My name's Julie Püttgen. I'm an artist and a meditation teacher, which turn out not to be such different things. Both rely on a sense of trust in the unfolding, creative process of awareness & in this very life as a perfect vehicle for waking up. Both also rely on improvisation - responding openly to what is, without getting too hung up ideas of what ought to be instead.
I've never actually gotten a tattoo, but I like to think about what I would get, if I did. A connect-the-dots constellation? A Mirabai quote wrapping around my wrist? Or perhaps a set of manifesto knuckle-tats.
Useless Joy is a gift from my movement teacher, Eiko Otake, who maintains that the highest accomplishment for human beings is to be useless & harmless. That's a long way from lofty goals of success, and it is very freeing. I trust the Taoist sense of being like water, which flows straight to the low, loathsome places, and thus finds its way. I trust the Buddhist idea of being without needing to be Somebody Doing Something. So, that's useless. And joy, strangely, seems to be the conjoined twin of letting go.
There are people and places that make us feel small, cramped, trapped, and hopeless, with no way to get anything right, or to be heard. And then, marvelously, there are people and places so utterly free & clear that they can't help but help remind us of our own inherent, inalienable freedom. It's contagious & effortless: nobody is trying to change anybody else. Just: oh! Contagious Freedom. In such a presence, we realize our lives have meaning. We realize even the really hard things that happen to us hold the potential for freedom.
My life as an artist is a life of agreeing to know what I know & feel what I feel. It is a life of opening up & coming out of hiding & even though it's sometimes really scary, I wouldn't trade it for anything.