Walkin’ On Down The Road


ceramic sculpture, 12″ h (varies)
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There are those of us who choose unexamined lives.

Granted, it is a hard row to hoe, the life of a perpetual student of ones’ self.

I am in the middle of watching a film on the Buddha.

He had every thing.

I mean EVERY THING in the cloister of his father’s palace.. wine, women.. the whole shebang.

One day he cut loose and decided to see what was beyond the walls of the kingdom.

Illness he saw. And death and age.

Yuk.

His bubble of sensualist bliss was burst.

And the only thing his heart would let him do was go out there..

Soak himself in this thing called life.

And he did.

He saw so much suffering that his final action as a regular guy was to say: “I am going to sit under this tree and not get up until I have the key to this suffering conundrum.”

And he kept his word.

He sat right there for years and years until he had the answer that he was looking for.

And we have the Grace of his teachings.

The point here is this: The only thing an unexamined life will get you is more of the same.

We can walk down the road with a ‘know-it-all’ swagger,

Or slow down a bit and dip our chin toward humility and have the possibility of seeing the treasure there tucked between two rocks.

The greatest gift is the fact we have the CHOICE!

For myself. It’s a moment-by-moment question mark..

Will she wake up?

Or will she sleep?

The Nerve


monoprint, 22″ x 30″
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If you stop to take the pulse of the planet these days we feel a bit nervy, wouldn’t you say?

On edge? Poised for something or other?

I seem to have a lot of my attention on how to use my skills in working with youth.

Is it guilt I feel for leaving them our big mess to manage when we are long gone?

Perhaps.

If you were to ask me to list my greatest accomplishments to date, the list might look like this:

1. Surviving and ultimately thriving despite the cards I’ve been dealt.

2. Learning how to choose good friends and how to be one (work in progress).

3. Remembering ‘Beginner’s Mind’.

Yep.. That is the extent of my list…

I like it.

At some point, if you are very lucky, life stops being about you.

And giving away the gold you’ve panned for all these years seems to be the only sane thing to do.

And so… I’ve got my eye out for opportunities.

It is the next and most important prescription in my healing.

Give it away.. Give it away.. Give it away..

Friends, Fireplaces and Feta Cheese


painting, m/m, 4′ x 5′
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I’ve spoken of ‘church’ before.. what we call Sunday nights with the girl(s).

It is our form of communion.

Last night, as Autumn quietly seeped in sort of under the radar, we met.

Three of us plus my dog.

We met at Adele’s and she had laid the first fire of the season.

When I come through the door to her home, it always arrests me..

I have to stop and take it in; the purposeful placement of fascinating arrangements of flea market finds with a small vase of orchids tucked in there is one left for us to find last night.

My friend Keek is masterful at taking care of all of us in ways that only she can pull off unobtrusively; a perfect combo of delicacies from the market set in the center of the table to feed hungry girls; chicken, beets, feta, and bibb lettuce.

I try to take my sweater off but my arm isn’t working. Of course she sees and steps over to help without making me feel like an invalid.

We laugh in the low light of the evening.

Tell stories, concerns, wonders.

We listen well.

Each gets her turn.

Olivia takes her spot in each of our laps and we let her sit there with us at the table because she has good manners.

The scene is really not too very different than a church.

Except for bawdy laughter now and then.

But there is wine, confession, angels watching from the shadows.

The incense comes from the kitchen and the songs from our slender throats.

The thing is there is no leather bound book to remind us of the right words or tune.

Neither is there anyone officiating.

We make it all up.

And somehow.. just the innocent intent has all the elements gathered there for us.

Every time.

And as for me…

I take my leave after awhile into the night.

And lay my head on my pillow after awhile..

Warmed with the blanket of gratitude for my friends.

Amen.

My Friend and Foe


textile design, pigment on wool flannel
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I love my bed. (this is not my bed in photo)

Sometimes it bores me because I know it too well.

Other times I think it is my absolute favorite and bordering- on- sublime place on the planet.

This, I know, is an unhealthy amount of attention to be paid to a piece of furniture.

I love it. I hate it.

Where is my therapist?

A symptom most people dealing with MS experience is a kind of fatigue not unlike the sudden onset of a full on stupor.

It is different than just normal exhaustion following a trip to the gym or a day digging a ditch (not that I would know..)

This core tiredness visits at inopportune times as an unwelcome guest.

I was sitting with a good friend yesterday having a charged and REALLY inspiring conversation.

Every cell of me was engaged in what we were talking about.

One moment all of me was there..

And the next moment 2/3 of me was gone or going.

I know this pattern well enough to be able to say: “OK.. I’m fading.”

And those that know and love me get it that I need to stop doing what we were doing and go home.

I am always a little bit miffed when I need to truncate my life like that.

It is then that I love my bed.

Until I don’t again.

And get up to meet life and give it a solid hand shake and move on down the road.

To see what’s next…

Laws of Nature


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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Sometimes I get up and over to the computer and I have no idea what to say..

I like the feeling of not knowing what I’m going to write about each morning and being surprised to see what wants to come forward.

People have asked if I have a stash of prepared posts ‘just in case’ I get up and got nuthin’.

Like today.

But the answer is decidedly NO, I don’t keep a file of filler posts.

Because one purpose of this blog is for me to discover what I got goin’ on inside me.

I want it unedited and as raw as I can get it, meaning not rehearsed or trying to look good.

And I’ve chosen to invite you along for the ride as my witness.

And so.. today I look through my archive of photos of past work and this little detail jumps out at me.

I didn’t know why at the time but now I see that the attraction is something about CHAOS AND ORDER.

The image represents that very alive and organic part of life I love so much as well as the logic and reason part which remains a bit foreign to Cath…

It is my ‘learning edge’ shall we say.

WITH EVERY EXPANSION COMES A CONTRACTION is my mantra in life, it seems.

And the pulling in part following an expansion always seems too constricting and almost claustrophobic.

But we can’t just stand out there expanding willy nilly can we now?

The laws of Nature don’t work that way… thankfully.

And so we expand.

And pull in.

And reach out again.

And retreat.

And decide to chance life again.

But see we need a different tack.

And open our heart.

And then give it a rest.

The laws of Nature are perfect.

And I am so grateful I wasn’t given the task of drawing them up.

Because we’d all be in a good deal of trouble.

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