September 16, 2009

Day 3 Pleasure Revolution- Knowing

My friend Linda took me to see her friend Ava. Her friend ava showed me the paintings she was going to be sending to the New Picasso museum in France, a church in Italy and the commissions for the Cirque De Soliel, headed for Las Vegas. Ava Avione is in her 70’s, she came from Boston to California when she was 18 and fell in with the likes of Krishna Murti and Aldous Huxley. I stood in but one of her 80 painting caches, hundreds of painting stacked one upon the other leaned up against walls. Most of the pieces I saw were 4 foot by 8 foot, huge boldly coloured figures of reverence and movement. I had seen her work at Linda’s house, ethereal pastel paintings of 2 little girls, soft and gentle though the boldness of her work, and personality was still apparent. These new paintings though, a whole other fantastic depiction of bodies and souls in motion. They had almost a comic book flavour, with the geometric lines and strong pigment. She smiled contentedly, pointing to one piece in particular, one of the paintings bound for the Italian church, and tells how in all of her years this was the first time she simultaneously captured the essence of birth and death as she imagines them in one face, in one body, in one mass of extraordinary colour. As I gazed at the multidimensional face of infinite possibilities I had to agree, she had captured this singular event that is thought of as two.


I still don’t quite understand how this diminutive womyn of maybe 5 foot could paint so many huge paintings, even just logistically how she reached the top. I didn’t see anything in her studio which looked like a set-up for her to gain elevation. Imagining her stepping up on a step ladder at her age, well I want to say it worried me, but that would not be true, Ava could do it. I imagined after meeting her that she could do anything. Even more wonderful was that when we left her studio, a converted University building slated for demolition, I believed I was capable of anything as well.

Linda, Ava and I spoke for about 4 hours; shared peaches and pears while sitting on rolling chairs in the wide open space of the upstairs studio. A room filled with gallons of pigments, brushes, photography equipment a computer and a large plush bed. She told me she was willing to live almost anywhere, with few amenities just to have space, light and a place to satisfy the call of the muse. We spoke to great lengths about the muse, that which comes into our lives and leaves us no choice but to create beauty, express pain and continue to do so until the call is sated. We commiserated at the frustration other seem to experience at wanting to understand our ways, how this ruffles our relationships, our lingering feelings of being misunderstood and disconnected from those we love and inspire. The “knowing” was a concept we all shared, call it womyn's intuition, psychic connection, the voice of God, call it whatever you want, it doesn’t matter, only being willing to follow it matters. And I can say without a shadow of doubt or embarrassment that following this “knowing“ has helped me to birth the juiciest fruit of my existence. Linda tells a story of when Ava said to her

”God didn’t give me all this so I could go work at Starbucks“

I have often thought of giving up this project, giving up the expense and separation of coming to school in California, stopping my work with soul Motion, staying home and going down to Fusion to ask my friend Jamie for a job waiting tables. I know I would be good at it. I am personable, smart, efficient most of the time, I could make good money, support the family finances rather than draining them. At what cost though?

I truly believe I am a mystic.

”Mystic- (noun) A person who seeks contemplation or self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.“

I believe that anyone can be a mystic, it just takes trusting the knowing, not always being able to give or require an explanation. I understand that communication of ideas, thoughts and feelings is important; I also know that sometimes it is not possible, not because of a lack of ability, but because as soon as it is translated or explained the meaning is changed. This is how Ava has worked her whole life, intuitively, and it seems to me she does so without apology. I covet this, I constantly feel the need to apologize for not being able to be specific or give answers. Perhaps by the time I am 70 I too will be unapologetic about my mysticism, actually I am going to choose it sooner.

We reluctantly left her studio to drive to San Francisco. I left with two giant ancient pine nuts that Ava had collected from giant pine cones, from a giant tree. I left her with 12 days journal # 102. I had to refrain from asking her to draw in it and send it right back to me. The idea of it not returning is horrifying! But I made a commitment, followed a knowing. When I created the 12 days 2 inspire I decided to let the journals go, not get involved in their journey back to me. I trust what I had created. I KNOW that this is a piece of my life's work, a way of being my life's work, and so I bit my tongue, and didn’t say anything other than, ”The instructions are on the front, I can’t wait to get it back.“ I know that the journals that are meant to return, will, when the time is right.

”Journals return when journals are ready.“

”Do you trust things you know but can’t explain?“ is the question in
12 days journal #156

”If you can fully understand it, it is not God“
- St. Francis of Assisi


  1. Wow. That was an amazing piece.

  2. Yes, absolutely! The worst trouble I've ever gotten into in my life was when I ignored or talked myself out of listening to my inner knowing voice. Sometimes it's best to make a decision using logic, but if your gut is telling you something different, even if it makes no sense, always go with your gut!