SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 212: “We Live In It… And We Are It”

From left to right: Dennis, Bryant, Josh and Patrick

9:00pm, hanging out at game night with my daughter during our monthly restaurant gathering of schooling friends and family. I sit for a while at the man cave (the table in the corner where several of us fathers gather to shoot the breeze while our kids blow off steam).

It’s a community in itself, a group of eclectic families, all with one united purpose in finding a safe haven for our children to play, and an opportunity for parents to meet.

All who now know me as the 365 guy, having come to accept my commitment to the project. And, knowing that the eve is drawing to a close, and supported by my friend Heidi, who watches my daughter, I take leave to seek tonight’s friend.

Out of the restaurant doors I go, and with a vibrant Saturday night street before me, I scan the horizon. To the left, street traffic and coffee houses; to the right, music and dining and across the street a small mass of eclectic diversity enters and exits the Fabien Castanier Gallery… It’s a no brainer… I’ve got to go there and I’m sure I’ll meet an edgy group.

It’s a trippy installation, one that has drawn quite a diverse crowd. I wander from wall to wall, wrapping myself around the artwork and absorbing the rhythm of the room.

Now I have to tell you, although I am an artist myself, working the gallery scene is not my area of expertise, so I settle in to people watch and in extending a greeting smile to all who engage in my path.

Choosing to not force any conversation, I submit to allow whatever energy finds it way to me.

I wander on, partaking of the spirit of the gallery while appreciating the art, and in the midst of the hum of room noise and the starkness of spot lit white walls, a kind face appears out of the mass of moving shoulders.

“Is this your gallery?” I inquire.

“How did you know?” comes back at me.

“I don’t know, you just looked to me like a man who has something to say,” I second.

He smiles, “It’s not really my gallery, just kidding, but let me introduce you around.”

Dennis is his name, and with the grace of a seasoned diplomat, he guides me to an introduction of what is little less than all who are in attendance… I’m overwhelmed.

What I thought was going to be a chance meeting with sir, or madam edgy has transformed to an evening of inspiration that is in contrast to the provocative subject matter of the art that is before me.

Dennis gives us a quote from Founder of The Peace Alliance Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

In this he asks us to “Shamelessly embrace our personal value.”

As we talk, another stranger turned friend reaches out with a handshake. “How can I help you… and what’s your story?” Josh invites himself into our conversation.

His Boston accent is infectious and his genuine interest is refreshing. We exchange the usual social pleasantries, and after a brief talk of the 365 mission, he kicks in with an ingratiating, “I’d be happy to contribute.”

Turns out that Josh is a publicist (Wickid Pissa Publicity) and is way behind what we’re doing with 365.

He explains his link to the PR world, “I specialize in indie film, but really like what you are doing. I have a few words to share.”

At first, I’m not certain where things will go, thinking that we will be promoting his projects, something that I am happy to do, but also cautious to not pull too far away from the 365 message of “passing it on.”

Again, I am about to get another lesson in the misconceptions of pre-determining the direction of a conversation. Turns out, Josh is a superstar of positive outreach.

He opens, “Life is what you make it. While we are here we need to soak it up like a sponge. Inject it like an everlasting slush puppy.”

A rather fun and creative call, and one that I hope brings a glimpse of light to how we view our circumstances. He pauses in thought, “’I’ve got a quote that come to mind, it from a Robert Herrick poem. Funny how some things just stick in your head: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.’

We talk about it for a minute or two. The conclusion, enjoy what we have as we do not know what will happen tomorrow; yet, another review of the living in the moment through line that has fallen upon us this week.

For your reference I have looked up the whole poem:

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting. 

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former. 

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

Two other friends approach, Josh’s clients, actors Patrick and Bryant. I wish I had enough room in this entry to express their humanistic outlook and acceptance of people. You’ll just have to trust me on it. Time is getting very short with my needing to go back to my daughter before the game night ends at 10:00pm.

I’ve been here forty-five minutes now, and as a responsible parent, it’s time to wind down our discussion.

Bryant does give us a word of council in following our dreams “You have to be crazy to be successful. You can’t believe the odds that are against you and most importantly you can’t be afraid to fail.”

No fear, go forward with faith, both in yourself and in a higher power, and walk with peace towards your future; a theme that is becoming the poignant topic of this night.

Josh reflects on the future. “I see us living like The Jestons on steroids, and wonder what would Hemingway or Shakespeare would think if they could see the social media that we are utilizing in our everyday lives. And in that, I have to question, what will the future of technology, and what will our leaders do with it to make the world a better place?”

A better place, interesting and contrasting words to hear as I stand in front of vicarious artworks.

Josh concludes. “We have to take care of our planet and it inhabitants. Treat them with the respect they deserve. After all, we live in it… and we are it.”

In a later sidebar Dennis concurs, “For the future — There is far more for us to do than simply obey. We are all brilliant gifts to humanity and to all that occupies the limitless space we live in. Let’s freely express our gifts and receive the gifts that others have for us.”

Like Josh says, “We live in it… and we are it.”

Thanks guys, this truly has been an emotionally uplifting and esthetic evening.