reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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no one can really tell us. [d.r. thursday]

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NO ONE CAN TELL US mixed media 24″ x 32″

“…no one can tell us because life is not something which can be understood from a book…” (krishnamurti)

when my big brother died almost 27 years ago, my world tilted, never to return to the same again.  i struggled to understand that this amazingly smart, talented, witty man – someone i depended on my whole life – was no longer going to be in this world.  losing him left me with a lot of questions.

ever since then i have not been able to wrap my head around how the world keeps going if you cannot feel it anymore.  and yet, each loss i have experienced is evidence that is exactly what happens.  the world keeps going. it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

there is no handbook available to explain all this.  life’s complicated layers and sideroads, the junctures where we choose left or right, the places we decide to stop or go…it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

nearly every day there is some world-tilting reminder to wholeheartedly embrace the moment you are in; nearly every day we forget.  it’s not as easy as just remembering.  it’s not easily understood.  your shoes are not my shoes and, although it is easy for me to sense all the concurrent emotions in a room, i still cannot grasp what you are actually going through.  my sun could be your rain.  it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

so we try.  we try to understand, without instruction, the strands and tattered fragments and shiny-mica-bits that weave together into life.  mostly, we keep feeling life.  and the world keeps going.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

to view NO ONE CAN TELL US on DAVID’s gallery site, click here

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NO ONE CAN TELL US ©️ 2015 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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above the clouds. [two artists tuesday]

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we left florida in the rain.  it was a tad bit bumpy as we climbed and i was grateful to come out above the clouds into a clear sky with soft early morning color.  as we flew at this altitude i could see glimpses of what was below us, spaces quickly filled in by soft puffy clouds blocking the view.  i strained to see what terrain we were flying over, curious if i could pick out landmarks and know a little bit more about where we were, wondering about people living in those tiny dots of towns and cities and farmland below the clouds that we were flying above.  it was easy to forget that it was raining down there.

i feel like life is like that.  it has become more telling to me in these times of divisiveness.  we are each at a different altitude…we have different starting points – our backgrounds, our education, our financial status, our various orientations…the starting point list is lengthy; all things combine to make us who we are and all things weave us a different starting point.  at any given moment we are at yet another one; life is fluid like that.  we live above our own clouds – or, at times, in them – either way our view blocked.

here above my clouds – for my clouds are different than yours – my questions are these:  how curious are we about the people who are not at the same place as us?  how much do we strain to see what might not be where we are?  how much do we want to know, to empathize? how much do we forget what is happening someplace else, for someone else, in the places where it is more difficult to see through the clouds?  how engrossed are we only in our narrow bandwidth of sky?  can we see the experience of others?  can we try?

we can either think it is a soft-morning-sky kind of day for everyone or we can actually realize that it’s raining down there.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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as you is. [two artists tuesday]

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spoiler alert to the girl, the boy, family and friends:  do not be surprised if one of your christmas/holiday presents from us is a shirt or sweatshirt or hat that says “AS YOU IS”.

we encountered michael at the farmers’ market one beautiful saturday when the sun was warm and the yellow jackets plentiful.  i was drawn to the simple stand of breeze-fluttering t-shirts, the saying AS YOU IS on the banner and the byline “big boned or small featured. thick-haired or bald-headed. married or single. A or C student. white or black or in-between. male or female. or in-between.”  we stopped to talk. i’m so glad we did.

michael was disarmingly charming and honest and zealous and positive – a breath of fresh air in a world that seems to be full of negativity and judgment these days.  he spoke of the origins of his cottage business and his simple philosophy, arrived at through years of painful learning and experience and after a long career outside of this new mission.  we could relate to him.  he told us the point of AS YOU IS:  “As You Is” is a rally cry for anyone and everyone that has a good heart, regardless of race, color, faith, age, gender, nationality, physical or mental limitations, or appearance. 

the pull to stay and talk was strong, but that would have precluded michael from introducing others at the market to his new line, his new business.  and so, we grabbed business cards, asked him to design some sweatshirts as well and continued on our way.  but AS YOU IS has remained in our conversations together.  his AS YOU IS.  our (sweet momma/beaky-inspired) BE KIND.  twinsies.

i suspect we will seek michael out to talk some more.  because chatting with someone about acceptance and hope and goodness is, as michael says, one hella gift.

AS YOU IS

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click here or on the box above to visit ASYOUIS website

As You Is® was created to start conversations…to cause total strangers to smile…to make people think…to get others to feel so accepted they break out in impromptu dance…and to put a serious chink in the armor of racism.

Our hope is one day children can embrace being uniquely themselves, where they feel safe being different and where old people – like our founder Michael Fornwald – can age gracefully or ungracefully sans self-contempt.

Please join us by infecting others with hope one hella cool t-shirt or cap at a time.

BE KIND

be kind collage with color font copy 2for our BE KIND products click here or on product collage box above & be sure to scroll down for the whole product line

“Be kind to each other. Always.” (my sweet momma/beaky)

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BE KIND designs ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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when ants dream. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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are we talking about payback here?  i prefer to try to live life with pay-it-forward thinking. but hey, on some level, i can relate to these ants.

living in wisconsin and having chased about a zillion of them around the kitchen last night, what i really want to know is – what do mosquitoes dream?

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

when ants dream… ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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chicken marsala monday

MASTER trytoseewhattheysee WITH EYES jpeg copy 2try to see what they see.  i glanced back over what i’ve written the last week:  about trying to see eye to eye, about assuming awe, about being relentless in a life that isn’t simply black and white, about being brave.  is it possible to write too many words about the importance of empathy?  the importance of trying to walk in another’s shoes to really understand their circumstance, their joy, their plight, their challenge?  because it’s easy to forget, i never feel like i can be reminded enough; it’s always hard to remember my perspective is different than any-other-person’s-on-earth.  sometimes it’s laden with stuff.  it’s all so complicated.

when dogdog was little we were astounded by his exuberant joy.  he was always bounding, seemingly ever hopeful.  he still is.  i’ve written about what his take on the world looks like to us; i’ve written about what babycat’s take on the world looks like to us.  they look forward and see possibility, without the capacity to mull all the looking-backwards-stuff over in their brains.

we surround ourselves with wonderful pets who unconditionally love us.  all of us who have dogs or cats -or any pet- we adore know this; people who dedicate time or their lives to keeping animals safe – like aly, a veterinarian, or jen, who has spent lots of time volunteering at humane societies and sanctuaries, or my sister, who just adopted a puppy-she-wasn’t-expecting…we all know this.  they see us like no one else.  and they are part of us in ways not easy to express in words.  they aren’t looking at us with prejudice or judgement, emotional baggage or elitist measurements of value.  they simply expect the best and somehow they find it in the very next moment.  they find it in each moment.  they clearly know something we don’t know.  they don’t need to walk in another’s shoes.  they just look forward and trust.  it’s simple for them.

for us?  we can stand to be in those other shoes AND to look forward.  we can try to see what they see.

TRY TO SEE WHAT THEY SEE – A LINK TO PERUSE CARDS, WALL ART, THROW PILLOWS & LEGGINGS ……

 

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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

try to see what they see ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#MeToo

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 5.10.57 PM i believe in inherent goodness.  the inherent goodness of each and every person.  born in beauty, walking in beauty.  i blame my sweet momma.  she looked this way at every single person who crossed her path.
          but then, there’s the rest.  predisposed psychological genetics.  environment.  social prejudices.  bigotry.  elitism.  lack of empathy.  the inability to walk in another’s shoes.  the lack of wanting to try to walk in another’s shoes.  some kind of warped misinformed yet embraced caste system.  jealousy.  bitterness.  the web of ‘ugly’ has many faces.  and people twist.  and that inherent goodness seems to go underground.  we wonder if there is, indeed, any goodness left.  we are confronted with this question over and over again it seems, especially these days.
          we had a discussion about goodness recently.  it became heated.  the dog left the room and retreated to the bathroom.  we were intense.  too intense.  arguing for the same point, we came from two different directions, two different backgrounds.  but we were heading, actually, in the same direction.
          each of us carries our gift of inherent goodness.  we choose each and every day whether we access it or not. my momma’s adherence to the adage, “i shall pass through this world but once.  any good, therefore, that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it for i shall not pass this way again.” often rings in my ears.  we all make decisions each day; some steeped in good, some not so much.
          as we approached the holidays and the end of the year, we were deeply diving into cleaning out.  seems right at the end of the year.  old boxes of random items that had accumulated in the years lived in this home, vestiges of life before, of life growing up, of goodnesses shown and received.  we had so much fun as we cleaned; i’d show d pictures or mementos from places or people or the children, every one of them an opportunity for a story.  some carried aha moments, some elicited sighs of where-does-the-time-go, some made me laugh or teary, some stopped me in my tracks.
          i came across things from way-earlier-life, the time i had spent growing up on long island.  my seagull collection, plastic seagulls suspended on wires attached to rocks or shells or pieces of cork, a 70s thing for sure.  my horse collection, which was, in my mind, massive, but when i unpacked it was more like 15 horse statues and ribbons from showing in horse shows, drawings i had painstakingly drawn, books i pored over and over and studied at a much younger age.  a doll collection with hand sewn or hand crocheted outfits made lovingly by my grandmother ‘mama dear’s’ hands.  books and notebooks and old calendars.  trinkets and rocks and feathers.  cards and letters i saved for decades.  artwork by the girl and the boy.  little notes they wrote to me.  an old electric typewriter and a case of 45rpm records we played the night we found them.
          and then there are the reminders from a time i don’t talk about so much.  a time when i became a #MeToo.  it takes my breath away to think of that 19 year old girl.  me – an idealistic, innocent, youngest-by-far child who looked at the world through poetic eyes and trusting-colored glasses.  my heart breaks now for this young woman who found her way through a terrifying -and life-changing- time pretty much alone, seeking little help for an act that drove to her core and was more than difficult to voice in a late 1970s judicial system.  because, you know, not everyone is good.  not everyone holds their inherent goodness ahead of their selfish, controlling, violent behaviors.  back then, counseling, and even prosecuting, was rare.  i didn’t experience either one.  the help of counseling nor the satisfaction of prosecuting this person who took away my belief and trust in goodness.  for a time, fear coursed through me.  my view of others became jaded and distrusting.  i sought refuge in varying ways, but never really explained why to myself or others.  i didn’t understand what caused this man to behave as he had, nor did i understand that it wasn’t mine to understand.  what i do know, is that i grew.
          and now, as our world opens their listening hearts to women and girls everywhere, i am grateful.  grateful for their collective voices and the deserved help extended to them. grateful that even in giving individual voice, they are moving through the processing of it, the reason for being a #MeToo becoming smaller than #MeToo survival.
          i was once told wise words from a friend when i was grieving my momma’s death.  joan said, “the only way to get to the other side is through it.”
          as i sort through all the pieces of life i have carried in boxes, in bins, in photographs, in my heart and soul, through all these years, i realize again that these words are so true.  in so many situations, so many life arenas. the only way to get to the other side is through it.  and then, you can find inherent goodness again.

 


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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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