Monday, January 18, 2010

How do you furnish your mind? (The answers so far)

Here are the responses so far...

Mine is furnished much like my life--a tight little workspace, with a comfy spinning chair, everything I need within reach for any project I can think of, lots of little boxes and bins some with labels, some color coordinated with...something, little post-its all over the place with those "pearls" and things I want to do someday, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Paths through the woods and maps of everyplace I have been or want to go, little fragments of things I've started and may pick up again someday, paint chips, wallpaper books, fabric samples, and all manner of tasty tidbits.

There's a remarkable lack of actual music, though I have the lyrics to all the songs I remember from my teens, and bits of melody from all the classical music I listen to on the radio, and there are movies! Films and videos, slideshows and stills of everything I've ever been, done or seen, tucked here and there to spring out sometimes when I move something else, and take me off in a different tangent, or to be running in the background while I do something else.
A slightly chaotic but also ordered place, but only to me. No one else can find anything if they go looking in there!

The first thing that came to mind is dusty old broken down springs showing couches and chairs with missing legs and stuffing pouring out. :-)
I forgot the cobwebs

My mind is furnished with a sofa, very comfortable and a table that has lots of my favorite books on artists and various techniques of pottery making and watercolor. Also, I like to write and draw so I have a journal for poetry making and a tablet for art/water color. Oh, and I have a ceramic studio with clay, a wheel and a kiln to fire with glazes, very vibrant and colorful. My mind always has music in it too so there is a large variety of CDs, and some old classical records that I play. Gee, this is fun, I have lots of things in it. There are "Pearls of Wisdom" given to me throughout my life in a book that I sit on my table to look at and glean from when needed. God is ever present for me and gives me a place of rest and freedom here and I have many spiritual beings and prayers of meditation that are constant and forthright, helping me to get through the challenges in my life. That's what my mind carries for me.

So how do I furnish my mind?
One thing that I do is write, that kind of sweeps out some of the mischievous monkeys that are chattering away throughout both hemispheres.

Then I walk to and/or from work (10 - 15 minutes depending on how much I dawdle and gawk at the scenery around me).

Art helps, so I try to find a space in my working day to encourage that practice with the program participants and I get to "play along" which is blissfully satisfying. Being a sweetmeat that I am sneaking into a professional practice.
I am imagining a "great room" as my primary living a country cabin.
So furniture. Okay for me there is a antique writing desk with quill and ink at the ready.
A little silk pillow on the floor for meditation.
A danish sofa which doubles as my bed.
A table at which I can glue, collage, paint, and read.
Then there is my Bose for listening to Bach during which time I practice proprioceptive writing to help form my whole spiritual self.

And a window with lovely blown glass that makes sparkles on the deep window ledges.
Just outside that window is a bird feeder which is the kitchen for slate juncos, nuthatches, chickadees, a downy woodpecker or two, and a pair of cardinals.

Oh dear me, I have just described my living room. Maybe how we "decorate" is just a metaphor for our minds. smile.

My mind, overall is a large studio. At the centre of the studio is a huge mixing bowl where everything flows in together. My walks in the woods, the books I’m reading about spirituality, neuroscience, animal rights, my oil pastels, knitting, beading…my personal history with family, relationships, careers, gardening, technology, health…it’s a huge melange of things that I stir up like a cake batter. And as I do, lumps form, and become beautiful spontaneous sculptures which I lift out of the bowl to contemplate and enjoy as they settle and dry. Most eventually flow back into the mixing bowl to dissolve and be formed once again. A few stay for decades.

(I particularly loved the following exchange, found it very useful!)

Oh goodness--I have too much furniture and too much of much that I have trouble accomplishing anything. I can't imagine quieting my mind enough to meditate, let alone polish my furnishings. If anyone has any suggestions--please share...
B. D.

B. D., I totally know what you mean! I've devised a coping strategy whereby when things in there get really over cluttered, I have to take a "vacation" and do something totally outside the norm--a way of stepping back and letting everything go back to its "place". It's like having a mental maid come in and tidy up for me while I'm "out". I don't know how it works, it just does. The thing I do that starts the process most often is a ride in the country--or anyplace I haven't been before. Or, if I can't get out physically, a movie marathon a la Netflix, or a new book in a new genre. The thing is to stop, redirect and proceed in a different new direction for a little while. Then, when you're done, all is right with the world again!

Try it and most important, have fun!
C. R.

Hmmmmm well I'm very intuitive and because I know this, I drink in Everything, that way when I go to create art, decorate cook whatever the dreams locked in my heart and soul come out in what my hands are doing. D. as I know her, disappears and the magic happens.This is much like a gardener spending hours in the garden not realizing lunch has passed with out notice and so has dinner and darkness has now set in before they realize the beautiful creations that have been made.

Essentially, I have a bunch of different spaces to hang out in,
according to the mood I'm in, the mood I want to be in
and what I want my mind to be doing.

Music, mostly opera, in some; silence or nature sounds in others.
My posture changes according to which "room" I'm in, and my
voice tonality and vocabulary, too.

The elements common to all... comfort... control over the "lighting"
and "space" and plenty of both and heaps of different "objects"... my tools... and an atmosphere of joy and curiosity.

Come and see... the doors are always open, the cookie jar is always filled, the kettle ready to bubble, and the crone ready to whoop it up.
A. A.

My first reaction was color. There is a children's book out called "Frederic" and it is about 4 field mice getting ready for winter. 3 of them are scurrying around collecting food for the cold months and Frederic is just sitting in the sun with his eyes closed. The others prod him and say, "Come on Frederic, we need your help." But each time they do, Frederic tells them that he is collecting light and colors for the winter months...

Along comes the winter and the little mice are finished with all they have stored. They are cold and hungry and have are feeling depressed... then they turn to Frederic, who starts describing the warm summer days using colors and adjectives that bring summer alive for the mice. He talks about the beautifully colored flowers and all the ripe and colorful fruit on the trees. He tells them to picture the warm sun rays kissing their faces and... they are all restored and happy and thank Frederic for this wonderful "soul food" sustenance :)

So color was a first. And then I thought, nature scenes. Because I get my inspiration and I resource myself by going into nature: I go to the heighty mountain tops when I am feeling low, to the harmonizing in and out of the ocean's waves when I am feeling out of sorts, to the refreshing ocean breeze when I am feeling "hot," to the rolling green hills in the countryside when I need to feel more flow..., to the forest trees when I am in need of inspiration... you get the picture. In order to see all this, I need a big window. So these are the furnishings in my mind: colors and a window on to nature, a book (that turns into the one book I need in the moment), and a very comfortable easy chair. I figure if it is neat and tidy and peaceful in my mind, I can draw on it wherever I go :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How do you furnish your mind?

Edith Kramer once asked me how I furnished my mind... What was the "furniture" that I put in there. Well, at the time I hesitated, not really all that keen on admitting to some of the pablum that was passing itself off as "furniture" in there, so of course I turned the question around and asked her how she furnished her mind.

Edith said because of her classical European education, her mind was pretty well furnished with the works of Freud, Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Ernest Thompson Seton, and Selma Lagerlof to name just a few. She said she was never bored, even when swimming laps, because she could always entertain herself with something from her "furniture". She just wondered what young folks today furnished their minds with.

Now of course with all the information and images flying at us every day, I seriously make an effort to keep the furnishings as simple as possible. I might play with an idea or two, a few images, or some new art technique. Mostly I try to keep the space as open as possible so that when I see something of delight while out walking, I'm able to think about what I might do with it. Or if I come across a new idea or technique, I am free to think about how to apply it. So I would say my "furniture" is pretty Zen spare, with a tatami floor, a nice flower arrangement and a scroll with some elegant calligraphy hanging next to an open window.

So how do you furnish your mind?
You do get to choose what you put into it, you know.
How do you choose?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Play Retreat in the Seattle area!

Do you have a free weekend at the end of the month? Do you live on the left coast? Teesha and Tracy Moore have a little retreat called PLAY RETREAT. Check in out!