Thursday, May 21, 2015

the body, part 2: no borders

Thinking about how it feels to not know anything with any certainty. To feel adrift.
Witnessing the  experience of suffering, how it will be for those we love, for the world.

There's a little book written by Alan Watts:  The Wisdom of Insecurity.
Another book by Pema Chödrön, is called:  Comfortable with Uncertainty.
With those titles alone, you are half way there.  
You can maybe begin to get wise and comfortable with it.

On page 49, Watts asks: " Where do I begin and end in space?  It is convention alone which persuades me that I am simply this body bounded by a skin in space, and by birth and death in time."

Sometimes when I am walking or even just sitting quietly in nature - I like to imagine that I have no outline, no boundaries. After a bit, it really becomes a clear sensation -  the body with no borders.
The thought comes along then, the feeling of  'all one'.  And just for a moment the insecurity and uncertainty are not problems.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

the flip side

i realize there is a wordless heart after all, on the other side. a relief from the wordiness.
as a mandala or heart motif, it is a bit raw, indistinct, looks as if in progress. i am more drawn to it today than the front side, which now seems to almost scream at me with directives.  words do have their merit, their instructions. i had planned a backing for this piece, but now i will leave it as is. it certainly does not advertise my skill with needle and thread, but at the time the front was the whole point, and the reverse was incidental.

just now, the thinking mind craves a rest.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

In days of yore...

When you wanted to see what a Finback whale looked like, or were curious about certain words:

 cal'a·bash \ˈka-lə-ˌbash\ 1. The common gourd (plant or fruit) 
2. The fruit of the calabash tree.
 3. A water dipper, bottle, basket, or other utensil, made from the dried shell of the calabash or other gourd 

 - where did you turn?  Perhaps in even the remotest of outposts you might be lucky enough to have a 1909 edition of the Webster's International Dictionary - all 14-1/2 pounds of it. A hefty tome, that might reside upon a  designated library table.  By oil lamp augmented by firelight, you might discover Ectopistes migratorius, the Passenger pigeon, "the common wild pigeon of North America". 
(Sadly five years after that confident declaration, the last passenger pigeon died in captivity.*)

Now the oil lamp, firelight and 3-D dictionary have been replaced by a flickering screen, portable devices and  instant gratification. But I will occasionally brave the odd silverfish, Lepisma saccharina and eye-straining typeface, to turn the still sturdy pages and  look up words like: Fur'be-low, Pal'imp-sest, and Tol'u-ta'tion.


 Marbled endpaper. Webster's International Dictionary, 1909

the body, part 1

To a reader, friend, or  perfect stranger, I could provide snapshots with detailed captions describing the myriad unkind effects of aging that I note daily, increasingly. But I will  spare you and myself that exercise.

What is the body  but  a beautiful, imperfect, magnificent, strong, fragile, ultimately entropic way that we are able to be in the world?

Yes, the body presents challenges.  A sign that there is more to learn, always more to learn.

I can only think of it as a vehicle, a tangible means for us to practice forgiveness and compassion within and without, drawing from our own true nature.  Whether young and fresh, or weather-beaten and  weary,  it is the love that is communicated - not the vehicle, that is important.

I write this down to offer understanding as much to myself as to anyone else.

Ok, one photo, to illustrate.  Caption: Where does collagen go?  Hmm, it effectively evaporates and the road map of veins increases. If I may be so vain. Reminder to self: Never tilt your head down in that position.  Always be mindful of your best angle.  Forget that. I am just going to relax.  I've earned it.  And no small feat: I can hear and see and walk around and still have all my faculties!  For the most part.  Nothing but grateful.


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