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Archive for the ‘Celebration’ Category

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I had the quiet and, out of the quiet, music rose.

 

I’m reading the Stories and Essays of Mina Loy. I look at a lot of photographs of Leonora Carrington’s paintings and sculptures. The way is illuminated by the women who came before, who saw strength and light in themselves and kept going. The path is foggy and we are very cold. Then there is only me, puttering through the icy fog, slowly, making sure of my footing on the slippery ground. This is what making art is. This is what making a life is. Is making love like this? The eroticism of a snowstorm. Last night, I was walking alone in subzero temperatures in my dreams. I was sleeping soundly, but dreaming, so a part of me was awake to the sounds and sensations of the dreamworld. The dreamworld is made of lightly connected dots that stabilize into images in the sleeping eye. I saw a wolf in the fog. It was a lot of fog, dense and bright at the same time, like northern lights swooping over the northern sound like wings. The channel erupted with smoke and canon fire. The Bay grew silent in the gathering storm.

 

I was thinking about feeling guilty and feeling the pain of the world and personal responsibility, where they connect, where one of them ends and the other begins, because they form a pattern and the way you conduct yourself within this pattern determines your fate. Determines whether you are successful or depressed. I think a lot about what it means to take care of myself first, not in a selfish way but in a sustaining and generative way. I think about being depleted. I feel depleted. I am exhausted. I am full of energy. The polar magnets of existence.

 

Days and dreams. You held me in certain harmony in the bell of your palm/hands/translucence. –this thought while paging through Loy’s stories, I felt you, your presence

 

Our nest, our subconscious rules the boat, water a divine force.—maybe, a divining rod.

 

The bell is at the center of things. The light is at the center of things. The soul is at the center of things.

 

We rest and have our being forever and ever more. The bulb. The fortress. The filigree on the autumn window. The bell and the Vajra. Nirvana. Letting go of all that ails us. A mantra, chant, trance, opening, descending, ascent, Orpheus, Icarus, the sun, the mountain, the jewel, the theremin. The difference between a and the. When one becomes important. Music. Music and light. Patterns in the thread of light, in the minuscule strings of being—the body, his body emotion as physical presence, as rock and bone, as words and movement. Emotion is physical, the motion of a hand, lips, language, nerves—  coordinating response and lettering of the anchor, and ancient trellises. The mind is physical. The mind and heart are also ethereal. We occupy space and time that exist beyond us, other worlds, multilevered neurolinguistic pathways through physical and non-physical space. We are aware of dimensions beyond ours, in our bodies and consciousness. We know everything that everyone has ever known and we know nothing.

 

We rest in the center of things. Lately, I have given up the edge—  in a certain way. The edge is still there but it makes itself known in gentler, and also fiercer dimensions. There is a place of rest in my life now that wasn’t there before. I had been consumed by stress, or what they used to call the vapors, or nerves. There is so much stress and pressure to continue to do things all the time, to barrel through even when your mind and body and heart are exhausted beyond themselves—  becoming entrances into other beings, ghosts of themselves, even though armored in defenses. Defenses are exhausting too. Insomnia plays a part in the whole of this non-rest and it pushes the human body to its limits without real emotional or spiritual or intellectual gain. I’d argue with that. There is some strange gain there, a perch from which we, embellished and adorned, watch the procession of madness in the streets. We are the madness and the streets. We are the throng and the crowd and the glittering eyelashes that look like birds. We mimic the sound of birds in our sleep.

 

In order to reach new ground or old ground, the ground of our being that is always there, like a stone, we must rest. See the light burning through the periphery of the eyelids as the eyes close. That is fire, and rest, and dimension and hope. That is the ethereal wing of the field. The eyes close on a momentary death, darkness we control but do not control. All of the fears of childhood and adulthood present in one lowering motion of eyelids. Morion. Schists. The equivalency of being. The natural shape of things—  areas, errors, broad views, landscapes of unknown lands, the periphery of which is autumn. Then winter. Our passages in boats. Our legs floating. Water or land. We move forward in the gut of things, into a future that feels like the past only sometimes and then it feels like itself, like a concascadent present, coiling in on itself like so many black beads, like the fortune of the subatomic, non-gravity-bound. We are fortunes like that—  desperate, confident coils, breathing, fog, water, disaster, lumen field.

 

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Fire

Opening to vulnerability is hard, there is always resistance and magnetic force towards the center that is vulnerable. Tension is created by these opposing forces. Accepting the risk of impermanence is part of everything we do—vulnerability is power. Accepting that risk of every small death, every emotion that rises and falls, is to be aligned with the core of nature. The other day, I was looking up at that continually running digital clock in Union Square, counting minutes, towards what, I’m not sure. I stood, looking at the big, copper-colored building and all of the buildings surrounding Union Square and everything looked absurd. Instead of buildings, I saw what was there before anyone built anything on that land. Not even a hut. On the subway that morning, as it headed out of the tunnel to its two stops above ground, I felt the same thing, thought the same thing. What have we done, building on top of open fields? All of these solid buildings will fall away at some point, will decay and become part of the cycle.

 

The thing for water to do is water. The thing for water to be is water.

 

Emotions and attachments have the same cyclical nature.

 

Loneliness and loss are active forces, not voids, the way we sometimes experience these aches. Living archives, maybe of bones or fossils— maybe of dead, passed away things, and always moving towards something else, becoming something else. Loneliness and loss are magnetic forces. Being conscious of what is being brought in is important, having discernment and awareness of those elements gravitating towards us. There is never a vacuum, emotion, the heart, the will, the body pull in what we need. There is no void. There is action and stability in that forward motion. Time, at least at this point, cannot go backward.

 

How sadness bears the truth. How it can bury it. How it resembles a life of moving objects. Set trajectories that are all unlivable and not fated so the course of life itself seems to shift but it’s only the rearranging of molecules to preserve the natural integrity of things— of the way things actually are— not the way they are seen but the way they are penetrated and penetrate us. This involvement and attachment is the opposite of sadness but is also made of it— of all we’ve lost, all we’ve ever had, our homes, buses, scattershot, bruised, tenable with the right map. There are flowers in the field and we pull up stakes in the Spring to let the trees run free. Of their own magnetism— and gravity. The gravity of leaves sets the world on fire.

 

Sadness builds a city, and then some. Its walls are ether and glass, impenetrable except by light and seeing.

 

Not knowing is part of the truth. We walk straight into the sun. Half- blind, we keep walking. Yesterday, I walked into a café, gold-black spots dancing in front of my eyes until my sight adjusted to the slightly dimmer inside light, where the young barista was playing Jason Molina, Songs: Ohia, which can instantly turn a busy street into an empty field. Drawn in by his iridescent melancholy, I had a chai latte and enjoyed the falling light in the window and his sadness filling the room. His sadness is so big, it doesn’t turn into joy but it is beautiful in a way that resembles joy and life, a voice from the grave, singing soulfully into the arms of angels. One of the most perfect late fall days, where the light seems to come down from heaven, because it is so bright, human eyes can’t bear it, and it is tinged with the iridescence of a shell’s interior, invisible normally to the naked eye.

 

 

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Imagine mornings are boats.

 

Sleeping boats.

 

Morning startles and is gentle. Saturday, there is no noise from construction, only passing cars. Now a ball bouncing and the sound of a father’s voice. Animal and human beings support the world. And plants and dishes. The physical world sleep and buttress.

 

All the revolutions that enter into a single decision. The world is near.

 

Intuition and the physical world: important distinctions. Distinctions are not separations. The world is not separate from itself. All different modes of knowledge work together.

 

 

The Body

 

The body is in the body.

 

What is held in the body—

 

There is some deciphering and then also creating a whole of language in which to listen to the body —

 

What are we afraid of in the body?

 

 

Music

 

I lived with a man who played guitar and our house was always filled with music, even when it was quiet. His music ran more deeply than mine, as in the end, I chose poetry, but the grief and home of music never left me. I haven’t sung for a long time. The other day, I sang (and I use the word generously) along with a Songs: Ohia song and my heart just broke. Sometimes the ache for music is so deep. My friend and I once said, talking about poetry, that melody is everyone’s downfall. It is also a rising that gathers everything around it. I want this music in my home again.

 

 

Saturday

 

I am wondering what to do with my day.

 

It is half-overcast but the autumn sun is still bright.

 

Proof, evidence and truth are not all the same thing when you’re trying to make a decision. When you make a decision based on gut, you sometimes have to wait to see if it was the right decision, leading you in the direction of growth and health and right action. You can’t make decisions based on the future. Trust your intuition but also allow space for the unknown. This is a constant juggle.

 

Becoming stuck in assumed preordained patterns is not intuition. It’s stories. There are helpful stories that give us ground and hope and tradition and cosmic consciousness and there are stories that limit us. Open to the mythic and archetypal, look for passion and heroism in the stories of life — these hero journeys are powerful and all of us are on our own journey. But the stories that we repeat over and over, on auto-pilot, that reinforce the disappointments and hurts in our lives are just broken records — these do not move us forward, they hold us back out of fear and an inaccurate self-image. We can work to see through to our core of heroism and courage.

 

It’s also a way of honoring the present and being where we are.

 

When we don’t feel the need to walk super fast and get somewhere quickly, we slow down and stop rushing. We enjoy what we’re doing instead of having a flight or fight stress response.

 

Life doesn’t stop. It goes on gloriously. So we’re not stopping. We’re letting life rush through us instead of rushing through life. We are open to being changed by experience. New synapses form.

 

 

A Surveyor Comes to the Outskirts of —–

 

We navigate by our stories — but we also need to let them go to let life be what it really is.

 

Freedom: what comes unbidden.

 

Listen for messages. They’re in everything. Look for what comes up not automatically, but naturally, out of an unbidden place. Not habitual thoughts and perceptions, but thoughts, ideas, sensations, images that seem to come out of nowhere.

 

Tarot and journeying, all kinds of divination practices, are ways into that receptive, intuitive place. A way of setting aside time and space to enter the dreamworld with an anchor in the physical world. Setting lines and boundaries around sacred space, delineating areas of being in a continuum, a continuous circle of being.

 

 

Absorption

 

In this case, the emotional follows the physical. The laws of physics, of absorption rates, apply to the emotional space of letting events and experiences sink in. Just as water doesn’t absorb into a paper towel immediately, experience is not absorbed into the psyche right away. We need time to absorb and integrate our experiences.

 

 

The Sewing of Time

 

The healing art of Mending.

 

Mending implies that the garment exists and is still whole. We just need to mend some tears in it.

 

There are folds in time where important events have happened and you can go back there. They are continuous, a seamless dreamtime, ceremonial and sacred. Time doesn’t exist in these places the way we think of time. These are dimensions that are created by our sacred attention to the vibrations of our experience and their resonances.

 

We all have Guides – maps, spirit guides, human and animal guides. Most of all, we have our inner compass. In the quiet, we enter the dreamtime and give birth to our new stories, the ones that will deepen our lives and bring us to love.

 

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1. Learn how to drive.

2. Get a bike. Bike more than I drive.

3. Redefine my relationship to urban intimacy/community. Meditate on infinite paths of connection.

4. Learn about composting.

5. Dust off my Guide to North American Birds.

6. Start singing again, and release claustrophobic feeling of singing and making sound, making noise in a house abutting two other houses, shared walls.

7. Learn the sky. Study constellations.

8. Get an astrolabe.

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For years, I believed I couldn’t cook. I come from a long line of brilliant cooks. My grandmother’s cooking was ridiculous—goulash, schnitzel, chopped liver, fruit soup (compote), and a cheesecake that defined every adolescent craving I ever had. My mom can make a queen’s meal out of an egg, a couple leaves of lettuce, an olive and pita bread. No matter what I see when I look in the refrigerator and cupboards, she sees a whole, satisfying, hearty meal. She cooks very simply, without a lot of salt or oil, no heavy sauces or dressings—a simplicity of food that is exactly what it is: carrots and cucumbers and lettuce and tomato and yams and bread and cheese and turkey—all simply cooked so the taste of the food is the taste of the food. This is the way I grew up, eating natural, simple food that my mom calls, with the greatest honor and pride, peasant food. I am all about it. It’s hearty, humble and filling.

In the past year, I’ve changed my whole diet, eating healthier and simpler, and have been learning how to cook. The first time I cooked chicken was uncomfortable. I started eating meat again after seven years of being a vegetarian because I felt my body really needed it. I love animals so eating meat is a difficult and complicated endeavor. Deciding to cook meat for myself is a way to be closer and more honest to eating meat. I say a blessing over the meat and thank the animal for providing me with the food and protein I need. I buy meat that has organic certification and from farms where the animals are treated humanely. Still, the first time I unwrapped uncooked chicken and washed it and cut it was difficult, to say the least. As I prepared the meat, I smelled a scent from long ago, from a different place and time—my grandmother’s house. The memory so overtook me, I felt my grandmother standing next to me, smiling with her whole face, a smile that has never left me, one of the most joyful and full-hearted expressions of love I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. My mom’s voice on the phone guided me through the rest of the preparation.

There is something deeply comforting and calming about a home-cooked meal. I love everything about it, the smells of the spices and meat and vegetables baking and steaming and sautéing, the sounds of cutting and stirring, the beautiful colors and textures of the vegetables, cutting boards and colorful bamboo bowls, moving around the kitchen with purpose, the feel of making a delicious, healthy meal, primal, simple and natural, and of course, the end result: the tastes of a delicious, satisfying, yummy meal. I am still a novice so I become completely absorbed in what I’m doing and forget everything else. I am completely present and focused fully on the exact, specific task in front of me. And I get to talk to my mom and share cooking with her. She patiently goes through each step over speakerphone and waits until I complete it and then we move on to the next one until the meal is done. After doing the dishes and cleaning the stove, sitting down to the gorgeous meal I’ve cooked is so relaxing and full of a childlike wonder that is home and family and delight.

Find something new to do this week. Something you’re not good at. Something you’ve always felt drawn to but didn’t know why. The focus of learning a new skill is life-affirming and generates a state of joyous flow. At a certain point or at a certain age, beliefs of who you are and what you do well, or what you do at all, set in and seem to prehistorically petrify. It becomes embarrassing or uncomfortable to be unskilled and a newbie. But this is exactly what life is and what art is and what joy is. The power of changing a belief that limits you is limitless. Novelty, falling down a million times on skis when you’ve never skied before, traveling to new places and missing trains and getting lost. Burning your first roast or overcooking your first veggie stir-fry. What amazes me, as I learn to cook more and more dishes, and develop a more natural flow and skill, is how these tasks aren’t new at all. They’ve been in me, in my blood, in my family, and connect me to something so deep and so connected in the history of my own life and my heritage and family.

Making time and, more importantly, making space in your mind to take on new experiences is a priority well set. It opens up new confidence and expands your field of vision. It allows you to discover aspects of yourself, your soul and your heart, that are rooted in the Old Days, in instincts you’ve had your whole life. These Old Days, these original instinctive curiosities are a vital and primal element of the present time. Connecting to the Old World reveals a history and heritage that is rich, fascinating and utterly relevant to life right now. Becoming intimate with their practices and lessons and stories is healing and a source of great discovery.

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Happy Solstice!

Happy Saturnalia and happy Hanukah! Warm wishes to you and yours on this, the shortest day of the year, and entrance into winter. So many different traditions celebrate this day. It is a day to wish for what you truly want, focus on who and what you love, and bring magic to the everyday.

Peace Every Day.

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Listening to John Coltrane and thinking about the courage of the human heart this morning. Woke up too early after too little sleep. The Insomnia Project in full effect. Every humble daily act is an act of courage. Being in the world. The intensity of being keeps mounting. Deepening life in this way, the intensity of each moment holds me to it like a moth to a flame. The route to the flame may be direct or uneven, but that road is a true trajectory. Knowing you’re on the path without knowing what comes.

In the wordless words of the immortal Coltrane-

Acknowledgement

Resolution

Pursuance

Psalm

Truth abounds. A love supreme.

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