Mr. Gurdjieff hung his Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling.It is possible that he was indicating to us to look at life differently.A student of Gurdjieff and Orage's once told us that at a meeting with Orage in New York, someone asked, "How can I look at life differently?". Mr. Orage replied: "Stand on your head!".
Rodney Collin wrote that there are Chairos times, moments when after a long cycle of "static" behavior, a sudden breakthrough is possible.One can reach a new energy, new field of activity, change one's life drastically by breaking the old pattern.This can happen by a movement of will, forcing oneself to perhaps speak to someone, to ask a favor, a meeting, or help. Send off a job application, or possibly to just be honest with someone. The end of the old year brings this possibility, as the old year's cycle comes to a close.
When Katherine Mansfield the writer was in the last part of her life, Mr. Gurdjieff allowed her to stay at his Institute in France. He had a hayloft built for her in the stables, as he believed the healing breath of the animals would help her condition. He told her to go and sit in the kitchen every day. She could observe the life of a busy and active environment, where there were pots, and fires, and food, and life. All designed to help her. When she finally died, he received much criticism as perhaps the man who had "killed her" with his strange methods. Later in his life he said: "She my friend". She is buried close by his grave.
To make a dinner, to have a dinner, to arrange a dinner, to keep a momentum of meals, all require effort. Mr. Gurdjieff was constantly with his students. There was always plenty of food, even during the war. Something in us relaxes when there is plenty to eat. A certain "tension" goes out of our lives. Have you ever noticed at a party, or with friends, you often end up in the kitchen, chatting, drinking after a meal? We have seen this many times, we get drawn there. The kitchen is where the life and soul of the house resides, the least used room in the house, is often the formal "living room".
On a train trip through America, according to Mr. Gurdjieff's companion, Fritz Peters, Mr. Gurdjieff made it a point to cause as much trouble as possible for his fellow passengers. Arriving late, holding up the train, moving through the sleeper carriages late at night waking the occupants up. And when one episode in a carriage settled, he proceeded to produce a number of very smelly cheeses for a snack. He was perhaps illustrating to Fritz Peters the way he had broken societal taboos, he no longer felt embarrassment or shame. The emotions that are instilled in us when young.