Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Making Room

I’ve been manifesting new changes in my life. Yet, to change the present, I’ve needed to clean up the past. So I’ve been cleaning out old things: clothes, books, photos, letters, cards, memories; and with that, old attitudes about myself. I’ve made a significant dent. And as I’ve done the cleaning, sorting, dusting, vacuuming, my physical body has tightened into knots.

Because of the knots, I went to get a massage last week and I asked the Universe for the perfect massage therapist. Part of changing attitudes about myself is to not think about myself as “the girl with back problems,” so when the therapist asked if I had “issues” I told her that I’m trying to manifest changes with my body. She answered, “you’re not trying to manifest, you are manifesting.” Wish granted in getting the ideal therapist.

I told her that I’m cleaning out old emotional issues. When she got to my neck and upper back, the tensest part of my body, she told me I was holding on very tightly to something. “Breathe in, hold, and that breathe out ha!,” she instructed. I breathed in, and thought, "I’m releasing and letting go," and I breathed out. “Wow!,” said the therapist. “You just released your back and neck with just that thought. See how powerful you are!” As the massage continued, she had to bring me back a few times during the massage as I spaced out. I had to continue to focus my attention on areas that needed releasing. It was then I realized I needed to "work" to relax! Or a better way to describe it was paying attention about how powerful our thoughts are in our physical body.

When the therapist massaged my left arm, a.k.a. the receiving arm, she said she got a flash of a closet needing cleaning out. I immediately got an image of my pillow full of Duran Duran & Adam Ant pins in the hall closet. I had been annoyed the day before because the closet was so jam packed and disorganized. “Yeah, I know the closet you mean,” I said. She reminded me that when you’re manifesting for the things you want, you have to make room for them. She told me notice how I tensed up again thinking about that closet. “Just say to yourself you will clean out the closet but not to worry or dwell on it now,” she offered. What, me dwell? Ha! Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the words dwell - i.e. ponder a thought to death, and dwell - as in to live are related. I definitely dwell in thoughts… And my dwelling is full of them, hence the need to clean.

So, the day after my massage, I cleaned out the closet. My pillow still needs to be dealt with but at least there’s space. My left arm was sore, so I continued to breathe, using ha! I’ve done that technique in yoga before but I didn’t realized how profound a release the move was. I felt the release of my body more deeply as I was standing and letting all the area of my back collapse when I exhaled. I felt elated. I was actually dumping out my tension. With those combined actions of physically making room and then releasing the tension in my body, I have open space to breathe.

Evacuation - Fall 2007

Evacuation – what would you take if there were a fire….

About 15 years ago, there was a serious fire in the Oakland hills that threatened to come down the hill into my neighborhood. I watched the news intently and then I decided to pack. I took what normal people take, the photo albums and the important papers but that wasn’t enough. I packed my Chinese jewelry box that my brother gave me. I packed a rod-iron candlestick my friend Austin made me. I packed up all of my artwork. What I selected were things that I couldn’t replace.

In looking around my apartment now, what would I take? The lazy part of me says – nothing – because I’d want to take everything – but most importantly, my computer. This is where all my creative work is now… stored up… but the thought of schlepping that to my car… well…. just the thought of moving anything sounds exhausting. Maybe it’s the smoke in the air – oh yeah, Southern California is raging with fire. Fortunately I’m not in an effected area but we can still smell the smoke.

Events like these make me want to cut down to the bare essentials so I won’t worry about losing anything. What is it that I really need? When I left to live in Israel for a year, I put my things in storage. These were things I could not possibly have departed with. Away, I thought about my things while I was living in other people’s quarters. I ached for them; these things belonged to me and me alone.

Gleefully, I opened the storage unit, when I came home to be reunited with my things. Then I saw them and thought – why the hell did I keep this stuff? I didn’t really have the emotional attachment to the items that I used to when I first put them away. I was willing to pay 25 bucks a month to store them for a year. I probably couldn’t have sold those things at a garage sale for what I had shelled out. I was attached to some of the things because of the stories they had – like my futon that I got at discount because the original one I ordered couldn’t be delivered on time because the truck was hijacked. But in reality, the futon wasn’t very comfortable. It didn’t have much value beyond the story. Aside from books, there wasn’t really much there that was worth it. And I learned a lesson from that – things can be replaced, even precious things because things change and feelings change.

But now I have a new set of precious things – well sort of. I try to clean house more… I go thru things, articles, and shake my head. Why was this important? Why couldn’t I depart from it. There are things I’ve given away that I miss – but do I really miss them? Or is it something else I’m clinging onto?

Finally, a non-violent video game

A Buddhist game to help teach ethics 490 words 13 March 2007 The Nation (Thailand) English (c) 2007 Nation Multimedia Group Public Co., Ltd

Concerned about a news report of a boy attacking his mother because she refused to give him money to play online games, a senior officer at the Religious Affairs Department decided to create a game himself.

"Ethics Game", created by Pakorn Tancharoen, director of the Moral and Ethical Development Office works by using a principled game to overcome decadent games.
"It is impossible to stop kids from playing games or flocking to online-game arcades. So, let them play, but play good games," Pakorn said.

The game aims to indirectly teach players about morals, doing good and the five Buddhist precepts. When he first came up with the idea, Pakorn - who had never played online games and has no children of his own - decided to work it on it in secret, as he was not sure that his boss would go along with the idea.

He spent his after-work time at online-game arcades to observe what kinds of games attract children. "Most of them were about killing," he said. He then devised a game plot that includes four main characters: Dharmmahapanyo, an old respected monk; Charn, an orphaned boy who is mischievous but clever; Nu Na, a girl who is clever and kind-hearted; and Paloe, a big half-Chinese boy who was born into a rich family and likes to tease others, especially animals.