Has sewing machine, travels

UK-based performance artist Harriet Riddell is coming to Toronto. Trust me, this is something worth seeing.

Harriet stitches portraits using her sewing machine. Last year when she visited Canada, I had my portrait stitched and was utterly charmed and awed — both by the intimacy of the experience and by her seemingly effortless skill.

Earlier this year, Harriet explored India with her sewing machine and this wonderful video was made while she stitched a tailor as he worked in his shop in Delhi:

“Would you mind if I set up to stitch a picture of you…with my sewing machine?” Sweetie!

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Harriet perform live in Toronto and to get your own portrait done. Unique and rare gift idea! She will be at Kendall & Co, 227 Carlton Street in Cabbagetown on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday the 7th.

Head over and see more of Harriet’s work on her blog: institchyou.co.uk

harriet stitches on train

Take a leap

I met someone yesterday who’s into BASE jumping and wingsuits. If you haven’t seen wingsuits, head over to youtube and search it up and be thrilled.

It put me in mind of meditations in which one imagines falling from a cliff in order to cause the inherently existing (and therefore non-existing) “I/ME/MINE” to arise. And, it put me in mind of fearlessness.

Then on my social media feed this morning, this…playful fearlessness! French bulldog puppy takes first leap off of couch. Whee!

 

Just look at ‘how easy it is the second time around!’

(via twistedsifter.com)

Hello body! I’m home!

Thich Nhat Hanh is answering questions from his 1 million+ fans on Facebook. (You can like and receive updates from his FB page here.)

The first question he answered was, “How do I love myself?” Beautifully, he begins with, “Come back into your body and breathe.” Playfully he says, “Hello body! I’m home!”

The further instructions are basically, sit and be with your body, breathe mindfully, watch mindfully. Being with yourself mindfully IS loving yourself.

He goes on to say that when you understand your own suffering — when you can sit patiently, mindfully with yourself — then you will begin to understand the suffering of others. You will understand the suffering of your father, your mother, your ancestors. Implicit in this? You will stop blaming others for your suffering and see that they too suffer. No one is exempt.

Compassion arises naturally from this simple insight. Enjoy!

 

Making friends with yourself

I’ve been going again and again to watching this clip of Pema Chödrön talking about authentically engaging with ourselves and our experience.

 She says, when you seek out teachings:

You do want to hear something that is genuinely going to be of value in your life. And the approach of Buddhism, and the approach that all the Buddhist teachers have been drawn to personally, and then end up teaching, is about engaging in your life fully. And having an attitude of kindness toward yourself and all things that might arise in you, such as: your rage and your addictions and your grief and your loneliness and your resentment, and all these different things. Some attitude of kindness towards your humanity. And a way of working with it, which is acknowledging it completely and fully, for what it is. Very conscious of what is going on with yourself. But with an attitude of kindness. Trungpa Rinpoche used to call it ‘making friends with yourself.’

Cute improves concentration

File this under S for SWEET!

In addition to making the heart all warm and fuzzy, have you heard that exposure to cute things has been studied and shown to improve concentration? This means if you’re looking to hone your attention, study for an exam, even engage in some practice that requires manual dexterity, you ought to warm up with exposure to sweetness!

Open to nature, open to gratitude

File this one under B for BLISS!

Nature’s Beauty Inspires Gratitude is a must-see 20 min TEDx talk featuring the stunning filmwork of Louie Schwartzberg. It starts as simply jaw-dropping time lapse nature photography and builds into a compelling vision for why and how to be grateful when we open our eyes each morning.

On the bio page of his website — aptly named “Moving Art” — beside the picture of his peaceful smile and super-clear eyes, it reads:

As the only cinematographer in the world who has been shooting time-lapse 24/7 continuously for well over three decades, Schwartzberg is a visual artist breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places.

If you pay attention right around the 5 min 50 sec mark, you might audibly gasp, as I did. But you must watch this one all the way through. Then be grateful you did.

And for fans of non-narrative documentaries, in 1982 he provided additional cinematography for the film Koyaanisqatsi.

Happy frolicking cows!

Yesterday I had a series of conversations with former strangers (by which I mean, once we’d chatted for a while they transformed into new friends). Inexplicably, and not brought up by me, the topic of vegetarian vs. meat eating kept surfacing. It surprised me because I had watched this video yesterday morning and couldn’t stop thinking about it all day long. It’s just delightful. A herd of cows are released into a field instead of being taken to the slaughterhouse. They jump and dance with joy. So sweet.

I’ve been vegetarian on and off in my life, always for reasons of compassion for other living beings. Quite simply, I believe it is terrible what human beings do to themselves and other animals in this world. Even still, these days I choose to eat a lazy version of ‘paleo’ because my body functions better this way. (Grains, in particular, are a terrible storm of inflammation for me.) And also, I eat meat because, when I reason it out, suffering is happening, it’s the very nature of things. Unavoidable. Samsara. That which is born, dies. I kill when I brush my teeth. I can’t drive down a summer road without killing thousands of insects, crushed against the windsheild. It breaks my heart, truly.

I bought chicken breasts again from that super-friendly guy at the market this morning. And I still can’t stop thinking about these lovely, happy frolicking cows. It makes me wonder about all the things I can and can’t control. And leads me to ask, how can I be more compassionate today, with myself and with others?

Calm dot com

calmdotcomCalm.com is a super-chill site for helping you to relax. I’ve been using it to stay calm under pressure at work. It has wordless, meandering music interspersed with tracks of nature sounds. On my second monitor I’ve got the serene videos set to full-screen. So that to the side of whatever demanding job is at hand, I have calming visuals — slow motion water drops, rippling water, rain falling on green leaves, fields of wildflowers with buzzing insects. It’s lovely.

And, although I haven’t sampled them, there’s also guided and timed meditations available and an app for iPhone.