Joie de Vivre jewelry
••  y e s  i  k o a n 

When I first started thinking about these pendants, I was experimenting with metal stamping and I was interested in conveying an idea in as few characters as possible. I grew frustrated with metal stamping - no matter how many blanks I tried, my results never approached YouTube quality - but the idea of condensing a story or useful life lesson to analogy form stayed in my mind. As I was reading the collections of stories in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps, several of the stories stuck with me as good candidates for my analogy representation: in A Parable, a man flees from a tiger by grabbing a vine and jumping over a precipice only to be confronted with another tiger below him, also waiting to eat him. As he considers the tiger above and the tiger below, he spots a strawberry growing on the vine - how sweet it tasted! The analogy of strawberry:tiger::life:death refers to the sweetness of the moment, of life in the face of our certain demise. So pick the strawberry and enjoy it already! In Muddy Road two monks are traveling and one helps a young woman cross a river (contact with women considered unwise and dangerous). They continue traveling until the other monk asks why he did it, to which the first says, "I left the girl there. Are you still carrying her?". My first analogy was woman:cargo::deviation:rule, the woman as cargo like a deviation to a rule, which was all right, but then I considered the monk's answer and created woman:river::burden:journey, in which the woman across the river represented the virtual burdens one carries on throughout life.

The analogy eight ounces:one cup::head:heart is the simple idea that the head and the heart are the same, just measured in different units. We tend to pretend we live by one or the other, when the reality for most people is living through both.

The phrase "I would be a party girl if it weren't for my existential angst" is one that my college roommate and I laughingly used to describe our conflicted approach to social engagements. Society acts like it's a crime to be thoughtful and quiet; it isn't. Culture says there's shame in being introverted; there isn't. If you have existential angst, you're not alone and life, that glorious gift, is open to you who has the imagination to appreciate it.

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Delicious
Delicious #3
Cargo #2
Carpe Diem
Strawberries
Equivalent #5
Exceptional
Delicious #4
Reminder #2
Reminder #3
Equivalent
Equivalent #3
Cargo
Equal Measure
Balance

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Party Girl

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yes i koan | literary allusions | spirodoodles | school daze |