Jayme McLellan: Jealousy of Clouds centers on a Buddhist fable by Thich Nhat Hanh about a river who longs to possess the clouds. In the story, the river spends her days chasing the clouds, eventually becoming jealous and resentful of their beauty and falling into a deep depression. One day, the clouds part and the river is able to see the vast blue sky. She realizes the clouds are fleeting and impermanent and that, like the clouds, she too is made of water. The river learns there was nothing to chase after, what she longed to possess was already within herself. She could finally enjoy the beautiful sky, which had been there all along.
This past Saturday, in conjunction with McLellan's exhibtion, Heiner Contemporary hosted a mindfulness workshop led by local instructor, Annie Mahon. Mahon began the workshop with a reading of Nhat Hanh's fable and an introduction to mindfulness. She then led the group in a short guided meditation (I may have dozed off... which is apparently a good sign!) and a discussion of ways in which everyone can lead a more mindful life. This was my first real introduction to the teachings of Nhat Hanh outside of working on the exhibition, and I really enjoyed the group discussion about the challenges and joys of learning to be present everyday. (Interesting to think about in terms of earlier thoughts on performance art and camera phones...)
It was really special to have this experience surrounded by Jayme's personal meditations on the subject. The view from my desk is now a lovely reminder to stay mindful, though I hope to keep Nhat Hanh's lessons with me long after Jealousy of Clouds closes this summer.
Artwork: Jayme McLellan, Miami Sky 5 (detail), 2009