Friday Poem:Prayer

IMG015I had another poem in mind, but I found this one first…It seems appropriate as the Australian Government is being forced to close Manus Island refugee detention camp – not that they plan to exercise any mercy if they can help it. I’m not sure if that is forgivable…it’s certainly not excusable.IMG_6295 (Large)

Give me compassion
Big enough to forgive
Those who have none.

Heart of Compassion,
Give me the power of love.
Burn out my ego –
It’s better to burn out
Than fade away-
But either will do
For my ego.

Burn out my obscurations!
Fade away my false self!
Empty me of everything
But Peace and Love and Empathy.IMG_6297 (Large)

If only governments could be emptied of ego, obscurations and falseness, and filled instead with compassion. I can dream…

The first photo is a drive-by shot with my old phone during a hailstorm – very obscure! then we have a crystal from a broken chandelier, and last, the rainbow light that the sunshine summons from a faceted crystal, always so pure and beautiful, I can’t help but fetch a camera if I have the chance.

Friday Poem: Question Everything

The poem came first. Then somehow I had some Time Alone this week, with pen and paper, and thinking of the poem and all that has been going on in the world of late (what’s new?), I wrote a little rant…question everything

Nothing is certain,
Not even this:
I don’t want to be certain-
I want to wonder
And to exercise curiosity.

I don’t want to be
Like a man who is sure what is true;
Such men are dangerous
For sure.
There have been a few.

Let me instead
Always question everything,
And keep ‘if’ and ‘maybe’
Firmly in my vocabulary.question everything 2

I don’t like Dominator Culture, however it is expressed. But, because we are immersed in it, it can be difficult to see – but once one is aware, it’s everywhere. Misogyny, abuse of children, spousal violence, unequal pay scales for men and women, cheap, illegal Mexican labour used for dirty, dangerous and underpaid work, 1% of the world’s population “owning” as much as the other 99% put together, violent struggles for control, whether for families, neighbourhoods or whole countries or religions. Keeping up with the Joneses and other extringent goals, playground bullies trying to assuage their own miserable self-worth by destroying someone else’s….Dominator Culture surrounds us every day, in ways both large and small, with the seemingly insignificant feeding on and into the blindingly obvious.

No one can beat Dominator Culture, because beating is joining it…So how to counter it?

Mohondas Gandhi taught non-violent non-cooperation, and one form of non-violent non-cooperation that anybody can participate in is to ask questions, maintain curiosity and to live an actively creative life. To be widely read, and go into the wild without wanting to tame it, to regard all persons as the equal of oneself (am I sounding like Walt Whitman? Don’t mind if I do…). To draw in the margins, and colour outside the lines. To love one another, and cultivate compassion, even towards those who seem to be the very worst…All this is deeply radical behavior,
and utterly contrary to Dominator Culture.question everything 3

Friday Poem: Invocation

This poem, or prayer, is based – very loosely – on a meditation for cultivating compassion, which is in Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, along with generous dashes of other spiritual ideas. Maybe you’ll recognise a few, depending on your reading habits! Or maybe you’ll recognise existential angst…bush

Oh, Little Master,
as representative of all the Buddhas,
as one facet of the one Mind,
Ground of my Being,
I ask of you,
burn out my obscurations.

Make me pure and free,
cast off the yoke of my stubborn Sense of Duty;
Little Master, let me be one with you,
a gleam in the flame of pure being.

Little Master,
as far as it is possible for me here,
in these circumstances which I suppose I must have chosen for myself,
for the lessons I wanted to learn,
and the course I wanted to complete,
as much as I can,
help me to be true.
True to myself,
my true self,
true to you, Little Master,
who have been with me always and will always be with me,
True to my purpose in being here.

Help me to break free,
to wake up in God’s wide world;
don’t let me sleep in a prison.

This is a lot to ask,
Little Master,
because I seem to love my chains,
because they are so familiar.

But you are familiar too,
and you know the whole story,
whilst I only look through
a crack in the door.

You are always behind me
and beside me.
Make me one with you.
set me free.

bush track

These photos were taken in ‘the bush’ near Chilton in Victoria. I think it’s called the Honey-eater picnic ground. We called in there on our way to Canberra to visit for Juniper’s first birthday, and didn’t have much time to spend there. The only  honey-eaters we saw were wattle birds, which are notoriously territorial and chase most other birds away – if they are present, you can be fairly sure you won’t see much else by way of bird life! We did find three species of orchids, though. Here’s one of them – Pterostylis curta, in a beautiful big colony alongside the track.bush orchids

Friday Poem: Prayer

Because it’s Good Friday…late light 3

Dear god
Dear Boddah of Compassion
Whatever name you choose
Or face you show
Love is your essence
Your heart is all compassion
In your hands is peace
And in your eyes is light
Light for my soul

Dear God
Dear Boddah of Compassion
A dark angel leads me
Leads me to the love of you
Broken on the wheel of compassion
I am finding perfect peace
Opening my eyes to darkness
I can see the Light of You

Dear God
Dear Boddah of Compassion
I can see the Light of You
Make me whole

late light 4I love the late slanting golden light that pours into the house on some autumn evenings. Whatever I was doing was quickly abandoned as I picked up the camera, and went on a quest to try to record it!late light 6

I don’t think that the fuzziness of this last shot detracts from the effect at all – quite the  opposite!

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 7

This on the back of the last page from last week, a sheet of plain old Kraft paper, but embellished with a piece of beautiful orange hand made paper, and one of my photos – which is actually upside down, now I look at it again! Oh well, perfection is dull and rules are for bending, especially in an artist journal of any kind. A quote from the Dalai Lama makes a commentary on the Kurt Cobain clippings, and I encircled them with words to live by – Peace, Love, Empathy, Justice, Compassion, Kindness, Respect, Warmhearted, Affectionate – written using a wonderful pencil which has all the colours of the rainbow in one lead. There are other colour combinations available. if you don’t have one, seek one (or more) out -very rewarding to draw with, too!as19

The next page is a postcard advertising an art exhibition, to which I have added an image from a magazine and an inspiring quote (from a book catalogue, I think). You never know where you will find some piece that will be just what you wanted – if you see something like this that you know you’ll use, cut (or tear) it out and add it to your stash immediately. Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time trying to find it again…as extraI liked the text on the back of the postcard, but stapled an old family photo over the rest, adding a few fairy stamps, just because. Stamps of all sorts are an excellent tool in the artists stash, although they can be quite expensive. I’ve bought some fancy ones at fancy prices, but it’s worth haunting the ‘craft’ aisle in “cheap shops” (you know the kind I mean) as they sometimes stock  useful things like sheets of clear stamps – flowers and bugs never go astray – and the clear acrylic blocks to attach them to. Cheaply!as20

And always remember, when making your personal artist scrapbook out of your stash of bits and pieces, using anything and everything from your stash of art supplies…as21


Except “have fun with it”.

Friday Poem: Let Go

sunset shadowIt can be hard, being a parent. Kids grow up, develop minds of their own, go off into the world, and sometimes do things that we’d much rather they didn’t…sunset 2

You see him falling,
And you want to catch her,
Hold him in your arms
And keep her safe;
But he slips through your fingers,
Past your feet,
and down into the darkness
Where you cannot go.
Yet she is safe,
Even in the lower darkness.

To love without reserve,
And then let go,
Is the hardest lesson;
But nothing is lost in God,
And there is nowhere
That God is not.

However high you fly,
Or low you fall,
You are in God;
There is nowhere
That God is not.

You, the mother with empty arms,
And also the fallen child
In outer darkness
Are both quite safe
And in the arms of God,
For there is nowhere
That God is not.sunsetThese photos were taken last night from Carol’s Cutting, between Ararat and Moyston, where there is a magnificent view of the Grampians. Not ‘great’ photos, as I only had my phone with me, but definitely worth pulling off the road to take them. Driving at dusk, I should be on kangaroo-watch, but I kept forgetting, and looking at the sky instead…glorious!

I Believe…

I wrote this years ago. I don’t think I’ve changed my mind…Christmas in Melbourne

“I believe that we are all immortal souls, embodied for a while in the process of learning the lessons important for the growth and maturity of the soul.

I believe that we need to learn to love, to be love: that we need to learn to accept and transcend the things that happens to us, good as well as bad.

I believe that we are all connected at soul level, although some souls may have an extra or special affinity for each other, to teach and learn from each other.

I believe that the force of love, called “God” amongst other things, underpins and permeates the entire universe, including us, and this realisation is what ‘enlightenment’ boils down to.Grampians sunset

I believe that love is the essence of all being. Being love is a state of total serenity. Nothing can touch you there, except empathy, by which you share in the feelings of another, which leads to compassion.”

Belief is strange. What one believes and what one knows can be two different things…and what we don’t know? It’s always open for speculation. What if? What if all that is true? (What is truth?) And what if it isn’t? Life goes on, irregardless of what we do or don’t ‘believe’, but it will always be better for all concerned to practice empathy, to exercise love, to inhabit peace… How beautiful are the feet of little babies!

Daily Prompt: To Boldly Go…3 Quotes

Today’s Daily Prompt asks us to think about the coming year, giving rise to reflection and goal setting – what bold plans we may have. I’m not much good at the “lose weight/get fit/learn to jive etc” style of resolution. My resolve may be to sit in cafes fomenting revolution of the peaceful kind, hinted at in these three quotes…Tara -embodiment of compassion

“What we are teaches  the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Pema Chodron

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated and diminished, when others are tortured and oppressed.”

Desmond Tutu

Being what I want my society to become, embodying as much as I can compassion and Ubunto seems especially important in the current political climate in Australia. Policies on education, asylum seekers, the oppressed generally are rapidly devolving. There is little that any one person can do against this tide of uncaring, only stand up and repeat “Not in my name – never, ever in my name.”

My goal is to stand up.


Daily Prompt: Love

Love is so simple. Well, it can be sometimes…it can also be complex, terrifying and incredibly hard. Love doesn’t always go the way we want it to, whether that is romantic love, or that of a parent for a child. Letting go of expectations and accepting what is, is also simple – just open up your hand, your heart, let go of that butterfly, that beast, that fixed idea that is chaining you to your suffering and desires. All you have to do is cut the chain…that’s the hard part…It’s easy to love a little baby like Juniper, but babies aren’t always sunshine and smiles. They are also experts at sleep deprivation, don’t always do what the book says they should, cry for no reason that you can figure out…Love can be hard.bath

Life is suffering-
Empathy is painful
Love is hard
Peace is impossible.

Once you’ve understood
all that
Dearest Chela
The rest is easy.

Game Plan

Here’s an idea I had for a video game…broad bean flower

You are an elderly peasant, standing in a garden, picking beans and tomatoes for the evening meal. You hear a strange sound and look up. Something is coming toward you from the sky. You try to run away, but there is nothing you can do. It follows you, and you are blown to pieces.

How do you feel?

You are a child, playing in the yard of your house. An elderly relative is in the garden, picking vegetables for the evening meal. You are going to help them when you hear a strange sound. You look up, and see that your elderly relative is frightened and trying to run away from something that is coming very fast from the sky. There is nothing you can do. Your elderly relative is blown apart, all over the family vegetable patch, and you are spattered with their blood.

How do you feel?

You are in the kitchen of your house, mixing together flour, water and oil to make a dough. You knead the dough, and break off balls of the dough and roll and pat it into discs ready to be cooked. Your elderly relative is in the garden picking vegetables for you to cook for the evening meal. Your child is playing in the yard, just outside the door. You hear a strange sound, and look out the door, just in time to see your terrified elderly relative blown to smithereens all over your vegetable garden. Your child is splattered with their blood and screaming in terror. You begin to wail yourself, even as you try to comfort your child. There is nothing you can do.

How do you feel?

You are sitting in a room in Nevada, looking at a screen. You are guiding a missile towards a person whom you believe to be an enemy, on the other side of the world. There is a camera on this device. You can see where it is going. It is headed toward a black-clad figure, standing in a garden outside a house. You see the face of a terrified old woman, moments before she is blown to shreds in her garden.

How do you feel?

It is your job to counter terror, but are you?

You log off, and drive home. There is a child playing in the yard, its mother is in the kitchen preparing the evening meal.

How do you feel?

It’s a game. How do you feel?

It’s a wheel of suffering. There’s nothing you can do. How do you feel?

What can you feel?

I wish I thought this story wasn’t substantially true. The child’s name is Nabila Rehman. The name of the game is “Empathy”.