Endings don’t mean much to me, it’s all an ongoing path…the end and the beginning are both one.
Here’s to more questioning, more facing on conflict, better relational tools and hence, a deeper dive into this fantastic existence.
An article on better resolution tools on this gift called “conflict” that we run away from:
As I think about Art Therapy, Feminism, the new political year in the US and the political turmoil in India…my thoughts lead to this Kabir song I’m sharing:
Light the lamp,
and there’s radiance,
Such a small bundle,
It will bite dust one day,
It will mingle with the mud,
in the temple,
Light the lamp,
and there’s radiance
Who will awaken in the light of this utter turmoil we are facing today? Do I have what it takes to awaken?
From the Ajab Shahar Project:
“Guru shatters the pitch darkness, the lamp destroys the utter blackness, says Kabir, urging us to light the lamp in our temple. ‘Jagariya’ – literally ‘one who awakens’ – is the last name of Asariya bhai, and many of the other singers in this mandali. So it’s not surprising that their families have been in the tradition of singing Kabir and other mystic poets for several generations. Kabir is a widely loved nirgun poet of the 15th century, well known for his rude and rough rhetoric, designed to shake us out of our unconscious ways. The song casts a powerful spell as it weaves together the other voices that ‘awaken’ – Devji Asariya Jagariya and Devji Ghabha Jagariya – who are from nearby villages. As the song says, light the lamp and there’s radiance!
Asariya Khima Jagariya has imbibed the tradition of ‘aradhiya bhajan’ from a very young age from his father Khima Bapa and his grandfather. He belongs to Kharoda village in Lakhpat, Kutch in western Gujarat, can be contacted at +91-81411-73115”
Sweltering red rock.
Watermelon slices outside prison, waiting to dissolve in the succulent juices of an April summer.
April is always a month of insights. Last April, a clear, spiritual focus found me. I always knew it was coming, but sometimes its the dazy heat of April that quietens the mind, and tells you it is time.
Memory, play, repeat.
I was walking, walking fast, walking calm,
Walking slow and focused- staring at the weary faces of the women waiting for me to shell out my ‘peace games’ and ‘art therapy kit’, I was reminded of my ex-partner-a gentle guy who ended up threatening to wring my neck in our last fight. A small gesture, a maddening anger. Pain bubbles as sadness mirrors- everyone is suffering.
Did I give in?
Does love resolve itself? Does time resolve pain?
As I walked on the broken cement at the women’s prison, I thought of Jimmy Baca- an ex-convict I’d met in the US many years ago when I was teaching in a prison. He had lead an extraordinary life of suffering and transformation. Spending six hears in prison, out of which, three years, in isolation (Some American prisons have isolated cells for certain types of incarcerated people)- he taught himself how to read and write. He had suffered and suffered and suffered his whole life but the man I saw and met was a man who was clear, unjaded, humble and whole. A fellow inmate convinced him to read out his poetry and slowly and steadily, he built his life back.
One can read more by googling him and his work but the most extraordinary thing about him and his work was that there wasn’t any ‘golden end’. Any rags to riches tale, any wiping out of all of his suffering with a stroke of fame. Sometimes, we think of transformation as magic. Pain becomes glory. And you’re a clean slate again.
But perhaps, acceptance is transformation itself. We often think of acceptance as giving up. But maybe, in this very quest to transform pain, we are only looking for rewards? Baca portrayed transformation as acceptance. Of self and the other. Of fear. and pain.
Can one really transform the pain of the other?
Does one just forget?
I finished my session with those beautiful women today, hungry to learn, waiting to receive, unfree, burdened by their pain. I packed my drums and said goodbye and I remembered, April is the month on insight.
Khula Aasman is a beautiful, earthy space for artists right in the middle of Chembur in Mumbai. With their focus being ‘Play for Peace’, they work whole heartedly in the realm of community based therapeutic art work, facilitated over long periods of time. They’d invited me over to do a ten-hour, two-week spanning therapeutic engagement with the women-at-risk. The focus was for it to be a community mural- with their ideas, stories and representations of truth.
Check them out here!
Silence and looking are related.
I like to look.
I like quietness and looking.
How does one really see though? Of course, there is the regular mental clutter that stops one from really being able to see. But I am not talking of that, I think. I mean, how does one know when one can open one’s eyes to that which is worth seeing? I think silence comes from not-judging. There is immense power in silence. There is immense power in seeing. Maybe it is this power that blinds me.
These images are from an afternoon of looking in Pune, at a theatre space.
This city has become you, dearest lover, even though you’ve never been here.
Under the willows of wanting you, I have become one with this city.
The hurried footsteps in its anxious trains,
The empty chatter in the distant skyline,
The trees that look so forgetful,
These are you.
It doesn’t matter you’ve never been here.
I am you now, in this city.
I was looking at you look at me, from the corner of your heart.
It is a place only you and me can see together.
The valves mingle within the warm waters of what you call love.
I am not there.
Suddenly,we look away,almost together.
It is as if what we said or did or understood as ours was not ours anymore but you now speak in third person.
I don’t exist.
You don’t exist.
You are now looking at me looking at you, the you that doesn’t exist. You are here. I am not.
All I see is you. The you that doesn’t exist.
to a pile of love
an empty bed
a full page,
a bit wet too,
the rain survives
of my heart
Outside your window,
an empty cloud,
what shall we