What is of merit?

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For me this has been one of the most puzzling aspects of living. The need for assurance, reassurance, security, safety has had an iron grip on my decisions. If I am safe enough, if I can careful enough, I will not die. Ever.

My poetry and art book Laying It on The Line from lulu.com

How can I best move in the world in a way which will most clearly insure that I am not at risk? As my eyes scan the horizon, I am like a primitive, I am child like. I am like a surviver of old wars. Where is the danger? How do I blend in, stay in the centre of the herd, avoid catastrophe?

In actuality, most of the shattering, panic inducing damage has already been imprinted on my body and subconscious. The flack jacket of caution and indecision is thrown over a body already carrying broken bones, familial trauma and the woundings of childhood. The war I fear has already happened to me.

looking for clarity in chaos. my art

I have come to know that my urge to protect myself is actually quite silly. It is like having a phobia to clowns when you live in a circus. And yes 15 clowns can get in one tiny car.

So the issue of what particular decision I make precisely now has to be detached from perceived merit. If I do this thing, in the future I anticipate this particular reward.

Knowing I cannot know. my art

I have come to see that kind of linear, protestant, constrained energy has not served me. I have come to see that I cannot anticipate which pulses I send out into the universe will eventually have an intended efficacy. How can I know what lessons I need to learn?

As I look back at 73 years of my life, I see that in the moment I frequently had no idea what I was experiencing, what I was going through. There was no way of judging if it could be assessed as a good thing, a neutral thing or a damaging experience ultimately.

The body itself is the greatest compass for travelling in the stormy confusions of stories we tell ourselves. The body reacts to that which is an assault on our well being. Always.

needing to see my artwork

If the breath is present in a gentle, fulsome way; if the body is not releasing cortisol and adrenaline; if the body feels grounded and solid, there is no need to use the mind to assess anything. The mind is like the relative who shows up and repeatedly tells old stories. Everything becomes a mind worm.

If the body is excited and in love with the project, the ideas, the creation of a new experience, then the worthiness of moving into this new engagement will show itself eventually.

Knowing that the value of a situation cannot be understood by the mind is so much simpler. Only a deep engagement with the present allows full, complete trust.

experiencing. body

As I stack stones one by one to create a garden wall, I feel the sun on my back. Overhead a fifty year old maple tree has green baby fists of leaf buds. Everywhere around me birds are telling one another stories. My body tells me peace. My mind has stopped assessing and just sleeps.

DIY is it an Illusion?

Embracing the Power Dragon

Embracing the Power Dragon

This last month there have been so many lessons learned. When Pay Pal made a deposit to my account twice and then had to remove a payment, I flipped the anxiety switch off. Like a current of negative electricity that threatened to run through my mind, the story started to play. Flip the switch.

open draw

My thoughts immediately went to a statement which I had read in a library book, Zen and the Art of Falling in Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

She asked the question, “What is the host and what is the guest.” It was simply put. It got through to me. Is a feeling of being at home, loved, supported and respected the host in my house of emotions? Or is the sense of lack, scarcity, vulnerability the host? Are moments of sorrow, grief, anger, numbness the elements that take up most of my mental floor space? Or do these emotions just visit for a while to a place that is more fulsome and joyous?

So $600 that I had not expected to flow out of my account would leave. First, I said to myself, “That was never your money. You are glad to pay back that which is not yours.” Secondly, I went into my practice of asking, “What are you supposed to learn?”

Going to that place lead me to understand more fully how my relationship with money is less than adult. Do I know how much is in my account as if I were an adult? Am I anticipating payments that must come out such as my house insurance which I had “forgotten” about?

So much of managing my money has been about deprivation because that is what I have become an expert at living. My parents worked four jobs yet when we went shopping my mother would visit every store on both sides of the Columbia river to see what items were cheapest. When she died she still had every receipt for each and every item she had purchased since 1960.

I was in graduate school for an extended period of time and lived with no heat and little money. My way of living has always been as a poor student. With over 2,000 books, I moved from one boarding house to another. The thrift stores provided me with clothing and household items. Each time my life fell apart it cost me thousands of dollars and I had to begin again.

So being cold, underfed and wearing thrift clothing became a sign of competence. It meant I could live within the constraints of my pay check. But this month, I was once again directed in a more powerful mind set. What if you took your assets and managed them more mindfully to allow plenty to flow in?

I went to the bank and sat down with the investment banker. I was reassured that my understanding of the world economy was accurate. I do have two years before inflation will begin. I have two years to pay down my “reverse dowry” line of credit obligation taken out to buy my freedom.

I felt actual fear as I took the money out of the self directed account to allow the bank to manage it. But the jar of coins under the bed attitude was not serving me. The wrap up in a blanket and keep the lights off mentality was not serving me.

It is against my very cautious nature to go out and buy expensive items just to feel powerful. Today, I replaced the stove element on the second hand simple appliance all by myself. It cost $37 and it worked. But I have the heat up and bought some lovely food items on sale.



It is walking that territory between fear and delusion that is the trick.

I am so proud of myself for the head way (and don’t you just love that word!) that I have made. For the first time since my divorce, I have begun to eat breakfast sitting at the breakfast table. I went through the double financial lessons of house insurance payment and having to pay back $600 without drama. It was a lesson and I took the homework with me to the bank. I called a handy woman to repair the tiles that have not worked properly in the bathroom.

Only quietly, like a whisper down a well, was I hearing the anxious beasty voice telling me I would shrivel and die dehydrated and starved. And as I was watching my mind, I could see that I did not have what I call “push back” on the ego voice. I just left it whimpering in the well.

surrounded by blessings

surrounded by blessings

The other wonderful awakening has come through using the tests for the seeds of intention that I found in the book E2. The first test is to ask the universe for an unexpected/unusual gift. The test was for 48 hours. I noticed my negative, ego voice growing louder and louder. “It is 40 hours now and nothing.” “It is 42 hours now and nothing.”

At 46 hours a friend came to my house with five CD’s some by Liquid Mind. I had heard of the artist and thought I wanted to check him out. And now I am standing with his works in my hand. People bought me coffee, Three polka dotted zipper bags showed up in my mail. An old friend left me with a big bottle of Lavender oil she had crafted from her garden.

So what my lessons have all pointed to this month is a sense that I am using the skills I have worked toward. I have been able in the moment of an event to shut off the negative current, to get down into the structure of the thing and ask, “What am I supposed to learn?”

The biggest realization for me has been that it is not about solving problems. It is about developing technique. I was on the tennis team in high school and spent hours hitting balls that were coming at me fast. Some I had to hit back handed. Some I had to smoothly connect with on the forehand side. Some bounced wildly and the ability to calm the ball down with the surface of my racquet and then send it with intention was necessary.

I understand now that that is exactly what is happening. Balls are coming at you. Lessons are coming at you. They will not stop. Hitting one does not mean there will never be another. It is a deluded mind that thinks, “I will solve this problem in order to solve all problems forever.”


The light came on for me. It is about the skill. Am I standing with my feet balanced holding the centre? Are my hands relaxed? Is my mind calm and alert? As things come toward me, there is no place for negative emotion. As I watch myself, I understand that over time, with intention and patience I am building skills.

How did I reach this place where peace, joy and gratitude are the hosts and lower energies are the guest? It is because of my coaches, because of those who have taught me in books, on you tube. It is because of my friends who have moved forward to live more authentically and fully. It is because of my spirits, angels, guides surrounding me.

I eat at the table. I repair those things which need to be repaired. I watch my financial situation with a more alert eye. I am not a Do It Yourselfer. I have been taught with loving wisdom. I am growing to trust myself and others more fully for the first time in my life. Now where is that screw driver?

Whence Goest Thou? Huh?

Really. It has been a month since I posted. Whaat has happened?

First the public protest to save the Cedar Creek properties along the lake shore as a Park for those in the future who will reside in one of the most densely populated areas in Kelowna. Then attending various meetings as a representative of the North End Resident’s Association took some time.

Hefting art in and out of Five local shows was also a focus. I was pleased that my piece London Lights sold at the Sopa Under 8 show.

Only two shows still remain on view. One is the abstract geometrics at the Blood Collection Agency on Dillworth Road and the second are the three works in the Myths and Legends show.

The garden has taken much of my focus and energy. As life returns to the soil, I return to life and become dirty. Black feet marks across the floor leading in from the open door.
I painted the front steps and the back deck. I have planted, weeded and mulched the beds. The tulips are dancing jovially across the yard with their yellow, pink, red petals painting the air.

They are truly the happiest of flowers. Not just because of their appearance after the terminal loneliness of winter but their very nature is celebratory. Not too complex, enameled and architectural in form, they are a pleasure to the eye. These are not timid expressions of promise.

The furnace shafts toyed with by the local raccoons and their deviating ways have been repaired. The furnace was leaking, the hot water heater out of sorts.

So one asks where do the days go. Taking care of “the estate” is an act of devotion and stamina. Currently the entire backyard is aglow with the yellow of dandelions. There must be thousands. It reminds me of the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz. The sight of them makes me feel sleepy.

There is the rigorous approach. Should I want to be swept immediately to heaven upon my demise, I will take out “the tool” and dig up every root. A less rigorous solution would be to use the weed eater and slow the process of seed head formation. Using the weed eater is always fun no matter how many black spots of bruising I sport afterward. It is primal in its gratification.
Or, and here is the indolent solution, I could wait for hot weather to simply kill them as it does every year. No water. Too much sun. Dead.
I am probably incapable of the last two alternatives but I like to delude myself that I am making a choice.

The federal election is over and my over-zealous postings on Face Book of every damning article in the Globe and Mail, CBC or Provincial newspaper articles on Harper’s controlling, draconian methods have ceased. I do what I can to educate others from my FB and Twitter pulpits. We move forward we mere 60% that didn’t vote for Harper and will keep our eyes open for what next convolutions of chicanery will be forthcoming. For someone who is not political, I certainly spend a lot of energy being political.


My book on LuLu has garnered many thumbs up and I have sold copies both on the site and to local people. I need to investigate how to create some poetry readings in Kelowna so that I can market this anthology.

A couple of pieces of art that I donated for Artists for Japan had many bidders and that is gratifying. On Thursday I pick up the piece from Carrie Harper who organized the event, contact the winner and collect the money. At that point, I will donate it to the Red Cross Japanese Disaster fund.


Also, I have been creating and producing a vision which appeared to me during meditation. The Fun Fancy Flash Mob to raise funds for the Elizabeth Fry Society came to me when I heard a friend’s voice say, “I never get a chance to wear that evening dress I bought in San Francisco.” So now all of these beautiful people in their tuxedos and tiaras will appear at Jim Stuart Park to strut to some recorded music. Four camera over seen by the local filmmaker Jason Woodford will capture the event. Only 30 minutes of glory from 2 until 2:30 will await these red carpet adventurers. I am really pumped about the event. The link for the event is on Facebook should you want to investigate.

In addition, on Saturday our neighbourhood is having a garage sale so I am going through all I own and putting the treasures for someone else out on Saturday morning for the Block Garage Sale. It starts at 9.
Between that event, the Fun Fancy Flash Mob on Sunday and the garden, it will be a furious and fascinating weekend.

Creating Opens the Doors

The question of what next, where next and how to be keeps arising in our lives.

I do know that by creating, a path makes itself visible.

One step at a time. One idea at a time. What most drives me these days is finding my tribe.

Where are the people that “get me” and encourage me?

Recently I have discovered that many of them have been around me all the time.

I have just kept them at a distance.

Submitting for schools, jobs, considering places is easier when you have those around you who believe in your intelligence and talent. I am very lucky to have that support group.

Cherie Hanson’s Kelowna Creative Classes, Rotary Centre

Classes in January for Cherie Hanson contact 250-763-4269 or creative@cheriehanson.com

A Gift of Yourself: Creating a Chapbook as a Heritage Item
Category: Literary Arts
Age Group: Adult
(Adult and 16/17 year olds)
January 10th, Saturday, 10 am -2 pm
$50 includes material fee
Class size limit 10
This class will lead the students to create
a chapbook or small handmade book that
is a treasure to give. Bring photographs that
you want to give to others or your life, your hobbies, what you value.
 The group will create a handmade, small book of images and
 either poems or commentary that can be a keepsake for years to come.
This is a true gift, not a commercialized common present.
 Cherie Hanson has taught writing, poetry and scrapbooking. 

Making Scrapbook cards or Chapbooks for Young People 
Category: Literary Arts
Age Group: Youth
(Ages 11 to 16)
January 17th, Saturday, 10 am-l pm.
 $50 includes material fees
Class size limit to 10
The class will be an exploration of how to combine
 scrapbooking with writing to create art cards or small
chapbooks that can be taken home.
 Come with an idea of who you want to receive a gift
 and make them a spectacular present of yourself.
Sticky, exploratory fun with papers, punches, ribbons and WORDS.
Truly a gift of yourself to others.

Poetry for the Fun of it 
Category: Literary Arts
Age Group: Youth (Ages 14 to 17)
January 24th 10 am- 1 pm
Class size limit to 10
A class for teenagers to explore the playful of language.
 Creative exploration. Poems will be written individually and in groups.
 This class is about really letting go of the "right" way to write a poem and
open up to experimental language.
 Cherie has written poetry for forty years and taught creative writing for over 20 years.

Writing Colourful Poetry 
Category: Literary Arts
Age Group: Adult
January 31st 10am-2pm
$50 class fee
Class size limited to 10
A class for adults who are either beginners or
 very secure in their poetry writing. A chance to use colours
 to stimulate the creative response. There will be no criticism,
but instead a search for inspiration from a supportive group environment.
 Have fun with language and explore your view of the world. 
Cherie is a well published poet with a M.A. From UBC,
Vancouver in contemporary poetry. She taught for over 20 years.

Selecting the Image: Photography with an Educated Eye
January 8th , Thursday,  6 to 8 pm room 205 
Cost: $45 a person. Class size limited to 10
Cherie has judged photography for
 the Central Okanagan Photographic Society,
 for the Light Room and judged videos for the Okanagan Film Festival Society.
 She is a prize winning photographic and digital artist with over twenty years of teaching experience.

Starting with You: How to get the best out of your Digital Photography.
January 15th , Thursday,  6 to 8 pm room 205
Cost: $45 a person. Class size limited to 6.
Bring a CD with one or two of your jpg digital photographs 8 by 10 inches at 200 dpi.
Cherie has judged photography for
 the Central Okanagan Photographic Society, for the Light Room
and judged videos for the Okanagan Film Festival Society.
 She is a prize winning photographic and digital artist with over twenty years of teaching experience.

 From Dull to Delightful: Bringing your jpg digital images to a New Level. 
January 22nd , Thursday 6 to 8 pm room 205 
Cost: $45 a person. Class size limited to 6.
Bring a CD with one or two of your jpg digital photographs
 8 by 10 inches at 200 dpi. Cherie has judged photography
for the Central Okanagan Photographic Society, for the Light Room
 and judged videos for the Okanagan Film Festival Society.
She is a prize winning photographic and digital artist with over twenty years of teaching experience.

All works are for sale

All works are for sale

Reading Glasses

36 x 24 canvas multi-media piece

36 x 24 canvas multi-media piece

Since I have had lazer eye surgery I have terrific long distance viewing pleasure. Clouds are floating in clarity above my head. Down the street I can see the one white ear of the neighbours black cat. I can tell is someone is grimcing or smiling as he or she moves down the sidewalk.

But… I can’t see up close. All of my life the world has been a haze, a blurr, a romantic mist beyond the distance of my elbows. Now it is reversed. Stubbornly, I refuse to grab my glasses before I attempt to do work up close. The results should have been enough to instruct me about the necessity of a new pattern.

I have eaten glass in my food, taken the cat’s thyroid pills when I had a migraine and yesterday I experienced what it is like to “be” my husband when I took his pills. Needless to go into details but all of the ailments that go with being a middle-aged man I ameliorated with his perscriptions. I spent most of the day laying down or in the toilet. For a person with very low blood pressure and, perhaps, hypothyroid, it was a less than sterling day.

My ears were ringing, my breath was labored and even while laying down I felt like I was working out. I knew enough not to struggle and just wait for time to flush everything through.

Now, have I learned to put on my glasses before I do something potentially hazardous, like eat or use a knife. One can only hope.

Today I loaded up new images to my face book page and secured the wonderful music of the KSS jazz band kids at our First Thursday Art Crawl at the Rotary Centre for the Arts from 4 until 7 pm November 6th. Art, music, food for those who come down to 421 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna, B.C.


Robert Genn quotes Leonard Cohen

Interestingly, Robert Genn’s newsletter quotes Leonard Cohen in today’s mail out. Robert addresses the interface between the various art forms. Music, visual art, spacial art such as sculptor and dance are so often considered as separate and discrete.

My belief that it is much like a waterfall. The soul’s song or vision is water and configures to the surface that it flows upon. In some it is a soft, airy spray. In others it is a turbulent pounding upon the rocks. But the spring it flows from is the same. The necessity to objectify and publish a sense of self in the context of physicality is what drives all of us. Whatever the aesthetic or material, we are both expressing and changing who and what we are. The artists.