The Muse

The Muse

About The Muse

This blog is dedicated to the art of musing. From now on, this is where I will muse.

A letter to Consciousness

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Wed, February 15, 2012 22:03:05

I dedicate my life to being all that I can be - to ‘following my bliss’. This includes doing and developing the skills and talents I have to the fullest and, more often than not, involves taking risks or ‘Living Dangerously’. There is a chance that it could turn out very badly for me. I could lose everything.

I don’t think I’m being melodramatic. I haven’t got the money to pay last month’s rent, let alone the month that is due in a few days. (Some of you reading this might be thinking, “Get a job”. Here’s the thing...)

I write books. I am currently writing one now... my third, in fact. This takes a lot of time, focus and energy, is a lot more glamorous than it sounds and doesn't pay at all well, but I do it because I love doing it. I have learned in life that I usually do a pretty good job of things, when it comes to doing what I enjoy. My dad once told me, “Do what you want, as long as it makes you happy”. Hence I've always done pretty much what I love to do through self-employment.

After leaving college the first thing I did, aged 20, was set up a screen-printing business (called ‘Pixieprint’ in Walcot St., Bath). Four years later, I’d had enough of putting so much energy into something with it not financially working out. I have since focused my attentions on music and songwriting, designing cards, making crafts, raising children, writing books, making more music, organising ARC Conventions... and often doing most of the above at once.

Speaking of the ARC Convention - this year’s ARC is due to take place on the 3rd and 4th March... in a little over two weeks. I currently face the difficult situation of deciding whether or not to cancel an event I am both hugely excited about and have put a lot of time/energy into organising. This is because not enough people have bought tickets. Huge thanks to every one of you so far who have, but more people need to pledge their support if I am to break even. This is an important event that I feel makes a difference in the world. This is my contribution to consciousness... I put my time, energy, love, sweat, tears... my all into finding brilliant speakers; for us all to share knowledge and inspire one another, make friendships, laugh and enjoy a community of conscious souls.

I know that times are hard for many of us at the moment. Why is this? What is stopping us from having the free will to do exactly what we want to do in life at any given moment? Is it simply that it’s usually down to lack of funds?

I am contemplating this on deep levels. What is the point of my life if not to do what gives me joy? I know that the answer to that is that I am here to experience. Maybe that is all and some of us have ‘drawn the short straw’ to greater and lesser degrees. Don’t assume I’m not thankful for all the good in my life – and there is SO much and I’m thankful every day for that. It could be worse, but I refuse to adopt the ever-so-British tradition of the ‘stiff upper-lip’... mine is quivering and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

So by Monday, folks... will there be an ARC in 2012? I will lose money by cancelling now, but not as much as I would do by going ahead with this and not enough people turning up.

Until then, please do all you can to support ARC by buying a ticket and spreading the word. It will make a difference.

Share the info on Twitter using tag #ARC2012, share the YouTube video below, or the event web page where you can find out all you need to know and buy tickets: www.arcconvention.org/ARC2012.html

Many thanks in advance,

Karen

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Ron's Last Sketchbook

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Thu, November 24, 2011 01:28:07

I recently spoke with a dear friend I haven’t been in touch with for a very long time, to impart the sad news that our old art tutor, Ron Julier, had died. I met Kaff Steggall at Trowbridge College when I was 16 – we were both taking the same art course (a brand new course, an 'experiment' of sorts) and soon became the best of friends due to our highly compatible and exquisite taste in most forms of art; especially music and humour.

Kaff Steggall (centre) with Paul Smith to the right and Richard Hughes

Ex-students of Ron’s are filling the pages of a sketchbook in his honour - as a tribute. Sketchbooks were important to him and he encouraged us to fill as many as possible with new ideas. ‘Catching the idea’ was paramount to him; to notice them and to nourish their potential into being. He taught me that ideas are purely Creative Potentials. They exist. Potentially.

Ron was a short Welshman who mercilessly critiqued everyone’s work, giving rise to my ‘famous’ indignant catchphrase, “Well I like it!” But I wanted him to like it, really. He could be quite harsh when he didn’t – I left my tutorial in tears on more than one occasion (and I wasn’t the only one). If he left the room for any period of time and found anyone out of their seats on his return, he would appear in the doorway and half shout/half sing in high-pitched Welsh accent, mug of tea in hand, “Get back on yer ‘edds!”.

I loved being at Art College; every day doing something I enjoyed (except Art History). Life is rather like the giant white sheets of paper that Ron made us tape the whole classroom floor with on the first day, giving us paints and demanding that we all, “Go wild!”. I have never forgotten that and have, ever since, taken it to heart. There is so much to explore, see, feel, do and experience in a lifetime and it takes courage to make a mark on that page... to “Get back on our heads” and make these ideas manifest.

So here it is, from me... one last sketchbook page for Ron.

~ Karen




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How to ‘Get Deep’ Without Attachment in Relationships

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Wed, October 05, 2011 20:42:29

Firstly, you will need an open heart. So, OPEN YOUR HEART. The more you are able, the deeper you go and the better it gets. Depth and passion are symbiotic.

If you won’t open your heart because you’re afraid of attachment – stop... that’s a good place to start to think about what attachment means to you. Is it loss of freedom, loss of yourself, or becoming dependent on others, perhaps? If this is the case, you’ll need to learn to become your own true love, your own best friend, mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, etc. – this takes the pressure off everybody else in your life to fulfil a need in you, which is what creates attachments in the first place. You create them because you are archetypally incomplete. Learn to be in a committed relationship with all aspects of yourself – make that commitment to your own completeness.

When we honestly take a look at how we feel about relationships, it oftentimes reveals a fear of intimacy or ‘into-me-you-see’ on some level – emotional, spiritual or physical. Fear of others seeing ‘who we really are’ prevents us from being it. Do you feel that you deserve to be loved? Can you give and receive love with no conditions or expectations? Are you willing to recognise and accept how divine you are; to step into your power and take responsibility for co-creating the world as you know it?

Being deep does not mean being ‘serious’. It’s about being and sharing your true Self IN THE MOMENT as far as you are able. A deep connection with another develops when you’re free to ‘be’ and ‘do’ and ‘say’ whatever you feel moved to ‘be’ and ‘do’ and ‘say’ at any of these given moments. Being deep requires that you trust yourself, your intuition and feelings; break all the rules and ‘wing it’ – let go of the riverbank and let the current take you downstream with the grace of a swan. As I said, the more you are able, the deeper you go and the better it gets. As you go deeper, the challenge is not to slip into attachment when new layers of reflections (positive or negative) emerge for you to look at (and they will). If at any point you feel like you’re becoming attached, step back, visualise cutting the ties that bind and take some time to re-connect with, balance and centre your Self. Nature will help you, if you ask.

The most important trip you will ever make is the voyage to the soul’s centre; it's the most beautiful location in the world To Build a Home, yet ever so many people have never been there and maybe never will. It’s not an easy journey and there’s no going back. I’m not there myself yet but, from what I’ve seen of it so far, it’s well worth taking that risk. Live dangerously and your experience and appreciation of the profundity of life, the universe and everything will increase exponentially... I promise.

~ Karen




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To Live Would Be an Awfully Great Adventure...

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Sun, September 18, 2011 00:28:55

Firstly, here is a very good study of Peter Pan as Kiss: A Tale of Two Metaphors, by Brendan Linwood.

Pan himself was the Greek god of the wild, symbolising the powerful masculine force present in nature. He has many names in folklore and myth - The Green Man and Jack in the Green, among others... the most familiar of these archetypal guises being Peter Pan, written by J.M Barrie.

We choose which world we want to live in – to be our authentic, natural selves, or to follow the concrete path laid down for us all (“What do you want to be when you grow up?”). The ‘rules’ in place teach us at a very young age the correct way to deal with certain life experiences, which mostly condition us to please others and fit nicely into a society of double-standards and false principles. My feeling is that this story has very little to do with youth, other than that when you hit puberty, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain free and to be yourself without being judged and ostracised for being selfish, inconsiderate, thoughtless or irresponsible for doing so. Wendy eventually did what we all do – she caved-in only through guilt and the enormous pressure we feel during our adolescent years to fulfil what is expected of us to become, only to find that the experience of truly living eventually becomes something confined to the pages of the books we read to our children at bedtime.

All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.

Never-Neverland is perhaps so named because those who control the society we live in never, never want us to go there and discover that it really does exist! It’s the natural, REAL world - a world 'made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust' - where your only limits are your imagination, life is always an adventure, faeries exist, there is no time, and you can fly.

"Second to the right, and straight on till morning." That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to the Neverland; but even birds, carrying maps and consulting them at windy corners could not have sighted it with these instructions. Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head.

Peter stirs strong feelings in us because we intuitively know that he stands for natural, authentic principles. He lives in and for the moment. He’s not afraid of anything... except losing his freedom. When analysing Pan, people often assume that he’s afraid of his feelings, which is simply not the case. It’s obvious that he feels very deeply, it’s just that he would never allow himself to be defined by something so transient. You know how it goes... you tell someone how you feel and all of a sudden a million-and-one expectations, assumptions and labels invisibly appear and ruin everything. The human ‘urge to merge’ is so great that, unless you are vigilant, you will lose yourself in the relationship. Grown-ups are generally quite happy to do this, mostly because they define themselves by others and don’t value their uniqueness... but Pan (Oh, the cleverness of him!) will not surrender himself to anyone at any cost. “If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!” Note that it's only because 'growing up' entails suppressing himself and adhering to unnatural behaviour and principles that he doesn't want any part of it.

He was so full of wrath against grown-ups, who as usual, were spoiling everything, that as soon as he got inside his tree he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland, that everytime you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible.

I've been wondering my whole life when I will turn into a grown-up. Once, I thought I had even managed it for a few weeks... but I was mistaken. It's as they say: Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is definitely optional. You have a choice. Now, excuse me, but I must fly... after all, to live is an awfully great adventure.

~ Karen



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May The Force be With You...

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Mon, September 05, 2011 17:27:43

"The manifestation of true love is a natural activity, neither virtue nor sin."

~ Joshu Roshi


I feel very lucky to have been given many opportunities to understand love. ‘Til now, I wouldn’t have written the words ‘understand’ and ‘love’ in the same sentence without a gargantuan ‘DO NOT’ before the ‘understand’. If there’s any reason for my life on this planet at all, then it’s to find a way to love and be loved the way that I desire to love and be loved. I regard love and nature as one and the same; not to keep it and cage it but to love the freedom of it all as it IS.

The human pull toward companionship and intimacy (aka ‘The Force’ in me) is strong. If I could avoid it whilst still remaining sane, then I would (and, believe me, I have tried) – because it might surprise you to hear that I have not previously had much success in my relationships... [cue the violins]... Hang on, hang on - this is actually a good thing... [cut the violins, please]... because I know that there’s got to be another way to ‘do’ this that actually works... a sort of 'not relationship' relationship. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

In times-gone-by, as a (nearly) divorced single-mother over 40 [and it absolutely makes me cringe to use these labels on myself], I would be considered unkindly by society as a ‘spinster’ or ‘old maid’... that there must be something ‘wrong’ with me. Maybe some women in my situation feel this way, but I certainly don’t! I feel happier ‘in my skin’ than I have ever felt. Content. Centred.

... and then Along Comes a Man and every ‘button’ I ever had (and some I forgot about) is pushed; all the insecurities and leaning start to kick in. Nowadays, I’m conscious enough to observe what’s going on and can nip this insidious cacophony in the bud before it has its wicked way with me. Breaking patterns does take quite some time and effort, I will admit. I’m currently on a learning curve through no man’s land, where being a total romantic is both a blessing and a curse. It’s total bliss and it hurts like hell, and everything in-between.

And I love it all.

As it is.


~ Karen



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Darkness Visible

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Sun, August 28, 2011 03:01:38

Mystery and Imagination arise from the same source.

This source is called darkness…

Darkness within darkness,

The gateway to all understanding.

~ Lao Tzu

On September the 27th, the comet Elenin will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. There's some speculation that this will block out the sunlight for three whole days, as well as having a potentially disruptive effect on electromagnetic fields and such things. Have a read of this article by Will Hart on the Red Ice Creations website.

The thought of being plunged into darkness for three days doesn’t scare me. Symbolically, this would be the perfect opportunity for me to face my inner-shadow, explore my inner-light, seek visions and dream. Talk of this reminds me to re-read Darkness Visible by Simon Buxton and Ross Heaven – a book that examines the spiritual and therapeutic practice of retreat in physical darkness. Simon Buxton facilitates Shamanic Darkness Retreats at The Sacred Trust, along with his partner Naomi Lewis: “Using ceremonial darkness as a shamanic tool is a classical method of shamans the world over for ‘stalking the self’, accessing invisible landscapes and embracing deeper aspects of both unconscious and super-conscious states. The procedure of being in darkness over several days brings about a remarkable stilling of the mind and from this pool of quietude the oft hidden gifts of intuition and creativity arise.”

Starting from childhood, we are programmed to fear the darkness and ‘things that go bump in the night’. Pretty much every horrific scene in any scary movie you watch happens at night. We line our streets with artificial neon ‘suns’ and light our own homes after dark. It’s not just ‘so that we can see better’ – it’s a pathology. Fear of the dark is an illness. It even has a name – Nyctophobia. I would go so far as to say that most of the world’s population is Nyctophobic. Imagine how it would psychologically affect these people to be literally plunged into darkness and spontaneously access the Collective Unconscious... it’s inevitable that, should such a potentially initiatory event happen en-masse there would be pretty big disruptions to the ‘normal everyday routine’.

However, it also kind of got me to thinking... flippin' 'eck... all these potential earth-changes (discussed in the article I mentioned earlier)... the comets, meteors and solar flare events on their imminent way... I know that what will be will be and I can handle ANYTHING... but, more importantly, my only desire is to share these changin’ times with those I love. I would say that’s the most important thing any of us can do at this time – to be with those we love. Whether anything 'happens', or not...

~ Karen

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Into my Bliss

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Thu, August 04, 2011 03:31:17

Every day, I am dropping deeper and deeper into my bliss. Love has triggered this opening of my heart. I feel a heightened sensitivity to the world around me where everything is profoundly interconnected. (Yes, yes... I know I sound like a total hippy.)

Everything that did not work for me has either left my life entirely or is in the process of changing. Some of these things – emotional, mental and spiritual – I was already aware of. The physical things, like my landlord out of the blue deciding to install a new stove (symbolically the ‘heart’ of the home) and the following day, the sewage removal from the sesspit in my garden (the literal removal of shit from my life) are welcome manifestations of some of these changes that show me I must be doing something right.

What I have learned is to TRUST myself... let go instead of trying to control things and go with that flow. Be open, especially when it’s painful because that’s when we often shut down completely and, before we know it, we are continually in ‘defence-mode’ by default – then you may just as well be wearing a big sign on your back saying “KICK ME” (or worse).

When a rose unfurls its delicate petals, it naturally lifts its face to the sun... and the wind... and rain. It’s natural to grow – to open and hold your head high; to stand proud in grace and beauty and fearlessly weather what comes. There is strength in being a rose (Eros).

~ Karen

All flowers, in time, bend towards the sun.




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Want and Need

Daily muse...Posted by Karen Sawyer Sun, July 17, 2011 02:19:22

Want is to need as thought is to deed.... There’s a fine line between ‘em. If I want something, it’s not because I need it – though it’s true to say that sometimes I want something that I need, like money, for example. Having said that, I only had two pence to my name for a few days recently, and although I wanted more money and thought that I needed some, I was perfectly happy when I realised that I didn’t.

Sometimes we think we want something but then we get it and find that we don’t. Today, for instance, I bought a new t-shirt, got home, tried it on... and didn’t want it anymore. It looked good on the hanger but it just wasn’t ‘me’. The idea is often more attractive than the reality, isn’t it?

Now, as a small child, my mum repeatedly told me that, “I want doesn’t get.” Instead of heeding this lesson in verbal etiquette, I, naturally, misunderstood that statement as meaning that I couldn’t get what I wanted. That old chestnut still haunts me from time-to-time. Thinking about it now, would my requesting, “Please may I have” mean that I can ‘have what I may please’?

What’s interesting when you look at the etymology of the word ‘want’ is that the meaning we know well today – ‘to desire, wish for’ – wasn’t even recorded until 1706. Before that, it actually meant ‘to be lacking’ (coming from the Old Norse vanta, meaning ‘to lack, want’). Maybe my mum was right, after all... it doesn’t seem an appropriate word to use when seeking to acquire anything.

The word ‘need’ is no good, either. In Old English it was nied, and meant ‘necessity, compulsion, duty’; originally ‘violence, force’ (from nauthis – Old Norse nauðr). Common in Old English were expressions such as niedfaru ‘a compulsory journey’ (a euphemism for death); niedhæmed ‘rape’ (the second element being an Old English word meaning ‘sexual intercourse’); and needling, which meant ‘slave’. The Old English word for the whole shebang – ‘need, necessity and want’ – was ðearf, which became connected to nied via a notion of trouble and pain. The two then joined together, forming a new word niedðearf , meaning ‘need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed’. Need, then, implies a painful experience. It's interesting that the rune Nauthis, which means ‘constraint, necessity, pain’, is connected to need, which I hadn’t previously realised. Here it is:

‘Desire’, on the other hand, comes from the Latin desiderare, meaning ‘await what the stars will bring’, from the phrase de sidere ‘from the stars’. ‘Desire’ only became associated with lust by some pervert in the mid-14th century. Until then, it was perfectly innocent. From now on, I’m reclaiming its original usage in place of the ‘w’ word (which you will not hear from me again because it obviously doesn’t work for me).

Feeling a deep sense of centred-ness, as I currently do, I don’t really need anything, yet there are certain things that I desire, for sure. The desiring comes from my appreciation of life – I see something beautiful, I desire it, so that if it were to (metaphorically) knock on my door, I would smile and welcome it with arms open. Desire is fine just as long as you are indeed willing to ‘await what the stars will bring’. To deny desire is to lie to yourself.

What is your heart’s desire? Having it won't make you a ‘better person’; it may make you smile but it won’t improve you. What motivates us to desire anything, whether that’s a nice place to live, a hug, resolving a situation, freedom, friends, or consciousness, for example? Why do some people desire what others abhor? It’s not always something we desire for ourselves, either – we also desire others to have the things they desire. Beyond social conditioning, advertising, peer-pressure, etc., there is true desire – a deep wish from the soul.

When I’m off-centre, it’s usually because I draw spurious conclusions from not getting what I so desire and use it against myself to prove my unworthiness. This happens from time-to-time, and, when it does, it can have damaging consequences. What brings me back to my centre is when I can look at what IS, at what I have got – fully appreciate those things... and thus contentedly ‘await what the stars will bring’.

(And be careful what you desire, ‘cos you will get it.)


~ Karen

(Don't bother with the video - the song and the words are the thing in this case).

Joseph walked on and on

The sunset went down and down

Coldness cooled their desire

and Dawn said, "Let's build a fire."


The sun dressed the trees in green

and Joe said, "Dawn, I feel like a king"

and Dawn's neck and her feet were bare

Sweetness in her golden hair


Said, "I'm not scared"

Turned to her and smiled

Secrets in his eyes

Sweetness of desire


Is this desire, enough?

Enough to lift us higher,

to lift above ?


Hour long by hour,

may we two stand when we're dead,

between these lands

The sun set behind his eyes

And Joe said, "Is this desire?"


Is this desire, enough?

Enough to lift us higher, to lift above?

Is this desire, enough, enough

Enough inside?

Is this desire?


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