yummy! the elemental precipice of ridiculous: pizza, david lynch and i ching epiphanies

20Jan13

trapeze

Trapeze_Artists_in_Circuswater forest

There’s a saying in sales that goes like this: “Nobody who bought a drill actually wanted a drill. They wanted a hole.” Isn’t it true that it is not actually the physical person/place or thing which turns us on, it is its/their inherent potential to transform us?

All things morph through desire. Identity is transforming and trapezing everywhere on this teaming blue planet. As Steve Jobs said,

“Creativity Is Just Connecting Things”

Our boy sold creativity, not computers. “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world?,” he famously asked.  If the desires of this world are just a veil for our spiritual dreams, all elements and things speak to us in code as dream offerings for decifering.

For connecting codes, I always turn to the East, especially the divination masterpiece, the I Ching, which magnificently built binary code thousands of years ago, the same cosmic code/blueprint of our computers. In sync with other Eastern systems, the Chinese Five Element Theory, or Five Movements, is based on the reality that all things change, and connecting to their inherent potential energy to transform us vs. their static form reveals:

choices.

Although I wish I could say this month’s post was inspired by a trip via the snowy slopes of St. Moritz, apres-ski toddies and jollies, it was actually the simpler life in NYC, which begot these elemental Wintry art/places/dreams/leaps/swings as choices for pondering, for sale, to eat and to leap off with for 2013.

Ann-Hamilton-290x290

The place of transformation is the exact same precipice both feared and yearned for. When one thing can no longer sustain itself against moving into the next realm of being, it leaps. You have been there 1000 times. And each time you jumped on the swing, grabbed the trapeze bar. Your hands grab the reins, the threads, the trapeze ropes and you leap. You Ease the Trap. Our desires and what the universe desires from/of us are speaking out loud in code in every moment and experience. Why struggle, why wait, when the beauty itself is just waiting for us to see it? Epiphanies everywhere.

epiphany.

We think we have to be so prepared for miracles or the next marvelous thing, yet the soft place is it. The open place. You can look down suddenly and *ridiculous* find a tiny letter or clue just resting in the “in between” …for you. There are no bags to pack and prepare. Of course, as the little brand advocate I am, I will tell you my favorite travel bags are T. Anthony, but what really sent me traveling this month were simple marvels like amazing pizza or really tasting a bag of potato chips while strolling elegant Park Avenue in the bright sunshine. As always, the art that crosses one’s path, seemingly by random chance, yet this is among life’s most beautiful gifts. This month, I re-visited the art of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, a French movie called Ridicule, two new exhibitions and, of course, the I Ching.

The little letter above is no cheap art-construct to be cute on Tumblr, it really just caught my eye, no accident, one day while walking at a key moment. The uncanny reference to Twin Peaks, where little letters appeared under fingernails as clues… well, let me explain, it all began with the trippy pizza by Chef Evyatar at Pulino’s in NYC…let’s travel there first.

26suitcase-barsamian-blog480

PIZZA.

The word EARTH is the word HEART in revolution. Do you think there is a reason the words “ART” and “EAT”are in there too? Well, so is HAT, and HATE, and RATE… it’s all a very heady mix of love and hate, judgement…fashion and food. The point is…eating and art transform elements, connect and create us so best to perhaps begin there.

A roll of the I Ching gave me #5 this month,the wisdom called “Waiting” or “Nourishment.” It says: All beings have need of nourishment from above. But the gift of food comes in its own time, and for this one must wait. Waiting isn’t something our modern culture thinks is cute, and yet, it is a quality containing the exact wisdom, pleasure and healing we very much desire.

Thus…Cavalo Nero Pizza. Worth waiting for. A holiday meal at Pulino’s New York brought this heavenly black kale, smoked mozzarella, squash and walnut pesto made by Chef Evyatar right to me.

pizza

But wait…a pizza is a mandala…is it not?  Both are the architectural map of elemental change. The orchestration of sensory balance. The transformation of individual ingredient essence into nourishing. This meant the world to me, in cold NYC, waiting for answers, waiting to leap and here was this 5-element mandala, mesmerizing as the one by Lama Pema, to ephiphanize over and EAT. (as in devour lovingly, slowly)

GuruRinpocheMandala2

Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty alone gives that light which leads to success.

Anticipation is otherwise known as appetizers, small signs of life to come. Like a hungry monk, while waiting for my pizza, I went for in for them. Since I ching #5 is also the 5th chakra, center for Creativity, Expression, at the throat, the place of voice, mouth and where we take in and give out nourishment, I devoured the Artic char crudo with citrus, horseradish, grapes and trout roe as a sign from heaven of future prosperity and love. Hey! this I Ching thing really works! A heavenly honeycrisp apple salad with mache, watercress, walnuts, horseradish, pomegranates and honey-lemon vinaigrette, followed and virtually gave me wings and perched me exhalted on a cloud, to wait like an angel.

When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign that it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until after the rain falls. It is the same in life when destiny is at work. We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe. We should quietly fortify the body with food and drink and the mind with gladness and good cheer. Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready.

Twin Peaks diner

Like earth people and situations, the 5-Element theory has Creative, Controlling, Overacting and Insulting or Draining cycles.

Creative is the focus of today’s download. We desire this creativity in the middle of Winter. We noticed that if we identify at any moment which of these are most activated or at their fullest apex, we can cultivate the next element to move things forward. Of course this is not waiting, let’s say its perservering. Persevering is a more likable word to Western ears. It’s also your basic Feng Shui utilized in a landscape of our body, personality, emotions, relationships and even the universal healing sounds all humans make. Try it. Novel.

Here is the eternal Creativity Code of Elements, how things change:

  • Water nourishes Wood.
  • Wood feeds Fire.
  • Fire, turning to ash, creates Earth.
  • Earth, condensing over time, turns to Metal.
  • Metal or Air condenses to water in heat or cold and enhances the life-giving properties of Water.

(You can begin anywhere in the cycle, it loops. As it has for 10,000 plus years.)

WATER

The year 2013 began The Year of the Water Snake in Chinese astrology, so let’s begin there. No wonder the cascading falls that open “Twin Peaks” had me gazing transfixed, longingly like a lover. In classic David Lynch fashion, their pulsing tongues of water mesmerized.

waterfall Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks begins when the town prom queen, who led a double life, is found murdered, bound up and washed ashore. An end is a good beginning, we all know. The hero of the show, Special Agent, Dale Cooper, whose name means “dweller in the valley” and “barrel maker,” is exactly the man to capture, hold and contain what has gone amok in the tiny town of Twin Peaks. A Tibetan mysteries scholar, he is keen on discovering clues and wisdom through emotional, unconscious inner most longings, knowing that the roots of anything reveal source. In code, the roots of plants and situations belong to the water element.

Nourishing growth and wisdom, water governs the entrance to your home in Feng Shui, as it represents career and life path. The season Winter, colors blue and black, salty taste, the Bladder and Kidney meridian, all watery moves from pounding tsnamis to calm lakes express emotional desire. Emotions and their expression are key to career and life path. And may I express… I cannot wait and I do see this magnificent, career illuminating chandelier from Hudson Furniture in my front hall. Pretty Life Path indeed!

Hudson furniture large_Mother_new(2)

WOOD

The clouds burst. Hexagram #5 says: The rain comes in its own time. We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it. The wood is quenched and springs forward.

walking feet

Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.

Bee_pollen_640

Bee-Pollen-Benefits

Like a bee hovering over one’s life, walking in the woods, walking, walking, empties the soul to gather and pollenate fresh insight. The promise after Winter, the wood element is Spring, the color green, sprouting, bitter and sour foods that are receptive and encourage energy to contract and collect. I am adding bee pollen to everything these days.  The Gallbladder and Liver meridians love yellow, sunshiney foods like lemon, pear, plum, mango, sauerkraut, wheat and barley for balance.

Ginger is very root, watery into wood and I succumbed this Winter to the phermones of this ginger soda, Fresh Ginger, “from the guy who wrote the book on ginger…literally,” Bruce Cost, Asian chef and ginger ingredient specialist. He and team hand-make this love juice with pure cane sugar, and my new habit led me to line these up in my fridge easy, quick access.(very wood)

ginger ale

Josie fingernails twin peaks

That wood generates fire, we know. In Twin Peaks, we see a mysterious hand with passionate red nails, belonging to the mysterious and beautiful Josie from the Far East. Her lacquered hands caress the woods as an image of a chess piece arises. Adaptability is a strength of wood, and as such, Josie appears in many guises, victim, schemer, liar, lover, helpless, powerful…she is maddeningly a pawn and a queen at the same time. Excess emotions are the result of too much wood and timid Josie sports a pouting puss throughout most of Twin Peaks, when she isn’t nuzzled in the arms and chest of her lover, “Truman,” the Sheriff. She dies in the show, seemingly from the pain of it all, too much wood and water. If only she owned her vision and drive (fire and light) she might not have been such a pawn.

FIRE

Daum woman figure

Rub wood sticks, get fire. The world and creativity moves on a woman’s hips. When lightening fire strikes sand/earth, it creates quartz. Crystal quartz holds light/fire and is reflective. Like the golden skin of smooth glass of this sculpture of Eve by Daum, a French art glass company since 1840, with whom we have the pleasure of working with this Winter, the warmth of fire, light and the heart are what nourishes us.

Waiting at meat and drink. 
Perseverance brings good fortune. 

Perserverance staring into the wood of a fire is easy, it is energy transforming and it calms us. Staring into the hops of a Czech Pilsner Urquell, the herbal fire of a Jagermeister or a Grappa, along with some fine farm-to-table Palacinky potato pancakes is simply a brunch on fire.  At the “excellent little gastropub,” Hospoda, we nestled in, its odd spot in the odd Bohemian National Hall on East 73rd Street. Included in “Where To Eat 2013” by New York magazine’s Adam Platt, it is a hidden treasure on the Upper East Side of Gotham. Go there for the fire element hops, which will turn a Winter chill into clouds of joy and beeeer.

Czech_palchinky_pancakes_Prague_2010_Prague

This is true in public life as well; it is not possible to achieve everything all at once. The height of wisdom is to allow people enough recreation to quicken pleasure in their work until the task is completed. Herein lies the secret to the hexagram. While waiting, we are sure of our cause and therefore to not lose the serenity born of inner cheerfulness. 

Hospoda photo Marianne Rafter

The fire element corresponds to the color red, summer, the bitter taste and the Small Intestine and Heart meridian. While waiting gets fed, outside the cold, sleet and snow brews up the large leafy plants of summer Sous la Neige or under the snow, as in this illustration by French artist, Mathilde Aubier. Winter is the only time we actually see our breath, not just its effect. It’s frost appears to remind us of its presence, even to remind us to go inside, hibernate, meditate and chill. The tiny births of bitters, the first Spring greens like dandelion, all belong to the fire element. What a courgaeous firey heart can dream will likely birth on earth.

Matilde Aubier sous la neige

EARTH

fire walk into earth.

When Ben Horne, the slick and scheming, cut-throat business mogul of Twin Peaks, loses his “marbles,” he play acts a Civil War engagement and builds earthy mounds all over his office. All this earth cools the series mantra of “Firewalk with me.” Although psychotic and seeming ridiculous, the creativity actually renders him sane and redeems his life path towards the good. His “General” and the landscape is the healer for his likely disrupted Stomach and the Spleen meridian, which comes with worry and mental overload without a clear path to action.  If you can’t build a planet or battlefield in your office, the sweet taste of late summer on fire, yellow fruits, can be a cure. If you need to shop to get earthy, the earthy warm yellow and dirt brown beakers in Mud Australia‘s window in Soho caught our eye one recent evening. We like the modern interpretation of Limoges china from France. Put a hot toddy in this.

mud australia limoge

mud australia

Other earth foods to fill and ground are honey, apple, cherry, banana, corn, carrot, sesame oil, yam, millet and  …chocolate, which is fire moving into earth. Knowing that makes consuming lots a creative act? We say yes.

And of course, there is the real hand working of Limoge clay, Haviland china, a brand from 1842, one we are proud to work with this Winter. Next in the cycle, as earth hardens into metal, it births gold. The plating choice of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and U.S. Presidents, Haviland is about having your earth and gilding it too. Does it make everything supremely delicious? Ask the bevy of Limoge-enthusiasts as they annually tour Limoge, France, this year, in October 2013.

Haviland china

Haviland Grand Apparat

Gems and gold are the jewels in the lair of the dragon fire, caught deep in the earth,”brewing” and creating, like pollen. The little dragons above the earth, heralds of Spring and warmer weather are the water black and yellow earth bees, gathering gold, step by step.

Strength in the face of danger does not plunge ahead but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait.

Hong Kong Honey

Bee keepers, like patient Gods, build hexagon chess board worlds, a court of hives for queens and worker bees to elicit the golden honey. Our favorite urban beekeepers are HK Honey, buzzing on Twitter: and honey, you can read more about these designer/creators turned Pollenating Gods, here.

Work all day, a heavy winter meal and wine lays one down on the earth, to then dream in airy/metal clouds/comforters and create mental refresh.

METAL/AIR

ann-hamiltons-the-event-of-a-thread-features-interactive-swingsets

When the thread (line) went around the block with a 2-hour wait on the last day for Ann Hamilton’s swing performance, Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory, we headed a few blocks north instead to see the Asia Society exhibit of Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao. Lin winds silk threads around bones and artifacts…turning earth into air and metal. In her all white room dedicated to “Mother,” earthy becomes metallic white and a woman’s body is guarded by the hounds of love.

Lin Tianmaio

Letting go, death, abandonment, empty, release and sacrifice. These are words we try to avoid yet these are precise gifts for the soul. Each one offers transcendence into a vaster plane. The metal element corresponds to the color white, autumn, the time of harshness, cold, condensed energy releasing back to earth. Metal then magnetizes and generates new life via water rising from the core again. Witness the energy of this 1950’s Daum lamp, at Tsoda, the crystal is like water rising into wood into fire aka light…and expresses exactly that promise.

Daum lamp 1950.

The acrid, pungent tastes and the Colon and Lung meridian belong to the metal element as do onion, chive, coriander, parsley, radish, garlic, ginger, cayenne, peppermint, clove and white rice.  Metal are the gears of transformation, the knife that elicits blood and sap, the cold that elicits condensation, the heat pulling sweat from the body. This osmosis of elements is happening every minute for our sensory delight. (and divination)

metal into water

Opposite to the cutting clarity of the metal/mental realm is the “controlling” aspect. The metal of breath stars in the movie Ridicule, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, about the French Court of Versailles and its high regard for wit as a judgement of social standing, among Kings, Queens, and the Pawns of the court. The idea of bullying and ridicule exists first in our own ego taunts inside our own psyche. In the movie, imagery of blowing, first white powder on the body of a noble countess, and later a lover blowing pollen from a long skirt onto a flower, made me think of the judgements of bees regarding flowers and our very breath, which has the power to convey love or fear, judgement, and the worst, indifference.

blowing 1

blowing 2blowing 3Lin Tianmiao

From a bee’s perspective we are their tools, by planting flowers, carrying pollen on our clothes and making bee hives.  Lin Tianmiao’s most powerful piece in The Asia Society was a room with an expanse, a white field of bound-together bones and tools fused by tightly would silvery-grey threads, as commentary on structure, building blocks and elemental transformation.Lin Tianmiao

Like an iron butterfly, the open delicate structure of the ribs and lungs cradle, a tool to protect the breath. Lungs actually represent “relationship” in Eastern thought, as they express the symbiotic relationship of the atmosphere, plant life and objects. The fleeting emotions of air currents, wind gusts and moments they rise and fall. In Ridicule, two lovers courting walk in a garden, the woman’s sweeping skirt furls, spirals and gathers pollen, while the pair spar and barb, at buzzy odds in their thinking.pollen on skirt

Later in a hothouse of flowers, the lover brushes the pollen from the woman’s skirt unto a cultivated bloom.
pollen blowingyou judge me pollen

Still “sparring,” the woman’s gold sweeping skirt is held by the lover, as he blows and dusts off of “seeds” and the mental veils of judgement between the two. The tiny miracles of chance and process that shift and dissolve between the elements, the solid thinking and humans. The pollen happens to be picked up which happens to meet the flower, the hand happens to meet the thigh.

The random judgement, discernment, meeting, the chance, the choice that creates miracles. That creates us anew. Lin Tianmiao portrays this boldly.

Lin Tianmiao

Then there is the man-hug moment in Twin Peaks, when Josie dies and her lover, Harry, is ending his bender of despondancy and retreat in a cold cabin. At the very end of his despair, he says to his friend, Cooper, “I don’t understand. There’s a whole lot I don’t understand.”  Coop responds “We’re all like that.”

twin peaks man hug

Twin peaks man hug

We must abandon the abandonment again and again…Begin the Beguine. In true David Lynch fashion…here’s a Perry Como interlude to inspire.

como_swings

sunrise

And while you wait around for LOVE FOREVER….there are 10,000 “things and their essential ability to transform us” to enjoy. Any moment can be liftoff. By coincidence (um, really?) while writing this post, a tune actually called “while the cold winter waiting” kept buzzing for my attention. The album by the artist Trentemoller is called The Last Resort.

Clearly if its good for the universe to live on the crest of a moment, what seems as waiting, a last resort, is just really the Choice to leap. Go There.

trentemoller While the cold winter waiting

PAA_Ann_Hamilton_JamesEwing

Because, at the end, unexpected epiphanies like a stroll on Park Avenue New York, crunching on Miss Vickie’s potato chips, tunes blaring on a winking, sunny day can be way more fun than ski slopes at St. Moritz.

Smiles and winks back at the sun raising Spring’s green grass up, up from under the veil of snow, trembling on new legs, waving in the heart.

“We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.” Steve Jobs



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