Posted tagged ‘journalling’

Beginnings

January 2, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt has become my habit over the last twenty years to carry with me several daily readers to use during my Morning Practice.  There are probably several dozen others floating around my office and our bedroom.  I was once talking to a younger friend about a particular book we both used.   I had to put it a way for a while, he said.   I know all the meditations by heart.   I laughed.   Wait until you’re sixty, I replied, then each year it will seem like a new book.  My point is that I change my daily readers periodically not because of familiarity but because I find that the sort of inspiration I need changes from time to time.  This year, I am a very up-to-date Older Eyes.   My daily readers all reside in my Kindle, reducing the weight of my book bag by approximately 1.3 pounds.  They are: 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact, Melodie Beattie’s tome on getting past everyday distraction to maintain conscious contact with a Higher Power; David Kuntz’s Awakened Mind: One Minute Wake Up Calls to a Bold and Mindful Life; and one I added while roaming a Barnes and Noble last week**, Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.  Nepo is a cancer survivor whose ordeal taught him the meaning of mindfulness.  As you can see, there seems to be a theme. (more…)

Contact

December 2, 2012

park sunrise.
Have you heard about the Dial-A-Prayer for atheists?  You call 1-800-xxx-xxx and it rings but no one answers
Well traveled anonymous joke

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I find this near one-liner to be extremely funny, even though it describes my relationship with God for about 80% of my life.  I never really wanted to be an atheist so I called myself an agnostic.  Guess what?  God never answered the Dial-A-Prayer for Agnostics either.   After all, who would remain an agnostic if God actually picked up the phone?  So, after a while, I pretty much stopped calling.  All my life, I’ve known people who have a firm belief in God and the power of prayer.   They would say God answers their calls, although to my eyes, their prayers weren’t answered any more often than mine.  It’s often seemed to me that this is where believers get to be apologists for God.  When terrible things happen, we let God off by suggesting God has a Greater Plan that we aren’t privy to or let our relationship with God be about the Next Life, not this one.  We attribute the evils to the influences of God’s Fall Guy, Satan, on poor, weak mankind.  But didn’t God make mankind weak … and create Satan, for that matter?  I know people who say they hear God when they pray or meditate.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, even though they make me a little nervous.  People who are sure they know what God wants have done some serious damage in this world. (more…)

Starting Right

June 24, 2012

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A Lifetime

June 20, 2012

I’ve wanted to make a video of one of my paintings as it developed for some time now but I kept putting it off.  Since they are actual Art Journal entries, there is no guarantee they’ll be artistic in the usually meaning of the word.   Even though I can be comfortable with paintings I don’t especially like in my sketchbooks, it’s another matter to let others see them.  But last night, I set up my camera on its tripod and began.   As I might have expected, with the thought of publishing the video on my blog driving the left side of my brain, the right side wasn’t feeling very creative.   That is, until the right side decided to make it a time lapse video project … with music.   With that, my left brain said, You’re crazy.  I’m outa here.   This is what turned up, a dark little metaphor for life.  It’s best viewed in full screen mode.

Monday Smiles – 6/11/2012

June 11, 2012

I hate to admit it but I’ve been lying to you for almost three years now.   You know those smiles you get to read about every Monday?  Well, they’re actually Sunday Smiles.  Yes, I write them on Sunday night when the glow of Date Night … and the weekend … is still upon me.  So, here it is, Sunday night and I’m not in the mood.  One of my (grown) children has a financial problem and would like our help.  It’s not the first time.  Actually, both of my kids have financial problems … one continual and the other periodic.  I always want to help but I have trouble seeing where the line between helping and its annoying cousin, enabling, lies.  Or I see the line but have trouble stepping back from it.  Or I’m blinded by love.  It’s been the not-quite-fatal flaw in my fatherhood.  Most people say, I gave at the office, when they don’t want to contribute again.  I gave at home and I’m tired of giving.  Do you know that according to USAToday, 62% of parents help their adult children substantially (82% of higher income parents)?  It doesn’t make me feel better to be part of a crowd.  How the hell do I drag a Monday Smile out of this Sunday Night post?  I don’t.  I give you a smile forecast for tomorrow. (more…)

Words and Pictures

March 28, 2012

I  asked a friend who knows about such things why people … and I, in particular … who have perfectly good relationships still love heartbreak songs.   She said, Often, people have sadness to deal with that they can’t face directly, so they sublimate it onto the music.   That is part of the fascination of art journalling for me … it brings out things that might remain in my unconscious otherwise, things that might not even be revealed in my Morning Pages.  The combination of prose or poetry with freeform art recommended in Jeanne Carbonetti’s The Yoga of Drawing has particular power to bring forth work that surprises me. (more…)

Taking Steps

March 18, 2012

I’ve talked here, on occasion, about the 12 Steps.  I don’t know what percentage of the world knows of the 12 Steps, much less works them.  Judging from the percentage of commenters on Bud’s Blog who know what I’m talking about, it may be more than I’d have guessed.  I know that there is a lot of skepticism … even hostility … toward the 12 Steps and the organization that brought them to light, Alcoholics Anonymous*.  The Orange Papers has been crusading against AA, its founders and anything remotely connected to the Steps obsessively** for years.  Since I have no experience with the Steps as an alcoholic, I won’t even try to defend their effectiveness in that arena except to say that I have many friends who swear they worked for them.  Scientific American has a reasonable and balanced article on the subject if you are interested.  I will address the critics who claim that 12 Step programs are cults by saying that in 19 years of attending meetings, I’ve never been coerced or forced to do anything.  As with any community, there has been some well-meaning pressure by a few individuals to do it their way but I’m good at ignoring it.   Others may be more susceptible and in human hands, the best of philosophies can develop cult-like characteristics.  I won’t deny that there are dominating sponsors and an occasional cult-like meetings.  My advice to my fellows has always been, If someone tries to tell you what to do, walk away or change meetings. (more…)

Penciled Hearts

March 1, 2012

Sunday afternoon, I finally had to break down and clean my office … so that I could get back to the business of messing it up again.  I admit, it’s pretty bad when a cat can’t walk across my desk without stumbling.   It took the entire afternoon to finish, partly because I’m easily distracted.  I always find something interesting hiding among the papers on my desk and work table.   This week it was a stack of art pads that had become buried in the month or so of refuse.  For the last few years I’ve dedicated most of my creative efforts to writing but before that I was painting or drawing twice a week.   My work rarely starts out with a theme, influenced as it is by the practice of art jounaling described in The Artful Journal – A Spiritual Quest by Maureen Carey, Raymond Fox and Jacqueline Penney.   Finding art work several years old is like finding an old short story or essay … I can look at it as if it’s not mine and not be as invested in whether it’s good or not.  I like to wonder what was going though my head at the time. (more…)

Heads Up

November 19, 2011

Lately, I’ve been doing my Morning Pages at home instead of the park.   Partly, it’s because these old bones are more comfortable writing in a chair than in the front seat of my car.  It also saves time when I transition from journalling to more structured writing … blogging and projects … that is best done at my desk.   My chosen place at home is the kitchen table, where I can open the blinds and keep an eye on the birds in the yard.  Friday morning, as I paused to decide what to rant about next, I looked up and noticed  the baker’s rack next to our table, decked out with Muri’s decorations for fall.  I smiled.  I am lucky to live in a beautiful house, surrounded by pretty things.  I realized at that moment that although I pride myself on noticing … I’ve even posted on the subject … lately, I’ve been living my life with my Head Down.   Maybe with my Head In, like this guy. (more…)

Meeting the Critic

November 9, 2011

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs – Christopher Hampton

courtesy laurenshockey.com

For most of my life, my writing consisted of technical reports and proposals.  In a world of engineers and engineering managers with marginal writing skills, I was like a Shakespeare, not exactly above criticism but confident enough to brush it off.   It wasn’t until I began classes in Fiction Writing and joined several critique groups that I experienced real criticism … and discovered how my own Inner Critic would sit quietly ignoring praise then join in with the Bad Guys.   The criticism was hardest to take when it was something I already knew or suspected because, like most of us, my Inner Critic loved to be right.  Think about that statement … like most of us.  My Inner Critic is part of me, yet he felt like an entirely separate entity looking over my shoulder.  Except, as Marelisa Fabrega says in a post titled Four Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic, The inner critic is always lurking in the shadows of your mind, ready to make an unwelcome appearance whenever you get the urge to create. It knows just how to push your buttons, too. Of course, it has an unfair advantage, since it’s privy to your innermost thoughts.  Yes, indeed. (more…)