Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Lay of Leithian...

The Lay of Leithian is an unfinished poem written by J. R. R. Tolkien. It tells the Tale of Beren and Lúthien, the story of the love of the mortal Man Beren and the immortal Elf maiden Lúthien. The poem consists of over 4200 verses. It was published after Tolkien's death in The Lays of Beleriand. Its precedents are found in the Welsh tale of Culhwch and Olwen in the manuscripts, the Red Book of Hergest and the earlier White Book of Rhydderch.
Beren ~ son of Emeldir and Barahir, a Man of the royal House of Bëor of Dorthonion. His romance with the first-born is one of the great stories of the Elder Days.
ladyoftheflower DeviantArt
Dorthonion ("Land of Pines"), poetically Orod-na-Thôn ("Mountain under Pine"), was a highland region of the First Age. Within the stories it later became known as Taur-nu-Fuin ("Forest under Night"), or Mirkwood.
Lúthien ~ an elf, daughter of Thingol and Melian. She appears in The Silmarillion, the epic poem The Lay of Leithian, the Grey Annals section of The War of the Jewels, and in other texts in Tolkien's legendarium. Her story is told to Frodo by Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.
LicorneZsu - DeviantArt
Lúthien is a Telerin (Sindarin) princess, the only child of Elu Thingol, king of Doriath, and his queen, Melian the Maia. The legacy that Lúthien left behind can be most clearly seen throughout the later ages in those who stem from her ancestry, including the Royal Family of Númenor, being the line of Elros of which Arathorn and his son Aragorn were descended, and Elrond Half-elven who was Lúthien's great-grandson. She is described as the Morning Star of the Elves and as the most beautiful daughter of Ilùvatar.
Lúthien's descendant Arwen is called Evenstar, the Evening Star of the Elves, meaning that her beauty reflects that of Lúthien Tinúviel. Lúthien is also the first cousin once removed to Galadriel.
In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Teleri, Those who come last in Quenya (singular Teler) were the third of the Elf clans who came to Aman. Those who came to Aman became known as the Falmari or "sea elves" and these are the Elves who are generally known as Teleri, though the term also includes their Middle-earth cousins the Sindar, Laiquendi, and Nandor of Middle-earth.
The third clan was the largest of the three houses of the Elves, and most of the Avari originally belonged to this clan.
Aman, also known as the Undying Lands or Blessed Realm, it is the home of the Valar, and three kindreds of Elves: the Vanyar, some of the Noldor, and some of the Teleri.
 Edith (Lúthien) and Tolkien (Beren)
The story was published as a standalone book edited by Christopher Tolkien under the title Beren and Lúthien on 1 June 2017. It is painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story. The intent of the book is to extract a 'single narrative' out of the ever-evolving materials that make up The Tale of Beren and Luthien. It does not contain every version or edit to the story, but those chosen by Christopher Tolkien which he believed would offer the most 'clarity' without the need to over-explain the complexities of the changes.
The BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings includes a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring in which Aragorn summarizes the story of Beren and Lúthien for Frodo Baggins and his companions. Frodo later comes to realise the connection between their story and that of Aragorn and Arwen.
love and light,

Me, Myself, and I

What It Means to Really Take Care of Yourself
I became a morning person and started each day with ample time for writing, reading, and practicing yoga instead of rushing into the office, fighting traffic, and always feeling behind.

I found peace by journaling and peeling back layers to heal the hurt that was buried beneath instead of pushing them away.
I started acknowledging my accomplishments and mini-successes and celebrated with small rewards instead of rushing to the next best thing.

I slowed down, simplified tasks, reduced my online time, and committed to less instead of doing, moving, and achieving simply for the sake of it.
Светлана Модорова.
I felt. I embraced the sadness I’d been carrying with me and leaned into my fears instead of placing a patch on them.

I listened to my body. I became a vegetarian and practiced mindful eating instead of counting calories and agonizing over whether or not I consumed too many carbs.

I chose to let go of the stories I kept replaying about the past and the worries I created for the future instead of clinging to fear and anxiety.
I practiced saying no to the commitments that didn’t serve my values instead of saying yes to everything and shorting myself with each added responsibility.

I created sanctuaries—weekly time for me to relax and just be—instead of waiting for burn out before replenishing.

I followed my intuition and listened to myself in meditation instead of thinking and overanalyzing to the point of exhaustion.

I asked myself questions and allowed it to be okay that I didn’t have the answers right away instead of being hard on myself for not knowing.
François Fressinier
I began fully acknowledging the present in its entirety—every aspect, including the playful, joyful moments, and the uncomfortable, challenging ones.

Suddenly, the world took on a different appearance—a kinder, more meaningful, more abundant, and compassionate glow.
When we take the time to re-connect with ourselves, replace our fears with trust, and learn to let go of the things we cannot control, this is taking care.

When we listen to our intuition, embrace all of our imperfections, and stay authentic to who we are, this is taking care.

When we ground ourselves in the present and make mental space to find clarity, this is taking care.

When we discover our interior barriers and find the courage to dissolve them, this is taking care.

When we learn to be gentle with ourselves, this is truly taking care.

When is the last time you acknowledged the feelings that are asking for your attention?

How do you take care of yourself from the inside out so that you can fully experience life?

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” ~Max Ehrmann

Cy Twombly

love and light,

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Why the 9-to-5 day is so tough for Creative Folk.

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.
Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don't have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it's not just a stereotype of the "tortured artist" -- artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviours and social influences in a single person.
"It's actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self," Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. "The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self ... Imaginative people have messier minds."

While there's no "typical" creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviours of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream - Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.
According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled "Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming," mind-wandering can aid in the process of "creative incubation." And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state -- daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it's related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person's oyster -- they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom "nothing is lost."
The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

"However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable 'I,'" Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. "We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker."

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

"In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone," wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming -- we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.
"You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it," he says. "It's hard to find that inner creative voice if you're ... not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself."

They turn life's obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak -- and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and -- most importantly for creativity -- seeing new possibilities in life.

"A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality," says Kaufman. "What's happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that's very conducive to creativity."

They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind -- and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.
"Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement," says Kaufman. "This consists of lots of different facets, but they're all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill-seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioural exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world."

They "fail up."

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives -- at least the successful ones -- learn not to take failure so personally.

"Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often," Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein's creative genius.

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious -- they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch -- and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.
"[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books," says Kaufman. "For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important ... They're keen observers of human nature."

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

"There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk-taking and creativity and it's one that's often overlooked," contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. "Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent -- these are all by-products of creativity gone awry."

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one's life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

"Creative expression is self-expression," says Kaufman. "Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness."

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated -- meaning that they're motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.
"Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents," write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

"Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present," says Kaufman. "The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with the theory of mind -- I like calling it the 'imagination brain network' -- it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking."
Research has also suggested that inducing "psychological distance" -- that is, taking another person's perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar -- can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they're writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get "in the zone," or what's known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they're practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you're performing an activity you enjoy that you're good at, but that also challenges you -- as any good creative project does.
"[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they've also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state," says Kaufman. "The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you're engaging in."

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.
A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians -- including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists -- exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

If there's one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it's the ability to see possibilities where others don't -- or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." - Steve Jobs

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

"Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience," says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind -- because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.
And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked to improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity -- all of which can lead to better creative thought.

Source - HERE

The post by The Atlantic became very popular—viral if you will—at midday on a workday. It remains so. The concept clearly resonated with many creative people.

The reason creative people may be unable to thrive or advance in their profession is in fact because they are too creative. The creative person is unduly burdened, marginalized by default. Many, as one told me on condition of anonymity, "just could never do the nine-to-five thing. Like it wasn't for me. Just not my thing."
Your plight as a creative person may not be immediately apparent to regular-brained people, who don't mind going to an office every day for decades. Here are the lessons I learned from this article and the reaction to it, about creativity in a society tied to anachronistic concepts of structure, and the signs that identify a creative brain.

1. You sometimes feel unfocused early in the morning.

The aforementioned article cited academic research that found some people are not maximally productive until four hours after waking up. ("It can take up to four hours for your mind to crank itself up to full awareness and alertness—and in that time, you won’t make good decisions.") You understand that it does not make sense to work until then. You are most productive at midday, not in the morning when a "job" demands it. Why is a job making these demands? The system is wrong, and sleep researchers have proven it, and you understand this.

2. Your brain won't allow you to work for eight hours in a day.

You may not be a good neuromatch for the structure of a "job." For creative people, the nine to five routine is just not a good brain fit. Neuromatch is a scientific term I just coined.  Most people love the daily routine of going to work and spending most of the day working, but creative people can feel bogged down, or stuck in a rut. You might feel that you can do some work later in the day when, as the article described, you "get another energy boost in the late afternoon when lung efficiency peaks."

Many creative minds are stifled by the dailiness, too, of the working. After hours of working, the creative may become less efficient. The monotony of steady income can grow suffocatingly predictable.

3. You understand the science of creativity, which proves why you can't work in a cubicle. A cubicle is literally a box that you are put inside, and this is the least comfortable place for your brain.

The wrong colours in a room, or the wrong music—the sort of factors rigorously documented in Jonah Lehrer's Imagine—may be to blame for the unrealized potential of thousands of creative people. This can make the creative brain simply a brain.

4. You understand that at least one day a week, you should be allowed to play acoustic guitar for much of the workday.

You understand why this is important.

Source HERE
Image Source HERE and HERE

love and light,

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Looking into my soul, not my body.

She placed her arms and hands strategically over the areas of her body that she felt uncomfortable with, but he moved closer, and his hands gently pulled them away too. “There’s no need to hide from me, you’re beautiful.” His lips then softly kissed the places that she tried to hide. At first, she felt self-conscious, but after taking several deep breaths, she focused purely on him, and not on her fears of not being sexy enough. She felt open, perhaps a little too exposed, more naked inside than out. She knew that her old inhibitions were causing her nervousness, and tried harder to relax. It was difficult having someone looking deeper than her just her body, something she wasn’t used to.
~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers (Novel)

Book Excerpt...

Akashic Record 
Something stirred within her as she felt the truth in Anna’s words, but just to be sure she understood correctly, asked, “The Akashic record is a library?”
Anna smiled. “Yes. It's a non-physical library containing all the knowledge of every souls life since before time. Look at it as similar to the human internet, you can't see it, yet all the information is available at your fingertips. It works like that, we each have the capability to connect from inside. Humans just haven't learned to unlock the code...It's the bright centre of an invisible universal web called Siathia, which weaves and connects all life source in existence.”
Bea sat in silence for a while. “Okay…that’s kind of freaked me out.”

~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Spiritual Girl

1. She finds meaning in everything. She believes in signs from the universe. She’s convinced that you came into her world for a reason. That you’re going to give her something invaluable, whether that be scattered memories, a life lesson, or a permanent part of your heart.
2. She’s authentic. She doesn’t see the sense in pretending to be someone that she’s not. She realizes that she has flaws, but that hasn’t stopped her from loving herself and being herself. With her, what you see is what you get.
3. She is overflowing with love. She has love for her family. Her friends. Pets. Plants. The moon, the sky, the galaxy. She finds beauty in everything that she sees, which is why her heart is so huge.

4. She’s forever growing. She understands that it’s possible to have love for herself and to admit that there are things she needs to improve upon. She isn’t perfect, but she keeps trying to reach her personal best.
5. She embraces the unknown. Most people are scared of things that they cannot see, cannot grasp, but she’s different. She appreciates that there’s more to this world than meets the eye. That there are secrets waiting to be uncovered. It doesn’t scare her. It empowers her.
6. She has unwavering faith. No matter how many hardships that she’s forced to face, she still has hope that things will get better. Her strength never wavers, because she knows that the universe is on her side. That it’s going to grant her happiness in the end — as long as she keeps doing her part.

7. Material items mean nothing to her. She would love to be greeted at her front door with flowers, but she realizes that flowers wilt. She would much rather create a lifelong memory than be given a temporary gift. To her, forever means more than now.
8. She feels a strong connection to others. She can’t walk past a homeless shelter or see a stray kitten without being tugged at the heartstrings. She feels like it’s her duty to help her fellow humans (and animals). That’s why she’s so kind. So compassionate.
9. She is one with nature. She can spend hours staring up at the stars, reading a book against a tree trunk, and running her bare feet through the grass. She feels safe in nature. Nurtured by it.

10. She aspires to be at peace. Drama doesn’t appeal to her. She doesn’t want friends unless she can count on them. And she doesn’t want a boyfriend unless she can trust him. She’s all about honesty, sincerity.
11. She has a genuine love of life. She’s not like others, who see the world as an evil place filled with hypocrisy and hatred. She chooses to see the good. To focus on the love in the heart of humanity. The beauty hidden inside of each person’s soul.

Source: HERE

Love and light,