Welcome

This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SARK Exercises




 The study of SARK's 1991 book encourages me to simply play with color and shapes like a child.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Edgar Alan Poe Halloween Theme

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared dream before. - Edgar Alan Poe






I put together an Edgar Allan Poe Halloween using primarily things around the house. I did buy 2 ravens and a cat! 

The Matter of Nothing

It's hard to tell
How many times
We work on this
Getting-it shit
I don't get it
Do you?

Leaves will whither down
Before it comes to me
Or you, for that matter

Understand that things mean this---
Or that, for that matter

It matters no more
Too many spaces to fill
Words to read
Roles to play

Let it be your own
But-
Only if you want, you wish

There needs to be nothing

- I wrote this on 4/28/93 in one of my sketch books.

Selsun Blue set to Grateful Dead's Stella Blue

I wrote the words below about the years-long issues surrounding my dog's skin problems. After many hundreds of dollars spent, elimination/restricted diets, veterinary dermatologists and countless hours bathing, vacuuming and flea treating the house we discovered Selsun Blue was the cure! I was so overjoyed it made me sing which led to these made up lyrics set to Grateful Dead's Stella Blue.


All baths combined, they melt into a stream
An itchy coat stings from a mystery
In the end there's just a rash, comes cryin' up the night
Through all the broken skin and vanished fur.
Selsun Blue. Selsun Blue. 

When all the shine is down, there's nothing left to gleam.
There's just the redness left and broken skin.
In the end there's still those sores, comes cryin' like a wolf.
Down every fold of skin that's ever been.
Selsun Blue. Selsun Blue.

I've washed in every pricey med shampoo, can't heal for tryin'
Pour on a potion just one more time
Gonna make me shine, shine

I roll into a towel and no problems for me!
There's nothing my coat will hold for very long
And when you hear that dryer, come cryin' like the wind
It seems like all that rashin' was just a dream
Selsun Blue. Selsun Blue.

SARK - Sally Arial Rainbow Kennedy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TywDZCUN1wk

Art IS Magic

With my study partner we're working on A Creative Companion - How To Free Your Creative Spirit by SARK (1991). Prior to our weekly telephone conversation we email one another photos of visual work. She sent a photo of an abstract drawing of a figure playing in a leaf pile. In our discussion she described how it depicts her childhood memory of raking and jumping into the oak leaves. When she said this I could smell the leaves! Art is magic...

Mythic Journeys Film

If you like the work of Joseph Campbell you'll enjoy the film Mythic Journeys. Myth is presented as emergent truth. Myth is a false thing that reveals the truth.

One particularly humorous comment was made: when following one's bliss one should be prepared for blisters! It reminds me of the idea of the trickster, which is present in many traditions.

"If you can imagine something then it exists. If not right now, it exists as potential because imagination is a never ending horizon." - Deepok Chopra

http://www.mythmovie.net/

Mythic Journeys is on Netflix Watch Instantly

Your art is the Holy Ghost blowing through your soul.  - Jack Kerouac

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Halloween


The Reaper - husband as the model, holding an antique scythe, on our land in New York. October 2014  

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced with sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. - Carl Jung 


Monday, September 22, 2014

The last words of Buddha: "...strive on untiringly..."

"The Buddha saw death and life as inseparable. These are two sides of the same thing. Death is always with us. Death is part of a whole large unknown. And if we are unable to smile at the idea of the unknown we're in big trouble. That's the realism the Buddha was talking about, trying to come to terms with reality."

- W.S. Merwin, PBS Documentary - The Buddha

http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/

Friday, September 5, 2014

"What can I do myself to fix the problems I perceive?"

The above quote is from an article I read this morning entitled Why Is Independence So Frightening To Some People? by Brandon Smith. The nature of the piece is socio-political but I'm going to stray in a somewhat different direction.

When I read, "what can I do myself to fix the problems I perceive?" one of the first things to come to mind was: "I'd better carefully manage the number of perceived problems." Eckhart Tolle teaches about problems being a matter of perception. He acknowledges the existence of life situations to be handled. Do we ever run out of opportunities to exercise choices in what actions to take or not? I will embrace Smith's quote, carry it around in my mind and apply it today.


Here is a direct link to socio-political article that led to the above thoughts:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Humility

From the TV show Orange Is The New Black:

O'Neill says, referring to a nun reveling in cheers of support, "She thinks she's a rockstar."

"She is" replies Yoga Jones.

"Whatever happened to humility?  Isn't it a virtue or something?" asks O'Neill.

"One of the highest. People in power are always saying so" replies Yoga Jones.

(Season 2, Episode 11 entitled Take A Break From Your Values)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Little Thought of the Day

It seems those most deserving of deferential treatment do not expect it, even shift it away. Self-esteem, self-awareness and self-acceptance are seemingly at the core of this phenomenon. The presence of these qualities lead to the skill of handling and managing deference.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

ABRACADABRA

A B R A C A D A B R A
A B R A C A D A B R
A B R A C A D A B
A B R A C A D A
A B R A C A D
A B R A C A
A B R A C
A B R A
A B R
A B
A

ABRACADABRA may bring to mind old Vaudeville magicians or Steve Miller Band's popular song. Entertaining connections aside it is derived from the Aramaic phrase "I create what I speak." From Hebrew it translates as "it came to pass as it was spoken." 

Behavior starts at the level of thought, continuing to speech if permitted. From there action. Conscious awareness strengthens one's role at each of these three levels: thought/mental - word/speech - action/physical. Be a responsible gatekeeper! Slow down and breathe. Witness. Release what's not wanted. Allow what is desired and chosen to move forward. And we all make mistakes. Just try, try again.

It's safe to say most religious and philosophical traditions guide the adherent to speak wisely, carefully. In yoga attention to word and speech is vachika. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz includes "Be Impeccable With Your Word" as one of the four essential steps on the path of personal freedom.  

I've reinstated into awareness ABRACADABRA with it's deeper meaning. And without losing the levity found in the image of a rabbit pulled out of a hat. Levity invites relaxation!


Flowers teach about cycles, strength, beauty.

Releasing Control of Others

"Danger arises when someone begins to think that his or her truth should be true for everyone."

This phrase is found in Anna Pittman's information about Satya or Truthfulness. The material was handed out in yoga teacher training back in 2000. It is confirming to revisit this concept fourteen years later.

Letting go of the tendency to want to control other people leads to being more focused and responsible for the Self. Those 3 words are italicized and underlined for a very good reason. WE CAN ALMOST NEVER CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS. Really all that can be achieved is the desire to. When trying to control someone so many things can happen: enabling someone's bad habits, draining the heck out of yourself, not honoring your own and another's path/karma/dharma/consequences, not recognizing healthy boundaries, feeling hurt and frustration instead of serenity.

I'm becoming more fluent in feeling the signals when thought forms arise indicating a desire to apply my truth on to another. I'm laughing while writing this: at first it felt wrong, unloving, uninvolved, disconnected and selfish to allow another to have their own truth! Miraculously the world hasn't come to an end! I'm more intimately connected with my own truth therefore able to exercise healthy boundaries.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday Miracle



A mural by Talent Murals in recognition of what I call the 2012 Good Friday Miracle in Virginia Beach.  A Navy jet crashed into an apartment complex to the right of this little commercial building. There were no fatalities.  The few who went to the hospital left soon after on the same afternoon. That includes the pilots.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yama & Niyama Study

With a partner we're applying the Yamas & Niyamas for self-study. We meet every week or two for discussion and inquiry.  Anna Pittman's written information from teacher training is our source material. Each Yama and Niyama is approached on the level of thought, speech and action.

It is a supportive system to refer to with life experiences, whether small or larger, more surface or deep. It is not about banishing your personality or attaining perfection or over-control but about AWARENESS before, during or after a trigger. In fact, the structure provides a framework, in my opinion, to allow you to be who you truly are. The application of Yama & Niyama can help bring experience into THE NOW, offering opportunity to feel and address a situation. It's basic really, taught elsewhere in such as the Ten Commandments. In fact, the Yamas & Niyamas are sometimes referred to as the Ten Commandments of Yoga in order to communicate what they are to beginning students.

If you are a student of Yoga and are unfamiliar with the Yamas & Niyamas I encourage you to learn about them and the eight limb system that is Yoga. Yoga is more than attending a group exercise-type class. If Asana is the one of the limb you choose to practice, great. And knowledge of the big picture will offer fuller understanding. I've written about the 8-limbs throughout this blog. Specifically posts published on these dates will be helpful: 6/13/12, 11/3/11 and 10/23/11.

Marwencol

The documentary Marwencol presents a beautiful example of how one's creative process can be healing and transformative. Darkness is brought to light.  As Alan Moore says magic was and is referred to as "the art". Art and magic are one and the same.

There's not more to share about the documentary except the recommendation to watch it if you believe in art as therapy.

Crafts

While discussing possibly forming a craft sale a friend asked what kind of craft I'd be interested in contributing if I wanted to participate. It made me think about my relationship with crafting. I used to make things on a regular basis. More recently what has become incongruent with crafting is my preference for simplicity, values outside of materialism and the idea of the environmental impact created by the creative process. These are notions for myself. I'm encouraging of others' craft pursuits and I really appreciate creativity. Whatever I'd choose it would have to be low impact in terms of the environment and transformational in the inner sense, even in a small way &/or something to be put to good use one way or another.

In looking around on the Pinterest I stumbled on terrariums. The craft seems environmentally harmless enough. I used to keep one as a kid. It was in a big glass container shaped like a mushroom. Very 70's!

In current times the instructions for making one are different than the old days. From what I found on several websites the mainstream process instructs the purchasing of everything from a store: pebbles, charcoal, moss, soil, plants, figurines. Entire kits are also available. The only things suggested as re-use from around home are the glass containers.

Time will tell how successful my little terrarium will be but I did it the old fashioned way: I went outside and hunted.  I picked up pebbles, sorted and rinsed them. Next I scooped up some garden soil amended over the years using my own compost. I selected charcoal pieces from my woodstove ash discard pile. Then I dug up moss and little plants while walking around on a drizzly day. Shells were already in the house waiting for a purpose.

What is interesting to me, especially after a weekend of weeding, is to see these little plants taking on a new purpose in the micro-universe that is the terrarium. In my yard they are weeds. Here they are part of a little world with roots going into what used to be coffee grounds, fruit peels and vegetable cuttings. The system is also supported by the remnants of the wood that heated my house over the winter. What fun an old pickle jar and a bunch of weeds can be!






As for the craft sale, it may or may not happen anyway. I may or may not move in the direction of participating. What matters is the idea led to another idea which led to creating something new, as small as it may be.

Grace In Place

Several nights ago during sleep the words "Grace In Place" came to me. I woke up with the little but powerful phrase lingering in awareness. It felt as though the word "grace" was a call to action, action to come from me. It was as though the phrase was informing me to be patient, to embrace what is for the sake of growth. Translated the message was saying, "Rest and be with your current circumstances for there is plenty of material with which and from which to grow."

The analytical side of me comes to the question: where did the message come from? I tend to think it came from the subconscious, sprouted from various structures and programs of study to support inner work. Greater minds than my own have pondered such questions about God, the psyche and brain activity. The source matters less to me than the message so I aim to release pondering. It seems to be a distraction anyway.

As I write this I wonder if there's another interpretation to Grace In Place. Is it also reassurance to simply trust that the gift of grace is with me? As it is for everyone if we can only see? It is very like me to hear the former interpretation which seems to ask for a certain level of engagement. It is less like me to see a simple gift being offered as in the lighter-handed latter one. I open to and allow both to be a blessing to my awareness.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Gift of Fear

Gavin de Becker gives a very informative talk on intuition, how it's function differs from logic and anxiety/worry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNtXjIiJ0PU

"Intuition is knowing something without knowing why."

Update:
Since creating this post I read his book The Gift of Fear. It is important and wonderfully informative!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Courage & Peace of Malala

I Am Malala is an inspiring story about an intelligent and very brave girl. Malala Yousafzai is an advocate for education, specifically and initially for girls in Pakistan. Her story of being shot by the Taliban sparked within me the question of whether I have life-on-the-line courage paired with peacefulness. It is the pairing that makes Malala quite outstanding. It may be enlightening to allow the question to linger: where is courage? deep peace? do the two intertwine?

Winter Fog & Thunder


Opthamologist Drishti

Recently I underwent opthamology testing spread over two appointments. Where I had little experience with eye exams I had a considerable amount of resistance to the idea of anything touching my eyes, whether a puff of air, drops, fingers or an instrument. Everything was fine until the last examination where the opthamologist used a mirrored device that actually came in contact with each eye ball for several minutes. Oh boy. Well, I recruited drishti (gazing) practice from hatha yoga. It all came back: gazing at a spot on a wall during asana or seated for concentration (dharana) gazing at a candle and an orange dot. Instead of the previously mentioned points of focus it was the side of the doctor's ear as he suggested. It worked! I didn't blink but breathed, steadied my awareness on the eye sensations and released tension elsewhere in my body.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


We are indeed sort of programmed to seek out the human figure and face but is there not the profile of a person looking to the right within the lit hole?

Patterns On Fallen Wood





Each season offers the potential for awareness. It was the low winter sun of late afternoon and the snow on the ground that brought out the pattern in this fallen wood.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Knowing What We Want

A wise mentor has been helping me to see how we humans struggle to really know what we want. Oh how easy it is to see the lack of clarity in others as the strong inner judge chatters away! That aside I of course know it's better to see and work with the habit within myself.

There seems to be a cycle: a declaration is made about a particular thing, then the mind turns over the original declaration, sometimes completely, in order to handle attitudes such as fear, laziness, pride, ego,  or psychological pattern. That's behavior in opposition to intention and values. Tony Robbins calls this self-sabotage. Indeed it is!




Information gained from spiritual study can feel like a film of oil floating on top of a greater amount of water. It does not and cannot penetrate into the depth, especially if there is a strong current of subconscious material to contend with. Sometimes (oftentimes) studying our trigger and behavior patterns is essential to move out of old patterns, to stir things up in order to allow for the growth potential as wisdom meets our uniqueness. What source material our "flaws" can be!