Got Ojas?

Ojas is the juiciness of life, made possible by mental, emotion, physical and spiritual balance. Think about the qualities of a person who is healthy. They are strong yet supple, easy to smile, generous with their time and energy, resilient and a visible radiance. The Sanskrit word ojas describes this glow. This video is a first person documentary, free associatively constructed around a poem by Karen Minzer. The video explores the relationship of Ojas and its parallels in zen and socratic philosophies, referring to essential nature residing within us. What’s inside of you is outside of you. And vice versa. This video defines ojas and essential nature through home movies of three generations of the same family. Audio of Minzer’s poem is similarly layered to suggest generational overtones. The video incorporates iPhone call-in readings by Karen Minzer, Monika Bell and Imogene Bell. Visuals were collaged by Monika Bell, using Karen’s family videos, some clips from both Monika and Karen’s performances, Suze Riddle’s ambient film work, and audio of Karen defining Ojas in an interview by Brian Townley. Music is public domain. 


Got Ojas?

Holey Chirping of a bird that loves it when the sun comes up

                     A flower that loves it when it rains, and not too much

                                  the colors that love any kind of light

                                               the wood that loves the ancestry of the tree 

                                                          the tree that casts a dance of leaves 

                                                                       to have kin so near

                                                                             though a park bench it may now be 

                                                                                       the bed that loves your sleep 

                                                                             the water that loves your drink

                                                                     the people that let you watch them 

                                                           the people that watch you

                                      what you imagine you share in a stare

                           the spoon that loves to stir

              the book that loves it pages 

and holds them tight in its arms

        the spirits of the Dead

                  did love die when they did?

                           Holy the truth that loves to surface 

                                       the journeys that love us to pieces

                                               the pieces apart

                                                           attracted to a whole

                                                                   or picked up piecemeal

                                                                           loved individually 

                                                                                 the splinters of the self

                                                                   divided, multiplied physically altered

                                                          but never wavering  in the soul’s composition

                                                 the composition that loves your soul 

                                         the soul that loves you

                               the you that loves them

                      the Them that is You

             the All that is the It 

     the Them with  You

The All is nothing more 

       than nothingness plus 

              all deathlessness, birthlessness

                         living, dead, and in-between. 

                               the shining of nothing in a hole

                                          the hair that grows down a river

                                                   the river that perches on a tree

                                                                                the tree made of a tv

                                                                    the tv that is nature

                                    the nature that is the furniture

`                                    the silence that speaks

               the ceiling that rains thought

         a floor’s cradle of the heart

the walls that cheat the  feet

Start to finish

Finish to be started 

    the in-between bleeding into 

              opposite attractions— All of it!

                        the eye of the daisy staring 

                                  at the face of the chair

                                         the choir of voicelessness 

                                                   the danceless rhythm

                                                          the un-seeable obvious

                                                                  the oblivion of the known 

                                                                           refusing and accepting



                                                                                                 Vacuum the rain

                                                                                                            Publish the sun

                                                                                                                      Fax the clouds 

                                                                                                                 Pressure a void

                                                                                                  You can be loved 

                                                                                     by millions of people

                                                                         a spaceless of people

                                                             Unless you love yourself

                                           You will never feel their love

                              It’s not all or nothing. 

                  It’s everything that’s nothing
Be the problem and its solution

    Be as empty as you are full

        Be a dimensional plane

                             Be dimensionless 

                                      Be aimlessly passionate

                                                Be passionately aimless 

                                                          Lose the answer

                                                                     Find the question 

                                                                                Dawn is never wrong!

                                                                      Nobel worm awaken!

                                                     A red-breasted robin 

                                     pecks the earth        for you!   


Photo by Anna Minzer

Karen  is a writer/poet/wanderer, published by the Austin Sun in the 70s, Paris Records in the 80s and Wowapi, 90s to present. Her most recent work is published in Entropy (2019.) In 1977 she discovered WordSpace founder, Robert Trammell, reading his poetry at Old City Park across the street from her home at the historic (grundgy) Ambassador Hotel. She is a co-recipient, with Dee Mitchell, of the 2015 Dallas Observer MasterMind Awards and has served WordSpace as program curator, coordinator, board member, programs chair, program director, and executive director 2009-2018. She is currently a WordSpace Advisor and co-chair of Special Events; and Humanities doctoral (old) student. She holds an MFA from Naropa University Jack Kerouac School, where she also studied as a poetics apprentice to Allen Ginsberg, back in the day.  She has curated thousands of writers for over 30 years in DFW, Boulder and Santa Fe. Karen is a veteran punk band shouter, but is pretty quiet and retired these days, a Dharma Broad, 500 hour E-RYT yoga instructor; and sometimes participates in Thomas Riccio’s  Zombies. Jennifer Smart: Dallas Observer100 Dallas Creatives: Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer

Yoga Hall Eftalou, Greece: with Angela Farmer (Acharya)

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