Stupid

When we are judged as stupid
It is because we are feared,
hated or reviled and thereby
found to be threatening.

Perhaps for our ebullience (yes, and)
I think probably for our
ability to be happy and carefree (too).
Most definitely for out
child-like demeanour
our innocent joy
our creative boldness.

What seems like such a beautiful thing
can be tarnished by the very one’s
who purport to love us.

So don’t fear the label
Embrace it, as any judgement
As a rite of passage;
We know, we have touched someone
deeper than they themselves can go
for that reason
Have compassion
for the haters
The mud slinger’s
and the name callers
The labellers and
The righteous Judges
for they are far
from home.

P. Thomasson
30th March 2016

This poem was sparked by the question “But I feel so good; so why do I think I’m stupid?”
Upon analysis, feeling good always brings with it, this judgement of being stupid. But who gave it me? That was the deeper more intriguing question.

I still feel stupid, but I won’t take it so personally.

 

On Paying Attention…The Secret Sauce to ShapeShifting into What You Want To Be…

Making art is only one of the many tools used by a meta-morph in the process of self-transformation.

Anything is up for grabs. Dancing, writing, walking, gym, cooking, making love….whatever!

It’s the attitude we adopt when using our tool that matters.

Many of us approach our self development practices in the same way we might hammer a nail in a wall when we’re in a hurry; quickly, mindlessly and inefficiently. We then wonder why we hit our fingers, the nail bends in the wall and the plaster falls out. Been there? I have. Lots.

Here are some questions we should be asking ourselves…

Have we really prepared by choosing the right nail for the wall in question? (are you really fit enough for that particular form of exercise? do you really like writing about that subject? are you wearing the right shoes for the walk?)

Have we taken enough time to pay attention to our hammering technique? (are you feeling the nuances of the sexual plateaus or just going in for the big ‘O’?, are you overdoing the prawns? is that the right level of tension in your shoulders for a shimmy?)

If the answer is no, then we will not get the desired result! Period. Unless we are lucky. But we are not always lucky are we!

We must keep refining, keep adapting and keep asking relevant questions. This is what leads us into our own metamorphosis. This is what causes us to Shape-shift into something we want to be.

So paying attention, being aware and practicing mindfulness are the attitudes that act as the antidotes to bruised fingers and rubbery prawns. Right?

Mindful creation, mindful exercise, mindful speech, mindful thought will get us where we want to be in life. No short cuts. Just paying attention to everything we do.

Working anything mindfully then will take us where we want to go.

Mindful of what? That’s the question isn’t it!? I can answer that…

FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, ACTIONS!

Answer now. What are you feeling? What are you thinking? What are you doing?

Keep on checking in until you have a seamless stream of attention directed to your present moment. Sounds simple. It’s not. It takes practice. You can start, right now.

But be mindful of the fact…you will forget to be mindful until you make it a habit.

And that my friends is what practice is all about.

Let the feelings you are feeling right now, tell you what is next, and how to proceed.

For more on mindful approaches to life visit here

To see my art go to ptartworks.com

 

Navigating Duality

In this video I cover the following subjects:

  • Challenging religious structure
  • Approaching duality
  • Letting go of crutches
  • Taking responsibility
  • The mind attic
  • Emotion, Psyche, Shadow
  • Wildish Self
  • Dark Goddess
  • Radical truisms
  • Evolution of our psychology
  • Labels & opposites
  • Feelings
  • Information overload
  • Love & limerence
  • Game changing relationships
  • Narcissism
  • Law of Attraction

 

Hitting The Wall

Tonight I hit the wall.

You know the one. The impenetrable bricks and mortar one, not the flimsy version that you can dissolve with a thought. No this is almost like hitting your mortality in the face.

I had to have a crazy scribble on the paper then run off to the loo for a little cry then escape for a coffee and a chat with Sarah.

Thank god I know what it’s all about. It’s almost certainly one symptom of burn out. I’ve been moving the house around, including the studio. I’ve also been watching other artist’s at work and simultaneously getting inspired and dejected.

The comparison game is deadly for sure.

My wall tonight was composed of the following elements:

  1. I can’t do this
  2. I am not able to be this ‘artist’ thing
  3. I’m not flowing tonight
  4. I’m in my head
  5. I can’t do this
  6. I am crap…..

…you get the picture. Not very inspiring stuff to have in your head. I really do have a lot to learn, and that’s ok. You never stop learning art. Same as life, no different, but I do know one thing; I am learning how to know when to stop and what to do when I’m stopped.

It’s such a relief to go “You know what. There is no pressure but my own here, I can get off whenever I want to. It’s supposed to be fun!”

And that’s where I started the night. With the intent to have fun. I did. I got to talk to fellow artists, and you know what? They all understood, in their own version, what I meant, what had happened and shared a little bit more.

That’s it in a nut shell really. Being vulnerable enough to let it out, let it out and let other’s in.

I never used to do that.

I have grown. I am happy with that.

a dark and brooding face appears patterned with dull colour third eye is very active model phoebe thomasson photo art by adam white photography dorset uk 2015

Here it is again….Low Pressure: A Poem “Black Dog and The Widow”

This pain, not physical so no one can see
it’s why I wear a glum face for lunch
depression my guest today
welcome in I say
I feel I have no choice
but to let her in and have her way
the black dog
comes and throws up
over the carpet
barking at me the details
of how sad my life is
no recourse to the facts
are they the real reality anyway?
I cannot tell
the black dog is large
and taking up all my attention
I am angry but feel powerless
drained of vitality
it only took thirty minutes to arrive
destination overcast
when outside the sun beats
spring cool breeze coiling
I should feel happy
shouldn’t I?
the black dog looks up
her owner I spy in the corner
she’s dressed in black
perennial widow of the world
she’s the voice and persona
of scornful mourning
beyond reasoning
she laughs and agrees
yes your world is so sad
so sad you shall be.
 
No! I think
I run to the computer
my thoughts ordered by print
it’s logic that I need
she leaves sashaying
whistle between teeth
black dog follows
leaving a small pile of hair
on the sofa.
 
Gone, for now
she’ll be back
with black
am I prepared?

P. Thomasson
11th April 2015

Photo Credit: Roger Kirby

Dreaming of Destruction….again!

Just before my last waking this morning, I had a series of dreams. They were very strong in their imaginary.

See what you make of them and I’ll tell you what they mean to me at the end.

Dream#1: Nothing Left to Eat…

We are a small tribe/community living in a glade type valley and we are foraging for food and living our lives.

There are mini dramas going on, just as in any culture but something ominous was looming. It becomes clear that we were running out of food and that before long we would have to find more or we were all going to starve to death.

A group of us took off to search whilst the elders stayed behind and took their chances, unafraid for their survival unlike ourselves. We were hungry!

We came up a leafy hill and everything stopped. The massive strip of ground before us was as bare as could be.

Tilled soil was all that stood there as far as the eye could see up to the brow of the massive hill. My guts went weird as a ferocious sound hit us. Although we knew we should run now, we were transfixed.

Dogs came running over the hill towards us. They didn’t look like the type of dog to be fierce, they were golden retrievers! However their appearance did nothing to allay the reality that they were protecting their site and we were clearly trespassing!

That’s the end as far as I can remember.

Dream#2: Trouble in The Air…

We were driving to my friend’s house up the Weymouth Avenue and just at the top by the traffic lights we spied a sight that we had never seen for real in this area. A twister!

We debated  for a minute how serious it was. It was soon clear that it was very serious indeed and headed right for us.

My first instinct to carry on in the direction I was going, which may have actually taken us beyond the path of the wind tunnels, was immediately over-ridden by a strange mix of ‘I have to get home!’ and deep panic.

Home meant doing a U-turn in the road and I was aware of traffic all around…and home was where it was headed. Where should we turn, and how fast could we run without contributing to the general panic?

Time for the general synopsis…

Dreams are multidimensional and usually contain at least two levels of understanding, one cultural (global) and two, personal.

On a personal level both dreams seem to say to me that I’ve hit my nemesis.

In some sense I am up against the ‘survivalist’ dream. The ability to sustain myself is somehow under threat, either for real or metaphorically.

This could have always been the case, and something I am now discovering (new territory) or something that is coming upon me as new realizations dawn (threatening circumstances). On both counts the message is quite clear.

ACT! Now is not the time for contemplation…for me this is clearly a call to clear and concise decision-making.

Trust your first instinct! If that is to run, just choose the right direction. If that is to stand your ground (more appropriate with dogs than tornadoes!) then do that!

The worst thing I can do now is vacillate in self-doubt! Making the wrong decision is the fear but making no decision is fatal!

Global Interpretation…

(Remember this is my own!) OK. So we are at some ‘event horizon’ and all we see before us is barren land and…the dogs of war? We know not what is beyond the horizon and all we can sense is despair at our uncertain future.

Let me give you the alternative ending…

(Penned in my waking hours!)

A New Perspective

Immediately we all sink to our knees, drop our gaze to the ground and stretch out our arms. The dogs pick up on our non-resistance and almost simultaneously they become our friendly welcoming committee. They run up to us licking our face and wagging their tales.

They communicate that they’ve been waiting for us and protecting the land. They lead us over the bow of the hill where we behold a Golden City before us. We know instantaneously that before us lie the treasure of abundance.

The Golden City is replete with good food, shelter and companionship. We make plans to go and fetch the rest of the tribe to bring them to the city. The city exceeds all our expectations. It’s golden hue is a sign of its enlightened vibration.

Mankind has finally learned to live in harmony with nature. The barren field is merely ready for us to plant the seeds if our choice, and we are welcome into the city as long-lost sisters and brothers. We are home.

Now that’s much better!

a face is obscured by black shards mixed media collage by uk contemporary artist phoebe thomasson

The Silent Killer; Get Down You Inner Censor….

The inner censor is the killer on the loose in our psyches.

How do we know it’s there?… Well we don’t to start with, but if you have tried to be consistently creative and failed to keep up stamina then it might be that, like me you suffer from a strict inner censor.

The censor is very much alive in the outer world at the moment. I won’t go into it because either you know what I’m talking about because you listen to the news and it’s not my focus here.

The inner censor is the real enemy and the outer manifestation is the proof that the energy is alive and kicking in our culture.

Why does the censor do what it does? Why does it kill the creative impulse?

Because it hates imperfection. Because it loathes chaos. Because it detests the uncontrollable.

Any time we have an idea that we just can’t do something about may be a symptom that the censor is in control. The gateway is very narrow if the censor is in command as it is a mean gatekeeper that only allows the acceptable through. It has a long list of what is acceptable, but an even longer one of that which isn’t.

In the creative life we need to channel the crap as well as the good stuff. This is for the creative zone where putting our thoughts on paper is a safety net for our fears. What we do with it afterwards is another matter but unless we can get it through the gates in the first place is a matter of re-education.

We need to gently take the censor to one side and give it a bribe.

If you let more through the gates, I promise, the quality and standard of my work will improve and increase in ways you never thought possible. Do me a favour mate and look the other way when I have a crappy idea. I can’t get to the good stuff hiding underneath unless you let this through.

The censor will probably consider this a feasible option. Just make sure you make it work for its living and don’t let it rule the roost.

You’re in charge!

image of a mans face with slightly deranged eyes title fragile brain pen and ink sketch with words by uk contemporary artist phoebe thomasson

It may be Hellish, but at least I’m here!

Recovery isn’t all about getting better. It’s also about adjusting, changing, accepting and releasing. We can need multiple processes to happen before we start to feel better in the way we desire to.

Just to give you an idea how this applies in the real world here is an insight into my current little drama.

Somehow, due to numerous factors I’ve manage to put my back out good and proper. I’ve been to the chiropractor and there is a loosening in process. I think in terms of blocked energy because after years of practical healing and recovery from multiple things, I now know it counts, and is real. Think life force/prana/chi or whatever vibes with you.

OK. So I identified my little psychological process that has been activated into my awareness. Here it is and goes something like this.

  • long term illness means you are cut off from previous modes of functioning.
  • we adjust our world accordingly and create our own alternatives.
  • life becomes a reflection of our ‘own little world’.
  • we recover! yay!
  • we come up against the need to ‘re-enter’ the rest of the world or the ‘real’ version of it.
  • we resist because we quite like it here.
  • we know this world and have lost the ability to be anything else so why not just stay?
  • we create something else to distract us from the growth process.
  • more pain!
  • yay! pain works a treat…it’s a different part of the body which is quite a change, I think I can continue to be dysfunctional after all!
  • Wait a minute! did I just say that?
  • Goddam it…I’m going to beat this things too!
  • And so we strive….

Onward we go and heal the next malady. But did we stop to consider why we create all this hassle? Here’s one perspective, for when you are into having a philosophical musing…

I believe illness teaches us more about compassion, resilience, tenacity, honesty, strength, weakness, reaching out, friends, loved ones, family, challenges, love, life and humanity than being a super-I-never-get-sick kind of guy ever will.

My dad was one of those and within a year he was dead with Cancer.

I’m ok with my bad back thanks…at least I’m alive.

 

Photo Credit: Michael Lorenzo

Why Practice Yoga?

Beyond the obvious physical fitness benefits, what are we actually doing when we practice yoga? What is yoga for and why is it good for us? Here are a few pointers as to what it’s all about. Let these thoughts be a launch pad for your own practice. Your own experience will of course be unique and this is why it is best to try it for yourself!

Establishing a safe inner space

Sometimes we need to retreat from the world for a bit. It’s OK to use external entertainment for a while, but if we really want to create deep and lasting change, an internally oriented practice is the most effective. Yoga can help to center us while we traverse our internal landscape. Once we know what to expect from our inner world we can mold it to our own needs. A side effect of the process is that we will never need to look elsewhere for the comfort and solace we sometimes crave.

* Connecting with our greater sense of self: once we awaken the thirst for a more expansive way of thinking, yoga can take us into a deeper more profound relationship with ourselves. The destination we are seeking is the vast experience of nature. We can eventually transcend our sense of ‘limited’ personal self as we connect with blissful awe to the cosmic reality upon which our lives are truly built.

* Creating strong neural pathways for an enhanced relaxation response: the nature of the human brain is plastic. It is constantly moulding and adapting to environmental pressures until we stop demanding change. This is good news for us as we are soon able to create new neural pathways with consistent effort in our chosen direction. The ability to relax is like any habit and strengthens with repeated use.

* Increasing the flow of vitality through our muscles and joints:

[ ]Energy tends to have a sticky quality that can get snagged easily if the channels are not smooth and free-flowing
[ ]Our modern lives are one of the culprits for creating energy snags
[ ]Sitting in chairs all the time instead of sitting on the floor at least some of the time tightens us up
[ ]Change is a complex process and demands courage and some knowledge of where we are headed
[ ]Yoga helps us to let go into the momentum of the flow
[ ]As we flow more freely, our energy will become more dynamic
[ ]Allowing free-flowing energy promotes top conditions for health
[ ]No one is immune from the effects of moving their body in a way that resembles our ancestral movements
[ ]Yoga makes us more aware of our bodies
[ ]It’s easy to see why people become pleasantly addicted to the results and take it up with such fervour
[ ]Keeping it going as a practice can help us be more disciplined in other areas of our life
[ ]Practice demands controlled severity at times and yielding softness at others
[ ]Practical application of select styles of yoga is highly energizing and also promotes restful sleep
[ ]Eating moderately and enhanced will power around food ensures better success rates with dietary requirements
[ ]Our awareness increases tenfold and we learn to share respectfully what we have learned.

* Releasing tension and letting go of unhelpful states of mind: We can move swiftly through uncomfortable states of mind like depression and anger. The focus demanded by yoga will help us shift out of the thinking patterns responsible.

* Training our mind towards increased focus and discipline: When we learn the joy of repetition we know we have somewhere reliable to turn when things are tough, or a great channel for expression of our whole gamut of feelings and emotions. We can really learn to recognise the energies at play, and our awareness will soon pick up on what’s going on in other areas of our lives. It is training our focus and making us more available to ourselves.

In Summary…

Strong, disciplined people are products of strong disciplined minds. Fortunately for us the mind is forever responsive to training and the forming of new habits. If we view the mind as the search engine of the brain, just like it’s counterpart, the computer, we know we can always get updates, upgrades, change search engine providers and customize all the settings. This leaves our limitations in the hands of our creativity. The more creative we are, the further we can travel into transformation.

Success: plant growing through the concrete by txpotato

The Failure of the Concrete is the Plant’s Success: The Benefits of Not Succeeding…

As a follow up to my post of the other day (here) I am quite keen to share my latest thoughts on failure and how useful it can be on the path to success. I would go so far as to say that failure is an essential part of success! In other words I don’t think we can succeed, fully and deeply until we have had our fair share of fails.

Why do I say this? Well apart from the fact that all the experts in the field agree with me 😉 I am also reaching my own conclusions quite independently based on my own experience, which has, funnily enough included bags of failure if I’m honest about it! I flunked art school, quit jobs, got the sack from other jobs, failed to complete numerous courses, went a few times to classes and never went back…you name it I’ve ‘failed’ at it. I even sucked at door to door sales…but to be honest it was the most horrendous experience of my life so it was good to fail at that! I’ve not even mentioned the numerous relationships that have gone by the by! Now that was much more painful but I still learnt a lot about myself.

Anyway. My point being, that as a result of trying all these things and somehow finding I lacked the requisite know-how/discipline/organization or personality traits (patience, kindness, understanding, humility et al) I am still here! I didn’t die of shame, (even though I felt it for a while) and that’s the main thing! Sometimes we cling so dearly to a thing we believe we must succeed at, (despite it not feeling good in the slightest) that we entirely miss the point of it all.

Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that we don’t apply ourselves to things or ‘work’ at them but there are things in life that just ain’t our thing. If it is our thing but we don’t yet know it, and we just need more expertise or experience, then dropping it for a while, if needs be, will only serve to show us that it is our thing after all.

If something is a good fit, it will always come back to us in one form or another. Even people we love can remain our friends despite not working on an intimate level if we are open to that…

The beautiful thing about failure is that when we get good at it, it is like an art form in its own right. It becomes a process of letting go, like falling off a log. When we need to let go, it is right to let go, but we don’t because we cling to this fear of ‘the fail’ and unwittingly we arrest our own development.

Our process depends on failure!!!

What I’m suggesting is that we allow our natural tendency to fail at things to guide us towards what we will excel at! I’m sure you know the Thomas Edison story as he tried to invent the light bulb? Well that’s all well and good but do we know how to fail with grace and good feeling…and then carry on? Notice how, unlike Edison I am not denying the ‘failure’ thing. For me it has been more useful to accept it for what it is and move on. But interestingly enough both attitudes can benefit us; I’m just giving an alternative version! Whatever you want to call it…it’s important to carry on! Just try approaching something in a new way or take a new attitude, if it’s your thing that is! I guess the light bulb really was his thing!

The Paradox Strikes…

I didn’t get it for ages. The paradoxical revelation came for me when I started acknowledging that I had failed and that I was all right with that. As I came to terms with my lack of ‘follow through’ it ceased to matter so much and as the skies of self-recrimination cleared, I could finally see that alongside the fails were a whole bunch if successes!

Self-awareness, self-knowing and understanding are some of my best assets now. I know what turns me on and what leaves me cold and I choose to flow with the river of bliss and not the trudge of duty…

By learning about myself I can now control my destiny…more so than ever. If I had doggedly stuck with the first ‘job’ that had come along I’d still be washing dishes in a potato bar….I’m glad I got the sack! I’m glad I quit! I’m glad I didn’t go back.

Now I am following a path of my choosing and learning something exciting everyday! Now that’s what I call success!