4 November 2016 4 Comments

Travel Experiences 8: The Enduring Amidst the Temporary

The afternoon following my injury I took my previously scheduled shuttle from Cesky Krumlov to Vienna. After small towns, the city was big and sprawling, but roomy enough to give me a needed break from throngs. Taxis were largely lacking. Even Metro and trams stations required a lot of hobbling. I tired quickly.

The next day I waited for about ninety minutes in a huge and crowded hospital. It took the doctor about ninety seconds to pull the drain from my wound, put on iodine salve and apply another bandage. He, too, img_4686warned me about infection and necrosis. I found it edifying that hospitals both here and in the Czech Republic use iodine ointment rather than antibiotics, even with such concerns.

I had to pay 250 euros in advance,and they said they would send me a additional bill. Hoping to get finances clear in person, I was directed tried to an office with a big sign on the door: “In-Vitro Fertilization.” That threw me off for a while. My efforts were fruitless, but when I got the bill a month later, it a credit for more two thirds of the advance.

The next two days I gaped at architecture that might have been built for Olympian gods. Consider what it took to build massive, exquisitely decorated buildings for public use! The attitude of investing intention and funds to inspire, stimulate and delight people for hundreds of years seems like a miracle in these days of cheap and fast. This architecture establishes an atmosphere that invites music, img_4636art, and poetry. It is not just an appearance. It sings energy. The Viennese street musicians seemed to have slipped out the back doors of concert halls.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is enormous, widely varied, and world class. Standing on the inside staircase, staring at the decorous galleries and arches of the building itself was almost as pleasing as looking at, for example, a pitcher the size of a loaf of bread, carved fromp1030116 a hollowed-out quartz crystal, its handle shaped like a goddess. The Museum houses some astonishing art and famous paintings.



The old masters portrayed turning points in history, bloody biblical stories, and events from mythology. Quite a few famous paintings depict disturbing scenes, such as rape, incest, murder and betrayal. The realism, dimensionality and lighting in some of these magnificent works makes challenging subject matter striking, meaningful, and thought-provoking. The great beauty with which these scenes are shown helps us to receive them rather than being repelled. Being impacted deepens us, so these works contribute to culture.

Scenes of the potentially trivial accouterments of daily life, handled masterfully, also become precious. A real work of art helps us to awaken perception and appreciate life.

Travel supports looking at the world like art. The temporariness invites detachment and a heightened sense p1050613of value. Impermanence is a gentle reminder of our mortality. Remembering our mortality helps us to see exactly how things are. We seek to imprint what we see, via memory or on camera cards. We seize the moment just as it is since we may never return. Things that may seem mundane to those who live with them are discoveries if we’ve never seen them. Anything that wakes us up to the preciousness of the moment has value.

For me, beauty and mystery inspire and awaken. Give me a camera and an intriguing or lovely place and the moment consumes me.

How do you feel when exposed to disturbing art, rendered with great beauty?

What awakens you to the preciousness of life?

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4 Responses to “Travel Experiences 8: The Enduring Amidst the Temporary”

  1. Therese 4 November 2016 at 6:49 am #

    Nature awakens me to the preciousness of everything. I have no desire to see disturbing scenes whether artistic or otherwise. I’m aware of the disturbing things which happen. They don’t surprise me, they sadden me. I have no need for that in my life. I’m well aware of the pain and misfortune that happens. I see it around me, people tell me their stories, I see it on social media. I’m on a mission to make all of that into a memory. I’m trying to help bring forth a world of love, compassion, and an embracing of everyone – an understanding of the uniqueness and value of everything. It’s a big idea and I may not be able to accomplish it all in this lifetime but I can certainly get my vision started.

    With Love,

    • Teresa Dietze 10 November 2016 at 9:20 am #

      Absolutely! Nature is a path to the Divine.

      Precisely because you are aware of the range of life and are not in denial, you do not need to be awakened in that respect.

      I think part of the point of the type of art I am writing about is that many who have no desire to see the more difficult parts of life become able, through beauty, to embrace them and therefore deal with life more completely. That invitation to wholeness and awareness has great value.



      • Therese 20 November 2016 at 7:10 am #

        As you’ll see in this week’s comment, I’m going through some anger/depression. I am to the point where I wonder if some people can even be reached. There are people who deny the Holocaust, Trail of Tears, Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. I’ve reached a point where I don’t think anything other than personal experience can reach some people. They are many times these are the ones who inflict the atrocities on others so I’m not sure personal experience helps either. They seem to not believe that all humans, or animals for that matter, have a value equal to their own.
        I’m sorry. I have to stop now. I can’t talk about this anymore.

        With Love,

        • Teresa Dietze 20 November 2016 at 10:28 am #

          Oh I’m so sorry . . .

          Yes, there are a huge number of sociopaths on the planet. Literally and actually. The fact that they are embraced by society is a phenomena. I suspect this occurs in part because people manage unconscious fears and rage by identifying with people in movies and media who are violent or ruthless enough to ‘succeed’ without being overcome/vulnerable. Also because many sociopaths fake being feeling people so convincingly. The movie “Iron Man” and the show “Dexter,” for example, popularize sociopaths, as does “House of Cards,” etc etc. This culture has come to look up to people who have no real human feeling.

          On the other side of the spectrum, through spiritual community and various approaches to Inner Work, I am exposed to groups of people that support loving Presence and heart development.

          Yes, this is a difficult time. The therapists in my practice have compassion fatigue. I have observed clients and friends working hard to find positive ways to respond to painful and challenging realizations. We need to find ways to keep from polarizing against one another in the aftermath of a divisive election similar to mud-wrestling in poo poo. The Shadow elements have been revealed, and it’s not pretty. It is my hope that we will collectively use this rude awakening to wake ourselves up. Those who can will.

          Sending Love,


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