April - dharma arts round-up


Here’s the Dharma/Art things that are catching my attention just now.

Do leave a comment and let me know what gems you’ve found recently. Or join the red ladder studio facebook community and share them there.

Reading –

I’m loving all things analogue (when I am not on my computer!) and the sheer enjoyment of real things. As is Claire Messud, she writes here about how as an activist you can easily burn out if you don't nourish yourself with the important things in life. That’s why she thinks ‘The Time for Art is Now’. Here's a snippet, the full article is worth a read. 
Where might we find joy? Joy lies in immaterial superfluity. I find it in the long hours spent reading a book…. Or in lying in a summer field looking up at the dusk sky unfolding from palest pink to indigo, the awakening of the stars. Or in what Christopher Hitchens used to call “the ruined table”—the afternoon or evening lost in eager conversation long after the meal is finished, best enjoyed surrounded by empty bottles, dirty plates, and crumbs. 
There’s no clear point to any of these things: they don’t make money or burn calories or help you network or make you famous. They make you human. 
On the same theme I’ve just started, ‘The Revenge of Analogue’, a celebration of ‘real things’ in a digital world. 

I’ve only got as far as vinyl records, but the memories evoked in me of playing vinyl have been so enjoyable. I sat in a café the other day explaining to one of my kids, aged 11, what a record is. He was amazed, ‘what you have to turn them over to play the rest of the songs?’ Vinyl is making a massive comeback. Do you, like me, have memories held in your body about playing records? Slipping it from its sleeve, the cover art, the feel of the needle balanced on your forefinger, a whole tactile world. I’m just starting the chapter on paper and the notebook.

Crafting - 

One of the things I love about Spring is to cut branches and bring them into the house, especially the blossoming ones. You don’t need a lot. One beautiful branch. I’m trying to find a date to attend one of the Ikebana workshops at the East Asian Museum, it’s the Zen art of flower arranging.

Instagram - 

One little pleasure that’s been added into my life is Patti Smith arriving on Instagram. She posts something every day, personal, humble and beautiful. @thisispattismith

Listening - 

Landfall - The Kronos Quartet with Laurie Anderson.
A cycle of songs following the devastating wake of Hurricane Sandy. Would be even more enjoyable on vinyl! 


Everything is floating
And after the storm
I went to the basement and everything was floating. 
Lots of my old key boards, dirty projectors,
props from old performances, 
a fibreglass plane, 
a motorcycle, 
countless papers and books. 
And I looked at them floating there in the shiny dark water,
All the things I’d carefully saved all my life
becoming nothing but junk
And I thought, how beautiful, 
how magic, 
and how catastrophic.
The whole feel of the album reminds you of what she talks about in 'Heart of a Dog' how her Buddhist teacher said she had to ‘learn to feel sad, without being sad’.

Enjoy your month! May all digital and analogue pleasures be yours -
Rachel aka Vajradarshini