See The Sacred

First Anniversary Sunrise

First Anniversary Sunrise

“…it seems to me absurd to consider problems about other beings while I am still in ignorance about my own nature. Phaedrus by Plato

I’m sitting alone in a sanctuary and thinking about sacred spaces. Here’s the thing I’ve come to understand about sacred spaces: slower motion is required to experience the power of the place. People in a hurry to get somewhere have little or no access to the sacred. Race through a meadow and you will miss it. Sacred spaces do not lose their power; people lose their access to the power of the space.

Once, many years ago in Bali, I made it a practice to walk the same pace as my Balinese hosts. To me, they moved at an impossibly slow pace. As an American, patterned to be forever in a hurry, I walk quickly “to get” somewhere else. There must always be a goal to achieve, a destination to reach. The Balinese were not patterned for transit but for presence. Over time, as I picked up their rhythm of movement I also picked up their pattern: it is possible to walk in presence. It is possible to be where you are with no imperative to get somewhere else – even while walking. It is possible to be in your life instead of racing through it.

A most amazing thing happens when “being here” becomes primary to “getting there”: everything becomes sacred space. Slow down enough and it is possible that you will recognize yourself as a sacred space.

After returning home from Bali I was able to sustain my capacity to move slowly for only a few months. It is easy to move slowly and be present when the culture you are in is patterned for presence. It is an entirely different challenge to move slowly and be present in a fast moving river. In the months after returning home I was either trampled or the cause of others (trying to navigate my slow movement) being trampled. We are not nearly as separate as we think we are. As I resumed my American pace I also dropped my capacity for presence and lost my lens on the sacred.

A recent surgery has necessitated slower moving. I have, in these past few weeks, found myself walking once again like a Balinese. I’ve stepped out of the fast moving river. Yesterday, standing on the back deck, I watched Dog-Dog delight in chasing squirrels. I listened to Kerri talk on the phone with a friend. I felt the sun on my face. There was no other place on earth I would rather be. There was nothing necessary to achieve.

Focus On The Important Stuff

an offer from TwoArtistMakingStuffForHumans

an offer from TwoArtistMakingStuffForHumans

A note from the temporary site of TwoArtistsMakingStuffForHumans:

The waxing moon was muted with fog. It made the air shimmer. Avalon was near. Although it seemed too soon, there was a hint of autumn in the air. We sat next to a chiminea talking to friends. Monica told us of her daughter working in villages in South America. She told Monica that, by our standards, the people there have nothing. They are possession poor. But, they were happy, genuinely happy. They didn’t have much money or stuff but they had the essential thing that many of us lack: peace of mind. They focus on different, more important stuff.

It brought to mind my experiences in Bali. When I arrived all I could see was the poverty. By the time I left several weeks later, I’d have given everything I own or will ever own to have what they have: presence. Ease of mind. They weren’t looking for fulfillment, status, or living for retirement. They were living. Life was fulfillment. In a world where all things are sacred, status is gained by the quality of your giving and not by the size of your piece of the limited pie. It is a different focus.

There is a hidden cost to what dominates our focus, the things that take our attention…as opposed to the things we pay attention to.

As artists, both Kerri and I believe the work of our lives has been, one way or another, to help people focus on the important stuff, to see the extraordinary in the ordinary moment, to find inside what people seek outside. We’ve both worked across the boundaries of business, art, and the fine art of living everyday, there is no lack of necessity to refocus the eye, mind, and heart.

In a few weeks we will be launching our business (details to follow). All the many aspects of our work – if you can call art a product and performing a service – are intended to support, exercise and pay forward a focus on the important stuff, the important moments…sometimes the teeniest things that in the chaos pass unnoticed.

We want to do for others what we do for each other. Check out our pre-launch coaching offer. Take us up on it! Or, if you know someone who might benefit from working with us, pass it on, pay it forward.

Lean And Rest

820. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]

Bali Journal Excerpt #10
At lunch, Rai told me that he also had no religion and then he corrected himself. “My religion is goodness,” he said. “Dharma,” he added. “In my religion you only need do your action and god will determine the result.”

In Bali, it is common to see a woman making an offering in the middle of a busy intersection, motorbikes flying by her. Her offering is normal to them. Each morning a new flower appears in my room. I never see who places it there. In a crowded temple, a man I have never before seen leans on me to rest. It has been a long night and he is very tired. I am filled with warm gratitude for what he teaches me.

This is the final excerpt from the journals. It is the one that touched me the most almost 13 years after writing the words. I realized that I am still filled with warm gratitude. I realized that my religion to be goodness. I am learning to do my action and let go of trying to determine the result. This, especially, has been my lesson during this long winter of wandering.

How Long Has It Been?

819. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]

Bali Journal Excerpt #9
The beach at Tulamben is course black lava stone. It is from another world. Lora sat at a distance as I said my prayer and made my offering as Jero had instructed. I invited my soul to come home. I asked it (me) to be happy. I made an offering in my own way – also as Jero had instructed. It felt right. When I was complete, I joined Lora and we watched the sun rise. After a moment she said, “Sometimes you have to slow way down before you can see the clouds move, before you can see the shapes in the clouds. How long has it been since you watched the clouds?” She showed me a mermaid and a spaceship. I saw a swordfish and a lion. The clouds moved into one shape and then another and another still, appearing and disappearing and then reappearing in yet another form. It was just like the message of the Wayan Kulit, the shadow puppets. The forms of this life are transitory, they appear and disappear, ever moving.

The ocean accepted my offering and I sometimes remind myself to slow down and look at the clouds that always remind me of how transitory is this life. I have a habit when I awake each morning of saying to myself, “This is the only day of life I will ever have….”

Become The Ocean

818. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

Bali Journal Excerpt #8
I was not surprised when my dive instructor told me that we would dour our final dives together in Tulamben. It would be an overnight stay. “Tulamben,” he said, “is the place where the sun first touches Bali each morning.” I would do my ritual in Tulamben. I would invite my soul to come into my body and be happy. The Bali gods were taking care of me. Terry, my instructor, and I were sitting on a boat having just completed two open water dives. They were current dives. My lesson of the morning was about giving myself over to the current, getting completely neutral, and letting myself go. “Don’t swim against the current,” he’d instructed, “give in to it. Become the ocean. Experience what it feels like to let the division between you and the ocean disappear.”

Listen To The Symphony

817. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]

Bali Journal Excerpt #7
Letting go is happening in degrees: a moment of tai chi in the pavilion with Stewart, a comment from Budhi, conversations with people in the market, allowing myself to ‘not know,’ laughter with Lora – this are opening me to be present, opening me to direct experience without judgment. It is allowing me to celebrate the symphony of serendipity playing all the time in my life. Engaging with people who are supportive and not fearful or needing to stake claims is teaching me to relax. It is teaching me to let go of my need to stake claims. When I first entered the temple I was wary of imposing in the people and their right to worship. I didn’t want to trespass. The Balinese people welcome me over and over again (not just me but all of us) with not thought of trespass. I had to allow myself to be welcome. I had to let go of my assumptions of imposition.

There are two phrases I adore in this excerpt: 1) A symphony of serendipity. I am in one of those vibrant phases in which the symphony of serendipity is playing loud and with great mischief. Serendipity is a’poppin’. 2) Allow myself to be welcome. The older I get the more I recognize that the vast majority of my limitations are self-imposed.

Do You Know M.A.N?

816. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15]

Bali Journal Excerpt #6
At the Preventing Child Sex Tourism in Denpasar, I sat to lunch with a man named Rai. He was very educated and had a passion for the worlds religions. He was familiar with the holy writings of most major religions. He asked me about my religion. I answered that I had no religion. I told him that I had a spiritual life but had no particular attachment to a system of belief. He smiled and nodded.

We talked of tourism and its impact on Balinese culture, both positive and negative. He told me that in his village of Kuta that the people believed that the many changes in Kuta over the past few years was the result of Black Magic. He also told me that this event was predicted. He used a word for the era in which we are living but I can’t recall it – but said the English equivalent was something like ‘apocalypse.’ “In this time,” he explained, “people forget Atma.”

“What is Atma?” I asked.

He responded, “Do you Know M.A.N?” I didn’t. “M stand for Maya. All that is transitory is Maya: money, friends, status, power, and the body are all Maya. When people focus on things that are Maya, things that are transitory, they can only be unhappy. This is what is happening in Kuta. ‘A’ stands for Atma. Atma is your soul, your god-nature. You are god.” he said, touching his heart chakra. “When your mind is Atma, you are happy. Atma is eternal. Do you know Mahatma,” he asked? “Like Mahatma Gandhi? Mahatma means Atma,” he laughed. “Mahatma is the one with gleaming thoughts. When you are Atma your mind is not attached to the transitory. Detachment from all things leads to Moksa. Moksa and Nirvana are the same thing. ‘N’ is for Nirvana. Moksa is a state of being. When you are attached to nothing, living as Atma, you are said to have Moksa. M.A.N.”