Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Younger Sibling's Defense Against Headlocks

The Headlock

The headlock is a poor technique for anything more than annoying younger siblings. It is, however, a very common technique used by older siblings in getting their way; therefore, knowing how to escape from it is important for younger siblings everywhere. 

Whole Body Moves

Step 1: The younger sibling's first step in escaping from an older sibling's headlock is to ensure that your arm is not captured. With a short jerky motion, your older sibling can pull in their elbow and turn on their side, giving him or her total dominion and control over your life. 

Step 2: If able, turn the tables, try to form a frame under your older brother or sister's chin. Your top arm should be under his or her jawbone, and your top hand should rest comfortably in the grasp of the other hand. 

Step 3: By pushing with your top leg, you should be able to move your hips back away from your older sibling. 

Step 4: If your older sibling does get you in a headlock, rotate around until he or she is on both of their knees behind your back. 

Step 5: Use your top hand to clear your older sister's legs out of the way and step over, brining your foot in tight against their hip. Establish your base by putting both hands on the ground. 

Step 6: The younger sibling can now force the older brother (or sister) to release his/her grip on their neck by forming the frame and leaning toward their older brother or sister's head, driving the bone of their upper arm under the older brother or sister's jawbone. 

Emergency Release

When all else fails, 
hug it out. 

Step 1: If your sibling is truly driving you crazy, the best way to get rid of them is to hug them. Hugs from siblings are a sure fire method to get your sibling to want to wriggle out of there as fast as possible and leave the room. 

Step 2: Now that your sibling has repelled themselves from your presence, it is time to change the password on your phone, install a lock on your bedroom door, and take all necessary precautions to ensure that they do not get into your stuff again.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Little Hamlet

A little hamlet

The ideal hamlet should be naturally pleasing and replete with goodness and charm. Her luxuries should be natural and whenever possible, touched by human hands. Manuchihri compares the garden full of natural luxuries to a rich carpet: "Le nouveau printemps endosse ce tapis aux cent couleurs...", 

The hamlet is a splendidly regal environment. Bathed in rainbows, nestled among the trees, surrounded by fruits and flowers, animals and charming creatures of all origin, the hamlet exhibits a noble luxury ostentatious displays of possibility fail to capture. 

Even the roses surrounding the hamlet exhibit luxury. 

"La rose à deux faces est comme un cercle sur une soie rouge, lorsque tu aurais fait passer à son envers un cordonnet d'or." 

The court panegyrists delivered high praise for the highly studied and discriminating hamletian experience. Comparing natural elements to fine artifice in the form of rich treasures created by skilled craftspersons, those attending the hamlet envisioned the artifice of the springtime garden, 

"les branches des fleurs sont comme des échecs d'argent et de cornaline qui, à la tombé de la nuit, jouent aux échecs sur un tapis de verdure..."

Paths leading to the hamlet are usually at a level higher than the surrounding hamlet and gardens, the geometrical layout of the hamlet allowing for maximum enjoyment and proper usage of any given space. One has the illusion of walking into a peacefully, serene locale surrounded by the most intimate of settings, which have their own unique feel and temperament. 

One might compare a hamlet to a finely woven cloth, not only for its natural elements but for its arrangement. The artificer responsible for these creations is Nature, those who serve as custodians simply encourage her beautiful procreation. 

Whether communion with nature occurs with self or with a distinct force, I cannot say, but nature is a natural luxury in which one may delight, in which one may communicate outwards directly through sensual experiences of the world. 

"le caractère stylisé de la description et les réalités que voit le poète rappellent bien ce que nous connaissons dans notre poésie; mais la progression de la description, la façon dont le poète se met en cause et le contexte général où s'inscrit cette description, rendent les rapprochements difficiles..."

In Surah 16 (12-16) of the Koran, Islam recognizes a parallel between a basic belief in the natural world as a book in which the believer can read divine mysteries: 

"And He hath subjected to you the night and the day; the sun and the moon and the stars too are subjected to you by his behest; verily, in this are signs for those who understand. 
 And all of the varied hues that He hath created for you over the earth: verily, in this are signs for those who remember.
 And He it is who hath subjected the sea to you, that ye may eat of its fresh fish, and take forth from it ornaments to wear - thou seest the ships ploughing its billows - and that ye may go in quest of his bounties, and that ye might give thanks.
 And He hath thrown firm mountains on the earth, lest it move with you; and rivers and paths for your guidance.
 And way marks. By the stars too are men guided." 

What one reads into one's own hamlet is entirely of one's own making. When I step back and observe my own little hamlet, I recognize elements, differently arranged, that speak to the most intimate aspects of my being. Some elements serve as tokens until a more personalized touch might be applied, but the sense is of painting oneself onto a canvas, of distributing oneself inside the nooks and crannies with bits and pieces of nostalgic sensibilities that have far more meaning than their simplicity would suggest. 

To experience the delights of one's garden, roses and fruit should be smelled and tasted. To remain unresponsive to nature's manifest luxury is to remain unresponsive to altruistic love for life giving sustenance. The world simply does not exist without it. Thus, through direct intention, one can invite the sensual experience into oneself, and through one's efforts, express the same sensory experience outwards. This engagement creates a direct aesthetic by which innocent sensuality blossoms. 

My purpose in encouraging sensory experience is expressed with my own unique contribution to the arts and letters. I often times feel like nature's nightingale, singing sensual music of nature's poetry to delight the ear, to reinforce and advance her beauty, and to delight, for myself, in the conception of a divine aesthetic. 

Perhaps simliar in nature to the Surah above, recognition of the peace and serenity that abounds in this space is more easily received by those who are in direct communion with their own experience of nature. My own little hamlet is a microcosm of Creation that conveys my sensitivity to the relation between human beings and divine art. 

What one interprets is a metaphor for their own creations. If the metaphor speaks of artificiality, then it is clear that artificiality is the author of their perceptions. If one conceives of their garden from an elegant study adapting form to function with economy and grace, then certainly each of those elements will be present. However one designs and orders their liaison with their hamlet, qualities that are essential to their well-being will be at play. We surround ourselves with that which speaks to us, our choices, the arrangements exist, somewhere within us, the construction of them outside ourselves concerns the eye, indeed, all the organized parts of our human nature. 

Nature is the immediate artificer of our hamlet's jardin, but her artifice exists only to maintain our sensibilities, according to our unique plans. So honored and valued are our gardens, that we fill them with our highest accolade, our presence. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Soph Laugh's World Class: Course Syllabus

Week 1 ~ Adventure Planning with Lab

Week 2 ~ The Art of Leaving Extra Stuff Behind

Week 3 ~ The Essentials: Passport + Credit Card 

Week 4 ~ What You Need To Know About Where You're Going

Week 5 ~ The Cool Stuff!

Week 6 ~ Playlists 

Week 7 ~ Electrified Fences, Running Crocodiles, and Rental Car Management 

Week 8 ~ Miles, Miles, Miles! 

Week 9 ~ Finding the Right Sanctuary 

Week 10 ~ Happy Accidents

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Enjoymatation: Mastering the meditative art of enjoyment

When we enjoy, take delight or pleasure in an activity, we use a process very much like the one used in meditation. Meditation improves our focus and concentration.

Reaching elevated sensations associated with amplified enjoyment only requires an ability to calm the spirit and control the mind and keep it pointed toward heartfelt joy and happiness.

Clair-voyance is French for clear seeing. Seeing clearly what we enjoy helps us see opportunities to create moments that combine day dreams with waking reality.

Clear seeing requires no special talent other than the willingness to creatively manifest pleasure. In doing so, felicity follows. Our intuition helps make sense of what we see so we can engage from our most trusted understanding of self: that which makes us feel good inside.

To have a vision of happiness is to carry within us a source of inspiration and power. Like a guiding light, it illuminates a path as it travels through and then out of us toward those moments that give meaning and purpose to our lives. 

A vision of happiness creates strong attractors that shape the myriad of energies flowing around us into definable patterns that we invite, cultivate, and celebrate. 

Enjoymatation is a ritual of happiness purification and listening to oneself and others, an open but focused appreciation for the moments we co-create together. Enjoymatation involves a williness to humble oneself, embrace personal intuitions, and undo the connection to thoughts and energies that oppose our natural love of pleasure. 

As a solo rite, it is a deep embracing of Self and others for the purpose of expanding into a creative space that gratifies and shines light on that which makes us smile. 

As we leave those thoughts that isolate us from enjoyment, we weaken the ego and empower the mind toward more subtle planes of time and space that ignite the spirit. 

Leting go of the mundane concerns that occupy our mind allows us to more fully enter the cheerful, carefree moments that propel us toward cloud nine and leave us feeling as if we are 

     walking on air

          jumping for joy

               over the moon

                    on top of the world

                         as happy as a clam

                              tickled pink

We create our own private ceremony of the world ... connecting it with those moments that enliven us are the winds that bring powerful dreams into being. 

Happiness flourishes when we focus on the emotional state of well-being that fills us with vision and the understanding that we can shape and transform the world around us. 

The possibilities expand through our imagination, which stimulates creativity. The vision that follows lays the groundwork for the intricate dance of colors and symbols, dreams and fantasy, ideals and images that expand our heart and minds toward capturing love and happiness for ourselves. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Raising Funny Kids 45: On Love and Details

I engaged in a highly intriguing discussion with my daughter the other day on the subject of love. As I pondered what specifics it was that causes people to love, my logician's brain hard at work, she responded with something so poignantly simple that it stopped me cold in my deliberation. She said sometimes you just love. There doesn't need to be a reason. 

There doesn't need to be a list of details. All that list does is give you more reasons to love. As I thought about why I love my daughter, none of the details hit my brain first. It was just her. Simple, standing there looking at me with all her loveliness. I had to think about the details, and the details were just lovely. Sweet, kind, extraordinary intellect, regal, edgy, creative... spunky! I could fill blogs on my observations.

Then in dawns on me that sometimes people give off other kinds of lists. You know the kind. They're called problems or things that bug us. And in that moment I saw this kind of illuminated path between the two experiences. One truly is about love. Real love. Whatever it is, it is a force. The other is about the details. That's where all the sarcasm, frustrations, and so-called problems lie. And while the two may resemble one another on the outside, while the two may have a vested interest in each others' lives, they're totally different.

One could argue that the person who focuses on the problems is a realist. But I'd have to remind this person that reality is a matter of subjective perspective. There are multiple realities because there are multiple perceivers. String theory multi worlds hypothesis totally proved when one defines an entity as composing an entire world. Are we not mini worlds in and of ourselves? Existing in a multitude of forms, this one presently conscious of its form. So, the many worlds theory exists because we exist. 

It is a peculiar thing how the mind reasons, which directions it takes after being exposed to a simple truism. The truth of the matter is that my daughter is right. Sometimes we just love. We fill in the reasons afterwards.

If we made love a priority in the world. If we supported the cause of love how would things change? How would people perceive one another? How can we as a world society fail to teach love in schools when most everyone in the world claims that it is love that makes life worth living? If love is so important to us, why isn't it on the approved curricula of every learning institution in the world? 

And what about the other courses? Courses on compassion, on listening, on imagining. Do we not value these concepts? Why do we exclude them? If we fill our days with other details, how are we expected to have time to think about and explore the concepts that every ancient wisdom writer valued above all other earthly experiences? 

It does make you wonder. 

Loving someone is kind of similar. Instead of finding reasons why you shouldn't love them, you just keep wondering about all the things that remind you that you do love them. Every detail becomes a new unique aspect of their very special identity. Instantly you find yourself thinking about the things that make you laugh or smile or feel warm and happy on the inside ... or things that intrigue, delight, or otherwise fill you with admiration or curiosity. 

If we teach children to recognize love, we can teach them how to explore the details that support it. Imagine a pre-school class... "Okay, now children, why do we love people from Australia? Let's look at all the wonderful things about their culture that make them interesting to us."

An education focused on the best things about our world teaches us to see the beauty first, find the solutions faster, and sustain the experience for ourselves and others because we simultaneously mirror that which we perceive. Mirroring the beauty in the world results in our creating more wonderful things for all the world to share.

If we raise a generation of human beings to look out at the world and think about all the things they love about life, the details they encounter will look different. Most of the details will simply inspire them ... when they encounters situations where there is still work to be done, the solutions will be easier to see.

If world leaders came together with love in their heart for all the world's citizens, with the goal to keep everyone happy, things would work out much easier and the details would all just be part of the solution. There would follow true introspection (vs merely analysis) as to how to avoid loosing sight of the whole world's self-proclaimed greatest joy in life: love.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cute Street Art

I want to make some cute street art! I think it would be fun to go outside and decorate a few poles and sidewalks. Recently my neighbor showed me where the water shut-off valve for my property was located and my first thought was wouldn't that look cute decorated ~ to which my 'self' answered, "Yes, indeed there are artistic possibilities here." 

Our home has three large steps one must navigate in order to arrive to the path that leads visitors into our inner courtyard. I had never before considered decorating those steps until now, but I think it would be fun to arrive to the house with some charming little welcomer-characters. Admittedly my brain is thinking something slightly more elaborate would be a better representation of the household they are entering. As this particular home is our little hamlet, something representing aesthetic creativity and flourishing is called for. I'll have to put my brain on this and once complete, write a follow-up post (with pictures).

Passing by our property each day are a number of dogs (and their owners) who live in our community. This has me questioning what type of images might entertain both canine and canine passerbys. Perhaps a some visual entertainment relating to the dog-walking experience?

This little guy is a mascot, which immediately reminds me of Frédéric Mistral's Vincent and Mireille (Frédéric Mistral introduced the word mascotte into the French language, from which we derive "mascot"), two Provençal lovers that fell under the spell of love. 

If you don't know the story, Mistral's major work (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1904) was Mirèio (Mireille), a long poem in Provençal which tells of the thwarted love of Vincent and Mireille, two young Provençal lovers from different walks of life. 

Vincent et Mireille 
Victor Leydet (1861 - 1904)

Mireille is supposed to marry a Provençal landowner but instead falls in love with Vincent, a poor country weaver. After refusing three wealthy suitors, Mireille, desperate by the refusal of her parents to let her marry Vincent, goes to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to pray to the patron of Provence to allow them to marry. Unfortunately, she forgets her hat and suffers serious sunstroke by the time she reaches the end of her journey. She dies in the arms of Vincent. 

Thinking about Vincent and Mireille as mascots for our walkway, I'm imagining Mireille WITH her hat, this time she has remembered it! And who is waiting for her with open arms on the other side of the driveway? ... why it's Vincent! 

A happily ever after for the young lovers can be created with a simple stroke of the brush. All possibilities exist in our little hamlet and how charming will it be to add a little street art to the experience! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Life Mates vs Soul Mates

There are life mates and soul mates,
and if you listen close enough,
you can hear the sun set between the two.
~Sophy Laughing

My initial exposure to the concept of "soul mates" came from reading Plato. My secondary influence stems from beliefs espoused and made popular in western culture. The above prose is an adaption of an insight I wrote in 1992: "There is love worth living for, and love worth dying for, and if you listen closely enough you can hear the sun set between the two."  I offered this reflection (in a thesis) as a response to the notion of soul mates. In reality, the notion eluded me. Thus, my brain associated it with the common expression: "I would die without him/her" (from which I creatively adapted my poetic reflection). Just recently, in a post titled On the Notion of Soul Mates, I considered the following new thought: 

  While Plato presents the notion of soul mates as separate, 
  beings, there is another perspective, that of liberation. 
  The notion of soul mates as it pertains to liberation 
  romantically symbolizes freedom: in which each mate
  freely chooses the other. 

The distinction, for me, lies in the act of choosing. Typically speaking, we choose our life mates.  These choices are largely influenced by external, practical, physical, or psychological factors, independent of one very specific, and so it would seem, incredibly rare, experience. 

This experience can only be defined as something which is profoundly personal. The sentiment feels as if it is driven by unseen forces that connect us with another being outside ourselves in such an instantaneous and authentically real manner that it seems to happen before we are consciously aware of it.  Even if you do not wish to experience this sentiment, even if there are circumstances dictating otherwise, it is as if the connection is so profound that there is no denying it. 

Thus, the experience exists outside of the domain of our direct control ... it is indeed akin to having one's breath stolen.

It is an energie that brings a new awareness into being. One part of my brain is eager to say that it is an energie that ignites a new awareness, meaning a previously existing awareness or memory that already resides within the being (i.e., Plato's description of soul mates), but in reality the energie feels distinctively different. It feels like new energie. Like a perfectly harmonized energie strand that somehow twisted its way into your sphere of existence and 

as it glides by, tenderly ... 

it sneaks up upon you ... 

And then, instantly, totally, and utterly lays claim to your heart!  It is the feeling of being pierced by Cupid's arrow. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin offered a more poetic version of Plato's notion on soul mates: "Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being." 

The world does indeed come into being.  The beings are separate prior to the connection, but the bridge that unites them: this new energie, sentiment, or connection, is also a distinctive presence. The presence of a soul mate thus evokes the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin trinitas "triad", from trinus "threefold"). The three entities are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature". In this context, a "nature" is what one is, while a "person" is who one is. 

Life mates speak to who we are at a given time in our lives. Soul mates speak to what we are: to our nature, substance, or essence, which is akin to an eternal principle by which the essence itself exists. 

Throughout the course of our years, we expand our thinking, our emotions, and our perspectives, however, the substance of our being remains the same. It is this substance, essence or nature to which soul mates directly speak. Even if one has never before heard this language, it is an instinctively familiar one. It is a language so pure and so real that it cannot be mistaken for infatuation, compatibility, or even, a deeply held appreciation and 'love' for another.

Contemplating the notion of life mate vs soul mate inspires new questions for which there are no definitive answers and no definitive rationale behind the sentiments and thoughts they evoke. 

One would naturally assume that an individual who does not possess a personal understanding of the notion of soul mate would not recognize the energie should a soul mate come along. And there is merit to hanging onto this type of thinking. However, the merit dissipates when we look to the collective mind of Western civilization where the notion of soul mates has been largely forgotten. Removed from our predominant mythology, the notion of soul mate is conspicuous in its absence and only begins to resurface when one is in the presence of a soul mate. Consequentially soul mates relate to the highest human religion one could experience. Soul mates are the archetypical trinity at the primal origin of our cultural history. 

In the absence of soul mates, the Great Life Mate becomes the sole protagonist in our dominant mythology. We choose people based on looks and economy. He is handsome and funny or she is smart and beautiful. We choose for reasons, rather than being chosen by definition of who we are in relation to another. The metaphor for Christ being crucified on the cross is perhaps one that indicates an ancient understanding, namely that we can be with another as a direct consequence of tribal tradition, but a part of our heart dies in the process. We cannot be whole and complete unless the trinity is evoked and the trinity is not evoked unless we are with our soul mate. 

We have inherited the myth of soul mates. We are the children of generations of beings who attempted to find wholeness in a world that is longing for the magic and mystery of love. This is our story. History is our parents. We are the children of a love that must be discovered for oneself. 

No wonder we have such a yearning for soul mates, such a yearning for romantic love. No wonder the myth of love-at-first-sight pervades our collective fantasies, rendering other forms of love less significant. 

The thing is... these other forms of love do seem less signifiant when one actually hears the sun set between the two.