Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New Studio & Other Summer Impermanence

Life has been full of summer energy and things.  One of these things is that I have finally scrubbed the last of the sawdust from the ceiling of the old workshop and moved in paint and paper, canvases and all.  It feels good to have a workspace where I can make as much mess as I like. Paint on the floor, no problem it's plywood, paint on the counter, no problem, it's old wood.  Want to bang a nail into the wall to hang something up, just on a whim?  Go for it.  It's kind of like when you were a kid and you got your own room, there is a giddiness to it.  It feels exciting.  I like that it's old and worn and not too precious.

And I have in fact been in there alternating between gardening and painting and working away on another little project.  Here's some more peeks at the studio space and a Buddha in progress.
And the view of the old barn from one of the windows.
  I have been shaking up the spiritual path a bit lately too.  I have felt drawn to the Shamanic Journey work of Sandra Ingerman and have been doing some of that in addition to my more Buddhist centred practice.  Maybe it's living here in the forest, but I feel the call to add something nature based, something that moves into the world of the unseen, into the elemental world of spirit.  I find the two practices complement each other and coexist very nicely.  I love the Bon practice of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche which is the pre Buddhist practice of the Indigenous people of Tibet and somehow adding the Shamanic work to the Insight meditation work I have been doing feels akin to this. For me the Shamanic journey work is simply another way to approach the "stuff" that we work with on a daily basis, the stuff that can feel stuck and intractable, kind of like turning a package that you are trying to open, upside down and working it from the other side.  One of the personal things I am working with is being comfortable with "being seen" which in many ways is work of the introvert.

Also on the spiritual front I am reading "The Great Heart Way" by Gerry Shishin Wick and Ilia Shinko Perez.  I was impressed with Wick when I saw him on one of the Tricycle online retreats and ordered his book from The Book Depository (my favourite place to order books online).  The subtitle of the book is "How to Heal Your Life and Find Self-fulfillment".  Wick, who is a Zen teacher, looks at the 3 poisons of greed, hate and delusion as expressions of our "shadow self", the parts we have unconsciously rejected.  He approaches the Dharma by having us look at what we have rejected in ourselves and bring it into the light.  In this way we can work to unlock the "stuck" places of anger or greed by going deeply into our personal terrain or is that subterrain?  Why do some situations or people's behaviour trigger our anger?  What is the deep source of our  desire?  This approach intrigues me and feels like it holds potential to approach the Dharma in a very personal way.  Hmmm, have I got a theme going on here?
An old kimono jacket that I bought years ago for $1 has found a home by the cute old wood stove
.  It was almost cool enough to light the stove this morning!
And on Thursday we saw Susan Moon read from her book "This Is Getting Old", a reflection on aging from a Buddhist point of view, pulled together with her lovely sense of humour.  She talks about the typical aging boomer topics of caring for aging parents, physical decline, memory loss, and becoming invisible.  She shared her aim to do it all with grace and humour.

And there was a volunteer stint at the Lavender Festival up the road and qi gong at the Japanese Peace Park in Ganges and an art opening called "100 Mile Furniture".  This is summer!  How's your's?


  1. your studio is just wonderful. i cant wait to see the beauty you create in there. your summer sounds rich in both outer doing and inner exploration. the subtitle of "the great heart way" makes it sound like a book meant for me! I have seen Susan Moon's book at the local bookstore and now want to run out and buy it even though i am supposed to be frugal. Really I envy (i know I "shouldnt) your beautiful house there and the richness around you. Even though you say you are somewhat rural and isolated on the island, it sounds like there are many many wonderful rich opportunities for spiritual and other stimulation around you. a pleasure to read about! Blessings, suki

  2. ps which of the Sandra Ingerman bks or tapes are you reading/listening to?

  3. Hi Suki - thanks for your kind and generous comments. though we are rural we are only 20 minutes from town and a 35 minute ($35) ferry ride from a city of 350,000 people. Salt Spring is filled with interesting folks who have amazing connections so we often get big name visitors and speakers who wouldn't normally come to a place this size (10,000 people in summer, fewer in winter)

    I have Sandra Ingerman's, "Soul Retrieval" book and downloaded Shamanic meditation from Sounds True (which is only about $10) A friend also lent me Medicine For The Earth (CD) which is very nice as well. There is also a lot to read on her website and a video to watch.

  4. Great space! It has wonderful light and that stove will be fantastic when the wet winter comes. Get that roof fixed!!! Nice thought about the idea of being seen. That is a hard one but, well worth getting comfortable with. How else can we be comfortable in our own skin if we aren't ourselves at all times. (of course, I am battling that same thing right now. What a dramatic choice of words: "battling". HA!)

  5. sounds- and looks-- like you are having a very busy summer. I have not been around much in the blog world this summer as I have so much to do outside in my Zen gardens and in my painting studio... but I did start reading a book today titled LIVING ZEN so I have Zen and Buddhism on my mind and your post is a perfect connection.

  6. What a wonderful space you have created to create in! And surrounded by the inspiration of nature... Thanks for sharing all the pictures!

    I love that you are "shaking up the spiritual path" - finding the ways and the practices that speak to you, that call to you. I am paying attention to that more as well. What does my Heart call me to type thing.

    Would love to hear about your "journeying." Did some myself many years back. It was quite amazing. Have fun with it!

    And oh yes, those shadowy caverns that need exploring...

    Have fun with it all! :) C

  7. Your "new" studio is brilliant, Carole! And is that the same sagey-green on the walls as in your zendo? I looks a terrific, light, bright, open space in which to create and contemplate. Is that a big piece of cork along the one wall, for pining things up? Love that! And, of course, your new Buddha in progress too. I have just ordered Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness, a 28-day meditation program of sorts, and eager for it to arrive. My seated practice could use a little help. I will be very eager to hear about your experience with Shamanic journeying. My sister is Wiccan, and reads much of Sandra Ingerman, and has shared much of her journey experience with me. So much so, I'm wanting to add more natural spirituality to my practice as well. Oh, by the way, I am actually launching new blog today, with new creative focus (more art & Buddha will be there! ;o)--I'm very excited about it. In a few weeks I'll be closing Pink Purl. Thanks for visiting me there sometimes. :o) Happy Summer Days!

  8. Mary- yes a new roof. we were talking the other day about doing it ourselves, another adventure! ah yes, getting comfortable in our own skin, the work of a life and to find a way that works for us personally and go for it, that is the journey.

    Suki - love to hear what you get up to in your "journey".

    layers- me too, I have much less time for the blog world this summer with all the fun outdoor work. I am delighting in it and look forward to seeing some more pix of that wonderful Zen garden of yours.

    Mystic- yes I feel more released to follow what feels right in my spiritual path, some would call that dabbling, but it feels authentic to me, right now.

    Tracy- love your new direction and new blog, but couldn't post there this morning, after trying twice?? Will have to sign in as a typepad user it looks like to follow you?

    It is fun to shake up the spiritual practice so hope you enjoy the Salzberg program. Maybe you'll even blog about it?

  9. This is one beautiful space...congratulations! I love your view and the way your windows open...a true breath of fresh air. Yes, make a mess, make some art and enjoy the space!!

  10. Thanks, Blue Sky. That new space does call to me!

  11. Wow! thank you for sharing such a rich summer with us! So many beautiful things . . . Love the studio, love your garden, love the old kimono, love the sunshine peeking through it all, love your whole hearted search for what is.

    Thank you :)