My Genius Yes’s of Love: You Taught me, I Love you, Thank you.

08Feb11

Since everything is none other than exactly as it is one may as well just break out in laughter.
Long Chen Pa

All is Still. February. Indian Snow Moon. Valentine’s Day. In our igloo cocoons, our lives may seem like snow globes, we swim in bubbles of crystalized emotions, new-earnestly patterned seeds, or emerge into the bright sun for spots of bubble globe tropical island vacations, to be starkly burst into the bitter cold airport coming home. (kooky dreamlike music here) The plays of our lives and the players of our emotions, dreams, hopes and wishes do get crystalized in the cold for this Dreamtime. With the promise of Spring just teasing, “Master Love” is in a million disguises like snowflakes.

I felt like Dorothy waking up from her Oz dream or Alice in The Middle of Wonderland recently one wintry evening, when I caught myself pondering the swirling Court of Charactors in my life. The Jester, The Trickster, The Beauty, The Helpful Teacher, The Wolf, The Queen, The King, The Lovers, The Prince, The Princess, The Suiter, The Warrior, The Mystic. In this sudden bubble of illumination like a LSD flash, I saw how characters in my life seemed to echo giant myths and iconic public figures.”And you were there, and you and you and you….” (more kooky music)

On another day as I mind-tousled with one particular charactor’s ridiculousness, I heard these words clearly:

“You Taught me, I Love you, Thank you.”

I wanted to suddenly scream it out to everyone in my Life from a stranger on the street to Twitterworld. “And you were there, and you and you and you….” This “friendliness” towards all of life is known as Maitri, in Eastern traditions. No matter what is, who is or is not…on the Yellow Brick Road to be The Big Kahuna, Oz or The Grand Tao itself, it’s clear this life is a continued dance to cultivate this attitude of friendliness and ease towards oneself and the stages and Plays in which one finds oneself. Welcome to Earth, The Maitri Matrix. The root of the word Maitri, is Ma, and a bit like the urban legend that every Eskimo has 1000 words for snow, the basic sound and the word, Ma, actually means simultaneously, “Mother, Illusion, To Measure, To Make, Create and The Grand Play.”

In honor of just a fraction of the many inspiring, snowflake-original Matrixsters in my life and their funny disguises, I hereby humbly thank and celebrate my gurus of Love, my friends, foes and luminaries (they are really the same) and their lasting influence on the style and craft of my life. (warning: yes my list is sprinkled with yoga people, but also some decidedly not.)

C’mon! We cannot hide our sprouting Love under the snow. It wants to bounce and play. Here, a toast to My Players! Who are yours?

The Lovers:

Mr. and Mrs. Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Jivamukti and…

You Taught Me: Mr. and Mrs. Riley were “married but separated” French teachers both teaching at our high school. (this was pre-80’s, we had big Arts budgets, 3 French teachers and 6 art teachers!) Mr. Riley looked like a modern day Vampire biding his time as a high-school teacher with his tight little everything…mustache, turtleneck sweaters and the slimest, tightest pantaloons I ever saw. You got a sense why they preferred to live separately as she was soft, pristinely and naturally chic and beautiful, with a Gallic, strong and hilarious nature smoldering underneath her measured, neat sweep of side-parted hair, sweater twin sets and plain wool pleated skirts and sensible shoes. They taught me that European intellectuals may have better ideas about co-habitating and why.

On another stage set to the “high-school” and “co-habitation” frequency years later, amid flowing saris and bulky dhotis, I crouched around the Ananda yoga ashram hoti fire with the other Mr. and Mrs.Jivamukti followers bussed in from Manhattan, (omg, really!) Christy Turlington to my left and to my right, my world-weary and totally hilariously perfect, “I-want-to-be-stuck-at-an-Ashram-with-them” bunkmates, Jane magazine writers, Suzan Colon and Christina Kelly. Christina has been called “Jane Pratt’s right-hand weapon, and an arbiter of cool. She was the Oprah of the alternative teen magazine world.” Christina steered Sassy, ElleGirl and YM and her latest sass, her Fallen Princess blog is here. Suzan Colon is now an author and arbiter of cooking with kindness and Catwoman, having bestowed her genius upon Cosmo Radio and Oprah magazines. Suzan’s blog is here.

What does all this have to do with Mr. and Mrs. Jivamukti and The Lovers? Well, we were gurus of the single, hard working, stressed, sarcastic and sincerely seeking, aka The “Young Miss Tribe,” the first to voluntarily crowd our wine-soaked-from-the-night-before-bodies into a closet in the East Village to dress for yoga with Mr. and Mrs. Jiva, two Euro-dance world artistes, somersaulting through yoga in a radical way at 108 miles an hour.  In the early days of the Sharon and David show, Yoga’s first couple, you could still be one of the 50 people in the world who knew what Jivamukti hot and fast yoga was. The Jivas were cooler than cool, wise, sexy and on top of the speed of it all…supremely and calmly in Love.

To the present day, with Kelly, Suzan and Christy all calmly in Love, and Mr. and Mrs Jivamukti’s fast yoga style bringing more people to yoga perhaps than any other guru, ever… I am hoping all that tapas (heat) love-mojo generated by rubbing sweaty ashram-shoulders with them might land me a man-boy Yogi to man-love so I can be The Lover too. Still supremely not so sure about co-habitation. (((or the word Yogi, have never been;-0 )))

For Your Lover’s Dose via Christina and Suzan, read their blogs, for Christy, read US Weekly. For Sharon and David, go sit in front of them.

I Love you, thank you: Because I see you and I believe in love.

Quote: “OM, Oui.” (none of these people said that, I just made that up for this post)

Style Tips: One can smolder in a swatch of fabric or a cashmere twin set.

The Slickly-Styled Court Jester:

Malik Rice, Andre 3000 and Bill Graham.

You Made me Laugh and Cry: Malik Rice was an ex-boyfriend from Atlanta, the same town as Andre 3000, and could have been his double in looks and style. A music genius and world class runner, he traveled the world with Puma but suffered an early injury. His style basics included 10 of each item: big, bold Alain Mikli specs, crazy hats, suede Gucci’s, a Mercedes equipped with a TV and the best sound system and custom motorcycle jackets from Italy. My favorite was black with lemon yellow accents and had a huge neon orange star on the back. He was a tiny thing (at 5’4 plus stilettos, I had a brief career as the super-model girlfriend) but he rocked massive attitude ranging from an adorable Dough-boy giggle to big ploppy tears to braggadocio swagger.

Another fan of motorcycle jacket Jester swagger was famed promoter, Bill Graham. Nearly all of Bill Graham’s family perished at the hands of the Nazis and Bill was sent overseas to grow up in foster homes in NYC. Before he became the famous super-promoter, Graham worked in the upstate resorts of the New York Catskills as a waiter where he met a relative of mine. Becoming fast friends, they made an Easy Rider cross-country motorcycle trip one summer. For many years, I wore Bill’s black leather jacket worn from that ride, which was passed on to me as a whiff of his visionary spirit, that which brought Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Alan Ginsburg, Santana, Rolling Stones, Eddie Money and Phil Collins to the world’s stage and began what became Live Aid.

Bill Taught Me: “Get up Early.” Many of Bill’s “wins” came simply because he got there first. I get up at 5 am, precisely because of Bill.

Malik Quote: “Yes, Wear it.” I recall having a suit on for an interview and vacillating between wearing a very notable coat on top or not, was it too much? Malik emphatically pointed out that wearing the coat is exactly what would seal the deal.

I Love you: I love you both for being loud, charming, visionary and bull-headed and coloring my world with music and style.

Thank you: Malik, you were the worst and the best boyfriend ever. Mostly the worst, but thank you for that.

Style Tips: Life goes better and bigger with a Bit of Bold.

The Exalted Red Queens:

Kirin Mishra, Diana Vreeland and Michelle Obama.

In Looking Glass Land, the Queen tells Alice, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

You taught Me: Kirin Misha. For just about one minute when I first saw you, your sexy, suburban Mom status nicely hid your intense and deep knowledge passed down in the Kashmir Shree Vidya Tantric tradition. I watched your destined transition from the Mrs. to the Mysterious, with your taking of new name, Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati, and teaching around the world. You inspired me to rocket-launch from my solar house co-habitation in a backwoods country clearing to clearly hearing the universe shout to me: “Get Thee back to NYC.” Your giggle combined with knowledge (such that The Lovers, Sharon and David said within one minute of meeting you that they had nothing to teach you.) All this kept me pinned, keeping to my “same place” meditation cushion while the antics of a country yoga community ran past — the laughing yogis, the stawkers in saris, a memorable elder yogi’s karaoke to Madonna’s “Ray of Light” and even ten tons of sticky watermelon juice all over your kitchen at the insistance of a juice-dieting kirtan background singer when we hosted the groupies of the suddenly touring Krishna Das band we found hidden at that Ananda Ashram. I miss you, it was grandly fun.

and…by the way, be gone the Guru bashings and gossip. Divas exist everywhere in many forms, in stories, myths, movies, books even Ashrams, balking at kitchen duty serving the hummus. If you cannot laugh at it all then you are taking it too seriously. I was there. I know real teachings, we all live them, the particulars are not important, the Truth of Love is.

As Chogyam Trungpa once said, “The most powerful mantra? …Om, Grow Up Svaha.”

I love you, Diana Vreeland. A beacon Red Queen issuing proclamations and demanding beauty. She was My Poster Girl. The pic of her in her red floral drawing room sat fiercely in place among the cultural train and running mix of posters of the moment in my bedroom… the navy Krishna in a sea of hot pink, the Joe Eula and Antonio’s illustrations of YSL from W magazine. And yes, I admit Farrah Fawcett preceeded her and the classic “Saturday Night Fever” poster with Tony in his white 3-piece hung nearby, both of which I think Diana might have liked.

Thank you, Michelle Obama for being a smart, full of heart, elegant and intelligent Woman in Love with and loved by her equally powerful Man. Now that my friends, is a queen. She chose McQueen, Alexander McQueen, for the red history-making dress to honor President Hu Jintao of China and for all its symbolic and international fashion waves. Mrs. O, the blog following her every sweater set, media and fashion pundits weighed in on the choice from all angles. Cathy Horyn and Robin Givhan voted yes, Oscar de la Renta, WWD‘s Bridget Foley, Oscar de la Renta and the CFDA voted no. New York Magazine‘s Amy Odell called it “Michelle Obama’s McQueengate Slogs On.” Maybe she just wore it because she liked it admired McQueen, who died recently. His talent was global and spoke to all of humanity and I personally think she is that tapped in to wear it for that reason and message alone.

You Taught Me: Red Queens, you are often misunderstood but I hardly think you care.

I Love you Michelle O: for your $200. Alice Waters organic garden and your borrowed (we hope) McQueen.

Thank you: for strength beyond beauty, scorn, jealousy, fear and simple minds.

Diana Quote: “The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

Style Tips: Color Therapy is not just for graduates of Mary Kay cosmetics sales training. Red will always be the happy elephant in the room, conveying the color of Life, energy, authority, power and a second chakra properly juiced up upon its wearer.

The Wise and Simple Kings:

Mr. Munyan, Isaiah Zagar and Baba Neem Karoli.

You Really Taught me, Mr. Munyan. You look like a Frog, everyone agrees. I have never met a more engaging frog or man in my Life. Munyan was our 8th grade Social Studies teacher, leaping around the class, making jokes, asking serious questions, gesturing wildly and taking everyone on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. From the seed of an idea like: let’s all actually wear tunics and wimples and make a real Medieval marketplace to let’s actually re-enact the entire trial of Lt. Calley and the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, I aimed higher because of the Frog and remember major smiles even through my teenage angst. A posse of about 5 boys and I used to hang at his house, he was the coolest and most creative ever and I’m thrilled to know he eventually became Principal.

King Isaiah’s Magic Gardens on South Street in Philadelphia is haven of mosaic happiness that has been spreading through the neighborhood since the late 1960s, when a gentle man moved to the area with his wife Julia to open a folk art store, the Eyes Gallery at 402 South Street. I met Isaiah when we did a fashion shoot on his roof and his joy was contagious. Like many naive artists he just started one day and has not stopped since.

I love you, Baba. One day deep in the library shelves, age 12, the proverbial book fell off the library shelf onto my head. The “Twilight” series wasn’t invented just yet, my teenish desires and dreams were already actually attuned to Indian mystics, or rather they conked me on the head for said attuning. Ram Dass’s “Be Here Now,” the blue book detailing his visits to Baba Neem Karoli, the famous guru in India, was suddenly in my hands and I stared and stared at the image of the blue Guru. Years later in California, I stood by Ram Das’s side on a boat trip and many times sat beside Krishna Das, the kirtan singer, both whom sat by the Great Guru’s side and there have been plenty of miracles in my life connected to this Guru. The Joy is there beyond words.

Kings!…

You Taught Me: Improbable questions are answered by trust.

I Love you my Kings: Your wise kingdoms of silly deep love feel so gooood.

Thank you: For giving your All.

Often Quoted about Baba: “He is a wonderful teacher, and will play with you if you get to know him.”

Style Tips: Wrap Thy Self in wildly colored mosaics, Play or plaid Slankets, for a humble womb of instant enlightenment.

The White Rabbit Mystic at The Gate with The Rock:

Peggy Guggenheim, Gene London and Tina Fey.

The White Rabbit is a nerd who confuses time, faces and places and just like The Mystic, injects fantasy, fun, obscure facts and ridiculous behavior into “Reality.” On top of it, the scurrying rabbit repeatedly and annoyingly knocks at the Gate to be let in.

You taught me, Gene. When I was little, Gene London was my first tall, dark and handsome geeky, gangly man-crush. He was my favorite, ecstatic story-telling camp counselour who went on to host his own local Saturday morning kids’ TV show, “The Gene London Show.” He played himself, a dreamy, artistic shopkeeper who would make a sketch and stop time, inviting wide-eyed Brownie and Boy Scout troops into worlds of romance and fantasy, most often morphing into a Disney movie and endless repeats of “The Wizard of Oz.” Gene was a very real and simple Enchanter empowering the everyday with story. Thank you also, for perhaps being one of the first “wildly creative homosexuals” I encountered as a kid. Thankfully, now many knock at my Gate. Come in, Come in!

At age 21 I came upon the iron gate holding colored stones at Peggy Guggenheim‘s Venice Palace designed by Clare Falkenstein and was enchanted for life by this gate, to me symbolizing the gems within the web of life. Guggenheim attained instant Guru Goddess status with me. You have a horseback rider with an erection in the center of your Courtyard? You got all the gondola gigolos to do your bidding? At 21, you inherited 21 million and exhibited and collected the art of your major artist friends and lovers? A list which included Jean CocteauMarcel DuchampYves Tanguy,Constantin Brancusi,Man Ray,Antoine PevsnerHenry MooreHenri LaurensAlexander CalderRaymond Duchamp-VillonConstantin BrancusiJean ArpMax ErnstPablo PicassoGeorge Braque,Wassily Kandinsky and Kurt Schwitters? A collector of men, art and a bequeather to the history of modern art, yep, you taught me. I am the nerd with love in my eyes at your Gate.

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon is an effulgent fountain of Nerd Heaven relentlessly slamming into the Gate of Reason. Everyone knows my big nerd secret that I do not ever, ever watch TV, the neat, big 3 exceptions being red carpet Award shows, Obama speeches and Tina in “30 Rock.”

You All Taught Me: To Elevate The Nerd, Listen to it and act upon it.

I Love you: for steering your own gondolas, general stores, genius-yes’s of Love  and genitalias. (forgive all annoying alliterations, so nerdy;-)

Thank you: (what? was not the above enough?)

Quote: “I am constantly amazed by Tina Fey. And I am Tina Fey.”

Style Tips: Every nerd and white rabbit likes props, bold sunglasses, monocles, pooches and men as accessories. Gene had an apron like Erkel had his overalls.  Tina has those glasses and that one pair of “Brooklyn Without Limits” green jeans…

The Peaceful Warrior is Called To The Mission:

Leslie Holzman, Bob Geldof, Alice in Wonderland and Elena Brower.


Leslie Holzman was one of the first women bike messengers in New York City, a top clothing designer, a fierce Vegan, a roommate of Debbie Harry, my best friend and one very magical person. When we met, she lived in a huge house on the Delaware River with 20 dogs, 15 white geese, mind-boggling and beautiful collections of rare medals, art books, antiques, jewels, boxes, notes and husband Benji, a feisty Sean Penn look-alike, Jewish auto mechanic from Las Vegas who specialized in Mercedes and hilarious fake porn phone messages. Like a child to ward off the finality of death, he kept the ashes of all the dogs from all his life in a huge field, a kind of Mercedes/Dead Dog Homage Museum, with black tank 1950’s specimens to slick white Gere era, Gigolo styles in all stages of sculptural decline or post-modern assemblage. (just the cars, the dogs were thankfully all in ash state.) Leslie would drive her Mercedes of the day at only 5-10 miles per hour, even on the highway for fear of hitting an animal or insect. She was an outspoken peaceful warrior for animals and the sacredness of all life with an infectious, dirty joke kind of laugh that literally lit up a room. Although caring and sensitive, she proudly proclaimed that she never cried. Never. I sat with her the day before she died, as she cried, letting go peacefully and finally.

Prior to being a Nobel Peace prize nominee, in 1984, Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats was surrounded by a series of flop hits when he was stunned by television images of starving Africans. He described it as “sitting in my comfortable living room surrounded by the fripperies of modern living which we were pleased to regard as necessities. Their eyes looked into mine.”  From that moment, his life took a radical turn. When Bob first suggested doing a record to his musician friends to raise money, immediately a friend asked for his help to get clearance for a supply delivery truck in Africa, as if the two activities had never been aligned in the Universe except for Bob, for Africa, for the world in that moment. His peaceful war on starvation created Band Aid and Live Aid changed forever the face of philanthropy.

It’s kind of a little something, something when your favorite yoga teacher, maybe ever, is called to teach 10,000 people on The Great Lawn of Central Park. Elena Brower is not trying to be a Yoga Teacher and that is what landed her on that stage. The fact that the event was rained out 15 minutes in is even better yoga.

I Love you: For your Love Trains, happy to be on them.

You Taught Me: Surround me with your Love.

Thank you, Bob: For your Scrappy, Resourceful, Very Large Vision.

Leslie’s Quote: (depending upon the day) “Buy, Sell, Trade.” …or… “Nothing at All.”

Style Tips: This is not a chapter in the Color Me Beautiful book, just my own observations: Purple and orange are high-vibration spiritual colors, but are also classic leaders of severe style mistakes unless in the hands of couture. Bob dressed like a tacky 80’s sorta-punk, Boomtown Rat and Leslie went overboard, but who cares when you are this close to Emerald City?

“You Taught me, I Love you, Thank you.”

Taught reminds me of the word taut. Like a tightrope, all relationships are yoga, the word which means “yoke.” To be tethered to something or someone is to be tamed, as The Little Prince’s fox taught us. We choose to be taunted or to be taught. I thank and love my teachers, the fascinating and the horrid ones. You, and you and you and you reading, thank you because the Matrix of Love has us tethered, it cannot be denied and I am happy to romp with you. (ya hearing that kooky music now?)

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Who Do You Love?

IMAGE and otherwise CREDITS:

Thanks to Marilyn Minter, David LaChapelle and of course, my Mom, as the biggest fan of this blog and a big character in my life, yes, Mom, to you too. Thank you, you taught me and I love you!

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3 Responses to “My Genius Yes’s of Love: You Taught me, I Love you, Thank you.”

  1. Love this! So full in its inspiration and cleverness. You.

  2. Wow!!! you’re inspired me.


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