Monday, December 17, 2007

mindfulness

Sometimes words just come into my head, and the ideas about those words follow, and a sort of reference game where I wonder why such and such a word came into my head at that exact moment, or did the idea come up, and my brain simply responded by looking for the word...
some time today the word 'mindfulness' came to me. and I will take you now on the little journey I traveled with myself as this word stayed the central lens of my thoughts today.
I thought of my class in college with Robert Thurman. Buddhism taught by Uma's dad and the only U.S. born Tibetan-ordained monk... or something like that. the class was going on during September 11th and the period that followed that and I was living and studying in New York City. he was a powerful thinker, speaker, visionary, and more. He had so much passion I remember thinking at the time he almost sort of levitated in front of us. He talked quite a bit about Mindfulness, and we read great books, "Inner Revolution" by him being one of my favorites... and he had a million ways to communicate the ideas he wanted us to feel in our bodies NOT JUST 'know' in our heads. He talked about how The Matrix movie was very Buddhistic... and he talked about how using the 14 techniques of Mindfulness may serve us in getting through what was a very difficult time compounded by the fact that an entire CITY was experiencing the tragedy and the grief en masse.
Driving home tonight I longed to refresh my memory on the techniques and I found this website helpful... www.mindfulnessbell.org/14trainings.htm


I went tonight to a dance/singing show at a Pilates/Yoga/Dance studio (www.studiosoma.com). The teachers put on an extremely talented show-- it didn't hurt I guess that there were Martial Arts world champions, professional choreographers, and American Idol singers among them. (One thing you gotta love about LA. There's a lot of crazies but there ain't no dearth of talent!) Anyway, it was interesting to feel so moved despite the relative casualness of the production (most of us were sitting on the floor watching) and the simplicity of it. Different teachers did 'demos' of the many different class styles offered: Tango, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Ballet, Burlesque, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style movement, etc. and two of the teachers took turns singing traditional Christmas fare like Mariah's Carey's All I Want for Christmas, or Chestnuts Roasting... The really nuts thing: Alicia Keys' No One made me feel SO MUCH, so full, and present, and incredible...

I guess I am a little shocked because last night I went to see the extremely high-production value Ray Charles musical at the Pasadena Playhouse... and I felt so little. I was extremely proud of my college friend Brandon Victor Dixon who was AMAZING as Ray... but it just goes to show I guess. Ray is going to Broadway in the fall of 2008 and that is wonderful I just hope it kind find it's soul a little bit first. The songs were amazing, of course, how could they not be... but the whole concept was so cold and device-y and 'smart' it was sort of empty for me.
And I think the whole comparison is especially vivid for me because of Nest, my dance-theater company turning five this year, and the celebration that happened last week, and talking to different people I'm close to about what I want it to be in the future, as it continues to grow hopefully-- what that growth means exactly. There are so many different directions. So often we think 'bigger,' 'bigger,' equals 'better' and 'more successful' and whatnot...

And then it extends not only to Nest, but to my self, how do I want to grow? What does being happy? being successful mean to me? It comes up extra this time of year, like when it's your birthday, ... it's the holidays, and you want to be generous not only with gifts but with your heart and your soul and share... and then with the coming of the New Year-- and the opportunity for starting fresh, at least in our own minds. ;-)

anyway, mindful mindful
now let me remember,
present present

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"happiness is only real when it's shared"

I saw Into the Wild the other night and I can't stop thinking about it.
It made me feel an incredible amount, which is something I always appreciate, and I am excited that the feeling has not waned in the days since I saw the movie. If anything, the feelings have grown. I walked out of the movie about 4 minutes after the last people had left the theater, and I felt so moved it was literally hard to walk. My knees didn't seem to work. As if the feelings, the thoughts and the change in me was physical.

My favorite parts about the movie/story were
* Chris' conviction, integrity, COMMITMENT
* the relationships, and the way they differed, but all showed that loving someone SO MUCH can sometimes mean letting them go, (away even) ... and even if you are worried for their judgement or their future or them forgetting about you ... when you really love someone you want them to fully realize who THEY are MORE than you want to see their beautiful face everyday. [Sometimes, maybe, the two are not mutually exclusive.]
* the simplicity Chris was able to find in moments, exchanges, stupid jobs, -- the ecstasy of the apple scene, his time with Wayne, his time with Rainey and Jan, the naked hot dog couple, ... even working at Burger King
* "I've never been as happy as when I was penniless"
* his lack of obstinacy regarding change in the realms of his plans, his vision, his pleasures, relationships ... it is well and GOOD to be flexible, and fluid, and OPEN
* his embrace of intensity -- feeling things deeply, caring DEEPLY for people in his life (without suffocating them), for his goals, for his values, for his perseverance, sensitivity, quest for truth-- 'calling things by their true name'
* his sense of humor and perspective
* his sincerity

... ALL of this achieved without riches, addiction, drugs, alcohol, or drama ...
but instead, through balance and conviction

and most importantly, that last line (and the title of this post):
"happiness is only real when its shared"

I loved the film. the story as Sean Penn saw it. the (probably) myth of Chris McCandless ... the performances, the cinematography, the people who inspired Chris, the book and writers and nature, and Eddie Vedder's music ...

Damn. gush gush gush

now what?

(everything is changing)