Sunday, May 22, 2016

sea, sand and sky

Just a few recent photos
and words that I wrote back in 2008...
that still speak truth to me today.
I sit here
and watch the birds in flight
gracefully balancing themselves in space
against the strong, ferocious wind.
And I see freedom.
I watch as they wash
their snow white feathers
and glide with open wings on the wind
catching small fish as they are
rocked by the crashing waves.
There is a seagull close to me,
with both feet in a small puddle,
the wind ruffling his feathers
and he stands, and looks at me.
Like he wonders why I am here
on his turf, in his territory.
He is aware of me.
He slowly approaches with tiny bird steps.
He is alert
and every move I make is noticed.
This is life.
This is the point.
The connections.
The awareness.
The wind, the sea, the sky...
We complicate it so
by overlooking what really matters.
We concern ourselves too much
with money and things 
when they bring no riches
to the heart.
The birds and the ocean do.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

what a difference a day makes

For after all, the best thing
one can do when it is raining
is let it rain.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
After i wrote my post yesterday,
I did a bit of yoga.
Then I enjoyed some coffee.
Then I wrote some more
and puttered around the house,
tending to things
that get neglected during the week.
I thought back at what i wrote yesterday
and felt a familiar guilt
about being so judgemental
of others who are on a 
different life path than I am.
Much of what i write here
is often written for ME.
My words may give you a boost
at the same time
but in all honesty,
they are meant for me first.
I write what i need to hear at the time.
If I am feeling frustrated
or angry or confused,
i write about it.
It helps me sort things out
in my own head
and sets me back
on the right path.
On my path.
So after writing that yesterday,
I made it a point
to find time during the weekend
to go for a walk
or do some yoga
or paint -
so that I would come back
to what matters to ME
and not focus so much
on what others are doing
or not doing
with their lives.
And lo and behold,
it rained,
so it was a near perfect day.
(I don't know an artist
who doesn't love a rainy day)
I even found some time
to go to the bookstore
and enjoyed a peach green tea lemonade
as i plunged into the
graphic novels & art section.
I came home feeling inspired
and relaxed
and peaceful
and much less judgemental
than I felt on Friday night.
I am trying to let go of things
that make me angry,
because in the end,
they matter very little
and they often get in the way
of finding my own peace of mind.
I still let things (or people)
make me more angry than i should,
but i'm getting better
at letting go now
a little sooner each time.
Eventually, I'll be flying
above everything.
Thank you all
for being here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

can you be more with less?

hello everyone!

Saturday morning.
I was going to sit and paint something
or at least try
but I have too many words
flying around my head
and so, I am writing instead.
One day this week,
before going into work,
I stood in line for my morning coffee,
and as I looked around me,
everyone but one older man in the line
had their necks bent like giraffes
and were hopelessly scrolling
on their phones
for any small bit of information
or entertainment
that might make their lives
a little more interesting.
As I scanned everyone in line
(and there were at least 7 or 8 of us),
the old man’s eyes connected to mine
and for that brief moment,
I knew that he and I
were thinking the same thing.
I knew his mind in that moment
and he knew mine.
And more importantly –

He smiled and I smiled
and we both went on our way.
I am past the mid-point in my work contract
and although it is smoother than last year,
I must admit that I am now counting the days.
I struggle with having so much less time
and energy for making art.
I struggle with the choice I made
to go back to such an environment.
I tell myself this is the last time
because it no longer serves me,
and when something no longer serves you,
you either let go
or be dragged.

I struggle with feeling so different
than most people I work with.
They are motivated by money.
I am not.
I am motivated by freedom.
They are not.

I work (temporarily) in an environment
where most people there have made
very good salaries for many years
and built up healthy pension plans.
Conversations there usually revolve around
expensive purchases,
food, trips to exotic places,
and money.

I sit there and hear the words
being thrown above my cubicle wall
and I wonder about their dreams.
Did any of them want to be landscapers
or bakers
or musicians
or poets
or race car drivers?

Did they sacrifice their dreams
for the sake of making money?

How many chose this path
because of the financial rewards
and the promise of a comfortable future?
(I would dare say most)

For 8 hours a day,
I am surrounded with people
who make a lot of money,
but seem worn out
or disconnected somehow.
They have designer clothes
but their bodies seem exhausted.
Not in a physical way,
but in a mental way.
Many are on sick leave,
or extended time off,
because they’ve “burned out”
one too many times.
Many choose to work overtime
because they don’t want to seem
any less ambitious than others
or they’ve come to depend
on that extra chunky paycheque.
Some are in counselling
because they have problems sleeping
or because they feel depressed.
It is an atmosphere of competition
and climbing the ladder
and jealousy and greed.

Not everyone there is greedy,
but many are.
Not everyone is competitive or jealous,
but many are.

Years ago, when I was young & naïve,
I used to envy those
who had more money than I did.

I know so much better now.

Some money is necessary and good
but the amount in your bank account
has nothing to do with your level of happiness
or peace of heart & mind.
If you have enough
for food and shelter,
and you are GRATEFUL for anything extra,
you are richer than most
and your heart should be at peace.

Regardless of where you are in life,
or what you have (or don’t have)
you should never feel any less
than someone who has more,
because the person who seems to have more
isn’t necessarily any happier
than the one who seems to have nothing.

Having more doesn’t mean
being more.

I said it.
A long way to get to
a simple point, isn't it

Happy weekend everyone.

Friday, May 6, 2016

where did April go?

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. 
- Charles Dickens
The weekend is finally here.
My heart's a little heavy
with Mother's Day
just around the corner
and thoughts of all those people
in Fort McMurray (Alberta)
trying to escape the wildfires...
but i'm writing anyway.
These are the times
when writing is most important.
We so often hear
that material things don't matter -
but i can't help but think
of the things I treasure in my own home...
my photographs
and writings
and books
and paintings
and gifts my son made me
when he was in kindergarten
(yes, i still have them)
and letters and cards
from people I love.
I can't imagine losing
so many precious things
and the burden of
starting all over again
without anything that ties you
to who you were before the fire
except memories.
The past few weeks
have flown by for me
and the past few days
have been a bit of a blur.
It's a good thing I guess,
because that means July will be here soon
and I'll be done at work
and back to my drawing room
surrounded by things
that make me feel like me.
I am not practicing 
what I preach these days.
I'm the one who talks all the time
about the importance of making art
every day
and honestly,
i have not been living up
to my own words.

It's difficult these days
not only to find the time to paint
but to feel inspired to paint.
I sat in my blue room a few times,
shuffling paper here and there
and making a few scribbles.
I never force myself
to do much of anything.
I sometimes sit in my blue room
and while I may not make
a work of art,
if I spend 20 or 30 minutes
scribbling or doodling or sketching -
it was at least 30 minutes of
creative 'something'.
Creative 'something' is always better
than creative 'nothing'.
But oh, how I look forward to those nights
where it feels like my muse is dancing with me
in this little room of mine.
Doesn't this open seashell in the sand
look like an open heart?
or a little white hairdo? :)
Yoga is still part of my day,
although I've missed it a few days now.
I'm happy the weekend is here
so i can catch up with yoga
and painting
and just being here.
i liked doing this oil pastel
abstract leaf drawing...
And on one of those nights
where i didn't feel particularly creative,
I sat for a bit,
picked 2 sketchbooks 
and 2 acrylic colors,
and just put color on the pages.
The paint tube was just in front of me
so i did this quick little sketch
with chinese markers (black & white)
Then with the other page,
i scribbled this,
again, with chinese markers.
I like this one.
Not much of anything,
but one could say it looks like
trees lining a road...
right? ;)
A little sketch
on a different night,
of dad's van.
Yes, my father is 81 years old,
and he bought himself a hippie van.
Welcome to the funny farm. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!