america life

Austin, TX Constriction Amidst the Expansion

I spent some time in Austin a day or so ago with my dear friend LZ.  She’s an amazing Blues/gospel singer.  You can check her out at: and I encourage you to buy some of her CDs there as well.

I arrived yesterday and she took me to a wedding of some friends of hers.  They had asked her to sing the song for the “first dance.”  The reason I’m writing here is that the place where the wedding was was an incredible work of art, and I found that it acted as a mirror for me to see myself in a different light.  Casa Rio de Colores has probably aboout 10,000 pieces of art, all displayed, everywhere.  It is a complete sensory overload, yet beautiful in it’s own way.  For those of you who have seen my home, you’ll know that I have taken the spartan Zen design route.  Something in my soul/spirit loves to have visual calm and clarity and much prefers to live without clutter.  In that space though, I was presented with what felt like a constriction in my soul, something which has a difficult time just expressing with abandon.  The only way that place could have been created, in my opinion, was if someone let go of control and just kept putting things together.  I’m much more of a perfectionist and have a difficult time imagining just letting go and creating an artful space such as that.  Just being there made me have to look at how deliberate and controlled I can be.

We all have preferences for certain esthetics in our lives, but those preferences, I’m realizing, may very well be connected with our own inner dysfunction.  The obvious example of this is someone with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) who needs to have everything clean and in place to feel comfortable and be able to relax.  Other people may be more relaxed in their inner world and prefer to live with a modicum of disorder.  I’m guess I must be closer to the OCD side of the spectrum.  I feel like I want to loosen my grip a little, create art with more abandon, live my life with less control and more allowance and acceptance.

It’s was great seeing LZ and spending time with her.  She’s as real as they come and we have great conversations and also have some good hoots as well.  She took me out to the Austin music scene area late night. Definitely a scene.  Thousands upon thousands of young people wandering around, young girls in very high heels and equally short skirts.  Felt like frat party / spring break, but we ended up in Carlos Santana’s new club which was a little more mellow and, to my preference, esthetically clean, spacious and pleasing.  When I told LZ about my reaction to that space and some of the thoughts I am sharing with you here, she said she may need to get me dressed up for Halloween one year, really let loose and tear it up.

I met great people at the wedding we went to as well.  Many musicians and hippie/artist types – definitely more my kind of people.  The ceremony began with a New Orleans style music parade and was led by a shaman/musician dressed in red bird feathers.  I love that kind of freedom.  Austin is definitely a liberal oasis in the republican desert of Texas.  When driving in, I noticed a highway sign announcing Cesar Chavez Ave. and instantly I knew I was in a better place, a place that if I needed to I could call home.

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