what is god for you?
mig. in the video you were asked what god is for you. is there something you wish to add?
ap. well, i actually language her as goddess; i have sort of come home to this like fluidly pagan-buddhist-somewhere syncretised philosophy of a very powerful, eminent goddess that lives and breathes change and the natural cycles in life and compels me on the path that i am on.
mig. is the word god controversial for you? if yes why?
ap. it is problematic for me because, i mean, i grew up with the church and i think that our conception, like the popular cultural conceptions almost on a global level, of god is overwhelmingly masculine. and so when i think of god, i think of it as sort of this counterpoint to the goddess; within my faith and my practice there are many gods and goddesses, so on one level it is something very broad and non specific and something totally not offensive. i openly identify in many ways with a mantra or philosophy where everyone is god; my friend has this really funny thing where he walks around the street and does what he calls 'god-ing' where he just walks up to strangers and says "you are god." it is such a mind blowing concept for so many people but for me, now, it is really important for me to language her as goddess primarily. so i have a really mixed relationship with that word, for sure, but definitely, if i strip it down to the basics of what it means, to me its not offensive; i think we all have choices about how we language things and that language can spread out in really important ways.
mig. do you think of religion when you hear the word god? if yes, why?
ap. yes, i grew up methodist and i had a really strong and specific relationship with god and with christ. i guess in some ways you can say i still do, but it has just morphed into a lot of different things; so yes, i do think of religion, but not necessarily in a church-sense, because i don't really have a church; i more just think of it in a broader sense of practicing life; there are yoga classes that i take where i talk about god and i can think of that sometimes.
mig. do you believe everything happens for a reason, or are we the reason why things happen?
ap. neither, i think that it goes beyond that, actually going back to language; i think it is important as people to transcend dualistic notions like that notion where its "free will" or its "divinely ordained"; i don't think its either, i think its maybe like we were put in these bodies with such limited sensory arrays to not actually find an answer to that question. quantum physicists will actually argue on either side of the idea of free will and whether that is actually a possibility or not, but i don't actually think that that is the important thing there; maybe the question lingering is where its at. i think there is a natural order to things and you see a lot of parallels in between all levels of material, energetic and esoteric existence; i think things generally tend to follow the pattern that they are supposed to or at least i think that is where the act of faith comes in; my spiritual practice is just trusting the order, but that doesn't mean that my perspective will ever be broad enough to see that order. maybe nobody's is, and maybe thats the point, because one person's order is another person's chaos; its very subjective, so i guess at this point i don't really think about this so much.
mig. define love. what does love mean for you?
ap. i think that love is when two beings are occupying as close as they can to the same space, because i think that cosmologically, on one level, we all come from the same thing and we all exist on certain levels as one or as something more cohesive then we do here, which is very fractured, individual and "self". the whole idea of the self rules our existence on the planet at this time. i think about my experiences with love and its like when i have spent a really long time fighting what i thought was my path, and then i just give up and allow myself to face my fear and get onto the path that i have always been afraid of, and then you feel this cosmic rightness where everything feels correct. its kind of what love is; for a second you are aligning with someone else in a really specific way and you are kind of vibrating together; you feel that synergy beyond the individual that becomes the current that draws you back to something beyond yourself.
mig. do you think love is something all life forms share?
ap. i think so, in a way. when you think of the animal kingdom, like flora and microbiata and bacteria, i think that, on some level, we are all moving in the same way and looking for the same things. i think we as people are unique, probably not as unique as we like to think but unique, in the fact that we do have this ability to language and frame everything within the abstract. i think that when you get down to it, all it comes down to is moving energy around and finding your path vibrating in the way that you are supposed to with another thing, and i think that it goes beyond procreation, because in the animal world there is a lot of work done together that doesn't have to do with procreation; you know they say in giant conifer forests that the bigger trees will funnel water to the smaller trees that aren't getting as much rain, through their root systems. in some ways we are just moving energies and moving mass around in the way that we are supposed to; so i think that what we think of and how we contextualise love is reflected across all physical realms and boundaries, our perspective is so limited and so restricted, especially culturally, so that we can't always see that.
mig. what in your opinion can make a relationship last a whole lifetime?
ap. i think that sometimes it comes down to perspective. you know that if you are not physically with someone; for example, if they have passed away or you have just grown apart; that you carry what happened with that person, you carry those memories forever. a lot of quantum physicists have said about time that the past and the future are all happening at once; it is just a matter of our perception; and so i think that every interaction, even the really small ones, has the potential to last with you. as far as in a more traditional or more physical sense, i don't know, because a lot of me has not always seen that (a relationship lasting a lifetime) as so natural; that has always seemed so crazy to me, because i just think of how much i have changed and how mercurial people are personality-wise and also in a physical sense we change so much in our lives so it doesn't make sense that two people would want to strap themselves down together; but at the same time maybe you change together and sometimes it compliments and sometimes it contradicts… i don't know. i guess that sometimes it comes down to an alignment of purpose and feeling; my parents are still together which astounds me, because some of my closest friendships with people i love deeply..you naturally just gravitate away sometimes. one of my best friends passed away in july, but i don't anticipate the feeling or the experience of him leaving me ever; though its hard to see sometimes where he is in relation to me.
mig. what have you learned about life so far?
ap. i have learned enough to know that there is a lot i don't know and maybe will never know, and i have learned that this cultural predilection to look for answers may not be as beneficial as we think it is. i think that sometimes that hanging question mark can be more important than, or at least as important as, any kind of answer we come up with, because there is never going to be a truth. i study yoga and some of this stuff is passed on for a really long time and also, being pagan, this is maybe the heir to one of the oldest religions known to humanity; that doesn't mean that it is going to hold truth for everybody, and i think that what it comes down to is where you are at and what your perception is. so i think the most important thing for me is to find the strength to hold space for all of these different truths, even if on the surface they seem to contradict; finding a space or a perspective so that things that seem contradictory actually are just compliments, or maybe on one end they are the same, even if we lack the perception to see that.
mig. how would you describe us/humanity today?
ap. i am choosing to be (and feeling) optimistic about where we are and where we have been, as a species and society. i think the future will show that all the pain and bloodshed and heartache we are still living within will all be worth it in the end; learning invaluable lessons about our interconnectedness as people and with the planet. as for right now, i find myself stunned and amazed everyday both by the measure of pain i feel for so much of the world, and by the measure of beauty i experience on a daily basis from people and the things that we have built and created together. so i feel totally aligned with changing the world in so many ways, but i still know i must appreciate what i see and experience every day as totally unique and beautiful; it's strange.
thank you alexis blair penney for participating in the 'mig' project.
videography by mig. all rights reserved 2014.
photography by mig. all rights reserved 2014.
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