Me and Paris

May 13, 2008

I find it hard, recently, to find a subject for another post. Everything seems to be part of a space, part of oneness, hard to distinguish something enough to actually write about it. There are ways of experiencing reality, ways of relating – those can be described – but they are only one of many different ways, one of many perspectives, so why write about them? To change a subject a bit – I just came back from vacation in Paris few days ago. I find traveling to another country, to another continent, a wonderful opportunity to realize who I am and who I am not. I leave all my “life arrangements” behind and go somewhere where people are totally different, speak different language, live their life in a completely different way, and I am still me. Without my lifestyle, without my job, without my things – I am still me. Even deeper than that – without the language I use, without a way of relating to others that is used in this country, without any routine whatsoever – I am still me. And I find that not one of those things, structures, concepts – define me or constrict me. I find that I am not Polish, American, European, Ojaian, Californian, I am me. No matter where I am, what I do, how I live – It is me. There is no home, there is no place where I belong, no place that could claim ownership over me in any way – I am me, with no definition. This is why I travel, to get in touch with this truth. Of course I could do it without leaving my house but, let’s face it, going to Paris to do it is so much more fun! 🙂 I had an interesting experience during my trip. We, my husband and I, spent the 10 days we had in Paris on running from one museum to another, one monument to another. As Christopher put it: every time I feel I’m done and put away my camera, ready to rest, we get to yet another amazingly beautiful place! One of those amazing places was a Pompidou Center, a museum of modern art. There are two levels in said museum: on the first level there are experiences in space. Some people call them installations, but they really are experiences. We would walk from one room to another and, when stepping into a room and seeing the reality created in it, there would be a sort of physical jolt, a nudge in a stomach, which was a physical representation of me “getting” what was in the room. I could not for the life of me describe in any vocal way what it was that I got, but I new I got it. The most accurate explanation I can muster is that, when stepping into the reality of each room, I opened to it and became a part of it, and, in this way, “Got it”. This was an experience totally and absolutely beyond mind, try as I might, and try I did, mind was not able to comprehend it. Mind became totally useless, mind turned into mush. Thus mindless we progresses to the second floor and came face to face with a Pollock (that is Pollock’s painting). And again I had the experience of just “getting it”. All of a sudden I fell in love with modern art. I looked at Pollock’s paintings, Kandinsky’s, Miro’s, Picasso’s, and each time I had the experience of understanding without being able, or needing to, articulate what I understood, of sharing the reality they painted, of being part of the energy. I realized then that this form of artistic expression (abstract painting) is untranslatable via reproductions, photos, copies. I saw all those paintings before in art books and they seemed interesting enough, but, well … lots of scribbles really. When I stood face to face with those pieces – that was an entirely different story. If you ever go to Paris this visiting Pompidou Center is an adventure that I very much recommend.

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