Life is Art
LIFE IS ART
By Zohara Meyehoff Hieronimus,
Director of Ruscombe Mansion Community Health Center in Maryland
"When I went to study with Samuel Avital at age 21, I was admittedly searching for my lifes purpose. What I found were practical tools of consciousness and valuable principles of conservation. Our breath, our gestures and our words are limited by our thoughts. In silence and listening, one learns how to integrate reality through honest thinking in order to be happy and productive."
In my search for meaning I went to Boulder, Colorado to participate in the First International Summer Mime Workshop of 1975. Now, seventeen years later, when reflecting back on that catalytic experience, I am amazed at the impact and duration of its ripple effect. When I met Samuel Avital, I was struggling internally with becoming 'something.' Would I be a dancer, a painter, a sculptor, a writer, a singer, and a mime?
The funny and enduring part about my relationship with Samuel Avital and what he taught me is best understood by telling this story. Rules are rules and exist for reasons. Sometimes, the reasons are good. Sometimes, they are inhumane; sometimes, superfluous. Samuel's rules were reasonable. And logical. Every workshop participant had to participate. Come to class on time. Do your work. Fast one day a week from words and one day from food. If you'll be absent, let someone know why.
Boulder in the 70s was flourishing with activity, at the University, at the Naropa Institute, and in the air itself. I had dropped out of college and was eager to 'expand' my horizons. This took me up into the mountains almost daily where it was easy to get lost among the pines and the secret mountain lakes residents hid from summer intruders.
One day, I didn't come to afternoon class. I didn't let anyone know that I wasn't coming, but instead had gone up into the mountains to look for a house to rent. The following day I was reprimanded for wasting other people's time and energy. Several days passed. I came to class until another balmy, fresh summer day had me in its beckoning eye. I didn't show up for another afternoon class. Samuel and I sat down, and it was decided that I should leave the program, which I did. It was several days past the workshop's halfway mark.
I watched the group performances, the group gatherings and several events. I watched each one of them. I learned to observe. I learned that we are indeed accountable for our actions.
Samuel and I have stayed in contact since that summer. Although several years sometimes pass without a phone call or letter, we always share a dream or two here and there. The remarkable part of this human being we call Samuel Avital, is that the passionate fire with which he works the essential universe as a living artist has remained constant.
I did not become a mime or a professional performing artist. Instead, I founded and am the executive director of the Ruscombe Mansion Community Health Center, one of the largest naturopathic and holistic outpatient centers in America. I co-host a national radio program, Hieronimus and CO's 21st Century Radio, with my husband, Bob. On it, we profile alternative ways of living (We did an interview with Samuel) I am also an active Maryland and national lobbyist for organic agriculture and the elimination of chemical pesticides. I have lobbied against food irradiation, and write regularly for local and regional magazines and papers on western mystery tradition, the new paradigm, and environmental and health issues.
When I went to study with Samuel Avital at age 21, I was admittedly searching for my life's purpose. What I found were practical tools of consciousness and valuable principles of conservation. Our breath, our gestures and our words are limited by our thoughts. In silence and listening, one learns how to integrate reality through honest thinking in order to be happy and productive.
Since that summer in 1975, I have tried to practice what Samuel Avital taught me, that our lives are art. It is what we think, say and do that is ultimately our gift as co-creators. Surely, this is a perennial wisdom of value for everyone.