Monthly Archives: June 2012

Things I Don’t Get & Am Not Ready For

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Dear Lakshmi,

There are so many things about Hinduism that I don’t get and am not ready for. I could write about this for days; at that, I could organize my thoughts for days THEN write about it for weeks. Some of my problems stem from my Christian background (Christianity never really took for me), but most of my problems wrapping my head around Hinduism lie in the fact that I am only a few months into my journey into Hinduism and the religion is–what–10,000 years old? I have a lot of catching up to do. I understand far less than I know and I feel and know far more deeply than I have a right to. The Gods have made their presences very known to me. THAT I do know. Simply put, I don’t need to have faith, I have experience. I don’t have to “believe,” as I have very personal and immutable experiences with the Gods.

I do not understand the relentless warnings in the spiritual writings against enjoying the sensuality of the world… not when every aspect of the religion seems to, contradictorily(?), celebrate sensuality: from Krishna’s flute playing and many erotic dalliances to Shiva’s association with desire and marijuana, then on to the lusciousness of the food, the barefoot sensuality (and jewelry), the delicious prasad, the incense and silks. Going to a Hindu temple is a sensual experience… as well as holy. I don’t understand this contradiction. I asked my Priest about this, saying that unless I misunderstood, the Bhagavad Gita (and other texts) warn against enjoying the pleasures of the world, yet the temple is full of sensuality… he simply said, “You do not misunderstand.” Even the answer was satisfying but did little to answer the nagging worry I feel over the seeming inconsistencies. About the only peace I found with this is to enjoy the mystery and not to think overmuch about it, though the Priest did add that I needed to give it time.

The thing I am really not ready for is the renunciation of worldly pleasures. Heavens… I’m not even ready to renounce the pleasures of the temple. And the reason I can not renounce worldly pleasures is that up until a couple years ago I lived a miserable soulless life of self loathing and self destruction. I was negative, drunk, bitter, angry, and had no soul nor joy. Now I am happy, yes, I have a lot of stress and fear, but I smile! And I smile a lot. I wake up grateful, even in the midst of my worries and my worst I am grateful. And at last, now, I have spirit. I have a soul. I have Gods who listen to me and interact with me. Why would I want to give that up? I am taught, in the texts, to seek relief from the cycles of death and rebirth, but finally, now, at this very moment… I don’t WANT released. I WANT to live! I want to BE HERE NOW.

I want to engage in the sensual world with abandon. I want to celebrate that I was born and be at peace with the fact that I will die. What if I am not only not ready but not in need of release now? What if knowing Lord Ganesha is watching over me is enough? What if knowing Maha Lakshmi is providing is enough? What if it’s all enough? Glorious!

Then what?

Now what?

Perhaps I do not misunderstand and I just need to give it time. Sometimes it’s best to listen to your Priest.

Studio Space

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Spent the day in my new studio space… spent some of it simply moving in and getting it up and functioning. It’s looking OK but there’s still so much more to do before it’s anything like what I imagine it to be. I am, again, grateful to Tom for the space. And even more grateful that he is so enthusiastic about having me in there creating an exciting little space. It felt good to be there, like I am one more part complete. Bit by bit I am filling in the holes in who I am and who I was meant to be.

It feels good to be an artist again, to be living that lifestyle and to be working with someone who values my talents to the extent that Tom does. I respect him for that.

Unfortunately the work I created there today was not impressive. But soon the work I create there will be.

 

Another Day

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Another day in Ocala. I hadn’t realized it until Tom pointed it out, but on my home page I wrote that I reside in Gainesville. A strange bit of wishful thinking, unintentional but beautiful and dreamy. Soon.

Another day in Ocala means precious little to write about. It means I wait.

Tomorrow I go to Gainesville to work on my studio space in the loft at SAW. An artist’s loft… a loft studio! It’s almost corny it’s so dream-come-true. Dreams come at a cost, don’t they? How much have yours cost? Or have you not invested in yours yet?

Talked with my mother today, it went better than I had hoped. Oddly, a few months back, just after I prayed to Lord Ganesha I had the chance to clear the air with her of many obstacles, and just today, the very day my Ganesh pendant came in the mail, she called. I trust Lord Ganesha. I lay myself and my obstacles at his feet.

For some time today I floated in the pool, rained on, delighted. After all… I live in Florida! In my studio space at SAW I realized that not only did I have my loft studio space but that when I walked outside… I was in FLORIDA! I’ve dreamed of living here for years, years! And now I have to make it work. I have nowhere else to go, no home to return to, no fallback. THIS is it. I live in Florida now. I’m not on vacation, I’m home. Or close… so close. Tomorrow, in Gainesville, I will be home.

I know so many lovely people in Gainesville. Slowly I am building faith in a sense of community. I am not a drifter just passing through. Soon I will be one of them. Lakshmi is providing through Tom at SAW, Ganesh is removing obstacles through Tom… then of course there is the gratitude I owe to Tom himself, a man of unshakable patience, a man who actually believes in art and artists and literally puts his money where his mouth is. I have to give him more. The best I can give him now is endless thanks and action. His dreams are worth working for. Thanks Tom.

Love,

Justine

 

 

So Tired

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So Tired

The exhaustion of having ambition.

It burns in me like a fire often longed for and long forgotten.

It invigorates me and fills me with warm fatigue.

It sits in my muscles like stale gratitude.

 

Ambition, I welcome it’s return,

signs of life and soul where once I’d feared the loss of both.

I am alive, so damn tired,

But engaged in every single day with hope, some fear, and passion.

 

Fatigue develops when you spend every day moving forward,

And every morning wishing you could get back to sleep.

I take a day off and become hopelessly restless and instead engage in something productive,

With scarcely a hint of mere nervous energy.

 

I have things to do, now, and am glad for them.

But I’m so damn tired.

Grateful, hopeful, poised, even eager.

Soulful and joyful.

 
But so damn tired.

Hare Krishna

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I was at Home Depot today waiting on paint when out of the blue and Indian man walked up, stood to my left and said quite authoritatively, “Hare Krishna.” I was taken aback could not figure out what was going on or why he did it… but I smiled and “Hare Krishna”ed back, then realized I had a bindi on, which must have tipped him off. It was pleasant to be accepted like that, but I have found Hindus and Indians to be very welcoming.

Why Don’t I Own Shoes?

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Why don’t I own shoes? What made me decide to swear them off? I believe my first post answered that, but I guess what people don’t understand is my obsessive decision to never wear shoes at all. Well, again, I think I answered it… “obsessive.” And, it’s fun, and it’s who I am and who I want to be. After cancer and nearly dying in a SCUBA diving accident your life comes into perspective. I am going to live MY life and I am going to live it MY way with no concessions.

Plus I took a little influence from another remarkable barefoot woman, Olga Gavva, who also decided to refuse to wear shoes. If Olga can do it, so can I.

Was the decision hard to make? No. But sometimes, especially at first I wondered “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” But now I have work, have a life, and have a future, so it was very much the right decision for me.

I don’t just go barefoot, I AM barefoot.

I go barefoot therefore I am.

Peace love and bare feet,

Justine

Hard on Ocala, Hard on Myself

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Am I too hard on Ocala? Personally, no; inherently, yes. Ocala is OK if you like it, I don’t. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Ocala or being in Ocala, or liking Ocala, but I find little to recommend it so far as what I need and want out of my life and lifestyle.

Am I too hard on myself? YES!

I had a few negative encounters regarding my self-image later in the day (and one of them came about because I broke one of my cardinal rules). These are things I don’t want to talk about as they would reveal things about my nature I’d rather keep private… even from my dear diary readers. And, anymore I find that dwelling on drab dreary dreadful moments only feeds them and gives them power. I try to no longer feed the wolves that want to eat, oar at the very least, chew on me. Yet… some things hurt and leave me in doubt. And that is about all I care to say about the moments today that left me hurting and questioning. They happened. They are done and are NOT authoritative, mere aspects of my reality, aspects that are slowly weakening anyway.

But what did happen today that was good? Well, good for me, some women HATE it when these things happen to them. I was walking down Main Street in Gainesville looking for thrift stores and along the way I was pleasantly propositioned, cat-called in the most flattering way, complimented and honked at as cars passed. I was taken aback. Yes, this happens to me from time to time, but not usually so much in one outing. I have to admit that I was flattered… yes, folks, I am shallow enough to enjoy that sort of attention, but I have to confess that I fear some of the credit must go to my blouse (a white blouse with a glittery butterfly on it–people seem to like it) and even more begrudgingly I must give some credit to my $8 white straw Walmart hat. People like that, too. I get tons of compliments on it. It’s a big floppy white straw summer sun hat, and yes, I really did find it at Walmart. And I am becoming convinced that there is a little magic in that hat. In that hat I look like the person I want to be, at least to others. So, yes, Walmart shoppers, there might be magic in aisle 6, so keep looking.

Most of today was spent thinking about and working out the details of my new studio space at SAW. I was pleased that Tom was so eager to have me move my working life into his working space. I now have my own little corner… and it’s on the super cool loft. I mean, honestly, who wouldn’t want loft studio space? It took a lot of work to make it happen as the loft had become something of a dumping ground for chaos. I knew the space had potential and was delighted that Tom allowed me to find it. Of course there’s so much more to do to that space, but the bones are all there now. Now, I wait, tweak, and flood that space with the sensuality and decadence that will inspire and please me.

It just may be that my life is becoming good. Yeah, I’ll buy that.