marginfades

The joy of movement. Words. Food & memory.

Ultimate Peace

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If only I could recover that serenity, experienced as an infant in your arms.  I dreamed it was you, the other night…and woke up to find someone else, running fingers gently through my hair in concern.

How I wish we’d known one another.

In her mother’s arms by Luke Redmond

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May 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

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Slow Motion

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In our fast-paced life, I wonder if recreational rail excursions will gain popularity – such as the cross-country Amtrak trek Meg Keene recently embarked upon to promote her first published work (she shared the last leg of it with her husband, and they both enjoyed the experience.)

Travel by train’s never been America’s thing – road trips have.  Train journeys are more European, and even Asian – in fact it’s said that third-class rail travel is the only way to really experience India.

It’s a gem of brilliance that Bhi Bhiman chose Samuel Jeffrey’s point of view – primarily, from a train berth’s window, occasionally run in slow motion – to accompany the plaintive melody of his ballad Gutternsipe. It’s not at all how you would experience a train journey: picking up speed, scenery and people eventually pass you by.  And it’s not at all India, where time doesn’t stop.  

Perhaps that’s why it’s an important backdrop to this song – without any sense of home, Bhiman seems to find it in the moments in between a boy skipping along an empty line and each stroke of a the sweep’s broom.

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May 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

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A Section of Sleep

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During a particularly fraught college semester, I jokingly mentioned to my lab classmates that a required course for our major ought to be a three credit hours of utter quiet and solitude (an hour every other day), with a recitation section of actual sleep (at least an hour each day – preferably during the afternoon). As much time as we were spending in an upper division chemistry course – not to mention the hours spent on sorting through homework and reports for the rest of our coursework, this minute amount seemed reasonable.

With the exuberance (and energy) of youth, we laughed and moved on with our work, bleary-eyed and ready for a break – yet soldiering on anyway. Years later, I read a story about sleep pods in New York, born of a similar idea in Japan. I wondered why I hadn’t capitalized on the idea.

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May 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

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“The Luxury of Slowness”

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I have watched Tishani Doshi‘s TEDxPalermo talk at least once every day ever since my dance guru shared it with me – and each time, I’ve watched it two to three times in succession. (This has been going on for about a week now.)

Every time I review it, different elements of the speech move me (to emotion – and there’s very little in art or thought that does so). I wonder:

Is slowness the last real luxury we have left, as Doshi states?
Is touching time even possible?
(Would touching time be full Realization, or perhaps just the beginning of Release?)

One particular idea Doshi emphasizes is the idea of exploration during the slower tempo of classical Indian music: the vilambit, during which no lyrics are sung, only sounds of a raga‘s particular ascendance and descendance of sounds.

Which reminds me of a time during my childhood when I learned and practiced such music. With repetition came an eventual flow of practice, especially during alaap (introduction to the raga). Singing an introduction to the classical key signature was a time that I grew to relish: unbound by a beat (which I paradoxically loved, reverberating as it did from a tabla), my mind and heart connected, soared. I sang with abandon and feeling, which are their own ornaments.

Doshi concludes with the thought that if we learn to inhabit slowness, we can make the most of our own crescendos. Early morning practice sessions and weekend lessons with a well-sung alaap formed many a connection between random bits of information floating around mind, and brought clarity and purpose to replace any bit of doubt.

The mornings I that I awakened just a bit earlier than my alarm for an extra-long practice session before school, I went even deeper within myself with those connections and clarity. The day to follow was always like honey: a slow, measured pour, accelerating into smooth certainties.

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May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Contentment

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In a recent essay titled “The Joy of Quiet” travel writer Pico Iyer finds contentment through focus – some might call it (self)absorption:

Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music. It’s actually something deeper than mere happiness: it’s joy, which the monk David Steindl-Rast describes as “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”

…it’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole, and understand what you should be doing with it.

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May 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm

A Quiet Place

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The place to find is within yourself. The athlete…in top form has a quiet place within himself, and it’s around this, somehow, that his action occurs…this is true in dance as well. There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held.

“The Power of Myth,” by Joseph Campbell

 

 

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May 8, 2012 at 7:27 am

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Food for Thought and Wanderlust

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I’m in transit today, after a much-needed weekend away from home, visiting good friends.  As much as I have come to love where I live (much like Jane Friedman loves her adopted home town of Cincinnati, Ohio), there are days and weeks when I’m just done with it, and feel the need to escape.

 

   road trip by breahn

The friend I visited this weekend has stated there’s a naturally occurring bacteria in our gut that secretes a substance that gives us itchy feet, the yearning to seek far-flung places and novel experiences.  Really, it’s just about nutritional deficiencies and the bacteria’s attempt to get more of whatever it needs by pushing us out of our usual milieu.

Bacterium or not, I am refreshed from my weekend away.  The compelling parts of Friedman’s ode to Ohio’s foremost up-and-coming cultural center are dancing around in my mind today:

It’s a peculiar disease for us Americans, to think it a failure not to move away from what we know. As a twentysomething, I wanted nothing more than to live in Europe—where I’d stayed 6 months during a study abroad—and to be done with the uncultured and ignorant USA.

It’s like all young people to think this way—to imagine that the place where we come from is stupid and beneath everything else. Eventually you realize that all places are rather the same. Or, people are the same. You just find the right circles where you can be accepted or make a difference. The rest is just details.

It took a long time to accept that I’m a Midwesterner at heart. I want to be friendly and helpful. I’m not eager to talk about myself. I prefer a laid-back, unpretentious lifestyle. While these are not qualities unique to the Midwest, I don’t reliably encounter those environments elsewhere.

Emphases mine.

Written by marginfades

May 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

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