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Tears for America


Valarie Kaur of the Revolutionary Love Project talks for 7 and a half minutes about the rage and indignation we feel in the face of the domestic terrorism attack on the Capitol on Wednesday January 6th, 2021. She tells us how to channel the rage and indignation and powerlessness we feel. And she ends with a short Sikh prayer song.


Beings of Light


December is my favorite time of year.  In this month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in a fullness shown by so many, in so many ways.  As the days grow shorter, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls.  In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and the beauty is shared by all.  For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa.  Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.  

A neighbor friend of mine who lives down the road where we used to live, a donkey in his stable, reminds me of the story of another manger 2000 years ago.  And seeing him snug in his stable with snow on the ground used to give me the illusion that all is right in the world.  But all is not well.  Not now, not then. Millions know no peace in any season. A world-wide pandemic rages. Politics that divide us runs rampant.

This year some have no food, no home. Others fret over how to pay bills. Yet even living in darkest of times we can see the light of the human spirit and celebrate the season of light in personal ways.  For the human spirit is indomitable.

In December’s darkness we light lights.  For we are beings of light.  A light glows within each one of us.  And, at the most basic level, we are beings of light because we are made from stardust.  Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us– for we are made from star material.

Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light unites us.

And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as shepherds did two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable like the one down the road where my donkey friend lives.  That night a star (maybe the congruence) lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds, and on these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our trees, if we are blessed enough to have them, let us look inside ourselves and find the glow that may guide us to The Light.


Reaching for the Stars


“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they permanently lift their arms to the Heavens in seeming prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars. 

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and so share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came here,  a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars. 

Reach for the creator–  that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over. 

May we enter this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek Love, in whatever form it takes in our souls.


Leaves Falling


 


Notes from a Very Noisy Mind


Presence.  Stay in present.  Stop projecting into future.  Stop the negative daydreams.  Worse than nightmares.  “What if”, “what if”,”what if” ad infinitum.  Put ice yogurt on grocery list.  Add potatoes.
Is Tom getting a cold?  Flowering plant blooming.  The “spirit” of mother.  Her secret sign.  Our doctor appointment soon.  Afraid to go.  Pandemic fear.  Pandemic fear.  Pandemic fear.  Leak in wall.  Will super come?  He doesn’t respond.  Annoyance.  Will they have to bash the wall in to fix?  Will they have Covid 19 and bring it into our home?  What will happen??  What?  What? What?
Untense your back.  Feel sensation.  Relax body.  Deep breath.  Fear of losing Tom.  Stirrings of a migraine.  Can not stand mind anymore.  Eckhart Tolle said similar thing.  Concentrate on senses.  A flower.  The sky.  Can’t see much sky.  Buildings. Screen.  Windows.  Apartment.  Other lives.  Other deaths.  Look back at the flower.  Flower responds to attention.  Eckhart Tolle says flower does not know it is pretty.  Responds to attention.  Have heard this before.  Plants feel sensation.  Plants have responses to people.  Russians researched this.  Be like a plant.  Feel sensations.  Not fears.  Thoughts are the enemy.  Only for planning.  Avoid thought.
Time to meditate.  A few seconds of peace.  Fight sleep. Fight thought.  Just look, don’t fight thoughts. Just observe.  Follow the breath.  Almost over. Peace for a few seconds after noisy thoughts.
Will I ever be present?  I once was.  Long ago.  Medication fought psychosis but blocked presence.  Can I get there again?

Introduction to Daaji


The most humble guru I have yet encountered and his meditations are the most relaxing.  Heartfulness meditations.


The Spirit of Snow


The Spirit of snow

highlights the love of line

the loving grace of trees in winter

bare and spiritual

the horses a gift of color

in otherwise black and white


What the Trees Say


Feather trees whisper a blessed new year to you all!


Christmas Wish


“The Cloud of Unknowing”

 

A beautiful Christmas to you all!

Peace Love Joy


Image

Nearly Gone


20181118_222057


Circle of Life



A Welcome to Fall



Apologies to My Readers, Christine Blasey Ford and Good Men


I am so sorry for my post of self pity of last week about sexual abuse. To those of you who responded in spite of it,  you are very special, giving people.  I rewrote the post, addressing the second half to Christine Blasey Ford.  It has been a very rough time of disappointment upon disappointment… politically,  with friends, and even with my male psychiatrist.  But one person and one person alone HAS been there– as always… my devoted husband. He understood where most men have shockingly not. Some of you who responded to the post last week are men, and I regard you as most special, too.

When Kavanaugh was confirmed yesterday, my husband held me and let me sob the pain out of experiences from long ago.  His care, his love is so pure, I think of it as sacred.  It brings me to God and gratitude. I am profoundly grateful to, and for, him. These are very dark times and it is hard to see God in the current state of the country.  But love surpasseth all.  It is my husband’s birthday tomorrow and I will strive to give back to him, in my own imperfect way, all he has given and whatever I can add of my own.

Meantime, apologies.  I am sorry my gut spoke out.  And to those of you who wrote in despite that, a most profound thank you.


Christine Blasey Ford You are Still a Hero


Yes, I am Bipolar. But as well I was sexually abused as a child from age 3 to age 6 or 7, and, at that time as well, emotionally abused. The sexual abuse was incest with my “upstanding and outstanding” grandfather. I adored him.  I idolized him.  Everyone in my family did.  No one knew my secret.   Along with everyone else I worshipped him all my life.  I listened to Grandma say, after Grandpa died, how he had always been faithful to her.  I bit my tongue because he had been unfaithful to her with me.  Grandpa wanted me to tell his story.   Not THIS story.  A story about all the good things he did in his life.  He worked as a lawyer for a VA hospital and helped many veterans.  I have no doubt that he did.  He carved the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial when he first came over from Sicily.  He was written about in a psychology textbook as an example of motivation.

Grandpa didn’t rape me but he did sexual things with me.  Things I knew were wrong.  Things that damaged me for life.  I tried to tell my grandmother but she didn’t understand what a child was talking about, asking her if she was jealous.  She laughed.  I realized to tell her would hurt her.  I never told anyone until later, when a woman in a gay bar told me she was abused.  Then I realized I had blocked it out of my memory for years.  All my life I lived as a doormat, letting everyone hurt me and walk all over me and I said nothing.  Just like with Grandpa.

With Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming forward I am struggling, like many women abused in all sorts of ways, with an anger coming out that I never felt I had.  I loved Grandpa very much.  I thought that love could forgive what he did. That is until now.  Until I heard Christine Blasey Ford speak. Now I am furious. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband who worked as a therapist. with mentally ill medicaid clients.   He totally supports me.  I should be happy with that.  I am. But I am struggling with people who do not understand.   And the profound injustice of Ford’s case.

As things progress, anger is morphing into despair and the deepest disappointment with our country.  My doctor, a male psychiatrist,  was caring, went overtime with our recent session and said my anger was justifiable.  But he tried to make excuses for my grandfather.  This was, and is, devastating to me.  As are glib, dismissive statements, like “we have all been abused.”  I am sick at heart and in my gut.  I can’t eat.  I can’t sleep.  I would venture to say that these two weeks have been traumatic for all sexual crime survivors, and, as I learned from a younger friend, for survivors of emotional abuse as well.  It has taught me a lot.  It has taught me to treasure my husband even more.  I always did,  but now it is profoundly visceral and flows through every vein in my body.  My husband is the only one who “gets” the whole story.

I hope Christine Blasey Ford’s husband can help her.  I feel SO badly for her. She was a hero and look at what it got her.  A sham investigation.  A probable Kavanaugh confirmation.  A Trump parody of her answers, perhaps his most perverse remarks ever.  That same friend of mine, who suffered emotional abuse, tells me there is a silver lining to this.  That women will use their power and mobilize.  That young people will see the horror of mistreatment of an innocent victim of a sexual predator, a sexual predator like our president.  Not being the most optimistic of people, I only hope she is right.

And THANK YOU Christine Blasey Ford!   Take pride in your moving bravery.  You have helped countless women.  You are a hero for all of us.  My heart goes out to you.


The Magic of Water


(Continuation of exhibit from previous post.)

DSCF9746 copy

“Jupiter”

“Rose Hills, Blue Trees”

DSCF9744 copy

“Summer Heat”

 

 “Water in its natural state shows us how it wants to flow, and we must obey its wishes.”

–Viktor Schauberger

 Water is the medium.  Water is my brush.  Using watercolors on wet paper, I allow the water’s capillary action to “suggest” an image from the natural world and then work with it, using a variety of methods. I have sought to capture scenes from nature with dazzling, bleeding color. The paintings are an exercise in “letting go” and allowing the creative energies to flow, after preparing the mind through meditation.

As abstractions, the paintings are personal visions—the impressions of light and color and thus do not always appear as they exist in the natural world.  However, since landscapes  are my passion, the results most often appear within the realm of that genre.

Finally these paintings, as renditions of nature, are reflections of the magnificence of the shimmering wilderness and thus, in some small measure, are my own awestruck reflections on the majesty of creation.


The Magic of Water


(Scroll down to see some paintings from this exhibit.)

 “Water in its natural state shows us how it wants to flow, and we must obey its wishes.”

–Viktor Schauberger

 Water is the medium.  Water is my brush.  Using watercolors on wet paper, I allow the water’s capillary action to “suggest” an image from the natural world and then work with it, using a variety of methods. I have sought to capture scenes from nature with dazzling, bleeding color. The paintings are an exercise in “letting go” and allowing the creative energies to flow, after preparing the mind through meditation.

As abstractions, the paintings are personal visions—the impressions of light and color and thus do not always appear as they exist in the natural world.  However, since landscapes  are my passion, the results most often appear within the realm of that genre.

Finally these paintings, as renditions of nature, are reflections of the magnificence of the shimmering wilderness and thus, in some small measure, are my own awestruck reflections on the majesty of creation.

 

“Acid Rain”

” Royal Blue Trees”

DSCF9739 copy

“Night Forms”


Spirit in Summer


Summer spirit

whispers to

the lowly weeds

dances round

the graceful trees

and sends peace

to pacify

an observant cow

 

 


Image

Dark Summer Mood



Through the Blur of Maya


“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Bible verse from the King James version of the Bible, 1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12

 

And the guru who is my eyes right now is Kamlesh Patel, known as “Daaji,” and his disciple, Joshua Pollock in their book “The Heartfulness Way.”  See below.  I have read it twice and will reread it again.  It is the No. 1 Bestseller in India right now and it is chock full of insights and directions to follow the path of “Heartfulness.”  It is the path of love and the heart.  The path of Raja Yoga.  How could I resist?  Daaji does not charge for his teaching.  He has a network of trainers available on the Internet.   The key to Raja Yoga is the transmission you receive from the guru, from the trainers.  The path of Heartfulness is leading me to peace.  And as I am in the midst of withdrawing from a major tranquilizer STILL (a long process that will continue for months), peace is MAJOR.  I am not there yet but I see light at the end of the tunnel of Maya.  “I see now through a glass darkly…”


Urban Landscape


There’s been no photography nor poetry for months.  Today in Harlem on the way home from a beautiful museum these cityscapes caught my eye.  It is a beginning.  Maybe.

 


Little Don Quixotes


I am in the middle of withdrawing from a major tranquilizer– a long drawn out and dismal process so there is no creativity and no posts and no reading your posts.  However, I had to post this article that appeared today in the New York Times.  Please be sure to scroll down to the video!!  It is about the children who have been torn from their families because they want refuge in the United States.  It is about the plight of HIspanic children and how they now feel in the United States as they sing the song they wrote…


The Breath of Love


 

Until I can connect with my Muse again and develop a New York City aesthetic that connects with Spirit I rely on revising old writing and photographs…

I awaken to moonlight– it is at that particular slant that lights up the front yard at 3 AM.  What really has awakened me is my husband’s breathing.  It is labored like he has just run up a flight of stairs.  At times I awaken because I do not hear his breath and some alarm goes off in my head to check him.  And if I can not hear him breathing I put my hand lightly on his chest so as not to wake him to see if I can feel the his heart beating.  Feeling it pulsing in my hand I am reassured once more.  I am not alone in this.  My sister-in-law confides in me that she wakes up at night to listen to my brother to see if he is still breathing.  My first-grade friend says much the same.  She does a breathing check on her husband.  Our husbands are relatively well.  They have diabetes, heavy smoking and drinking, a delicate frame among them, but they are not on death’s door so far as we know.  And yet we are plagued by morbid fears.

In the wee hours of morning fears loom large.  My husband’s heartbeat, a mere flutter, seems so delicate.  I am reassured that it is beating just as I am reassured that he is breathing.  But the breath itself is so fragile.  It scares me awe-fully– the fragility of the breath, the fine line between breathing and cessation of breath.

I prowl the house.  Through the skylight the stars beam brightly along with a shining half moon.  A clear day tomorrow.  But it is already tomorrow.  It is so still my ears hum.  My husband, who knows so many interesting things, tells me the humming I hear is the sound of the nervous system.  Our bodies hold such mystery.

I look out the window, now hearing my neighbor’s dogs barking quietly.  I look for coyote thinking that is what they are barking at, but see nothing.  The moonlit grass on the lawn is whitish silver, looking almost as if it had snowed, and the water in the marsh sparkles in the moonlight.  The deep woods behind are pitch dark, the home of many a creature. Nothing stirs.  It is too early for the birds.  The house across the way is always dark; it is up for sale.  And in the other direction, at this hour, no lights shine in the driveway of the house down the road.

I am reminded of a line from a poem by Tagore “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”  I am at my most faithless at 3 AM.

Along with the supreme beauty of Tagore’s thoughts, a frivolous line from an old song runs through my head: “There ought to be a moonlight savings time…” and the line continues so there would be more time for loving.  But moonlight in the middle of the night also brings with it intense dreads.

Now chilled I finally go back to bed. An owl hoots in the distance– a reassuring sound.  My husband is breathing freely now.  His body is warm in the bed and I am filled with love for him as he lays in a heap, so trustingly in the arms of sleep.  Our marriage a wonder.  Unexpected.  An endless source of ever increasing love brimming not only with joy but also the dread of loss.  Perhaps all wives check their husbands for breathing.  Perhaps there is an army of women out there prowling the wee hours of the night, at times by moonlight, checking on their husbands, their children, their animals to see that they all have that breath of life flowing.

“There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.”  Rumi said that.  And it is breath of love that I must master.

 

 


Last Snows/Millbrook/New York City


 


We are not the doers…


Didi's Art Design

we-are-not-the-doers

The shadow thinks:
It is moving
But it is the light
That makes it moving…

DidiArtist, 20.12.2016

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