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/

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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

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!

Fairytales and creative doubt

As I go through blog archives self doubt creeps in.   While I’m enjoying finding forgotten posts about haiku writing techniques I’m beginning to wonder if any of my haiku have any merit whatsoever.   Meanwhile my neighbour chainsaws down a huge gum tree in his garden.    It feels timely that I should find this old post just now.   I intend to follow the advice I give  myself at the end of the post the minute I finish reblogging.   I have deleted my original introduction and jumped right into the information.  

While the story of Demeter and Persephone obviously relates to the seasons of winter and spring the author,Mary Caelstro writes:

‘This cycle plays itself out within the creative individual as well. There are times when the words or music or painting seem to flow from the fingers. The inspiration cannot be harnessed fast enough. Like corn stalks reaching for the sky, the creative juices go from a small seedling to a towering plant in the span of a very short time. And then, as it usually happens, when the creative work is finished, or sometimes in the middle as our doubts and fears assail us, there is a lull. Inspiration fades away and the bleak expanse of our psyches can produce no more. In time, the block leaves and the creative individual can create again. But the barren time can be as long as winter with no end in sight.’

In her works, The Creative Fire and Women Who Run with the Wolves Clarissa Pinkola Estes takes this idea further and relates the myth of Ceres and Persephone to the need to retreat sometimes and  go into our inner darkness for creative regeneration.

The story of The Handless Maiden which you can read here  delves more deeply into the idea of retreating into the darkness to be healed.

Seeking to understand this strange and disturbing tale I came across the blog Myth and Moor by Terri Windling.  In her probing analysis of this fairytale she explores  the idea that it is the forest where the healing transformation takes place.  As Marie-Louise von Franz wrote of The Handless Maiden:  “She is driven into nature… She has to go into deep introversion…. The forest [is] the place of unconventional.’

Clarissa Pinkola Estes elaborates: “To follow the example of the armless maiden is an invitation to sever old identities and crippling habits by journeying again and again into the forest. There we may once more encounter emergent selves waiting for us. inner life, in the deepest sense of the word.”

These, and other commentaries on the tale of The Handless Maiden suggest that while the forest can be seen as a metaphor for the inner world, the story also implies that immersion in the wild and untamed natural world heals and regenerates our creativity.

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On a personal note – I’m off to the forest – the inner, the outer, the metaphoric.