Today’s randomly-chosen word comes from the Tao Te Ching. I picked up a copy at a used bookstore yesterday to use for blackout poetry and decided to use it for our word which is others (from book one XX).
I don’t have much to say today. I just wanted to paint with my blood again , create a bricolage by assembling the ephemera that has come me of late, and feel. I’ll let Carl Jung speak instead. Today’s quote is from The Red Book. (He always has a lot to say about others.) Continue reading bricolage project day 21 [others]
Today’s randomly-chosen word is be and comes from The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard & Trinh Xuan Thuan. It’s a fascinating exploration of the intersection of Western science and Buddhist philosophy. I cannot more highly recommend this book. Turns out, I’m in good company:
The Quantum and the Lotus is the rich and inspiring result of a deeply interesting dialogue between Western science and Buddhist philosophy. This remarkable book will contribute greatly to a better understanding of the true nature of our world and the way we live our lives. —His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Conversations on the nature of life and what it means to be–to exist–are keenly interesting to me. I personally often find that the world around me shifts somewhat dramatically depending on what I’m focusing on which enhances studies of this type. The Bricolage Project, with its ephemeral nature, has led me to a greater awareness of my state of being on any given day. Not surprisingly, when I was out with my friend the other night, he began telling me about his meditation practice, Vipassana. The word means to “see things as they really are” and the practice is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. My friend recounted his time of going on a ten-day silent meditation retreat at a local meditation center and told me I would “rock Vipassana” because I have a way of seeing and experiencing things as they are that seems to align with the practice. As he described spending several days focusing on his nose and upper lip, I found myself thinking of my upper lip and how I love it kissed or sucked on. Then I looked at my friend’s lip and noticed that he has a kind of beard/soul patch thing but not a mustache. Then I would switch back to just being aware of the surface area of the lip and noticing my awareness there rather than a vision of it in mind.
Then I took a sip of my Manhattan.
Here’s the thing: I am a very embodied creature. I like sex. I am lusty. I love the smell of dirt. I’ve had two babies. I am a creature of the earth. Yes, I am certainly the awareness that is poured into this form but they are one, not separate. I find many spiritual traditions problematic in their rejection of the immanent aspect of life in favor of the transcendent. To be is to live the embodied life, to feel, to play, to express, not just to notice. I learned that as a new mother trying to learn how to meditate and walk a spiritual path as a householder. I was a nursing mother who had to tend to my baby’s needs. Such is the way of living the embodied life. Even now, taking ten days off to go on a retreat is not something I can do as a single mother. My child needs me to be here caring for her. Motherhood taught me a lot about surrender. To be is to surrender to the flow of the river of life. It’s uncontainable and will pull you under and have its way with you. As Laozi says:
Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.
Listening is an essential aspect of the feminine. It refers to a dynamic receptivity to the life going on around us, an awareness of our own interconnectedness, and our responsibility to be open to what comes to us.
Feeling into, being with, listening in to the whispers of the world and not trying to make sense of it as much as just allowing it to unfold and flow–that’s what that kind of listening means to me. Ms. Hart bluntly told me, “It isn’t your job to save the world. It’s your job to be the power you are in the world.”
I think I’m finally getting a sense of what that means, of what it means to be. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.
Note: The poem I’m reading on the video up there is Darest Thou Now O Soul from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It’s the poem from the joy! post the other day. I wasn’t done with it.
“As we now turn to the diachronic process of individuation, bear in mind that psychological growth occurs as a result of tensions, especially those between opposites, in the psyche. Among these are conflict and resolution” (p. 31).
Isn’t that reassuring? All of that delicious tension is helping us grow! Reminds me of the Degenerate Art Ensemble exhibit I saw at the Frye Art Museum in 2011. There was a video of dancers embodying creation. I think it was a bird coming out of an egg or perhaps a seed bursting through the earth to kiss the light. I just remember it felt inherently violent. Like the dance , our ego’s relationship to to our complexes creates this tension that help us grow into a bigger version of ourselves. Without integration we continue to repeat patterns that keep us stuck. Without shadow, we don’t learn.
I’ve often described my own process as “dancing with my shadow” because that’s how it feels. I don’t let it rule my life but I am aware of it. I certainly see it mirrored back to me and have learned to tend and befriend these various aspects of myself. When I was creating today’s bricolage, I did the painting that you see (the black ink in the left margin was done by dipping a dried rose in ink, btw. I love how it turned out!) then made a cut out of a little angle/devil creature. I thought it would be fun to have her dance around as a shadow instead of placing a static piece inside the frame. I ended up painting with shadow. I did all of that before choosing the word and subsequent quote. I love synchronicity!
I made a little video of it just for fun. Painting with shadow.
Working on this project has drawn me deeper inside myself into the deep quiet. I’m feeling and seeing life more geometrically and have been finding my way to far more authenticity. It’s as though life is saying, “It’s okay. Just be you,” so I am. Messy. Experimental. Playful. Intense. Present. Growing.
Tonight’s entry is very late in coming. I’ve been talking with him for hours. And he’s been listening. A different kind of listening than I’m used to. He wanted to understand. What a remarkable experience.
I’m not surprised then, that tonight’s randomly-chosen word, from the Delta of Venus by Anais Nin is gentle. My heart being touched so gently and with such wisdom is new for me. It felt like this.
Today was a “no rule” day. I worked on the piece all day off and on. I have many things that bubbled up but as I was working but I’m not ready to write about them yet so I’ll just share a quote from Carl Jung.
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
This morning, I led my second writing workshop at a local homeless shelter. Before I arrived, I chose the following prompt:
In the silence I understand…
We do 20 minutes of free writing and then share. I found it interesting that one of the women I was working with could hear but didn’t speak. I found myself communicating with someone who was silent. She carried a great deal of peace and her writing reflected that.
My own free writing was rambling, as always:
In the silence I understand that I can access serenity when I choose it but it’s okay to just be in the place of wild cacophony. I understand that the howling wind holds a silence I cannot always understand but must feel.
In the silence I understand that my heart is weary but also strong with the tensile strength of steel but the softness of a baby’s cheek. I understand that the world contains vile behavior from people we are supposed to trust but also the opportunity for forgiveness.
In the silence I understand that we are here to love and that love is often simpler in the silence. The quiet heart lets me understand and know what is needed.
In the silence I understand that I am those restful, quiet spaces as well as the loud, sonic booms. Every day brings the choice to explore which voice to use. I understand that there is mystery but also answers. In the silence I understand to wait long enough to hear.
I later went back through and found words and phrases to pull out for poems or stories. I also found little messages that my heart left for me. This was the primary one.
Tonight, a friend of my posted this on Facebook and I realized how much synchronicity is happening in my life.
“Silence is a great source of strength.” ~Lao Tzu
support the work ♥
My work is entirely funded by my readers (that's you!) to keep this an advertising-free space. If you like my offerings, find inspiration or value here and want to help keep the artful expression alive, please consider making a donation.