A Different Beauty

winter brought greys & tans & silvery taupes

hawk at harper's ferry

that’s how nature intended it

no outlet

so we would have the opportunity

grateful

to see a different beauty

sky from train

that otherwise

The Ramble 3

we might not notice

devoted

distracted as we get by the bright-colored things

butterfly

but it’s all beautiful

deer

and spring unfailingly comes around

spring toes

Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Soul Liberation: The Trail Not Taken

Sometimes we feel like we’re at a crossroads.

AT sign in HF
We check in with our head and our heart.

We quiet our mind and try to hear the small, still voice that guides us in a way our brain may not understand.

Often that yields an elegant and true feeling answer.

But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we need to detach from the either/or, the this/that, the right/wrong.

Maybe there is no wrong.

Maybe we should be looking for a third option.

frozen canal in HFA new avenue.

One that may appear treacherous at first glance. Impassible. Risky.

But gorgeous in its simplicity. Easy on the soul.

It’s foreign and familiar at the same time.

It’s a leap. But if you land with grace, it might turn into a smooth skate.

Or there might be an opening.

ducks in canal in HF close

To meet new friends. To find a new community.

Feel warmth amidst the crunchy ice.

To bathe in a small pool that promises nourishment and freedom.

To feel home again, in harmony with ourselves.

Jimi Hendrix Was Wise

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. – Jimi Hendrix

holding hands

The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye. – Jimi Hendrix

faded rose

Music is my religion. – Jimi Hendrix

It all has to come from inside, though, I guess. – Jimi Hendrix

music door

Jimi was wise.

11.27.42 – 9.18.70

The Re-Set Button: A Trip to CA

People say that what we are seeking is a meaning of life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. – Joseph Campbell

California, 2010

California, 2010

Many times over the summer I had to remind myself that becoming enlightened isn’t about living a perfect life, one that looks shiny and perky from the outside. Rather, it’s about staying centered and peaceful in my soul while rinsing out the endless cat food cans, unloading the dishwasher and going back to the market because I forgot to get the trash bags.

These are my Ant duties, and I fulfill them, sometimes with such focused energy that crossing things off my to-do list is disturbingly satisfying. I believe that if I get it all done, then… well, it’s never all done, is it? I will admit it, my priorities are like vegetable soup right now. Pureed even.

Where is my Butterfly with her free-floating imagination and sense of curiosity? She visits now and then but has been sadly elusive for a couple of months now. In defense of the Ant, however, the seemingly trivial duties have served to build my anthill, my foundation. The one that my Butterfly will use as a launch pad and a resting spot. A beautiful one that will inspire her and provide the security she needs to explore new meadows, new worlds.

That’s been my lesson this summer: I need security in order to have real freedom. (As opposed to my former belief: I need freedom in order to create security – didn’t work out so well.)

California, 2010

California, 2010

The Ant has been successful. I’ve laid the cornerstone and paved
the driveway. The windows sparkle, attracting sunbeams and love-lights into my life and my heart.

But now, I need to push the Re-Set Button in preparation for the Butterfly’s return. I need some awe. Vast swathes of nature, intimate moments with whispering winds. California, here I come.

With the past, I have nothing to do, nor with the future. I live now.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

California, 2010

California, 2010

Dipping into Dream World

During a World Cafe interview, Tracy Grammer relayed how her late husband, Dave Carter, explained his songwriting process. I’m paraphrasing, but Dave had said to Tracy something like: I always have one foot in the dream world. MG dark child on stairs

I call this state Writer’s Mind, or whatever mind applies to your art or craft. Chefs get into Chef’s Mind and Photographers switch into Photographer’s Mind. I’d guess many artists are nearly always walking around in this state, where they experience life through the lens of how it applies to their creative process. We all pick up stimulation through our senses, but when I’m in Writer’s Mind, I’m at once experiencing multiple sensory stimuli and already swirling it around and trying to relate it to a more universal meaning.

A child walking up a mosaic staircase could be sweet, scary or dreamy. I don’t know the outcome at the time, but I notice qualities that I want to capture, ones that will relate to subjects I like to write about: beauty, creativity, sacred moments, sublime images, transcendence.

The mundane details of daily life have a way of yanking me right out of Artist’s Mind. My head takes over and I become embroiled in lists, priorities and logistics. It’s nearly impossible for me to be in both states at the same time – I guess it’s a left/right brain thing. Just being aware of this let’s me drop logic mind fairly easily and step back into my heart and intuition. And dip at least a few toes back into the dream world, where the beauty that inspires me seemingly magically reappears.pool toes

Magic Gardens & the (Dis)Appearing Self Trick

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Art enables us to lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

What is the one thing you, and only you, can do in an uncommon way? Make art, get lost, experience art, find yourself – all at once or here and there. Use what’s right in front of you to create a whole new world. Make magic.

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way,
you will command the attention of the world.
– George Washington Carver

(Photos taken at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 2013)

Of Politics, Poetry & Puzzles

 

One cannot build life from refrigerators, politics, credit statements and crossword puzzles. This is impossible. Nor can one exist for any length of time without poetry, without color, without love.
– Antoine De Saint-Exupery
rain heart full size more color
I’m back to editing the novel I’ve been working on – a political thriller – and I love crossword puzzles, so while I agree with the sentiment of the quote, I am in fact counting on politics to help me build the foundation for my life. Poetry, color & love – of course, everyday.
 

 

 

 

Say Yes

Every man has his own destiny, and the only imperative is to follow it,
to accept it no matter where it leads him. – Henry Miller

statue 2
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. – Anais Nin

kids on beach

Say yes – to new friendships, to unfamiliar vistas, to your destiny. Step into the next chapter, look around and see who’s there. Make an entrance onto a new stage set and find the magic.  Grab the mic. Sing loud and from your gut. Bow humbly when they clap. Then say yes again. It’s okay to keep moving forward because your home is in your heart. You can always go there for a little rest and comfort. But the world needs you too, so come out and play.

canal scum

Wisdom Via Cell Phone

“You’re a young man here.”On my walk today I overheard a man talking into his cell. That was the only line I heard, but from the tone of his voice I knew exactly what was going on. A father was talking to his son who had apparently messed up. I couldn’t stop thinking about how brilliantly he had phrased it:  “You’re a young man here.”
We know you’re not yet a full grown man who should be mature enough to know better. But you’re in the beginning stages of becoming that person, someone who takes responsibility for his mistakes, apologizes and makes things right. Here – in this situation – you’re at the gateway of manhood, one foot in, one foot out. We realize that you’ll go back to playing video games with your buddies, but here, now, this is your chance to start out strong, be brave, step up and do the right thing. Soon you’ll get more interested in girls and eventually have to pick a major. You’ll go out on your own and have adventures that will shape your life. But here, now, you’re a young man and I’ve got your back in all the complications of that. But I’m counting on you to take a brave step into adulthood. Here. Where you and I are, right now.
young man statue