Monday, December 1, 2008

So.

Twenty days and twenty actions have passed.  

It kind of flew by.  

It was wonderful, and daunting, and inspired, and perhaps too much, but it was what it was, and we are now left with an end which is, of course, a beginning.  What do we do now?  The original plan for this dependent co-arising has come and gone, yet it isn't over, is it?

I believe we may (no promises) make this beginning into a book of sorts.  What do you think of that co-arisers?  What other ideas do you have?  How might we continue?  What did you like about this?  What didn't you like?

Ideas?  Opinions?  

And a huge heartfelt thanks to you all for lending yourselves and your voices to this!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Grass Was Green Tonight


I find it amusing that when I asked Cadence to lie down on the grass with me tonight outside her great-grandma's Catholic church, she didn't think it was a weird idea at all. She was worried about getting her dress dirty, but when she saw me lying flat on my back in my long black skirt, she didn't hesitate at all. She didn't stay down for long (she doesn't stay in any one spot for long), but I'm glad she did it nonetheless.

Looking up, with my head against the cool, soft, surprisingly still green grass, I saw the bare branches of the tree against the night sky, reaching up and across like so many veins and arteries. There was barely a breeze, which was probably why I didn't freeze.

Just goes to show that lying in the grass is not just for summer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Unintentional Fast

I have to admit that I had no intention of fasting today. However, caught up in the busyness of a bunch of not very important things, I ended up fasting from 6am to 2:30pm. This was far from a fast of mindfulness, and more a fast of pure laziness. At the end of the day, while driving downtown amongst the throngs of people finishing up shopping before the Thanksgiving "fast" of closed shops, I thought about how easily I get sucked into the frenzy or how I can afford to fast knowing that there will be food whenever I want it if I take the time.

Maybe someday I'll do an intentional, mindful fast. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the secret society of people who are up before dawn



today's moon is crescent and waning
like the pillsbury doughboy on a diet.
the sun can't rise without the moon
the sunrise was at 717 but the moon rose at 527
this is my dark side when i complain
about walking the dog in the cold dark
but it was 7 degrees in 1950 and what
am i really complaining about?
the day feels like the sun and moon
discs of an astrolabe switching places
to represent the passage of time
there is less and less light as we go on
until the shortest day of the year
which is when i will still
be walking to work at 5:30 am

Monday, November 24, 2008

All in green

I drew the triangle. Cadence drew the rest. If you ask her what it is, she'll look at you with pity and reply,"A triangle."

Exquisite Corpse


I started the top of the drawing, folded over all but the very bottom of my portion and passed the paper on, the next person drew connected to that last piece of mine, then folded theirs over except for the very bottom and passed it on... took it to work with me so it's by the beleza crew. 5 players this time.

Here's WIKIPEDIA's definition:
Exquisite corpse (also known as "exquisite cadaver" or "rotating corpse") is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled, the result being known as the exquisite corpse or cadavre exquis in French. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun") or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

i really

i really don't think this is a possibility
for me.

i

i can't even begin to
try.


not even now.




or now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10

10 images. One person.










Ten Times










record of items encountered in allegheny commons park

america

a litany of litter lines the grass by the sidewalk
i read somewhere at least we're winning the war
on the environment
and i guess this is reflective of that
but the light catches on the discarded
campbells soup pull tab lid
three business cards of one sgt joshua d garma
us army recruiter reminds me of the wars
we aren't winning (poverty, iraq)
the half page torn from an activity book
an alphabetic list of fairy tale terms
(cinderella to rip van winkle)
for the missing search
no prince is coming
the sun barely shines
but the trail of lottery receipts
is the american tenacity
for hope in spite of odds

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I did.
- lost & error-

she didn't hear it.
Today I found myself challenged in my endeavors to give everyone the benefit of the doubt; to be understanding of circumstances that I don't understand and haven't lived; and to not let negativity I cannot control get under my skin. I had a difficult morning and was a little beside myself anyway - I was running late and was a little disoriented; I took a route unfamiliar to me and almost got off on the wrong stop several times. When I got off at the correct spot, I exited the station from the wrong direction and took a minute to get my bearings. Also,  it was cold today and I hadn't dressed properly for it. Because of my lateness, I started walking quickly down the street. As I passed the McDonald's (perhaps the Dunkin' Donuts) a man exited quickly ahead of me and started screaming. Literally yelling at the top of his lungs in the direction of a blonde woman, who walked nervously ahead of him. I followed slowly behind, not wanting to catch his attention. When I had the chance, I crossed the street. The blonde woman turned a corner and someone told the yelling man to stop hassling her. Then he turned and saw me. He followed me for about a block, yelling at me; calling me a "devil white woman" and saying that I was a sex fiend, a necrophiliac, that my mother was a whore. Needless to say, having a complete stranger focus all of their anger and hatred solely at you is unsettling. People were beginning to notice and a woman offered to walk with me until I had gotten to my destination. She tried to make me feel a little more comfortable told me that she'd make sure he didn't do anything. A man who had been walking behind us stopped the yelling man and tried to talk him down, eventually getting him to stop shouting. What I really appreciated was that these two people got involved in a charged and somewhat frightening situation by trying to comfort and diffuse - not by starting a fight or yelling back. It made the experience almost OK; knowing that people won't hesitate to step in and help another person. I do hope that the yelling man finds some help (I assume that he needs it) and support. Today though I would like to compliment the strangers who helped me - I only got to say a sort of meek "thanks" before they walked away. What great people to be willing to get themselves involved in a very uncomfortable situation in order to help someone they don't even know. Something like this really encapsulates the experience of living in a big city - full of scary and unknown elements but still with a sense of community and love. 

A tribute to the "Log Lady"

NOVEMBER 19, 2008 - 4:00p-5:00p

4:00p sharp...
- listening to max richter's "blue notebooks" album... nice, wistful, contemplative later fall afternoon music...
- thinking about what this will teach me...
- chatting with my younger brother, telling him i have to go...

4:02p
- preparing things to bike up to albany park... spending the night at a friend's apartment to watch over cat and feed it...

4:08p
- while grabbing book to study for art history exam tomorrow, broke a glass bird that was given by my mom to sadie. fuck! very frustrated and annoyed that i was so clumsy. thought about how everything is essentially "breakable" ... calmed down and accepted my mistake.

4:11p
- still preparing things and figuring out whether i need certain items.

4:14
- max ricther turning into bum out session. changing to something more uplifting. decided against because the next track was happier.

4:15p
- thought about the idea of logging time and how that is interpreted. do i log every moment? i just used the bathroom for instance. is that necessary? decided yes.

4:16p
- stopping to think. stopping. closing eyes. listening to the music playing.

4:17p
- conscious breathing. stopping myself from analyzing; instead, i'll just do whatever seems intuitive.

4:18p
- decided against bringing my laptop. i can spend the evening eating food, reading, having conversation, and, perhaps, watching a movie. the rest of this log will be written.

4:21p
- took down dharma garden's phone number. excited to have some delicious vegan thai food tonight!

4:22p
- decided to wait a little while because there's no rush to get up to albany park. read email about how obama is committing to the climate talk negotiations happening in poland next month. exciting!

4:26p
- reading dharma garden menu - happened upon this: "Come to join us with lived music and Karaoke." - happy to see they have music that is lived rather than simply listened to. active participation. we're making progress.

4:31p
- feeling pretty great right now. still sitting. sitting still. paying attention to the way the reflection of the lamp looks on the surface of the table. reflection is a pretty incredible thing - both externally and internally.

4:34p
- time continues... read about a friend's adventures in europe. wished i could be in europe. thought about how great things are right here, though, and appreciated being mindful of one's location, rather than aspiring to be in one's non-location.

4:39p
- going to play a guitar for a little while...

4:50p
- finished playing guitar. resolved to leave at 5p to both finish the hour log project and to head up to albany park.

4:53p
- listened to song that i'm currently working on. trying to figure out in which direction to take it. also, thought about the fact that i'd really like to get a contact mic and see what i can do with it.

4:59p
- started reading interesting article about language and its essential use: that of communication. link: http://www.thehindu.com/mag/2008/11/16/stories/2008111650110400.htm

5:00p
- still reading. afterward, finally heading to albany park!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11:00-11:59 PM

more than an hour with little white seabass.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

take another look,

we have no way of knowing
if we see the same color
for blue
we have been conditioned
the sky is blue
the ocean is blue
so anything resembling these hues
is called blue
I don't know if I ever really loved
you might see green
for my blue

Another Look

Let's take more looks.  

Let's look again and again toward ever unfolding possibilities.  Let's 
never pretend we've figured things out forever.  

Let's 
let 
go.  

Let's let people be themselves, free of preconception or 
expectation.  Free from fear.  
Free toward fulness of body, mind, 
heart, 
and soul.  

Let's always look again. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jam Session

Me on drums, fiance Rado on accordion, just a small sample from our jam session

harmoไน๊ซ์

kiss talking

TRY THIS:

1. Find someone you can kiss.

2. Decide together something to say.

3. Say it simultaneously, lips touching.

4. Harmonize.

Happy Birthday harmony

This afternoon I had the pleasure of hosting my brother and Ben Solee for lunch. Ben is a cellist/folk musician on tour, and he is playing tonight in Chicago. My brother and I both remembered that it was my dad's birthday today and we all sang in harmony to my dad over the phone while Ben played the the old tune. Happy Birthday Dad!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

After a long talk.

Warm Tears.

3 Full Breaths.

lavender wand

I was discussing the purpose and beauty of my homemade lavender wand with Ryan and Jan (mostly magic and aromatherapy), and it soon became apparent that Jan should have this wand since she is always working so hard writing papers, reading, and being a really excellent student (and awesome!) She returned the gift with a 3 breath embrace. It's a pretty intense thing taking 3 breaths with someone, whatever their relationship to you...very spiritual. 
smells green      and pale blue.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

1. Shoes

2. Painting

A Sweet Offering

Di una galleta a un profesor de español quien tiene una motocicleta.

I gave a cookie to a spanish teacher who has a motorcycle.

Ys? Yes!

To give something away is a pretty open suggestion.  I hadn't been giving it too much thought until time began besting us in our afternoon/evening out on the town.  We'd been enjoying ourselves immensely, eating a lovely lunch, catching an incredible film, walking while sipping warm beverages, and the sun, trickster that it is, decided to settle in (So Early!) for the evening.

So:  Faced with the impending darkness of a night that has been making itself known earlier, and earlier, and altogether too early to make any sense whatsoever, we decided to quicken our steps in pursuit of something to give away.  

After about an hour in pursuit of the aforementioned something, I settled upon a record I have known, and liked, and loved, and lost:  Joanna Newsom's Ys.  This record is very good.  It is.  Indeed.  And I desired to give it away, to someone, a stranger, who had hopefully never heard of her, or her strangely titled album.  And so we walked about, crossed streets, stood in front of the new Uncle Dan's store in Evanston, and waited.

Moments later, Jen and Chris paid their parking meter and were approached by Jan and I, as innocently as possible, with a short explanation of what we've been doing here at dependent co-arising.  Jen had never heard of Joanna Newsom, so I offered her the album.  

It was a simple enough transaction, verging on the outrageous.  Such actions rarely, perhaps never, take place.  Positive confrontations with strangers who'd like to give you a gift?  No questions asked?  Preposterous!  Perhaps.  But also wonderful, and freeing, and lovely.  

I hope Jen and Chris had/have a good night.  I hope Jen enjoys the album, and if not, no problem.  The act, the experience, was valuable enough.  

If you, Jen or Chris, remember the web-address of this lil' blog, thank you for participating, for receiving a gift, and take care!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sculpture Rising

i had to do this one virtually...
video

A Berry Wonderful Walk!




Evanston, IL:  Walk two blocks, turn left.  Walk three blocks, turn right.  Create a sculpture, right in the middle of Northwestern University's campus, among the scavenging squirrels whose mouths and bellies are full of the delectable detritus forgotten by students and faculty alike.  

All of these berries, so common yet so unknown, scattered in the grass next to the sidewalk.  Some minutes spent scavenging squirrel-like, knees bent, fingernails collecting cold dirt.  And then kneeling, again, on the cement, placing each berry upon its surface, purposefully, for peace, for love, for the pleasant surprise it might hopefully be.

Hands red with cold.  An Americano, a White Chocolate Mocha, for warmth.  

Jan and I walking, the sky darkening, streetlights flickering.  

Hearts full of joy, love,

Peace and Possibility.

Night Walk

Walk two blocks (Albion, Arthur), turn left (on Arthur). Walk three blocks (Clark, Ashland, Bosworth), turn right (on Bosworth). Create a sculpture. A sculpture...I am a photographer, not a sculptor. What could I possibly create? Twigs and leaves and maple seeds are all I have to work with.


I don't get out much on my own. Tonight, in fact, I was planning on taking Cadence with me, my little dependent co-ariser, but she had a meltdown and had to stay home. I felt a twinge of guilt, leaving her in a crying heap in Ted's arms.

It's too bad, as that playground sure looked lonely without a kid on my way home. Maybe next time...
 _ _ _
I         ;
I     
      



'being with," unqualified

This, here, now;
you, me, everything;
change, oneness, emptiness;
and all conditioning too;
this, too, shall pass,
until we sense each others' awareness without the filter of conditions.

'being with' is my simple phrase for awareness presence as best as we are possible in this awakening process of dependent co-arising. All brilliantly wise masterful teachers (or the original buddha nature within all/each of us) help us to relinquish our clinging to the formal worldliness & become more deeply present with what is here and now. There is no other real moment of being, and I keep forgetting this fact. Caught up in the illusion of permanence, separateness, and meaning, I am not in control nor accepting of reality and trip into the habit of suffering. From this mentality, I am deluded, I struggle, I worry, I don't let go of my clingings. And, I sure am clinging to pain in body, suffering in mind, and exhaustion of spirit, all of which drain my energy because I am still tripping all over my desires in this life. I somehow have not fully learned dependent co-arising, even if I sorta "get it."

Nevertheless, I practice all the 'being with' in my found path of sufferings and glimpses of presence. Peaceful abiding, whenever possible.

How do you practice dependent co-arising, 'being with,' and/or conscious awareness?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chivos!


Goat Tacos!  Goose Island Bourbon County Stout!  Lychee Liqueur!  Woah!  We definitely indulged a bit in the eating/drinking of the unfamiliar!  And it was great!  

We ate around the table, taking breaks to lend our glitter glue pens, our colored pencils, and our markers to the blank piece of paper that we placed in the center of the table.  Slowly, gradually, colors and shapes began to form, began to converse, overlap, enter, and exit.  The drawing, the eating, the drinking:  all were reminders of the dependent co-arising that is the root of all life and all experience.

Thank you Jan, Michael, and Sara for sharing the evening with me, and thank you everyone, all of you, for giving these actions your daily attention!  


I should have loved you less......The foods of regret.

I seek no adventure. I seek the same pain I have always known. "Red" (with knife) was delicious. "Red" (in coffee cup with knife) was even better. "Grey" water—I remember our night (alone). My stomach is the dish I never wash. I prepare the food with a tongue donning a fluffy hat...speaking French without my consent. I never opened a can I didn't like. Sex Eyes.
Today's project happened for me in two parts:

For Lunch I was determined to go to the health food store and order the weirdest sounding thing on the menu, which for me was a: Royal Jelly, Wheat Germ Oil, Bee Pollen, Protein Powder, Pineapple and Raspberry Smoothie. It's aftertaste was kind of bread-like in a strange way, but delicious nevertheless.

and


For dinner, in the company of our dear friends Ryan and Jan we feasted on goat tacos from a local taqueria. I also tried the latest Goose Island bourbon stout (which I could barely finish) and followed that with lychee cocktails! Insanely good and even better when shared with such good company!

south side samples

i actually went hunting today for something unfamiliar, toiling over various options - where would i be willing to draw the line?

we decided a new ale would maybe be in order and, as hyde park is lavish in its liquor options we went to the local store. 

oddly we did not manage to find something new - rather, new and unfamiliar things were forced upon us! well, me. my seemingly impressionable, wide eyed self incurred the marketing power of several different brands of liquor. ironically, as if they were aware of my objectives, all the multitude of samples were unfamiliar to me - porter, sherry, energy vodka drinks. the salespeople were downright committed to getting me to try something unfamiliar. 

and today, i was committed to oblige.

i obliged four different samples, in fact, obliged the little plastic cups, the spirited pitches from the great variety of salespeople, the barrage of personal questions that tend to accompany these sorts of encounters. little did they know their energy was poorly spent in trying to get me to purchase, but richly spent in helping me to co-arise!

something in the deepest pitch.

something in the deepest pitch 

is rather

bitter                                             
and
foggy.


the last of me.
the drink of myself.

Brussels sprouts


The truth is I am very familiar with this delicious vegetable...BUT I grew these, and I have never eaten brussels for which I have toiled into the earth. I enjoyed each layer, the tiny spherical form, and the perfect saute'd crunch. I thought of the compost, the planting, weeding, bending, and watering that went into them. ...this must be the best way to enjoy a vegetable.

Putting the Billy On


I grew up in a town with one Chinese restaurant, and so when I grew up I tried any kind of food anywhere. Thus it was hard on short notice to think of somewhere to get something i hadn't yet tried. I once went to a bubble tea restaurant and ordered the thing on the menu i had no idea what it was (taro cake) and it was delicious. After a day that went steadily downhill, including a $93 parking ticket, I thought perhaps something simple was in order. I went to our stock of teas and found one I'd never tried. A tetley drawstring tea, flavored summer berry, a nostalgic flavor in this cold weather!

breathe

I tried to breathe away my headache and exhale a smile when I didnt feel like it last night. It was and unnatural feeling when I felt kind of yucky. I also made some chocolate pudding to help my state... I heard once that the way the muscles in our faces are constructed, it is more natural to smile than to frown...that it takes more concerted effort from our facial muscles to frown. Try it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Breathe...

Early afternoon at home and in bed with Cadence, listening to the soundtrack of countless naptimes and bedtimes. Big Star...Jeff Tweedy...Sam Beam...Rachel Goswell...And as is usually the case, even an hyperenergetic preschooler like Cadence is no match for the magically sleepy rhythm of Mojave 3's "Love Songs On the Radio." And now I listen to her breathe, so perfectly true to her name, in and out, in and out. And just for a moment, I join in. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.

Breathe in red fur; Smile

My Dependent Co-Arising quest moved to Ohio as I visited my family, including my two boys (dogs) Akira and Shiro.

Sensory Recall

When I put my face against my dog’s,

I smell dirt and grass and whatever he last rolled in.

When he kisses my lips, a coppery after-taste
remains as a reminder.

It is not so much that I like the pungent outdoor odor

or the sharp metallic taste

as that I love my dog

and those smells and that taste are associated with him,

so that some of the love for the being

is transferred onto the attributes.

Then, each smell, each taste, apart from the being,
is attached to a memory of a face pressed against mine—

It may hit me miles away.

A cool fall breeze reminding me of the scent
of my dog returning indoors from wrestling
with a pile of orange leaves.

This is what I felt when I drank Guinness after you—

in tasting what your mouth savored,

I tasted you.

When I drink Guinness,

it is because I want

to kiss you.

In your always present absence

it is my dog who kisses my face.

But just for a second, I imagine

there is a smell of spiced leather

and a taste

of Guinness.

in/out

breathe in.....
mornings that come too early
movies on the french revolution
lazy lunch hours
psychological disorders
afternoonnaps
intimate conversations
honest confrontations
warm hours
trappist ales
the feeling of being at home
with foreign entities, with old friends

breathe out, breathe out....
i can't help but smile.
Breathing in an empty room, counting to six, forgetting what to think about, zoning out, staring, zoning, zoning, peace.

Sweet Breath I Was Only Joking

My Lungs
Today, while eating lunch, I made a concerted effort to understand what it was I had before me. I thought of the land, the hands, the movement; I thought of everything that preceded the food before me. I considered its texture, the warmth, the nourishment. I breathed out... breathed in. It felt great.

before smile

before smile_

_ seeing a baby with a foreign heart. 

Breathe... Breathe... Breathe...


With today's onslaught of inclement weather.  With today's uprooting of the familiar, the comfortable, the secure.  With a heart both sure and unsure, relieved and hesitant.  With all of these factors fluctuating about in my head and heart and mind:  What a great reminder today's dependent co-arising was and is.  

Breathing in, I calm myself.  Breathing out, I smile.

To breathe as such is to fall into place with things as they are.  It fosters a gradual shift in focus away from our usual "I" as it imagines itself.  The "I" that believes itself alone in its experience, alone in its fight for preservation, for happiness, security, and some sense of meaning.  The "I" in infinite divorce from the world, from others, and ultimately, ironically, itself.  To breathe mindfully fosters a shift toward a holistic "I", an "I" living in mutual relationship with the world, with the cool air, the rustling leaves, the rain still pit-patting our windowpanes.  It is one way we can foster knowledge of our dependent co-arising with the micro- and macro-worlds that weave about us, contiguously, from one moment to the next.  

an art like everything else

Trouble breathing lately.

Photobucket

Cold weather season, allergic-asthma time of year, plus more anxiety than usual. This practice takes work: to exhale worry (over things I can't control) & inhale calm.

Photobucket

Last night I went with my dad and bro to a college football game in Dekalb, Illinois, and it was so outside the realm of usual weeknight goings-on (and so cold) that I took time to notice to my breath [breath pictured].

Photobucket

Deep breaths take work. Trying not to return to my default settings takes work! In any case, the breaths looked nice floating out over Huskie Stadium.

Photobucket

Also breathing easier last night: the Central Michigan football team, having beat Northern Illinois 33-30 in overtime.

needling

I tried again to make a time set aside to breathe, but I just didn't find it - I didn't make it.  But I breathed all day - and remembered that this was what I was supposed to be doing - and felt such success.  I'm taking that with me.  

I saw other people breathing all day too, and I felt a connection.  Also, since I don't really know who the other people are who are co-arising with me, I imagined that these people were all part of a conspiracy of possibility.  We smiled at each other all day.  I remember:

the Bus
the Train
my Bike
Harvestime
the Concert
my Husband



Breathing in I calm myself, Breathing out, I smile.

Breathing in, I acknowledge the gift of oxygen being sent to my brain and conscious thoughts that it produces.  Breathing out I smile.  My life is so rich.