True Grit! What is freedom? !tirG eurT

I had another amazing day today after what started lousily. But time and time again—as has been a recurring theme in and out of different yoga studios throughout Los Angeles over this seven-year period of being on the West Coast—I am nearing the conclusion that the business of expanding personal freedom is so far from a given and that to continue and thrive, it must be fought for every day, both outside and in. And it wouldn’t be so tasty if is was easy. In yoga as in many other sports necessitating endurance, this persistence is commonly referred to as ‘breaking through’ or having that ‘second (or third) wind’. Recently, in yoga classes, I have found myself in physically-demanding poses where the burning sensation in my thigh muscles or shoulders felt as if my flesh was burning so hot it would melt off of my body like hot plasma. This pain is what many teachers in one way or another have routinely suggested as a place where one come to terms with whole selves. It is in the middle of these postures where healthy relationships to our edge of limitations are confronted as well as the opportunity to enlarge or expand them. This is done by disassociating the negative stigma that we might attach to physical and/or mental pain while holding the poses. Furthermore, many teachers  suggest that if we worked on changing our attitudes during these postures towards acceptance of discomfort and pain we might start breathing fire! : ) Or just experience extreme joy.

I have come to take up this cause, of observing calm in the midst of chaos both in yoga as is in life. Any storm, no matter how big or threatening, will dissipate, “so breathe” the  teachers say. So, throughout my last few weeks here, I’ve put in concrete terms, that the high and lows happen no matter what, but how we handle ourselves in between is what really is at stake: The present moment, and it begs one to take a position, one that will constantly recur and will always invite a solution; are we the ones deciding or are we being decided for? I trust that in one of life’s greatest questions, it must be worth the pain of finding out.

***

 

 

I know my time has come. I see the ship and I am standing on the foggy port, bags packed, myself readied. The smell of salty and fishy water washes in my nostrils. I breathe it in becoming intoxicated by its wildness as well as by my mind moving in tandem with it. I am in admiration of having been delivered to bask in a deep brightness.

Others move about as if around me, it is a normal and normally-lovely day. I can feel uplift sprouting about as people mill about, as if their dreams and aspirations weren’t trapped and suffocated in only our individual shells but fluid, seeking, wandering and circulating among us all, and what we feel, which is resplendent! The sun has poked through. Amidst haziness, a patch of the ocean shimmers and light scatters about.

To which I feel free is yours as much as mine. Rejoice, for we have arrived in astute fashion from dank and bloodied repositories with vision blinded by betrayal of an epic magnitude. Whatever it was, you’re forgiven, but only because you have paid your dues, put in your toil and turned in your hours from when you were called upon. You were in safe-holding all along, while unbeknownst to you, your mettle was being evaluated and scrutinized. Did you think we’d let you down after all this?

You have fundamentally changed, and have been changed by the world, no longer to be relegated to trivial pursuits. You have been called upon for life’s ultimate journey which is, that it is yours and yours fully. Now take it and make us proud.

***

The smile on his face is one that bares semblance to reality, no longer easy and cheap, but fought for and wrested from compromised hands to have made his own and in his own form.

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Indian food night & Statements

It happened when I saw the heap of tender and green okra In the market. I pined for an old Hyderabadi dish cooked in my house growing up in Littleton, Colorado. The difference was then, that I probably wasn’t aware of how good it is. I just wanted chicken shorva every day or some other meat dish. the only real vegetables I liked we’re those that were on the condiment level… Served to accompany the main dish. How times have changed. I can’t go a day without eating fresh vegetables. Last week, I incidentally ate Taco Bell tacos. I can’t remember the last time I did that. David brought them to the bar I was sitting in. It was the end of the month. I had no money. I was pretty hungry. David with his affable exuberance emphatically dished the box over to me and told me to dig in, no holds barred. I subsequently destroyed three tacos. Later that night and into the next day, I noticed the stark difference in what my body was doing. The relationship between what you put in your body and how it responds is almost instantaneous. I began to feel a dull sluggishness overnight and into the next morning. I remedied that by making a raw cabbage salad. Anything raw and green will cut through the murk.

Tonight was a productive night. Besides making food, I have developed a lot of thoughts over the last month or more about my approach creatively speaking, and how to use questions in a constructive way in order to reveal HOW I process information. Because writing and words are pretty important and encompass a large aspect of my person, I have come to the point where I can’t ignore them in the process of making a picture. The three relational constructs: ideas, text and visual/material process. I was having some rare free time at work the other day when a flurry of words came into my head that made me crack up. This is a good sign. I have been working between black and white on these realistic, labor-intensive graphite drawings, I kept noticing how heavy they were becoming or are. Visually that is. They sink like a stone at different angles or times. Some of them. I was explaining to someone the trouble of having an idea only to wait and wait and wait for the execution to come through to fulfill it. In some ways, I like the slow way in which an idea can be revealed. But it has to be a good idea. And sometimes it is. But when it isn’t it feels like Vietnam. But what about when you are inspired? And you have like 34 ideas? I needed to face this – the side of me that doesn’t get stuck. I have been wondering for five years when I would be able to successfully negotiate this problem, where ideas could find themselves within an overall system or pattern or way, where they wouldn’t be rogue ideas cast out as stray things with no future, but could flow through a natural way of creating that permits ANY idea to have weight and shape. So the last month or so, It has been problematic, being too serious, about making “serious” art and about not seriously playing a creative game. I needed stupid jokes that open my mind, not dwell in emptiness of a lack of resources or a lack of humanity for which my own is bigger, stronger, more slow, broad.

Humor is an important element of communication that I learned more about in acting class. Dom got me pretty loose in there and it became pretty funny being loose. I thought of the worst painting titles I could. Somehow, I want to know if I have the gall to use banter as an outlet to channel life unconsciously.  Let it all go. I made a list of titles as a start. They made me visualize images. I notice the rupture of this word-process relationship. I stretched and gesso-ed a canvas tonight. By taking a title off the list and using it developing an image — who’s process has nothing to do with the word — I hope to emphasize a dislocation from word to process/progress. By using a title as a starting point, I might have a unique process of material investigation. Will post titles soon.