Life’s parts

I looked up tonight and saw the moon

had made her appearance in the dusky sky,

For a moment I was stunned

and snapped her picture on my phone,

and soon the rain began to patter,

lightly in the garden

you could hear it on the barn

as though an angel had told the passing cloud,

now’s a good time,

so the little rhythm carried on

like a gentle note of its part in life

until it passed through and I knew,

that was life’s sweeter part.

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Thoughts on how to make… find… create… meaning out of life and our relationship to art

I love moments of exhilaration. At how fast the driver goes around the bend… at the crazy swerving… at the fact that I’m in the front seat and I don’t actually have a seatbelt on and nobody is going to give a damn about it. Realising, coming close to a brush with death, that I could die but I was alive… made me laugh. I’m often… entirely way too serious. 

I chose to be here… experiencing all the messiness of life. To love the forces of nature… beauty in all its forms… beauty for the sake of beauty, beauty in the uncommon… in the passage of time… in the taboo, in patience and persistence… in simplicity and in complexity… in Pachamama’s fierce creations… and in her fragile ones, in the unfurling of the larger picture… in the themes of our lives… and in the minutia of my day… I’ve learned, this is where life mostly is. And still, how I feel about something, now and today… can change over the course of a lifetime. That something I believed and expressed a few years ago… may no longer stand today. That how you show up every day is how you live your life. When you need to change it up, shake things out, let the old things die, trust that rebirth is always on the other side. 

Maybe, when we engage with art (loosely defined as any creative practice but I will lean on the traditional definition here) we do so because it offers us mediums that take us to the heart of the matter. And it will be subjective. Everyone’s experience of life and each other… is subjective. So when we say… art offers us a glimmer, a reflection of life… are we really just asking… what’s here? Perhaps sometimes we are also asking… where am I going… what will I discover? Or perhaps these are simply variations of… what’s here. 

Maybe I’m simply thinking that I love it when art shows me or invites me to experience something new or raw… not necessarily original… but a perspective and a feeling that opens my eyes and my mind… a perspective that causes me to see the beauty of the ordinary, mundane world, yet thereafter has completely altered my everyday experience in some way that I will be able find beauty in this world by choosing to see it… or a perspective that causes me to recoil in disgust… is that good art? Yes. Even if I have subjectively made an opinion of the art… based on my reaction… the artist has fulfilled the purpose of their work. 

To wonder at the beauty of someone’s mind… to see beauty through their eyes, without the need to alter my life in any way… is art I want to see. To question what I take for granted and my paradigms… however uncomfortable I feel… is still art I want to see. To be able to shift my experience of seeing the ordinary… is art I want to see.

In that sense… what alters me… may not alter you. What is great for me… may not seem great to you. What was great to me at 20, may not seem great to me at 30, vice versa and so on. I deeply appreciate this truth about art. It’s shamelessly subjective and it knows. We know. Every time we experience art we don’t know what our reaction or our response will be. We don’t know the answer… and there is no right answer. I only know what I want to experience… yet really I cannot say, at all, what that will look like. Given that I cannot know if I will want to experience the same things in decade… art has no anchoring in the objective for me. What is popular/acceptable is this: enough people in agreement… on the work itself and on the parameters that judge the work. Popularity has immense commercial usefulness but it does not automatically give the subject of popular agreement, a correlational identity with truth. What matters… can take a while to find… discover or realise. (Aside: In a culture that idolises youth, if we were to question the values that created the commercial industry of that culture to begin with, what would we discover?) 

What was mundane and ordinary… can become extraordinary given the passage of time and the thresholds we cross in life. Truth can still be relative. I’m certain… not because the art or the scene has changed… but because we’ve bloomed with understanding. Because life inevitably expands our perspective. 

Whether art is subversive, reactionary, off the wall or in service to commerce or a purpose like advertising, it remains, a reflection of the artist’s relationship with their world, what they see and what percolates within them. Art is the medium that reveals life through a multitude of lenses and life is reflected in the meaning we make out of it. 

Sand

A touch of Mercury

invite every iteration 

of this fiendishly capricious,

but really,

sorely misunderstood god[dess] –

you may know them

going by the name of 

M.

with the coins flipping through her fingers 

and eyes sparkling with gold…

lady luck, 

with the lovely scent of fortune trailing in her wake –

over for tea. 

Mammon

From Etymology online, the earliest meaning of the word Mammon:

personification of riches and worldliness, mid-14c., from Late Latin mammona, from Ecclesiastical Greek mamōnas, from Aramaic mamona, mamon “riches, gain;” a word left untranslated in Greek New Testament (Matthew vi.24, Luke xvi.9-13), retained in the Vulgate, and regarded mistakenly by medieval Christians as the name of a demon who leads men to covetousness.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/mammon

I took the creative liberty of re-casting Mammon as the feminine and mischievous personification of wealth, with a touch of Mercury…

the messenger god of commerce, travel, trickery, wealth pertaining to luck, communication and wilyness with words… belonging to the Roman pantheon. He reminds me a little of Loki from Norse mythology… but only as far as the trickery goes.

Sand

Paradigm shift

What a paradigm shift feels like – when the past doesn’t determine the present. When the present doesn’t determine the future. When the present is what it is… but the perspective shifts drastically. When you allow yourself to step off the tracks someone else put you on and you thought you had to stay there… going in that direction. When you allow yourself to allow the next thought… to be a complete shift, from the previous one. When you allow yourself… to throw a chink in the linear conception of reality… in the linear mode of thinking. Is what a paradigm shift feels like. 

Sand

Goal?

What is my goal here? Who am I writing for? Why am I sharing?

To be honest, I don’t know. There are differing impulses. I like this quote,

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

Joan Didion

A part of me simply likes the process of watching words form. To write the insights that come, all the whimsy, the moody and the existential. It’s like a cherry. It’s the cherry for me. I’m obsessional. Actually. The more I observe myself, the more I realise this. All suffering and insecurity is created from attachment. It’s very Buddhist. And intellectual.

And I felt that today.

I wrote it down.

And I wondered… that’s new. Even though the words hadn’t changed. They were changed for me. I let go.

Like triggers being beautiful because they’re an opportunity to work on what’s coming up.

It’s easy to say that and think they make total sense. And in the middle of the triggers… I’m gone. You know? Like… this spiral has a hold of you and you’re just on the ride.

Like someone saying, you are not your thoughts or your beliefs. Observe them.

It makes total sense. And then in the middle of being hijacked by a rogue thought or sabotaging belief… you’re totally on the rollercoaster.

I’ve been there so many times and didn’t even realise I was on the ride. Like having a dream and not realising you’re dreaming unless you’re a lucid dreamer.

Sometimes the thoughts overlap each other before they have time to fade into the echos of my mind. A bunch of synapses firing.

And me.

Taking the neural pathways with the deepest grooves. Until I realise I can choose my thoughts.

Why don’t you try loving the parts of yourself that you’re repressing? Love the chaos and the darkness. Love the ferocious. Love the parts of you that are self-sabotaging and negative. Love all those parts. Especially, love your messiness, your judgements, your destructiveness. Love her. Love her wild. Love yourself wild… Love with your entire being

and hold nothing back.

You are the one living this life. You are the one in this drama called life, playing the roles you’re playing.

You get it?

I understand the intellectual realm that a thought exists in… before I understand it on the emotional, in my body.

That’s where the change happens.

Here’s a poem that emerged from a totally different poem:

over there in the temple of flowers,

the leaves whip by in the wind

and soar into the tipped outline of feathered wings

they do this every day,

somewhat cheekily as they tickle by your ears

and ask,

are you my tree?

Ideas looking for a home

Some time later as I come back to it… I’m like oh.

It’s not that the curtains are a melancholic blue because the person is depressed and meticulously picked the blue curtains to symbolise that. Although, there is something moody and poetic about it, the poetics are better when actively cultivating communication with the unconscious. It’s that the unconscious communicates its desires, anyway.

It’s that depression is asking for attention. For your love. To see, why you are being choked softly to death whilst living and breathing in this body of yours.

It’s that depression gets your attention. Sadly, we don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to make it ‘go away’. We don’t know how to open the lid to the can of worms, enter the labyrinth… what metaphor have you… eat from the apple tree of Eden. Does that one even work? Maybe we need to re-claim our birthright to knowledge. That suffering is part of the human condition. That we’ll all experience suffering if we’re human, even if we’re not – animals feel pain too – that suffering can be experienced by every living creature.

Do animals instinctively live in the present? The what is? The now? Maybe they have something to teach us.

If we were flying with the geese on their migratory journey, we’d be in awe, at their intelligence. So much that it gives me goosebumps, at how their compassion for each other is intrinsically wired into their intelligence. On another level, I can take it out of this realm of feeling… channel a little Darwinism and suggest, that is how they survive. Evolutionarily speaking, this is required for their survival.

But with the former perspective, maybe we’d be humbled. With the latter, we have not questioned our dominance over the Earth and the natural world.

With the former maybe we’d be more curious about what education is and what it teaches. Maybe we’d be more curious on learning how to accept every single emotion and thought that arises in our being without insisting on the right or wrongness of any of them. Maybe we’d have a level of respect and awe for this world and every creature in it… on a deeper life and death level.

The paradigm would shift.

In reference to the previous post I made, Why I don’t have a god, I would have to add, god is not outside of ourselves and neither is satan.

Sand

Falling in love with life

Fall in love with the process, with the art of work itself… because, it is that which makes life meaningful and substantial. That was not what I was told or expected to do. But I think there is more truth there… on the road to self-actualisation, happiness and joy, than conventional wisdom. 

xx

Sand

Why I don’t have a god

I love following thoughts down their rabbit holes. 

When I was about 7 or so, someone gave me a book of christian bible stories. Over the months and years, I’d keep returning to them. Eventually I wondered, from these stories given to children, why this god was so cruel. Why this god would part the sea for one group of people… and drown another. Why this god lacked compassion for humanity… even if humanity was unkind. Why this god punished Moses after years of devotion. Why this god played cruel games of life and death just to see if humans were devoted enough to him. Not quite that articulate, but the general gist was there. 

By the time I was a teen, most of my peers were distinct atheists which I hopped on board with, easily, and left my childhood deep in the spiritual closet. Now I think the age of enlightenment and science in the 18th century… was necessary in pushing back against religion… in particular, when I refer to religion, I’m mostly thinking of the church with its dogmatic worldview, where god is an omnipotent presence that is fair, yet cruel. That the abrahamic religions teach obedience to a power outside of ourselves under threat of death or retribution. Not so much the latter anymore, unless you wanted to listen to someone preach about damnation in hell. 

Science too, is a worldview. An empirical one, mostly. In the learning of it, I learned it was better to think, than to feel. Not that there is anything wrong with thinking. But there is so much to be gained, by dropping into the heart, by connecting the mind with the heart. At some point, science and religion felt ironically similar to me – that they could both be dogmatic about what the truth was. 

But they are both worldviews. Every domain offers its worldviews. Psychology might be my favourite because of the way it straddles the known and the unknown. In other words, it seems to be firmly rooted in what is valuable today… but it looks for answers that we can’t easily see and measure. 

We all have a shadow. That’s Jung’s idea. And to believe religiously in an identity… any identity, would suggest an unexamined shadow because we repress that which threatens the identity we’ve inherited and constructed. 

The ancient greeks and romans knew that their deities were archetypes that existed within themselves. That’s Jung as well.

So where is god’s wife? Where is god’s counterpart? And is she… a goddess in her own right… or is she only god’s wife? Where is the feminine? Where is the archetypal symbolism for the feminine? What about the other faces of god? 

When I began engaging with spirituality, taking it out of the closet because life had dealt me a traumatic experience, I would feel uncomfortable, taking it on as an identity and distinctly repelling of the notion of god. Not unusual. What I could accept, however, was replacing god with the notion of the Universe, because unlike this concrete yet abstract concept of a man in white robes sitting in the clouds, the universe was fathomable in its immensity and its mystery. 

And so I realised, if I’m spiritual, if I came from stardust, romantically speaking, if reincarnation and any wild concept that I engage with, is true on some level, then so is everyone else’s reality, and that being the case… is there a difference between a spiritual reality and a non-spiritual reality… except for the way we see it? We’re in the same soup, the same milky way, the same universe, the same planet. And what I know will always be surpassed by what I don’t know, except that I’m human and I’m totally flawed. 

There are genuinely, so many paths to walk and no right or wrong way because all of them lead to self-discovery, some paths more feminine than others. Feminine… in the energetics. I’m uncomfortable with god with a capital G because it’s not a path. 

There are, have been, persecution and wars, that are fought in the name of this god. Generations of women have died, in the name of this god. Anyone, once of a different opinion, have died in the name of this god. 

Why do we still hold him up on a pedestal?

Not really a question… but rather, why do we naively continue to perpetuate this god? I used to feel mild about this… but the more I understand about history, the stronger I feel about it. And even so, I understand the why. When people turn away from the church, they are turning away from the dogma but what’s left is disillusion. 

I will acknowledge the masculine deities that exist, otherwise known as archetypes in psychology and even more so, I will acknowledge the feminine. 

I will go where there is a focus on self-discovery, on finding the answers within, on understanding or accepting ourselves as we are, on opening the mind and the heart… on honouring the feminine as equally powerful, and in a vastly different capacity. 

And so, I don’t have a god. 

xx

Sand