Tag Archives: Threedeelifer

THREEDEELIFER: JOVAN DAJKOVICH

And now for the last post of my three-part series of encounters at the Com Coracao event, featuring my new friend Jovan Dagkovich.  Our entire conversation lasted like 15 minutes, but was so totally right on that I want to share it.  (Take-away: watch out next time you have a 15 minute conversation with me…:))

Jovan is a filmmaker.  One of the first things I learned about him is that he generally thinks spiritual things, self-exploration, ect. is bullshit.  I think he was wearing black when I met him.  He definitely reminded me of New York.

Despite being a self-professed skeptic, Jovan had just had an awesome week where he learned something about himself.  So he was open.  And he was nice.  So I felt inspired to tell him that I was writing a blog on spirituality and everyday life.  As I felt the words leave my mouth, I thought–alright, well, here is the part where I lose him.

Shows how much I know.  Actually, what happened was that Jovan excitedly shared something that touched him.  And the thing that he connected with beauty… and passion…and spirituality… was the scene from American Beauty where the camera just follows the plastic bag blowing in the wind.  You can watch that scene here.

I just re-watched the scene, and I am so grateful and psyched that Jovan pointed this out to me.  The scene (and the fact that it inspired a skeptic like Jovan) is a validation of exactly why I am writing this blog.  Spirituality does not always find you in a church or require faith.  It can hit you during everyday mundane life.  In fact, if you do not go to church or believe in any dogma, then everyday life is the only time spirit is going to hit you.  And hit you it will (but you will feel no pain…).  If we just pay attention and let down our guards a bit, our hearts WILL be opened by even the seemingly smallest of things.  A freaking PLASTIC BAG can be a moving experience.

The narration of this American Beauty scene captures this idea perfectly.  In the movie, the narrator (Rickie Fitts) says:  “You want to see the most beautiful thing I’ve ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes.  And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know.  But it helps me remember… and I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”

God, I love that.  In fact, it reminded me of the famous Sufi poet Rumi, who wrote about how he was drunk with his love for the world as an expression of the Divine.   Rumi said:  “Observe the wonders as they occur around you.  Don’t claim them.  Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” 

Here is to getting in touch with “the life behind things” and the “artistry moving through” our world.

With love,

N

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THREEDEELIFER: ALLISON KUNATH

Part two of the series spotlight on threedeelifers from Sunday’s event . . . featuring Allison Kunath.  Allison is a blow-your-mind amazing graphic designer and artist.  You can check out some of her regular work at her personal website, or her professional portfolio.  She is also a total sweetheart, and a fashion maven to boot (side-swept, feminine mohawk, anyone?)

At the Com Coracao event, Allison was displaying her work next to Gary’s (these funky modern tribal/animalistic portraits).  Gary immediately told me I need to sit for one of Allison’s drawings.  Hmmmm…. sure!  No idea what was happening.  In under a minute, I was in a stool facing Allison while she whipped out her drawing journal.  She explained that she was going to do a single-line drawing of me, without once looking at the paper to see what results she was getting.  Instead, she gazed into my face and eyes as her hand moved across the page.   Very intimate, super cool.  You feel like she is studying and getting into every line of your face.

And you know me . . . I immediately went to the “heart” of what she was doing.  “Ah, you are practicing surrendering to the moment!”  Allison shot me a warm smile.  “Yes!”  She explained that her regular work was precise, polished, and very labor intensive (as you can tell from looking at her websites–wow!).  So this was her way of kicking back, giving up control, and seeing what emerged.  What came out was this lovely multi-perspective Picasso-esque rendering:

I wanted to blog about Allion’s practice because I thought it was a beautiful way for her to connect with an ever-present creative force, with her own heart, and with the spirit of the people in the chair in front of her.  I also think it is a great contrast to Gary’s work, because for him, he felt inspired to spend eight hours (and hour years) taking photos.  For Allison, she felt inspired to get out of her head and create spontaneous images.  The heart will finds what it needs to grow (its natural “counterpoint”) and to become more full.  We just have to be willing to let it do its work!   And it is so awe-some to see what each person contributes.

In fact, everyone was running around the event on Sunday talking about Allison’s drawing of themselves…and I have seen multiple re-postings of her work on Facebook.  No doubt–when you connect with your own heart, other people feel it, and it allows you to connect with them.   I have felt some of this with this blog.  My heart needed to start expressing itself in places other than my journal… and it has naturally and effortlessly given me a way to get closer to people.

Footnote:   The idea of finding your “heart-counterpoint” is a really cool one for businesses to consider.  If your normal product is somewhat rigid and perhaps upscale, what is a way to translate that product into a less rigid and relaxed format?  Or if your normal product is spur of the moment, what is a way to bring that into a more developed work?  It is all about finding the fullest expression of whatever you have to offer the world.

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THREEDEELIFER: GARY ALAN KRUEGER

My first post, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to do with this blog was highlight the ways in which other people I meet are implementing their own version of daily spirituality.  This will be the first post along those lines, and it is going to be a three-part series highlighting three different “ThreeDeeLifers.”  !  I met all three people this past Sunday, at this very cool charity art event “Com Coracao” put on by Marilinda Rivera and TasteNation, feauturing artwork inspired by Brazil.  What better place for daily spirituality than Brazil, right?  If anyone mixes the streets with the divine, it is the Brasilieros.  Axe!!!

Alright, first person up to bat is the person who invited me to this event, the wonderful Gary Alan Krueger.  One of the reasons why I think spirituality is so important (more on this later) is because it creates a sense of CURIOSITY about your world, and makes you PASSIONATE about living in that world and contributing to it in some fashion.

Gary’s story is a perfect example of this. Gary was presenting his photographs of Brazil at the event.  He has gone on two two-year trips around the world, through 23 countries, including Brazil.  As he started to travel, he began to take pictures.  You can see his work here. 

Now, plenty of people take photographs, and it is just that.  Taking photographs.  For Gary, it was a deeper practice.  His bio on his website is very heartfelt, but this one phrase really called to me:  “I am constantly humbled by an eternally deep and profound respect for nature.”  Wow, that really nails it.  When you are humbled, you are aware that you are in the presence of something greater than yourself.  I don’t care what your mind “labels” as that larger force–God, Nature, whatever it is.  It has touched your heart, and it has moved you.  That’s what I am talking about.

As he was showing me his photos, he was explaining how each one of these photos involved an incredible investment of time and energy.  This one… shows a place that took five hours to hike to.  That one…required time lapse photography that took hours to perfect.  This one…he had to lay on his back to capture the perfect shot that avoided the crowds.

But the one that affected him the most was a shot of Iguazu Falls, visible on his blog as the sixth photo in the oceanscapes category.  He told me that he spent two weeks at Iguazu Falls, and over eight hours trying to get this shot.  When it finally came got the shot he wanted, there was a cloud that looked like an angel overhead.  And this photo helped him celebrate and mourn his dear friend who had just passed.  What a beautiful story of curiosity, passion, and heart.

Recognizing spirit around us humbles us.  It makes us passionate.  It inspires us to invest hours of loving care into a practice that connects us more deeply with that spirit.  And ultimately, it can help us heal when there is pain, and find beauty around us even when we are alone.  This doesn’t happen in a church, it happens whenever and however we are willing to let it in.

Thank you for sharing Gary.

Love,

N

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Wisdom From a Bartender

I have had a great week so far.   Major highlights: new friends, local dinner parties, and of course, attending the Watch the Throne Tour.  Nothing gets me excited and alive like dancing to some music that goes HAM.   And yes, musings about dance parties belong on this blog.  As do poems about walking home at night.  This is all about finding the light in the daily.

But I want to bring it back a bit to my post about Letting Go.  When I wrote that post I was in a local restaurant/bar down the street from my house called Fishbar.   While I was there, the bartender asked me what I was writing about.   Now, not only was this guy a bartender, he also had a striking resemblance to Paul Bunyon.  Full facial beard, stalwart disposition, tall, strapping.  So I had my misgivings as I took a leap of faith and told him I was blogging about spirituality and daily life, and described my post about Letting Go.  Turns out that beneath his mountain man exterior was an open heart.  When I finished, he nodded, and said, “Yup, that sounds about right.  But you also have to remember that it is okay to have that feeling of need in the first place.”

WHAT!  Bunyon the Bartender broke. it. down.   He actually hit on one of the key parts of Letting Go.  See, the thing is that you can not force yourself to Let Go.  Like, I cannot say, “Nicole, you are being stupid, how could you have been so foolish at to have these needs, stop it immediately.”  I am not a robot.  I am not trying to be hard.

We are vulnerable people who want love.  We have to love and forgive and have compassion for that part of us that wants connection.  And the moment we forgive ourselves for having those feelings, we actually see them for what they are: a very sweet part of ourselves that wants and needs our own love.  In loving ourselves, we stop demanding things from the outside world that are not realistic.  This is not a one-time deal.  When I am going through something where I have to let go, I sometimes feel like I am walking around just cradling my heart in my hands, going “It’s okay.  I love you.”  Over and over and over until I regain my power.

Alright people, that is it for this post.  And remember: don’t be afraid to get deep with your local bartender.   They might have some real-life wisdom to share.

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