What happens when you literally meet the "man of your dream"?
And if that man literally stops you in the street and asks you to accompany him for a drink later... do you go? I didn't. I totally chickened out last night and didn't show up... but should I change my mind? I know where to find him... I have three more nights.
This isn't a matter of love or lust. It's a matter of paralyzing serendipity.
Sometimes chains of events such as these make life feel like one gigantic play. Whoever the director is... they sure have an idiosyncratic sense of humor.
There is no chance that this was all chance. It's not even possible.
So that's what's on my mind this morning. Do I go meet this unmistakable man? If he was anyone else I may have not recognized him at first, but it's hard not to recognize someone that's about eight feet tall... especially when they stop you so you can get a look up close without staring.
Something added to the irony of this situation. I wrote someone recently:
"I do believe that we learn valuable lessons with pain......... I also believe that we choose how many of those lessons to take on at once............. and to have absolutely no walls is madness. One of the valuable lessons we learn with pain is how much we're willing to take on......... how high our tolerance is. (. . .) It would help if I hadn't gotten so close. I still adore you and think the world of you. That's a good step for me. I still don't think you've really done anything wrong. I just felt all my walls go back up really quickly.... but they're a different kind of wall. More like clear plastic walls... you know the ones............ like the thick plexi in jails....... rather than the stone ones I usually construct."
I almost erased that last sentence because it was like admitting to myself that even clear plastic walls are a kind of jail. Even worse, I was admitting it to them. (I crossed my fingers and hit send anyways, hoping they wouldn't catch the innuendo... or hoping they at least wouldn't call me out on it. Which they didn't.) Yesterday, I was reminded of that email.
I planned on fitting an unrealistic amount of museums into my schedule yesterday. I made it to one. The Tate Modern.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of genius held within it's walls. One of the specialty exhibitions was from Francis Alys, ironically titled, "A Story of Deception."
In the show, there was one particularly poignant video (for me) in which the artist "walked along the 1949 ceasefire line, known as the Green Line that divided Jerusalem until June 1967. Alÿs’ walk took two days and involved him dripping a barely noticeable line of green paint along the Green Line. (. . .) The commentators on the film used Alÿs’ act of dripping a green line as a pretext for discussing different kinds of boundary between people, analysing the ways that these cultural and political ‘borders’ come in and out of visibility, and how they might be politically reinstituted or dissolved."
During the video, one quote from an Israeli woman particularly stood out to me:
"To live with walls and borders is to live in jail in a way... to live in conflict. The conflict is internal."
So after I leave the show, I'm walking down the street pondering...
Walls and jails.
Political unrest and internal unrest.
"Art is the mirror of society... of a moment in society."
And society is a mirror of us.
The simple, poetic act of being at peace within ourselves is the key to creating peace in the world. (I know for a fact, straight from his mouth, that the Dalai Lama agrees with me on this one.)
That's when the man stops me.
Let me back it up another minute...
Some have said that I look a bit deeply into things... maybe in excess at times. Alright... I'll admit it... if I ever figure out a rubik's cube, I'll probably resort to peeling off the colored stickers afterwards to see if it lines up internally as well. "There's got to be something I'm missing here..."
This level of inquiry applies to my waking life as well as my dreams. For the most part, I have the luxury of examining these two states separately. Twice in my life now though, as they did yesterday, the two collide. (The other instance being in the "Great Goose Chase" dream that I had just before my 2008 - 2009 trip.)
Oddly enough, the dream that I had recently involving the eight foot tall man immediately reminded me of the Great Goose Chase dream... and I had it right before I left on this trip. It reminded me of the Great Goose Chase not because it was a similar plot line, but because of the clarity and undeniable depth of content and time (it lasted nearly a week.)
(Side note: dreams are evidence that linear time really exists only in our minds... otherwise how could weeks occur in a matter of hours?)
I actually wanted to write about this latest dream before I left the states but I didn't really know where to begin. It was so chalked full of emotion and dead-give-away symbolism (how much of myself can I really show?) that I finally resorted to just keeping it to myself. Days later, a friend of a friend offered me an unexpected Tarot reading at a bar in Bellingham, WA. Let's just say that, between the two, my neck hair was relentlessly on end for quite a while.
I finally told someone about said dream just two weeks ago in Bali. A lovely (ironically) English gentleman helped me analyze a few segments that I couldn't quite put a finger on... symbols that were a bit beyond the help of my dream dictionary (to put it mildly.) We had only just met and I had no idea why I would be sharing so much with him, but I was. If nothing else... it made me start thinking about the dream again.
One of the things I couldn't figure out was my meeting with an eight foot tall man. In the dream... I'm walking down the street and am greeted and stopped by the man. (I'll leave certain following circumstances of our meeting out here as they're... how shall I say... squeamish.) My new English friend asked me the important question I hadn't yet considered: "Who was the tall man to you?" I told him I was extremely happy to see the man at first... he was a good friend of mine in the dream, although this confused me when I woke up because I had obviously never met him. (Yet.)
(Another side note: if time isn't really linear, then "yet" doesn't really matter.)
Anyways... back to where the tall man stops me in the street (in real life)...
I find it totally ironic that here I am, walking down an old cobblestone alleyway on my break from the art museum (I was going back there in an hour or two), pondering walls and jails and everything it implies for happiness, freedom, inner and world peace, when BOOM... who should stop me but this unmistakable eight foot tall man...
who just happens to be the greeter of London's oldest jail.
Founded in 1144.
(He tells me immediately.)
How he went from that to asking me if I would meet him later is beyond me. He was pleasant enough, but I can't tell if there's something more he's supposed to tell me (there are a few possibilities here that I can't really get into now... even if the Bellingham Tarot card reader was right... "It's a good thing you don't care if people think you're crazy...") or if his sole purpose was to acutely highlight things that were already going on in my head; to bring the world of ideas into direct contact with the physical realm, if you will.
Either way... some clues are so big you just can't really deny them. Jury's still out on exactly how far I want to take this one.
"I don't know what I want; I am inconsistent, non-committal, passive; I like the indefinite, the boundless; I like continual uncertainty."
- Gerhard Richter
* * * *
In my headphones right now:
Did I mention that I left Malaysia in International Terminal 4, got on flight MH004 on July 4, to land in International Terminal 4 in Heathrow, to go to baggage claim 4... and that my cab fair from the airport to the front door of my hotel room here was exactly 44.40? I couldn't plan this shit if I tried.
Other Great quotes from the show that really struck me:
"I have nothing to say and I'm saying it."
- Johny Cage (on his suspicion of ideologies and claims to absolute truth.)
"To paint involves a certain crisis, or at least a crucial moment of sensation or release... it should by no means be limited to a morbid state, but could just as well be one ecstatic impulse."
- Cy Twombly
"Search the shores of an ancient land,
under the stars along the sand;
between the pines and the cactus tree
see the stone where the lizard sleeps.
What is the object over there?
Who is the man by the orange tree?
The voices calling in the square?
The light that flickers out at sea?"
- Victor Pasmore
And just for you T... (because you're the only one that will get this):
As I'm leaving the show, a large photograph of a bed stops me. "Room 44" is written above it. Underneath there is a daily log, written by a hotel room cleaner (the artist), about the contents of the room day by day during someone's stay there. Many of the days she couldn't clean the room because the "Do Not Disturb" sign was up a lot. Unusual for her. Then, the last day...
"Noon, they have left. The only traces of their stay: Nescafe and crackers in the waste basket. There is the smell of smoke."