Hard Roots

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“You can be yourself without pursuing yourself. Have you ever seen a dog chase his own tail? He just runs in circles.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

A lot can be learned from sitting under a tree. If we’re mindful and aware, we will first notice the shade it offers us on a warm day, cooling our skin. Perhaps we’ll notice the scent of its leaves as the breeze glances by. Then we may see how its branches reach to the sky, forever chasing the sun. Here, in the sphere of roots we learn lessons of life and of self.

I once knew a perfect tree. It grew outside of the schoolyard at one of the many elementary schools I attended. It’s bough offered a perfect seat and there I sat many warm summer afternoons. One perfect part of this perfect tree were its roots.

Its knotted winding recesses lurked outward from its base. One part of these large roots were flattened and rippled as such that looked like a small flight of steps leading upward along its trunk; a perfect ladder for the mighty nine year old adventurer that I’d become.

Climbing the tree was a daily exercise of mine, as it was for many of the neighborhood children. But as we stepped onto those strong roots, none of us were mindful of the lessons it taught us some thirty years ago.

We all have our roots. We all have our ladders and we all reach for the heavens at some point in our lives. But it is only within knowing  and broadening our roots can we flourish and grow.

In this sphere, we speak about the root of the soul.

A human being is not exactly like a tree. A tree’s roots are strong, reaching down and securing the life of the tree in one fixed position. A person’s roots are also strong, reaching out from the heart and mind, through life experience. But our roots allow us motion. The stronger they become, the further they allow us to move and to grow. Our positions are not fixed, but constantly shifting and moving about the world, moving about our lives.

Over time, if we’re not mindful, our roots may become hardened. They may become frozen and fixed in place. If we’re not careful, they can become resilient to change, disconcerted with other lives, fixated on one frame of thought, unapologetic to the world around us.

We can become so trapped within our own thoughts that the interaction with anything other than our own interests becomes empty and mute.

This only leads to a world suffocated by the self, by the fiendish ego that never quenches it’s hunger for self-gratification. We damage our roots by hardening in this way, by only seeing what we want to see, closing our mind to only what we want to think and by looking upon others as objects of use.

Life then becomes about what we want FROM others, instead of what we can do FOR them or how we can learn, grow and flourish alongside them.

We are all guilty of hardening at times. This is a lesson I’ve recently learned about myself in particular, greatly preferring solitude over companionship or intimacy, comfortable in my own silence and safe in my thoughts. But we do not learn or grow from becoming solid in limited awareness. Sometimes, we need to look at our roots and our positions in life, be aware of what our heart truly desires and let go of old ideas that no longer serve us or others altruistically.

When we only prefer the desires of the self, all we find is a rippled reflection of our loneliness.

Sometimes taking a position is necessary and in fact humbling if it’s done with compassion of the heart, but other times standing firm and refusing to listen only creates more havoc and confusion. We blind ourselves in this way, and our roots harden further.

Be mindful of the tree. Roots broaden, and leaves do change.

Look to your roots. Look to the inner voice that speaks with life, that lives in unison with all lights of the world. If we begin to open our heart to notice and understand these small things that whisper to us, we may then begin to understand life.

We may then begin to understand ourselves.

Map of The Wanderer

A little expression of wandering.:)

Artful Words

IMG_3153“I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.”
Hermann Hesse

Artists, art scholars and critics all have argued over many years about the artistic quality of abstract art, non-objective art and non-representational art as a whole. These are typically all grouped together as what abstraction represents. Some even say that it’s just random splashing of color for no particular purpose or goal. Others argue that it’s the most raw of artistic expression.

I’ll agree with the latter.

Abstraction is, for me, the most cathartic medium for expressing emotion, ideas and intentions. Some pieces might look haphazard, chaotic, and even completely incomprehensible, but the true artist in his most raw and vulnerable state is able to express his emotion, thoughts or feelings through the use of line, pattern and color.

The example..

The above piece I painted last night I’ve titled…

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The Race

A little artful thought on busyness:)

Artful Words

fa732513c54b64e3c918bb1f37309902“Why should we be in such a desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Shall his spring turn into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute?”~ Henry David Thoreau

It would be less than, or even non-human, to have a perfect life of peace and balance at all times. Though this is what we strive for, most of us, to balance our lives with the busyness of the world in any way possible, we cannot avoid the speeding. These are the moments of…

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Revisit Me

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“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
William Faulkner

Everyone revisits their past at some point. Some dwell, some cherish the thoughts of times gone by, and some still ponder the meaning of certain happenings of their lives. Whatever it may be, we all have these thoughts at times as we immerse our hearts into thoughts of yesterday, in a sphere of times gone .

Not so often, when we least expect it, voices or thoughts from our past revisit us. They come calling at the randomness of perfect synchronicity. They spark from the void of memory, through the sound of a familiar noise, in a faint smell on the wind, or in a face that we haven’t thought of or seen in years.

Memories are then rekindled and flood the mind.

I often have moments like this, peaceful thoughts of peaceful times that I’m happy to remember are tossed at me in reflections. These moments are alive in my heart and will never be extinguished. So should it be for all pure things.

Recently I was reminded of a special place, a peaceful time of solitude. It was a simple moment, the time I spent during one cold New York winter, the many nights I sat by lamplight at my desk pacified by the sound of my own thoughts, and the day that I began writing my thoughts.

This moment of my life came and stood in the front of my mind, as if guarding me from my focus on the present. This made me give pause and relive those special moments, suspending my notion of time and understanding the feeling in a depth I’ve never known.

We are always learning from our past experiences, these are the blocks upon which we are built. Often they revisit us to remind us of that special place that we’ve since forgotten.

These are the subtle reminders of the soul. They speak through feeling and are bound by the heart of most high.

We should all take care to revisit our special places, our fond thoughts of yesterday. Without living in the past, without regret, we can always smile at those special times that shaped our lives, gave us direction, purpose and muse.

These places exist for us in the corners of our hearts that have longed for our return. They beg us to call out to them, see them once more, if only just once more.

Revisit your special place, that place of peace that gives your dreams life, and gives your life dreams.

 

 

The Compass

how-to-find-direction-in-life“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” ― Roman Payne

Everyone needs a direction in life, a call to action. This makes us move through our lives with a sense of purpose, a reason for being. Without this calling, this otherworldly “thing” that sleeps within us, we travel aimlessly about, wandering.

This is the sphere of direction.

Often we lose our direction. Our feet slip from the path. We become distracted by the clutter of our mind and the noise of the world. Our purpose becomes lost, and in this we also lose ourselves.

This happens to us all at some point. But our direction, our purpose, always lives within us. It never leaves us, though it may elude us for a while. This is the gift we are born with. It is ours to find, and then give back to the world.

As children we’re asked what we wish to be when we grow up. This answer is simple at the age of five, but it slowly transforms. Over time it changes, and it changes more as we grow and learn who we are.

At the age of eight I aspired to be an astronaut, then a few years later I couldn’t be happier with the thought of being an archaeologist, or a paleontologist, or a geologist. In my teens I wished to be a secret agent, working for the CIA or the FBI, and even then shortly after this time I wished to be whitewater river guide, none of which came to pass.

It wasn’t until I reached my mid-thirties did I realize that I never knew what in the hell I wanted to do with my life. And it wasn’t until then that I realized I’d been living my purpose my entire life. For me, I was born to create. I was born to express the beauty that I see in the world through words and art. I was born to bare my soul and give to the world the flooding rain of my heart.

But this is only my truth, my direction. This is the compass that moves me through life. It brings me to places that I never thought I’d see. It moves me to new places, into new experiences.

But, this is only my truth.

Finding our direction, our personal truth, is not easy. Sometimes, it finds us. It calls to us from the depths of our being, from above and through the firmament. It lives in the ether that we cannot know, but that which we can surely feel. One day it smiles at us, and we smile back, as though greeting an old friend.

In this life, as the winds of the four directions pass through and around us, we must remind ourselves that the path we choose is always the path we were born to walk. We may get lost. We may stumble and we will one day all come to the crossroads. But one truth begs to be known. This is the truth of the heart, the silent echo of the soul whispering to us.

The sphere of direction has its wanderers. It has its winds that blow us off course, and it has its waters that quench our longing thirst. It contains us all, but it is up to each one of us to find our direction, to live our days as our own legends and realize our dreams.

Be in accord with your heart. With this compass, you cannot wander.

Within the depths of your being you will find your truth, and you will find your direction.

Blank Beginnings

Thoughts for the day..

Artful Words

IMG_3135“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”~ Émile Zola

There it sits, right in front of you. You look at it, and you swear it looks back. It stares at you, looking right through you, taunting you to approach. You step forward, then back. You pace as it stares at you, mocking your stride as it sits motionless.

Your blank canvas has an agenda.

It’s up to you to unlock its secret story.

Often, we as artists stare at a blank canvas. We sit and we stare. We leave the room then come back and stare a bit more. Nothing changes. Time progresses, and it sits still, blank and void of color, emptiness projected through blinding white light.

We all endure this moment of creative stagnation. We have an idea, but we…

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Resurrect

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“You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.”
Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black

Life is born from creation. In this we find the creator’s spark within us all, born from creation and resurrection. The two are synonymous with life. This gift of life begs no question, no want or need for validation, only to be, only to live within us all. We all dwell in the sphere of life, and within this lives our inner resurrection.

During this time we remember God’s only begotten son, sent to us to deliver the sins of the world through him. This is Palm Sunday, the Passion, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is the living memory of creation, deliverance and resurrection. It is under these stars when we remember this innate part of our being through a Christian tradition. But this is only one part of the whole.

Inner resurrection happens with us all. It happens when we realize our own truths, when we finally begin learning who we truly are, how we believe and how we wish to live. It happens when we make a choice to change from within, to change our heart and mind towards altruism and good work. Throughout life, this choice to live righteously touches us all over and over again.

A large part of my life I’ve spent with wondrous eyes pointed at adventure, fueled by the vast unknown, inspired by culture, far away places, maps, globes and even the tattered atlas I once found in my Grandfather’s car. It is through this that I first found my love for experiencing life, for experiencing the world.

As I experienced my world I learned from others. I became inspired by great minds, by great works of art and writing and by the simple kind gestures of strangers, friends and family. These are forever ingrained in my mind, and part of my own resurrection, part of my life and my world.

In experiencing life, we must also share experience with one another. We must give our own resurrection back to the world. We must aspire to inspire those around us. It is through this shared unity that the people of the world, whether Christian, Buddhist, Jew or any other faith, color or creed, may learn of of each other and become resurrected as well.

During this time of celebration, reverence and faith we must not only remember that which is taught by our own personal faith, but by the faith and experience of life and of others that have touched our lives.

We must not only remember HIS resurrection, but we must invoke our own resurrection, remembering those special moments which shaped us, and those special people who’ve touched our hearts.

We are all born of light, though we may all experience darkness. Through good work the light will always open the heart.

Remember life, remember resurrection and remember yourself. We are part of all, and all are part of us.

Happy Easter.

 

Small Voices

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“Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words can express many things, both spoken and written. In writing from the heart we can deliver a message that is both read and felt, and this comes from within. From the pulse of our fingertips we break down the barriers of our cold, digital world and deliver a thundering echo of life. In speaking with pure heart and truth we can turn a dark room into a well lit space.

But, what is more powerful than speaking is listening.

This is witnessed within the sphere of the heart, as we breathe, live and walk through life.

Though we might not always know when or how to express our thoughts in a succinct manner, we always have these thoughts. We always have time to think on them, ponder their significance in our lives. Sometimes these thoughts drag us into the doldrums of life, a place where we dwell on meaning, intimately, within ourselves.

This is the place of inner solitude. We can find it in silence, or in a crowded room. Be certain, it is with us always.

A recent experience has led me to this place of introspection once again. It begged me to think about my place, my life and my path. It opened my heart to the truth of living, to the reasons for being and to the understanding of why I do what I do in life.

For me, when my daughter is with me, life feels complete. My thoughts and my words flow like pure water. I feel more connected to my purpose and to my life than at any other moment. Sadly, geography separates us by nearly 800 miles for most of the year. So these times we spend together are always perfect, special and sacred, but truthfully, all too short lived.

In recently speaking with her and sharing a ten hour road trip, her words were clear and so were mine.

Sometimes, the smallest voice is the loudest.

Life speaks to us often, and my life has spoken to me recently. And honestly, it didn’t take long to realize where I need to focus my efforts, to focus my intention toward moving once again. The past three years separated by distance has been more than hard, and now that a once temporary location has become permanent, my path forward is clear.

The solitude of the heart and mind is a powerful place, within the sphere of the heart. It whispers to us a personal story, a story of life. And, there is a story within all of us that we constantly write, though it is one that we ultimately already know the ending to.

Be aware of your inner voice, of that whisper that graces your heart. This will lead you to the purest place that you’ve ever lived.

Until my path unfolds fully, all I can say is thank God for holidays, summers… and Facetime.

Be well, follow the sound of your heart and always seek truth.

Beautifully Broken

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“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I’ve traveled through many spheres. Some have been simple fleeting moments spent in one place, one situation, or in one frame of thought. Nevertheless, they are all part of my dynamic, my gestalt. Combined, they are the collaborated experiences that makes me who I am, that forms how I think, act and react to life.

Our experiences are our life. They form the person we become and the life that we live. So, we travel through the sphere of life lessons, of formless forms, intangible thoughts and deep feelings. It is a sphere that we rarely want to see, yet, this is the sphere we all dwell in. This is accepting life. This is accepting ourselves, flaws and all.

Exactly a year ago today, I arrived here, where I currently live. I arrived here not by chance, not by choice alone, but by circumstance. I did not have to come here. I did not truly want to leave where I was before, but I came in accord with my own intuition. Ultimately, I knew I was meant to leave. For, where I was was not a good place for me.

Reluctantly, in acceptance of my own decision, I arrived here. I arrived broken and beaten, as I had many times before. Beaten by my own disregard for instinct. Broken by my own weight of haphazard decisions. I arrived in both physical and mental pain. But I would be healed within the week.

That week, one year ago today I began to unlock my inner passions once again. I took rest and refuge. I picked up the pen once again, and the brush. My heart spoke softly to me. It whispered at first, then became more resounding as I began to listen and finally hear it.

My heart spoke to me then just as it speaks to me now. It tells me to keep going, to never give up, to always pursue my ultimate dream, my calling and passion, my reason for being. And in the past year I’ve learned that living without pursuit of these fruits would be a fruitless life indeed.

My heart warned me against taking shortcuts, against muting my own inner voice and against placing my feet where they do not belong. No matter the temptation, no matter the lure and no matter how much simpler it might seem on the fast road, dreams are not realized on the easy path.

We must all face our own faults at times. We must all look in the mirror and say, yes, I was wrong and yes it was my fault. We must all live through these experiences in order to grow and to learn, to become better, stronger and wiser. The lessons I learned are my own to keep, as are yours. But we all must acknowledge them, look them in the face, learn, and move forward.

We are all beautiful and broken in some form. And, this sphere is one that we cannot escape. It is one that is never vanquished. If it is not acknowledged, it will grow until it can no longer be ignored.

This sphere is you. It is your reflection. It is you, flawed and beautiful. It is cracked, broken, mended and shouting beyond heaven to be heard, to be witnessed and to be touched.

Know this sphere, and know thyself.

Secret Milestone

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“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
Susan B. Anthony

It is true, sometimes a sacred milestone sneaks up on you. It comes unadvertised, unexpected and subtle. It comes just how it happened in the first place, perfectly.

I, like many other smartphone users, am connected to the digital sphere in a myriad of ways. Though many of my notifications I purposely turn off out of annoyance or irrelevance, I do keep my wordpress accounts set so that I can see them, respond to questions, comments and emails. Just two days ago I saw the above notification and it made me smile at first, then my thoughts went a bit wild.

It’s hard to believe that four years have passed since I first began this little blog. Really, it’s hard to believe that four years have passed at all. So much has happened in my life since that February day, four years ago, that the very concept of time passing has seemed much like a blur full of words, travel, art, writing and various comings and goings of daily life. The past four years have undoubtedly moved at an accelerated pace, one much faster than I’m used to.

But, what is a true anniversary? What is a true milestone? These are different for many people.

Some people care about birthdays, others could care less. Like me, my birthday is just another day, only that particular day reminds me that I’m older. Other people have special anniversaries, secret milestones that they keep close to the heart. This anniversary for me is a special one, because it falls in tandem with the day that my eyes opened much wider, and it was only through opening the heart did this become possible for me.

Four years ago I found myself in upstate New York, in a small village just a stone’s throw from the St. Lawrence river and the Canadian border. It was only through the synchronicity of life that this happened, for the chain of events to occur so perfectly to bring me to that particular place at that particular time. It was a time when I needed isolation, sanctuary and peace of mind. I found this peace of mind during a cold New York winter, in a small house that sat on the bank of a frozen river.

Just a few weeks after finding myself in a frozen and foreign place, in late January of 2012, my grandfather died. My mentor and father figure, the wisest and kindest man I ever knew was no longer a part of my life and I had barely begun to unpack my boxes. Traveling back to New York from the gulf coast after his funeral I promised his spirit in silence that I would start writing.

And so it began.

In the most true and innocent way, this blog began as a way to heal my heart from loss. It soon transformed into a way for me to release thoughts from the basement, to refresh the senses and refine my craft of writing. Really, it continued to grow because I literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go.

It is true. Our truest and most profound anniversaries, our most sacred of milestones are the ones that we only know. They live in the secret spaces of our hearts and minds. They make us smile when we remember them, when we catch a glimpse of the calendar and see that day where it all began, where we began, where our lives dramatically changed.

For me, this blog will always have a special place in my life as well will all of the special people that I’ve met and chatted with over the past four years. I’ve made a few wonderful friends, landed a few clients and have met some of the most brilliant and caring people from all walks of life. I’m truly humbled and grateful for this experience.

I’d like to say thank you to all those who still follow my work, for all those who have helped with comments and emails and for all those who inspire me on a daily basis. Were it not for this blog, and all of the connections I’ve made though it, I doubt I’d be so inspired to continue writing and creating art.

This blog started a fire within my heart and spun a hurricane into my hands. It lit the passion that drives me forward. For this, my gratitude cannot be expressed in words alone.

Namaste