NYC. And the Buddhists Were Right

There are lots of things about NY I don’t like right now. The streets are dirty and loud; nature is nowhere when you need it most; and I’ve hit a brick wall in relation to launch plans.

In an effort to stay connected to the rhythm of life as a lonesome traveler, I’ve succumbed to the big city habit of relying on coffee and wine at the ends of each day. It’s fun at the time (so much fun), but in the cold light of day I’m starting to feel dirty on the inside for that too. Woe.

To interrupt my general state of funk, I’ve decided to dump my NY agenda and head to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), home to the eclectic spirit of some of the world’s most brilliant artists.

On arrival, the Masterpieces of the Middle Ages made me feel more ‘evil’ than ‘medi’; I had no joy with the trinkets of old world Greece; and the art collection of Ancient Egypt left me just about ready to slit my wrists.

Then, I found the modern artist’s wing and suddenly – hallelujah! – I was in conversation with the world again.

Pierre August Cot is a nineteenth century French dude (1837 – 1883) who painted Springtime (above). I liked it because I could relate. I know what that girl is feeling as she stares confidently into her lover’s eyes – seeing him and being seen all at once – speaking volumes without having to utter a single word.

Then, I bumped into one of Jackson Pollack’s (1912 – 1956) globally lorded works. Ironically, as if to counterbalance his famously volatile and reclusive nature, his pouring and drip techniques produce such exquisitely balanced pieces. This is not my favourite Pollack but they all seem to elicit a tranquility within me, and a respect for his ability to channel his demons into something of worth for others.

And then came Van Gogh (1853-1890). Well. Wheat Field with Cypresses (above) literally moves as you look at it in the flesh, stirring feelings of awe and brilliance. But a children’s book I pick up about VG opens with: “Vincent van Gogh was one of the most tragic artists who ever lived. Nothing ever seemed to go right for him and he wasn’t very happy. He never even smiled in his self-portraits.”

Then (page 20): “Van Gogh had always had problems during his life with the way he felt. Sometimes he would get so angry and upset that no one could make him feel better. This time he became so angry and upset that he cut off his ear!”

These unhappy, dysfunctional but brilliant souls have helped me feel connected again through their stories of human condition and, thankfully, much better about the state of my own life affairs. Afterall, I’ve still got both my ears attached. Relativity can be a beautiful thing.

So I’m heading out to meet with my new NYBFF Jeannie Joshi, a talented New York based designer with a penchant for Zen Buddhism. I met her two nights ago in Hecho en Dumbo, the bar under my Bowery loft apartment.

One of the fundamental Buddhist principles states that everything in life is impermanent – happiness, sadness, success, failure etc – and in a Buddhism-affirming turn of emotions, this city feels like a friendly place again. So now, it’s time for my next adventure. The big wheel of life keeps turning.

LeeNYC. And the Buddhists Were Right

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