March 22, 2020

THE PLAGUE OF PERFECTION CONTINUES

I’d like to say that I’ve learned from my process of publishing other books. Technically, I am more proficient and I have an internal recipe for how I want my books to look at feel. But my process to implement those things continues to be plagued by my relentless (and exhausting) pursuit of perfection.

In some ways this is good. I can look back on my books and feel that I got it right (though I will admit to finding a minor typo on one that will undoubtedly linger until I’m back in the States to fix future printings…haha It’s something I overlooked a million times and I’m sure others have to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to fix it–I’m still a work in progress haha).

In other ways this perfectionism is exhausting. I’m currently working on my fourth book—a book of haiku poetry entitled: HAIKU to be free that I’m really excited to share! But for now, I’m finding myself in the familiar loop. I make changes, then change my mind and undo those changes. I find a minor spacing issue on one of the covers and redo the graphics. I realized that many of the haiku I wrote were 5-8-5 instead of 5-7-5 (I was listening to music in a restaurant while also trying to count on one of the days I wrote them) and thought it was a good idea to go back to change them to the 5-7-5 haiku format.

But thankfully I have great friends. One in particular told me that those changes might not reflect my earlier intention and could lose something in translation (thank you Lelita!). She was right. When I went back and read the updated poems and compared them to the originals, there were some cases where I went too far. And other cases where the change made the poem a bit more obscure. Nothing major…but not worth making the change in the first place. I’m a rebel, after all, and I was happy to make note of that in the back pages of this new book after re-adding the “mistakes” ;) haha

The changes I kept were minor contractions (e.g. changing “you are” to “you’re”)…things that didn’t change the meaning, but did simplify the flow. There were cases where I know I placed an extra “and” or “that” to add what I thought was the extra syllable I needed in my mis-counting. I’ve left those out when they haven’t added anything to the haiku.

I am about to start what I hope will be my last review (my sage sister Iris keeps telling me to walk away hahaha!), and I have to remind myself that I just started creating this book 4 days ago! Unfortunately, my perfectionism also tells me that I should be able to craft the perfect book in one day haha As a result, I’m not great at eating and sleeping on schedule while I’m doing these creations…but I’m trying to be better.

I was inspired to take time out from that process to just say that perfection plagues us all from time to time. We have to remind ourselves that what we’re stressing about doesn’t really matter as much as we think it does. (I’m writing this for myself haha)

All-in-all, I’m really excited to share book four! It will be an eBook that I’ll be giving away for free! in celebration of the completion of my first season (50 episodes!) of my podcast, “Live Free with Selena Sage” (which can be found at anchor.fm/selenasage). Thank you for your support of this project and others!

To be among the first to get HAIKU to be free, please take a moment to visit zentaobooks.com and scroll down to the bottom of the page to subscribe. When the book is ready, I will be sending an email to subscribers on that list with a code to download this ebook for free!

Below I will include a picture of the original haiku I wrote…and the main picture for this post is from the restaurant were I wrote many of the haiku earlier this month! I hope you will enjoy.

love,

February 10, 2020

New Podcast: Live Free with Selena Sage

I am excited to announce that I have launched a new podcast!!

Live Free with Selena Sage” is now live and available on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple, Google, and Spotify!!

Please visit anchor.fm/selenasage for direct links to your podcast platform of choice, or download the free Anchor app to leave me voice and text messages about the episodes! 😁🌟

I am excited to share this new platform with you and I’m excited to have you join the journey!

Live Free with Selena Sage is a daily show with inspirational content organized by day, and episodes that are 10-20 minutes each.

Week 1 of the Podcast is now streaming! Please Subscribe, share, and leave 5 Star reviews to help others find the Podcast too! Thank you!

January 2, 2020

NEW YEAR REFLECTIONS

During my hike yesterday, I was captivated by this small, clear pool of water. Because the water was calm and unagitated, I could see the rocks below very clearly. In the same way, when we are calm and still, we are able to see things clearly. 

Every new year, I try to take a moment to reflect on highlights from the previous year and things I’d like to carry over and expand on in the new year. I find that though every year includes some kind of sadness or loss, there is always something to be grateful for…there are always moments that we‘ve overcome something we didn’t think we would. And we know that simply because we are still here. 

In this new year, I hope that you will take time to appreciate your ‘wins’ and learn from your ‘losses’. Know truly that these moments manifested to push you toward truth…toward your truest Self. I wish you a beautiful year, full of wonderful moments…and I wish you peace, calmness, and stillness. My hope is that in that quiet, joy, love, and light will all find you. 

Namaste. 

love,   

Photo source: from my 11.1 mile hike, ending in Sinagoga, Santo Antao, Cabo Verde 1/1/2020

November 11, 2019

ZEN TALK: NO MIND

Spontaneous talk about the concept of “no-mind” as explored through my experience of fixing my sink here on the island :)
October 21, 2019

ONE MINUTE ZEN: FREEDOM

I’m inspired to share this video from my hike this past weekend, here in Santo Antao :)

With all things, I hope that you are inspired to release all that does not serve you and keep moving! ;)

 

xo,

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October 14, 2019

ADVENTURE

After taking a quick trip to the neighbor island for supplies, I was reminded of the importance of adventure. Doing new things can introduce you to new people and experiences and this is often very expansive.

Because of a small decision I made to have a hammock on my balcony, I’ve been led to the most wonderful people! I’ve re-connected with my awesome carpenter, received help from the lovely team at Terra Lodge hotel in Mindelo (one of my favorite hotels!), and was directed to an amazing hammock company in France (hamac.fr), where the kind owner has gone above and beyond to help me! (Merci Daniel!) I’m so grateful!!

Routines are easy to get into, and sometimes they are beneficial! But see if you can switch up your schedule just a little and try something new. The people you meet and experiences you have might just be the spark your creativity was missing! ;)

 

xoxo!

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Photo: Returning back to my island. I liked the play of light and shadow—taking a picture of myself in the sun, and then taking a picture of the sun. Plus I liked how the sun illuminated my third eye ;)

 

October 7, 2019

GRATITUDE

I rarely cry, but just a few minutes ago, as I was doing my evening stretches, tears began to leak out of my eyes as I was flooded with immense gratitude for everything in my life. I was inspired to thank my ancestors (Grams, Momsie, and O’ma) and I felt their responses in certain phrases they liked to use with me. I felt Sri Mooji in my heart too, and all of the love from everyone who loves me truly, and it was just so much the love had to flow as water.

I don’t know what inspired me to write a post in such a moment (haha!), but maybe I just felt it was so good it needed to be shared. So much in my life just doesn’t make sense…I don’t know how things somehow work out…I don’t know how I’ve been blessed to know such amazing people…and I don’t know what I could have ever done to be worthy of this…or what I could ever to do share this immense love that I’ve been given, but maybe that is a purpose of my life that will unfold in some unknown way.

In all ways, I just hope that you will take some moments to feel gratitude for every good thing. It may seem daunting in the face of all perceived wrongs you might see/feel/know about, but if you can allow yourself to be immersed in pure gratitude even for a few moments, and allow yourself to just say “thank you, thank you” to nothing or no one in particular, the vibration of your entire life will be positively affected.

I am so thankful! Thank you, thank you!! Endless blessings to you.

Namasté and love!

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Photo: Ponta do Sol, Cabo Verde

August 28, 2019

STAND STILL: REVISITED

Recently, a kind reader of this website came across a quote that I posted in 2014. That quote, “Stand still. The trees ahead and the bush beside you are not lost,” was misattributed to Albert Einstein (the internet is not always a reliable place to source quotes!), so I thank Sara Wright for calling that to my attention and informing me that it was actually a quote from a poem called “Lost” by David Wagoner. After looking up the poem, and verifying the sourcing, I quickly made the change and thanked Sara for bringing it to my attention :)

I am thankful to Sara for not only providing this kind correction, but also for introducing me to David Wagoner’s magnificent poem! I love it! I’ll share it below, but I’d also like to preface it with a little history of the origin of the poem. Apparently, David based “Lost” on the teachings that Native Americans, in the Pacific Northwest, gave their children if they ever became lost in the forest. Here is the poem from David Wagoner’s book, “Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems” published in 1999:

Lost

Stand still.  The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost.  Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes.  Listen.  It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven,
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost.  Stand still.  The forest knows
Where you are.  You must let it find you.

 —

I woke up this morning thinking about the beauty of this poem, and how the original quote I saw inspired a question in my first book, Meditative Questions, during my time in Bali. (The question I was inspired to write from that quote is below and as follows: “Is the tree rooted beside you lost?”)

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Now that I know the poem, the message is in even deeper harmony with the spirit of my question than I had originally realized! Amazing! So, I was inspired to make the recording included in the header of this post just after waking up haha! As with all impromptu recordings, it is not perfect…but I hope that my sense of wonderment and awe comes through anyway ;)

I’m wishing you a lovely day! Namaste.

love,

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A  note about the image from the recording: Though I could not find a picture of the tree that I remember seeing (in Bali back in 2015!), I did find this picture from my veranda at that villa, and I think it captures the essence very well. The beautiful orange flowers were carefully placed all around the room everyday in a way that was clearly spiritually inspired. Bali is a magical place, and it continues to be one of my favorite places in the world.

August 13, 2019

EVERYTHING IS HERE NOW

When I first read this profound quote by Zen Master Huang Po, I thought it referred to the nature of the mind—if you start thinking of someone (or something), it can cause you to emotionally miss them (or it).

Intrigued by this idea, I read some more of his work. Now, as I’m re-reading this quote (an hour later), it’s even deeper than I realized! I now feel that he is saying that  EVERYTHING (Heaven, bliss, eternity, Nirvana) is HERE NOW! It is actually our own thinking that gets in the way of this recognition. If we start thinking about it, we will miss it.

Our minds are the true void—there is no end to our thoughts, concerns, and desires! It is only through dis-entangling ourselves from our minds that we can find the peace that is already at hand. Beautiful!

August 12, 2019

THE OBSERVER, THE OBSERVED, AND AWARENESS

Recently, on my Instagram page, I have participated in several conversations that address ‘personhood’, the concept of the ‘observer’, and the nature of ‘awareness.’ These are very critical distinctions in Advaita Zen…and the great masters (such as my own teacher, Mooji) provide profound pointings to illustrate the difference. (Taoism also describes awareness, and refers to it as the tao. “The tao that can be named is not the eternal tao,” is one such reference in the Tao Te Ching.) As a response to some of the discussions, I have, in fact, encouraged persons to search for Mooji’s discussion of this concept, through the analogy of the two birds, for further illumination.

As always, I found Mooji’s description to be incredible. Therefore, there is nothing within me that feels that I could improve upon his explanation…but as I considered the concept, a different visual came to me. I will share this idea here for additional consideration, only because I do not think that a different perspective can hurt the concept ;) It is not a perfect example, but here we go:

First, please imagine a beautiful pregnant woman swimming peacefully in the ocean, gazing lovingly at her large belly. As she floats in the water, her full attention is on the baby that she feels growing within her, and the movements of this baby are sometimes revealed in a small foot kicking outwardly. However, just that morning she received a full three-dimensional x-ray which is seared into her brain, and she imagines every part of her baby, a part of herself, that lies within.

Inside her stomach, the baby eats, sleeps, and moves, completely unaware of anything else. The baby’s entire world seems very clear, real, and immediate. Oblivious to anything else, it functions as it must to get the nutrition and rest it needs for the purpose of survival. The baby doesn’t know that there is anything beyond its world in the belly, and it is unaware of any kind of mother or father figure that created it.

Separately, the waves of the ocean move around the pregnant mother, uncaring and dispassionate. (Even if the ocean swallowed the mother whole, the ocean itself wouldn’t care.) An entire world of plants, fish, and sea creatures live within the sea, but the water does not carry any emotion about it. Though the water provides nourishment to all, and thus functions as the source of all life, it is unfeeling and unthinking. The ocean simply is.

The mother is the observer. She witnesses the motions and activities of the baby in her belly, and though the child is a part of her, it exists separately from her. The mother can watch the child, but the baby in the stomach cannot watch its mother. Indeed, the baby does not even know that the mother exists, though it might feel some energy it can’t explain from beyond itself.

The baby is observed, but is unaware that it is being observed. Similar to the concept of what it means to be a person, the baby is primarily focused on survival, and its primary activities are centered around that. When the baby is not eating or sleeping, perhaps it plays and kicks, but each day, this (yet unborn) child must be sure to get the nutrients and rest it needs to survive.

The ocean is a representation of awareness. It is a creative force that exists beyond the mother and the baby, but the child and the mother are within it. Without any consideration, both the baby and the mother rely on the things that emanate from the ocean to survive, and those very things were actually necessary for the mother and child to even exist (food, water) themselves. Still, the ocean does not have feeling, and both creation (hatching eggs) and destruction (drowned sailor) exist within its depths. The swirl of good and bad are present in the tides and waves, but the ocean itself does not care. It simply is.

In our own experience of personhood, we focus intensely on survival. Once our basic needs are met, we may shift outwardly for fun or work…but it is all a variation of some type of activity. (It should be noted that an inward shift for liberation is experienced in stillness.)

Beyond our state of personhood is the concept of consciousness that is capable of observing this activity without any interference. If we elevate the level of our consciousness beyond our minds, we can actually watch our minds and the play of activity that exists in our body forms. Consciousness is the observer and witness of our personhood. Sometimes, through yoga or meditation, we might experience this consciousness as a light-body, or the spirit within our bodies. Because it exists beyond the mind, the mind cannot comprehend it, and will seek to explain it away. It is only through direct experience (through the experience of “no-mind” that removes any thinking) that we know this consciousness to be real.

In the same way, the experience of awareness requires the dropping of the mind and a profound recognition of what is even seeing the light (or spirit). (In my first experience, I saw myself as a light-body…but then asked myself, “What is seeing the light?”) Another question to consider is: “What does the light exist within?”

The truth is this: trying to explain awareness makes no sense. That is why the great masters don’t even try…they simply point the way to assist others with experiencing it themselves. On a personal note, The Invitation from Mooji was the key for me to have this kind of direct experience. (In under 15 minutes, Mooji presents the Invitation here, and I encourage you to give it a try! Your experience could result in the end of your seeking.)

In my example, please consider the concept that the mother, the baby, and the ocean are all one, even though the baby and the mother might perceive themselves as being separate (the ocean they are in simply doesn’t care). In this same way, the person, the observer, and awareness are all one. Mentally, this might not make any sense, but I hope that you will be open to watching the video links I’ve embedded above and see if you can open yourself to have experiences of these concepts.

Once awareness is experienced, through grace, it is the beginning of transcendence. What remains from there, in the words of Mooji, is to simply be the awareness. Infinite space, and freedom exists in awareness because it is true emptiness, therefore it is also profound peace.

Thank you for your kind reading of this intense example! I know that it is a lot to consider, but hopefully it might have shed some light on concepts that seemed incomprehensible. I’m happy to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to add your comments/thoughts/questions below!

Much love,

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Photo source: From my walk today in Paúl, here in Santo Antão :)

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