Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Gaping Void . . . Words of wisdom

So you want to be more creative, in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years:

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can't.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about "Commercial vs. Artistic" is a complete waste of time.

24. Don�t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.


"Asked him how he was liking New York.

"It's great," he said. "Everybody's insane with loneliness, but that's OK. After a while you realize that's part of the edge."

I was hit with a paradox. I wanted to be in New York, I wanted to be "part of the edge", but I didn't want to be "insane with loneliness". Was one necessary in order to have the other? Was it a price worth paying? To this day, I still have no answer.

The simple truth about big cities is that people don't go there to give. They go there to take, or at least, to get. If you feel like giving, good for you, somewhere an angel is smiling yada yada yada, just don't expect other people to follow your example. And if you're feeling lonely, at least now you now know why. "

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Invictus . . . edited

Out of the night that covers me . . .

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul . . .

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

William Ernest Henley

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

things i like

inspired by a thai magazine that had a spread worthy of a form 2 girls convention on wot is hot : )

1. Words

2. Yoshitomo Nara

3. Anticipation.

4. Old friends. New friends. Friends!

5. Peace. Inner. Outer. Aesthetic. Aural.

6. Regent's Park

7. IW

8. Flat white.
For serving coffee, and not tar.

9. Yoga
(just to be predictable).

10. London. Sometimes.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


What is your favourite word & why?

Who did you meet who showed you something completely new or gave you a new orientation on the world? How?

What do you do unthinkingly that you could truly pay attention to while you do it & enjoy?

Think of something that has been in your life for years. Where did it come from? Remember & enjoy : )

What does it take to disturb your sense of ease? (JHL)
Listify. Now you know, look at it, is it a little bit crazily small or seemingly insignificant? Choose then, if you still wanna go there and keep choosing each time it comes up.

What gives you new perspective on the world? How can you cultivate it?

Sunday, August 05, 2007


new things are exciting.
Some times new things are really just old things viewed from a new angle.
But sometimes, as much as we want to see something from a new angle, its really really hard.

One of the things about living in the centre of Soho (which usually either makes people exclaim how amazing or horrific it must be (the answer is yes, either way, bytheway) is that I find it really hard to slow down because life is at an incredible pace all around me and to step out my door is to go headfirst into the swollen river, audiably I am never removed from it and visually it surrounds us also with our half windows apartment. So to try and sort out a muddled head here can seem a little like trying to compose a haiku on the beauty of the river as it sucks you down into an eddying whirlpool darkening and stealing your vision. Not only is broad sight taken but the energy used in fighting the whirlpool means your chance to fashion something from the driftwood around you takes the creativity from you to see what is around you to support and help you.

When I leave the city and come back I can see the dangling branch over the water and I can muster the energy and the will to grab at it and take hold. Where things usually seem to falter is the keeping hold and drawing myself to shore to sit back, watch the beauty of the river and dangle my feet therein.

but I'm having a go. newness.

One of the very great pleasures of being a human is talking with other ones. But, its best of all when you listen. So often we get into the kinds of conversations with people that amount to tacit agreement that we will play the same rhythm with the conversation that we always do. A little conversation by numbers.

I realised recently that several of my friends (in fact probably all) have things in their lives that I know to be seminal to their lives and sense of identity about which I knew nothing at all rather than the fact of their existence in the person's life. For me this was religion and culture but it applies so broadly, for example if someone is really into music, more so than the what is the why? How does that thing make them feel, where/what is the resonance?

I hope you get a chance to know someone you know, better. To really listen is a gift of richness and newness.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Real Surreal


Is an interesting concept. The realisation and focus on the fact that reality is created only by our perception. The second that something fades from the acme of our attention it effectively fails to exist, until, from somewhere it rises to the surface again. Where has it come from and where does it go to?

sometimes (: ) ) my life in England seems like that. Who I am here. And who I am in the minds of other people, who really exist only in my mind, and in the more tangible sense, at the moment, exist mainly in my mind (physically resident at the nadir of possible contact).

Sometimes, concentration is a good thing. And at other times getting too close, too attentive to something makes it like ginger cordial concentrate - overpowering at best and in need of plentiful dilution in order to taste and appreciate the concealed delicousness.

There is more, email if you're interested . . .


the other sensual pleasures

the chalice of the coffee cup

the kiss of air on skin

the nugget of walnut in raisin bread

the two ends that join a moment of connection

that feeling, behind the thought of a friend

immediate anticipation

movement through negative space

a swagger

blood rising to the skin, the result of invisible processes

perception of the fishing net of reality

watching the chicken dance of overcoat assumption

words. little mothers

slow. full. intense. perception.

Explication on application


Monday, March 19, 2007

Freedom from the known

It's a book by Krishnamurti that I'm re-reading at the moment. I finished it and then turned back to the front and started again. Yes, it's that good but also I had the awareness of just how much of it was going over my head, so hopefully a second reading will allow a little more to permeate my little grey cells . . . : )

In the book K talks about how we are constrained in our lives through authority. This authority comes in many forms - some obvious: societal, parental etc; others less so, such as the internal authority we have as an established framework within us that is a structure built from our previous experiences. These "truisms" are borne of our past and passed experiences yet we hold onto them and when we do we view life and ourselves with "the authority of yesterday" and in doing so never truly see or interact with what is before us in the actual moment.

To be completely present in a moment, letting go of preconceptions, knowledge, frameworks, traditions, structures etc is to free from this authority of the past, this freedom leaves you open to full experience of what is before you. This is newness, freshness, and is invigorating. Rejecting authority (which is different than rebellion or revolt), means that you are free, no longer looking to others, no longer fearful (because there is no right or wrong, no fear of mistake), and living fearlessly is a tremendous unburdening of all the dead weight you have been carrying with you as baggage to this point.

Basically I haven't captured the ideas nearly as well as he has but it is something that I do think about, the limitations we perceive in our lives which are self created realities; if we are unwilling to admit entry to other possibilities then the absoluteness of our realities are assured. It is far easier to perceive in others than in ourselves, I think we often see people we care about who have a strong belief about themselves or the circumstances of their life which just do not appear so to us yet the totality of their convincement actually manifests what they believe. In subtle ways through their reactions, actions, words they create subtle beginnings or seeds that grow into fully formed realities of their own invention.

We do the same things in our own lives but, we are living so much within our own framework that we fail to see or perceive it. Living each moment in full awareness of ourselves, letting go of knowledge, allows learning to take place in the moment, and allows other options to slip through the web of possibilities.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the old days they didn't have TV . . .

And neither do we. But, we also don't have a piano to sit around singing songs, we do however have a camera to sit around pulling faces . . .





no excuses

hey, noone said they were tuneful in the old days . . .

Tantra and Life

I'm writing an essay (hear the creaking of those brain cogs that have been long rusted into an unfortunate modern scrap metal sculpture). The subject of which is the title of this blog. It is a fascinating topic, sort of the yoga equivalent of that English Lit major topic: Shakespeare is as relevant today as he was in Elizabethan England. Discuss.

It is extremely tantric that I realise as writing this essay that the essence of Tantra (the interrelationship of all things and the highest form of reality being any and everything that is before us right now, in a positive sense) marries together my above paragraph and yoga. For me, asana is the antidote to the cliche "use it or lose it". What is called the "natural aging process" is in fact the mistreatment of fine machinery. With the exception of those living with inherited ailments of the body most of us start life in a shiny new machine which we then overwork without oiling, fuel with the wrong energy and then leave out in the rain to rust and then complain bitterly about the shoddy machine we've been given to drive.

Yoga, as I understand it is beautiful. It is not about touching your toes. Which is the first thing that most people guiltily confess to me when they discover I am a yoga teacher. It is not about bigger better faster more or give up slump down laze round complain, the Western approach to life. It is about noticing the beautiful thing that our body is. The body and mind are our whole means for experiencing and perceiving this world.

They are not who we are. They change, whatever we define as "ourselves" is unchanging at its essence. If we think back to ourselves as children, obviously we have changed physically and mentally, yet it is undeniable that whoever it is that is having this experience, is the same as the person we remember from then, there is some essential "us-ness" or "me-ness"that remains unchanged.

Yoga Asana is recognition and maintence of your Tonka truck, to see the driver through their lifetime. It is not about comparing yourself to someone else in your class, there is no Olympic medal for toe touching that I am aware of. I am also unaware of any compelling argument to convince me of the superiority of one who can touch their toes to one who can't. If you can articulate it to me or better yet yourself I would be very interested in hearing that hypothesis.

As in yoga, as in life. So ask yourself, What stops me from doing things which conceptually there is no reason why I couldn't do? Is it your mind? The mind is a faithful servant to us, but is the blind servant who doesn't see dangers heading straight for the master because of their devotion to their regular duties.

As we engage in the habits and rituals that are familiar and comfortable we turn away from the challenging, the unexpected, the different and we live on a kind of autopilot which makes the mind dull. Yoga is about awakening the mind from this soporific stupor that drains our energy and our inspiration. When we truly engage with and interact with what is before us, instead of what we decided would be before us before we even looked or engaged with it, there is a kind of beauty and newness to things that is always there but that we usually fail to see. Nothing has changed in the scenario, barring our awareness.

When you do asana (yoga poses) this is precisely the skill that you are exercising. Before you "do" yoga it looks a lot like assuming an outlandish pose, along the lines of "strike a pose" for the camera. In fact, the external appearance of the pose is a partial and indeed rather superficial appearance of what is happening when we practice asana, much like the way that the photo of a person is not the essence of the person it portrays.

Yoga poses blend many different things to teach us about ourselves. They are not about creating the most intense sensation that we can possibly bare. They are not so much about where you can and can't touch the body physically as mentally. Can you let your mind be present with you in the pose instead of wandering off somewhere else on a Sunday stroll to what you will have for dinner tonight, how much you need to cut your toenails, that great gadget/dress/magazine you want to buy, where to go on your holiday . . . ?

Can you work with your body rather than battling against it? Can you help it to gently extend what it can do, rather than berating or lamenting it for what it can't. Can you strengthen it, without punishing it through over exertion? Can you listen to what it is telling you at any given moment, hear what it is asking for?

Can you be honest about where you are at rather than where you would like to be at, or where the person next to you is at? Can you take the responsibility for how you treat your body rather than blaming your injuries or exhaustions on the person who your mind helpfully edited so you didn't have to listen to all those bits you felt didn't apply to super heroic/poor little you?

Can you be compassionate to yourself? Can you acknowledge that you are doing the best that you can right now, with what you have? Not so much physically, although yes, here too, but more in your mental efforts.

There is an awful lot to remember and then do. Having a running commentary in your head lambasting every little thing you do wrong as you attempt to keep a positive attitude and to keep on making effort, seems a little counterintuitive, no? Yet for many people this is a very great challenge. This is again the mind. It has that feeling that parents have when their kids start to assert their individuality and independence (I imagine), and feels a little worried that its role is being taken for granted at best and supplanted at worst. In fact, it is the same as the parent - child relationship. There will always be appropriate times for interaction, advice, a common face turned to the world. And there will equally be times when the child is on their own, experiencing and interpreting the world for themselves.

I could go on with this. But mercifully ( :) ) I shan't. I'll just say that to find a yoga teacher who you understand in some way who can keep you safe physically in the poses (for they are still a large part of the practice) and teach you to love learning about yourself, the world and the correlation and interconnection between the two is an amazing and beautiful thing. I hope you can and will let your mind sidetrack its routing from letting that information come in to its end destination of "No, I can't" to take the alternative route; "Maybe I can. I can".

ps. Superyogi tip: If you can't touch your toes bend your knees ; )