AEDM – 2016 – Days 24, 25 & 26 – Three Trees*

trees-today-one-b

*I posted other visuals on the Facebook AEDM page for
Days 24 and 25, then came across this photo from
one
of my walks and began thinking about the number 3 –

my favorite number, beliefs and stories we are told

Holidays have arrived.  Most people are celebrating something somewhere. We share many of the same rituals and symbols, but not the same respect and love for each other.  Ever wonder about the origins of your beliefs, how they effect the way you treat yourself and others?  I certainly have. I was raised a Catholic in churches with largely Italian parishioners, the early influence of stained glass windows and carved marble with gold appointments sparked my first awareness of art.  I see it in the visual art I now create, hear it when I read my own writing out loud, listening to the structure, the cadence. I was mesmerized by the windows in our modest church with primary colors emblazoned in morning light, the gold tip of the church spire a mystery to me, supposedly celibate priests, nuns with fists of iron and my friends rebelling against the church with early clandestine sex – all of them except me.  I was a late bloomer.  I came to curiosity late. Church was my very own art museum, not where I found God.  It stays with me, the luster, the shapes, the glory of my partially remembered childhood.  The dogma did little for me until I investigated what I’d been taught, finally coming to my own conclusions. That might not be your experience, and maybe it was but yours was labeled differently.

Let’s get back to the number three just because it fascinates me.  I was taught about the Three Wise Men, the Holy Trinity (more men), three levels of heaven (written about by men)– this is not about religion, sexism or numerology.  It’s about similarities we share without realizing it, uninvestigated similarities we use to judge others.  I know much about little. I’m simply a curious soul, a writer, artist, lover of form, of the nuances of my language, of symbols and their origins and use. I love the number three, my favorite, so I’m using it as a jumping off point. But where did my love of it come from? I use the number when I decorate, balance color and form, when I photograph – shoot nothing straight on someone told me, when I dance, loved the cha cha cha in high school (think about structured dances like the Waltz – 1, 2, 3 – 1, 2, 3), when I used to need a tool to end panic attacks – inhale, hold, exhale. I never understood why I loved the number so much until I went back in my own history. You know, of course, there is nothing new anywhere, that what we create is simply a reconfiguration of existing info in a perfect universe – the same is true regarding the air we breathe. It is the same air breathed by Jesus, Buddha, Hitler therefore they are a literal part of us, their molecules and ours floating around in that dusty mist you see on rainy mornings – that should make your holiday season edgy – I digress. Think about numbers, rituals, stories passed down to you and what you do that you have never questioned. Do it if you love it but understand why.  Because… many of our judgments of other people, of ideas that seem foreign to us, of art and literature, of the politics of others come from deep seeded beliefs we blindly accepted.  Since nothing is new, we’re all accepting the same thing labeled differently, marketed and sold like the old bottles of snake oil salesmen.

I did mention religions, though, didn’t I? Well, let’s go further out of Catholicism to see similarities – here at My Jewish Learning – Three signifies completeness and stability, as represented by the three Patriarchs and the three pilgrimage festivals –Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

Buddhism has The Three Jewels – These are the Buddha, the Dharma which is the teaching of the Buddha, and the Sangha, which is the community who follow the teaching. More info here at Urban Dharma.  Such interesting similarities.

I’ve only mentioned three religions but if you look further toward others you’ll see references using the number 3 as well as others.  We believe what we are taught as children.  We judge based on those beliefs. The “other” (we create the other) judges us based on their own unquestioned beliefs and symbols.  There we stand, two or more forces often arguing about the same issues and not knowing why although we’ve followed similar beliefs/stories passed down to us.  I’m not saying these beliefs are all lies. I’m saying we only know if they are truths if we question them. Much of the time we don’t even know that we don’t know.

A lovely site – the Shawl Ministry – provides religious and non-religious references of how we think in numbers in daily life – three in particular – and take these numbers/rules/beliefs as word without questioning their origin.  Shouldn’t life be about learning, growing, and not just following?  Well, that’s my opinion. Fine if you don’t agree. We must have different stories.

I fell in love with the three trees in the photo I posted above. I felt centered when I saw them, grounded and whole.  Even saying “centered” implies there is one side, and another, and I am in the middle – my own triad of sorts.

Beliefs, habits, rituals (numbers in particular, magic symbols, superstition) – the ways in which we lead our lives on auto pilot causes me to question just about everything until I understand who believes that, me or the other people in my head.  We all have other people in our head.  Ancestors, lovers, media….sliding into our cracks and altering who we are and how we think.  Considering today’s world, the changing landscape of our post technology daily lives, the media’s chronic distortion of facts happening at the speed of light, every one of us functioning on some level of blind privilege – I’m just using the number 3 here to express that we pass on information, have been doing that since the beginning of recorded time (and before that information was passed down in oral stories – how can you tell a story accurately twice? You can’t even read it the same way twice), and many of us never wonder where that information comes from, whether it is still relevant, whether it creates our prejudices and, most importantly, whether it creates the evil we commit in the name of a broken and no longer valuable belief system that isn’t so far removed from the enemy we insist on fighting. You could use a numbers game, of course, and decide the victor in any of these “wars” by playing Rock Paper Scissors.

We all have the opportunity this holiday season to evaluate ourselves, our beliefs, our lives and how they impact others. We live on a beautiful planet with incredible natural resources.  We have the potential to soar in the chain of evolution, taking all other life forms with us for the ride if we stop killing them off. We have the chance to look at ourselves, our stories, number sequences that carve out many of our ritualistic behavior, symbols and similarities, our friends and loved ones as well as those we judge, those we criminalize, hold down and storm onto their reservations wanting only to steal what would have been the community’s if we hadn’t oppressed them in the first place with cruelties based on reactions to old beliefs – we have the opportunity to inquire within, remove our auto pilot and question what no longer works, question everything we do that is done without love or compassion or investigation and regain the wonder that was there when we first arrived.  We came without conscious beliefs, concepts, and hatred. We’ve strayed in ways we don’t even realize and won’t see that as long as we accept blindly what we’ve been taught. Ever wonder why you always knock three times, use certain racist phrases then say you’re not a racist, think you’re an enlightened man yet call women by certain names? Where did you learn the names and why did you believe them? Habits, beliefs, rituals – the three amigos. You don’t know you don’t know until you know. It’s time to know. Change yourself, change the world.

I’ll tell you why I love the number three, a silly thing.  When I was eleven I had a crush on an older guy who was an usher in a movie theater where my brother and I went on Sundays.  His name was Pat.  Makes no sense, of course, but I began counting in 3’s, tapping in 3’s, talking in sentences of three words each.  I think I drove my mother crazy. She was patient enough but I might have broken her with that and the time I shaved off my eyebrows.  We all got through it but the number three helped me navigate a few rough years of puberty.  It isn’t more magical than that. I still purchase certain things in threes – candles, apples, socks.  Makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe that’s how you feel about your stories, the history you’ve been told, the number habits you’ve developed. An OCD friend counts to 10 before she walks out her front door. Her mother told her a story once that had to do with police arresting a rapist in their neighborhood at 10 p.m.  She bought into the fear of the dark, of being a victim.  The number 10 comforts her.

Think about what you believe and where it came from, whether it keeps you from opportunity, from seeing someone else as your equal, or a new path to travel that you might have feared – whatever you are wrestling with.  Consider that while there is nothing new, what you have inherited is a trail of beliefs belonging to someone else, that those beliefs can determine the direction you take on your path in life.  The “other” person’s beliefs are also based on stories, symbols, versions of basic truths bastardized and re-labeled differently than yours/ours/mine.  At least question things then make your choice based on fact and truth. You can only arrive at truth after facing it head on. In the meantime, enjoy the trees.  They know the truth and will share it with you if you ask nicely. They are the innocence we once had. Let them teach you.

Read some of Joseph Campbell’s work.  A master of mythology, of similarities in religious connections, the origins of our belief systems, archetypes……

More food for thought:

The Huffington Post article – Harness the Psychological Power of 3 to Improve Communication

Doctor Who episode – The Power of Three (I’m a proud Whovian)

The New York Times article The Power of Three – Three is the right number for persuasion

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

 

 

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AEDM – 2016 – Day 23

What is Thanksgiving, anyway?

white-flower-one-final

A little white light for your day*

Personally, I don’t think this holiday has anything to do with Pilgrims and Indians.  That initial event passed a long time ago and we can’t possibly know the truth of it. History has proven to be a liar in many cases – most even, who knows.

Been lots of comments on Facebook and Twitter about celebrating this holiday, that we shouldn’t out of respect for those involved in current protests that have turned ugly (your being miserable doesn’t help their cause.  There are many ways to help them, suffering isn’t one of them),  or we should because otherwise we’re just angry people (I think we’re angry anyway but only you can change that).  But don’t you think most of our major holidays have lost their initial meaning, that they’ve given themselves over to marketing?  I don’t know about you but I’m celebrating.  Not in a grandiose way, I have a very, very small family structure although I’m blessed with numerous great long-term friends who live elsewhere – everywhere, no one close to me. I have newer local friends.  It will be a quiet day for me – much quiet time, thinking about my loved ones who have left – grateful they were in my life, about those in my future – grateful to know they are on their way, about my present – I’m alive,  and how far I’ve traveled, yes, its been a wicked and fun ride.  Not necessarily a turkey fan, I’ll be roasting a chicken, making Italian sausage stuffing (a childhood favorite) and broccolini with garlic and olive oil.  (Can you tell I was raised Italian?) Added to that, a bottle of a lovely Malbec – maybe a few brownies – or will it be pumpkin pie?  Only tomorrow knows. Spending time with a local friend.  Probably watching a ridiculous movie and maybe even making a few more phone calls.

Celebrating in my own way for the people who can’t, for the people who don’t want to, for those who are unable to see that the day is for gratitude for being alive, for being able to think and care about all sorts of things, other people, animals, the flowers of the world, the stars, the way the light rests in the eyes of children when they look at you, the breeze going through trees just before a rain storm – the possibility that any moment beyond the one you exist in now might be the last – or maybe its the beginning of something new.

Happiness isn’t dependent on who the President is, whether your lover is cheating on you, how much money you’ve lost.  It’s dependent on how you think, how open your heart is, what you concentrate on as you walk this path, and what you bring to the world in general.  Be grateful for anything at all, everything, whatever you come up with.  Live in the positive.  That’s my opinion, anyway. You might not agree.  And that’s fine because my joy isn’t dependent on you and yours isn’t on me.  We’re both okay.  Life is good, even when it isn’t – because that’s the gift – Life.

*I posted a photo of a beautiful white flower, still blooming in this cold Pacific Northwest air – persistence and the refusal to give up, that’s what I’m talking about.  No turkey photo – you know what a turkey looks like but you might have forgotten about flowers.  I wanted to remind you.

A few things to get you out of a slump you might be in:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”    Melody Beattie

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
  John F. Kennedy

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”    Albert Schweitzer

“Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”    Alice Walker

One of my favorites:

“You are the soul of the Universe and your name is Love”    Rumi

 

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

AEDM – 2016 – Day 22 (Day 21 MIA)

Day 22 – Some crackling dry buds from that neighborhood garden that fascinates me. This photo was taken yesterday (while I was working on my secret project for Day 21, only posted to the AEDM Facebook page).  Today, I’m sure these are a soggy mess as the rain has fallen steadily all day, currently the roads are filled with puddles, the grey, murky sky has gone black with evening, and I’m relaxing…going to put on my new down slippers, make some hot chocolate and watch a movie.

bud-one-final

 

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

AEDM – 2016 – Day 20

Doing

project-one

Day 20 is a conglomeration (an under used word in my opinion) of ideas.

Baking. Finishing baking the second batch of diet biscotti for my brother.  They seem to be doing well in the oven.  Won’t know, of course, until I eat them. The batter is definitely good.

Music.  Just purchased the Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 17 & 21 CD, known to many as Elvira Madigan since the music was used in the 1967 film of the same name.  Love Mozart. Loved the film. Didn’t, however, love when the first CD arrived from Amazon, cracked on both sides due to poor packaging.  Complained, returned, repurchased and the new uncracked CD is waiting for me to listen to, which I’ll do tonight.  Have the LP in my storage in California and will be happy to see and here that again. The LP holds many great memories separate from the music.  A gift presented to me by an old lover, accompanied by a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and a crystal decanter.  Don’t remember the year of the bottle.  Do remember the lover. That’s what matters.

Waiting for The Essential Leonard Cohen to arrive. That’s very exciting.

Jewelry.  Always learning a new skill or just practicing one.  Currently,  working on creating a better heat rivet, getting the balls closer and tighter to the metal, and making pin backs. Sometimes, the easy things are the challenge.

heat-rivets

Working in metal, listening to great music, writing – something to appear soon – and playing in my sketch book with shapes and colors.

Delightfully occupied…staying out of trouble.

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

 

AEDM – 2016 Day 19

These are not my biscotti.  Mine were much worse…LOL
burned-biscotti

Life and its surprises…..I consider myself somewhat of an expert on rustic biscotti as I’ve been making them for probably 30 years or more, every holiday season for friends and one brother.  See this photo?  Trust me.  The one’s I made yesterday, that I thought would magically transform themselves overnight to something even remotely edible, were worse looking than the ones in this photo.  I rarely, rarely post photos on the blog that aren’t mine but I wouldn’t even photo mine.  Yuck.  We’re still gnawing on them. No one my age throws food away.  Actually, I think they’ll make a fine pie crust ground up and mixed with more butter…

I’m a perfectionist in the area of rustic biscotti, taught by my mother, still using her recipe with a tweak here and there when I want other flavors. I’ve always been successful.  I’ve made the standard (standard for my family) cranberry/walnut which always come out perfectly. But I’ve also made ginger/white chocolate and pistachio/white chocolate with orange rind.  I’m creative and the batter always agrees with my alterations.  This year, I decided to try a batch with a diet sweetener to accommodate my brother’s diabetes.  I still don’t know what I did wrong but they were awful.  Rethink brands.  Make another batch.  Get it right or feed the birds.

That was one of my creative endeavors for the day and I’m committed to posting something daily for AEDM.  (The other creative endeavor revolves around two pieces of jewelry I’m making, one as a gift, one as a test of a new technique…..can’t post surprises). I’ve tried a different brand of diabetic friendly sweetener.  The batter is in the fridge as I type this.  It needs to set for 3 hours before baking.  So far it seems successful.  I’ll keep you posted.

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

 

AEDM – 2016 – Day 18

 

grass-etc-final

A Birth In The Garden – Or how I imagine it.  Every color waiting to celebrate.  Every blade of grass protecting the newborn. Even now with cold, breezy weather there is something growing somewhere. An idea.  An opportunity. A new romance.

Late start to the day, playing with photos, designing metal leaves, working on a story – thinking about of friend of mine, sad, in a funky mood for some time now. I want to tell her that no matter how deep the wound seems or how long its been causing pain there is always something of joy going on somewhere.  That’s what’s calling her.  If she didn’t here its voice, she wouldn’t be sad about what she’s missing. I want her to try a new perspective.  Stare at objects she sees every day and find something there she’s never noticed before. I’d like her to see the joy that exists in everything and realize her name is on all of it.  It’s just up to her to let it in.

 © jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

* * *

"Try another way of looking
Try you looking and the whole universe seeing"
- Rumi


AEDM – 2016 – Days 15, 16 & 17

Three days at once…

More photos from the garden down the road.  Crazy beautiful things from the generosity of Mother Nature, beautiful even in the beginning of winter, beautiful in spite of politics or global warming, bad economy, negative relationships – beauty is simply beautiful.  Like happiness.  It comes before the other stuff. You won’t see any of it if you stay in misery and lack.

2016-11-16-13-41-11

One perfect blossom, still…

clover-one

I want to go back tomorrow and put tiny houses here, a pool, and a train station.

dead-sunlflower-today-again-done

There is no such thing as a dead flower, only blossoms at rest….
like you…everything will bloom again.

Namaste’

© jacqualine-marie 2016

 

 

AEDM – 2016 – Day 14

MODERN FAUX VINTAGE(whatever that is)

final-poly

The finished piece for day 14 of Art Every Day Month.  Polymer clay focal.  Reminiscent of a pink scarab, faux wood finish.  Sits on a plate of textured brass which sits on a plate of textured copper.  Two fold formed copper leaves.  Four faceted glass beads – and a partridge in a pear tree – (OK, but it was funny). The chain is wriggly tendril type links. I’m into heat rivets these days and random patterns (always into those). I love the look of liver of sulfur so I’m keeping that along with the fire patina.  Looks wonderful on a sweater. All my work is original one-of-a-kind pieces, polished and waxed for protection. I’m a finish nerd.

Well – the major writing course I’ve been working on is over, a few final threads are hanging around in the cloud but no more writing for that one.  I must say, I’m going to miss it and will be doing it again next year. I might have come up with a bit of a good story – a thriller of sorts, or so someone said, and I might develop it. I said might twice because I’m just not sure, and because I still have the second writing project going.  Once that’s done, I’ll be gearing up to move into my new apartment – finally – will have all my art supplies, furniture, my wonderful Hotei collection, my books – my vintage phone from Argentina – in one place again.

Now I have to figure out what sort of art I’m doing for tomorrow.

Love, Love – don’t let the crazies get you down, they’re just bored.  You don’t have to be.

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

 

 

 

AEDM – 2016 – Day 13

For M.

missy-floating-with-rumi

Visit me in my dreams tonight
I want to hear again your
Hoarse-throated words tumbling
Uncensored from your mouth like
Meteor showers

I have your turquoise necklace
Text messages I won’t erase
If I’d had children I’d have wanted you
Your pulse vibrates through
My bare feet as I sink them into the earth

Find me while I look up
Stretching my neck like a ladder
Looking for newborn stars
I’ll never know your reasons
I’ll always know your heart

Tell me about the ocean the sky the planets
What God’s voice sounds like in the morning
While you float in all dimensions watching
Each of us with fully opened wings
Ready to wrap us and carry us home

© jacqualine-marie 2016

Namaste’

 

AEDM – 2016 – Day 12

again

How To Write

Put words in a metal box
Shake the box as hard and long as possible with the lid on
Listen to the words rattle against the inside of the box
Wearing off their hard edge
Don’t peek, writers are patient
Put the box on your desk
Chant a magic mantra over the box
Stare at the box
Open the box slowly
Beg the words to be friendly, to come out and play
Offer them whatever they want, agree to their terms
When they ignore you, get on Facebook
Check email
Blow dry your hair
Take the words out of the box
You’re bigger than they are, Be The Boss
Lay them out on the desk
Open your draft document
Look around the room
Check email again
Stare at your desk
Make mug brownies
Stop it! You can do this!
Type anything on the page
First, there was the bloody knife…
Listen to the words behind the laptop
Laughing like lunatics with revenge on their minds
Whispering “She’s fatter in person”
Open the Malbec you just bought
Listen to the sound of it as you pour it into the glass
Put the words back in the box
Breathe

© jacqualine-marie 2016

 

 

Namaste’