The Curious Case of “Just Be Yourself-itis”

beyourselfWhat does this “Just Be Yourself?” Business Mean to You?

Is this not the case of the “Easier said’s than done’s?”

No matter how many times we say it, there is plenty of evidence that we aren’t being “it”. There is something in the deep, but we barely skim the surface. Maybe just enough to ripple “it” but rarely to create waves and rock boats. And when we do start creating a topsy turvy circumstance by being true, it is surprisingly quick to see the disavowal of this self others once said you should be.

Rippling-Water300_POTDsizedWhat and who we are is lost beneath our social reflections. Those with the greatest tenacity and the proper “work ethic”will stay in perpetual motion, treading water vigorously for years on end until they die and sink like stones; others become stone, graven images of themselves. Neither are really alive. Neither are self.

We bob about in badly patched up life boats, full of hot air (mixing metaphors, better stirred than shaken).  Keep us separate from ourselves and those we define as “the other.”For when we are divided within, inevitably, we we will feel separation all around us.

It is an intellectual concept, rather than a lived experience. Practicality rules over passion.  Most people in this society do not live for passion. They live for the weekend, dread Mondays, the oft repeated TGIF’s, and shop ’til they drop’s. And on and on it goes. There are no gadgets, pair of Jimmy Choo’s, pounds of chocolate or vacation hot spots that wouldn’t pale terribly in comparison to an experience of love in the now. No matter where you are, who you are, what you are.

And believe me, if we all laid down this business of so called “living” and really had and did only what we were called to do, our world would be a much different place than the one we inhabit. Would it not be kinder, gentler, slower? By this, I don’t mean “be better than”; I mean, just be.

I know, this just seems to be crazy talk. I understand. I don’t live this way. I am in fear, in anxiety, in tension over all of this, “Who am I, and what the hell am I doing here?”

But answers are really only more questions. It is the snake chasing its own tail

Marilyn Monroe

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
Marilyn Monroe

Ralph Waldo Emerson“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Societies, Pieties, Work Schmerk: Volunteering, Schooling, Job-ing, Calling | Leave a comment

Dove Ad Low Down: A Critical Look at “Beauty” Branding

Before I launch into my version/interpretation of this recent Dove ad, I would like to give props to Jazzylittledrops on Tumblr and her take. She is one of the reasons that I’m writing my own (which will heavily borrow from hers with a twist of Leanna-ness added in).

My second shout out is to a grumpy, finger stomping commenter on Upworthy in response to the heading “Controversy Over Dove ad”. Some of your “insightful” rants propelled me onto my own blog, so thank you for informing me that the only reason I wouldn’t like this ad is because I’m insecure and ugly and don’t want anyone else to feel good about themselves. And while that does sound a lot like me, Scott somebody-or-other, I would also like to suggest that my objections go beyond my hideousness into the recesses of this thing I like to call my brain. This thing called a brain is a device I use to critically analyze things before speaking rashly on them; not something that is done with any regularity on comment boards, home of the hyper-angry and grammatically stunted. I am hardly one to click clack on and on about this, as I too suffer reactionitis from time to time–thusly it is a touch hypocritical of me to pick on you, internet Scott.

I digress.

In case you have been living in a social media cave, you can watch this ad here and now.

I will say, my first reaction to this video was, “It’s true, we are far too critical of ourselves. Others generally do see us in a better light than we see ourselves.” But then another part of my brain said, “Hey, hold up–stop the touching music for a minute. What do you mean by “better” light?”

What struck me first were the absences–this ad doesn’t represent a swath of women. These are attractive women, as defined by our societal parameters(they don’t feel they are attractive, you may not think they are–but arguably, they meet the “beauty” criteria). So what about those women who resemble the drawings the forensic artist made based on the descriptions the women gave of themselves? How are they supposed to feel when they see their faces on the screen staring back at them? Are they to then feel they are lacking in some way?

What else is missing?
1. Overweight women
2. Women with disabilities
3. Elderly women (let’s hope by the time we are elders, we aren’t still caught up in our physical imagery–the world needs more real faces)
4.Women with evident scars or birth differences (I say this rather than defect, because that implies a problem where there wouldn’t be one if it weren’t imposed onto the person–the same could be said of the word disability)
5. Women who aren’t Caucasian are present, but they speak very little. This absence of voice is a significant part of the media culture–a long enduring trend that seems to continue unabated and barely challenged in the West.

I could go on, but you get the picture..

So we have a woman who thinks her face is fat (bad) whose face is actually thought to be thin (good). Blue eyes are ideal. Check. Nice smile, meaning the correct teeth to lip proportion. Check. Unnoticeable/minimized wrinkles, freckles, spots (super good). Check. (This was probably achieved via usage of Dove products, so go get them quickly).

What it comes down to, the lowdown and the nitty with the gritty of it all–our obsession with the eye of the beholder. A beauty that pertains only to the physical shell that we rely so heavily upon to make impressions. We waste energy in endless pursuit of the “right” look. This is not to say that the physical, the aesthetic have no value, but the supremacy, the dominance of this physical beauty ideal is disproportionate to our overall worth as beings. We need to change the conversation; we need to take the kind of dollars sucked into these campaigns and feed them into projects that build a holistic circle-one that celebrates the capacity of beauty possessed in mind, in spirit, in kind deed, in intelligence, in heart. I know that marketers that sell, companies that produce, and consumers that crave solution to their ills by rubbing creams upon them wouldn’t leap up and down at the suggestion. I get the economic constraints, but our confused approach to money is a whole other diatribe.

For now, let us pause, and let us understand that we are all more than we can imagine, in all of our capacities. We must settle into our heart of hearts, listen, follow our inner guide and know that happiness is far deeper than skin, and beauty is so much bigger than looks. It is not only to be viewed through the eye of a needle, but to be known as the expanse of the sky and all that is beneath it. You may hear these messages, but you do not need to heed them as an all-encompassing truth. Hold the gift of your whole self in reverence, and be grateful. This, my friends, is a challenge for all of us, not only as women, but as a species in general as we are the only ones who fret about improving and changing our appearance beyond what is natural(imagine any other beast so preoccupied with such a pursuit). There is nothing more lovely than the imperfection of nature, with which we are one.

oneness-b

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Body Blissed, Body Cursed: A Trek Through Loss and Gain and Loss and Gain, Societies, Pieties | Leave a comment

The Regimen of Daily Poetics–The Grit, The Glory

*(It should be noted, right here, right now, that there has been another cavernous hole torn in the space and time continuum in regard to my participation in the blogosphere. Not having my own laptop anymore makes for a convenient excuse to avoid the tip tap type writerly ways).

This brings to mind the subject at hand.

Daily practice.

And lifetime mastery.

What comes first the grit (nose to the grindstone) or the glory (inspiration)? Is there a formula true for you but different for me?

As one from the school of “lazy” pens, I am conveniently inclined to think that scheduling creativity is, at times, counter-intuitive. I am quite in agreement that anything you love requires dedication, commitment, and work, but the degree to which we are inclined to favor and praise one and diminish the other rankles me.

But, where do you draw the line? Can such a line ever be drawn in the sand between these two, as if they can be divided from one another?

But it isn’t divorce or even separation that I am suggesting.

Advice is given by many renowned writers from the more well-known like Stephen King to Margaret Atwood, to the lesser known by the general public, but highly revered in the writer’s world, such as Natalie Goldberg or Betsy Warland.

Much of this advice is marvelous; I have applied it and then torn it back like sodden band-aids when it has no longer suited me, whether this be to my benefit or not.

But let us get to the heart of the matter–this ever present argument of perspiration vs. inspiration. I have heard this over and over again. It is a mantra so many live by, writer or not. This protestant work ethic approach slathered onto everything like butter to toast. The problem being, not all of life is toast. You would not butter your beets.

In other words, I’m not convinced that the formula is 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration. I think too much credit is given to brute force, to deadlines and timelines. I think the go go go of our society reflects our culturally created values and not some inherent reality. We worship at the feet of production and output. We bow down to the masses of material results that we can see and name. Anything we produce, we name, and anything we name, we produce.

If I might use Mr. King as an example. He is a writing machine. There is no doubt about his workhorse approach. He recommends treating writing as he believes it ought to be–a job. You have your desk, your “pencil in your time” and you stick to it. Clearly, this method has worked remarkably well for him. He is well-monied and well-known. He has a mind full of worlds, as frightening as they may be, that he must share or be stuck with, and what kind of strange torment would that be? These worlds fascinate others and drag money from their pockets and, by percentage, line his very own pockets. So, he seems to be the picture perfect example of this formula. A role model for all of us flim-flammy, flaky artists who hold onto lofty notions of divine inspiration as our guides but really never get anything out there. While I confess, I am not a King fan, he is definitely meant to be a writer, called to do so–but what makes him prolific is not the same thing as what inspires him. Because, the truth is, anyone can write, but is everyone going to be exceptional?

Perhaps a sports analogy may put a different spin on it.Let us talk of the Michael Jordans or the Wayne Gretzkys of the world. No one will argue that they weren’t hard workers, but beyond that…wouldn’t most agree that there was something inspired about them? That something beyond our understanding came through them when in their element? There are just athletes, writers, singers, teachers, anyone, who simply have that “it” that others who do the same thing don’t have with such consistency, no matter how hard they work or how much they produce.

And yet we dismiss the 10% unknowable and unnameable. And coming from a lover of words, this is a tough one; but ultimately, language gets in the way. We get in the way of our own flow by tagging labels upon it. We think that if we study it rigorously enough, that we can imitate this “it” and have it for ourselves. But, I don’t think that’s how it works. “It” is not property; you cannot keep it. You, in fact, must get out of its way and allow it to move through you.

Ultimately I know the difference–I sense, I feel, I am struck by, consumed by, led by, dragged by inspiration when it comes to me. I do not have a choice when those moments arrive. It is beyond me. It’s not about me. And it will simply not be regulated by a clock. It is not to say that picking a time of day and a place will prevent this from happening–it may welcome it, open one up to it, but that is the thing about muse. She won’t come when you wish, she won’t come if you wish–and so we can see, it won’t come to everyone in the same measure.
skyhigh

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Pens keyboards notebooks everywhere: Writer's Write about Writing, Work Schmerk: Volunteering, Schooling, Job-ing, Calling | Leave a comment

Leanna? Are you going to tell us more about Poke? (poke, poke, nudge)

I will confess off the top: I am attempting to go to bed. And I still won’t be getting into the pinny pokies of the experience of yesterday’s acupuncture awesomeness tonight (poke me in the middle of my forehead for not keeping a promise, but as long as you use acupuncture needles and are a practitioner named Rose, I’m ok with that. I just know you gave up all your plans on a Friday night so you could sit in front of the computer waiting for my post–bwa ha hahahahahaha! I josh, I jest. Huzzah! merrymerrylaughter“Merry, merry! Chortle chortle!” exclaims a brunette version of non-me–I couldn’t find a “fake red-headed woman that looked like me-ish throwing back her head in laughter” picture, so this will suffice as sentiment rather than doppelganger.

Let me give a  summary of the weeks happenings (sorta kinda):

1. On Wednesday night I went to see a free documentary called “A Peaceable Kingdom: A Journey Home” at the Rio Theatre——Mega Aside approaching!!–(p.s. does anyone know, is the Rio protected under the historic sights thingy…because if we lose one more arts venue in Vancouver to condos or just because they feel like hollowing out a building to prove they can, I will lose my mind re: RIP Waldorf Productions and Hotel, W2 Cafe, and The Ridge–I will become very very verklempt–and try to meditate my way through the circumstance–oh, dear Buddha, let me find love in my heart for condo developers and money loving greed-lords, the arts disinterested real estate moguls…ohm, ohmmm…ARGH…I mean, um, no ohmmm…)

Printdot dot dot…..to my 2nd point, without further digression and asides…

2. Back to the doc. I cried and shook and had to cover my eyes at times for the sheer terror and horror. I learned new things I didn’t realize and I left knowing I have to go vegan again. I must commit, I will do all that I can do to not falter. This lead me to a book at the library called the 30 day vegan cleanse. I am convinced I am going to be awesome and shiny and more compassionate and completely sane and free of irritation and will totally love myself and all others after these 30 days—at this, I must erupt in even heartier ha Ha hAAAAs! But, on a serious note, I am offering my body and mind and spirit this opportunity to continue the healing process. I offer my sorrow, sadness, compassion and love to all species including ourselves that suffer so terribly.  Join me if this interests you in any way! I could use a buddy to keep me on track!

peaceable journey

3. POKE pokE POke is another way into health that after one session has already helped. I won’t describe it here (sorry, i swear to goddesses and stuff, i will get there sometime this weekend). It was awesome. I felt odd/weird/good/soothed and….we’ll see what Sunday brings.

acu

4. Tomorrow, in my continued quest for balance, sanity, health (a TALL order, y’all know if you’ve met me–or even just found one of my darker themed blogs), I will go to Zumba– a semi-weekly delight that is one of the best parts of my week, no matter how many times I look like a groovin’ fool. And after doing this for awhile, I still manage to muddle choreography I’ve done before. But it is a hoot for nannys and many more (get it, hoot-enanny!–t’is lame, je confess 🙂

axecapoiera

5. After frantically but kindly tearing off my sweat-laden exercise wear, and re-cladding myself in clothes that will likely quickly become moist as I continue to “glisten” profusely– I will then depart from the studio where I go to Zumba (Axe Capoiera Studio Vancouver as seen above–please feel free to come with me–it’s fun). Even for rhythm challenged and those with a serious case of dualfootinitis. **I will ad a plug in for Tammy tomorrow, with updated info for my class. She is the bestest dance/exercise teacher I’ve ever had. Chill, friendly. Yeehaw to Tammy!!

6. My next move is to jam my hat onto my head to hide my dripping, clumpy, gross-producing factory called my head, introduce my beet-red face to the cool outdoors, and make a stealthy bee-line toward the “Organic Lives Cafe” located inside the fancy new schmansy upscale yoga studio— un-chi-chi me, high-end place, a union made in–hmm, not heaven,  perhaps just somewhere nice on earth! I will wipe my own pool of liquid luminescence from the floor myself with my smelly workout towel! Fear not! Do not trouble yourselves in the least! organiclives

gregorandchoprasittinginatreelovingeachother

yes, it’s mr mayor who is sometimes kind of not the greatest and sometimes awesome and deepak chopra who is know the world over for being awesome, and it, but i still am not sure about him entirely

I will share with you my foodie adventures in this exciting though vaguely intimidating new venue!  You may insert delicious pictures here with your mind, as something has gone wrong with the ones I tried to upload, and I must must must stop this dithery twirl and go to SLEEP (or SLEEO, as originally written in proof that i must unwind from hypo manic brain gymnastics). I bid you adieu and a “Happy, just do it!” to you and yours;  the Dali Lama and nike, together at last!

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Body Blissed, Body Cursed: A Trek Through Loss and Gain and Loss and Gain, Eco Freakery Geekery, Relation Ships, Sink or Float, Societies, Pieties, Unto Thee, I Shall Kneel: Religion | Leave a comment

POKE poke, Hello! (Leanna Meet Acupuncture, Acupuncture Meet Leanna)

Greetings Aliens and Earthlings Alike!
It has been a terribly long time again since we have met, fingers to keyboard, to fingers to keyboards to eyes.
As per usual, I have 20 million plus things on my brain. But here at the front, we have a wondrous experience called Acupuncture.
Today, I will just introduce the business info, and tomorrow I will roll out the details of my experience and reasoning for my trip and tumble into a cushy recliner, a blanket, and needles poking into my temple, ears, hands arms and feet.
For now, I bid thee adieu…poke, poke!

community acupuncture

hours

monday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm
tuesday   9am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm
wednesday   9am – 1pm and 3pm – 7pm
thursday   2pm – 7pm
friday   9am – 1pm
saturday   9am – 2pm
sunday 10am – 2pm

a community of poke iconscontact

phone: 604.568.7322
info@pokecommunityacupuncture.ca
225 east broadway
vancouver bc
V5T 1W4

Find us on a Google Map

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Body Blissed, Body Cursed: A Trek Through Loss and Gain and Loss and Gain, Relation Ships, Sink or Float, Societies, Pieties | Leave a comment

An Insomniac’s Foolish Attempt to Coherently Blog After Midnight (aka Ta Da, I’m Ridonculous)

hypomanicedgyhedgeI am UPPPPPPP! Yes, wheeee. Zim zam zingety bing bong bang!!! Welcome to hypo manic me. I am a night owl, except not really an owl as they seem far too low key and wise, and I can assure you, these are 2 things that do not describe me at this moment. Currently I’m more like a coked-up night squirrel, and ready to clean the house from top to bottom ( I will not do this, however, as my family would be verrrry displeased if I woke them as I excitedly vacuumed their living room and  crashingly unloaded their dishwasher, and maybe changed some light bulbs recklessly…you know, typical early morning fun time activities)

Yes, this is precisely what it is like for a person who is knee deep in their own bipolocity(bipolar+velocity). I have yet to learn how to manage my downswings, which are the long-lasting donkey phases (specifically as I would call them, “A bad case of the Eeyores”aka depression for those of you who are failing to put 2 and 2 together).eeyore61_5881

The upswingy dingys are more like what some call monkey mind, which is accurate for the most part. But something about monkeys isn’t quite right to describe my brain’s experience: they are  either too shrill and hostile and poo flingy, or too cute and precocious.  So though I’d like to stick with the animal analogies, I think Mexican Jumping Bean Mind makes more sense. And/or espresso mind. Hard core, thick and repeated shots of caffeine can propel me into that ever-so hilarious and deluded land that I call, “The La la Leanna’s.” It is here in this psychedelic location between my ears that I can conquer not only dust bunnies, dastardly lightbulbs, and unruly silverware; I could also run several kilometres, practice my Zumba choreography, and feel energetic enough to write a dreadful mini novella in just over 3 hours.

Yes, that is me now. I know I should crawl under my quilt, use my hypnotherapy mp3’s and put my body parts to sleep one part at a time, “Oh big toe! You feel ever so very heavy now. You are sleepy, very sleepy knee-cap. Aaaaah, I am soothed by ocean waves rolling over me.” And so on and so on. I could meditate…’Empty thy mind, focus on the tip of your nose. Ommmm.”

But in the fine peak hours I say, “Pooh pooh to that! I shall stay here, eyes on screen, letters moving badly across it, as incessant typos riddle and litter and must be repeatedly corrected.

This is the flippity leap in the air without a care called the hypo’s.

Many of you have met the lumbering beast on the other side of the bipolar bear. The slumpy, lumpy, grumpy Debbie Downer.

But, what would I be without these 2 wonderful creature minds? I know it seems upside down to appreciate the eeyore/debbie downer side of myself but I need to understand and love her too. I need to love them both really and truly, so these 2 sides can become chums and work together for the common goodness that they both manifest.

electronsneuronsfullcylinder

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Body Blissed, Body Cursed: A Trek Through Loss and Gain and Loss and Gain | Leave a comment

Postlette in Transit (aka Translit)

MENTALLY INSERT ANY PICTURE YOU WISH HERE (OR WHEREVER YOU MAY DESIRE)

Attempt number 3 (breaking news…I gave up my futile attempt to write using my I-phone, but I shall carry on, because, in reality, we are always in transit even when we seem to be sitting still).

This is my inaugural bite-size blog. I am pretty confident that this will also be my last. Not shockingly, an I-phone does not make for an ideal medium on which to type and share one’s thoughts.

The first issue involved an unusually bumpy bus ride(like driving through the Chinese countryside on a bus with holes in the floor through which you can see the road…that kind of bumpy:). The rocky ride conspired with a cranky data plan to make my postlette a “pppffttt” full stop. This little game with my will vs. that of technology continued from bus, to skytrain, to coffee shop, and wasn’t assuaged by the soothing aroma of peppermint tea wafting from my travel mug.

What is a gal to do? Why, come to the library and write about it, naturally, as if it were some sort of international tragedy.

Anyway, my postlette is morphing its way into just a regular post.

The real subject at hand…my free writing this a.m. entitled “Matter matters more than mind over matter.”

As you may gather, I am on a rather philosophical bender at the moment. If that really isn’t up your garden path, feel free to trundle elsewhere.

I will keep this short, and give you a teaser.

There is more matter on this earth that needs to be attended to than “reasonable” human minds to do it . It is utterly illogical, not to mention futile, to delude ourselves with our false dreams of dominion……..

Hmmmm…..

Posted in All You Need is Love, Love, Pens keyboards notebooks everywhere: Writer's Write about Writing, Relation Ships, Sink or Float | Tagged , | Leave a comment