month ten: practice

Art month was fun, even though I didn’t actually make as much art as I thought I would.I made this really silly gif from pics of my bedhead every morning. I had a ton of fun at collage night at the IPRC (collage is zen!). I also wrote a whole bunch. I read a whole bunch. I went to a couple of different kick-ass readings. I went to a few performances at the TBA festival (one amazing, one disappointing), saw Our Town at Portland Center Stage (meh), and went to a brilliant show of Erik Stotik’s work at Lewis and Clark. I also watched a bunch of artsy stuff on TV: some Art 21 segments (, a few rounds of Mathew Barney’s Cremaster cycle (the few stunning visuals weren’t worth the slog), a cool documentary on Vik Muniz’ project about the people who work in the world largest landfill (, and as much of Dimitris Papaioannou’s choreography as I could find on youtube (

What I discovered is that I didn’t have to push much to find the art in my life. It’s my natural instinct to seek it out and with a little bit of conscious effort, I hope to keep it that way.

Now October is here and so is my partner’s mother. In a bit of an emergency situation, she has moved out here from the east coast. She’s staying with us until she finds a place to live. Of course, Portland has become crazy expensive so finding some low-income housing for her has already proved to be quite the challenge. The second challenge is suddenly having to share my living space with a 68-year old chain-smoker with a whole host of physical and psychological issues.

The morning she arrived, I took a yoga class and was reminded that yoga is not just a practice on a mat, but something that we can practice all day long. And so I will be practicing very hard until our guest has found a new place to stay.

So what, specifically, is my challenge this month? Just to practice, I think. That’s all I can do for now. In as conscious a way as I can, I will practice compassion and empathy. I will practice keeping my boundaries. I will move through a physical practice of yoga and walking.

This woman has led a difficult life. While her past choices have landed her in my living room under less than ideal circumstances, all I can hope is that we can offer her the smallest glimpse of what it’s like to be around people who are relatively kind and relatively normal. And, as sad as it is, I can use her example as motivation to keep my body moving, my mind sharp and my engagement with the world as strong as possible.

Keep going forward. In every way. Always.

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