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.
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.
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.
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.