Fly Between The Poles [on DR Thursday]

Angel Morsel copy

a morsel from ‘angel.’ kerri calls it ‘you can’t hold the sun’

Icarus‘ wings were made of wax and feathers. His father, Daedalus, made them so he and Icarus could escape their imprisonment. Before taking flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too low nor too high. Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and his wings fell apart. He fell from the sky and drowned.

We see most of the Greek stories sifted through a post-Greek moralistic lens. Fly to high, hubris. Fly too low, complacency. The world as defined by polarities. Heaven, hell. Good, bad. Right, wrong. There’s another possibility.

Quinn used to tell me that the point of all the world’s religions, the message in all the great stories, is to find the middle way. To live in the center. This world, he said, will try its best to tug you to the extremes. It will dose you with propaganda, half truths. It will glorify US and demonize THEM. It will bamboozle you into twisted notions like ‘the dehumanization of others is okay.’ It is the lucky person that realizes that it is impossible to strip others of their humanity without also losing their own. Polarities are like that.

So, seek balance. Walk between the tug of the poles. It is the point of presence – live here, not in the scary future nor the regrettable past. Fly, not too close to either pole, but through the middle. Now. It’s possibly the point of the story.

This morsel is called You Can’t Hold The Sun. It’s true. You can’t stop time. No moth can withstand the flame. The sun will melt your waxy wings. The sea will make your feathers heavy with dew. Either way, you fall.

In the face of too much moralizing, Kerri will say, “If it’s not about kindness or joy, it’s not about anything.” That’s a statement from the center. I like to think that this center place, this middle way that Quinn told me about, is what we call love.

 

 

 

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

you can’t hold the sun/angel ©️ 2018/2004 David Robinson

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

Paddle On

photo-3We’d been out in the canoe for more than an hour. The morning was warm and the water was still. We hugged the shore, cruising the lily pads. Dan told us some of the lily pads were over 150 years old. I was amazed at their capacity to reach through time but also reach through long stems to the water’s surface to drink the sun.

The turtle emerged from nowhere. It appeared from the depths, through the lily pad stem forest, and rose to within inches of the surface. It was big for a lake turtle, perhaps the size of a dinner plate. I let my paddle trail in the water. It was so close I could have reached into the water and touched it. We glided forward and turned the canoe so Kerri might see it but the turtle had already disappeared.

the view from the canoe

the view from the canoe

Turtle is perhaps the oldest known symbol for the earth. In many traditions, turtle carries the world on her back; the earth is her shell. She is a great reminder to go slow and persevere, to live grounded amidst the chaos of life. She symbolizes patience and ease. I was struck by how similar are the symbols of turtle and lily pad. Peace. Ease. Both are extraordinary symbols of grounding or rooting. Both cross the boundary of elements: the turtle lives in water and land. The lily pad reaches through the water to find air and sun. Both inhabit the depths and reach to the surface.

It feels as if I came into this world with art already in me. From an early age I drew pictures, not because I wanted to but because I had to. Like the lily pad, I was reaching for something unknown. I drew the same images over and over again: a cabin in the woods, eyes, clowns. I wasn’t drawing to master the image, I was drawing and painting in order to reach beyond the image. There was something there, beyond, deep in the depths, a root, rich soil, the void. There was a force behind the image that pulled me. My artistry felt like a descent into the caves of the ancients, a search for sources mythological.

Sometime during these past few years, the direction of the pull reversed itself. Like Orpheus in the underworld, I turned around. I walked toward the surface. In essence, the pull to the depths became a reach to the light. The sun called. Balance, in this life, at long last necessitated light and warmth.

Tom once told me that inheriting his family’s ranch and subsequently finding a trunk hidden in the wall of the house containing his ancestors possessions served as an affirmation that he had finally come home. Sitting in the canoe, the turtle rising by my side, I felt the affirmation. I am now only inches from breaking the surface. I drink the light because I know the depths and am adept at walking in the dark unknown.

the first layer of  under-painting for the next piece

the first layer of under-painting for my next piece

I am working much slower now. I am in no hurry to get anywhere. And my art, my life, is the better for it.

 

 

 

Face The Sun

777. 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 was gorgeous in Seattle today. It was the kind of day that people escape from work, play hooky, take extra long lunch hours, or leave early so they can get into the sun. I made up a reason to walk across the city to an art store. I needed some more paper and Mod Podge. I’m certain there is a closer art store but I convinced myself that they wouldn’t have the kind of paper I needed or would charge me too much for Mod Podge. I justified walking in the sun for an hour. My strategy was successful. I pretended I was exhausted so I could walk slower. That worked, too.

On the way I saw people napping in the sun. All of the city’s benches were occupied by people dedicated to sitting still. All the faces were tilted to the sun. Like me, people walked slower so they might prolong their time outside. It was as if the entire city went Zen (with the exception of the drivers who were desperate to get somewhere so they could park and get out of their cars).

The great paradox in this day of lollygagging is that I was more productive today than any other day this month. A little sun greased the wheels of my brain and the ideas flowed. I was inking cartoons and talking on the phone and before I knew it I’d inked everything that was drawn and nearly completed my full list of calls. Skip sent an email proclaiming that he, too, was having an extraordinarily productive day. A little sun can work magic to a vitamin D starved populace.

Even though we live in boxes that shelter us from the elements and sleep according to electric light and not the rising and setting of the sun, we are still intimately connected to the pull of nature. This morning as I descended Queen Anne hill, the vibrant force of spring – birds in chorus, buds bursting open, a full palette of colorful flowers – stopped me in my tracks. It lifted me from a rain soaked stupor and I spontaneously stretched my arms and yawned myself awake. A woman passed me on the stairs and said, “It’s electric, isn’t it.”

Follow Your Feet

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

The sun was out today. I took a break midafternoon, bought a coffee, found a sunny spot, and sat in it. I closed my eyes and sat facing the warmth, soaking it in. I was not alone. Periodically I opened my eyes and spied other sun sitters in their own special light pools. When I first moved to Seattle I made fun of sun sitters. I did not understand the people pouring out of the towers to find a warm wall or sunspot to occupy. Now I am one of them. I couldn’t get enough. There is not enough sun to slake my sun-thirst.

Earlier this morning as I walked down the hill, the sun was not yet up though the clouds were soft orange against a purple sky; the birds sang a spring song and I stopped to listen. They knew the sun was coming out to play. They knew the sun had one foot in spring and they needed to sing the other foot out of the winter circle. They sang with all of their might and invoked a gorgeous day. The sun finally committed: both feet are now firmly planted in the renewal.

After my date in the sunspot I walked, intending to go back to the studio but found my feet had no intention of leaving the sun. I told my feet that I had things to do, that I must be productive but they would have none of it. They pulled me to the sunny side of the street and followed every street I’d not yet trod. That seemed to be the criteria: 1) sun, and 2) unknown. As I gave in to the will of my rogue feet I decided that their criteria made much more sense than mine. Or, perhaps their criterion was a better match for my mine. I was certainly productive: I learned many new streets and my vitamin D quota escalated. I achieved a lot, too! My stress levels dropped significantly. I did not know they were up until they dropped. I cleared my mind as only a walk into the unknown can do. I talked to a woman preparing a neighborhood garden. I found a second sunspot and occupied it for an ample amount of time. Perhaps the birds invoked a bit of both-feet-in spring from me as well. As it turns out, my feet are very smart and the birds are very persuasive!

Take One Step

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

I watched the sun come up this morning. I was sitting in Alan’s sun room sipping coffee, marveling at the winter colors of the sky: salmon pinks, lavender, and ice blue. And then, beneath the tree line, in a specific spot, the branches began to shimmer. I expected Merlin to materialize. And then the shimmer warmed, became orange and round and instead of Merlin, the sun lifted above the horizon, streamed through the trees, and washed me with the warmth of a new day. Were I a plant my leaves would have opened and I would have taken a might drink of the light of the new day. As a human, I had coffee on the inside, sun on the outside – I was warmed through and through.

I do not know what this day brings. Alan and I will teach a class, that much I know. Then, I will dash to catch a plane and then if the timing is right I will catch a train. If not, there will be an entire day between the plane and the train. Planes and trains are sometimes on schedule and sometimes off schedule depending on Mother Nature and the nature of machines. Tonight I could be in one of 5 different cities. I recognized as the sun rose that I am in presence training. I am learning to trust. For the next several months there will be no daily pattern that repeats itself. I will be mostly on the move; my suitcase is my home. Sometimes I will be with loved ones, sometimes I will be in isolation, sometimes with new friends, sometimes in another country. I am throwing my work away, tossing the patterns of my life as I knew them and re-imagining things. I couldn’t be more alive and present to my moment. My inner gypsy stubbed out his cigarette and hissing smoke through his nose said, “It’s about time.”

It is about time. We count our days, our minutes, we measure our lives, check our lists, stay on our schedules. We count ourselves into desperation when we forget what we are counting. Each breath is life giving. Each breath is unique and never to happen again. I watched the sun rise again and it was no less a miracle today than it was yesterday. It was not the same. Another year just turned over (if you recognize the same calendar that I do) and I can look to the past and think, “This and this happened.” At least that is the story that I tell, none of it is true for anyone but me. I realized an amazing thing about personal edges and story this week. The scary edges are only visible if you are oriented to the past; anchored into and trying to maintain the known. Orient to the unknown, anchor into present and there are no edges, only experiences. I think that is what I mean by learning to trust – I am learning to orient according to what is with me right now as opposed to what has been, what should be, or what might have been. Those things are mental abstracts – as are scary edges….the edges certainly exist, the “scary” is a story I can tell. Here is presence school, I am taking one step at a time, something I have done since first learning to walk only now, as an experienced walker, I am paying attention to the steps as I take them.

Take A Walk With Me

625. 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 late and I am in my studio. There is a train blowing its whistle somewhere in the distance. The building is quiet at this hour. Mark, the building caretaker, tells me there is a ghost and that he wouldn’t be caught dead in the building this late at night. I’ve been here deep into the night on several occasions and I have yet to encounter the ghost. I want to meet it – her, so Mark tells me. She usually hangs out in the attic but will wander the halls if she gets restless. I suppose a restless ghost is less appealing to meet than a non-restless ghost. In my mind, however, every ghost is restless; being a ghost implies that you are stuck in an “in-between” state, a limbo, like being perpetually in an airport and even the most even-tempered ghost must get tired of the long flight delay. When I am a ghost I will tap my foot and ask, “Where’s my plane?”

I have been in a limbo the past few years and, consequently, a kind of ghost. I think this evening I was compelled to come late to the studio to seek advice. Do you know you are wandering the halls or is there a world of illusion that we, the living, cannot see? Assuming that you see it, is there an obvious way out or do you simply step into the sun? And, if you step into the sun, do you disappear? Is that what keeps you in the attic, the fear of disappearing? Is limbo really better than commitment to action?

I am not a very good ghost. Restlessness is fun for a while but sooner or later every ghost must ask, “I wonder what is out there?” I’m not good at wandering halls though I seem to have lots of practice at it. I need the sun. The sun needs me.

As I sit here waiting for my ghost to appear I’ve decided that I no longer need her advice. If she came in the door, instead of saying, “I have a few questions for you,” I’d hold out my hand and say, “Take a walk with me. Don’t you think it is time?”