Snowbeings 2017

Portland, Oregon, USA has just had a week of snow and ice. This is a very unusual experience and most people who are from here or who have lived here for a while went through a much slowed down time. For many it was difficult to go anywhere – driving was kept to a minimum – gold stars for those who could have driven but didn’t. And for those who drove less than they normally do. And all the sidewalk shovelers!  Massive kudos.

Among all the snow and ice we had a lot of creativity pop-up. And neighborliness.  Nextdoor was a useful tool for people to inform one another of various issues – from frozen gutters to homeless shelters needs – it’s been very busy. Here, for your enjoyment and very little editing (captions coming some day soon, maybe) are photos taken by SE Portlanders of what they made and found along the way. Enjoy – feedback always welcome in the comments section below, or via email. And now.. on with the show!

Snow Days!

Scooterville Snowlandia

Scooterville Snowlandia

We’ve been snowed in in Portland, Oregon for the last 5 days. It’s really something. I’ve lived here for 15 years and, as far as I can recall, I’ve never seen the City so socked in. I’ve been wishing to come up with a system to award people for keeping their cars parked.  More stars the longer you go without driving. The roads and sidewalks are pretty icy and slippery – it’s really something.

On my end, it’s allowed me for some much-needed and enjoyed downtime to just be with me. I’ve been reading an interesting book – The Happiness Project; working on my email marketing world; taking short walks to visit with neighbors; I got to see David Bromberg play at the Alladin Theater – and I spent a lot of time chilling and doing house projects. I’ve really been appreciating the sun. It’s been shining steadily for the past 2 days and right now the light is streaming into our living room – and bouncing off of various fun sparkly things I’ve set up to capture the light and reflect and refract it.

The moon has also been delightful. Full – shining.  I walked home after having dinner with Gregg Harris of Roosevelt’s Terrariums last night – and got to see her in her fullness shining down on me. We have a Spotify account which has led to all sorts of new music – such as this version of Winter Wonderland by David Grisman and friends.

That’s all, I just wanted to share some of what I’m up to – been feeling pulled to share some of what’s on my mind, lately – and The Eleven, just comes out once a month :). My friend, Brock Noyes, shared this with his e-list yesterday and I thought it profound.

From Brock: “In the last year of so I have been teaching a class at Breitenbush called Meditation-Experience 5 Traditions.  I been on the path of Meditation for an entire adult lifetime, and it would take time to count all the ones that I have seriously practiced..  In this class I sort of randomly choose 5 different modalities and we explore them for about 12 minutes each.  Amazingly, the class is FUN (not something I ever associated with meditation) and what I have re-discovered is that each tradition has a slightly different feel, and I will choose different ones at different times depending on where I am at…at that moment.  Sometimes I am working on stress, sometimes on chi, sometimes on mystery.  There is that adage from the book The Artist’s Way that we are closest to the creator when we create, so I have unbound myself from the structure of a specific form, create my own practice and I have found it brings a sense of play into the process which is quite different from the stern protocol  that “I am going to get enlightened.”  (good luck with that…my opinion is that is the first thing to let go of)  In this way meditation can be playful rather than stern.  I love that simple line from the country western legend Merle Haggard; “I’m into happy, I ain’t into sad.
Recently I was sent a link to a visiting Tibetan Lama in Potland and in scrolling through U-Tube I karmically came across a talk by my Tibetan Teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.  I studied with him in the Himalayas and make the half truth joke that the only less gifted students than me were the ones that did not show up.  I was so excited to see what he had to say and  his primary message was “Relax.”  It was not memorizing prayer, its was not a protocol of enlightenment, it was simply RELAX.  When I checked in with this message it was simple but extraordinarily profound.  It illuminated when I checked in with my body in mediation I was still holding reservoirs of stress, partly from the tragic loss of my wife to breast cancer in December, and partly from other karma.  I re-oriented  my mediation practice AND my yoga practice to feel into how relaxed I could be in each  posture.  Not how perfect the pose was but how deeply I could surrender into relaxing in the pose and the breath..  I took this same message into my sitting practice, and what I have found is that it laid the ground work for being much more relaxed outside of my various practices. It translated into life.
We all live in this electronic world of visual stimulation and stress and trauma, and now we live in the world of Mr. Trump.  So the simple message here in your practice is checking in with your body.  Are your truly relaxed and can you make that the focus of your practice relaxation until it gets somatically ingrained?
The process of creating a community of conscious creativity (for lack of better words) at our new “compound” in NE Portland has been halted by the passing of my wife in a heroic fight against breast cancer.  She died in December.  Incredible loss for all of us who knew her,  I am headed to points south for a month to try to assimilate, integrate, and reboot my life. And we will be exploring classes and synergistic evolution starting sometime in March here in Portland and periodically at Breitenbush  I hope you can join us.
Leaving you with the  the message from Chuang Tzu from 4th Century BC China when we westerners were living like dogs in caves.
Those who heaven helps we call the sons (and daughters) of heaven.  They do not do this by learning.  They do not do this by working it.  They do not reason this by using reason.  To let understanding stop at what can be understood is a high attainment.
RELAX.
Brock can be reached @ brocknoyes@gmail.com & http://brocknoyes.com/