Perspective


We’re on a planet floating in space
Having an intense love affair with the sun,
moon, and stars.
How crazy is that?!

Just Go Along With It

Photo: Tim Bies


Flames will destroy everything
at the end of the universe.
It may already be destroyed.

A cold cricket cries in the pile of wet leaves.
He wanders back and forth, unable to get past regret.

Go along with it
Stumble in rain,
Walk on alone.

At the end of the trail is a warm cabin with a single fire.
There you may dry out those lonely years.

~ Blue Cliff Record: Zen Echoes

Girls Who Wear Glasses

Is this the autumn of my life? I turned 40 this year so I suppose it is. (If it’s not autumn, it’s most certainly late summer.) Age has never concerned me much but it did this year. It’s not the number but everything that goes along with midlifeloss of beauty, fatigue, things just not being the same physically. I equate it to being in the middle of a vast sea and discovering to your horror that your beloved vessel is springing leaks! I wonder, spiritually, why we have to go through this process. Is it just for kicks? To have a little cosmic laugh?

If we are attached to our bodies (bravo if you are not, you must be a Zen master), as we age, we are going to suffer. I was at the park with my daughter a few weeks ago and one of Hope’s schoolmates joined her on the swing. I introduced myself brightly, “Hi, I’m Hope’s mom.” She pumped her legs awkwardly and said, “I know.” “How do you know,” I asked (we had never met). She replied sweetly, “You have the same hair colour.” I smiled, until she added, “Only Hope’s is more shiny.” Ah yes, it happens to all of us. In case you haven’t caught on, this is why shampoo labels boast about enhancing shine. It’s a lie. Only the young have naturally vibrant hair.

Just yesterday, I was wearing my glasses and someone asked me, “Do you need to wear your glasses all the time now?” “Only if I want to see” I joked smugly. I hate wearing glasses. They are uncomfortable and well you know what they say about girls who wear glasses... If only I could wear my sunglasses everywhere. Like Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s you would see me around town, at the grocery store perhaps, looking cool and mysterious. You wouldn’t be able to see the fine lines around my eyes...

Sigh. It’s a sad, sad and humbling feeling to believe that you don’t matter at all. No one takes the time, it seems, to truly see you. The real you, I mean. But why are we so hurt by this? Every day, magnificent and majestic trees are cut down. People trample on delicate wildflowers. Wildlife and insects are killed without a thought. Why do we expect to be treated any different by those that are clearly blind to intrinsic beauty?

In a way, when someone loves you, it validates your existence. That person not only hears the music that you are creating, but she/he delights in it. Is this not the most precious gift? And yes, our bodies will fade and eventually die, but love will endure. A loved one’s gentle voice, the light in his/her eyes, and all the kind and loving acts that were ever shared are timeless. This music, this light and love, ripples out endlesslygreeting us on the flip side where we merge as one in an exquisite dance of eternal love. ~ A pipe dream? Perhaps. But I think not.

Living in the Trees

“I want to long for nothingto be desireless. To just enjoy the gifts of each day. To feel the love that is already present. The warm sand beneath my feet, the constant rush of the waves, the 1001 interesting (amazing!) things I encounter in nature, all are food for my soul. How to make this my living reality and not just a vacation? (Costa Rica, June 27, 2013)

Opening up the window, I hear a few lingering crickets singing in the autumn sunshine. A chipmunk springs like a mini kangaroo through the damp leaves. Birds gorge on intoxicating juniper berries and the tart, red-orange berries of the mountain ash tree. On this day, as so many times before, I’m reflecting on how removed we are from nature and how delicious and healing it would be to live closer to the sea and among the trees.

Years ago, I read a book that I can no longer remember the title of; however, in this unnamed book it mentioned The Moon and Sixpence, which is a novel (written by William Somerset Maugham) loosely based on the life of the French artist Paul Gauguin. I hadn’t thought about Gauguin much since I read The Moon and Sixpence, but I read another book recently called Beachcombing at Miramar that makes a reference to Gauguin’s semi-autobiographical book Noa Noa. Naturally, my interest was piqued and I set out to find a copy of Noa Noa. I admire Gauguin, who in his early 40s abandoned everything to follow his heart. For 63 days he sailed to reach his dream: to paint in Tahiti. After shedding his European ways (his clothing even!) and spending some time in an island hut, Gauguin muses:



Silence! I am learning to know the silence of a Tahitian night. In this silence I hear nothing except the beating of my heart.
But the rays of the moon play through the bamboo reeds, standing equidistant from each other before my hut, and reach even to my bed. And these regular intervals of light suggest a musical instrument to methe reed-pipe of the ancients, which was familiar to the Maori, and is called vivo by them. The moon and the bamboo reeds made it assume an exaggerated forman instrument that remained silent throughout the day, but that at night by grace of the moon calls forth in the memory of the dreamer well-loved melodies. Under this music I fell asleep.
Between me and the sky there was nothing except the high frail roof of pandanus leaves, where the lizards have their nests.
I am far, far away from the prisons that European houses are.
A Maori hut does not separate man from life, from space, from the infinite. . . .

In many ways, I can relate to Gauguin. Viewing houses as prisons sounds dramatic but hes onto something there. When I stayed in a modern villa in Costa Rica earlier this year, I was resentful of the fact that at night I was cut off from the stars and night sounds. Patio lights used for security blocked out the night sky and the steady hum of air conditioning units prevented me from hearing anything wild. Well, except for the mysterious tapping on the glass of my bedroom patio door every night just as I was drifting off to sleep... (After a few nights of fearfully listening from my bed, I eventually and bravely switched on a flashlight to reveal a small Halloween crab clicking its claws on the glass!)

Like Gauguin, our domestication repels me. He found a peaceful simplicity in island living that made him feel creative and vibrantly alive. Something in me struggles to break away from conformity but how one accomplishes this completely, I’m still not certain. In the meantime, I’m exploring exciting and different ways of living. Tree houses have become an infatuation of mine. I don’t know anyone personally that lives in a tree house; although, it’s become trendy to vacation in them. For now, maybe that’s a start.



Free Spirit Spheres, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island



Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California



TreeHouse People (Takashi Kobayashi), Hokkaido, Japan



Mahinui Na Lani, on the Big Island of Hawaii
Tree house cedar hot tub ♡

Remember Love

Photo: Tina Breen

“We get shy about saying things like I love you. Life is so short. 
It’s crazy, that we hesitate to express our true thoughts to each other.”

~ Yoko Ono

"Dream Baby Dream" (Suicide Cover) by Bruce Springsteen

The first time I saw Springsteen in concert I was 22 years old. It was an intimate solo acoustic concert at Massey Hall (The Ghost of Tom Joad tour). He was beyond charismatic. He revealed that he enjoys a fine bourbon after performing and at one point, he even told an over-zealous and annoying  fan to “Fuck off.” It was very cool. I was on a euphoric high for days after that concert! Springsteen is a poet and one of the best entertainers I have ever seen.

This video is an accurate visualization of what it’s like to see Bruce Springsteen live. It’s truly transcendent.

Red Dragonfly




a red dragonfly too 
has come for a visit 
all alone 
satisfied 

~ Kaitō Hōko

Awaken



“Your vision will become clear only
when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.”

~ Carl Jung

Magic Everywhere

I was able to open the window last night to let the song of the crickets help me drift off to sleep. All August I have enjoyed this evening music. Cool nights in September forced me to close my bedroom window and the silence was disquieting with only my thoughts (that seem so loud!) to listen to. Last night was warmer though and I am grateful. My heart feels open this time of year. Beauty has a way of doing that. It can move you, if you let it.

Everyone around me seems to be spinning off in exciting new directions. I’m watching it all unfold. I wonder what my purpose is. Observing the mind and whatever emotions come up has become a daily practice. I’ve also taken an interest in energy work like Qi flow yoga. Daily, I send out loving energy to loved onesespecially those that I am not in physical contact with. Can they feel it? I sincerely hope so.

Observing the mind has shown me how little original content there actually is, which is unsettling. According to the masters, when the chatter wanes, inspiration will have space to emerge. Even with my dedication to the process of spiritually awakening, my mind is still confoundedly active! Perhaps I’m still hanging on to things that I’m unable to surrender to.

Anyway, a couple of songs were in my mind when I was waking up this morning, which I’ve come to trust, foolishly or not, as guidance from the ethereal realm. Both songs are from a mix that I first heard over a year ago. I’m currently listening to more music by these same artists on Grooveshark. Wonderful stuff! Enchanting music as summer fades out and autumn’s brilliance captivates us. ~

Bonus track:

An Omen



“When each day is the same as the next, 
it’s because people fail to recognize 
the good things that happen in their lives 
every day that the sun rises.”

~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


“Everything that I understand, 
I understand only because I love.”

~ Leo Tolstoy

Badlands



I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that can save me
I believe in the hope and I pray
That some day it may raise me
Above these badlands

~ Bruce Springsteen

My Love

Delighting me with its mysteries, the ocean is a lover I will never tire of.  The sheer beauty of a reflected sunset or the glittery trail of the full moon on its surface. Waves that thrill and slightly terrify me. 

It never fails to deliver precious gifts in the form of smooth stones, colourful shells, and creatures beyond my imagination. A sardine-like fish washes up on the shore. Its silvery skin glimmers in the morning light. Its eyes plead with me. I gently pick it up and hold it in wonder for a moment before tossing it back to safety.


Ceaselessly, waves approach the shore sounding like distant thunder and recede in an effervescent fizz. Its rhythm soothes and heals my sensitive soul. With a mix of fear and excitement, I wait to feel the push of the wave on my surfboard. By an act of grace or pure luck, I pop up to my feet the first time I try and take a short euphoric ride. Adrenaline and endorphins prevent me from feeling the sting of sand scraping my knees when I fall off. It’s not until later that I see the scratches and deep purple that stains my bruised and tender knees.


Even still, my muscles ache pleasantly. Satiated, my body hums with warmth. At times I am overwhelmed by your beauty and can’t hold back tears. All too soon it’s time to leave and I wonder how I will manage. Must I live out my days knowing that our time together will be, at best, intermittent?


Now that I am gone, do you miss my delicate feet wading in your depths; my loving touch as my fingertips skim your shimmering surface? Do you long for my adoring gaze? Does your heart ache with the loss of my presence? My Love, please tell me, why must we be apart?

Beauty Is an Ache


“Beauty is an ache, a presage.
A glimpse, a longing, and a
bewildering ecstasy.”

~ Beth Powning

The Bat-Poet



“The trouble isn’t making poems, the trouble’s 
finding somebody that will listen to them.”

~ Randall Jarrell (Illustrations by Maurice Sendak)

Friends?

Looking over our most recent additions to the garden this morningbutterfly milkweed, heliotrope, dragon’s blood clover, and African daisiesI heard what I thought was a cat padding through the grass. I was kneeling down and the animal was so close it brushed past my sweater. The encounter was only a couple of heartbeats. Time enough for my brain to register though that it was not a large ginger cat, but a fox. The same radiant fox that pranced past my car earlier this week when I was backing into my driveway.

Illustration: David Lupton

I am in awe of this creature. It’s agile, graceful, and seems playful (naïve though I am, it might have been stalking me and at the last moment decided that I was too big to eat!). Nonetheless, it is quite something to have a wild animal approach so closely of its own freewill. Pure magic!

To continue the theme of red (passion), we also have multiple cardinal pairs nesting in the neighbourhood. I’ve become accustomed to their calls and am often rewarded with flashes of crimson soaring by when I look up after hearing a distinctive chirp.

There’s been a lot of rain this spring, hence a lot of complaining. But I love the freshness that the rain brings. The delicate smell of peonies, lilacs, and mock orange blossoms carries freely on the clean air. Soft sounds of wind chimes, nesting birds, and leaves dancing in the wind soothe and calm. Peace is in the air.

~ May the magic that is always present invigorate and enliven you. With warm thoughts for your health and happiness, Holly x ~

My Father

1974
Father’s Day is less than a week away. I walked to the Pik Kwik today to buy a stamp and some scratch and win tickets to mail with my dad’s card (he likes to dream).

The rain is making meditative circles in the puddles. The trees are lush and the songbirds high in their branches sing contentedly. As I walk, I’m thinking about my dad and how smooth his face is after he shaves. He always smells so goodlike cinnamon. I miss his rough hand holding mine tight. The last time I saw my dad face-to-face we were in the NICU with my newborn daughter. He kissed the top of Hope’s sweet head and told her he loved her. That was seven years ago. It’s been too long.

Searching through old photos, I’m surprised just how few there are of my dad and me. Regrettably, the ones I do have are faded, at an odd angle, or blurred. No perfect shot to capture our relationship. No words to do this either. ~

“Lazy Stoned Monk” by 幾何学模様/Kikagaku Moyo

A little something to get your Muladhara vibrating. ~

Bookstore/Café Yay!

"Tribute" by Linda Johns, acrylic on paper
After returning a movie, I let Hope lead the way home on our bike ride yesterday. Not surprisingly, we ended up at her favourite used bookstore/café. We had rainbow rooibos tea and both of us found a book that we wanted to take home with us.

Finding books in this manner gives me a lot of pleasure. The fact that Hope loves reading as much as I do makes me exceedingly happy. The book I found is called Sharing a Robin’s Life. What an odd and fascinating book! It’s about a woman in Nova Scotia who has a most unusual relationship with a robin that lives with her in her woodland home.

“Tribute” is a painting by the author, Linda Johns (it is included as the frontispiece of the book). Enchanting work! Theres a short Life Network bio on Linda’s astonishing and eccentric life on YouTube, as well.

Oh! Hope’s treasured find was a Peanuts book. It’s a 1966 paperback edition in good condition. The original price was 40 cents! It was marked $3.95, but I asked for a discount and only ended up paying $2.00. Sharing a Robins Life was marked for $1.50, which is a steal in my opinion. Only $3.50 for two wonderful books! You cant beat that.

Girls Rock!

“Chippy Heads West” by Hope Arden, Plasticine

Hope & Chippy

Off the Map

Even though I lost interest in television years ago, I still enjoy watching movies. I usually borrow DVDs from the library. I often have little idea what I’m getting into and this is a hit-or-miss way of film watching. Still, I come across some very interesting films by this open-minded way of selecting DVDs. The film Off the Map captured my attention immediately with its cinematographystunning cloudscapes of New Mexicos desertand unusual characters that I can’t help admire.

I’m captivated by off-grid living and ways of being that are more in tune with nature. The way the couple in the film respectfully parent their daughter, Bo, in many ways, is what I aspire to accomplish with my own daughter. In fact, I don’t think they ever say “No” to their daughterever. Bo says and does as she pleases. She has a mind of her own that tends toward imaginative thinking and a thoughtful/loving nature. She does do a few alarming things though that her mother, Arlene, handles with grace and calm. In fact, I’m not sure anyone could be as non-reactive and relaxed as Arlene is portrayed, which leads to my favourite scene in the film...

William, the IRS agent that is sent to audit the family, has an allergic reaction to a bee sting and finds himself at the mercy of this unconventional family. As he’s recovering, he can’t help but fall in love with the beauty of the desert and the free-spirited Arlene. When he declares that he’s in love with Arlene and cannot hide it, she says, “That’s good.” There’s no ego in her response, it’s that she understands how love happens when your heart opens up to life. She tells William that New Mexico is a powerful place and that he should take as much time as he needs (and remain with the family) until he gets his bearings. When he asks if her husband will mind, she confidently says no. Later in the film, it’s apparent that the husband is as benevolent as Arlene is. He makes his own brotherly (fatherly?) connection with William that is most loving and healing for everyone involved.