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  • Writer's pictureZendrik

Paris journal entry: August 2018

In some ways my journey started here in Paris, 34 years ago. As a broke-ass 20 year old exploring Europe for 8 months, I experienced and knew art for the first time in the city of Paris.

And not only in the Jeu de Paume, where all the best impressionist work was back then, and the Musée Rodìn, and the Louvre, but also the music in the streets and parks. And the art of living. Elegance, style, and joi de vivre.

I saw the work of Guiguin and Matisse up close, I felt what they had felt, and I knew I had to make art. I also knew I had to take up an instrument!

I came home from that first solo trip after also becoming a lover, in a 7 week midwinter stay with an old family friend, in a snowed-in home on a fjord in Sweden - I was 21, she was 41. My initiation.

I’d had a taste of life, and wanted to discover and develop my talents, to follow my bliss, my passions.

In between Paris and Sweden I’d also met and lived with my first real life Buddhists, two Englishmen named Simon. They shared a large squat in Hackney with my sister, her boyfriend, and some others. I’d knocked on the door one day, after Paris, after Barcelona, and stayed on the coach in the living room for three months.

Before I’d left home, my mom had given me that seminal modern day Zen gospel, “If You Meet The Buddha On The Road Kill, Him!” She’d also taught me the basics of meditation. And some yoga. (I guess, in some ways, my journey started then already).

I had my first mushroom trip there on my 21st birthday. I also had my first paid jobs while traveling, (apart from weeding a pepper field on Crete two months earlier). I made and sold lentil burgers at a music festival at Crystal Palace with the Simons. We ended up in a pub afterwards and I had my first deep and close encounter with Tequila. Best night of my life (then), not diminished by being tossed in the back of the van, on top of all the trestle tables and pots and pans, and bouncing along all the way back home across London without feeling a thing. Couldn’t drink tequila again for about 10 years.

The one Simon’s girlfriend also gave me my first massage. I couldn’t believe it! This must be the ultimate gift you can give another person, I thought, to touch them and make them feel held and nurtured, and melt away the calcified tears and aches that you keep deep inside.

Art, music and healing. This was going to be my life’s work. I have over the years slipped into focusing more on the one than the other two, but my ideal was in the end, a life where I could practice all three. I took my first massage course soon after returning from Europe while at university studying psychology. I was also studying sculpture part time, and the next year I changed my major to fine art.

A year later I dropped out of university and lived on a farm for a while. I then met my first real teacher, Patrick Desplace, and pursued the study and then the practice of esoteric healing for a number of years. As a young person working with some serious diseases and little experience I burnt out after 18 months of offering healing to people, i still had a lot to learn, and grow, and live.

I went back to music and art and “plant medicines”. I was busking in the streets (my first instrument was an Okovango cowhide drum, then more drums then a marimba, a recorder, and eventually the clarinet).

I played in bands, sold crystals and magic mushrooms at festivals, and spent 4 years in a camper van with my girlfriend, traveling the country with my band, Nagual.

The drugs become too much and I crashed, and one night I prayed for help. Inspector Virtue (I kid you not), showed up at my house the next morning. I got arrested, 2 nights in jail, court case 6 months later… LSD, MDMA, Mushrooms, Hash, Marijuana. I made a deal, pleaded possession instead of dealing, they didn't find any stuff in my room. My supplier had sent me his guy, Peter Mihalik, a top gangster lawyer. He said I could have got off if I'd fought the case, but the risk of prison was too much for me. I got a R50 000 fine!

I left the festival and drug scene completely, cleaned up and went back to yoga, massage, meditation and healing. I have for the last 18 years put almost all my energy into the healing arts, with a strong dose of music - drum circles, jamming, forming and playing in bands, community bajans and kirtans. Music more as medicine for my soul, but also as a way to share vibration, frequencies, sound-healing.

I haven’t sculpted for years. You need a studio, and tools. I’d left it all behind when I left South Africa to spend first a year in Mexico, with my overland destination Peru, and then got stuck, or based, in Guatemala for 4 years. Now I am traveling again, with my most essential musical instruments and recording equipment, and a few training courses scheduled along the road, and my healing hands, for the daily bread.

Kinda looking for a new home base, a new sanctuary, for my work, for my art. I’m on the road again, traveling new songlines to Ibiza, Barcelona and Egypt,…and the songlines that will take me back to South Africa, back to Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, Peru, and… who know where the guides, prompts, signs and impulses will take me.

Being in Paris this time around, (a very different Paris, everyone in black), I am looking at the content of the paintings more, the depiction of life, the story telling, communication in abstractions and symbols. And now I am the artist too. I trained, and produced, and even had a stone carving accepted in the South African Biennale (1990).

This time round, Paris holds a promise, possibly, a little nudge, once again. Some new inspiration. I have been thinking and feeling art again. It's about 6 years since last having a studio and tools at hand, my fingers are getting itchy.

Sure enough wandering the rooms of the Musee D’Orsay, I see and feel ART, and yes, I want my life to be ART. After wondering around for a while, consuming, ingesting the emotions of long gone geniuses, I start realizing, that it is all art. The way you walk, the way you talk, the way you interact with people, live, cook, eat, and everything that your desire brings forth, is, can be, art.

I don’t have to paint or sculpt like Guaguin, or Matisse, or Picasso. Not enough time, too much else to do. But I can live, and walk, and dance, write, and play like an artist.

Music, words…. one day clay again, and wood, and form. And always emptiness, the void, the mother of all forms.

Light, sound, vibration - the quantum field responding to our thoughts and feelings.

As a traveler it's easier to see the truth of Nisargadatta's words: “only the unexpected, the unpredictable, is real”. The rest is contrived, rigid, imagined, old.

And that reminds me of A Course in Miracles lesson: “I see only the past.” (till you learn to see with God's eyes)

and "if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light"

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