Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Undefeated Then And Undefeated Now

"52nd Month: Speaking Without Words About Holy Contradictions," painted by am in gouache and watercolor in June of 1989.  The numbers reflect the years of my life up to that point, beginning with my birth year.  As I was painting, I was meditating on the fact that there had been war throughout my 40 years of life.  Coincidentally, 1989 was the year the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill proclaiming 1990 as the "Year of Reconciliation" between the state's American Indian and White citizens.

Some of you have seen this painting before in different contexts.  As I was thinking about the events at Standing Rock, the image appeared in my mind again.

Monday, November 28, 2016


The first version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that I heard was sung by Jeff Buckley.  It was recorded in 1994. My first listening was early in June of 1997, soon after Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River at age 30.  I listened and wept and felt immense gratitude.  I had not heard Leonard Cohen's version.  Although I've heard many many versions since then, none moved me again in that way until I heard the Yiddish version by Daniel Kahn soon after Leonard Cohen's death.

Yesterday my copy of Leonard Cohen's final songs arrived in the mail. I listened to it in my car while doing the things I needed to do yesterday and was deeply moved by words like these:

"...When I turned my back on the devil / Turned my back on the angel too..."

"... I heard the snake was baffled by his sin ..."

Although I was expecting only 8 songs, when what I thought was the final song ended just as I arrived home, I realized that there was a 9th track.  Something told me to wait to listen to it until today when I got into my car at 7 a.m., on my way to get together with a group of eccentric friends for what serves well as our breakfast together.  I want to give anyone who hasn't heard the CD the opportunity to have their own experience of that final track.  My guess is that I'll be listening to Leonard Cohen's final songs in my car for some time to come.

In the meantime, here's the song called "Treaty":

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sources of Joy Totem and Coast Redwood Seeds Dream

My friend, Kathy, in the center
My first cousin twice-removed, Lila, with a blue piano in a forest
Leonard Cohen in Greece in the 1980s
Detail, stamp collage by Laura Sindell, in hallway of University of Washington Medical Center
Oboe in the sunlight next to my art and music table, with elephant and Tyrannosaurus Rex

Early this morning I dreamed that, at the urging of a mysterious someone, I checked on the three Coast Redwood seeds that have been in my refrigerator for nearly 45 days.  My plan had been to wait until December 1, per the seed packet instructions, before bringing the seeds out of the refrigerator so that they would sprout, according to their nature and according to the instructions on the seed packet.  By checking on the seeds prematurely, I was going against my better judgment, something I do frequently, with predictable negative consequences.  I dug down in the bedding soil in the first pot and found a tiny redwood tree and experienced great joy.  Then suddenly, as things can sometimes go in dreams, the tiny redwood tree was nowhere to be found.  I looked and looked for it with increasing grief as I realized it was gone.  There were two more pots to check but nothing to be found growing in either of them.  In my mind, I went to what I call "the dark place," which is a place of remorse, regret, guilt, shame, blame and everything that takes the joy out of my life.  Then a man, close to me in age, appeared with his own three tiny bedding pots.  He was someone I had never seen before.  His demeanor was calm and peaceful.  He wasn't following the instructions on the seed packet.  He had placed small smooth multi-colored ocean stones on top of the bedding soil.  He told me that he planned to place the bedding pots in his car for the 45 days.  I came out of "the dark place" in my mind, seeing the light surrounding the man who was following a different set of instructions, following his intuition.  I felt curious and hopeful for all of us.

Now, awake, a few hours later, I am grateful that the Coast Redwood seeds are still untouched in my refrigerator.  Last week, a friend whose passion is bonsai told me to put the bedding pots outside as soon as I take them out of the refrigerator.  I had planned to keep them inside, despite his suggestion.  Something in me rebels against any authority, no matter how benign.  Sure, I can take suggestions from a seed packet without feeling rebellious, but what is it that makes me bristle when a friend suggests not following the instructions?  

We'll see what happens between now and December 1.  I'll know what to do when the day comes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meditation for Thanksgiving 2016

Megan Singer, MA 

Meg Singer (Navajo; Towering House/Biligaana Clans) grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah but for the past few years has called Montana home. Meg has a BA in Literature with an emphasis in YA Native American Literature from Westminster College in SLC, UT. Her Master’s is in Native American Studies with an emphasis on Indigenous Deaf Studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Meg’s academic career has included reviving and performing the Indianist opera, “The Sun Dance Opera”, Natives in Science Fiction, Native Humor, Indigenous films, and Indigenous decolonization theories. In her down time, Meg loves to sing, watch TV, and cook.

From the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
  - Lao Tzu

Thanks to Beth for this quote today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Veteran's Day Sunrise 2016 (revisited a few days later)

(Unable to make the fonts uniform.  Oh well.)

I've been away at Facebook, not posting much here.  Now I am choosing to return here.  In a few weeks, I will have been posting here for 10 years.  That's a substantial part of my life.  When I began to blog, I was at a turning point in my life, stuck, haunted, needing to move forward.  I'm grateful for the community I have found through blogging.  I'm grateful for this place where I can post my art work, my poetry, the music I love, memories, dreams, photographs, and all that gives life meaning.  I've come a long way since 2006 and learned so much from you, my blog friends.

As you know, I don't call myself a Christian or anything else, but this came from a Christian source (, and I found it to be enlightening regarding the life of Che Guevara:

"What exactly was the heart of Che’s vision, that it still animates young people around the world? His words on the revolutionary power of love hint at one answer. So, perhaps, does a poem found in his backpack after his death:
Christ, I love you,
not because you descended from a star,
but because you revealed to me
man’s tears and anguish;
showed me the keys that open
the closed doors of light.
Yes, you taught me that man is God,
a poor God crucified like you.
The one at your left,
at Golgotha – the worst thief –
he, too, is God.
León Felipe"For some reason, it reminded me of something Leonard Cohen wrote about Jesus:  "He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mandala #23: All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky

All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky
We are your daughters and sons
who wish to be of service
who walk together 
who listen for your words
and meet fear daily
and go forth inch by inch
with broken hearts
with deep weariness
moved with love and hope in this place of earth and sky
in which wholeness and brokenness dwell
together through life without end.

Not sure when I wrote those words, but tonight I finished "Mandala #23: All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Leonard Cohen. Dear to our hearts.

Leonard Cohen will live forever, as he said he intended to do.