The mind creates the chasm which only the heart can cross.
It is our very search for perfection outside of ourselves that causes our suffering.
A disciple lived for a time with Zen master Kassan. But feeling that the teachings did not suit him, the disciple decided to go on a pilgrimage. But everywhere he went, the disciple only heard praise for how Master Kassan was the best of teachers. Finally the disciple returned, and when he greeted his old master he said, "Why did you not reveal your profound understanding of the dharma?"
The Master smiled, and replied: "When you cooked rice, did I not light the fire? When you served food, did I not hold out my bowl? How have I failed you?"
At this the disciple was enlightened.
When someone creates a work of art that seemingly captures, describes, celebrates your life at the moment, you get spoiled. You think you must have a personal connection with this artist, that somehow you are universal and famous: an archetype, a microcosm, a herald. You develop expectations of the artist...and if the next piece doesn't continue the synchronicity, you're disappointed and maybe resentful. Perhaps you dismiss the artist as having dimmed and missed the boat. Washed up, a has-been.
Everyone knows, and especially today's teen-agers, this kind of thing used to happen a lot in the rock music of the 1970s. Few singer-songwriters did it to us more than Joni Mitchell...and few suffered our disdain for her later efforts more than she. Joni didn't seem to need our illusions and fantasies about her as much as other performers though. Probably when you grow up in Saskatchewan, you're accustomed to the richness of solitude...and there's always something else to do.
People cruelly have responded to Ms. Mitchell's solitary ways by calling her "reclusive," which really isn't true at all. She always is creating and her art is for others, as well as an expression for herself. New music and paintings have been around if you cared to look for them. But suddenly now once again, Joni Mitchell seems to be everywhere. A big feature article in yesterday's New York Times, a gallery showing in LA last month, an award ceremony in Toronto last week (where the decorating photo of her was taken), choreographies for ballet companies, and a new album of songs in the wings. Alas, she still smokes.
Here are a few links to whet your appetite~~~
An account of the Canadian Songwriters ceremony last Sunday night http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/01/28/songwriters-jonimitchell.html
Her latest gallery show http://www.levmorossgallery.com/home.html
The ballets she's doing now http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070122/joni_mitchell_070122?s_name=&no_ads=
And there always are updates at her delightful site http://jonimitchell.com/
The Times article by David Yaffe is especially good and concludes with these words, beginning with lyrics from a new song~~~
On “If I Had a Heart, I’d Cry,” one of the songs she used in the ballet, she sings,
How can we heal you
We cover you like blight
Strange Birds of Appetite
If I had a heart
I asked her to replay me the song a few times. It is one of the most haunting melodies she has ever written.
“During that song,” she explained, “there are seven night photographs of the earth from every angle, and when you see it, it’s frightening to witness what an electronic blight we are at night.”
There was an electronic blight as she drove me back to my hotel at 5 a.m. in her Lexus, with her Jack Russell terrier, Coco, perched on her lap. The block had lost its electricity, as if on cue after a night of dire ecological warnings.
“My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species,” she said. “I can’t cry about it. In a way I’m inoculated. I’ve suffered this pain for so long. We were expelled from Eden. What keeps us out of Eden?” She thought about this for a moment before riffing on a Dylan line: “I tried to tell everybody, but I could not get it across.”
“Well, I’m being more specific now,” she allowed. “The West has packed the whole world on a runaway train. We are on the road to extincting ourselves as a species. That’s what I meant when I said that we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/arts/dance/04yaff.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=arts and continuing 2 pages