Truly Look Into One Another’s Eyes

‘Lay bare our souls’? Yes it’s strange. We socialize, live and toil side by side: companions, lovers, colleagues, childhood friends and yet we know so infinitesimally little about each other and so seldom see each other. Truly look into one another’s eyes. And we’re so fearful whenever it happens. I’ve attempted to change this over the years and try to look into other people’s faces, make a conscious effort to meet their gaze to see what is going on, but also because I desire reality, intensity, life, which is something to do with the fact that I’m getting older, and was as you know, sixty last autumn, and I want everything to be real, tangible. I don’t want to squander the time I have left on sleepwalking through life.

–Fredrik Eklund, Home and Away (p 20)

What do you do when you don’t look someone in the eye?
You defend yourself.
Against what?
Well, against life, of course.
It is so damned hard to live.
Nothing of what you’ve written so far has given me greater pleasure than what you said about life having to be real, genuine, alive, intense and how you have started looking in people’s eyes in a different way from before. Something opening, not closing. You want to keep the world open. You want to appreciate what is in it. Because you know you don’t have long left. Then it is over. Then it is no more and there will never be anything more. It is only now, and it is now or never.
Nevertheless, I look down, I hide.
I don’t initiate conversations with people on places, I hardly ever talk with my neighbours, and if I do it is the intention of getting away, which of course they notice because it is reflected in your body language.

–Karl One Knausgaard, Home and Away (p 31)

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A Revelation

Just for today, I will adjust myself and not try to manipulate the situation.

I think about all the time I spent vigilant, preoccupied, trying to decipher my mother’s relationship with Marcus, Lucy’s relationship with alcohol. It had never occurred to me to that both situations were whatever they were, whether I figured them out or not. And it certainly never crossed my mind that my reaction — my suffering — was mine: something I had come up with, not something I needed to blame on anyone else.

My job is to interpret, and to communicate my interpretation persuasively to other people. The idea that in life, unlike in writing, the drive to analyze and influence might be something worth relinquishing was to me a revelation.

–Ariel Levy, The Rules Do Not Apply (p 188)

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Sometimes my awareness of my own competence alarmed me. How would I remain attached to the world if not by need? I didn’t appear to need anyone: I could do it all myself. I was both halves: did that mean I was whole? In a sense I was living at the high point of feminist possibility: there was no blueprint beyond “having it all.” The richness of that phrase, its suggestion of an unabashed splendour, was apposite. To have both motherhood and work was to have two lives instead of one, was a stunning refinement of historical female experience, and to the people who have complained that having it all means doing it all I would have said, yes, of course it does. You don’t get “all” for nothing. “Having it all,” like any form of success, requires hard work. But the hero is solitary, forever searching out the holy grail, her belief that she is exceptional perhaps only a disguise for the fact that she  is essentially alone.

–Rachel Cusk, from Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation (p. 23)

10 Rules for Students and Teachers

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined: this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything. It might come in handy later.

–Popularized by John Cage, written by Corita Kent

The Ground Is Sacred

There is something in the student-teacher exchange that is ancient, simple and powerful.

The ground is sacred, and it’s where you leave an imprint.

The goal is to get to a place where you actually have intuition, and that is the absolute in terms of art, where there’s no question, you just know.

There’s something that’s always present, we call the witness. Every artist talks about it — it’s that bigger objective. How could you not want to participate in that?

In the realm of art-making, what you’re really doing is training the heart and the mind.

The mirror is a problem, it’s kind of a habit in Western dance, for the most part the mirror is doubt, and doubt leads to failure.

The teacher is waking up the sleeping artist in the student. The dancer is listening to his own internal teacher, that’s what you want to wake up.

–Alonzo King (see video here)

There’s So Much More In Here

The kind of energy and weight you bring into the room, like a team — when the energy is less, from your contribution, it pulls down, when it’s more it pulls up. If everyone is giving equal energy it’s an invincible alchemy that changes you. When I see you going to the mirror, I know that’s doubt and that you’re not really inside the three worlds: body, mind, spirit — they all have to be informed and they all need to be tapped into so that you can go into a place of deep concentration, and some of you want to remain on the surface, and it cheats you and I want to tell you, this isn’t for me, it’s for you.

When the body is tired, spirit inspires — they all support each other, but some of you insist on being external, and so it’s like your cheating yourself. I wish you would, against your will, say there’s so much more in here, believe it or not, that I can explore. And the other thing, is I know that there’s more, and I know that there’s better. And it’s also, how do you give to the group and how do you give to the greater world, it’s much bigger than the mechanics of what we call classical ballet.

–Alonzo King

Grow your yoga until nothing is left out

To know yoga as only a sequence of postures, is a partial understanding and thus only a partial expression of yoga.

What if for 30 days you committed to doing a little more to bring health to your body, calm to your mind, space for your spirit?

What if your definition of yoga expanded to encompass everything on and off the mat? That what you think and do in your life became your “yoga” and the “challenge” was simply to remember this each and every day?

Grow your yoga until nothing is left out. That’s yoga.

— Lena Del Mar