By Kim Puil
Kim Puil is a graduate of The 3 Doors Academy and a professional collage artist. Here she describes how her artwork is influenced and inspired by her transformative Tibetan meditation practices and her past experiences as a modern dancer. Recently her work was shown in Toronto at an exhibition called “Inner Landscapes – Arisings From The Space of Being”. This is the second article in our Creative Musings series, where 3 Doors practitioners reflect on their creative process.
I know what I am not! I am not a conceptual artist. My world has always been one of experience and embodying what it is that I feel and have come to know.
My work is an ongoing expression of my daily relationship with the meditation practices of Bon Buddhism and my personal world. My interaction with the daily and ever-changing moments of desire, aversion and disconnection are the ‘working ground’ and the wellspring of these collages.
Creating these collages is my way of bringing the Buddhist teachings into the ‘dance of life’. Each represents the transformative possibilities in any given moment and I encourage the viewer as he/she stands in front of one of them, to take a moment, to breathe and connect to the open space of one’s mind (heart and mind are ‘one’ in the Tibetan tradition) before the dialogue begins.
For over forty years, as a Martha Graham-based modern dancer and master teacher, I pushed myself to go beyond perceived limitations and boundaries in the quest for absolute union of body, mind, and spirit.
My life in (and out of) the studio was a complex of relationships to the conscious and sub-conscious worlds. With bare feet upon a smooth wooden floor, I physically worked my way from the ground to standing – moving through space in diagonals, parallels and spirals – rising and falling – while metaphorically I embodied archetypes and the complexity of the human realm to the accompaniment of primal drums or an unbridled piano. My primary relationships were with the ground below me – mother earth – and the space through which I travelled. In dance, these elements and I became one. This was my language, my world that I had come to trust and know so well.
The extreme rigors of the career eventually took its toll on my body and I had to stop teaching. Devastated, I retreated, grieving the death of ‘me’ as I had known her for my whole life. It was during this time that I decided to make a personal commitment to deepen and strengthen my Tibetan Buddhist meditation studies of many years.
I enrolled in a personal-transformational program in the USA called The 3 Doors Academy, created by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. In the program, using self-reflection, journaling, and daily formal and informal practices of Bon and Dzogchen meditation, the practitioner was required to embrace and transform personal challenges in the areas of self, family, and work/community. All in all, we had to complete 63 transformations, written and submitted over the course of 2 1/2 years.
During this intense process, I embraced my ‘lost self’, befriending and dissolving the grief, anger, fear, and personal angst about the loss of creative expression that was so vital to me and my loss of status and value in the ‘world’.
Over time I made peace with and let go of the need to ‘be a somebody’ and opened into the uncertainty of what was next. Immersing myself in beginner’s mind I began to choreograph and dance in a different way by making collages.
To view more of Kim Puil’s work visit: https://www.kimpuilart.com/