Friday, January 30, 2015

Life is Fun!

Back in Nashville for Module #2 of yoga therapy training.  Since last June we have had a two-hour class online every other week but now we are gathering back in Nashville for nine days of intensive training.  This time I gave myself two days to get here after the grueling 16-hr drive last June.  For better or worse, it was only 3 p.m. when I entered the state of Tennessee yesterday afternoon, and knowing that I would gain an hour when I crossed into Central Time, I called ahead and booked an extra night in my room....and continued onward.  Yup, 16 hours.  The last two were tough - I had to call upon all my intensive Zen training to find my focus but the joy of arrival was pretty great.  And - bonus! - I have had all day today to do errands and get ready for the training that begins tomorrow morning.

There is something about doing ordinary errands in a small city - they feel like playing house.  I had to mail a package so I scouted out a post office nearby to where I am staying.  First - no bullet proof glass separating the staff from the customers!  Second, no lines!  Third, the guy actually invited me behind the counter to fill out the customs form online!  See?  It's like pretending to mail stuff.  "That was fun!  Let's do it again!"  Alas, I only had one package.  Then I got a latte at a busy cafe.  Look!  Everyone is dressed up like a hipster!  How cute.

Then I went to Whole Foods.  Grocery shopping is fun!  I wonder if I used play money to pay for it?  It felt like I did, but probably not.  Whole Foods likes the real stuff.

This evening, I will go out to the pretend airport and, no doubt, find a nice, convenient parking spot that won't cost money, or not very much, and collect my friend who is coming in from LA.


ETA:  Parking was $3.00 for 45 minutes in a space that was 30 seconds from the terminal.  The trip to the airport was 20 minutes but only because it was rush hour.  Normally, it is twelve.  How do they live this way??

Monday, January 26, 2015

Don't Mess with Mother Nature

New Yorkers love to panic about snow.  Maybe there will be a blizzard or maybe there won't.  The beauty part is that I had four appointments today and now they have all been canceled.

I have one appointment left standing.

Hello, my darling.

The reddish circle is from the camera, not the yarn.

Monday, January 19, 2015

To Stand in the Center and See All Around - an Introduction

While I hate to be one of those "sorry for not blogging" kind of bloggers...I do apologize for the silence.  Partly, it is because I have not taken photographs for ages so I feel badly about so many picture-less posts.  And partly it is because I have been pretty flat out busy.   Any extra moments have been taken up with smaller projects and being with a sick friend.  It is surprising how much mental space that uses up, but it does.

All that aside, I have been working (somewhat) steadily on my project for bkbx that will be opening on March 6th.  Save the date!  It is called To Stand in the Center and See All Around.

The piece has been morphing in my head and under my hands.  I am still very much in process of spinning and knitting the black Shetland wool.  My plan, and it seems to be working, is to simply begin the process without expectations.  Using the notion that textiles can become saturated with narrative, I began making the piece.  I spin in silence.  I spin while watching episodes of Chopped and Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown (a cooking theme seems to have started up).  I spin while listening to dharma talks by the MRO teachers and senior students.

I also knit.  I knit in my living room, on the subway, at the Temple, at the Infusion Center where my friend has her chemo.  I will bring my knitting and my wheel (hey - hope springs eternal!) to Nashville in a couple of week's time.  I even spent some time during Rohatsu working out the details of the  installation, which wasn't exactly what I was supposed to be doing but I did it anyway.

The piece is getting bigger and it also is gathering a kind of energy.  It is developing a presence that comes from everything that is being poured into it - intentional and unintentional.  I want to put my finger on what, exactly, that is but I find that it can not be summed up in words.  I suppose this is why it is a thing, an art object, and not a novel or essay.  It has a certain vibe or buzz or mojo - or maybe prana or chi or ki, if you want to look at it that way.  You can't make it happen but you can't stop it from happening either.

I also have purchased 2500 pieces of 1" mirror.  These will be included in the installation, as well.

That whole Minimalist thing?  Yah, not so much.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Gettin' Used By It

There is a Zen koan that includes the teacher telling the student, "I use my time, you get used by it."  When I hear this in my head this morning, I want to smack that Zen teacher.   A bit smug, don't you think?

Extra annoying because I am really feeling each and every remaining hour I have to work on my installation for bkbx.  Will they be enough?  I have my 40 lbs of wool that is slowly - ever so slowly - becoming yarn that is slowly - ever so slowly - becoming knit fabric.  I have 30 yds of black cotton fabric and 2500 pieces of mirror.  Smells like an art installation to me!

In the end, I couldn't just make the pieces and hang them on the wall.  Call it a lack of trust, but to me that was not enough to convey what I want to convey.  Enter 2500 pieces of mirror.  A little sparkle should bring things up a notch!  Also planning some sound elements and a few other things.  Plans, I got'em.  And as you can see, Richard Serra was left in the dust long ago.

It's all StudioLove from here on in...

Monday, January 05, 2015

Being Very Un-Dude, Until You're Not

Let it be known that 2014 was the year that I made bhuja pindasana my bitch.

Do I land it every time?  No.  But something clicked and the thing that was so effortful and difficult suddenly became a thing of ease and joy.  I have no idea why and I suppose the why of it hardly matters.  One of the key components of śraddhā (loosely translated as faith) is smrti (loosely translated as memory).  When one has the experience of the challenging thing becoming an easeful thing, it is not forgotten.  The memory of that experience can be drawn upon at the next challenge.  We create these experiences in our asana practice, which is a small thing, so we can remember them in the rest of our life, which is a big thing.

So, what's up for 2015?  I think I will let go of any asana goals this year.  Instead, I am resolving to take up running again.  There was a time when I ran long distance - marathons even.  It was not a happy time or a healthy time, even as I could run 10-12 miles/day, seven days/week.  In fact, as I look back, it might have been the most unhappy time of my life.  Running that crazy amount was my attempt to wrestle some control over all the things that felt so unhappy.  Instead, I ended up being addicted to exercise and having eating disorder issues.  Fortunately (and it was fortunate), I got injured to the point where I could not run through the pain (and believe me, I tried!).  I had to take my obsessions elsewhere (hello, Ashtanga yoga!).

Despite all that history, I love running.  Still, it has been tinged with this bit of toxic residue and I haven't dared to try it again - fearful that I would fall down the rabbit hole of crazy.  In December, I was talking with one of my yoga teachers about engaging in other physical activities and I told her my running story.  She said, "Running wasn't the problem - you bring your mind to whatever you are doing."  For whatever reason, I actually heard what she was saying.  Just like how bhuja pindasana suddenly felt not just possible but easy, I realized that the problem was never that running was bad or evil or would "make me" become an obsessed anorexic.  I did that.  To myself.  And that it is possible to enjoy running just to enjoy running.

So, later today, I will take a little jog around the neighborhood.  Just for fun.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

On the Docket

As is my want, I ushered in 2015 up at Zen Mountain Monastery, finishing Rohatsu sesshin with a glorious ceremony of setting intentions for the coming year and generally sharing the love.  Only, you know, in silence and with eyes cast down.  It was as wonderful and intense as you might imagine it being when you are awake for 24 hours (only on the last day, but still...).  I started to write a whole, long post about how mistakes are our best friends but I think I will just say that and you can work it out for yourself.  But they are, you know.

Occasionally, I would dip out of my state of deep samādhi and think about what needs to get done this year, and in particular, in the next several months.  Highest on my list is my project for bkbx gallery, which will open in early March.  I set aside everything in December so I could focus on homeschool things with F&L, the holidays and caring for my friend who is ill.  But the time has come to Put My Head Down and Get To Work.

I have many thoughts about how the project is shaping up, which I will share with you shortly.  For now, however, this:

PS.  I know you are waiting to hear about my yoga resolutions for patient, my beauties, all is coming.