moving in your inner Purple Space
the fertility of diversity
July 1944, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
With World War II still raging, hundreds of delegates from forty four Allied nations
convened for a conference whose objective was to create an international monetary system
in the hopes of avoiding the kind of economic disaster that emerged between the two wars. The British economist John Maynard Keynes,
a key player at the conference, said in a speech at the end,
“If we can continue in a larger task, as we have begun in this limited task,
there is hope for the world.” The conference resulted in the creation of the International Monetary Fund
that facilitated postwar global economic cooperation.
The ability to find connections between
an immediate task at hand and a larger purpose lives in your Purple Space.
In it you feel, how what you are doing
resonates beyond your individual life.
To access the energy of the Purple Space,
envision what might have happened 50 years ago in the place where you are now…
what was happening a hundred years ago…five hundred years ago…in between…and beyond.
Tune into the energy that has been generated by the histories that live in the air.
Then reflect on your own personal history — in your life span and then further into the roots of your family.
Think about the history of your profession, the history of the buildings and places you frequent.
Be present with yourself in an historical context.
When in the Purple Space,
you feel the power of something moving across
nations, religions, race, gender, age, specialties, time, space…
You embrace a diversity of ideas and visions that transcend borders of all kinds.
The events of this century have exposed the limitations of approaching anything through a singular lens.
Embracing the diversity of ideas and visions that transcend borders of all kinds
can generate the fertile ideas we need to move into the future.
“Today, many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period… It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.” VACLAV HAVEL
I walk through the arch of the Invalides,
a complex of buildings with a central dome looming upwards
that houses aspects of the military history of France,
and, of course, the tomb of Napoleon.
History seeps towards me from all sides –
from the empty moat surrounding the buildings, to the iron cannons,
the arches, the cobblestones, the numerous statues.
I enter the corridor at the left,
which though dark, offers light at its end.
I reemerge into the sunlight and a lush green garden.
I enter the military hospital where a friend of mine, Jacqueline Moncorgé,
is staying, recovering from a knee injury. We spend a few hours together.
Jacqueline was one of the ‘demoiselles de Gaulle’,
a group of women who followed the general during World War II.
They landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day,
where they served as intermediaries between the Allies and the civil population.
They arrived at battle sites to take care of the soldiers
and the organization of life after the fighting had passed.
Out of her window, the golden dome
of the Chapel de Saint Louis des Invalides glistens in the sunlight.
We are here, in this place of kings, soldiers and historical events,
talking casually and laughing.
History surrounds us and embraces us.
Our afternoon resonates in a context
that extends beyond us.
TRANSCENDENT VERTICALITYBill Viola Tristan’s Ascension
Grand Palais, Paris 2014
A tall screen occupies a round room.
At the bottom of the projected image
a man lies still on a stone slab.
Droplets of water begin to ascend.
They gradually increase in quantity
until they become an upward moving waterfall.
I stand in the center of the round vaulted space,
directly in front of the image.
I feel the waterfall passing through my body,
reinforcing my verticality.
At its full strength,
the figure is lifted off of the stone slab
and rises upwards,
as if by the force of the water.
Feet still planted firmly on the floor of the room,
I feel myself transported with him into another realm of reality.
Looking down at myself from above,
I feel both human and other.
The strength of the waterfall then slowly decreases,
until it is reduced to isolated drops
that float upwards and then cease altogether.
I stand revitalized in the ensuing
stillness and silence.
a brief encounter
A warm spring day.
I am sitting in Jardin de Luxembourg.
An elegant, elderly French gentleman on the bench next to me
initiates a relaxed conversation.
He is Parisian by birth.
I mention my Greek origins.
‘Greece,’ he says, ‘the mother of European civilization.’
He tells me of his life-long fascination with Greek mythology.
‘Paris also has her myths.
Though they do not unfold in stories in the way that the Greek myths do,
they are there, extensions of her history.
We should pay more attention to them.’
The perfume of the warm air slides gracefully around us.
A tacit understanding hovers between us.
We sit together in its vibrancy.
An angelic whisper floats downwards
towards the deep tone of a clarinet
that extends upwards to meet it,
creating an acute verticality.
Columns of purple light shimmer,
suggesting a transcendent architecture.
I stand inside of it, part of a mythic story
that extends deep into history and projects far into the future.
My movements are elongated.
I am not alone.
The thoughts and perceptions that pass through my mind
are embraced by a presence around me that draws me
I dance in connection with something
I feel reality and imagination
dancing exaltedly inside and outside of me.