Heart Island — tales of an unnatural naturalist

In rapid fire change of locales, such as Boston and New York City, then various exotic Caribbean islands, Europe’s Paris and Vienna, Israel of the Middle East, even on boats out at sea and yogic ashrams, the artist Tyson Leela draws an illuminated panorama of her unfortunate habit of mistaking ephemeral thrills for the bliss she seeks in spiritual heights.

Leela on the moves

Leela on the moves

This is the story of an incorrigible danger-addict and how she becomes entirely transformed. If only Leela’s daringness were all directed toward the kind of ephiphanies she’s shown early on, this story would be the biography of a female St. Augustine. But that is not the case. Time after time Leela refuses to reform her renegade ways. Clearly, Leela is not fated for sainthood. But she keeps trying wrong keys to unlock the treasure chest of knowledge in her quest for unveiling life’s secrets. In her disillusion Leela sinks to the pits of despair before she’s able to admit her choices have been pretty foolish, albeit wildly entertaining.

Writing from a wretched prison cell in the Dominican Republic, Leela shows us how she started off searching for the ultimate when the connectedness of all life is revealed to her in childhood episodes. Like many seekers before her, Leela takes one wrong turn after the next. Romantic relationships are either just another addiction, a convenience, or a learning device. Leela wages a war of her own when she leaves America during the Vietnam era, appearing incapable of choosing anything but further burying herself alive. Until—finally—the reason for her blindness is revealed, when her father comes to rescue her from prison. Then she realizes she’s been looking outsideherself for what’s been hidden right within all along. Immediately she meets teachers who show her how to make healthy choices. Now Leela chooses to nurture her love of nature instead of unnaturally denying it.

 

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