I am a portrait…

Stay at Home Order … day 13 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000 35mm 200 ISO

Return within,
to the place where there is nothing,
and take care that nothing comes in.

Penetrate to the depths of yourself,
to the place where thought no longer exists,
and take care that no thought arises there!
There where nothing exists,
Fullness!
There where nothing is seen,
the Vision of Being!
There where nothing appears any longer,
the sudden appearing of the Self!
Dhyana is this!
~Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/2500 35mm 200 ISO

“‘I am a portrait,’ repeated the Professor. ‘I am a portrait of the celebrated Professor de Worms, who is, I believe in Naples.'” …

“‘Do explain yourself,’ said Syme.”

“‘With pleasure, if you don’t mind hearing my story,’ replied the eminent foreign philosopher. ‘I am by profession an actor, and my name is Wilks. When I was on the stage I mixed with all sorts of Bohemian and blackguard company. Sometimes I touched the edge of the turf, sometimes the riff-raff of the arts, and occasionally the political refugee. In some den of exiled dreamers I was introduced to the great German Nihilist philosopher, Professor de Worms. I did not gather much about him beyond his appearance, which was very disgusting, and which I studied carefully. I understood that he had proved that the destructive principle in the universe was God; hence he insisted on the need for a furious and incessant energy, rending all things in pieces. Energy, he said, was the All. He was lame, shortsighted, and partially paralytic. When I met him I was in a frivolous mood, and I disliked him so much that I resolved to imitate him. If I had been a draughtsman I would have drawn a caricature. I was only an actor, I could only act a caricature. I made myself up into what was meant for a wild exaggeration of the old Professor’s dirty old self. When I went into the room full of his supporters I expected to be received with a roar of laughter, or (if they were too far gone) with a roar of indignation at the insult. I cannot describe the surprise I felt when my entrance was received with a respectful silence, followed (when I had first opened my lips) with a murmur of admiration. The curse of the perfect artist had fallen upon me. I had been too subtle, I had been too true. They thought I really was the great Nihilist Professor. …'” (cited: The Project Gutenberg Ebook of The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K, Chesterton)

May you be safe.

tiny seeds of intention

Stay at Home Order … day 7 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

2020

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.

Some met their shadows.

And the people began think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and at the people joined together once again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed. ~Kitty O’Meara.

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

Towards the end of a meditative walk around the park, I paused at the edge of a catchment pond. The morning sun brought clarity to the stilled water, sharp contrasting lights and shadows painted the reflection of three young, barren trees — a blue cloudless sky. The stillness was interrupted by silent surface ripples that created zigzagged branches upon the shimmering surface. Then…a deep low rumble of an approaching train with its horn bursting with pleas for all in its path to pause joined by the honking of geese. I waited with breath abated, “would their flight path be reflected on the water.” Yes! An amazing composition! Three small trees and three geese in flight reflected on an image of space and time.

Suddenly it all became fragments of canvas torn apart, “I should have brought my camera!” Forgetting that this morning walk was undertaken with the intention to simply return to the present – a quick glance at the watch, “I’ll be back tomorrow…8 a.m.!”

A beautiful moment. A silent exchange. A greeting from mother nature’s paintbrush to a quieting presence — disconnected by: regret about an earlier decision, craving for what had been, and a temporary ignorance of impermanence.

I now find myself contemplating how my thoughts/words thrown into this series of unsettling moments have the potential to quiet reflecting states of mind, feelings, actions or to create a turmoil of inner states that create distorted waves of mind, thoughts, and behavior.

Words, like stones, thrown into a pond have the potential to bring about gentle ripples or explosive columns of water. Is there a fear of what lies hidden…or is there a challenge to that hidden in the shadows to emerge so that I can see this monster? Do the stones thrown at this monster have a purpose…to blame, judge, distract from a growing sense of uncertainty or a calling out to be saved…a silent belief/wish of unity, a coming together of collective skills, a global sharing of words that comfort and heal?

I ponder how in my powerlessness, I am able to connect with self/others with an initial contact as I did with the pond or reflect first with a simple question, “will these words/actions that sit at the edge of expression ease disruption or increase explosive states of being?

The culminating power within tiny seeds of intention…

the stories we tell…ourselves

Stay at Home Order … day 6 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

The sound of water

is my companion

in this lonely hut

in lulls between

the storms on the peak

~Saigyō (cited: Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

John F Simon’s Drawing your own Path:

“We all confabulate. When tragedy strikes, we want narratives to explain why it happened. When scientist try to put together conflicting data, they theorize. I attempt to reconcile disparate facts by concocting plausible scenarios–making up stories about drawings for my art collectors because, after all, what art patron doesn’t like to know the real story behind an artwork.

“If my mind seems to always make up stories what do those stories say about who I am and how I see the world? Does consciously shifting my view change how I describe myself? How responsible am I for the content and direction of my story? What if I am not telling a story but a story is telling me? If I am open to listening, are there changes to be learned from the images?”

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

Nourishing Positive States of Mind

Invest some time in recognizing, embracing, and nourishing positive states of mind.

Thus far, my list includes: gratitude, loving-kindness, inclusiveness, compassion, mindfulness, tranquility, equanimity, humility.

Identify, contemplate, and set out an intention to practice 1-3 positive mind states throughout the day.

This morning I silently expressed gratitude for continued safe water, electricity, internet, mail delivery, trash pick up, and traffic lights and experienced an easing of resentment.

I have found that inclusiveness opens doors of supportive unity with others as well as silences isolation.

What are your positive states of mind and how can an intention to practice them help you through this unsettling time?

Please be safe.

we are solitary

Stay at Home Order … day 4 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

photo assignment: same lens (35mm) camera wide open (f/1.8) … 25th day

He never came —

the wind too tells

how the night has worn away,

while mournfully the cries of wild geese

approach and pass on ~Saigō (cited: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

“And to speak of solitude again, it becomes always clearer that this is at bottom not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary. We may delude ourselves and act although this were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are so, yes, even to begin by assuming it. … A person removed from his own room, almost without preparation and transition, and set upon the height of a great mountain range, would feel something of the sort: an unparalleled insecurity, and abandonment to something inexpressible would almost annihilate him. He would think himself falling or hurled out into space, or exploded into a thousand pieces… So for him who becomes solitary all distances, all measures of change; of these changes many take place suddenly, and then, as with the man on the mountaintop, extraordinary imaginings and singular sensations arise that seem to grow out beyond all bearing. …” (cited Rainer Maria Rilke, Trans: M D Herter Norton, Letters to a Young Poet)

the world is changed

Stay at Home Order … day 3 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

The world is changed.

I feel it in the water.

I feel it in the earth.

I smell it in the air.

Much that once was … is lost

For none now live who remember it.

I begin with …

and then … things that should have been remembered, were lost

Lord of the Ring

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/320s 35mm 200 ISO

“In this world, the passage of time brings increasing order. Order is the law of nature, the universal trend, the cosmic direction. If time is an arrow, the arrow points toward order. The future is pattern, organization, union, intensification; the past, randomness, confusion, disintegration, dissipation.

“Philosophers have argued that without a trend toward order, time would lack meaning. The future would be indistinguishable from the past. Sequences of events would be just so many random scenes from a thousand novels. History would be indistinct, like the mist slowly gathered by treetops in evening.

” In such a world, people with untidy houses lie in their beds and wait for the forces of nature to jostle the dust from their windowsills and straighten the shoes in their closets. … Gardens need never be pruned, weeds never uprooted. Desks become neat by the end of the day. Clothes on the floor in the evening lie on chairs in the morning. Missing socks reappear.

“If one visits a city in the spring, one sees another wondrous sight. For in springtime the populace become sick of the order in their lives. In spring, people furiously lay waste to their houses. They sweep in dirt, smash chairs, break windows. On Aarbergergasse, or any residential avenue in spring, one hears the sounds of broken glass, shouting, howling, laughter. In spring, people meet at unarranged times, burn their appointment books, throw away their watches, drink through the night. This hysterical abandon continues until summer, when people begin their senses and return to work.” (~Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams. pp. 51-52)

Since we’ve got some time on our hands…let’s wander back to 1986 and listen to the Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today”

a tangled web…

Seclusion Retreat … 14th day

Mud splattered window

Pollen-laden window screen

Riot of crows’ caw

Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive

~Walter Scott, Marmion

Nikon D750 … f/1.8 1/320s 35mm 200 ISO

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

~Abraham Lincoln

“… to abstain from false speech is found in the position that people connect with one another within an atmosphere of mutual trust, where each draws upon the belief that the other will speak the truth.  It is suggested therefore that families and societies will fall into chaos as one untruth shatters trust, as it is the nature of lies to proliferate through attempts to weave a harmonious tapestry of reality.

“When I reflect upon those times in which I experience an intense urge to say other than what I believe is true, I know it is fed by the anxiety intrinsic to uncertainty, and inherent with the aloneness of expulsion. At other times, the drive seems to come from a sense of nothingness that seeks validation through inclusion with others or continuity within mangled and haphazard memories. It feels as though it is an act that preserves or ensures a sense of control, power, or protection.

“What this force blinds me to is the powerlessness that coincides with the telling of an untruth, as well as the emotional separation that overlaps the fear of discovery.  It also creates the need for another story to support the one prior.  Therefore, the beliefs that compel me to lie are but a layer of lies within a lie. …” (cited: B C Koeford, A Meditative Journey with Saldage.)

Oh hell…let’s just get up and shake out those negative toxins with Fleetwood Mac – “Little Lies” from the 1987 album “Tango In The Night”. The new Fleetwood Mac collection ’50 Years – Don’t Stop

variations on a theme

seclusion retreat … 10th day

The loneliness

of my ramshackle

grass hut,

where no one but the wind

comes to call (Saigyō Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1,2000s 38mm 200 ISO

“One can live without coffee and without cigarettes, Liesl said rebelliously, but not without nature, that’s impossible, no one should be allowed to deprive you of that. I said, ‘Think of it as if we’d got to spend a prison sentence here, for a few years perhaps, and learn to look at the couple of trees over there across the road as if they were a forest. …” (Etty Hillesum, Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943. pg. 127)

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1,2000s 38mm 200 ISO

“… Were it possible for us to see further than our own knowledges reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidences than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown, our feelings grow more mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdrawn, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent. …” (Rainer Maria Rilke Trans: M D Herter Norton, Letters to a Young Poet. pg.40

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1,2000s 38mm 200 ISO

cee's b&w photo challenge: fences and gates

spring peace–
a mountain monk peeks
through a fence

~Issa (cited: www.haikuguy.com)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

“Life may be brimming over with experiences, but somewhere, deep inside, all of us carry a vast and fruitful loneliness wherever we go. And sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.”

~ Etty Hilleson, Trans: A Pomerans, In Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum. pg. 78

30 day assignment: same lens…camera wide open (3)

winterwalk

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1/800s 35mm 200 ISO

“FRIDAY MORNING, 9 O’CLOCK. People complain about how dark it is in the mornings. But this is often the best time of my day, when the dawn peers grey and silent into my pale windows. Then my bright little table lamp becomes a blazing spotlight and floods over the big black shadow of my desk. … This morning I am wonderfully peaceful. Just like a storm that spent itself. I have noticed that this always happens following days of intense inner striving after clarity, birth pangs with sentences and thoughts that refuse to be born and make tremendous demands on you. Then suddenly it drops away, all of it, and a benevolent tiredness enters the brain, then everything feels calm again …”

cited: Trans: Arno Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, pg 69.

Wet’suwet’en’s resistance

As the Government refuses to move an inch continuing the resistance is critical! 

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Nikon D750 f/4.5 1/2000s 85mm 800 ISO

“The BC and Federal Governments have abruptly stepped away from talks that were scheduled for this week as the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs justly stated they would not ask other Nations to stand down as a precondition to having Nation to Nation talks. 

“Powerful actions and a widespread will to struggle against injustice have proliferated in response to the raid on Tyendinaga as anger grows at the Government’s use of force and steadfast refusal to negotiate in good faith. 

“The Government’s demand that blockades end for talks to begin illustrate how powerful this movement is and how afraid they are of widespread and sustained Indigenous resistance. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs have asked for people to continue to act in support of their demands.   

“… people have risen up in defiance of colonial injunctions and set up new rail and road blockades across the country: Over 500 people shut down rail traffic in Toronto, The Port of Vancouver was shut down for over 24 hours, Kahnawake Mohawks reinforced their barricades in response to an injunction, Indigenous youth retook the BC Legislature vowing to stay until Nation to Nation talks occur, and new rail blockades went up in Chase, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Hamilton, Gitxsan territory, Lennoxville among many other incredible actions. 

“As police begin to act more aggressively towards new blockades many people have made tactical temporary retreats avoiding arrests and setting themselves up to continue to struggle in a sustained fashion.” 

cited: facebook