Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Longing for the mysterious


What is it in the heart that dreams of magic,
that longs for the mysterious,
and aches for a return to wonder?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Heart like a river


Here's what I long for:
hearts like rivers after a storm,
overflowing with mercy...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gratitude



Feeling grateful for a country
United --however briefly -- 
In admiration of the Sun.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Illumination can arise


Do not resent them -- the simple repetitive tasks of daily life --
for in these quiet moments illumination can arise.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Not according to plan...


Sometimes things just don't work out;
"the best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley."
The question then becomes -- how do we make the best of it?
How can we make this work?


Friday, August 18, 2017

Support systems


One of the gifts of those low tide moments in our lives:
they expose the strength and depth of our support systems --
the friends, the family, and faith that keep us straight and true.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

When things are looking dark


When things are looking dark, it gives us hope
to take the long view; to trust and to believe
in the dawning of the age that's yet to come.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Still waters


May this walk beside still waters restore your soul...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Protective coloration


Sometimes protective coloration 
isn't about blending in to disappear.
Sometimes it's just about matching, to look like you belong,
but standing out enough so no one steps on you...
What choices will you make today
that won't be quite what you want or believe
but simply ensure you fit in with the crowd?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fortunate


Encircled from afar
by the sun, the moon and stars,
How can we fail to realize
how fortunate we are?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stormy seas


How can we hope to weather
these impossibly stormy seas with so weak an anchor?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Enjoy the view


Just because you can't get there from here,
that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the view.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dahlia Prayers


Some days even the dahlias
are lifting their hands in prayer.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Alternative facts

The truth is, I saw all these things -- the pink sun, the dune grass, the bird in flight, the boat, the reflection on the water, the break in the trees where the bay cuts in... I just didn't see them all at exactly the same moment.

That's the wonder of Photoshop: I can put them all together into one arresting photo, and it looks like I captured the perfect moment -- with the possible exception of the metal heron sculpture on the left, which was turned a little away for my liking, though it's cool the way it's kind of pointing to the sun.

But the story this photo tells -- that I was there, and alert, with all those things coming together in a particular moment -- is not true; it only really says that I was persistent enough to photograph all the elements, and artist/photoshop expert enough to compile them all into a single image. And unless I specifically tell you that, I am misleading you.

They were all there -- the sun, the boat,
the weeds and the reflections --
just not at the exact same moment.
Just because the artist took the time
to shoot them and compile a single image
doesn't make it true. Does that mean Keats was wrong?

Is it any wonder that our society is struggling with alternative facts?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grounded in gravitas


It's possible, you know -- we learn it from the trees --
to be full of grace and humor, dancing in the light
while remaining fully grounded, rooted in the gravitas of being...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Humble pleasures


That which is humble, simple and plain
can still add beauty and flavor to life.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Finding our balance


Nature somehow always manages to find her balance.
Why can't we do the same?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

When the past enriches the present

Though I've taken advantage of a couple of recent sales to acquire new canvases, I've basically spent this summer reclaiming old paintings that I never really liked.

It's certainly one of the things I love about working with acrylics -- if you don't like something you've done, you can just paint over it, and somehow the works of the past, textures and colors, have a way of enriching what's been laid over them.

It's a little bit about redemption, to be sure; that old mistakes can be turned into something wonderful. And it's a little bit about giving myself permission to fail: you know, paint whatever you like, explore new techniques, be free with colors and forms, because whatever doesn't work can be painted over, replaced.

It's also about learning to listen to my heart, and learning to trust my instincts -- something I've traditionally found it difficult to do. I'm particularly aware of this this morning for two reasons. The first is a bit of a story; I'll try to keep it brief.

Back when I was in my 20's I had a little radio show -- Pooh Corner -- in which I read children's books aloud, often accompanied by various jazz musician friends. It was fun, I enjoyed it, and I knew even then I had a good voice for that sort of thing. So years later, after I moved to Seattle and had quit work to raise our daughters, I thought about pursuing a career in voiceover work: you can pick and choose your hours, you can often work at home, and I could be using this odd gift that really took very little effort on my part.

So, on the recommendation of a friend, I began studying voiceover with an instructor in Seattle, heading into the city every week to learn more, to correct issues, and to read various and sundry scripts into a microphone in a recording studio, listen to the playback, and correct some more.  This went on for months, and I kept thinking I'd get a demo and an agent out of the deal, but somehow the work was never quite good enough, there were always imperfections, always more work to be done; more weekend workshops to be charged for...

Eventually I decided this was going nowhere, that clearly voiceover was a dead end for me; that I would never measure up, never have what it takes to succeed in the field -- or even get an audition. So I stopped going.  It wasn't until several years later that it began to occur to me -- because I got involved with a little podcasting group -- that perhaps the problem wasn't that I didn't have the chops, but that the instructor  just wanted to keep taking my money.

So when I received an email about a voiceover workshop that would result in a demo, I decided to sign up. The workshop was yesterday, and it was terrific: not only did I learn a lot, but I got tons of positive feedback -- and it looks like I'll get a demo, and even possibly a couple of demos, and an agent (?) out of the job.

We'll see -- the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding hasn't set yet. But I'm realizing several things as I look back over this story. In staying with that first instructor for so long, and then assuming that her assessment was correct, I may have cheated myself out of a career -- simply by not trusting my instincts about my own gifts. At the same time, I am amused by how thrilled I am by the positive feedback I got from yesterday's instructor. Why does it make me feel so happy and uplifted, and why can't I generate that kind of confidence on my own, without the feedback?

And yet -- there's a part of me that doesn't trust the feedback, and wonders if "oh, you say that to all the girls," you know, it's just pat praise, because that's what gets the instructor his jobs. The truth, I suspect, lies somewhere in the middle of all this, but until I actually get the demo that's supposed to result from yesterday's activities I won't really know quite what to think.

Which brings me to the second story (sorry this post is so long). Yesterday our daughter sent us a link to a blog post written by a former engineer at Google, in which he blasted another Google employee who made the mistake of sending a company-wide memo saying women should not be engineers. This particular daughter, who holds a managerial position in an engineering firm (as did I, back in the day), has always struggled with imposter syndrome -- a phenomenon many women know well, that sense that we don't belong here, that we don't really know what we're doing, even if we're getting lots of positive feedback. CF my struggles with voiceover work, cited above.

The blog post was wonderful, and talked about how basic engineering skills are essentially a commodity; that an engineer's real task is to learn to make those skills work in the context of an organization, attentive to both fellow workers and the needs of the customers being served by the product -- and that those skills are exactly the sort of "feminine" skills that the Google dude was decrying.

This kind of open backlash against women, which began surfacing back in 2014 in what's referred to as Gamergate, an attack on women in the videogame industry, seems increasingly common these days as political correctness slides sickeningly down the tubes with the advent of our current administration. The feminist in me is both horrified and oddly pleased to see this kind of thinking exposed after years of knowing it existed and seeing it buried under false platitudes. And some part of me is thrilled to hear that there's a man out there who "gets" that it takes a blend of masculine and feminine skills and gifts to make something work: as the parent of two daughters, each of whom has what I believe to be a very healthy balance of masculine and feminine traits, I would like to think that the world I will be leaving behind for them will appreciate that and somehow be more into respecting gender equality.

But I digress. Let me see if I can cut to the chase here. I guess where I'm going is this: I believe that by meditating, by consciously endeavoring to stay connected to the Divine, by consciously endeavoring to listen to that voice as it filters through the wisdom of our own hearts, we can rise above the push and pull of the voices around us -- both the undeserved criticism and the empty praise -- and somehow know the truth that lies at the center of all that; the truth about what we bring into the world, and the truth about what we're meant to do in this moment, now, to give voice to wholeness and somehow bring a better world to fruition.

The results may not be perfect, anymore than any of the recordings I made yesterday were perfect. But if we can keep listening and improving, the results may be good enough to share -- like this painting, which is just so much more pleasing to me than the ones that lie beneath it. And we just have to trust that everything that went before feeds into, informs, and enriches what is now.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Inflexible truth


Each of us believes we know
The truth about something,
And we're all invited to share that.
It's only when we become inflexible,
Thinking ours is the only truth,
That the world devolves bleakly
Into black and white.

(Image in photo by Phil Shaw, from Rebecca Hossack Gallery, Seattle Art  Fair)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holding together


We hold them together:
the colors of the Now, the attractions of the present,
and the distant allure of the heights we've yet to climb...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Love spills through each of us


Through each of us,
Love spills into the world,
Colored by our own unique
Perceptions and experiences.
What colors will you share with us today?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Conservation



In the cool of the evening
I will rest and conserve my energy,
That I may have the reserves to survive
The heat of the day to come.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

To rest, and to restore


There is a time to act,
to do what we were born to do,
but there is no shame in taking time
to rest, and to restore;
to revel in the quiet between the dark and dawn.