Art Truck Paradise
When Elana Langer and I were first talking about going on the road with this project, we fantasized about getting hold of an old moving truck & converting it into a movable Inner Beauty space. Imagine my delight, then, when I found out my stop at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro would be taking place in their brand-new Art Truck!
The more I do this work, the more I trust it. There was a moment, the night before my UNCG talk, when the ghost compulsion known as must make the powerpoint came to visit. I thanked it for its excellent sense of duty, finished up my conversation with Lu, and went to bed. When the time came, I found a talk arising spontaneously - 45 minutes of this trip's origins in undergraduate painting work, in Santiago & Shikoku, and in the currents of friendship and contemplative practice in the world. The Zen classic Xinxin Ming (Song of the Trusting Heart) says:
The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.
This profound framework is as relevant to public speaking as it is to anything else. Fresh from the flurry of truck-installation, I began the talk by offering a grounding meditation, inviting everyone present to enter our bodies & the moment as we co-created it, and the rest followed naturally, clear and undisguised.
With thanks to Barbara Campbell Thomas & Chris Thomas for their hospitality; to Alex Thomas for lending me his room; to Lu Xu for helping me understand the Inner Beauty Project; and to Lee Walton for his beautiful photographs.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.
108 Names of Now