navel centres: aka belly button series

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“To define a thing is to replace it with it’s definition” - Georges Braque

These paintings speak to breath, sacred breath, letting in, letting go.

i learn there is a term for the velocity acquired by a body falling toward the sun from

an infinite distance, i try to use the term in a sentence, i can’t.

as i watch Oz prepare tea i ask “Oz, what do you hope for your soul?” he replies “i

knew there was a reason i invited you over for tea.”

i am in my childhood bed and my mother is tucking me in good night and she’s happy

so she kisses me on my belly button.

Second chakra, sweetness, abode of the vital force,

centre of our emotions and sexuality; home of our tears.

Navel centres, our primal bond to the world, our point of first connection and


i look out my studio window on a wet friday february afternoon, Christine is holding an

umbrella over someone i can’t see and screams up to me, traffic is blocked, there is an

accident, i rush downstairs, Cameron is lying in the road.

i’m in a dryer in a Yonge St. laundromat one xmas eve, Rich is depressing the door

button manually so i can go for a tumble; xmas eve five years later we get married.

i am on the floor of my west facing studio on a hot thursday afternoon in july, ChiChi

comes and licks my knees and sweat and tears, later i throw out almost a hundred


Third chakra, lustrous gem, jewel of the navel, the place people instinctually put their


when i ask them to pose naked, centre of personal power, intelligence, chi,

the life force energy, home of anger, joy and laughter.

i’m walking in the forest with Carl, the sun is dancing on the path ahead, i turn to Carl

and ask “Carl, do you believe in god?” Carl answers “i believe in a giant living orgasm” i

laugh, and he quickly says “ORGANISM, organism, not ORGASM, i meant giant living


i am in the supermarket between the corn flakes and the coffee, Rich says “just don’t

get romantically involved with him”, i say “pardon me?” he replies “oh i forgot you

don’t get romantically involved, okay just don’t get sexually involved”

i’m selling jeans in the eaton center in Toronto, serving a man who has me bringing

him every different style to try on, eventually he opens the changing room door and

he is naked except for a grin and a hard-on, i suppress a laugh and say instead “nice

belly button”.

Our bellies... the place we hold, complain about and ache...a full belly laugh,

an empty belly cry, translate prana, breath, the life force energy into electrochemical


breathe... breath... we forget to breathe, deep belly breath, instead we suck in our


i find out the term for the sex you get from an unwilling partner, i try to use it in a

sentence, i can.

i am out walking with Con and Chi at the end of november and i say “i am freezing”,

Con says “but it’s such a warm november day”, later that evening it snows.

i’m looking out the hospital window when i get the news that Ross has jumped in front

of a subway train and is dead; the next day i get a day pass home and my father walks

in with a large jug of red wine, plunks it on the kitchen table and says ”we’re drinking

till you talk.”

We must experience human love and happiness to know divine love,

all the fear, all the anger, all the distrust held so long in the belly,

let it go, let it just be.

i’m leaving a note for Oz, i ask Con how to say “welcome home” in spanish, he replies

“domo errogato” which doesn’t seem right but i write it anyway; three weeks later he

tells me it meant “my mistake” in japanese, i laugh until my eyes fall out and my belly


i‘m hitchhiking in Montreal, a man pulls over to give me a ride, later we’re in an alley

and he’s all over me and i’m struggling to get out of the car, it never occurs to me to


i’m playing and laughing, wearing my dark blue school tunic, my mother says “you’re

laughing now, you’ll be crying later” she’s right then-- now, i’m walking down the

street alone, i think of something funny, i laugh, i think “i’m laughing now, i’ll be

dancing later”

penny eisenberg 2002

The greater the hindrance the greater the enlightenment

Zen saying

to the paintings: navel centres