by Kath Thompson
How the hell did I get 5 days behind in #reverb10?
No matter. In the next few days I’m going to see if I can catch up.
It’s funny about these prompts. I read them each day and my mind goes totally and absolutely blank. But then I open up 750 words, (which, by the way, has turned into my very favorite “Resistance Dragon” slayer lately), and I start rambling about how the reverb prompt isn’t doing it for me, blah blah blah and before I know it, I’ve sussed out something on the topic. (Miracle.)
Like today. The prompt is to write about one thing you’ve come to appreciate most in the past year.
It didn’t ask for a list of all the things I appreciate, (thank god, because that would have been one hellava list) but rather, something I’ve come to appreciate, meaning, I have never appreciated it before, but now I do.
And the thing I came up with is TRAVEL. I started to really like travel this year. I’ve always been a reluctant traveler in some ways, preferring the comforts of home, preferring to spend money on fixing up the house rather than on hotels and airfares. But this year, traveling to Asheville and then to Yosemite ignited something in me and I’m now I’m dreaming about learning Spanish this year and then traveling to a country that speaks Spanish someday and having …adventures.
I think I can trace this new-found appreciation for travel back to the book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and Miller’s idea that a character is what he does. To make a more interesting story of your life, he says, you have to go out and do things, and have experiences, and make things happen. It made me aware of my root-boundedness and my need for a bigger container.
It also planted the seed in me that I may have a bigger mission in this life, and in order to find out what that might be, I need to to have more, and more varied experiences.
I think it’s variation more than anything else that I crave now. It’s not that my life or my experiences are bad, it’s just that I seem to be on a REPEAT mode. The same thing(s) happen every day, every month, every season, every year. And unless I make a concerted effort to break it up, to change it up, I could continue playing this same song until the day I die.
For me, travel is a surefire way to break things up and get out of my cozy little comfort cocoon.
December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
Before I talk about my NEXT STEP, I want to talk about my trip to New York City this past weekend. Two weekends ago I was sitting on the couch, in my pjs, chin-deep in the Sunday NYTimes, when I saw the MOMA ad for the Abstract Expressionist show. I screeched, waking and alarming G, who has never really gotten used to these unpredictable outbursts whenever my “enthusiasms” get triggered.
Anyway, what for me was just a pie-in-the-sky, albeit verbalized “wish” to see these paintings, became for her a mission: “We need to plan an adventure!” she said, and immediately started Googling hotel rates in NYC.
But we did not drive into the city and stay over (Plan A), but rather, took a Benedict’s bus which departed the Beiter’s parking lot at 5 AM on Saturday, setting us loose on the city by 11 AM. (Plan B)
We hoofed it over to MOMA, ate lunch in the cafe, and then for the next hour I sat and visited with my old and dear friends: The Motherwells, the Barnett Newmans, the Rothkos, and the Pollacks.
I sat in front of a Barnett Newman painting called The Voice for a long, long time, listening to it, communing with it, falling in love with it.
I sat in front of my dear old friend, Pollack’s One: Number 31 and allowed myself to get sucked down into it once again. Deep, and deeper into the rabbit hole I went.
I have loved these paintings since I first saw them, a young, 20-ish woman, no knowledge of art, or art history at all. Back then I was squired around many museums, taught what to look for, and how to appreciate.
But from the first moment I laid my eyes on these paintings, I knew them. I didn’t need to read Clement Greenburg, but he helped. I understood immediately that these paintings were meant to evoke a spiritual response in the viewer, in me. Later I would sit Zen in austere zendos and experience this same feeling, but back then, I got my first taste of a meditative state in this museum, in front of these paintings. MOMA was my zendo. And now, after many, many years, here I was, back on my “cushion.”
This prompt is about making ideas happen and I was encouraged by these paintings to do just that. The audacity of these artists to paint a vast canvas with three shades of black, and another one all red with just the narrowest of lines to slip through…This audacity has fueled my bravery to make things happen, even if my ideas seem impractical or ridiculous or audacious.
This year I intend to learn Spanish. I have asked all the relatives to donate towards the Spanish version of Rosetta Stone for my Xmas gift this year. It is my hope that my journey into a new language will open the doors to new places, and new and varied adventures. It will be a start.
(These next prompts are for tomorrow:
December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?)