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the path back is the path forward


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lucky charms. [merely-a-thought monday]

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H is about the sweetest man you could meet.  he is in choir, sings bass and is a heckuva barbershop singer.   he loves music and adventures and birthdays and hugs and butterfinger bars and the letter H.  and we love him.

i was talking about a piece we were going to sing a particular sunday.  i told the infamous back row they would need to eat their wheaties that day; there were some tough notes in this piece.  H looked up, and with that glimmer in his eye, said, “i eat lucky charms!”

what???!!!  this is a grown man – 93 years grown – and you would think that his breakfast would be practical and of great nutritional value.  but nope!  lucky charms it is.  he added, “when my grandchildren come over, they eat all the marshmallows!”  clearly not a disappointment but, instead, the greatest biggest joy.   see?  the sweetest.

i’m thinking that it would be a smart thing to eat lucky charms if it means i am going to live 93 years and have a glimmer in my eye.  and they’re gluten free!

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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you are beautiful. [merely-a-thought monday]

you are beautiful (chicago)

i remember heidi telling me about a conversation she was having on a mother-daughter weekend with her sweet mom, among other mothers and daughters.  they were sipping glasses of wine and started listing some of the things that were disconcerting to them about themselves.

we women (and men) have all done it.  we are sitting smack in the middle of a society that puts great value on appearance and youth, rather than the wrinkles of wisdom, the not-perfect-shape of having children and nurturing families, the heart-showing-on-our-face that has learned great empathy through the years, the grey hair of hard work and compassion.  and so we complain about the obvious changes we are going through.

i have looked in the mirror numerous times and thought,  “wait!  hold on!  that is NOT how i look!”  followed closely by, thinking, “it must be the lighting!  good grief, why do they use these dreadful florescent lights?  where are the soft white light bulbs?  what about indirect lighting?!  haven’t they invented soft focus mirrors yet??  umm,  i prefer my photos over-exposed, thankyouverymuch.”  we are hard on ourselves.  understatement.

instead of recognizing the beauty, the light in our eyes, the smile lines on our faces, the brow of concern, we list to the negative.  we do not look like the photoshopped version in the magazine; we cannot measure up to the three-or-four-decades-younger version of even ourselves.  life changes us.  why is it so easy to minimize ourselves and so difficult not to maximize what those changes have brought?

heidi’s mom interrupted the conversation.  she gently stopped the flowing list of self-deprecating complaints.  and she said, “you will never be more beautiful than you are right now.”

we passed this spray-painted graffiti in chicago.  i grabbed the phone out of my purse and tried to quickly capture it.  my finger blurred part of the image and i ruminated after on how i had ruined the photo.  and then i realized that no, indeed i had not ruined it.  for that blurry flaw in the photo would remind me (much better than were it not to be there) that we were walking fast down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, trying to capture the photo inbetween lots of traffic, laughing and excitedly on our way to see The Boy.  that blurred sixth of the photo – a photo that was not perfect –  would remind me of that day, imprinting in my life right then, the reminder timely and empowering.

you are beautiful.  right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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what’s important. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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in the last few days, both of us have heard the deeply sad news that someone in our lives – each a unique voice of great wisdom – has passed.  it’s bracing.  we are here and then we are not.

in all the difficult moments we have had these past months, both on-island and off-island, these past few days once again remind us of what is actually important.

it’s not the work challenges or politics. it’s not the worry over details and relationship snags. it’s not competition or one-upping someone else, nor is it about power-struggles and issues of control.  it’s not about being undervalued or serving those who do not appreciate you, nor is it about the tippy-top of the ladder where lower rungs are no longer visible to you.  it’s not what you don’t have or what you wish you had.

instead, it’s what you do have.

it’s the simplest of moments.  when you look over and dogdog and babycat are butt-to-butt snuggling. or you are sitting next to your beloved, writing or reading together.  or your grown children call to chat a bit, out of the blue.  you spend time together.  you do good work and stand in it.  or you take a walk, in fresh air, under a sunlit sky or in a night full of stars.  you savor a hot cup of coffee or raise a glass of wine in a toast with friends. you embrace or hold hands with someone you love.  the simplest.

with gratitude to a man, alan walker, who encouraged me to love both the piano and open-faced peanut butter sandwiches.  and my thanks to a man i never met, quinn, who, in innumerable conversations in his study, brought many moments of wisdom and perspective to david.  you both remain reminders of what is really important.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

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it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


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island prayer flags. [two artists tuesday]

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on march 19 of this year i wrote about our prayer flags.  the ones at our home, i cherish their presence as they flutter in our backyard breezes.  the prayer flags in this post are at our littlehouse on island.  they stretch between a tree and a covered wooden rocking loveseat that plants itself firmly gazing at the lake.  my sweet girl got me these as a gift, from the same little shop in ridgway, colorado that our home-prayer-flags come from.

the lake breeze is stronger than the breezes in our backyard; sometimes the flags are horizontal in its fury.  the threads are loosening, loosening; the prayers are flying, flying.  these little prayer flags are already more quickly tattered than the ones we have at our home.  prayers for peace, compassion, strength and wisdom are perhaps more zealous these days, perhaps more often, perhaps more imploring.

at the end of this season we will gently take our prayer flags down and wrap them in soft cloth or tissue.  we will thank them and put them in our special box to bring home with us.  perhaps they will then hang with the flags-in-the-backyard.  or perhaps, after a time of flying and more reassurance than i can explain, they will rest.  we will see.

“we pass under them every time we leave the house and every time we return.  our prayer flags fly between the house and the garage…a welcome sight either way.  although better given to you as a gift, we purchased our flags in a little shop in ridgway, colorado and i consider it a gift that we were able to spend time in that tiny mountain town in the san juan mountains.  these flags represent that place to us, that time, and so much more.

each color is symbolic of an element…white is air and wind, blue is sky and space, green symbolizes water, red is fire and yellow is earth.  flying these in a specific order produces a balance of health and harmony.  flying these promotes peace, compassion, strength and wisdom; the wind blows the prayers into the universe.  i cannot think of  more visual evidence of constant prayer.  it matters not to me what religious practice is associated with them.  the prayers are so much bigger than that.  everything is bigger than that.

every time we watch any depiction of an everest story, there are multitudes of these buddhist prayer flags.  they grace base camp and the summit and each camp between,  the prayers issued by those people seeking to reach the highest place on earth.

we can’t claim trying to reach the highest physical place on earth.  but we can claim seeking peace, compassion, strength and wisdom, a balance of health and harmony.  for me, for us, those things are the highest place on earth.” (march 19, 2019)

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click here to browse or purchase ISLAND PRAYER FLAGS as wall art

island prayer flags - the five elements

click here to browse or purchase ISLAND PRAYER FLAGS – THE FIVE ELEMENTS as wall art

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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island prayer flags photograph ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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act well your part. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

act well 2

“act well your part.  there all the honor lies.” (alexander pope)

this feels like a life mantra.  a reminder that no matter what you do, where you find yourself, who you are…to do the best you can, to be the best you can.  no spoke is uncounted.

the moment i heard this line i took out a scrap of paper and a sharpie and wrote it down.  it so resonated with me that i could feel my heart beating in my chest.  i thought of all the times i tried to do the best i could, to be the best i could, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.  and i thought of all the times i didn’t do the best i could, i wasn’t the best i could be, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.

i wish, at every turn, someone had repeated this to me.  good turns.  poor turns.  turns that i can account for, that have intention and educated thoughtfulness.  turns that i shrink away from thinking about, that are spontaneous, ill-conceived moments, that have no grounding. turns that were reactionary, that stole safety, stole time to patiently stand in the fire and think.  turns that i did not make, that felt too scary, too risky, too alone.  and turns that i should have made, that would have tied me to the earth’s gravity and kept me steadfastly feet on dirt.

i wish, often now, as i look back over last week, last month, last year, the last decade, my whole life, that someone had repeated this to all human beings.  as we stand in the turns we make, the decisions we decide on, the actions we choose…were we to judiciously filter them through “act well your part.  there all the honor lies” we would be reminded that it all counts.  the ripples spread.  the pebble we throw will, indeed, touch others.

just as others will count on us to act well our part, regardless of any part’s so-called import, so too, do we count on others to act well their parts.  standing together.  thinking. recognizing.  choosing.  moving with wisdom.  every spoke counts.  there is honor in each one.  for a wheel without spokes…..

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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classic. woman. [d.r. thursday]

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CLASSIC mixed media 20″ x 16″

my sweet momma had a painting of a modestly nude woman hanging in her master bath.  she was proud of this painting and of its location.  it traveled with them from long island to various homes in florida, an item that made the keep-it cut time and again.  now, this painting was not a brilliant work of art, for it was actually a paint-by-number that she had painted at some point before painting her own abstracts. (more on paint-by-numbers at a later date.)

but momma’s painting was meaningful to her and i suspect it represented a powerful statement – the beauty of a woman’s body, the grace of line, the respect shown.  perfection.  i think it resembled her in her youth, and in later years reminded her of earlier years, an earlier body before babies and emotion and injury and surgeries and wrinkles and time changed everything.  changed the shape and the look of body but added strength and wisdom that only life lived can add.  momma was indeed a woman before her time.

CLASSIC is such a painting, but is exquisite art.  the beauty of a woman’s body, the grace of line, the respect shown.

momma would have loved this painting of david’s and, probably, would have convinced him to hang it for her in her own home.  it would remind her of how much she loved being a woman.  of how she taught her daughters and granddaughters to embrace being female and yet, not to stand by meekly or idly or retreatingly.  to revel in the beauty of having a body that is female, but not to tout or compare or compete.  to move with grace as best as you can, for in that movement grace will be found.  to show and expect respect for your own body, in all ways.  to recognize perfection.  in all the times of life.

view/purchase CLASSIC in david’s gallery online

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CLASSIC ©️ 2013 david robinson