Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Summer Fall Winter 2013

Identities are fluid, to be embodied, played with, explored, not owned as if they were of some permanent nature. To "incarnate" is an exercise in learning. (07.23.13)

Walking quiet back streets, I hear a live band in a small frame house practicing raucous 70s era hard rock songs with abandon. A sweet sound. (07.24.13)

My front yard is a butterfly wonderland this morning: at least half a dozen bright orange ones are flitting about excitedly among the foliage. (07.29.13)

Young brothers laughing at me as I pass through their preaching circle on the sidewalk downtown, my backwards ball cap and tats, appearing to them as a country hick, I guess. No blame or extrapolation here, I don't see this as representative of their faith. A good reflection for me on how prejudice results from identification with form, how we can see others who are different than us through a lens of separation. Or, we can see beyond particular forms, to the common experiences we share. (08.03.13)

I can feel the wind rushing through the trees and on as the sun shines down, and you take a deep breath of clear mountain air, wiping away the drops of fresh rain. Pranayama, life comes to us from these very elements. (08.06.13)

Watching World Class Championship Wrestling from the 70s, without irony, and remembering how my grandfather would take us as kids to the Sportatorium to watch the matches. And if we couldn't make it in person, we would watch Saturday Night Wrestling there on my grandparents television. (08.14.13)

Simplicity, dreams, awareness, the ability to laugh at karma and cultivate compassion toward other sentient beings (and myself), and to enjoy the absurdity of life. (08.16.13)

First hint of late summer coolness in the air, falling asleep on the balcony tonite. (08.16.13)

Driving at night, windows down, am radio on, then off, singing to myself and then to the stars in the sky, the way the road unwinds up ahead, it feels just like a dream. (08.31.13)

If I shift into an expansive point of view, and imagine that the universe is looking through my eyes, and from that perspective, I begin to see myself in all things, then... (09.04.13)

Loud music thumping, bright flashing lights, children screaming, the rush and crash of sugar and processed foods, chaos swirling into vertigo as I momentarily lose my center and disorientation sets in... just another kids' pizza party. (09.07.13)

Leaving work downtown the last couple of days, I've felt a hint of coolness to the breeze in the sunny 95 degree heat. Autumn, you're such a tease. (09.05.13)

To learn how to deeply feel without identification. A true challenge of the middle way, to authentically experience this form, it's pleasures, and in particular, pains, from a perspective that will not create suffering, but rather bring them into our true essence, the shining mirror of emptiness. (09.13.13)

Gallery sitting at the faculty exhibition, lady walks up and says how much she likes the show, "all except for this one work". She asks me which work is mine, and I reply, "which work did you not like?", to which she points to my piece. We go on to have a spirited discussion. (09.19.13)

Pre-dawn walk through the neighborhood. Passing through a heavily wooded area, dense with cricket and other animal sounds, That takes me into the space of no thought. And when it comes, a sense of expansive connection, it feels like a gift. (10.04.13)

I love how quiet the night is just before dawn. (10.09.13)

Each day the world spins faster, lost in chaotic rhythms, a collective moving crescendo toward some unseen frenetic climax, and yet at its center, a stillness, quiet and empty, encompassing it all and ready to receive all of this, when it is spent, back into itself again. (10.10.13)

Amazing, insightful, vulgar, raw, ecstatic, so much great music, such an evocative life. It's hard to believe he's gone, but with gratitude for what he has left behind. (10.27.13)

My daughter has been intrigued with the word 'hell', which is very adult to her. I explained that it was ok to use when you were talking about a place or state of being, which is quite different than an exclamation of anger. Childhood innocence may be moving into that transitional zone. (11.05.13)

To be with shadow requires that you welcome that in you which is most unconscious and hidden, to sit with, bring to awareness and integrate. In the realm of ego, it becomes destructive, but in the compassionate space of non-self, it takes on a creative and powerful aspect of liberation. (11.08.13)

I'm reading a book called "Feeding Your Demons", that is based on an ancient Tibetan practice called Chöd. Part of the practice is to visualize your "demons", in order to get to know them better. Here's a sketch of my first visualization, of my new friend the "Obsession Monster". He represents my obsessive tendencies and reminds me a little of the "Flamin' Hot Cheetos" guy, just bigger and more menacing. (11.18.13)

It's an El Greco sky tonight. (11.18.13)

In a dream, embracing an old friend I haven't seen for many years, who suddenly pulls away and I say to her, "you're in your head, you have to stay in your heart". As in most dreams, it is an intuition spoken to oneself. (11.22.13)

Walking out in the cold dark wintry night, stars spinning in the sky, no one and nothing around, yet feeling only gratitude. To be born into this world and to experience all of the sensations of this body: fear, solitude, uncertainty, the wonder and blessing of it all. The cold wind pushing through, the ghostlike shadows, the uneven road, the missed opportunities, the stories told and untold, and all that remains unknown on this journey. (11.26.13)

A middle way thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a holiday that brings up all the contradictions of being alive today. I'm grateful for this land, and sorrowed for the genocide that created it. I'm thankful for days off work, and to have good work doing what I love. I'm happy to see my friends and children and wish my parents could visit. I wish my dad to recover from his back surgery. I hope people remember their humanity while fighting through the crowds on Black Friday, and wish my mom didn't have to work to sell them more stuff. Today I'm going to be grateful for the blessings, remember the injustices without guilt, chuckle along with William Burroughs, and enjoy my Tofurkey. (11.28.13)

She said to him, "What and why are the only questions worth asking. What is your 'why'?" Later on, after he had dropped her off, it came to him. Calling her up as he drove through the night streets, he said, "I want you to see what I see." (11.30.13)

Neighbors partying next door while I work in my studio. There's something reassuring about the yelling and laughter coming through the walls. (11.30.13)

The subject of emptiness has come up a lot over the holiday weekend, in visiting with my son about the frantic materialism of our culture, and reading the thoughtful words of friends in relation to desire and loss, and of my own efforts to try and find something to fill the void, to just slowing down and occasionally feeling it, the shared empty space that is our true nature, and the comfort and expansiveness it holds, a refuge. (12.01.13)

Have been relishing the solitude that a long iced in weekend brings: hot chocolate, good music, leisurely yoga and long walks in the cold. (12.09.13)

It's fascinating the way that memories become compressed, as time passes, pushing them deeper into the unconscious, and how they emerge again as dreams, remixed into a jumbled body of larger, and seemingly collective experiences. Rivers flow to the sea. (12.12.13)

A magical red glow blankets the landscape of Little Forest Hills as I drive in from work this evening. Even at midday, it is like dusk, and the nights are brightly lit by the stars and moon. The light dies gloriously and is reborn this time each year. (12.19.13)

I really love all the nonverbal ways that people communicate: the angle and timing of eyes looking, the how and where of a touch, either direct or tangential, the proximity and angle of bodies in close conversation, the giving and receiving of a hug or kiss, all of these ways which speak more eloquently than words. (12.21.13)

Late night post-party Oak Cliff streets. The silence and glowing lights such a contrast to the scene inside, dense groups, drinks in hand, conversations reverberating around the bright space, and all the great stories, something about the short days and long nights of the solstice brings everyone together like this. (12.20.13)

Ecstatic danced through this dark winter solstice evening, all of us hand in hand, cutting crazy, joyous circles around the dance floor and into the night. (12.22.13)

Stretching out my aching muscles this morning from last night's ecstatic dance session. Left it all on the dance floor, realizing midway through that this body, this vehicle is meant to be pushed and explored. Being in a body, I should move that body, i.e. "shake your bootie" to the cosmos, Randall. (12.22.13)

On the road with Noah, coal trains and penitentiaries, casinos and calm lakes, turning east as the sun sets on the interstate, across two states to see mom and dad. (12.27.13)

Lying down in the backyard at my childhood home, looking up at the night sky, stars bright above. Sketching the patterns in my journal, Noah helped me to find them using Google Sky. Jupiter the brightest, then Orion's Belt, and faintest of all, Alcyone. (12.27.13)

(Secret #1) Step outside into the darkness, breathe the cold air in deeply, crouching down low and leap up toward the sky, reaching as though to touch the stars, even though your feet have barely left the ground. As you do this, think of them as your friends, twinkling in the night sky. (12.30.13)

In the coming year, I will continue to seek out and engage what inspires me, creativity in all its forms: art making, music, performance, dance, yoga, meditation, dreams, touch, nature, travel, and the connection that comes from sharing that with friends and loved ones, walking the convergence of two paths, the creative fearlessness of the Vajrayana "thunderbolt" and open heart bodhisattva nature of the Mahayana. (12.31.13)

This New Year's feels like a pause from the revelry of the last few years: partying all night in Mexico City, a Santa Fe dj gig, a Meow Wolf dance party w/dayglo paint, a midnight boat ride serenade with fireworks, an Austin ferry boat to a secluded island campfire sing along, and mostly joyous, carefree dancing. So tonight I'm going to take a walk in the brisk air, look for stars in the night sky, enjoy the secondhand live music echoing through the neighborhood, pop open a kombucha, and kick it live with all of you beautiful people. (12.31.13)

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