I was born….

I WAS BORN

I was born in 1960. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  I will turn 60 in 2020.
I turned 20 in 1980. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  I will turn 80 in 2040.
I turned 40 in the year 2000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

All of my present has been
neurotically ricocheting
back and forth between
my past and my future.

I turned 40 in the year 2000.
When I turn 00
I will return to
what I was
before I was born

At peace.
At home.
In total oneness with
existence and nonexistence.

… on… the race to the bottom….

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

~ Adolph Hitler

This sadly shows what has happened here in America in politics, media and religion and can be seen on the rise throughout the world.  It is a race to the bottom.

******************

and now… the uplift….  As bad as things seem to get there is still hope.  The lower things go the easier it will be to turn around and head back up.  Here’s some uplifting music to help turn things around.

… on… becoming….

58 years ago at this time I was in the second trimester before my birth.

In only a few months I will come into being for the 58th time.

So much has happened since I was first conceived.

I continue to change and evolve –

Into a being who is genetically predestined by choice.

I am the paradox.

I am the quandary.

I am the essence of joy and sadness –

Working out my own salvation with care and understanding.

My own manifest destiny.

 

… on… being… and… becoming….

Happy New Year everyone!

This is the time of year where  people make resolution after pointless resolution.   They are ALL a waste of time.   I even overheard someone the other day say, “well I better make my New Years resolution – even though I know I will fail after 2 weeks.”   This kind of futility will kill us – if not our body it will kill our soul.   We need to stop talking like this.   We need to stop committing to things we know we will fail at or have no true intention of completing.  In addition to this we need to STOP looking to others for the changes we want to see.

messages from the future #77 wm sm

It’s time to stop trying and start being!

BE the peace you want to see in the world.

BE the joy you wish others to have.

BE the happiness you seek.

BE the faith you want to see others convert to.

BE the acceptance you would want in others.

BE the tolerance you wish to see in others.

BE the kindness where you find it impossible.

BE the love that others cannot or will not give you.

BE.

Just BE.

When you find your being… you will find your becoming… a light to the world….

messages from the future #57 evn smlr

You need to understand “being” won’t be easy and you may suffer for it because others want you to be what they want not what you are.   But it’s time to terraform this desert that has become humanity.  You are all Desert Roses – bloom free for the world to see. It’s a new year with 365 brand new days.

Your music moment today is provide by Sting – “Brand New Day” the title track from the album BRAND NEW DAY.  May it give you the energy you need to start to bloom in this new year.  🙂

… on… time….

2012 Marking Time
I’ve been fascinated with concepts of time and our perceptions of it. I just saw this wonderful film that is an artful exploration of the subject of time.
It is titled THE END OF TIME by Peter Mettler…. It is mostly image and music but there is some spoken word. And wow, the spoken word has so many quotable quotes I would just say watch the whole movie. Here is a trailer to entice you.

Did you know that the root word for time and weather is the same in many languages? With that in mind here are eight questions and possible answers arranged in an hourglass shape.

Q: Are you rushing because you are Late?
A: I am getting wet.

Q: Do you like the hot afternoon sun?
A: It is 3PM.

Q: Are you really 85 years old?
A: The sun is setting.

Q: What time is it?
A: It is snowing.

Q: What time is dinner?
A: The wind is blowing.

Q: Where is the sun rising?
A: The dawn comes early.

Q: When does the moon rise?
A: The temperature is dropping.

Q: Do you have the time?
A: Can’t you see the clouds in the sky?

… on… beyond the subject….

I once read something that got me thinking about how I photograph different subjects. I’ve started becoming more interested – not in just photographing a subject but actually photographing in a way that may allow people to look beyond the subject.  How do we frame a subject?

Urban Void

Is the frame to be ignored for the subject?
Investigate the setting. Investigate the frame.
Can you see behind? What is hidden by the subject? What is revealed by the frame?

How does framing a subject tell us more about the subject than the subject itself?

For many in our image conscious culture life beyond the frame is frequently unthinkable.  I think the opposite is true.  Looking beyond the subject can deepen my appreciation and understanding.  It inspires more questions on the journey that can propel the viewer further into the world of the image.

Urban Frame-Up

If you’ve followed me for some time then you know that I am a big fan of abstraction.  And so often my images have been composed only of the subject itself.  I haven’t changed As one friend told me “you actually think in abstract.”  Maybe I’m just starting to expand my view to include a larger world and larger context in which the subject appears and that – for me – is just as interesting as the subject itself.  That’s why I love images like the ones I’m posting here where the subject almost seems like a void – a vast emptiness that nearly fills the frame of the image but is framed by its surroundings.

I like the contrast between being and nothingness (as Sartre would phrase it).   I find the tension between two opposite things utterly compelling.  Existential imaging?

SHOW ME EVERYTHING – by Tindersticks from the album The Something Rain

… on… suffering….

Halloween.   What a perfect time to talk about suffering.  The two images today are part of a series titled “All Our Efforts Are Futile”.  In the long view, everything we make seems to fall apart.  No matter how much effort and how good it seems when it was first created our work, over time, will deteriorate.  It’s just a fact of life.   It’s a constant reminder of our own impermanence.

All Our Efforts Are Futile

The foundation of all mental illness
is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.
~ Carl Jung

It seems to me that we spend most of our life trying to avoid suffering. But just like our own impermanence and the inevitable decay of all we build, suffering is a part of our life experience. But what is “legitimate suffering?”
Is it the suffering that comes as a result of the actions of others? Is it the suffering that comes from our own actions?

I once saw a mental health advertisement on a city bus:  it was a quote from a Newsweek magazine article from 2014 that had the headline “One In Five Adults Suffers From Mental Illness Each Year”.  Those are not very good odds by any standard.  If you look around you every 5th person you see may be suffering from some mental illness.   Now mental illness takes many forms and that descriptor is not exclusive  to the more elaborate/newsworthy like a sociopath.   But can be something as common as depression or melancholia.  I wonder if it is wise to describe these conditions as mental illness because everyone experiences them at some point in their life it is part of life experience and any number of things can spark that fire.   But mental illness is just one type of suffering.   There is also the suffering from physical illness.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  One is that life is filled with suffering; but that suffering changes and metamorphoses over time.  In my younger years the suffering was more emotional but as I’ve gotten older the suffering has changed and become more physical just due to the natural aging of the body.  A constant reminder of impermanence.   I’ve also noticed something in my youth I did almost anything to avoid suffering.  I ignored it, I joked about it, I lied about it, I would participate in activities that would temporarily subdue it.   But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to accept suffering much as one would accept a constant companion.  I don’t enjoy it but I do accept it and try to give it the space it needs.   I have found that this more nurturing approach actually eases the suffering and helps me understand it – including how my actions may have brought it on.

All Our Efforts Are Futile 2

“Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”  
~ Yoda (from Star Wars)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret — it leads only to evil.” ~ Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything. ”  ~ James 1: 2-4 (NIV)

I have found this last quote to be especially true. We should consider it a joy to undergo suffering when it produces so many good things such as perseverance, maturity and a sense of completeness. We should not take the “consider it a joy” phrase as a directive to seek out suffering nor should we use it to justify causing suffering in others. Suffering will come automatically – usually when we least expect it, when it is unplanned and inconvenient. So when it comes welcome it. It’s okay and if you see someone suffering sometimes the best thing to do is not trying to ease their suffering (although many will argue that is what we should do) but to just be there with them in their suffering. Suffering is made more bearable when we are not alone. But be careful of being too empathetic so that you suffer along with them. Being with them does not require you to suffer because they suffer. Remember you are the supporter in that scenario.

I found tons of videos on YouTube that deal with escaping suffering including many well meaning gurus, religious leaders, teachers, philosophers and songs. It is so darn hard to find one deals with enduring suffering. In a world of escapism, quick fixes, and good vibrations have we forgotten the role of suffering in our lives and therefore put our own mental health at risk?

 

… on… 3 new haiku attempts….

Squirrel sky highways
wires crossed to connect
away from the road

Pursuit Of Nothingness

Autumn breathes In Moods
Warm days, cool nights and waterfalls
Time dreaming TWIN PEAKS

Concretism

Driving brings limits
Destinations form in the soul
Spirits need no roads

 

… on… signs of autumn….

No Access

Leaves are Falling

Swimsuits exchanged for flannels

Signs of Autumn

I’ve been a fan of composer, musician Jia Peng Fang (Chinese: 賈鵬芳)
for years. He’s from China and plays a traditional folk instrument called the Erhu (Chinese: 二胡). I find the mournful sound soothing as the Summer drifts quietly and slowly into the sunset and Autumn rises in the cool crisp morning. May this new season bring many blessings to all who read this.

http://www.jia-pengfang.com

***fyi – Artist website is very interesting with great pictures, videos etc –  but only language options are Chinese or Japanese – however, you don’t need to understand the spoke/written language to understand the language of beautiful music – so check it out. 

… on… interest in humanity….

THE STORY OF OUR LIVES is a series of photographs of signs that when taken outside the context of their function (and sometimes location) have a dual purpose of telling our story of existence.   In other words after we are gone and our culture no longer exists,  how would others (or aliens) interpret our lives based on what the signs reveal – supposing aliens decoded and understand our language?

This latest image is a personal favorite:  It is simply titled THE STORY OF OUR LIVES #95

Story Of Our Lives #95

This image as taken at a demolition site.  I found this sign on what remained of a wall at the site.   It’s a fascinating and wonderful little chapter in the story of our lives.

While smoking has been deemed as bad for our health and in some cases has been made illegal as a result – it is in a location that has been destroyed, demolished.  The demolition had nothing to do with smoking.  This is a perfect metaphor for our lives.  Life is fragile and there is more than one thing that can disrupt, tear apart or destroy it.  So often we focus on the wrong things.   We go to great expense to make things like smoking, abortion, drugs, “assisted suicide” etc illegal.  And while those things may destroy our lives as we know it – we actively pursue other methods of destruction – war, income inequality, denial of medical care etc.   Is it better to deny a person’s choice of self-destruction  in order to insure the destruction of many?  That is what is happening in our culture and our world.  It is seen in our immigration policies, how we deal with refugees, it is seen in our responses to foreign powers that we have deemed as enemies.  It is seen in the laws we pass for our own people.

  • Is it better to deny an abortion for a life that does not yet exist only to – after it is born – send that life to war to die?
  • Is it better to keep that minimum wage so low in order to help corporations enrich themselves while people cannot afford health care?
  • Is it better to deny the right for a person who has chosen to end their life only to ensure ongoing suffering and the slow destruction for that person and their families?
  • Is it better to deny people safe harbor because you are afraid – only to have them die at the hands of their own governments?

What makes life so precious is that it is fragile.  There are any number of things that can snuff it out in an instant without our help – disease, old age, the environment (poisonous plants, wild animals, accidents, etc)

Two things make life something worthwhile:

  1. It is limited – we are all mortal – we will all die at some point.
  2. Choice – we all are born with the ability to choose when and how we will die.

Now this may seem like something of an oversimplification but it is none-the-less true.

… on… speed bumps…

We all have speed bumps that crop up in our lives.   It may be a death, an accident or loss of some other sort that causes us to slow down and even stop to reconsider our direction in life.   This is a good thing.  Life’s tragedies large and small can be a sort of amazing grace.  And sometimes they can even make us better.

Story Of Our Lives #83

Wherefore I am well pleased in infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses — for Christ; for whenever I am infirm, then I am powerful.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:12 (YLT – Young’s Literal Translation)

 

… on… adversity/opportunities….

When the door is shut in your face, you are in a unique position to reflect on other opportunities you may not have previously seen or considered.

Not all opened doors lead to betterment – even broom closets have doors.

2014 Looking In On The Outside

Looking In On The Outside

… on… aging is like flying….

When I was young I learned how to fly.
Now that I’m old I’m learning how to land.

It isn’t always easy.
I get frustrated.
Sometimes I crash and burn.
I still need practice.

Landing The Hard Way

Landing The Hard Way

God Is An Astronaut – Fragile

… on… S.E.T.I. ….

Probing Planetary Lifeforms

The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence
Looking outward, beginning within
Proofs through the night
Found in the hidden shadows of planetary life
Here/Now
probing
Ascending
We look to where the proof is directed
Not from where it is rooted
Down deep
within the dirt
Let the revelation begin
Let it end where it began
Here/Now
The search for extra-terrestrial life completed

https://loki-found.bandcamp.com/music

… on… getting old DOESN’T suck….

Mortal.  It’s what we are.  Even our super heroes  with their super powers are mortal.  All things get old and die.  But we have somehow deluded ourselves into denying our mortality by thinking if we make the right plans, if we eat right and exercise our mortality will not be of an issue.  But we are lying to ourselves.

Infants are unaware of their mortality.
The young ignore it.
Adults deny it.
Mature adults fight it.
Seniors can’t escape it.

In fact all our marketing and advertisements seem to promote products that help us deny, fight or escape our mortality by finding ways of promoting youth and not growing old.  But these are lies.

2010 Three-Wheeler

Getting old doesn’t suck.
I use those words specifically because I hear a different version of them ALL the time. I’m really tired of hearing “Getting old sucks” from people complaining about their ailments or expressed as a sort of sympathy for my when I talk about my ailments.  For example, I have arthritis which has caused complications with bursitis and also sciatica and I also have atrial fibrillation.   These conditions come and go by degrees.  And while I have these pains that have caused me to resort to using a cane to help get around and have limited my mobility I do not complain.  I’m just happy to be alive.  Pain reminds me of my mortality and the older I get the more aware I am of the end that is destined to come – an end that I will welcome but will not rush toward.

It seems at times that we have finally become such a youth-based culture that aging and all it’s related issues have become completely intolerable as if mortality was something to be cured of, or fixed.  And medical science and technology have done nothing to diminish that idea.  Yet for every disease that is cured a new one is discovered.  It is inevitable and will continue to be so because we are mortal and there is NO CURE for mortality.

I once wrote the following 2 ideas (in previous blog posts):
1. We begin to die the moment we are born.
2. We spend our whole lives learning how to die.

We must come to terms with our mortality in loving acceptance.  Failure to do so will only result in the unnecessary illness of self-delusion.

At times it seems that we are just one step away from the Euthanasia portrayed in the science-fiction film – LOGAN’S RUN (1976) where life must end at the age of 30.  And maybe that is the only solution to our mortality.  Blind delusion that leads us to an end that is sooner than what was destined.

Sure, I’m getting old and I am accruing illnesses that accompany my status and state of being. I can’t change it.  I can’t turn back the clock. I accept that I have changed.  In fact at times I look back to when I was in my 20’s and think, “who was that person?” and ruminate that I’m not sure I would like to meet that person if I bumped into them today. My values have changed.  Getting old doesn’t suck – it’s just different.  I can still experience good things – even if it means just sitting by my window enjoying a quiet moment watching the sun rise.  I can still contribute to the world around me (whether others pay attention or not).  Life is beauty and pain.  We cannot escape pain and mortality.  We should welcome it regardless of what may come – at any age.

… on… you are irrelevant….

In the age of ubiquitous and addictive click-bait.   Technopoly rules.  Online, you are a drop of water in a sea of alternatives.  You are invisible.

“Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself

in precisely the way Aldous Huxley

outlined in BRAVE NEW WORLD,

he argued in his 1993 book on the topic.

‘It does not make them illegal.

It does not make them immoral.

It does not even make them unpopular.

It makes them invisible and therefore irrelevant.’ “

– Neil Postman

Like A Drop In The Ocean

Like A Drop In The Ocean

… on… isness….

I just came across a note I had written to myself that read “Stop taking what you call “life” so seriously!!!” I find that I need these reminders to bring me back to what’s real.

The bottom is a place where we can start to separate reality, from our man-made dramas that only exist in our head. When we start to see clearly, we begin to laugh instead of lament. We can enjoy this short journey of life, instead of asking “Why?” or” What do I do now?” or “Is there even a point?” The questions fade, as we no longer need answers because we are only engaged in what “is”.

~ Matt Pryor

Anatomies of Pain #6

Again, natural light. I like the suitcase on the bench. after the aquarium closed this place was used for a time by the Cleveland police department to train police dogs. No doubt sniffing out cocaine hidden in suitcases was on the training agenda. The file cabinets on the left were filled with police files.

….on….. fear…..

Highlining 2800m in winter.’Hayley’- 90 seconds about fear. (Dir. Stian Smestad Music by Nils Frahm) from Stian Smestad on Vimeo.

Before walking a 52 meter highline at 2800 altitude in midst winter, I asked Hayley about fear. She replied with her favorite quote from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. A short film about Hayley Ashburn, filmed in the Torri del Vajolet, set to the hypnotizing soundtrack Tristana by Nils Frahm.

Directed by Stian Smestad (www.hellostian.com)
Athlete Hayley Ashburn
Music Nils Frahm «Tristana»

…on …laundry…

laundry

The early morning had an autumnal chill in the air and was overcast like so many clouded minds waking to the new day.

I was at the laundromat; not one of my favorite things. I go early, making every attempt to avoid the greedy rush of individuals jockeying for machines.

This morning eight other people had the same idea.

I had a book by Peter Handke that I was reading – ON A DARK NIGHT I LEFT MY SILENT HOUSE. It’s a short novel with prose that reads like poetry. It travels the razors edge of reality and dreams, so-much-so that, at times, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a really great story or if I was dreaming of reading. As I slipped farther and farther into the world of the story the sounds of the laundromat seemed more distant, muffled, even murky.

My quiet reading repose was interrupted by the RAT-A-TAT-TAT of machine gun fire – the sound of death – blasting from the mobile device of a seventy-year-old gray-haired grandmother playing an obviously violent video game and sitting near, too near me, lost in her own oblivion.
Annoyed by the cruel aural assault I just closed my eyes and let the sounds of the laundromat merge into a cacophonous free-jazz experiment; Albert King was playing on the overhead sound system swinging with updates about Hurricane Matthew, on the television, merging with the friendly chatter of others who seem to enjoy laundry – and company. Suddenly, a searing break of five washing machines whirring and buzzing, in their wild interlude, on the spin cycle in complete synchrony eventually to subside and merge with the rest of the sounds in this social sound-fest ending with the click click click click click of the same five machines stopping, signaling the cycle was over.

After drinking in all the sounds it was time to dry out, fluff and fold. The feeling of warm, fresh softness carried out to the car. Another week has ended. Now ready to start a new week, clean and clear. Ready to carry-on after this unpleasant sensorial massage. Ultimately satisfied. Paradox of mundanity.