When I first heard Jeff Buckley singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, I was so moved tears ran down my face. He captures such depth and broken-heartedness. His voice, so intimate and personal, gently floats along like a slow-moving wide river carrying all who listen along with him. It is a slow dance; a gentle rain on tender shoots of grass. He finishes the ballad by holding an impossibly long note, which you will try to hold too the second or third time around.
And having written the above, I found it interesting to go looking for his life story a bit. I knew he died young, but I didn’t know that he drowned in the Mississippi River near Nashville while swimming alone at night. For several years I lived near the Mississippi River, and it was this very river I was thinking of as I wrote the first paragraph. Its interesting to me how writing, like life, knows its way and shares it’s wisdom so generously without our even asking.
To listen to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, go here.
Note: The above pastel painting was made during the time I lived near the Mississippi near St. Louis just as the water started to recede from the annual flooding. The small house is on one of the islands. The stacks in the background have been taken down and replaced with a larger single stack for the electric plant that provides for the communities surrounding it.
Today I will post at this very late hour about Groundedness. There were a lot of words I could have picked for today that all sort of relate to the same thing…God, Grace, Ground. I find that as I live into any of these, they all find purpose and activity in my life.
For me, being grounded is essential to living out a happy and peaceful life day to day. Otherwise I spend way too much time thinking about the past and the future. But staying grounded in the present moment takes effort!
I have several spiritual practices to help me stay centered. Here are a few:
Meditation cultivates real stillness so that I can listen for the divine influence of Universal Love.
Journaling helps me to give words and “talk” out whatever is going on that feels off, irritating or upsetting. It is also an opportunity to free write or “take dictation” from that spiritual voice that we all have. Some call it an Inner Teacher. Some call it God. Others might say the Universe. You know the one, because you can’t ignore it!
I also take long walks almost daily (several times a week anyway) out in a park with my dog. It exercises my body, lets my dog exercise his body, and breathes in nature. I don’t know any better way to say that.
Do you have any spiritual or centering practices that help you stay grounded?
I really liked another AtoZ Blogger‘s idea to write a Dadaist poem. And so today when I couldn’t come up with a word for F, I looked up types of poetry that start with F and discovered something called a “found poem” popular many decades ago.
Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. (from Wikipedia)
So when I googled found poetry, amazing artistic images came up of old book pages with loops around words and paintings and drawings in between. I am so excited at this discovery, I can barely sit still. So rather than just write out a Found Poem, I will make one!
This comes from the only thing I had with me, a page I had typed up for a meeting last week and colored pens and a blue highlighter. Work with what you’ve got! Enjoy.
This is one of my favorite animals. I find something so healing and comforting about their large lumbering bodies and soft eyes. They seem to be the definition of peace and steadfastness. It saddens me greatly that they are being poached in such huge numbers and that we may live to see the last of the wild elephants.
I remember reading about elephants on a website devoted to animal communication. I learned that elephants have been found to have very low frequency communication which they “listen” to through their feet and trunks. (Read more about this at NatGeo here.) They also are known to have ancient migratory routes that they travel regardless of fences or other barriers which they may trample rather than walk around. The explanation by Anna Breytenbach, a well-known animal communicator was that they are singing the earth into balance, along with their counterparts in the ocean, whales.
There is obvious intelligence and emotion in these animals as evidenced in their behavior noted in many articles. Here is one and another. And as the largest mammals on land, there is a compelling reason to protect their place on earth whether you believe they sing the earth into balance or not.
And me, being me, I sometimes sit and contemplate what would it sound like if I were to sing the earth into balance? What might my song be?
So when I sat down yesterday to think about what I would write about, I wondered what word that begins with C would come up. Immediately, “capture” came to thought. I started to dismiss it and then couldn’t help but wonder, what would I write about capture?
Two things came to thought right away. The first, a common use of the word capture, was that of capturing an animal. It implied traps and cages. Similarly, capturing a criminal might bring up the idea of jail. But the idea that really resonates with me is capturing an image, as in photographing something.
In all the first two examples of capturing, you are confining something to a certain space. In the latter example, you are confining the image to a moment in time. Usually we try to capture moments that are meaningful or beautiful or happy. And often we look back on those photographs with melancholy or sadness because those moments have passed. Things are not as they once were.
And here is where I want to explore a different response. Instead of longing for an imagined past, or hoping for a better future (or afraid of a bad future), I am trying to live in the moment I am in. To take in the beauty, the sadness, the joy, the boredom of THIS moment. It won’t come again. It can’t really be captured and held at all. It must be lived and let go. The more I am able to do that, the more peace I experience. Centered in Now, I am fully present to you, to me, and to this moment. And this moment is something I don’t want to miss.
I have added more paintings to my “Paintings for Sale” page. Click on the link in the upper right hand corner. This latest painting is sparking some discussion that sounds like an example of a Rorschach test. The latest idea is two bears. I like the idea that they are hugging! More examples of our Oneness with all Life. I had the amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Laurance Doyle speak this past weekend, and learned about how many species (all?) communicate and have intelligence. In particular he talked about bees, dolphins, whales, and trees. He shared his knowledge of leaves and that they are quantum computers that actually capture light without collapsing it. I think he said that it is the most gentle process on earth. If the talk is posted online, I will see if I can get permission to post a link to it here. Peace out!
Welcome to my newly updated website. Thank you for visiting. I am working on a new series I call “Cosmos”. My inspiration for this series is found in images from space looking back at earth and out to what lies beyond our galaxy. My Google search revealed that cosmos means “the universe seen as a well-ordered whole,” and “a system of thought.” I am taken with how Grace, Spirit, has ordered our universe in ways that have nothing to do with our desire for control. This idea inspires my every day life, and I find the wisest and most satisfying path is letting go and allowing God, Love, to do the ordering. While I do exert some measure of controlling the processes at work in my art, in the end I rely heavily on letting go to allow the medium to follow its natural course. I hope you enjoy the images. To view works for sale, please click the Paintings for Sale or Prints links in the upper right of this page. For more information about purchasing art, see my Contact page.