Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fertile Ground

Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
As I mentioned in my last post, things are moving very quickly...

Once I grasped that I had become all those things I disliked about my mother, I soon realized that deep inside I've been hating myself for those very things for a very long time.

I've only recently opened my heart to myself -- to have a generous spirit, loving-kindness, and infinite compassion for my own suffering and pain.  It's true that once we open ourselves to our own pain, then we naturally open to others' pain, to the pain and suffering of the world. 

And thus my huge opening now, is that I have begun looking at my mother through eyes and heart of compassion and lovingkindness.  Overnight, she has transformed in my mind from "my god-damned mother," to "my poor mommy."  The reality is, everything that happened to me also happened to her.  She couldn't have been any different in raising me than she was, because she was also raised by a crazy person, she had no good role models, and she had no skills to deal with any of it.  She did the best she could. 

What really made me get serious about Buddhist practice, at the tail end of my first year of committed meditation practice, is this:  I could now see that since my mother had become mentally ill/emotionally unstable, and since my grandmother too had been "off" emotionally, I stood a very good chance of also becoming mentally ill if I didn't get a grip on my own unskillful personality characteristics.  Personality is what each of us devises as a coping mechanism to get through life.  What we put together for ourselves is based primarily on early family experience, and cultural conditioning.  All that stuff I didn't like about myself could possibly lead me into narcissistic and borderline personality disorders if I didn't wake up.  I could already see some of the symptoms presenting in my personality -- in my thinking, my speech, my behavior.

It occurred to me earlier this week:  What If my mother had had the slightest inkling that she was sinking into mental illness, but she knew she was powerless to do anything about it?  My heart just melted for her when I had that thought.  I am so sad that she was in so much pain inside for most of her life.  I'm healing my pain now, but I'm also healing hers.  I've made a vow to do this healing for both of us, and for the benefit of all beings who suffer.


The winner of the last giveaway (the two small paintings) has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.

Here's another giveaway -- this pair of earrings made by me, hmmm...maybe 15 years ago.  Chinese turquoise, glass seed beads, gold-filled earwires.  The earrings are 2-1/4 inches from top of wire to bottom center bead.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 7 and I'll email the winner directly.

Good luck.  And as always, thanks for reading, thanks for being on this healing journey right along with me.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Acrylics, handmade paper on stretched canvas, 12x12 inches
Things change...everyday.

I've come to a point in my seclusion where I feel almost too-cut off from the world.  You all are an online community for me, of kindred souls and spirits, art- or life-wise.  And I've been missing you.

So I'm here, today.  Over the years, so many of you have been supportive of me, my art, my personal growth -- especially the few of you I've "gotten to know" virtually.  I want to let you know what I've been up to.

I read one spiritual book in particular a few months ago, that really got me thinking about my life -- by which I mean the experience of being in my life, on the inside, way more than anything else.  And I made some interesting discoveries, essentially that who I was being in the outside world and how I imagined myself to be were two different entities.  My persona didn't match who I thought I was.

This in turn lead to more startling discoveries; like that basically I have/had become my mother.  All those too-numerous-to-mention hated-by-me characteristics of hers were now mine.  I was being her, in my life.  The way I've related to people, how I've related to everything that happens in life, my attitudes about life in general are/were not who I want to be anymore.

I've been blessed/cursed with the gene for honest self reflection, which means that being aware of my failings only makes them more difficult to embrace.  But I can't just shut my eyes to the truth, go forward in life continuing to act out a script that isn't who I am inside, and say, "Screw everybody and everything."  That's not what I want for the last third of the journey.

I've immersed myself in the past month in contemporary Buddhist materials.  I am so grateful that there are so many teachers out there now, of all Buddhist stripes, who are articulating the Buddha's teachings for modern ears.  I just recently decided to commit myself to The Path.

Meanwhile, things have been happening in my life lately, situations where I've gotten to see "my stuff" in action.  It's been eye-opening...and painful.  Most of the pain is in the suffering I experience inside my own head, as a result of what's happened.  THIS is one of the forms of suffering the Buddha refers to -- the stuff inside our heads, the stuff we do to ourselves in our neurosis.

The only way out is through.  In other words, the only way for me to become the person I want to be is by fully embracing how I am just now.  And this is where I am just now.  In this open place, this place of groundlessness and insecurity.  Not sure what's next.  But it's a beautiful day outside.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by.  And that's made all the difference."

Thanks for reading, thanks for your interest.

And now, another giveaway!  This is a set of two 5-1/2 inch paintings on watercolor paper.  To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday September 30 and I'll email the winner directly.    

Acrylics on watercolor paper, 5-1/2 inches square


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hello!...and a Giveaway

Acrylics and handmade papers on stretched canvas, 12 x 12 inches
Just stopping by to say hi and to give something away.

Life's been good, and I'm truly enjoying being on retreat.  I plan to spend the rest of my life on retreat/in seclusion, actually.

But I don't want to drop the ball here, so I'll most likely just touch base with you all periodically rather than have regular weekly or semi-weekly posts.  That's my thinking at the moment, anyhow.

I do think about you guys.  Interestingly, I've had as many, if not more, regular daily page hits since my last post than when I was posting regularly!  Go figure.

Okay, the giveaway part ~ I have a copy of Kerr Grabowski's fantastic 2-disk DVD tutorial on Deconstructed Screen Printing.  I watched it twice, several years ago.  I no longer have dyes or silk screens, so it's time to pass the DVD along.

There are two ways you can enter:  One, leave me an email message HERE.  Or two, leave a comment on this post, below...but if you leave a comment, YOU MUST write your email address in the body of the comment

I'll select a winner next Wednesday, but I won't post it here.  I'll contact the winner directly ~ which is why you must leave me your email address, one way or the other listed above.  (If you're not hip to this yet, when you leave a comment to a post, in most cases the comments come to me without a valid return email address ~ which is why you MUST write your email in the body of the comment if you expect me to get back to you, like if you win.)

Over and out.  Have a wonderful early autumn!  xx