Saturday, February 27, 2010

Disappearing Needs

I am in the midst of a telecourse titled, "Calling in the One."  It is about attracting, rather than finding, love.  I signed up for it because I realized that somewhere along the way I missed the boat. 

I've worked hard to create things in my life, believing that working hard is a pre-requisite for success.  And, I've worked hard to be whatever I thought life wanted from me.  I'm a flexible person so it was never a really big deal to go that way instead of this way.  I'm a generous person so I liked giving people what they wanted.  I'm a caring person so I tried to understand people's needs and find a way to meet them.

Last night, while listening to the Week 5 session, I had two insights:  1.  I'm not as flexible, generous and caring as I thought I was; I've been simply trying to "buy" love.  2.  I've hidden my needs from people (primarily the men in my life) in my attempts to take care of theirs, and thus took away their opportunities to show me their own flexible, generous and caring natures.  By not honoring my own needs and wants, I created exactly what I didn't want and was then confused by the outcome.  The boat I missed was understanding that it is OK to have needs and wants ... and OK to honor them and actually put as much energy into meeting them and loving them as I would if they were someone else's needs and wants.  The boat I missed is knowing that I have to love myself before anyone else can.

One of the things I like about this course is that it asks us to look at our deep beliefs, acknowledge where they came from but then, rather than wallowing in our issues, to simply touch a deeper truth and embody it.  So I don't have to dissect my childhood ... again! ... to find out exactly where my feelings of being unworthy and unlovable come from, I simply have to accept the greater truth that we are all one and all deeply loved and supported.

All my life I've wanted a rescuer, someone who would see through my carefully constructed mask of strength and independence and love the fearful, unworthy, unlovable person in hiding, someone who would see the needs that I've buried and forgotten that I even have.   Last night, they made it perfectly clear:  It is not going to happen!  My only rescuer is myself and until I can love and commit to myself, I'm not ready to be in a committed relationship with someone else.  But, once I have become my authentic self and committed completely to developing my full potential, then I will attract true love into my life.

It reminds me so much of the beautiful writing by Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be?...
As we let our light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others."
 -- Marianne Williamson, "A Return to Love"
About the image:  This is my little first-gallery-showing niche in The Artist's Niche in Nederland, CO.  One step on the journey to being my authentic self and honoring my own wants and needs.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I ain't never lived this day before!

Recently the blog sisters and I participated in a 21-day Spirituality & Practice e-course called "Catalysts for Change." It's been over a month since the course ended but I'm still just getting around to the lessons.  Day 21 was about the importance of imagination and enthusiasm and features a writing by Beatrice Bruteau in Radical Optimism.

She tells a story about a typical Monday morning in an era when there were elevator operators.  Workers returning after the weekend were grumpy and sleepy but the elevator operator was whistling and cheerful.  When asked why he was so cheerful so early on a Monday morning, he replied, "I ain't never lived this day before!"

Could there possibly be a better way to approach each day?  That simple statement says "I'm open to whatever happens today.  I'm enthusiastically here to embrace whatever comes my way.  Today is a gift I've not yet unwrapped ... who knows what it might hold.  It's a new, fresh day that I've never seen before so I'm here to welcome it."  I'm going to take that unknown elevator operator into my heart today.

Today is a new day, a new gift, and here in Colorado the day has dawned sunny and bright.  Later today I will hang the pieces of art that I've been working on for the past months and years.  For the first time, they will hang in a public place.  For the first time I will be an "artist hanging in a gallery."  It truly is a day I ain't never lived before.

About the image:  This digital collage "It's about Time" will be hanging in a gallery in Nederland, Colorado, this afternoon. It is about time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Begin Again

Some time ago, Louise at Recover Your Joy began a powerful blog post with a rule from St. Benedict:
"Always begin again."  I didn't know about this rule when I wrote a poem with the same theme several years ago after an experience with Stewart Cubley at "The Painting Experience." The workshop was a life-changer and the concept of beginning again, regardless of whether something was a success or a failure has stayed with me. 

Every day, every moment is an opportunity to begin again.

Begin Again

by Joyce Wycoff

I stand at an expanse of white paper.
  Fears rise like a rush of ravens cawing
  My inadequacies to an indifferent world.
  “Begin,” I cry above their screechings.

I throw paint — fuchsia, chartreuse, deep purple.
   Hope for a miracle slowly sinks into gloom
   As the Muse rejects my careless offering.
   “Begin again!” she commands.

I plan a lofty scene filled with symbol and sign.
   Color and context weave an eye-pleasing cry
   For approval and recognition that does not come.
   “Begin again,” the Muse repeats.

I wildly cover the space with scribble and daub.
   Then, lost on the page, I stand frozen in fear,
   A hollow husk with no place to hide.
   “Begin again,” she whispers.

I stand — waiting, listening deeply.
   A feeling guides me to a land timeless and unplanned.
   Brush, color and hand create in an unjudged harmony.
   I am awake, alive, vibrating with vision.

Softly the Muse just repeats, “Begin again.”

About the image:  This image earned the title "Begin Again" because it started out as a color doodle and then got cut apart, reassembled, and enhanced ... it literally "began again."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #10

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

10.  I am living in many dimensions at once; the appearance of being trapped in time and space is an illusion:  Today I will experience myself beyond limitations. I will set time aside to be present with myself in silence.  As I breathe I will see my being spreading outward in all directions.  As I settle into my own inner silence, any image that comes to mind will be asked to join my being.

This last day of this series has prompted me to review the previous principles, which prompted the following thought:

#2.  The people in my life reflect aspects of myself.  Friday is the opening day of my first art gallery show and I now find that none of my friends will be able to attend.  I'm feeling disconnected and alone; no one will be there to witness this milestone in my life.  There are really good reasons, of course; everyone is either out of town or lives too far away.  But it is a wake-up call; how does this reflect aspects of myself?  How am I not available to myself?  How am I not witnessing my own life?  Or maybe the question is how am I not being available for my friends?  How am I not witnessing their lives?  Ouch.  I am the rolling stone that rolled away from all my friends and family.

What would it mean to combine that new awareness with the experience of myself being beyond limitations?  If time and space are an illusion, how could I experience this milestone moment surrounded by my friends and family?  That question just shifted the way I feel ... it opened up the feeling of being a creator, it makes me think that maybe I don't have to be trapped in time and space.  I'm starting to think about creating a short video of this event and invite people to come along with me virtually.  Stay tuned.

About the image:  This beautiful illusion is from a Chinese restaurant in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #9

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

9.   The fragmented mind cannot get me to unity, but I have to use it along the way:  What does unity really mean to me?  What experiences of oneness can I look back upon? I will remember that thoughts come and go like leaves in the wind, but the core of consciousness is forever.  My goal is to live from that core.

What does unity really mean to me?  Over the past few months I have taken a deep dive in "new sciences" ... or at least as deep as a non-scientist can go.  One thing that has intrigued me is the search for a "theory of everything" ... one formula that would explain every aspect of this world we are a part of.  Doesn't the very search for one theory that explains everything in and of it's self suggest that the world is a unity, that we are a piece of everything, that there is no "man and Nature" there is only the ONE?  The appearance of the world around me is that there is an inside me and an outside me, that I am separate from all other humans and from everything else that exists outside me.  I am living as if limitation and separation were true.  Chopra suggests living as if unity were true.  That sounds like an experiment ... an experiment of one.

What does it mean to live as if unity were true?  It would mean knowing every moment that I am deeply and irreversibly connected to everyone and everything in the universe.  That I am woven into the universal fabric of love and safety.  That life is right and everything that happens carries meaning and purpose.  It means truly believing the Course in Miracles quote:  Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. 

That statement alone could be the foundation of the experiment.  Of course, the challenge comes in trying to fit Haiti, Darfur, AIDS and so on into the theory.  Chopra states:  Protection from external threats is permanent when there are no externals but only yourself unfolding in two worlds, inner and outer, that completely mesh.  If life is always right then there is meaning and purpose to every event and our challenge is to bring that meaning and purpose to light. 

I think my mind is boggled enough for this morning.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #8

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

8.  If I open myself to the force of evolution, it will carry me where I want to go:  Today is for long-term thinking about myself.  What is my vision of life?  How does that vision apply to me?  Is my vision unfolding without struggle.  Where am I putting up resistance?  I will look at the beliefs that seem to hold me back the most.  Am I depending on others instead of being responsible for my own evolution?  Have I allowed myself to focus on external rewards as a substitute for inner growth?   Is it just me or are these principles getting harder?  In this principle, Chopra asks for a rededication to inner awareness, "knowing that it is the home of the evolutionary impulse that drives the universe."

Today is Day 3 of my "clarity retreat" and I'm still spinning on this new project ... is it part of my inner growth or a focus on external rewards?  Yesterday I got a message to connect with my Guardian Angel and had to think, "What Guardian Angel?"  It set me off on a romp through the thousands of images I have collected to use for collage.  By the end of the day, I had about 50 images that really called to me but no Guardian Angel.  I decided to take photos of all the images so I could use them in digital collages and then went to bed where I did not go to sleep until the wee hours.  But this morning I woke up with the understanding that it wasn't one Guardian Angel, it was many.  I went back through the images and picked 7 and wrote down their qualities and what they had to offer me.  Today I'm going to try to develop more inner awareness by seeing if I can get their help creating clarity around this new project.

This image is The Trail Blazer who is fearless, balanced and strong.  He sees perfectly and clearly everything ahead of him.  He is one with nature and senses the slightest shifts in currents, winds and conditions.  He guides me flawlessly toward my North Star.

Have I told you how much fun I'm having?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tell Me Why?

Just in case you missed this powerful young voice.

New Operating System - Principle #7

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book, and because this is a tough one for me, I'm including the entire paragraph from the book:

7.  The direction of life is from duality to unity:  Today I want to belong. I want to feel safe and at home.  I want to be aware of what it's like simply to be, without defenses or desires.  I will appreciate the flow of life for what it is--my own true self.  I will notice those moments of intimacy with myself, when I feel that "I am" is enough to sustain me forever.  I will lie on the grass looking at the sky, feeling myself at one with nature, expanding until my being fades into the infinite.

I probably won't lie on the grass since it is covered in snow but I will try to notice my moments of intimacy with myself as I continue my retreat for clarity.  After asking for a "hoshin" question yesterday, I woke up this morning with this question in my mind:  How can I spark light, love and laughter wherever I am, in whatever I do?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #6

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

6.  My inner awareness is always evolving:  Where do I stand right now?  How far have I come on my chosen path? 
Great questions.   If only I had answers.  I think my awareness is growing but not enough yet to give me clarity.  A new project has dropped into my lap and it has many bright lights shining from it.  But, now I'm filled with doubt about whether it's "right" ... whether I'm right for it ... whether it might take up too much of my time ... whether it's really aligned with my chosen path ... whether I even know my chosen path. 

The spinning in my head sounds like a heavy cart with loose metal wheels traveling over an uneven concrete floor.  One of my friends tells me I need to get clear about my "North Star" and recommended that I unplug and go into silence for a few days and let the answer emerge rather than trying to focus my thinking and squeeze sense out of it.  Sounds right so for the next few days I'm limiting my online time to a couple of hours at night and will spend the rest of the time making art, meditating, walking and listening.

During that time I will try to pay attention to my awareness as Chopra guides, "not as a stream of thoughts but as the potential for becoming who I want to be.  I will look at my limitations and boundaries with the intention of expanding beyond them." 

I'm pretty sure something will happen during this time since I'm already getting inklings.  This afternoon as I was looking through my box of images that I use for collage work, I found a piece of an article on the back of an image.  The article was about "hoshin" ... a strategic planning process introduced by W. Edwards Deming.  These words were highlighted:  Hoshin, a Japanese word roughly meaning both internal compass and personal North Star, almost always starts with a question, and built into the process is the assumption that you have the answers inside you.  You want to choose a question that really excites you, where you would feel phenomenal if you woke up living the answer to that question.

About the image:  Isn't it interesting that this star isn't a bright beacon in the sky but a far more subtle, almost buried, star that I only saw by being aware of the patterns in the sand at my feet?

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #5

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

5.  At any given moment, the universe is giving me the best results possible.  I will concentrate today on the gifts in my life.  Right here, right now, with three inches of snow on the ground, when I yearn for warmth and flowers, is the best possible place for me to be.  Right here, right now, in complete solitude, when I long for someone to share my life with, is the best possible place for me to be. 

Gifts surround me ... some would be among my first choices in the Gift Store of Life ... others sit on the bottom shelf, out of sight, and then jump into my shopping cart and refuse to be pushed aside even when I try to politely tell them I don't want them or can't afford them.  They're there demanding that I learn from them.  Not only learn from them but count them as true gifts, gifts I didn't have sense enough to know I wanted or needed.

The gift of solitude is pretty easy ... it's one I asked for over the years.  Not that I wanted quite so much of it.  But, it is a true gift, long, slow days of quiet where I can move from one bright toy to the next, following the drift of my attention with few deadlines or requirements. Slowly, piece by piece, I am assembling a more complete picture of myself.  It's like a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box and hundreds of pieces still missing.  What will I be when the puzzle is complete?  What a gift this self-indulgent journey is.  And, how lovely it will be when new pieces of the relationship aspect of the picture fall into place and a balance between solitude and deep connection is reached.

The gift of snow is a little more challenging ... I don't think I asked for it.  But, if it is part of the best results possible, then it must be a gift.  Its beauty is undeniable.  Snow highlights the blackened branches on the trees outside my bedroom window and muffles the sounds of cars inching down the white streets.  Is it simply the gift of variety?  Another way of looking at beauty and saying this is all part of the world around me?  Maybe just saying "thank you" for all forms of beauty is enough.

Today I will try to notice everything in my life and see it as a gift.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Video

Life on the learning curve is often frustrating but sometimes ... just sometimes ... it's completely joyous!  Yesterday I learned how to use Keynote (Mac's version of PowerPoint) and how to turn a presentation into a QuickTime movie.  Watch out world!

Today a friend asked for some information on writing intention statements ... something I've been thinking deeply about over the past couple of weeks.  So I started out to make a one-slide Keynote presentation just to show her the model I developed.  Hours later I had a three minute QuickTime movie.  Admittedly it has no sound, no animation and nothing fancy but I feel like I just leaped a tall building.

In case you'd like to see this beautifully ugly infant (never tell a new mom her baby isn't beautiful), here it is.  If you watch it, I would love for you to rate it.  Don't bother being honest, just give it 5 stars so I'll feel good!! ;-)

And, I definitely encourage all of you to write your intentions ... and feel free to broadcast them to the world in the comments section.

New Operating System - Principle #4

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

4.  Nothing is random -- my life is full of signs and symbols.  I will look for patterns in my life.  This reminds me of Einstein's saying, "There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."  Either nothing is a sign or a symbol or everything is.  When I first read this a few days ago, I went on a "walking awareness" trip as I made my way from the hotel through the streets and parking lot to the movie theater.  I tried to look at everything I saw as a symbol of something in my life and was amused at how easily the neon sign on the marquee became a symbol of the part of me that needs to be visible and authentically show people who I am. 

This morning as I sit in my bedroom with sunrise behind my back, I can see the shadow of tree limbs reflected on my laptop monitor.  Perhaps a symbol of seeing life reflected rather than observing and experiencing it more directly.  A sign of spending too much time indoors.  To my right my almost empty tea cup ... a symbol of the small pleasure of the quiet time of tea and reflection in the morning, drinking in tea, drinking in the coming day. A small pile of clothes at the end of my bed ... a symbol of the possible build-up of chaos if I don't put them away soon, a sign reminding me that untended small things can gradually grow into a mess.  A loudly ticking clock on the wall ... a symbol of procrastination as I've told myself on numerous occasions to remove its irritating presence from my quiet space.  Yet there it hangs, its ticking commanding a rhythm I do not feel.

Today, I will pay attention to the signs and symbols in my life ... but first, I'm going to relocate that clock and put away my clothes!

About the image:  The Catalyst Ranch in Chicago is a wonderfully creative meeting space.  This is the door to the women's restroom.  The context changes the message.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #3

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

3.  Whatever I pay attention to will grow: I will take inventory of how I'm using my attention.  One of the things Chopra says is that we create our universe.  I've heard it before but always thought of it as sort of a throwaway line around positive thinking.  Chopra seems to really mean it.  And some of the readings I've been doing in the new sciences may even support it.  So, I've been trying to pay attention to the possibility.  Of course, since there are six billion co-creating humans on the planet, not to mention the other possible co-creating cats, dogs, elephants, dolphins, mosquitos, scorpions, rocks, trees and highway markers, this co-creation stuff is bound to be a bit messy.

But I am trying to pay attention to the process of creation.  How do things come into being?  Some things I consciously do or make happen.  Other things seem to come into being on their own.  Thoughts often come unexpectedly from who knows where.  Emotions rise up with little relationship to the actual moment.  Things happen that have an uncanny relationship to what I've been thinking about.  While I was in South Carolina, an idea for a research project dropped into my lap fully formed.  It involves interviewing people around a question I'm interested in and then writing about the results.  When I got off the plane in Denver, a voice mail was waiting for me from an old friend who wants to do a series of books that involves interviewing people around a question he's interested in ... not the exact question I'm thinking about ... but one that also interests me.  He has the contacts and the infrastructure to make the interview process easier.  Synchronicity? ... or did I create it with my focused intention? On the other hand, the son of a friend of a friend was just killed by a drunk driver.  Who created that and how does it make sense?

What does it mean to take inventory of how I'm using my attention?  Last night I watched two episodes of "Boston Legal" and caught up on the drama of "The Bachelor."  I used the excuse of it having been a long travel day but, actually, I just wanted distraction from my ambivalent feelings of walking back into an empty house after two intense weeks of creation, discussion and connection with a good friend.  I don't think there was anything wrong or right about this use of attention ... just something to be aware of.  Today, I will continue to watch how I'm spending my attention.

About the image:  I am longing for spring!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Operating System - Principle #2

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a life of unity rather than one based on duality. I have committed to looking at one of the principles every day. Here's today's principle from the book:

#2.  The people in my life reflect aspects of myself.  I am a composite of every person who is important to me.  I am going to look upon friends and family as a group picture of me.

Why do I start these things?  I'm not sure this one is going to be fun since I doubt that I get to assemble just the best parts of my friends and family and say, "There I am."  I think this means that I have to also look at their lesser parts and find those reflections in myself also.  Where to start? 

One of my friends is in the midst of a nasty lawsuit after having been betrayed financially at a time when life had just dealt her a severe blow.  She has a lot of righteous anger about the situation and it has claimed a good deal of her attention and time.  When we talk about this, it is easy for me to see that, at least at some point, she will need to let go of the anger and forgive the other party.  But, for right now, she feels like she needs to hold on to it in order to "do battle with the enemy."

How is this reflected in me and my life?  What am I holding onto in order to protect myself?  What enemy do I need to forgive?  I know I protect myself with my strength and independence and project that I don't need anyone else to help me.  If I truly believed in unity, I would know that I am part of everything and quit pretending that I am a separate entity capable of existing independently.  I am deeply interconnected and any vibration on the web reverberates through me. 

My friend's world has been rocked by pain and betrayal and she believes she isn't safe, that she needs to defend herself.  While I have survived my own rolling shock waves of death and loss, I am still trying to hold my world and my self together with my own fingers rather than going fearlessly forward into life knowing that I am safe.  Her fear reflects my fear.  She has a specific "enemy;" I am treating "life" as if it were my enemy.  Attempting to defend myself against its potential jolts rather than knowing that I am safe and that whatever life brings, I'll still be safe.  I need to accept that life is always right.

This morning as I sat in the airport waiting for my flight back to Denver, I watched the story of "Super Susie" Weadock-Mann who died yesterday.  After the 79-year-old woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she refused to spend her time in chemotherapy and rather began to attack her "bucket list" with gusto.  She sky-dived, hang-glided, rode off road on 4-wheelers through the west ... she lived her life as a daredevil.  Her cancer gave her the gift of fearlessness.  What if I could live my life from that same place of fearlessness? 

What if we all focused on our bucket lists and let go of everything that keeps us outside the joy stream of life?  What a different world it would be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Operating System Principle #1

In Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets," he offers ten principles as a new "operating" system for a "wholeness" life rather than one based on duality.  I was sitting in the hotel restaurant in North Charleston, SC, today ... the only person in the restaurant other than the one serving person as I began to read the principles.

#1  The events in my life reflect who I am.
  Not that I haven't read this before but, after two weeks of intense creativity and looking at my life, perhaps I read them in a different way.  I was thinking about putting the ten principles on cards so I could carry them with me and also thinking about taking some milk back to my room.  I was done with my meal and needed my check so I could be off.  The server was standing with her back to me, drying silverware.  I waited.  She dried.  I waited some more and began to feel the niggling of impatience and frustration.  Then I decided to test the principle ... how was this a reflection of who I am?

Immediately I began to wonder about all the times I've been busy ... caught up in the "very important" details of the moment ... and didn't notice that someone else wanted my attention?  How often have I continued to send emails even after a friend called and wanted to talk?  How often have I creatively labeled my inattention "multi-tasking?"  I really didn't like my answers to these questions.  But the impatience and frustration shifted away and I just politely requested the server's help and she met my needs instantly and perfectly.

It was at that moment that I decided to spend the next 10 days focusing on the principles and how they apply to my own life.  If you want to join in, feel free to add your own reflections in the comments section.

About the image:  A Kiawah Island, SC, marsh weed dances with a bright and shiny bit of art paper.  I hope this image reflects me more than the impatient, attention-challenge that was reflected in the restaurant.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beautiful Minds: Stephen Wiltshire

Watch Stephen Wiltshire spend 3 days drawing a detailed architectural drawing of Rome after only seeing it for 45 minutes from a helicopter (video is only 5 minutes).  There is a theory that each of us has these amazing skills buried in our brains ... we just can't access them.  Hmmmmm??  I just say I'm sure glad we've got cameras for the rest of us.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Do We Care About Our Kids?

Do we truly care about our children?  One has to wonder.

The US is the only industrialized country that does not regulate marketing to children.

The consumer marketing industry says it is the parents' job to monitor what their children watch, buy, and eat.  That's true.  But when a five-year-old child swears that Sponge Bob macaroni and cheese tastes better than any other macaroni and cheese, even when she hasn't actually tasted it, something is out of balance.

When we are having to make bigger car seats for children because so many children are obese, something has gone off track.

When depression and anxiety medication is being prescribed for 8 million children every year, we are truly in trouble.

For an in-depth look at this massive issue, please watch the following first of seven parts  of the "Consuming Kids" documentary.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Sometimes when a bird cries out,

or the wind sweeps through a tree,

or a dog howls in a far-off farm,

I hold still and listen a long time.
My world turns and goes back to the place

where, a thousand forgotten years ago,

the bird and the blowing wind

were like me, and were my brothers.
My soul turns into a tree,
and an animal, and a cloud bank.

Then changed and odd it came home

and asks me questions. What should I reply?
 -- Herman Hesse, Swiss poet and novelist

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Hour of New Clarity

Kiawah Island continues to be a safe and stimulating crucible for thought, creation and co-creation.  Today dawns sunny and chilly ... another gift of timeless time in the ongoing web of creation we call life.

"You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth, for the hour of new clarity.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Do We Believe?

If you really believe something, you will act in accordance with that belief — always. If you believe in gravity, you will never attempt to defy it. If you claim to hold a belief but act incongruently, then you don’t actually believe it. You’re only kidding yourself. Casual faith isn’t.

Actions, not words, reveal beliefs. If you want to understand what you truly believe, observe your actions. This may take some courage to do, but if you follow the trail of your actions, it will lead you to a more congruent belief system. And once there you can begin consciously moving towards new beliefs that empower you, while your actions and beliefs remain congruent along the way.

from, blog entry 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

God Seed

“The secret of success lies in this,” Robert Collier wrote many years ago in his book Riches Within Your Reach.

“There is inside you a seed of God capable of drawing to you any element you need, to bring to fruition whatever of good you desire. But like all other seeds, its shell must be broken before the kernel inside can use its attractive power. And that shell is thicker, harder, than the shell of any seed on earth. Only one thing can break it--HEAT FROM WITHIN--a desire so strong, a determination so intense that you carefully throw everything you have into the scale to win what you want.”

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Being a Sorcerer

"In the universe, there is an unmeasureable and indescribable force which those who live "of the source" (sorcerer) call intention. And that absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.  Sorcerers are not only concerned with understanding and explaining that connecting link, but they are especially concerned with cleansing it of the numbing effects brought about by all the concerns of living at ordinary levels of consciousness.

-- Carlos Casteneda,  Fire from Within

Friday, February 5, 2010

Star Dust

I am in South Carolina with a friend re-creating our lives so for the next week or so I may just share some quotes for thought.

"The stuff of life comes out of stars, every single atom, every single carbon atom, oxygen atom, and hydrogen atom. Your body elements were in a star probably more than four-and-a-half thousand million years ago. They were actually synthesized from hydrogen and helium in a star that length of time ago. If anybody tells you anything different, they’re mad."
-- Sir Harry Kroto, Professor of Chemistry, Florida State University, winner Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

There Is No Speed Limit

Maureen at Writing without Paper always finds the coolest stuff. This morning she turned me on to musician Derek Sivers and his eye-opening 2-minute TED video. She also said he blogged so I check him out and ran across this life lesson: There Is No Speed Limit. The story behind it is that Sivers as a 17-year-old kid, called a recording industry guru and was invited to come by. Unlike most of the kids who had been told the same thing, Sivers showed up and was then given 5 lessons that allowed him to test out of six classes in college and graduate a year and a half early.

It's a great story and Sivers emphasizes the lesson he learned by stating, "This article wasn't meant to be about me as much as the life-changing power of a great teacher and raised expectations."

What if we knew that there were no speed limits in our own lives ... what expectations would we change? What would we do differently?

About the image: This is one of a growing series of "intention art" images that I have been doing over the past few weeks.