Chaos

Life is messy and imperfect. We will always find what we are looking for if we sift through the sand. We will always find the treasures in the broken shells and the bruised edges. 

In improvisation, I found this edge:

The chaos captures my imagination. The chaos captures my heart and I painstakingly follow it for more, for something I’m not even sure I know I’m pursuing, in the lines and the details and the intricacies, I marvel at the big picture that comes out of the chaos… and on close inspection, realise I’ve been mistaken all along, the chaos weaved webs and lines and curves and threads to follow home. Chaos cried from the way I choked it. It yearned for blue skies and freedom. Chaos cried, for the wings of grace.

How could I kill you? My rawness. My scrapes, cuts, bruises, mistakes? The imperfections of life… is where we will feel the most.  

Piano improvisation – Chaos: Winter is Thunderous

Moments where we look up and see the moon glowing, hanging in the night, a dark blue sea swept starless. Moments where we look up in awe… there… floating back into the trees on an invisible thread, is a spider on its way home.

Beauty exists in the unfolding and the dying… in the cycles of the seasons and our bodies, in the shattering pain of being heartbroken. In the light falling through the leaves, in persisting… in learning… the act of surrender is sometimes an art. Letting go can be bittersweet and poignant.

30th of May, 2018

~*~

Sand

Seeing the dance

Maybe my religion is beauty. If I define religion as the beliefs and views we accept on faith, that may or may not be true for others but is true for us. For me, for you, for others – whatever is true for them. 

Some artists reveal beauty through everything and everyone. Every moment of grace. An invitation into seeing the beauty of a flock of birds gathering in flight, soaring across the park. I didn’t see it until an artist painted all the shapes and ways that a bird could be seen in flight – and from that point forward, it marked my ordinary mundane moments, of walking through Belmore park and seeing the huge flock of pigeons with the occasional scattering of ibis’ and seagulls, take flight, no doubt, something or someone had intrigued them on the other side of the park – food, undoubtedly involved.

Most of the time art doesn’t land with me that way. There is always going to be art that resonates with you and art that doesn’t. The artist’s job, isn’t necessarily to reveal what is beautiful. If they draw forth an emotional response from me, or an intellectual one, I would say they succeeded. Though… it takes two, to see and be seen and I am not always going to be every artists ideal audience. There are emotional responses I enjoy having evoked… and emotional response I’d be happy to not seek out… and sometimes, responses that require maturity… where the art, not only didn’t land, but drew forth an immature reaction. But here’s where it gets interesting, several years later, present time, I am remembering that piece and my reaction… and I’ve realised, I missed the point, entirely. The purpose of that piece was an invitation to question the nature and the purpose of art itself, and the impulses that draw us into the context of galleries. 

Context… being the operative word here. That particular piece of art, a rusted something leaning against a wall, was post-modernistic. For me that evokes, “That’s a chair, but is it really a chair?” and If a tree fell in a forest and no one heard it, did the tree still fall? 

Those aren’t really questions expecting answers, and whoever that artist was/is, I am humbled and they have my deepest respect. 

Now I see, the nature of that piece of post-modernistic art, was to question. Often, uncomfortably. Because what is up for review, is the previously held belief about something. In this case, the previously held belief I had, about art. But it doesn’t make it smaller… the only reason I would fight to keep that old belief about art, is because it threatens the status quo, it threatens what art means to me by asking me to question it… how I relate to art… and what I measure art as, by, with. For instance – talent, skill, finesse, detail, abstraction, process, communication. And not necessarily, all in the same piece/work. But if those measurements are no longer operative… how do I know who I am in terms of my understanding and approach to seeing art? Suddenly, I no longer know, what art is, only that the very medium, has been used, to question itself.

That’s a very… uncomfortable thing… to do. To witness an artist and their art, invite you to do. There is an impulse to guard against the chaos that I sense, will ensue. And that’s exactly what I did, insisted it wasn’t art, and went on my merry way.

But now I also have to question… what is that insistence keeping apart, at a distance? And what does it really serve? I confess, art is my subject here because I don’t have my hands in the clay – in the mediums that are art. There is an objectivity that feels safe to me… and a subjectivity that isn’t intimately tied into my sense of identity. If it were, these questions would be much more difficult.

Letting go of a previous belief… is like that. Letting go of my previous belief about art… didn’t make my understanding of art shrink. Letting go of a previous belief… doesn’t make the subject of that belief… smaller. It makes it wider. It makes more room. It makes more space. It invites, more acceptance. 

No one ever passes from the beginning to the ending… by skipping the middle… the process… for me that included anger, justification, riling for, riling against. I can take that to mean that something is shifting, there is a desire for that shift, and there exists an equally powerful impulse… for it not to shift. 

And… seeing that dance, is presently… the beauty of it. 

Sand

Spirituality – you are, and beauty

There is this curious worldview that you’ll come across the moment you begin to explore spirituality… that is… that we have souls… that we are spirit first before we are matter… material and flesh… and that… we chose what we wanted to explore in this particular lifetime. Perhaps not from the perspective we hold as these conscious beings. 

It’s the morning after an evening of conscious dancing. And… as I’m dropping into my yoga mat more fully today… I’m realising… going through my Brahmihavara practice… and all that I am grateful for… I realised this funny, funny, thought. Last night as the session came to a close and I sat down to meditate through the ending… I practiced gratitude for everyone I met on the dance floor, for what they brought, what they triggered… and all that made them the way they are, as what made me the way I am… and this thought shifted something in me: I am grateful that you chose to come here. I am grateful that you chose to be here. I am grateful that you came to experience this human world with its chaotic messiness. 

It moved something in me.

Even if there were times that I pulled away, that I struggled to connect… that I didn’t want to… or that our energy connected us in the dance with no eye contact… that our energy spoke volumes, or our energies smiled before we did… by the end of that session, I was grateful. None of it happened in linear order.

On my mat, moving through my Vinyasa flow… I could feel this internal dilemma, processing last night, this internal dilemma about how I was going to respond… react… and whether I still wanted to respond and react that way, and why? I couldn’t put quite put my finger on it, but the feeling of this shifting quality was vaguely palpable to my mind and my being. 

And then as I leaned into it… a variation of this thought cropped up again, on a deeper level… that everything that happens… that could possibly happen… operating with this worldview of spirituality… was something, everyone that is experiencing life including myself… as spirit, knew… and came anyway. 

Without a doubt, I cannot know that for sure… but the moment this worldview envelops me… I want to cry. Last night after I came home, I found myself going through the tags on this blogging platform… and I come across so many people writing sad poetry, writing angsty poetry, writing about their lives, about their traumas… about all that is painful. And I see that in me too. I see that in me and I feel tired now, I feel tired, adding my voice to that. I wanted to see something else. I went and read a YA novel. 

(It was my first re-experience of YA… now that I am no longer a teenager and haven’t been for quite some time… there were moments that I couldn’t stay in the plot, in the simplicity of it, in the unlikely characterisation and dialogue. No longer ensconced in the world of that audience… I recognised the escapism for what it was… for the underlying desires the author was catering to and catered to successfully… hope, determination… friendship, bonds.)

In the world outside of imagination and books, our emotions and our experiences are valid too… they are more than valid, they are real and powerful, I just wish… we were better at loving ourselves… that we will take our experiences and bring something beautiful to our lives for having experienced them. 

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.

And he answered: 

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide? 

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech? 

The aggrieved and the injured say, ‘Beauty is kind and gentle. ‘Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.’

And the passionate say, ‘Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.’

The tired and the weary say, ‘Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.’

But the restless say, ‘We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.’

At night the watchmen of the city say, ‘Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.’

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, ‘We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.’

In winter say the snow-bound, ’She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.

And in the summer heat the reapers says, ‘We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.’

All these things have you said of beauty,

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy,

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted,

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear, 

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight. 

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Khalil Gibran

Sand