Mortal Lives

I never put much thought into the wisdom years of life, as I have been chasing youth since before I was even a youth myself. Society instilled into my consciousness that youth was everything. Young people were all-powerful, and most influential. That image of skin that never ages, a gleaming white grin, toned physical structure and energy that trumped all others. This is what I thought immortality looked like. I was nothing more than a silly little sproutling feasting on naiveté.
When I think about it, I was force fed propaganda, glossy superficial magazine spreads, the who’s who goss of celebrity lives, the overpriced and unattainably anorexic sized runway fashions, and the McDonald’s television commercials that depicted awesomely perfect 20 somethings running on a beach playing frisbee after enjoying a Big Mac and Super Sized fries, apple pie and large diet coke. As appealing as all of that nonsense was, it was unhealthy, unrealistic, and in reality, a Super Sized lie.

It all is just shiny, glossy, fear mongering wrapped with a pretty little bow. Fundamentally it is a societal mental health crisis.
I was in the same boat as many mortals on the planet, I was scared to death of death. Being scared of death makes ageing really unappealing. There are hair extensions, eye brow tints, collagen injections, Botox, nips and tucks here there and everywhere, anything that may halt death in his tracks. Deception again. I haven’t tried all of these wonderful death-defying tools, but I could have been on my way if I didn’t WAKE UP!

Image of Guenevere Measham by Dimitri Tsapkinis at UNCSA 1994
Image of Guenevere Measham by Dimitri Tsapkinis at UNCSA 1994

Being a teenager wasn’t all the commercials made it out to be. Maybe it was the perfect time for some people, but it wasn’t for me or my misunderstood companions. How could I be understood when I couldn’t even understand myself? I missed that point, another bit of proof that teenagers are not that clued in. We were awkward, we had acne, bucked teeth and growing pains. We had parents that didn’t have a clue, teachers that just wanted to inflict misery upon us, and no one seemed to understood our true omnipotence and creative genius. Why couldn’t you see that we were so brilliant, beyond anyone ever to walk on the earth before us? We knew it all, and then some. This is painfully true, and so painfully teenager-like. We were confused, we were in constant heart ache like many badly acted soap operas of the late eighties. Come on, Fantasy Island. I shall be right there. I was more like Adrian Mole, in angst and confusion and embarrassment of the tragedy of teeneragerdom. (Check out The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend- it is hilariously funny!) I had no idea who my authentic self was. Massive declarations could be made one day, and the next day I would decide that I was sorely mistaken, and I would declare another identity. I am sure this is not everyone’s teenage experience, but for me, these were some of the most agonising, ridiculous and dangerous years of my life. So why had I glamorised them? I think I was still chasing what you had, what you looked like, judging your outside appearances with my fragile insides. What society had programmed me to believe immortality and perfection looked like was definitely not me.

Was it really all that bad?

Okay, it wasn’t ALL bad. In certain ways, it was the rite of passage that started to unfold the largest chunk of my life. My true authentic self was hiding in there, and let out little sparks from time to time, usually the parts I shied away from. But, those sparks of authenticity become cornerstones of my true self later on.  Some may think of that as digression, but I see it as the parts of myself that were always there, always wanting to shine whether I knew it or not. Young minds are able to imagine such great things. They have an extraordinary faith in their abilities and don’t see the limitations. They have passions and desires that are so true to them, that they feel will always be there! Add a lack of common sense which could lead to dangerous or risky choices, but if directed and encouraged this passion could be harnessed to become monumental change in the world. A star is born. Ready for anything. No ceiling on their future. Endless possibilities. The qualities I tried to keep with me for the long haul are these early seeds of passion that were born. I tried to let go of the not so awesome personality traits, kicking and screaming at times. The beauty in all of this is that I am a bit better at discerning what to keep and what to leave behind. What wins and fails I encountered are what made me into who I am now. This can only be moving closer to my authentic and best version of myself.

Fast forward 20 years. I am a mum. My eldest child will be moving into adolescents in a flash, and I am now putting to rest those outdated beliefs. I don’t need to chase youth to see the tops of the daisies. It used to feel that way. Either we are young, or we are dead. I know, it’s macabre. So I have adjusted my view of youth, mainly from the “punch in the face” perspective gained from being a mum. I see how my kids view youth as the barometer of awesome. Old people just aren’t as hip as hipsters, as epic as Ed Sheeran, as sick as Sam Smith, or as cool as the Clash of Clans, Okay? I understand why it seems that way to them. I was them. So were you.

One thing I completely missed in this whole story was what worth I placed on experience. What value I placed on wisdom.

Wisdom is what I chase now. I keep my ears to the ground, I love discovering new stuff, seeing young talent emerging, being physically active and being excruciatingly silly, just ask the kids. I thrive on new experiences and knowledge. I am enamoured with world breakthroughs in science and the understanding of the human mind. I am fascinated with the world, I am in awe of the galaxies, I am humbled by the mysteries of the deep. I love being alive. The passions of youth are the beauties worth holding onto, when accompanied by a drop of wisdom. I don’t think I could appreciate the real value of life until now. So, to be honest, the best years are these. I get to appreciate all the phases, all the decades, and witness my own children as they learn to walk on their own. Perspective is gold, and as far as being mortal is concerned. If I was not mortal, I wouldn’t appreciate they importance of living each day to the fullest. I would take life for granted, and not see the value of this precious gift we have been given. There is no way I could have seen that at 15. My scope is panoramic, and my vision is becoming 20/20. I listen to the wind and I live in my heart. I say thanks everyday and I ask how I can help the world be a better place. I’ll never take life’s precious gift for granted again. Those times have passed, and new times are here for the living.

T.R.I.B.E.

I’ve spent my whole life thus far wondering what I was supposed to be doing. As a kid it seemed so black and white. Happy or sad. Right and wrong. Loneliness or togetherness. Acceptance or rejection. Yet personally filled with a sense of mystery, majesty, beauty, imagination. Coupled with a sense of fear, questions, doubts and confusion.

I was  told that I was gifted, and the gift was music, and that I had “musical intelligence” first and foremost and above any of my other intelligences. I do agree even still to this day that my musical intelligence far outweighs any other intelligences I may possess, relatively speaking. But why? What could music really do to change the world? How could playing the cello really help anyone? It sometimes felt like it was just a form of entertainment, predominantly for the affluent and the elite. It felt like not many folks really dug classical music unless they, too, were on stage playing it, or had some other association to it. On countless occasions, truth be told, even I got really fidgety at concerts of classical music unless I was on stage, or unless it was mind-blowing. I never made peace with the fact that cello alone would not save the world. I knew that people like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were changing the world,one song at a time,  so I took a page from their books and started “rebelliously” writing songs to my mother’s dismay. I wanted this to be my gift, along side of my cello prowess.

I wanted to say something. Something more than just an interpretation of the beautiful dots on a page, as I understood that those classical masterpieces were many times politically charged, spiritually inspired, and unmistakably life changing and poignant during the periods they were being written, just as Dylan’s words and songs were. Not that I thought of myself as anything close to those geniuses, but I still wanted to voice something relevant to the world as it stands, in my own humble musical and textual expression, as those masters had in their own way.

So as I grew up, and made many mistakes (nothing to do with the music I was making, but from my glaringly obvious more underdeveloped intelligences), and I became superficially worldly, I lost that hope I felt as a young person. I somewhere lost the vision. I thought the dream had just been a childhood fantasy, with no relevance or place in a grown up world. And I became complacent, dismayed, apathetic, despondent. I felt even less able to do anything that might help anyone, as through my trials, felt I could barely help myself, so what could I possibly offer to anyone else? I wasn’t getting answers to the problems of the world, I was getting more questions, and contributing to the problems of the world. That was a sad realisation, but it was not accurate. It was honest, as far as I could understand. I was seeing reality as it is, as where I had failed, as to my mistakes, and my lacklustre.

I would catch glimpses of my part in the story, but had no idea how this weakened sight could contribute anything to anyone. I was humbled to the point of despair. I was paralysed in fear of never being remembered, never really contributing anything of value to the world. Yet I called it hunger for fame, fortune, recognition, yet I really only wanted to be loved, and heard, and seen. But it was too scary to let anyone see me, because who I was could not be seen. If you saw me, in my vulnerability, then you might have rejected me. You may not have liked what you saw. So it was easier to show you what I thought you wanted to see, only perpetuating the isolation and separation that is born from insincerity and hiding behind veils. As long as I looked a certain way, did nice things for people, and was a relatively good person, than I must have been a success. But that was not true.

My motives were all wrong. The motivation for achievement and the value I put of my life was directly measured by how you saw me. This is the definition of Hell on Earth, and between a giant rock and a very hard place. The weight of the world I created was far to heavy to continue to hold, so I landed in a heap on a very hard and cold surface of a futile feeling existence.
That was the problem, I was only scraping the surface, and only existing, not living. I was so busy trying to convince you that I was ok, that I hadn’t looked at whether I was or not. I clearly wasn’t.
Then a shift happened. As I called them often, epiphanies…. Now I tend to call them “rememberings“, because I think I did always have a sense of what the point of it all was. I remembered I had felt alive as a child. In wonderment, in awe. Not understanding everything, but being teachable and hungry for life’s beauties and magnificence. Able to see clearly with a trusting heart. I could see that as I “grew up”, and I had experienced real pains and struggles, that I had built giant walls around my heart to survive. I chose to numb out, and forget. I closed shop on epiphanies, I had stopped remembering, until I remembered, again….. and whew…
Shift happens…. and is still happening…. and will always keep happening. I think it is for all of us. As I allowed myself to recall that bewilderment of my childhood, I started to see that you, too, while you were growing up, may have started closing shop on your “remembering” too.

So, as we felt apart from, as opposed to feeling a part of, we were all in the same boat. We all grew up, and hardened our hearts, and forgot to trust, as the risk was too great. When we openly shared about these experiences together, and saw that we are all have suffered  at different times, and that we all just wanted to reunite with our tribe, and make a difference in this world, we learned that we could trust each other. So we decided to take a leap of faith and reclaim our tribe.

My tribe is your tribe.
My tribe is humanity.

I now remember that I am a part of the bigger story, I am seeing how my gifts can reach the whole tribe, and through song, and through cello, and through words and through our children. And your gifts will too. Not EITHER/ OR, but AND.

T: Trust, Togetherness, Truth, Teaching
R: Relationship, Respect, Reuniting, Right Action
I: Inspiration, Integration, Involvement, Imagination
B: Brotherhood, Belonging, Being, Bringing
E: Empathy, Evolving, Empowering, Enjoying!

Here we are now… A part of our T.R.I.B.E.

Anyone Up For The Openness?

For so many years I would look around me to determine how I was meant to feel. I would take signals from you to decide what I was. I would be affected by everything and everyone around me, but not in the way of an empath, but of a person who didn’t believe in themselves. I would be confused as to who I was, because of all the change and variation around me. I know that life is a voyage of self discovery, but too often I ran from some obvious truths in myself. I was so good at being the chameleon, that I would forget what I did know to be true. Most of this is based on a need to people please, to be appreciated, to feel welcomed, to feel accepted. These are all important to us humans, because we are in need of love, and we do want to be a part of the combined experience, but it can go too far, when it places one in a position of self deflating and conformity for the wrong reasons. These ideals of needing to be “like” each other, also is what breeds the hate we see when one is confronted with someone who believes or feels differently than themselves.

This fear of differentiation makes you feel unsure of your own footing, and therefore plays out in judgement, and separation. Even if you are seeing things differently, there is nothing but beauty in fact that with an openness, we can accept each other for our differences. The fact that we are all different in certain ways is what makes this human experience so valuable. With all of our individual gifts, we actually can make huge changes in this world. So what is there to be scared of? If someone is challenging your beliefs, then that is good. Then there is room to grow. If we can open our hearts to listen to others, and share openly, we have a chance at revelation, epiphanies, and new questions. To be like a horse with blinders is only a way to keep yourself feeling safe, undisturbed, and it is a dulled existence. I love it when you share with me, what is truly in your heart. I love it when I can share also, without judgement. Every time I have an experience like this, I grow a little in my faith in others. I grow to know myself more clearly, and I get to evolve with you, as we hold hands and help each other. if you will trust me, I will trust you. If you aren’t

able tIMG_6889o fully trust, I can understand and respect you for where you are. We are all in different stages and ages, and our personal experiences map out what our beliefs are at a given time. This, too, evolves and changes as we grow from our experiences, and our ability to share openly and trust each other.
I’m in. Anyone up for the openness?

One Pair Of Stilettos

IMG_5262
I  Really Love Clothes!

So I decided to go through my closet today, and purge a few things that I don’t ever wear. It is a funny thing, because I buy clothing sometimes based on what I want , i.e.,  I fantasize scenarios where I may wear a certain outfit, or dress, or shoes, yet it has no real purpose in my life as it is. Why would I need 5 pairs of stilettos when I live in a little village in the hills? Maybe one pair?  Maybe….

There was a time in my life where these would have been appropriate and even necessary, in Los Angeles when I was in the music industry and was going out 5 out of 7 nights, but now?

Not really..

So, I am waffling because I am making a point. I used to have a need for these shoes, but they don’t serve my life now.

But wait, I also purchased them because I was projecting what I wish I had, the fantasy of being swept away in the private jet for a luncheon in Paris. Would you call that manifesting? Hum…

It all depends on what is really important, and for me to remember the importance in my life. It is so easy to want for things that I do not have, especially when I see consumerism all around me, and I had the lifestyle that supported that mentality for many years in LA.

But the bottom line is why do I want these things?

I see that my life is full. I have everything I need, and on a good day, I am content with what I have, and I have gratitude. On other days, I am wanting for more.

Why?

So as I sort through my confrontational closet of fantastic clothes, I can see and feel each item as it represents longings I have. These clothes are the ones I am getting rid of, because they serve no purpose in my life as it is. They are only reflections of where I must feel inadequate, where I feel that my life is not enough, not exciting enough, not grand enough, a basic “lack mentality” looking outside of myself to fill the void that I hold internally.

So, as I sort and purge, I am responding to the emotions that are coming from seeing concrete examples of where I feel insufficient.

It is very revealing (not unlike a few skimpy tops that I am parting with!)

I come to a few understandings in myself.

I realise that I lose perspective on my life, and I look to the wrong direction to gain it. My perspective must come from inside myself, as a grounded understanding and self-appreciation/ self-love.

I see that I fill the voids with consumerism, whether it is to mask what is going on inside of myself, or to gain compliments from external sources.

I know that when I am in that place of looking for distraction, I need to check in with my heart, and find the source of my discomfort.

I know that the more I avoid peering into the glass window of my soul, the longer I will stay in that pain.

I know that I have tools to do the work needed to gain clarity back, and gain back my perspective and joy of everyday living.

I enjoyed the feeling of being proactive in checking in with my heart.

I knew it was time to get into my spirit and body centre by doing some yoga and meditation.

I remembered that when I feel self-doubt or am just running on selfish desire, I can take a step back and do something nice for someone else. Getting out of my own way by engaging in selfless tasks and deeds is a fantastic way to align my heart.

I remembered to not take myself too seriously, that life is fun and beautiful and a gift every single day!

I remembered to have gratitude for what I do have, and the gifts that I am given.

I can feel good today from having taken some time to look at areas of my life where I have been “stuck” in my thinking. That is a gift to myself that lasts longer than the latest fashions on the rack.

So, first things first. I got rid of the “old” so I could make room for my “new” attitude of appreciation. My closet is more spacious, I listened to my heart, and I now have room for the important things in my life.

And I kept one pair of stilettos… Just in case.

 

 

What Am I Scared Of?

IMG_0949I’ve been in a wrestling match for years, right in the middle of an MMA ring….And I can’t win the match! But I keep jumping back in, swinging fists, with no proper skills to actually win, and no insight into the fact that I could just remove myself, surrender to the fight…. Surrender is Key. It is not my fight to fight. Time to take this moment to actually get out of the ring….

What am I scared of? Success? Intimacy? Fear of fear? Fear of failure? The list in endless….It can change depending on what is going on in life, and seems dependant on my emotional “head space”. When I am sailing smoothly, I have less fear. When my life feels organised, I have less fear, when everything around me is going well, I seem to have LESS FEAR.

That is the answer, my sense of well-being is completely dependant on outside circumstances, which is why there is no way to actually overcome fear, as outside circumstances change CONSTANTLY!

So, now what?

Well… I think the answer is in the question ” NOW” and “WHAT?” Isn’t that really up to me to answer?

What action can I do NOW that is completely my choice?

 What is really happening RIGHT NOW, in this instant?

When I get into that space of really being PRESENT for exactly what is going on in this instant, I am not able to spiral out of control in fear – because at any given moment, if I am conscious, alive, breathing, and in my body, mind, heart and spirit, I do KNOW some things are true! I do know that when I think of my future goals, dreams, and anxieties, they are all projected fears, because they are the UNKNOWN. I assume I’m not alone in that.

I’ve witnessed many of us clinging to future goals and plans, 5 year plans, college for the kids, retirement, taking care of older parents, buying that jet plane or boat, those types of things that are a part of designing and manifesting our ideal lives, that is all ok as long as there is perspective on the fact that we still need to surrender control of certain things.

No matter what we plan and how carefully we do so, there will be variables. These variables are what can lead to fear and insecurity as a feeling of LOSS OF CONTROL. No one I know likes feeling out of control completely, as it is a very unsettling feeling, but it also has many variants and layers.
Jumping out of an airplane, do you have control of all variables, not really, and yet this “loss of control” is exhilarating to some, and frightening to others, because “the jump” depicts TRUE SURRENDER, TRUE FAITH, and TRULY being in that PRESENT moment, not thinking of the past or future, just breathing in the air from microsecond to microsecond….
Perhaps when we truly allow ourselves to be out of control (not trying to predict variables, and fixing everything in our power to fix) we finally surrender to the now and fear dissipates.

Letting go of control = Letting go of fear.

One foot in front of the other, doing the next action that needs to be done, and leaving the results alone. Enjoy the flight, stay present, and LET GO.

The Need To Belong- Romantic to World-Centric Perspectives

We need one another… and that’s a beautiful thing.

IMG_0899We are part of our tribe.

Our tribe begins with our closest few and extends to all Humanity, perhaps even further. It starts from the one on one relations, and grows exponentially in our tribal and universal connections.

There is nothing wrong with needing each other. As Psychologist Aaron Ben-Zeev states clearly in his article from a romantic partnership perspective” A sense of belongingness is crucial to our well-being.”

There is no inherent “weakness” in needing someone, or asking for help.

Over the last few decades I have been in a few conversations where women would be sharing their need to be fiercely independent, not reliant on men, strong enough without any help, extremely self-sufficient and ALONE. This has never seemed to me as a very inclusive approach to liberating anything or anyone. Being “liberated” in this way only bred more separateness, more isolation, and less connectedness.I don’t think this was what was meant to happen from the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late 60’s- 70’s, but it has grown to include throwing away basal instincts of women and men alike, which is that we do actually NEED each other! Obviously being self-sufficient is a great quality to have, and liberation from oppression if one is truly “oppressed” is vital.  I know that the WLM had some strong points and aims based on the societal gender roles of the times, but some extremists seem to misuse the title of liberation as a way of separatismKen Wilbur really discusses this issue at great length, and is incredibly clear and detailed about oppression of women AND men historically and presently.

I do see much value in being confident and independent, as it is important for personal growth and self understanding, but it doesn’t mean that one needs to separate from others, we all qualify for and have earned the human right to connect!

As humans, we thrive communally, and wither without each other. There are many things we mutually need from each other, as we all have our important and unique roles on this evolving planet. No matter how small we are individually, the collective consciousness knows no bounds.IMG_0900

 

We, as a society, are evolving through our collective consciousness, as well as our individual consciousness. One cannot exist without the other.

(The term Collective Consciousness was credited to Emile Durkheim at the end of the 19th Century: ” The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.”—Emile Durkheim Kenneth Allan; Kenneth D. Allan (2 November 2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Pine Forge Press. p. 108.)

When we understand the connection between our individual self and that of the collective, we gain a broader understanding of each other, and are able to have much deeper compassion and empathy for one another. This explains the communal need and respect that we share with our fellows.

This interdependence (the dependence between things, i.e. plants and animals) is not to be confused with co-dependency (excessive emotional or psychological dependency on another, usually due to a mental illness or addiction.) Co-dependency is birthed out of  the natural instinct of need and belonging, but is blown out of proportion because of addictions or other issues. This can be worked through and put back in balance through counselling and other support networks. (Explaining Co-dependency)

I need you, you need me, and we all long to connect and share on intimate levels.IMG_0879

Physically we all need touch.

(studies have been done on infants/ children in orphanages that had all their basal needs met excluding touch, resulting in illness and even a shrinking of brain tissue (hippocampus)- and higher infant mortality rates than in children who did receive regular physical contact.)

Emotionally, we all want to feel safe, heard, and appreciated.

Mentally, we thrive by sharing knowledge, learning, growing and evolving together.

Spiritually/Creatively, we thrive on exploring our individual heightened experiences and ways to articulate/communicate these together, resulting in fellowship and continued bonding.

Integrating our need for each other, integrating our collective consciousness with our individuation, and integrating our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits will inevitably offer us closer intimate connections, higher understanding and mutuality, and deeper personal growth in the never-ending evolution of humanity.

Bottom line, We want to belong.

How Yoga Quiets My Crazy Brain

I really needed to get into my body today. Believe me, I did..

On any average day, I get up early, and do a “sit”, (meditate) with binaural beats, (Profound Meditation Program from John Dupuy at iAwake is a life altering jam), and then tap into my body before I even really speak to the outside world. Well, that is an ideal  morning, as it gets me focused to feeling balanced, and I travel more smoothly if I get that quiet time for my body, mind, heart and spirit. No matter what by my first breath in the morning, my mind is going Full Speed Ahead! It can yank me out of bed chatting all kinds of spread sheets to philosophies to transmissions to meal planners, which lends itself to being a huge motivator to get straight into meditation and yoga first up.

It doesn’t always go to plan that way, though, as life, schedule, kids, blogs, (excuses, basically) can delay this for me, or even cause me to miss out completely!

Finding My Centre- Headstand
Finding My Centre:Headstand

Today was one of those mornings. But with no real excuse, except I was just excited and focused on writing. I was doing a semi-committed yogic breath “Pranayama” practice while writing, but I hadn’t done anything else for my body or heart space. So obviously the connecting links between my Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit had not been properly tended to as of yet.

It seem easy to “forget” about this delicate balance until something reminds us. My morning played out in the way that it did with just that.

I received a phone call from a blocked number.

It caught me off guard.

It triggered a reaction filled with anxiety and tension. I tend to dramatise and overreact easily if I feel out of control or put on the spot, and I was, and I did. (Please don’t call me a Drama Queen, I might just answer!)

So, a no brainer, I knew that tension filled my body. My muscles tightened, my heart constricted and palpitated. My mind began to race with worrying thoughts (none of which were realistic) and my heart space (my emotional body) felt scared, unsure, not in its power of embracing life/ love. I knew that I needed to get the Four Awakenings ignited, and in BALANCE.

I regained my personal power by getting straight on my mat, positioned in Downward Dog, breathing deeply, finding my centre, and flowed through some Vinyasa Yoga (check out Shiva Rae) that brought me to a calm yet empowered place in myself. After a short but grounding session, I sat for 20 minutes to meditate. I finished my meditation feeling soothed, strong, centred, calm, in control (of myself which is ALL I can control) and with a great deal of perspective about the truly insignificant phone call that really only served as a reminder that I am responsible for my happiness, my own calm, and my own awesome life.

I hope this offers some insight into how important it is to seek balance of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. When these are in balance, we are more of our genuine self, we can handle situations easier, we can flow through life with more ease and grace with the gift of awareness.

Feel free to ask any questions that may come to you, they are always welcome….

Namaste and Love On!

Guenevere