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Artist in Studio

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Photo by Bonnie Arbittier:  www.bonniearbittier.com

Part of photoshoot for the following article:  Victoria Advocate   https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2016/jul/06/victoria-artist-finds-inspiration-south-of-border/

 


Of Doors and Dreams

Life is a series of doors we step through.  Each door leads to a new Universe.  These doors come to us as people, places or even activities.  Each person, for example, is the center of their Universe, and you become a satellite of them there just as they are a satellite within yours.  Some people do not step through many doors,  staying for the most part in the same Universe into which they were born.  This is okay, as each Universe is infinite and provides limitless experience.

I have always been eager to open new doors.  In my youth there were so self_Realmany, and each opened into a world with even more exciting doorways available.  I flew through them daily, until the world from the year before, when re-visited, seemed alien to me and I had no place there.   Eventually I came to a point where the doors seemed to beckon to me, urging me to step through and thereby become as them.  This was a little frightening, and I got into the habit of searching out new doors which were similar but different to the future I was being urged toward.  I in effect invented my own doorways.

I would sit and think.  I would sit and dream.  I would use logic and analogy to come up with a plan.  Sometimes my depression would force me to act, and I would spin into a world where no one else had been before.  This has become a habit over the years.  Now I feel more comfortable sailing through an alien landscape than playing a role within the status quo.   But this kind of life, though tremendously rewarding, has depleted my power reserves over the years, especially financially.  For to get anywhere within a world, one must put down roots and gather reserves.  I’ve never done this.

A long time ago I realized we are all in prisons of our own making.   The only answer is to design your cell with as much care as possible.   Lately I’ve actually designed and created my prison cell from scratch, as it were.  From the porch of  this little dwelling I can sit and ponder a landscape of boundless beauty.  I can see mountains that are fifty miles away or watch the movements of tiny insects at my feet.  And yet, it is still a prison.

Now the doors aren’t appearing very often, and my imagination for inventing new doors seems to be wearing away as well.  Oh I still have big dreams, but I can’t imagine how to fund them.

If I only had a little dough.

 


Journey Through Latin America (Part 10)

 

Arriving in Granada, Nicaragua was very easy from Masaya.  It cost a few cents by chicken bus and I arrived in less than an hour.  I could tell I was near the central plaza when I saw the colonial buildings and I signalled the bus-driver to stop by banging on the ceiling of the bus.  Luckily, I turned out to be only four blocks or so from the hostal Oasis, so I didn’t have to hire a taxi.  When I entered Hostal Oasis I had a tremendous case of deja-vu, the layout was almost exactly like Lazybones in Leon.  The reception, garden, pool, dorms, common areas all were almost identical.  Then when I entered my room I encountered two fellows I had met at Lazybones! is that funny or what?  I’m beginning to get used to this sort of thing along the “gringo trail.”

At first glance I liked Granada, there’s a lot to like: colonial buildings, cool breeze from the nearby lake, and everything designed with the tourist in mind.  Therein lies the rub.  Because of so many tourists the prices are inflated in restaurants, and anywhere you go you are accosted by salesmen, taxistas, moneychangers, tour guides or just plain beggars.

Hostal Oasis was an oasis from the chaos outside, and I enjoyed cooking my own dinners in the kitchen and meeting lots of travellers from all over the world: Israel, Austria, Germany , and of course Canada.  I couldn’t imagine what to do with my time outside of the hostal, and though I enjoyed playing guitar and using the free internet, I decided it was time for San Juan Del Sur.

I took a short, cheap bus ride to Rivas, then another to San Juan.  I realized immediately why everyone adores San Juan del Sur:  the streets are clean, the air is cool, and it is small and well arranged around the beach, plaza, and market–all just a few blocks from one another.

Just as I stepped off the bus I spotted a young lady wearing a Surfing Donkey T-shirt, the hostal I was looking for.  Giselle from Argentina guided me three blocks to the hostal, which was $7 a night for a dorm with breakfast and kitchen facilities, and a cold swimming pool.  I think I´ll be staying here a few days.

A funny thing, or two, happened today:  just after having lunch at a comedor in the market I bumped into Matt, who was one of the guys I had met in Leon AND Granada, so he holds the record for the most times I’ve met someone on my trip by accident.  Then a few minutes later I was talking to Elena from Italy who promotes Surfing Donkey as well as her macrame bracelets, when I spied another familiar face– Do from Israel, whom I had met way back at Casa Verde in Santa Ana, El Salvador.  He told me he had just put Megan on the bus, so I just had time to wave hello/goodbye to her.  Like I said, I’m getting used to this sort of thing on the gringo trail.

 

 


Psychic Event

Tchiya Amet

I had an interesting experience the other day.  I was meditating, as I do every morning, and it was going well.  Unlike most days, I was not as distracted by memories, desires, or fictional characters from movies or books.  I was in a peaceful state, approaching “no thought.”  A feeling came upon me, along with an idea that in around 10 minutes some “event” was going to take place.  Hmmm, I thought…what kind of event could occur? Probably the phone will ring, perhaps someone will knock on the door, or I suppose there could be a power outage.  Sometimes when I finish meditating it is exactly at the half-hour mark, maybe that’s all it is.  So I kept at peace for a space I felt was about 10 minutes, then I turned my head to look at the clock.  It was 10:28. Well, I guess that’s close enough, I thought, so I stretched my legs and started getting the blood flowing again.  Then the phone rang.  Wow, I thought, that’s cool.  I answered the phone, and it was Tchiya Amet, a fabulous indigenous reggae musician, who had never called me before, and we hadn’t communicated even by email in a couple of years.  She said she had been trying to send an email for the last 15 minutes, but for some reason the computer wasn’t cooperating.  She asked me if I would like to do the artwork for a new CD she is going to release soon.  Well yeah!  I would say that was a significant “event.”


Surfing Analogies

            There was a short time during my youth when I liked to surf, or try to.  Texas isn’t much of a place for surfing, but occasionally, when there is a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, there are waves big enough to ride.  For years I would paddle out to the big waves, get pounded, occasionally stand up for a few seconds, then exhaust myself fighting the waves again.  Then one weekend I was taught how to surf by someone who knew how.  He showed me how to use the rip current near the jetty to paddle past those pounding waves, then pass up the second line of breakers I had always stayed at.  He taught me to go beyond the third line of breakers, where the sea was calm—this is what is known as “outside.”  It was beautiful there, just sitting on your board and rolling with the swells.  The trick, it turned out, was to look toward the horizon and see the big swells coming—then paddle like mad so you were matching the speed of the wave at the moment it broke.  That’s when you can really get a good ride.  Then, after a nice ride, you have to peel off and get back “outside” before the wave moves you to the second line of breakers.         

            I was a waiter at the Lone Star Café at the time, and there was a serious surfer, named Bryan, working there as well.  It occurred to me on a busy Friday night how analogous the work was to surfing.  I kept telling Bryan, “ I can’t get to the outside, I’m getting pounded,” and he would nod knowingly, “ right on.”  The more I thought about it, and I still think about it, almost everything we engage in can be viewed in terms of surfing.  The reason is this:  everything in our physical reality, relative to time, is rising and falling, growing and decaying, coming and going, in a wave-like fashion.  We are on an ocean of change, and every entity and event in our lives is behaving like a wave.  So here are a few points to my “surfing philosophy” or “wave theory” and how they may be applied to one’s life:

1)      Find the rip current—“go with the flow,” why take a pounding and wear yourself out?  There is an easier way.

2)      Get to the “Outside”—its worth the effort to reach your goal.  Settling for the first line of breakers could be painful and tiring. (This one is difficult to be sure about, I guess you have to use your intuition to know where “outside” is.)

3)      Relax, and look to the horizon—contemplate the future, and try to visualize that perfect wave before it arrives.

4)      Give it your all—when you go for that wave, you’ll have to really dig in to catch it.  Don’t stop paddling.

5)      Keep your balance—riding a wave is a heady experience, don’t slip up.

6)      Peel off and get back “outside”—notice when it is time to move on, or you might get pounded and have to work a lot harder to get back to where you were. (again, you have to use your intuition here.)

 

Personally, I feel that I’ve been “outside” for several years now, and at the moment I’m paddling like mad.  I’ll let you know if I catch the wave, but its looking good so far.

visit my website: http://www.artbylowell.com


A Dreaming Recap

            I would just like to recap the major points I’ve been talking about regarding dreams and how to make them real.

1)     Dreams come from God.

 

2)     God is way too complicated for us to understand.

 

3)     Infinity is really big.  As a result, the possibilities are endless.

 

4)     There is a difference between fanciful dreaming and constructive dreaming.

 

5)     What you do today will affect the person you become tomorrow.

 

6)     The Universe will help you if you try.

 

7)     Badly planned pursuits of dreams may lead to uncomfortable situations.

 

8)     Often your dreams lead you to unexpected results, but personal growth will result from your failures.

 

9)     Well planned dreaming can result in great achievements.


Great Dreamers

for sale at artbylowell.com

          Abraham dreamed of a new land, to be solely inhabited by his progeny.  I personally don’t believe he heard the voice of God with his ears, but with his mind.  Genghis Khan called himself “the scourge of God,” and perhaps he was.  Perhaps Julius Caesar was.  Alfred dreamed of a United Britannia.  Ferdinand and Isabella a United Spain.  Columbus dreamt of a quicker passage to the Indies (sometimes we dream of one thing and achieve another.)  Benjamin Franklin dreamed up the postal system, among other things.  Isaac Newton dreamed of answers, as did Einstein.  Chĕ Guevara dreamt of giving power to the people, and probably died believing that he had.  Gandhi dreamt of peace, as did John Lennon.  Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.

          Please note:  I could be wrong—it could have been the wives, lovers, sisters or mothers who had the dreams, and influenced these men to achieve them.  Or it could have been completely other people who had the dreams, and they just campaigned for these men to advance their dreams.  History has to give credit to some one individual, when almost always the great accomplishments were achieved by a community.  Where, though, do the dreams come from?  Someone has to be thinking, receiving the flashes of inspiration and bringing the dreams to fruition.  Perhaps God or the collective consciousness emanates these ideas into the ether at appropriate moments in time, for the appropriate individual to “come up with it.”


Natural Awakenings Tucson – Sweat Lodge Offers Physical and Spiritual Cleansing

 

 Natural Awakenings Tucson – Sweat Lodge Offers Physical and Spiritual Cleansing

I’ve been attending this sweat lodge whenever I can for the last two years.  Its really great for shedding toxins and negativity.  I always have a better view of whats really important to me afterwards.


More on God…

            You might assume from my previous post that I’m not a Christian, but I am.  I’m also a Buddhist.  I just don’t happen to believe that any individual could be God, and everything else Not-God.  God, by creating the Universe (or Multiverse) is everything.  Nothing and no one is separate from God.  You and I are part of God.  And if we humans are the image of God, it is because we are conscious.  Perhaps we are, collectively, the consciousness of God on this physical plane. 

            You might be surprised to learn that nothing in Matthew, Mark, or Luke would contradict my point of view.  It is the Gospel of John, alone of the four, that postulates the exclusive divinity of Jesus.  Recently, I read about the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, a first century text that was outlawed by the early church leaders and was recently re-discovered in Egypt, along with several other Gnostic texts.  The scholar who wrote the book I read actually considers the possibility that Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”) may have been defamed in the Gospel of John for being contradictory.  It appears that many of the Gnostic texts espouse the belief that Jesus was teaching his followers how to attain divinity, to be equal to him, a Son of God.  Curiously, this is just what the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart, a great spiritual authority of the Middle Ages, was preaching.  Meister Eckhart sermonized on the importance of detachment in order to be part of the One.  This is just what Buddhism is all about.  No, Buddha wasn’t a God, in fact Buddhists believe there have been many Buddhas, including Jesus.  Buddha is just a term that means “enlightened one.”

            Do I believe in Jesus?  Of course, no one else has impacted the course of human history as he has.  He was the Messiah of whom the prophets foretold.  What’s more, his Spirit has been a force of good on our planet for millennia.  And it is the Spirit that matters (pun?)  For if you really become detached, and contemplate “reality,” it is obvious that everything is an illusion, or a delusion of our minds.  There is nothing solid—quantum physics has proven that.  So we are Spirits.  And we are One, just pretending to be separate.  Perhaps God is just having a bit of fun.  Oh, and I don’t buy into the whole “battle between good and evil” scenario. 

            May the Spirit of Jesus the Christ live within you, and may all beings attain enlightenment.  Amen


God is….

Dear God, God bless you, OMG, gosh darn it—the word is ubiquitous, and yet people rarely speak of the subject itself anymore, mostly because one is so easily misunderstood.  Touchy subject, lots of beliefs and interpretations.  They say that religion is on the decline, maybe so, but I don’t think that necessarily means that people are atheists, or even agnostics.  It’s just that everyone has a different view of who or what God is, and don’t feel comfortable having someone tell them they will be eternally damned for disagreeing with them.  One doesn’t choose what to believe, honestly, one believes what one believes.  If you can find a religion that conforms completely with your personal beliefs, well, you are blessed.  Also, there is that phenomenon known as blind faith.

            Lately I’ve heard the term “personal God” used, as in “…don’t believe in a…”  I think I know what they mean, but that term doesn’t work for me.  I would rather say I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic God.  That is to say that, to me, God is so much bigger and more complicated than a human that it is extremely vain to assume God could be encapsulated in our form.  I could say that God is the Universe—that’s pretty big.  Lately, however, I’ve heard that quantum physicists are considering the possibility that there are more than one—a Multiverse if you will.

            I enjoy contemplating Infinity, something rather difficult for our little human minds to comprehend.  If you look at our galaxy, there are more stars than we could possibly count.  Then, if you look at the Universe, there are countless galaxies!  Looking inward is just as daunting.  No matter how small a particle the physicists find, there appears to be something smaller, and with more empty space in between.  Infinity means there is no end—to anything.  Consider this:  it is mathematically possible for anything we can imagine to exist, somewhere out there in Infinity.  Then, if you consider the possibility of other dimensions, ones that may not conform to our “laws” of physics, well, there is an infinite number of possibilities.  This is God’s realm of existence.

 

original oil available at artbylowell.com


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