Friday, October 05, 2007

Nurturing Soul, Body, and Mind

Note: this is an occasional personal post--the idea for which I got from my friend Chris Brogan's post on managing his life. this is kind of about managing something in my life...)


A fortnight or so ago, while I was in New York, with a couple of hours to kill before I was to catch a train back to Springfield, I took a detour to the Museum of Modern Art...I hadn't been there for quite awhile--at least not since the remodelling...

And something happened to me there....

First, there was some kind of sense of relief just to be there. Like I'd happened upon an oasis--and in many respects, MoMA is, for me, an oasis. Out where I live, I'm pretty much removed from stuff like this. There may be some small galleries, and all the colleges have art museums, but growing up in New Jersey, about 30-40 minutes outside of New York (if you could avoid the traffic), I grew up with the hum of The City in my head all the time.

Even if you don't live in the heart of it, the hum of The City gets in your veins, in your head, in your heart, and you can't escape it. Some folks hide from it by focusing on the negative aspects--crime and, in this century, the remote possibility of a terrorist attack--but there's more life to The City than there could ever be in the bedroom communities that support it.

It's worth the risk. To me, anyway.

As I wandered the galleries, I saw so many images
that got me thinking "In this place resides some of the most important thougths, philosophies, and ideals of the last 100 years. All those wild artistic movements, conceived by so many people who wanted the world to change..."

I thought more about where we're at now with the Internet--in so many ways similar to what happened in art at the turn of the last century....

I kept breathing in That Space...all my knowledge of art history enlightening every piece that almost seemed like I was seeing for the first time when I really wasn't...

I'd seen lots of these works before I knew what they were about. In the 80's--before I went to college and studied art history--I'd spent lots of time here, watching the Warhols and Picassos and Klimts and deKoonigs....

And Pollocks.... This Pollock especially....

The first time I saw it was when I was about 19--with my first husband---and he was explaining to me the importance of the work...which I thought just looked like bird droppings on canvas...(what did I know--a working class kid who wasn't supposed to do much other than have babies...)

and then it hit me....

Sometimes in our lives we meet people who teach us things about ourselves. The bring out of the child the adult we might become. My first husband was a young artist and filmmaker. He ended up going into graphic arts--but it paid the bills (he was designing book covers last time we spoke 15 yrs ago.) But he'd studied art history, and taking me places like MoMa and to the Regency Theater to see Dr. Strangelove and so many other things were not just ways of teaching me about his world...

But they ended up being things that are About Me.

Things that, through years of lousy relationships and hard, focused work, I'd forgotten about.

Essentially, I'd forgotten my Soul. I came to MoMA with a starving soul, an under-nourished place inside me that had pretty much dried up (for one reason or another) and here it was, right in front of me in that godawful Jackson Pollock painting all the memories of who I was...

And who I am.

It was like waking up after a very long and difficult dreamstate. It was also realizing that I'd sent myself into exile, drove myself away from the things I loved--and for many reasons, none of which I'll recount here....

What happened though was the realization that I'd been completely neglecting My Soul. Sure, my Body is getting nourished daily, and I am in very good health for the most part. And my Mind is certainly nourished--almost to the point of me wishing there was something like Over-Readers Anonymous for those of us who can't break the compulsion for gathering Information...

But my Soul--all those many things my young husband brought to life in me, and other things I found out and nourished in myself during my long illness--had been shuttered and pushed away. My love of art and culture and philosophy and needlework and cooking and so many other things that I really don't have anyone close to share with...or at least not anyone who is that Soul Mate...

So, what to do, now that I know this?

I got to re-thinking that old adage of nourishing one's mind, body, and soul, and the need to keep balance. Right now, the first two are nourished--the third is starving. What to do?

Well, lots of people have lots of answers for this. Take up yoga. or running.Join a group of some kind that will go here or there.

IMO it's more that I have to touch that part of me again, get re-acquainted with it, nurture it. The nurturing won't come from outside sources. That's just adding lots of noise to the signal.

Just the way I have to make time in my day for lunch and dinner (when I'm working alone) I have to recognize when I'm soul-starving and do something about it. I have to turn off the computer--walk away--go to where I can nourish that part of me...

Luckily, I'm starting to get paid for work I'm doing...and getting more work. And while the money is coming in, I'm going to make time to take myself to NYC. To push myself away from the desk and the computer. To not even take the computer with me. And go.

Go to where my soul (and my heart) reside. Go to that place where I can touch life's waters and let them flow into me. Go to that place where I can wake up and embrace life in all its craziness and creativity, and excitement and jubilance...

I've been starving too long. I've been in exile too long. And if I can't live there--because lord knows it's so darned expensive--then I can at least visit from time to time. Stop denying myself that one simple pleasure--because there's more in that pleasure than there is in any of the others I can embrace.

In nurturing my Soul again, I hope to better nurture my Mind and my Body.

We'll see what happens next...

6 comments:

Chris Brogan said...

Wow! You really let GO on this post. I love it. Great to see you thinking it all through, and super excited to see your love of art and the city activate. You go, girl! : )

Tish Grier said...

Hi Chris! and thanks! I used to do a lot of personal blogging when I kept my personal blog. Had a fairly consistent group of readers/commenters--but things really weren't growing on that blog (and some of its content got me in a bit of trouble with a couple of people) so I decided to be all professional (more or less)--and, actually, found it kind of dull. Hence, this post. It's nowhere near as personal as my personal blog used to be--but it's far more personal than this blog has been so far. And I realize that for some people that blogging personal isn't appropriate--but, hey, I'm not at that level. Plus, I do want folks to know a bit more about me. It's a fine line, but writing this was for myself as well for others.

Anita said...

Tish,
Amazing how we women are often on the same page because we're going through such universal issues...how to handle the personal and professional demands while managing to hold onto our sanity. I just blogged about "the power of quiet" and think we're all looking for the same thing...a little simple peace and joy in our lives. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Anita Bruzzese
www.45things.com

Tish Grier said...

Hi Anita...I think you're right about the peace and joy. for me, it's mostly re-connecting with the joy part. that hasn't been easy. thanks for stopping by--I'll check your blog out soon :-)

Morriss Partee said...

Hey Tish! Great post. To me, being here in Western Mass, we're the perfect distance away from NYC... close enough to visit and touch the hum from time to time, but far enough away for the peace and quiet to hear yourself think. :)

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