For the first time on this journey, we returned to a place. On our stay here a couple of weeks prior – at our presentation in the Temple, in fact – a connection was made. It was this connection that brought us back to Chattanooga, to the Willy Wonka-esque Creative Discovery Museum. On the first day, scores of guests were invited to become active participants in the project, getting yarn hearts to go and mark their spots of significance with. We asked each participant to describe what this Museum meant to them, in one word. On the second day, we returned and created a mural encompassing these words, in the form of a crossword puzzle centered around a phrase. Be here now. A phrase that not just symbolizes the essence of this mural, a tangible art manifestation of life passing a specific place at a specific time, but also the base notion of the entire Mind the Heart! mission to promote and induce mindfulness. Be present. Be aware. Be. It’s also a summation of the most wondrous part of being a child – a state of mind of being in the now, completely engrossed in what you do/build/play with/imagine. We couldn’t envision a more perfect setting and context for all of the above.
Austin, our wondrous host, had connected us to an art lady in the city. We met her to explore possibilities and while we’re talking she picks up the phone and calls her husband (“you have to meet these two Israeli artists, they’re here right now, where are you?…”) It turns out he is jogging near by. In less than 10 minutes we are introduced to the Reform Rabbi of the community. We are independent thinkers and non-practicing in terms of religion, but here we were, sitting with the two of them, discussing mindfulness, life, beliefs, passions and the pursuit of happiness. And BBQ and ice cream. We spoke quite a lot about BBQ and ice cream. One thing led to another, and so it was that on that very Friday eve, we found ourselves giving a presentation of Mind the Heart! to the congregation at the local temple. An old, historic, beautiful building. Preceding us, the Rabbi had curated an evening of texts from the bible and sermons all dealing with mindfulness, many of which were breathtakingly beautiful. His interpretation of the 2,000 year old text felt deeply modern, and connected to our day-to-day secular experiences.
Our second day of walking-working in this excellent city. Among our findings – a baby tree that had apparently just been delivered by stork, vines clinging, vines that have let go, and the scalp of a pumpkin.
Having been snuffed by the Knoxville teachers, we soon landed in beautiful Chattanooga, cradled by mountains and percolating with genuine creative spirit. A friend in Indianapolis connected us to our host here, a superb & gentle & generous soul, who took us in and also took the time to show us around and introduced us to anyone and everyone.