May 2010 Archives

June Hooping Events

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June is shaping up to be a great month for hooping. Hope to see you at one (or more) of these events:

Wednesday, June 9: Circle @ Yoyogi Park from 6:00. FREE
Saturday, June 12: Beach Jam @ Kamakura from 1:45. FREE
Sunday, June 13: Sacred Spirals Hoop/Kundalini workshop @ Yoygi Uehara from 11:00. 3500 yen
Wednesday, June 16: Hoop Lounge @ Super Deluxe from 7:30 FREE
Thursday, June 17: Hoop Making @ Tokyo Hacker Space from 7:30. 4000 yen
Sunday, June 27: 4th Sunday Spin @ Yoyogi Park from 12:30. FREE

Details are on Facebook on the "Hooping in Tokyo" page.

Plus there are all the regular classes around town, including Deanne's hoop classes at FAB Academy, Ayumi's classes at Hoop Tokyo.

The new range of Hooplovers hoops launched this month. You can have your own hoop named after my alter ego, Tink! Or any of the other gorgeous hoopers in the range...

Energy Tickles

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Yesterday my friend, Tom, came over to practice some energy work on me. She's a new theta healing practitioner with experience in other energy work. I was happy to be a test subject, even though I didn't think I really had anything in particular to heal. I am interested in the mysterious energy around us* and this was a good chance to explore another aspect of it.

To accomplish the healing, Tom put her brain into a theta wave state - as if in deep meditation or just before falling asleep. Then she moved her focus into my energy space and looked for the negative beliefs we'd discussed in advance, removed them and replaced them with a positive belief. I am a little doubtful about whether that belief clearing can work, but...

I felt her moving around in me.

We sat facing each other, my hands resting in hers, our eyes closed. As Tom did her thing, I tried to empty my mind by focusing on breathing and listening to the sounds around me. So I was hearing a bird whistle past when my attention was brought to the front of my head in the space between and above my eyes - the "third eye." I visualised it as a three dimensional object with color. And it was being poked a little, jiggled, sort of tickled. Neat. I smiled. Then it stopped and I just sat and breathed quietly until Tom pulled her hands back.

We were both pretty excited that I'd perceived this. So the second time she went in, we agreed that she could explore a little more and I'd explain what I felt afterward. This time, I felt her touch the third eye again, and at the same time, there was a sensation around my left ear. It felt like I'd been wearing too-tight glasses and just taken them off. A simultaneous constriction and buzzing, and it was a rusty orange-red, like light auburn hair. Oddly, when I was trying to explain it I couldn't point to the place where it was exactly. Above my ear, but in it and behind it, too.

The sensation continued there a little while but I also felt something moving down towards my heart. Again there was a feeling of constriction but also an opening, as if unlacing a corset and taking a deep breath. I had an awareness of shape and color as well. Tom's hands warmed at that point. I got distracted pondering something that she'd told me about, and it wasn't until I felt her in my feet that I focused on the energy sensations again. She tweaked my toe! My feet got all tingly. It made me smile.

Then she moved up to my thighs where I felt a weight like a heavy lap blanket on my muscles. It wasn't on my skin but sort of under it. The visual was much weaker on this part. Muffled.

A moment or two later, I could feel that she was back in my head. But this time, I saw something that looked a bit like a shadow passing repeatedly across my eyes, as if I were being fanned. It went on so long and was so visceral that I opened my eyes to see if there wasn't something in the room making shadows. There wasn't, so I closed my eyes again and the shadowy movement was still going on. After what seemed a few more minutes, I was becoming distressed so I imagined a big ball of white sparkly light in my head and then Tom let go of my hands.

Tom said that the did, indeed, move her focus up and down my body that time. And she saw something unusual in my head while I was experiencing the shadowy fanning. She saw shiny metal X shapes enclosed in circles. There were several of them and they moved. Neither of us could figure out what they were or might have symbolised.

And in the final session, Tom dropped into theta wave state and stayed outside of me to look around for energy in my vicinity. I could feel her sort of smoothing my head with a white liquid light, and then I didn't experience anything except to note her hands warming up.

All-in-all it was quite an interesting afternoon. Having the sensations and visuals of different energetic parts of me was sort of magical, like looking at medical scans of my body.

* I believe in this energy - it has different names in many spiritual, religious and philosophic schools of thought so I don't know what to call it - because I have experienced it myself. We all have, I think, when we've had a flash of insight or a gut feeling, maybe seen phantoms, heard a sound that nobody else hears, or felt drawn to a certain place or person.

Science hasn't proven it and energy manifestations could turn out to be caused by a cluster of neurons in the limbic system. Or maybe there truly are ethereal planes, souls in cycles of rebirth, or higher dimensional beings directing our lives. I'm willing to wait and see how it turns out. And in the meantime I'll develop my own mythology around the energy I have experienced personally.

Another Month, Another Magazine

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This time it's the "Back Chat" feature of J Select magazine's June issue. This may be the first Q&A interview I've given that didn't make me cringe when I read it in print. Thanks to Melissa for giving me the opportunity to appear in print again.

Visualization Realization

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For months now, friends have been talking about visualization techniques. How thoughts become things. Creating vision boards. Dropping into theta wave states. Manifesting reality by imagining it.

I just didn't get it. I can close my eyes, bring myself into a calm, deep meditation and imagine walk down an imagined forested path to reach my heart's desire, only there is never anything at the end of the path. Looking through a magazine for images of my goals and wishes only frustrates me.

The trouble is that I don't have many goals or desires. There are things I want to achieve, but they are either already happening or just not that important. I'm not particularly interested in riches; I have a good marriage; I am happy most of the time; my health is acceptable. Sure, I could wish to amp up any or all of those but I feel that the basics are covered and anything else that comes my way is a bonus which I do not particularly seek.

And here is the realization: even though I seem to fail at my own visualizations, I can imagine the way to someone else's concrete goal. If someone puts me on a project, I can visualise like crazy. A design for the party dress pops into my head and then I start to figure out how to build it, imagining exactly what sorts of fabric to use and how to trim it. Or I see how to schedule six simultaneous video projects, reuse resources to cut production time and keep it all within budget. Birthday cake? I will know the appropriate flavour, filling and frosting in a blink and can give you a schedule of when it will be made so it is fresh and ready for the big day.

No doubt there is some deep significance in this. Am I not self-motivated? Maybe I lack creative drive or innovation. I don't know, but if you give me something to do, I can see clearly how to do it.

The False Promise of Common Sense


Most everyone values common sense, don't they?

It takes a lot of different forms, but typical Western-culture common sense seems to value self-protection of various kinds: carry an umbrella on a rainy day; only buy what you can afford; don't walk barefoot where a glass has just shattered; don't eat green furry things from the back of the fridge; look both ways before crossing; don't quit your day job. No doubt you have a few favorites of your own.

But is common sense really a good thing? Is it necessary?

If you unswervingly follow common sense, life is relatively safe and predictable. You stay dry in the rain. You avoid illness and injury. Your finances are stable and secure.

If you flout common sense, though, what happens? Life becomes less predictable. You create opportunities for things to change. You receive chances to learn and grow. New perspectives open to you. Ducking into a doorway in a rainstorm might give you a different view on the street or allow you to make the acquaintance of another umbrella-less outlier. Quitting your job to make a go at something you love is full of adventure as you work and play at creating success. Splurging on luxuries when you can't afford them teaches you about what you really value - other people's good opinion trumps food; traveling the world trumps good credit.

The immediate results of ignoring common sense are sometimes bad: food poisoning from those furry green leftovers is unpleasant; stepping on glass is painful; being hit by a car more so. But maybe in the hours and days you spend recovering your health, you find the time to uncover a new understanding or explore some ideas that your busy life hasn't give you time to settle into.

I think there are times when common sense is a wise thing. And tossing it out the window to follow your heart (or just going with the flow of a forgotten umbrella) seems much more valuable in the long run.

So next time someone says, "You have no common sense," you might want to cheer a little.

(Thanks to my dinner companions last night for getting me thinking about this.)

Baked Eggplant Parm

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I walked in the door after a dinner meeting last week to the scent of baked tomatoes and garlic. "Tod, you ordered a pizza again, hey?" I called out as I dropped my bag at the door. But no. So inspired by this recipe in the NY Times, he had cooked for himself. I was so inspired by the heavenly scent that I had a taste of the leftovers right then and there. It was good. Really, really good. We made it again tonight and I wanted to record our minor variations for the Japan kitchen.

Baked Eggplant Parm
serves 4

1 cup panko (bread crumbs)
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
10 Japanese eggplants (~900g), quartered lengthwise and cut into cubes
2 springs basil (~14 leaves), roughly chopped
3 huge cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
scant 1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 whole milk buffalo mozzarella (~1 cup), sliced into matchsticks

Combine the first six ingredients (panko, pecorino, parsley, oil, salt and pepper) until you have a nice, even crumb. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine everything else except the mozzarella and crumbs. Toss well to coat, then stir in half the crumbs. Spread into a 9x13 baking dish or large nabe. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Top with mozzarella and bake at 170C for about an hour. It will probably need to be covered with foil or a lid halfway through the baking.

Let rest for ten minutes before serving. Is almost better the second day.

In a Cafe Magazine



While out hooping in Yoyogi park last month, some photographers asked to shoot me for cafe chain Pronto's free monthly magazine. I was included in a two-page feature of "girls' voice" in the issue that came out last week. It's very silly.

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