Be The Magic [on Two Artists Tuesday]

birdy feet copy

A modern dinosaur hopped by our car. It left tracks in the snow otherwise we might have never known! What I love most about the local dinosaur population is that we never tire of seeing them or evidence of their travels. We have a dinosaur feeder just outside our sun room window and have wiled away more than a few hours watching them fly in for a seed fix.

I believe we are all the time surrounded by magic and miracles but remain largely blind to their existence. Birds are ancient. If you want to take a step back into the Mesozoic Era, just listen to the sound of a Sandhill Crane. Magic and miraculous.

Every time that I hear that there is only one true religion I’m tempted to take the speaker by the elbow and lead them outside to look at the night sky. If they understand what they are seeing – indeed, what they are experiencing – they should laugh aloud and clap their hands with glee at the utter absurdity of their smallness and the enormity of their unimaginable existence. “Astronomers estimate there are about 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way alone. Outside that, there are millions upon millions of other galaxies also! “  In the midst of millions upon millions – an infinity beyond any of our smallish brain pans to comprehend – might it be a bit of hubris to claim ownership of the one true anything? Go outside and consider it. Miraculous. Magic.

The dinosaur tracks were gone the next day. Melted. My 30’s and 40’s are gone, too. Passing. Tracks merely.

I suppose it is our lot to squeeze ourselves into these too tight boxes. Rushing life most certainly will have you focus on your long list of things to accomplish, on the empty places pocking your wall of respect, the plaque engraved on your legacy. In the face of so much track-making, it takes a bit of effort, an intention of slowing down to pay attention, to listen to the bird song, to see that the dinosaur recently hopped by, to turn your face to the stars and fall with abandon into the night sky. To be the magic. Miraculous.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on SWEET TRACKS

 

jumping squirrel tracks website box copy

 

From A Distance [DR Thursday]

The first photograph of our planet Earth was taken by the crew of  Apollo 17 in 1972. The Blue Marble. Living. Vibrant. Moving. Alive. Fragile. Uncontrollable. Spiritual. Our home. Sometimes I think that the plethora of seemingly insurmountable issues that plague our discourse (our lives), divide our nations, and choke our news feeds are only possible because this photograph is forgotten. Or denied. We are the first humans in the history of humans to (literally) have this global perspective which makes us the first humans in the history of humans to ignore what we know. It’s all connected. We are all connected. It’s impossible to see from the ground but oh, so easy to see from space.

from a distance TOTE BAG copy

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Roger once told me that, in his opinion, denial was perhaps the single most powerful force driving the human condition. Today I’d make an argument for hubris. Or, perhaps one needs to be fully steeped in denial to be so full of hubris. The very notion that we story ourselves as stewards of Earth seems misguided, arrogant – especially given our capacity to step out into space and look back at our home, our selves.  As P-Tom recently said, nowadays we measure the trash field in the ocean in units of countries (3 Frances). Stewards would, I hope, do a better job. More humble stewards might at least recognize what is apparent in the photograph: it’s all connected. We participate, we do not own.

This week marks the 48th Earth Day and what I find remarkable is the first Earth Day was celebrated a full two years before the first photograph of Earth.  I find that oddly hopeful. Perhaps we don’t need a global perspective to entertain the notion that our actions have impact.

from a distance FRAMED PRINT copyIt’s funny. I’ve coached many, many people – all searching for meaning and the desire to know that their lives and actions matter. They fear that they lack impact.  The advice I never gave (a good coach does not advise): leave the city lights so you might see the stars. Recognize what you are seeing. Recognize how small you are and how glorious it is merely to be alive. Instead of trying to distinguish your self above all others, maybe take a look at the Blue Marble and realize just how connected you already are. You are immediate, impermanent. Perhaps in that recognition you will also realize your meaning.

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FROM A DISTANCE reminder/merchandise:

from a distance LEGGINGS copy

kerri’s design from my painting

from a distance MUG copy

kerri designs all of our studio melange products!

from a distance SQ PILLOW copyfrom a distance FLOOR PILLOW copy

read kerri’s blog blog post about FROM A DISTANCE

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

 

earth interrupted V: from a distance ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

You Are The Giver Of Meaning

TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS

You Are The Giver of Meaning

FOR TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS, GO HERE

Look Up

Eve, by David Robinson

Eve, by David Robinson

The nights have been bitter cold and clear. The cold always seems to make the stars sharp like crystals. Standing on the back deck, looking at the stars, I remembered a conversation I had years ago. I was working with students and we strayed into a discussion of human beings connection to the stars. It was cosmology in a nutshell.

Here was the gist of the conversation: something happened to human consciousness when they (we) understood that our patterns of life on earth were (are) oriented to happenings in the sky. For instance, our impulse to worship is intimately connected to the solstice and equinox: the disappearance and return of the light. Our migration habits, planting habits, daily rising-and-shining habits are relative to the movement of the sun. The tides in the ocean and the waters in our body are responsive to the pull of the moon. With the awareness, we crossed a line from chaos to order, from unconsciousness to consciousness. There was a relationship, a pattern, a belonging, a participation. There was something bigger.

During that same period in my life I also worked with a group of inner city students who had never seen the stars. It was a revelation for me. For them, there was no sense of relationship, there was no “something bigger.” There was a load of anger and existential separation.

This holiday season, I was struck by two things: 1) how many times I had conversations with people, glued to their televisions, who are frightened and feeling helpless by the happenings in the world, and 2) how many casual family photos crossed my path featuring a gathering of individuals, alone together, faces to smart phones. Everyone was looking down.

Standing on the back deck on a dark and starry night, wrapped against the cold, I wonder what some distant teacher in the future will tell his or her students about what happened to human consciousness when they (we) ceased looking up.

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Look Up And See

Another painting from my archive. Today I call this, "The Other Side Of Yearning."

Another painting from my archive. Today I call this, “The Other Side Of Yearning.”

The fire in the fire pit was waning. The party was over and everyone had gone. We sat staring into the small flames, quiet, exhausted from the day yet exhilarated from the amazing people and conversations that filled our evening. It was a cloudless night sky and I sat back into my chair and lost myself in the stars.

Once, many years ago, I went to Kitt Peak Observatory outside of Tucson and spent a long evening looking into deep space. I saw stars and star clusters, asteroids, black holes and ice fields. We ended the evening looking towards Andromeda, the nearest galaxy to ours; it was so distant that its stars appeared to me as a mist, a shadow that shimmered. I was overcome with emotion that night. I’ve never felt so small and yet so undeniably connected. I was a universe within a universe within a universe. I was nothing and everything.

As I sat last night in my chair looking at the little points of light in the sky, I thought about all the things that seem so insurmountable on this earth. There are economies of exclusion, wars and markets that depend upon wars to prosper, slavery and drought and poverty, there are broken lives, broken hearts, and broken dreams. There are closed hearts and closed minds. There are people killing people over conflicting definitions of god. There are so many tug-of-wars over possessions and power and resources and boundaries that, from ground level, appear vital, real and important. But the moment you gaze into the night sky, the moment you place yourself in the context of the enormity, the moment you recognize the paradox of existence, the smallness of separation and the infinity of connection, you see how mechanical and rote most of our dramas really are. They are mostly made up. They are patterns of our creation. They are, each and every one, built upon the ultimate cop-out answer: we do it this way because we’ve always done things this way.

Once, in high school, I was at science camp in the mountains on the night of a meteor shower. We lay on blankets in a meadow oohing and aahing at the dance of stars happening in the heavens. I remember being awed. I remember thinking that the only real purpose people serve is to make up stories about the things we can’t explain. We are witnesses to miracles everyday and because we must somehow contain it, we reduce it. That night I understood that all belief systems were just that: systems. They are mechanisms to help us contain what we cannot comprehend. We need them to function, to orient ourselves in infinite space but forget that we invent them. In the face of the sheer magnitude of our existence, we reduce ourselves, too, and forget that what blinks at us in the night sky, is a force, an energy that transforms, and we are an expression of that force. We are part of it. Our role may be to witness, to appreciate, to interpret, to sense make, but mostly, gazing into the sky, I think our role is to recognize ourselves in it. If we are capable of losing ourselves in the stars we are equally capable of finding ourselves in the enormity of it all.

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Hold The Image

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I’ve shared this image with k.erle a day ago, and with my class this morning and it feels like some kind of message. I can’t shake the image because it is speaking to me. Some images are powerful that way. This image wants me to pay attention. It is the image of the Wayfinder.

I came across the image in Wade Davis’ book, The Wayfinder. The title refers to the navigator in a traditional Polynesian canoe, sitting in the bow, sensing and reading the waves, the air, the stars, the rings of the moon, but mostly, the navigator holds in her mind the image of the island that they are attempting to find. Wade Davis writes that, according to the Polynesian belief, the canoe is still in the water and the Island finds them. The power of the Wayfinders’ image calls the island to them. They must simply point their canoe in the proper direction while the Wayfinder holds the image.

I ask myself as I sit in the bow of my canoe, what image do I hold? What island do I draw to myself? In my urban ocean have I developed the sensitivity to read the currents, the subtleties of energy in the waves that help me point my craft in the direction of the island that rushes from the future to meet me? Or am I out to sea? This ocean is vast. I have an image for home, a smell, a taste, an undeniable energy that makes me shake when I allow myself to fully feel it, and in the midst of this vast ocean I am taking my cue from the Wayfinders to remain still and know that the power and potency of my image will soon call my island home to me.

Meet The Beautiful

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

It is one of those glorious clear nights in Seattle and the moon is round and bright and high in the sky. I was leaving the Samurai Noodle restaurant, one of those lovely tiny crannies turned into a food establishment. It’s the kind of place where you need to keep your elbows in tight or you’ll upset the table next to you and nobody cares because the chili noodles and genmaicha are to die for (the noodles are homemade, the tea is renowned, the food moans are genuine).

I stepped out into the cold night and was stopped in my tracks by the moon. I was not the only one who paused in my arc from here to there. Shoppers from the grocery store stopped, too. The moon called and we took a moment to listen. In a city where the lights blot out most of the stars and we the people are in a perpetual rush to be somewhere else, it requires a potent call to reach us, to make us look up from the ground, to bring us to a full stop for just one moment. And, in that moment, we touch that deepest of human places, the appreciation of beauty, a single breath given to the sublime.

Because the good people at the Samurai Noodle gave me a to-go cup and more hot water for my tea, I decided to sit for a while and watch people answer the call of the moon and touch the transcendent. My favorite part is the moment of recognition, the moment that the light of the moon stops the story, and for an instant, peoples’ faces relax and reflect the light back at the moon; just for an instant, a single breath, the beautiful meets the beautiful, time suspends, and there is not discerning which heavenly body is the source of the light.