Handmade Space was born from the compost of the remains of my first entrance into the blogosphere, Postcards From The Terra Navis. Just as I was beginning to get a bit more comfortable with writing and publishing perspectives of my experience … that experiment came to an abrupt end for me. In the months since, I have gained a deep appreciation for the value that practice offered me directly. I missed the focused attention required to find my best expressions of the material I found useful, and the practice of actually publishing my writings brought more transparency into my personal life as well.
Though I had no problem noticing the hole that seemed to have opened up inside (the hole where once I chewed on the ideas I would share in my simple blog), I really had no idea what to put in it that would be satisfying for the long-term. I mean, after all … did I really have anything to say?? What value could my voice add to the cacophony of bloggers already present in abundance?
Some time ago, (I would guess around 1988-89), my mother introduced me to the writings of Mary Summer Rain, and her accounts of meeting and developing a relationship with a blind visionary medicine woman by the name of No-Eyes. Throughout the remainder of my mother’s life, this series seemed to anchor a context that allowed us to share some of the mystery each of us had experienced. We often talked about the predictions made by No-Eyes in the second book of the series, called Phoenix Rising. It certainly didn’t sound good, but was veiled enough and a bit unthinkable enough to almost ignore.
You can read an overview and review of Mary Summer Rain’s book, Phoenix Rising, HERE.
In the 1993 edition of this book, the author adds a section called The Phoenix Chronicles. Here, she compiles a list describing events that No-Eyes suggests will reveal to us just where this Great Phoenix is in the process of rebirth and transformation. (pages 162-4) Responding to what seemed to be an intrusive thought as I reflected on whether or not to commence writing another blog, I wandered to the dining room and pulled Phoenix Rising off the shelf and took another look at this list. This list promised much of what I could clearly see evidenced these decades later, though certainly not 100% correct.
Of course, it doesn’t take consulting a list offered by a blind indigenous medicine woman to understand that something clearly is afoot these days! It is just not business-as-usual anymore, or so it seems to me. If you dare to risk exposing yourself to the nightly mainstream news channels (and risk corruption), you often hear of systems failing everywhere! Failing economies, failing governments, failing health, failing productivity, failing educational systems - a litany of failures assault our minds and it can be oh so easy to slip into the complacency of thoughts that this is just the way the world works these days. That is, unless YOUR particular failure is judged as ‘too big to fail’, and you are given a blank check at everyone else’s expense. Of course, I doubt you would find little value in reading this blog if that were the case.
Stressors rise in an increasingly more complex world, and without a way to manage stress and use it creatively, it often becomes too much to endure and our health and well-being is decreased, or even extinguished. In the world I live in, it has become increasingly more vital for my well-being to find ways to use the ambient stress in my life in simple and practical ways instead of letting it eat me up from the inside out.
Handmade Space is my attempt to share some of the ways I create a sacred space in my life to manage the stress present in all living systems in more refined and productive ways. Perhaps you may find some of what I share useful, too. I hope you find both tangible and intangible rewards here, and I invite you to join me in creating some Handmade Space of your own.
I am certain that if I had not somehow finally managed to develop the discipline of daily examining the contents of my mental garden I would, indeed, find it hard to drag myself out of bed each morning and do much of what I do. It hasn’t always been that way for me. Like many others I have met, I spent decades embedded in the cultural myths predominant in rural Ohio, rarely questioning the validity of the tacit assumptions they imposed, save the few overt questions posed by the media of the times. Growing up in the sixties … even in rural Ohio … a few paradigm shifts managed to make their way in some small way or another to shake things up now and then.
Reflecting back in an attempt to identify the circumstances that focused my attention on regularly tending my mental mind garden, I notice that clearly - it was signals sent by independent researcher and scholar, Andy Hilgartner that provided the initial motivations, and that introductory signal was transmitted by my daughter, ten years of age, at the time. I’ll leave for another day the story of how a 10 year-old girl in rural Ohio provided her single-parent-waitress-in-a-steak-house-mother the opportunity to work with a team of PhD’s in Missouri, Hilgartner and Associates (see http://www.hilgart.org/). It was through my friendship and collaboration with Andy and his team that I learned of tacitly held assumptions, Korzybski’s General Semantics Theory, and other fascinating insights. I learned many wonderful things in the years I was actively participating with Andy and his crew, and I hold them in highest esteem and gratitude for what they freely shared of their wisdom. It was through direct experience of that generosity that I understood the necessity to continually check my language, whether in communication with another human, and especially in the internal environment of my thoughts and feelings. And … that begins the process of discovering just what grows in my mental garden … and why.
There certainly are many ways to enter the the mental garden-space to take inventory of the territory. I, myself, use many methods, but clearly each and every one of them begins with focusing on the present. I find the popular culture’s fascination with zombies particularly amusing in a certain way, and when you begin to unravel the amount of time we spend with our thoughts aligned with some past event or future possibility, we find little presence in our present! In such a state of non-present beingness, we become the walking dead, a forum of zombies running on reactionary drives that feed on death and destruction.
zombie - someone who moves around as if unconscious and being controlled by someone else:
I was so tired, I walked around like a zombie.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online Definition
The primary technique I use to consciously come into the present moment is through focused breathwork. Breath becomes a gateway always available under any circumstance. I can breathe unconsciously, or I can breathe consciously. I cannot NOT breathe …. for long.
Published on Mar 22, 2012 by drweil
Breathwork is a free and easy practice that can significantly benefit your health. Dr. Weil discusses why this practice is important and how one simple exercise should become part of your daily life.
Find out what breathing exercises Dr. Weil recommends:
And check out Dr. Weil's newest site! http://www.spontaneoushappiness.com
Origin: mid 17th century (as a term in geometry and physics): from Latin, literally 'domestic hearth'
verb (focuses, focusing, focused or focusses, focussing, focussed)
I have found many benefits in the discipline of focused breath work. and I have practiced many different forms along the way. There is a great variety in techniques with differing forms and purposes, with a few listed in the links below. One of the greatest values I have derived has been a strengthening in my ability to gain a clear focus for longer periods of time. I admit, at first I found it difficult to keep my focus on my breath alone, but with daily practice I could sustain the focus and stay firmly embodied and present.
Clarity and the ability to focus are great tools that can serve you well. With them, we are better able to meet the challenges we face in our personal lives, our families, and our communities. Handmade-Space is the space intentionally focused to do a little mind-gardening, and the first step is to walk through the garden-gate and see what is there.
I encourage you to explore what’s behind the garden-gate and do a little survey of your mind-garden in the days to come. Stay present and focused and let your very breathing bring you joy … until the next time.
See you in the Circle!
September 13, 2012
Definition of handmade - adjective
made by hand, not by machine, and typically therefore of superior quality:his expensive handmade leather shoes
Definition of space - noun
Origin: Middle English: shortening of Old French espace, from Latin spatium. Current verb senses date from the late 17th century
When The Fabric Of Life Tears - December 31, 2013
Biohacking Your Life - September 20, 2013
Lights! ... Camera! ... Action! - June 23, 2013
When Darkness Falls ... Bloom Anyway! - June 13, 2013
The Bamboo(zled) Forest - January 31, 2013
Phoenix Rising - September 13, 2012
Trades Of Hope
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