Taste It Fully

ice circles on the lake

ice circles on the lake

We heard the angry barking of crows before we saw them. They were haranguing an owl. It flew into a tree only a few yards in front of us. For several moments, through the ruckus of the crows, we stared at the owl and it stared at us. Time stopped. Nothing else existed. The owl’s eyes, our breathing, the crow’s chorus.

For our wedding gift, H and Teru sent several collections of poetry, “Manuals on marriage,” they wrote in the note that came with the poems. Kerri and I are savoring the poems, reading one or two aloud to each other every day. They are a source of warmth and inspiration during these cold dark winter months. A poem cannot be rushed or read merely. It must be slowly tasted. It is meant to be entered like a meadow; to be experienced. Try to make sense of a poem and you will miss it. Just like life.

She said, “inner quiet is low maintenance,” and I laughed. Yes it is. The trick is in getting quiet. It is not something that can be found or achieved. It is not a place or a state-of-being. It is what happens when you stop looking for it. Like the hermit says to Parcival when the Grail Castle suddenly reappears, “Boy, it’s been there all along.”

For years Sam the poet was afraid of his poems. Like all great art, his poems, his art, revealed the artist, and so he kept them locked up, un-tasted. He came alive and supremely dissatisfied when he finally unleashed his poetry. He let himself want more but also refused to let himself experience more; one foot on the gas, one foot on the brakes. To taste fully one must be willing to be tasted.

A snippet of a poem (a koan imbedded in a poem), RELAX by Ellen Bass:

The Buddha tells a story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But, there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice – one white, one black – scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.

Taste your moment. Taste it fully.

I wrote in my black and red notebook a simple recognition. The field of possibilities cuts both ways: in your despair you must remember that anything is possible. In your joy you must remember that anything is possible. Tiger above (the past), tiger below (imagined future). Do not reject your moment or attempt to hold on to it – both are methods of missing the moment. Taste it regardless of the circumstance. Taste it fully.




Taste. Test.

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

Many years ago I spent most of my time in the studio. I spent hours each day alone with my paintings and my thoughts. I’d go out at noon to get food. Later in the evening my friend Albert would meet me for coffee. He knew I would twist and fall into my self if I wasn’t forced to emerge and speak to other humans. He was right. The life of a painter is a lonely existence. In addition to my gypsy tendencies I used to tend toward the hermit and it was wise and loving friends like Albert that saved me from myself. Now my inner gadfly has the keys to my personality; I just can’t leave people alone.

I had occasion to go through old journals this afternoon. It is a quirk of mine that my personal and work journals are one-and-the-same. I’ve never understood the separation between working and not working, playing and not playing. I’ve tried to explain that to the IRS to no avail. Apparently one must separate oneself to be in compliance with the regulations. My life is my work. Megan told me that I am purpose driven and she is right. So sorting through old journals is a funny affair because I’ve collaged dream imagery with workshop notes with thoughts about paintings with personal insights with notes from calls. And, since I’ve never learned what the lines on the paper are used for, my notes go in multiple directions. Ask me which came first and I will squint and turn the journal upside down. I also noticed that I sometimes start an entry on the right hand page and then move to the left hand page – essentially moving one step back before taking two steps forward. I refuse to entertain this journal practice as a life metaphor. I intend to lie to the IRS if they ever ask me about my journaling. I am linear, linear, linear.

I opened a journal from 2009 and found this thought from Ana-The-Wise: For every child everything is new and unknown. They see with the eyes of the new and that is okay. For the child, it is all unknown and so it all must be tasted and tested.

We dull our palates. Last night in class a man asked me what is the point of courting chaos once you’ve made order of your world. He liked order. Arriving at order was his goal. I’d just finished telling the class that chaos is where innovation lives: if you are playing in the fields of the known you are not innovating. I edited my reply and stayed in the context of business and entrepreneurship. What I wanted to say was that, just as innovation, vitality and life are found in the unknown. Order is not a fixed state. It is fluid and flows toward chaos. Life is motion. Try and stop the movement and you will one day look up and wonder why your life has no meaning. You’ll wonder where you lost your passion.

Ana-The-Wise spoke truly: it is all unknown and so it must be tasted and tested. I’ve not yet lived tomorrow and I will miss it if I think I know what’s coming. There is so much to be tasted, so much that begs to be tested.