U-Guru

This week has been really HEAVY (especially since I didn’t work Monday) – a lot has happened in four days. Both in work and play I feel ready to turn to the next page. When feeling “stuck” I itch to travel. Though, I just did a three week American road trip and flew to Montreal last weekend for Osheaga music festival, already I am checking out flight deals to Miami!

Waiting in court this morning (yes, I pleaded guilty on a traffic offence and they dropped my charges by more than half!), I found myself using another form of escapism – I was reading romantic poetry. Like any curious homosapien, I look to words of those who inspire me for refuge – Rumi, Hafiz, Shiva Rea, Kerouac, Ram Das, and My Mom (of course, I could go on). One thing all these brilliant leaders keep reflecting back at me is to stop looking outside myself for answers.

Rumi says, “O pure people who wander the world, amazed at the idols you see, what are you searching for out there, if you look within, you yourself are it”. 

This makes someone as self-indulgent as myself grin with pride. But also makes me think…
-a human being can pick up only 1 billionth of all there is to percept in a space at one time
-we are therefore, in a way, choosing what we perceive
-we are recycling our perceptions of “what is” by constantly projecting inner feelings outward  
-we suffer because feeling/awareness itself is based in cravings (food, lovers, money), things we identify as leading to “happiness” or “satisfaction”
-you don’t need to read Descartes to know your perceptions can deceive you
-feeling and perceptions lay inside of us, but they trigger us to react and create our external reality

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s truly physical. But, when you feel suffering inside of you and you look outside of yourself for answers, you are playing into the notion that you are incomplete. The fixation we have with “outside things” is an epidemic in our society. When we let outside things trigger our inner self we suffer – and vice versa. Yet “suffering” is only a feeling, or a spirit, which is passing through the vessel of our Self.

One word: TRUST.
Trust that you are your best teacher. You know yourself better than anyone else. If only we looked inside ourselves as much as we fixated on other people or things – we would feel much more whole and complete.
YOU ARE YOUR GURU.
And as always, here is a poem from Me-Guru-to-U-Guru:

As breath pours
Nectar of Life
Down the spine
Awaken vertebrae
Touch is Kind
Children born
With loving eyes
Pulse is Truth
We are all Divine
As Divine a flea
As Divine my Guru-
OM-
That, which, is She
That, which, I am
That!

Namaste,

Lauryn Elan Z xox

lauryn in apartment

 

Going through a transition?

“I am just going through a transition.”

Do you notice yourself using this phrase?  Do you notice others using this phrase in conversation?

“I am just going through a transition” is a modern excuse for not feeling present/ knowing exactly what one wants. The thing is, you are and will always be going through a transition. The only constant in the world is change.

I recently had the opportunity to study Tantric philosophy and meditation with Christopher Tompkins. Tompkins discussed many heavy philosophical ideas. What hit me most was not his enlightening discussions on spirituality, materialism or ancient India, but his simple notes on modern-day dilemmas. For example: more people die on Monday morning of heart attacks than any other time – and this statistic is drastic across nations. What does this mean? That many people rather physically collapse than face another work week? The stress we induce on ourselves breaks us not just mentally or emotionally, but physically.

The routine of a society with capitalist values and structure leads us to think we must continue on a cycle of stress and consumption (work.earn.buy.work). Life is made up of cycles. Some cycles are natural (seasons, plant growth, moons etc..), while others are constructed by societies. When we stray from our natural cycles—that is our natural rhythm—our whole Self is compromised. We are constantly struggling to keep up with ourselves, our society and our peers. We don’t feel present, because these forced routines detach us from our bodies. Our society emphasizes the importance of brain intelligence, but what about heart intelligence? As soon as the rhythm of my heart gets ahead or behind the rhythm of my mind – I lose ground. Even worse, what if you don’t even sense the rhythm of your heart, your breath or your pulse? This is physical detachment. The detachment of ourselves from ourselves leads to confusion of purpose and lack of presence.

So, when will this transition end so you can finally land on your feet again? Never.  But there are coping mechanisms. Meditation, pranayama (breath) and yoga are practices I identify with. Scan your body and note – but do not judge all the feelings – let go/breathe into points of stress. When you are sitting in traffic and make your automatic right turn at the gas station on your drive to work, take a deep breath, follow your breath around that turn. Feel the tires roll over the Earth (magical right!? ; )). At your desk note your posture, release your jaw, keep your heart open (physically and metaphorically!). I know these practices may seem silly and small – but overtime they become your habits and your habits become your character! I don’t know about you, but every Sunday night before a work week I can feel my nervous system kick in and if I don’t tap into my breath and ground myself physically, I will react, physically.

This is more than just flakey yogi chatter – this is physics! Breathe and Savour. Hey, you know what else helps me center myself? POETRY…

This means the world to me!

The vibrations we release
The world comes to be
The vibrations we receive
It’s physics, its physical

Your bass notes
Your voice notes
The vibrations you put out
Your symphony
It is conducted

– c o n d u c t i n g –

 You
        The Conductor
It is physics 

Off the high hat – Ghana’s highlife
Off the highway – he holds a sign
It says “smile”
I change my face around
It’s physical 

We get in fistfights
It bleeds
Give into motion
Sweat beads

The vibrations you receive
The life you’ll live
Its physics
Get physical

: )

Peace and Love in the Flow,

Lauryn Elan Z  xo

Meditating in Massachusetts

Since my last post – on summer travels – I’ve been on a little journey myself. I drove with my younger brother to go see a Phish  concert in Saratoga Springs (a stunning outdoor concert venue in upstate New York). From there I took off to Kripalu – a meditation sanctuary in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Its been totally relaxing and the food is incredible! Here are some pictures… and of course, a playful poem for yogis and beings alike.

berkshires

the view from Kirpalu

self-trust

Amen.

 

shiva and lauryn

My teacher Shiva Rea on the left and me.

food

Quinoa crust veggie pizza and seaweed fry

lauryn on water

5am meditation

Looking forward is easier upside-down
Gravity proves myself extraordinary
As I see the things – I see – and differently
Full-leaved branches hold weight of aged brown trunks
The world’s frown is smiling
Ceilings’ exclusive to my toes
Power flows: inside-n-up
Blood pumps stronger than regular
Against the odds, I work, together
My feet fly!
My mind stays grounded.
The Earth balances on my head
Offering new perspective

Love and Krishna!

Lauryn Elan Z xo

lez

Summertime Travels

Now that July has graced us with her Sun, many of us will be booking time off this summer to travel. Here is a poem I wrote while traveling South East Asia. Being a tourist in third world nations really makes me question the objectification of the exotic “Other”. It is not only the foreign landscapes, architecture or consumer goods that make traveling interesting – it is also the foreign faces.

 

THE STRUGGLE TO MEAN(S)

Take a Seat in the Theatre-of-the-Absurd
(10 Cents to Watch the Dance of Cognitive Dissonance)

I sit in a theatre-of-the-absurd
Where role-playing is a way of life
For our money
In cumbersome costume
In a cage
Built themselves
By-hand
Evoking our sympathy
Our money

The Search For Meaning:

Tourists pile off air-conditioned buses
Clutching purses in premature panic

Expectation: find meaning in what they lack:
Authenticity:
An assumption rooted in our ignorance
I sigh

Exotic difference must be easy-to-read: authentic but accessible
“It is a doomed search for meaning” O’Rourke said sadly

I sit in a theatre-of-the-absurd
Where meaning lies in the meaningless

I-not exempt from the tour of cognitive dissonance

My hands write in search of enlightenment
—embedded nails bitten but see no stress—
My hands reach into my pockets
—coins jingle like loose shrapnel—
Hands searching for what they owe…

The Fair Trade Game:

I pay her less than two dollars
Her tired eyes half-satisfied
Her weathered hands take the crumpled bills
My guilty eyes twinkle with satisfaction
My eager hands take the rice-paper painting

This is fair trade

It is an authentic piece of art
Buddha hand-sketched in charcoal
Painted over in Christmas reds and greens
I show the circle of teenagers lazy on the grass
Leaning on backpacks

Cool we laugh

I bought hand-sewn silk pants
For less than the cost of specialty coffee
I wear them real low
So you can see my pelvic bone
So I look effectively sloppy

I walk down the sewage stained streets
With an air of white-authority
I smile at whistles of leather-faced drivers
Of motorbike taxis
I take a photograph of a three-legged dog

To me three is odd

It’s an airless grey day humid and heavy
Like most other days here
The smell of rotting cow-carcass at high noon
And noodle soup made with rainwater
Mingle in the air

The Products Of (In)Difference:

I buy a can of Coca-Cola light
Because they do not call it Diet
I don’t ever buy drinks not bottled or boiled
Always use a straw
I consciously try not to gulp

So I can learn to savour

I pay a street vendor for a slice of pineapple
Hands guide the dull knife
Acidity stings the cracks at the corners of my lips
Juices rumble in the caverns of my belly
I follow the directions my guesthouse gave me

I pay a man sitting on a stool to let me climb a mountain

The mountain has stairs
A spine curling up its massive body
Carved out of the rock
Hands holding chisels
Leave impressions that look like acid rain drops

Children pepper the steps begging me to buy postcards
Miss Madame—buy this—Miss buy this

I squat down and point my camera lens up
To take a picture of trees with trunks so thick leaves so lush
And the children crowd me
Unripe hands reach out free of humiliation
Confused why I won’t pay ten cents for a postcard

With all the money I got
They wonder why I came this far

The Path To Enlightenment:

Do not look directly into their eyes
Do not acknowledge their extended hands
It’s this act of cognitive dissonance
It’s this way we can go home again
And pay for specialty coffee

I am loyal to this act of cognitive dissonance—with no need for justification…

I find pleasure just looking at the sky (see: loyalty to cognitive dissonance)
Here the night sky wears rings of gold
On its seductive black hands
Glowing stars mock the endless dark
Blinking like beautiful eyelashes

I stare content at the sky—
Dogs bark at that sky

Peasants cry to that sky for rain

I photograph them—
Bang! Bang!

I steal their souls
To show my friends

The Agreeable Grin:

Coffee comes half-filled with condensed milk
Pushcarts don’t serve Sweet n’ Low
Before sunrise people sit piled on the sidewalk
I sit with them—knees to my chest
Balmy hands around a glass mug

We sip our coffees—savouring

Men suck tobacco from bamboo water pipes
They cough black smoke through decaying teeth
In circles they sit—laughing—clapping calloused hands
In circles they sit picking dirty toenails
In circles they sit around a single bowl of rice

Sharing it bare-hands make it last all night

I buy a pastry and bite in hungry
It ejaculates sweet green custard too sweet and too green
Washing it down with gulps of sugary-condensed-milk-coffee
I am left with sticky hands gurgling belly top-of-mouth layered in filmy candy
I watch a pair of women beside me lick long fingers with wet tongues

What if one day I could live here
I could make handicrafts—sell them on the street
Marry a fire-thrower
Buy a mansion on the sea for the cost of a Fisher Price jeep
I would want to

In pencil I sketch the wrinkled woman on the cracked plastic stool across from me
I smile she does not smile back
This is one exchange she is not willing to accept
Hands folded in her lap
She knows what I want and will not give me that:

Agreeable grin

The Dance Of Cognitive Dissonance:

The women work too much
Who am I to judge
They barter they cook they sew they nurse they wash
The men work too hard
Who am I to say
They haul wooden barrels and roll wheelbarrows

Across the unpaved land you can see it in their hands

Hands with thinning skin bulge veins so stressed
Hands reaching out crusted with earth but empty
Hands like mine just hackneyed
Except I have pockets full of money and my hands reach into them
Buried in the denim lining my hands embarrassed of their innocence

I sit in a theatre-of-the-absurd
Where meaning is found in the struggle to mean(s)

I slide my coins into the machine
One
By
One
They
Get
Up
And
Dance
Mechanically
Stoic
Faces
Hopping
Hopefully
Marionettes held by strings

I sit in a theatre-of-the absurd
And it makes me want to stand

 

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Thanks for reading.

Lauryn Elan Z xo

This Great Romance

I created this blog in August 2011 – almost a year ago. I haven’t touched it since. Today I read a moving blog post by one of my favorite bloggers Child of the Moon. Her mother died. I was moved by her words. I did not only want to share her words, but want to have my own space in reply to women like her – who are inspiring.

My comment on Child of the Moon’s blog about her mother’s death was the following:

She is gorgeous. So are you. Your words are honest and resonate. The images you share, not just here, but always – show us beauty is an expression of passionate insides – curious minds who try something new – creative and colorful, risky and willing – you, just like the expressive women before you, inspire us all.

I hope in some way I can use this space to evoke emotion, conversation and inspiration.

Here is a poem I wrote:

vigor
she hums
in all my bones
all the muscles in my back
all my tears
every bead
of sweat
of blood
reacts
all my days
the weeks as they string
all my years
every moment
coming-going
appointing
all my joints
sinews tear as they clasp
all my veins
every beat
our love
impacts

without union
i live
but do not breathe
dear Earth
i love you
completely
all my bones
all my tears
all my days
all my joints
dont hold
but grasp
this great romance

I wouldn’t call myself a romantic, but I sure am a dreamer.

Much love and gratitude,

Lauryn Elan Z xo

lauryn israel