Monday, June 22, 2009

Shirley Valentine Meets The Buddha

Peace Garden - Original Mixed Media
Matted 8"x 8"   Image Dimensions 3.75"x 4.5"
$25  free shipping in North America

This mixed media piece incorporates a sepia tone photo of  a Buddha statue from a Zen temple with some calligraphy paper that has been stamped and painted with acrylics and walnut ink and finished with some calligraphy pen work.  For me it has the feeling of a serene Japanese garden or a waterfall with the cool mossy greens.

I could talk about gardening which seems to be on everyone's mind these days.  But what I really want to talk about is the play we saw this evening  ....  Shirley Valentine.  A one woman show by Willy Russell, the production we saw at the Chemainus Theatre was a fundraiser for the theatre by the amazing Nicola Cavendish.  

Ostensibly it's about a middle aged woman, bored with her life who runs away to Greece.  But when you get past the personal details of her story, the protagonist could be talking about anyone.  She comes to see that her crime against God is her "unused life."  She realizes that at some point along the way she has stopped being alive.  She remarks that it's not as if something  happened that caused  it (as in the neighbour came home and found her husband sleeping with the milkman) but that gradually little by little her life grew smaller.

 I could hear the Dharma echoing through the play.  For me, if you scratch the surface of any good art, you will always find the Dharma peeking out.  The play provides an apt description of  how we choose comfort instead of the unknown, how we choose the stupefying boredom of the familiar and easy until that becomes our way of life or lack of life.  We are unhappy and we don't know why.  

 The Dharma reminds us to regard our lives as precious.  If we think deeply about our lives and try to live with some awareness,  we will sometimes make the difficult choice.  And often it is the difficult choice that leads us to a sense of aliveness.  We make these choices not simply because they are difficult but because they are right for us at this time.  They offer an opportunity to wake up.  Sometimes we need a big jolt to remind us to live our lives.  We may cruise along on auto pilot until we get an unwanted medical diagnosis or someone near to us dies or leaves us.  But Shirley Valentine's invitation to wake up and be truly alive is a ticket to Greece given to her by a friend. 

I think we all need that invitation, that ticket out of that reclining easy chair.  Have you picked up your ticket yet?  For me I need to get that invitation out on a daily basis and look at it.  Otherwise I might be duking it out with the cats and dogs for the most comfortable seat in the house. 


  1. " we choose the stupefying boredom of the familiar and easy until that becomes our way of life or lack of life. We are unhappy and we don't know why." Your words are also that invitation. Thank you.

  2. Hi,

    Yes, sometimes we need a big jolt to remind us. But, you know, sometimes we just need something like a regular series of smaller jolts. Something like, oh, I don't know, 100 days of Dharma? Or, 30 days of art?

    Wonderful work, stunning, thank you so much for sharing and inspiring.


  3. Here you go again... Speaking words that touch my heart and inspire me to come alive after a very long winter of "unused life"... The bud is about to blossom :) So beautiful. In gratitude once again... Christine