Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Deepest Thoughts Come in Silence

A long time ago, I had a poster that read "the deepest thoughts come in silence".  For many years since, I've grown accustomed to the stillness of the morn.  It's a time of personal introspection.  Usually I walk and and let my thoughts flow freely.  It's a time to reconnect with myself and commune with nature.

There's all kinds of noise that fills our lives today:  sirens, the congestion of traffic, blaring radios, iPhones, iPods, and Droids.  There simply is not enough silence.  We all need time to reflect and simply contemplate our lives and the direction we are headed.  We need time to simply enjoy being and breathing.

For centuries before us,  men have sought and found silence.  This is not about religion.  We need to untether our souls and free it from the mundane cares of every day existence.  As we breathe and take in the silence we renew our connection with the universe and the energy that surrounds us.  A moment of absolute silence would do all us all good.  Listen to the sound of silence.

Look Down

If God had a Name,
what would it be and
would You call it to His face
if You were faced
with Him in all His Glory,
what would you ask
if You had just One Question...

There's an Old Testament proverb that says "Look up and Live."  Although I don't profess any formal faith, this proverb has always made me pause and think.  During moments of sadness, it has brought solace and joy.  Many of my blogs have touched on this theme.  We need to open up our eyes and look around.  Sometimes we might even need to look down.

This colorful grasshopper was right in front of me.  I took the time out to capture it's beauty with the only tool I had, my iiPhone.  It pays to take time and look down.  Changing our perspective helps us see better what is happening around us.  There's a lot of life left to see.  I wonder how much I've not seen because I've not changed my point of view.  

Take a look at whatever it is in front of you from a different perspective.  How do you see it now?  Isn't it really about perspective?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Simplicity: Eyes Open

Old Truck At Rest

Sometimes things just grab you and you don't know why.  Most of the times it seems they grab you at an inopportune time.  A time when you don't have the right camera equipment.  With the advent of the iPhone, I no longer have an excuse.  It may not be the quality of the image I want, but the intent is clearly there.

Don't let the images pass you by.  Be there and capture the now.  Don't wait for the right time or the right equipment.  Take it in any way you can get it.  Enjoy it now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poems, Prayers, & Promises

There are times that I truly wish to get away from it all.  I want to be free and soar without a care in the world.  I want to just be.  I want to see without being seen or heard.  I want to take in every molecule of life into my being and squeeze every bit of life from it.

The clock is ticking.  Life is not a continuum.  Everything is changing and moving.  Yet I want to slow it down.  I want to not miss one bit of it.  If I could capture every single frame and play it back, I would do so.  So I am ready, equipped with my camera and my eye.  I am ready to chronicle what I see.  

It's a beautiful journey.  There's so much to share with other sojourners; so many more to meet. 

I want to soar and keep on soaring, I want to touch the moon with my hand.  I want to look back at earth and smile.  I want to soar free from cares and free from convention.  Like the balloon...I want to soar.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Draw The Line

Well we had to pull on something 
so we're grabbing at the threads 
and now the world's unravelin' 
inside our very heads 

Draw the Line....David Gray Video

Don't have that much to say today except that sometimes we have to draw the line as to what we will tolerate.    When we are no longer remain true to ourselves, we have to evaluate if we should proceed down the same path.  The journey is long and at times complicated.  There are many signs along the way,  we need to be vigilant and if need be "draw the line."  It could be a job, it could be a friend, or it could be a career.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Would You Change?

If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change?
Would you change?

....Tracy Chapman, Change

For some reason, I am feeling a little more pensive and reflective today.  I know there are things I would do differently in my life, and I know there are things that I will change going forward.  It's good to stop, think, and if necessary change direction.  What would you change?  How would your life change?

Like the man strolling with his family along the beach, I want to enjoy the day and let my feet enjoy the wetness of the beach stroll.  I want to enjoy it with those that I love.  The journey is long but there's still so much left to enjoy and learn.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mom & Dad

For those of you who have never met my parents, Pablo and Josefina,  I would like you to see them as I see them.  I see hands loving, hard working, and aged.  These were the hands that sustained my sisters and me.  The hands that disciplined and the hands that pointed the way to brighter futures and better lives.  They sacrificed and toiled for us but they never complained.  The hands are now 87 and 89 years young.

This is how I will remember them:  one labored all the time and wrote in his free time; the other cooked and shared her opinions on everything and she made us strong.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Look Around You

Look around you, look up here
Take time to make time
Make time to be there
Look around, be a part
Feel for the winter
But don't have a cold heart

...Little River Band, "Lady"

We just got back from a quick trip to Florida to see my parents.  Kim love's the beach and she's been a great support these past few difficult months.  She love's the beach and I knew that I could score some really big brownie points if I took her to Daytona Beach.

It was nearly dusk when we got there.  My sister Zaidy joined us and we drove my dad's sexy Marquis down the beach freeway.  We tried parking it once and got stuck in the soft sand.  A passerby understood our plight and helped push us out of the rut.  We found a firmer place to park further down the beach.

The beach was nearly empty and we had time to take it all in.  We strolled along the shore,  there was plenty to see and plenty to hear.  Families building their last sand castles of the day, sea shell collectors looking for the perfect treasure, and birds looking for their final seafood catch of the day.

It was all there.  It's always there, in fact.  All you have to do is "take time to make time" and look around you.  I have no idea why I forget but I do.  What a difference it makes when I finally look around.  

Click on this song Lady and it will bring back those memories.  Now the song is in your head too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Revisiting Images: Things Aren't Always How They Appear

At first glance this photo seems absolutely amazing.  The courage and tenacity of this young Mexican one legged boy.  He appears to want to play soccer but he only has one leg!!  How can he kick the ball?

Life is not always how it appears.  Just as this photograph is not a picture of a one legged soccer player.  The photo simply is a snapshot of the boy's motion, a fraction of time.  We don't always get the full picture do we?  

How many snapshots of one legged players do you have in your head?  How many wrong conclusions and perceptions do we carry in our minds and hearts?  How long have we carried them?  Should we revisit those images once again?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On His Shoulders

Not that long ago, I sat on my father's shoulders and lap.  I never had to ask if he wanted me there.  It was a secure place.  A place where I knew I would not be allowed to fall down.  I was safe from injury, safe from the bugs that could attack me, safe from being trampled by the crowds.  His grasp was firm.  His love unconditional.  Regardless of what I did, he would be there for me.

Years passed and I remember being about eight years old;  we went to a local grocery store and I insisted on wanting bing cherries.  Cold bing cherries.  My dad said no but I managed to stuff my mouth and pockets full of  cherries.  As we checked out of the grocery store, my father noticed what I had done.  He asked me if I had taken the cherries.  My puffed out cheeks incriminated me.  My father made me confess to the store owner and he bought me the cherries.

The truth was my father couldn't afford to buy me the cherries.  He wanted to provide for me regardless and made a sacrifice that day for me.  Years have come and gone and when I eat the forbidden treasure, I pause, smile, and think of Dad.  Happy Father's Day.  Remember your Dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blessed Are The Children

Most of my time spent in San Miguel was in and around the town square (el jardin).    What I was looking for manifested itself in the smiling faces of the children living their lives right before my eyes.  None seem to have a care in the world.  Their lives are filled with joy even though most lack the "stuff" we've grown so fondly attached to.

What appears to be a mystery seems to be a fundamental truth.  Happiness has nothing to do with what we have.  It has everything to do with what we hold inside of ourselves.  Real happiness can be measured by the smile on faces.

The children of San Miguel possess something that I want.  They are content with the world they have.  Each moment is filled with something joyous.  There are daily festivals in their lives and causes for celebration.  It seems that from their infancy they partake in the celebration of life.

Happiness does not come in paychecks or in iPods and iPhones.  It comes in moments spent together beneath the ficus trees of the Jardin.  It comes with the walks to school with a brother or sister.  Happiness just is.  It's like air that surrounds the children and they just breathe it.  It is essential to their being.

Strangely missing are the fancy toys.  It's all about simple games of tag and futbol.  They don't need much to turn it into a full game.  They play in front of the church as the bells ring.  They play during the festivals and during the solemn lessons of their Catechism.

They play and I observe their joy.  I wonder about playing.  I wonder about simple things that make me happy.  What can I do without?  What would make me as happy as the children of San Miguel?

The bells begin to ring again and I see people respond to them but the children continue to play.  Listening to the bells only, seems to be an adult pass time.  Just for a moment, I want to forget the bells and play like the children carefree and hard.  As I picture the moment, the smile returns to my face.  I am happy with what I know.  It becomes clear to me that happiness requires letting go of some of the old thoughts.

For the moment, I choose to sit on a bench in the Jardin.  I choose to be happy and play like a child.  I enjoy simple things again.  The laughter comes and a smile slips on my face.  Truly the prophet was right "blessed are the children".  We must become like them again.  It's the key to our happiness.  We must allow the adventure and forget about the failures and fears of falling down.  Blessed are the children.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finding the Solution Set

Lost track of good friend, but thanks to facebook, we managed to hook up again.  He lives in Alaska where he teaches mathematics at the University of Alaska.  By a stroke of luck, he came to Austin to attend a conference.

Nearly three decades had gone by since we had seen each other.  It was great to see him again.  We simply picked up the pieces where we had left off.  He was one of those special friends whom I could converse with on  all topics.  It didn't matter which ones, he was fluent in all.  Guys like John Gimbel are really hard to find.

I think my mathematician friend would  agree, when it comes to friendships/relationships, there's a solution set that makes the equation true.  Finding members that can fill that set increases proportionately with our ability to increase our domain.  While we increase the probability, the fact remains that there is truly a finite set.  Treat your friends as treasures.  Do not assume that they can be readily replaced.  There's a finite set that makes the equation true for you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Invited to the Dance

To paraphrase Jesus, "many are called, but few are chosen" to dance.  In Mexico, life is the dance.    People from all over the world flock to it's beaches, it's vibrant cities, and revel in its art and culture.  It's a standing invitation but few choose to take the invitation to heart.

It requires listening and slowing down.  In order to dance you have to listen to the music.  The rhythms are happy and syncopated with the blare of trumpets and the strumming of guitars.  The participanta become dervishes of their own accord as mariachi melodies tells stories of love, heart break, and drunken pleasure.

Life's drama of unfurls with the each folkloric dance step.  The cadence is lively and upbeat.  It's a matter of time before I am completely enveloped by the blend of choreography and music.  It is dusk I notice, but I feel already the energy of my early morn.

It's been a while since I've danced or wanted to dance, but the music compels me.  I listen and give my soul permission to dance.  It graciously accepts the offer.  The mariachis, the dancers, and the evening all become one.  My worries become blurs like the skirts of the young senorita dancers.  A smile overcomes my face and reflects its light like a well lit summer's night moon.  My senses are alive and all I can think is how joyous it is to be alive.  I am in a San Miguel de Allende state of mind.  I will draw from this well many times in the days that lie ahead of me.  The singing and the dancing just never stop.  

When you hear the call, welcome the invitation and accept, "many are called, but few are chosen".

Thursday, June 10, 2010

As Promised: Virtual San Miguel de Allende

For several days, I've been promising you glimpses of what I've seen and felt in San Miguel.  This morning  I will deliver on my promises.  I've prepared a collection of  seven video clips for you to enjoy.  (Most of these were made with my iPhone.)  You will actually get a virtual sampling of what we enjoyed this past week.  More pictures will follow but that requires work and I have plenty to do before I let you get another peak.

Make sure you view the ones labeled "la casa de Eunice" and "Parque Juarez".   Also scroll down and click on the new hyperlink "Capelo".   Got to run, I have lots of developing to do and so little time.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shaman in San Miguel

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

Emily Dickinson

It's very difficult to describe my relationship with Eunice O'Hanna.  At times she is my artistic shaman.  Other times she's is my creative mother.  Yet other times she is simply my friend.  I've never met anyone else like her and probably will never again find someone to even parallel her talent.

While some people spend most of their time thinking,  Eunice has spent a lifetime doing.  She's a petite lady filled with larger than life ideas and visions.  She's both  an introvert and an extrovert in the same body.  She chooses carefully her company and willingly shares her views and loves to teach life lessons.
Eunice has been blessed with creativity.  She has spent her life harvesting it and putting it on the walls of her home.  In fact, she has created her own museum.  The pieces will survive time like the Mayan art she has studied.  Her art transcends the necklaces, miniature sculptures, paintings, and murals that adorn her home in San Miguel de Allende.  Her home is an expression of herself.  This is something she believes should be true for all of us.  I know she is right.

We made a unique connection this shaman and I.  In a blog titled "Empty Handed" I wrote:  "There's a place creative people frequently find.  It's a place where nothing seems to flow; a spiritual dry well.  We know the well is far from empty, but we cannot draw from it.  Without a doubt its a source of anguish and frustration."

During my stay with her this past week.  My friend, shaman, and teacher was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  "I really liked that blog you wrote", she would tell me.  "I can't remember it but it truly describes what I feel.  It's just not coming to me."

I've not given up on my creativity and I pray that Eunice will have the opportunity to create more.  You see it's something we truly have to do.  It's a part of us and as essential as breathing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Miguel de Allende: A Profession of Faith

Those of you who know me may not completely understand why I still frequent San Miguel de Allende.  It's a creative and spiritual pilgrimage for me.  It's a place where I renew and profess my creative faith.  There are other creative pilgrims there too.  We bump into each other in the plaza at our coffee table confessionals as we sip coffee or when we listen to the church bells in front of the Parroquia.

Renewal is an interesting term.  Perhaps baptism would me more appropriate.  You see the old me is cleansed by everything my senses absorb in San Miguel.  Part of me dies and is reawakened by the life that seems to abound and surround me.  I feel connected to what is happening.

Time is not working on my side today.  The words are just aren't coming to me quick enough.  The bells are still resonating in my ears today.  Tomorrow, I will find a way to take you with me to San Miguel.  You will hear the bells and enjoy the parks just as I have.  Promise to listen.  Take the pilgrimage with me and invite a friend.  The journey is long and at times lonely.