبحا قرآن و بعد از ظهرها داستان‌های سکسی‌. خوب موجود چند بعدی از کار در آمدیم هم در نهایت.

English Language

Another quote from ``A Gate at the Stairs,'' by Lorrie Moore. How people in a small Midwest town, Dellacrosse, would speak English :)

People here would narrate an ordinary event entirely in the past perfect: `I'd been driving to the store, and I'd gotten out, and she'd come up to me and I had said ...' It never reached any other tense. All was back-story. All was preamble. The past was severed prologue and was never uttered to be anything but. Who else on earth spoke like this? They would look at the tattoo on my ankle, a peace sign, and, withholding judgement but also intelligence, say, `Well, that's different.' They'd say the same thing about my electric bass. ---p.67, A Gate at the Stairs.

Freedom, Religion

A couple of days ago I read a discussion between some friends regarding religion, worship, freedom, and slavery. In Farsi and Arabic, the t...