Sitting in a cafe thinking about personal power. The blue sky supports my feelings of being. So does the americano. Then i read the news, go to CNN.com or better yet, al-Jazeera or Pravda (and there with the news i see a pic of Mike Tyson- whoa- look at that tattoo on his face! – anyhow… i read the news… i get emails… slowly… slowly the great and infinite sense of personal power is stripped away. Chiseled and chipped… war.. famine… my rights are usurped by fear mongers. The country I live in is being sold off left and right to right wing religious zealots, the rights that many died for are being nixed in the name of freedom and Thomas Jefferson and the like are all rolling over in their graves moaning and groaning and casting curses towards those who deem themselves the rulers of the free world. What irony!
Then I look at the bills which pile up, debts, etc…
Then I lookat that that infinite blue sky and it begins to feel very far away.
How does that happen? I can change the world! I say. But what to do? I can organize. I can theorize. I can. But how? We all wanna start a revolution. And so we stage them in ourselves. We create the world around us. How am i creating a war that can’t be stopped? Death, famine, destruction? If that is how i choose to see it… How do i sit by idlely while the lemmings throw themselves over a cliff?
To the lemmings, it is instint. Is it also that way for us? Is this instintual behavior we are following? Did we dream up this entire elaborate fantasy? For what? To destroy ourselves? Then why? Because we hate ourselves? We hate what we have become? Selfish Greedy Self-Centered Righteous… Because we have forgotten how to love ourselves?
Some days i look to see how i can get out of my own bubble- i am surrounded by friends, like-minded people, my own creativity. I don’t associate with the people who i don’t agree with (and they live right next door! they’ve got VOTE BUSH stickers on their car!) and i read and listen to what i want to listen to.
I don’t plan on listening to country music to broaden my perspective nor am i going to invite over the neighbors for dinner and dessert…. but i could… but i don’t… It is stepping outside of my preconceived boundaries. And that right there is where the trouble lies: we live within our preconceived boundaries, afraid to try on a new outfit, a different mode of thought, a new way of being.
Those new ways of being sometimes create a greater sense of love.
An example: some years ago i was seeing this girl, before i was with Violet. I was really into her, this girl. She was really into buddhism, meditation and, to some extent, me. She said to me: look Michael, you smoke a lot of pot (and i did, it couldn’t be denied and she didn’t really at all) and it puts a veil between you and me. I can’t really get in there. And you can’t really get to me. So if you want to be with me, it’s me or the herb.
Cutting words for certain. Marijuana had become a sizable part of my life for many years. However, when i stepped out of myself, and looked at the situation objectively, i could see how, really, i hadn’t been showing up for myself at all for years, and had, in fact, been forcing people to work all the harder to get through to me. It was blocking the truly open loving person i could be. So i chose her.
I tried on her suggestion instead of nixing it out of fear or self-detruction: she was asking me to choose self-destrucion or love. So many people continue to make choices based on all their preconceived ideas, satisfying their own conditions and ignoring the fact that it is those choices which keep them living in a state of fear and feeling unloved, both by themselves and others.
Back to that infinite blue sky. What choices do i need to make in my life to be that sky? To feel as wide open as that?
I don’t need to move to British Columbia- it’s not eh government keeping me from being that.
I don’t need to join a monastery, shave my head and don a robe.
More drugs won’t help. Louder music will only burst my ear drums.
Breathing. Being. Doing. Acting. and all of them out of Love… it is the only thing which helps… the only thing which works…
this morning we listen to
broad sounds which
have the entire universe wrapped up
long luscious beats and glitchy bitsy bleeps
inbetween vocality ariaticy and internality
unwinding and winding up
in the place of warm space
where we can
to all the sweet energies i sometimes
find myself missing
heart warm true voice
mind wide open sigh
breathing in and out
how much longer til i die?
if i don’t get my work done in time
then is there space?
and if i run out of space
what is the saving grace:
that all that really mattered
was the vibration
Some say there is no Autumn in Los Angeles. This may or may not be true. Techinically there is a “fall” everywhere. There are those of us who come from the Northeastern U.S. and claim to have seen THE FALL. The big hurrah of fireworks trees in orange and red and yellow and purple and gold and green. The carpets of color across hills or mountainsides or neighborhood streets. Remembering the kicking along of the crackling maple leaves underneath my feet as I walked home in fourth grade, fifth grade, whenever it suited me to shuffle along- even the forty year old buiness man likes to kick along in the leaves. The crispness in the air and the freshness returning to the cheeks as the last dregs of summer slip away…
Then, years after the fourth grade, I find myself here in Los Angeles, willingly of course, living in a sweet little pad a few blocks from the beach where a heavy blanket of clouds covers the sky for the past few days and maybe, just maybe, somewhere a tinge of color tints a leaf.
A few days back we were out in the desert, in the Mojave. A Full Moon Gathering and a blustery day but not blustery enough for my sweet Violet to fly away while i held onto the unraveling thread of her sweater.
Look, here, said Violet to me, as we walked across the high desert, between chunks of quartz and prickly bushes, low to the ground. She was kneeling fingering a colored branch between her fingers. Look at this color, look at the subtle hues of the tumble weed or the peculiar shade of cactus, or the whiter than usual sages. There is a color shift even in the desert in the fall. The colors are all there- the dusky brown, the deep gold, the rich purple.
And the sage green, which i have yet to find much of in the forests.
Yes, they are there, they are everywhere, the colors of change. Yes, the air does not have the faint and ever so waftingly sweet scent of apples and dry leaves, but a small price to pay really for the sweetness nonetheless that we get to enjoy. The sunny days, and warm autumn afternoons and wide open skies which await above the blanket of cloud or marine layer fog which rolls in. This so-called mediterranean climate. Or maybe their weather there is just a Californian climate.
So I make some hot chocolate and clean my brushes and return to the canvas, painting a compassionate goddess decending over wash of greens and browns…
… And it isn’t until quarter to one in the morning that i find time finally to sit and simply write. Instead, it is a day made up of doing, thinking, acting, doing, acting, thinking, acting and doing but not always in that order. I made myself a schedule on iCal. I am trying to stick to it. But the late nights don’t support the early morning yoga. That or i need to start scheduling in naps more often…
Standing in front of the canvas, the mind just goes on and on and on… it never seems to stop and finally, i get a moment in there- a chance to breathe, a part where my heart opens up because there simply isn’t anything else to say and I have stopped listening anyway. It repeats the same things over and over, changing a few words here and, a name there. It is like a forgetful child, walking around in circles, looking under a stone and saying a-ha! look what i have found here! And then putting it down as he has seen another stone to look under. Then, within minutes he is back at the first stone, saying, once again, a-ha!
But they are not a-has of joyful discovery. They are a-has of the same old story; a-has of “I knew it all along”. They are a-has of my ego as it tries to nail one more nail into my own coffin while, at the same time, through my own mindfulness, through my own challenging of myself and my perceptions, i try to nail one more nail in it’s own… one cannot kill an ego though. It goes and goes and tells a thousand stories about itself. It carries on in the most rambling and forgetful of ways- telling me the same stories, getting enraptured over the same distractions, finding titilation over the same mindless tricks…
I get tired of it though.
It tries to tell me the stories are for my own good. And I listen sometimes as it tries to prove itself right. It never does but walks around in circles… that forgetfully self-centered child that it is. It tries to tire me out and get me to put down my paint brush, offering distraction but i love to paint. Sometimes, i sit, at my computer, doing stuff… eventually it is not work at all. Or it is just fiddling. Fiddling with things which are already finished. Not starting anything new. Or starting new things, projects, which i can get to later. Passing time. And I look at my canvas. I think “I should be painting” (because I love to paint. I lament when I don’t have time to paint and I long for it when it isn’t around) and then I go read the bbc news (and then compare it to what i have read in CNN and Al-Jazeera and maybe the Iranian news and the New York Times as well or I look on boingboing.net at some new inanity but sometimes there is something cool says my mind… and so i go… and then, sometimes, but not always, I grab myself- it almost feels like I physically grab myself, and wrench yself out of my seat at the drafting table and enter the painting space.
It is as comfortable as picking up a fork and eating. It is as gentle as freshly fallen snow. It is as nourishing as the sun. It is like going home. Again and again and again. And then… once we’re home.. we just go and go and go…. we burn up… we become love… we are the cosmic gates opening to the dawn awareness… understandings of who and how i am… of the nature of the world and the veins of a leaf… reality as it is… coming, going, moving, changing, a wave, a vibration, an instant. All of it. At once. Beauty.
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