rock, paper, scissors, knot

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rock, paper, scissors, knot

I’ve been struggling with how to make my website theme more coherent. This isn’t really a surprise since the idea (“hey, your three shops are like the three gunas!”) came to me in a dreamlike state as I half-slept in the backseat on the way to the airport at 5 am.  The problem is that the gunas are both pretty straightforward and exceedingly complicated when you start (over) thinking.

The simple: all of reality is composed of three gunas, which I’m translating as natures since the domain looked a little too much like (bang!) and because nature describes me better. So – the three gunas are these qualities of existence: tamas, rajas, sattva.  Roughly translated, tamas is inertia, rajas energy and sattva is balance. The gunas not elements like earth, air, fire and water…although they can manifest as identifiable elements. Wind is rajastic air. A stagnant pond is tamasic water. The human body tends to be tamasic (inert) with a lot of rajastic mental energy until we add movement for the body (in yoga, the burn of tapas) and focus for the mind (drishti) to get ourselves to a more sattvic (balanced) state.

And suddenly it isn’t so simple anymore. The threads are all mixed up. Although tamas is often maligned (heavy, dense, dull), it is only within certain contexts that these qualities – this nature – is unhealthy or undesirable. A dense mind – not so good. A strong, dense muscle – might be a good thing. Especially if this solid mass can respond to the needs of a balanced mind quickly and energetically. And a mountain – here density and inertia is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

This is the reason I felt compelled to gather all of my seemingly contradictory art and jewelry creations under the umbrella of the three gunas. Life isn’t a game of rock, paper, scissors where you always know how one element will stand up to another. Instead, the gunas create great tangly knots of possibility for expression, and manifest as combinations as individual as, well, each of us individual humans.

I hate the phrase LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE. At first, I just found it strange that every possible product is covered in this trite saying (yes, wipe your feet on the doormat of love!). Then I found it sad that, although this phrase is especially prevalent on cheap, mass-produced jewelry, it seems to be the first phrase anyone with the tools to do so will write on their “unique” creation. And now, not to be overly dramatic, but these three little words have come to symbolize all that is wrong with our culture.

LIVE! Rock beats hate.

LAUGH! Paper beats sadness.

LOVE! Scissors beats pain.

As if it were really that simple.

Three natures make a lot more sense than right/wrong to me. Yes, the ideal is sattvic – a state where we are thoughtful, calm and balanced. But the gunas acknowledge that without some rajas (a little chaos or energy) then sattva can become tamasic – dull, and eventually toxic. A positive outlook is great, but not experiences are meant to be laughed – and shrugged – off.

So, in terms of what I make, the simple division is that Gogoshebogo is sattva, FYeah rajas and Cinter Metal Clay tamas. But in reality, each nature is intertwined with everything else. Despite what you might have been taught, “bad” words don’t make bad people. Amazingly kind, sattvic people buy FYeah Jewelry for their loved ones (you might be surprised how many parents and kids bond over bad language). Dull clay is just waiting for the spark of someone else’s creativity. And gogoshebogo – well, maybe that’s the exception that proves the rule. True to its Labrador roots, Gogoshebogo is always happy. But if I didn’t balance its balance with my other ventures, I’d find myself in the tamasic swamp of trite right quick. But even then, there’d be hope, as a lotus would find a way to turn that muck into something pure. Cycles of creation and destruction…maybe that’s the only real thing.

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