Conscious Strokes – A mindful, yogic, vegan, kayaking blog
When my mind stops screaming and the pain within my chest subsides then the opportunity exists for happiness. Before happiness manifests there is a quiet time, a peaceful calm where the voices of depression are silent and rational emotion processing takes over. Happiness is a response, a physical and mental outcome, a manifestation of decisions made, a conscious and physical realization of emotions.
How can someone state they have compassion for the pain a circumstance creates, and then express a desire to not improve said circumstance and instead continue to worsen the pain? To me this seems counter-intuitive when one examines the definition of compassion: Compassion. /kəmˈpæʃən/ noun. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
My life’s journey has been taking me to Europe a lot lately, for work but also a little “play”. In a small alley near the Plaça de Catalunya in the center of Barcelona, there is an equally small restaurant that serves nothing but vegan food. Teresa Carles (http://teresacarles.com) on the Carrer de Jovellanos has become my favorite restaurant out of any I have found during my travels.
Why is it hard to change the way your mind works? Why is it hard to do the things you know will bring you the most happiness? Why is it that depression is the easiest path? Why does depression want more depression and drags you to its depths?
The Mika song “Origin of Love” is a permanent fixture on my phones playlist, it’s a very meaningful song for me. I was listening to it, while relaxing on a transatlantic flight from Dublin. The lyrics made me start thinking about my relationship to love and how it manifests in my life. And thus, this stream of consciousness was born.
From the air I breathe, to the love I need
Only thing I know, you’re the origin of love
It is a part of my DNA driven inheritance that when I do something I generally do it to an obsessive degree. As examples, I can’t just be vegetarian I have to be vegan, I can’t just practice the physical aspects yoga once a week I need/have/am compelled to do it four or five days a week. My obsessive-compulsive behavior inevitably extends to my Greenland kayaking too.
Stress makes one do strange things, instincts take over from sense. We react to rather than mentally process situations and stimulus. In my experience the threat of drowning creates all the necessary stimuli to fill me with stress. When I am upside down, under my kayak, my head under water, and things go wrong, my panic stress response kicks in strongly. I instinctively do anything I can to get my head out of the water so I can breathe.
Running away, avoidance my instinctive behavior, was the easy option I pursued rather than working on protecting and nurturing what I had and should have valued. It took me reaching rock bottom, and being confronted with the possibility of losing what I cherished, to point me down my current path of rehabilitation, to address the real root cause of the turmult, my brain chemistry.
I watched a movie on the flight home from Norway. Only one line stuck with me “we crap on the ones we love”. I don’t know what it takes, or how long, to pull away the crap and find the core of love underneath the pile we build. But I will keep digging, maybe for a lifetime.
I am returning from a trip to the West Coast. Jacquelyn and I took my parents to California as a gift to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We spent time in San Francisco, and then made our way eastwards into Yosemite National Park.
Since first seeing Ansel Adam’s photographs of Half Dome, and the Yosemite falls, visiting this natural wonder of the world has been on my bucket list. I had a desire to experience the wonders of seeing the majesty of the mountains, hewn from granite that millenniums ago had bubbled up from the volcanic fault lines below.