Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aglow for the Holidays

Can you spot the mistletoe?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011


Rosina took silence as a personal offense, and spoke into empty rooms and chattered into cupboards.

-from Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone

Sunday, December 11, 2011


From doing copious amounts of yoga, I have learned to be introspective or, rather, I have learned to honour my introspective nature. At the same time, the practice of yoga has taught me to tune into adjusting parts of my body and learning to do things I never thought possible. Tuck my tailbone under? Sure. Externally rotate my left thigh? No problem. It is truly a wonder to see how far my practice has brought me in seven years.

With this focused introspection, I have also attuned to an intuition regarding my body, my moods and, generally, the change of my own personal sphere when in interaction with the world. This week, eating eggs doesn't seem to agree with me. Certain social situations drain my confidence from me. These are just things that are. This sort of awareness is truly a gift, and more so a self practice I must constantly hone.

Recently I have noticed with more acuity the point on my body where stress and tension build up. I always knew my hips were tight and that pigeon pose could be so very frustrating. I have also always known that I need to work on my core strength, forever more. And while I knew I held tension in my shoulders, I have recently realized that there is a spot around my right shoulder blade that knots and twists when stress beats down. I don't know how to explain it. I also don't know (nor am I searching for) the cure for it. I just realize it to be the manifestation of stress for me individually, for my body, for my experience.

And there is something to that self knowledge.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

We Are Young

On the verge of 26, I have to remember the following.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Words Fail Me

It's been a while since I've sat down and written. Some may say that this is a lack of diligence, straying from my craft. Truth be told, ever since graduating and leaving behind the measured and more spread-out life of the student, I've been working really had and, as with everything else, I've committed myself 100% to these work-related endeavours, whether it be waking up at 5am to make it to my cafe job over the summer or putting in my hours of research as an intern.

This time of busy-ness has meant that side projects have fallen to the wayside and that perhaps I am not as 'connected' as I once was. My interior journey, however, has continued nonetheless. Means of expression have continued in different ways. Life, as I knew it, has morphed into a different shape. Hopefully the upcoming holidays will give me some time to step back, gain perspective, and reflect. Maybe I'll try being more connected and plug back in.

This world measures output and I've just tried shying away from it for a moment. Perhaps I think too much, consider too much and go too cautiously into the next step of everything. (I now realize that perhaps I have been away from writing too long, it feels like I am plunging a drain and the words are splashing all over the place). Maybe I am a bit paralyzed by the fact that everything I put out seems to form an image and I am thinking too much, too long term, the 'brand' should be fully formed.

But I'm rambling. To make a long story short, words have failed me. I haven't put them together, they haven't come to mind. And I have been okay with that. I am more a believer that words will come when they must, passion will fall into place, drive will kick into gear.

Let this be a first step (not necessarily in the right direction, but simply a first step in some direction).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cooking is Life

"Mustard seeds explode in the hot oil. She holds a lid over the pan to fend off the missiles. Rat-a-tat! like hail on a tin roof. She adds the cumin seeds, which sizzle, darken, and crackle. A dry, fragrant smoke chases out the mustard scent. Only then are the onions added, handfuls of them, and now the sound is that of life being spawned in a primordial fire"

-Abraham Verghese in Cutting for Stone

*perhaps one of the most evocative and powerful passages about food I have read in a long time...

Saturday, November 05, 2011


The gesture of prayer and calling up to a higher power seems to be a fairly universal action. The action itself of putting your hands together, I have found, can be an extremely powerful and moving exercise. My experience with yoga has taught me to really explore the space of my body in different ways, detecting miniscule adjustments of muscle and bone, awareness and sensation.

Putting my hands together, I try to push equally in opposite directions, left towards right and right towards left. I try to feel all the pads of my fingers equally, each knuckle and all the edges of my palm. Trying to find that perfect balance, I can be overcome with such a deep sense of concentration -- a feeling that can take my breath away. So I breathe into it and try to find that connected balance.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rise Above

On Sunday I extricated myself from the Underground, drifted away from the bustle of London footfall and went to the 32nd floor of the Centrepoint building for a fun event and, quite refreshingly, a 360-degree view of London from above.

It is so nice to see the city from above, to separate from urbanity and gain perspective.

PS also, it is the only vantage point to appreciate how incredible the British Museum really is (see below).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Of Words: Figurati

One of my favourite words in any language is in Italian (another favourite I'll have to write about later).


In response to expressions of thanks, a person would respond, 'Figurati!' meaning something like 'Of course!' or 'No problem!'. There is something about the selflessness of the response; the word recalls the sentiment of benevolence, the pleasure of giving.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a dark and sumptuous corner

Sometimes, the best photos are unplanned and unintentional.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sometimes words

Sometimes words come to mind merely for their tactility,
their meaning so wrong, so not what I was looking for.

Give me syllables to taste, I'll leave the meanings behind.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Before & After The Party

*Those with a knowledge of Warhol will smile a knowing and charmed smile.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An active form of prayer, of meditation, of grace

"What we are taught in yoga is that there is no separation between the mind, the body, and the spirit. That everything is interdependent upon the whole. And there's so much denial about our body because we are often so fixated on the way that it looks. If we're not comfortable with the way that it looks we deny it and shame it.

Another aspect is using your body to pray. It all connects back to service which is in the evolution of the work that I've done.

I trust that if I do my yoga practice I am going to get stronger and more flexible. If I stay in alignment, if I don't push, if I don't force, then my body will organically open in time. I know if I breathe deeply, I will oxygenate my body, it has an influence on my nervous system. These things are facts that I know to be true.

But I also recognize that it's a mystical practice, and that you can use your body as an expression of your devotion. So the way you place your hand, the way you place your foot forward or back is an offering. I offer the movements to someone I love or to the healing of the planet. So if I am moving from a state of love, and my heart is open to that connection between myself and another person or myself and the universe, it becomes an active form of prayer, of meditation, of grace."

Yoga Teacher Seane Corn in interview with Krista Tippett on Being (an American Public Media podcast)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A poetic beginning

I have been holding onto an image for quite some time,
hoping that it would sprout into a poem, but it still lies
quiet, waiting for the right moment to germinate.

Arabesques of steam rise from the hot water,
like the flamenco dancer's spinning hand, effortless
to the music, beyond bodily limitations, listening
to the rhythm.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On Time

"When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said 'one o'clock' as though I could see it, and 'Monday' as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year's Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls."

- From Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, 1968.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Other Side

Now to the other side
of the Atlantic
of the road
where drivers sit on the left
and cold water streams through the right
Home, in mirror image,
for another seven days.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Re-Sync-ing/ Re-Think-ing

Today, finally, after 5 weeks of waiting, I got Internet set up in my new apartment in London.

After the initial surge of excitement (deleting the hoards of emails from a week of accumulation), I got to a point where the energy and adrenaline ebbed.

And so?

Part of me feels slightly obsolete on the Internet again. Part of me feels great that my life hasn't revolved around it.

Over the past few weeks I would just check my email at (one of my) work(s) on Monday and Tuesday. It was thrilling to catch up. But now I am back. Perhaps its just a matter of getting back into a rhythm.

Ah, perennial transition.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


“Immensity is within ourselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests, but which starts again when we are alone. As soon as we become motionless, we are elsewehere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense. Indeed, immensity is the movement of motionless man. It is one of the dynamic characteristics of quiet daydreaming.” – Gaston Bachelard.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Laughing into the Unconscious

Last night I went to see Dave St Pierre's Un peu de tendresse bordel de merde. Amidst intense work for my dissertation, this production of raw primality, emotion and movement was just the thing to bring me out of my intellectual headspace. With dancers infiltrating into the audience in various states (of undress), there was no way not to be confronted, engaged and involved.

Throughout the performance, I tried to make sense of it all, a lot of scenes marrying adult situations with unfiltered childish emotion. Some of the emotion and movement were extremely raw to the point that select audience members were uncomfortable and some actually left. But throughout it all, humour also came to the forefront, bringing the audience along the journey into a space both strange and fascinating.

Whenever I have done automatic writing, and really let go, the funniest little moments have appeared. When I am most comfortable, I can be absolutely hilarious, without trying, without second thought. Humour can be a great indicator of digging deep. Sometimes in yoga class, when I have really let go of self-consciousness, I smile, I laugh, I forget which is left and which is right.

Just a thought for a Saturday, let go, forget, smile and laugh. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Curator of Self

I've grown up in an age where computers came to maturity at the same time that I did. I can't imagine today's generation, babies playing with cellphone toys, learning the ABCs from a computer screen... While I will have to wrap my head around it by the time I have children, I consider myself lucky to have known an age before texting, facebook and constant cellphone accessibility. I think it has allowed me to be doubly aware of my sense of self.

I do admit, that a lot of the wisdom and caution that I have towards the internet has trickled down through my mother and her own precautious and skeptical behaviour (although she embraced eBay 1000%). When it comes to my self and sharing of myself online, (un)fortunately (depending how you see it), the picture of who I am now stretches to the online realm.

What I write in my blog, what I share on Facebook, these are all statements as to who you are and what you stand for. I've found myself skeptical of supporting certain groups or campaigns online, calculating my future as if I were running for office (although I don't plan on it). The New York Times Magazine published a feature article last year entitled The Web Means the End of Forgetting and it is all too true. This age of cyber everything demands a new sense of self awareness.

Part of me doesn't want to care, part of me just wants to share. I guess it's like a yoga class, I just want to go and abandon myself to my practice, but that's not how it works. I need to have the same self awareness all the time. Sure at first it can be a nuisance, but I'm sure that in due time the self awareness will just become a unconscious good habit.

And it is also an opportunity (or a type of (performance) art, used time and time again, I am the curator of my identity. I create a constellation of facts, photos and tidbits that complete an image of who I am (or who you think I am). It can be quite a wonderful creative process, but, as with any exhibit, it is in the interpretation, in the spaces in between that the true feeling, the true soul comes to life.

(A neon work by Tracey Emin, currently on display at Hayward Gallery, which I think complements this reflection nicely)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

If at first you don't succeed, throw out the dough and start again

Flour and I don't seem to mix. At least not the first time around.

Throughout this year, Tess & I have been making bread. And when I say Tess & I, it really is more like Tess (& I) or, to be very brutally honest: Tess. Tess goes through the routine of making bread while I provide the company and watch her make her magic.

Yet after four weeks of not having her around, I decided, finally, to give it a go. First time around, I think I used plain flour. I could tell that something was amiss. When I went to incorporate the yeast the dough ended up feeling very heavy. And after waiting 30 minutes, no rising. So I pitched it.

When I was home for the holidays, I had somehow been infected with the need to bake and tried my hand at making pie for Christmas dinner. I must have tried 3-4 times to make the dough, each time failing, something in the chemistry was wrong. Turns out I was severely misunderstanding what shortening was (ie margarine NOT oil). Somehow I persisted, and I came out victorious in the end, my pie garnering a round of applause at dinner.

Anyhoo, so as with the pie, so with the bread. I pitched batch number one and hoped I wouldn't need to repeat as often as I did the pie dough recipe. I went out and bought proper bread flour and some more yeast and decided, screw Tess's instructions (which are a little laborious and involve 4 hours of waiting and working -- I'll try it next time), I'm going to follow the bag.

Thus, following the instructions on the bag. I could tell immediately that things were going better. The consistency of everything was just so much more breadlike.

And after a bit of time resting, beautiful airy risen dough. And after time in the oven... voila! bread! crusty! delicious!

Somehow I've got this tenacity when it comes to baking, this need to succeed. Breadmaking is a beautiful process of creation, it's therapeutic and reliable, and nourishing.

So fail with big broad beautiful mistakes. Take a moment and start over again. The results will be incredibly satisfying.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hold the Cheese, Please

I do hope that this blog isn't going the way of a pasta blog, but hey, good things need to be shared.

And a recent good thing which I do quite love is Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto from Dreena Burton's fantabulous (extra syllables, notice?) cookbook Eat, Drink and Be Vegan (there are things in there that make you want to CONVERT to veganism).

I've made it before and the people who've eaten it are floored to discover that there isn't any cheese in it. Well it's true, believe it.

But don't just believe it, make it!

Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto on Pasta

1 large clove garlic
3.5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp dry mustard (I just use regular mustard, well, whole grain mustard)
3/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water (it doesn't seem like much but somehow it works)
1 cup + 2 tbsp raw cashes (can use almonds, just add more water)
2 3/4 cups fresh basil leaves packed down
225-340 g dry pasta (whatever you want really)
olive oil for finish

In a food processor (or a blender), combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, oil and water, and puree until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add cashews and basil and puree (leave as much or as little texture as you want)

Cook your pasta and drain, toss with pesto (it can be a bit of a paste but be patient, maybe add a bit of the pasta water).

Season with salt pepper and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Re-collect: Rome.

I trekked to Cacio e Pepe, guidebook in hand. I had starred the restaurant as a place to try. A table for one, alone. I decided to try the restaurant's eponymous dish. Cheese (pecorino) and pepper. Plain and simple.

I remember being transported by this dish. The fresh pasta. The simplicity of its sauce. And filling. When the waitress came to ask me if she could get me anything else, I was saddened to say no. But truthfully I was happy to give my high praises and thanks for a delicious meal. A delicious memory.

*Re-collect may just become a regular feature/snippet, resurrecting old photos, recalling old memories. Re-collecting those memories that remain twinkle every now and then in the mists of memory.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Inner Peace? Well yes, among other things

Recently Ed Halliwell wrote an article debunking the everpresent peace of meditation in his article in The Guardian, Meditation is an Emotional Rollercoaster. How true he is. And it got me thinking to my yoga practice.

I've often come to the mat eager to get that sense of buoyancy that comes from immersing myself in my practice. Just let go and give in. But yoga really isn't about that. The practice, for me, is so much about awareness, attuning to my environment, inner and outer, and zero-ing in on the intricacies of my body. It's not about being flexible, if you think so you've missed the boat, or, rather, you're going to have to wrestle that expectation to the ground for a K.O. Some days I'm flexible, other days I'm tight. I've got to accept where I am from day to day, from moment to moment. No matter how much I hang on to routine, every day is different.

Recently I have awakened to the yogic practice as constant corporeal vigilance. The moment I sink in, ie forget about all those bandhas and all the muscle and bone alignments, I've lost it. Can yoga make me injury free? Sure, but I've got to remain awake to my body. It's about getting into the habit of constantly kindling the inner fire. Sure I can achieve some peace, but I can also deal with lots of frustration along the way. It's like going into the body and turning on all the switches and making sure they stay on. Only then can I truly shine.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Our New Friends

Welcome to the 21st century where websites have become our friends. I chuckle and smile when Google reminds me of important birthdays and anniversaries - an informative friend full of "did you know...?" facts. Websites sometimes update their look, and everyone notices. Come April Fools, Gmail and YouTube play practical jokes on us. How fun that our Internet lives are infused with personality and not the stuff of futuristic robotic nightmares.

So with that, Google just informed me this morning that it is the 76th birthday (or would be, were he alive) of Roger Hargreaves, the creator of the beloved Little Miss and Mr Men series. Here, Little Miss Shy:

Smile and enjoy (you can go to Google and click refresh repeatedly to see all the other doodles...)!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Life According to Polish Proverbs

Between when I went to sleep Monday night and when I awoke again on Tuesday morning, Canada learned its election results.

When I awoke, out of habit, I rolled out of bed and onto my yoga block to sit meditation. But my mind was already curious and active, not able to be silent for the duration of my practice. I then spent the good part of ten minutes gasping at this historic news (each party had made history in one way or another during the election) and continued to read and listen to news stories . Caught in this whirlwind of news from home, my morning derailed a bit. My bed was a mess, abandoned in a pile, and I was already off schedule for my morning coffee and to get to The National Arts Library.

In Polish, there is a saying that my mother loves to quote: Jak sobie pościelesz, tak się wyśpisz (You rest the way you have made your bed). And as the day continued, I found the proverb to be more and more true, my day was turning out to be a wild abandoned messy heap.

I went to the library and researched, my mind still twisting with the news as one party leader after another resigned from leadership. I hit a lag of motivation, adrift in a miasma of big ideas. Later that afternoon I would meet with my advisor to discuss the first draft (a very drafty draft) of my dissertation.

Researching back at The Courtauld, I received a phone call. I had been offered an interview for a job on which my heart was set. All of a sudden I was motivated again, excited, seeing a task ahead, a goal. I zipped through the article I was reading and went home to prep for my advisor meeting. And, suddenly, somewhere in that advisor meeting, I got lost again in my mess of dissertation ideas - I had too many images, I didn't have a clear enough focus. I started to feel sick. So the rest of the day I spent coming back down to earth, relaxing, recentering, shaking away the off-kilter feelings.

The funny thing about this dissertation process is the independence of it all. I have a half hour meeting with my advisor maybe once every two weeks. The rest of the time, the rest of my week, I am left to myself and my ideas. When I struggled with my draft I realized all the things that were wrong with my draft. And, really, it comes down to me, my standards, my dedication to clear writing and presentation. So having this sick-to-my-stomach crisis this "early" in the process (with 5 weeks to go) is a good thing, snap me back into things. Anchor down. Get concrete. Set a course for success. Lay down the basics, stay visual, refine my focus and get cracking. Now for an outline.

But before the outline, waking to a new day, I've set my bed, shaken out the duvet and laid it flat. And so the rest of my day, according to the Polish proverb, should unfold smoothly.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

...but I believe in art.

Some quotes to ponder from Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton:

"Never go to the wall text. Never ask the artist. Learn to read the work."

Artists often don't fully understand what they've made, so other people's readings can help them "see a conscious level" what the have done.

"It is a bit like yoga. You must empty your mind and be receptive. It's about being open to the possibility of what you could know."

"You have to find something that is true to yourself as a person - some non-negotiable core that will get you through..."

I believe in education for its own sake, because it is deeply humanizing. It is about being a fulfilled human being.

"I'm an atheist, but I believe in art. I go to galleries like my mother went to church. It helps me understand the way I live."

There is a kind of poetry in their impenetrable phrases. Why shouldn't art criticism have that?

"I'm looking for what the artist is trying to say and what he or she is accidentally saying, what the work reveals about society and the timeless conditions of being alive."

An artist is someone who understands the border between this world and that one.

"I love stepping out of the everyday into the space of art. I love to be immersed in an idea or an aesthetic or something phenomenological. Frankly, I get enough of everyday life."

[Anish Kapoor on his Biennale experience] "I remember... It might have been the first day of the previews that year. There were thousands of people. as there always are." He paused. "At lunchtime I went into one of the nicer restaurants near the Giardini and... everybody in the restaurant got up and started clapping." Kapoor looked at me with genuine amazement. "It was completely spontaneous," he said, "I was just a young guy. It was bizarre. It was wonderful."

Friday, April 08, 2011

In the Green

Inspired by the remains our Sunday night roasted poussin (a young chicken conveniently sized for two which we stuffed with a bulb of garlic and covered in oil and a hint of salt), Tess & I decided to make stock from scratch. But really the stock was just a secondary by-product (or rather an ingredient) for the Soupe aux herbes which I have been eying in Caroline Dumas's Soupesoup cookbook (from the eponymous Montreal restaurant).

The recipe is pretty easy once you get all the prep together. Comes out like a sort of healthy mojito in soup form. The only part I was worried about was putting our hand blender into the pot. Metal on metal, could it work? Would sparks fly? Would the kitchen blow up? But alas (or thankfully?), no fireworks. Just a quick jump to puree.

2 tsp. olive oil (we used rapeseed oil, but really who cares?)
1 leek, cut into rounds
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups spinach
1 cup watercress
1/2 cup coriander
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup basil
Juice from 1 lemon

- Heat oil in a large pot, add leek with 1 tsp. water, cook for 3 minutes without browning.
- Add stock, bring to a boil then take off the heat.
- Add spinach, watercress and herbs. Blend immediately.
- Add lemon juice and spice to taste!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ode to the Goose Egg

Tess and I get excited when we see new things at the market (really, we just get excited by the market). So when we saw goose eggs lurking about, naturally, we got excited. And we bought two.

We weren't sure what to think of goose eggs, or at least our expectations of goose eggs. We had tried quail eggs (cute! precious! subtle & delicious!) and duck eggs (rubbery! weird! why-the-hell-would-you-use-these?). With a new type of egg the size of my palm, would it be great? Or would it be awful? The saleswoman assured us that 1 goose egg equaled 3 chicken eggs in volume, and perhaps the same ratio of richness too.

So we hard boiled one (more like soft boiled - only leaving it boiling for 8 minutes) and poached the other (taking a day in between to rest our palettes. The massive egg was difficult to poach, forming its own pod around the yolk and a train of nebula-like opalescent egg white. The hard-boiled white was almost pearl-escent.

The verdict? Rich, delicious. We'd do it again. Out with the duck and in with the goose.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Confessions of a Procrastinator, a Cultivator

I must confess, this week is the first week that I have been consistently productive, immersing myself in reading and research for my dissertation, due in a little over two months. I am still in a dense fog as to what exactly I will articulate, but the search has begun, I have begun to sift.

And for the past few weeks, what have I been doing? I've been mulling ideas. I took out a few books, I let them sit on my floor a while. I have focused on other things. All this idling, perhaps it is a luxury, perhaps it is a space for dreaming, for breathing, for letting ideas coagulate. Letting the fields of grey matter in my mind lay fallow after the condensed rush of the last semester, its presentations, papers and exam.

So now I reach into my pockets and begin sow the next crop...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Perfecting Pancakes

On Shrove Tuesday, Tess and I decided to celebrate by starting our morning in the kitchen at the pan, flipping. It doesn't take much to get us into the kitchen and it doesn't get much to get our brains scheming either. So with Shrove Tuesday come and gone, we were back at it again when the pancake-hankering or the creative culinary spirit struck once more.

We found the first recipe we used to yield rubbery results and decided to substitute other things for milk (aka the culprit) thanks to my father's insight. We tried orange juice, oat milk and just plain water. Experimenting further, we wanted to marry the flavour of orange juice pancakes with the perfect texture of oat milk pancakes and voila, we've flipped into our favorite.

Tess & Stefan's Perfect Pancakes

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
115ml oat milk
115ml orange juice
125g plain flour

Mix egg, oat milk and orange juice. Pulse in blender a few times to mix.

Sift flour and add gradually to liquid mixture in blender (pulse a few times, don't go crazy) until all flour is added.

Pour into a bowl or make sure you can ladle from container to pan.

Heat pan and add a bit of butter. Should be nice and hot.

Add batter, spread it out, let it sit and bubble. Shake the pan and work your flippin' action.

Bon appetit!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

a duck, a chicken, and a quail: the omelette debate, a joint sunday morning conference with the pancake question

Those living on the fourth floor of Duchy House know my friend Tess and I to be a little nuts. We are the adventurous duo in the kitchen, baking beets, making our own hummus, and concocting any number of meals. We love to cook, it's obvious.

Seeing goose eggs at the market last week, we came up with the idea to compare different eggs and see how they taste. So this morning we had a great omelette debate between duck, chicken and quail (unfortunately we found no goose, not this week at least...). Duck was surprisingly rubbery, while chicken was a solid regular. Quail was delicate (and somewhat tasteless) and somewhere between chicken and duck on the texture scale.

After experimenting with pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and getting nice flippers albeit with a rubbery finish, we decided to go a little nuts this morning, dividing the batter into three and using orange juice, water and oat milk as the liquid. Orange juice, while covering the pan well, proved ridiculous to flip, providing us with pancake mounds that had a lovely tart taste and a nice spongy but not rubbery texture. Water yielded a crepe-like pancake, easily flipped, decent but generally unexciting. Oat milk won by a long shot in terms of taste and texture: delicate, rubber-less, airy. The batter, in the pan, was entirely too viscous to spread but created a good little pan-cake.

The adventures in gastronomic experimentation continue...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't Sweat Anything

Richard Carlson wrote a book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and more and more lately, I've realized that this is the right way to live. But I really think that you shouldn't really sweat anything. Sure, you should take control of your life to the best of your ability, your life won't steer itself. But as the Serenity Prayer articulates rather well, calling up to a Higher Power: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

I've come to realize that it's great to be aware of the shortcomings of current situations and your future goals. But dragging your feet about it or sending out emotions of need and desperation won't really help in the end. Karmically, it just isn't positive.

Every time I am about to leave a place, the last days of study abroad or a trip or the end of an educational degree, great things tend to happen. Love springs up, positive emotions bloom, things just seem to be dandy. There is something in the momentum of the end and the promise of a beginning that makes life a bit more true.

I've been trying to lead my daily life in this way since realizing it. Sure there are financial worries to be considered and the future to look after, but it doesn't need to become a weight or a preoccupation. Acknowledge, accept and move on. I aim to give my life it's momentum, a constant evolution, a changeability, a joie de vivre.

So here's to flux, here's to faith, here's to diving in...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I've just returned back from the concluding performance of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a ballet in two acts. Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and composed by Joby Talbot, the production is actually a co-production between The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. Fancy that.

It is the story we all know well and I'm sure it was daunting to bring Lewis Carroll's story to dance. Most of the first half was a bit clunky, wading through the real world and gearing up to really set down roots in Wonderland. The first moments in wonderland are a bit mired in special effects, a little more tweaking and I think the entire production could be brilliant. There are glimpses of full-fledged wonderland in the beginning moments which are enchanting and thrilling.

Some of the projection work was quite excellently done (shrinking and expanding Alice) while other bits (the aquatic segment) were not as well executed.

The production really starts to hit its stride with the caterpillar (Eric Underwood) onwards; Wheeldon harnesses the power and the beauty of a fuller cast of dancers in ingenious and playful ways.

The entire narrative builds up to the sensational, whimsical second half - lush with excellent visuals and seamless in its transitions. The Queen of Hearts (Zenaida Yanowsky) radiates with her supreme acting and dancing. Every bit of the second half is enchanting. Alice (Marianela Nunez) has incredible stamina, present and dancing for most of the show's almost two hours. The Mad Hatter (Steven McRae) introduces excellent tap to the ballet scene. Ensemble pieces are excellently choreographed and costumes brilliantly conceived.

A little cleanup of the first half and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland should be set to shine once it makes its North American premiere with The National Ballet of Canada in June in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

you asked me what it felt like to fall in love

You asked me what it felt like to fall in love, and, once again,
I melted. Just like the time (or two) that I did succumb
to that feeling, that love, that emotion that erases
all words, that removes the fences between
emotions and drops me in the middle of the breathing
ocean, rise and fall, all together, an expanse,
an expansive, fluid, heaving and sighing...

Jolted awake from a dream, I forget
the real from the imagined, the fiction
from the non-- Like that shudder
when I glimpse my soul, inhaling
its idiosyncratic breath, but only
for an instant. The fragile, the minute,
the crystalline space where I fall, and
a new world opens up.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

On Endings: Cavafy's The God Forsakes Antony

On the eve of my final exam, the end of the taught portion of my MA at The Courtauld, a poem.

The god forsakes Antony

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

- Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Voice re-emerging

It has been a while since I have written, or even expressed a few of my own words and thoughts. At the risk of this blog becoming a reincarnation of the words of Rilke, I thought I should pipe up. While sharing another poem by Rilke. It is quite a beautiful poem that speaks about re-emergence into strength, presence, generosity. A celebration of the strength of the present moment. I am always taken by the power of this poet's words...

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong
and varied as the land.

And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.

-RM Rilke

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fragments V

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.


If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.


That is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

-R.M. Rilke

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fragments IV

My own original words coming soon...

And you inherit the green
of vanquished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets; and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.
You inherit Venice, Kazan, and Rome.

Florence will be yours, and Pisa's cathedral,
Moscow with bells like memories,

Sounds will be yours, of string and brass and reed,
and sometimes the songs will seem
to come from inside you.

And painters paint their pictures only
that the world, so transient as you made it,
can be given back to you,
to last forever.


And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.

Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that's how growing happens.

Thus the overflow from things
pours into you.
Just as a fountain's higher basins
spill down like strands of loosened hair
into the lower vessel,
so streams the fullness into you,
when things and thoughts cannot contain it.

-RM Rilke

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fragments III


I seek you, because they are passing
right by my door. Whom should I turn to,
if not the one whose darkness
is darker than night, the only one
who keeps vigil with no candle,
and is not afraid -
the deep one, whose being I trust,
for it breaks through the earth into trees,
and rises,
when I bow my head,
faint as a fragrance
from the soil.

-RM Rilke

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Modern Mystic

A stunning image from The Sartorialist married with the precisely perfect comment of a friend. Inspiring.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fragments II

You are not surprised at the force of the storm-
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. [...]

Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.

Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


More Rilke poetry... bits I find inspiring

I was there with the first mythmakers and monks
who made up your stories, traced your runes.

But now I see you:
wind, woods, and water,

[...] I want to portray you
not with lapis or gold, but with colors made of apple bark.

You look on the near no differently from the far,
and if they've learned to plant you more deeply
or build more grandly upon you,

you barely feel it. You hear
neither sower nor reaper
when their footsteps pass over you.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Humanizing the Field

Last Saturday I attended a conference at University College London entitled The Granddaughters'. Generation. FEMINISM & ART HISTORY NOW. A symposium in honour of Linda Nochlin on the occasion of her 80th birthday (cake below). It was a very full day of talks engaged with taking up the scholarship of the now-elderly but just as wonderfully opinionated Mrs. Nochlin. Tamar Garb, Griselda Pollock, Linda Nochlin... all names that have authored articles and books that I have read over the course of my education. It was wonderful to see their ideas alive, and to see the scholars, live! The event, although lengthy, really brought the potential future road of the Art History world alive. Here in the future are live colleagues engaged with ideas, in love with art and continuously questioning and celebrating. It makes me wonder... And finish it off with a glass of bubbly and a cake with Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People's protagonist (the allegorical one-breast-exposed Marianne) displayed prominently on its surface, a strong woman powerfully leading the way forward. A great day.

Inspiration: On Dedication and Fulfillment

Another Rilke poem that offers so much thought on the way I like to live life, overcoming the limits of the mind, pouring myself into life with my whole life. In doing, I feel complete.

Only in our doing can we grasp you.
Only with our hands can we illumine you.
The mind is but a visitor:
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself
We sense its limits, for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don't want to think a place for your.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

-RM Rilke

Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking Flight

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of devoting two-and-a-half hours to a practice, a Journey to the Core, with Ana Forrest. A strong, stoic, yet gentle and affable woman, Ana led an absolutely full room of yogis to find their strength, find their truth in the core of their bodies (not just your abs, but form the head to the coccyx, the house of the chakras). The room was full with the sound of ujjayi breath, a veritable ocean of sound and power.

She encouraged everyone, at the beginning of the journey, to focus on a point in our bodies that needed healing or just more considered attention. I picked my upper shoulders since they have been feeling tense lately.

After buzzing our way through the chakra areas (with Bharamari or Humming Bee Breath), we focused on our point. Immediately my mind envisioned the base of wings across my upper back.

I breathed into my fallen wings.

Throughout the class, we came back to our point. It was a fluid, strong, focused, deep, beautiful practice. My body was exhausted but also replenished with breath and an incredible, soulful 'workout' (I hesitate to call yoga a workout, it's much more than that, it can be an experience).

And today, I am still stuck with the image of wings. Human beings with their fallen wings. Tragic and beautiful, the legacy of the human back.

And so I leave you with a poem written by my friend Adam McGee which uses this very image and has stayed with me since I read it some years ago.


Naked chest to chest,
I reach the perfect V’s
of an outspread thumb & forefinger
to cup the plunging curves
of your shoulder blades.
In the field around us,
dew reflects a zodiac
of fractured light.
Last night in my dream,
you grew triumphant wings
from the ridges beneath my hands.
With the grace of a storm
which comes from nowhere,
you beat down the grasses
with your miracle of lift,
leaving me astonished & below you
as you whipped an arc
through the brightening sky.
When I awoke, I touched
the hard bones of your back
& closed the distance between us.
Now, as I hold you,
I need to purge this guilt:
that on waking, I gave thanks
for gravity.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Power

Now pray,
as I who came back from the same confusion
learned to pray.

I returned to paint upon the altars
those old holy forms,
but they shone differently,
fierce in their beauty.

So now my prayer is this:

You, my own deep soul,
trust me. I will not betray you.
My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing.

What mystery breaks over me now?
In its shadow I come into life.
For the first time I am alone with you -

you, my power to feel.

-RM Rilke

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pour It Out

I spent all day yesterday in the library, and I am gearing up for yet another morning at the library, this time the collection at the V&A. I'm not really sure where this energy and focus is coming from but I am embracing it.

I think the pressure of deadlines and the weight of workload may have something to do with it, certainly. This is the quickest and busiest semester I've ever had to face in my education. Ever. But I am up for the challenge. All while trying to keep balanced, doing yoga here and there and listening to my body and mind when they have truly fizzled out.

I'd like to think, though, that there is another factor to this new focus (besides some cosmological planetary alignment with Jupiter and Venus in the sign of Sagittarius). A series of events in my life recently have taught me to relinquish worry and embrace trust. I lay down my trust after putting forth my effort, knowing that the universe will provide if it sees fit. Because, if you're not worrying about things and strategizing, etc., the world has more of a chance to charm and surprise you. And who doesn't want a little charm and surprise in their lives?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Something in the Water

In North America, they ask bubbly or flat? In England, the question becomes sparkling or still?

It is funny to consider the difference. Flat as a word to me seems so bland, one dimensional, an endless plateau stretching out into the horizon. Still, on the other hand, connotes a quiet pond, calm and meditative, at peace.

Flat or still? I'll take the still. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rilke, twice over.

Read on, read through, the second is my favourite of the moment... - SZR

I, 18
Why am I reaching again for the brushes?
When I paint your portrait, God,
nothing happens.

But I can choose to feel you.

At my senses' horizon
you appear hesitantly,
like scattered islands.

Yet standing here, peering out,
I'm all the time seen by you.

The choruses of angels use up all of heaven.
There's no more room for you
in all that glory. You're living
in your very last house.

All creation holds its breath, listening within me,
because, to hear you, I keep silent.

I, 19

I am, you anxious one.

Don't you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My murmurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can't you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn't my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?

I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am that wanting:
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made of time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fashion Fast Forward

John Galliano, always a wow-er, presents a theatrical, Russian/dancer/gypsy-inspired collection. Leggings, high boots, socks above footwear, embroidery, furs, turbans and bold colours, Johnny G does it all. See more here: The Fashionisto.

Luxurious: adj.

Luxurious has nothing to do with wealth.

Luxurious is early mornings, hints of light, and a heavy duvet weighing
down on me, but not weighing. Instead, it embraces with all its soul.

Luxurious is elaborate script, as if brocaded, stitched, intricate yet flowing.

Luxurious is towels, freshly laundered, expanded and giving tenderly to the touch
and heat of your skin. A caress that press-es into the sensual.

Of time, lost.

My mother is currently showing at Art Mur in Montreal. I had a chance to write a review for the ArtBlog. Below, a sneak peek, peering through the curtain at instinctively artistic and sensitive photographic work.

In of time, lost, Montreal-based photographer
Ewa Zebrowski reflects upon the suspension
and deterioration of memory.

Evocative and mysterious, Zebrowski’s quiet
yet poignant images plumb the depths of a
desire for the past. The collection, belies its
medium – the photos shimmer, as if submerged
just below the surface.


(credits: palazzo barbaro, followed by ca' d'oro)

Friday, January 21, 2011


Loosen. Gilded.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Full Moon, A Full Day

Yesterday my class spent two hours looking at 17th-19th century drawings, analyzing their production and representation. How inspiring it was to be in direct engagement with excellently preserved works from the past in The Courtauld's Prints and Drawings Room.

Later that day, after doing some writing, I re-embarked on my German-learning journey. A challenging but fun endeavour to attempt to translate and demystify German texts. Shortly thereafter, in the same room, I attended a yoga class, a solid basic flow class. How funny it was to be in the exact same room.

And late in the night, below a full moon and at an evening called The Night Shift at the SouthBank Centre, me and a few friends attended a cheap orchestra concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, playing a program of Mahler and Liszt starting at 945pm. A very chill atmosphere, full of young people, preceded by jazz, succeeded by a groovy loungy DJ. What fun!

And today, to work, to work.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Buddhist Love Affair

This Buddhist love affair, in every moment
shifts, endless tangential points
of infinite connection, mindful
movement and sparks, glowing minds, ignited eyes.

Buddhist lover, write me letters, so I can
read them and ignite, words cannot
be forever held, their duration a candle
wick that I must burn to keep the pace
of letting go. Every evolving, every
shift, brings me to breath, brings
me to centre. This Buddhist love affair,
I grow and watch it grow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's Raining.

It's raining. Again. This is the weather I feared, the weather I was told so much about. In London, it can sometimes rain every day if you're here around the right time. Sure, it can be dreary and depressing (but go stand next to some fluo lights, take some vitamins). More than anything though, as long as I am not fighting my way through it, I find this London rain to be an absolute marvel.

I mean really, where does it all come from? How can it rain SO much, SO frequently? I think more often than not, we have the urge to scowl and cringe our way through rainy weather. Why not just relax and get wet? Why not just look up at the heavens and marvel?

Fashion Forward

Now is the time that I seem to get inundated with images from Fashion Week here and there and everywhere. It's time for Milan's Fashion Week Fall 2011 (what? what about spring? I'd like some of that before I think about next fall already...).

I just wanted to share, above, an image of shirts being put out by Dolce and Gabbana. I used to have a shirt from Etro of a similar style. It is as if the tips of the sleeves and the waist were dipped in another colour. What I find genius about this style is that it taps right into a sartorial behaviour that is already happening. You know the guys with the jeans that keep sinking down? You know you've always wanted to bring those sleeves out of your coat and make them protrude as well. Well here's a shirt that does both, and you can still be proper. Pretty cool, eh?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Foxes of London

A couple of months ago my across-the-hall neighbour and I were walking home from South London and as we passed a church, I pointed out two creatures limber-ly scrounging in the corner of the yard. Orange. Sleek. Foxes! We were so stunned about the appearance of the pair. It felt like a favorable omen.

The fox, as a little research unveiled, and its fire-ey orange colour can signify passion, desire, intensity, and expression. We saw it as a positive omen of creativity, stealth, drive and intelligence. A special moment.

And then, last night, I was walking through London Fields and a creature crossed my path. What was it. Gingerly jogging across the grass, stopping to perks its head in my direction every now and then. A pointy dog with a bushy tail? No! Another fox! These urban foxes of London are trying to solidify themselves as my personal omen or something. Another very special moment. Omen-ous. Portending.

And I smile at the wily ways of nature and the universe.

May what I do flow from me like a river

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

-R.M. Rilke

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I believe in the night

Rilke has been striking a major chord with me lately,
echoes of my soul.
So instead of writing, I'm going to do some transcribing...

You, darkness, of whom I am born -

I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.

But the dark embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations - just as they are.

It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.

I believe in the night.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Moment of Grace

I've been having these moments lately, where I take moments to step back and gain a little perspective on my life. The fortitude and grace that has blessed my life is immeasurable. I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunities I have, to determine my schedule, take time to immerse myself fully in the theory and study of art and to be able to live in London.

Last night, for example, I went to the Late at The Courtauld event, where the gallery was open until 9pm. There I met up with some old friends from the Boston area. We listened to live music inspired by the current show of Cezanne in a room with Manet's Bar at the Folies Bergeres and a few Cezannes as well...folk songs and Ravel... How they got the piano into the room is beyond me. To be able to commune with art and friends, just such a special thing.

And I better not forget it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

[I read it here in your very word]

I read it here in your very word
in the story of the gestures
with which your hands cupped themselves
around our becoming - limiting, warm.

You said live out loud, and die you said lightly,
and over and over again you said be.

-R.M. Rilke

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lagging, Breathing

I spent most of last night waiting for sleep. Silly me, after my first night and ten hours of sleep, I thought I was set. So long jetlag. Yea, right.

It's funny how I get attached to routine. Sometimes, though, is there anything wrong with saying: hey, I'm not tired, I'm going to stay up and read a little longer. Clinging to routine and ignoring my body seems like it can only be negative. Of course, there's the whole jetlag business that is the very definition of the body working itself out and the imposition of a new and foreign schedule. But rather than listen to all the barrage of thoughts - negative and otherwise - I just try to breathe deep into the moments, breathe through it all and emerge on the other side.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Stars and The Clouds

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream. -Vincent Van Gogh

During my flight last night, I looked from my small personal entertainment screen out to the window. Beyond the airplane's wing in the pitch black of night, the sky was covered in stars. Speckled across the expanse of black, some smaller, some larger, they shone and captured my imagination.

And later, as we were landing at the beginning of a new day, I looked out to see the rising sun extending its warming orange-pink rays out across the clouds, thick above and interspersed in puffs below, lined up like schoolchildren in ordered rows. And below them, a verdant England.

Monday, January 10, 2011

YUL > LHR. Transitioning.

I arrived back at my little dorm room (very little) in central London and was struck by the contrast with having just been home in Montreal. My room in London is so little that if I put my two suitcases flat on the floor in my room, I have to jump around to maneuver from the door, to the bathroom, to the closet.

When I unpack, I take it all out, and put it all away. I was daunted when I started. I thought, "What the hell was I thinking at home when I packed all these clothes?!" It couldn't possibly fit in my narrow closet and my shallow-drawer-ed dresser. But, lo and behold, the storage units in my room seem to be some sort of British brand of storage clown cars, because shirts and sweaters and other odds-and-ends just kept going in. And magically it all went in.

It is a bit of a shock to be back in my room in London. All the space and grandeur of home in Montreal has been shrunken (as if in a cartoon) to a cozy little living space. I know I will yearn to spread out my personal effects. Alas, I don't have such room to do so.

A new transition in the new year, a new mode of living. Switching gears for the new semester.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

And Then...

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless

-R.M. Rilke

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Body and The Soul

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

-Walt Whitman (I Sing the Body Electric from Leaves of Grass)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wandering Digitally into the Abyss

One of my (and one of my sister's) new year's resolutions, is to observe my use of the Internet. Too often, and too easily, I find that I can get lost. My curiosity leads me from one thing to the next, idle observation leads me down the digital rabbit hole and, soon, I find myself in loops of negative thinking that are far from helpful. I click on photo albums of people I know peripherally, I check my blogroll on GoogleReader, etc. etc. etc. It all happens so fast, it all happens so easily, and I don't always feel good about it all.

Coming home on the plane from London, I observed a similar pattern of behavior. At my fingertips, I had movies and TV shows, music and radio stations, all so readily available. I must have watched three movies on the flight back, taking up most of my time. I started to feel a little nuts, burning eyes, over-stimulated. Once again, all too easily.

It is like some sort of 21st-century mania. There is a myth (or perhaps not a myth at all) of limitless availability along with a shrinking attention span. There are tons of movies and TV shows out there. Doesn't mean we have to watch them all. There are millions of people out there, yes. But we can't ever know but a handful. Knowing people well involves time, energy, geographical proximity. We can have connections and nurture them, but the illusion of the instantaneous can never replace the journey of evolving relationships.

There is so much to see. There is so much to be research. On the Internet, I sit on the park bench observing life. Except this is a digital park bench and a digital life that streams by endlessly. Where does it stop? At a certain point, this digital world can become too immaterial and rootless.

What I want is reality. No, what I want is a reality complemented by this digital world. The Internet is a tool, to broaden knowledge, to broaden relationships. To broaden the real. I feel like I am in an age that continues to progress technologically. I am also in an age that needs to be very self-aware in order to define the holistic, wholesome uses of that technology, which can be an incredible tool, but can also be an incredible hindrance.

The Internet, I find, leads me away from the introverted life that I am compelled to live. In searching and Google-ing, in scanning Facebook, there is this outward seeking, one that denies selfhood if taken too far. I feel that if I limit my online time, I can better focused on my self and better use the Internet as a tool.

So in 2011, I will observe how I spend time online, I will hope to spend less time online (at least less time that is less productive; less vagaries). I will trust more in patience, in time, in the steady unfolding of journeys (relationships that may be nudged together by the Internet - but will always need time in reality). I believe that my relationship with technology can be a healthy one that involves sharing, communicating and networking. I simply need to be more self-aware, more self-controlled in order to feel at the helm of my life, both facing the world and facing the screen.

Aren't we all?

Last week, when I was in NYC, I went to a yoga class at The Shala Yoga House. Upon entering and saying it was my first time, the woman at the front desk told me of an introductory offer for 5 classes. In reply, I told her I was from out of town and was just visiting.

And she responded, "Aren't we all? Aren't we all just visiting?"

And I smiled. I knew I had entered a great space.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This Feeling, This Body

This feeling of pins and needles does not numb.
My limbs, alive, explore concentric circles.

This feeling all over my body, trembling,
not fatigue, not cold, but tenderness and luxury.
My skin doesn't yawn, but breathes in, on the cusp.

I am all boundaries, but boundaries that do not contain
The line is dotted; I skate in and out. Reaching in,
reaching out. This body, my world, shines, radiates
in all directions.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Rilke's Wisdom

At the age of 24, R. M. Rilke returned from Russia inspired by the spirituality he had encountered. I am currently slowly reading Rilke's Book of Hours, given to me by my sister, and I am so impressed, astonished and awed at the articulateness and depth of a young man in 1899. Below, the first poem.

The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.

I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

A Visual New Year

NYE in NYC, 2010>2011.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Adding Another

One human is complicated enough. Adding another begins
a multifarious network of psychological misgivings, grasps
and piteous doubt.

So allow me to crawl into this connection with the pace
of a snail, feeling every fibre as it changes in my body,
they are deep.

Lately my teeth have begun to curl in, clenched, retreating,
the beacons of my persona, and I fear, and I stress.
Then I breathe,

and I let them unfurl again, like fern leaves unrolling
their green in the sun, to open up and stretch, to receive
and to smile.