Choose Your Meditation [on Not-So-Flawed Wednesday]

peace marbles copy

We found Peace Marbles in a basket at the door of Leap Of Faith, a small shop in Cedarburg. It’s one of our favorite shops for obvious reasons. Many faiths are represented in the shop so translate the accompanying lyrics/prayer/meditation accordingly.

The idea is ancient. What fills your mind-space, your meditation, is what you will create. Meditate on hate and that is what you will see. Focus on lack and that is what you will experience. Although it might not seem like it, what you think, what flows through your noggin on a daily basis, is a choice.  It is a placement of focus. It is a prayer. A meditation.

Peace comes when people collectively focus on peace. A community chooses where to place its focus as readily as does an individual. It’s all in the narrative, the stuff flowing through our conversation, our storytelling, on a daily basis.  It is a creative act – not something that ‘happens to us.’

It seems we could use all the help we can get. And, you never know, a fleet of little blue marbles rolling around in pockets and purses as reminders might be just the thing to help us choose to place our focus on the better things. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post on BLUE MARBLES

 

 

cropped head kiss website copy

 

DR Thursday

layered meditation with frame jpeg copy

kerri calls this morsel, Layered Meditation. a perfect name as it comes from my painting, Meditation.

I believe that every moment of life is a meditation, conscious or otherwise. Your current meditation may be about the anxiety of  having enough money to pay the bills. It may be about the frustration of being stuck in traffic – again. It might be about a perceived injustice; blame meditations dominate most of our inner monologues. Of course, you might also be meditating about what to get at the grocery store or what to plant in the garden this year. You might be meditating about how to make life better for your children. Not all meditations are worrisome. Generally, we dedicate a small sliver of the meditation pie chart to the generative.

And, that’s really the point. We choose where we place our thoughts, we decide where we aim our focus. It is a dedication, not a runaway train.

One of my favorite moments in Carlos Castaneda’s book, The Teachings of Don Juan, happens when the master, Don Juan, refuses to place any value in the continued angst of his student, Carlos. Laughing at Carlos’ dedication to his misery, Don Juan says, “You indulge like a son-of-a-bitch!” Discovering and shedding indulgences is a many layered exploration. Shedding indulgences, like cutting junk food from your diet, comes when you recognize that you choose what you consume, not the other way around. You choose what you think, you choose your meditations, not the other way around.

Meditation10.17 copy

Meditation, 48 x 48in, mixed media

I am relearning this lesson. Lately, in the studio, I find I am meditating on my personal hall of monsters and past injustices. I’ve been taken aback at my dedication to replaying these tales of woe and unfairness.  And then I hear Roger’s voice in my head saying, “What kind of a sissy word is ‘fair!'” And I laugh. Laughter is great for rededicating the thought-train. Laughter loops me back to another favorite Don Juan-ism: “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”

 

LAYERED MEDITATION reminder/merchandise

society 6 info jpeg copy

layered meditation METAL WALL ART copy

metal wall art

layered meditation LEGGINGS copy 2

layered meditation FLOOR PILLOW copy

layered meditation BEACH TOWEL copy

it makes a cool beach towel!

stationary gift cards, mugs, framed art prints, and more.

PURCHASE THE ORIGINAL PAINTING: MEDITATION

read Kerri’s blog post about LAYERED MEDITATION

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

layered meditation & meditation ©️ 2018, 2012 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Look To Each Other

my latest work-in-progress

my latest work-in-progress

Josh laughed from the back seat of the car. He read aloud the text that made him laugh: I’m in MoMA (the museum of modern art) and someone dropped a glove. Now, people are walking around it because they don’t know whether it is art or not!

I’ve spent a goodly amount of my time on the planet in museums of contemporary art and know that most folks passing through the museum have the same confusion about the pieces on the walls. What makes something art and something else not-art?

Almost a century ago Marcel Duchamp entered a urinal in an exhibition and gave it the title, “Fountain.” At the time it was scandalous and now represents a major milestone in art history. Today, a urinal in a museum exhibition would get the same treatment as the glove on the floor: confused consideration. Is it or is it not art? The beauty of the glove moment, the thing that binds it to the urinal moment, is that, in both cases, the gallery goers looked to others, perfect strangers, to ascertain a proper response: it is art if they say it is. Art, in this case, is an agreement.

This agreement, looking for approval about how to behave when confronted with the art-or-not-art question may seem superficial until you consider that recently people in Paris lost their lives over a disagreement of what was art and what was not. In recent history (2001), the Taliban destroyed centuries old giant statues of the Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley. They considered the statues idols (not art) and dynamited them off of the face of the earth (I will leave you to discover and ponder the irony between my Paris and Bamiyan Valley examples).

the words written into my work-in-progress

a close-up: the words written into my work-in-progress

Art is meant to open our perspective, to make us question, to help us see. A society that is capable of seeing is also a society that is capable of questioning; they go hand-in-hand. Questioning is always present when people are growing – so is art. Questioning also begets tolerance – it requires us to doubt our perspective and consider the view from someone else’s shoes. In these times when I hear someone bemoan the end of civility and the horrors in the world, I wonder if they’ve argued to cut art from the schools or  recently attended a concert to hear music to move their soul. Art is dangerous to leaders who like their people blind. Art is offensive to people who want their community thought-less. I delighted that somewhere in the world, in a museum of modern art, a group of people walked around a lost glove and looked to each other for guidance.

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See The Elegance

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

Bryan and I talked tonight about the elegance of design. He told me that many years ago he became interested in the Golden Mean, which led him to research the Fibonacci sequence, which led to an interest in eclipses. He became fascinated by the simple elegance and paradox of astronomer’s capacity to precisely determine when an eclipse would happen and the impossibility (due to weather) of predicting if we would be able to see it. The Golden Mean and the Fibonacci sequence are simple equations that, when replicated, maintain the integrity of design throughout very complex structures and calculations. They are fractals. Much of classic architecture is based solely on the Golden Mean. Much of what you will learn in contemporary art school about composition is based on the Golden Mean.

Our physical bodies are complex structures based on a simple cell design. We are at the same time miracles of complexity and simplicity; more space than solid, more water than mineral, reducible to a small pile of dust and yet expansive beyond all imagining. We are elegant in our design, as nature only designs elegant forms from the same simple notion and very simple (yet complex) building blocks.

Our thoughts run according to the same principle. I once read a statistic that showed that we think mostly the same thoughts each day, day after day (don’t ask me how you measure such a thing….). We build our thought on a few replicable principles and then go holographic with them. A few simple assumptions will lock you in prison or set you free. Check out the pattern of the story you tell yourself each day. Are you locking yourself in or opening the cage? I realized years ago that the epicenter of my coaching work – or any other form my whacky work takes – was really about story change. I often say this to groups: change your story and you will change your world. They mostly respond, “It can’t be that easy!” or “Pie in the sky!” I didn’t say it would be easy – we are after all deeply invested in our stories; we are great fighters for our limitations. The wrong assumption is that it need be complex. We are elegant in our design, even down to our repetitive thoughts. Change the simplicity and you will some day be capable of manifesting an entirely new soaring cathedral of thought.

Open And Experience

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

Walking through a driving rain in downtown Seattle, I had my hood up and eyes down and stepped into a flock of pigeons just as a bus passed spooking the entire pigeon squadron into taking flight – straight at me. I was suddenly and completely engulfed in a swoosh of wings and riot. I don’t know why but I closed my eyes, not for protection, but because I wanted to feel the experience of so many wings flapping around me. The sensation was as if being lifted, stirred and then returned to the ground. After having so many crow attacks I am generally skittish when birds fly at my face; my first reaction is to duck and cover. Not today. For some reason (that is beyond my capacity to reason), rather than close and protect, I opened and experienced. Lift, stir, gentle return to the ground. “The pigeons took me with them,” I thought as I opened my eyes and laughed.

I flipped back my hood and looked up into the rain. The pigeons vanished and I was getting soaked and awakened. It was as if I left this plane of reality for a moment and needed a cold splash of rain to bring me back. It was just a few days ago, upon Marilyn’s request, that I went outside to pick a fight with the crows and instead of having a good crow bout I ended up doing the same thing, hood back, looking into the sky as the rain soaked and cleansed me of my dark mood. This time, staring into a steel grey sky, rain running down my cheeks and off my forehead, I remembered a phrase that I read this morning from Thom Hartmann’s book, The Prophet’s Way: “You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.”

I stared into the sky surprised at my reaction to the birds and asked myself, “What ripple would I send through a hundred generations if my first response to any situation was to open and experience rather than close and protect myself?” And, an even better question followed, “How different would I be in the world if I lived open to any experience?” Isn’t that another way of saying, “be present to what is?” Flipping my hood back up I discovered in a chilly rush that my hood was filled with water that poured down my back so I took flight a second time, howling and dancing my own version of the pigeon launch, chanting, “open, open, open…!” Of this I am certain: a hundred generations from now they will most likely still be laughing!

Think “I Can!”

657. 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 am in the last few days of living in the apartment I have occupied for nearly a decade. And, because I see the move coming, I am aware of my patterns and rituals, the unconscious actions that have come to define my normal, my everyday. For instance, while unloading the dishwasher this afternoon, I was amused by my automatic movement, spoons, forks and knives into the drawer, pivot, dishes up above, cups one at a time to the hooks above the counter, straighten the rug. I have repeated these actions so many times that they are worn into me, paths through the woods of my life. I appreciate them today because I will soon be without them; I will soon be awkward in the creation of new patterns and intentional in creating new rituals of definition.

I realize that thoughts are like these rituals. Thoughts are patterns that define us. If you think, “I can,” then you certainly will. If you think, “I can’t” then you will wear that pattern, too. I see my impending step out of my patterns as an opportunity to create new patterns, especially new thought patterns. There are rituals of thinking that I am ready to release. A new friend recently told me of her solstice ritual: friends meet around a bonfire and write on slips of paper what they are ready to let go. Then, they commit the slips to the fire. My move is like a bonfire. My patterns are now written on a slip of paper and in a few days I will commit them to the fire on not-knowing. I will then be free to create new patterns of thinking, new rituals of belief.

It is the time of year for resolutions and, like most well intended resolutions they fall prey to the groove of old patterns. Everything begins with a thought; repetitive thought is a pattern, investment in the pattern is a ritual that defines the life you choose to live. If you are not living the life that you desire, if your patterns are thought-prisons or somehow keeping you small, join me in creating new rituals of definition. You need not leave your apartment or your mate; you need not lock the door and walk away from your life. You need only, one day at a time, one step at a time, create a new pattern. My bonfire friend is now saying to herself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,….” And, one small step at a time, one small thought at a time, she will. And, so will I.