Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Letting Go Of The Old, Leaning Into The New
A new ritual added itself to my New Year's Eve this year. The fine, crisp afternoon was perfect for the bonfire I'd been conjuring in my mind. I cut up some scraps of paper and took a couple of pens down to the pond where I've been piling branches. After we'd built up a lovely little chimney of flame and sipped on something mulled we turned our minds to what we'd like to let go of on this last day of the year. What habit, what attribute, what way of holding ourselves against life could we live happily without in 2012?
In the not too distant past I might have prepared a phone book sized list of things I needed to shed. But these days my "Buddha's brain" is a slightly kinder place. I have given up my status as a self improvement project.
As I warmed by the fire and admired the hazy orb of moon, my mind poked around in the dark basement of memory for the give-aways . Into the fire with fear, ditto for my lack of faith in myself on a number of fronts. Into the fire with hesitancy, doubt, with timidity and a final flourish of firey sparks for what holds me back.
Fire, that primeval Mister Clean, so fittingly medieval on the last day of the year. No dancing, no char rubbed on the face, simply a little tossing of bits of paper to remind us of one ending and one beginning and our intentions for both. Let go of the old, lean into the new. Burn down the old shack of musty habits.
I always spend some of New Year's eve contemplating the past year and thinking about the new year. Refections, intentions, whatever you want to call them, they are worthy of a visit every now and then , worthy of the flashlight of awareness. You can get really organized and pull your thoughts together as they do over at A Liberated Life or The Uncaged Life. But if you're like me, you might be a bit more free form, just wandering back over the path that carried you through the year and then letting your heart pull you toward where you belong in the new year.
My intentions are crowding around the parts of my life that have to do with my art, health and spiritual practice. They are keeping company with words like openness, bravery, faith, passion and gusto. That seems like a hopeful first course.
I wish you the best of what 2012 has to offer, filled with the joy of simple pleasures and an appetite for this precious life. May you savour every bite, the sweet and the savoury, the slightly bitter and even the tough bits. It is my great pleasure to travel this leg of the journey with you.
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.