It's a gamble when you start a drawing. What you want to be a masterpiece could end up in the bin. The result could lead to endless sobbing in your pillow - or - it could actually turn out okay. It's a risk. There was no sobbing or gnashing of teeth involved in the making of this drawing.
As in all things, there are ways you can keep from whimpering like a child who's lost his toy.
Practice the basics. It might sound trite but I really believe it's true.
This is why.
Long ago and far away, when I was growing up, my family was very sporty. I'm pretty sure my parents used sports as a pseudo babysitter.
Our days were filled with ice hockey, football, baseball, golf, basketball, and I even had a stint as a boxer. I was okay at most sports. Not great but okay. I have to admit that as a boxer I got pummeled more times than I care to remember. Come to think of it, that might explain a few things.
We played lots of sports but our drug of choice was ice hockey. I could have called it hockey but hockey, to some people, means a game played with an upside down shillelagh on a soft grass pitch.
I'm talking about ice hockey. The hockey that has pucks, blades, sticks and missing teeth. It's a hostile game of speed, skill, and brute force. It's gang warfare splayed out on a sheet of ice.
Originally from Quebec, our family has huge gnarly chunks of St. Lawrence River ice cutting through our veins. I'm sure you'll find it in our DNA somewhere.
I can still smell the locker room, feel the ruts in the ice, and see the steam rising off my uniform. I loved the game but I never really liked that nudge at five in the morning, and yes we played at 5 in the morning.
In every sport, a player knows they have to practice the basics endlessly to get good. Here are just a few:
If you want to get better at art, practicing the basics is essential too. You have to study:
This week, I'm getting back to basics - just because.
In this drawing, I was practicing the fundamental elements of drawing: composition, shape, form, and contrast. The basics of producing an interesting image.
If one thing is off, the whole thing can look horrible. Unless, of course, you're Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso.
This bird made it in my sketchbook this week.
I hope you enjoy it.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
"The early bird gets the worm" or at least that's what I've been told all my life but I think this morning was pushing things a bit.
At 4 am in the morning on Tuesday I was doing what most peoples do. The insides of my eyelids were getting a thorough inspection.
While I was enjoying my very own oneness with the universe, I heard a mind piercing chirp. It was either the loudest bird I've ever heard or it might have been the loudest, highest-pitched gunfire anywhere in the known universe. That little chirp at oh dark thirty had me perched upright in about 0.00001seconds flat.
It turns out the battery in the fire alarm had just gone out of commission and the alarm was warning me that it might be time for a new one. Note to the manufacturer: Please use a nice soothing Siri or Alexa type voice or better yet HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey. "Scott, your alarm needs a new battery." I can hear it now.
As it happens that little helpful chirp had enough adrenaline pumping through my veins to lift a 2-ton truck off a mother and child and do a great impression of Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. Okay, hyperbole for sure, but how the heck does a body recover from that. Even the sun has more sense than to get up that early.
I was dog tired but sleep wasn't ready to do me any favors.
I guess I should be grateful that I live indoors and it wasn't a copperhead getting cozy or a coyote nuzzling my cheek. That's probably a good thing so I'll put it in the win column.
It wasn't too much of a problem because I get up pretty early anyway but the question remains ... Why do these things always happen in the middle of the night?
I've found most really bad news comes in the middle of the night (Yes, I consider 4 am the middle of the night).
Nobody wakes you up at 4 am to tell you they've won the lottery and they're giving you half cause you are a fabulous human. I have, however, had several lawyers and bankers from other countries tell me I've inherited millions of dollars or they want me to distribute their millions because they are so concerned with getting the money out of their country. I am apparently their last resort. And all this because I'm divine and saintly.
But even they don't call! They just send me endless emails promising me "riches beyond the dreams of avarice". Isn't avarice one of those seven deadly sins?
That's why, when I go to bed, my phone goes into airplane mode.
As if to pile insult right smack on top of injury, at 7 am (still not a civilized time for noise) the gardening crew showed up next door with their gas-powered hedge trimmers, gas-powered leaf blowers, gas-powered chainsaws, and the accompanying gas-powered megaphones attached to brainless human gas-bags yelling orders at each other.
I try to be tolerant. I really do. So I don't say anything. You have to pick your battles well in this life.
I understand it gets hot here in the middle of the day. I understand they want to get going early so they can get home early to their beers, burgers and bourbon whiskey. I know all that. So I go with the flow.
I'm just glad this doesn't happen every day. Most days I can ease my way into the day with thoughtful, quiet expectation and exuberance.
I think I'll work toward that.
Until next week - I wish you peace.
It's been a great week here in the desert. The temperatures are starting to rise a bit. This week's highs were in the eighties and next week is promising nineties.
You know where this is heading, don't you? Last summer the highest temperature here was 120F / 49C.
Change is all around now as one season gives way to the next. I'm sure it's the same in your neck of the woods.
I like to get out for a walk almost every day. Walking just makes me feel good, especially when the weather cooperates.
By stepping out and moving my legs I keep myself sane(ish) and in better shape than I'd otherwise be as I sit behind a computer or a painting umpteen hours every day. Operative word, "sitting".
Sitting's not one of those nice active verbs. It's not like running, jumping, swimming, climbing, or walking. It's passive, reserved, shy, retiring, blah. Though I do like a nice sit after a long walk. That's relaxing and restoring and not blah at all. It's also easier to read a book, drink a cup of coffee, or use a knife and fork, or type while sitting. I guess sitting does have a use.
It's just that sitting and I have a far too intimate relationship. I like to keep my distance so I don't get sucked all nice and cozy into the armchair vortex of slothfulness.
Walks give me a chance to "stop and smell the roses", admire the clear blue sky, or the mountain views along the way. There are so many beautiful things to see if you pay attention.
I love watching the trees begin to unfold their leaves and the flowers open up to show off their goods.
I guess lots of people like this time of year because poems about flowers and spring are all over the place. You won't find me waxing lyrical with eloquent profundity about their beauty. I'll leave that kind of thing to the likes of Mr. Shakespeare. Okay - here's a bit of one I like by Mr. Wordsworth.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
William Wordsworth, Lines Written in Early Spring
Let me say simply that the flowers here are gorgeous.
Of course, many pretty things have very effective ways to protect themselves. I'm not talking about bodyguards either but I've found the prettier the flower the more vicious the defense. Some of the plants that sprout flowers here happen to be prickly, unforgiving and can be downright dangerous. I wouldn't want to get too close.
To get the best effect when you stop and smell the roses though you have to pay attention and appreciate them too. That's what I try to do. I'm usually irritating to walk with because I'm always stopping and snapping photos of things that I find interesting. I'm kind of like a child.
Have you ever seen a cactus flower? It's quite a sight.
Here's a selection of photographs I've taken over the last week of flowers, shrubs, cactus, and trees here in Sun City Grand. You can see them below in their fantasmagorical spring splendor. The reds are really red, the purples very purple, the palo is quite verde, and the saguaro is just itichin' to pop. I'll have to keep an eye on that one.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy the changing seasons in the next month or so before you have to start mowing the lawn all over again. Every season comes with its chores.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
I'm going to the AIIP Annual Conference in Minneapolis next month (April 19th - 22nd.) I was inspired to draw something for the conference. This flyer is the result. It's the iconic Spoon Bridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I thought it was kind of cool and I wanted to share it.
This conference is where Independent Information Professionals meet up and share the secrets of making and delivering world-class information products. I look forward to the conference every year.
I didn't learn to build information products overnight. Experience has been my best teacher, more than 25 years worth.
I had a bit of aptitude for it. I understood things rather quickly. It still took a lot of water under the bridge to understand what I do today, which, in the grand scheme of things, is just a grain of sand on a very large beach.
Then why did I think that I would be able to be so good at drawing right off the bat? I suppose it was a bit of fanciful/delusional/wishful thinking.
That's kind of changed in recent years.
It all happened when I made up my mind to be better. I stopped saying I wasn't good enough and only strove to be better regardless where I was in the process.
I'm talking to all of you who say, "I can’t even draw a stick figure." or "I wish I could draw."
I'd like to say that you CAN draw a stick figure and if you can draw a stick figure you CAN draw.
And wishing is what you do with your fairy god-mother or upon some star or other. It's the same as saying, “Let me have X and don’t make me work at it.” It’s wanting something for nothing. Believe me, I've often wished I was better but practice works much better than wishing.
Here's a little tidbit. Did you know if you wish upon the first star you see at night - it’s most likely not a star but a planet? BTW - Who is this guy Tid and why do we care about his bits?
Work is the only way to get there. It's really sad that proficiency doesn't fall out of the air like manna from heaven or grow on trees. You can have a bit of talent or aptitude but even Michelangelo worked his tail off to get better. One of the reasons he got so good is he did more and worked harder than other apprentices at the time.
I'd like to tell you, "If you can write you can draw." What is drawing but representing something on something else with some medium or other that is understood to be what it is or evokes some emotion?
Can we agree on that? Maybe or maybe not.
Do this - take out a pencil and write the letter "A".
Does it look like an “A”?
Do you think other people recognize it as an “A”
You just drew a stick figure that was recognizable to at least the entire literate English speaking world. That’s a lot of people.
You CAN draw something other people can understand and recognize.
Yes, some people write better than others. People who write well often care about writing more than those who don’t. There are calligraphers and there are doctors. The chasm is wide and deep.
The rest is just getting better. That takes educating yourself, practice, and the most important thing: Desire.
What do they say? "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." So find your desire and watch the teacher appear.
The saying is often incorrectly attributed to Buddha. Its likely origin is a charlatan called Mabel Collins. She actually recanted her claims in an 1889 letter. Why not use a "Fake Buddha" saying if it sounds good? It just sounds better coming from Buddha. There's no harm in that. Is there? I like the sentiment.
The rest is just - wash, rinse, repeat.
You don’t need any special tools. You can start with a pencil and paper.
If I draw something poorly, I just try again, and again, and again.
I guess you also need a high tolerance for repetition and failure.
The next time the spirit moves you, make a horrible drawing. You have to make a whole bunch of them. I’m sure the next one will be better.
It’s not always about the result but sometimes it’s about the process and the process can make us better people.
If we feel better about ourselves, aren't we are more likely happier, healthier and nicer to be around?
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Finally, My Dale (Scott's Dale) had an art festival for me. I wasn't sure when it would happen but it did happen and I got to go there last weekend. I should be used to these type of honors but it still overwhelms me a bit when a whole festival is thrown in my honor. I want to thank the state of Arizona and the City of Phoenix for the honor. I hope to be picking up the royalty checks very soon. I think they're in the mail.
I really shouldn't have been surprised though.
Gosh, "they" even named a whole village after me in England. Who would have guessed?
Attenborough is a little village south of Nottingham in, of course, Nottinghamshire. That really put me on the map - literally. Been there.
Did you know "Attenborough Studio" is a real thing? It's at the Darwin Center in the Natural History Museum, London. Though, to be fair, there's a guy named David who thinks it's named after him. We'll keep that one quite - just between us for now. Yup, been there too.
As I was driving to "My Dale" Art Festival I was eager to grace them with my presence. I looked forward to being able to wave to my people. Then, as if a crushing weight fell on my head, I realized how far Scottsdale is from where I currently hang my hat in Surprise. It takes almost an hour to get there.
Why do we live in Surprise and not in Scottsdale - you say? Partly because stuff is really expensive in Scottsdale and - well - nope - that's it. It's expensive. There are a lot of other reasons but I don't want to bore you with them right now.
Scottsdale has a great "Old Town". It gets overrun with tourists this time of year or at least it was last weekend. Partly because the weather is great but it's also spring training season here in Arizona. Scottsdale Stadium hosts the San Francisco Giants. Fans were out it droves drinking, merry making, and basically whooping it up to a karaoke version of "Take Me Out To The Ball Ole Ball Game". Fans can be loud.
Nevertheless, I was there for the Art Festival.
When I go to these things I like to learn something. I look at it as gathering intelligence at a trade show. How do they do this and how do they do that. I pay particular attention to the artists, how they set up and how they sell.
There were a lot of fabulous works on display and some less fabulous. I would say all of the people exhibiting were really professional. Nothing looked amateurish or poorly executed. I did notice a lot of the same old stuff but there were some interesting new takes as well. There was high end (ish) art. Nothing even close to the $100,000 range but nothing was bargain basement priced.
There were bands playing the whole time on two different stages, the beers weren't outrageously expensive but the food was a bit more than I thought it should be.
Even though it rained while we were there (mostly an irritating drizzle), we had a good time slinking in and out of booths, commenting on this, admiring that, giggling profusely, and generally spending a wonderful Saturday afternoon in Scottsdale with friends.
I spoke to exhibiting artists about how they applied to show their work at the festival.
That's how I learned about a web app called ZAPPlication.org.
I've been playing around with the ZAPPlication website, exploring different venues to exhibit and sell artwork. There are several shows where I might be able to play show-and-sell. Who knows, I might come to a town near you! Some of the artists I met go from show to show every week selling their artwork.
I could paint during the week, sell my wares on the weekend. Doesn't sound like a bad gig to me. It would be better than working during the week and painting on the weekends.
I'm in the middle of trying to figure all this nonsense out. Hang with me, please. It's good to make meaningful progress toward a worthwhile goal. It makes me feel good.
I hope you have a wonderful project that you're working on too. I hope you have something that makes you happy and makes you feel good. It does create a bit of brightness and lightness in life.
For now, I leave you with this bright and cheery bird for the weekend.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Life is moving faster and faster lately.
Have you seen a hummingbird while it hovers? My life seems to be whipping by faster than hummingbird wings.
When you're a kid you don't think about the amount of time you have left in this place. Right now, I'm pretty sure I've seen more days behind me than I have in front of me.
I have to face the facts. I'm giving a big wet kiss to 60 right now so I'm not even middle-aged anymore. If you're an optimist you can believe that you'll get about ninety years. My dad is going to be ninety this year. GO DAD! Mom didn't get that many years.
I love learning about new things and learning about the world in general. One way I learn is to listen to podcasts. I love podcasts. I'm not what you might call a self-improvement junkie but I like to see if I can pick up tips along the way.
I just want to know how I can be the best Scott I can be.
I was listening to Nancy Davis Kho's podcast the other day. Hi Nancy! Her podcast and blog, "Midlife Mixtape", circles music and the middle years. Nancy talks about "thriving in the years between being hip and breaking one". I love that!
Now that I've not in the middle years am I not allowed to listen to that podcast anymore? Again, my party, I'll listen if I want to. She has some great guests on her podcast. The last one I listened to involved a Chainstitch Wrangler called Kathie Sever. If you want to find out what a Chainstitch Wrangler is that a great place to find out!
I love how Nancy always asks her guests "What was the first concert you went to and when?" My first was Peter Frampton, June 14, 1975 at San Francisco's Winterland and, yes, he did play "Show me the Way" but that's a whole 'nuther story.
Fortunately, I haven't yet broken a hip. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever been hip. I'm not quite at the finish line yet but I'm not the spry young thing I like to remember myself being.
When you look at life with the middle years in the rearview mirror, you realize there are only a certain number bullets left in your magazine but unlike the rifle-range, reloading isn't an option.
Some people measure those remaining years in the number of books that they can read, the places they can go, or myriad other things before the eyes dim and their living skills start slipping away.
I've been thinking more in terms of paintings or artworks I can see or create before all my vigor has slipped through my fingers. Picasso created more than 50,000 artworks in his life. I haven't made the calculation yet but I don't think I have time to catch up. He had a bit of a head start. I'm not giving up though.
I've been thinking about how I can maximize the years left. I worked out these five things that might help me get closer to being the best Scott I can be.
Today I'm grateful for you...
Until next week - I wish you peace.
Traveling is just not fun. I don't mind being in the places I go but the traveling is just horrendous.
This time my flight left at 1:10 am. I'm usually inspecting the insides of my eyelids about that time not getting ready for boarding.
I’ve found being prepared for the flight can make the whole experience less horrible.
This time - No big suitcases for me. I set off with only a carry-on and no checked bag.
Okay - important... Organize Carry On...
I was all set for the flight. All I had to do was point myself in the direction of the airport and engage propulsion. SuperShuttle to the rescue.
I wish somebody could explain the airline boarding system. Apparently, there's now a Group 9 on American Airlines. Group 9?! By that time all the space in the over-heads and under-seats must be taken up with chickens, turkeys and carrier pigeons. I was lucky to be in Group 5 because this plane was packed to the gunnels. God knows I was grateful not to be in Group 9. It's all so confusing.
Usually, after I sit down on the plane I try to keep my head down. I don't want to stare at the throng/thongs of backsides & elbows jostling for seats and storage space.
This flight was a bit different.
I was trying to keep my head down - really I was. I couldn’t help notice the "Children Of The Corn" romping down the aisle. I braced myself because every single one of those ankle-biters was coughing and snorting and touching everything they passed. They were touching everybody!
I’m not terribly paranoid normally.
I’ve eaten enough dirt and filth in my life to have a pretty healthy immune system. Nevertheless, there’s no need to tempt fortune by being exposed to some deadly virus in a sardine can hurtling through the atmosphere.
Isn’t that how those disaster/zombie movies always start? They all start on a plane where unwittingly patient zero gets infected by some mutant zombie virus. Hold it - Maybe I'm patient zero. Noooooo!
This time though, I pleaded the universe to keep the little germ factories away.
Please, God, Help Me!
I stared down the first of Satan's spawn with daggers coming out of my eyes emphatically pleading - "Don't touch me"! It must have worked. At the last second, the little beggar grabbed momma's coat-tail. He passed me by sucking his thumb. His gangly limbs were firmly wrapped in his own little personal space.
Then zombie apocalypse candidate number two came coughing and snorting and sneezing down the aisle. The little germ-ball was touching EVERY SINGLE SEAT with his tiny nasty fingers.
Mother was oblivious to what was going on. She paid no attention at all until, just as the heavens parted for Elija, like a whirlwind, she swooped the kid into her arms as they approached my seat.
Whew! - Number two avoided.
The last little rug rat was at least three rows ahead of me. Lucky me three times - this really is a great day.
Number three down. I'm Free!
Just then - A God Send!
I noticed the seat beside me hadn't been taken. I unconsciously caught myself chanting under my breath: "please leave that seat open, please leave that seat open… "
But it happened just as the doors were about to close. Somebody plopped down next to me. It just wasn't meant to be. No open seat next to Scotty Boy. I guess the miracles I experience only extended to zombie virus avoidance.
I didn’t get a certificate from my seatmate but he looked healthy enough. Actually, he seemed to be a nice guy. We exchanged pleasantries and started to go about our own business. I stared at my iPad - and him - I don’t think we'd even started to taxi and he was asleep. I envied him.
I'm grateful the universe loved me today.
The four and a half hours to Miami seemed to go by in a flash and my flight to St Thomas was also uneventful. It's been about a week now and I haven't manifested any sign of sickness. No zombie apocalypse virus this time.
A big thank you to whoever was smiling on me.
Today's little drawing is one that reminds me of St Thomas. Iguanas are all over the place here, even after the hurricane but that's a story for another week, maybe even next week
Until then - I wish you peace.
When you're 11 years old you wake up early on Christmas day, you just do.
Christmas was always amazing at our house. I remember being so excited on this particular Christmas because, under the tree, just beyond the hockey gear and the socks and the new pajamas, I saw it. I wasn't sure I saw it ... but I saw it.
In the run-up to Christmas, there could've been no doubt what I wanted to see under that tree. I wrote to Santa, I begged, pleaded, whimpered, and cajoled. I dropped hints and made suggestions (kids are about as subtle and a jackhammer).
Then, on Christmas morning, when I unwrapped my present, my heart soared like an F-4 Phantom with blazing afterburners going vertical. It was loud! It was spectacular! It was a brand spanking new electric guitar - AND IT WAS RED! I strapped it on, cranked it up and made my parents sorry they ever had a child.
For me, it was the best gift ever! (aside from that whiskey advent calendar I got a couple of years ago - now that was a real gem).
I had no clue what a chord was, I had no idea a note was. But, oh man, it was a rip-roarin' blast whaling on my brand new "ax". That's until blood started to trickle out of my ears, my fingers resembled freshly ground hamburger and our poor unfortunate neighbors had to summon the noise police. All's well and good until there's a court order involved.
The parental units finally gave up on the thought that I might spontaneously emerge with some sort of musical genius. Having admitted they were powerless over my horrible guitar pounding, they gave their lives over to a higher power, consulted the yellow pages and decided it was time to trade some hard earned cash for the edification of their number one son.
My guitar teacher was Mrs. Elenor Spicer. God only knows how I remember that - I just do. She was a pleasant enough muse who taught music out of her living room. Every Wednesday after school I'd hop on my bike and point my body in the direction of Mrs. Spicer's house two and a half miles away. That's way back when we still used Mr. and Mrs. to address big people.
Do you know it's hard to ride a bicycle and carry a guitar? If you're me it's really difficult.
You either have to hold the handlebars with one hand and carry the guitar in the other or ride with no hands and use both hands to carry the guitar. I can't imagine why neither my parents, my teacher nor I thought about using the guitar strap to hang the thing on my back. It would have been much easier and oh so much safer. Nobody wore a helmet back then. One wrong move and life could have been much different for me.
My parents should have known better but I think my mother liked to watch me suffer.
Perhaps that's why I have this enduring image blistered in my mind. I can see my mother laughing her @$s off watching her feeble son ride off into the sunset for his lessons. One hand holding the guitar and the other holding the handlebars, the poor kid (me) wobbled down the road like a drunkard leaving the pub at closing time.
The first song I learned was "Try a Little Kindness" by Glenn Campbell. Believe me, I was no Glenn Campbell.
I struggled to get it right. Mrs. Spicer was very kind and encouraging and everything you'd want in a guitar teacher. The problem was I didn't practice enough. Actually, I don't think I practiced at all. Why I expected to show up week after week magically improved I don't know. We are blind to our stupidity sometimes.
After a while I let it go. I didn't pick it up again until years later. In other words, I gave up. Sure, I would take it out to tickle the strings sometimes but for the most part, the guitar stayed locked up and out of mind.
Years later, I picked the guitar up again. I took lessons and practiced and eventually got better. I'll never be Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck but I've found with practice and perseverance I can put some of my shortcomings behind me.
Many beers later, a friend and I started playing music in his basement for fun. We kept at it month after month. We started to improve. One thing led to another, a few others joined us and we ended up playing some gigs together. It was so much fun. I loved it.
It's the same with painting. The more I paint the more confident I get. Eventually, I've started to see myself get better.
I hope I've learned my lesson. If you stick with something you can get better. It can open up a whole new set of opportunities.
I'm really glad I picked up painting and drawing again too. I can't wait to see where it leads. I love to do it and getting better gives me some encouragement and confidence.
You really do get some do-overs in life. It's never too late to get back in the saddle and do what you love. It makes this aging rocker and painter very happy.
What makes you happy?
What have you left it for dead on the side of the road?
Pick it up again. Dust it off - it will change your life.
I'm a guy. Really, I'm a guy but I've grown to like Valentines Day.
I am sure I don't like the commercialization of it and don't like feeling obliged to do anything. But I've grown to understand or accept Valentine's Day in a different light.
So what is Valentines Day anyway?
Is Valentine's Day just a "Hallmark Holiday"? One of those holidays designed to sell cards, candy and jewelry?
Is it a just a day men run around like little flower bearing cupids with their heads cut off seemingly trying to stay out of trouble for yet another year?
Is it a day for boosting restaurant bookings?
Is it a day for helping kids with "Be My Valentine" cards?
Is it a day for remembering Chicago Gangsters?
Is it Christian or is it Pagan?
None of those things really float the old steam barge I've become.
When somethings doesn't suit me, I reinvent it to make it's more compatible with my way of seeing things. It's a cool trick cause you can do it right between your ears.
So what is it?
For me - it's none of those things I bubbled up to the top of this post.
For me - It's a day I remember friends. It's a day that I can remember and renew relationships (my other half urges - "not THOSE kind of relationships").
For me - its a birthday. One of my very best friends from childhood was born on February 14th. When Valentines day comes along I think of him. Okay - I think of him way more than once a year. Happy Birthday Rick.
For me - I like to remember my friends and how lucky I am to actually have them. (friends that is)
I have come to realize that most people like to know they're loved. Your friends are your fans, your tribe, your people. They are the group you can count on in a jam.
Not everybody is going to be your friend but everyone is a potential friend.
Valentine's Day, in the past, has had a bad reputation as a BS holiday but I would like to turn it around and think of it in a bit of a different way. I would like to think of my friends.
That's why, today, to my friends and my potential friends, I wish you all a Happy Valentines Day and you should know that I am thinking about you.
I like to think different.
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I hope I hear from you.
I wish you Friendship, Love & Happiness
Did you know that you can train yourself to be at peace? Honestly, really you can. I've found that painting gives me peace and I'll tell you why.
No matter who you are, I'm know you could use a bit more peace in your life. So many traumatic things are going on in the world today. It's hard to escape the hubbub.
I do the best I can by watching minimal news and I try to make my little corner of the world as peaceful as possible.
But avoidance is not a total solution. The horrible truth is you can't avoid the hair pulling, mind numbing rancor altogether.
Challenges come along in life. The world just likes to poke you all the time.
That's a stone cold fact.
In this context I'm thinking of peace as equanimity (mental calmness, composure, and even temper) and not the opposite of war.
Equanimity is one of the The Four Sublime States in Buddhism.
The Four Sublime States are:
I just think that equanimity is a great concept and a cool word. Once you learn it you'll have trouble getting it out of your mind.
My brain is so often like a Super Ball bouncing off the walls. Do you remember Super Balls? They were really really bouncy.
When I let my mind run amok the result is not good.
What are the symptoms of my uneasy mind?
The question becomes how do I bridle the beast in the dusty attic between my ears?
You can train your mind to be peaceful
Did you know you can train your mind just like you can train a seal or a dog?
There's lots of information out there on that inter-web thingy.
It's like playing golf or it's like playing the guitar or it's like painting. You have to train yourself to get better. The more you train the better you get.
By the way - Those are three of the things that work really well for me. Those three things bring me peace and make me centered.
Why you ask?
Believe it or not those things have some of the similar attributes.
You have to engage extreme mental concentration and physical coordination at the same time. To get in what is called a flow state you have to quiet your mind and engage your body.
If you want to read more on "Flow " state try looking up Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced: me - high - cheek - sent - me - hi). He's the guy that coined the term Flow with respect to peak performance.
At first it's pretty hard work but it gets easier over time. You learn how to quiet the mind. You learn how to coordinate the body. You learn how to get into the extreme present to maximize your performance.
I do, in fact, know that those things work for me. They keep me centered when all around me is falling apart.
Art works the very same way for me.
When I'm painting I am totally involved in the process. It allows me to be centered and helps me train my mind to be peaceful. It's almost automatic when I pick up a brush.
I want to make world a better more peaceful place to live but I don't have control over the the whole world so I'll do my best to make my little piece of the world as peaceful as possible.
Life is so much more agreeable when you have peace in your life.
What works for you?
Where do you find peace?
Comment below and let me know where your peace comes from. I'd love to know.
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I hope I hear from you.
I wish you Peace.