Thursday, April 22, 2010

And then God Created Jimmy Page...

"Passion, honesty, competence is musical heaven" 
Jimmy Page 
"It Might Get Loud"

These are ideal components for any profession or even daily living.  
Jimmy Page exemplifies all three qualities. He is a master at many, many things. 
Even Jimmy's horoscope is strong and regal. Capricorn Sun, Scorpio Rising and Cancer Moon...a bit conflicted due to opposing Sun and Moon, but wow! The stars were certainly in good alignment when he was born! Hard working, masterful, ladder-climbing Cap Sun, sexy Scorpio rising and that beautiful, nurturing Cancer Moon.
Power, sex and money is written all over that combo - and that is just the bare bones!
Long live Jimmy!

In Love, Truth and Beauty...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Joan of Arc

I have recently been posting about perception and self-love. Coincidentally (or not), I just came across this incredible and timely message from St. Joan of Arc, as channeled by Alysia Markoe Johnson....

"I am not a great woman because everyone says I am. I am a great woman because I believed in myself and saw myself in that light!" 

Jeanne d'Arc  

There is a tremendously powerful lesson in that statement. I needed to let it settle in my mind. In fact, I believe it is still settling.
Once again, the issue addressed is how one's perception becomes one's reality.

It is difficult to imagine Joan of Arc not being self-confident. It would have changed the destiny of many, many people and the course of at least one country.Thank you, Alysia and St. Joan

Below is an alleged copy of Joan's signature (courtesy of Wikipedia) from one of the few remaining documents the she supposedly dictated during her brief life on earth. If this signatory is authentic, Joan certainly had a distinctive, unique and strong penmanship. There is a bold quality to the line quality, suggesting a grounded sense of self worth - a creative flair is evidenced in the first letter "J".  Simultaneously dynamic and static, this signature has captivated me!


To read more about Alysia's practice just click on the link below. 

In Love, Truth and Beauty....

With Special Thanks to Alysia Markoe Johnson and St. Joan of Arc

Monday, April 19, 2010

Perception Shapes Reality

Or, perhaps more accurately, your perception is your reality. 
On a daily basis, I remind myself many, many times to be careful what I hold in my mind. I have learned that  'perception is reality'  many times, but good old monkey mind is constantly scheming to endlessly play old tapes. 

I have a tender spot for the above picture - torn from a very old copy of O magazine years ago. This particular image pulls at my heart for many, many reasons. 
One morning, as I was getting dressed for work, I decided to count how many negative thoughts ran through my mind as I gazed at my reflection in the mirror. 
I am ashamed to admit, that I did not have one - not one - positive thought about my image.
How many times are we told to "love" ourselves? Answer: Over and over.
Who will teach us how to love ourselves? Answer: We must teach ourselves.
If we cannot love ourselves, can we love another?  Answer: No.
Now, I think that whole darned concept is a little crazy...that is, the part about no practical teaching on how to love self. Is it the doing of the Pilgrims? (I like to blame lots of things on those Pilgrims)
So - let's start here: notice how many times you have a negative thought about yourself.
Easy, right?
Here's the hard part  - for every negative thought about your self, think of a positive.
Try to extend this "new way of thinking" toward people that you come in contact with daily.
This is a life's work. 
Trust me. 
Creative people are often plagued with a fluctuating and defeating sense of self esteem. This may be good for the creative process, but I wonder if the pursuit of excellence, usually coupled with acute sensitivity, may be responsible for the widespread depression, substance abuse and suicide that I have witnessed in the arts?
A strong show of ego (which is necessary for the creative act) typically hides the delicacy of a sensitive, artistic spirit.
Imagine if the creative person, already accustomed to an extraordinary imagination, utilized creativity in thoughts about self? Hmmm...there is a concept. Why is this class not a mandatory part of iart school curriculum?
Thoughts are powerful. 
Thoughts manifest into reality. 
As Tut's "Notes from The Universe" motto goes - "Thoughts Become Things... Choose the Right Ones". Check out for some wonderful, positive ways to learn how to adjust that creative, clever mind of yours.
Let us banish self hatred and embrace the love of self. 
What a better place the world will be on that day.
In Love, Truth and Beauty....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Thought for the (Sun) Day

I came across this gem in one of my stacks.
This was tucked inside a fortune cookie (seriously) years ago. I fully believe that it was no coincidence that it was my fortune.
After the post about the "Six Mistakes", I felt that this could offer something positive and pro-active.

There is no wisdom greater than kindness.

Be wise and kind this week.
With Love, Truth and Beauty....

Thoughts for the Day

It is a rainy, dreary Sunday here at the Ranch. This combination makes for an all around good time for contemplation, reflection, meditation. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of bits and pieces of writings and artwork that I consider to be of personal inspiration.
I decided to go through some of the stacks and piles of papers that are strewn about the house, so I could actually find and read some these treasures.
I came across a dog-eared paper bearing the following "Thought for the Day"....

The Six Mistakes of Man

1. The delusion that personal gain is made 
by crushing others.

2. The tendency to worry about things that 
cannot be changed or corrected.

3. Insisting that a thing is impossible
because we cannot accomplish it.

4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences.

5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind, 
and not acquiring the habit
of reading and studying.

6. Attempting to compel others to believe
and live as we do.


I certainly see some of my 'mistakes' in this essay. I have quipped that if I do not make a mistake daily, that I am not working hard enough! 
Quite frankly, I have made many more mistakes than six. 
If I had written this indictment, it would have been endless.
This piece was published in a company newsletter that was circulated in hard copy. I have held onto this piece for nearly 14 years because it held something meaningful for me.
I am grateful that I found it this day, for it is a good start to the week ahead.
In Truth and Beauty....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Camelot and May

Where has the time gone since we marked our calendars January 1, 2010?  
The concept of time is so odd and puzzling to me. 
Even stranger is how time seems to "fly by" or "drag".
May, a rather infamous month,  noted for frolic, frivolity and more than a few "spring flings" is fast approaching. 
Did you know that it is considered 'bad luck' to wed in the month of May? This is primarily attributed to all the merriment accompanying the 'spring fever' of lusty May. This is one of the reasons there is a predominance of June weddings.
This is all true, Innocent Ones.
I vividly recall a catchy tune from Lerner's Broadway musical, "Camelot". An ode devoted to Guenevere's  extramarital attraction to Lancelot, the song is so aptly titled "The Lusty Month of May".

I played my parent's album hundreds of times! I really enjoyed Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere. Robert Goulet was a swashbuckling Lancelot. Richard Burton was the regal King Arthur. Roddy McDowall played an impish Merlyn.  My absolute favorite character was Morgan Le Fey, played by M'el Dowd.
And then, there are these unforgettable lines....

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot,
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot.

Those were magickal days!
Is it a coincidence that President John Kennedy ("Camelot" days of The White House) was a classmate of Lerner's at Harvard?
Do you remember Camelot?
In Love, Truth and Beauty....
1960 Album Cover Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Five Reiki Principles

I keep this taped to a wall where I can read it daily .... 

For Today Only:
Do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Be humble
Be devoted in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others

Join your hands in prayer every morning and eveing
Keep in your mind and recite these words 

(taken from Usuei-Sensei's gravestone)

...and I attempt to accept that I am a work in progress.

In Love, Truth and Beauty..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sound, Stress, Healing, Listening and Love

Music and sound are powerful.
I have always admired the musician who plays the music able to penetrate  my core.  And all non-verbal. That is powerful indeed.
I am not sure that I have had the same experience provided by the many fine pieces of art that I have experienced, literature, or a production, a meal or a smell. (I think that the olfactory sense may be just after sound)
Music comes close to love, in my book.
Music may be the pinnacle of pure expression and, in turn, evokes an equally pure reaction.
What else but music can annoy, energize, relax, act as a soporific or adrenaline? It is a drug!
Science has finally caught up with the rest of us who already know that sound is a potent force for good or bad.  Research shows that deep relaxation is able to heal the body and mind. Many people have found music and sound to be the vehicle that provides such deep states of relaxation. There are some serious quantum physics in those notes.

To read more about sounds and healing, check out this wesite:

Lately, I have become frustrated at dining establishments where the canned music is pumped up so loud that it is impossible to converse with a companion. I think that kind of unwelcome sound (or noise) is the height of bad manners.
Another thought that comes to mind is the very sad truth that most people need to be heard. This requires someone to listen. Is this an art or a courtesy  that has gone the way of the dinosaur? It costs nothing to listen. It means everything to the person who seemingly speaks and no one hears. There are far too many talkers and not enough listeners.
So, let us be careful what we put in our ears while cultivating the art of listening.
That is love.
In Truth and Beauty....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Clutter, Vision and Monkey Mind

Every so often, I actually open my eyes and see all the material goods that accumulate in my living quarters.
I should not see such frightening sights unless I am prepared to act. The old 'fight or flight' adrenaline surge is purposeful, and not to be abused or misused.
How many of us are blessed with vision, but do not see? (similar to listening, but not hearing - that is a profound topic for another day...akin to memory, which I explored in an early post)
My inability to clearly see was emphasized in an early drawing class.  I was given the task to complete several "Pure Contour" drawings.

Here is the exercise:
Put your pencil or drawing instrument on a very large piece of paper. Focus your vision on your subject matter. Draw the outer contour of your subject while keeping your vision solely on it - no looking down at your paper! Do not allow your drawing instrument to entertain a broken line....keep it fluid and moving, no lifting the instrument from the paper.

Do try this at home.
You will be astonished at the details of a common object that may be looked at each and every day but never really seen!
The mind is very clever. Oh, yes..very, very clever.

My "monkey mind" is forever editing, deleting and emphasizing information. My mind makes things up for entertainment. My mind allows me to see some things and not others....very clever, indeed!
My mind is smarter than me.
I am quite certain that there has been a study of this phenomenon and the results are due to something like 'the reptilian brain has not evolved ... due to survival...blah blah blah...'
I need to remember to have clear vision and tame my mind's inclination to enjoy marginalized fiction...unless, of course, I am in a creative or escapist mode! Oh - and I need courage. Lots of it.
In Truth and Beauty....
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Monkeys In a Plum Tree by Mori Sosen

Friday, April 9, 2010

Creative Thinking

After two trips to the tax preparer, the deed is done. 
The tax preparer and I agree that it is now time for a serious libation.
At times, this blog should be titled "Critical Alcoholism".  Just kidding. A little self-deprecating humor.
Do you remember "Barfly" with Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway?  The 1987 film was loosely based on the life of Charles Bukowski.  I think the line 'It takes a lot of stamina to be a drunk' or an alcoholic, as the case may be) is spoken by Mickey Rourke.
I do not have that kind of stamina.

Back to the creative thinking....
Here is a tip that was passed on to me many years ago by my meditation teacher: when you open the mail box, and there are bills to pay, instead of cursing the payments, bless them.
Now - I need to constantly remind myself of this! As I pay my bills, I think 'I am so grateful to have this bill (which means I have living quarters), money to pay it and the ability to write the check'.
This is a good reminder of right mindedness and gratitude.
And about that "Room Full of Mirrors"....the only time that is appropriate is in a yoga class.

In Love, Truth, Beauty and Gratitude....
Images Courtesy of Wikipedia and The Chopra Center

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Room Full of Mirrors

My mood is as changeable as the intermittent, yet unceasing winds that blow today.
I have to file my taxes. 
This is an annual event that I manage to put off until the last minute. Oh, wait - I am early this year.
I cannot help but think about my parents on this day. It strikes me as so completely wrong that they had to file taxes up to, and even after their deaths. 
Like many people, my parents worked hard all of their lives - yet - even without "earned income" in the declining years - they had to file tax returns.
I think that if a person lives long enough, they should be able to live and not file a single tax return.
Is death truly the only way out of some of these annoying obligations?
On a completely different topic (or is it?), the pollen that accompanies the unrelenting wind is making me so irritable
Some people believe that allergies are the byproduct of stress or toxins.
Hmmm - let's see - taxes (stress), time change (stress), social unrest (stress), wars (stress), economy (stress), health care ... I will stop now....the list seems to wind on into endless and utter infinity. 
Is it hay fever or is it stress?
Renowned Surrealist, Andre Breton, wrote that 'the only place where man is free is in his mind'.  Yes, yes, I did notice that Breton did not write "woman".... see how irritable I am?
Most days, I see the utter, profound truth in this statement.  Today - it is just a tad out of focus....and, all at once, it is crystal clear.
The title of that Jimi Hendrix song, "Room Full of Mirrors" keeps repeating itself over and over like a mantra in my own mind.

I used to live in a room full of mirrors
All I could see was me
Then I take my spirit and I smash my mirrors
And now the whole world is here for me to see

These days, it seems that far too many people live in a "room full of mirrors".
I live there.
I move out of that room many times, only to take up residence again.
During the all-too-brief reign of Hendrix, people enjoyed recreational drug use and "tune in, turn on, drop out" lifestyles for freedom.
Wars are waged (as I write this) in the name of freedom.
And here - all along - the ability to be free is in my own mind.
So - I am sitting here - thinking about movement, change, life, death, taxes, freedom and the mind.
Once again, I will move out into the world.
Once again, I will attempt to clear my mind of wrong attitudes and judgments.
Once again, I will push the restart button.....and be grateful....
In Love, Truth and Beauty...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Random Thoughts about Easter, Spring and Rebirth

I never had any particular affinity for Easter until I endured multiple deaths and hardship in a very short time as a young adult. 
Growing up, Easter meant cute clothes for the mandatory Easter Mass, baskets filled with teeth-rotting candy, chocolate bunnies and my favorite sugar eggs. The elaborately decorated sugar eggs had a peep hole that, when peered into, revealed a fantasy landscape worthy of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. 

During my aforementioned period of overwhelming suffering, tragedy and struggle, the local parish priest, Fr. Jerome Keaty, a Jesuit, befriended me at the request of two dear friends of mine (thank you, Jo and Lynn). Fr. Keaty started to drop by my house for an occasional chat and a check-in.
I had not attended a mass since Vatican II. 
Not only had I "lost my religion"... I was in serious peril of losing my mind. 

While still battling the foggy depression of grief, Fr. Keaty encouraged me to attend Easter mass. He gave me a kind, gentle explanation as to how one cannot talk about death without the context of  resurrection. 
I immediately felt that this was another old, tired religious ruse. I dismissed Father's words as mere propoganda.

One afternoon, as I dragged home from my job, put my key into the front door, I noticed that all around me, little signs of spring were suddenly in evidence.
The tender green hosta shoots were peeking through dead leaves; the boxwood hedge had its familiar white floral buds; the azaleas were flaunting fuschia tips! Suddenly, after that long, grueling winter of death, decay and heartbreak, green was sprouting everywhere!

And then the bell of truth sounded in my mind. If spring can follow the dormant dead winter, there must be hope for rebirth in all of life.
As much as I resisted, Fr. Keaty changed the way I see the world. 
I started to view life in terms of light and dark, birth, life, death and rebirth, shade and shadow, night and day. These elements simply, and quite logically, cannot exist exclusive of the other in the balance and homeostasis that is existence. 
If I imagine a world where the sun burns brightly all of the time with no shade or appalling I find the thought!
As Jimmy Page so aptly describes the dynamics of Led Zeppelin's compositions - "the whisper to the thunder"....well, that sums up what satisfies me most - aesthetically and philosophically. 
I have always appreciated dramatic contrast. Gray has never appealed to me.  And I do not wear gray well.

I am still a doubting Thomasina...and I have my cynical moments, but I now celebrate the renewal of life that Easter symbolizes through the miraculous rebirth and renewal in Mother Nature.
I find immense comfort there.
In Love, Peace and Beauty...

This post is dedicated to Fr. Jerome Keaty

Images courtesy of MP Chandra, YouTube, The Ft. Worth Museum of Modern Art