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.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
This Mysterious Thing
What is a life? This mysterious thing we possess, given to us without asking, without instructions. This quivering mass of flesh cast into a place alive with chaos and joy and danger, with it's own momentum, with it's own sweet and terrifying signatures. Do we live it on auto pilot like the one in my gas stove, always lit just a little, burning a low flame?
Where does the journey of our heart meet the road map of the soul? Can I really taste, see, feel? I mean deeply, in some way that passes through this paper thin skin into the deep parts of me that are ready to lap it up, that are waiting to experience the richness and terror of being alive, unprotected, unmitigated, Open.
This thing I call my life seems stitched together by bits of everyday experience: a chance meeting here, a movie, a piece of art, a song, a bar of soap. Occasionally insights bubble up from the deep well of knowing that lives inside me, and I say, ah I see now. Something inside me is ignited and I see motives, and maps and visions of possibility. I see tiny keys to doors locked somewhere deep inside some past me, some future me, some simmering me.
Sometimes I think my heart has been locked inside an armoured car for years and then mysteriously it is set free by a song. Sometimes it seems I can hardly feel anything and then a friend pulls me into a gallery and we understand how strength and vulnerability are interwoven, as we gaze on a sculpted face. Sometimes just when I think I can never really know another being, someone stirs me with a story of how they died on an operating table and came back to life. Sometimes when I'm thinking it is too hard to be alive I am offered a parent's story of navigating the churning waters of a child's addiction without a compass.
Here are the bits that have been flavouring the rich, vital and surprising broth that is my recent life. Tell me what fantastic journeys your life is taking you on these days? We are travelers without a map, following the gulf winds of our hearts. Wishing you a wondrous journey that opens your heart and affords you good passage. And always we know there are no safe passages through the straits and isthmus of an authentic life.
I am smitten by the integrity, purity and commitment to supporting the environment and traditional cultures of the personal care products at Sinfully Wholesome.
I have been gobsmacked and mesmerized by the beauty and serenity of the sculpture of local artist Lynn Demers.
And I have been tantalized by the fermented creations I've been conjuring up in the kitchen: kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled ginger. Looking forward to making some sourdough and other goodies when I get my copy of Sandor Katz "The Art of Fermentation"
Oh yeah, and there's been some art but that's for next time.
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.