Saturday, January 31, 2015

Oboe and Birds Morning Meditation

A few Christmases ago, my middle sister gave me a DVD called So Many Feathers: Bird Watching Without Binoculars. At that time, I may have posted photos of Oboe watching the DVD and even standing up on her hind legs and reaching for the birds on the screen. I found the DVD again a few weeks ago and have been meaning to see if Oboe still found it engaging. This morning I made an 8-minute video which shows her watching intently for that length of time. I trimmed the video down to 1 minute so that I could post it here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Progress not Perfection: Fearless and Asymmetrical Mandalas

On September 17, 2014, I began working on the first mandala of the "Fearless and Asymmetrical Mandala Series," (scroll down past today's post) using an inexpensive box of watercolor pencils made for children. My mother's mandala series was the inspiration. Below is the palette I used for Mandala #1. I was using 17 colors from the spectrum, minus the shades of brown. As I continued making mandalas, I found it frustrating that some of inexpensive pencil tips continued to break off over and over again as I used them. As a result, I was using fewer and fewer colors with each mandala I made.

Yesterday I finished Mandala #9, using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils with a completely different palette that I chose by eye from the shelves at the Dakota Art Store. However, my new palette doesn't have as many colors as the old palette, and looking at this last mandala, I want to remedy that.  

My new pencils are not watercolor pencils, and I don't need to worry about accidentally getting the paper wet and having the colors run. They aren't showing any signs of breakage either.

Here is the limited palette I used for Mandala #9:

Here's the palette in progress I'm using for Mandala #10:

I'm going to go back to the Dakota Art Store with the original watercolor pencil palette and try to duplicate it as closely as possible. May not be possible, but I'll give it a try. I loved the names of the children's pencils. The names of squirrel jacket, hedgerow, dew at 5 a.m., rabbit boots and berry pie appeal to me more than cadmium orange, viridian, light cobalt turquoise, crimson and violet.

"I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name."

This is the longest run of works on paper that I have had since the First Gulf War began in 1990. That was when I began to experience symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder that is the result of my experiences during the war in Vietnam. Recently I've been hearing in my mind the words that Richard wrote in the summer of 2002:

"Please take all my love and go on with your life."

It's been 45 years this month since Richard left for Vietnam and 44 years since he returned as a haunted man. For so many years, I didn't feel I could go on with my life as long as he was suffering. It's been almost 7 years since he died. It's never too late to accept his love and go on with my life. Half measures avail me nothing. What am I waiting for? Why not now? There is nothing holding me back except me.

"Question from Robert Love: And productive work is a kind of salvation in your view? To feel pride in what you do?

Answer from Bob Dylan: Absolutely."
(from the AARP interview)

I've had a upper respiratory infection with a headache for the past 11 days. My voice is still hoarse. I still cough occasionally. The sore throat has finally left, along with the headache. Haven't been able to work on my job retraining program. When I have a cold, I experience the kind of depression that used to be a part of my everyday life for years and years. Yesterday I went out to do some errands because I was feeling better. Once I was out and about, though, I realized that I'm not back to my usual relatively good health. I don't take relatively good health for granted after so many years of compromised health.

Then I came across this.

And here is a view with a surprise guest while I was making a video from my porch. I thought that I had lost this footage and was unusually philosophical about that. I've lost so many things. A second surprise was discovering the footage this morning:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Remembering Janis on her 72nd birthday

"Oh, Sweet Mary"


Oh, sweet Mary, child of confusion, she runs the hills to cry
Past the willows or an illusion, Lord, tell me the reason why.
Tell me why, why is it all so hard ?
Breathing in the air Breathe in the air
Anyone to care.

(Alright, yeah!) 

Oh, sweet Mary, in our story, have we nothing left to give ?
But don't we all know, babe, if we're pressed to, that that's the way we live.
Tell me why, why is it all so hard ?
Breathing in the air Breathing in the air
Anyone to care, oh, yeah! 

Hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now,
Hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now, hop now, whoa, yeah!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Io's music

Io died on January 18, 2011. He lives on in his music. We celebrate Io's life.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Meditation on unarmed truth and unconditional love on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr

From the Plum Village website:

Thich Nhat Hanh on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:

The moment I met Martin Luther King, Jr., I knew I was in the presence of a holy person. Not just his good work, but his very being was a source of great inspiration for me... On the altar in my hermitage in France are images of Buddha and Jesus, and every time I light incense, I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors... In Vietnam, we refer to Dr. King as a "Bodhisattva," an enlightened being devoted to serving humanity...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thich Nhat Hanh:

I know Thich Nhat Hanh, and am privileged to call him my friend... [He is] an apostle of peace and non-violence... He has traveled the world, counseling statesmen, religious leaders, scholars and writers, and enlisting their support. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.
[Nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Price in 1967]

Update on Thich Nhat Hanh's health.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Oboe with me at my art and music table

The practice of Zen is not limited to the meditation mat. The practice of Zen is our entire life and is the very thread that binds our different lives together. Discovering this truth is called awakening, and it takes a circuitous route.
(Janet Jiryu Abels)

If we go down into ourselves, we find that we possess exactly what we desire.
(Simone Weil)

Whether it is the time or the method, true labor is half initiative and half knowing how to let things proceed on their own.
(January 8,  from 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, by Deng Ming-Dao)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Celebrating my nephew's 22nd birthday today

May gifts of joy and peace and creative energy come to my nephew on his 22nd birthday and always!