Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sparks will fly #2 #NewYork

Here are four sparks from the week. Sparks that have ignited my soul and warmed me in the cool of winter in North America.  Sparks releasing energy to give light and shade. Sparks offering promise and revealing potential. Sparks from the soles of the shoes of this pilgrim that has taken me across the world and home again safely thanks to the generosity of a few and kindness of many along the way.

Spark 1

Simmering thoughts bubbling up in anger sooner or later turn into sparks of inspiration and seem through their friction to open up new possibilities when allowing those sparks to transform and expand their energy. Holding on to the fuse and not letting the energy find its way out can be a source of constriction, pain or at a minimum exasperation.  Wandering around some of the world’s greatest art spaces these past two weeks I was particularly struck by the power of anger as creative energy to get thoughts expressed and forced out through tear ducts, paint brushes and stone.  Solid objects chiselled and honed into beauty through disappointment, fear or aching neglect and words spilling out onto stages where the receptacles of open hearts and minds took the offering to deeper levels as we internalised meaning and applied to our lives. I have been reflecting about what it might look like in my practice and my work to leave nothing left unsaid and bring every single cell of my being into view for public display. The creative soul expressed is vulnerability writ large and empathy unplugged.

Spark 2

Sparks of light creating the in-between spaces and the shadows as well – there are always shadows – to fully accept what is being revealed is to also recognise the shadow created. I have recently been introduced to the contemplative practice of miksang. The Tibetan word means ‘good eye’ and is about the eye being synchronised with the contemplative mind through photography.  It seems to be about seeing as is, empty and free of interpretation. It is based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chogyam Trungpa.  I have not taken a course or read much about it, I have a friend who is a practitioner and I have taken some offerings and suggestions from her as well as witnessed her practice which I have found invitational. I added my immature and beginning steps into miksang with a kind of walking meditation, wandering where my feet took me without a specific destination in mind and tried not to have too many plans to take a right or a left.  It has been refreshing to see as is and to notice what is given and to receive the what is without interpretation, to feel into the seeing. It has led to multiple ways of seeing what is before me, both in real time and in reflection and then again when reviewing photos seeing again with new insights, shadows, patterns, hidden messages in reflected glass, surprising shapes and camouflaged insights revealed more fully a few days later.

Spark 3

Outside of the window I called home for two weeks Lady Liberty was pointing her torch to guide the way as ships came in and out of the river basin into the Atlantic. The Iroquois called it, the Muhhekuntuk, the river that flows both ways, because near the Atlantic it flows north and where it begins in Lake Tear of the Clouds it flows south.  Every day the elements re-arranged themselves around the skyline punctuated by skyscrapers to reveal plenty of light and shade and to offer nuanced ways of seeing the landscape. The sun sometimes casting a beam in between buildings to light up a dark wind tunnel alley way to give some warmth, the clouds closing over to being a mood setting to the scene on a dock worthy of a dramatic New York method acting stage, the twinkling lights acting as a join the dot game for young lovers to play as they set a course for their future.

Spark 4

Being in the USA and soaking up the political climate as well was to recognise the sparks of change igniting a nation that is re-correcting itself post the mid-term elections. The politics of relevance is at play and democracy is in the light and in the shadows. As the extremes define the middle new voices are arriving. The rise of young women in Congress are thrilling for many and terrifying for a few. The reclamation of the gavel by a grandmother is giving comfort and confidence to many in the middle and the juxtaposition with the grandfather in the White House is another expression of the gender wars reverberating around the world. I am so encouraged and enthralled by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who The spark in her is a raging fire, not yet thirty she understands the urgency of this time and is not waiting in line, not waiting for her turn, who is arriving ready, with an agenda to take care of business.  Like the artists she is using her spark to create for us to see what might be hidden, to offer another way of seeing and understanding what might be in front of our eyes. There is discipline in this practice of democracy and she is not leaving anything in the locker room – all of her is being brought into view.

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2019: Sparks will fly #1 Joy cometh in the morning

The theme for 2019’s blog is Sparks will fly. I have set the scene briefly for the year here.

 

Where do you find the spark to keep the light going, the fire burning in your heart? When darkness descends how do you nurture and covet the light and keep it safe from a gust of unwelcome wind or even a gentle breeze? It is the hands who corral the flame from the elements. They gather around to protect keeping just enough oxygen around the flame to keep it alight and enough of a barrier to allow the flickering to continue.  The hands connected to the heart creating a mini hearth of potential.

The hearth so well known and respected as a place for sparks to be domiciled but not always tamed. Plenty of sparks fly when a combustible comment is thrown into the embers. That is what is happening in “the land of the free”. The new fresh faces and voices who have stormed into Congress this week aren’t waiting for their turn – they arrived to work, dance and disrupt. There is a heady mix of youth and age – all kinds of wisdom. From Nancy Pelosi in her late 70s to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not yet 30 – these women are role models for every age … and yes sparks will fly.

Congress a symbol of democracy for the so called free world is a gerrymandered house of representatives from communities where the popular vote doesn’t always work itself into the highest office (just ask Al Gore or Hilary Clinton). But this Congress is more representative than ever before and every time the camera pans the Dems side of the House you cannot look away.

Diversity is the theory and inclusion is the practice. Clearing space not just making space. And spaces will be cleared on hearts and heads and hearths and homes. Having a special treat of seeing To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway this week, it was hard not to once again be moved by the ongoing relevance of racism, innocence, a child’s view of the world and mob rule. Joy cometh in the morning, yet the morning is taking it’s time to arrive for some and for others is it dawning a new day they aren’t going to embrace easily.

Making a home for a place for sparks to fly may mean some acts of kindness from hands to hold the space for the flame to flicker and stay alight when darkness threatens as it inevitably will. Our hands may need to be ready to leave the sanctity of pockets and become agents of solidarity. The winds of change are blowing and as Cohen has prophetically sung Democracy is coming to the USA.  And as we head into our own season of elections in Australia I am looking forward to a more diverse and younger parliament to form.

We find ourselves captured by the culture of the USA in many ways, and so given that is where I am this week, I am invoking some of their spirit in the sparks to fly.

And so ….

Joy cometh in the morning, and as you start getting out of the kitchen to rattle your pots and pans, before you know it, you too might be dancin’ in the streets. May it be diamonds on the soles of your shoes flickering and sparkling as the sun rises.

 

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash