The Artwork of Michael Divine

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Breaking through the Boundaries

March 22nd, 2008

OfferingThey say: “Trust in [insert your god’s name here] but [lock, tie, secure] your [car, camel, canoe]”.

What’s this mean anyway? It means trust in the rhythms of the divine but take precautions because precautions are necessary. Are you precipitating disaster? By thinking you might get robbed are you manifesting theft? Just because I have car insurance am I inevitably going to attract a car accident? What foolish superstitious nonsense! This is not the dark ages. Our superstitions may trade disguises; they may shift their verbage and tones of voice but they are still the same voices of self-defeat trying to eat us away and hold us back from taking chances, from truly stepping into and experiencing the rhythm of life.

I am not here to concede when I am told “No.” I am not here to go back to where I came from when I am asked to remove my messages from upon the wall. I am here to stand up for what I believe in and to only move if the reason that I am given to move is sound. What is a sound reason? Only a reason that does not come from a space of fear but of love, of compassion and of awareness is one strong enough to sway me.

I am here to question, to ask why. To run up against your boundaries and ask what you are afraid of. Are you afraid of commitment? Are you afraid of pushing the boundaries, the envelope, your own limits? Are you afraid of the edge?

I am not here to paint pretty pictures. There are enough of those- both the pretty pictures and the painters who paint them. They paint little cottages in the woods and perfect replicas of buddhas floating upon the river. They paint images that make us feel safe- images that we instantly recognize and can thus name, label, categorize and file away. Such painters are craftsman, not explorers. They are map makers, copying the maps of those who came before.

No, we want to push further and draw forth that which is within. We want to manifest the now. We want to write new books, not just repeat the same synopsis, make the same mistakes, bow to the same idols. We want to experience. The act of painting a Buddha may be a meditation but what of the experience and how does that translate? What was the first painting of Buddha? The first Christ? What was the non-watered down, commoditized version? The spontanaeity that inspired the first great work of art, the inner urge that drives a true artist – to harness this and center it upon the divine and allow it to unfold from that place – that is a challenge. Another manifestation of a cottage in the woods, another manifestation of the Buddha in paint exactly as the Buddha is supposed to look with all the proper symbols in place – it takes skill but it doesn’t take inspiration. Truth lies in the inspiration, as does growth. To live only upon skill is to reside in safety.

But I am not about safety. There is no growth in safety and there is no safety on the edge that we walk. When I look down, I do not see a tightrope beneath my feat- that is not the edge of which I speak. I see a line and a line can be divided in half. So I divide, and divide and divine again. I slice it further and further until that truly is no end, when there are no more halves. And that, that is only a state of mind but we only reach that state by breaking down the barriers, not by running from them. To even imagine a tightrope, to even understand the edge, is to see one side and another. Only by crossing the edge can we begin to understand what we are merging with.

We push ourselves- a little further here, a little further there, and we ask – we demand – the same of those we meet, whom we engage in business in, whom we share friendship with. It is an inevitability of our relationships. We will always, either right from the start or even a bit further on, push a button. It may be our own button so we examine it. What am I doing here? What am I experiencing? Why? Why am I feeling like running away? Why am I feeling like attaching myself? Do I pack it all up and move on? Do I sit and stew? Rivers don’t run backwards when they encounter a rock, they find a way around it. They wear it down with gentleness; they crash up against it with the fury of natural rhythm. They work with it and through it.

Or we push the button of another person- we bring them to their edge and if we don’t ask them to look over that edge, if we don’t look over it with them, then we are doing the both of us a great disservice.

Let me take your hand if that makes you more comfortable. Yes, there is safety in numbers. Let’s look and see what lies there- fear of loss, fear of being wrong, fear of ego death, fear of responsibility.

Fear of Everything.

Fear of Nothing.

Let’s get on with this:

Fuck the fear, tie your camel or secure your canoe or whatever- take care of the general basic necessities, but the minute the voice steps in – the voice that speaks in the language of fear, engage it, work with it, work through it and get on with it – and let’s get the fuck on with this dance- how do we engage life joyfully? Don’t you see that the fear is what is holding you back from true joy? From life? For life is joyful, life is for living and liufe is for those who want to live it. For everyone else- there is death and they are either experiencing the long slow decline with every waking moment or they are experiencing the eternal rhyme with every breath. We engage life. We dance with it. We eat with it. We sing with it. We fuck with it. We sleep with it and we awaken in the morning with it. And it feels oh so very wonderful.

The Artwork of Michael Divine

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