Spring 2006The Worm’s Waking
This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
I’ve been reading Rumi and preparing for my show in New York. I’ve been living in Seattle, still going through all the changes which mid-life brings, but I am starting to settle down and see more clearly into the future. The weather is breaking in Seattle, finally. Spring.
I’m still basically on a news fast. When I do listen, I get so irritated I want to explode or run. We should all be on the streets; this thing is getting worse everyday. Face it, this country is being run into the ground. Why are we sitting around watching it happen? I do have guilt about it, about my withdrawal from protest, but my own upheaval has taken precedence. Personally, things are settling though. My youngest son has moved to Seattle. It’s great to spend more time with him. This is the work that needs to be happening in my own life now; fathering, nurturing those close to me. We are healing. We have to heal our own lives, our own situations, before we can heal the world.
We are called to love. Love: scary and full of adventure. Of love,Coleman Barks writes, “ To a frog that’s never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but, someday I’ll take you there.” Rumi wrote, “ Gamble everything for love, if you are a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. Half heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean spirited roadhouses.” Speaking of searching for God, I’ve started going back to church. It’s been a long haul. But, We’ve found the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle to be very open and all inclusive. Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, straight, gay, black, white, everyone is welcome. Synchronicity begins when we make the first move. Sunday’s lesson included this Rumi poem,
One night a man was crying
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you calling out, but have you ever gotten a response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express IS the return message.”
The grief you cry out from draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of the dog for it’s master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.
The show in New York will be entitled “This Inner Outer World.” It opens April 28th, please come if you can. I’ve taken most of the colour out of the paintings and the work appears a bit more surreal than before. I’m trying to get to the real nature of reality. How it shifts and contains multiple “truths.” Questioning, “what is real?” The subjects are presented devoid of colour and surface detail. Just trying to get to the heart of the matter. Most deal with the drama of the last two years of my life. But, couched I hope in an aesthetic grisaille world. The allusions will be recognizable, Reimagined scenes from Jean-Loius Bunuel’s La Chien de Andalucia, Magritte, Guernica, AndreTarkovsky, men with umbrellas walking deserted Italian streets, Via Dei Malcontenti, Annigoni, film noir stills, Buddhist monks from Nepal, Ray Johnson, Dadaist injokes, lynchings, Wyethian quotes, memories of childhood, Balthus, a fenceline from Laramie, Wyoming, and B&W photojournalist references from the Rosenburg trails through contemporary Parliamentary skirmishes. All filtered through a new perspective and a new sensibility after having travelled the world in the past two years, having gathered images from the real world to represent and reframe my own inner struggles. Should be fun. You may see some of the paintings for the upcoming show at PPOWgallery.com.