Day 18 of Practice

temple in Gokulam

Today’s practice was very rewarding. Not for any particular reason, the Maricyasana postures, mostly C and D were as challenging as ever to get the bind, and supta kurmasana is always a lot like being put underwater, then resurfacing in a different world. A powerful pose, one of my new favorites. I also am enjoying working on the jump back from budjapidasana, which is a transition out of the arm-balance, into titibasana, then into crow and a jump back. I am also really getting the hang of jump-throughs, quite fun to execute with control.

Saraswathi is really fun to practice with. She has a strict demeanor but is really quite flexible with everything, kind of puts her foot down when necessary, but mostly stays aloof and asks about binds, which poses you did, and focuses on assisting and cueing individuals. The room is a powerful place, when you walk in you can feel the intensity of the energy. I can see myself learning all of the sequences with her, I like the way she sings sometimes and has a balance of intensity and detachment. indian streets

I’ve had a couple of rough patches with my knees, but its taught me a lot about how to open my hips safely. It’s pretty easy for me to overdo it on the knees, especially because I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. So it’s been a challenge in patience, because of course, I want to move on to the next poses, which are the hardest in the series. And I don’t love waiting for lotus, Padmasana. Setu Bandhasana and Garba Pindasana are the only two poses left in the series that I haven’t done before, mostly because I don’t quite have lotus pose yet. I think it’s just a question of time, it will happen when my body is ready. And it’s pretty great to watch unfold, because it is really such a challenge in patience for me.

The lesson I am really learning is to be where I am. I spent extra time in most of the poses, especially the twists to get my spine mobile for the Maricyasana series. I enjoy spending extra time in Urdhva Danurasana, Sirsasana, and Sarvangasana, all three make my mornings pretty unbeatable. The intensity of the practice lends itself to a blissful day, especially when I have no obligation. I get to practice existing. It’s that simple.

I have spending more and more time in meditation, letting thoughts simply pass through, not attaching to anything. It’s getting easier and easier to drop in, like a stream I am becoming more and more familiar with. Thoughts still don’t really stop, but sometimes they do. I think it’s a question of letting my brain run out of fuel and its hard with all of the stimulation I am getting. The stream changes in countless small ways each time I drop in so it takes time to re-adjust and melt back in. It is getting to be quite the reward in and of itself. I have also been spending an inordinate amount of time listening to talks about eastern religion, mostly Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism by Alan Watts, Osho, and a few more random dudes. I find Jainism to be absolutely fascinating, same with Sikkhism, but they aren’t quite as well-known in the west so I don’t concentrate on them. I might have to do more digging into Indian culture to find more of the different practices within the spiritual traditions.

Hinduism is alive and thriving in Mysore, especially Gokulam.

Mysore_Streets
Mysore

Temples are everywhere and the gods are visible in the lives of the people. The philosophy behind Hinduism is ingenious, it really allows the people to live together harmoniously. There’s always talk about Shakti, or the movement of energy working itself out. You could probably stand in the middle of most streets during rush hour and be avoided by the cars, they are really mindful of everything around them when they drive around here. You have to be, everyone is on a scooter. India has a certain type of organized chaos that I have never experienced anywhere else and that I am really going to miss when I leave.

I am mentally preparing myself for a vipasana, I think I’ll start at the beginning of April when I arrive in Kathmandu. 10 days, only silence,Gokulam meditation, no human contact. I am really expecting that to change the way I talk and think.

Tonight, I am going to be loud and make tons of noise. I get to DJ at a resort in the outskirts of the city, for a club that wants EDM mostly electro house. I have really been getting heavy into music ever since I began teaching yoga, so this is a great opportunity for me. I think of the two professions as completely complimentary, representing the yin/yang relationship of silence and meaning to letting go and simply being. I could see myself teaching a couple of classes in the morning, practicing before, then doing a set in the evening at a club. I think that lifestyle would suite me well, I enjoy a thorough change in pace quite often.street_corner

My set is already created, I used Ableton to create the mix and transitions beforehand, so I can focus on effects and managing the crowd. Should have some great pictures and hopefully a couple of videos afterwards. I will also release my set (if I can find the bandwidth) on my music site: alienmusique.wordpress.com. I’ll also release all the song names.

Wish me luck, it’s a moon day (day off for new moon) so I can just focus on music all day.

 

An Interview with Colin Wright

Colin_Wright
About 5 days ago, I wrote to Colin Wright, an indie author, expressing how much I appreciate his work and how he has really inspired me for 2015. He travels and has written a buncha books. Well, being the responsive young chap that he is (though I think he’s a bit older than me), he responded and said he would be happy to answer some questions for my blog.
I couldn’t resist the chance to ask a fellow traveller about their perceptions of yoga and go figure, he’s a yogi. He also written over a dozen books and travels constantly, exploring the world and staying in each country for about 4 months at a time.
Besides having some incredibly interesting things to say about yoga, Colin has developed a very balanced approach to traveling and never being in one spot for too long, so he has a great perspective and a provocative voice. Enjoy!
1. Do you have any experience with yoga? Favorite poses? styles? Any experiences you would care to share?
CW: You know, I actually practiced yoga every day for about ten years. Love it as an exercise and means of better understanding my body/managing my health. Have never really been into the spiritual side of it, but I think the health/meditative benefits speak for themselves.
I’ve tried a lot of different modalities, but tend to prefer those that focus on postures and stamina. Doing yoga was one of the few things that allowed me to wear myself out and sleep well back when I was working myself to death in LA. Very valuable habit.
2. I heard you visited India. What was that like? What were your favorite places?
CW: I lived in Kolkata for about 5 months, and it was tragic and educational and inspiring in equal measure. There are so many problems that operate on the foundational level, there, and so many people suffer day-to-day as a result. On the flip side, I met some incredible people, and learned a whole lot, especially in terms of attaining new perspective; it was so radically different from anywhere else I’ve lived, and far astray from any lifestyle I’d lived before.
3. What are a few places you are planning to travel in 2015?
CW: I’m in Seattle at the moment, and will be heading to Missoula, Montana for three months at the end of February to prepare for a two-month book tour through the western half of the US and Canada. From there, I’ll tally the votes my readers cast through my blog and see what country I’m headed to next.
4. What kind of music do you listen to on the road?
CW: All kinds. And I don’t mean that in the ‘I have no preference’ way; I actually have a collaborative playlist on Spotify that allows folks from around the world to add whatever it is they’re listening to, so I get to ‘taste test’ all kinds of genres, artists, and styles. I like mixing it up and having stark contrasts throughout my day, and music is one means of achieving that.
5. What is your social life like on the road?
CW: Usually one of two extremes: either very social and meeting and meeting up with many people every day, or completely hermetic, only leaving my flat to take long, silent, meandering walks, and then returning home to sit and write and be entirely in my own head. I need a balance of both to be at my best, in terms of happiness and creativity (and productivity).
6. What is the nicest hostel you have stayed in?
CW: I don’t stay in many hostels, actually. I tend to rent flats in the countries I visit, as I generally stick around for four months or more. I will say that renting is a pain in Kolkata (which is sometimes called ‘the land of paperwork’) and super-easy in Prague (which has many Facebook groups that act as short or long-term person-to-person real estate listings).
7. What was your favorite read of 2014?
CW: Oh, there were a lot of good books last year. One that stands out (and that I find myself referencing in conversation quite a bit) is called How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson. Really compelling read, and some fascinating stories.
8. Any recommendations for India?
CW: Be friendly, be open to new experiences, and be aware that the cops will sometimes hassle you (or even pull over your taxi) looking for bribes. Eat all the food (it’s cheap and delicious), but know that most of it isn’t very good for you. Don’t stick to the tourist track; try and check out some legitimate neighborhoods where people actually live. Have fun.
Thanks Colin, I’ll be sure to have a good time over there. Good luck with your tour and thanks for sharing!
If you are interesting in seeing more of Colin’s work, head over to his blog exilelifstyle.com, you won’t be disappointed!

Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD

My Way of Doing “Art”: ADD

ADD and ADHD are the same thing, there is no meaningful difference in the classification, in case you thought there was. ADD (or add the H if you want to be outdated) is one of those hot topics in America that really doesn’t make sense to me. Giving children medicine for being overactive is the stupidest shit I have ever heard of. They need more recess, more adventure, less of those four walls and desks. It is a lacking on the part of our schools and our teachers to properly administer education to our leaders, the rebels, the gifted, the children who are not going to just sit and listen to someone who is boring and doesn’t really care about what they are teaching. The ones that need to be doing, not sitting still and listening. Our culture is so inoculated with pharmaceuticals and convenience that these two concepts have cascaded into our schools and we think that our children need to conform to these principles. But you know that there is not a single neuroscientist out there that can define ADD chemically, right? It is a psychiatric label that doesn’t actually exist! The only way to diagnose, like many other bullshit misunderstood psychiatric illnesses, is through personality diagnoses and self diagnosis through personality traits. Neurologists are sure ADD is a variance in the dopamine pathways in the prefrontal cortex and executive center of the brain, but they have no idea why and not a one can define the difference between a normal brain, and an ADD brain beyond personality traits and semi-formulated dopamine regulation theories.

So our culture is labeling something that we don’t understand and calling it negative when children with ADD tend to have higher IQ’s, be more active, more rebellious, more disrespectful towards authority, and unique in their view of the world. Sounds like we need more of those kids…We call it a problem and fix it, when there is nothing to fix; these are our future leaders! This isn’t a disorder, it’s a gift, and we need to understand these children and help them to flourish to find peace and fulfillment. Our schools need to change so these children can succeed in their natural creativity, not stifle it with amphetamine analogues that are just as powerful, maybe sometimes more so, than cocaine.

When I was young, I did a lot of stupid shit. Like pouring water buckets onto other kids heads, or pushing kids off slides, or kicking my sister. That’s how I learn, by making mistakes. I was a pretty wild kid, with a lot of energy and my mom would take me to the park a lot to run around and scream. This translated nicely when it came to sports, but in school, it was no-good. My first grade teacher was the first to say, he is disruptive but he seems to be learning the information just fine himself, he’s distracting the other children. Cue the dramatic piano music and thus begins my relationship with pharmaceutical drugs, particularly amphetamine analogues, and this would continue into my 20s. But I was better behaved for my teachers at school and I didn’t care about taking a pill in the morning. I was six. I even won student of the month. One time, in first grade. I don’t think I was a very good student, as far as the teachers were concerned though, I had great relationships with most of my younger teachers, but as I grew older I grew more disagreeable with my teachers.

Anyways, according to modern neurologists and psychiatrists I have a brain disorder, but no one really knows what causes it, they just know it has to do with the prefrontal cortex and that stimulants seem to provide the stimulus saturation needed to keep someone with ADD focused. So there really is a huge unknown here, something that we really can’t explain with the current state of neuroscience.

So I kept taking medication until high school, which was the first place I started to really question ADD. I read books about it, learned about the personality types of people with ADD and thought it wasn’t so bad. Maybe I would try no medication for a while. One semester during summer school, my history teacher said he was willing to do an experiment. Three weeks on the medication, three weeks off the medication, so see where I performed better. The three weeks with medication won, by far. This is a perfect examples of the problem with the schools; the amount of learning I was achieving was less important than my behavior. I actually think the idea of ADD is 100% a result of America’s current schooling system. I’m not saying that a chemical basis for ADD doesn’t possibly exist, but that our schools should be fully able to handle these students with ease.

I’ll tell you a bit about my personal experience with ADD. Boredom is a constant for someone with ADD, we are always looking for new way to stimulate ourselves, entertain ourselves, whatever. So when I was younger, I was extremely impulsive; I would just do things all the time to see what would happen and a lot of times these actions were very intrusive. So its easy to be annoying when you have ADD. Sports were tough until I was older because I really couldn’t regulate my attention or focus yet. My focus something I really had to tame.

Focus is the key to ADD, learning to use it and keep it constant rather than constantly fluctuating up and down. Having ADD as a kid is like riding a dragon, seriously, its terrifying, rewarding, painful, and bumpy. But as I learned to harness it, the tool of my focus became more and more powerful. Hyper-focusing became rather easy and now I am in control of my attention. Really dealing ADD is really more about hormone regulation than anything else. Thank god for yoga. Now onto the awesome stuff, the legendary, the reason why we have to stop alienating and medicating these kids. When I started creating art, I realized I had a gift for translation, for expression, for getting down to the core of ideas, the humanity of things. The best teacher I ever had was David Bischoff, because he taught me how to see art, how to trace influence, and visually analyze anything really. He taught me how to see things differently than I ever had and I was captivated every class. I needed more teachers like that when I was a kid, people who told me to look outside of the box of the classroom and go see the world. But in truth, I was very lucky, and absolutely could have seen myself not being as successful as I was in the system (I have my BA, yay!).

I found yoga when I was 20 and that sealed the deal. Yoga is how I regulate my attention and my hormonal balance and I would put yoga into the first grade at public schools if it were up to me. No one ever told me there were ways I could regulate my own attention. Everyone turned to medicine, which I am not mad, sad, or judgmental about, I just think there might be a better way.

I think what really needs to change is the education system, not the pharmaceuticals. Children need personalized education, group education is great too, but one on one time is so valuable for our younger generations. If kids with ADD had adults that could keep up with them in one on one situations, the attention span of the child will stop being a problem. Personalized teaching for someone with highly creative, highly intelligent, and extreme intuition sounds like a good idea to me. So where does that leave us?

The biggest problem in the world right now is education; we can solve the problem soon, if we put our budgets and our minds to it, but we are too busy waging war in the Middle East and letting the UC system go to shit. Let’s reprioritize. Kid brains and kid happiness over weapons and defense.

The Application Process for the Ashtanga Institute

Ashtanga Institute, Mysore

This article was specifically written for people applying to the Ashtanga Institute in Mysore (http://kpjayi.org), directed by Sharath Jois and Saraswathi Jois. This was a bit of a difficult process for me and because there is not a lot of information about the application process on the internet, I figured I would write about it.

Here are some of the general guidelines for applying:

  1. Apply 3 months in advanced. For Sharath’s class, this means midnight, Indian Time, on the first of the month for three months in the future. Saraswathi’s class seems to be less full so you can actually up until 2 months before you want to start practicing.
  2. For Sharath, you should apply to start in the first five days of the month, Saraswathi you can apply to start on any day of the month.
  3. If you are new to the institute, you would be wise to simply apply for Saraswathi’s class, Sharath’s fills up extraordinarily quickly and he almost certainly chooses yogis that are returning before new people.
  4. You must stay to practice for at least one month, but cannot stay for more than 3.
  5. The Institute closes on March 31st for a few months, but I am not sure when they re-open.

I first sent my application in at noon on October 1st, to start practicing with Sharath on January 1st. It took about four weeks to get my email with an unfortunate rejection due to being full, I re-applied to Sharath’s class two days later, this time at 1pm on October 31st for a February 1st start date. I was rejected again, but this time the rejection letter came only two weeks later. At this point, I became pretty frustrated and started to do some research.

I joined the Mysore Ashtanga community in Mysore and asked about the institute. Someone actually recommended that I give Saraswathi a call from the number on her website, so I did.

She answered in a quiet tone, and almost immediately asked, ‘where are you now?’, ‘when you want to come?’, ‘Did you send in an application?’ and I responded. After my response she simply said, ‘okay, you come. Come…come to Mysore, we’ll do yoga.’ It was that simple, and I got to start near the end of January, as opposed to February because her class isn’t as full as Sharath’s. She was very kind and I am excited to practice with her.

So I got a confirmation letter about a week later which was perfect, right on time to get my VISA, multiple entry for 6 months.

Just a few notes about the actual application submission:

  • make sure your pictures are under 500KB, there are image resizers out there that will do the trick
  • Make sure the passport picture is legible
  • Apply for Sharath’s class close to midnight Indian time
  • If you are new to the Shala, you probably want to start learning from Saraswathi
  • Once you get the confirmation email, forget about the application cause you’re going to have to wait a while. India seems to move much slower than the US

Of course every case is a little different, but I figure this was pretty typical for someone new the to Institute. If you have questions, or are applying yourself and want some more details, ask in the comments 🙂

 

My Way of Doing “Art”

LiB2014 Light at first Sunset

I am finding myself looking for more and more ways to express myself. I quit my job at a big data firm a little over a year ago and decided to start teaching yoga; I think this was my first step into a much larger world of self-expression and performance based art. I’m not say that teaching a yoga class is a performance, but it is definitely entertainment to some degree. Even this blog is a type of performance, though I am not sure where it will go.

I have a lot of influences that I feel compelled to explain, to better understand where I am coming from when I create things.

We have to start this conversation in my childhood, because there are some core personality traits about me that you should understand. I almost perfectly fit the symptom categorization of someone with Attention Deficit Disorder; that is to say that I have a brain where my neurons keep my brain focused on background information rather than the stimuli that can keep a brain focused on an object. This is coupled with the ability to intensely focus on objects for smaller periods of time, that neurologists call hyper-focusing. Its like a muscle, you learn how to use it more and more as you get older, as long as you are aware of it. For a long time I was seeking the greatest stimulation for my mind, interactive media was a huge part of my life. But then I found yoga and detachment from my entire life and shifted towards a new dimension of my personality, a second language and seemingly predestined experiences in Europe.

I don’t think saying you have a destiny is selfish, even though it is definitely something that is focused on the ego. Having a purpose is the single greatest conundrum of all life; there is no justifiable or provable reason for existence. We explain all kinds of theory around what the possibilities are; indeed, mythology achieved this as we matured into societies and civilization, but this is still completely unknown to us. Even Descartes famous “proof” is nothing more than self-referring circular logic and there is no way to say that this is not one dream, inside of another. But in this vast sea of unknown, we have a beacon of hope, the brightest lights that exist in the known universe; we have consciousness.

Still unexplained, still undefined, consciousness is ever eluding; though modern neuroscientists have made extraordinary strides to define cognition, dysfunction, neurology, and the function of specific neurons in the brain. But the field of psychology is still young and barely 100 years old.

This story starts with my neurological make-up, as the biggest contributor to my art is my brain, and why I am different.

Be forewarned that this is a multi-article series that will be completed over time, but I have previewed the articles for you below.

Please check back soon for the completed articles:

ADD

When I was young, I did a lot of stupid shit. Like pouring water buckets onto other kids heads, or pushing kids off slides, or kicking my sister. I was a pretty wild kid, with a lot of energy and my mom would take me to the park a lot to run around and scream. This translated nicely when it came to sports, but in school, it was no-good. My first grade teacher was the first to say, he is disruptive but he seems to be learning the information just fine himself, he’s distracting the other children. Cue the dramatic music and thus begins my relationship with drugs, particularly amphetamine analogues, and this would continue into my 20s. But I was better at school. I even won student of the month. One time, in first grade. I don’t think I was a very good student, as far as the teachers were concerned though, I had great relationships with most of my younger teachers, but as I grew older I grew more disagreeable with my teachers.

Thinking Differently

I can’t remember when my interest with psychology started, but it was probably around 2nd or 3rd grade. I wasn’t yet aware of anything abnormal as far as my own prescription went because my parents were very good about assimilating my mindset to what I had to take. I took a lot of acupuncture herbs and feared those far more than Ritalin. But sports were how I learned to focus my attention, soccer was great at first, but I became passionate about basketball, in a big way. I was big compared to other kids when I was younger (wider, not thinner.) so I played a lot of contact sports, eventually leading to football and rugby. But my interest in video games would always compete with my love of sports, but eventually it led me to get a job in technology. I’ve always been good with computers, they just make sense to me.

Catholic Schools

I have a very unique relationship with Jesus and god, developed from being a part of the church when I was very young. I used to go every week, especially when I was younger and can remember the whole thing. Maybe it was going to Jesuit school for 8 years, but logically, the divinity of Christ doesn’t make sense to me, personally. I prefer to think of him like an ancient scientist, similar to Socrates, who unlocked ways to cure various ailments and psychology illnesses in the ancient world. There are a lot of useful symbols in the bible that are improperly analyzed due to being taken literally, or not worked on in Ancient Greek; in order to really understand the bible’s meaning, you have to understand the ancient greek that the bible was written in. Apart from that, I really believe that everyone should read the dead sea scrolls; it offers a very different and provocative view of Jesus, less of a god and more of a man. After all, god has to have been invented by humans, at least the recognition of the idea. This doesn’t mean it isn’t real, but that it is our adaptation, even the definition is inherently human, but the feeling of god is truly indescribable.

Video games

I still want to craft a light saber, Star Wars games were my favorite when I was younger, but my gaming history culminates with World of Warcraft. Think the whole 9 yards, raids, dungeons, guilds, even organizing raids and guilds at certain points, though I was never committed enough to really give 100% of my free time to the game, thankfully. But it is amazing how social games have become and I am waiting for the next big hit by playing Tales of Vesperia (an incredibly good xbox360 game, like a new age final fantasy or Zelda. I am also playing Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, which is an eye orgasm it’s so beautiful, and Starcraft II, in very small dosages. But I want to get the next-gen systems just to play some of the higher production value games, such as Destiny or Titanfall, but I just love seeing the technology evolve. My story really starts with my first computer…

Drawing, reading, remote control vehicles, warhammer 40K, karate, and sports

Reading has always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t like classical literature until I learned French. In my formative school years, I used to get really bored and would draw curves and lines and eventually got somewhat okay at drawing, though I think I like chewing the pen caps more than making pictures. It was more of an excess energy kind of thing, where I couldn’t sit still so I would get engrossed into some random drawing, I think that still, whatever I am doing, I have to be engrossed in it. So I’ve had lots of side projects that I have loved, like making a model airplane from balsa wood and plastic sheeting with an engine I mounted and inserted myself. It was pretty epic, until the wind tossed it and threw it down onto the concrete to die in its first flight.

Weed and high school

I grew up in California, I have ADD, I’ve been doing drugs since I was six, and I really like to smoke a joint here and there. You can judge me all you want, but if you drink at all then I suggest you don’t. The whole idea of anything being a “drug” is silly to me, honestly, because we are chemicals. It is the foundation for all of matter in the universe and marijuana is a damn plant that you can smoke and it doesn’t cause lung cancer! I also tend to feel more at peace, relaxed, and generally happy when I am high. People have been using substances for performance enhancement since history. That has to mean something. After years of adderoll and ritalin, it calms me down now.

Art History

I have a favorite teacher, out of anyone I’ve ever met, and the dude is crazy; both cool and smart. He is really the first person that taught me how to “see” to how to begin to take the pieces apart of something abstract and put it back together with meaning. This is what I believe true art is: reconstruction of an idea through the creation of an experience in the mind of a perceiver. The best experiences are the ones that you are in control of; something that art is just beginning to understand. I started off as a freshman in the Ancient Civilizations class and learned about the Olmec culture, Aztecs, Mayans, and some of the coolest ancient architecture (art was mostly architecture back in the day, at least that’s what we still have) in the world. But this was just beginning to learn to understand Matisse, Duchamp, and the most influential artists of history. It only increased in velocity as I graduated from high school and moved to Spokane to my first major depression, then Paris with my first love and visiting Monet’s Gardens together in the spring.

Yoga Experiences

I stepped into my first studio when I was 20, with my mom. It was an immediate attraction; the challenge and difficulty were perfect. I had done cross-fit with Dan Bunz a few times and had worked really hard at basketball and was a successful rugby player, but I had never felt anything like what these yoga poses were doing to me. I felt, invincible, so strong and I’m sure that I was. That first summer I spent most days in the hot rooms of East Wind Auburn and East Wind Roseville. Scott and Ryan were incredible teachers, so physical and mindful in their teaching practices. I was given some gifts to continue my practice while I travelled, a mat from my mom and a copy of the Baghava Gita, some meditations, and one recorded class from Rusty Wells and one recorded class from Bryan Kest. Those things together, changed my life while I was in Paris. I delved into the past to find why the West had developed to become what it is and fell in love with a harsh, cold, and beautifully ancient city perfect for a 20-year-old American (I got to drink all the time and my b-day wasn’t even that big of a deal!)

Paris, Amsterdam, and death in Poland

Some powerful experiences in my life  occurred in Poland, Paris, and the year I spent in Europe. My best friend is from Nandy, which is just outside of Paris, and he is really the reason why I got into French, so I learn to communicate with my friend. It became a minor in college and then I decided to switch my major from business to French so that I could spent both semesters of my junior year in Paris, instead of just the first one. This ended up being an extremely powerful life-altering decision, as I met my first love at the beginning of the second semester, I think that it was even the night that I returned to Paris from returning home for Winter break. Let’s just say that it’s really hard for me to believe in coincidences at this point, because my first girl was perfect for me at that time and I think we were exactly what each other needed, especially after I got back from Poland. I needed to believe in love again. Needless to say the relationship continued, but this vastly altered my previously formed friendships with people from all over the globe (Algeria, Morocco, England, Columbia, Martinique, China, India, Germany, Spain, really there was more diversity there than I have ever experienced and it was astonishingly refreshing. I couldn’t spend as much time playing video games with my Columbia friend, then smoking a smidgen of hash and going out to drink that night.

Love and my first girlfriend

My first relationship was really the death of my idealism for love and marriage. I honestly though I would only love one person, ever, for my entire life. I don’t think that love works that way for me, its more of a spectrum, where I have varying degrees of respect and factors of attraction that aim at a happy medium of stimulation and stillness. To be honest, you can love someone and know that it can’t work for you and that what happened to me. It’s hard to explain feeling like that, but while I was in Boston, for those two years, I became really unhappy. It wasn’t just my girlfriend, but my first time being in a cubicle, stuck, at the bottom of the company, a nobody that didn’t make very much at all. It felt like the brakes had been strapped on me for the first time in my life and I retreated deep into video games, my yoga practice was forgotten for the first time in a year. But I was happy, for a time.

End College and Work

Its funny, it took moving across the world for me to finally start doing my work and pushing myself in school. I got to France ready to know it all and found myself embarrassingly bad at French for having studied it for seven years. Over the first four months especially, I worked every day translating with my dictionary and would go to my best friend’s house to practice speaking and listen to their fluent conversations that would catapult me to extremely high levels of understanding of the familiar and spoken aspects of the language. This is how I got my first real job in Boston, I was bilingual and technologically savvy so I was hired to do French customer support for their expanding international data division.

Quitting Work

I left work as a product manager, the product owner of an engineering team with five member that absolutely sprinted across finish lines and was extremely fun to work with. I think I am difficult to manage, though I do try really hard, but sometimes its just in my nature to rebel against authority, especially when I have none. I am not too sure I can work for someone else, my passion leads me to put everything I am into what I am doing, this is not so good for a work/life balance, so I looked for better ways to balance myself through teaching yoga, which has been an incredibly great experience both grounding and enlightening.

Getting into writing, then painting, then music

At the same time I teach yoga, I am learning to express myself in new ways. This blog is definitely one of those, but I really don’t like to limit my mediums. I am so glad that I started doing this every few days a year ago, it is very personally fulfilling and I would recommend getting your own blog if you like writing, for yourself. So I write, mostly, though right now I can’t stop making music so I am mostly doing that. I also paint, as you might have seen from my latest completed painting and work towards Matisse, Van Gogh, and Impressionistic surrealism. I love to write and actually have a world that I am waiting to write more about, until I become a bit better at writing conflict. I don’t believe that focusing on just one medium is something I can accomplish, though I do spend the majority of my focus on yoga then do this stuff on the side, as temporary projects mostly that I work on sporadically.

Music

Music is different for me, I am not even looking to create rhythm or beat at this point, but to work with specific frequencies and to learn to control the Ableton Live software. But I am finding myself absolutely in love with making the music and adjusting waveforms and learning more about the software and am spending multiple hours every day working on new music. I am not sure, but if I continue to spend this much time on production and sound design, it will probably be what I develop the most alongside my yoga, next to continuing to write. Painting is not something that I feel compelled to do often, but music is something I naturally do every day anyways, and I have an enormous appetite for music, most particularly electronic music. My time at the clubs in Paris paid off and I listened to the Human After All album the entire time I was in the Paris subway, it was pretty awesome. But I am looking now to start making dance music as opposed to experimental ambient music and hopefully I will have something good soon! I bought an APC20 for $50 from Guitar Center so I am looking forward to Monday when it arrives. Oh, and my album on kickstarter failed to get funded, I guess that’s what I get for not spamming my facebook friends with it. I believe in Karma in a big way, so I am just going to keep spending time that makes me feel awesome working hard to make something cool.

The Death of Dreams (part 2 of 3: Love)

When we are young we idealize about love. Disney helps, but it’s probably also a natural characteristic, that we view things through a lens that says they should be perfect. I was no exception to this rule and still struggle with it. I dream about somebody that might not even exist; I also think sometimes that maybe I am incompatible with most people? But on the other hand, maybe I’m not, I just don’t give myself a fair chance. The truth is that love is nitty-gritty, it’s not always pretty, and sometimes you have to stop worrying about it.

I fell in love in Paris once. When something like that happens you start to expect big things out of life, and out of love. It kind of shifts the lens backwards and refocuses you on a bigger picture. But expectations lead to suffering and confusion so perhaps this is not such a good thing. But I honestly believe it’s not a question of how I act at all, rather a question of how I think. Maybe my own expectations about love that influence my unconscious decisions. It’s also possible a divorce that happened a few years ago, not mine, still has me troubled. But love seems to have changed for me, radically, in the past few years. Since that crazy year in the city of love just over four years ago, everything about the world seems to be different.

I’ve learned to drop my expectations and take it for what is, rather than allowing my imagination to get the better of me. The heart of love is romanticism so I allow the present moment and the sensations of happiness to dictate what I do. I find myself now grounded with others in the real, rather than floating alone amongst ideals. I try to find the beauty in every moment, not that I succeed or expect to. But the quest itself is enough for me.

Love is not about ideals. It is about commitment, reality, and the pursuit of a shared future, hopefully prosperous. I thoroughly enjoy my freedom now that I have sacrificed to create; teaching yoga is truly a joy in my life. But I have a relationship with yoga as well; some days I don’t want to practice or don’t practice when I know I should. Maintaining my relationship is about commitment, going when you don’t want to and being reliable and available. This is how dreams become reality, but reality is truly the death of a dream. This is how they die, in a good way. Now you can enjoy every second of what you have created, for creation to flourish death is an integral player.

One Blog, not Two

I have slowly come to the realization that having two blogs is not optimal. The primary reason is that I don’t write more than 15 posts a week to keep up with each blog.

At first, I thought I would be building two separate audiences. But I am also building a personal brand, therefore, two different blogs doesn’t necessarily serve my goal. It fragments my audience.

Thus I have decided to take my three blogs and turn them into one. Categories and tags will be much more useful now and I will have to reorganize the website for additional subjects and information, but I really believe that this is going to make my life a lot easier. And my audience bigger.

What do you all think about multiple blogs? Do you think it will take away from engagement or readership?