Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
Archive for January, 2009
This is it. This is the current reality and it is easy to rail against it, to want it to be different, other. Some of us may still be having a glorious time whilst others are entering periods of intense upheaval and change.
There is a school of thought that says you create the illusion of your reality. This means that you are fully responsible for your life experiences as they unfold upon you because of how you think. Stephen Levine wrote “Hell is your resistance”. A statement that had a profound effect upon me for at least two years after reading it. If both these ideas are true then we can profoundly alter our current realities. Even the good can me made better, and the unpleasant or unwanted can be turned around. I think a mass effort at seeing things in a different light is what is needed now. My newsletter does not reach far, I know, but a change in thought and attitude can be passed on; I am passing on what I have read and been touched by. Please feel free to do the same.
And when it all gets too much to bear, remember to breathe. Nothing more. Just a few long deep breaths to ground you into now. Because now, everything is bearable and fine and from here, mountains can be moved. it is the uncontrolled, spiralling thinking that causes so much much fear and insecurity. When you find your thoughts are whirling above you, breathe long and deep into the base of your lungs, feel your body, the coolness of the air inside you and exert some measure over your mind.
It does make a huge difference.
A sense of individuality
As I try very hard to get an overview of the current experiences I find it hard not to be affected by the polemic and fear of others.
I try not to read the newspapers, I do listen to Radio 4 but turn away when the serious male voices announce more and more disasters, but I find that it affects my mood. I don’t want it to. I have examined my attachment to drama, been in therapy for my fears, work as hard as I can to manage my mind but still I am affected by what I read and hear.
I feel as though I have no perspective on it all and I wish I did. I suppose I want someone to come and explain the drama to me: why the banks can just behave as they do and no one does anything about, why David Cameron is allowed to spew his negativity all over us all day every day, why the female banker was pilloried for being positive, why we have to drown in negative projections and fear all day, all night, endlessly spiralling into a pit of hideousness that seems to be entirely the medias’ own making. I would like to know why the assumption is that we want things to return to where they were, who really gets something out of this, where has all the money gone and has anyone got a better way forward?
Just a few questions that turn through my reality as I move through “Life on a Daily Basis” like we all are doing. Still making 3 meals a day, still going to work, still having our routines but really trying hard to be positive, entrepreneurial, upbeat, forward thinking and get on with life. Could we have a referendum and demand that everyone in the Government attend a positive thinking course? What about the notion that you create the illusion of your reality?
Well that truly backfires because then it would all be my fault and I cannot face so much responsibility.
I suppose the root of my fear is that of being lost in the melee, and that we are spiralled into destruction, that none of us matter as individuals: We can all be sacrificed to the greater good, to the State, and all this drama is just to get us so stressed that we end up all standing in straight little lines, all individuality lost amongst the Primark madness that has taken over in this time of no imagination and we are fed into the machine that is consumerism.
And here I am, a retailer. But my defence is that I am making original, beautiful, well priced “things” that enhance life, that are durable, outside of fashion and allow each of us to shine as individuals. Oh, please may we have more of this… it has to be good for the economy.
Is a sentence that slips out of my mouth Oh, so easily and Oh, quite often.
I blame Hollywood for the idea that we are all owed sugar coated relationship, a seamless life and killing with no karma involved.
Trying to teach myself and my children that pain is involved in all aspects of life is a necessary evil. Strange that it should be evil, but it seems that it is.
We had friends over for lunch yesterday. None of them married, none of them with children. For some unknown reason the conversation turned in the direction of childbirth. It was not my turning, but there it was, dangling over the dahl, the question posed by a charming young woman: “would you really tell a pregnant woman that labour is painful? “
Frankly, yes. And I would embellish it with bells and lights, too. Why do we now fear pain, time, commitment and diligence? Where did all these essentials slide off to and why? I think I have to come sharply back to the reality that we are being sold by someone. The Government? Some Oligarc with billions of pounds stored away in HSBC? A newspaper tycoon in charge of dozens of mindless journalists? I cannot be sure. But I do know that reality (as I am sold it) and my life experiences seem to be at odds with each other and the distance seems to be expanding.
So I am living in another version of life where pain is real, my mind is a car crash, drugs do not work, I do smile at strangers and there is hope. Please do feel free to step off the train that we have all been rammed inside and experience another life that involves taking responsibility for yourself and your projections, the effect that you have on others, the effect that others have upon you, being open to others and believing in the future. It is fun, hard work too, but better than the bill we are being sold right now that involves a mindless numbness that cuts out all experiences that could engender growth, expansion and bliss.
There is so much negative news, media, comment and polemic at the moment and it is easy to see the future as being a very dark place, but I feel that this is giving too much power to people that have a vested interest in keeping us all scared.
Spring is coming, life is an amazing and incredible gift, and if we spend all our time wishing it were different then we trash every moment that we have on this glorious planet.
How we feel about ourselves, the beliefs we have about who we are, good or bad, is visible to everyone that we come into contact with. For most people it is a totally subconscious awareness that they have; the message is read but the effect is subliminal. There no real awareness of the import, but it does colour how they react to us. For others, we are crystal clear and give away a lot about ourselves the instant we walk into the room. This can be good, if we feel good, but it can be very destructive if our self esteem and belief system is based on skewed thinking.
For instance: If you think you are bad with money, you will be. If you think you are useless, you will be. If you are determined that the world owes you, it will. Take a moment and examine or watch your thoughts about yourself and your reality. Are they empowered, positive, life affirming and empowering thoughts? Or are they destructive, limiting and self-defeating? In this time it is very easy to be weighed down by the mind and find yourself spiralling into a very dark place indeed.
There is a way up. It is simple and effective. Each time you tell yourself something negative like I am bad with money or there is not enough, I cannot do anything right, I am fat, I hate my … etc, cut in as quickly as possible with soothing words. Stop the negative spiral by taking control as an adult and bring reassurance, stability and praise. It is amazing how quickly this changes the patterns.
Another effective tool is to use affirmations. These are different to mantras, but can become a mantra by repetition. I am enough, the universe supports me, I have enough, life is good, I love my work, and so on. These sentences, compiled as a list and read in the morning can make a huge difference to your daily outlook on life. I have a long list that I read each day and it really does make a difference. I also refuse to get out of bed until I have thought of at least 10 things that I am really grateful for.
I know I may be preaching to the converted, but as they always say: Teach what you most need to know.
I do not consider myself to be a conspiracy theorist. I don’t, but even then I do find myself at loggerheads with Bush about 9/11 and the British Government about that affair in the tunnel in Paris, then there is Saint Augustine and the Annunciation, the Virgin Birth, the power of the Pope and several other moments in history that could leave space for calls for booing at me right now.
I don’t mind if I seem a trifle at odds with myself. It would not be the first time, but I am now questioning exactly who stands to gain from the current dramas right now? Is there a Machiavellian plan to keep us all like mad little ants or am I imagining it?
Lovely though he may be, Mr Mac and his billions, but I do not feel that the ipod has done much for communication, the governments’ stance on drinking hours, their stand on endlessly legalising as many drugs as possible and so on. It seems that we are all being actively discouraged from looking around us and saying “Hang on a minute!”
Keep us all dumb, drugged, drunk, stressed and fat and what will we do? Absolutely nothing but just have more of it.
I do not feel that I have climbed out of my pram as much as am approaching a temper tantrum.
The radio reported today that all the small and medium sized businesses that they researched were all feeling discouraged, depressed and unenthusiastic. What did they expect? Is this not just a glorified opportunity to sell more newspapers and grind us all into straight little lines? If not, what on earth is it? I am finding myself a little out of sync with it all and getting really pissed off at the endless destruction of it all.
So I am working hard at living in an alternative reality. I have not picked up drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, nor am I indulging in depression or anger. I have tried all of it in varying amounts over the years and it hurts no one but me. No, I am now doing daily affirmations, (I have a huge long list that I read out loud each day), I am seriously watching my moods and emotions, I am meditating, running and smiling as much as possible. Viewing my daily experiences with hope and possibility and now actively encouraging others to do the same.
Do join me.
I am in Paris and it is colder than London. It is not consoling. Just icy and pretty.
I am here because there was the opening of the project 6 billion Other last night at the Palais Royal or the Grand Palais. It is in the Champs Elysee which is glorious, with all the trees still lit for Christmas including lit drips. I cannot remember which. It is in the Champs Elysee which is glorious, with all the trees still lit for Christmas including lit drips. It looks like Crystal Palace, huge and Victoriana and was filled with yurts filled with technology that allowed the hundreds of people attending the event to watch films of people all over the world talking straight to camera about their beliefs, desires, dreams, fears and so on.
I am featured in the project and I went because I was nervous about what it would be like, particularly as I am crying in the piece and I do not like to be seen to be vulnerable. I wanted to get an idea of my place in the whole thing.
My place in this exhibition is that of one of 40,000 people talking. I do not stand alone. A big phew, ut also I am really proud to be one of them. It is an amazing thing. So beautiful, so huge, so emotive and rare that everyone was sitting watching these pieces for hours, in silence. Sometimes crying, sometimes laughing. Fidgeting when it touched too much of one but compelled to go to another yurt and watch more.
I am so glad I came, I froze and I watched. Absolutely wonderful.
To see the whole project on the web go to
Is it may imagination or were we all dreading Christmas? There was a weight, a huge weight, inherent in the act of Christmas and it started weighing upon us all from early November. But we have got through it with flying colours, over the hurdles of the New Year and are now on the straight run into the year 2009.
It is a hard thing to admit, especially as a retailer, but I do not like Christmas. I never have. Without children I always ignored it and now as a mother and a retailer I am duty bound to expand fully into the insanity of it all. I have to say that I took all sign of it out of my Emporium within two days of it being finished. I have no need to wait for the three Kings.
I like the feeling of it being behind me. It leaves a wide open space for spring to emerge, the days to get longer and a whole New Year to move around inside. SO today I feel positive and optimistic. It will pass, it always does, but like the seasons, I know it will come around again and I am slowly and painfully learning to enjoy all that gets piled upon me because I do not want to look back at my life and realise that I was stressed for most of it and was always fine.
So If I think about resolutions they are: to smile more, to run harder, to relax as much a possible and to stay in the day as much as I can.
Have a great one.