Patterns and Pauses

Slowly the ice fort that the snow plow and I have built around my car is disappearing. At times, I take my square sharp shovel and chip away. When it warms up, I slide the snow shovel underneath and open up the passage ways. I am creating a path for easier movement.

The resolve to sit and write, to take time to work through the blocks that have arisen is renewed in me lately. Chipping away at a frustration; building my skills without a particular end game in mind will lead me where I need to go.

The enemy is contentment. I have enough money… if I am careful and don’t stretch my neck out into Middle Class acquisitiveness. I have familiar comfort. But the black out curtain of boredom restricts my light.

At times I yearn for a new environment, one in which I cannot anticipate the path. Exploration, adventure, serendipity are somewhere else.

The well worn path I had trodden is the polished stone walkway of discipline. The habits are the groves I have made. I am working now to get myself down in a chair and develop my focus on creating the adventure in my exploration of language. The time, which has for so many years been a burden upon me, the time of “it doesn’t matter” and “there is nothing you have to do” has been marked with no hands, no click movement of minutes.

I don’t seek struggle but rather just to deepen my commitment to developing myself. And distraction, entertainment, diversion have been the central pond of my day. I have soaked in it for hours.

I tell myself I am learning as I watch movies. I tell myself I am connecting as I lurk a voyeur to friends on face book. I tell myself I am being careful with my money as I go to three stores to buy one item.

But really, what is it that I wish to discover in my life? That is the question. How can I patiently sit and work through my thoughts, honing ideas, reaching out to new possibilities of internal connection? It is by once again connecting to the clock and going back to work.

It is time.

Judith Orloff, Theodore Roosevelt and David Bowie

The cave dweller, ego creature covered in the unkempt hair of despair has needed care. Sometimes I say, “I was raised by wolves,” because it is kinder to those who have to listen to me than for me to unload my story.

The most effective tool that has helped to deal with the squint- eyed dark dwelling drama beast,  was reading. I was drawn to it as if I intuited that books, narratives, biographies could show me a way out.

As a teenager, I stacked books against my chest and lengthened my arms so I could get them all home. Biographies of pioneer girls who had shown inordinate courage in the face of a hostile land; stories of great female role models like Marie Curie and Golda Meir fell into my out stretched hands. Sacagawea was perfect for a 6th grade girl living in the Columbia River Gorge. The history of Lewis and Clark surrounded us. I found role models that were focused, strong, reliable, dedicated to solving problems.

Golda Meir, Prime Minister, Israel

Golda Meir, Prime Minister, Israel

Who knows, in life, what is cause and what is effect? The books and I found one another.

At times when life was challenging, I had my cupboard full of role models and I could imagine myself to be the teen aged girl reloading rifles in the besieged fort, increasing the morale of those around me until help would arrive. I was drawn to extraordinary female power of one sort or another. And it helped me survive all of the stories my ego creature could possibly hiss to me.

Lately, I noticed that the books I am reading, the documentaries I watch all seem to build an architectural form of a lesson.


Judith Orloff, psychiatrist, intuitive, author

Judith Orloff, psychiatrist, intuitive, author

Judith Orloff is a psychiatrist with unblemished medical credentials who is also psychic. She has “come out” and lets the world know that her intuitive powers are one of her tools. Her success as a writer, teacher, lecturer and a doctor are based on her ability to be authentic and straight forward.

I love it when she says she is suspicious of those who waft about in robes waving wands while sprinkling pixie dust. One does not need to be unbalanced or a showman to be intuitive. We all have it. The work in life is to maintain balance. Her books speak to me of how to grow the intuitive gifts I already have and at the same time maintain my love of calm, cleanliness, solitude and order.

Doris Kerns Goodwin’s beautifully written Bully Pulpit allowed me to be encouraged about my life. Theodore Roosevelt was very sickly as a boy but he decided to make himself strong. His father built a gym in the family home and Theodore worked assiduously on building himself up to radiant health. He read on average of a book a day because he was constantly curious and drawn to a path of self improvement. But it was not a harsh regime. He was just mesmerized by life and let his joy lead him. At one point, Goodwin explains that Theodore was undertaking a new disciple. I believe it was sword fighting. He was abysmally bad at it for years. He was wretched at it for years. And yet he kept going until he became skilled.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

I thought of how quickly I become discouraged and close the door if I do not immediately succeed at a new task. I am short changing my future self.

This evening I watched a documentary about David Bowie who was told in the 60’s that he was too quirky and outsider to ever have a career. The music and the idea that was so clear in his head drowned out the voices of those who criticized him. He had a sense of what he wanted to be, to say. In an interview, he said that the way he was that day was David Bowie, but he was moving toward becoming “myself.”

David Bowie

David Bowie

So the recent teachers have reiterated to me that those around you can feed back to you the limiting self concepts that they are locked within. They may say, “You can’t be psychic. It is too weird and you won’t be respected.” They perhaps will hold up the mirror of disability and illness to lock you into that model of yourself. The critics and the specialists and the keepers of the scrolls may chant to you that you are too unusual or out of step.

But the glory of these three people who are so different from one another is that they pursued the imprint of who they knew themselves to be. They stepped out and exposed the power of publicly becoming so strong in authenticity that they have inspired me.

The ego has weakened its negative hold on me when I surround myself with others who did not chose the victim path; the lesser, the safer and the more disasterous path. And, finally, if we are going to choose a life to enable us to fit in….why not fit in to our own bodies with health, fit into our own spirits by honoring the inspirations, fit into our own truth by taking the risk to stand up in our endowment. Let it shine out.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in Yourself

Life becomes less crowded when the ego is quiet and the voices feeding back a smaller life are stilled. There is only you, the joy that calls to you and the excitement of finding out who you are. Thank you Judith, Theodore and David!

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.

What is it all about? Face into wind, words carry

Intention, attention, detention. Each day born like a chick. Pecking away the shell of sleep.

So shaky on first legs. Aware that each thought is creating the web lines I will walk each day. Visioning out, creating the universe my orb will rotate through before I can make it to the bathroom, or even put my floor into reality by placing feet upon it.

To catch myself, right then. To catch myself gently by taking my mind in hand is the goal.

When first waking, I place one hand on the scars where my three surgeries were for ridding me of cancer. The other hand I place on my heart and let both my chest and my hand warm one another.

Each day, I lay flat before the universe is constructed and I say to my mind, “You are radiantly healthy and you give and receive love easily.” Each day, I use Reiki or affirmations, or magic on my body in the two places that have to be calmed and assured. “You are radiantly healthy and your heart is full of love.”

Only after those moments do I stand, shake off the unbeing of night and sleep. Where ever I have travelled, I am back into the habit of mind-body connection we call awake. As I walk to the bathroom, I watch my thoughts. My mind has already made up the holodeck I am stepping into for the day.

“Whine, whine, whine,” the song goes in my brain. The hard stone of loneliness is still below my heart and above my belly button. Still there, I can feel the dark, heavy spot. Parents dead; children moved away; marriages done one after one. The house is quiet with only the blowing heat in winter or air conditioner in summer breaking into the white, clear silence.

I turn my mind to gratitude as one would help a child learn to tie shoes for the first time. I am patient. I talk to myself with compassion. “Let’s see. We will make a list. Wow, you had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Your body feels good. You are not afraid that someone in your environment will hurt you, will be sneaking around betraying you. No one is criticizing you. Your body feels strong and rested. The bed is comfortable, the tree outside your window is beautiful, your car purrs when you turn the key, ….” On I go chanting to the trembling gray feathered bird which has broken from the shell of night, chanting that the world is a safe and wonderful place.

The coffee is excellent, the best and freshly ground. The orange juice is golden. I drink it standing at the window so I can see the brilliant color in between sips. I take my pills that help me build strength and optimism. They work for me. I congratulate myself on everything that I did to advance my sense of safety and confidence in the world yesterday.

The stone of past oppressions; of a war zone childhood; of bad choices and loss is still there. But I notice that it is getting smaller. I make friends with its presence as if it were a mole or a scar, only it is one which I carry within.

So many times during the day, I reach “no story” status. It is the top of the mountain for me. Something happens. My car needs $700 worth of repairs. And I say, “thank you,” to the universe for the mechanic’s catching loose bolts and a rusted arm that would have lead to an accident. Within one hour, I drop it and do not weave it into the cloth of thorns that I could choose to wear throughout the day.

Sometimes, I have no body or personality or thoughts. The sense of floating comes to me at times while I sit meditation on the deck. The feel of the sun melts the dimensions, my physical body, my aura of jagged thoughts away into no thing. It is beyond pleasure. It is just space.

The result of watching my self through the day is that I can see the four year old; the frightened 38 year old with two children to care for; the woman who ran bleeding after love appear in my thoughts. And whatever age my shadow self is, I see her. I know exactly where it is coming from. I know exactly why she wants to start the story, the drama, the cliff hanger, the adrenaline of anxiety which is her addiction. Sometimes, I am even able to soothe her and step away from her pull on my hand. “Follow me into victim land,” she will call out.

What has been most exciting for me in this process is that I am learning that I am not good or bad. I am human. I have a personality, a soul, a history, habits of mind, self destructive patterns and even cognitive dissonance that has me eating sugar while trying to become radiantly healthy. But I am learning.

By God, by all that is Holy the gifts this life has brought to me are starting to be evident. I can watch myself with love. The struggles with arrogance, judgement, social anxiety, over control, failure to allow myself to be close to others are on going. Even when I had past life regression, I could see the same lessons appearing. So how can I expect to “get it” in this life if I have been doing the work on the tendency to isolate myself since 1053 B.C.? I mean really, let it go sister.

When I awake with my feathers so young and wet they look like fur, and I lay among the shell fragments of dreams, I recreate my life. Each day is a new universe, a new energy field, a new web I weave with my thoughts. What is my life about? It is about learning how to live. It is about learning what I have created and taking full responsibility for each thought I use to speak to my self. I am after all brand new, unsure, trembling to be here.

I see myself so strong and soaring in the sky with no weight of darkness. I see myself light in light. So I touch my scars and my heart, and I talk to myself each day. I am teaching myself how to live. It is why we are all here. To understand. To live with no story, no drama, no victim/villian mentality. But thank God we are reborn each day, new, fresh face into the wind with our words carrying out into the world our intention to be loving.

And sometimes the sun shines.

Ready or Not Here It Comes

My friend Elaine came by for a brief visit and filled me in on her life in the past few months. She looks wonderful. She is one of those blessed women who has radiant skin and while she wears no make up at all, she looks beautiful.

with lighting filters

I wish i had been born with eyebrows. She has lost weight which she didn’t even notice. Her life is so busy with the job and kids and volunteer work that she is not at all self-absorbed. It was great to see her and to see her transformation.
My brother sent through an email to me suggesting I get out more, start working out. Oh do I wish. I probably have another month of limited mobility. The issue is how much I push using my foot. Tomorrow I will go collect my art work from a show home and go to a doctor’s appointment. That will be a big day out for me.

with sketching filter

I am almost done listing possible magazines for submission from Poetry Market 2011. Once that is done I will move on to Michael Brown’s workbook. Gabor Mate suggested Michael for me to work through a few things.
I know I am getting better because i am getting restless. I want more social contact, more stimulus, more things to look forward to. My brother and my daughter keep urging me to just go out. But I was doing that previously… sitting alone in Chapters reading, going to a movie alone, eating in a restaurant alone. Maybe, that is not what they are saying. Just maybe I need to start connecting with people more.
I think there has been an element of shame around my past choices and a feeling that I didn’t want to be seen because of past associations. But as my brother was reiterating to me today, it is not me who was unethical. So I need to leave the past behind.
Learning how to use my new pse software is fun. Yesterday I took an image that was posted on facebook of my grand daughter and treated it in various ways. I was very pleased with the result.

chalk and charcoal

Setting goals for the future, having something to look forward to, spicing things up with fun are all important once I can step down and out again. Then I can say…. I am truly looking forward.

conte crayon filter

Learning the Interior Map

It was fascinating for me to observe myself this past week. With all of the progress I have made in self-discovery, with meditative practice and setting intention, I fell off of the wagon.
For two days I felt sad, depressed and while I was working full- out on those things that needed to be completed, I was crying. What is it that is said, “Crying for all my lost days.” The sense of heaviness in my heart was so great that I actually saw a vision of my heart as a large, black boulder. The list was being dissolved. I was moving through doing that which I intended to do. However, I was dragging my spirit along behind me forcefully.

Om Mani Padme Hum

On the third day, the pain in my wrists, head and back manifested. Was this because I was depressed and ,therefore, more open to viruses? I don’t know. However, I immediately went into coping mode. I headed out to buy sugary drinks and a giant cookie. I rented videos to distract me. I holed up in the dark living room.
Leaving behind meditation practice, working out and connecting to friends, left me deep into the coping mechanisms that had worked out…. not at all… in the past. After a day of couch- floating, the pain grew more and more intense. I suddenly got the message. My son had visited me five days previously and he was getting sick. I was sick. Fever for two nights, racking back pain and sick to my stomach.
So now what most interests me is the question:Did I get sick because my defenses were down due to a negative mind-set or did I take the on- slaught of virus and interpret it as depression?

Was the pattern of old mind, of disaster mind so ingrained in me that because I was sluggish, unwell and fighting off a virus, I immediately attributed that to emotional pain.
Well that is fascinating!!! If my meditation practice were to do something for me, I understand that I should have not avoided sitting. It was a time to sit and experience all that was going on in my body and to release the emotional turmoil around it. “You feel like shit. Oh yes you do.”However, just let that be and experience it.

eye of the storm

Also, running toward sugar and movies. That will fix everything. Just a hit of this and a hit of that. What about going for a walk or calling my daughter? No can’t do that!
So the ego waits to find situations whereby it can act out. Things are so bad you “need” this. The world sucks so you “deserve” that.
In addition, I am wondering if watching all of the videos of the Tsunami and world upheaval has not affected a change in my energy. I like to be informed. But, I am a sensitive. After enough years on this planet, I know this to be true.
I am not just sympathetic, I am empathetic. Once when my brother fell out of the car and broke his collar bone, we took him to the hospital. While he was in being examined, I cried and cried. My parents asked what was wrong. I told them I hurt. My shoulder hurt where he was injured and it was intense. It was not sympathy. I was experiencing his pain.
So what are the lessons… oh for Pete sake… again. Take care of the body. Sit meditation to connect to the body. Seek ways to be joyous that are healthy. Stay close to loving friends. And, lastly, allow yourself to make mistakes without judging or condemning yourself. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Buddha tells us that we have many life times for this work. And that is a good thing.
May your day be full of love


Iridian Night of the Stars Charity for Bridges Programme

Two of my pieces Zephyr Moon, copper and Green/gold were donations for the charity that Charlie Hodge has helped to organize for the Bridges Programme.

Corey Doak sang his Scruffy the Elf song

Corey Doak sang his Scruffy the Elf song

So many great musicians and bands donated their time that I felt that there was compunction on my part to attend. I have been less than healthy for over 7 weeks but kept chugging along. However, I do have only a few items to complete and my list can rest until the new years.

Corey entrances the audience

Corey entrances the audience

Some of the images that I took of the bands I worked with Paint Shop Pro to reflect the sound of the music. I really enjoy recreating the feel of an original situation and keeping the energy in my final piece. Nixie is a band I have been following for several years now. Moving to Vancouver, B.C. from Kelowna, they have now stepped up to move their career to a higher point.

Corey Doak award winning song writer

Corey Doak award winning song writer

Corey Doak is a musician that Cameron has played bass for on some of his CD’s and his sound is creative and full of his personality. He stood alone on stage and held the audience. His fan base is large. Playing Christian music at his church, he has garnered a big following.

Nixie singing their set

Nixie singing their set

Currently, I am completing 110 Christmas Cards which will be used by the City of Kelowna. Each is unique because I have drawn into them with metallic ink and Indian ink pens.

over lay of picture of Nixie

over lay of picture of Nixie

It was a laborious, time consuming task but it means they are NOT the type of works that are churned out by a factory like process. I cannot by my very nature ever work that way.

Nixie playing in Kelowna

Nixie playing in Kelowna

Loading to my web sites, attending to my on line galleries is the next task for the business.

final image that I really like

final image that I really like

Next week I will finish a very large committment to my community with the all candidates forum that I have organized. And not least, hopefully not last, is the wrapping and mailing presents.

paint shop pro layers

paint shop pro layers

Since I will be a hermit for a while after some surgery, I want to have things all complete.

Cameron is working full out on the electrical jobs he is getting.

electronica, rock

electronica, rock

He finished working on two houses in the last two weeks and is completing a garage. He must also replace the service to our house in the next two weeks to comply with the insurance companies proviso.

bright sound, big sound

bright sound, big sound

Hopefully, there will be time to knit, to read and to enjoy the “cave” existence of winter. For every season….

Looking forward to cinnamon spice tea, naps and dreaming.

Jazz, Classes and Arts News Kelowna

Was that sunshine out there? Welcome to Spring.

Cameron’s News:
March 31st Cameron plays with Jane Eamon at Ministrel’s Cafe
Cover Charge is usual

Sitting in with Jennifer Scott and Bernie

Sitting in with Jennifer Scott and Bernie

April 17th Cameron plays at Peachland Civic Awards at 6:30
Danny Sameshima trio

Cameron is well on the way to getting his
Contractor’s Licence.
We will celebrate his ability to pull his own permit ( not as naughty as it sounds.)
He is an full electrician with red seal and is skilled at other home improvement tasks.

Cherie’s News:

Cherie is now President of her neighbourhood association and is looking for other
past or current residents of Kelowna’s North End to join the North End Facebook group.

The NERA meeting is March 25th in the Ellis St. Library, upstairs room

April 4th Cherie’s workshop: UBC-O Continuing Services class on Digital Photograph
from 10-4 pm still has room
Phone: 250.807.8177
Fax:  250.807.9155

Further Classes offered in her studio are:
April 6th 6-8 Selecting the Image: How to choose a “shot”
$45 adults and teens

April 8th 6-8 Starting with You: Finding what matters in photography
$45 adults and teens

April 11th 10-2 Workshop on Keepsake handmade book: Gift of Yourself
All materials supplied. Bring a keepsake or two to include
$50 adults and teens

Also at the library, April 29th from 7-8 An Artist’s Eye: Photographs of Europe
Discussing the Artscape exhibition currently at the Kelowna Community Theatre until end of April

Cherie is preparing for the group curated show DISPARATE VOICES
Stiegenhaus Gallery, Vienna, Austria. May 8th to May 16th.
The artists Jean-Francois Provost, Quebec; Rian Kerrane, Art Professor, University of Colorado; Matthias Schmidt, Ph.D. student Austria.

Cherie is looking for submissions to her twice a month column on entitled Find Art. Any event in the arts in Kelowna, free listing. or 1-250-763-4269

The soft evening of the spring with lights dancing

The soft evening of the spring with lights dancing

Wednesday with good intentions

Sore, tired only three hours sleep. So many shows to get ready for and just no energy. I will open the windows and begin to move around. Getting web sites cleaned up and updated is so time consuming. Making mistakes and having to unsnaggle them is frustrating.

How to be patient with learning? Mistakes just feel like failure. How much more soothing to just stay with what one knows. But that way lies shrinkage with age. Lighter mind, muscles not sore but like a dandelion flower, it means one is going to seed. The white hair, like sun drenched halo on a stem. Waiting for one gust of wind to scatter the self. I choose to be uncomfortable and more substantial. My body questions the choice.

My mind, like a tree full of birds, has a thousand things to say about how I live. Shhh!

Learning and aging