Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coming Clean

We often feel like we look like this, no?
Find ourselves in quite a mess.  How did I get here?  Where did this mess come from?
And yet, it seems like much of the time there seems to be only two choices: do something to distract us from the mud and pretend it isn’t there, or take a the cold hose to our soiled bodies, enduring the temporary discomfort to rid ourselves of the mess.
What if we took a moment to play a little?
Roll around a bit in that mess.
Ask it what it wants to show us.
What if we let the mud do its work of clearing away the old to reveal the newer fresher cleaner parts ourselves?
What if in the end we thanked that damned mess for our newfound higher perch.
A mud bath.
Cleansing dirt.
Could this be what Tolle meant when he said
"…suffering has a noble purpose. The evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.”

So that perhaps we can, lighter now from our shed skin, fly closer to that which we strive to be
After all,
“Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”  -James Allen
Now those are cleansing words.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shadow Play

Do shadows make us all the more beautiful?


Do they play with the light, creating dramatic angles, perspectives unseeable in brightness?


One’s fear of other’s opinions, does this illuminate his true love of other human beings, his desire to be of service to others?


Another’s fear of failure, does this reveal to us his desire to do his best in this life he’s been given, contribute all his talents came here to give?  To fulfill his destiny?

Our fears and anxieties expose us, make us vulnerableIMG_1800a

In doing so they allow the light to reveal such a raw beauty


It stops one in their tracks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Azure Dreams

I have read what defines a photographer is not a fine camera or lighting or angles, although all these things contribute.

The following effects were created on picnik.com


It is the photographer's ability to see and capture beauty as the world whirls maniacally around him.


It is the ability to be overtaken by a tiny moment, a need to preserve this piece of life, magnify and embolden it so that others too may delight in it's ordinary brilliance .


Because with each observation of our everyday lives as beautiful, the capacity to perceive beauty strengthens.

This is why I believe anyone can see with an artist's eye.


You just begin where another cleared his trail, leaving photos in his wake for us to follow. Walking that path of crystallized time, eventually one will stop suddenly as they gaze out upon the sweeping wilderness of Life.


It calls them with it's untamed beauty, calls them to unearth it's precious secrets.

These precious secrets become another’s breadcrumb trail to follow to a place where time stops and the mind’s chatter fades allowing the heart to finally say its piece.


Life often moves past me in it's ordinary way,
plodding along with unremarkable footsteps. Occasionally, though, colors take on new shades, faces become an infinitude of expression,


Life's steps become lighter and lighter until it no longer walks but whirls around me, a dervish mad with love overtaking me in her fervent dance


Friday, August 19, 2011

Digging Deeper

It is interesting to me that the high desert of northern New Mexico seems to evoke an artistic and creative energy from its residents.  Every town I have been to seems to create in all areas of life: their parks, museums, clothing, galleries, restaurants, children’s activities, homes . 


Trading post in Cerrillos, NM

Is it the rainbow sunsets made possible by the dry desert air?  The honing of senses that must come from looking deeper for beauty within the subtle greys and browns of a desert landscape?  Is it the clarity that comes looking across the land and breathing clear air  dusted with the bittersweet scents of herbaceous plants?


Cross on mountain outside Cerrillos, NM

And why does this land call to me? 

I have thought recently of what I want for the educational experience of my children and of myself.  I have heard education defined as the act of drawing forth what is already in a person.  I like this definition because I find it to parallel my experiences of learning.  It often feels as if the information is already there, waiting for me to recognize it in my own beautiful way.  The time I learn most and best, losing track of time, is when I am doing something new and fresh.  And so I desire a form of learning which incorporates many new experiences, experiences which are alive and brimming with the energy of that which I desire to learn.


Noelle in the lap of Lioness sculpture

So what  do I believe is being brought forth during these experiences?  It seems there are deeper truths abiding in everything.  It is our human experiences in this world which lead us to these truths.  The truths we discover seem to be different for each person depending on what is most relevant to their life at that moment.  And so for me, experiencing a vast array of life becomes the crux of everything, it is how I grow and learn.  This type of lifestyle has the possibility of becoming one exciting experience after another without a whole lot of connection or deeper revelation  made.  It is the looking for the deeper meaning behind these experiences, asking what this moment is trying to reveal, this is what I want to experience with my children.


The experience of growing a garden is not just about how the earth makes life, although this is fascinating in and of itself.  But the deeper, more relevant meaning for me is how consistent and careful care can make something beautiful.  Playing sports is fun and exciting, but the deeper truth for me lies in the unity that comes from working together toward a common goal.  The unity a community experiences when they focus on this goal as well.  The observation of  what the physical body can do and the perfection with which it is made was enough to inspire Da Vinci for a lifetime.


Sterling in Albuquerque Children’s Fantasy Garden

There are many of these truths to be unearthed.  Nature provides a bounty.  Today though, I am asking myself what is the deeper truth in art that draws me to the communities which embody it?


Noelle builing a fairy house       Noelle making Andean Dance Cape

I believe for me it is the witnessing of the creative spirit, the ability and desire to bring beauty to this world as a human.  Could this be part of  our overall collective destiny?  To make whatever we find more beautiful?  When I was young I would wonder whether the world was worse off for the existence of the human species.  But when I look upon beauty created by human hands, there is painted for me a different picture, a different story.  The artist says to me with every inspired creation


Sterling putting on his first puppet show

“Here, here is what we are made for.  Look at how beautiful life is.  Look how I can bring my own beauty to enrich it even further.”

And as I look longer, I hear these whispered words

“What beautiful spirit, do you want to bring forth?”


Friday, August 12, 2011

Lucky Penny

I happened across a bit of serendipity yesterday.  A couple of days ago we went to the zoo.  There was a souvenir penny machine there.  Noelle thought the crank was way awesome, so we made a penny.  In the gift shop there was a souvenir penny collecting book.  Well, being the collection making coin hunting man her father is I thought this is right up our alley. 


On the back was imprinted a website, pennycollector.com.  It is a database of all the souvenir penny machines in the world.  Oh man.  It’s on. 

There are three in Santa Fe.  Two are in historic chapels, one being the oldest church in the United States.  I was hesitant about bringing Noelle, but you have to go where the penny collecting machine takes you.  So Stephen dropped her and I off at the first chapel, the Loretta Chapel.  Tucked into a shadowed nook by the entrance was a tree draped in a rainbow of rosarys.  I was a bit in awe of its beauty.  Quietly blowing in the wind hung testaments of people’s prayers offered humbly and reverently in front of this little adobe chapel.  I think Noelle was as taken by it as I was. 


We went into the chapel next, and Noelle slid quietly into a pew and looked around the church.  I forgot how breathtaking the art and majesty are in these old cathedrals.  It is enough to render even a three year old speechless. 

Behind us stood the miraculous spiral staircase.  This is what draws a quarter million visitors a year to this church.  It is not held up by any supports and architects and engineers marvel at its perfection.  The story is that the nuns who moved into the chapel could not use the ladders to the choir loft, so they prayed to St. Joseph for someone who could build them a staircase.  A man showed up at their door 9 days later and built this architectural marvel, and disappeared as quickly as he came.  There are three mysteries associated with the staircase: no one knows who built it, no one knows exactly how it is done, and no one knows where the non native wood came from. 


After sitting longer than I was expecting to be able, we went to the gift shop where the penny making machine was said to hide out.  Noelle loves gift shops.  She is really careful to respect all the delicate pieces in them.  I forget sometimes how grown up she has become.  I usually have to cater our activities to what Sterling can handle, and so this was a wonderful and refreshing surprise to me to see how much she enjoyed such a quiet and reverent experience. 

We looked at all the angels and statues.  She is especially taken by Mary.  She wanted a saint’s card of her picture and a rosary, specifically a red rosary.  I told her Grandpa’s birthday is coming and he really likes all these beautiful things because he goes to a church like this one where he lives.  She was especially excited to find some things she thought he might like Smile

On our way out we hung a rosary in memory of my father on the beautiful tree.


We walked a block down to the San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the country.


  On the way Noelle stopped to marvel at glass sculptures, pottery fountains and hats, needing only an occasional reminder to just look. Visitors from the churches would stop to talk to her about her penny collection, and she would hold five minute conversations with them about all sorts of things. It was just really nice.  I was basically in a state of amazement at her maturity.  When did this happen?  


That night I thanked the souvenir penny machines for what I was able to share with Noelle and for allowing me the chance to see the potential for many other outings together exploring a world of chapels and museums, quiet and contemplative experiences I knew intimately before she was born but I never dreamed I would know again so soon.  I saw a side of this young girl I had only seen glimpses of before: quiet, reverent, in a world of wonder and thought, able to feel the energy of sacred spaces and fall quietly and comfortably into them. 


A lucky penny indeed.