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One Heart

One love, one heart, one destiny―Bob Marley

Brave heart, big heart, heavy heart, half-hearted, sweet heart, crazy heart, lonely heart, heart felt, light-hearted, broken-hearted…all the same heart.  Wherever we are, so also is the heart, and the myriad states that the heart translates.

City of Thorns

Through the night we walk arm in arm,
our numb feet crossing the tracks.

Winter comes so slowly,
your torn plaid coat still not mended.

Stranded in snow on the bridge,
roses drop from their stems.

A snake pulls through the cold grass,
your blind eyes following.

Do not believe you are your body.

I wash your bones in the river,
and everything turns white,

bleached by the same sun
that burns over Somalia.

Today in America, there are so many ways to cultivate well-being. We seem to feel that if we could just live perfectly everything will be alright. Yoga, organic foods, meditation, aerobic exercise, smoothies, or should I eat paleo for breakfast? After the reign of fifty ways to be a better me, it seems walking is a most reliable activity for a healthy aging body. But no matter the deciding mores, what never changes is the reality that we and the world are shaped by suffering and love.

William Faulkner: The salvation of the world is in man’s suffering. And Marcel Proust: We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

It is so much easier to define suffering than it is to define love. We may be able to share and enjoy each other’s fortune, but it is suffering that binds us. I cannot fully grasp the joy of someone’s new love, because their experience is not readily accessible to me. But when another person is suffering, I feel little separation. I want to help ease the pain. It is human suffering that moves us to action, and personal suffering that, for me, is an agent of change.

West / Home

I think of the Scarlet Letter, walking down the hallway,
the only single mother in the school, looking for my
little one, my golden boy. We take hands, the shadow
that follows us home he pretends not to notice. At night,
I tell him stories of horses that fly and blue ships in the
sky. There were days his voice drifted into my sleep,
through the curtain of rain falling, the rain that always fell.
My son runs to the mountains, his Adonis body blending
with the trees. I watch him from the adopted lens of my
eyes, everything always moving, nothing remaining still.
Only entering the rain forest felt safe, as though
the night green moss could protect us.

With all religions there is a unified experience of the heart. Buddha calls it The vision of the heart, Lao-tse says Inner vision.  In Islam, Allah declared the heart the most valuable possession of a human beingAnd in the Bible, 1 Samuel 16:7: People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

The Zendo

It is pastoral in the town of Onalaska,
its name coming from Thomas Campbell’s poem
“The Pleasures of Hope”. The Zendo
sits in a green pasture. From the foyer window
you can see the deer nibble at the apple tree.
Iridescent spiders hang inverted on their webs,
their bellies glistening. In the Zendo,
lines of cushions, an acorn shaped space
alive with emptiness. The day’s long sit begins.
I find my cushion, I find my spine, breathing,
I watch time twist.

We are living in a time now referred to as “Metamodernism”. Meta, from the word Metaxis, the Greek word meaning in-betweenness. Metamodernism finds us oscillating between a post- modern past of political endings and a future that seems divided and more uncertain than ever. While contemplating the meaning of what the heart sees, I came to realize that duality is the station of the heart, that this in-betweenness is a task for the heart because the heart holds all polarities. Ask me about the heart and I find myself contemplating suffering. Ask me about suffering and I am taken into the eye of love.

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Born in New York, NY and raised in Texas, Jean Fogel Zee has been dancing, writing and working with the world as installation for over 30 years. The arc of Zee’s creative life is multi-disciplinary in form with a focus on poetry, dance, and the practice of Authentic Movement.  Zee’s performance works have been supported by grants from the City of Austin, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is presently Artist In Residence with The Historic Santa Fe Foundation in Santa Fe, NM.  Her exhibit WORD Poetry / Installation premiered May 5 – May 28, 2017 at the Historic Santa Fe Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.  Zee is currently working on her 2018 exhibition WIRED, as well as her one woman show WEEP – An Existential Comedy, both shows to be presented by spring of 2018.


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