Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Summer Fall Winter 2013

Identities are fluid, to be embodied, played with, explored, not owned as if they were of some permanent nature. To "incarnate" is an exercise in learning. (07.23.13)

Walking quiet back streets, I hear a live band in a small frame house practicing raucous 70s era hard rock songs with abandon. A sweet sound. (07.24.13)

My front yard is a butterfly wonderland this morning: at least half a dozen bright orange ones are flitting about excitedly among the foliage. (07.29.13)

Young brothers laughing at me as I pass through their preaching circle on the sidewalk downtown, my backwards ball cap and tats, appearing to them as a country hick, I guess. No blame or extrapolation here, I don't see this as representative of their faith. A good reflection for me on how prejudice results from identification with form, how we can see others who are different than us through a lens of separation. Or, we can see beyond particular forms, to the common experiences we share. (08.03.13)

I can feel the wind rushing through the trees and on as the sun shines down, and you take a deep breath of clear mountain air, wiping away the drops of fresh rain. Pranayama, life comes to us from these very elements. (08.06.13)

Watching World Class Championship Wrestling from the 70s, without irony, and remembering how my grandfather would take us as kids to the Sportatorium to watch the matches. And if we couldn't make it in person, we would watch Saturday Night Wrestling there on my grandparents television. (08.14.13)

Simplicity, dreams, awareness, the ability to laugh at karma and cultivate compassion toward other sentient beings (and myself), and to enjoy the absurdity of life. (08.16.13)

First hint of late summer coolness in the air, falling asleep on the balcony tonite. (08.16.13)

Driving at night, windows down, am radio on, then off, singing to myself and then to the stars in the sky, the way the road unwinds up ahead, it feels just like a dream. (08.31.13)

If I shift into an expansive point of view, and imagine that the universe is looking through my eyes, and from that perspective, I begin to see myself in all things, then... (09.04.13)

Loud music thumping, bright flashing lights, children screaming, the rush and crash of sugar and processed foods, chaos swirling into vertigo as I momentarily lose my center and disorientation sets in... just another kids' pizza party. (09.07.13)

Leaving work downtown the last couple of days, I've felt a hint of coolness to the breeze in the sunny 95 degree heat. Autumn, you're such a tease. (09.05.13)

To learn how to deeply feel without identification. A true challenge of the middle way, to authentically experience this form, it's pleasures, and in particular, pains, from a perspective that will not create suffering, but rather bring them into our true essence, the shining mirror of emptiness. (09.13.13)

Gallery sitting at the faculty exhibition, lady walks up and says how much she likes the show, "all except for this one work". She asks me which work is mine, and I reply, "which work did you not like?", to which she points to my piece. We go on to have a spirited discussion. (09.19.13)

Pre-dawn walk through the neighborhood. Passing through a heavily wooded area, dense with cricket and other animal sounds, That takes me into the space of no thought. And when it comes, a sense of expansive connection, it feels like a gift. (10.04.13)

I love how quiet the night is just before dawn. (10.09.13)

Each day the world spins faster, lost in chaotic rhythms, a collective moving crescendo toward some unseen frenetic climax, and yet at its center, a stillness, quiet and empty, encompassing it all and ready to receive all of this, when it is spent, back into itself again. (10.10.13)

Amazing, insightful, vulgar, raw, ecstatic, so much great music, such an evocative life. It's hard to believe he's gone, but with gratitude for what he has left behind. (10.27.13)

My daughter has been intrigued with the word 'hell', which is very adult to her. I explained that it was ok to use when you were talking about a place or state of being, which is quite different than an exclamation of anger. Childhood innocence may be moving into that transitional zone. (11.05.13)

To be with shadow requires that you welcome that in you which is most unconscious and hidden, to sit with, bring to awareness and integrate. In the realm of ego, it becomes destructive, but in the compassionate space of non-self, it takes on a creative and powerful aspect of liberation. (11.08.13)

I'm reading a book called "Feeding Your Demons", that is based on an ancient Tibetan practice called Chöd. Part of the practice is to visualize your "demons", in order to get to know them better. Here's a sketch of my first visualization, of my new friend the "Obsession Monster". He represents my obsessive tendencies and reminds me a little of the "Flamin' Hot Cheetos" guy, just bigger and more menacing. (11.18.13)

It's an El Greco sky tonight. (11.18.13)

In a dream, embracing an old friend I haven't seen for many years, who suddenly pulls away and I say to her, "you're in your head, you have to stay in your heart". As in most dreams, it is an intuition spoken to oneself. (11.22.13)

Walking out in the cold dark wintry night, stars spinning in the sky, no one and nothing around, yet feeling only gratitude. To be born into this world and to experience all of the sensations of this body: fear, solitude, uncertainty, the wonder and blessing of it all. The cold wind pushing through, the ghostlike shadows, the uneven road, the missed opportunities, the stories told and untold, and all that remains unknown on this journey. (11.26.13)

A middle way thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a holiday that brings up all the contradictions of being alive today. I'm grateful for this land, and sorrowed for the genocide that created it. I'm thankful for days off work, and to have good work doing what I love. I'm happy to see my friends and children and wish my parents could visit. I wish my dad to recover from his back surgery. I hope people remember their humanity while fighting through the crowds on Black Friday, and wish my mom didn't have to work to sell them more stuff. Today I'm going to be grateful for the blessings, remember the injustices without guilt, chuckle along with William Burroughs, and enjoy my Tofurkey. (11.28.13)

She said to him, "What and why are the only questions worth asking. What is your 'why'?" Later on, after he had dropped her off, it came to him. Calling her up as he drove through the night streets, he said, "I want you to see what I see." (11.30.13)

Neighbors partying next door while I work in my studio. There's something reassuring about the yelling and laughter coming through the walls. (11.30.13)

The subject of emptiness has come up a lot over the holiday weekend, in visiting with my son about the frantic materialism of our culture, and reading the thoughtful words of friends in relation to desire and loss, and of my own efforts to try and find something to fill the void, to just slowing down and occasionally feeling it, the shared empty space that is our true nature, and the comfort and expansiveness it holds, a refuge. (12.01.13)

Have been relishing the solitude that a long iced in weekend brings: hot chocolate, good music, leisurely yoga and long walks in the cold. (12.09.13)

It's fascinating the way that memories become compressed, as time passes, pushing them deeper into the unconscious, and how they emerge again as dreams, remixed into a jumbled body of larger, and seemingly collective experiences. Rivers flow to the sea. (12.12.13)

A magical red glow blankets the landscape of Little Forest Hills as I drive in from work this evening. Even at midday, it is like dusk, and the nights are brightly lit by the stars and moon. The light dies gloriously and is reborn this time each year. (12.19.13)

I really love all the nonverbal ways that people communicate: the angle and timing of eyes looking, the how and where of a touch, either direct or tangential, the proximity and angle of bodies in close conversation, the giving and receiving of a hug or kiss, all of these ways which speak more eloquently than words. (12.21.13)

Late night post-party Oak Cliff streets. The silence and glowing lights such a contrast to the scene inside, dense groups, drinks in hand, conversations reverberating around the bright space, and all the great stories, something about the short days and long nights of the solstice brings everyone together like this. (12.20.13)

Ecstatic danced through this dark winter solstice evening, all of us hand in hand, cutting crazy, joyous circles around the dance floor and into the night. (12.22.13)

Stretching out my aching muscles this morning from last night's ecstatic dance session. Left it all on the dance floor, realizing midway through that this body, this vehicle is meant to be pushed and explored. Being in a body, I should move that body, i.e. "shake your bootie" to the cosmos, Randall. (12.22.13)

On the road with Noah, coal trains and penitentiaries, casinos and calm lakes, turning east as the sun sets on the interstate, across two states to see mom and dad. (12.27.13)

Lying down in the backyard at my childhood home, looking up at the night sky, stars bright above. Sketching the patterns in my journal, Noah helped me to find them using Google Sky. Jupiter the brightest, then Orion's Belt, and faintest of all, Alcyone. (12.27.13)

(Secret #1) Step outside into the darkness, breathe the cold air in deeply, crouching down low and leap up toward the sky, reaching as though to touch the stars, even though your feet have barely left the ground. As you do this, think of them as your friends, twinkling in the night sky. (12.30.13)

In the coming year, I will continue to seek out and engage what inspires me, creativity in all its forms: art making, music, performance, dance, yoga, meditation, dreams, touch, nature, travel, and the connection that comes from sharing that with friends and loved ones, walking the convergence of two paths, the creative fearlessness of the Vajrayana "thunderbolt" and open heart bodhisattva nature of the Mahayana. (12.31.13)

This New Year's feels like a pause from the revelry of the last few years: partying all night in Mexico City, a Santa Fe dj gig, a Meow Wolf dance party w/dayglo paint, a midnight boat ride serenade with fireworks, an Austin ferry boat to a secluded island campfire sing along, and mostly joyous, carefree dancing. So tonight I'm going to take a walk in the brisk air, look for stars in the night sky, enjoy the secondhand live music echoing through the neighborhood, pop open a kombucha, and kick it live with all of you beautiful people. (12.31.13)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Life itself is the Temple

Our lives are a sacred text if we see them so.

Stories lived and seen and heard, of self and friends and loved ones, all as vivid or more so than any holy book I have read.

Teenage runaway car theft, near death storms in the desert, angry knife-wielding lovers, hallucinatory back alleys, early morning work weary bodies dragged out of bed, cross country pilgrimages of the sex and drug and love and god obsessed, innocent youth with a remembrance of something ancient, encounters with the angry and raging, sensing both the ecstatic and the broken hearted, in the shadows and the light... all of it.

Life itself is the temple.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Toward an Anarchism of the Sacred (pt. i)

Toward an Anarchism of the Sacred
(pt. i - on the Four Questions of McLuhan)

Randall Garrett
(left) performance view The Prisoner (2013)
(right) To Dissolve Space Into Luminosity (2013)
With regard to McLuhan's Tetrad, the artifact in this work, that is what remains after the performance, whether it is conducted privately in the studio or live in the gallery, functions in some ways like, or in reference to the visual language of icons, whether in the context of religion, politics, or advertising, as some form of direct embodiment of the sacred aspects that the performative actions make present, what institutional traditions call sacramental, heroic, or branding.


Randall Garrett
(left) performance view The Worker (2013)
(right) eating, drinking (2013)
Since the profane functions only in regard to what is considered sacred, both are encompassed in this work, drawing attention to the perceptual subjectivity of such distinctions, as exemplified in the simultaneous currents of high art and kitsch. Though such labels have been eroded in the last century, they still retain much of their potency. So, this work can be said to equally make reference to the signification possibilities of both sacred and profane, without attaching hierarchy to either.

Randall Garrett
(left) performance view RXS (2013)
(rght) lose yourself along the way (2013)
lose yourself (along the way) (2013) - performance video
And so, in regard to the four questions of McLuhan:

1. This work "enhances" the open-ended poetics and immediacy of formerly closed iconographic signifiers, through performance (ritual) and artifact (icon).

2. At the same time it erodes the authoritarian meaning behind these symbols that have become institutionally controlled, freeing them up to new and open ended possibilities.

3. It does this by retrieving and expanding upon earlier, mythological uses of these iconic images, cognizant of their earlier meanings, and of as yet unknown potential new ones.

4. And what it reverses or flips, to use McLuhan's terminology, is the power structure behind iconic images, where before they were controlled by the institution in order to perpetuate its power, here the artist regains control of the image, ironically, by entering into collaboration with the viewer on new ways of experiencing familiar forms.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

that which has no name

What if he could zoom out and see from all points of view at the same time, he thought, through every pair of eyes, through every body that moves and breathes and experiences ecstasy and suffering and the ebb and flow and heavy drag of gravity...

...and on further, feeling the world through the viewpoint of all creatures and forms, moving or no, the dark sensations of grubs munching on decaying refuse below the earth, a rock lying in the warm sun, dirty smoke billowing joyously from a smokestack...

...and beyond that, into realms both known and unknown, of haunted shades consumed by the illusive nature of their own rage or hunger or lusts, fucking and killing and devouring, and of beings lost in visionary pleasures high above these worlds...

...a point of view that encompasses all of these experiences without distinction or self, a place of no religion or nationality, no politics or identifications, like the tight grip of a baby to whom everything is new or the loose one of an old man who has already seen it all and is ready to let go...

...a way of seeing he might be tempted to call god, or life, or reality, but even that would be false, making an idol out of that experience which looks through all these forms we inhabit, yet which has no name.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mexico City Vignettes (Summer 2013)

Somewhere I have 350 pesos left over from my last trip to Mexico City, but all I can find is 6 peso coins. Tomorrow, I need to get from the airport to the Zocalo via the Metro. Tengo 6 pesos. it. just. might. work.

Flying in, volcanic ash fills the sky for miles around. Descending now, the sky clears and there she lies: endless structures surrounded by mountains, in a bowl of green foliage. And we touch down in clear light of morning.

Hotel Washington Interior

A day that started at 3:30 am in Dallas ends 20 hours later and a thousand miles away, and I've officially walked and backpacked myself to exhaustion in the time between. What dreams will you show me tonight, Mexico?

Palacio de Bellas Artes

View of the Palacio de Bellas Artes at night, on the corner of Eje Central and Avenida Juarez. It marks the transition from the chaos and grime of the Centro Historico into the culture and refinement of Alameda Park. The sleaze of Plaza Garibaldi and Langunilla market, though only a few blocks to the north, seem worlds away. Artist types lounge and chat out front, jazz and rock bands play for coins across the street, and lovers make out on the marble steps.

Lagunilla Market Side Street

Side street in Lagunilla, massive and chaotic indoor/outdoor market on the north end of the Centro Historico. Tepito, the "thieves market" is just to the east, and Plaza Garibaldi a few blocks south and west of there.

Little Dog, Big Bone, Centro Historico north of Zocalo

All along the dirty streets and endless corridors of Lagunilla market, blown by the cool breeze, on into Plaza Garibaldi,stray dogs and mariachis wander aimlessly, in search of a song, or someone to listen.

Mariachis on Eje Central

What do mariachis do when they're not playing? They stand around looking cool, that's what they do.

Ecobici Ride

Riding the Ecobici (public bicycle) along the bumpy stone streets of the Centro Historico and back roads past the Palacio de Bellas Artes on to Reforma. Vehicles are everywhere and I sometimes found myself going the wrong way against traffic. No worries though, it just flows.

The Angel on Reforma

This evening I rode the public bike from the Angel on Reforma in to the Centro Historico and back. I have to admit it is a thrill to zip past and through all the traffic stuck in gridlock, cool air rushing by, all the while ringing the little bicycle bell.

Lago Chapultepec

Lago Chapultepec. Peaceful scene, while just off camera hundreds of vendors hawk their wares.

 Avenida 5 de Mayo, Tepoztlan

Today I travel to Tepoztlan, high in the semi-tropical mountains, about 50 kilometers south of Mexico City. It is the home of Tepoztecatl, ancient god of pulque and creativity.

Pyramid at top of Tepozteco

Wow, I made it to the top of Tepozteco. It was a heart pounding one hour hike up the mountain, but worth every minute. The view from the pyramid of the valley below, the nesting vultures calls echoing through the canyons, and a surprise feast day parade with fireworks when I descended back into town. Exhilirating! And now I'm beat.

Bells in Tepoztlan Church Courtyard

These are two of the bells in the courtyard of the Templo de la Natividad in Tepoztlan The inscription on one said 1831. Workmen were high above, repairing the bell tower.

"Barra!! Barra!! Cho-co-la-te'!! Milky Way!! Cinco, cinco, cinco pesos!! Cho-co-la-te'!!" The CD salesmen, with the blasting boombox speaker backpacks, haven't sold a single disc in all my Metro rides. The chocolate seller, on the other hand, is cleaning up.

Cathedral Door

Mysterious, small leaded door, front facade of the cathedral, right at its center. Where does it lead to? What is its function? Maybe it's a janitor's closet, lol.

Cleansing ritual from the indigenous woman at the back corner of the cathedral. Charcoal smoke blown from a wooden censer, a whisk made of fresh herbs, and scented oil. When she finished, she looked at the eagle tattoo on my arm, then into my eyes, and pointed to the sky, saying "fly".

 Terrazo, Mexico City

Sitting on the enclosed terrazo, I take in the sounds drifting in from the sky above: children singing, helicopters chopping the air, a droning church loudspeaker voice, whistles, the man yelling "Gaaaaass!" door to door, birds chirping, morning rituals, dogs barking, the pulse of dance music through the walls, a whole world in sound.

Riding on the Pasero, or Microbus

Riding on a pesero, or microbus, with my friend Berta, going to visit her gallery, in an ex-convent private university near the Centro Historico. The microbus, which covers the back streets, costs 4 pesos, whereas the larger red buses on the main roads are 6 pesos.

     I stood on the side of the road at Hangare, the last Metro stop before the airport, watching traffic whizz by for 3-4 minutes straight, without a single break, before realizing this road cannot be crossed, and held up my hand for a taxi.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Spring into Summer 2013

The last few nights waking at 3:30 am, I decided to sit out on the balcony porch and meditate. Sitting in the cold air watching my thoughts, the sensations of anxiety and exhaustion arise, then dissipate gradually into calm and emptiness feels empowering. Now I look forward to this middle of the night wakefulness. (04.03.13)

Coming to a deeper understanding of my work in regard to the deconstruction of iconographies and how it relates to my spiritual life. Buddhism is all about the investigation of perception and the realization that all our symbols and forms of meaning are provisional and constructed from a deeper perceptive reality. Looking back on twenty-five years of consistently exploring this in my art makes me think I was Buddhist without even knowing it at the time. (04.07.13)

Thinking back to a few years ago, without internet and driving the streets looking for a wifi connection, sitting in my car or else walking down the street 'til a signal popped up, then composing portentous emails charting and diverging my life's course there in the dark. (04.08.13)

So this art student brings his submission to the gallery for the student show, and asks me, "can I price it at one million dollars?". Gesturing at the gallery around me, I reply, "no, does this look like a comedy club?". Jokers. (04.09.13)

Love or fear, love or anger, love or hatred, always an opportunity. It often feels like I get a second, a third, a fourth chance, and with each repetition, the hope to act with more wisdom and compassion than the times before. (04.15.13)

Beginning dream yoga practice again. The chakra visualizations during the night are difficult, but rewarding. There is a greater mindfulness or presence in sleep, rather than the feeling of being lost in another world. A recognition that is not so different from the daytime, of the mind generating images, content, and meaning, just as it does in waking life. (04.16.13)

When one has a strong opinion on something, no matter what it is, the mind works in such a way, to interpret information that reinforces and confirms that opinion. The more difficult, but potentially more freeing option, is to maintain a mental state open to multiple overlapping possibilities as they occur. Engagement in creativity can help generate such a state. (04.20.13)

When I'm feeling stressed out, and investigate a little more closely, I find that much of my stress is self created. I also find that the stories in my head that generate the stress are just that, stories. Then I am able to clear my head, be present, and experience the situation in a more open and realistic way. (04.25.13)

Mockingbird is back at it, taunting the tom cat. It seems to really be enjoying this. Cat finally leapt up and tried to grab it, but was way off the mark. Fun little game they have going. (05.10.13)

Fireflies at dusk. (05.13.13)

"Rigid view" is something I catch myself on frequently. I like to think of the mind like clay that we can soften and mold whenever it becomes stuck and resistant to change. (05.22.13)

Smiling as I watch two dudes in a west Texas beer cooler swimming pool bromance. (05.22.13)

All is a temple, if one can see it. (06.01.13)

Any moment can be holy, if it is entered into with complete presence, or mindfulness. Literally any action or circumstance, no matter if it be ordinary, blissful, or horrific, becomes sacred with full and present attention. Allen Ginsberg knew this, I hope to learn it too. (06.07.13)

Wild morning... seven starlings are up in the broken tree, reading the riot act to the neighbor cat, who's exploring the fallen branches down below. He already caught one bird in the bushes earlier, and when I leaned out from the balcony to take a look, a yellow jacket wasp stung my hang when it strayed too close to their nest. Must have only been a warning sting, as it didn't hurt for long. (06.09.13)

In my dream, I was running in an open field with a giant brown bear. We jumped in the air, spinning back to back, three or four times like ballet dancers, our feet entwined, lost in the joy of life. (06.11.13)

Traveling can be a great opportunity to wake up, as it takes you out of your routine, helping to see things with fresh eyes. The strangeness of the human condition: clothing and customs as a form of identification, the disparity between those who have and those who don't, television as a catatonic distraction, the comforts of your own routine. The collective nature of our endeavor making internal modifications on our behavior at all times, whether we are aware of it or not. (06.15.13)

Walking back streets of Chicago last night, reflecting on the (mis)adventures of days gone by on those same streets, and thinking how it feels distant yet familiar, like a well worn book. (06.15.13)

Shooting the shit with Pedro Vélez at the Gold Star in Wicker Park. We watched kids shooting pool and caught up on things. He showed me the narrow alley leading to his old pad and talked about how quickly the once quiet neighborhood has changed. (06.15.13)

Mint infusion. (06.24.13)

Summer early evening traffic heat bleach blonde long hair skinny chick lookin' dude rocking out to metal air drumming on the steering wheel as he rolls by. (06.26.13)

One of my favorite things is dancing to the "Ice, Ice, Baby" theme at the self-serve ice stand. (06.28.13)

Revolution is a state of mind. (06.30.13)

Sitting in my car, won't start, late afternoon sun. Waiting on a good Samaritan dakini to show up and give me a push start. Birds chirp, desert plants reach to the sky, and I lean my seat back. (07.02.13)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Winter 2013 (Austin, Dallas, NYC, Ozarks)

The Little Things (01.04.13)

The little things: the taste of a fresh crisp apple, an extra long hot shower, pure water drunk from a glass, snuggling tightly under warm blankets, a deep breath of fresh air, the thought of something tasty, like chips and guacamole.

The Gray Areas (01.05.13)

Stark choices of good and bad, right and wrong, me vs. you, these are places where the ego thrives, as they reinforce the illusionistic nature of separation in a closed system. More subtle are the grey areas, the ambiguities, where oppositions meet, blend and become open to new possibilities. However we choose to see things, our experiences of reality are generated by our own perceptions.
The Heart is a Bloom (01.06.13)

So I'm sitting there, complaining about being sick, and how it upends everything in your life, and blah, blah... when out of the blue, Noah sends me a text saying: "the heart is a bloom..." Boom. Owned.
Getting Naked in Public (01.18.13)

Wondering when getting naked in public will be a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public?

Laying in the Grass (01.21.13)

Studying prana (life force) teachings in yogic traditions and decided to put it to practice this morning. They state that we gain life from the sun, air, and earth. So, I lay down on the grassy earth at the S. Austin farmhouse, in the warm sunlight, breathing in fresh air for ten minutes, relaxing and absorbing the energy. I got up refreshed, relaxed, and feeling better from the sore throat that has been threatening to get me sick again.

Back to School (01.24.13)

Today in class I asked my students, "What activities feed your imagination?". Their responses included: concerts, music apps, dancing, playing sports, video games, commentary, movies, and poetry. All good answers, I thought. When I was growing up, the standard answer was sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. I'm thinking maybe I can learn something from these kids.

Scat Singing (01.31.13)

 Scat singing on my way in to work and thinking of my long ago art teacher Denny Fraze. A hep kat drawing instructor in sport coat, khakis and combover, counting the minutes 'til his next cigarette break. Scat dat diddley bop ba do.

The Bees (02.07.13)

Watching the bees buzz excitedly, feeding on the fresh rosemary blossoms downtown. It happens this time of year, every year, yet always feels fresh and new, like seeing it for the first time.

Year of the Water Snake (02.11.13)

What do I bring to the new year? I hope, an appreciation for the transitory and groundless quality of all experience. There is nothing to be grasped, even as we pass through everything. To let go of static identities (no matter how gratifying) and let myself free fall into an unknown future with an open heart.

Street Fight (02.13.13)

I walked through a sprawling fight this afternoon on Columbus Circle. More bravado than bloodshed, young guys tangled on the sidewalk, then up and offering threats in lieu of fisticuffs. "I'm coming back, alright, and when I do, I will light this place up."

Career Day (02.22.13)

This morning was Career Day at my daughter's school. As the kids stopped by the table and looked at my art, one little girl (about 10) told me a story that really opened my heart. She said, "My daddy's an artist. He's been in prison for 8 years, and always sends me his drawings. For my birthday, he made me a drawing of Tinkerbell with my name under it. He's my inspiration." She said all of this with a bright, confident smile. I tried hard not to cry, as I recognized what an inspiration she was, and gave her a great big smile in return.

Letting Go (02.23.13)

Letting go of notions of fixed identities, opening a glimpse into the freedom and vastness of sunyatta, the void. Passing through these existences, vast landscapes of interconnected experience, and the exhilaration of holding onto none of it: the excitement, the ambitions, the lusts, the vertigo, the dull aching pains and disappointments, the weariness and lack of sleep, and most of all the joys and connections of open and compassionate hearts colliding in a chaotic world.

Challenges (02.27.13)

Every day I see the challenges and obstacles that have to overcome to be successful in school. Tonight one of my students came up to me before class and said, "I may have to leave early tonight, my brother just got released from prison and needs me to pick him up." Truth is, there is no level playing field, but those who start with nothing also have everything to gain.
Leisurely Day (03.02.13)

I'm going to air up the tire on my bicycle, ride over to Kalachandji's for a delicious Indian vegetarian lunch, relax in the temple for a few moments looking at paintings of the pastimes of Krishna, and picture myself with him as he steals the clothing of the bathing Gopis, then find a green space with fresh air and sunshine, lie on the ground and bask in the freely given gifts of nature.
Ten Minutes Sitting (03.04.13)

10 minutes sitting: breath too shallow, fidgeting, can't get comfortable, a little space opens up, thinking about the day, of what people will think, a little more space, open my eyes in the darkness, a gap of no thought appears, it's a game, relax, don't try so hard, enjoy yourself. Ding! Bell rings.

Downtown Satori (03.08.13)

Downtown satori. Walking in to work, just after listening to straight up jazz on my drive, and musing on the fleeting nature of this body, my mind suddenly went completely empty. A land of no thought pure awareness opened up: the beautiful diffused light, an overcast morning chill in the air, band instruments playing in the distance, all the sensations open, vibrant, passing, gone, replaced by new ones.
Reflection (03.09.13)

Reflecting on the different roles at various points in my life: child, son, adolescent boy, young adult, man, married, divorced, single, boyfriend, lover, friend, enemy, Christian, agnostic, Buddhist, shaman, seeker, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian-esque, Southern, country, then city, student, teacher, artist, curator, father, brother, mentor, and so on.

Try as I may, I have never felt any of them to be a core permanent identity, as in "I am this". They feel more like roles I inhabit, albeit deeply felt ones, to learn and maybe help myself and those I love to grow.

Yet, they still feel like constructs layered over something more ambiguous and expansive, something richer, and not confined by notions of the self. That's what I want to get at.
Open Road (03.16.13)

Driving the open road with Noah, we settle into an easy groove of music and conversation. Hours pass, yet seems like no time at all before we pull in to our destination.

Morning (03.17.13)

Waking up in the Ozarks, beautiful landscape of my childhood. Sleeping with the window up, birds chirping, hours before sunrise. They're noisy little neighbors, but I didn't mind.