I woke up buzzing, I felt the desire to soak in the warm silky morning, the sun. I have lived here for quite awhile yet I feel I could take in more of this place, that I could soak in more of this sun.

I intended to wake earlier than I actually did, and I didn’t wake as early as intended because I had an interesting dream suddenly grab me, I wanted to feel it to the end. After the dream had ended which included me being in a spacious airport bus, smiling satisfactorily, I jumped upright and went to the kitchen to prepare a huge breakfast before the trip. It was a hiking trip outside the town, through the beautiful hills, settlments and villages of Crimea. Its colors and movements and smells and heat completely had me. Today I have felt this place in me, at home in me as I am completely at home here. It feels as though life here is in a different kind of realm, that life here is school, that life here is training, such powerful training, such intense cleansing. Feel like going on a bit of an inner journey? I feel that this place is exactly for that. I used to think about inner journeys in a rather narrow way. The way I saw mine unfold was the way I thought all inner journeys were. I used my template on others. What it feels like now is that it’s completely, highly individual, the sort of inner journey everyone embraces or resists to embrace. We should accept this diversity. If someone doesn’t practice what I practice, I no longer judge them as having no deeper journey. They do. There are so many levels to a person. There are so many directions, so many streams in one mind. There are so many emotions shifting into various shapes of expression,  there is so much interesting exploration. Yes, I have changed, and continue to change mercilessly. Yet, in a way, I feel I am standing still. I am floating still. Today I lay down on the sea water inviting me ever so slowly, ever so gently into its embrace. I couldn’t resist. I remembered that resistance was learned. That resistance was what was causing pain not the water per se. And the moment I touched it with the wholeness of my body, the moment I became one with it, the moment I felt its holding me, holding every weird cranny of my body, around my ears, around my face, water became me.  I thought no more.

I felt stillness enter me. I felt cleanliness take me. I felt nothingness being me. I felt my borders, cobwebs, edges broken into and taken gently into me. Not away from me. Nothing is ever away. Everything is in. Everything is included.And so I was that, just that – maybe nothing, maybe everything, certainly gentleness, certainly stillness.

I tend to feel safe in nature. I have never been afraid of nature in Crimea. There are strange species of life here and I feel more fascinated and curious about them than scared. I have always been able to “sink into” nature and feel safe. I perceive Crimea intuitively and there is an undercurrent of intense love I feel for this place. I also feel grateful to this place for itself but also for all the opportunities it keeps providing and for the creative impulses it naturally sends into the beings that are here. The kinds of impulses that are impossible to ignore, they get hotter, they get louder, they get you to listen to them and maybe listening to your creative impulses is a skill in and of itself if you happen to have disconnected from them, which happens. Things happen.

And it’s ok.

Connecting with the sea for the first time this May made me feel the deliciousness of life, intensified my senses. I am sensorily heightened today due to such long nature outing. I have learned a lot and I feel that sometimes things you learn are impossible to distill into words, some things that you learn you learn intuitively and they are meant for you only to learn. I feel that some things are meant for you.  And it’s a delicious feeling to feel that. To feel what’s for you.

 

What is it that life shows you? 

If you lie down and let yourself drop into a meditation, you will feel your answers to this question. It’s not only the shadows of the past which are difficult to feel, it’s the positive emotions that are hard to take as well. You gradually open to pleasure if you have never opened before. You need to work your pleasure capacity. Deciding to take it all in one go is painful because I feel that instead of gentle working myself into more and more ability to be in positive emotion, I rip myself apart with it. The unmeasured avalanche of pleasure heals but destroys at the same time. I have learned that it is best to practice temperance. Life has shown me that temperance works. However, the capacity for temperance can be increased as you work on it. There is so much work interwoven into life. And there is so much letting go interwoven into the work.
Naturally, I have been thinking about work and my skills. It has always been my desire to be an expert at what I do. Life has shown me though, that the more you work on your skills, the more you realize how elusive technical proficiency is. I do believe in a high level of expertise, actually, in a superb level of expertise. However, it’s curious that life keeps showing me that it’s not exactly possible to define such a thing at all. Unless you have standards against which to measure but those standards can have a tenuous relationship with truth because truth itself can be defined from various perspectives and each perspective can show a different type of truth, and sometimes, the truths are contradictory, but they are still truths. And it depends on a particular mind as to what it perceives as truth. In other words, the more you look at reality, the nature of expertise, the more blurred everything becomes, until it’s just energy out of which any kind of thing can be wrought. Any kind of thing can be created. I could define expertise, as perhaps, imagination added to skills and that’s what I think improvisation is.

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Life is an improvisation. A certain degree of skill allows you to improvise efficiently. But then, as you continue to develop your skill, the skill ceases to matter. The skill fades to the background more and more. Paradoxically, the skill both disappears and continues to operate as a priori of condition. It’s thrilling to experience things at this level. It’s overwhelming too, because there is so much to experience, the universe if filled to the brim. The idea of lack itself starts to lose its magnetism. I look at it but I don’t believe it. And it makes me smile because I can see how full of adventure I am and that, basically, I can let that adventure be my work.  Having honest conversations be my work, loving people instead of constantly resisting them be my work. I still have to dose my social interaction carefully but I think I am learning to enlarge my capacity for touch…for conversational touch. Every moment there is so much to feel – and I want not only to experience it but also…to string these experiences together, and beautifully birth them into the world, to share, not run from them. To stare my experiences in the face. To embrace, as much as I am capable of embracing, to embrace. Not run.
What life has shown me is that your imagination is your biggest asset, not your skills. People hire you but not for your skill only. Skill is only a fraction of the reason. People hire you for you. And work on yourself is the most challenging kind of work, of which honing your skills is only a fraction. It takes time and patience to look life in the face, to think about and feel for its lessons, not even lessons, that’s not the most suitable word. Let’s say, its reflections. What it has to say, so we should listen. Listen to our life. Listen and listen closely, listen with as much capacity as we can. What life has shown me is that it’s your love for what you do, your love for the work, that is going to allow you to expand yourself. To know yourself deeper and subtler.

Life has shown me that skills are the backbone of improvisation, and the field of improvisation is where things happen, where the new lives can be built. The improvisation place is that of sheer potential.

 

I have interesting work on my hands. This work is at the same time my personal work on myself. I have long since stopped separating what I do professionally from what I do personally. The two don’t only influence each other, the two are each other.  That was a gradual discovery.

What I love about my work, my learning, my life, my experience, whatever you want to call it, is how it flows. Doesn’t mean I don’t trip over a bump now and again. In fact, they are quite fantastic bumps, they are twisty. Living in my comfort zone back then, I didn’t realize how twisty life was, how complicated, how exciting.

And even now I have only sampled a taster, I am sure. I am sure there is a whole new expansiveness into which I am going to grow. It’s the process of growing that is so sore, and that is so wonderful. The process of dealing with my own ego, with my resistance.

My ego wants things to stay the same, regular, measured; otherwise we are risking annihilation. My resistance is heavy. It is that sucking feeling in my stomach, in my chest, that doesn’t want to have anything to do with the expanded version of life.  The expanded version of life is what I see as connections. Connection is love.

I have been thinking a lot about my resistance, about the fear that I have of people.  I suspect I have overintellectuaised the whole thing, found reasons for it, I have tried to understand it only to realize understanding, complete and perfect, is impossible. What I can do it grasp at the edges of my resistance and interpret them however I like.

I cannot understand the whole thing.

What comes to me intuitively when I am thinking about resistance, is conflict. It’s the thing I am afraid of, conflict. Conflict, conflict, conflict. Conflict is instability. Vacillation between this and that. Anxiety provoking conflict resulting in loss.  I have probably taken conflict to the extreme equaling it with loss, but that’s precisely how it feels to me. It is not magnified out of proportion. It is precisely how it feels.

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I think it’s okay to accept what we feel in its totality.  When someone feels, they aren’t drama queens – their experience is their experience, the intensity of emotion is just what they experience it to be. I have a feeling that intensity itself is somehow judged as wrong, and really, I think that’s the root of such major disconnect between people.

I used the refusal to feel to cope with life and it was a strategy like no other – brilliant but at the end destructive. It was destructive because it pulled me out of my body and intuition. I was nowhere, with nothing, and from that perspective, do you think I cared about higher things? I didn’t even care what I put in my body which is now my priority. What you put in your body, inside yourself, will touch your organs, will touch you the deepest, and so I really watch my diet.

The resistance to communication is the fear of conflict is thinking that somehow conflict will compromise love. Is it even true?

Well, it’s not.

I cannot know for sure. So I will give this dilemma the benefit of the doubt and tip the scales toward love.

Yesterday, the evening was filled with sessions. They didn’t go smoothly, there were technological hiccups and there were moments when I thought I was no good at teaching. Still, I did and will try to communicate not only my technical knowledge but also, well, my enthusiasm. I consider my work done when I see the fire burning.

People teach themselves.

During one of the sessions, I suddenly felt the resistance give way. I have felt something unsual. I have felt the presence of extraordinary. And under those two effects, resistance broke. It broke and I didn’t resist anymore. Right now I am sitting here and not resisting. And the way it feels is smooth, and even fun. Who would have guessed?

With love, Anastasia

 

 

I have been waiting for a summer storm and today it happened. The wonderful accompaniment to rain, the thunder tore the silence and the freshness mixed with the heat mixed with the earth and hit my lungs. So much…so much…to take.

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The sensory experience of the storm and the emotional experience of the storm. The amber silk of the tea. Home.  I can feel the corners of my body starting to drown in the elated reality I have caught a glimpse of.

I can feel the heaviness of the low consciousness state on this fantastic planet. I can feel the sadness and instability and how I try to experience speed and lightness and how I am heavy. Heavy with the body and the collective illusion.The disconnect. No touch.

I have felt the heartbeat of the seagulls and I have felt the world as the continuation of myself. I have felt the reality folding, sweetly twisting around itself, everything is itself, everyone is itself. I have felt myself as itself. And yet, when I settle back into my accustomed state of consciousness – I feel deprived – I miss the touch. The loving, the hearing, the seeing touch. I ask myself what is the truth of that, with all the touching that I do, with all the big and little things that I allow myself to do, why is the deprivation still alive? Why is the feeling and the sensation and the fire and the dampness and the inevitability of it still alive in me? Why am I still bleeding? Maybe, that’s how I should be right now. I will soften under my own injury. I will soften into the bleed and the heat of the light that is now in me and growing, as countless versions of me melt, until I am the truth of myself. 

Let the truth of yourself be. 

Listening sounds, or may tend to sound, like a soft skill, something that is nice to have but inessential. What I have come to see though, is that listening is the space in which a good relationship can be established, and listening is the nourishment for the relationship to flourish. It is my experience that the majority of people I come in contact with like to talk. I am the listener and I enjoy that. I enjoy to practice listening closer. Listening is holding another person close; it’s a work of love. Listening is the process of inclusion, you include the other person into your conscious attention as they include you into their world and verbally share. Listening is the practice of feeling and understanding another person. Listening is seeing into their world. Listening is such a fantastic journey. But yesterday I realized so is talking. When you talk, you invite that other person to break conversational bread with you. When both of you are equals, when the balance is achieved, a beautiful interplay of energies happens, and learning happens and connection happens and…love happens. I think and feel, that by far, listening is an underrated skill that deserves to be discussed and even given explicit instruction in. Listening is profoundly healing.

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I consider myself a listener and I do enjoy to watch people open and listening to their worlds. Sometimes though, I need speaking time myself, and with every person it’s a different experience. Having sensitivities has more to it than allergies. The great edge of having a sensitive makeup is that you know the degree to which you are being listened to. I believe that we all intuitively know if we are being listened to, but sometimes people disregard that and continue on their talking journey, or they are simply disconnected from that kind of intuition (should they talk or should they listen?). Intuition is a skill in and of itself. I am becoming more selective with my diet for many reasons, one of them being intuition. For intuition to work well you have to work well. Intuition is conducted better in a clean body. Everybody is different and I  have no desire to write prescriptions for a good healthy life. Health itself is individual. I would even say subjective. From my experience, cleanliness is the prerequisite for health. When I feel that something is not going well with my  body, I start with cleaning my diet and again, listening to myself. Listening is the base on which health is built. I feel that the more I can listen to myself, the better health I can experience. And that extends into my emotional health. I am positive that if I’d listened to people telling me what to do a few years ago, I wouldn’t be alive right now. I just know that. Back then, I made the choice to sit down and listen to myself and that’s proved to be the good choice, the right choice.  It’s what drives me to say that listening to yourself is the best guidance you can ever get.
And the cheapest too. I love coaching and psychology and going from less than perfect circumstances smack into your dreams –  and learning about human nature. I am fascinated by the infinite nature of learning. There is everything, and everything is so fascinating.  There is a balance here though. A balance between what you learn from others and what you learn from yourself. There is depth to learning, not only breadth. You can read many books but the question remains, what do you make of them. What do you make them mean? Do you plunge into yourself for an interpretation?  What you read, what you grab from the information pie is one thing. What you experience is one thing. Then, there is another level – reflection. You sit down and ask yourself, what is the lesson, what is the wisdom, what is the feeling, what is the angle?  You soak in this experience, you let it percolate through you.  You let yourself go, let yourself soften, let yourself lean into this…whatever this is.
 Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend. I didn’t expect it to take the kind of turn it took. It was a twist of cosmic proportions – I had to talk!
 I feel quite comfortable in the role of Listener. But Friend was suddenly having none of that. He came at me with a knot of questions that were sitting in his throat eager to unravel. He kept asking what he wanted to ask. It was like standing in shock under a waterfall, impossible to escape.  And right at that moment, I experienced a conflict. Do I run or do I tell him kind of conflict.  I decided I would just say it. Say the truth, say the pain, say the joy. Say whatever I was in that moment, voice whatever I was in the past, imply whatever I was going to be in the future. So I did. My story took a flight out of me, and away from me. It was difficult to talk. I had an insight, a major one in that moment – part of me thought it was wrong to talk.  One of those beliefs that silently live within you and shape your life for you. That may be the reason I was such an ardent listener. I was hImage result for listen really listen quotesiding.
The beautiful thing about talking to Friend was that I felt and saw and tasted and touched his listening. It was such a deep experience. I had no idea up until yesterday that this kind of listening was even possible. This beautiful absolute kind of listening. It was delicious and profoundly healing. I’ve realized that my interactions up until yesterday had never shown this kind of listening and I have become passionate about becoming this kind of listener for myself and others. This deep, intense, passionate listening is a healing gold.
Right now I am listening…really listening…to the Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata and thinking about the transition of movements from the deepest sadness into abundant joy, overwhelm with joy. And I think, that’s exactly where I would love to move. Never mind the road. Enjoy the roundabouts.

 

Much love,

Anastasia

From my perspective it’s impossible to have lived in Crimea and not fallen in love with it.

Every day I walk to the sea, and every day it’s different. And every day I am able to perceive different things about my environment. The process of connection to this place is still on. I think it’s quite possible to spend an entire life connecting to your physical environment and physicality of yourself for these two processes aren’t separate. What I am doing right now is the practice of integration. That includes feeling everything.  Integration means you feel and find a loving way to deal with your feelings. We don’t live in a perfect world but in a world of light and shadow. So, the choice is to either disregard the shadow and thus ignore that part of ourselves or to embrace the shadow and integrate it which is synonymous with love. Sometimes I encounter the type of thinking that equals loving the shadow with continuing the abuse, which views this as accepting abuse as ok, that’s not my point at all. My point is that when you shed light on a shadow, it’s no longer a shadow. All shadow, all darkness, all abuse is the manifestation of our loss of ourselves, of our having lost connection to ourselves.  My life was saturated with darkness and abuse and sometimes I wonder how I am still alive. I think part of the reason is that somehow, despite the pain, and numbness, and the general environmental harshness, I felt the goodness. I felt the subtle goodness penetrating everything. Every person and every thing and my self. I felt subtle overwhelming joy. Somewhere deep in me, there was a spring of hope that would refuse to dry up. And in the face of all loss, of all love that I was feeling so deprived of, I felt just a crumb of goodness that was my light and my anchor to life. I had all sorts of life phases. I had all sorts of emotional bouts. Rebellion against my life as it was. Rebellion against myself as I was. And later, rebellion against life itself. My physical body was in sync with my emotional distress, and I had health problems, especially skin problems.  I started to get interested in things like lucid dreaming. I think lucid dreaming was a type of medicine, a form of healing that brought me to the decision to continue with life. To try life. To try things.  To try life meant purifying, it meant a lot of work. Being a lucid dreamer taught me not to shy away from that – it allowed me to relax into life knowing there is so much more than meets the eye. Besides, it taught me beauty. I remember one specific dream where I requested to see beauty. I wanted nothing else (after I’d done the naughty things), and my wish was granted. What I saw, what I moved through and what moved through me, is impossible to describe. After that, there was new energy at my disposal. This very ready, very bubbling energy that allowed me to move. I was lethargic and not knowing what to do with myself. I had experienced so much distress. And that new energy brought me here, where I have begun to change that. I have begun to see things. And even though I came here in December, I have been feeling like spring ever since. I remember how good it felt to come. How right it felt to allow myself to open to people here. And how smooth it felt to relax. I have realized that I have been holding a lot of pressure within myself, the pressure of conflict.  The conflict that was the air I breathed from the beginning. The conflict everywhere. It’s torn me apart. It broke something. Now I can see that what it broke was my perspective on life. There was so much conflict and so much tearing and so much pain that basically, I had to tear through the tearing itself. I had to tear through the conflict. And go somewhere different. If I take health as the baseline, as something that I naturally am, then conflict is moving in the opposite direction from health. If we even look at health and conflict as two points that define a continuum,  then maybe it’s necessary to travel the whole of the continuum to understand all states.  Understanding, though, comes with consciousness.  We can travel along the health-conflict continuum all life long having less than no idea as to what’s going on. A crazy ride of some sort.  The idea is to bring consciousness into your experience of the ride. That’s the sort of understanding that will allow you to see yourself one step removed from conflict and health, and make a choice. Make a choice as to what you want, and I believe the inclination will be toward health because health is natural. For me, the state of health is an intuitive state and a soft state. When I am in the state of health, I intuitively know what direction to choose and I want to be loving. This desire for love, loving, being loved, to be felt, understood, to love, feel, understand, to be soft, for gentleness, it provoked a resistance toward conflict, I mean, it intensified the resistance toward anything that even looks like conflict, or has the potential for conflict, or somehow harsh or rude or hurtful. I don’t like any expression of violence, I don’t like it so much, that I fight it, I push it away, I try to separate myself from it, which in itself is an act of violence against myself. I am being violent against myself by not accepting certain realities which I am really not separate from. These violent and harsh things, how could they be healed?  I could try, instead of pushing them away and fighting them, take the concept of them and hold it close. Love it and console it. Instead of separation, I will try integration. If all violence is the result of disconnection from ourselves and separating ourselves from everybody and everything, what is the perfect antidote to that but love?

 

Much love,

Anastasia