“Real art is not knowing where you are going, but are listening intently to something you don’t understand. And if your ego doesn’t interfere, this something you don’t understand may guide you to much more than you ever expected.”
Robert Pirsig

October 2009

Interrogation & Compassion

n

Once in an inconsistent while I scroll through my twitter and quickly pull out a few links to review at a later time. They stay open in tabs in my browser until a later time when I actually read them. Sometimes I follow some of those links to other links – and that I think sums up the majority of my internet reading. This morning I found myself reading two articles/posts consecutively. When I was finished I toggled between the two back and forth a few times. The first about Happiness, Compassion and Sharing and the second about interrogation techniques used by Americans in Iraq. I’ll leave you to connect your own dots.

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I Will Survive

n

“I Will Survive” is a song that used to be really popular at Israeli weddings (it may still be – but I haven’t been to one in ages so…). I always thought that was just hilarious (or just plain stupid – depending on my mood) – listening to the lyrics – this is so not a wedding song. In come Cake – I think they really nailed this song for what it really is. Here is them doing it live. I definitely to add them to my “see in concert” list. Enjoy : )

This is another Cake track. For me – it is ultimately THEIR sound. Every time I listen to this track – I wish I knew someone with a stereo so loud (and no neighbors for a radius of 2 miles)  you can just crank it up to dangerous levels, then bring it down a bit (for safety) – and then hit play. There is no video – which is good – because you can focus on the sound : ) Enjoy.

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Bret Dennen

n

Another musician that I find comforting and embracing… just the right kind of presence when I want something soothing. Enjoy Bret:

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Yoga & Breath – Ujjayi Breathing

n

Now that you have some familiarity with your natural breathing we can take another step forward into Ujjayi (u-jay-ee) breathing. The core idea with Ujjayi basic is to create a mechanism by which you can control and manipulate the structure of your own breathing. You can think of Ujjayi technique as a valve in the throat which regulates the flow of breath. Without using the valve your breath flows freely within the fully capacity permitted by your phyiscality – the size of your windpipe. In Ujjayi breathing we use musculature to narrow that pipe down so that the passage of air is more constricted – we close the valve a bit. How much we close it effects the flow of breath.

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Posted in Breath, Getting Started, Yoga | You are welcome to read 13 comments and to add yours

Beautiful House

n

I recently visited one of the most beautiful, pleasant and spacious houses I encountered in Israel. It also happens to be for sale – so if you are looking for a wonderful place – you might be interested in it : ) It sits on 8 acres of land which includes two houses & beautiful stables (11 stalls). It is located in a place called Udim – about 20 minutes north of Tel-Aviv and a few minutes drive from the beach. It is two minutes away from the main Israeli coastal highway – but the house is in complete silence. It is all about space and quality. Behind it are more fields great for long walks and horse-back riding. It’s a very special place! It is on the market for 7 million Euro’s. I wish I could put a bid in – but its not yet my time. Maybe its yours? If you happen to be interested and want the contact details pleaes feel free to drop me a line (iamronen@iamronen.com) and I will gladly put you in touch with the owners.

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Higher Education, CDNow & Sting

n

Many years ago I attended an official university for one year (it was a default thing to do in life). It took me the first half of that year to realize that I didn’t wan’t to be there and the another half to come to terms with that conclusion. My class attendance was slowly replaced by hours at the computer – taking advantage of the internet via dull textual green screens – then available only on university campuses. One of the small treasures was CDNow – I think it was one of the first online shops ever. Using a textual interface of scrolling menus I was able to get my hands on music that I couldn’t get in stores. I spent a long time (I recall it took more then a year, so it must have continued when I could get internet from home) hunting down an audio recording of Sting performing Message in a Bottle in The Secret Policemen’s Ball – until I was finally able to get my hands on a copy. Now the video is freely available for all.

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g-speak

n

Remember the user interaction Tom Cruz operated on Steven Speilberg’s “Minority Report?”. It’s coming:

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

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Living in a Fractal & Playing the Stereo loud & (what the heck do I know about) World Economics

n

During my recent visit to Tel-Aviv, a friend I met, (who lives in Tel-Aviv) asked if we (my wife – need to find a better word for that! – and I) would accept an invitation to join her for dinner some time. I replied that the chances were slim. I don’t get to Tel-Aviv often (and avoid it altogether when possible) and keep my travels to a minimum. I am trying to keep my life simple and inexpensive – two years ago I gave up the luxury of money for the luxury of creativity and happiness.

As I was driving home with my wife (that word again!) I shared with her an image that came to me right there and then. My experience these days is as if reality is squeezing me into a tighter and tighter spot. It seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Yet I want and need to experience life with plenty of space. So I am surrendering to this shrinking bubble that’s wrapping me and “shrinking” myself – so that I still have a sense of space within my perceived limitations.

This morning as I was sitting on the beach I had a glimpse of some clarity. I recalled a fractal image I read about and saw many years ago (Chaos: Making a New Science) and as I drew it in the sand the shrinking metaphor (and I) expanded …

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Wish: Ilay’s Room

n

I just returned from a performance that Ilay produced and in which he performs. Ilay is a friend and performer whom I met in the context of my work with Shahar and who appears in many of my images. The performance took place on the roof of his apartment building in Tel-Aviv. An impressive audience of about 30 people attended. The performance seems to be centered around a character that Ilay has been developing. I met this character a few weeks ago during our excursion to the desert (I hope that soon images will be made available on StillCreation). During the performance – a clear image of a creative event appeared to me. I would like this event to reach out from my imagination into an experienced reality. I would like to do a 3 day photography/performance event during which Ilay’s character evolves and appears.

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Yoga & Breath – Natural Breathing

n

“A change in breath can diminish the experience of limits. A breathing pattern is usually committed to memory and the limits are associated with it. When the breathing is altered, the memory of the limit disappears and we can explore beyond.”

Though I intended to explain why you should breathe systemically in your Yoga practice – I have opted not to. I will say what I say to my Yoga students – if you are not breathing consciously and systemically then your practice is not Yoga. You can being doing great stretching, strengthening, balancing, whatever exercises – but you are not practicing Yoga.

The only way, I know of, for you to create a relevant relationship (one that goes beyond your mind’s resistance or embracing of it) with this statement is simple: practice passionately and compassionately with breathing for a meaningful period of time and accumulate your own experience. If you’ve never practiced Yoga – then breathing is a great place to start. Read More »

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Painting with Light

n

Is photography about to change forever? Are still-images and video merging?  High resolution, high video frame rates, hi definition (higher then most commercial screens can display), raw video and still files, completely modular, compatible with existing optics… never mind the price… mind the dream! Apparently the guy behind Oakley is going at it big time.  Click on the image for more on this innovative company.

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‘Aint No Sunshine

n

I first came across this song (many many years ago) when I heard Sting perform it live on a bootleg concert recording. Eventually I traced the song to it’s origins – and found Bill Withers. Embracing music:

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Hello Goodbye

n

I recently had an opportunity to do some work in the desert. I was about to upload some images from this work – and then I changed my mind. A few months ago I had been to the same area in the desert with two amazing performers – Anna & Helena. It was during the second Artness Orchard Labs project. That first visit was a very intense and personal project (on the more recent visit  I was more of a guest) – that has not been completed. I wanted to breathe new life into it. So this post is about that first visit.

A few weeks before the Orchard Labs began I spontaneously wrote a text. It was based on the lyrics of a song. It was written with a twist in the song’s story telling character. Each verse in the song became an individual text. The text poured out of me and was completed in 20 minutes. I then wanted to do something with the text during the Orchard Labs. It’s a wonderful opportunity because of the wonderful performers that attended and their complete focus and dedication to create.

I shared this idea with Shahar and played around with it for some time. At the beginning of the Orchard Labs I still didn’t know what I wanted to do – or actually if I wanted to do anything at all. I kept swinging from passionately wanting to do something to completely forgetting about it. It was clear all the time that if something were to happen – it would be in the desert. At one point I approached Helena with the idea and asked her to consider joining me. She spent some time with the text and then generously said she would gladly join. Then during one practice session, just a day before the planned departure, it occured to me, watching her work, that Anna needed to be a part of this. Helena and I discussed this and couldn’t make up our minds, so we asked Anna – and her response tipped the scales. She too joined the project.

The project took place over one day from early morning to sunset. We transformed each part of the text I had written into an improvisation score. We then began to drive through the desert. When we found an appealing location we stopped and performed. The work kept changing to the very end. Some scores were performed as planned, others never took place, and somethings happened that were not at all planned. I was amazed and humbled by Anna’s and Helena’s dedication – they did some difficult physical work and the conditions were not easy. I feel that it is this dedication to create and the improvisational openness to embrace whatever may come – that made this day an amazing and inspiring experience.

We came back with over 1500 images and  75 minutes of video footage. Following is just a small taste:

[slidepress gallery=’hello-goodbye-preview’]
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Gillian isn’t sick she is a dancer

n

“…  creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status…”

“…we don’t grow into creativity we grow out of it, we get educated out of it…”

“… as children grow up we start to educate them progressively from the waste up and then we focus on their heads, and slightly to one side…”

Shahar sent me this video about a year ago when he was giving a workshop in Europe. I was and still am inspired by it. I am amused whenever I find myself wanting to describe something as “important” – I feel importance is highly over-rated. So with a sense of amusement I invite you to view this important, charming and amusing 20 minute talk by Sire Ken Robinson – “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”:

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Robbie

n

Some years ago my good friend Rinat convinced me to join her to see Robbie Williams live in London. I, along with 60,000 others, had an amazing time (except for getting lost looking for a place to pee at the end!). Robbie is simply about having a good time. His presence is honest and brings a smile to my face. The quality of his production is always top-notch. He is a natural born entertainer!

The first clip is from a concert he gave in Knebworth (120,000) people (it’s available on DVD – great fun!). He can barely contain the love and admiration the crowd throws at him. It’s really like that at his concerts (and I just love sexy bass players). Watch for his interaction with a fan : ) The second clip is another great song performed in a different live setting. Enjoy!

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Demand of Authenticity

n

“All of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout from the heart—perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example—but authenticity always and absolutely carries a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.”

Ken Wilber

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Pride & Persistence

n

I came across this post by Tom Preston Werner about selling Gravatar (which I don’t use) to Automattic (the people behind WordPress which I do use). I enjoyed it and drew strength from it, because I am in a similar situtaion with SweetClarity. Similar in the sense that my persistence and faith, (and constantly looking away from the details of my checking account), though constantly bombarded and tested, are keeping me going.

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Art of the Start

n

I really enjoyed this video with Guy Kawasaki. I appreciate and take comfort in finding that there are people who really do business but still have space in their hearts.

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Good Advice

n

I have just completed another reading of Carlos Castaneda’s “Journey To Ixtlan“. This is probably something like my fourth time reading it (I think I’ve read the entire series of his books at least twice). This is also the first Carlos Castaneda book I read – as I think it is for many.

If you’ve not read any of Castaneda’s books… as the story tells it… he was an anthropologist who attempted to study the nature of psychotropic plants used by Indians. His inquiry led him to an Indian sorcerer by the name of don Juan who took him in as an apprentice. Castaneda’s journey is documented in his books.

The first two books in the series (A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan , The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge) cover a period of ten years. Then in “Journey to Ixtlan” the story is retold from the beginning. I never quite understood this time-line, actually it caused me quite a bit of confusion. Only in this read of “Journey to Ixtlan” did I finally realize the explanation that is offered in the very beginning of the book:

“In reviewing the totality of my field notes I became aware that don Juan had given me the bulk of the new description at the very beginning of our association in what he called ‘techniques for stopping the world’. I had discarded those parts of my field notes in my earlier works because they did not pertain to the use of psycho tropic plants. I have now rightfully reinstated them in the total scope of don Juan’s teachings and they comprise the first seventeen chapters of this work”

It can take 10 years to realize good advice which is freely offered. It took me 8 years (the time that has passed since I first read the book) to realize what was clearly and simply written at the very beginning. I am a funny creature.

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Enlightment? What Next?

n

“The secret is not in what you do to yourself but rather in what you don’t do.”
(Don Juan through Carlos Castaneda from “Journey to Ixtlan”)

“Intelectuals are people who study things that other people do naturally.”
(Bill Cosby)

I recently subscribed to two magazines – hoping to widen the bridge between my life and the world around me. I also recently received a first issue from both subscriptions. I have found both to be uninteresting and uninspiring. Both times I was hoping to find inspiration and heart, both times I encountered static patterns. I was bored and disappointed. We think we are so smart… Read More »

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