June 1st, 2014

Bob's bird in flight

Balance -

The fog has moved in, finally, and the world where I live is as it is meant to be.  Summer has arrived, and wool comes back out of the closet.  The heater turns on at sixty degrees.  

I just finished re-reading Marion Milner's book, A Life of One's Own.  She wrote it in response to Virginia Woolf's book, A Room of One's Own.

Experimenting with perceiving through journaling and other modalities, she finds ways to probe and delve into her unconscious, new territory at the time she was writing.

She began the book with a search for happiness, and in an updated comment from 1986, she ends with these words of William Blake:

Man was made for joy
and woe;
And when this we rightly
Thro' the world we safely

I think we in the modern world are being taught to believe we should be "happy" every moment but we don't even know what that word means.  Advertising tells us the latest computer, phone or shoes will make us happy, a trip to the Caribbean perhaps.

The commercial need to sell us "things" and experiences doesn't honor that "wherever we go, there we are", and that expectation may lead to disappointment.

I've been giving myself time to sense, to sit or walk and receive an object, tree, another, myself.

I was standing in a coffee shop recently waiting for my latte, just looking around at the whole operation and what is required to bring coffee, me, and a place to drink with other people together.

I was overwhelmed with appreciation for this moment, a moment that will never exist again, this group of people, this movement, sharing, scent.

It's magical to pause and appreciate this world we share.  And now I pause and look out at trees that are reaching in my window, reaching in enough that a raccoon entered our house Thursday night.  He climbed up on the deck and walked right in because the fog had not yet arrived, and I saw no reason to close the doors to a deck that is seemingly private as it is so high.

I now know raccoons live in trees as do skunks.  I know more about the creatures with whom I share my yard, and I know more about myself too.  How do I receive what shares a space wider than what I think of as I?

The waves are here.

How do I meet them?

Do I float over or dive under?  My intention is to better honor the waves of what I define as joy and woe, and through that, "thro' the world safely go"?

May this be so.
bridal veil falls - north carolina

Meditations on Violence

In the July Shambhala Sun is an article on the Rubin Museum in Manhattan.  I will definitely visit next time I am in NYC. The museum is dedicated to the ideas, culture, and art of the Himalayas. They host interviews and dialogues.

Here is the director Martin Scorcese speaking on violence.

When I did Mean Streets I wanted to show what I thought we lived like, the Italian-Americans on the Lower East Side. Violence is a very serious thing, and when it's committed in that society. there are repercussions.  A line is crossed.  I'd been around some of it, and the shock was so strong that when I deal with stories where violence is an important part, I try not to show it in a pretty way, though maybe I've been guilty of that a couple of times - it's been thirty years.

Taxi Driver is about being young and disaffected.   Paul Schrader wrote it and he had those feelings in him.  I did too, and so did Robert De Niro. The film was something we thought we had to do because we felt it was true. We tried not to make the violence in it pretty in any way, because it's not pretty. Violence is not slow motion with people flying in the frame and flipping up in the air and turning around. It's not a video game. It's very real and ugly. Looking back at the Gulf War in '91, when we were allowed to see smart bombs in black-and-white video, I think a cleansing was beginning. It was distancing us from the extraordinary violence that was occurring.

The issue is to deal with what part of us is violent.  That's something not to be shied away from in the work. There's a kind of excitement in violence, and that's part of being human.  One has to deal with that.  You can't deny it.  Deny it and it's going to explode! Maybe I'm just an old man talking about younger people making video games where violence becomes a game. But I am concerned about the nature in which violence is now being shown, particularly in the news. It's all cleansed.  It's all distanced.  We don't feel a thing - we're not meant to.