The Simple Urge to Write

What street did I grow up on? Favorite author? Name of first boss? Something in my consciousness just rubs every time I’m asked to answer personal questions for the sake of account security.  Not really all that important- right? I just can’t help mentioning it, pet peeves are interesting. What’s your dream job? Okay, I thought, looking at the word I’d typed- writer! Awesome, photography is my thing and yet without a moments hesitation- writer!

Writing is a simple pursuit. Alls it requires is a stream of consciousness, thoughts strung together.  Where it streams from and is connected to determines its force and presence. I mostly talk to myself. It’s like coming out to play. A child sees a shiny rock, rushes over to pick it up. Examining it’s underbelly…. delicate moss or gritty sand, even tossing it away fearful of the crawly thing that’s hidden. I like the discovery of simple things.

Anton Chekhov said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” I want to know life and experience its refined form. Like a sweet kiss to the forehead, an arm across a shoulder, a hand stroking hair; writing is intimate, maybe not the words, but writing isn’t about words is it?

I like knowing how people see things, though it isn’t about being clever. The world is full of clever people. When I can know something different about the world seeing it through another’s eyes, I get excited. The vast knowledge of who we are and our capabilities when shared cross-pollinates in profound ways. Self-discovery is like that too, which is why writing to learn is so potent.

Today I’ve given in to the constant urge. I hope this is a beginning.

Dedicated To Those With The Courage To Be Themselves Completely

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point.”
~C.S Lewis (1898-1963)

George Carlin’s quote below got me thinking… To me, one of the greatest life lessons is to maintain my individuality and still participate in a group experience- despite the challenges. Have I always been successful? Sometimes, though evidence suggests I am a work in progress. What I do know from experience inside myself and working with others, is that change, at its best, happens from the inside out. One individual functioning through their own inner awareness and integrity can move an entire group. As an agent of change they may be ejected, shunned and disavowed. In the end, the group will push and pull together, transfiguring the learning, until they create something agreed upon as better. Built on the shoulders of one person, acting in courage, who may have already been ejected, shunned and disavowed.

Change does not come easily to most people. To maintain oneself within a group requires a close inner connection to source, humor, tenacity and courage. Here’s that quote that got me thinking and while I don’t find myself completely in agreement with you George, you have my love and appreciation.  RIP George Carlin.

“I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.'” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.” ~George Carlin

 From the tip of the wedge:

“This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness, every drop of the good.” ~Victoria Lincoln (1904-1981)

“Courage is not the towering oak that see storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” ~Alice MacKenzie Swaim

“It may take courage to embrace the possibilities of your own potential, but once you’ve flown past the summit of your fears, nothing will seem impossible.” ~Michael McKee

“Life is short, break the Rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably.
 And never regret ANYTHING
 that makes you smile.”  ~Mark Twain (1904-1981)

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

 “Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” ~Orson Swett Marden (1850-1924)

Toss That In The Hopper

There is something to be said for living a change based life. And, I do my best work with myself using change as an intention. Life is so rich having new experiences, or the same experiences in new ways. When I’m in the change zone, I can get so high that I have to be careful not to let the next opportunity slip by while I’m celebrating inside. Small changes create subtle cumulative movements of energy that build and support new ways of thinking when I’m bogged down by old behaviors.

My favorite read is always about human nature. Study after study, regardless of the topic, have all lead me to a single conclusion, if I change a single behavior, it can affect other aspects of myself. It’s like a Hoberman Sphere. Pull out one tip and the entire sphere expands. It’s magnificent metaphor for how to work with consciousness. How do I know what to change… I don’t, so I don’t waste time trying to figure it out with my mind. I go with what comes present when I look inside. When nothing appears, I go to loving it, which never harms  and always assists on some level.

I remember the day my son came home from school and told me he was having difficulty with an art teacher. Most days he would complete his project early and sit quietly working on other material until the end of class. His not using all the time brought the teacher such disturbance that he fed back all kinds of verbal dissatisfaction. It was really a difficult situation. In the end I suggested an experiment, after all what was there to loose…right? Strategy 1: connect through eye contact, smile and use the teacher’s name. That day there was an immediate turn around in their relationship. Still, we added another component to the experiment.  Strategy 2: observe the classroom needs and participate on that level. It worked so well that  they became friends and the following year he became the class TA.  Learning: life is about relationship and connection. People want to be seen and feel valued. Often it doesn’t matter what you produce for them, people skew towards the loving and connection. Class grade A. Life lesson A+.

I’ve found too that change often requires discipline, so there is one thing I insist on with myself. When I hear the truth, I drop my contrary thoughts, disturbance and hurt feelings. I update and subsequently upgrade my thoughts and feelings to my new and more accurate point of reference. When the truth is present it is undeniable. Why bother with the rest?

Instead of mindlessly doing what I’ve always done, I toss it into the hopper,  pause, listen and observe to see what comes present. Pausing as point of entry for potential change. Listening, without thoughts or questions, resistance or pushback to eliminate agenda. Observation to come into my center and get above the situation in a state of detachment. A different point of awareness within a repeated experience… yes- change.

I love Buckminster Fuller, he was an agent of change, getting people to look at things in new ways.  And, my experience matches the quote from Bucky below. It doesn’t work to try to change each other. I do believe, however, that in nourishing our potential we have a rich field of opportunity inside to reveal the best parts of ourselves, improving the quality of our lives.

I made up my mind . . . that I would never try to reform man—that’s much too difficult. What I would do was to try to modify the environment in such a way as to get man moving in preferred directions. -Buckminster Fuller

Bucky was best known for his work developing the geodesic dome, inspiration for Chuck Hoberman’s sphere.

Who Visits Riding Joy Bareback Blog? Reflections on Indonesia

Dreams have a way of getting hold of you and never letting go. Two dreams have stuck with me over the last 40 or so years and they continue to be directional in my life. The first one was to be bigger than my circumstances. To not be contained by the world, it’s negativity, spralling distractions and limiting consciousness. Second, to connect globally.

Today my blog is within a few hits of 3000, which involves 78 countries of the 195 the US Department of State recognizes (101 as of 3/2014). Yes, that’s nice, though what is meaningful to me is the 78 global connections. I’ve always noticed where things in my life originate. Where items are manifactured, food prepared, books written, art created. It all gets on my radar. I look for that information and find it fascinating. We are all global citizens.

It’s interesting to me what gets people’s attention and why their search leads to my blog. Much of the time they search for masters like Hafiz or Gilbran. Gilbran, born in Lebanon, writing was not only influenced by his Christian upbring, but by the Islamic faith, especially Sufi mysticism. Hafiz, born in Iran, was steeped in the Quran, which he could recite backwards and forwards. He applied his great depth of knowledge to writing about the heart, steering away from formalized religion.

The top ten visiting countries were: US, Canada, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Brazil. Indonesia in the top 3 surprized me the most. After doing a little digging I found that Indonesia prohbits blasphme, that is… speaking  irreverently about God or sacred things. The only religions Indonesia recognizes are Muslim (82% in 2009), Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Law requires citizens to have an identity card that states their religion, excluding Agnosticism and Atheism as illegal.

Indonesia’s constituation guarentees religious freedom, yet limits choices and expression. I consider if this is why Indonesians seek out Gilbran and Hafiz, both of whom embrace change, expansion and inner wisdom.  Hafiz, whose expression about God is often irreverent and Gibran who challenges religious intollerance and encourages rising up out of self-imposed limitations.

I too like to challenge the norm and look at things in new ways. Without pushing the boundaries, we live small lives, we may miss the essensce and the beauty that surrounds us. Often my posts of that nature dominate traffic as well.

Here are two works, Spirits Rebellious by Gibran and Stop Being so Religious by Hafiz. Good demonstrations about why these two masters get so much attention from those of us seeking freedom. (more…)

Fire In The Sea

The ocean has its own voice- it’s alive with sound! Much like the silence I experience inside, it’s filled with an energy that communicates through tones. The dance within the stillness. And, when I tune in to listen, I feel deeply sourced.

I’m both awed and fearful of the sea: it’s small fish and Sting Rays have at times panicked me. The water though, the water always brings me back as it cradles and rocks me… floating weightlessly.  It’s a profound movement in my consciousness to feel that at home, despite my fear.

When I close my eyes, the sound opens up. First, flirty little champaign bubbles, then lub lub from larger bubbles and the swooshing of water moving side to side. The sounds take me to my quietest place inside and once there… the crackling appears. It’s vibrant and alive, much like a bonfire.

I did a Google search and found an article by the Boston Globe with two theories that were supported by diving websites. First, the sound comes from a tiny shrimp moving rapidly in the water and second, it is Parrot fish munching on stoney coral. I had to laugh, clearly, the writer has not truly had an experience of the fire in the sea. Once you tune into the sound, you become aware that it is endless.

I’ve snorkeled in Hawaii, French Polynesia and the East and West Caribbean, including Honduras. Is the sound different in these locations? Yes and no. Can I explain the difference… no. I wish I could. It is such a beautiful sound. Remarkable for sure.

You probably think I’m making something mystical out of this and you’d be right in thinking so. I’ve been a student of the Sound Current for a very long time and being primarily auditory, well it doesn’t take much of a leap for me to go there.  Regardless, here are the thoughts from a scientific point of view. It’s an excerpt from an archived article written in the Boston Globe, neither dated or attributed:

Adam Frankel of Cornell’s Bioacoustics Lab says it’s made by shrimp. Snapping shrimp, to be precise. Tiny things, much smaller than the ones we eat, they have a single claw that moves so fast in the water as it snaps shut that it does the same thing ship propellers do. It causes cavitation, the churning of dissolved gasses in the water into tiny bubbles that then collapse under the water’s pressure. The crackling noise comes from sound waves given off by those collapsing bubbles.


Bonfires Are Good For The Soul

Looking out the window of our 747 there is such amazing beauty. I can’t take my eyes away. Could be my mood, so by reflection I know I’m in a great space.

I recognize Dockweiler State Park as we fly over the beach. Many fire pits are lit and easily visible. A little voice whispers that it would be a perfect night for a bonfire. The flight attendant delivers a cup of tea and I wonder if it’s Early Grey. Closing my eyes, the fire crackles, flames dance and the crashing waves set a rhythm. I’m neither here nor there. Stars… moon, cradle my consciousness moving me deeper inside. It amazes me that my memories can be so bright and alive. I take a deep breath and smile to myself. Bonfires are good for the Soul.

David tells me I’ve broken into hives on my face and I can feel them burning on my lips. Instead of wondering why, I listen Due Voci’s version of I Could Not Ask For More, then Peter Bradley Adams Song for Viola washes over me. Peace.

I’m learning to be happy… that’s what the voice tells me inside. And, I’ve heard those words before. My friend Goose used to tell me about the places she had inside that she didn’t understand- her “dumb spots”. The space inside that needed instruction and to be cared for in kinder, gentler ways. I was always touched to see the compassion she extended to herself. It was unmistakable as it washed over her face, hand touching her heart. She was my beauty and one of my teachers.

The lights are off in the cabin… relief, I’m not comfortable with my tears. You’d have to know me pretty well to have seen me cry. Turning up the air cools me off. Better. It’s hard to stop crying once I start. I’m more tender than I’d like people to know. Maybe that’s the wrong thing to say here. (((Smile))).  Ah well, no one I know reads this anyway. I notice people from allover the world read my thoughts… though I’m very sure no one I know does except maybe my husband. Reading, he says, helps him to know me better. Interesting, I thought I was transparent…

I notice the smallest things about people. I couldn’t do otherwise, it just comes to me naturally. Would it surprise you that I’m not particularly interested or even curious? The inner connection is just undeniable, drawing my awareness. What people do for a living or how they spend their time is marginally interesting. What get’s my attention is what lights people up, what fills them with love, brings out their generosity, tenderness or accessibility. If they can see outside their box or appreciate that in others, even when they don’t agree. I’m not afraid of people’s dark side and I’m not easily run off by sadness or anger. I’m not even run off when people act like they don’t care. My love and awareness stand on their own. And, I know, I know… sometimes that leaves me standing quite alone. Maybe that’s why I’ve been tenderized, finding myself alone much of the time and loving anyway.

If Goose were here she’d take my words in confidence and place them in the “vault”, all in the presence of her beautiful softened heart. With Goose and me it was always love.

The captain has come on the overhead to tell us we are beginning our descent into Detroit, the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen flying  at night.  It must be around 3 am, LA time.  Next hop Fort Lauderdale to catch our  2 week cruise to the Caribbean. Lovely beginning for our 34th anniversary.

Sent from my iPad

In Memory of Goose

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Good friends teach lessons that last a lifetime. I suppose that’s why we come together- the learning. It wasn’t just the learning though, Goose was one of those friends that stick. It didn’t matter what was going on, we always stayed connected. I knew her stories, her weaknesses, her triumphs and she knew mine. She was patient, loving, kind and authentic. She taught me to love old tattered things, to fix rather than replace, to see the beauty in the color orange and to dress according to what moves me, rather than to fit in with others. She taught me that healthy boundaries mean healthy relationships and that being able to say “no” is a sign of maturity and can be a kindness to others. She always had an antidote to stir new learning.  And, I know of no greater way to honor her, then to call attention to what I admired the most- she lived outside-the-box.

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor to measure words but to pour them all out, just as it is, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keeping what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. ~Alan Cohen

I remember the last time it was just you and me Goose. As we walked out of the MOCA , you took my hand, turned and looked directly into my eyes. I saw your childlike glee and we giggled. You said being together was always like being little girls… it just felt that good. I treasure you Goose. Godspeed.

Goose inspired my post, The Art of Noodling Simplicity.

Other mentions of Sandra Giese, Bonfires are Good for the Soul