hope, feathers and nests

nest

Hope
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Emily Dickinson

 

Recently I found an empty nest that had been placed with great care, attention and respect on a bench.  It was starting to rain.  I left the nest and continued walking.  When I circled back, the nest had not been claimed.  I placed it under the bench protecting it from the rain.  Later that day I drove back to see if it had been claimed…it was still there. 

I made a home for the empty nest in my studio.  After imagining all the possible ways to use it in art… assemblage, painted gold, preserved in wax… the empty nest seemed to want to just be.  So I left it as is.  In a process of becoming something else.  And simply looking at this empty nest (made by an expert nest maker) inspired the making of some new work. 

Nest=making, process, building, weaving, finding, leaving and returning, egg, growth, decay, growth, cycle, lost, found, circle, center, transitional space, impermanence, nurture, comfort, protection, safety, hope = Home

“Hope” you enjoy this link to Claire Danes reading and a signing by Rachel, age 9.  Rachel’s hands capture and embody this poem in such a beautiful and moving way.

hope is the thing with feathers

Slowly looking with the Buddhist “good eye”

Slowly looking

Recently I came across the Contemplative Photography movement, which incorporates Buddhist mindfulness practice with Western ways of seeing the world.  Contemplative Photography practice is based on holding an intention of learning to look and see through a lens of nonattachment. Through practice, you begin to trust the gaps in discursive thought where clear seeing and inspiration emerge in your art.

Matthieu Ricard describes Contemplative photography as

seizing the present moment as one would delicately hold a poppy without shedding its petals.  It is about nonattachment; one has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but everything to offer to the eyes of the viewer (from jacket of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the world with fresh eyes, written by  Andy Carr and Michael Wood, Shambala, 2011)

Miksang is a Tibetan word which means “Good Eye”. The practice is founded on Shambala  and Dharma Art Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.  The word “good” relates to uncluttered vision and seizing the present moment.  In the following video “Miksang” practice is explained in a way I hope you find inspiring.

 

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
― Mary Oliver

treasure

The most treasured moments are those timeless ones where you are totally engaged with whatever you are doing.  You are in the zone, the canvas, the rock climbing or the conversation.  You are completely focused and feel positive shifting of energy.  This experience is a cultural universal.  When we are in that place we are connected, fulfilled, at “one” with and at home.  Just what is this state of consciousness or energy that gets activated?

Chi is described as the universal life force or energy that permeates everything in existence. Is this mysterious river of energy  related to Mihali Csikszentmihalyi’s flow state, the state of mind where we are optimally challenged and totally engaged?

Watch John Vervaeke explain the psychological experience of Chi………Chi Explained Without Magic.

Hurrying Slowly

“When you pay attention  to your dreams, you inhabit a much larger part of your soul.”
- Robert Bosnak

In his book Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel, Robert Bosnak, writes about how images are embodied by the dreamer. He views dream images as places of emotion, or as image environment ecosystems in which we find ourselves. He states “Place and storytime are simultaneous and indistinguishable, portrayed as a moment in place as seen from above” (p.18).  Rather than projecting onto an image, we interact, engage and dialogue with images. Through creative imaginal process we both shape and are shaped by images in dreams and/or art.

slowdown1

Here is a video where Robert Bosnak speaks to the importance of slowing down and paying attention to the particulars……

Art and Dreaming

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”  Vincent Van Gogh.

In his book Dream Tending: Awakening to the healing power of Dreams, Dr. Stephen Aizenstat writes that dream images are like characters in a story.  Dream images give meaning to our life’s story, just as characters in novels give meaning to the narrative.

“An artist is constantly looking into an object, stripping away what is superfluous, in order to see its innate beauty.  Even a careful look at the surface of an object reveals that which is lit up from the inside” (Aizenstat, p. 263).

teachers, artists and horses. about learning to pay attention.

horse

Whats the connection between horses, teachers and artists?  Creatively foraging and found Artist Bruce Nauman sharing his thoughts on You Tube.  One interesting point he makes is that good teachers get right to the difficult spots, just like good artists go right to the difficult parts in whatever medium they work in.

creating what matters


What do we actually see? Dr. Jordan Peterson’s inspiring ideas about following “what shines forth”
Creatively Foraging on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLteWutitFM

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