Unusual

Scrolling through my endless photos of landscape looking for something unusual I came across this set of images I took a couple of years.   The blue and red colours and geometric shapes are an unusual subject matter for me.  The fact I’ve included kids in these makes them even more unusual.   I’m a person who likes to be behind the camera not in front of it and I find most of the people in my life feel the same way so they rarely appear in my photos.

056  060

161  156

prompt:   https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/unusual-ld/

Travelling Light

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This is my response to my “On the Road” prompt  The Road is Life

This week I have used quotes from both Jack Kerouac and Matsuo Basho as inspiration.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

and

“I set out on a journey of a thousand leagues, packing no provisions. I leaned on the staff of an ancient who, it is said, entered into nothingness under the midnight moon.”

-Matsuo Basho, The Record of a Weather-exposed Skeleton – his first travel travel journal.

To find out more please visit https://ontheroadprompts.wordpress.com/
The prompts are offered as suggestions for creative exploration.   There is no need to feel intimidated by the strict rules of traditional haiku.   Please feel free to experiment.

 

Thoughts on my Mind

Chevrefeuille of CDHK is focusing on the work of Milarepa this week.   He has posted this poem together with a commentary as to its Buddhist meaning.  Prompt:  songs of milarepa 3

Listen to me, dear shepherd, the protector [of sheep)!
By merely hearing about sugar’s taste, 
Sweetness cannot be experienced; 
Though one’s mind may understand 
What sweetness is, 
It cannot experience directly; 
Only the tongue can know it. 
In the same way one cannot see in full the nature of mind, 
Though he may have a glimpse of it 
If it has been pointed out by others.
If one relies not on this one glimpse, 
But continues searching for the nature of mind, 
He will see it fully in the end. 
Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind. 

© Milarepa

I have to admit I’m lousy at Buddhist meditations where you observe your mind.    I guess it’s about ultimately realizing emptiness – another Buddhist concept I’m lousy at.   I would have to say I am a failed Buddhist.   I’m more of Taoist really.
What intrigues me about the nature of the mind is how our minds are changing because of the internet.   I made the collage below in an attempt to express how access to the internet has expanded my view of the world.   It’s true too much social media can be a collosal distraction and confusion but for me, the benefits of the internet far outweigh the negatives.

Interconnected
– collective consciousness
enriches us all

001 (collage constructed from magazine photos)

Is it a sign?

After reading Linda G. Hill’s funny post Seek a sign where she writes about looking for a sign then seeing a truck full of road signs I decided I needed a sign on whether or not I should go ahead with a haiku prompt site inspired by Jack Kerouac’s haiku that I wrote about  here.    Late yesterday I decided that I wouldn’t go ahead with the project but this morning I find myself wondering whether I made that decision too hastily.

Looking for a sign I got out a set of oracle cards called ‘Native American Oracle Cards” by Laura Tuan, Massimo Rotundo and Kay Walker.   These cards are good for a quick reading because the commentary on each card is very short.  I used the Medicine Wheel Spread suggested in the accompanying book.

Card 1 represents the beginning point of the situation.

001   ELK:    Message – Do only what needs doing, carefully mete out your resources and keep moving until you’ve finished.

                                                          Keywords:   Stamina, overcoming obstacles, strength and will to continue on drawing on magical elemental resources.

(hmmm – well that pretty much covers my doubts of yesterday.   Does the project need doing and do I have the resources, strength and will power to pull it off?   No answers there.

Card 2 represents resources available that should not be wasted.

002  TAIKOMOL, GOD OF RAIN  Message:   Let the waters of your heart burst forth…   Give with no expectation of repayment.

                                                                                                Keywords:  Gestation, solitude, fertility, tears, cleansing, healing.

(Well it’s certainly true that I am bursting ideas and making the site is not a ploy to make money.   Gestating the idea is causing to me spend a lot of time alone.   While I am beset with doubts I’m finding the process of sorting out my ideas very healing.   I am clearing out a lot of mental garbage.)

Card 3 represents ideas or items that need to be released.

003  WOLF Message:   Challenges and struggles often remove things things from our lives.  They also bestow gifts.

                                                          Keywords:   Struggle, difficulty, obstacles, communication, leadership, difficult lessons, initiation, spiritual connection.

(True – that describes what’s happening perfectly)

Card 4 represents external resources, such as opportunities or advice that can help.

004  CROW Message:   All of life is a lesson.   Learn the lessons, be smart and practice the right use of power.   And don’t take yourself so seriously!

                                                          Keywords:   Power, organization, authority, gifts offered and received, respect, mischievousness.

(I guess I was taking myself a bit too seriously with all of this. When I told the woman who helped me come up with the idea that I’d decided not go ahead with the project she said she was disappointed but that she respected my decision – lol – so that covers the respect aspect anyway.    I like the way the word ‘mischievousness’ is slipped in at the end of the commentary.    Maybe that’s the way forward – to lighten up and bring a little gentle humour and mischievousness to the project.  Jack Kerouac certainly bought that to haiku and, after all, he is the spiritual godfather of the project).

Card 5 represents the possible evolution of the situation

005 THE DREAM CATCHER Message:   Cultivate discernment and make sure you understand all the subtleties before jumping to conclusions.

                                                                                     Keywords:   Choice, discernment, study, knowledge, revised plans.

(hmmm again – did these cards just take me round in a circle?   While I’m studying and gaining knowledge I am still faced with a choice.  I am still asking myself if this project is needed at this time.   My plans are in a constant state of revision.)

Dissatisfied with the way that reading turned out I pulled a single card from another deck.  This one is called “The Enchanted Map” by Colette Baron-Reid.

006  DRAGON’S LAIR:   The path you are on now is one that will challenge you to the core.  That said, peril is also exciting and exhilarating…  A life lived fully isn’t lived only in safety.  A new experience is calling to you, one that will text your courage.  The choice is yours, but there is greater value in risk taking than remaining unchallenged  New territories are waiting to be discovered.

– Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess.   Time to lighten up, revise my plans and take some risks.

prompt:  Linda G Hill’s SOC prompt – sign

The Reading Room

I received a friendly email from Arhaus.com. asking me if I would like to write a post about my ideal reading room.

I thought about this offer but decided I probably  wasn’t the right person for the job for I don’t read much mainstream fiction.   The enquiry did make me look at my own reading habits though.

Personally I like reading novels that help me understand the contemporary world.   I usually read at the kitchen table and have a notebook beside me where I sometimes jot down passages from novels.   I began this notebook in 2014.  I rarely go back and refer to it but the enquiry from Arhaus led me to take a look.  I discovered that many of the entries I’ve made follow a theme  –

The first entry is from “Lost for Words” by Edward St Aubyn.

“We are at the point in history where it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Capitalism…

We would rather watch a movie about the threat of a meteor from outer space than contemplate the actual impact of the Capitalist meteor on the Earth…

Finally this is of no importance because both catastrophes, the fantastic and the actual, are deployed to distract us from the desert of the Real into which we have marched the exhausted culture of the West.   In this desert, it is forbidden to think.

Even if Capitalism is the crisis, Capitalism must be the solution.”

From “The Circle” by David Eggers

“The Human Rights of the Digital Age

  • We must all have the right to anonymity
  • Not every human activity can be measured
  • The ceaseless pursuit of data to quantify the value of any endeavour is catastrophic to true understanding.
  • The barrier between public and private must remain understandable.
  • We must have the right to disappear

From “Why are you so sad?”   Jason Porter

“Have we all sunken into a species-wide bout of clinical depression?   We are symptoms of a grieving planet.”

From “Open City” by Tesu Cole

“a cancerous violence had eaten into every political idea, had taken over the ideas themselves, and for so many, all that mattered was the willingness to do something.  Action led to action, free of any moorings, and the way to be someone, the way to catch the attention of the young and to recruit them to one’s cause, was to be enraged.”

From “The Beach beneath the pavement” by Roland Dinning

 (the narrator of the novel thinking about another character) –   “Kepler seemed to be claiming the world was deliberately flooded with contradictory conspiracy theories creating maelstroms of confusion…  Complexity, fear, uncertainty…   these are essentials conditions for Post Credibility.

“they control us by giving us what we want so we have to stop wanting things.   They want us to think life’s a supermarket and the longer the shelves are, the more free we are.”

and – “he’s internalised the system.   It’s what we all end up doing, not what we think we’re doing…   The silent copper in the head policing us from within.”

From “The Restoration Otto Laird” by Nigel Packer

“Everything has become a commodity nowadays: and maybe every person too.   All of us have become commodities to each other.   The profit motive has entered every sphere of life and its hegemony is complete.”

From “The Age of Magic” by Ben Okri

“ he felt momentarily free of the law he had invoked and set in motion:   the law that says you are what you think you are.   He also felt free of the other, more pernicious law:   the one that says you are what the world thinks you are.

For a moment Lao felt free of the prison of the constructed self, free also from the tyranny of the attachment to things.

The first freedom is freedom of mind, he thought”  maybe even, freedom from mind.”

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If I were to describe my dream reading room I would have to say it would be a warm, bright kitchen with large wooden table.  Cups of tea would magically appear when wanted and the coffee would be the best.    People people from all over the world would be free to enter this room and discuss ideas found in books they had read.

Percolating Poetry

I wrote this post a few months ago on Art and Life.   I think it’s worth bringing up to date and  reblogging here for it’s still pertinent – perhaps even more so now.

Is it that I’m percolating my reactions to current events,

global and personal,

outer and inner,

or is that I’m waiting for the dust to settle

on political changes here, there and everywhere

or on the inner spiritual upheaval/regeneration I have been experiencing?

Either way, percolating or letting the dust settle, it’s hard to string words together to form grammatically correct sentences.   I woke this morning to this thought/idea/concept-

                                                In the canyons of my mind

                                     Ginsberg howling from the Afterlife

                                                 ‘All is not how it seems’.

Unfortunately I jolted fully awake before Ginsberg could howl out his meanings and his posthumous perspectives on it all so I am still percolating/letting the dust settle as I try to work out it is, or even how it seems to be.

So much fear and loathing being expressed by so many right now – the fear of World War, of Muslims and of migrants.   My life long fear of nuclear holocaust  is triggered.

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As Ginsberg howls from the Afterlife I catch hold of ideas percolating in the ethers –

          I see that the old order is inherently corrupt

It favours the elite few over the often powerless and subjugated majority.

As new awareness and understanding, both political and spiritual, sweep across the globe the power base of the old elite is disintegrating.  As the old power structures begin to disintegrate chaos ensues.

Just what new frameworks we find to guide us into the future remains to be seen.

           Will the rabble baying for blood rule the day

            – will it be like the French Revolution where the elite were publicly beheaded

               or Nazi Germany where minority groups were shipped off to death camps?

                                    Will Trump nuke Isis and/or North Korea

                               – will we descend into the holocaust of global war?

Or will we somehow find our way, collectively and individually, to work together to create an egalitarian society where all humans co-exist peacefully in a world governed by sound ecological principles that ensure the ongoing survival of our species and of the bio-sphere we inhabit?

Our future hangs in the balance and the outcomes are, at present, unknown.

Percolating, or letting the dust settle, I dig over my new vegie plot.  I write haiku.  I meditate on peace.

I am free to change to my consciousness. I am free to transcend my fears and find a way forward that sustains me spiritually. All the same, it’s not a straightforward path.

chopping

excerpt from Howl by Alan Ginsberg – (you can read the poem in full here – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/49303)

Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!

Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!

Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!