“Ne pas choisir
C’est encore choisir.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre
(Not choosing still remains choosing)
Today I am turning 42 in this lifetime. It seems like an eternity to be alive. 42 in the medievals was old and now it is but a fragment of a lifetime. Sometimes my body feels as if it s already a hundred years old. In a sense it is and has endured so many lifetimes. It is a physical shell, yet, remains the vehicle for enlightenment.
I made a choice before I was born and how my life would unfold, I could not know. Because some things are left up to fate. So far I move in between loving it and at the same time asking myself: What is the point? Some days can be excruciating while others can be incredibly intense and beautiful. I am still trying to find that equilibrium that can be so easily destroyed. So instead of having a party or meeting with friends, I decided to treat myself to some pots for my plants and take myself on a date to the museum. As I have studied hospitality management, the university believed in a wide variety of subjects and we also took arts history and literature as subjects, which I truly loved. I had a thing for the expressionists and even though I did my paper on them, I hardly remembered that Essen was quite the city for expressionism. So today I was reminded of it by going to the Folkwang Museum. Of course it was packed. I moved through stages of intense fear throughout the exhibition. There was this silent angst stored up, residues in my nervous system from inherited World Wars. Especially World War II. I had to face my fears and move through this exhibition. It ranged from pain to elation, to feeling ill at times. But I took my time and what unfolded was actually very moving: Some paintings, I could tell, were infused with this divine energy, where the painter seemed to have moved out of the way, for them to be a channel for divine expression. Some were made out of life stories, most of them tragic, some were made out of ego, but rarely. Expressionism seems to be an art form where there was no room for large egos. It was a specific time period and painters lived in a sense that all they created could be destroyed at the blink of an eye. The destruction of paintings when not adhering to Nazi standards was the hardest bit to swallow.
It has never gotten easy. I still feel this national guilt.
It’s deep rooted and it has gotten better over the decades, but I still can never say with pride: I am of German origin in this lifetime. It is a hard task that I may have to muster in this lifetime. The thing that I realized about this is though that most countries had a play in all these happenstances. Most marched with the troops or had to follow. How much resistance was there? Not enough I would say, but it takes courage to do that, so I am not blaming anyone. I cannot put a guilt-trip on anyone either, because I would not know how it was like not to follow what was preached back then.
But it resurfaced obviously during this exhibition. It was tough to face this again, but when I finally went to another part of the exhibition, I felt relieved to have gone through it. It felt as if some of these parts of sadness had been taken away (I hope not to resurface again).
But today I felt at home for the second time in a few weeks. Somehow the expressionists have been like a string of synchronicities in my life. And here, on my birthday, they had turned up again.
Of course the first painting I saw reminded me of the kriyas people have when going through an awakening. It was so uncanny that it took me aback. Even though I had seen some of these works before, this I had never seen and it was incredibly beautiful. If there hadn’t been that many people, I just would have stayed there forever.
Another topic that stuck out was the study of the feminine body, which I am still somehow struggling with- it’s a love and sometimes dislike relationship. I am trying to make my peace with this bodily form in this lifetime. It is not so bad that I would consider gender change, but I do have my moments.
And of course the last topic was my effervescent crucifixion and resurrection. It never disappears. It is like it is calling me to surrender to my fate. Sometimes one is asked to just be and leave everything else alone. I always wonder: How could Christ have just walked up there. I’ve had many visions of him over the years, but I have to admit that there must have been no ego left for him and this is terribly hard to picture as we live in a society where ego is the dominating factor. He had only devotion to the divine and humanity, so soft, and so pliable. Unbelievably tender and open he must have been. Human but not human at all…
So today, I had to make a choice. It felt as if my inner being intended me to do so. It reignited my love for the expressionists and for doing what I really love doing. One just needs to stay courageous yet grounded into this reality (which is mighty difficult).