Spring photo and Mossy Point video

Greetings faithful readers!

I have a new video for you.  A couple of years ago we visited Mossy Point and I made Mossy Point Part 1. And I never produced Pt 2. This niggled away at me because I do like to finish things. So a couple of months ago we revisited and shot this second video as an update.

Here is a link to the other video if you are interested.

It is Spring, and Miles has been experimenting with some old lenses we converted to our new DSLR with a converter ring.
Doesn't this just scream SPRING IS HERE!!?

collecting gold
from a perfumed treasure chest
my work is beauty

Okey doke, my work is done.
I will see you again soon.

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Jazzy Jack

Aspie internet overload

Hello my friends!
I have new glasses!

Recently I have tried to get back to things I do easily and naturally. Things that I was born to do. Playing the piano came to mind. It is something I've done since I was four that was self organised. It is my happy place. I learnt to read music as I learnt to read words. I am as fluent in one as the other. So why don't I play the piano much these days? When I sat down to play I realised my progressive lenses make it difficult to see the music so I ordered a new pair ( see above). Well, let me tell you. That was the best decision! I had thought I was getting rusty and so that was why I was making so many mistakes. Little did I realise that I was actually avoiding looking down at the keyboard because it was visually too trippy to keep flicking back and forth to the music. So I was effectively playing blind. I'm amazed I did as well as I have. This has been going on for years and I had no idea! How we are expert at fooling ourselves. Anyway, now I can see again I'm playing so much better I want to play and play! I feel I have been given the gift of music all over again.

I have started writing little daily missives to a couple of friends. With one of them I also share yoga and spiritual reading and with the other writing. So every day we share our stories of deep thoughts or poetry about the details or just express frustrations we can't do a yoga pose or how we can't understand our kids or whatever comes up. For those who like me are fairly isolated this is such a wonderful practice. I started it to help keep me in touch with a friend who lives in another country. Now not only are we coming up to our third month of daily letter writing, we also keep each other on track with our daily yoga practice. It's amazing what you can drag out of your body when you feel the
strength of another's gaze.

This is in contrast to my years on the internet on social media. I have been trying to come up with an analogy for how that feels. It feels like standing in a party watching groups of people having conversations, and going around gently chatting, and then finding that each group is joining hands and you are being circled slowly around the room, and then it gets faster and faster as the music rises and you find yourself being swirled off your feet as you run from person to person and group to group calling out comments to conversations that are already past and your words are sprayed out into the general noise and at the same time the music stops and you are still shouting and you feel so exposed as everyone turns to stare and you find you have been dancing naked to a tune noone has heard and although they murmur kind words you realise they have no idea what you've been saying so you quietly leave after maybe murmuring an apology and they all turn and keep chatting amongst themselves and the music starts up again and they are happy and laughing and almost euphoric in their friendships and you are all alone.

So I am feeling a little left out of the party, but I prefer to think of it as peeping through the curtains to watch the party goers and smiling.
You can have your party and I will write to a couple of people and have in-depth conversations.
Not that you are not having in-depth conversations, but I can't manage more than two or three at once. I am often critical of myself and my needs which seem way more than others to the point of not being able to function. But I also think I am forced to think about how I use my energy way more than another, which has allowed me to find practices (after much trial and error) that suit.
I seem to write blog posts only about that these days, but that is what my life is about right now. (Hello Aspergers!) Taking a break from the norm to see if I can find a better way that suits me and my energy, so I can groove a bit more instead of slogging and forcing. I like to think that I might help another find a better way for them if so required.

As Thomas Merton once said:
“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

Settling down to just one or two projects is akin to what I've been doing in my wardrobe. Currently I am exploring French Style. I am finding it interesting to restrict the colours and the cuts. To make the look more structured and less messy. I may not stay here, but the exercise is very enlightening and bringing in my love of cool coats and jackets. So at the moment I seem to be leaning towards neutral separates with colourful jackets and interesting accesories. I'm hoping I can keep my own style and flavour within a more structured guideline.

And speaking of looks, I am also exploring growing my hair ( see photo). It is nice to feel a little softness around my face again. It is still a work in progress as I test the waters of longer hair and sense how straight or curly I should go.

Yesterday we had much needed long soaking rain and I wrote this poem.

the trees are dripping
with tears of joy
gratefulness pouring
down their trunks
gleeful roots
feast on moisture
as the world
breathes a sigh
of relief.

This is how I am feeling being able to connect back into my own soul ...and breeeeeeeeathe.

So my lovelies, we may catch a glimpse of each other to wave as we pass and even have time occasionally to chat for a second or two. But my energies are required elsewhere right now and I know you who are my friends will understand. I wish it was not so, and I could rush madly around the world making friends and sharing all the fun stuff I make and see, but somehow this is not what I am here for. I am the person who sinks deeply into the soil and grows the flower for none but the bees to see.

Til next time,
keep on creating! (Whether you and I can share it or not)

Jazzy Jack
PS I still hope to keep posting here every now and then when my soul requires :-)

Ebb and Flow

Greetings my fellow sojourners!

I have been exploring the concept of ebb and flow which I heard about in a blog somewhere. It has really piqued my interest. The idea is that you naturally have fluctuations in energy levels during the days and weeks. And you need to match your jobs to your natural energy level, rather than banging your head against a brick wall trying to do something when you are not able to, or wasting time on a routine task when your energy levels are high.
So they advise writing two lists so you have ideas ready to go for both these states.  I did this, but have yet to use them. But the concept is constantly in my mind.

The other method I am using is a week on/week off method. 
One of my absolute worst things to do is to have appointments. Things like the dentist, the electrician or the Dr all fall into this category. I felt I was drowning in appointments, so decided to give myself every second week off from them. I have just finished my first week off and although I was not as relaxed on the week off as I would like, it was refreshing to feel myself ready to tackle the appointment week once again.
It's also nice to be at the beginning of an appointment free week (as I am right now). It feels like a mini holiday!
It took me a while to realise that I do not have to have my foot on the accelerator 24/7. The appointments will take place, just at a slower pace. And although my natural state is push, push, push, my body doesn't like it. And this new system is waaaay better! I think I just need a little more stimulation with fun outings in the week off to help me relax. Still tweaking, but looking good.

On the topic of ebb and flow, I unearthed this poem again. I posted it a while back, but it fit so well I'm sure you won't mind reading it again.

As I walk the line
Along the shore
I wonder about permanence
And impermanence
Wash and backwash
Hearing the splash of waves
In one ear
And crunch of rock
In the other
I wonder that
The same waves that erode
Also build the beach
I ponder
The crab, shell fish, even seaweed
Have much to teach
About living with grace
in tumultuous times
Here where life provides abundance
And then lack
And so I tiptoe shore footed
Among my musings
Keeping a fine balance
Avoiding the blue bottles.

Something else I've been working on is I've decided to write down my life, or at least the bits I remember. It feels a little grand to be calling it my "memoirs", but it will be a place the kids can go to read about my interesting life.

Here is a snippet:
We had a lot of problems with security in our time in Mt Hagen. Our windows were covered with  "boi wire" which was basically squares of reinforcing wire. And eventually we had a home made alarm system installed. Little crocodile clips fastened on to pieces of wire protruding from the bottoms of the windows. ALL of the clips had to be attached when we turned on the alarm or a great noise ensued! It was our job to check all the windows to make sure before we flipped the switch. It was sooo tedious, and it was inevitable that someone had knocked one off when pulling a curtain or opening a window. All these precautions were moot the day we came home and found someone had cut through the wall under our dining room window and squeezed between the framing. They must have sent in a child!
We were broken into a couple of times. They usually stole food and men's clothing. I remember when Dad had to borrow a belt to get to work. He was rather a different size than our neighbour! The most memorable break in was when afterwards we discovered a plate of pineapple missing from the fridge. We could just imagine them running down the road balancing it.

I have just put together another of my videos from recent family happenings. This one is accompanied by me on the piano. I hope you enjoy this peaceful perambulate through our lives.

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Love Jazzy Jack

Building and testing a raft

Dear friends
Here is a video I put together of our family adventures with Miles' raft building. 
He has had so much fun thinking of new ideas and testing them out. 
This is unschooling at it's finest!
Enjoy a relaxing view.

Til next time,
Keep on creating!

Jazzy Jack 

Poem about the waves

the waves
swing round the rocks
digging heels into sand

then they lay down
an eiderdown of foam
soft susurration at the edges

the backwash explodes
a firework running
a rope lifted suddenly
~JJ 23/5/18

Poetry and slowing down

Hello friends!
I'm coming to terms with some of the ideas I was exploring in my last post.
Here are some solutions I've found for me.

The best thing so far has been to 
take my foot off the accelerator!
For an adrenalin junkie like me this has consequences in my mood, and is not quite as easy as it seems. But it certainly quietens my nervous system and leaves me much more able to cope. I do love creation and discovery, so staying in one place for too long can depress my mood. This is a continual balancing act.

I am finding I can use my sensitive senses and my Autistic brain to dive deep into the moment. 
Exploring deeply into my senses
 helps time slow down and gives my brain something to feed on so it doesn't feel bored or run around trying to find something else to obsess over.
Also feeding my senses calms my body and gives me another layer of relaxation.

I am working out that when the volume suddenly feels turned up, or the speedometer is in the red, it often isn't the world that has changed, even if that is how my mind interprets it, 
so I run around trying to slot appointments into calendars and telling everyone to quieten down. When really I need to 
remove myself
 from being around people for a while until my mind quietens down and I can cope again.
I find it hard to understand this in the moment, as my mind interprets everything as external. It really is hard to realise the change has been within. I rely on others to help me with this.

I also have found poetry to be a huge help. Not just writing it, but 
using the poetic mindset
 which loves contradictions and paradox to help me live in amongst the chaos. To encourage me to not try and rule boxes around moments but to let life flow more freely through my hands and sit in the messy maelstrom.

Here are two poems I wrote along these lines.
I hope you enjoy them and maybe find encouragement for your life.

I love walking on edges
those crumbling places
that hold so much room
for new thoughts

I want to explore them
with my side eyes open
to sense wondrous
impossibilities of life

To believe in things
that shouldn't happen
and have mysteries
that confound the wise

I want to stay awake
to contradictions
to feel expansion
around the sides

To keep myself
from being rigid
and funnelling my thoughts
down the line

Help me to be
receptive to them
those spaces which
are hard to define

And help me to
receive within me
the lifelines that are
my poetic mind


When I am tired
and overwhelmed
I tie myself up tight
in boxes
cutting off any soul
hanging over the edge
I want to make life organised
cut and dried, certain
simple and easy to manage
but all that I lose when I restrict
and confine
is my expansive playful
mysterious self

OK we'll leave it there for now. I'm sure this isn't the last I will speak on this topic!

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Jazzy Jack

Optimising equals perfectionism

Greetings my beauties!

It's been awhile since I could find the energy to write. 
This year I've struggled to find resources within me to put finger to keyboard.
My year has been a busy one, with extra singing commitments and appointments to address health concerns. In order to encompass these within my schedule I've implemented new organisational tools, including a new phone with shopping list and calendar capabilities. 
You may know that with my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)/Aspergers comes executive dysfuntion, which basically means organising myself is a nightmare. I thought adding more tools to my belt would be the answer.
I hunkered down and tried to muscle my way through using optimisation. Let me tell you friends, at least for me, this doesn't work!
I have found myself encountering tension headaches at every turn.
What to do?

We recently had a sublime two weeks holiday at our beach cabin which helped, but as soon as we returned home, it all started up again.

Yesterday I had an epiphany! I realised how all my optimising and organising is making me (probably due to my ASD) fall down the rabbit hole of perfectionism. I find myself, due to my inherent perfectionism, trying to optimise the tiniest engagements. Should I have breakfast first, or shower, or yoga?
Each of these takes brain space, but more importantly, body 
energy. I am so totally trying to make my life organised and
streamlined that I am overthinking everything. That doesn't sound like me! Ha!

So now I have a few words written on my bathroom mirror to help me shift my mindset. Things like : effortless attention, play, liminal, practice mistakes, let go, it's ok.

Part of my problem is usually in the past if I let go and go with the flow I tend to become immersed in my projects so much that I forget to eat. There must be a middle ground somewhere. But I'm going to give it another go because it seems more healthy than tension headaches every day, and screaming at the world to quiet down, or sobbing in the corner when I am showering.
Currently, as in yesterday and today, I am trying to
be aware of when I am trying to optimise my life and just go with the first one I thought of. Not trying to pick the 
perfect opportunity, or the perfect time or the perfect situation. Letting go and flowing with the current sounds way more relaxing to me.
Of course this involves making mistakes and oh boy, being a dyed in the wool perfectionist, my system does not like making mistakes!

Also having such a reactive and sensitive system, when I do go out I need a day or two to recover, which makes everything take so much longer.
I really think I've bought into the hurry hurry culture more than I realised, and am having to rethink everything. 
Will it really hurt to take another week to get the lights fixed in our family room?
Can I take another week to get Aiden some new glasses so he doesn't have to stickytape his (glasses) arm on?Can the dentist wait another month, or am I being a bad mother?

Homeschooling has also played a role in all of this, as I try to work out what I can let go of so I can be present with my kids.

Of course then we have the whole artistic personality that rears its head, saying "what about me?"! This is the voice that I ignore at my own peril, but I do it constantly. Recently I've been finding it has been almost impossible to even think about.
So yesterday, when I started being aware of my thoughts, I decided to practise allowing the day to flow without too much optimising. Suddenly I had the urge to start a knitting project...which I did.
Creativity had been waiting for a relaxed moment to pop into my life. I was so glad to see her!
I've realised in a visceral way that

Stressing and creating are opposing forces.

Will I succeed in this new mindset? Asks my perfectionist self.
Well my new mantra is " I do not have to do it perfectly", and that includes relaxation and making mistakes and letting go. Because you know I will darn well give it a try!
So if you are stumbling over your to do list, or the appointments seem hard to summit, you might like to join me in my quest for flow and slow.

Which camp are you in? Do you fall prey to the optimising imposter?