Sunday, December 20, 2009

Attach




For a very long time I have pushed the idea of "detachment". A mindset that is apart, that is solitary, a single shimmering spark - free from the consequence of everything, because its heart is not intertwined in the dramatic, glittering details of life.
Its a good theory... Much is avoided, so many sufferings - perhaps too much. The detachment from pain, the detachment from possession, the detachment from ownership, from loyalty, from friendship, detachment from love. Perhaps too much? I think so.

Detaching oneself from the sufferings and the pleasures of existence is like a rock in a river, determined to avoid the water which surrounds it. It struggles and pushes and attempts to be dry.. and yet it was never meant to be. It belongs to the river; is the river - is made to be wet, made to be roughed and tumbled and smoothed. It is the gray, rough wildness of earth; neighbor to salvation and to Ecstasy and to freedom.




I am wondering more and more intently about "attachment". The more I contemplate it, the more I am compelled to explore the intricacies of my involvement in life; instead of maintaining a resolute avoidance. I'm interested in pursuing a healthy, complete, and unreserved attachment to this moment. For the first time, I am pro-attachment - and it feels amazing.

What does that mean to me?
I want to suggest an attachment to life that is healthy, real and deliberate. An attachment based on truth - two truths actually:
1.) I deserve nothing.
2.) All that is life - is fleeting.


An attachment based on those two principals... changes everything; it changes what I love, what I pursue, what I enjoy, what I speak, it allows me to completely touch the corners of humanity of sensuality, of happiness and no longer be afraid.
No longer afraid. That is a good place to roar. I think the major difficulty with "de-tachment" is the constant fear of allowing life to somehow reach my soul. When I am trying to detach myself.. I cannot love, I cannot care, I cannot breathe too much or swim too deeply.. because I might be affected. That is almost unbearable. It is a cold, ruthless choice, that saves us from suffering, and at the same time starves us from joy.
In the arms of "healthy attachment" I can smile.. I can hold and touch all those things that were always so detached, so far away. There is no longer fear, because the objects and experiences of life do not hold value in themselves anymore... I give them true value.

A healthy look at attachment: (the one I'd like to pursue)
I am attached to the world, I love it - the people, the places, the days. I enjoy it, I share and smile and wander among all the splendid wildness.. but I do not cling; not to my own life nor anyone else' - because we are all living on sacred, undeserved time. I own possessions like I own water. I am attached only to the beauty that is mine for an instant - be it the sails of a boat, be it a bicycle in a park, be it my health, be it money. This way.. I am not lost. I am not destitute and cold and untouchable. I am touched very much, but I am not owned; never owned. Never a slave.

I long to attach.
Part of my heart beats for it. To be in this world to feel it between my fingers, in my hair, on my skin... to be like the rock in the river, letting the water saturate me - letting it find my rough edges and my stone back and my dusty eyes and my hot dry mouth. This life was made to touch.. a healthy touch.. a touch that knows it deserves nothing, a touch that knows the fleeting and impermanence of these days. I want that attachment.





(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You and I




I remember meeting a surfer in Santa Cruz - my first time there to camp and surf. We were both out in the waves, breathes heavy from the icy cold water. My hands numb, my lips colorless yet pressed up into a half-way smile. It was mid morning, and the sun was shimmering through layers of silver clouds. There was a mist everywhere.. all around the beaches, up in the Redwoods - everywhere. It was the sort of morning when you aren't sure if you're in a dream, or actually there; the sort of day when nothing fills your mind except your own throbbing heartbeat.
I remember sitting on my board, feeling the ocean under my body, feeling it around my body, over my body.. like it was my body - like I hadn't "arrived" in a perfect place, but instead I had "become" a perfect place.
The other surfer glanced over at me.. flashed a grin, and started paddling in my direction. He came about six feet away and sat up on his board. "How's it going?", he asked. I just nodded. He smiled a genuine smile and then looked back out towards the waves. We never said anything else. We spent hours out there.. in the fullness of the waves. Surfing together, enjoying our existence together, finding peace together, laughter, our own happiness.
At dusk, as the sun was just hitting the top of the ocean, when all the oranges and deep purples and explosions of color consume your eyes, I paddled back to the shore. I stood on the beach for a moment shivering, smiling, and silent; wrapped my leash around my board, and gave a peace sign to the other surfer.. still out in the waves, he returned the gesture.

It is for only an instant that our lives touch as you and I. Whoever you might be. Perhaps you are the surfer in the Santa Cruz waves that day; you are the clerk at the gas station in Winslow Arizona when i bought that HERSHEY bar; you are the beautiful art student from Bennington that seduced my eyes; you are the vagabond in the back seat of my van that shared his whiskey; you are the hippie girl in the campsite next to mine at Bryce Canyon; you are the drummer on Kalakaua street in Oahu; you are a story in my story - and I am just a story in yours. How will that story go? Sometimes I forget about all the pieces that make up existence; that make up our stories. Those moments and those friends that are only an instant - those humans who were a flicker in my heart without a second thought. But that is a story too. What I say, what I do, what I speak about; my thoughts, my touch, my motion - it all becomes part of you; part of us. Like magic, the smallest gesture or smile sinks into our souls and shapes our days, it changes who we are, and how we view one another. Forever I will be etched into your mind, into your story, and remembered for that very brief interaction; for those simple movements.
How beautiful, to pursue even the smallest stories with awe? The seemingly insignificant details of the day, with bewilderment? If it is true.. if our lives are indeed all that we do, then even the friendship that only lasts 30seconds is a remarkable one. All of it is simply remarkable.






(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Poems for the Deaf

We threw all our fears away; To be with the wild things there.
You wear in two.
You and I, hungry and free, tasted the day.
We get lost only when we're broken.
Remember, we threw all our fears away.
Of this life and the next.
Maybe I don't know Christ,
Peter forget me upstairs,
I want the world.
There is none worth chasing,
Maybe I don't know Christ.
I want the world; fight to own you more.
Look at me quietly - sounds of the world.
Try to catch her eye,
Smooth, tasted, minds,
Down, inside the grass,
Perfect circles. Shapes of Thought.
Down here in the grass.
I've seen mouths moving, the clueless own the wind.
Play with my favorite pony, play the way I used to love.
Daring rebel pistols.
Remember it well; tremble between the daydreams.
Camden was the color of thunder, seal me in.
Save the sail boats too.
Save the wood that makes the bow.
Sunken inside a sail, I want the people to say - Paint the walls red.
Deep Crimson.
I broke you every day; Someone
broke my belief. Broke my dance.
We don't sail anymore.
Paint the walls blue
Paint tomorrow twice.
Your voice reminds me of Champagne.
So good to drink dark flannel mystique - alcohol of your voice runs down deep.
Take out my lungs, replace them with lust.
One two three. Two one three.
And again.
I melt into the season and move slowly.
Steal my omen; steal my pages, inside of my book.
Choose to be desperate.
Choose to be forsaken.
Choose the destitute curve of love.
Not what I know. Not what I wander to find.
Deeply in my unbroken spirit - I am a captive of the glossy glass fragile love.
Crack the vase; explore the broken pieces.
Blue chips and sharp edges. Blue poker chips, buy a naked beautiful girl.
Sunflower stains on silk sheets.
A wonder, a thought about the souls of dolphins.
Swim through these teal waves.
Swim through the complexity of words and find me.
Me. And my dangerous dark brown eyes.
I speak out loud to the homeless and to the deaf;
Just saying it, means everything.

Suadela

Slipping beneath her tongue.. Between the edges of rose petal lips; I am a deliberate sweat; the honest panting and the tremor of your caves. A traitor to ordinary; slave to the seduction of rivers – always running to the sea.
/ She seduces my bare kiss with the promise of a sunrise. Crimson gold meteor showers; birth of my unyielding lust.
/ Oceans envy her. The depth of her mysteries; fireflies marvel at her glow; she is the hushed murmur of jaguars; Female child, diamond of earth.
/ Gentle sway with the graces of west Indian jasmine, bronze legs and the soft tips of her elegant fingers. Barefoot, running through my throbbing veins; heir to volcanoes.
/ The beautiful curve of her arched back; chin tiled back; eyes tight shut; her mouth pressed against my heart, beating fast, breathe quick.
/Devour my mind.. devour my rebellious dreams and my dark brown eyes. Obey no one; only remember the thirst that guides your naked tongue and your lust for raindrops. you are the daughter of enchantment;
/ Sapphire of my tiger dreams.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Changes Everything



How much effort do I expend, dedicating myself to "Anti-this or Anti-that" - daily, it seems. I speak broadly and honestly, solidifying my personal convictions - "I am anti-racism!", "I am anti-religion!", "I'm against obesity!". With the greatest of intention, I draw battle lines, and become one of the millions of humans that takes a deliberate stand against something.
Maybe what I am against is valid; maybe the world would be better if it were slimmer, if we didn't judge people based on race.. if certain religious beliefs didn't have a death grip around our happiness - those sound like good things to be against.. don't they?
I am beginning to have my doubts. Granted, not in the substance of my convictions.. but rather in the approach of being, "anti" anything.
On a very intimate level, I am observing that if I am against something, I have not fully conquered it in my mind - it still owns my thoughts in a highly negative way. Where is happiness when I am pissed off at the person standing next to me for being an obese, racist, Christian bastard.. where is my happiness?

I get asked frequently.. "Are you against ______?"
Take your pick: money, houses, against marriage, against work.. I get asked what I am against on a regular basis. I realize that people are trying to feel me out.. trying to understand why I do some of the things I do.
But am I really against? I used to answer those questions right away, "Why yes. I am definitely against ________". Recently however, I am beginning to hesitate on my answers.

What if... What if instead of being against things, and people, and ideas.. I was simply "pro-something else".
What if I am not "anti-obesity" anymore, and instead I choose to be "pro-healthy". What if I am no longer "anti-religion", now I am simply "pro-questions". In a lot of ways I am stating the obvious.. I realize that. But being pro literally changes everything!
Think about it.. the energy that you spend being "anti-racism", that same hostile negative energy could be flipped around, and devoted in a energizing positive way towards "pro-equality". Its a 180 degree turn to reach the same goal. It sounds simple, and yet it is a paradigm shift of supernova proportions! If we are "pro-something".. that means we are no longer on the defensive; no longer concerned with maintaining our hate or our resentment for ideas or lifestyles that contradict our attachment to "against". Now we can be free, now we can be at peace, enjoying the strength and excitement that comes from pursuing what we love.

I have a new answer when I'm asked if I'm against __________.
The answer is no.
I am not against anything. I am simply pro-something else..
I am pro-adventure, I am pro-questions, I am pro-hammocks, I am pro-touch, I am pro-choices, I am pro-awareness, I am pro-laughter, I am pro-bewilderment, I am pro-happiness.




(Andrew Tipton)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WE CAME TO PLAY


We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw

We are adults now.. we are sophisticated, eloquent, pretentious.. we do serious adult things - like work. An ungodly amount. Also we now complain about very adult situations and buy very adult things - like sweaters. We haven't the time for mindless excitement - there is no money in it.
Overly preoccupied with seriousness - we have forgotten the wild-eyed grinning 7 year old that still lives in our hearts. When did this happen?
When did we ever stop listening to those baby tiger voices deep down inside - the ones that make us want to rumble like miniature tornadoes. I Remember the feeling of grass under bare feet. Remember the taste of sweat as it dripped down cheeks and into a panting mouth. Remember green stains on jeans; remember running so fast it was scary; remember jumping; remember cartwheels; remember scraped elbows; remember laughter; remember play.


Play. It implies enjoyment, a complete awareness and satisfaction in the scarceness of the moment. It implies happiness. You can watch anyone who is truly "playing" and see the essence of life in their eyes. Everything that we as humans were ever designed to live for.. is captured in the simplicity and complete magnificence of "play". Life is thrown into perspective.. the truth of life, the sweetness, the breathless swiftness, the beauty of enjoying and committing to the now - existing, effortlessly owned by freedom and motion. As free as children.
We are young and beautiful and powerful and strong once. What will you do with that knowledge?

On sunny afternoons sometimes, I remember that tiger voice inside my soul. It purs in my ears; It calls me away from all my adult seriousness, away from my lofty adult rationality and fear, far far from civilized and sophistication.. it purs, "play... play... play." Sometimes I listen, and find myself 7 years old again - find myself smiling without a reason to smile; just because I'm alive and just because I have amazing things called legs and arms.
Everything I could ever want from life, i find in a field on a Sunday afternoon with friends. We came to play. Life is grand.





(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

simple


Fingertips to fingertips gently, your lips and the darkest curls of your hair pressed to my ears; inaudible whispers in the language of untamed; your voice is like raindrops on the leaves of ferns - falling from the branches of redwood trees - dripping into my heart, drip drop dripping into my mouth, running down my copper throat, into my lungs I want to breathe you like I eat blackberries - until it hurts delicious. This is where we taste each others dreams. On my left sometimes I taste that I am a thousand years old; teeth like a jaguar, veins like turquoise. I taste the scent of your eyelashes, I taste your wandering fingers and the rebellion in your silence. You whisper simple words. Simple like the lava of volcanoes. Simple like the depths of oceans. Everything is simple from such great heights.. come down now. Know the simplicity of touch. Know the simplicity of warm. Simple like the migration of monarchs; simple like hurricane waves, simple like notes of music. I stroke the sides of your cheeks and wonder out loud, "How beautifully simple is life. How trembling, how extrordinary, how magnificent, how strange and timid." Once again children of bewilderment; fingertips to fingertips. Fingertips to lips. Lost inside each other. Lost in simple thoughts and simple words and simple heartbeats. How deep, the lakes and deserts of simple things.


(Andrew Tipton)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Health and the Beauty of Forgetting to Care


Pick up any issue of your favorite "beauty / health" magazine. These pages filled with the good advice that we all crave.
10 THINGS.
HOW TO ______ BETTER.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING.
HOW TO IMPRESS.
HOW TO BE SEXIER. WHAT YOU AREN'T DOING RIGHT IN BED.
SIX PACK ABS IN 2 WEEKS.
WHAT SHE IS REALLY THINKING.
We live and dream and thrive on these magic words; We let them take hold of our minds and our actions. The magazines are supposed to be about helping yourself, about self-betterment... truthfully? How much we do, searching for approval outside of ourselves. Truthfully, we unconditionally accept the burden of "becoming everything to everyone" in order to maintain our illusion ofhaving approval - piling it without question onto our already exhausted shoulders.
This is not my game. This maintenance... this never-ceasing careful navigation of the minds and hearts and bodies of humanity. Who can do this? Why do I assume it upon myself until my soul aches and I can't think half-straight. My head is spinning.. tangled with imaginary doubt, with inadequacy and constant careful. What do people think of me?? Am I portraying the right image???
Since when did I need the approval of anyone? Isn't this my life?.. isn't it my own approval that matters? Have I ever given myself my own approval?
Guess what. I don't have to try to maintain exterior approval anymore, I don't have to fit the parameters of socially "OK", I don't have to care. I refuse to care any longer - for my own sake. I f**king won't. My success, my confidence, my strength ...on whims of others? No. No more. Who decided that my dream, and my existence was dictated by someone elses smile or frown? And, why do I care if she likes the way I stand when I talk to her? Why do I care if I am walking at the right speed? Why do I care if I'm giving off the right emotional signals? Wearing my jacket and jeans the right way? If people think my abs are symmetrical, if they think my skin is clean enough, my face shaven enough, my attire modern enough. My god! how will we ever be happy, if we worry constantly if we are doing everything right - if we have the approval of everyone else. This will drive us to insanity.. it will.
This life is about me. Your life is about you. This is about forgetting to care. Remembering to live. Remember my own motion, my own style and my own swagger. No shoes to fill.. I can even run barefoot. Thats right I can run barefoot.. or maybe, just maybe I'll wear moccasins or cowboys boots.

Sometimes I feel like we people don't spend much time looking up. We don't spend much time looking down. We don't spend much time looking to our left or our right. We miss the beauty of life.. because we are so preoccupied with looking behind us; making sure we have that approval. Like little children, wondering if what they did was OK.. if we are OK.. if everything is OK. I'm getting a damn ache in my neck from having it twisted like that. Whose approval do we need anyway? Maybe... our own?


Is my butt sexy enough? Are my clothes the right shade of gray? Am I being too forward? Am I not being forward enough? Am I walking the right way? Am I following the guidelines for a good conversation... for a good day... for a good life?
Dear lovely humans.. This is not my game.
Astonishingly.. forgetting to care is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. Think of how much happier, how much freedom we could have if we didn't worry about the rules we never signed up for. Put down the health magazine, forget the 10 rules to attracting women, and remember that you are the center of this insanely incredible universe. Remember that you are perfect, that happiness belongs to you - remember that one elses opinion matters. This is the beauty of forgetting to care. I want my life back, I want my dream back, I want to try myself on for size and I don't care if you don't think I fit.
I forgot that people were watching.. and then suddenly I could do what I wanted to do all along. I can breathe again. I can think again, I can move again. I am alive again. I am real again. I am myself. The beauty of forgetting to care. I approve of me.








(Andrew Tipton)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Living the Dream



I am born to live the dream. my own dream.
It is a good dream - it is the dream of deep blue, of a cloudless day. The dream of a smile suicide in an open field - we live and die and cloudless blue days are the dreams that are rarely dreamed. The wheels on my bicycle spin and I ride fast. I take curves and the rubber on my tires growls. I ride. I ride past the American dream, yards to my left - tall white statements of forty-five hour weeks. This is not my dream. I ride. I ride past the dreams of politicians, of lawyers, of nurses, of poets.. I ride past the dreams of Tom and the dreams Jane; the dreams of my parents, and my grandparents... the dreams of presidents, the dreams of husbands and of wives. These are not my dreams. My hands clenched, my jaw determined. This is the road to my soul's pleasure; my shiny spokes glistening against the sunlight, the weight of a bag of thoughts around my shoulders; wind in my hair, sweat on my chest. My own. Entirely.
There is no wealth given to those that live the dream of deep blue cloudless days; no status earned, no glory, no pride, or success to be claimed. There is no one around to celebrate when my bicycle rolls to stop - no banners and no victory cry when I get off my bicycle and lay in grass underneath a perfect sun. But there is happiness. Be it wise, be it wild, be it rebellion, be it sanity - be it the domination of words, or enslavement to a color. Be it the rumbling of thought or the awe of touch, or the calling of adventure - This dream is my own.
Live that dream.


(Andrew TiptoN)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Long Live the Day



Long live the day. Long live the roar of tigers and the thirst of lions.
The sons of roam own the golden edge of sunrise; ancient mornings - the sweetness of wild infinity. Long live the untamed. Long live freedom. We hunt for the feathers of sacred eagles; elusive. The mysteries of our own hearts - secret caves to the liquid lagoons of our souls. Born to bewilderment. We chase the wisdom of oceans, the rage of rivers, the peace of motion. Long live adventure. Long live the curiosity of children. Fascination in the afternoons of summer. The simplicity of pleasure; the pleasure of abandon. Always to run with leopards, always to treasure the sounds of laughter. Resting in outstretched branches - the arms of a thousand trees. Give me brave. Give me the splendor and hope of waves. Long live courage. Long live the fierceness of the young and the beauty of the old. We are the children of supernovas; we are the dreams of fireflies. We are everything as we are nothing. The puzzle of god - of which we are all pieces.
Long live happiness.



(Andrew Tipton)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

la poursuite de la puissance de la liberté

Who is the most powerful person that you know?

I'm fascinated recently.. by humans with subtle, seductive, elusive power - a power that is simple, a power that is unbreakable, a power that is complete.
Complete power; That is an attractive statement..

Have you ever been given something by someone you didn't even know? A total stranger. There was no reason for them to offer you anything.. and yet they did. Maybe they gave you a compliment, maybe they gave you a smile, maybe they bought your meal, maybe they gave you a reason to live, maybe they gave you your day back. Whatever the situation.. it made you stop and think.
We are a society that operates on reciprocal levels of kindness. It is almost unheard of to receive something without an agenda attached. For the most part we act kindly in order to elicit a like response - we operate under the fascia of kindness: I am kind, because I want something from you.
When we recieve something for no reason... without an agenda.. it leaves us in bewilderment.
It is powerful to give... it implies you have something someone else doesn't.

I'm fascinated by the power of people that live completely free. to the point that they have very little.. and they are still content, still happy, still giving. Giving away honest compliments, giving away money, giving away their songs and words and thoughts.... What is that power? Physically or financially they have nothing, and yet instead of trying to "acquire" - they keep giving away? I'm left with awe and confusion. That goes against the rules of power that I have been playing by. Maybe there are different rules... maybe there is a deeper, wilder power.
When a person gives to me, when they fill a chasm in my mind with positive energy, when they speak genuinely to my soul, or when I see someone lose their agenda and simply share their untamed spirit - suddenly I am interested completely. I want whatever it is that they possess.. whatever it is that lets them live that freely. The fearlessness. The beauty of self. In my mind they become the edge that cuts through my delicate reason and shatters my glass walls. I am suddenly aware that they have something that I don't.. beyond material, beyond ego, they have a power that I have not yet touched - the power of freedom. The power to honestly give anything, even everything - freedom flows through their hot veins and they are not timid to move like water across the planet - never wrapping their fingers too tightly around the days. Absolute freedom. The ability to find happiness in the arms of comfort, or in the cold of destitution.. the power to be beyond need, beyond ownership, beyond persuasion. That seems to me to be powerful.

What am I free enough to do? Am I free enough to be hungry? Am I free enough to speak kindness? Am I free enough to forget the heaviness of paper? Am I free to forget myself and become myself? I wish to be that powerful.


(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

curiousity

Wandering, I go nowhere. Nowhere is everything I desire. This center of the universe - ever shifting: my shadows and dreams become the origin of all life.
In the lines of eternity who is to say what is done or undone; does eternity know beginning? Does it hasten for completion?
Today, beside a stone lagoon - my thoughts grow like blackberries and drip like wild honey - delicious meandering of my mind. Dolphins played games beneath my knees as I took the shape of a child - looking with unbroken curiosity, staring at the vastness of green. The sway of grass, the veins of leaves, I am in awe of the complexity of a single delicate color.. where does green start and end? Where do I start and end? There are so many colors. Life takes away my breathe sometimes.
I sleep in tree houses.. dream in the bodies of animals.. swim with Spanish shawls.. it is so much to be amazed by only a color? When I think of you I think of the deepest crimson red. Like the blood in my own veins, you remind me that this song is mine; that the lyrics of this day are in my own writing. I am green.

(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Children of Roam


I think we have always been dangerous; born that way from our mothers wombs. Our first screams - tiny roars. Our small hearts, already aching for the touch of sunlight and the seduction of color.
The animals at the zoo don't look like they fit.. their coats of fur dull, the fierceness in their eyes faded.. stare and look and remember what cages do. Remember how they strip us of our beauty, of our courage, of our strength. We live behind glass walls - always staring into the cage next to us. Believe that we are still brave. Believe that glass walls can crack.


What cage is more powerful than our own minds? More potent and confusing? I don't know of a greater. Daily I try and stay naked for as long as possible - naked from the weight of cages and their oppression to my existence. Who I must be. What I must say. The way I must move. The rules, the worry, the doubt. Cages.
And yet, there is the choice at every moment to climb trees, the choice at every moment to clutch happiness between our fingers, the choice to be fearless, the choice to live and to die.. every choice is ours - when we know we make them.


I asked you if you believe in yourself? And, do you want to be what it is you said you did? Your answer was the greatest of all answers.
Own it. Own those beautiful words yourself. Own that reason yourself and these reasons themselves. You have always been the greatest of all creations - own that knowledge and the world is yours; choice is yours; freedom is entirely yours. The freedom to do anything you want... to say anything you want.. to move any way you want. What is it you want?
I admit humility in the presence of my own greatness.
I am both sick and strong, in the fullness of my own greatness.
I live and breathe in the expression of my own greatness.
I fade from this body in the completion of my own greatness.
Always I am great; In everything I am awesome.
We are the suns and daughters of energy.. the eternal motion of this wild planet.
The sovereignty of the color blue consumes our days.
Do what pleasures your soul.





(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

αστροφεγγιά


My god. I cannot breathe under the weight of a billion glorious beings. Stretched across a wild canvas of black.. celestial bodies consorting in a rhythm that I cannot fathom. The motion of millenia, the motion of timeless revolutions that have looked down upon cleverness for all of time.
You fill my eyes and I am no longer clever. Tangled words, tangled heart in my chest.. tangled thoughts, tangled lips. I feel sometimes the distant child of braver things.. I am so far from elegance. Awestruck by my own irreverence and my calloused prayers; I do not deserve this moment. I do not deserve the sweetness of pleasure, I do not deserve the glory of suffering - what would the unborn trade to behold you... even for an instant. All is beyond me.
Freedom gently lifts my face toward hers. She presses her lips against my dirty cheek and kisses me; unyielding. αστροφεγγιά drips into my blurry eyes - I see you as you were years ago.. my god. You were so beautiful.
I'm yours completely. Lost. Completely. Found. Completely.
Never lose me. Never lose my persuasion and my curiosity - my fierceness, my roar, my thirst.




(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, October 5, 2009

THE STATUS SYMBOL



It moves from deep inside of my stomach; finds the smooth edges of my mouth, lifts my tongue - flowing into the corners of my eyes, into my cheeks and down my chest, through my skin, through my bones.. I sway as it gently fills the deepest scars of my heart; the motion of happiness.



Take any motivation I have ever had, far enough... and you will find one solitary pursuit: the search, maintenance and creation of happiness. Consciously, subconsciously.. in my prayers, in my tears, my thoughts, words, possessions, selfless acts of goodness, my perversions, my crimes, my sleep, my sufferings, my sex. I want happiness.
Walking towards it.. always moving towards it; chasing it, running after - the perpetual blood trail.
Status symbols. Sold and bought.
They should actually be called: "Status of Happiness Symbols".
Reasons to show the world why I should be happy. Reasons only; the illusion of contentment.

There is a notion that happiness is bound to objects.. hidden in the folds of $500 jeans, locked away in the closets of expensive houses, an additive in the glossy-silver paint that covers the sweeping curves of illustrious automobiles.
Status: My place in this fading place.
Imaginary symbols of happiness.. are we tired of that lie yet? Are we tired of the sedation, of the scent of pine trees.. coming from a pine tree shaped air-freshener? What is it we crave, what is it the inside of our souls lusts for!??
I want the source. I want happiness from the inside out.


The ultimate Status (of happiness) Symbol: the pure motion of a beautiful, content smile.


What is greater than happiness - all acts point to it; everything is a reflection of it. All of life is about finding it.. holding it.. slaving for it. Why can't we just have IT? Is it true, that we must own anything to be happy? Or become something in order to become happy.. Is there truly any more happiness outside of what I am able to create in my own mind? I act as if happiness is scattered across the face of earth... and I am on a never-ending mission to uncover its whereabouts.
Enough.
Perhaps the place that we all seek.. exists in our minds. Already.
We have the most desired, most extravagant status symbol of all.. the ability to smile.. purely, honestly, contently, at any moment of our choosing.
Happiness is exactly what we make it, where we make it, how we make it.
We make it.




(Andrew Tipton}



(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waiting

Hands crossed, eyes closed, forgetting everything about everything - finding the now.
Wondering how the silence of an afternoon feels - it comes like sunshine through rain. Autumn is coming, even as I wait - without my help, beyond my reach. The edges of every leaf outside this nest are outlined in the slightest yellow. I wait for autumn even as it.. is ... already here.
Perhaps waiting is not so much about anticipation of what will be enjoyed, and is so much more the action of enjoying now anticipations, expectations, dreams, and just being still for a time.
Dare I roam and move across the spaces of my own reason? Shadows and the impossibility of love - all is fading in the fading place. Children kick in the inside of their mothers' wombs, ready for alive - now; waiting is only a moment.
Will you jump,
or will you fly?
will you wander...
will you be direct?
Will the wait be like sunrise - the imperceptible break into darkness without start.
Or will it be sudden - love like the pow of the gun, the firecracker, the scream that has an exact starting place.
Will you wait long?
Will you wait hardly at all?
Many things I have missed in this life, have not felt as fully, as deeply, have not tasted as richly, have not heard completely... I did not know it until later that that wonderful or significant thing was what I was waiting for...
wait well... heart of mine...
expect to find as you wait.
Now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

giraffe in central park

New York city, on the edges of central 72nd Ave and Central Park.
She is sitting on the bench next to him; her dark hair pulled back from her Indian freckled face - her eyes are the color of a jungle canopy, challenging and brave like a wild horse. They are sitting so close, that their fingers touch every few seconds - her soft skin is infinitely pale in comparison to his sun-soaked roughness. Their eyes meet and stay. Their laughs are genuine, their smiles full, their conversations like deep blue oceans. They sit and watch the world wander before their eyes - carelessly, effortlessly. He looks into her face, and she stares back. Their bodies are entirely comfortable with each other. A passerby would assume they are the most intimate of friends.
For eleven minutes they have known of each other.


in this moment, life flows perfectly. unpressed, unforced, un-pursued - it opens perfectly before us. We have been alive since the beginning of earth - the sons and daughters of eternal energy. Living in a constant state of transition, never ending, never completed - we find pieces of our past lives in the most subtle places; deja vu of the ancient stories we once were part of. We have friends and lovers from lives lived as a waterfall and lives lived in the shape of a circle, and lives lived as the growl of a lion.
So much energy that has existed and always existed; is it too much to believe that we knew each other in a different time.. as different beings? I find that there are no boundaries between what we were, who we are, and what we are able to become. Their are moments when a voice fills our ears so perfectly, that we are certain we have known that person for all of time - is it possible that is true?

A beautiful giraffe and a wild tiger find each other in Central Park - for a few precious hours they are reunited; recounting adventures in Africa that neither of them remember.



(Andrew Tipton)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

move me



These are the days that we wait lifetimes for.
My fingers wrap around the clew, the heavy sail rubs against the back of my hand.. reminding me that we are flowing, swimming in the motion of the space between wind and water.
My bare chest feels the shadows of passing clouds; my eyes are closed, and I see blue and green spots. Laying on my back, melting into the cabin, I spread my arms out and let sunbeams stroke my stomach, my neck and my cheeks. From a million miles away, I feel sunbeams. Astonishing. Today is astonishing.
The world turns beneath us, our boat changes course but it is the earth that shifts to accommodate. Wild islands slip by like stealthy jaguars.. I wish suddenly to be able to swim this fast - faster even; to swim to one of the islands, to watch this beautiful boat from a distance. I would climb a tree and shout, "That is the most beautiful boat I have ever seen!". I would swim back, climb aboard dripping wet, and then sink into the skirts of the sails, drown myself in the roughness and the honesty of their grace.
Green and blue spots. Eyes tight shut.
How I love being free of all thought. Free of the thoughts that bring me peace, and the thoughts that take away doubt; free of the thoughts that abuse my soul, and free from the thoughts that own my paths. Green and blue become my only occupation, and quite possibly all that will ever matter for the rest of this moment.
Move me.
I want to feel it happening. Motion.
move me.
Thoughtlessly adrift we roam the seas of emptiness - the sort that is perfect in every way. we don't experience life until we absolutely have our eyes tightly shut.. Every pair of eyes.. the ones on our young faces, the ones that see the past, the ones that see the future, the ones that see our fear, the ones that see our happiness.
Eyes tight shut; sifting out the mayhem, erasing the reasons to be anywhere else. There is nowhere else to be.

The sail flutters.
I open one eye, pick up a slice of juicy watermelon and stick it into my mouth. My eyes are closed again.
These are the days that we wait lifetimes for.





(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sink Like a Big Rock in a Deep Lake



Splash.
the first rush of water pours into every pore of your skin, and you realize that you finally taste the coolness of a place that you have always longed to be.
This is sinking.
This is sinking through the depths of a night that has always belonged to you; losing your grasp on a reality that doesn't exist; A rock doesn't sink straight down, it moves between the edges of sideways - slowly, indulgently. Tonight is what you make of it, what you say it will be; it is slow, deliberate, unhurried, honest, subtle, boundless.
Here, shiny white horses weigh as much as political victories, your glass of wine holds the oceans of the planet, and honest whispers enter your ears and meander all the way to your soul - stirring, loud as cannons.
We lay in silence as gentle hands prepare farm-grown vegetables.
Tibetan prayer flags and the explosions of bubbles.
Time is meaningless.
My brothers, we have found each others' breathe! We have discovered the forgotten humanity of our own faces. You sit beside me on the edge of a bed, or perhaps the edge of a mountain and we wonder out loud about the intricacies of our own beauty.
Sink. Sinking. Sinking.
Like big rocks in a deep lake.
We are already deeper, our senselessness dissolving.
Your bare fingers hold a slice of tomato; you put it into your mouth and satisfaction sweeps along the curves of your face like a summer rain. From across the table, you are wonderful to look at - you make me glad for vision. Your smile makes me glad to be alive.
Language dissolves into sounds, sounds dissolve into breathing, breathing dissolves into everything; our breathes sound like the wind in Antarctica. We breathe in so much oxygen that it hurts - for an instant our minds remember our precious lungs.
Adventure owns us, freedom is glorious.
We are most awesome as big rocks lying on the dark, mysterious floor of a deep lake.
Complete. Completely lost; completely found.







(Andrew Tipton)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Knife's Edge



I trust the biggest rock because it is big. How much bigger is the universe? The heavens? My own heart?
Beautiful, even the thought of water, the momentum, the coldness, the shimmering expansiveness of our own imaginations - beautiful.
Liquid blue lagoon if I could bathe in you right now, I would long dissolve into your majesty and expand into every corner of your shape.
Tickle my neck ye brave fly... make the hairs on my back stand up and make the pores of my flesh release toxin & love alike.
Brave black fly, your courage and spirit of adventure is ironically unbeknownst to you yourslef. Fly free, explore my body, take with you great tidings of peace - ballads of freedom. We could become water, the pool of substance and refreshment, drowning in ourselves because we are more than we believe. Running down mountains, splashing across one anothers lips, slipping through the cracks in our imaginations, flowing, echoing into places that long for bewilderment...



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Camden, Saturday

I woke up to rain. Gently drumming across the roof of the van, the slow lullaby - the edgeless whisper of drops drawing me out of my dreams.
Gray, glassy, blurring - shimmering across the cresting waves, clinging to the sides of the sailboats' sheets, wet across my eyelashes. My skin feels cold and tight, I slide on my jeans and pull my tussled hair back out of my eyes. This is quite.. the quite of a morning that doesn't quite want to come yet.
Thirst runs through me - I lay back onto the plush crimson seats and wonder if the rain outside is trying to find my hot mouth.
I think of the huge boats outside, the heaviness of the anchor, my bare feet clinging to the wooden deck, climbing up up up through the ropes - escaping the horizon.
My horizon.. the place between the depths and the heights of my soul.
My imagination is interrupted by the melodies of wind chimes. I sit up and run my hands around the back of my neck. This does not seem like a day, but rather an endless early morning - an anomaly where time does not exist, and where I have the ability to think about anything I want, for as long as I want: free from the limitations of a clock.
Gray, glassy, blurring, silent, untouchable. The perfect place for wonder.








(Andrew Tipton)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Painting Waves

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
Fight club

Standing in front of the canvas.. I stare blankly at the paintbrush clenched between my fingers. Drops of indigo blue splatter on a khaki-gold background. Afternoon sunshine beams through the open windows; the hum of the ceiling fan overhead: metronome to my brush-stroke sonata.
I take a deep deliberate breathe, and run my free hand through my sweaty hair.
There are a million things to do.
There are a million other things I could be doing right now.
But this is the most beautiful of all moments; and I am painting waves.
I'm here.. of all places on earth, because I want to be - I choose to be.

Right now.. what is it that you want to be doing?
Where do you want to be?
When you woke up this morning, and climbed out of your hammock.. what did you imagine that you had to do?
Go to work?
Get dressed?
Gather firewood?
Smoke a cigarette?
Take a bathe?
Get to class?
We are one choice away from what we want.

"I Need to.."
"I Must.."
"I Have to.."
Those phrases ring through my mind countless times a day. Without even thinking, without even knowing what we're saying.. we offhandedly lay claim to behavior, whose necessity we have elevated above our own will; we speak as if our actions are out of our hands.. as if our moments are no longer our decision. Our lives seem pitiful and weak.. because we see ourselves in that way. Choice-less, because we have already established expectations on our day.. on our week.. on our life. Pretending to be burdened by an imaginary existence that has not yet played out.
This is your life. This is your choice.
We do anything... only because we choose to.

We assume that because of consequence.. our actions must follow a set of guidelines. If we abandon our 9-5 job, obviously we will not have an income. If we ride a bicycle everywhere, it will definitely limit how far we can travel quickly. If we give money away for no reason, we won't have money to spend on our self. If a decision makes life tougher, or makes us poorer, or takes away comfort, or leaves us hungry.. or kills us.. we do not even register that as a choice. But we still have those choices - At every moment, we still have every choice.
"I have to go to work today.. or I won't get paid."
"I can't go off sailing.. I need to settle down."
"I need more money."
"I need a car."
"I have to save for my child's college education."
"I must eat.. or I won't live."
"I need to get out of this dirt hut."


Lose everything. Lose all ambition and practicality and responsibility.. lose fear and lose anticipation.. lose rationality and then choose what you want to do today - because then you will be free to do anything.
Sleep all day.
Walk around naked wherever you please.
Paint waves on a canvas.
Go for a swim or a hike.
Leave a $10,000 tip.
Write a book.
Chop firewood.
Do open-heart surgery.
Sail to Cuba and become a communist.
Become president.
Starve yourself.
It doesn't matter. Know that choice is completely in our minds.. it is always yours. The ability to own happiness in all places, is proportional to our ability to never "must", never "need", and never "have to", ever again.
That is freedom. That is freedom.




(Andrew Tipton)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Air

"A young man asked Socrates the secret of success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him into the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and swiftly ducked him into the water.

The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled the boy's head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air.

Socrates asked him, "what did you want the most when you were there?" The boy replied, "Air". Socrates said, "That is the secret of success! When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it!" There is no other secret."


With all due respect Socrates.. I disagree.



I spent this week listening.
In bars, in stables, on the phone, in office buildings, on the tennis court.. listening to people answer two very straightforward questions.
"What is success? And are you successful?"
Needless to say, we do not all agree.
As far as "what" success is... there were all sorts of interesting answers, and passionate speeches to accompany them. I was lectured on everything from: being a good Christian, to investing, retirement, doing what you want... As the conversations continued, the list grew.
Obtaining wealth,
having power,
being remembered,
being a good person,
having a great career,
caring for your family,
having kids,
being happy...

Success, (in our minds at least) seems to be entirely dependant upon our own perspectives - as biased and varied as we want it to be. For example.. the idea of success to a businessman in Birmingham, and the idea of success to a 17 year old girl in Atlanta are very different. One wants a promotion; one wants to be a model.
Is that how it is? Or is there possibly a universal success?
A deeper, complete success that is beyond personal whims and perception.

The second question I asked.. "Are you successful?"
(I did not expect this - my heart sank as I continued to listen.)
Not a single person told me they were successful; not a single person told me that they were confident their life was a success. Not one person!
Instead, I received reasons "why not".
Reasons they weren't as good as they could be.. reasons why they had failed.. excuses. explanations. defensiveness.
(I did not expect that)
Defensiveness
?
When did this happen?
When did we decide we needed to defend our position in the world?
When did we start living in a state of achievement depression.. who first told us we weren't successful enough - that we needed something more, to be something more.

After interviewing.. after listening to countless conversations.. I am starting to believe that the majority of us imagine success to be outside of ourselves.
A place, a goal, an amount, a person, a scenario - Something else.
In our minds, we aren't successful yet.. because we still believe there is something more that we must do or become in order to complete ourselves.
That is a tragic circle of thought.. endless, weakening, feeble.
"success" will come and go like hunger.


What if... what if were are already entirely successful?
What if we are unequivocally complete? Need nothing. Need to become nothing.
What if we can stop chasing success, because it is already woven into every one of our days.

"...Socrates pulled the boy's head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air.

Socrates asked him, "what did you want the most when you were there?" The boy replied, "Air".


He wanted AIR. He wanted simply, utterly, absolutely, AIR. The story should stop there - when the boy's head emerges from the river, and he gasps as deeply as his thirsty lungs will allow.. wild-eyed, frantic, shaken, alive. At that point in the story.. all distractions are lost, all reasons, all motives, all greed, all worries, all comforts, all lies. There is only one success at this point.. life - taking a single breathe.



I believe we have overlooked what we already possess - the single and ultimate "success", - we live.
Perhaps the secret to being successful, is knowing that we absolutely already are.









(Andrew Tipton)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Real Plants Don't Melt

We've been lied to.

A barely clothed woman smiles back at me from the glossy pages of my sports magazine; her photoshopped features sear my intellect like a carton of smoldering cigarettes. I read the headline; in bold type, "..people always ask me if they're real - I say, no but they look real!"
My stomach tuns into knots.
A page ad for a plastic surgery clinic.. they do look real.
..but what if I want MORE than that?
What if.. just "looking" real, won't cut it anymore?
What if I want the real thing?

Inside of a restaurant, I run my fingers through the leaves of a potted plant.
Plastic. I feel duped.
I attempt to break off one of the branches.. but that is a no go.
"This plant is not real.", I deftly point out to the hostess as she walks me to my table.
"Umm, yeah", She says, "but it never has to be watered!".
She smiles and then seats me.
I am sitting in my booth, staring at the lifeless green illusion - I feel myself start to sweat.

Fake.
A lie that has ever so gently wound itself through my days, that now I actually tolerate it. I actually am part of it.. I actually embrace it!
We have been lied to.
We have been convinced that "fake" is just as good / or better than the real thing.
Fake flowers don't need watering.
Fake breasts look perfect.
Fake foods taste delicious...
I'm saturated in this pitiful level of satisfaction.
There is a growing disconnect, a disconnect in my own mind with "WHY" the pieces of life are beautiful.
Why be real? Why choose it, if there is a cheaper, longer lasting alternative?

If everything is best, simply because it looks good, or feels good.. then I would be the first in line to convert life to artificial.
But it is not.
Life is beautiful, because of depth - because of the intricacies of existence .
A flower is stunning.. not because it is forever perfect and plastic.. but because it is a living, growing, alive thing! It is beautiful.. because its REAL. Beautiful BECAUSE it needs watering, and needs sunlight, and needs real dirt.
A woman isn't amazing, because she is a flawless piece of molded silicone.. her beauty comes from what she is; a speaking, thinking, warm, exciting human!

If we take away those attributes.. those "uncomfortable" inconveniences.. if we destroy those awesome imperfections, all we are left with are shells of the former being. Nothing beautiful.. nothing real - just pretty, long-lasting, and soul-less.

I don't want to be soul-less.


If the extent of my days are spent in an artificial world, with artifical smiles, and artificial tastes - why be here?
REAL, is the best part of living - it is the only part of life that is worth living.






(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Old

I passed her today.. walking to her mailbox.
Slowly.
She walked with a slight limp and the trudge of a person who has forgotten about sex.
Her sonic-white hair was cut short, like the ladies do.
I stopped pedaling, and began to coast.. I don't know why, but I couldn't look away from her, she was mesmerizing. As I neared her driveway, I could see everything about her: The wrinkled skin on her pale face, her thick glasses, her paunchy stomach, lines from cigarettes smoked many years ago.. an angel of oldness.
She was probably younger than I imagined; She looked a million years old.
Cankles add 10 years.

I avoid old people.
It is so convenient that we stick them away in special places when they get to be uncouth and embarrassing.
Out of sight out of mind.
Out of mind out of motion..
convenient. How sickeningly convenient.


This was a woman.
She was 8 years old once. She caught frogs in jars.
She was 17 once, she kissed a boy for the first time, and had butterflies in her stomach! She lay awake all night thinking about it.
She was 25 years old. She watched the sunrise over a lake, after spending the night camping with her children.
I can't look away, I am starring into her gray eyes, and I can see myself somewhere below the surface. I will be her.
god that is crazy! She was me, she did the same things I'm doing.. she played, and loved and cried, just like me.
She was young.

I would love to shoot an entire book filled with photos of naked elderly people.
To SEE them, to see those sagging bodies, and those veins, and those tired faces - It would do me good. Real good.


Flesh by Manabu Yamanaka (© 1995)

When life is in our faces, when every piece of existence is right there staring back at us.. we have nowhere else to look.
Show me the weakest, most frail, senile old man.. show me his ugly legs, and his wrinkly ass. Show me a fat old woman.. let me see her thin saggy breasts, let me stare at her.. soak in that unattractive part of life. The part of life we like to ignore and pretend will never come.
Suddenly I am not too busy to climb trees.
Suddenly I am not too concerned with the color of bathroom walls.
Suddenly I am not too worried about pension plans, or mortgages.
Suddenly I am not too distracted by fancy offices with large desks.
Suddenly I am not too interested in working 50 hrs a week.
Suddenly I want to move.
Suddenly I need to dance.
Suddenly I would love to make love and music and art and pizza.
Suddenly I want to live.

Young.
Let infirmity linger on my thoughts and in my head.. so that when wake up in the morning, I say to myself, "Oh My GOD!!! This day will be tasted!".
We are all beautiful, we are all wild, we are all awesome.

I love that that she was me only 60 years ago.
I pedal past, and I think she winks at me. ;)



(Andrew Tipton)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

YOU ARE AWESOME


You are awesome.
Know it.
Taste it.
You are so awesome, that you rock my mind.
Believe it.
Own it.
You are awesome.. say it out loud.
Say it again.
"I AM AWESOME."

Do you know how different life would be, if we knew that? Knew it to our core; knew it in our souls and in our bones.
Not just in an oblivious arogant way... but to know it in a way that makes us stand up and roar! ROAAARRR!!!!! I am awesome!!
You see colors,
You have waterproof skin,
You have K9 teeth,
You have arms,
You have legs,
You are awesome.
You have lips for kissing,
You can hear sounds,
You can smell
You are awesome.
You can run,
You can... THINK. You can THINK! YOU CAN THINK!
You are awesome.
Choice lies at our fingertips, the choice to climb a tree, the choice to be satisfied, the choice to be strong, the choice to be brave, the choice to be wild, the choice to do what you want, go where you want, talk like you want, say what you want, to die, to live, to breathe, to speak, to laugh.
You are so awesome.

There is nothing to maintain,
No reason - no steps to awesomeness - and no one can take it away, ever.
You are awesome.. just because you are here.

I'm so glad you're here!
You are awesome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Dusty Prayers of Paintbrush Poets



The De Grazia mission is empty, except for a few dust covered benches and flickering candles.
Adobe walls feel fragile to my fingertips; I let my hands wander across the smooth surfaces, across the cracks, across the flaws.
Bright painted aluminum flowers are attached to the door frame, and the fence surrounding the building. The desolate ache of this place, is eclipsed by their eternal, metallic beauty.
There is something completely "calm" here. Just leaning against the dried-cactus doorway, the sunshine beaming across my eyes.. I like this simplicity, I like the way this place was built - built not to last.
Inside the mission, fading paintings cover the walls.
De Grazia was an impressionist. His work flows, it moves, it is unashamed and uncalculated. When I look at his paintings, I feel what he was feeling - you can see the emotions of his mind.
Words spill out of his paintings.. silent potent words. Words like, "fatigue", "alive", "strength" - poetry woven into the slightest of brush strokes.
I like that rawness, I like that urgency.

I sit down for a moment on a very old wooden bench.. my blue jeans, make a stretching sound. My eyes scan through the old mission.
How long will this place last?
Already it is crumbling, already the brilliant colors of paint have faded and dulled, already wind and dust and time have have taken their toll.
Seriously, how did he expect this place to last?

Last. Endure. Exist.

I looked again over the dusty paintings.
The imperfections in the works.. the quickness, and the disregard for detail.
I see motion in De Grazia's artwork, the urgency of color. His paintings seem to plead with me, "NOW! Now is the beautiful moment! Touch me, look at me, watch me before I fade like a comet through the black sky!" Like prayers for my wounded mind - his paint stains my perception.
Everything about the mission looks aged - everything here seems to be decidedly confident in its inability to remain.
How calming.
How absolutely reassuring.
How persuading.
I too have an inability to remain.



...a reflection of human existence; a beautiful, subtle reminder of our own frailty, and at the same time our own brilliance!
Sitting there, surrounded by dust and paintbrush poetry, I could almost feel time moving across my body - along the cracked adobe of my skin, through the dry cactus of my veins... the impermanence of that place echoed my own faltering, stammering, smile. Fleeting.
So beautiful, and yet so momentary!
Nothing here was ever meant to last.
Everything, everyone, every thought, every painting, trees, houses, machines - designed to fade to dust.
god I love that..
I love that we are all just pieces of motion, pieces of the moment, pieces of reality.. god I love that.
I find myself persuaded to live and breathe, and die in peace - that is existence: shining like a flame, and then disappearing into the wind.
beatiful.

What a wild, crazy blue-sky day.





(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, July 20, 2009

WHITE RIVER











The early morning fog rolled across the river.. slowly wrapping around our kayaks, luring us further and further down stream. Raindrops ran down our faces, dripping into our eyes, and running down the backs of our minds. Everything was still.. everything except the sound of the river rushing underneath our boats.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

4 months


I run my hands across her belly, and she pushes me away with a perturbed look in her eyes... like I am the millionth person to do that.
"Sarah! You are so big!"
She knows she's that, and she lets me know it with a groan and then lays her face into her arms.

I am fascinated.
Ever since I heard she was pregnant, I can't keep myself focused when I see her - I can't stop imagining her as a little baby, and now there is a baby inside of her stomach! The thought of life coming from life, a never-ending circle of perpetuation - it makes my eyes go blurry. Incredible. I'm smiling right now.

I remember seeing pregnant women in the past, always with curiousness.. but never with this much fascination. I remember seeing photos of naked mothers - the way their bellies swell, and develop into the most beautiful curves. I remember noticing a woman in a shop once, she was about 8 month pregnant, and she was wearing a small tank top; her belly completely exposed.
Sensual, human, animal, untamed, natural.
Words that flicker through my mind when I remember her.

She doesn't know how beautiful she is yet.
not yet.
She doesn't know that her beauty is because of what is happening to her.
I wish she would wear tiny t-shirts, and just let her stomach show.. show the world, and remind us all of how we really are. Remind us that we are fragile, intricate, wonderful, remind us that we are forever changing, growing.

I want to put my hands on her, and feel it kick, feel it move!
I want to believe that in the midst of our sanitized houses, and mowed lawns, and mechanical lives, we are still wild inside. We are still beautiful humans - and babies grow inside our bellies!
Bewilderment roams this place.



(Andrew Tipton)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Racing Boxcars with the Company of Fireflies

"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.'

~ St. Augustine




Tonight I was driving with windows down, letting the coolness of nightfall rush through my van. The curtains flapping, my sweaty white tee shirt clinging to my arms, my face, slightly sunburned, my hair blowing like crazy - everything slightly perfect.
I stuck my hand out the window and let it dance.
Wind slipped through my fingers like poetry through the ears of a child. Never grasped.
I turned off my cassette player and just soaked in the serenity of cruising at 57mph. The Indian bells in the back of my van were gently blowing around, making the most beautiful sounds - like a sheep grazing in the Himalayan mountains.... "ting.. ting, ting ting."
The smell of rain on freshly cut hay filled my nostrils - the road was still damp from today's afternoon showers.
As I moved along.. the road began to run parallel to a railroad. I saw taillights on the tracks, and knew I would be passing a train; I slowed down, and watched as my misty headlight beams glanced off of rusty boxcars. The train was rumbling forwards... creaking and grinding against the metal tracks. As I drove beside it, I felt like I was bending time itself! The speed of my van, against the speed of the train, against the speed of the passing trees... it was all a blur of indescribable mystery.
Suddenly, a tiny light caught my eye.. it was up ahead, swirling in the air.. level with my eyes.. it moved with delicacy and effortlessness.
Then, without the slightest warning, it circled in the breeze and flew through my window - gently landing on my dashboard.
It was a firefly.
I don't know why he chose to glide into the van with me, but he did.
I kept driving.
The firefly climbed up on the edge of my dashboard and looked out.
It sat there, still glowing... just watching...
We drove along together, me at the wheel, and the firefly glowing contentedly on my dashboard; as the train rumbled along beside us - both of us watched the boxcars disappear... one by one into the night.
Like part of a dream.. like the feeling you get when you spin in circles too much.. like the feeling of rest, when you are absolutely exhausted.
The curtains blowing in the breeze, our engine purring, my white t-shirt clinging to my sweaty chest, the bells gently "ting..ting" in the back of the van, and my tiny friend the firefly sitting with me, simply savoring the most beautiful of all moments.
Simplicity and wonder.


There are mountains to climb, and rivers to swim across, and trees to touch, and oceans to dive into..
and then, there are the moments I so often neglect, the moments driving through darkness, watching the rumble of trains, and basking in the glow of an tiny bug. revolutionary. undeserved.
The chance to explore yourself, for yourself.

I find fireflies interested in racing boxcars..
And life is amazement.



(Andrew Tipton)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lost in the Jungle - Yossi Ghinsberg

"I was in no hurry to go anywhere."

"Wild beauty surrounded me;"


"The sidewalks were crowded with people: ragged beggars alongside elegantly suited men, loudmouthed vendors, and filthy street urchins. A stench rose from the sewage that ran down the gutters. A big city, overcrowded, noisy. People thousands of them - good people, lovely people."

"...I have found what I truly own, for all that can be taken from me is not mine to begin with."


"May you find the courage to walk your own path. May you dare to venture in to the uncharted domains of your own heart. Here is my advice to you, the adventurers - fear will show you the way; walk steadily toward it, for otherwise you will always be running. Have trust and faith to guide you like a torch piercing darkness. Do not believe and do not deny, but find out for yourself - for there is no truth but the one you have earned in your own experiences.









(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Carlos Castanado.

"In the universe, there is an un-measurable and indescribable force. which those who live of the source call intention ...and that absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.
Those in the source are not only concerned with understanding and explaining that connecting link, but they are especially concerned with cleansing it of the numbing effects brought about by all of the concerns of living at ordinary levels of consciousness."
Carlos Castanado.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Imaginary friends from far away places


I woke up this morning in the bed of a person I just met yesterday.
The pillows were soft, and the fleece sheets felt perfect tangled around my body.
I rolled over and opened my eyes, savoring the earliest bits of morning sunlight trickling in through wooden blinds.
I stretched like a tiger, and then let myself sink back into the deep, delicious softness.
its rare that I get to spend the night in an extremely comfortable place - I wasn't about to rush myself.
I let out a very content sigh, and tried to slip back into my dreams un-noticed.


Its difficult to comprehend someone letting your into their home after "just" meeting you. Much less, feeding you, caring for you, and treating you with all measures of hospitality.
And yet this keeps happening.

This morning was the first time I have thought about the craziness of these situations. Often, I find myself placed in some amazing house, or dining with complete strangers at their own dinner table. Elaborate meals, soft beds, hot baths - within moments of meeting.

Of course I have a "connection" to these awesome individuals - there is a reason they let me into their homes in the first place. Maybe they have seen a photo of mine, or they read something I wrote, perhaps they saw my picture somewhere, or a friend told them one of my sailing stories.. and yet, it is all imaginary. Truthfully they don't know me at all - They just know about me.


I lay in the that wonderful bed this morning, watching streaks of warm light sneaking in through the windows.. the room was still and quiet, but I could feel my heartbeat, and I could the wirring of my thoughts.
"How much of my own life is based purely on "knowing about"?
Untouched, and un-experienced", I wonder when I think about people, or places, or moments, am I imagining them in ways which they truely are, or are they, at most, fabrications of my naive mind. .
If I take away the things that I "KNOW" simply based on my knowledge (reading a book, seeing a picture, listening to an opinion), I am not left with much.
I might know pieces of their truth.. but I haven't experienced the richness of reality.
Is there dust on the moon, and what does it feel like?
How does the end of a marathon hurt?
What does an octopus eat?
Does Alaska even exist?
I think I know the answers to these questions.. because I have seen photos, read articles, heard descriptions, and yet I don't really know them. Only about them.
So much of my knowledge is based on unconfirmed supposition.
I Know about. I do not know.

imaginary friends from far away places. I am not satisfied with imaginary friends from far away places.
How much more incredible is it to actually meet someone you have only read about.
How do your fingers ache when you touch a friends skin for the first time, or hear soft whispers in your ears rather than just reading words from a letter?
How increible is experiencing a wonderful laugh.. honest and loud, it echos through your soul and makes you warm inside.
It makes them real, it makes them personal, and it makes you aware.

It is so so so good to "know." Really know.
It is so good to own life.
You went and saw and experienced, and hurt, and loved, and touched.
Because life is more beauitful in person.
because people are more vast in person.
because color is more astounding in person.
because fire is hotter in person.
because water is deeper in person.
because running is faster in person.




my real friends are waiting.





(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

life behind the lens


I am fascinated with photographs.
the ability to capture the essence of a second in time.. the colors and the action and the movement - proof of days lived. Time is mysterious - ever fleeting.


I have a friend that is convinced life would be much better if we were to live in a state of obliviousness. She says, that people who are unaware of truth, live content and undisturbed lives - they have nothing heavy on their minds, nothing to keep them occupied except their daily predictable routines.
I sometimes agree with her.

I have been thinking a lot about her statement.
Honestly, part of me agrees with her. I can see the allure of being oblivious to the difficult questions and answers of life. There would be so much that I'd never have to concern myself with!
So simple! So safe and defined.
I could follow someone else's path, work my way up the corporate ladder, get a nice home, etc. Sounds like a good, comfortable life.
I think sometimes, I would like to me more unaware.



My twin brother sent me some new photos of his adventures. They are amazing pictures - full of life and energy!
Immediately though, those photos made me think about the comparison between taking photographs, and living a life.


In my experience, there are two types of photographers.
The first, and most common, are people who use the camera's "auto" settings. No matter how intricate or sophisticated a camera may be, you will always find people who are happy to just click a button.
There is one thing on these people's minds - getting a photograph.
This type of photographer could defiantly be compared to the "oblivious" group of individuals that I envy so often - people who are not at all interested in the depths of thought and discovery. Much like an amateur photographer, there is no thought as to how life happens, or why the photograph comes out the way it does - they are content with not knowing.
If they want to photograph an amazing "sunset", they will simply set their camera's mode to "sunset".
If they want to photograph waves crashing on a beach, they will set the camera for "movement".
If they want to take a photograph of fireworks, they will obviously choose that setting.
The interaction and intimacy with their camera is very limited; they know how to follow the guidelines, but not how to create. for these photographers, the camera is only a means to get the shot they desire.
This is mirrored in the actions of oblivious people. We follow the rules, we work our lives away, we accept what is handed to us... and we never take the chance to create our own unique life. Like the camera in the hands of an amateur, our days become only the means to an end - routines that get us ever closer to comfortable retirement, nicer stuff, and "happier endings". The beauty of life slips by, because we are so focused on the final product, instead of the moments that comprise life.




The second type of photographer is much rarer.
This photographer has studied and researched, they have practiced and listened, they are aware of what they are doing. They know truths about their camera and they are interested in learning more.
When I think of this photographer, I think of a person that is climbing though the branches of existence - looking at the beautiful leaves, playing with monkeys, eating the fruit. Life for them is mysterious - they want to explore it, find answers, ask questions. These people MUST ask "why?" - Why will I get old? Why is suffering bad? Why do we all wear clothes? Why do we experience pleasure? They want to understand the beautiful complexities of this world.
These people question everything because they don't want a pre-set on their life.
They want to create their own photos.
Advanced photographers are people that want to know everything about their camera; they want to know how it works, how it is built, and how to make it work correctly.
Instead of just snapping a photo, they consider elements - they take into account the f-stop, the ISO, the color balance, the aperture.. To them, just taking a photograph is not the point; it is the entire process that brings fulfillment.
I really love the similarities!
The photographer who is excited about learning, is like a person excited about discovering truth. They don't want to be bound by the camera's settings and modes, just like a person who doesn't want to fit into a mundane existence or be limited by standard choices. Their photographs might look different, their lives might challenge the ordinary - but these photographers and these individuals are able to choose, because they have a deeper understanding of the flow of life.




I will be the first to admit, it still sounds good just to remain blissfully ignorant of life; to not have to pursue thoughts, or ask why.. just to accept things the way they are.
Knowing, seems like a lot of work; it seems confusing, and it seems hard.
And it is.

So, why even try? Why look for answers, and travel to desolate places; why pursue truth at all?

When a photographer knows how his camera works.. he can do things with it that an amateur could never dream of.
If we understand how this world functions on a intimate level, how life is strung together, if we understand "How" and "Why" we do the things we do - then we can do things that other people could never dream.
Limitations disappear.
For every piece of truth that we discover, we have given ourselves more power, and more freedom. Every photo we take.. we created. Life is no longer just a "click", it is a series of deliberate choices based on truth.
That is infinitely cool.
How far are we willing to take our questions?
How many, "why"s will we ask before it gets to uncomfortable?
What would I trade in order to know a few more answers?
In the end, are we concerned with the pretty photo.. or the process of taking our own?
Would you be blissfully ignorant, or exhausted, aware, and completely free?







(Andrew Tipton)