Painfully beautiful

Photo by  Patrick Hendry  on  Unsplash

I'm a fan of C.S. Lewis, even though I've read very little of his work. Truly I'm a fan of anyone who can take a crude amalgam of thoughts, feelings and experience, and, with a few simple words, crystalize them into something painfully beautiful.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Time to choose

I have a soft spot for duality, for opposites, contrast. Invariably, regardless of the art or mode of expression, I'm drawn in.

There's a part in Neale Donald Walsch's book, Conversations with God, that talks about every choice coming down to love or fear—nothing in between. It's not the first time I've heard this, but the manner in which it was delivered stirred up experiences past.

Language can be boiled down to its most essential building blocks. Take the most basic computer language: nothing but zeros and ones. If there were a language behind the universe—creating, morphing, dissolving it—it would be this. At least as humans are concerned, may be that's all there is: love or fear. 

We choose all the time. It's time to choose differently.

Joy, truth, love

I just started reading a book I got as a gift from my mom, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. I'm literally just a few pages in, but I wanted to post this quote. 

I love finding these little treasures in things—thoughts so tightly strung together you can touch them. Well, they touch you. 

The Highest Thought is always that thought which contains joy. The Clearest Words are those words which contain truth. The Grandest Feeling is that feeling which you call love.

Photo by  Ben Watts  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben Watts on Unsplash

As long as we accept we can choose

For as long as I remember, I've been afraid to love—to love in the purest sense.

There are these lines from Lord Tennyson's poem, In Memoriam A.H.H.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

'Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

I’ve been an ardent advocate of the opposition, especially as I’ve grown older. Yet throughout my life, through the good choices and the terrible ones, this is true: it is the very thing I’m drawn to—a moth circling an ever-burning flame.

We cannot know love without loss. The profound pain of loss and the nature of love itself—immense, vast beyond comprehension, infinite—is deceptively terrifying. I say “deceptively” because I’ve glimpsed it and survived.

This video, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone, was deeply moving to me. If you’re also on a quest to overcome the fear to love, I hope this inspires you too.

1,000 frames per second

Speaking of setting the heart aflame, I've been away: I was preparing for a performance that took place this weekend—it went beautifully. I enjoyed myself tremendously and so did my students. I met a lot of great people, and received the highest compliment on my choreography from one of the professional dancers I most admire.

Something very deep within me ignited again. It's the kind of thing that keeps you up at night, and in those short instances where you do fall asleep, it seeps into your dreams. There's no remedy but to succumb to the music playing quietly inside, like a soft, unrelenting echo, and, in the middle of the night, externalize its voice with a song that fits just right, then move to it until it the body can do no more.

This video is lovely—movement at 1,000 frames per second. I thought I'd share it here while I finish the piece I've been working on.

Oink

Oink

There’s a story I read several years ago; it comes and goes like a familiar ghost, but lately it’s more and more present. To me, it’s one of the simplest, most poignant allegories on the human condition—as long as you’re willing to look beyond theological constructs. Sometimes, when I bump up against labels and the like, I find approaching any information as one would a fable or a childhood story yields a refreshing flexibility of mind.

This excerpt is from How To Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. If you’re unfamiliar with Eastern Philosophy, as I am, the only term that’s helpful to know beforehand, ahem, is “Atman.” Simply put: it means the real Self.  

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Set the heart aflame

Two years ago a friend of mine gave me her copy of Irina Tweedie’s The Chasm of Fire: A Woman's Experience with the Teachings of a Sufi Master. The title is self-explanatory, and it’s a great read—it’s actually a portion of her larger work, Daughter of Fire, which I haven’t read. There are a couple lines in the first chapter that moved me; they were the first of many. 

It is the task of the Teacher to set the heart aflame with an unquenchable fire of longing; it is his duty to keep it burning until it is reduced to ashes. For only a heart which has burned itself empty is capable of love.

Photo by  JERRY  on  Unsplash

Photo by JERRY on Unsplash