Deep shame, maximum self-consciousness.

walk-through-walls-marina-abramovic

Deep shame, maximum self-consciousness. When I was young it was impossible for me to talk to people. Now I can stand in front of three thousand people without any notes, any preconception of what I’m going to say, even without visual material, and I can look at everyone in the audience and talk for two hours easily.

What happened?

Art happened.

When I was fourteen, I asked my father for a set of oil paints. He bought them for me, and also arranged for a painting lesson from an old partisan friend of his, an artist named Filo Filipović. Filipović, who was part of a group called Informel, painted what he called abstract landscapes. He arrived in my little studio carrying paints, canvas, and some other materials, and he gave me my first painting lesson.

He cut out a piece of canvas and put it on the floor. He opened a can of glue and threw the liquid on the canvas; he added a little bit of sand, some yellow pigment, some red pigment, and some black. Then he poured about half a liter of gasoline on it, lit a match, and everything exploded. “This is a sunset,” he told me. And then he left.

This made a big impression on me. I waited until the charred mess had dried, and then very carefully pinned it to the wall. Then my family and I left for vacation. When I came back, the August sun had dried everything up. The color was gone and the sand had fallen off. There was nothing left but a pile of ashes and sand on the floor. The sunset didn’t exist anymore.

Later on, I understood why this experience was so important. It taught me that the process was more important than the result, just as the performance means more to me than the object.

~ Marina Abramovic, Walk Through Walls: A Memoir (October 25, 2016)


Marina Abramović, 69, is a Serbian performance artist based in New York. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Active for over three decades, Abramović has been described as the “grandmother of performance art.” She pioneered a new notion of identity by bringing in the participation of observers, focusing on “confronting pain, blood, and physical limits of the body.” The passage above is from her recently recently memoir.

Over 30,000,000 viewers have watched her performance on this Youtube video: Don’t miss it here.


Saturday

sleeping-dont-wake-me

The best thing about the bedroom was the bed.
I liked to stay in bed for hours,
even during the day with covers pulled up to my chin.
It was good in there,
nothing ever occurred in there,
no people,
nothing.

~ Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye


Notes: Quote – Schonwiener. Photograph: Aveline Gunawan with Don’t wake me up

 

 

3:45 A.M.: Yes, all that.

night-light-window

I need solitude.
I need space.
I need air.
I need the empty fields round me;
and my legs pounding along roads;
and sleep;
and animal existence.

~ Virginia Woolf, from The Diary of Virginia Woolf


Notes: Poem – thank you Beth (again) on Alive on all Channels. Photo: Mennyfox55

 

 

Riding Metro North. And dragging it around.

train-station-light

Who are we, really? Who is dragging this body around.” (Zen Koan)

4:55 am.
Just another Hump Day in August, but less torrid, and pleasant, really.

It’s a short walk to the station. The digital counter on the wrist flashes Step # 63, a reminder of the failure to reach 6500 steps by last day’s end.

A Lady, in her early 30’s, hair still damp, rushes onto the crowded train car, steps over the gap, looks down the aisle, lets out a sigh. She sets down her bag and stands. You watch. She stands. And stands. And stands. This weekend you opened the mailbox to find junk mail inviting you to join the AARP, and flung it with disgust into the recycling bin. Hey, at least she wasn’t pregnant.

The 7:30 morning meeting is cancelled, 15 minutes before start time. The same meeting requiring you to catch the first train. You launch an e-missile punctuating the finish with an exclamation mark.  Shrapnel hits the target — its impact boomerangs in a Return To Sender. Necessary?

You interrupt another mid sentence, again and again, to steer the discussion and to drive the pace. What is it that is so unsettling that flows in your blood? [Read more…]

Saturday

sleep-rest-weekend-Saturday

It’s not you.
It’s anyone.
Sometimes I don’t want anyone around.
Some afternoons I lie on my bed and
the light comes through the shutters on the floor and
I think I never want to leave my own room.

— Joan Didion, Run River


Notes:

Saturday Morning. Tasting it fully.

nap-sleep-rest-red-hair

Without the interruptions,
nourishing and maddening,
this life would become arid.
Yet I taste it fully only
when I am alone here and
“the house and I resume old conversations.”

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude: The Journals of Mary Sarton


Source: Photograph – exercice de style

 

The Holiday Cocktail Party

christmas-tree-lights-black-and-white

The holiday cocktail party begins at the door, where the trill of the doorbell flees from the vestibule and disappears into the crowd, leaving a vacuum of sound into which the small talk surges, foamy with greetings, a sea of hellos and how-are -you-doings that you can scarcely keep your head above, gulping for air as you paddle your way through the handshakes, showing your teeth. But ahead you can see, there in the kitchen, the raft of drinks, a-tinkle with glasses, and you grasp at its edge and with the others bark like a seal as the slow tide lifts you toward midnight, when with the deepest gratitude you know that somewhere upstairs your coat has just bobbed to the top of the pile on a bed and is drying its wings and waiting to lift you away.

~ Ted Kooser, December. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Credits: Photograph – M. Klasan via Preciously Me 

Send the elevator back down

kevin-spacey

“If you’ve done well in the business that you wanted to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”

– Kevin Spacey

Q: What keeps you going? What get’s you up in the morning?

KS: We had dinner one night on the beach.  We decided to play a game and the game was you had to describe the most important thing in life using one word.  So we went around table. You got health, wealth, family, money. It came to John Huston and he said “Interest.” “Interest.” “Interest” that’s the most important thing in life. And I feel that is something that I have adopted. The idea of being interested in things that I don’t know rather than things that I do know. Peeling back the layer again and again of putting yourself in situations that are challenging and new, that are compelling, and ask of yourself something different than you’ve ever done before. And sometimes this means doing things that scare you and things that you’re not sure you can succeed at.

I suppose that is why I have always loved the theatre and why I love doing plays over anything else. There’s a ritual to it.  There’s also this incredible thing about it where it’s like you are walking on a tight rope. Feeling like you have nothing below you but your faith in what you are doing, your appreciation of the words and the story the author has written and your trust in your fellow company members.

Q: Do you feel that taking risks gets easier and easier over time?

[Read more…]

Who are you in stressful situations?

MBTI-Meyers-Briggs

We’ve all taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality profiling test. (If you haven’t, check it out here or take a Free Personality Test here: 16 Personalities): The letters stand for:

  1. The first letter is “I” or “E”: “Introversion” or “Extraversion”.
  2. The second letter “S” or “N”: “Sensing” or “Intuition”.
  3. The third letter “T” or “F”: “Thinking” or “Feeling”.
  4. The fourth letter “J” or “P”: “Judging or “Perceiving”.

MBTI has nailed my personality profile and does so again below in how I react in stressful situations:

INFP: diligently ignores problem until it’s too big to manage
ESTJ: ‘exactly as i say, or else’
ISFPlists and lists and lists and lists…
ESFJ: vocalizes everything they’re doing
ISFJ: ♫ move b*tch, get out the way ♫
ENTP: too interested by the options to do anything
ISTJ: cool headed, but harsh like ice
ENFP: heart rate over 9000
INTP: never does anything despite completely understanding the problem
ENTJ: step aside or get crushed underfoot
ISTP: nothing like a full-blown crisis to get back into the zone
ENFJ: assumes responsibility and approaches with logic
INFJ: adrenaline rush or complete paralysis
ESTP: acts first, figures out later
INTJ: devises a universal system to resolve the problem for all time
ESFP: needs space to figure things out


Source: Sixteentypes. Image – Meyersbriggs.org

 

Swapping motion for stillness. Chatter for calm.

male-solitude-guitar

Frank Bruni, NY Times: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:

  • …Take more time away. Spend more time alone. Trade the speechifying for solitude, which no longer gets anything close to the veneration it’s due, not just in politics but across many walks of life.
  • It’s in solitude that much of the sharpest thinking is done and many of the best ideas are hatched. We know this intuitively and from experience, yet solitude is often cast as an archaic luxury and indulgent oddity, inferior to a spirited discussion and certainly to a leadership conference…”
  • The calendar of a senior executive or public official is defined by meeting after meeting upon meeting. There’s no comparable premium on solitary pauses, on impregnable periods for contemplation, and a person who insists on them attracts a derogatory vocabulary: loner, loafer, recluse, aloof, eccentric, withdrawn.
  • “We live in the new groupthink — there’s a shared belief that creativity and productivity must be a collaborative experience, and solitude has fallen out of fashion,” Susan Cain, the author of the 2012 best seller “Quiet,” told me. But, she added, “There’s so much research that flies in the face of this.”
  • Cain’s book focuses on introverts, making the case that they have a kind of intellectual advantage. And their edge stems largely from greater amounts of solitude, from the degree to which they’ve swapped motion for stillness, chatter for calm. They’ve carved out space for reflection that’s sustained and deep.
  • This isn’t necessarily a matter of being unplugged, of ditching the hyper-connectedness of our digital lives. It’s a matter of ditching and silencing the crowd…

Read Bruni’s worthy full article here: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:


  • Photograph: Thank you Brenda @ Space2Live
  • Related Post: I Share @ Tiny Lessons Blog

 

 

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