To See

The Meaning of Life is to See. ~ Huineng How does one progress in drawing? By making the eye-heart-hand reflex ever more sensitive, so that the hand may become ever more the willing tool of the eye. ~ Frederick Franck Jacaranda seed-pod study VI Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic […]

via The Zen of Seeing — sub rosa

Dora the Explorer

We didn’t have a map but if we had a map it would have said, “Follow the path along the fence, cross a sea of wood chips in a boat, take the path through the forest, come to a big red number two.” (I didn’t get a picture of it but it was big and red, two things that are very significant to an almost two year old it would seem.)

Why I Do Things

July2107 126I am writing and posting this because a friend laughed out loud and said, “You should put THAT in your blog”.

 

I have a planter in the front yard. It replaces the tree that had grown there for many years. It was a good tree. It gave the front room shade and the side walk shade and was a good size with a nice Y shape for the average twelve year old to climb and sit in (also the precocious eight year old). But it had to be cut down. It had been attacked by the Ash Borer and for several years had been getting sicker and sicker as the buggers clogged up it’s arteries and starved it. (No Malice Here grrrr)

At the same time my mother had been getting more brittle in her bones (osteoporosis) and more toxic in her blood (renal failure) and though an avid gardener, less and less able to bend and tote and kneel and get up again. (Context here: she was in her 90’s!) I built the planter with the help of F.H. and his brother. Lots of tumble stones made a circular planter high enough for her to sit at and dig and weed whatever flowers she chose to put there.

The brothers did an excellent job. The planter was level and attractive and took away the sting of losing a beautiful tree and to some extent the sting of my mother’s growing lack of autonomy.

-Recent years the roots that remained beneath it have continued to grow and rot. This year with a lot of rain this growing and rotting under the ground has been food for a bumper crop of mushrooms. The other result has been that the stones have gotten wonky.

I got in my head that I was going to “do it right” and then as the summer came and went I convinced myself that there were SO MANY THINGS I needed to buy before I could fix it properly and therefore I couldn’t fix it. Yesterday looking out my basement window at the front of the house I finally realized, “When have I ever done anything properly?!!!” So in the heat of what might be the sort of weather we wanted in August I finally got out there and took the thing apart (well half apart), threw some pea-gravel down that I had for another job I didn’t get around to and put the stones back and it looks fine.

So my new personal slogan is, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do a half-assed job of today?”

And why not blog about it? The answer to the question, “Why I do things?” is I do things* because why not? Seriously.

*Mostly things that are not immoral, illegal or fattening. 😛

 

 

 

A Billion Tiny Flowers

I have been technology challenged for about ten years.  Before that I felt I could hold my own. Now, age, concussion and recently, ambivalence have led me to the shoals, the place where many older adults find themselves, muttering and cursing and occasionally exclaiming “YuReeek Ha!” as some colourful object washes onto our shoal and makes us happy.

I spent an entire weekend, possibly the nicest weekend of the summer trying to sort out why I could not longer watch television (Star Trek) or googly or putz on the various devices in my home! I must say here, if you are patient with the poor techies they are appreciative. I may not be able to defuse racist Nazis but my Zen practice has taught me to be attentive and patient while on hold.

Mostly I want to have Star Trek, any version, playing while I do my sewing. I could put on the radio but sometimes (gottalovem) CBC radio is just dumb and my stitches get tight while my mind boggles. (Star Trek is often dumb but it is Sci-fi, come on!)

Last night while falling asleep I realized my dreams were of a billion tiny flowers, each providing a context for perpetually opening complexity, which viewed as a whole was breathtaking. From my perspective they were the flowers of a quilt that I painstakingly was appliqueing one at a time, made of billions of threads of cotton, manufactured and dyed, all by human hands from plants grown in sunlight and with water and tended by more human hands on a beautiful planet spinning within spinning galaxies.

So as glitchy as these entertainments are from my point of view, some things, important and awesome, never change. 🙂

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Goodhearted Laughter Redux — The Blog of Funny Names

Welcome new readers and longtime fans. Thank you for following us during our Rave for Dave campaign to help Dave with his fight against cancer, because cancer is no laughing matter, or is it? Today I’m re-posting Goodhearted Laughter, because laughter is the best medicine–according to Reader’s Digest. Thanks again for your support! * * […]

via Goodhearted Laughter Redux — The Blog of Funny Names

Face Painting!

I got to do some face-painting at a street party in the east end of the city on Friday. The first “client” was a very smart little girl of four who knew exactly what she wanted. “I want to look like a tennis ball.”

Fortunately there was a tennis ball nearby that I could work from.

I like to get people, especially kids, talking about what they have chosen, sort of expanding on their imaginations, which are generally huge, so it begged the question, “so you like playing tennis?”

“No. I just like tennis balls.”

I didn’t get any pictures that day not even of the “tennis ball” a first for me. What can I say, it got busy and no one took any pictures. Here instead is a picture from another day and another street party, just to give you an idea of the set-up. The makeup is hypoallergenic and water based, great for kids and I have a bunch of laminated pictures to get them thinking about what they would like.  I often find kids are wannabe artists too so I can talk about how to mix colours and blend.  It’s all good. 🙂

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Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror…

I read my horoscope everyday, not so much because I believe in the power of celestial bodies messing with my life as I believe it is the acid test for how I am feeling when I read it.  Today it said something to the effect that I would be likely to get into arguments, which pissed me off.

I do get angry. It is hard not to sometimes but I try to be aware of it before I am in some action that can do harm and also, I will admit, gets me in harms way.

I used to toss a coin when I couldn’t make my mind up about something.  Never anything really important, usually when either choice was valid.  I found if I didn’t like the outcome of the toss I would simply do the opposite. Again, either choice being valid, my inclination was the question. I learned that didn’t need to waste my time. I am not as quick witted as I once was, but I am more measured.

Inclination is in itself a type of coin, perhaps a coin we don’t know we carry until something in life causes us to choose an action and we have to turn it over. Granted there are plenty of thoughtless thugs who never question their inclinations. Often if they have some part to play in history they become celebrities at least in their own pub or whatever cultural gathering place that includes mental incapacity due to alcohol or religion or the combination that results from professional sports. Or they become infamous villains depending on way things play out, how attractive their features are and if they survive or end up on t-shirts. Those who question inclination often become ineffectual in the grand scheme and hardly thought of at all when the dust settles except perhaps when they say, “I was alive during that time”.

My question is, within the mass of humanity that might get caught up on the streets in some sort of demonstration either by folly or desire or virtue, are not most feckless wanderers who despite the rightness or wrongness of their inclination would choose NOT to cause harm to another human being, especially if they could toss the coin endlessly until the question of being there or staying home was exhausted?

I once spent a weekend with a lovely couple in the seventies who had been caught up in the arrests without cause that followed the FLQ crisis back in ? She was less ardent but he was sure a war between French and English Canada was coming and after hours of talking concluded that I would be shot by both sides. The assertion being that NOT CHOOSING was a greater sin than being wrong.

But again, there are people who just show up. People like me who don’t know how to effect change but recognize at some point you have to decide to show up in support of this or that. The hard part is not falling prey to the inclination to do harm. The miraculous part is seeing some who can show us how to address the harm that others might do without perpetuating it or fueling it.

Wow. Just writing that last sentence got my heart pumping. The scary thing is being scared and not succumbing to acts of violence. Not condoning aggression even as pay back. It is the fear of losing the peace that I enjoy that reveals the fear and perhaps the dishonesty of my pacifism, but that peace includes everyone I endeavour to love and that includes everyone. So when whatever war comes to my door (because I will stay in) I will try to be brave and say, “either side can kill me, I will not defend myself if it involves harming others.” My inclination will not decide for me. Regardless of how close to what history will bare as the most important choice a person can make in these times, a gut reaction will not be useful. My practice and commitment to love and to do no harm to others will be what determines my actions. I will be wrong perhaps but not untrue. I tend push back, it is my inclination, but I submit by choice.

These are frightening times.

P.S. I have just learned of the events in Charlottesville, in the U.S. yesterday. It is hard not to want to strike out against the monstrous mental paralysis that has lead to these murderous acts. It is not terrorism, it is bare-faced murder.

These people who are in the mental paralysis called fascism want to kill the opposition. They do not recognize any people who have opinions other than theirs as being human, as anything but a target for their hatred.

So how do you respond?

I think that it is good that the statue is coming down and it shows the success of government and civic responsibility. I don’t believe that the fascists have done anything to change that. (I hope). I am sorry for all the people who were injured and their families.