Sunday, July 27, 2008

For loss to be possible there must have been, at some point, a gain . . .

I miss Wild Oats. They had a better name, better soups (their three bean vegetarian chili was fantastic!), better breads, better every fruit cookies, and a better look.

Today, I was at what used to be Wild Oats looking at various minerals, oils, and homeopathic remedies, when I discovered Flower Remedies by Dr. Bach. I now believe that I know where part of the inspiration for the name Wild Oats came from. Dr. Bach explains: "If you are like a rolling stone, looking for your life's mission and direction, and keep on changing direction and work, then wild oat may be of help to assist you in defining your goals and purpose in life and in so doing showing the way forward" (emphasis added). I am certain that the Wild Oats creators were going for more than just healthy grains with the store name. (And I think that perhaps I should try Dr. Bach's wild oat essential oil. Maybe it will help me be more than a "rolling stone.")

While I was at the store, I also looked up the Olive essential oil. Dr. Bach says that "When you are exhausted by mental or physical effort, or even illness, then olive can be of benefit to help you regain the feeling of strength and the pleasure and faith to carry on" (emphasis added). It's sort of like the olive leaf that the dove brought back to Noah: a return to faith. (I think I need to try Dr. Bach's olive essential oil along with the wild oat. Maybe it would help.)

I didn't buy any Dr. Bach products, but I might next time I visit the store that used to be Wild Oats (or a store like it).

P.S. If your name is Aspen, Heather, (Rock) Rose, (Water) Violet, or Willow, there's an essential oil with your name on it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Questions at 2:30 AM . . .

Question.1. Isn't it interesting that the word questions is comprised of quest, a purposeful or searching journey, and ions, those atoms that they're always talking about in hairdryer and straightening iron advertisements? (Apparently, the static and frizzy quality of our hair involves negative ions, so if we buy one of these great products that creates positive ions, we can neutralize the mess and have lovely hair.) Anyway, a quest ion could be seen as a search for what was lost (-) or as an understanding of what was gained (+).

I tend to see life in terms of loss and gain: In every loss (-), even the hardest ones, there is always always at least one gain (+). And when I write, I write about loss and and the holes that loss leaves as well as the new attributes, experiences, abilities, associations, etc. that are born in and out of that loss.

Question.2. Isn't it interesting what you can discover in separating and spacing out the letters of your name?

.....O .....

.....O..................K.............. (The e can stay silent (or act as a period), because that's what e's are the best at!), k? (Once again, we have a silent e.)

Often we find what we're looking for, either consciously or unconsciously. But sometimes we're graced by serendipity.

Question.3. Isn't it interesting that we can be up in the middle of the night and have all of these threads and thoughts, but no real questions? Instead of the big things, the real things, the purposeful things, we choose to type questions about letters.

Here's one of my real questions: Do I have to be conscious to dream? And another: If I paint a door on the wall, what will I see as being on the other side?

Friday, July 11, 2008

XXOO (and no, this is not a bowling score) . . .

Have you ever noticed that when you line up olives you get a string of Xs and Os. So if you need to tell your boy/girlfriend, friends, and family members that you love them, consider giving them some olives.

I don't think this matters, but I've always seen the Xs as hugs (Xs being arms) and the Os as kisses (Os looking like smooching lips), but it seems like a lot of other people out there see the Xs as kisses (side view of two people kissing) and the Os as hugs (aerial view of arms wrapped around each other).

I guess that this means that some people might see XO as being two forms of kissing (peck and smooch), and others might see XO as being two forms of hugging (hugging oneself, hugging another), and others might see either XX or OO as representing both a hug and a kiss. It's all a matter of perspective.

Whatever your symbolic orientation, all you really need to know is that it's unnecessary to send roses or cards or notes or to do kind deeds in order to express your love or appreciation for someone; all you need is a can of olives. I recommend Western Family or Early California.

Happy caring! Happy eating!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lines and Intersections . . .

Lines (from Music)


"I had to dream awake" ("Dream Awake," The Frames, Burn the Maps).

I like the idea that dreaming (thinking outside the box, letting your mind wander, hoping) is a conduit to being awake (aware, alert, more alive).


". . . I don't understand these people / Saying the hill's too steep / They talk and talk forever / But they just never climb" and the complementing lines " . . . I don't understand these people / Saying the world's asleep / Toss and turn forever / But no rest will they find" ("Star Star," The Frames, Dance the Devil).

Sometimes, I feel like I meditate, contemplate, think, and talk, but I forget to do the climbing, and therefore, I don't find the necessary rest. Isn't it interesting that you have to exert energy in order to have meaningful rest?

(I actually like the first part of this song the best. You should listen to it.)

Today, I climbed--literally--two hills. In the morning, I hope to climb another literal hill on my route towards a bagel and hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate, even in the summertime.


"The simple things people over-complicate" and "Will you come with me and we'll be ourselves and walk into the light?" ("Giving Me Wings," The Frames, For the Birds).

How many of us over-complicate aspects of ourselves? (Olive does.) And isn't it so much more enjoyable (wonderful, glorious) when we feel safe enough to be authentically (and simply) ourselves? (Also, being simply ourselves doesn't mean that we're not complex. People will always be complex; they don't, however, need to be over-complicated. At least that's my opinion at the moment.)


"Words fall through me / and always fool me"; "Moods that take me and erase me . . . " ("Falling Slowly," Glen Hansard (formerly, the Frames) & Marketa Irglova, The Swell Season).

Words are powerful--potentially beautiful, potentially destructive--with what they represent, misrepresent, convey, obfuscate, open, and occlude.


"Cry alone and die alone" ("Drown Out," Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, The Swell Season). And this line must be combined with these lines: "All the lonely people / where do they all come from / all the lonely people / where do they all belong?" ("Eleanor Rigby," The Beatles, 1).

Aren't both songs pretty much saying the same thing? I wonder how many songs are about being alone?

Note: I focused on lines primarily from one artist for no other reason than that's who I'm listening to more than other artists these days.

Intersections (lines from music intersecting with art, which is comprised of, among other elements, lines)


dreaming something awake

See Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory

Although Dali's watches seem to be sleeping, by painting the watches in this way, he's awakening our perspective (among other things).


climbing so that we can have the best kind of peace

See Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night

True there are hills in this painting. True there are bodies that could be construed as stars (and the title of the song we're linking this to is "Star Star"). But what I like most is the swirling lines, the color, and the fact that the form of the steeple is echoed in the form of the shrub at the forefront of the painting.

And if you have no idea, still, while I'm connecting these two together, let me just say that I always hear the singer sing "steep" as "steeple." I like the idea that steep and steeple share so many letters; perhaps the hardest thing to climb towards is a metaphorical steeple.


over-complicating ourselves and life

See Pablo Picasso's Guitar

You would think that Picasso overcomplicated things, right? But really, he just tried to break people and things down and show us all of their sides. He didn't add a single element or attribute that was unnecessary. Everything--people, life, flowers, guitars--is complex, certainly. Picasso understood that.


the power of words and moods on all of us

See Alexander Calder's A Universe

What better way to represent mood than motion built out of line and color! Motion is a kind of music, the whisper of disturbing the air and changing space.

Sometimes, a mood feels like an entire universe and sometimes it feels like a planet in orbit in a much larger cosmos. Isn't it interesting, by the way, that cosmos is both big (the cosmos that contains worlds) and small (the cosmos flower that I so love)? (And isn't it interesting that in these images, the cosmos flower actually appears much larger than the little dots of the cosmos.) Well that's sort of like moods and words--they can be vast and they can be minute. But they always are.


being alone

See Edward Hopper's Night Shadows

What is the central line (shadow) pointing to?

If the man keeps walking, he is going to intersect that line. And then, will he continue on along the sidewalk or will he turn and follow the shadow?

I want him to turn left and follow the shadow to where ever it will take him. If he turns, I am convinced, he's going to find someone to talk to, and then he will know that no one has to be alone.

Note: To find the artwork, I looked up some of the artists that I like in the Museum of Modern Art's database.

Everything in the Intersections section could be connected to literature, film, plays, stories from life, philosophies, and on and on. There's a whole world of connections that radiate out from here.

(And this post is way too long!)


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy socks . . .

I like patterned socks: bright blue and yellow thickly striped socks, light brown socks with thin pink lines circling them, black socks with subtle flowers, argyles, bold polka dotted socks. I lean towards the non-representational sock; although, I once had a pair of white socks with a little frog created, in part, by a piece of green felt that you could lift up. Maybe it said ribbet underneath. I'm not sure. I just liked those socks so much that I wore them out.

I try to buy my pants long enough to hit at the respectable place on my shoes when standing--this isn't always possible, though, due to my height and fabric shrinkage problems. And even when they are long enough, it's inevitable that my socks will show when I sit down. I've seen a few surprised faces, but that just makes my feet feel bolder and happier.

There's something wonderful about putting on a pair of happy socks every once in a while. Feet shouldn't have to be confined to respectable black socks or white athletic socks all of the time. They already have to slip inside plenty of respectable shoes. So why not allow them a little freedom, a little pizazz, a little craziness. Keep the feet happy and you keep a whole lot of the rest of you happy too.

(Now shoes? That's a whole other topic.)

I can still feel the laugh (hierarchical ranking: near the top) . . .

I once met a student/writer who said, "Everyone ultimately gets what he most wants out of life." That statement made sense to me then and it still makes sense to me now, because whatever we most want, we put a great deal of our energy and resources into. And we eventually achieve, at the very least, that one most important desire.

I went to the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit this week. Thiebaud is famous for his food paintings, but this exhibition featured a lot of beach pieces--dogs on the beach, people on the beach, swimsuits--as well as land- and city-scapes; ballroom dance images; and some food. I liked the entire exhibit. And one of the reasons was because each time I returned to a particular painting or viewed it from a different distance, my experience changed.

I have a painting by my brother that hangs near my bed. I like to trace the painting's lines and discover new images within the main abstract "image." (My brother was surprised to hear that I had found a cat and dragon within his painting. I've also found a lot more images, shapes, and patterns. And I have experienced layers of color and texture and all the thoughts that go along with art-inspired meditation.)

I want to write a novel about an etching that I own. I don't know what the story is. I just know that in that one image (and really, one is misleading, because an image is made up of smaller images) is a universe. I want to explore, probe, investigate a section of that amazing space.

I admire people who take leaps--artistic, altruistic, or otherwise--off great canyon walls, even when their wings are seemingly too tiny to sustain their weight and projected flight path. I met a writer who worked a job just enough to cover his expenses, allowing him to focus most of his time on his writing. And then there's the ballet dancer who gave everything to his career--such time and energy it requires to master the body! When he retired at age 30, he moved onto the next phase: earning a bachelor's degree to lead him toward his second career. What must it feel like to risk so much--time, energy, money, certain relationships--for a glimmer of something so magnificent! You know, even if the person never dances professionally or gets picked up by a big publisher, she's done something magnificent with her soul.

Wayne Thiebaud
gave me an hour of viewing pleasure. I can still see the spinning candy-looking beach ball anchoring the viewer before releasing her to the dogs playing in the sand. I can still see the precipice that looks ordinary until you back up ten feet and then to twenty feet and then WOW. What depth! What color! What an experience!

I can still feel the laugh that resonated through me when I saw the painting: 35 cent Masterworks. Yeah, I connected to that one on a philosophical level, and well, thank you artists and writers for taking such big risks!


P.S. I want to experience this.