Yearly ritual

So, writing blog posts right before the end of the year is en vogue. This year there was a marked falloff of my blog posts, and I didn’t get to 1000 as I originally assumed. The earthquake and some big changes at home prompted this. Now I do the SNS thing a lot more, which would seem to mark me as a relater in this sense. But serious contemplation is on the down, and an over-saturation of information is definitely on the rise. This was the year of the smart phone (several at once, in fact), and the year that I started commuting via train for the first time in five years. To offset this down-tick in aerobic exercise I started running, which at first was a whim but now has evolved into full out training for a half marathon, which I will run in three months.

Art took a serious nosedive as well, unfortunately. When it came time to choose a photograph for my annual New Year’s card, I found I only had five shoots on file to pick from. There is film not yet scanned, but this is a dramatic regression from my peak years of shooting, as well as exhibitions. By chance I squeezed a small contribution to an exhibition in November as an invited artist, but the utter lack of creativity (and coupled with it my most dedicated working year to date), is something I don’t want to repeat. While I grew stronger in the body and in the heart, my soul was nearly choked out from a long march to the end of a multi-year project at work. I think my values have changed, and that’s going to alter the course of my life in 2012.

So, in short I am thankful for love, and thankful for health. I’m thankful to see the horizon of opportunities laying before me. As usual, I’ve realized that the motivation I need to grow is going to have to come from within, I’ve grown too jaded pouring my heart into neighboring fields that lay barren.

2012 will be the year of the body, and from the strength of the flesh will come the energy I need to create something bolder and more true than I’ve ever set out to. Here’s to 2012, the year for me and my love.

Wishing you the year to find your dreams,
Me

New life before new year

So, various factors of things changing at home have seen my writing take a dent in the last several months. I have posts, they’re just not migrated yet. I thought the WordPress Android app would solve all of this, but there’s a bug in the version that my phone uses that prevents me from signing in. In any case I’ll retroactively add those posts back ASAP, so follow the RSS. In the meantime, I now have a Google+ page where I also post my photography as close to daily as possible, so please follow. I will be making a David Ventura Photography fan page in Facebook soon as well, but for now I’ve cobbled together a working stopgap for the top page, which has been stripped down and is eventually going to target mobile, but it doesn’t look good in the Android browser yet.

Thanks for keeping up, and if you enjoy my writing or photography, follow me or subscribe with Google Reader!

Cheers!

Cold bocce

I am in the 20th arrondissement of Paris on the first blustery autumn day of my trip. A group of old men are playing bocche on a trangular strip of sand between the boulevards. The area around Port de vanves is much cleaner and reformed than much of the city center. The automatic bicycle rentals are an interesting idea. I hope programs like this succeed and flourish.

Doubt

There is so much that is beyond my control that bothers me. How do I find peace from the anxiety? How much of what I suffer through comes from a lack of vision?

What is it that I want from life? How do I want to spend my time? As a craftsman? A teacher? Or an artist?

Perhaps it is not coincidence that leader didn’t come up.

Infrastructure

Community and love as basis for my thoughts and actions are like a highway. It’s a highway that is incomplete, but as time progresses new sections are laid down in the pathways of my mind.  The gaps in it branch off to older, rural roads, rutted and narrow.  These are the avenues of the ego and intolerance.  They’re built on instinct and misinterpretations of conduct I took as truth from those I idolized.  How much of thought should be built on self-realization, and how much on dogma?  Dogma is written by others, but that in itself doesn’t make it invalid.

So the construction continues, and on those new, pristine channels my consciousness glides over, I look at the world around me without judgement, but aceeptance, and celebration.  Here’s to investing more of my mental budget to transportation.

Growth

What is it that prompts emotional growth?  For biological things, nutrients and environment are the biggest factors, along with any motivated conditioning.  But what about love, compassion, or social awareness?  If one is loved does one learn love?  If one is shown compassion is it learnable? 

Physical growth is possible largely due to physical factors.  So is emotional growth based on emotional factors?  From my experience it seems like dramatic change prompts growth, however this may only be as the change is memorable, so the events immediately afterwards tend to be catalogued with more scrutiny.  Am I able to love as I do now because of thirty years of slow, accumulated caring?  Could I have realized these things any sooner if I had diverted more resources to the cause?  If that is the case, then we do have direct control over how growth as human beings.  Our free will permits us the opportunity to optimize this equation.  So it is quite true that a man is best judged not by what he has, but how he spends his time.

This is another thing I mean to understand more fully in my heart.  If I did there would be much less guilt in my life, and much more satisfaction.  Thanks to the powers that gave me the conscience to realize this.

Changes

I think I have at least one other post with this name already, but it is not practical to go looking for it now since I am on the phone.  Changes was the name of the last Monkees album before the group broke up, at that point it was just Micky and Davy left to fulfill their contracts.

Anyway, this year, at least thw last seven months have been rocky.  From the great kanto earthquake the normal flow of my winter ended.  I went from thinking about where I would go skiing next weekend to which flight I may have to take out of Japan.

In a matter of weeks everything was different and I was on medication to just make it through the day.

And now I am living with someone, not just physically but emotionally.  I yearn to go home just to be with someone I can no longer stand to be without.

At the same time we wore through one of the most difficult parts of our company’s history, and my sense of responsibilty took consumption of my life to ne w levels.  Only this time my heart was stronger and I held fast, almost too well.  At the expense of my art and my personal life, I am in the process of another lost year.

It is tough for those below as it is for those above.  It is tough on everybody.

The cool of summer

Storm front is moving in now, the outskirts of a typhoon in Kyushu.  The rapid temperature drop is appreciated, but the wind let’s me know we won’t be dry for long.  I’m on my way to a baseball game anyway, I haven’t hardly had a chance to go all season.  Baseball is dharma, like running or raves.  There is a balance in it you strive for, and a simplicity that loosens your heart. 

My team is the Yakult Swallows, because I lived in Shibuya for eight years, their simple, open air stadium a five minute bike ride from my apartment.  In the States this would be a AAA minor league stadium, but it doesn’t matter.  I’d rather have it that way because it keeps the focus on the game, on the fans.  With their traditional band-led cheers, to the ritualistic raising of umbrellas for every run, it’s honest and open, something rare in the deferring Japanese society.

Baseball isn’t religion, but it can be some kind of salvation.

Point Break

There is a point where summer snaps and the drudgery of constant heat recedes overnight.  That is the most exciting day of the year becauee it means fall has come, my most productive season.  It seems cooler this week, just the lingering humidity makes it bothersome.  If I wasn’t working so much I would be all around the house putting things in order.

Google Music is still a welcome service, this weekend I will get my gargantuan home rock collection integrated.  I just wish server side it was a little smarter about using id3 tags and filenames for content management.

A Summer Wasting

So, the year moves on and another project at work swallows all traces of time.  While 2010 was an artistic rennaissance for me, 2011 is a wash.  For reasons I cannot fully grok, I have been pouring mind, body, and soul into work in and our of the office for practically the whole year.  I am not quite sure what I have to show for it but advanced knowledge and skills in my profession, which oddly is supposed to be fifth on my list of priorities, but has been running close to second or first.  Such is the nature of my ennui.

The project I am on now will mercifully be over in a month or so, but in the past where a small break was the only interlude before another big project’s start, this time I have four or five to look after.  To be honest I am not really that concerned about it now, because regardless I have many plans for the fall.  Raves, camping at Fuji Lakes, and a trip to Europe to say the least.  As well as scrambling to get something artistic put together by December.

I will not go quietly into the third quarter, I’ve sacrificed enough already.

Fate

Today’s randomly chosen passage from the Buddhist scriptures:

“Of all the wordly passions, lust is the most intense.  All other worldly passions seem to follow in its train.”

The outer rim

Music has a purpose than runs so deep you couldn’t dig it out with a thousand shovels.  It leaves marks on your heart so deep you couldn’t scrub them off with a thousand brushes.  It can be your companion, or your teacher; your drug or your daily bread.  You can alienate those all around you, or bring them together tighter than spun gold.  The music can create is well as destroy, die on the radio or live forever in the hearts of the believers.

What will you have it do with you?

Back to basics

Today I finally made back to the beach.  Sunday is my day off, but the weather has been difficult to make it work.  This mornig I slept in, but as soon as I woke up, just one word filled my mind: hot. And it was sunny, so I threw together all the beach essentials and barely made in time for the limited express to Fujisawa.  I haven’t been down in Enoshima since last summer, when I was gathering photographs for my exhibition.  There are so many words for this place, so many memories.  Like an old lover you only have the chance to meet once in a long while, Ennoshima has surpassed the realm of precious memories and obtained a humanlike quality.  To me Enoshima isn’t a place, it’s a living person.

More on that later, first beer and some low tech relaxing.

Natsubate

I have talked before about natsubate, which fortunately I seem to be immune to.  The fact that I have beeb eating extremely well the last month does not hurt much either.  I do however, get overloaded with thongs to do and kind of just get into a languid lull, from time to time.  When you only have one day a week off outside of work it becomes even more difficult.  My mentor Randy Pausch spoke well of time management, I have kept to the slides of his talk and try to keep priorities sorted, but it doesn’t help me plow through the doldrums of mental burnout.  I am always looking for an antidote to that, and all I can ever come up with is to live healthier, and that will giveme the energy and drive to escape the sinkhole of guilt-filled inaction.

Maybe I can run tonight.