…alter the flow…
…alter the flow…
‘Painted In Memory’
This is a vista of Mangawhai Heads in New Zealand’s Northland, shot in the falling afternoon today but painted with the memories of our stays here over twenty years.
So many good times!
This view, from the deck of the place we stay, never seems to change, even if we have changed and continue to change over time.
It is a restful anchor for weary souls.
Sublime and serene!
You can’t make this stuff up really.
Perfect cumulus cloud puffs arrayed in the sky, as they were late yesterday afternoon at home.
So perfect they don’t look real.
But it’s not the form of the clouds that really exercises my mind . It’s their fleeting, transitory nature.
Always appearing from out of nowhere, adorning the moment and then moving on, never to be replicated exactly.
You cannot capture clouds, save in photos.
And all that does is freeze their vapoury uncertainty to fit a frame that cannot ever contain their truth.
Rather than pillowy comfort, I associate clouds with uneasy change.
Change, and being fully present in the moment, are challenges for me – clouds are thus my ultimate mindfulness tools, for their unique presence cannot last…
(for more clouded thoughts, see: Cloud’s Illusions ).
This can be a thing in restaurants – a tasty morsel, in this case a decadent dessert – on an oversize plate. Odd. This was such an extreme example I had to take a shot.
Which got me to thinking about those times in life which are not exactly brimming over and dripping onto the carpet.
You know, when you are between jobs or relationships, or a time of loss – and there is empty, and sometimes uncomfortable, space. We crave that time and space when life is frantic and when we are at odds with the life path we want or hope for, there is more of it than we want.
What to do with unwelcome time and space?
It’s a bit like the expanse of white china above – a blank canvas so to speak. The time of emptiness may become a place of renewal and re-creation, something massive in your life. Not something to fill the gap for the sake of it, but an opportunity to change something that’s not working, or head down a new path entirely.
And if that sounds all too much, you could at least sprinkle some f**king fairy dust, like icing sugar ,all over your plate….
So this was the view on Thursday this week – from Orakei Marae, where I work in the morning, over a shimmering Okahu Bay and towards Auckland’s CBD.
It’s a usually breezy town but on this day the fog was only fully lifting towards noon, and the sea was like glass.
I work from a community house, which is a pretty humble structure to be fair , but with this stellar vista of man and nature as compensation.
Please have a peek at my last post Making Humiliation An Artform ! if you haven’t already.
There,the great British poet Auden postulated out that art is born of humiliation.
I guess we want to believe that art comes from some more pleasant emotional or spiritual experience ,but he had a point.
We all suffer crashing humiliation at some point -god knows I have – when we find out in no uncertain terms that we are not as good, morally upright, desirable, intelligent or indispensable or whatever we thought we were before the axe fell ,leaving us split into bits of the real truth ,laid bare for the world to see.
Art might come from there, or the resolve not to ever have that thing happen again,or maybe the urge to be “better”.
So, humiliation can be a catalyst for change.
But it is not the same as humility.
Humiliation might give us humility ,but equally might cause self-loathing or resentment.
You can’t sustain humiliation as a force for change in your life or to create something new and different, it is just a starting point.
Humility, however ,can give us those things. It is hard ,because subjugating our ego-driven selves to the uncontrollable is something we naturally are threatened by, and fight.
And the sharp blade of humiliation need not necessarily have to dissect us in order to find humility.
Getting back to art, and using the beautiful and shining copper sculpture in the above photo to illustrate – copper is a soft metal and can be beaten (humiliating moments again!) and shaped into almost anything. Infinitely malleable.
We have to be that way too – responsive,shaped and trained into transcendent form by outside forces.
The world will remember that self we became, long after our moments of personal disaster are forgotten.
I don’t mind, actually.
No, not the sort of gap pictured – that could end a little messily at the wrong time.
I mean the hiatus; the space in between; the fallow period – call it what you will.
In the not too distant past, I found myself in a major life hiatus. At first I resented being in nowhere land(or at least that was how I saw it to be ). There were none of the usual markers and signifiers that routine and being busy, busy offered.
What I slowly grasped was that there I did not need to prove anything to anyone, did not to need to analyse the situation, or agonise over what was next .In fact I just had to – be. That was uncomfortable for me but massively liberating in the end.
New things and miracles happened without me chasing them. This blogsite is not named accidentally.
It’s often said that we learn most from adversity or our mistakes,and that may be often true. However I think that the real progress is made in the “after space” of those things .
Self-realisation and change occur in that gap in events where motion stops, and we have time and permission to rest with our being and the universe.
You just can’t squeeze that shit in walking to the shops or in a coffee break between jobs….
The house below is architecturally gorgeous, and a favourite local destination of mine, but I am equally intrigued by its history of change.
Built as the showpiece mansion of a prominent merchant in the mid to late 19th century, it has subsequently become a Catholic noviate school , an orphanage, housing for the homeless and now, in public hands, a cutting edge art gallery.
So, big money built it and religion, charity and culture have all lived there since.
The building hasn’t really changed but it has been drastically repurposed from time to time.
The truth it speaks to me is that while we may appear as the same person we have always been (maybe our facade deteriorates over the years!), we are constantly being repurposed in ways we would never have foreseen.
What new thing will occur in our rooms? Who will visit the mansion next?
Achilles Point is one of Auckland’s many cool vantage points and one of the places I go just to look out over the rocks ,reefs ,waves ,islands,and the constantly changing horizon.
A simple luxury ,if that is not a contradiction in terms.
I hope that the pictures in the preceding post ‘Shift Yr Narrative’ tell a story, or perhaps two stories, of one subject ,on their own. But since I am talking about narratives I will add some words as well….
A narrative is the description of a thing or event from a certain perspective. It can be as sweeping as an entire world view or, in the telling of a tale, merely a different narrator ,tense or location, for example.
So, what does it take to shift the narrative in our own lives?
A momentous event of change;maybe a crisis of some sort ?
Or perhaps changing the tense of our story, so that we do not live in the past ,or in a future yet to arrive ,but in the present?
What would our life look like if we fully authored it and not allowed the manuscript to be ghostwritten by others?
And, can multiple narratives of our lives each be true, wholly or in part?
Many questions and no right answers – but if our lives are not unfolding as we think they ought to be ,and that uncomfortable reality cannot otherwise be altered , maybe changing it around and taking another perspective will assist us to move on.
Shift yr narrative!