Get To The Point

Polo Ponies
The point of meditation is not meditation. The point of time management is not about time. Time doesn’t exist, it’s a synthetic device or tool that we use as a bludgeon to one and all. The worst “one” we put it on is ourself, the very person we are supposedly “helping!”

You might or might not have a habit of beating yourself up about not getting enough done, not being enough or, perhaps when you look on FaceBook, feeling insufficient and insecure. Over what? Is there a list of what’s makes a “good person,” or a “productive person?” Of course there is! And it’s made up by you!

Making things up is great. It’s what we love about movies and books, sports and plays, business and politics. As an artist, I make up stuff all the time. What I make up that isn’t so helpful is different. It starts in my mind. Every cell in my body has what we call mind in it. I notice thoughts and actions I generate have a widely, vastly different origination. What I use to beat myself up or what’s telling me I need more of something is conceived in a vastly different location in my body from where I get the vision for my next painting.

So what’s the point? Well, the point may be different for each of us. What is your passion may or may not coincide with mine. But if we are both playing out our passions then we will have commonality and something to share with each other. That’s a point. If we are living our lives in a coherent way that can satisfy many of our most important hopes and dreams, well, then we have another point in common and we have something to talk about.

If we are treating our bodies with respect and gratitude, as well as those bodies of others’ – then we won’t have any fear of each other. Why would we? There isn’t much to argue about if we position ourselves for love and acceptance. There are so many studies done showing how we as children embrace the new, expect success and accept difference – until we get a bit older. Then we say, “reality kicks in.” What’s the point of that? Give yourself a star for doing something you consider good and beneficial. Don’t listen to hate, you can’t help hearing it but you can stop reacting to it. Color something. Draw something. Look at art. Take it in. That’s what we are here for – to give beauty a chance and a featured place in your life. Moving your body changes your mind!

That’s the Point. Do it!

MOTIVATION MONDAY

DSC_0553

How does a flower grow?
The above photo is a Passion Flower, it arrived in a plastic bucket at my house some years ago. I thought, “cool, passion. let’s see what it brings.” At the time I was thinking that passion could get in the way if it was too strong. Sometimes my double-Aries self gets in my way and I over-think it as passion. But it isn’t. It’s just me being bull-headed.
Where I live a Passion Flower is an annual. In more southerly climes it can be perennial. It has a lot of flexibility and adapts to its environment – to a certain extent. It is always a Passion Flower nonetheless.
This particular flower spent the summer blissed into constant bloom. I found its ability to keep going admirable and thought about all of our abilities to bloom – constantly or not. I didn’t fetter it in any way, although I gave it some guidelines, which were followed. Watching it softened me and it felt as if it helped me hold myself with compassion as I saw it moving up the trellis. Compassion will awaken the heart and action can come from that opening. I am reminded of the story of the sun and the wind vying to get a man to remove his coat. You know who won. That’s what I experienced with the summer’s passion. Nurtured by the sun and some water, it kept going, growing beyond expectation. Willingness to nurture yourself is guaranteed to motivate, it is intrinsic to our nature. Just like the Passion Flower.

Life Is A Series Of Surprises

If I said to you, “Art is a transformative experience. Once you relate to it, you will be forever changed.” You might not be so willing to look and you might lean harder on the color of your walls and sofa and maybe a decorator to pick out what looks “best” in your home,

I get it. I’ve stood outside on beautiful days, art displayed, and seen people avoid eye contact or get really interested in how I did “that.” Attitudes people take on in defense of art – or anything – don’t change the facts. Art is transformative. It will change your life. It will take you to places you haven’t been, perhaps without your knowing it. It will stretch you and teach you and uplift you and give you a place to put your feelings. All of them.

Art in this case is like everything else. Is there a part of your life that doesn’t transform you? There isn’t. It’s up to you to find the nudge of transformation in your life – your everyday life, your travel life, your job life, your parenting/partnering life. You know what I mean. That’s why people like Ralph Waldo Emerson spend so much thought on acceptance – and embrace – of the “new.”

The new is merely the now. (I said that!)

Emerson considers resistance:

“Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series. … The new statement is always hated by the old, and, to those dwelling in the old, comes like an abyss of skepticism.”

Ah, I wish I’d said “abyss of skepticism.”
If we take this moment we’re in right now – yes, this one. Just this. If we wrap it in the attunement of appreciation, then we must allow its presence, its attitudes, its perseverance; and we will be transported to the next and the next moments and we will be the elements of change that we are looking for, we will.

Now I will lead you to a newness that is mine. I have been putting together the cells and DNA of my art into the format of a new site.

Pamwhiteart.com will lead you anew to my art. Some you may know, some you may discover new. Any way, either way, there it is. I welcome your feedback, your critique, your kindness.

 

The Real World

 

Is as subjective as you can imagine.

American physicist Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988) commented on the puzzles and paradoxes of quantum mechanics, “ I cannot define the problem, therefore I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no problem.”

The subject of consciousness is all around us, and it reminds me of when I was growing in the mid-west in the Eisenhower years. Joe McCarthy was on his hunt for communists, questioning everyone’s loyalty to this country. His henchman and chief explainer was Roy Cohn, soon to be mentor of the young DJT.

McCarthy addressed the Senate making a list of outright lying claims and alternative facts which – after much tortuous equivocating, which cost lives, reputations, and livelihoods – were rejected by most and clung to by one Richard Nixon – among others – who saw opportunity in the making.

What consciousness is is not only not clear, it has forced many an illusion and conclusion. How, after all, can what we cannot define be defined. Prizes and papers are won and written for the palpable. Feynman was one of the few who dared – in his time – to express the inexpressible.

In his experiments with paths of quantum particles and their relationship with choice – to be a wave or a particle, for one example – the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner wrote: “It follows that the quantum description of objects is influenced by impressions entering my consciousness. Solipsism may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.”

You can see where I’m going with this. I have to think this time we are in has been our collective creation. Much as a cancer can take decades to show its invasion, “here we are,” always has a massive and complex history. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are doing or thinking is of tantamout importance. You are a vital piece of the puzzle we call the world or the universe and of consciousness itself.

What you are doing makes a difference. What you are feeling makes a difference. Your intention, your focus is titanic to your health and the health of all of us.

“As above, so below,” ancient wisdom/truth, tells me I am influenced by the quantum field as well. We all receive thoughts in the form of ideas, philosophies, needs – all expression – and we all influence.
So let’s step into this wholeheartedly. Let’s get to know our force. Who we are. What we think – when no one’s looking. Let’s go where we will go – for we will go somewhere, make it real.

If we are solipsism itself, let us be really good at who we are. If the world is bouncing off each one of us, let’s be the self we are. Step into you, I’ll step into me. And here’s the article from the BBC that started this riff!

Why Hillary Lost   part 2

At the Womens March this January, the word intersectional

was widely visible.

Google gave me this: “Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.”

I believe this focus allowed men, women, children, dogs (I saw no cats) of all ages and sizes, economic interests and everyone who wanted to be represented there to be there. It was the most harmonious experience I have ever known; there truly was room for us all.
This mood/feeling was not active during the election. I saw in the young man’s rejection of Hillary (I mentioned yesterday) the cry for separation. Devotion to separation, to the isolation of our own type or group identity was the Cri De Coeur during the interminable period leading up to the vote last year. By the time we voted, we were ready to kill one another.

Last year wasn’t so much about age as attitude. The delicious taste of freedom to hate, to blame, to say things that hadn’t been said “for eight years.” To take ourselves to such an extreme focus as not to see anything else.

We must seek a better outcome. To be here in this human body, on this earth plane is to seek wholeness and the more we include, the better off we are. We depend on the tree, the bee, the lion and all who show up here. There is nothing among us expendable or valueless. Please join me in listening to the originator of this most useful word. Let Kimberle Williams Crenshaw speak from her Ted Talk to all our hearts.

I Know Why Hillary Lost

In reading and listening to a LOT of journalists and callers in, I want to propose the real reason people couldn’t vote for Hillary.

And yes, I just heard it.

I was listening to a young congressman from California field calls on NPR. One of his callers said – pointedly – “I am resigning from the Democratic party.”
And, as I was thinking, “so what,” he said why.
Which was the Democrats’ old-fashioned political stance had turned him off. It was all the same, he said, nothing new. He did like Bernie, though, and the congressman – somewhat taken aback said,” wait a minute, you like the oldest person who ran for president?”
Yes. It was not the age, so much, as the attitude. Apparently the caller had been nearby when Bernie was asked to have a photo taken with Snapchat. Bernie had smiled into the camera and said, “Hello Snap Shot!”
Now, what got the guy onboard with Bernie was this: when asked if he would take the photo over again because he had said the name wrong, Bernie said, “no, just leave it.”
That was enough to hook this millennial.

OK What’s my point.

It wasn’t that Hillary’s gender was an issue so much as what her training and history as a woman has led her to be. Think secretive and not forthcoming – yes, I see the redundancy.
Now you can say – my mother would have said Poo Poo – whatever you think, but in my experience of being a woman a little longer than Hillary and not being in a fraction of the light and focus that she has experienced – there is no way I wouldn’t have been able to second guess myself if someone asked “should we take that over.”
That would have been enough for me to question my whole existence. Now, Hillary didn’t get there and wouldn’t have got there with a thin skin. But her skin was thinner than Bernie’s and her mind was swayed to listen to advice he probably doesn’t even think about. And I think that advice lost her a lot of points. It’s not just women, btw, because I found the same thing was true with John Kerry. You could waffle him easily enough. (How could anyone have made him not a war-hero? #despicable #deplorable)
Younger women don’t have that vulnerability. And we are getting some depth of womanhood, thanks to strong women and men who were and are willing to take a chance.

Oh, and can I remind you of how Hillary was treated in the debates? Either this past year or in 2008. Misogynists unite whenever they get a chance, and they are not always men.

whiteP5_whiteP5-R1-E007

IMG_6534
In my small bucolic New England town sitting at the foot of rounded tree-filled mounds of earth we call mountains, I am nestled in the valley of the Housatonic with my fellows. Humans are not necessarily the majority of inhabitants here, although they claim to be in charge.
Some of us have been here a long time and some of us have been here longer. Personally I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. My own history in this place where I live now is very brief – I just moved in a year ago. Before that I was somewhere else I hadn’t lived long in and before that the same. I have always been welcomed as a native although that is hardly the case. Before my ancestors came here, they were some place else. Who can say otherwise?
It happens that here, where I live now, there are many we call Hispanic, they have been here far longer than I. They might have moved here, as I did, recently or years ago but they are only called Hispanic because the country I call mine invaded their country and won.
For some reason, perhaps because of the might of Teddy Rooseveldt and others, I do not call myself English-German-Dutch-French-Irish American, nor do I have to fill out forms or be counted as anything much. Demographics in this country have largely confined themselves to my gender and my politics, neither of which I have to explore to any degree.
I once did live in a place – Concord, MA, with three small, quiet rivers surrounding and running through my environs. It was only when they flooded and I had to drive thirty or forty minutes to get to a destination five minutes away that I noticed their existence. Time is relative until it isn’t and now the people I work with who far outdate my contribution to this area are being threatened. If not they themselves, their relatives, friends – you know what I mean.
Living here has become very stressful, we are being raided and rounded up. I used to ask my mother, “What did you think when you heard about the pogroms? About the raids? About the trains? What did you do? How did you act? What did it feel like?”
Her reply, like many of her answers to other questions, was more than disappointing. She didn’t know – about anything. She didn’t know what to do and she didn’t ask. In fact in her life she didn’t feel safe emotionally, I know that colored her heart. And she felt she had made her mark, made her life, even though she felt vulnerable in it as a woman. In truth if she had set herself free with her opinions and desires, she would have been shunned, pushed aside. She was pushed aside anyway and she didn’t invite more. It also wasn’t happening “here.”
Now it is. When Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is pushed out of a meeting of his peers in the House of Representatives, we are in trouble. When my friends are rounded up all over the country –including the ones I know along this corridor between CT and NY – I am afraid.
Now is the time. This is on us.
People talk of Hitler and his ilk. They only mean they ones we know – Papa Doc, Idi Amin, Pol Pot – to touch the surface. But these days, this month, has caused me to think there are many Hitlers. We are surrounded. I asked a friend who lives in VT and has gone to Canada for decades – weekends visiting friends. She says that after this election when she comes back, they hassel her, take her phone, keep her and her husband pulled over. I asked after the tone of her interaction, what was on the minds of these agents who had been quiescent for decades. How could one person’s voice give them this power, this drive? Did she think they had been waiting for the chance? She thought it was that they could. Now, it was supported, they could be kings, they had a mission. That simple.
In such a simple world, I find simplicity too.
RESIST

This Day Is Every Day

This is the day the electors meet – in their separate states. I confess I didn’t know much about them until recently. I’m not sure what the larger reason there is to be an elector, what role they play in their respective parties, how they are chosen. I never studied it but the news I am surprised to find is that the electors take the heart of the election in their hands far more than I do when I vote. It is clear how much districting counts and how much Democrats lost in the last shuffle – I wasn’t awake – guess I had company.

And they have far more power than they use – or perhaps care to use. They must get something else with the role – I have not been able yet to ascertain what that might be.

This is the day they will send their posts to Washington. By horse or train, coach or truck, perchance to fly: the packages arrive in Washington, in the District of Columbia – another civics lesson unclear, to be opened on January 6th. – is this date the house and senate meet on due to travel time, Three Kings Day? Ponies from the states to D.C. marching with their orders?

Governance is not clear; neither is it necessarily sane or supported by reason. I found this out during my own parenting – and that of my parents’. Quite often thoughts seem to come from above us, or from our wisest place (wherever that is) but knowing anything for sure is a smokescreen as thick as anything growing over the densest of manufacturing cities. With great faith we kneel to a higher being forgetting that the thoughts that we will turn to action are ours and their seeming justice is but a thin slivered veneer of our own upbringing.

There is no person-made system to fix every system every time, forever. Much as we might try to insure stability through rules and habits, things change and we change, not always in sync with our times. Change comes when it comes, ask the glacier and the sun.

There is a saying about the tough getting going as the going gets tough. I would like to posit that the tough who resist change – in this case the browning of the world and the rise of differing states of being, are deepening their foxhole while the floodwaters rise.

There is no substitute for adaptation to what is. Our lives are directed by our thoughts and when wishful thinking is not recognized for what it is, suffering follows. My liberal heart knows this well, and in the suffering of my moment, in the pulse of my ideals there is a thread, a path to higher ideals and intentions that I will do my best to voice and walk.

Whoever you are, wherever you go, I will turn to look for you, no matter what. And in my mind and heart – my human, flawed, beautiful and political heart – I will remember the trend of this country’s young voters; pale blue, it was sparsely, selectively progressive and a beautiful shade of Robin’s egg blue.

IMG_2424

A Recent Letter

In my role as a communicator – all creatures, animals, your forebears, mine – I sometimes receive a letter. Since most are not handwritten – or written at all – I don’t have much trouble with interpretation. This most recent missive is from a dog.

By the way, I was going to write about the world situation, politics, ethics, (now, there’s a word that hasn’t risen its head for quite some time!) the beauty surrounding us this autumn, but I kept making draft after draft, never getting it quite right. And then, when I was looking up, I got this letter. I’m not sure whose dog it might be. I’m doing some research on that. In the meantime, see if it strikes a chord.

Dear my Now person with whom I live and to whom it might concern,

Why did you bring me here and what do you want?

Who are you? Perhaps I should have asked that first. Perhaps I should have had you fill out a form but I don’t know how to make one. If I were you that’s what I would do, I would make you fill out a form and then I would teach you how to sit up straight and beg and roll over. I wouldn’t show you off to anyone, that’s too embarrassing for anyone, even a human being. But first I would have you fill out a form. Now, back to you, why did you bring me here? Why weren’t you better prepared? Didn’t anyone tell you what it was like to be with a dog? I know you would use the expression “have a dog” but I don’t like being had. I like being with. I don’t know what you like. I don’t think it’s being with because you leave me all day and ignore me all night so, back to my question. Why? Why am I here? Why did you put me on a plane and drive forever to get me and drive forever to put me in this place you call home. I don’t know what home is. I never had one before. I always heard they were what every dog wanted. A home was what we dreamed of back in the kennel. We never thought of it in the wild, on the streets of the wild. We only were told about its existence when we were taken to the kennel. We thought it would be better than the kennel, we didn’t like the kennel much because it smells bad and the light is harsh. But we didn’t have to fight, that’s a relief, and we got food. When I think about it now, from this place you call home, that I have to call home – whatever that is – the kennel had some nice parts. People for one. People who were cheerful and I could tell they were doing their best, whatever that is. But I learned from those who were doing it that “best” means a smile even though it switches to a worry face as they go by. When they see me they smile and sometimes I smile back. I’m big on sharing, it’s something we did in the Pack. Being here, I’ve learned to appreciate that. Even though it’s not so smelly here and the light is better. I miss the smiles in the kennel. I don’t even know where the kennel is or whether I’ll ever see it. I don’t know whether I’ll ever see the happy face on the counter or the bowl of what I learned to call treats by the desk where people talked on the phone. I found out the phone is very handy. You can do all kinds of things with it and if you use it enough all sorts of things happen. Is that how I got here? Back to why am I here? Was it the phone? Back to my question. What do you want? Why did you come to get me? Why did you make such a big deal, drive hours and hours with that determined look on your face. I assume you looked like that before I was in the car. You certainly look like that now! Maybe I caused it all. That’s a terrible thought. This is truly a bad situation. What am I doing here? Why do you want me to be here? What do you want me to do? What do you want to do? How are we going to manage this? Didn’t they train you before you came to get me? Didn’t anyone tell you anything about what it would be like. They treat you like a saint, but you’re not. I won’t say I like the smell of the street wild or the lights and I won’t say it wasn’t confusing, but I learned things there. I learned where to go and who to trust – well, for the most part. I don’t know who to trust here and there is no place to go, no place to learn the ropes and no one to learn them from. Let me repeat, “Why am I here? What shall I do? Where is there for me to go? I saw you writing on a form they gave you to fill out at the kennel, what did you say? What do you know? How does it relate to me? What do you want? Why am I here? Why did you bring me here, all those miles, in that traffic, how did you decide to do it? Why did you decide to do it? What did you decide to do and what can we do about it?

IMG_0917

LET’S GET REAL

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not change the world of the black men and women – the grandparents of the men dying today and yesterday and the day before – who were alive in that year. But it did put the possibility of equal rights in our minds if not our hearts.
In 1963 I was traveling with my husband and four month old baby daughter across a vicious ice storm in the Oklahoma panhandle. We were freezing cold in the night of slanting sheets of ice, our VW Bus only heated with acceleration and we were hardly making any headway to bring on the heat.
Kennedy had just been assassinated and nothing felt sure or clear in our young lives. We were heading to Monterrey California to the Army Language School where my husband would learn French and probably be sent to Vietnam. (He ended up not going to Viet Nam – in its wisdom the army sent him to Germany because he already spoke German fluently.)
We saw in the storm ahead a glowing motel sign, it was late, our daughter was crying, we were bone tired after driving since four that morning. We walked into the office, there was a black couple ahead of us. The man behind the counter told them there were no more rooms. I pulled my husband’s sleeve. “Let’s go,” I said. He said, “wait,” without looking at me. I hesitated and stayed behind while he went to the counter. The man smiled, “last room, sir,” he said.
I wish I could say that I got the other couple and we shared the room but they were gone and I was shocked into numbness. In that moment I didn’t understand. I looked at my husband and was about to say something like, “but I thought they had no room.” Maybe I did, I don’t know. I only know my own confusion, my distaste for the experience and my wish for change.
There are thousands like me, who want change and who have ideals about how “things could be better.” But the walls I ran into, run into are like the ones from my childhood where I had to sit through movies like The Robe and others of that genre, scared, in a seat alone because the people who brought me could not sit with me. They were taking me on their days off because my parents were neglectful but they could not take care of me by sharing my space – or me sharing theirs. It would take me years to figure that out by myself, nothing was ever said and now I know they could have gotten arrested if someone had noticed. I’m glad children were not “seen or heard” while I was growing up.
This has not gone away.
Yes, there is progress, but the opportunities of the races are not the same, not even close. You know it and I know it. The difference between 1963 with no Civil Rights Act and after its signature in 1964 and years following, was none. Twenty years, thirty, forty – the motel manager – depending on where it was located – probably wouldn’t have gotten away with what he did. But I am very cynical about what people can get away with. The disadvantaged are targeted at the same rate they were when I was growing up, the banks, the realtors, the school districts are little different. How could we have so much “no change” if things were actually enforced? Why would we still need busing if we have equalized our neighborhoods? We haven’t equalized anything. We are awash with bullets now, then we had ropes and we still have the attitudes of the men, and the women behind them, in white sheets holding their ideas, their customs, their entitlements as shield and sword for their intolerant righteousness.
We need better. Too long have we looked upon most of what we see around us as “other.” Whether an animal or a tree or the earth itself, we think, doesn’t have sensations, feelings, intelligence.
Do yourself a favor, don’t name. It’s the first step in separation. We know enough now to have discovered that there exists communication – communion – all around us. Look for communion. Take it when you feel it. Let your nascent or sophisticated vision of your universe expand. Expand with it.
John Muir said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he[sic] finds it attached to the rest of the world.” And don’t be looking to be right or smart, Muir walked through miles and acres of American Native cultivation thinking it was “wild” land. It was, we all have different ways to cultivate. Get to know yours.
DSC03121