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Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

Georgia on My Mind (O'Keefe, that is) #2

 

Though it may be sacriligeous here in Santa Fe to say it (about as bad as admitting that I don't particularly LIKE opera, gasp!), I don't revere Georgia O'Keefe as much as I used to. There, I said it. Yes, I still adore her paintings, and I have to stuff my hands in my pockets at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum to keep from caressing her glorious canvases; but I NO LONGER WANT TO BE JUST LIKE GEORGIA.  I still want to emulate some of her qualities-- courage, vision, independence,  and, yes, eccentricity (as in not giving a damn what people may think).  But now I want something more, and that something more is a SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, something that can hopefully inform my artisitc vision but much more importantly can help me lead a meaningful life with much less suffering.

Georgia had a groping kind of 20th century spirituality based on the rugged individualistic pursuit of happiness far from the madding crowd (i.e. eccentric, artistic, romantic loner).

"I feel that a real living form is the natural result of the individual's effort to create the living thing out of the adventure of his spirit into the unknown — where it has experienced something — felt something — it has not understood — and from that experience comes the desire to make the unknown — known ... I in some way feel that everyone is born with it ... but that with most of humanity it becomes blasted..one way or another."

My new role model, Machig Labdron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machig_Labdr%C3%B6n) ,

an 11th century Tibetan yogini, has a much more direct path:

Machig Statue Face   Troma

Loving Kindness aspect                Ferocious "cutting through" aspect

Be happy, my disciples!
That dualistic mental activity may be completely destroyed,
I have the excellent doctrines of freedom from activity.
Be happy, my disciples!
That all difficulties may be used as helpers,
I have the doctrines which show how to liberate whatever is arising in the mind.
Be happy, my disciples!
That the treasure of benefit for others may be opened,
I have the doctrines of mental training of aspiration and practice of Bodhicitta.
I open the treasure of benefit for both self and others and give it to you.
Do not feel sorrow, my children.
I will liberate all beings from the six realms of samsara.
http://www.simplybeing.co.uk/articles.php?p=The_Secret_Biography_of_Machig_Labdron,_1997
Yippee! & A la la ho!


 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

Georgia on My Mind (O'Keefe, that is) #1

Here I am in Georgia O'Keefe country and she is surely on my mind. The landscapes she so loved are every where I look, languid as nudes, shimmering and beckoning. There is a sense of freedom in the air, of spaciousness in the wide open spaces within and without. I feel the presence of the Beloved and the Grandmother rising all around.

I resonate with Georgia. Like her, I professed my intent to be an artist at an early age. Like her, I love the Southwest. Like her, I am a seeker and a loner. My artist friend, Gilda, and I used to sit in our favorite Mexican food restaurant in Dallas drinking endless "Texas Tumblers" of iced tea, plotting our escape from Texas. Gilda wanted to run away to NYC and be like Louise Nevelsen. I wanted to run away to New Mexico and be like Georgia O'Keefe. Gilda's been in NYC for 20 years; and now here I am in Santa Fe.

"I know I cannot paint a flower. I can not paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time." --Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia's flower    Blake's flower

     Georgia's Flower (Poppies, 1943)             My Flower (photograph, 2007)

Georgia was a trailblazer, a feminist role model, my hero. AND . . . I have changed. My Buddhist practice has trained me to accept change more gracefully, and to look past romantic appearances into the true nature of reality. Again and again, I have had to let go of long-cherished fantasies and happily-ever-afters to embrace the what-isness of NOW.

Georgia       Machig

                                Georgia                                                         Machig Labdron

My new "role model"  is an 11th century yogini, Machig Labdron. In my next blog entry, I will elaborate.  But for now, just look at the pictures and I think the paradigm shift is evident: from 20th century rugged individualistic searching, to 21st century (via 11th century wisdom) luminous bodhisatva enlightment for the sake of all beings. A la la ho!