Many dreamers dreaming dreams!

I don’t remember my life before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, I do. Glimpses of this house or that puppy. Snapshots of my family. But not life as an American. Or life as anything other than a Boardman.

I’ve been sitting, these last few days, in the shadow of a tree and pondering the impact of this man on my life.

Actually, I’ve been sitting under a picture of a tree which is mostly still a sketch and, oddly, a revelation.

My nails are splattered in brown paint and the dogs are beginning to grasp the notion that they need to stay out from under my feet while I paint.

I am still learning.

My Intentional Creativity friends and I are painting trees of life.

Well, we’re painting lots of things but this seems to be where I am just now.

One day, back in December, the notion came to me that my tree would want to be a Banyan tree.

An enormous tree like the ones where I grew up in Florida, systems of branches and roots and trunks, communities of breathing life.

I visited a few of those trees in Key West and they kept whispering to me.

Kelly and I took some pictures. Mine were mostly roots.

Roots that reminded me of the ancient wisdom of elephants.

Then, we came home.

The time to paint came closer and closer, and the Banyan tree kept tugging at me.

Then, I found out why.

In the online newsletter, Aeon, Jonardon Ganeri, a contemporary philosopher whose work draws on a variety of  traditions to construct new positions in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology, writes that:

…knowledge should be pictured as a banyan tree, in which a multiplicity of aerial roots sustains a centerless organic system. The tree of knowledge has a plurality of roots, and structures of knowledge are multiply grounded in the earth: the body of knowledge is a single organic whole, no part of which is more or less dispensable than any other.

Dr. King is one of those roots in my Banyan tree. Justice. Equality. Community.

His tree had many roots, as well.

The prophet Isaiah. Abraham Lincoln. A dream of what hadn’t been yet but could be.

And his tree is growing still.

Bernie Sanders, perhaps.

We need all the dreamers we can get!

For today, though, I’m sitting with my tree and recalling a wise old friend named Puddleglum who had a pretty big dream of his own. Taking his leave from the Queen of the underworld to search for Narnia, along with his young friends, the Marsh-wiggle said this:

…All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think, but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say (C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair in The Chronicles of Narnia).

Many dreamers dreaming dreams. Justice. Equality. Community. Hope. Love.  All of them feeding the branches and leaves still to come.

I suspect Dr. King would approve. Our four-footed Luther does, too!



2018 : My Year of Beginner’s Mind

Recently, some of my creative friends who hang out in the Planet SARK atmosphere got me thinking. What, they wondered, was my “word” for 2018?

If you’ve known me a while you won’t be too surprised to find out that my “word” is actually two words. But it’s only one idea so I decided it counts because it feels so true.

Beginner’s Mind. 

The first time I recall this notion knocking on my brain was at a Qigong retreat, five years or so ago. It was kind of a radical notion for me, that showing up not knowing could be a good thing.

I’ve done a lot of not knowing since then. Blogs, social media, electronic publishing, species appropriate food, and a rather more challenging than usual rescue dog.

My latest venture is, perhaps, the farthest afield for me.

I’m learning to paint! More specifically, I’m learning the process of intentional creativity which is both ancient and really new to me.

First, in case you’re new around here, let me be clear. I am not “the artistic” kid. A maternal pronouncement which I grew up believing must have been carved on the flip side of the 10 Commandments.

The process of following a call to actually pick up a paintbrush and create something more artistic than really great wood work was a huge deal for me. And it’s happening!

One of the things I’m working on at the moment is a Tree of Life painting. It’s all very primal and mythical in the most true kind of way.

Well, in theory. In actuality, it’s a couple of really rough sketches and several layers of background work.

But, I know where I’m going.

Sort of.

The first thing my tree decided, after the initial background layers, was that she prefered a landscape orientation to the portrait one that seemed more tree-like to me.

In the midst of not knowing, I went back to my source and watched the next video step of the process, even though I wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I learned a major miracle for fixing things that aren’t working! (Thank you, Shiloh Sophia McCloud!!!) It has a lot to do with using the negative space, which I wouldn’t have thought of but changes many things.

Then the dream arrived. An actual dream.

Tree of Life. Tree of Knowledge. Banyan trees. Many trunks and roots.

Philosophy. Quantum physics. Community. The things that connect us, one to the other.

A whole new world, rather like the one through the back of the wardrobe C. S. Lewis made famous.

And a realization. Not new, so much as deeper.

It’s all energy.

From the clean, sustainable broth simmering on my stove that warms me even hours before dinner will be ready, to the message of the Tree of Life, it’s all energy.

Energy which cannot be created or destroyed, but which can only be transformed.

Transformed, in our world, through intention.

Intention, I hope, in this New Year, for good.

Good for me and mine. Good for you and yours. Good for us, in the sense that there are no others.

Which sounds a lot like fixing things in the negative space!

And may be an even bigger story…



I have a plan!

Gerri Ravyn Stanfield is a writing buddy of mine. A couple of days ago, in the midst of all the responses to the extreme testosterone poisoned abuse from the GOP candidate for President, she posted something on Facebook that’s had me thinking ever since.

“If Trump gets elected,” Gerri said, “I’m moving to Narnia!”

Jackpot! I’ve been pondering this issue for quite some time, now. Hence my reply, “Narnia is definitely the answer!”

And then, a bit of back and forth later, me again. “I may move there regardless of who wins!”

It’s tempting! Bill thought it was a pretty good idea. Our resident Newfie rescues, Sarah and Phoebe, are fine with it as long as they get to go, too. No more abandonment for them! We would need a more dependable way to visit than the back of the wardrobe. I’d miss my girls!

This morning, I woke with another voice in my head. But first, a bit of context for the uninitiated.

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