“Getting lost is just another way of saying ‘going exploring.”
― Justina Chen
The day before I left a friend of mine told me that she hoped we would get lost and find ourselves. This evening we did just that. One of our party had received rather grave news about her father’s health. She decided that after some therapeutic shopping she just wanted to walk.
We were hoping to find Barcelona’s Gothic quarter. After walking to a street very much like Las Ramblas with lots of stores and merchandising happening on the street, we saw an alley veering off to the left. It looked, compared to other parts of the city pretty rough and ramshackle but we decided to try it anyway. Tho there were many people walking in both directions, the stores were closing down their graffiti covered doors. Continuing on our way we saw tall spires up ahead, somewhat reminiscent of La Sangria Familia, the somewhat awe-inspiring cathedral by Anthony Gaudi that we had visited earlier in the day. However where the Sangria was something magnificent, it felt like being inside a work of art, a triumph of masterful form over function. What we had stumbled onto was the Barcelona Cathedral in the oldest part of Barcelona, much more ramshackle and run down than the Sangria Familia yet breathed with a sense of spiritual presence I found missing from the former. There was statuary everywhere and people just being, enjoying the sanctuary of a comfortable place. There were artists doing their things and musicians and a couple of street performers doing amazing things with a giant hula hoop. There was a sense of history here. This place had been used as a church for hundreds of years and if it was not still in use, its sacred past has left footprints. We walked around the church through old cobblestone streets with statues of Saints and Gargoyles placed haphazardly almost randomly around the wall of the alleyway.
Eventually we found ourselves at the far side of the cathedral. It stood in a small square area just off one of the main roads and occupied space there by youth hostel and a restaurant called Café Gloria. We sat down at this small café and had the best meal I have had yet in this city. This detour did much to centre us after a rather long, tho amazingly fun day. Sometimes when we get ourselves lost, we can find ourselves in ways we’ve never anticipated.
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
After 18+ hours on planes and airports we landed in Barcelona Spain. This city is amazing in all respects. It has the European architecture that I love so much and on any given street you can see a combination of elaborate artistic buildings (Gargoyles, cherubs, statues of saints, ornate iron work and turrets) mixed with street art graffiti.
We went to the Picasso museum and got to see an amazing representation of his art and I was able to appreciate the people appreciating it. Amazing how many people look at art, trying to remember what they are supposed to see, feel and note about it based on hazily remembered art history courses and plaques. Experiencing them with fresh eyes and little training, different things kept occurring to me. Ideas that he exposed about masculine and feminine, shadow and substance. It made it quite a powerful experience.
At night we walked along Las Ramblas with some of the most amazing people watching I’ve done in quite awhile. The light seems different here as does the temperature. The people are amazing. The journey continues.
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack Kerouac
New roads and new skies
filled with unseen stars
Where will my journey take me?
The preplanned road never suits
but always there is hope
of a road untravelled.
Gone with the dawn
I move ever closer to home
— G A Rosenberg
“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”
― Nikola Tesla
a blank page bleeds potential
in technicolour drops
Touching on dream images
and visions that enter
through the imagination
and manifest through weary fingers
Honour the connection
with each word
and mouse swipe
knowing that work comes through
the artist and not from
the ties to the all
and to the naught
creating form from potential
— G A Rosenberg
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.”
― Marcus Aurelius
I have been working on full acceptance of the people and situations that enter my life. Not that everyone and everything is pleasant or what I would wish it to be but then it is in those negative spaces that the lessons live. The more uncomfortable or irritated someone makes me, the more I can learn from them. Even if the lesson is how to be more patient and less irritable. I fully believe that this physical existence is a classroom. Not that people are problems to be solved as such but from others comes a greater understanding of myself and of the universe I find myself in. Each person I encounter shows me a greater understanding of the whole.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski
In about four days this blog as it is will have a brief metamorphosis. I will be travelling in areas where wi-fi is a questionable proposition so I may end up having to break my daily blogging habits. The reason for this is an exciting one. For our fifteenth wedding anniversary my partner and I will be embarking on a twelve day five country cruise. I will be doing one of my favourite things, exploring new places, meeting new people and seeing lots and lots of art. I’ll be taking lots of pictures and gaining lots of inspiration and recharging my own artistic batteries somewhat.
You see, about two years back I made a commitment to myself that I would make art and write at least 100 words daily. I’ve been overall pleased with the results and I now have material that I can expand and publish in a collected form. I intend to return from the cruise and continue this habit as I find this a fantastic way to express parts of myself that would remain otherwise hidden and I have found in the readers here an amazing supportive group of people for which I am more grateful than I can say
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
I’ve learned to laugh at my pain
the exquisite agony
of healing echoes of the past
I save my tears for beauty
of water, forest and human
the kindness done just because
service accepted and given
without a balance
Your eyes in firelight and your skin in moonlight
any of these can make me weep
out of joy, out of love and out of gratitude
tears heal the laughter
laughter the tears
we find balance in life’s stream.
–G A Rosenberg
“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”
― Alan Wilson Watts
We humans tend to be a problem-solving species. When we see a mystery, a puzzle or something that doesn’t feel right our tendency is to work at it until we find a neat solution. Of course one of the biggest puzzles is our own being and why joy and fulfilment seem so difficult to come by. To render it more simply: “Why am I unhappy?” We try probing and prodding at this question and trip over our own feet. We work ourselves into a frenzy trying to find happiness and drive ourselves crazier and crazier. I have found that my happiest, most joyful moments have come when I have stopped worrying about whether or not I was happy and surrendered into the moment. It is almost as if I was pursuing an evasive butterfly that as I drew nearer, it would fly away but when I sat still it alighted on my shoulder. When we surrender our vision of what happiness looks like, we stand a better chance of not only finding it but gaining clarity on what was blocking our vision of it in the first place.
Click on images to see full-sized:
Travelling Light Over An Empty Plain by G A Rosenberg
“If you leave the pool you have dug for yourself and go out into the river of life then life has an astonishing way of taking care of you, because then there is no taking care on your part.”
Swimming in a river of words
I tend to fill my pool with familiar textures
and phrase, the better to feel at ease
but what if i was to let go
venture outside acceptable parameters
into dark swells of under-utilized expressions
warm touches and feels unknown
I tread and I trust
and let befuddlement steer my passage
in unfamiliar rapture
my existence caught up
by eerie linguistic spectres
yet still i stay afoot
baptized in new jargon
beholden to the weaver of words.
— G A Rosenberg