Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

High on Henry Miller and Hieronymus Bosch

My body and mind pulsate as this morning’s caffeine makes its way through all systems. Buzzed, and high on Henry Miller, I’m ravenously devouring page after page of “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”.

Try as I might to significantly lighten my load before the move I can’t seem to part with a single book and the collection continues to grow as new “Amazon” arrivals reach me daily. I’m an addict.

My first experience with Miller came when I borrowed Justin’s copy of “Tropic of Cancer” a year or two back and I tore through that with an equal hunger. Finding it delightfully timely and perfectly suited for my (then) melancholy mood and general disdain towards life I was drawn in from the very first page:

“I am living in the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead. […] There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of time is eating us away. Our heroes have killed themselves, or are killing themselves. The hero, then, is not Time, but Timelessness. We must get in step, a lock step toward the prison of death. There is no escape. The weather will not change.” Miller p.1

Pretty grim for a book that actually contains quite a bit of humor but I returned the copy to its owner and only today, received my own. I have recently found a new joy in re-reading books and discovering how different they sound at different times in my life.

Perkier now, in this current period of transition and renewal, I’m finding “Big Sur…” to be written just for me. Perhaps I heavily project, or maybe divine timing really does exist, in either case, I’ll try to share some parallels I’ve drawn so far.

Moving for my art, I frequently ponder the strangeness of abandoning the thriving artistic community in San Francisco for “a pit” (that is, according to the peanut gallery) like LA. However, I’m compelled. Then I stumble upon this, “It is my belief that the immature artist seldom thrives in idyllic surroundings. What he seems to need though I am the last to advocate it, is more first-hand experience of life – more bitter experience, in other words. In short, more struggle, more privation, more anguish, more disillusionment”. Miller p. 13

Reading this my instinct seems, somehow confirmed or rather illuminated. If everyone’s negative predictions come true, I may very well be injecting myself into an environment that will further my disillusionment and stir my bitter distaste towards (parts) of society and life in general. Or not.

I also worry about being so isolated, so potentially alone and far from the comfort of my 7x7 world. But then Miller states that, “artists never thrive in colonies. Ants do” and “what the budding artist needs is the privilege of wrestling with his problems in solitude”. Miller p.13

I have my insignificant little problems to wrestle and I’ve moved many times in my young life. Every time there is a period of real solitude while the new home is being established and during these times, difficult as they may be, my art has always thrived.

As my Buddhist practice deepens I am inspired to go more minimal. Wishing to be free, or feel freer from my possessions and attachments I have been downsizing when it comes to my belongings. It has been an interesting process, sometimes painful but ultimately rewarding for me. When it came to my artwork, I finally chose to let go of my paintings too. Snapping pictures for posterity I have placed about half on the sidewalk outside and will prime the remaining canvases to be used again. Creating a blank slate for my imagination and releasing the work that came before as a snake sheds her skin or a monk destroys his beautiful sand mandala.

“If he is an artist he will be compelled to make sacrifices which worldly people find absurd and unnecessary. In following the inner light he will inevitably choose for his boon companion poverty. And, if he has in him the makings of a great artist, he may renounce everything, even his art”. Miller p.15

Although my physical environment will soon change, I know in my heart it’s of little importance seeing as how my own mind is my reality and this body my current home. An ancient Yogic Sutra by Patanjali states that, “through contentment, supreme joy is gained”. Miller points to a similar notion saying, “one’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. Which is to say that there are no limits to vision.” p.25 Can I find contentment or new vision this moment? Can I ever? Will I?

Pressing forward I go, still unsure, excited, always questioning, always hoping. Then scratching all that, trying to let it all go and trying to stay present and mindful. I aim for some kind of yet-to-be-discovered artistic integrity based on little more than my intuition and insanity. Life is good! Onward.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Meditate and Destroy" - Noah Levine

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.” -- Buddha

During this hectic transition in my life the fruits of my meditative labors are more apparent than ever.

In meditation I bring myself from the crazy world of my thoughts back to the present. Over and over and over and over...

Working through the details of my move and going about all the preparations I often find myself projecting into the future or becoming nostalgic about the past. It's easy to get caught up and forget that I am here, now. It's like one big meditation constantly coming back to the present and I'm so grateful that I can.

A friend said, "you have one hour to live, what do you do?"

After thinking about it for a moment I realized, meditate, get present, LIVE!

I spend a lot of time in my head and when I actually drop out of that and live life I realize what I'm missing.

A work in progress, perfection and imperfection, I'm all of it and I'm glad of it.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where Will I Land?

When you happen to live deep in the San Francisco Mission District among the hippest of the hipsters how can you settle for bland? On my internet hunt for rooms in LA I keep wondering, where will I land?

Girl on a budget, moving to LA. Seeking art, music, good food and good people. Bikability a major plus!

I've looked into Hollywood and Santa Monica, Echo Park and Silverlake and now I'm hearing another place worth scoping may be here in Highland Park.

I know nothing can compare to San Francisco but I'm determined to make the best of wherever I go. If I'm surrounded by more concrete than trees it'd better at least be covered in interesting graffiti or trampled by colorful characters. Whatever tiny room I end up in will be stamped with my own eclectic style but wouldn't it be nice if I could find some like-minded friends to create community with?

Here's hoping!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Dog Farm

Everything comes in waves and when the swell is too big you find yourself pummelled. Grasping at the shifting sand, gasping for a breath of air, you try to open your wet, salty eyes to see. If you make it out alive, a bit of rest is in order.

I had to leave for the weekend.

Sitting here in a quiet little house in a beautiful beach town I can't help but feel like I'm someone else. I'm calling it the "dog farm" because three adorable Boston Terriers seem to be running the place at the moment.

As the sun begins to set, Riva and I are moving around the house in our long white nightgowns going about our separate activities. Reading, sewing, sleeping, snacking.

The crumbs from our long gone sandwiches cast little shadows on the lap trays we used in the living room. Our sun-browned skin, a stark contrast to the white, is soft with the layers of Shea butter we diligently melted and applied. The only sounds are those of birds, neighbor children in the distance and the chewing and snorting of the pups.

As I napped with the youngest one pressed against my chest and belly I measured the difference in our breaths and dozed in and out of strange fever dreams. This place is peaceful, this place is not my home and I'm reminded of the imminent and oh-so-familiar in between feeling that I'll soon be living in again.

When I close my eyes I can feel the waves bobbing me up and down.
When I open them I remember,

I am here.
Here is where I am.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Counting The Days

2 days until I take a look at my first car prospect.

7 days and I'll have finished the purging-of-the-crap ordeal.

19 days and I'm packed and ready to be a travelling gypsy.

22 days and I'm out of my apartment and in with Lissy (still in SF).

37 days until the last day of work.

39 days and I'm in Santa Cruz with my sis for a bit.

45 and I'm driving to LA to stay with Julia for a week.

And about 50 and I hopefully have a new home.

Time speeds up as the move draws near.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Beginning!

So, I'm still in San Francisco but the move to Los Angeles is getting closer every day and I'm already starting to transition into OTHERLAND.

The process of getting rid of stuff has been both emotionally draining and at the same time liberating!

I'm trying to go pretty light and minimal.

The craigslist hunting has been a trip so far. I've seen everything from college kids to single mom's to an artist looking for a nude model in exchange for free rent!

I've been e-mailing away, trying to save money and just mentally preparing for the big shift.

I recently got to go on an amazing silent retreat at Spirit Rock and the high from that experience lingers and inspires me during these crazy days.

Still trying to meditate and stay present and just let everything flow around me.

I have no place to move in to, no car to drive down in and less stuff every day...

I've never felt better!

All I can do is keep trying to make it happen and keep breathing.

We shall see!

So... if you have a car to sell in SF or a place for rent in LA or if you just want some free stuff from me let me know! It's going fast but I still have some cool junk that I don't need.