Power Tool For Change #5- “RESILIENCE”

detail of painting, 1995, m/m


The actual dimensions of the painting pictured above measure 6′ x 30″.

I used a nail head and dull pencil point and a chopstick to make all the indentations.

There are thousands upon thousands of them.

People ask me how I ever had the patience to create such a thing; just standing there making little marks over and over for weeks.

The action of creating this particular piece was decidedly one of the most profound creative experiences I have had.

It was the practice of truly being in the moment as I made each mark and then, as I brought the tool up and away from the surface, to make the decision as to where the next mark would go.

This was happening so fast at times that there was no time to think; just intuit what wanted to happen next.

Other times I decided consciously what needed to happen; change the tool, spread out the marks, introduce an ordered effect or abandon a row altogether.

I see this piece as a good example of living well.

Make a mark.

Do I like it? Does it serve me? Others? Make it again.

Or: make a mark.

Feels wrong.

Make another one to balance out the wrong one.

Sort of like:

Fall down.

Get up, if you can.

Or call someone.

Maybe crawl to a better view.

Lie there and enjoy the scenery.

Or make a stab at getting vertical.

The point is: victimhood happens within non-action.

Many years ago, the TURTLE chose me as my animal totem.

I wanted something cooler.

Like an eagle or hawk.


Cath got the turtle.

Well, I just decided to surrender to the thing and see what there was for me to learn.

Turns out, my turtle is the desert dwelling, big, giant, old survivor kind.

She’s been around awhile and knows about keeping on keeping on..

She has the gravity of lessons learned without forsaking her vulnerability.

She carries her home with her and takes her time as she enjoys the view.

Every territory is interesting territory to her.

She remains curious and that is the key.


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