The joy of movement. Words. Food & memory.

Posts Tagged ‘renewal

Despair, Deliberation

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There’s too much noise of my own choosing – as in, I am choosing distraction in all its forms.  Deliberately.













What I need is quiet for my mind and soul, and activity for my body.  I choose exactly the opposite – safe, and easy.












By Jinho.Jung

Finding and holding my threshold of courage takes continual practice – daily, every moment – to repeatedly overcome, and gaining the momentum of deliberation.

Written by marginfades

May 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

Watering Hole

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Going to the public pool with my family was the beginning of my weekend, rain or shine, snow or sun.  It was socialization with built-in barriers: whether floating on my back or diving deep, my family was close by, and I was left to my thoughts in the depths.

Friday evening swims came to an end when Dad noticed the families dwindling, and the number of unattended teenagers showing up.  They were mostly good kids, but he couldn’t help but notice the boys’ horseplay, and the girls dry as a bone, draped over their towels without any other modest covering.

We never went swimming once I came of age, and I always thought it was because I had too much school work.  I never did enjoy a pool or beach party, after those Fridays.  Pool games, burgers and beer, and basking on a towel or in the water was fun – but what I really needed were compatriots who enjoyed the quiet gurgle of the underwater view, or the blue of the sky, endless as I watched from my float.

Written by marginfades

May 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm

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.

Written by marginfades

May 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

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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.

Written by marginfades

May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm


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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.

Written by marginfades

May 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Renewal (I)

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reading chair by eflon

There is a moment at the conclusion of a recent Hollywood Blockbuster in which a supporting character (one of four close friends) is shown alone and in repose in her newlywed friend’s old apartment.  Unused for months – nevertheless, the apartment remains in readiness, with updated furnishings, for another occupant.

The character is shown as relaxed, seated comfortably, idly thumbing through a magazine – and you get the idea that she’s taking a quiet day to herself, away from her daily routine.  The movie and its franchise make much of these four friends sharing adventures, laughter and sorrows – out and about, enjoying their lives, social and seen.

And yet: there’s that rare moment of the movie, magnifying their individual needs, particularly one’s need for rejuvenation born of quiet, and solitude.


The scene reminds of my uncle: he checked himself into a hotel for a few days one summer.  Right there, in his very own neighborhood.  If he was anything short of honorable and a gentleman, the close-knit community he and his family live in would have buzzed with gossip (a tryst?  a mistress?).  Quite to the contrary, the staff welcomed him with nods of anticipation, in full view of the public, ushered him straight to the pool, handed him a stack of newspapers and a frivolous drink, and left him to his reflections.

The extended family was accustomed to his business travel, and assumed he was out of town – but imagine his favorite nephew’s surprise in attending a breakfast business meeting at the same hotel and finding his uncle relaxing, poolside.  “I can’t get away from business at home – technology is the devil, and a leash.  At work, I can’t help but think of which of the kids is having a birthday (or is it my wife’s?), or the next time we’re going to dinner with friends (do I like them, or not?  Will I have to pretend a business call, to get away?).  And at home again…it’s not like the kids are noisy, or the TV’s blaring.  It’s just hot, and I just want some peace,” he said simply.

The neighborhoods gossips didn’t even blink an eye.  This habit of my uncle’s was old news, and not very exciting at that.

He got the idea from reading of gentlemen of another era and culture spending the mornings reading newspapers and networking at their clubs, he told me, a twinkle in his eye.  He regrets giving up that particular hotel – his nephew and his friends frequent the place now that they “discovered” it, and he really wants no company except his own.  “I really liked that pool – something about the way it’s shaded.  I can enjoy the warmth without the sun beating down on me,” he shared wistfully.

Selfish?  There were those in the family and community who certainly made it clear they thought so – the expense!  the intimation of scandal!  such an odd habit, and if only unusual, a bad one!  what will people say (if they knew)!

But “people” already knew – and my uncle always came home smiling and refreshed, having missed his family, to a wife and children who were happy to see him, having missed him in turn.

No one could say much about that – except that they were a good, happy family.  The wife was lovely, the children happy.  And they always seemed so relaxed.

Window Seat by Judy Harrow

Inspired by that instant of solitude I glimpsed in the last moments of that movie, I’ve thought about turning a spare space in my house into a refuge.  I predict that if I actually went in and closed the door to that room, the household denizens (four-legged) would be pawing at the door within minutes, wanting in – and the solitary one (two-legged) would suddenly decide that my company was preferable to whichever puzzle or video game had held his interest for eons before.

I already have the elements for this refuge – they simply want arranging: a bookcase with my favorite reads, and a writing desk, and a money plant.  A shrine paying homage to all my inspirations, starting with the wideeyed inspirations for my movements, and various odds and ends that remind me of the complexity experienced out of simplicity and quiet.  Some bamboo shading with a silk swag to evoke the tropical climate best suited to my genetics, a window seat for the cat, a cushion for the dog.  Should someone choose to join me, a comfortable sofa that might do equally well for reading – and for dalliance.

(origin unknown)



Written by marginfades

May 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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