I wait impatiently for the coolness of autumn to find us way down here along the Gulf Coast. It seems to be delayed, as late September is feeling too much like August. The Full Harvest Moon will light up the night on the 29th and I know I will stand in the field where my garden is and wait to see it rise just over the trees and once again, be in awe. This is a ritual that began in my youth; there is something about the moon rising and the sun setting that puts me in a special place; it is a miracle I can easily enjoy and count on.
I think I may be the only person on the planet that would have rather no one land on the moon. I loved the mystery, the romance, the way my imagination could roam on that far away sphere when I was a child. I suppose children don’t bother looking for the “man in the moon” anymore since there was a “man on the moon”. Shame on me, I suppose…
Speaking of miracles, I have had my life enriched this past week end by people I have never even seen and may never meet. It was a spiritual journey, one without the interruption and intrusion of ego – the best kind of experience. The experience was pure, linked to my past, and generated a peaceful feeling that ripples and finds its way into my everyday life, the same feeling I get when I paint or write – just a spiritual connection that fills you up.
I think of the word serendipity, a fun word that I love, “making discoveries by accident”, and think this would be a fitting way to describe the week end that just past, the one I write of – it was a magical accident. Sorry to be so vague but the details shouldn’t matter; the point is that being in spirit is where you find your truth and consequent happiness. The material things your ego strives for keeps you on the wobbly surface of life and can never give you pure joy – it is as temporary and fleeting as the stuff you buy with it.
Anyway, I hope you look more towards those places in your life that deal with essence and worry less about those places that deal with acquisitions.
And I hope Fall will soon arrive in South Louisiana!
It’s finally Saturday morning and the rain is here. There is something happening that I think has never happened in the history of this nearly 30 year old house; I am alone on a Saturday morning. It is a new sensation for me. I am in this “place” of semi solitude that I have not experienced in quite some time. I am here with just my thoughts and they are somewhat soothing. These moments are the best moments because they are not moments of display – they are moments of reflection and a look inward instead of outward. The stuff on the outside, “ego”, is what distracts and causes apprehension and stress, the stuff on the inside, “spirit”, soothes.
Anyway, I choose to write with these few minutes of solitude but before I sat down to type this, I walked around in the quietness of my house and each room became a prop for some scene that had occurred and it was wonderful and difficult all at once – those memories, those moments, this stage that was, and still is, my life. These walls are external things but they prompt the memories and make it easier for me to recall. I walked past my studio and realized this tiny room, the smallest of all, has had the most impact – it was the playroom for the boys, filled with Legos and lunch and neighborhood friends, filled with a magical childhood and it was Elizabeth’s Barney room – he came on twice a day and twice she would watch and dance and sing. It is where she colored and played Candy land and it is where I rocked her to sleep. Now it is where I go to paint – there is so much soul there for me, those memories those pieces of life that linger there – they fill me up.
But I also know that this prop, this house, may one day not be here and I address that and I hope I can draw from within exclusively. It is these moments, these moments of solitude where you develop those strengths, those ways to be alone and to internalize, those places of spirit where ego is forbidden – this is where I become strong – ego wears us down, tears us up – it brings us up and then slams us down – spirit just soothes and heals. I am posting a grainy iPhone picture of my “studio” – it is a bit of a tumbled mess but it’s colorful and alive – some of the paintings are for Elizabeth – coloring and creating never stopped for her. I struggle with posting, I don’t want to exhibit “ego” – I just wanted to give you a visual – I love stories with pictures. I figured a room in this kind of disarray can’t possibly be thought of as egotistical – embarrassing perhaps – LOL.
Anyway, just a rainy morning post to say to you that I hope you find those places where you are just you – in spirit and away from the distractions of an ego driven society. It is becoming more and more challenging but, I think, it is essential to be “there”.
You know it takes a lot of energy to feed ego. You have to work really hard to keep up with its demands, and the demands are insatiable – once you start, it’s hard to stop. I have written about the power of ego before and I am constantly aware of its effort to seep into our lives, I view it as a negative force, as eroding as running water and consuming as a drug – it’s there always trying to be noticed. So many decisions have been based on it, decisions that, of course, end up badly. I have openly admitted to being its victim in my late 30s – I was somewhere I should have never been, somewhere strange to me. It was a place of consumption, a place that was fueled by ego. I suppose we all have pockets in life we are not happy with, that was mine. Perhaps it was some sort of mid-life crisis bunk or just the environment I was in at the time whatever it was, I lost sight of my real self, the self that loved art and gardens and genuine people who did the things they did because of passion not pressure and I was influenced by people like Miss Sue and my mother and held character and nature in reverence, not cars and consumption – I was never supposed to be in that world. Anyway, now that I am back where I should be, I struggle at the thought of where I was. But, as I always believe, things all happen for a reason and I needed to go there I suppose just so I could fully understand how people get sucked in and so I can appreciate where I am now.
It is so wonderful here, here where you value the natural world and people who live lives that are honest and real. I think that losing my mother has had a lot to do with placing me at this vantage point – I have her life to see the near beginning and then the end and in seeing that I reshuffle what I see to be important – and nothing, not one thing has anything to do with the materialism and superficial existence of ego. That all goes away and what is left is character.
Ok, that was much to do about nothing on this spring morning. I tend to rant at times and I suppose that was the manifestation of some annoyance I encountered – take from it what you like. I am just celebratory about the freedom I have when I keep ego at bay – the joy I feel when I am a spiritual being – the pressures of this world melt away when I am in spirit. I just wanted to share. Maybe something I said can help put things in perspective and you can find a way to dismiss some negative force that is tapping at your door and instead, find your real self, the one with depth and purpose.
To end on a more pleasant note, the garden is growing, the bees are buzzing, and the hens are laying – life is good.
just b u
For a brief period of time today, I felt true peace. It was late in the afternoon just before evening. I had had a good day at work and everyone in my family was good. I sat in the front yard tending a fire and drinking coffee. The woods were quiet except for the scurry of a squirrel and the falling of a few late autumn leaves. I put myself in a place of contentedness, a contentedness that comes from only wanting the simplest of things and in return, I felt at peace. I have written about this place before, this place that has no regard for matters of this world – stuff and competition – when you don’t place value on those things, you set yourself free and you are open to the peacefulness of your spirit – you let go of ego. I love this place. Anyway, I found happiness today drinking coffee and tending a fire on a December day.
Staying focused on a goal is what, I think, sets someone apart – it is what lifts you to a higher place. It seems easy enough to have goals, to speak of them, and to actually do many things towards accomplishing them. The difficult part is “sticking to it”. That’s where most of us fall short. Every now and then someone emerges that has stayed with their goal for the long run and have achieved it. “Stick to – edness.” It seems we become preoccupied with thoughts of what others think – thoughts driven by ego and ego distracts; it is the voice asking, who doesn’t like this or me, who’s doing more or has more – destructive and superficial thoughts – who cares? Anyway,”stick to – edness”, that’s what has to happen to achieve goals – perseverance, determination, willpower, and a belief in yourself and your purpose – leave ego at the door. I am not really sure why I just wrote what I did – it just sort of came out. I was reading The Artists’ Way right before bed last night and I suppose some of what it said crept into my subconscious and it manifested itself with these words. I believe that art, true art, is spiritual and because of this belief, I “listen” and I stick to it.
Graphic design student Jonathan Mak Long
“Having an exciting destination is like setting a needle in your compass. From then on, the compass knows only one point – its ideal. And it will faithfully guide you there through the darkest nights and fiercest storms.”