Chicken Marsala Monday

We were 14 hours into a 17 hour drive when she asked the question. “If we’d had a child, what would we have named it?” After much laughter and too much coffee we settled on Chicken Marsala.  Chicken kept us awake for the rest of our drive.

No one can accuse us of not being productive. We are a creative melange of paintings, music, plays, books, children’s books, and, now, cartoons. For over a year we attempted to syndicate our strip, Chicken Marsala (the imaginary child of an aging couple…) and were met with much enthusiasm but not syndication. We produced months of strips and single panel nuggets (chicken strips and chicken nuggets. Titanic wit, yes?).

Brewed from our studio, from the pile of creative perseverance that is stacking up below and above the ping pong table that serves as our archive , we’ve decided to offer a daily blend of goodness, thought, laughter and beauty. It may come fresh off the press or it might be aged and, like Chicken Nuggets, it might be looking for some light. Art is made to share, not archive. Either way, welcome to the melange. Chicken’s day is Monday. This nugget has everything to do with Valentine’s week and a quiet reminder that the universe of feelings is so much bigger than words can possibly contain.

love needs no words jpeg copy.jpg

LOVE NEEDS NO WORDS

kerrianddavid.com

love needs no words ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Bring Your Boon

This painting is called Icarus.

This painting is called Icarus.

During my call with Skip I used the word, “boon.” He scribbled a note saying, “You’ve not used that word before.” The word came up because he’s been overrun by well meaning advice-givers that think he needs to know about the hero’s cycle. Skip said, (and it’s true) that he’s forgotten more about the hero’s cycle than most people will ever know. “I’m a business guy so they think I can’t possibly know about it!” he exclaimed. “If another person tells me about the hero’s cycle I’m going to explode.”

My thought for him was to pay attention to why so many people are coming up with the same response when they hear about his work. What’s evoking the common response: have you heard about the hero’s cycle? I always pay attention when a book title repeatedly drops into my world (I get the book) or when a place or a metaphor seems to pop up everywhere. What’s there that I may be overlooking? What is hammering Skip that he may not see? That’s what sparked the word, “boon.”

When the hero (and we are all heroes in our personal story) emerges from the ordeal of change, when they escape the belly of the whale, they are transformed. They know something that they didn’t before understand. This is the boon. They have a new gift or insight that will, in turn transform the community. Personal change is communal change. They are one and the same thing.

There is a small catch when dealing with boons: communities (like individuals) talk a lot about the need for change but mostly resist it. When you are the bringer of the gift, the carrier of the insight, often you are not welcome when you share it. New insights are dangerous to the status quo. History is resplendent with visionaries banished for sharing the boon of their transformation or bringing to the community the gold that they need but are incapable of recognizing.

Skip has arrived back to the world with a boon. He sailed to the edge and has returned with strange knowledge and a unique perspective. His insight contradicts common models of business. His boon describes motion, a flow, which is hard to see when the landscape is dominated by bottom lines and outcomes. His community mistakenly thinks he needs to go on a hero’s journey when, in fact, he is just returning. His hands are full of gold that they cannot see.

The best we can do is share what we hold. How it is received is out of our hands. If it is received at all is not in our control. Vincent Van Gogh died having sold one single painting – and that to his brother. The glory of his life – and the lives of all visionaries – is that he kept painting regardless of whether the world might someday see the boon, or not. It didn’t (and doesn’t) matter. Bringing the boon home is all that is required.

title_pageGo here for my latest book, The Seer

Go here for Fine Art prints of my paintingsYoga.Meditation

Give As Love

The stack of paintings sitting in my basement waiting for me to show them.

The stack of paintings sitting in my basement waiting for me to show them.

Sitting in the choir loft this morning I was at first disappointed that the stained glass window was silent. I was so full of questions – and have lately been so full of questions – and have come to look forward to hanging out in the loft, conversing with the window, while Kerri plays a service.

When I bring my questions the window always has something to say. The window offers a better set of questions or a startling reflection or a slap of insight. The window’s responses always come in the form of a message of return (return to heart, return to forgiveness, etc.). If I get quiet and ask my question, out of the peace, a conversation always ensues. Today, from my quiet, I asked my question about artistry, about my artistry, and I was met with an unusual silence. I wrinkled my brow. I wondered if my conversation with the window had come to an end or if perhaps my question was out of the scope of topics for a stained glass window.

There was a visiting pastor, an elder who’d been preaching for over 50 years. I sat up and paid attention when he began his sermon this way:

“Artists have a special gift. They help others see in a new way….”

His message was about love. Love, he told us, takes many forms and the form that love takes depends upon the unique gifts of the lover: a symphony is a gift of love, a painting is a gift of love. A plumber fixing a broken water main late into the evening is a gift of love. “What is your gift? he asked. Do you recognize it as love?

A few years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I visited a tarot woman at a bookstore in Denver. During our session she asked me a question that felt like a cold slap in the face. “You know god’s voice,” she said. “Why do you not use it?” I mumbled a lame excuse that dribbled into silence. “Why do you not use it?” she asked again.

Sitting across the table from the tarot woman, I knew without doubt that I have, my whole life, been a great servant to other people’s artistry but a lousy servant to my own. In my life I’ve been the midwife to many people’s gifts while mine have remained mostly unrealized.

The window whispered, “A painting is a gift of love. So is a play. So is a book. These are your forms of love. Your gift is a gift of love. Love is god’s voice and you know god’s voice.”

“I do know it,” I said, timid to admit it. “Don’t we all?” I asked the window.

“Access is open to all. Few actually listen,” the window replied. “Few know how to listen. Most fear their gift and plug their ears.”

To offer my gift without inhibition is how I best express love to the world? That was old and new for me at the same time. I asked the window, “How many artists need to hear that message? How many people need to hear that message?”

“You are deflecting. You deflect your gift by serving other people’s purposes before your own. These questions you ask are the wrong questions,” said the window. “Yes, of course, all people need to hear the message. But, is it your purpose to deliver the message or is it your purpose to fulfill your gift? Helping others hear their message is not yours to do. Yours is to fulfill your gift and, in that way, help others to see their gift in a new way. You need do nothing but give your gift. They will see or not without your intervention. Love by giving your gift. It is simple. Give your gift, give your love, without reservation or doubt.”

“Love can be how you listen to a friend in need,” the pastor said. Love is not about the rules or the restrictions. Even when you try to alienate love, it will always find its way back to you. It will find its way back through you.

“You know god’s voice,” the window continued. “And you know it. Return to the truth; return to your truth. The question, ‘Why do you not use it,’ no longer matters. It, too, is a deflection. Asking ‘why’ merely delays the giving. Use it. Give it. Give as love.”

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Or, go here for hard copies.

Know The Value

719. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I once read a series of books in which the main character, a successful real estate broker, so despised the emptiness of his life that one night he took off his clothes and walked away from his life. He literally left everything behind. He stepped away from every illusion that he maintained. From zero, he rediscovered himself and emerged a man rooted in the essential, living in the present. He relinquished the culture of comfort and embraced the textures and struggles of a life unprotected.

These past few months, as I stepped away from what was known and am now wandering, I have thought often of these books and this character. Just as the character learned that his needs were never fulfilled by possessions and always fulfilled through relationships, I am learning that I can only truly offer my gifts to the world when I fully allow myself to fully receive.

In these months I have stayed with Alan, Judy, Megan, Mark and Teru, and Carol; I have traveled from Boston to Hastings to Champaign to Denver and Seattle. I have enjoyed the retreat of my parents’ empty home (they are snowbirds). I’ve received untold kindness and experienced the generosity of friends and strangers. And, the lesson over and over: I need do nothing to deserve it; I need only receive it. In my life I’ve learned to give but have protected myself from receiving and am apparently out of balance. Carol said, as she threw her apartment keys at me, “It’s time for you to learn to receive!” And then she laughed at the pained look on my face. Judy reiterated the lesson. Mark told me I am always welcome to stay. These generosities are worth more than gold to me.

Todd and Lone are keeping tabs on me. Mark takes me to lunch when he knows I’m in town. Chris popped me on the head and told me to drop my illusions – I know more than I am willing to admit. David called as I drove across the country to touch base and hear my voice. Kerri toasts me with java everyday; this list could go on and on. I am like the character in the book. I’ve always known that the real value of my life was in my relationships, I just had no idea how rich I really am.