Men + Myself + God

Tag: books

BloggerEmme: Starting the Course

by BLOGGERemme

Enter in this course (Calling in “The One”)

The beauty of being in my position is that I won’t settle. I want the man from my dreams and no one else. He is the man for me. In a pleasant way, I was raised not to need a man. That anything I wanted and needed I should provide for myself and if I couldn’t then I should lean on my family for support. There were no lessons either direct or implied that suggested that my sisters or myself should depend on a boyfriend, husband, etc. to provide anything for us. To be in a relationship was an option, a choice, not the end goal. What developed within me was the desire and pursuit of a strong sense of independence. I became acutely aware that I had options and that I would choose my path. This freedom from societal influence and being the selector meant that I did not have to do anything that I did not want to do just to fulfill some unspoken rule that I had to be married by a certain age. My autonomy in the world of love (I’ll use autonomy loosely here because my mom still laid down the law when I was in my formative years) afforded me the time to learn who I was, who I wanted to be and what I wanted in a relationship.

 

And now I am here and ready.

The Approach, Setting Expectations and Preparations

Initially I was determined to do this course alone, EVEN THOUGH there were strong thoughts in the back of my mind reminding me of my love of community and partnership and the desire to strengthen that part of my life. I do pride myself of being independent and strong. Some wisdom that I have gained along the way is that asking for help or partnering with someone does not diminish strength, but strengthens strength. It is still an active lesson that I am settling into my core constitution.

 

That being said, for obvious reasons I only thought of asking for a friend to join but actually did not. I asked myself, “Should I really approach a course about finding the one, alone?” “Why of course, it will be our relationship not the community’s” was my initial answer, clearly ignoring my deep desire. My response wasn’t sitting right with me especially after sending a close friend of mine, Marley, numerous texts and having discussions about the book and wanting to go through this process with her. My reticence to partner up with someone is something that I will work towards getting over because that is an attitude that I have carried with me for a while and it does not serve me. Anyway, Marley finally said she was going to order the book and the opportunity presented itself for us to go through this journey together. I am humbled and grateful.

My expectations of the book are nil.

My expectations of myself on going through this course are many.

I expect to be open, honest, earnest, and willing.

I expect to show myself a lot of love during this course. I’m sure I will have to examine beliefs, shift thoughts and face some fears throughout this process, but as long as I am compassionate with myself I will go on this route supported.

I expect to do the practices and activities outlined in the book.

As Marley and I journey on this passage together, I expect to give support when needed, to hold the space for our exploration and to ask for the same when I need it as well.

I expect to be fair and refrain from judgment.

I expect to give it my all because I deserve it and so does Marley.

 

One of the agreements that we have made in addition to what is recommended in the book is to not consume any stimulants (alcohol, etc.) while on this path. There are only two planned exceptions, caffeine is allowed – whew!- and I celebrate the love of some friends of mine at their wedding in Paris and so I will toast to love. We want to embrace this chapter of our lives with a clear mind and spirit.

I truly cannot wait to start this course and call in “The One”. I am most excited about gaining completion of the past and clarity for the future, as well as meeting my “One”.

My commitment to myself through this period is that I will be an active player in creating the life that I want to live. I invite you to do the same

 

Cheers,

emme

Guess Who’s Back!

by P. Braithwaite

Hello Lovers,

I’ve been away for a while, but I think our time apart has been good for our relationship. I’ve missed you, and hope that you haven’t forgotten about me. I certainly haven’t forgotten about all of you.

 While I was away:

1. I finished my Master’s thesis: In about two weeks I will officially be a Master of Fine Arts, and (although I have no idea what that really means) that feels GREAT!! Now that I’m done being a student (in the traditional sense), I can begin my life-long commitment of being a slave to the written word. I really loved graduate school, and I think my decision to go was sort of brilliant. I got to live as an artist, while telling everyone I was a responsible academic type. I got to live my passion without the scrutiny of others. I wish I’d realized that sooner. It would’ve saved me some angst. In any case, I think that what the MFA has really taught me is that I’m a writer all of the time. School or no school; blog or no blog.  Writing is a very big part of how I’m going to spend this life. It’s time to stop delaying and pondering; it’s time to get to the business of doing the thing…

2. I’ve gotten some career clarity: The writing life is only part, albeit a huge part, of my overall picture. While getting some clarity, I have come to understand that I am passionate about personal development, motivation and spirituality. I’m hoping to blend writing with a day job in personal coaching/empowerment. If I could spend 40/60 hours a week helping folks become better people, and then spend my free time working on writing and deepening my connection to self, I’d be the happiest girl in Kansas (though I live in Brooklyn). Regular readers know that I may or may not be an English instructor, and so I think that I (may or may not be) already doing a bit of coaching and development work, but I’m hoping really expand the definition of what it means to be a teacher. I really want to live my best life, and help others do the same. (I blame Oprah)

3. I haven’t worked on the God Book: I’ve thought about it a lot, but I really wanted to concentrate on finishing my thesis. It’s interesting because there are a lot of people who have asked me about my process, and have offered to connect me with people who are willing to help. Now that the thesis is almost a distant memory, it’s time to recommit to the project.

4. I’ve been showing up more as myself: I turned 28 last month, and I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying myself and the people in my offline life. That said, I’ve also been doing a lot of inner work. At the risk of being completely vulnerable, I’ve been doing the therapy thing and I’ve enlisted the help of an AMAZING life coach. I’m up to my ears in self-help books and empowerment tapes, and I’m meditating (almost) daily. Though I’m sure this sounds a bit crazy, this process has helped me to see how some of my attempts to protect myself are actually getting in the way of my potential. Those who have known me for a while have told me that I look different and move differently. I chalk that up to me showing up as my authentic self instead of as I think I should be.

5. I cut off my hair: Afro chic!

So I’ve bored you with list in an effort to explain that, while I have been away, I’ve been really busy becoming a better person and shit. I am aware of the life I want, and I’m determined to become the person capable of birthing that life. The best part is, I look in the mirror and I’m beginning to see that I AM that person.

So I’m back and I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. There will be some changes to the blog in the upcoming weeks (hopefully some new voices) and I’m going to be posting more regularly. I hope that those of you who read my posts will comment. When I look back on when and how I started writing, I really believe that I started writing to convince myself that I existed. I was sooo quiet and much of my time was spent alone. At some point I picked up a pen and started talking to myself. So comment when the spirit moves you, don’t talk yourself out of it.…it validates my existence. 😉

Here’s a question: what have you all been doing while I’ve been cutting off my hair and running the streets? Do you have any interesting insights?

5 Cool things I learned from Georgia O’Keeffe

by P. Braithwaite

Dead artists follow me around. Seriously. I’m not crazy.

From time to time an author or artist will follow me around. They will pop up in random conversation, their books will jump out at me on the subway, or they will show up in television dialogue or something.

Typically, if folks show up more than 4 times in a short period of time, I’ll give in.

This has been the case with Georgia O’Keeffe – which is odd because, well, I didn’t think we had much in common.

I was doing my best to ignore Ms. O’Keeffe until I came across Karen Karbo’s biography called How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living. I saw a review of it in O Magazine (after avoiding O’Keeffe for a week), and I caved and purchased it.

I have to say I loved this book. Not only is Karbo hilarious (I laughed aloud several times), this book made me love O’Keeffe’s personality as well as her art. It also made me realize that art is an extension of personality. A cowardly person creates cowardly art. The book even inspired me to use colored-pencils and draw a vagina flower. (I failed).

Here are a few of favorite reasons why we should all love Georgia:

Love…hard: Georgia O’Keeffe loved hard. She also loved stupidly and diligently and defiantly, but the passage that struck me most was when Karbo wrote, “Georgia abandoned painting. She went back to charcoal, a humble impossible material. She unrolled cheap manila paper on the floor and had at it, late at night, after she was done teaching, tramping and letter-writing. She wrote to Anita that she developed bad cramps in her feet from crawling around the floor…she embodied the wisdom I heard somewhere once, that to create something meaningful you must love the expression of your heart more than you love yourself” (79)

My thoughts: Deep and self-explanatory.

Don’t be afraid to do dumb sh!t: Karbo writes, “One of the things I love about O’Keeffe is that for all of the ways in which she was a one-of-a-kind genius- busy giving birth to abstract expressionism while Jackson Pollock was still in kindergarten, while also demonstrating how women, who still didn’t even have the right to vote, might live a life of both passionate connection and equally passionate independence – she still made a lot of the same errors in judgment the rest of us do” ( 110).

My thoughts: Karbo is referring to the fact that O’Keeffe posed nude for a photographer (who later became her husband) who then created an entire exhibit behind her back (Karbo compares this to sexing or Kardashian-esque sex tapes). Ironically this huge lapse in judgment catapulted O’Keeffe’s work. Sometimes stupid decisions contribute to your overall growth/progression.

Be Brave: In Chapter 9 Karbo quotes O’Keeffe. “My feeling about life is a curious kind of triumphant feeling about –seeing into bleak – knowing it is so and walking into it fearlessly because one has no choice” (179).

My thoughts: Okay, so this one is a bit of a downer but, honestly I think it’s so deep. O’Keeffe understood the landscape of her soul (and her vagina) she made beautiful haunting pieces turning skulls and skeletons into beauty. True alchemy.

Sublimation leads to awesomeness: Karbo writes, “If Georgia had lived, say, now, she would not have poured her raging heart into her work. She would have rolled up her sleeves, Googled, “How to get and keep your man,” sprung for a weekend workshop on applying the principles of The Secret to her situation, moved to New York, waxed the proper boy hair, found out which power Yoga class Author [Macmahon] frequented, and arranged to accidently bump into him. In short she would have found a way to make him hers…Sublimation is a powerful thing. Best of all, it’ll never let you down. ..The good news is, we needn’t fix anything…we need only start a blog.” (76-78)

My thoughts: I know what you’re thinking – I only love this passage because I’m a writer and a (sometime) blogger, but that’s not true. Part of my spiritual practice right now is to feel things. Often we think there is an elixir in a book (or bottle), we run around trying not to feel. Art = feeling. If I can feel deeply I can learn to create more deeply.

F*ck watcha heard: Georgia O’Keeffe says, “If I stop to think of what others – authorities would say…I’d not be able to do anything at all” (107).

My thoughts: Again…well-said and self-explanatory

This book was really really inspiring. You should buy it. But NOT from Amazon (that’s a post for a different day, I guess.) So my friend, tell me, who inspires you??