Speak The Truth of Your Heart!

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I began to analyze these beautiful words of wisdom this morning as I was writing my morning pages, and realized the significance of being clear on what he means by “everything works”. What does it mean when something “works”?

This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine, an amazing sculpture, Debbie Korbel. (Her work is amazing, I recommend checking out her website) I was telling her that I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my work, and that I get anxious because of it, and sometimes frustrated because it doesn’t come out perfect. She said she never feels that way about her art! Whaaaaat?? I was shocked!! How can that be? Everyone I knew in the art world had been a perfectionist like myself, so I thought; how can anyone not worry about their art looking perfect?

The answer is, if you make your work from your heart and for your soul, and not for the audience you wont worry about it looking perfect, because the heart speaks the truth, and there is perfection in the truth.

For me a lot of times the meaning of my art “working” has been when I was able to sell it, or people had a positive response to it and gave me complements.

When I began my spiritual journey, I realized that art should be about self expression, and not pleasing others, but secretly I still wanted to sell my work so I felt that it had to please others, so I told my heart. “I understand, I will only do work for you and only you.” (But secretly hoped that by working for my heart, it would mean that the outcome would be perfect, and therefore others would like it, and hence want to buy it!) So I made my recent work, and yet I was not happy because it wasn’t perfect like I had hoped, which made me tired and frustrated.

I was discouraged. “WTF? I am making work for my heart, why isn’t it working?

Haha..Despite “spiritual awakening”, “working” had retained its meaning of “perfection” and “sellable”. This is where I had continued to remain lost. I didn’t realize  “Working” means that it speaks the truth of your heart. It says what you want it to say, and depicts the turmoil inside your heart. This truth might not always be pleasing to people. Many might even find it hard to relate to.

The reason Debbie doesn’t dwell on her work coming out perfect is because she only makes art to speak her heart, and her pieces “work” every time because of this!

Here is one of my favorite work by Debbie titled “WTF”:

wtf

Take the poems of Rumi, Hafiz, and many other mystic poets. Many people love them, because it speaks the truth, but also many don’t understand them. It can sound gibberish if you are not on the mindset of the truth. Nevertheless, their work remains timeless, and continues to spread across the globe, because it speaks the truth.

Without realizing, I had secretly hoped speaking my heart and the truth would make people like my work, (sneaky ego) but experience showed that this is not necessarily true.

It’s the same as when I fell. Somehow, in the back of my head I thought if I stay true to my heart, and stay present, I wont fall, but that’s not always true.

When you become a servant to the truth, you have to accept whatever comes, even if the outcome is not what you had hoped for. The outcome is what you need to grow and become closer to your heart.

I feel like I was a bit all over in this post, but isn’t that how our thoughts work? Constantly jumping from one thought to another!! No?

I will leave you with this poem by Rumi:

Wings of Desire

People are distracted by objects of desire,

and afterwards repent of the lust they’ve indulged,

because they have indulged with phantom

and are left even farther from Reality than before.

Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascent to Reality.

When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off;

you become lame and that fantasy flees.

Preserve the wing and don’t indulge such lust,

so that the wing of desire may bear you to Paradise.

People fancy they are enjoying themselves,

but they are really tearing out their wings

for the sake of an illusion.

-Mathnawi iii 2133-38

Ouch… I thought spiritual people don’t fall!!

I have been feeling very irritated this past week. Nevertheless, I have been doing my meditation and cold showers, and anything that could possibly help me get out of this funk.

Mindfulness helps, but I do love the artist’s prayer from the book “Artist’s Way”.

You imagine giving all your irritation and everything that worries you to god/creator/universe and open your heart to everything that you want to receive, and through this, you let go of control and allow the universe to take care of you.

So yesterday, I decided, I really need to do this, because just focusing on my breath was not bringing me peace of mind. I did the visualization and I felt relaxed, and then I went on a bike ride.

…….. and that’s when I fell..

Thankfully nothing bad happened, just a few scratches here and there. I wasn’t trying to let go of the handle bars, or do anything crazy, I wasn’t going fast either, I just reached back with one hand to fix my shirt and lost control and…fell.

So afterwards I thought: I just trusted the universe and I fell on my ass.. great.. this is what happens when you trust god, you fall on your ass, but later I had an epiphany. Well, if you let go of control and trust universe, you have to trust whatever comes and what comes might not always look good to you or be easy, but it’s what you need at the time. Sometimes you need a slap in the face to snap out of your ego!

I don’t know if I fully understand why I needed to fall, but I will tell you this much. If this fall had happened before I was being mindful and working on myself, I would have immediately cried, yes, even as an adult I would cry because that was just an automatic reaction for me, then I would feel embarrassed and scared to ride my bike again. I would definitely never ever try to let go of the handlebars.

But, that’s not what happened.

I got up, a little shocked at first, as to why, even though I am so mindful and spiritual (haha..), this happened, then this nice guy came and helped pick up my basket from the ground and put it back, and I thanked him and jumped back on my bike, and a little while later, tried to let go of the handlebars, just to see if I still had the courage!

I have continued to ride, and will continue. I did have some fears initially. I thought: What if I had fallen in front of a car? What if (when I have a baby someday!) I put my baby on the bike and fall while riding? What would happen to the baby? What if I have an accident? What if someone is texting and is looking down and comes to the bike lane and hits me?

All kinds of worst case scenarios played in my head. I told my husband: what if we had a baby and I had the baby on my bike and we’d fall? He said: If you think like that, you wont be able to go out the door!

What he said really resonated. I could think of a million terrible things that could happen in my mind about anything and everything, and paralyze myself by doing that. Instead, I decided I will do what I want and need to do and if the worst case scenario happens, I will deal with it then, just like how I have dealt with many unimaginable scenarios.

Like loosing a loved one. You can not imagine living without them, until they are gone. Then, despite what you want to believe the first year, you find a way to live without them.

You can never imagine how you will deal with a situation until you are in it. Being in the present moment and fully aware gives you exactly what you need to handle anything that comes in the best way possible.

Why is “being in the present moment” not getting easier with practice?

I feel like, as the days pass, being in the present moment has gotten harder for me instead of easier. Today, as I was writing my morning pages, which are brain-drain style writing from the book “The Artist’s Way”, I realized why even though I meditate more than ever, I seem to loose the present moment more often.

What happens when begin to experience something for the first time is that we have no prior thought about it, in some cases we might be fearful, but if there is nothing to fear, then there is very little thought about it, but then what happens when we have an experience is our mind begins to form thoughts about that experience: “that was great”, “that was easy”, “I hope this feeling doesn’t go away”, “what if I loose this?”, “what if I don’t feel it again?” “oh no! I don’t feel like I first did!”. When this happens, you can no longer truly experience that particular thing in the same way you did the very first time, because now you are after a feeling that you experienced previously. I don’t know if I am explaining this well.

So lets take the experience of “being in the present moment”. The first time I felt this, was when I made a shift in my focus from “the thinker” to the “observer of thoughts” then that shift in focus gave me a an amazing feeling of awareness.

However, being that our brain is trained to compartmentalize things, my mind began to develop thoughts about what it means to be present and aware, and how I can go about shifting my focus in the future.  So now, instead of just being present, I am trying to reach it by accessing the information my brain stored about the experience of present moment. Well, by doing this, I am delaying reaching the present moment, because you can not reach the present moment through analysis and thought and past experience.

Each experience of the “present moment” is a new experience, and it can be reached in many different ways. Meditation, a simple shift of focus to your breath, an enlightened thought that quiets the mind, sitting in your garden. You will never know! You can not categorize mindfulness, because then your thoughts (or as Eckhart says the ego)  will take it over. If you don’t experience it the same way, if you don’t reach it the way you did the first time you experienced it, then the brain panics. “why isn’t this working?” “I am sitting here and meditating, why can’t I quiet my mind”. Observe these thoughts, and be okay with what is, and suddenly you find yourself in the present moment again!

New Year’s Aha Moment!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Here is my epiphany for this new year.. it’s a wonderful practice for new year.. an aha moment which I will make my most important resolution for this year.. perhaps the only true one.. “bani adam azayeh yek digarand, keh dar afarinesh ze yek goharand”.. human beings are all parts of the same body, and were created with the same material and essence. by poet Saadi