How to Live in Interesting Times

These are not trivial times. You would have to have been abducted and put in some shed, bunker, outback hill hollowed out captive at random especially built structure to be unaware.

 

Every beautiful thing is here

It is a time of triggered, reactive, defensive, spewing of fear. So many are feeling like their nervous systems have been tasered and as they finish their convulsions of neurological energy epilepsy, they lay limp looking around for WHO did that. They find some post on facebook, or twitter, or snapchat or some news source and attach all of their explosive overload onto that one thing.

The other day a troll fight broke out about Oprah and Weight waters. What was her motivation? Was she altruistic? Was she simply marketing? God help us all if we can’t believe in the Oprah Ministry of Follow Me.

I put up a response as I watched some insisting that Oprah was being disrespected and attacked by others’ comments. Reading through the thread again, I saw not one disrespectful comment. I was curious.

Then I got it. Good lord the media is corrupt. We have to cover our heads to protect ourselves from the revelations that most of the structures, systems, institutions, inculcated belief systems are mind prisons and simply not reliable. We are like a partner in a marriage that has been betrayed and can no longer believe in anyone.

People are like children. The safety corner is gone. The sanctuary is a myth. Daddy is a monster and has committed atrocities that we weep to see.

So what is left? The limbic system is running the show. We have four choices when we are in rapid foaming at the mouth fear states: fight, flight, fornicate, feed.

The cracks mean reformation

And so people are triggered instantaneously. They are having trouble with insomnia. They are experiencing neurological diseases for some yet unexplained reason. They are walking around with a skin crawling type of anxiety.

Blaming themselves works for a while and then they look outward.

The question becomes, “Who is attacking me now?”
How else do you explain the tsunami of cortisol flowing through the society?

What if the crow were yellow?

So we attack one another. Somebody out there is doing this to me. Something out there is doing this to me. And then the eyes squinch up and they fall upon somebody who is attacking the vestiges of faith they still manage to cling to.

Oprah… no. I will fight for this symbol of light and truth.

I joking said that people are so triggered at the present time and so engaged in verbal fist fights on social media that I dare not post I like sweet pickles.

Somebody will come on the thread and say only garlic dill pickles are real and good. Sweet pickles are chemical, GMO, owned by a devil company, poisoning heavy lead mercury nano robot bone marrow depleting.

And heaven protect us all if I had said olives are the best.

And so we have become like children or frightened animals and race around looking for someone else to blame for the clearly and truly chaotic energy place the world occupies today.

Now more than ever, we are called upon to ground ourselves and become mindful. To see the flash of fear energy entering the body or leaving the body is to be in a place where you are no longer a victim.

It is what meditators strive for. It is what paramedics strive for. The calm understand that people are hurt right now will allow you to be able to see everything with the higher brain function. Instead of being a victim, you can become an emergency worker. You can show up with love. You can show up with compassion. It is what we are being called to do.

And I have no emotion around Oprah, pickles, which music group is the best. The heated debates are the result of marauding gangs of victims looking for a way to release fear. It is unnecessary.

The result is a population that is more fearful and more easily manipulated.

Sit down. Meditate. Check your body. Everything you need that allows you to grow up is right there.

You eat whatever pickles or olives you wish listening to any music that makes you vibe high and learn to believe in yourself and your instincts. There is no Daddy or Mommy. We are grown ups.

Can Confusion Be Delightful?

I like a paper map. I like holding it in my hands. I like folding it up and putting it away when I have achieved the arrival. When it is open and I admit I am lost, I can get my bearings from all possible surrounding landforms, highways, rivers and adjacent topographies.

When I travel, I am frequently lost and it is challenging. To a person who decided in grade 9 what career she would pursue the fluky unforseen is a source of anxiety.

On Monday I sit and create my weekly calendar. I lay out what I think are necessary social interactions because I take them like my cod liver oil, as a preventative measure. I assess what days are best for working out with my weights. Walking is penciled in for aerobics. I establish what the major project is that I need to focus upon and carefully allot time for that goal.

At the present time, it is the book I am writing about my Alternate Reality trip to Europe. I am thinking of calling it Blood on the Street. Walking in my ancestor’s steps and experiencing the death of 90 people in Paris was not a vacation.

The difficulty I experience when things seem chaotic is that I sink down into a sense that I am, somehow, not up to the challenge. I know it is an old story. I know it is a left over narrative.

My new life since I have grown up, does not include being late, shuffling along in an unprepared state, showing up with no idea of what I am meant to do.

However, I sabotage my intentions. The walk never happens. It is too cold, or too wet, or too hot, or too gray or without purpose. I have learned that simply to walk somewhere without a purpose is as unlikely to happen as me suddenly liking sports. That is just a giant fail.

The concept of using up my resources keeps me in a tight little spinning circle. I become a spinning top… around and around.

My intention this week was to work on my book and I did well for four days and then…. I got sick.

Now my focus shifted to the battle between blame/resistance and selfcare/ submission. My mind always goes to the same questions. “Why did you get sick? When did you lower your energy and allow viruses to get in? What is wrong with your body, your spirit, your immune system, your habits?”

It is an interrogation but does not shift from good cop to bad cop. It is all bad cop.

A weak voice will be saying as background to the sound track , “You are building immunity to a new virus. That is good. You are working with your immune system to grow stronger.”

But it is a hardly discernible voice.

The project that I agreed to do entailed learning software and a new site. I spend over twelve hours trying to to navigate various software tools without success. I attempted for over 10 hours to load a video onto a new site without success. I was clenched. The failures piled upon one another as the deadline got closer. But I kept at it.

It is as if I am sailing along in a boat and think it is fine… then the wind shifts and I see there are gigantic tears in the sail.

And so I became frustrated and bent over and focused on all of the areas that I had no skill. My time line fell apart. My good intention calendar dropped its pages like a 1930’s movie graphic.

Godzilla had walked through my beautifully architected city and flattened it. And then I got sick.

I am confused as to why so many things did not work. I am confused as to why I can set up a beautifully designed calendar map unfolded to plot out the road of my week and yet I end up somewhere else.

There is so much destruction and reformation in life.

 

Growth: Keep Page Open

Growth: Keep Page Open

But one gift that has been brought to me after what I interpret as an abysmally unsuccessful week, is that I see exactly which signs I was not reading. I understand where I am going off the road. And that what my confusion is about.

Setting intention is only partially effective. Sometimes going up the wrong road all the way to the flat landing place that shows you the entire stretch of the landscape means chaos and acknowledging that you were on or took the wrong road.

The delight in the confusion is the light in the chaos. The seduction of side projects, working to pick up small checks, moving my focus from one thing to another is not working for me now nor has it ever worked. What is it I am passionately headed toward?

That is all that needs to happen now. Leave the flirtations behind.

There is so much that I hide from myself. Perhaps, this week of chaos is just an opportunity to truly get the party started. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

To Learn by Going Where We Have to Go.

The crows have built a magnificent nest in the long arms high up in my Maple tree. They have instinct, skill and whatever evolutionary magic is on their side.

As I struggle with the sticks of new skills, the structure I am building called “marketing” and “presence” is so much less compact and architectural. At times, I feel as if my head empties out. I learn how to record on Garage Band, change the file to an MP4, load it into IMovie and then… and then…

The next time I attempt it, my voice has so much reverb I am an opera diva soloist. The track sounds like I have a 500 pound barrel body with words careening off of intestines and ribs.

What also fell out of my head or perhaps is just not aligned electronically is the method of paying my PST for my art work. Then there is getting insurance on my art hanging in a local bnb. So far it is two days and multiple phone calls.

I think to myself that it must be some Zen Koan life. When I am dealing with electronics or institutional authority, I must first fall to my knees in humility and work through waves of frustration. Eventually, it will work. Eventually, I will learn it.

Maybe, one day the path will arise to meet my feet instead of being hidden in dense under brush.

What I have been learning is how to market my work. The first task is to allow people to see what I have created. So my store on the Redbubble site found at http://www.redbubble.com/people/covitch is being featured on my facebook page, on twitter, on linked in and every time I go out for a walk, I wear the leggins.

 

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

At the present time, I have a list of nine things that I am trying to learn. They are in a scrawled and numbered column on my neon orange index card.

I look like the crow when it sits watching me from its perch. I have my head to the side, blinking my eyes black with ignorance. I can feel the sharp beak of curiosity trying to figure out the way in, the way out, the best way to grasp that shining bit of knowledge and fly away. I can take it back to my nest of a mind where I now “own it.”

It is a process. It is all process.

What lies between Boredom and Chaos?

Flour sifting snow is falling so fine it clings to tree limbs. Their black emphatic death outline against the white gray sky is etched again by the vibrant reflected pearly layer.

snow trees 3 thumb sharp

And I have carried within me my own hibernation mind. “Soon,” I keep thinking, “soon my life will begin.”

The habits of patterns of hypnotic reformation that I experienced in my past keep me recyling, recircling when I seek drama, when I move into despair.

My growth place is when I feel boundless. So often these past months, I feel as if I am not body, or past, or narrative but just this now.

I am curious about who I am if I am not a reiteration. Who am I if I am not a montage of past pictures, glued ticket stubs, marriage certificates, death certificates, scars and stories?

Somewhere on the landscape design, is a creation. Somewhere in the molded clay self is a new construct.

I watch my mind and know and see.

There is boredom. As I get out of bed, it feels repressive, dull, predictable, lonely. There is a hardness to the shape of the day. It appears to be unbending to my will. It is a maze that I enter already knowing which turns to take to get me to the end.

My adrenal glands will not kick in. My workaholic buzz will give me no relief that day, or those days, or that week. It is so safe and bland. Thirty years in the same valley. Twenty years in the same house. A twelve page resume of art shows, publications, degrees earned seems like reading some stranger’s life.

too much can never be the sky

too much can never be the sky

And then I think, there are others who have done less and have more to show. There are others who stand taller on fewer attempts. The collapsing back to “oh well” becomes the strategy when I am projecting this flat, lifeless prairie vision.

I think of the times of chaos with envy. Until I get there. White water rafting down the week of poetry readings, deadlines, renters coming anew every two days leaves me looking ahead for calmer times. “This is too much,” I say to myself. That is when I let the “old” script play out. Climbing the side of the house touching up the paint on the second story; lugging rocks across the yard; or digging turf hurriedly before the next clock tick event, I hear my mind whimpering, “too much, out of control, you haven’t done the dishes yet.”

There are some studies which show the prevalent personality of poets is manic depressive. I do know I swing these days. I do know I am content for weeks on end.

But I cycle into the pollution of depression and gray days. Even on a day where the world is reflected light from the snow scape, I fall.

Watching my mind is such a gift for me, because I see. I see that the pre recorded message is at play. I see that my ancient, unconscious being lives between two states. One is the land of Boredom and the other is Chaos.

the darkness and the light are entire

the darkness and the light are entire

What if it is neither? What if I have reached a place where I am sheltered by my home; I have worked hard and long to teach myself routine and discipline; I have earned the times of peace?

What if working hard by itself does not achieve a goal but rather holding the goal close with a calm state of mind allows me to make the right move at the right time?

What if times of growth, times of incoming exciting events are not a threat? What if times of opportunities and passion and taking chances are the times of breaking up the field?

The mind is so often just plain wrong. Hearing only two notes does not mean we hear the melody. To see the seeker falling from grace is a gift.

To see the child like snuffling in the dark when all she has to do is open up her eyes, is a revelation.

What if life was simply more than a state of Boredom or a state of Chaos?

What if I stopped labeling what I think I see and just start living? I could walk into a new land for which I hold no diminishing language.

Be curious, transform

Be curious, transform

I know this is where true power lies: What if?

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.

centered

centered

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.”

IMG_5978

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?

Dave with the Diamond, The Language of Love

As the baking heat of summer abates, I walk along the waterfront. The experience is so much like the last sip of mango juice, the last kiss of a loved one, the fragrance of the remaining rose standing singular on the stretching branch. Knowing that it is drawing to a close makes me open up my senses all the more.

I think to myself, “Soon you will not see the loose, relaxed bodies of family tribes strolling with a shared rhythm. Soon the skin, arms and legs will be hidden away for winter like putting away seasonal clothing, these exposed limbs. Soon the evening air will not be perfumed by the release of fragrant flowers like a retelling of the narrative of the heat soaked day.”

Sunset City Park

Sunset City Park

It is in the denouement or in the anticipation that we most awaken to our own lives. Studies have show the point of greatest happiness is when an individual is working toward a goal. Olympic athletes report a loss of joy at the end of an event, even if they have garnered a prize.

Quo Vadis losing the way

Quo Vadis losing the way

The ability to be awake to my own life is and has been my focus for several years. How do I stay in a place of contentment even as the seasons change, through the trajectory of plans, effort and achievement? How do I allow emotions, deep grieving memories like forest monsters be recognized and acknowledged? Can I remain aware of what I hold in my body and of what I hold in the grinding fine mill of my brain?

Feel, release. Listen, release.

When I wake up the dreams are tangled around me like dark sheets. For decades I would have nightmares about being killed. The residual fear of my father coming in my room would be presented to me in dreams. My subconscious would be saying, ” Deal with this. Feel this.”

For decades I would awaken sobbing with my heart already shattered.

Through my vision quests; through my sitting at the feet of Shamans, teachers; through my listening to broadcasts from life coaches; through my reading DIY reconstruct your life books I have come to a place where there is an opening.

My eyes unclench at the start of day. I am encased in sadness like a gray, smudging cloud and then I move to gratitude. I put my hand on my heart and thank it for being so committed to staying alive. My heart has kept me here. I thank my heart for being so open and child like. The spirit I am wants to be in love, to share love, to be innocent and expectant. “Thank you, heart,” I say.

Seeing the love

Seeing the love

I lay my warm hand on the place where I held cancer. The place where I have growths removed every five years and I say, “You are healthy. You are fully alive. You live in freedom. You are beautiful. Thank you body.”

As I swing my feet over the edge of the bed, I envision jumping off of the edge of a ledge into the day.

“What kind of a day will you have?” I ask myself.

“Any kind of day you create,” I answer.

“Oh great. Then, it will be wonderful and full of love.”

How do I know my focused study is working? Because there are times when I do not hear a dozen crows and fifteen monkies all chattering in my mind at once.

How do I know my dedication to feeling and healing is effective?

As I walked along the boardwalk a little boy under the age of two was being pushed in his stroller by his parents. He was wearing a wonderful, expensive fedora. I did not smile at him. I did not stop and make faces at him.

I only thought, “Dude. I see your spirit. You are one rocking dude.” He broke into a smile and put his hand up to high five me. His parents stopped, looked at him. They looked at me and were puzzled. And then we all laughed.

I went to the bank and behind the counter was an attractive, thin, very stylish new bank clerk. His name tag said: Dave.

“Dave,” I said, “are you new here?”

“No,” he responded, ” I usually work in another bank.”

I thought how much I liked him daring to be so trim so stylish so unmundane. And then I saw the gigantic engagement ring on his left hand.

“Oh,” I said, “aren’t you the lucky one.”

“I know,” he said, ” and it isn’t because of the ring.”

We smiled together about his love, his claiming who he is in the world, my recognizing how wonderful he was. We just stood smiling together.

As I walked down the street, I saw a car enwrapped in love. On the windshield were two generous bouquets of gladiiolas. An aluminum heart balloon saying, “I love you,” was on the windshield. And balloons, balloons so pink and plasticy were floating from all of the wiper blades.

t I love you ballon

I am so grateful when I see the bravery of love. I am so lifted up when I see two people kiss on a street corner, exchanging tenderness. My heart sings when a baby waves at me.

t power feet

The nightmare world of helplessness, having my bones broken and my spirit invaded are giving way. These days I step out into a world of surprising, magical moments of love. Thank you Dave for wearing your diamond and sparkling bright.

It is not a new season. It will not slip away like summer. It is where I plant my feet. Now.

My thoughts still attach to the narrative trajectory… anticipation, tension, release but I am thankful that I can be aware of what is appearing on my “reality screen.” And sometimes, I can even switch the channel.

The illusion of Stillness

Mundane, repetitive, stuck, cycling gray
bare cutting into the sky
branches dividing the flat planes.

Over two yards a tree
is busy with dead small leaves
standing texturing the view somewhat.
I seek continuity of
over and over the same
gestures, habits of delusion.
Mind full of thought crows
brassing sounds
comparisons, directions
attempts to keep me scared
and small.

One day looks like the next
a river’s flat silver surface
all turbulence underneath
where water meets the rocks.

To be still, quiet and accepting of one state or another is a monumental practice. My urge to weave a story keeps presenting itself. Today after a month of taking my laundry to the laundromat because some mysterious parts are no longer functioning in my second hand washing machine I see my mind is at work. Up there, in the tree head I weave narratives.

We create turbulence

The higher place is where I try to stand. I call it the balcony view. I picture myself standing on a balcony looking down at my thoughts as if I were a cultural anthropologist and the primitive society was ME.
As I bagged up the laundry, I checked in. So far so good. No story. Just putting the bags in the car. Then I remembered the times when I was in Europe doing laundry and as a grad student. So here was the version I was constructing: I was on an adventure. I was going to a new place.

At the laundromat, I realized I had no soap. That made me laugh. It had been so long I guess I imagined the soap just trickled down like pixie dust from the soap fairy.

When I went next door to the deli/grocery store, a sample pushing woman approached me in her pseudo maid’s outfit lofting a silver tray. After exchanging information about my gluten intolerance, she ran off to check on the two miniature hamburger shaped chocolate eclairs. They were “safe”. She gave me both.

On the way back to the laundromat, I breathed deeply, looked at the sky and thought about how wonderful my day was. Two amazingly delicious, sugar saturated chocolate eclairs melted in my mouth one after the other. The machines were gigantic and tipped on their sides could be a power smart car. Fast. They were done in 20 minutes. I put the wet clothes in the car and drove home singing to the Glee CD I am determined to wear out.

So I did create a story. It was a story of finding the adventure in the flat places of winter. It was a story of seeing my being alone as being free. It was a story of unexpected pleasure when I dropped the turbid drama weavings, the cat’s cradle of catastrophe.

The washer still isn’t working. The repair men went away but after looking at the back of my dryer they explained that the luke warm hours of turning are a result of bad venting. Because they came today, I will have both the washer problem and the dryer problem resolved.

As I sit here with the tepid light coming in my window, I know that there are more things that will appear to be unrepaired, too slow, stultified which are in fact only incubating. Under the shell, under the soil there is growth going on. And that is a story that I allow to dance in my head.

Sunday is meant for sitting.

design your wall wallpaper

design your wall wallpaper

Today we began the day by getting caught up on some of the cleaning and attending to that which had piled up during the week. Piles of laundry, paper, magazines, sandy memories of walking from the street into the house. Once the dishwasher was “BaToosh BaTooshing” I got the laundry going “Ftttlt FttltFttlting” and Cameron was on the vaccume cleaner “whoaaa whoaaa whoaa”.

When the surfaces were oiled the crevices free of grit and the fluff of dust, we sat meditation on impermanance. My mind kept going to the impermanance of clean, the impermanance of  those moments of balance when all seems calm, the impermanance of dirty snow and dead dried plants sticking through the unavailable soil. It all changes. Mist, sound, clouds, breath. Our lives, our nations, our planet swirling from one shape to another.

And then my mind went, inevitably to problem solving. Do.  Do. My mind has me in its grip. I have decided that I can create a video projected as Rian does that morphs images like Matthias’ work into a final image reminiscent of Jean Francois’ work. It was a thought.

Following a plan seems almost impossible for us since we are so project based. Things cycle through our lives so perhaps for us to contemplate impermanance is not such a stretch. A project done is ejected into deep space. Our eyes now alight on another goal.

Depletion of resources is the core difficulty. How does one remain productive, expansive, curious when the body and mind are contracted and still with fatigue? Creativity relies on a certain ease with self. Go back to the well. Find the oasis within. That is the discipline.

Remaining at rest results from knowing that there is no remaining. Interesting….

Portland Living in the Light

Murals have sprung up all over the cityPillars of old structures are used to create sculpture

We have just returned from Portland where the sun was glorious, the art galleries plentiful, parks around every turn and the possibilities for exploring constant. Compared to other American enclaves that we had experienced in our stops on the drive down, the Portland resident seems to be either the cause or the effect of an environment that produces slim, healthy, astute citizens. Women in flowered skirts were carefully helmeted but got around the city on bicycle.

Perhaps, all of the “done to the eyes” matrons were up the hills and not mixing with the populous. At any rate, most of the fashion is studiedly casual. Thrift Chic has become looks like thrift chic.

One fair we attended had brilliantly redesigned recycled clothing which was carefully and fashionably restructured. We found this fair thanks to an email from Greg Pitters, a Portlander I met when he selected some of my designs for his modern, edgy wall decor (check out http://www.designyourwall.com). His wife and her business partner helped to organize the event. Even his young son had work on display and has had three one-man shows. The packed-full-of-art event was held at the Doug Fir Lounge. Cameron was very pleased to find his long-sought after lime soap. Three years ago he found lime soap at a high-end design store in Portland and has been yearning for that clean expression to waft in his bath ever since.

Brilliantly colored building in China Town

Portland has done so many things right that it is hard to discuss them all at once, so I probably won’t. Parks abound. We went on an urban hike up through the Washington Park area that took us up to the look out. The white puff of smoke from the Adams fire was visible and the mountains were hazily visible. People played cards, had pic nics, read books and just sleep on the grass. The feeling of safety, of utility in the public space was wonderful. It was an outdoor livingroom.

Creating Art for the market

Only once did we experience the presence of poor tortured souls who were trying to find happiness in a self-destructive manner. A group of four who were stoned and drunk got on the train and sat around us. The obese, highly flammable (gauging from his breath) man sat next to me… after he asked me if it was alright. Then he apologized for spilling over onto my seat. Even in the depths of what ever depths he had chosen to visit, he was polite.

After returning from hours of walking freely along the river, riding transport throughout the city and visiting over ten art galleries in a four block area, It is easy to see why Portland is considered to be one of the most liveable cities in the U.S. In addition, the people were answering the questions we posited to one another about when or where as we negotiated the city. They are discreetly helpful. No in-your-face questions about hidden tattoos or birthmarks, just a desire to be of use was the motivation.The red fire truck and yellow helmets of the firemen against this building!

Art In Kelowna ( all works on this site are for sale)

red structure, 36 x 27 $675

As the Artists@Work group plans for the First Thursday Art Crawl on May 1st, prepares for the Life & Arts Festival; as Livessence gathers together works for the Lattitudes show; as I am getting pieces together to send to a show in Toronto and preparing two shows for this summer it looks deceptively quiet at the Rotary Centre. Underneath, all of this activity is going on.

Canadian Beige Off Set  36 by 27 $675 multi-media

My goal to have a gallery up on this site is awaiting my technical waterwings… support from the guy who knows these things. I am good at finding his shoes, he is good at finding me new software. Seems fair somehow in the great scheme of things.

canadian beige vortex multi-media

I watched Oprah’s last installment last night, or rather listened as I painted some of the new works I am preparing for the Summerland show. The feeling of running in wet sand has been rather overwhelming lately. All of the people I know are working in a very concentrated and inspired manner on their art, hoping that eventually Kelowna will be perceived as a destination for art tourism.

canadian beige triangle

We are hoping that once enough pieces of the puzzle are put together… the big picture will be the result.