The not-so-subtle art of being a New Yorker.

There’s a not-so-subtle art about being a New Yorker. Much like a Jackson Pollock piece–every movement defines a very strong emotion; deep urge; challenged spirit; unseen possibility; thickness of character; blurred intent; desperate hope; and a thinning line of innocence–hard to understand until you really see it up close.

It may take someone smarter than you, perhaps a fellow New Yorker, to point out that Pollock is to be felt and not explained. Suspicious, as any good NY transplant will become, you walk up close to see the intense imperfections for yourself. Pictures and postcards–the second-hand accounts–do not capture the beautiful chaos of One: Number 31, 1950. Standing in the MoMa PS1, you understand Pollock’s masterpiece, and like the city that brought it to you, the allover approach is now all over you.

A closer look at this work reveals some of the decisions made in the act of painting: the selection of colors; the use of contrasting matte and glossy paints; if the lines would be thick or thin, fast or slow; whether to wait for the paint to dry or to work wet-on-wet, so that different paints bleed and pool; and a host of others. Only when the painting was completed did Pollock determine where the edges should be. In One: Number 31, 1950, Pollock left a breathing space bordering all four sides of the field of paint. However, in other paintings, the lines and spatters continue beyond the edges.–MoMa

After an unspecified amount of time has passed, you walk away with a Pollock-thick inspired aesthetic that you carry with you wherever you go–this is the art of being a New Yorker.

I can’t quite say that I understand Mark Rothko, so maybe I’ll bump into a Los Angeles transplant at the MOCA who will open my eyes to the brilliance of color.

New York, I will miss you.

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The Passengers of Life.

At the end of 2010, I vowed that 2011 would be about others, and it certainly has.  This year was full of sting and complex evolution, but mostly it was full of re-connective charge that can only be found in those people left at the crossroads of life.  It makes sense to revisit those push pins in the where-I’ve-been map of life once one finds themselves yet again pinned at a crossroad; how did I get here and where am I going?

While visiting the roadside attractions of my past, I was not without forward movement and formed karmic connections pushing me toward my own dharma path.  Circumstances created by the aforementioned people–who stretched me in directions in which I could have never predicted my own  flexibility–that shaped my human condition.

The reflection of the past year’s floundering , life signs, people, and identity, formed an overarching theme for the upcoming year: 2012 will be devoted to breaking Samsara–the wheel of suffering.

To do this, I look to attain the below:

  • Be fully present.
  • Bond in joy with people versus bonding in misery, pain, and helplessness.
  • Cease activities of disowning myself.
  • Redirect negative thinking.
  • Possess a sense of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Do not attach identity to success or failure.
  • Have the ability to give/receive support from family and friends.
  • Approach life with more fluidity, grace, and peace of mind.

This stems from what someone told me during one of my journeys in life, “It’s your life, I’m just passing through.”


Disappointments That Push Rejection’s Plow.

” I think all great innovations are built on rejections.”  – Louis Ferdinand Celine

There has always existed within me a severe disappointment that fertilizes all which grows with rejection.  It will likely never flourish, but who the hell would choose to plant their seeds in a shadow of doubt?  Exactly, no one.  Within the drought is where the hardened soul gains perspective on expectations and picks up a plow to cultivate the soil, sow some seeds, and replant.   It’s in the awaiting of harvest that you realize it could go either way…fruitful or depression.  So now that you’ve done all that’s within your power, stop wasting time and energy in something that doesn’t want to grow.

I read a blog post the other day that really put rejection into perspective.  The author states that rejection is a sign that something doesn’t fit.  The example used: “Say you’re shopping for shoes. You fall in love with a stunning pair of boots. You try them on, and the toes pinch a bit. But they’re so achingly beautiful, and surely, you think, the glove-leather will stretch.So you buy them. And every time you wear them you find yourself crippled in less than an hour. When your shoes don’t fit, it hurts. But it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It means that they don’t fit.”  (READ BLOG POST)

If you think about it, life is a series of disappointments and rejections that direct you to the center of who you are.  That is if you have a fairly decent navigational system, which I hope you do.  But, when you flourish throw disappointment and rejection back to the wind, change direction, and just know you’ll more than likely meet with expectation along the path.

Songs for the reason, season, and lifetime.

People come through my mind, like songs on shuffle, and the majority of the time I keep forwarding to the next one. But, then there’s that one moment when the song shuffles back through and you actually listen. Random? Intentional?

REASON:

I really never listened to this song before, but I really like it. Too bad I only have a digital copy and sold the physical copy back to the world. Like that quasi friend that wanted to dig deeper into your collection, but you were always too busy chasing hit songs to really connect with the archives. I guess I missed my chance back then to discover a really great song.

I used to act like I liked this song, but the truth is I never really got what other people heard in it. It was too loud to ignore, that is for sure, but there was always that dissonance that I cowered to. This need to be met that only that song could give me, but one I should have just skipped. I guess those people were really just noise and never should have made it into my life longer than the introduction.

The greatest discovery ever -I thought at the time – were the songs that struck an intense chord that I listened to over-and-over until I wore that record out. The whisper of the needle overpowered the music within the grooves, and then out of nowhere there was no more sound. I loved that record, and if I had to do a Top Ten List it would make it on there, no doubt. However, you can’t sit around listening to broken records so put it back in the sleeve, under the record player shelf, it served it purpose. I guess those people hold intensities in a humdrum life.

SEASON:

I was first introduced to Pete Yorn’s “musicforthemorningafter” in my first years in New York City. That album caused an uproar in creativity, a relaxation with self, a new skin, a closer existence. I can’t tell you how many pauses in life I’ve had that had me reach for that album, pop it into any musical output (albums like that you never want to forget so you get the vinyl, CD, and digital album. You might buy every single album by Pete Yorn that you don’t like just to pay homage to that one that changed your life), and reconnect. I’ll always pull that album out at various points in life even though it’s really only about that one particular time. I guess someone could bring you sunshine in the winter and snowflakes in the summer; a magical change of season.

LIFETIME:

There’s really too much music. It comes in waves, and I don’t necessarily like it all the time. A few songs seeps through, a few are force-fed, a few get me to sing, but I wonder if they all mean something to someone at some point?

What if everyone got what they wanted?

I think about this question and wonder; would the world be a mess or better off?

There have been times in my life where it would have saved a lot of heartache and suffering, but would I have learned as much?  More learning happens from failure than success, which leads me to believe that the deprivation of character enrichment would be devastating to the world.  Can you imagine the vanity of never failing?

There were also times in my life where my decisions were poor and my weak being unable to handle large doses of power, so getting what I wanted would have been land mines disguised as a door prizes.  The destruction alone would have killed me, eventually.

However, fools achieve the dreams of the deserving while the deserving suffer through the life of a fool.  The overall difference between the two lie in the direction of those dreams; the fool climbs to the fall while the deserving climbs to rise.

“You see this is a very well-balanced place in which you live.  There is some of everything here, in enough proportion, abundance, and difference, to give you all of the ingredients for the vast and marvelous “kitchen” that you have come to participate in.”  –The Law of Attraction

 

Optimist or Pessimist? Take it to the cloud.

Just yesterday I was thinking about optimism, pessimism, and the in-between. I wondered what I might tell a gymnasium full of high school graduates about life, and the slogan, “Enough is Possible” chanted in my mind. It was a slogan that was visually displayed in the window of an art gallery I passed by every day to and from work. Yesterday, the painting was gone. The entire windowed space was whitewashed, and I never found out the artist.

Optimism, the notion that anything is achievable. It is, truly, but if you spend enough time with an optimist you find they aren’t as grounded in the fundamental concept of reality. They visit failure, but bounce back up off that trampoline aiming for the sky; never stuck in the mud with realists for very long. Over-achievers viewing life through rose-colored glasses hoping you too see the sunlight.

Pessimist, the curmudgeons of life. Afraid of disappointment, this person doesn’t feel inclined to live among the clouds. After all, clouds are nothing more than condensation and you can’t very well stand on one without falling through, so what’s the point in trying? They’re right, but mostly miserable because deep down they want the optimist’s trampoline.

I live in the middle space where “Enough is Possible.” It’s nice watching clouds change shape in the sky from where I stand.

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Cross Post #5

Practicing Life: A Contemplation on Anxiety and Appreciation

Life is practice. Even with all the travel we take on and complete, there is no true destination. Everything we want to get better, to heal, we need to constantly work at. And sometimes, we’ll feel as if we’ve slipped backwards for no particular reason, just because that’s life. But there’s always some purpose, hidden as it may be, and we’re always moving forward. (Read More)

To have succeeded in life…

Dear Jeffrey, 3 days until you’re 28…

I’ve learned that choices define you and (in more ways than even I can understand) others are contingent upon who I am to define parts of them.  Like you, Jeffrey, the choices you made while you were walking this earth presented choices that may not have been presented to me otherwise.  Some choices are poor and you can never take back, but at least they’re yours.  Though, a choice that takes away the choice of another is – in a lot of ways – a mortal sin that destroys the grace of not just the one left without choice but all those contingent upon. This becomes a domino effect of freewill genocide.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and sometimes I knew good-and-well I was making them (I file these under the ‘mistakes I knew I was making’). However, today my soul rings of the voices and experiences in my life that moved me…changed me in one way or another…leading me closer to my truth.  I’m no longer in a goose hunt for truth searching frantically for instant gratification at the expense of others.  Truth journeyed into my heart.  It’s within me already and so many others contribute to it.  In so long as I am honest with myself, I’m honest with the world and putting forth energy that builds meaning.  I admire you, Jeffrey.  The energy you put forth into the world had such unequivocal grace, and that choice defines me and has become my only weapon.

Eternally grateful,

Sissy

Dear Jeffrey, 10 days until you’re 28….

I remember you,

Though I age my lines get deeper and defined,

While yours go unchanged and more soft-focused with time,

All the heaviness fades to lightness as I grow into being,

A fantasy life, I imagine, who you could be,

I remember you,

Surfing through people with attention and ease,

Looking for neglectful and clumsy me,

Your spirit was so free,

Mine locked down by judgmental, grudge-filled, heady thinking,

I remember you,

Exuding happiness into everything,

Most of which I inevitably drained,

A smile in the world you left behind,

Beamed life into my soul,

What you already knew,

I’m still finding out,

I remember you,

You taught me what life was about.

-Your sister (Friday, the 13th of August in 2010)

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