Saturday, January 26, 2008

spring is just around the corner

So, things are still rather quiet here at the park.
the weather has been warming up a bit, which is nice.
A 30 to 40 degree late January and February with a lot of sun sure beats the hell out of the coldest days in an overcast Chicago, i can tell you that much!

Things are still moving a bit slowly on the writing front. I've been continuing my research for the novel, but have not yet really begun the actual writing.
The more ideas and symbolism I am intending to use, the more work has to be put into designing the pattern to weave.

I've managed to get another good job lead, possibly doing some copy editing and/or freelance writing at a local publisher.
I think between that and a good night shift at a local bar a few nights a week I would be doing pretty well.

I've been spending a bit more time with folks from over at ISky too (ISky = Island In The Sky, the northern part of Canyonlands).
Last Sunday there was a small party out there at Blair and Sara's place that was a blast. Got to see Genna (ex-Isky, now Hovenweep) who I had not seen since late November and whom I absolutely adore, and meet her new roomate at the Hove, Miranda, as well as a few other former Canyonlands guys.
We played some cool games and laughed a lot.
Always a good time over there.
Then Wednesday, Blair, Nathanial (also ISky) and I took a day trip over to Goblin Valley. That place is so surreal. We hiked for the most part just outside of the park boundaries and the cliffs reminded me of a less dramatic and less colorful Bryce Canyon.
We did not even go down into the Valley of Goblins, so a return venture is definitely in order.
It was interesting to see how the Entrada sandstone erodes so much differently there than here, and I think that the Moenkopi layer now has some competition when it comes to my favorite geological layer - the Summerville layer - flat thin layers of shale, clay, sandstone and other silts that makes for excellent banding and reminds me of coral jewelry made out of thin pieces and stacked.(good pics here - scroll down for some excellent shots of the layering)
I will post some pics on flickr soon.

When I saw Genna, we talked a bit about starting an artist's group. so I will keep you all up to date on that. I have a feeling that Shea will want to be involved too. Not sure how the local art community will feel about it though, as it may be a bit of a challenge to them - at least if Shea and I assert our own aesthetics and need for exploration beyond the rather tame expressions that already exist locally.
I could foresee a future art gallery thing happening too if all goes well. Most of the local galleries cater specifically to touristy art and landscapes.

My incredible friend Ania is currently showing some of her work in a show in England. One of her paintings was chosen for the poster and mailing card. you can see some of her art here. "Ray" is the painting that they chose for the promotional materials.
It was great to be lucky enough to show some of her work along with mine in Chicago before I left the city. Even more incredible to have made such an amazing and inspiring international connection, including our wonderful spring trip through teh Colorado Plateau, which inspired me to now be where I am.

I'm looking forward to how things will unfold for me in this new life and surroundings.
Going back to the 'real world' after being in this kind of "limbo" state of volunteering and not having to worry about a paycheck or rent is going to be a challenge, but I am sure it's all going to go great.
if not, I'll be living in a tent, and out here, well, that ain't that bad really!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

be bold in your refinement

Like the stars which light up the desert night
Sparks arise inside
Birthed from simple
Words, Sounds, Sights, Tastes,
And the all too rare
Touch

Memories and the Living Present collide
In kaleidoscopic patterns of the Divine
As living experience.

I am a verb!
A climactic creature of becoming!

Living as an open door-
Don’t mistake my meaning.
The invitations I send are many
As I have a whole world I ache to share,
To spill a little bit of this rejoicing into your cup,
Would be bliss.
Then you spill it into yet another!
There are no limits as to who may come.
This pitcher never runs dry!

Though all are invited,
None is held in lower regard
Nor more outstanding than another
As each of us shine
With our own individual expression
of the One.

If all you have been able to perceive
Is the surface of my words,
Then you have missed.
There is an ocean available and you are feasting your eyes
On shells at the shore.
Let the waves of meaning flow over you.
Ask what is behind the waves rather than
Believing they are loaded with intention.

Or look to the layers of high desert sediment
Some crumble to the touch, while those above stand tall and firm.
The most fragile layers support the strongest forms
And eventually give their bodie to the wind and water
Spreading to become renewed earth.

All erodes in this world, but not equally.
Learn to discern which is which.
Only then do the eyes open wide and see beyond
The lowly cultural conditioning
Which plagues most souls.

There can be a meaning behind language
That many do not perceive,
For they have been told:
“Do not look behind the curtain! The Great Oz commands you!’
Pounded into too many children
So that mothers and fathers can hide their sins and misgivings,
Passing on tradition instead of healing and evolving.

Yet some are awakening,
Finding that healing before their time is past!
And sometimes it is their children who provide the pinch!

I ask you, “Can we recognize this great gift?”
A new world is unfolding before us.
An explosion of inner ways of insight,
To help understand who we are
Where we came from,
And how those who have come before
Have been misled and misguided for so long,
Led forth on shallow paths of simple meanings,
Walking along the shore while the whole time
they were at the edge of an ocean!

Banish the idea of victimhood!
Set yourself free through diving deep within
And discovering why you have become who you think you are
And how you can work and play to become
Who you dream to be
(and we’ll all hope that those dreams are not nightmares!)

American ways are both bane and boon
Cancerous narcissism
Mixed with a blank cultural slate.
I grew up free of ethnicity, of deeply entrenched traditions.
How many of you have lived the same?
It makes for fertile soil!
there is just that bit about which kinds of seeds you decide to sow!

Gifted with the ability to write our own destiny
Rather than blindly follow tradition and dogmatic simplicity.
Not that we abandon the ‘Wisdom of the Ages”,
We can simply have a much easier time separating the wheat from the chaff.
and if that whole theory of the evolving is true,
Then by definition, the next generation is always more capable than those who came before.
If not, how have we survived this long?

Yet the question remains:
Will we choose a legacy of Courageous Love?
Or will it be blind hedonism?
Or maybe separation entrenched in ancient reptilian fears?

The time for excuses is past.
BE BOLD!
Nurture your response-ability
turn your inner lead into gold.
Stop living the dreams of the dead.
Cast away your self centered humanism
And return to that which claims,
“This world is the Divine Playground of ALL Life!”
I speak of a belief considered most primitive, which is in fact
The most refined blasphemy:
Animism!
Illa!
All is God!
And all is a living constant change.

Do not let your secular shackles bind you.
Never submit to such a small world
When there is an infinite reality
Begging you to let it reveal its body and soul to you!

Cast away small minded deifications.
Whether an Orthodox believer or an Atheist,
Or somewhere in-between
The time has come to grow past your childhood,
Your simple comfortable fingerpainting,
And witness the Divine masterpiece!
Pick up the fine brush
And lose yourself in the delicate intricacies.
See the individual strokes, but do not forget
To pull back and see the larger picture they create!

Stop worshipping your overspecialized scientist-priests.
Your books do not make you noble.
Only living can do that!
Don’t mistake the map for the territory!
Don’t mistake the data for the reality!

With the birthing of the Age of Aquarius,
We can all too easily forget the coupling dance of the fish,
The shared reality,
And become lost in self-reference
Letting our humanistic self-importance
Lead us into that cancerous narcissism of the ego.
Remember,
Aquarius only carries that which is borrowed,
Not that which is known through experience.
Remember this as she pours forth the jug,
Whatever form it takes: written, viewed or heard twice removed.
She is just a messenger, a carrier:
That which she carries is not hers!

She is just an intermediary, not the Fountain.
There is little judicious insight or clear discernment there.
She brings it ALL, regardless of worth.
Does the postal carrier reveal the deepest secrets and meaning held within your mail?
He brings the coercive junk along with the sweetest letters of love!
Question that! And listen to your own experience!

Cultivate your discernment so you do not hold tight
To that which weighs you down instead of lifting you higher.
What does the deepest place in your heart feel?
What does the clearest place in your mind see?

Those who are invested in being right
Have created a barrier to seeing truth.
Both for themselves and
For those who behave like addicts,
Craving their officially educated and sanctioned words.
Rarely does one find depth there.
Watch and listen closely for coercive words
And know that they do not flow from the lips of truthsayers.
Those who truly know will let you decide for yourself
Leaving the use of defensive and infective language
To those who are still stumbling in the dark.

Beware those who speak in absolutes about that which is relative!

Seek the depth, the core of each thing.
Then expand that out to infinity!
Ask the next question, even if forbidden or
Thought of as heresy.
If you do this, the veil of
That bittersweet civilization which surrounds you
Will show itself for what it really is.
But that part, my friend, is for you to discover.

I know what I have found, but it is mine alone.
And yours will be yours.
Let’s share what we can and find that common place
Where we can dance and share bawdy stories of self discovery,
And our experience of the Whole,
Naked in our truths
Not covered with personality and pretension.
In an oasis where veils are obsolete
Except as playthings caught in the wind
flowing like the waves of the ocean.
As we whirl, whirl, whirl!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

quiet time with small punctuations

So, after New Year's Eve, Moab has pretty much gone to sleep for the rest of the winter.
The Moab Brewery, home of kick ass 2.50 pints and 15 cent wings (mon-wed), has closed for the month of January which makes me sad.
The weather has been interesting.
Blowing winds yesterday with tumbleweeds rolling around all over the place.
Somehow we managed to miss getting snow though (and it had been predicted up to 5 inches).
Michelle came through on her way to San Francisco and stayed for a couple of days.
Was good to see an old friend (first person to visit me!).
Created a little excitement too as she managed to get stuck up at the Delicate Arch upper viewpoint after dark one night and i had to go up and get her. hehe
not a big deal, but definitely a little bit of excitement.

So, I've been trying to figure out my plan for spring and so many things are still up in the air it is hard to determine how things will go.
There are enough options though that i am not freakin at all.
I'm anxious to have Noona around again.(no cats allowed in park housing)

Also managed to get really excited last night by a simple Facebook friend request from one of the coolest gals around which i unfortunately did not manage to spend time with before leaving Chicago cus i can be a real chump like that sometimes.
isn't it interesting how sometimes such small moments can trigger strangely overwhelming responses? Especially when you really do not know the person that well.
I guess sometimes there is just that certain vibe there that is so damn striking.
There's no logic to it, is simply IS.
I have a difficult time figuring out how to express that stuff sometimes, as you can never quite be sure how the person on the receiving end will interpret it.
I've been known in the past to come on too strong or be wanting to go a little too deep too fast for some.
Personally, i feel it is because i don't really proscribe to the "normal" emotional boundaries that this culture seems to maintain.
I love and connect readily and easily, especially when i sense an amazing, outstanding spirit which I feel inspired by.
There's a certain look in the eyes - that special connection that is beynd the rational. how can it even be described in words? it is such a raw thing.
Many of the Romantic Poets and the Sufis come close to describing it, yet even they know that it is really a matter of experiencing it, that the words and images can never replace the lived experience.

I managed to just flip the current Rumi book I am reading open to this:

THINKING AND THE HEART'S MYSTICAL WAY

A peaceful face twists with the poisonous nail of thinking.
A golden spade sinks into

a pile of dung. Suppose you loosen an intellectual knot.
The sack is empty. You've grown

old trying to untie such tightenings, so loosen a few more,
why knot! There is a big one

fastened at your throat, the problem of whether you're in
harmony with that which has

no definition. Solve that! You examine substance
and accidents. You waste

your life making subject and verb agree. You edit hearsay.
You study artifacts and think

you know the maker, so proud of having figured the derivation.
Like a scientist you collect

data and put facts together to come to some conclusion.
Mystics arrive at what they

know differently: they lay a head upon a person's chest
and drift into the answer.

Thinking gives off smoke to prove the existence of fire. A
mystic sits inside the burning.

There are wonderful shapes in rising smoke that imagination
loves to watch. But it's

a mistake to leave teh fire for that filmy sight. Stay
here at the flame's core.

-Rumi

interesting how random things can fit the situation and the feeling.

undoing the knot....

I ache for Love to visit.
at least for a moment.
to share experience
exploration
a venture into the backcountry of both earth and soul
not getting lost far from civilization
but rather finding the truth
which lies in the depths of canyons
where springs gush forth from stone
bringing life, sustenance,
slaking that nearly unquenchable thirst.
a Needle in the I can equal
magical medicine
The Old Ones knew it
and so should we.