He who believes is strong;

he who doubts is weak.

Strong convictions precede great actions.

Note to self.

I got this note from my beautician, who always makes me to take an ‘inspirational’ message from her jar before I leave. The first message I took, along the same lines as the one quoted above, seemed cryptic and ominous, so we tossed it. Then I grabbed this one but Kamini said take another instead, until I re-read it and realised it speaks of the inner strength and confidence we each have innately.

I decided to keep it, because it holds much value to the experiences in my life right now and how I approach them.

We are all made from Stardust

As incoherent and directionless as these blog posts may be, I have decided that when the inspiration hits, its best to get what’s tangled up in my head out. For now… This is a visual diary, a catalogue of field notes of the things life is telling or showing me to take ‘note’ of. I would like to borrow from Beth:

“My philosophy is that regarding the quotidian as art down to the detail renders so much more out of life… Sometimes beauty is very ugly, and sometimes the ugly is very beautiful.”

This year has been a heartbreaking one for our family. I lost a dear uncle, or rather as I’d like to remember him: a father. His family is devastated. He left a wife, son and daughter behind and as I watch from the fringes, I see how they are trying to navigate life without him. He was a true presence, a leader and down to earth kind-hearted man. It has been just over three months since he left us; he was recovering from a heart transplant and we all thought and hoped he would pull through. But God, consciousness, the universe had other plans.

Lately, I have had a significant amount of occurrences or references to stars. Stars, the glitter you see when you look up into the night sky. The ‘suns’ who are many light years away. The first reference was a talk my cousin invited me to called Origins of the Universe. Dr Petri Vaisanen, an astronomer from The South African Astronomical Observatory, said something that stuck with me: we are all made from stardust. I had never heard that before and it made me realise that we are connected to much more beyond this earth! Over at National Geographic, they featured Astrophysicist Karel Schrijver, a senior fellow at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, and his wife, Iris Schrijver, professor of pathology at Stanford University, on their book Living With the Stars: How the Human Body Is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars: 

“Our bodies are made of remnants of stars and massive explosions in the galaxies…”

The second reference is one of the latest posts by Maria Papova, over at Brainpickings which features the work of  Vija Celmins and writer Eliot Weinberger who:bring to life in the limited-edition MoMA book The Stars — an uncommonly poetic ode to the resplendence of the night sky.” Vija Celmins is a visual artist best known for her photo-realistic paintings and drawings of natural environments.

Vija Celmins
Vija Celmins’s – producing a negative image of the night sky

The third is a Krista Tippet interview with Brian Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, in a podcast titled: Reimagining the Cosmos. In reply to Krista’s comment that science is essential to the fullness of understanding of humanity just as literature and art and music are, Brian responds:

We’re thrust into this world on this rock that’s orbiting a nondescript star in the outskirts of an ordinary galaxy. Wow. I mean, can you imagine being thrust into a more bizarre and strange reality than that? And what we’ve been doing for thousands of years is just trying to piece by piece get some understanding of where we came from, where the universe came from, and where it’s all going. So, to me, that is not distinct from what the poet does or what the philosopher does or what the great writer does or the composer does. They just do it in a different language.

Lastly I am reminded of Miso, Stanislava Pinchuk a Ukrainian born artist, based in Melbourne, who I discovered a few years ago on Instagram. I was and still am mesmerised by her simple, delicate, cosmic tattoos.


SV - Miso
Miso’s home-made tattoo above and point artwork

Lately, the star reference has become a serious tattoo consideration of mine…but even more so, it has got me thinking about my own human insignificance in relation to the entire universe! To those who have lost a wife, an aunt, a mother, a father, an uncle or a loved one: I know that to lose someone you hold dear is the most heartbreaking time but perhaps they are not too far.

Perhaps they are looking down at us from the night sky.

Feature Image: NASA, Astronomy Picture of the Day, 4 August 2005

Artist Portrait: Vija Celmins 

Miso artwork