Commentary about hermits rest.

Sometimes to see where you are you have to look back at where you’ve been. Don’t linger there, just take a quick glimpse, fill in any unaddressed hollows that could haunt you into the forevers.

Introspection while steeped in solitude is the best way I’ve found for unraveling the knots of self misconception.

In 1997 when I moved from the west coast of California to the high desert mountains of Arizona I traded seagulls and the ocean for ravens and the high desert sky.

I traded people and the city for the life of a recluse and the wilderness.

I spent 9 years in solitude.

It took 3 years of just sitting or aimlessly wandering the hills like an unteathered camel to wash away forty eight years of accumulations motivated by fear.

Almost half a century held captive by fear.

It took another three years to trade anger for compassion, sorry for joy and the intellect for intuition.

And another three years to end reification and set myself free from me.

Nine years facing the wall of introspective solitude.

Because I believe if you don’t take the time you forfeit the rhythm of simply being.

People have asked me how can you spend nine years in complete solitude.

The further out you go, the longer you stay and the longer you stay the less likely you are to find a reason to return.

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Bender Wall Banger

43 years ago when I was 25 and still a hippie artist, I lived in an old chicken coop that I converted with scrap wood and old windows into a 1200 square foot studio.

I painted in oils and carved stone.

Sometimes someone walks into your life and transforms you with one simple statement, Bender Wall Banger did just that.

As I’ve posted in the past I grew up on the streets without family, something that I now consider a gift that made me who I am. But back then I was uptight, depressed and angry, and most of my paintings reflected that mood. Dark colors, overly serious depressing subject matter. When people who had a normal middle class upbringing would comment on the dark colors and subject matter I ignored them, what did they know about life on the under belli of the beast.

Then I met Bender.

Bender had moved down from San Francisco to escape the tenderloin ghetto and try to clean-up her life in a Santa Cruz mountain cabin. She had lived on the streets since she was 13, she was an alcoholic, a junky and made her living as a hooker. A mutual friend (Diane) asked if I’d help her move.

When she came to my studio and looked at my paintings she asked why everything was so grim. I was floored. This ladies life had been even grimmer than mine, I couldn’t fall back on the old “What do you know about grim?” She forced me to see that while my life was currently very good I was stuck in the ghetto frame of mind. While I was standing in the light I hadn’t left the darkness.

The next day I built a 7 foot sculpture out of scrap wood. A colorful circus ring master with a big smile and his arms in the air. I put it by my front door and joined the circus of lightness.

My paintings became colorful humorous cartoons, in a mystical instant I left the grime behind.

A few months past and Diane stopped by and commented on the radical change in my work. I told her it was Bender’s questioning my grimness, if she could see the light there was no excuse for me not seeing it. I told Diane how Bender changed my life and would she tell her that I’d never forget it. She then informed me that Bender had shot and killed herself.

Sometimes you never get to verbally thank the people who have influenced you the most, but you can do it through actions. So I’m still painting colorful cartoons and every one of them says “Thanks, I’ll never forget you.”

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Bright Blessings Bender and may we Merry Meet again.

 

Doodling the Decades-the 60’s

The early 60’s began peaceful enough. There was the English Invasion but it came with guitars not guns and their national drink is tea which says a lot. Besides it was only four Beatles, I’ve had apartments with more roaches.

The early and mid 60’s

The Great Transformation began, Hipsters became Hippies.

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Which resulted in the pilgrimage to their Mecca West.

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Some traveled 1000’s of miles and arrived with flowers in their hair because some guy who wasn’t a hippie wrote a song about them. Why San Francisco was chosen remains a mystery.

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The holy sacrament was freely shared, as were other things.

 

The summer of love was a Zen moment in time when masses of humanity were kind to one another. Love truly prevailed, I was there, it was electrifying. Moments like that don’t come by often or last long. I guess it unbalances the cosmic scale.

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By the late 60’s humanity got an itchy finger and pulled the trigger of social chaos. Historically this seems to be a pattern of cosmic winds, even the weather gets involved. “Humankind follows the earth. The earth follows the heavens. The heavens follow the Tao. The Tao follows its own way.”-Lao Tzu.   I believe the why of the way will remain unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

Walk away.

We dismiss the essential to embrace the follies of phantom thoughts that tend the unnecessary and cultivate the meaningless building of an incomplete life with hollows that can haunt you forever.

Walk away walk away.

We search for illusions to complete us which only adds to the confusion because hollows don’t make a whole.

Walk away walk away.

Family and friends can bring a fullness to life but never a completeness to living because another’s life is never yours to own.

So bury the bones of disappointments and walk away.

When you walk away from fixed expectations you’re taking the first steps toward the probability of primordial completeness

where you’ll always be shown the true way home.

But the first thing you must do is leave.

 

Grow where you’ve been planted.

“Destiny and fate fly in on the wings of mystery without the curtesy of an advanced notice.”

Our lives are like seeds scattered across the plains of existence carried by the mystical winds of ambiguity not the certainty we continuously grasp for. I think the delicate art of survival is about finding a belief that accommodates this reality as opposed to denying it.

The daisy pictured above didn’t say “Shit, stones. Why bother to bloom.” Instead it saw the earth below the stones. My life for the last 20 years of living in the wilderness has been dominated by nature and the wisdom I’ve gleaned from observing it without civilized distractions keeps me in a state of wonderment.

As a retired medical engineer I specialized in pediatric neural-muscular conditions. Over the years I had the pleasure to meet some very courageous human spirits who were born with or contracted serious conditions that left them trapped in uncooperative bodies and yet like the daisy they bloomed into remarkable human beings. To be able to make their lives more functional and comfortable was the greatest of gifts.

We are bombarded with a multiplicity of phenomena that’s never ending. I believe there are no definitive quantifiers or qualifiers to be found so I free myself from the looking because it removes me from our natural place in the oneness of participation.