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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

by richard diebenkorn



Talking with an artist friend earlier, who was talking about wanting "good things" to happen in Sparta the whole time she's been here, a year or two longer than I have, and sees time after time something try to start up and it gets killed before it starts. That might be the rule, and I can't disagree with it, but now and then something good happens. You hear things like, 'I did all the work and look who got the credit.' That's often the case, but I can't get too excited over it, because that's the way of human doings all the way back. And possibly will be all the way ahead. The trick is, in my way of seeing and doing, don't want the credit. When I don't want the credit, it doesn't matter who gets it, as long as it's not me. My concern is that a project I or a group want done gets done. That's the only issue for me. Who gets the credit is neither here nor there. It's best if the one with the biggest ego gets the credit. It keeps them from plotting revenge when somebody else gets the credit. I've seen focus on revenge get totally out of control and become self-destructive. The best revenge is letting karma settle it.



Periodically, even more often than that, I remind myself why I came to the mountains, a way of keeping myself on my track, or my flow, what have you. I had fallen in with Meher Baba a year before. My inner world turned 180 degrees, like before, I was going north, then suddenly and by surprise I turn around and go south. It told me I was as far off my track as I could get. I knew that then. Didn't even know about things like my own flow, my track, my purpose, but I knew I was off my beam. The true me was buried under an avalanche of what I can only call ego. That's a good name for a bundle of issues rolled into one over-arching name. The bundle of issues pretty much amounted to wanting to be what I wasn't. Not with purpose. Didn't know what I was to get in tune with. I searched and searched for I knew not what, what I didn't have, who I was not. Confusion was where I dwelled. Wanting to be who and what I was not. Because, I believed within that who I was amounted to nothing of interest, an insignificant statistic, and if I fell back into myself, I couldn't live in the world, because my true self is not motivated by money, status or position.



I don't care if one person has more money and assets than another. Everybody is higher up the ladder of success than I am. I'm still on the ground. The people of the ladder can have it. Like Joseph Campbell is famous for saying, we spend our lives climbing a ladder and when we get to the top, it was the wrong ladder. I chose not to climb a ladder, but to keep my feet on the ground. I like grounded. It's like my feet really connect with the earth under them, the floor, too. That's where I like to be. When I'm around climbers, we really don't connect. Climbing turns out to be a game of bullshitting. Like I was before I found my path. People who give importance to money, status and position simply bore me, as I bore them. One thing I like about it is the people on the climb would have to look down to see me and they only look up the ladder. So they leave me alone. They climb away from where I stand. I like it on the ground among people that live who they are rather than who they are not. I find there are more people who are not on the climb than are on it. I've not done a survey or looked up a previously done survey on the matter, but that's how it looks from where I stand. The world of people not on the climb is the world of what I call my people.



When I encounter people of the climb, the ones I know I like the person they are, but they'd prefer I look at their nice things and be impressed. If I focus too much on their inner being I might not be impressed. Gotta make a good first impression. In Selma's at one of the wine tastings I met a woman I'd never seen before. We were introduced and she started squealing about how much good things she's heard about me, and this and that, pouring on the sugar. It was embarrassing, because she was loud. Two weeks later, to the day, we met again in the same place, almost standing in our previous footprints, and she'd never seen me before, never met me, I must be thinking of somebody else. After that, I kind of withdrew associations with her. Don't know where that came from and don't want to know. You might say I'm wary of her now. It's that make a good first impression mind. Somebody told me they love my painting and would be in the next day to buy one. The laugh would have been on me if I'd believed it. Months later, almost a year, I was asked to paint a picture of their house in the snow from a photo they have. I told them I'm only painting mountain musicians. Oh it made them mad.



I've learned from the country people to put first impressions on hold, wait and see what kind of character bears out. City people are different in that they apparently believe a good first impression is important. Climbers. In a community of people who have known each other all their lives, a first impression performance is automatically suspect. They're selling something, a false impression of themselves. For what? The smile as self-advertising is from a world of strangers. Surrounded by strangers everywhere all the time. So you smile as a way of saying I'm nice and make a good first impression. In a living community self-advertising is unnecessary. Everybody already thinks of you what they think of you and a great big smile isn't going to change or encourage anything. I've found the people that stay away from me because I don't smile enough to suit them are best left alone, and I don't even have to avoid them. They avoid me first. Great good karma.



I often remind myself of a rule of thumb passed to Jr from his dad, "Stay away from important people." Wow! What a sayin. And Jr did, all his life. My thinking about its meaning has come to important people are self-important only. And that's not really important. There are no important people. We're all born of woman. I'm inclined to see us each a drop of the spirit that we call God. Consider the ocean God for the sake of symbol. A wave hits a rock at Big Sur and sprays millions of droplets into the air, out of the ocean, their home. Flying through the air the droplets believe themselves separate from the ocean for a period of time, when, in fact, each one of them is the ocean. They are apparently separate from the source, out in the air believing they are individuated from the ocean itself, not even remembering what it was like as ocean itself. They suddenly die as a separate drop of water when they fall into the ocean, becoming the vastness of ocean again.



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