Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Hearts

The other night I was convinced I had two hearts – paired like lungs in my chest cavity.  They are connected, in tandem, both large; yet the heart on my right side is not fully realized. Rather, it is more of a phantom heart – one that can still affect and be affected, but lives mostly from my imagination; present in a Tim Burtonesque way. This is because for two weeks I have had a small space within my right chest cavity – something that I can only akin to a tiny, plastic bubble, not unlike the one you’d obtain with a quarter and inside was a sticky hand to throw on a wall somewhere (or simply gather lint and disgusting debris much to your parents’ chagrin).  This bubble is real, in terms of feeling, and it presses me internally – a hollow nodule mirrored with my true heart. But it lives as if an empty, pulsing space; a kind of teeny, travelling star eeping molasses-like along from the middle of my muscle/bone now toward the back of my shoulder blade as if there were an exit sign flashing above. It reminds me of a veteran stab wound that sometimes acts up, even years after the incident. I was never in such an incident, but I imagine the similarity is quite uncanny.

Am I channeling someone’s pain? Whose? Yet there is something reminiscent of love and of death here. Figuratively here and literally here – as I am in Saipan; an island that has its own heartache from WWII, when the US battled and won it from the stronghold of the Japanese. Another heart, another wound; something purple for war or for when you open me up and see the color that surprises you. An old haunt of the emotional and romantic nature, but also of survival. Is love something one sometimes feel they are surviving? I can relate to that. Most of us can when we think of family, not just of relationships. The double-edged swords that fly during Thanksgiving conversation or simply on the phone. Maybe my second heart is faux for this purpose – so that anyone who wishes to hurt it can unknowingly affect the dummy version – and I am left unscathed. I like that. For when you are clawing through the trenches of Los Angeles industry, there are many aiming for your heart, despite how unprofessional - not to mention wildly unfair - that is.

Saipan certainly has its ghosts. This island, where I am to finish filming Gehenna, has both mystically untainted and extremely dilapidated beauty. Crooked, peeling storefronts, letters and lights missing like teeth, leprosy peppering building after building – yet all surrounded by the fullest, unavoidable glory of nature; the beastly sea, the throne of clouds, the unshakeable sun and endless, endless sky. I have touched upon it all only a little, but the greatness and the history cuts me like a laser-point.  And my hollow nodule pulses as if another spirit rises alongside me, pressing a finger so deep it is tendon-struck through my ribcage; a guide to point out the resonation and to remind me of respect for those dead and gone and brave.

Travel certainly brings out that resonance. (And resonation is defined as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air" - apropos to my living air bubble, no?) And I think, that is what I live for; that feeling. When something reaches you on a cellular level and some Avatar-like worship or inner ceremony begins to stir – complete with electricity of light and warmth of rosewater. It is 5:30am and the sky has not an inch of light, but will crack in a moment. Bells are ringing from a crumbling steeple somewhere. The ocean continues to wave and roar. I am in the middle of absolutely nowhere and yet this is the only place that makes sense for me to be. Here. Now. 

Blessings to this island and its people, to the tumultuous past, to the joyous future and to the rain that so lightly visits like a sweet neighbor who needs a cup of sugar here and there. Let us think of how we can give, rather than take, when within a foreign presence - so that we may disarm it and banner our approach of love and kindness. Let us appreciate, let us absorb and let us find wisdom and beauty among the ruins.  

Here I go down the ramshackle sidewalk and I will let you know the result later on. For now, let the peace of the sea wash over your mind in a meditation - and I pray you find that resonation in your day as well. 

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