We are not Caesar, and we avoided the Forum, so I can say with confidence that The Ides of March was by far our best day in Rome. After days of clouds and rain, the sun and the moon both showed their faces. We couldn’t seem to tear ourselves away from the Piazza de España and by dusk, we were still there, drinking prosecco at a café under moon clouds.
“How do we rearrange our lives to live in this magnificent city?” we ask ourselves. There’s something about Rome at night, especially under a waxing moon, that causes me to think that reinventing my life and steering it against all the plans that drive me forward is the most natural thing in the world to do. Here, in this city of fallen empires and lovers on Vespas, going against the current of one’s well-planned life seems possible, even wise. The words of Keats, once an expatriate in Rome,
Getting things done is not the same as making things happen. (Take a moment to read the above list... so true!)
Currently, my days fall before me in a series of calendar charts as I attempt to finish graduate school projects. If I don't complete eight hours of work a day, then I tell myself that I can't go out at night. If I don't check off three assignments per day, then I tell myself I must finish four the next day. It's a way to psych myself into doing work that I really don't want to do: aka, getting things done.
True satisfaction, authentic fulfillment is "making things happen." Taking risks, setting ambitious goals, changing perception, and creating possibility is what I want, at the end of the week, to have accomplished.
The people I admire and the friends I want to spend time with are doing this with their lives. Here in Taos, Susan Powter is creating possibility for many women by offering training classes for getting strong and fit. Lenny Foster is doing what he loves by printing breath-taking photographs and showcasing them at Living Light Gallery. Allegra Huston is writing books (Love Child) and producing films (Good Luck Mr. Gorski) and leading the creativity classes Imaginative Storm. Ted Wiard has used his grief to create places of healing at Golden Willow Retreat. The pastor of El Pueblito United Methodist Church, Steve Waird, is the director of the "The Shared Table", the largest food pantry distribution in Taos County. As I learn to know these people, I realize that although getting things done is part of thier daily lives (after all, we all have chores and duties that must be accomplished), their vision expands outward to making possible that which has not yet been created.
I have not made any New Year's resolutions. I never do. However, I have set a few intentions. One of them is this: focus less on getting things done and more on making things happen.
"The Deep Root of Your Being"
Bamboo Grove, The Hill Country, Maymyo, B.u.r.m.a., April 2009
photo by shamash
The truth of these words by my favorite 13th century Persian mystic cuts me to the core:
There is one thing in this world that you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
Over the years blogging had taken me away from my spiral, hardbound notebooks, my multi-colored pens, my propensity to glue things (like ticket stubs, favorite articles, and paraphernalia found on bar counters, restaurants floors, and airplane seat pockets) into my journal . So, when I saw the Split Rock Arts Program offering the course called “The Visual Journal: Exploring Urban Landscape" taught by artist by Julie Baugnet (an artist featured in Drawing from Life by Jennifer New), I caught the first plane to the Twin Cities. I wasn’t disappointed.
(all photos by shamash)
What do a labor arbitrator, a radio personality, a teacher, an epidemiologist, a registered nurse, an education specialist, a bat expert, a physiology professor, and a defense lawyer for the Dept of Justice all have in common?
This past week, I found out. And, in the process, realized that much of that which unites us as human beings has little to do with our professions, and much to do with what we long to do after-hours.
"Art offers something else--depth, involvement, a new way of looking at the world that we live in, a fresh approach to what we take for granted, a chance to experience freedom of the imagination."
-Meredith Monk, composer, singer, director, choreographer
(image by René Magritte via artchive)
I regularly visit online museums all over the world. I take virtual tours of The Louvre. (click here.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art (click here) The Art Institute of Chicago. (click here.)
But the computer screen cannot replace the experience of visiting an art gallery or museum. Here’s why.
|You Are Expressionism|
At times, you tend to lack perspective on your life, probably as a result of looking inward too much.
This introspection does give you a flair for the dramatic. And it's even maybe made you cultivate some artistic talents!
You have a true artist's temperament... which is a blessing and a curse.
Creating art in any form requires showing up regularly at the dance floor, the easel, the musical instrument, the page. If we wait until inspiration strikes or an enlightening visit from our Muse, we’ll never finish our creative work.
Sometimes, we need friends and coaches to make sure that this happens.
Enter Alexa Mergen.
(photo by shamash, daily schedule by Alexa Mergen)
The garden. After school. A glass of chilled white wine. Free Spirit, fresh in from Hanoi, has just arrived, her guitar slung around her shoulder. Behind me, in my artist's studio, all sorts of pastels, and oil paints, and paint brushes sit waiting for next week's art class. Creativity seems to flourishing these days in this city "Somewhere in Asia."