Recently I’ve been thinking about the convergence of the sacred and the mundane, where art meets life, and how we navigate this contemporary world of busy-ness to find moments of peace. I heard a story today on the radio today, as I was navigating this website for the first time and wondering what in the heck “widgitization” could possibly mean, that was about how technology is changing the way we experience the present moment. You know, smiling and nodding with the person you are having an actual conversation with while simultaneously keeping an eye and ear on your cell phone, that sort of thing. And I while I was listening to this radio story about being present, I was also trying to make my giant leap into the “present moment” of 3:30 in the afternoon on April 10, 2011, in which I started a blog for the first time. About concepts like trying to “stay present” with art, creativity, and the everyday wonders of my life. The irony was not lost on me.
I am a big fan of paradox. I am a seeker. Of beauty, of meaning, of all things funny. I’ve committed to doing a twenty-minute kundalini yoga mantra meditation every morning for 90 days. I practice mindfulness. I love to read books called “Dharma Art” and “Color and Culture.” I also love shopping online, margaritas, and laughing til I cry. I eat quinoa and sprouts I grow on my kitchen counter, and I eat chocolate. Love me some chocolate. (Though as I read this I think “who am I kidding? Like eating chocolate isn’t a transcendent experience?”) I love the peace of the natural world, and I love a bustling coffee shop. I love watching art films with subtitles and (yes, I will admit to it) Ugly Betty (okay, I occasionally watch netflix re-runs; I don’t actually have tv), Project Runway, and I even have been known to watch an episode or two, I hope you won’t hold this against me, of Grey’s Anatomy. I read voraciously, everything from Janet Evanovich to Eckhart Tolle, BUST magazine to Alice Munro. And poetry. I like to read a poem everyday. Also, I can (and like to) swear like a sailor. Given the right company. Which is everyone but my mom.
I love the color blue. Of the sky and also of my JCrew double-cloth coat. I’m wondering, hoping, that my affection for both is not a split between my love of the sacred and the mundane but rather an understanding that they are both the same thing. Beauty. One’s transparent and out of reach, the other I can touch, even wrap my body in.
I’m a weaver. I think there’s something to this paradox for weavers: we are drawn to the physical nature of cloth, how it feels against the skin, the texture, the memories that it holds of comfort. There is also the elusive joy that comes from bringing something that only existed in the mind’s eye, the internal, psychological equivalent to the sky, and making it real.
But the truth is everyone who’s alive is creative, brings something into the world that didn’t previously exist. If you’ve ever cooked something with more than a single ingredient, taught someone how to do something, put on an outfit that wasn’t a uniform, had a child, or a garden, or a pet, you’ve created something. In fact, just getting through the day sometimes requires an immense amount of creativity.
So I think that while I agree with the scholar today on the radio, who was talking about technology and the “present moment,” that our challenge now is to notice the real, the person in front of us who is ACTUALLY speaking to us, not just in a text on our phone (where we even shorten “ok” to “k”. Um. Really? Is it too hard to type the “o” also? But that’s a post for another day). I guess though, I’m also acknowledging that this present moment includes this technology that’s helping me write my very first blog post. To you. Even though you are probably just one reader. Hi Mom.