the birds of refuge

By Mind the Heart!,

Hopping apartments across NYC throughout the week, Dominique was the driver from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn. A single father of two who had lost his wife tragically not long ago, he was soft-spoken yet powerful, optimistic yet realistic, inspiring in his practicality in the face of adversity. It was therefor not a total surprise to learn that he was also a pastor, at a Refuge Center in Queens. We met him there briefly the next day.
~ r

never too late

By Mind the Heart!,

never & too late. Two such final and fatalistic notions, both stemming from false notions of things being black and white, of the past/present determining the future. But two negatives can easily become a positive. It’s never too late.
~ r
Works emerge. Sometimes they come as fragments of a vision, sometimes as half formed thoughts, every once in a while as complete sentences, more often than not as a physical sensation tingling in the fingertips. And sometimes we get a sign from the universe indicating that we’re on the right track.
As we went out that morning, with the words “it’s never too late” in mind, that same sentence was echoed in a conversation in the elevator on our way down.
~ m

say yes

By Mind the Heart!,

A few years back we saw a small, enchanting indie film called “Liberal Arts.
(A 35 years old Jesse returns to his college for his favorite professor’s retirement party. On the way out, he takes a trip down memory lane and stumbles upon a fairy-student, Zibby, in a dorm party. Zibby studies acting and decides to take on the first rule of her improv course – say yes – to the next level.)
The story line is simple and familiar in a way, but there its inner beauty lies. It shines of little truths, of precious moments, of naive passion to live life to the fullest, of optimism and joy. Not because it is childish or unaware of harsh realities, but because it chooses to say yes in the face of worry, criticism, darkness, loneliness, cynicism and doubt. It chooses to say yes in spite of the fears, as a remedy to the soul, as an act of trust and gratefulness.

That little yes was among the first seeds of this phase of this project.

~ m

out and about in Bushwick

By Mind the Heart!,

This was a long and fruitful day in which we spotted endless street corners, peeling doorways, crumbling brick walls and other urban textures.
Among the beauty and neglect of Bushwick we bumped into the inspiring and prolific street artist, Sara Erenthal. Sara joined our wandering path and shared her favorite spots. All and all it was a good day.

~ m

homing bird

By Mind the Heart!,

Homing pigeons were sent and awaited for, all over the globe, for many a year. Pretty much the same pigeons that we see everyday.
They share our cities, they dot our skies, they peck at our pavements, they are everywhere, high or low, literally. And we – two legged creatures – have been fascinated with them since forever. Their ability to fly away yet always find the way home, over extremely long distances, is a true gift.

We place our yarn birds in various locations for various reasons – some are there to go on and migrate, some to stay and nest, some to soar and take the sky to an unexpected place. They come in flocks or by themselves, pair of a feather or one winged soul. But that basic idea and old fascination remains the same – they represent freedom and hope, a longing for adventure. They reflect a common earthly struggle: the tension between where we are and where we wish to be, what holds us back and what makes us fly.

The Bushwick sky was full of circulating flocks, flying back and forth from a specific building. On its rooftop we spotted a man waving a flag. Another pigeon keeper in a long line that dates back 3,000 years of history.

~ m

the shed at the intersection

By Mind the Heart!,

On the way to Woodstock NY,
right at the intersection where a right turn from a winding country road
leads off to a narrower and windier country road, this abandoned shed beckoned.
Screeching cicadas above in the treetops, serene and still pond at our feet,
merciless kamikaze mosquitoes everywhere in-between.

~ R

on the thread to Woodstock

By Mind the Heart!,

So how does Serendipity lead us on this one year journey?
Lessons in intentional randomness.
The leading force of our project is serendipity, which means the places we go and people we meet are not planned
but rather are conjured through initiating random yet meaningful interaction with people we meet on the road.
In turn they send us to that place we must see, thing we must eat, cousin we must meet if we happen to be in…
We put ourselves in the hands of lady luck, let ourselves be bounced in the great pinball machine of life
and commit to a 24/7 artistic process inspired by all this.

Prologue: We went to Boston to meet the sister of a dear friend for breakfast
and ended up staying at her place for the night.
On the second day, we accompanied her for a concert she played at an assisted-living home.
As she wrapped up her gig, she surprisingly introduced us and the project to the elderly congregation
and a brief Mind the Heart presentation and Q&A commenced.
Afterwards, a few amazing and truly inspiring old ladies approached, in turns, to dive deeper into this.
One asked if we were Buddhists. Another suggested we should go to Woodstock NY and meet Marc at City Hall.

So to Woodstock we drove (through Worcester, to meet a couple of Buddhists,
only as we arrived unannounced at the temple door on the weekend, it turned out that they’re all the way in Denmark).
Now, it turns out that Woodstock does not have a City Hall. Instead, after some searching,
we found a couple of wooden huts/offices at the end of a climbing road on the edge of a forest.
We went into the second of those in search of Marc. Marc wasn’t there, but Bill was.
Bill was weary at first of these two strange artists who have come wandering into his office but warmed up quickly,
told some stories of the wonders and quirks of the town and even recommended spots where we could sort-of-legally park overnight.
We gave Bill a heart.

Epilogue: Marc was actually in the first office-hut. Marc also got a heart.
Turns out that Marc doesn’t really know the elderly lady who sent us from Boston.
Also turns out that Bill is the Mayor (in Woodstock it’s actually: Supervisor) of Woodstock.