October 11th, 2006

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Good Morning!

It is still deliciously dark, and I have been up for awhile. Perhaps, I am on winter Inuit time. Steve and I were awake in the night discussing the movie we saw last night at the Mill Valley Film Festival, "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen." I see now that it opened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. We felt the movie had some flaws, though we also seemed to be in the minority. What I appreciated was seeing what it was like to live inside an igloo, and learning how to build one. What was heart-breaking was the ending where a small group of Inuit stand on ice and in snow and sing hymns to Jesus. Their helper guides are gone, banished, and yet, the film-maker says the shamanic influence went underground. He says it did not disappear, and yet, for me, the film did not leave that impression.

Also, the film-maker spoke of the influence of television on his village. It came, and the villagers were glued to the tube. That is why he came to this medium as a way to speak of his people. Perhaps that would have been the stronger story. I don't know. If you haven't seen the movie, "Weeping Camel," seek it out.

This movie is called a docu-drama. Actors play the roles in what is seen as a documentary. I felt something was missing in the film. I wanted to know so much more and yet it seemed too long. I think, for me, the focus needed to round into more understandable personality in the characters we were watching, and I wanted to better understand the fires inside the igloo, and to see the people hunt. How do they survive in such a landscape, and yet, the theme was the conflict between the shamans and Christianity.

This film I am not inclined to recommend, and perhaps, that is because I am still with Milarepa which I strongly do. I wonder about seeing films so close together. Many, who watched this film, immediately went out of the theatre and got in line for the next one. I need time to absorb, process, consider, reflect, and I am still crunching in my fur boots in the ice and snow. I am trying to imagine that life, and perhaps that was another part for me. All the furs were alike and perfectly clean. I doubt that was so in the 20's when Rasmussen came to interview the tribes and learn their stories and songs. How many of us are continously in our absolutely best and well-cleaned clothes, and yet, would we want to see it as it most-likely is and was? I think so.

I again suggest reading Gretel Ehrlich's book on the same subject, This Cold Heaven. I excerpt from an interview with her by Dave Weich at Powells.com:


"I first traveled to Greenland in the late summer of 1993," This Cold Heaven begins, "not to write a book but to get above treeline." Still recovering from injuries suffered two years prior when she was struck by lightning (an experience Ehrlich wrote about in A Match to the Heart), the author discovered in the treeless polar north a substitute for the altitude doctors suggested she avoid.

For the next seven years, in isolated villages along the habitable edge of the largest continental ice sheet in the world, Ehrlich immersed herself in Greenlandic culture, traveling by dogsled with subsistence hunters and communing with locals in their homes. Interweaving her own experiences and encounters with those of Knud Rasmussen, the great Danish-Inuit explorer and ethnographer, in This Cold Heaven she introduces a culture by turns brutal and resplendent, alternately desolate and brimming with life; a fragile way of life whose survival is threatened by international politics, pollution, and modern conveniences as seemingly innocuous as a snowmobile.

As Donna Seaman of Booklist noted in a starred review, "By linking accounts of their lives with lyric descriptions of her own serendipitous and dramatic adventures, Ehrlich both celebrates the remarkable intimacy the Inuit have with the land and its animals and spirit, and chronicles the clangorous and toxic encroachment of consumer society on this pristine and precious realm."

Ehrlich explained here in our living room, "Greenland reminds me what human beings can really be if they're just left to live without the whole construct of politics and a market economy and global everything, and how beautifully those people can live to their potential in a simple way."

I consider again on the film. It is still with me. Perhaps that does suggest it is a film worth seeing. It certainly has me thinking, and that is almost always a good thing. A joyful, clear-sighted and embracingly full day to you!!
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Thoughts -

    Yesterday, I spoke with a woman whose daughter is 38 years old, and is having a double mastectomy.  I have said how many young women were in the fashion show.  I am sitting today with trying to understand what is going on.  It seems so sad.

    Amidst that, I am with the movement class of yesterday, and with the words, "Breathing, you massage the heart."   I'm not sure we think of it that way, but when the diaphragm is freely swinging, the heart is bathed in a wondrously rich swell.   I am visualizing my heart bathing in oceans of love, peace, and ease.

    We also worked yesterday with breathing a sound through our feet, top of the head, ground, and all around.    Experiment with making sounds and feeling where they resound in you and in your environment.  How does it feel to say your own name out loud, either alone, or with others?    Touch yourself and another with sound.  What sound does each body part want to make?    Explore space with sound.  I find myself wanting to think of my fingers as notes, and to touch things and say,  Do, or Re, or Mi, or Fa, or So, La, Te, Do.

    Yesterday, I also noticed that I was hearing and responding to the downbeat.   Perhaps, another day, the upbeat will be what speaks to me. 

    Feel your bones as muscle hangers, and play, play, play!!
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Space -

    I heard  Alain de Botton interviewed today on his new book The Architecture of Happiness.  It sounds fascinating on considering how we choose and respond to organization of space.  I ordered it and I now have The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan here, and I understand it is a must-read.   Steve and I are leaving for Hawaii next Wednesday and all the books I haven't had time to read are piling up anxious to go on a trip.

    I bought my 2007 calendar, since the new year is beginning to fill.  I like filling in the birthdates of family and friends, and I see that a good many people I know will celebrate on Tuesday this year, and, there are some Wednesdays also, and other days.  I like seeing how the year coheres.

    My calendar this next year will celebrate The Group of Seven.   "In 1920, a small community of Canadian artists officially became the Group of Seven.  The catalog from their first exhibit stated:  "The seven artists whose pictures are here exhibited ... are all imbued with the idea that an Art must grow and flower in the land before the country will become a real home for its people."   I love that thought and intention.   Here is to art in all its forms and manifestations.   May each day create and flower, within, and without.

    I also read today that the space after a period is now just that, a space.   Remember when we used to skip two spaces.  It seems we no longer are to do that, though I must admit, I still do.  I like space around my sentences, my car, my view.  

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The Heart -

"The heart is the perfection of the whole organism. Therefore the principles of the power of perception and the souls ability to nourish itself must lie in the heart."

-- Aristotle

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Movement -

"Movement has the capacity to take us to the home of the soul, the world within for which we have no names."

            Anna Halprin

"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

            -- e. e. cummings

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Reflection -

    Because someone is coming in to kitten sit while we are in Hawaii, I am thinking it is time to clean off my desk, and so, I am reviewing and savoring all the treasures there.  One treasure is a birthday card from my mother from two years ago, four months before she died.   Another treasure is a group of writings from a good friend.   And there is my Jane Austen Action Figure doll, and there are other sacred things, but these catch my eye today. 

    I open a book by John Daido Loori - The Zen of Creativity - Cultivating Your Artistic Life.    He says to make love with light. 

       "Make love with light.  Create a visual or word image of the feeling of love you have for some person, place, or thing.  This means expressing the feeling itself, not simply a subject that you love."
       "The point of this practice is to use light in such a way that it expresses your experience of love."    He goes on with his words, but his idea is to use light to communicate the feeling of love.  Hmmmm!    Keep practicing, he says.   It is a koan.

    Ryokan -

                  Who calls my poems poetry?
                            My poems are not poetry.
                     Knowing they are not poetry,

                Let's start by talking together about poetry.

Perhaps that is the point of the experimenting with communicating on love.    Hmmmmmm!      Yum!
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Quotes -

    Pema Chodrun -

       If your everyday practice is to open all your emotions, to all the people you meet,

       to all the situations you encounter without closing down,

       trusting that you can do that -

       then that will take you as far as you can go.

       And then you will understand all the teachings that

             Anyone has ever taught.

    Andrew Harvey -

       By allowing the heart to break,

       Again and again

       Without fear or consolation

       A space is opened in the heart

       In which the whole universe can be placed.

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Journey -

Last year, at this time, I was preparing for a journey to be a community.  Surgery was October 12th, and I was scared.  My family gathered.  I felt myself shared with the medical world and with all of you, and that will always be so now.  We don't go backwards.  I am a community, and I am reaching now to shine again all my treasures that nourish my solitude, and to prepare my room for the hibernation time of winter.  I am so excited to have this year be a bit more under my control, and less orchestrated from outside, and yet, I was firmly there as orchestra leader and participant.  It has been a lovely year, and I settle now into dusting what has been resting all this year, and bringing it to new, soft shine and light.
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Gentle strength -

Tonight I continue to appreciate the gentleness and strength I have gathered and savored this year.

I just read a lovely little book,  The Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda.  I recommend it.   Somehow his words on new technology allow me to better understand and feel control, over what seems to be expanding incredibly fast. 

These are his TEN LAWS.

    1.  Reduce.

    2.  Organize.

    3.  Time - Savings in time feel like simplicity.

    4.  Learn - Knowledge makes everything simpler.

    5.  Differences - Simplicity and complexity need each other.

    6.  Context.

    7.  Emotion - More emotions are better than less.   He says that he why we put smiley faces on our computer messages.

    8.  Trust - In simplicity we trust.

    9.  Failure - Some things can never be made simple.

    10. The One - Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Here are THREE KEYS.

    1.  Away - More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away.

    2.  Open - Openness simplifies complexity.

    3.  Power - Use less, gain more.      He means this in every way.   Notice.   Observe.

"In the martial art of Karate, the symbol of pride for a black belt is to wear it long enough such that the die fades to white as to symbolize returning to the beginner state."

Continue in cycles of learning.   Begin. 

The French coach, Jean-Pierre Elissalde, when coaching the Japan National Rugby team, urged the players "to become like the bubbles in a glass of champagne," "floating upward in unexpected and elegantly fluid ways."    "The Japanese team had to learn how to operate based on intuition versus intellect."   I resonate in this moment to becoming like the bubbles in a glass of champagne.  I am bobbing up and down, like an apple on Halloween, waiting to be caught in a mouth. 

Check out:    http://www.lawsofsimplicity.com/