January 6, 2023

Finding Freedom Where You Are

Namaste dear one! It is a joy for me to announce the official release of my fifth book, Finding Freedom Where You Are: Zen reflections of a globe-trotting nomad!

This project has been a major artistic and spiritual undertaking as I endeavored to capture the key spiritual lessons I’ve learned over the last seven years in the most Zen, beautiful, and accessible way possible.

INSPIRATION

The idea for this book came on 12 August 2022, in Redondo Beach, California, while I was sitting on the patio at my favorite vegetarian restaurant (The Green Temple). Seven years after deciding to leave my corporate career behind to seek ultimate freedom, the inspiration came for me to capture what I’ve learned.

The start of Finding Freedom Where You Are, Redondo Beach, California 2022

From there, I channeled ten more pages of brief quotes that became the basis for the book.

It was important to me that this book not be the parroting of my beloved Zen, Taoist, and Advaita teachers. Instead, the intent of this book was to capture the essence of what I’ve learned from these great masters in my own words to modernize the teachings.

ART

A few days later, I began experimenting with mixing images from my travels to create innovative art. I was inspired by a particular artwork by Tacita Dean that I was fortunate to have seen in Luxembourg the previous month at MUDAM — The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg — during her opening. Through a film printing process and colored pencil, she created this otherworldly magic that I thought was revolutionary. (I am thankful that I was able to tell her that at the opening!)

I used a digital process of superimposing images and adjusting transparency to mix my own magic. Always influenced by Japanese artistry and my favorite artist, Hokusai (most known for “The Great Wave”), natural elements were emphasized in all of the mixtures to highlight the beauty and blessing of my globe-trotting nomadic life over the last seven years.

Here are a few of the images from the book:

Japan 2015 + Cabo Verde 2021
Bali 2015 + California Redwoods 2021
Switzerland + Germany 2022

CONTENT

The original idea of the book was to combine images with quotes, but this felt very overwhelming. After putting together a few drafts, there was a recognition that the ideas on their own was not a full reflection of the lessons I’ve learned.

That realization shifted me to the heady third phase of the project, which entailed writing my succinct perspective for each of the ideas I’d channeled. This took months to complete, and even after that time, there were many adjustments made to further clarify the ideas.

Writing perspectives at beautiful Wayfarers Chapel, California

There was a realization that these edits could have gone on forever, so I eventually had to tell myself that whatever was completed in 2022 was what was meant for the book. Any revelations that occurred later would have to be for another creation.

After that, the fourth phase–organizing the content of the book–was equally as challenging. Sorting, organizing, and editing the content to flow into categories that made sense took many, many tries.

While flipping through one of my favorite books with teachings of Zen master Bodhidharma, one of his quotes caught my eye: “Not thinking about anything is Zen. Seeing your true nature is Zen. Everything you do is Zen,” and there were fireworks in my heart as I realized these statements would be a beautiful way to organize the ideas and honor the founder of Zen.

Finding Freedom Where You Are, final ebook Table of Contents
Quote from Finding Freedom Where You Are
Accompanying perspective from Finding Freedom Where You Are

DESIGN

After I selected all of the fonts–always a very important part of the process, and always with my sincere thanks to the amazing designers that are credited at the end of all of my books–I constructed a layout with space and the ability to open the book at any page to gain inspiration for contemplation.

When I completed the first draft, there was a strong feeling that I also needed to do the graphic design work for this project myself. I am thankful for the InDesign crash course from the wonderful graphic designer I’ve partnered with on my previous projects to make this happen. (Thank you, Dillon!)

After that, it took me an additional month, filled with 14-hour+ work days to complete the InDesign work. Each page, of the 172-page ebook, was designed separately with great care and attention to detail. In many ways, I think of the book as 172 pieces of artwork.

InDesign work in progress for Finding Freedom Where You Are book
Booting up computer at 3am, with the full moon, to work on book design, California

REST

With thanks and love to my incredible USA support system of family and friends, this six-month undertaking was still very exhausting! Though I would have liked to have remained in the USA to have the physical books printed, the energy was not there to do that. Resting and recharging was necessary. It also felt important to put the book down for a few weeks and look at it with fresh eyes before the final review. All of these objectives were best accomplished by me returning to Cabo Verde.

With the benefit of a slower pace, beautiful nature, and the ability to turn off my phone for a few days, I was able to complete the ebook and file the official copyright for the book on 31 December 2022!

Selena completing final book review in a cave in Sinagoga, Cabo Verde, December 2022
Serene beauty, Sinagoga, Cabo Verde

Creating Finding Freedom Where You Are has been an absolute labor of love. I am thankful for the prayers and blessings of support from all of you, and the ancestors and sages who have absolutely fortified me through this process! My fingerprints and DNA are in every part of this book, and I hope that you feel the love in each pixel.

EBOOK AT ZENTAO BOOKS

As an independent artist, author, and publisher, I have learned that while platforms are the easiest way to distribute art, it is actually the platforms that make the profit…not the artist. As such, I am doing everything possible to distribute this book independent from those platforms.

Editing code on zentaobooks.com website to make buttons the right shade of blue, January 2023

After completing the book, additional weeks have been spent doing a complete update to my publishing company website, zentaobooks.com. (This was another completed challenge that I’m still processing and celebrating!) You are able to view sample pages of each of my books from the home page. Also, the checkout process has been greatly simplified — requiring only your name and email before being re-directed to PayPal for secure payment.

Following your purchase, an order confirmation screen will display with download link(s) for your purchase. Additionally, an email will follow with the same links. Your downloads will never expire.

To better protect my intellectual property, Finding Freedom Where You Are is being shared as an EPUB (electronic publication) file. This is a standard file type that can be read on any device. For assistance opening EPUB files on your device, please click here.

I recognize that this process requires a step or two more than established platforms, but your support of this independent artist is very much appreciated and recognized.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I sincerely hope that you enjoy the book, the Zen, and the artistic journey. Namaste.

love,

July 30, 2022

Season 5: Live Free with Selena Sage

Namasté dear one. After a whirlwind, glorious, ten-month roadtrip around the USA and Canada, I rested for a few months on the island in Santo Antão, Cabo Verde. That was also glorious! I’ve just returned to the USA after a month spent hopping happily around Europe! The adventures have been truly wonderful and I am so thankful.

During that time, I’ve sporadically shared stories and thoughts in Season 5 of my podcast, Live Free with Selena Sage.

The podcast remains ad-free, and I thank you for subscribing, sharing, and recommending the podcast. Our community is beautiful…and so are you!

Due to the difficulty of keeping all of my various platforms updated while I travel, I’ve focused mostly on keeping Instagram updated (link here), and I’ve also started a TikTok account to share videos (more good vibes, link here).

Thank you for joining me on my adventures! I hope you enjoy this season of the podcast.

love+light,

June 22, 2021

USA Roadtrip!

When I was on the island, I dreamt of coming to America to surprise my beautiful mother for Mother’s Day and I imagined buying a car to take a leisurely trip around the United States to see loved ones and new lands.

Magically, all of the saints and sages decided to co-sign my dreamy plan! I’m so thankful to have beautifully surprised my mother (and father, too!) and found the perfect vehicle for a cross-country roadtrip!

The last month has been a total whirlwind as I had to make a ridiculous number of purchases for everything that broke on the island (including computer and phone), and items that needed replacement that I wasn’t able to easily purchase there (glasses, contacts, clothes, etc).

Additionally, I had to renew my passport (success!!) and continue to work through some new exciting projects with some goddesses I’m fortunate to know haha (in progress, stay tuned!).

I’m thankful to be afforded this incredible opportunity to live out that dream and, so far, I’ve seen dear ones across the Southeast I hadn’t imagined I’d see! I’m doing what I can to keep my Instagram page update here, and share reflections on my podcast here, but I’ll try to remember to add some updates here too! Haha

Thank you for your continued love and support! I’m so excited for what’s unfolding in this moment and what’s coming! What are you excited about??

love,

Photo: Cortez Beach, Florida (near my current location in Sarasota, Florida!). So far, I’ve been blessed to flow through Austin and Houston, Texas; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile and Beatrice, Alamba; Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota, and Clearwater Beach, Florida! More stops coming as soon as I get important things rolling here in Florida.

January 25, 2021

DROP EVERYTHING

Drop everything.
Even you.

Bonus: What remains?

——
A direct way to discover your true nature is by dropping everything — your thoughts, feelings, ideas, images, memories, hopes, plans, traumas, and triumphs.

Then drop YOU — your idea of who you think you are; you as the person.

What remains?


Namasté and love,

Source: Instantly Zen Instagram Page

November 26, 2020

INSTANTLY ZEN

Namasté dear one. On the last episode of season 3 of my podcast (listen to “Live Free with Selena Sage” here), I announced that I was taking some time away from social media. Between then and now, I’ve been developing Instantly Zen, which I’m so excited to introduce! (I’ll share details about what it is at the end of this post because this message is focused on how Instantly Zen came to be.)

At the time that I disabled social media (way back on October 17th haha), I knew that I needed to take a step away from everything. I felt something new trying to bubble to the surface and I needed to block out all of the noise.

In the silence, I generated a lot of ideas, and I’m so thankful for persons in my “inner circle” who gave me feedback, both helpful and harsh haha, to get me closer to what this idea needed to be.

I admit freely that my first idea / presentation was off the mark, but putting it on-screen and sharing it allowed me to process it; the feedback I received helped me strengthen it; and as I developed it, I ended up weaving in parts of the original idea that were worth keeping.

I say this because often times we try to process ideas in our heads and resist sharing them with others for various reasons. Those reasons for not sharing can sound like: “It’s not ready,” “It’s not perfect,” “They will steal it,” “They will tell someone else who will steal it.” But please let me tell you that original ideas are never really ready or perfect; most people don’t have the know-how or energy to actually develop and execute the idea like you can; and if you have that concern about a person stealing or sharing your idea with the wrong person, they probably shouldn’t be in your inner circle.

That said, know, too, that thoughts are constantly changing, so the mental-development method is not really that trustworthy. Instead, I find there is great power in taking a moment to jot down random ideas that come up, and choosing to work through the idea that you vibrate with on the highest frequency (meaning, you keep thinking of it or it stands out).


Once you’ve made that mock-up, treat it like a first draft and share it with only a very small number of very trusted people (two or three) that will give you honest perspective. Then, prepare yourself for both positive and negative feedback and stay open to both. Don’t let negative feedback discourage you, and lean into positive feedback (even if it’s your own belief that it will work) to fuel you as you take the next steps forward to fine-tune your first idea.

– Read More –
November 22, 2020

MEASURE OF PROGRESS

What is the measure  of an aspirant’s progress in terms of authentic attainment? They must evolve to such maturity wherein they are capable of bringing mental chaos back to silence, without requiring outer assistance.

from “Writing on Water” by Sri Mooji

Once you recognize your power to simply observe mental chaos and bring it to silence—and you are able to use this power effortlessly, whenever needed—you have mastered transcending your monkey mind :)

This seems a fitting time to tell you that I am in the process of developing events to help you do just that! Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on this new offering I’m excited to share! :)!

Namasté and love,


Photos: This morning in Ponta do Sol, Cabo Verde :)

November 1, 2020

FIND THE ORIGIN

This morning, I brought one of my favorite Taoist books with me to read on the rocks by the sea (just got splashed! Haha)

A passage that really resonated today is from verse 52:

In the beginning was the Tao.

All things issue from it;

all things return to it.

To find the origin,

trace back the manifestations.

from “Tao te Ching” by Stephen Mitchell

This passage reminded me of two questions from my first book,Meditative Questions,” which I’ve added here (images from the ebook) for your own contemplation:

Find more about “Meditative Questions” at zentaobooks.com

When you discover the Source of all, Oneness is clear.


Namasté and love,

October 29, 2020

TRUTH

The one who surrenders  everything, including himself, and the one who finds  nothing, including himself, discover the same Truth.

from “Writing on Water” by Sri Mooji

Morning walk to Sinagoga, morning meditation on the nature of truth. Let go of all to find all.

Namasté,


My hidden perch in the rocks :) for peace and shade ;)

October 26, 2020

SUNRISE

All this [world] is conjured by magic;
It’s only the water of a desert mirage.
Beyond all differences, beyond all forms,
Truly, there is only Shiva alone.

from “Song of the Advadhut” by Swami Abhayananda


Namasté,


Photos: Sun rising this morning in Ponta do Sol from my perch on the rocks by the sea :) Namasté.

October 26, 2020

A Restful Week

So very thankful for a restful week (last week) with dear friends in Cha D’Igreja at beautiful Casa no Caminho / Haus Am Weg (link to my previous post about this wonderful place here)!

Resting in a hammock was my vibe all week! (Obrigada dear Diane for the photo haha ;) The week before had been overly active, so last week was necessarily restful. Hopefully I’ll find the right balance this week ha!

While visiting a beach I love there, I wrote the following haiku:

Acceptance brings calm

Merging back into what is…

Calm and endless sea

—-
The message for me is that tranquility is always within our reach, for it is our true nature.

Here are some of the pictures from the week that inspired the haiku directly, and indirectly haha:


(The visit also included a stop at the dam near there to see how much water had accumulated from the rains this year—an amazing amount! :)! Normally what now looks like a lake is bone dry! This is very good for our island.)

—-

Though the haiku shares my key takeaway from the week, I was reminded of my own need to take time away sometimes to rest the body-form and reconnect with myself as Self haha The costume of personhood can be exhausting, but that which we truly are is changeless, formless, and tireless. May we know ourselves to be that and live as that.

When you are not thinking of what’s next or what’s passed, who are you? :)

Namasté and love,

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