Wednesday, October 26, 2016


"For self is a sea boundless and measureless. Say not, 'I have found the truth.' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' Say not 'I have found the path of the soul.' Say rather, 'I have met the soul walking upon my path.' For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals."

-Kahlil Gibran

Houston I passed through, a fleeting moment along a path to someplace else. I did have time for one thing: I went to Church. 

"I met a very nice man named Joe outside by the fountain who liked to come enjoy the peace and quiet of the park during his work breaks. He chewed bamboo shoots like the big friendly panda that he was and just seemed to enjoy having someone to speak to. 'Broken Obelisk' had been removed for maintenance and would be back in November. Joe was saddened that the sculpture had been removed and the mirror fountain was not working. He looked forward to seeing it returned. So do I."

-Road Journal Excerpt 7/25/16

"The key is to just relax and release, and deal only with what's left in front of you. You do not need to worry about the rest. If you relax and release, you will see that it puts you through tremendous spiritual growth." 

-Michael A. Singer

I sat for a long moment in the center. Turning one direction then the next. The paintings did not say more than Rothko's work ever has but the space did. The only light filling the walls poured in from an obscured skylight, the sun natural yet bent filled the space, dimming and brightening with the melody of the clouds floating by. 

This was the first moment of my journey where I felt free to find my center. To come back to the formidable maze of my mind and sit with myself. The fear, loss, excitement all of the buzzing things that surrounded me on those early days of traveling, I let them go. I acknowledged their 'part' of me and simply let them be just what they were. 

I recall watching others enter the space: a mother and her child, a lesbian couple occasionally holding hands and whispering to each other, a group of friends quietly discussing their separate ideas of the place. There was a sacredness to everyone's posture. Every movement was careful, a slow straight legged shuffle like you might see in a museum and then a bowed shoulder characteristic of someone entering a temple. It was not the art on the walls that made the room sacred for me, although it did not hurt. The purpose of the space, the intention in its design, the atmosphere itself was like fabric, a shawl of spiritually charged intellectually woven cloth. 

The place had soul. 

I sat in the center of that room and let it all go, the energies that had been consuming me, the feelings that flowed in me, I looked at those paintings of such weight and I let all of my burdens flow on to the canvas. Then I closed my eyes. Turned my sight inward and upward and downward in search of myself. I waded through my perception of myself, what society tells me I am, I stepped over my pride and humility and selfishness, I sought myself.

Where is your soul? Where would you point if someone asked you? A musician might touch his fingers, a singer her mouth, an artist his eyes, a sommelier her nose, a dancer his feet, many would touch their hearts and many more would point to their heads. Then still others would shrug at the silliness of the question, your soul is an idea. A creation by evolved man to help him understand his place in the cosmos and to give him that beautiful gift of hope in an afterlife. 

If I were asked where my soul was, I would respond, "All around me." I find joy in the idea of our souls being much like the roots and leaves of a tree; unseen below ground and dancing in the wind, nurturing the body by touching sunlight and seeking out the deep wells of water below. Neighboring trees brush up against each other, leaves dancing together, roots meet at the same source of water feeding from the same inspiration, the same beauty, the same divine. 

For a long time I did not understand my self, sometimes I still do not. It is hard work. I am a mystery to myself. The things I feel and believe do need to come into question. In faith I look for soul walking along my path. I feel alone in this faith in my questioning and searching, yet is not that an integral part of faith?

I believe there is something more. More than the science and the logic and the perception of our reality. I believe we are very small creatures in a very large universe. I believe there is something more to who and what we are than skin and bone and thought. I believe we are divine. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016


No sooner do the petals
of the lotus fall than
They float on the water

-Japanese Haiku

How to start… how to begin, where do you find yourself when you are creating something new? When you have this tiny little seed of an idea and you do not know what it will actually be. If it will be a great big thing, if it will be a good thing? How long will it take? Will you quit on it? Is it even worth starting?
So here I am, starting something breathing something and it is hard. It is difficult to begin with all these voices in my head breaking things down tearing them apart back to where I am now, at the beginning. That is where I was when I left. Where my mindset was… I was looping. I could not imagine how going somewhere else, how leaving everything behind for a time could possibly change me. To shift where I was at. I doubted like I doubt now that everything is different. That I have changed and grown. What is odd about coming back, about returning to the beginning is that it all seems the same but also entirely different. 

I am here sitting where the beginning began, here now in the present, at the end of the thing that I am now here beginning again. Ouroboros Knot is everywhere. It is the loading screen on your phone, it is the recycling symbol, we resonate with it. It is simple and profound because our minds do this thing where they find themselves back at the beginning of something while being simultaneously at the end of it. Our bodies are finite so even if our minds can time travel to the beginning we physically are here to cycle back through the knot of our minds, to loop it all out again and return to the end but as always from the beginning. 

This will be a journey for me my friends, and it will be a strange one as I will be living in the present and the past and lost in the process to both. I will be sacrificing my present to be here, creating this work, and I will be losing my past in some way by sharing it. By dissecting and reconstructing, I lose a simple memory to reflect upon in the solitude of my own mind. Here it is shared and given to you as a gift. A sacrifice. Here is an unconditional surrender of a part of myself to you. To have and to hold for as long as you care to. I will not apologize, these are my thoughts they are mine to give and to hold back. So I will write what I will write. You will read what you see and we will continue to try to come back to our own separate realities despite sharing something that removes us from them. 

The leaving of is the finding of. I left New Orleans two months ago and found myself racing through Louisiana at dusk. Chasing a friend's taillights through the traffic of the Interstate-10. Faster here, passing on the left, blinker, shifting up, lane change to the right, slight break to fit behind this car, accelerate, foot off the gas peddle, slowly slowing and again all over. We passed Lafayette and turned north to a quiet hamlet called Grand Coteau. Well kept yards and simple but utilitarian Cajun architecture, the town feels like a photograph of a time simpler, peaceful. Yet there are still the occasional reminders of poverty of decay and loss. 

Verily the lust for comfort 
murders the passion of the soul, 
and then walks grinning in the funeral.
- Kahlil Gibran 1883-1931

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. When I decided to depart to somewhere new, different. Visit an old city that I lightly remembered or stay with an old friend that I had not seen in a while, that is also exactly where I was supposed to be. I tend to forget that I am supposed to be here; it is okay to be in the place and the time that I am. 

It is easy to get bogged down in a daily routine. To find oneself one day old, or older in a situation that was never dreamt of. It is easy to become complacent. 

I was struck upon my return at the idea that it is much easier to be in the same place doing the same thing, saving the same amount of money, living the same life day in and out. Change threatens to tumble that tower, that construction of the daily life and reality. Home. These habits that form a web of comfort can also be the ropes that suffocate. I may be the spider that builds them but perhaps I am also the butterfly that gets trapped in them. 

When I left, I felt off. I was not overly excited for this adventure. I was calm, placid. Here I was, about to travel almost the entire breadth of America, and I felt “meh” about the situation. What an asshole move. But it is honest, it was true. Not until my long driving stint across Texas did the excitement and the wildness of it all set in.

Grand Coteau was beautiful, it was a comfortable first stop, shared with good company and I could not ask for more wonderful memories or a better safe harbor to christen the journey that I now here reflect upon. But it was also close, it was also still Louisiana, and my heart desired to start, to fly free across the country and embrace the challenges and the discoveries I would find there.

 This journey was long for me, and the reliving of it here will be the same. It will be a long walk, and as an old British man once told me, “The only thing to do on a long walk is to put one foot in front of the other.”

I was going to write something simple.
But now I seem trapped in a loop,
heading back and forth amongst these fantasies 
of belonging, escape, desire and entrapment. 

-Tim Etchells