Take The Time

Yoga Series 7When the world says, Give Up, Hope whispers, Try one more time.

I am updating my website though I am no longer permitting myself to call it an update. To update implies (to me) something periodic. This thing requires constant attention. As it turns out, websites never sleep. Rather than an update I now think of it as a scheduled feeding. Our cat, Baby Cat (were he human he’d be a sumo wrestler or a bouncer at a biker bar), is the only creature alive that requires more feeding than my website. Baby Cat is much more vocal about his scheduled feedings so I’m mentally linking my Baby Cat and website feedings.

My current website feeding, let’s call it an appetizer, involves paintings. I’m including an archive that reaches back a decade or more. There are paintings that go back further in time (much further) and I will post my archeology as I continue the feeding. The remarkable thing about including an archive is that it has provided the opportunity for a life-in-art review. And, I don’t recognize the guy that did some of those paintings. I recall applying paint to canvas but the overall experience is akin to remembering a past-life. They are at the same time “me” and “not me.” A few years ago I went to a Picasso retrospective at The Seattle Art Museum and wondered if the man at 90 years old liked or appreciated the work he did at 20 years old. Like all great painters he grew simpler with age, he said more with less. With age, he had less to say so he was at once both free and precise (a great definition of artistry).

In my life-in-art review I’ve been most interested in the work that happened during transitional periods. For instance, shortly after I moved to Seattle (sixteen years ago) I took most of my existing paintings to a local beach and, over three consecutive nights, burned them. It was my version of a forest fire, a spontaneous conflagration that stripped my internal landscape bare. What followed was a slow revitalization. Renewal. I remember the faces of the people who helped carry my paintings to the fire. They thought I was engaged in a fiery self-sabotage. I knew otherwise. My work had become sterile and heavy. Hope was calling and I needed to drop some dead wood, shed an old skin,… (fill in your favorite analogy). It was hard, messy, scary, and, for me, necessary.

A few years ago I followed Barney and Skip around the Benziger Winery. They were giving me lessons in biodynamics. The lesson over and over again: it’s about the health of the soil. The health of the vine is an expression of the health of the soil; excellent wine cannot be pushed. It takes time. It takes attention to the whole system. Art follows the same principles.

 

Let Yourself Dance

'Dancing In The Front Yard' by David Robinson

My painting, ‘Dancing In The Front Yard’

It is the season of the light’s return. The Equinox is only a few days away. The dark days bode of new light. It is the literal, solar-lunar cycle-dance of rebirth, the return of the sun.

The great theatre artist, Jim Edmondson, spoke of all life as a dance of giving and receiving. To give and receive are energies similar to the tides or the intake and exhale of breath. The dance requires both giving and receiving and, in truth, they are not separate but are one action, one continuous connected cycle as is chaos and order, birth and death, winter and summer, boredom and breakthrough.

All stories lead back to this dance, this source of light’s disappearance and return. Frodo wrestles with the pull of the ring, Orpheus descends into darkness to bring Eurydice back to the light, a too-early-death affords a healthy heart and new life to a stranger, a baby is born and down the hall Hospice is called, lost love leads to new love, we wrestle with our limitations and someday transcend them (or not); we dance the dance every day because, in truth, we never know what the day brings and learn that this life sparkles when with clear intention we bring our light to the day. What else?

With all of our talk of transformation and renewal, we pretend that the dance is something new, something we must intend, when it is a dance as old as time and as ordinary and extraordinary as the sun setting and rising again. It is new when we pay attention and greet each day as a new step in a very old dance, a new opportunity to give and receive. To live fully, to transform, requires nothing more than to pay attention and let yourself dance.

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

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Tell The Story

"...and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes..." e.e. cummings

“…and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes…” e.e. cummings

Three hundred and sixty six days ago I met Kerri. What I thought was going to be a casual meeting, the beginning of a new friendship, was much more than I anticipated though I didn’t really understand the scope and depth of our relationship until three hundred and sixty five days ago. On that day, exactly one year ago, I went with her to experience a Taize service. Taize is a meditation service and she was guiding the music. I sat with her during the Taize and, in a single moment, on a specific word of the Lord’s Prayer, we had an experience so potent, so mystical that a year later I still am unable to explain or comprehend it. Our lives changed in an instant. The moment was so powerful that we sat in the church for hours after the service. We couldn’t move. We couldn’t leave that space.

Yesterday, we both cleared our calendars and spent the day telling the story of our year. Our telling was not for reminiscence. It was not like a new year’s review of things past. It was not a measure of how far we’d come. It was elemental. It was the kind of telling that communities used to tell when they renewed themselves. It was the kind of telling people used to do to define themselves. It was story as a sacramental act. We visited the fire and the transformation, the earth and the necessity of rooting, the water and the miracle of flow, and the wind of inspiration and ancestry. We generated by regeneration.

So, I offer this as an exercise: give yourself a gift, take some time, and tell the story of everything you experienced on this earth, in this life, over the past three hundred and sixty five days. Visit the awe, the disappointment, the hurt, the joy, the boredom, the loss, the discovery, the exhaustion, the wonder, and anything else that affirms your life as unique and gorgeous. No one else walked the path you walked. No one else can or will walk the path you walk. See it. You’ll be amazed.

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.