"If a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don't think 'oh, I love this picture because it's universal.' 'I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.' That's not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It's a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes, you. An individual heart-shock. Your dream, Welty's dream, Vermeer's dream. You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum gift shop sees something else entire, and that's not even to mention the people separated from us by time -- four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we're gone -- it'll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it'll never strike in any deep way at all but -- a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular. Yours, yours. I was painted for you."
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
Well. So. Here is a small sampling of what I've been up to lately.
Teacher training is SO GREAT. It has honestly exceeded my expectations in every possible aspect, and in many ways it has been a much needed wake up call for me. A few months ago, I came across a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that basically says, "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking that it is stupid." I've spent a lot of time lately trying to climb trees and beating myself up, and within three days at YTT I felt like someone had picked me up and thrown me back into the water.
The week kicked off with a three-day Philosophy intensive with Dr. Douglas Brooks centered around the Mahabharata, one of the two famous epic poems (the other being the Ramayana) from which a lot of yoga mythology originates. The Mahabharata is kind of a crazy text and not necessarily all that accessible. It has six false starts and is fairly non-linear, and there are about one billion characters many of whom have similar names. The central story is a feud between families with a complicated history of betrayal and intrigue, culminating in a massive battle. So in a way it's sort of like a very old Indian version of Game of Thrones. Actually there are a LOT of similarities between the Mahabharata worldview and the Game of Thrones worldview - I was taking notes the entire time and if I ever get it together I will write a massive post on Mahabharata/GoT parallels. In an ideal world.
Anyway... moving on from Game of Thrones for the moment, the lesson that stuck with me the most from Douglas' lectures, and one of the key lessons of the Mahabharata is that we are always in crisis. If you're like me, you spend a lot of time telling yourself you'll do something you really want to do "when everything settles down..." or "maybe when my life is more stable." News flash. Things will never settle down. In the Mahabharata, the moment you think things are settling down is the moment it all goes to hell in a handbasket. But in a way, I think that's kind of freeing - we can stop trying to achieve total stability and holding that up as some sort of ideal standard because that standard just doesn't exist. Something is always moving...something is always changing and we have to readjust.
There are characters in the Mahabharata who try to detach themselves from the craziness of the world - monks, swamis, who retreat in order to achieve stillness and stability rather than engaging in the chaos that is the world we live in. But in the text, these characters are never successful, and usually everything blows up in their face eventually.
So I think the lessons are:
1) The world is chaotic, therefore life is chaotic. Don't expect it to be anything else, and we need to learn how to engage skillfully with the chaos rather than running away from it. That's what yoga is for - our practice helps us build the tools we need in order to live skillfully in the world.
2) Don't say no to opportunities because you are waiting for things to "settle down." Things will never settle down, so say yes and then just figure it out.
3) The world is a crazy place - but maybe our work is to try to leave it a little better than we found it.
|MN Contingent at YogaMaze - Philosophy Intensive|
Becka, Jen, Me, Billy, Shannon
|Awesome lecture times (me with my laptop, taking notes like the giant nerd that I am)|
|TT - writing pose scripts|
We also have homework every week - so each week we are given a pose to research, write and record a script for, and we also photograph ourselves in the pose, compare our pose to BKS Iyengar's pose in Light on Yoga (always an exercise in humility), and then identify what needs to be improved and which other poses to practice in order to improve in those areas. Below are some delightful photos Ben took of me in our backyard, in 2 of the 3 stages of Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)... so now all of our neighbors probably think I am really weird. So that's fun.
|Vira 1 - stage 1|
|Vira 1 - stage 2|
Also, our lovely little yoga studio moved. I say 'our' when it's not really mine - but it's the primary studio I practice at and it's where I did my immersion three years ago, so it's come to feel like a second home. We just moved down the street, but it was still tough saying goodbye to the old space. Thankfully we were able to send it off with a great party, food, and friends.
|A goodbye party filled with laughter and play - just as it should be|
|Saying hello to our new home :)|
Other things we did... attended a fabulous MN Orchestra concert at the new U of M concert hall - only snafu was that the seats they sold us did not actually exist. Just one of the wrinkles to iron out with the new hall, and we made it work with chairs and a makeshift 'row' so it all worked out in the end and the concert was gorgeous. Afterwards we met my friend Alex (who is a violinist in the orchestra), her husband Karl and Alex's family for dinner.
And here's a selfie of me and my sister because why not.
Happy Monday :)