Make Time For Clouds [on Chicken Marsala Monday]

maketimeforclouds WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

It seems almost too obvious: in clouds possibilities can be found. Castles take shape, cartoon characters roll into horses racing, dragons and dinosaurs. Loved ones whisper. Memories shimmer. Imagination beckons, intuition taps at the door. Ideas take shape.

Some might say that making time for clouds is a waste of time. Most likely those are people blind to the necessity of clouds. They are caught in a steely net, believing they have to make all the trains run on time. They believe wholeheartedly that they don’t have enough time to get it all done. Don’t tell them, but time is not concerned with train schedules or daily achievements. Time passes with no investment in our loss or gain. Time requires no management, middle, upper, or otherwise. Time is made of soft stuff, fluffy and relational, modifying according to the needs of its audience.

Time given to clouds makes Chicken wax poetic. It refreshes him. It quiets him. It reminds him that he, too, is as temporary as a cloud, ever moving, shape shifting through his passage, tickled when someone makes time to notice all the possibilities he inspires.

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

 

read Kerri’s blog post about MAKING TIME FOR CLOUDS

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

make time for clouds ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Change Nothing

a detail from In Peace I Pray.

Thoughts from the mountain.

I grew up with these mountains so it should come as no surprise that I get quiet the moment I step into them. Like a too-tight coat the chaos I wear in my day-to-day life simply drops off; stepping into the mountain is to step out of the noise. Literally and figuratively.

Tom once told me that people change when they are ready. Rich once told me that people change when the pain of staying the same grows greater than the pain of making the change. Change when you are ready, change when you are in pain. Skip taught me that a business intending to change people was destined to fail. It is a fool’s errand. Business is about business not change. I loved this bit of advice from Skip because he is a natural-born change agent, a mentor of mentors (and, poetically, entrepreneurs). In a moment of frustration Kerri told me that people don’t change, they simply become more of who they really are. The masks drop off and we unwittingly reveal ourselves. Change as revelation.

As I hike through the snow toward the summit I wonder if change, at least the human notion of change, is as made-up as the rest of the stories we tell. It is in the forest, which is a festival of the cycles of life, that ideas of different ways of Being seem…superficial. Disconnected. Within seasons there are plenty of changes that roll around and around and around again. Perhaps this thing we call ‘change’ is nothing more than a recognition of the cycle, a readiness to release our dedicated resistance to life? A readiness to release our stories of limitation and division.

Kerri caught me staring at the mountain

Toward the end of his life, Joseph Campbell said that he suspected that all life (energy) was consciousness. There is 1) energy and 2) the forms that energy takes. Although seemingly disparate, seemingly separate, all forms fall back into energy. He said, “The universe throws forms up, then takes them down again.”He might have said that change is nothing more than the cyclical movement between energy and the forms it expresses.

Jim taught me that the art of acting was the art of being present. I know that when I stand in front of a canvas and begin to work, all notions of time disappear. Another day on the mountain, sitting in an adirondack chair midway up the slope, basking in the sun on warm day, we watched Kirsten snowboard. She flew by us several times. When she rides, it is clear, there is no other place, there is no past or future. There is now. She is vital, alive. In that place, riding the present moment (the only place that actually exists), the noise drops off. I know, and Jim knew, when fully in this moment there is no need to pester yourself with misplaced notions of being somewhere else, being anyone else.

 

a blast from the waaay past: August Ride. I lost track of this one and if you know where this painting is, let me know.

Reach Through Time

TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS

Reach Through Time

FOR TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS, GO HERE.

Be Mortal

a detail from my painting, John's Secret

It was after 2am and, at first, I thought the screams were human. I was writing at the kitchen table and the screams brought me to the front door. My neighbor’s light came on. Faces peeked out of the window. They thought the screams were human, too. Kerri was suddenly standing behind me. “It’s a rabbit,” she whispered. “They scream like that when they are being killed.” She was quiet for a moment and added, “It’s awful. It’s the sound they make when they are trying to hold onto life.” The screams stopped. The neighbor’s light flicked off. They recognized the sound, too, and went back to sleep.

Kerri returned to her call. She was on the phone with a friend in distress. I remained at the door and stared into the dark night. It was silent. It was as if all of nature had stopped to listen to the screaming. Even the wind was still.

The fox pranced from the darkness into the center of the street. It was vibrant, sated. It stopped and was immediately still when it realized it was being watched. It stared at me and I stared at it. I’ve rarely looked for so long into the eyes of something so wild. Neither of us moved for several seconds. And then, as quickly as it had emerged from the darkness, it bolted and vanished.

My only thought came like a mantra: it knows that it is mortal and I do not.

Earlier in the day I’d read a passage from Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda. I’m completing my once-a-decade rereading of his first three books. I’m reading them very slowly this time, bit-by-bit, and sitting with what I read. The passage that rang my bell this day was this [I’m made some cuts for brevity]:

“Your reason is telling you again that you are immortal,” he said.

“What do you mean by that, Don Juan?”

“An immortal being has all the time in the world for doubts and bewilderments and fears. A warrior…knows for a fact that the totality of himself has but a little time on this earth.”

…”But, Don Juan, my point is that I’m always under the impression that I’m doing my best, and obviously I’m not.”

“It’s not as complicated as you make it appear. The key to all these matters of impeccability is the sense of having or not having time. As a rule of thumb, when you feel and act like an immortal being that has all the time in the world you are not impeccable; at those times you should turn, look around, and then you will realize that your feeling of having time is an idiocy. There are no survivors on this earth!”

Staring into the eyes of the fox I was shocked out of my immortality. Acting like an immortal being, having all the time in the world to indulge my doubts and fears or dream of greener pastures knocks me out of presence. Staring into the eyes of the fox I, for a brief moment, understood that being fully present in my life had nothing to do with achievement. Presence is not something to strive for and attain like a new car. It is not a study and the path to it cannot be found in a book. Presence is what we are. It is something we forget when we think we have all the time in the world.

The fox does not know time. The fox does not know judgment or indulge in doubt or entitlement. It literally has no time for that. It does not need to story its actions. It lives with what is, not with what it imagines.

Give Time.

Here's a watercolor study for a larger painting that has yet to happen.

Here’s a watercolor study for a larger painting that has yet to happen.

She said, “I can’t do it because it takes too much time.” I didn’t respond. I didn’t validate her inability to do what she said she desired to do. I waited. “There’s only so much time in a day!” she exclaimed.

“That true. That will always be true,” I responded. I didn’t say it but I’ve noticed that it is usually the things we say that we desire to do that get short shrift. Spaciousness takes time. So does relationship. So does physical health, mental health and a spiritual practice. It all takes time. I’ve coached a legion of people who’ve set up art spaces in their homes and then avoided them like the plague. Their excuse for establishing the physical location but fleeing from what they might do in it: it takes too much time.

She was silent and I could tell that she was caught in her web of justifications. She was swirling in a reasoning-eddy called, “I have no choice.”

“Listen to the language you use,” I said, seeing her distress. She wrinkled her brow.

“Everything takes your time. It’s like life is a pickpocket stealing your precious time and you never have enough. You are divided against yourself. Who decides where your time goes if not you? You lack because you pretend that you have no control over your time. Choose to do it or choose not to do it. It’s in your language.”

She was quiet for a moment and then said, “It seems too easy to just change the way I talk about things.”

I smiled. “I know but imagine who you might be if, instead of life taking all your time, you started talking about where you choose to give your time. If life takes your time, then you are a victim. If you own where you give your time, then you are a creator. The actions of your day might look the same but who you are within them will be radically different. A whole world of possibilities would become visible if you realized that no one else is in control of your time. Where do you choose to give your time?”

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 and Kindle.

 

Have A Chat With Erling

Kerri with her dad.

Kerri with her dad.

It seems as if the theme for the week is lost conversations. It occurred to me that, after writing yesterday’s post, there is, in my life, another conversation that I wish I could have but never will. And, because I never will have the actual conversation, I am reaching into the void and having another form of dialogue.

I wear on my right wrist, wrapped three times to form a bracelet, a pull chain for a light fixture that I found on a workbench. Kerri wears on her left wrist, wrapped three times, the rest of the chain. I found the chain during our first trip to Florida. We were visiting Kerri’s mom in an assisted living facility and, in the evenings, cleaning out her parent’s home. Kerri’s dad, Erling Arnson, died a year before we met, and she’s often said to me, “I wish you could have known my dad.”

I found the chain on Erling’s workbench. He was a watchmaker and a jeweler. He worked with his hands, rebuilt cars, machined new parts for things, and was the master of a quick fix. He liked to build things. He liked to tinker. You can tell much about a person by the way they keep their space and I spent a long time standing at Erling’s workbench. It had been mostly picked apart, scavenged, but the organizing principle was still in tact. He liked to re-purpose things. He liked to make things out of things; every bolt and scrap was filled with potential. I could feel (and understand) the simple joy of creation apparent at his bench.

When I saw the chain (discarded by the scavengers) I knew it would be a way for Kerri and I to bring her dad forward with us. We secured the chains on our wrists and because it is there, I think about Erling everyday. I wonder what I might have learned from him. I like to tinker, too. I like to make things.

Me at Erling's resting place.

Me at Erling’s resting place.

On the second anniversary of his death, Kerri said, “Daddy will show up, today. I don’t know how, but he will.” A few minutes later the faucet in the kitchen broke. Evidently Erling had a wicked sense of humor. As I replaced the faucet (the first faucet replacement of my life), a lengthy affair requiring a call to the neighbor for tools, I felt a deep sense of patience. I remember my grandfather telling me that a person can figure anything out if they just take the time to do it. “You don’t need to know how, you just need to give yourself the time to figure it out.”

Kerri was on the phone with her mom when I finished the job. I was feigning machismo, peacocking my plumbing prowess. Kerri’s mom said, “I think he passed Erling’s test.” She smiled and I thought, “Thanks for the help, Erling. Now, how do I fix the plaster on the ceiling?” His response: I don’t know. But, let’s figure it out.

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

Or, go here for hard copies and Kindle.

Spare A Moment

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

Once while in Bali I watched a rooster pick a fight with itself. The rooster saw his reflection in a big screen television and prepared for battle. I thought of that rooster today when I watched a woman screaming at her reflection in a storefront window. She was picking a fight with herself. She pointed at her reflection, shouted profanities, lunged forward and dropped back in a defensive posture when her adversary seemed to lunge at her.

It seems like a sad and lonely image unless you consider how often we wage war within ourselves. The woman at the window was simply expressing outwardly what was happening internally. If we did that, if we gave expression to the internal separations and subsequent battles, we’d be called crazy. The woman at the window lacked an editor. Her desperation was hidden no more. In a sense, she was more authentic than those of us who gave her a wide berth. Without an editor she was dangerous. None of us wanted to be mistaken for her reflection.

After help arrived for the woman I continued across town watching the many things we do for attention. Isn’t that what the woman wanted from her reflection? Wasn’t she looking for someone – internal or externally – to pay attention, to afford her a kindness? The young people raising money for the ACLU asked if I had a moment. The man carrying the large sign that read “How Do You Know Jesus” asked me if I had a moment. The woman who wanted some change started the conversation by saying, “Sir, do you have a moment?”

Everyone wants a moment. Everyone wants to be heard. In a city, with so many sounds and billboards and buses and sirens and people, people everywhere wanting, wanting, wanting change, a signature, a kindness, a bus, a convert or a clear path, it is no wonder that we have so few moments to give. I can only hope, that if I am someday staring at my reflection in a window, that I have kind words to say to myself rather than a fight to pick. I hope that I offer my reflection one of my precious few moments and ask, “What do you need to say. I’m all ears.” I’ll be okay if I’ve learned to stop and listen.