Notes From The New Moon

And It Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt 
I think, generally, since the last New Moon I’ve made good on almost all of my promises. I’m physically active in new ways, jogging regularly, and going outside. I’m reading again. I can’t lie to myself, or be modest or humble about it; when it comes to turning around my general mood I’m pretty sure I’m doing really well right now. When I make promises on nights of the New Moon, I make good on them, so naturally I need to keep setting loftier goals.

Exercise more: done. Curb urges: done. Pursue love: done. Make art: done. Be productive: done.

Make a potion: Well I haven’t done that yet. Unless a few cocktails count.

So what are the promises this time around? To Malachite, the physical entity, I promise to go one week having lunches that don’t involve meat. Vegetarian lunches, not in some moral pursuit, but just because that’s my impulse, that’s my routine. Bread, cheese, meat; vary it up once in a while, but largely formulaic. For my sanity’s sake, I need to at least try and find an alternative. Maybe I can swap out a quarter pound of roast beef with some mushrooms and a tomato, or some vegetables and hummus? I make this promise because my physical form demands and deserves some variety in its diet!

To Azura, ethereal entity, I simply promise to hold fewer negative thoughts. To let go of animosities, passive aggressions — I mean, why have the capacity for negativity? Why think negatively of somebody for action or inactions that you can’t explain or fully understand? I think I’m guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit. Now, I’m not going to turn into some sucker who let’s people take advantage of him, but I think in general, holding grudges just weighs you down. I don’t have to trust or like somebody if they’ve done me wrong, but oh my do I have to move past them, for my own sake. Poof the negative feeling they contributed right out of my psyche.

This is how the Lunar “Magick” works for me — it’s more or less anthropomorphized therapy sessions, so the only magic that’s going on here is that I’m saving hundreds or thousands of dollars on therapy.

Advertisements

What’s Up? (3/2/16)

Vaporwave
I’m falling into a vaporwave rabbit hole. What the hell is vaporwave? Good question. Honestly, I don’t even think the internet exactly knows what it is. It’s a genre of music and art that has evolved greatly from its origin point, and in a short span of time. It’s defined largely by 80’s and 90’s nostalgia and commercialism,  and whether artists are embracing or criticizing that differs from case to case. One of my favorite artists used to go by the name Saint Pepsi; his album Hit Vibes is a collection of sampled funk/disco beats, sometimes slowed down, sometimes chopped together — not unlike what a low rent Daft Punk record might sound like, and I don’t mean that insultingly. One of the more popular tracks on the album, “Cherry Pepsi” is just a slowed down version of “BYOB” by Sister Sledge, but looped in an infectious way that required a lot of talent. I know first hand that sampling music is harder than one would think.

Still, as I think about why these stolen funky / elevator music tunes from the past are so great to listen to, I think it’s more about welcoming nostalgic/commercial feelings into yourself and rejecting them. Listening to Cherry Pepsi doesn’t make me want to drink a Cherry Pepsi, in fact, associating the word “Pespi” with a musician takes the power of Pepsi branding away entirely. A fun Pepsi commercial will only make me want to listen to Saint Pepsi’s music, instead of pursuing the product. Likewise the echoey songs of MACROSS and Master Stryker may remind me of 90’s shopping malls, VHS rental stores, and the good old Playstation and Nintendo 64 days – but carrying those memories in your pocket via Mp3’s completely removes the power that nostalgia has over you. When people remember what malls and Blockbuster Videos used to be like, they have this rose-colored glasses thing going on. They think about VHS rental stores once a year maybe, and say “wow I miss those, remember them?” But when you carry music that evokes those feelings, and listen to it regularly, it’s like you have a more well thought-out nostalgia. “I think about those every day, and while you may remember them fondly, there’s something eerily unsustainable about those businesses. If we think long enough about malls, and VHS stores and whatnot, their demise by the hands of the internet is so inevitable — and the internet didn’t destroy those businesses so much as it freed us from them.”

Dieting?
I think I can only go so far with all of my exercise before I face the unfortunate truth that one of these days I’m going to need to go on some diet. I really do mean unfortunate, because damn it, I love junk food. And not like fast food and potato chip junk food, but rather your hamburgers, fries, and cheesey sandwiches junk food. Carbs and fats. And pizza. Oh god I need to cut back on pizza. There’s only so much I can work off with exercise and sooner or later I’m going to need to find a way to cut a lot of meat, a lot of cheese, and a lot of breads from my daily routines. I’m not making any promises because, well:

That never worked in the past. 

What’s Up? (2/8/16)

Lunar New Year
Another New Moon, another time to think about how things have gone. Honestly? They’ve been going well. Despite a cold that’s now been going on for a week, things have absolutely been good. I don’t let the cold get to me mentally, and physically I continue to bike, jog (once a week), and I even went for a pretty decent park walk on Sunday.

(And being outdoors in the company of an awesome person was the superior part of my Sunday, I might add, with Super Bowl 50 being underwhelming as all hell, even as someone who did not hype the game very much at all.)

But, yes, another Lunar cycle begins, and absolutely everything I promised myself I would do during the last New Moon came true, more or less. I fulfilled the promises I made to myself. Now, as I discussed on (1/15/16) these promises were more or less made to third-party imaginary entities, as part of a New Moon ceremony. While fun, I don’t want to give the illusion that I’m buying into Wicca exactly; I’m more or less applying some concepts into meditation and developing a self-help routine here.

That routine? Think about how things are going, every New Moon, and make some promises to yourself. (Eat better, exercise more, pursue romance, curb sexual impulses). By the next Full Moon, you better be on the way to fulfilling those promises.

So on this New Moon, as we head into the Lunar New Year, I suppose you can call these my Lunar New Year’s Resolutions.

What’s Up? (1/15/16)

Malachite and Azura
Not sure how this slipped any entries but… last Friday a friend moved into Lawrenceville and the weekend was crazy. (For me at least.) Dancing at Spirit isn’t exactly part of my normal weekend, though I almost wish it was.

“I don’t know my future after this weekend… and I don’t want to.”

Something else happened last weekend, a New Moon. A significant ritual day in most Wiccan circles. And as someone exploring and reading about Wicca from time to time, I decided to create a little lunar ritual of my own. On my left, the stone Malachite, and on my right, the stone Lapis Lazuli. Now, since these are supposed to be goddesses, I gave Lapis Lazuli the name “Azura” after the daedric princess in the Elder Scrolls.

I decided this would be a meditative experience, with candles, water, quiet, and a lot of self-discussion. I used this time to talk to myself about what I liked, and didn’t like, about how I was living my life.

Malachite, green and swirling, tumultuous, represented my more immediate desires, the physical, greed, sex, impulses, junk food; not all bad things, but bad without balance. Azura, blue with pyrite sparkles, calming and deep, represented the more ethereal aspects of life, love, happiness, health, exploration, betterment…

Sound hokey? Well, I improvised an entire faux-religious meditative experience on the spot, so there are kinks to work out… but this is how it helped.

  1. Since that night, I have refocused efforts to eat better and exercise every day.
  2. Since that night, I have limited physical gratification greatly, in order to shift to mental gratification.
  3. Last night (1/14/15) I chose to eat at a different, new place to me, with foods not entirely up my alley, as opposed to the same old pub food. This being a Malachite vs. Azura decision: do I go with the instant gratification of a burger and fries and beer? Or do I walk to the Thai wine bar, and just give something new a chance? Turns out this decision had a ripple effect, and well, I’m glad I went Azura on that.

What’s Up? (2/19/14)

I meditated tonight while listening to a “Zen” music track, which  was basically just a looped sound effect of  running water with some Japanese instruments played over it. It triggered ASMR like crazy, and I was basically sitting down with a huge grin on my face as my body was overwhelmed by bliss. I really needed that, as I’ve found myself physically, mentally, and emotionally tired as of late.

However, I’ve scheduled two interviews for internships yesterday, I had an incredible session of meditation, and I am going to have a full night of sleep tonight – so it feels like all of the tired parts of myself are washing away now. Life works like that no? You peak and fall, peak and fall, like a sin wave. Without getting tired now and then, I wouldn’t push myself to reach peaks.

Am I at a peak right now? I don’t think so. I’m in a rebound stage. I’m on my way to a peak. That peak could be a good weekend, or a good job interview, or any number of things. Maybe I’ll have a great time with my roommates this weekend, or rediscover a great old game from my childhood, or learn a new song on the synthesizer, or make a new acquaintance.

IN OTHER NEWS

I’m waking up tomorrow to watch the America v. Canada Women’s Hockey game. I think it could be fun, and I might try to turn it into a writing exercise of sorts. I haven’t watched many Olympic sports this year, save for Ice Dancing, and man, that was some very impressive stuff.

I picked up a copy of the New York Times today, I’m not sure why. There’s a photo of the Kiev riots on the front I believe. I think discussions in English today, regarding how few young people read newspapers, made me feel obligated to pick one up. They’re free for students and there was still a full stack of the day’s papers at 6PM.

For two months I’ve had pieces of art in and out of my Society6 shopping cart, staring at the two empty spaces on my wall, driving me crazy about what and when to purchase something. It’s not the only thing driving me crazy these days, but it’s the most ridiculous by far. It’s about time that I just made the purchase and got it over with.

between my journal, this blog, notepad++, essays, and notes to myself written throughout my binder, there are five or more outlets with which i let myself think through my issues, and tell stories about my life, and sometimes it gets weird, because it feels like with each outlet, there’s a completely different record of my life, a different tone, a different character, different motivations, and i feel the need to tie all of these narratives together,  to type them all out onto a single document, because i find myself forgetting who i’ve told what, or where certain parts of the story are, and it’s like i’m telling my story more often than ever, but it’s spread thinner and thinner. 

Crack In The Wall

I remember, when I wanted to get into meditation, that I read on a blog that beginners should focus on candles while concentrating on the mind. For a while I used an LED candle to facilitate this source of focus and relaxation. The candle was placed on my bed rest, underneath a crack in the wall of my bedroom. Over the days and weeks, the crack in the wall became my source of peace.

I no longer use the candle, when I meditate, it’s just me and the crack in the wall. It’s a shallow gash in the thick paint globed onto the wall. I breathe slowly, and exhale into the gash. Through the crack in the wall all air leaves the room, and I’m left in a vacuum. I gasp for air.

At the end of meditation, I lean against the wall and stare into the crack in the wall. I talk to it, and hide my everything inside of it. The wall creaks and cracks, stretching to its limits, bursting with my secrets. Like this blog, and my diary, and my friends and family, like anybody I can talk to, the crack in the wall helps lift the weight of my consciousness.

 

What’s Up? (1/10/14)

I’m wearing an infinity scarf right now and I feel great. Maybe it doesn’t actually change anything about me, but I feel like I’m more open because of what I’m wearing. The slow move towards more “feminine” designs in t-shirts wasn’t getting me anywhere, but now? Some part of me thinks that it’s kind of nonsense, that what you wear doesn’t change anything about your behavior or self-esteem, but the other part of me is convinced that putting on a light and fluffy infinity scarf is making me more comfortable.

Some light meditation launched me into a plan of action over the next two days – a schedule of sorts for getting everything in order. When am I going to promote an event for The Silent Barn? Tomorrow. When am I going to work on a postcard for an internship application? Tonight. When am I going to hit the gym? Sunday. When am I going to apply for an internship with UPMC? Tomorrow.

For the first week of the semester, there’s a lot going on. Drop this class, join this club, apply for this, attend that, and there’s a lot of reading and writing too – but I guess that’s just how things are going to be now that I’m in the final stages of college. Man that sounds weird to say. The final stages of college. Moving on – I need to ask a friend how she meditates because, while I like the chance to relax, I don’t feel like I’m reaching an enlightening stance of relaxation. There’s too much noise; I can hear traffic on the Boulevard from my room, the constant humming of things in the apartment, and more often than not – Seinfeld in the living room. I can imagine there being a pretty relaxing set of natural-sounds that I could put on my iPod and listen to, like a tape-loop of a beach, or rain.

That gives me an idea actually. Not for meditation exactly, but… have you ever heard of Rainymood.com? Its a website that plays thunderstorm audio, and it’s pretty cool to layer over music. Take that a step further and visit Youarelistening.to/newyork to get NYC police scanner audio – and then your room becomes a Noir-esque rainy cop radio-drama.