Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lisa de St. Croix - Miriam Shapiro




Deciding to create another blog, Apple River Tarot Readings has lead me to expand, and deepen my interest in the art created and displayed in the decks. The Artist Pamela Coleman Smith, who illustrated and designed the most popular deck, Rider-Waite-Smith, has long been my inspiration, as I am certain she is the same for many Tarot readers and artists who create decks today.

Some Tarot card artists are exceptional, and can be very engaging and compelling to learn about. Many are empowered creatives.
I am particularly interested in women artists, being a woman myself who attended University at the height of the feminist movement in the early 70s at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

 This morning I found artist Lisa de St. Croix. I was excited to learn that she had apprenticed as an Fine Artist with Canadian Feminist Artist Miriam Shapiro.

Miriam Shapiro was a visiting artist at NSCAD many years ago, along with several other feminist artists, such as Martha Rosler, Martha Wilson, Joyce Wieland etc., who helped to revolutionize the face of woman's art and art history. They blazed a trail, set an example for other young women artists like myself at the time, and helped to change the world. They still greatly inspire me today, probably even more so then in the past.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Steam Punk


                                                                 Carnevale Steam Punk

I have been hearing this term Steam Punk a lot lately. I was not familiar with the meaning really, not until now. I wasn't certain what it was. Perhaps it is becoming trendy, and more mainstream, maybe not.
I'm certainly old enough to know punk. I loved everything punk. I still do. I know I'm dating myself now.

Supposedly Steam Punk has been around since the 80s. Guess I missed it, and I'm out of the loop.

So I went on the hunt to find out more about it. I came across steampunkcanada which is full of lots of information. I find it quite interesting and fun. I think it's just creative people being themselves really. At the same time, it harkens back to Victorian times and the romantic days of the 19th century to a world of fantasy, discovery, and science. It's a cornucopia all mixed in, of past, present, and future, expressed through a variety of media..

I am not qualified to describe it, so I thought I'd share the definitions I have found, along with some examples. Here the wiki definition. Who knows what is all means, but I sure like it.

                                                   Clock Work Universe - Tim Wetherell

Tim Wetherell is really interesting artist. He has a great definition of Steam Punk on his site. Check it out.
The Victorian age was, to a large extent, an age of aesthetics in which skill and craftsmanship were highly prized. What something looked like really mattered to the Victorians. In contrast, our modern world is fixated on rock bottom dollar. But we do have some really cool technology the Victorians couldn’t have even dreamt of. What happens if you mix that beautiful Victorian sense of aesthetics with the best of modern technology? The answer of course, is Steampunk. An utterly modern artistic movement unashamedly building on the aesthetic traditions of the Nineteenth century. It’s a past that never was, a future that never happened; perhaps a best of both worlds. - See more at: http://www.wetherellart.co.uk/index.html#sthash.8Xtud1qn.dpuf

The Victorian age was, to a large extent, an age of aesthetics in which skill and craftsmanship were highly prized. What something looked like really mattered to the Victorians. In contrast, our modern world is fixated on rock bottom dollar. But we do have some really cool technology the Victorians couldn’t have even dreamt of. What happens if you mix that beautiful Victorian sense of aesthetics with the best of modern technology? The answer of course, is Steampunk. An utterly modern artistic movement unashamedly building on the aesthetic traditions of the Nineteenth century. It’s a past that never was, a future that never happened; perhaps a best of both worlds. - See more at: http://www.wetherellart.co.uk/index.html#sthash.8Xtud1qn.dpuf
During my search, I did find a site by a very talented artist, Choleena Di Tullio who creates Steam Punk art in a variety of forms and takes wonderful photographs. Upon further investigating, I read her biography only to find out that she was Alumni graduate from my Alma Mater, Mount Allison University. Small world!

                                                                     Zeppelin - Choleena Di Tullio

Well it's tea time here in Apple River. Steamy hot tea, nothing punky, well maybe just a little.

Below is one of my favourites by Quebec artist SooZ Jillette

                                                            Puppet Master 2 Sooz Jillete

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kent Monkman




" Art functions to communicate ideas. " - Kent Monkman

I don't really know how I missed learning, or even hearing about , Kent Monkman, a Canadian multimedia artist.
I recently listened to an interview he gave to Jian Ghomeshi on Q CBC Radio. 

Kent Monkman is a remarkable artist and person. I think he is at the forefront of change within an art world, that historically had been controlled from a top down dominance, by those in power and control, as a result of the colonization of art history, found within museums, and galleries throughout the world, and in particular found in Euro-American ideas of history and culture.

The artist engages the viewer, inviting them to participate in examining, in questioning, and in re-thinking this cultural dialogue, on a number of levels.

He has found a way to communicate his ideas. Kent Monkman is committed to narrative painting, and   re-frames the unchallenged idea of narrative history within the media, via his own redefined iconography, that challenges colonial history.

The cultural tensions and balance between First Nations culture, and settler culture, is very evident in his work, depicting a different perspective on history. It is both exciting, poignant, and encouraging to see such an artist.  I believe he is contributing and will continue to be very influential toward changing the role of art and artist in society, and how we perceive and teach art history. I think Kent Monkman is an artist who in communicates his ideas brilliantly.

                                                  Kent Monkman   Jody Rogac Photography

Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Brain On Art



According to a research study that indicates artist's brains are structured differently is interesting for further investigation. The study suggests that the artist is born with innate talent. However it is still very unclear what part of nature or nurture is responsible for the making of the artist brain.

I was about ten when I realized I had a great desire to draw. My parents were creative, and always encouraged me. Fortunately, I also had two art teachers in elementary school, which made a great deal of difference in fostering my creativity.

 As an art educator of children in the past, I have learned that children are born creative. They naturally are inclined to mark making and drawing. Sir Ken Robinson explains this much more succinctly and eloquently than I.

" Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. "
                                                                                              -  Pablo Picasso

 Unfortunately adults and our education system seem to find ways and means to pound creativity out of us by the time we leave school, and we have been educated generally in a stream lined fashion, reducing every one down to the lowest common denominator. It has been often referred as "dumbing down ".
Generally speaking, schools and in many Universities, having an education  means that it revolves around becoming employable, and perpetuating a consumer oriented  society, instead of enabling students to have a creative passion, a thirst  for knowledge and learning in creative ways, and taught by creative teachers.

Victor Lowenfeld, considered the father of Art Education states in his book, Creative and Mental Growth.

"  The values that are meaningful in an art program are those which may be basic to the development of a new image, a new philosophy, even a totally new structure to our educational system. More and more people are recognizing that the ability to learn differs from age to age and from individual to individual, and that this ability to learn involves not only intellectual capacity, but also social, emotional, perceptual, physical, and psychological factors. Altogether learning is very complex. Therefore, there may be no single best teaching method. Our tendency to develop the capacity to regurgitate bits of information may be putting undue emphasis on but one factor in human development, that which is now measured by the intelligence tests. Intelligence as we now know it does not encompass the wide range of thinking abilities that are necessary to the survival of man-kind. The ability to question, to seek answers, to find form and order, to rethink and restructure and find new relationships, are qualities that are generally not taught; and in fact these seem to be frowned upon in our present educational system. "

We don't all develop into artists regardless of our innate capabilities, or how we have been exposed to art and creativity. It is however crucial I believe that our educational system need a major overhaul, and a paradigm shift in how our children are encouraged to think creatively and to reflect values that can develop fully developed human beings, in all aspects of their personalities whether or not they have been born with an artist brain.


Friday, April 18, 2014

" I Just Chased An Artist Out of the House! " Sylvia Ashton Warner



Oh this Good Friday, I thought, perhaps I should be thinking some " deep thoughts " about spiritual matters. However I found  myself, for some reason, typing in a search for a women I first learned about, during the early days of my art education, at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I am grateful my Intro Art Education Professor had the insight and forethought to introduce the work of educator/artist/pianist,/writer and philosopher Sylvia Ashton Warner. I never forgot her, and she has stayed with me throughout the years, in my consciousness, and perhaps even my sub-consciousness. I had read a required reading by her in the early 70s called Teacher.



Today upon further investigation, and reacquainting myself with her profound influence on education, I am now fully aware of the reasons she left me with such an impression. I can clearly see the great affect her book had on my philosophical perspective towards the education of children, and their creative development.

 At the time I hadn't completely perceived how great an influence she would continue to have on me, how she would deepen my own values and convictions as an artist, and as a Youth Care Worker.

Comparing her to other early influential educators and artists, that have written exceptionally important books, I put her knowledge and insight in amongst like minded people such as, Victor Lowenfeld, who was considered the father of art education, and who wrote Creative and Mental Growth. Herbert Read's Education Through Art, John Dewey's, Art As Experience and Neil Postman's and Charles Weingartner's, Teaching Is A Subversive Activity; all these books and educators were essential to my understanding of art and education.

However none of these books, with the exception of Creative and Mental Growth, and Teacher stayed with me throughout my life quite like the book Teacher, that got in under my skin organically I think, without me really being completely aware. But I knew on a intuitive level, she had touched me deeply, though it had been so long ago that I had read her book. She was not only a remarkable woman, I consider her to be a great mentor, and ahead of her time, but I believe she had profound wisdom, and insight, that she still offers contemporary women artist's. She is very much as relevant in the art world today, if not more so now, than ever.

 Sylvia Ashton Warner was an educational pioneer in so many ways. I am so happy I followed my gut and found out more about her today, and look forward to re-reading Teacher, along with her other books in the days ahead.

It is indeed a very blessed and Good Friday, and I have had some deep thoughts after all, in finding out more about Sylvia Ashton Warner, and for that I am grateful.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If House Work Was Art

 
It has been a long Winter. In some parts of the country it is still dragging it's heels, and doesn't seem to want to let go. Now, there are flooding rivers jammed with ice, and people are having to leave their homes. I have nothing to complain about.

I can not imagine having to leave my home or have it completely destroyed ,or damaged by water, but it must be enough to make one so disheartened and depressed that you'd want to give up. But giving up, is not something many Canadians do. We are a tough and determined lot. Many who's homes have been damaged or destroyed by flooding, I am sure, would love to have house work to do today. I am here to say I am grateful I have house work to do today, and that my home is safe.

If house work was art, I might do more of it. Speaking only for myself, I must say for me, I do believe housework or the lack of it, can be a barrier to my creativity, more specifically making art. Oh I am certainly not a fan of house work, and I am well in favour of putting art before house work. Problem is, when the house is in disarray I am very uneasy, and can't apply myself to the making art. I'm not talking about dusting and doing a few dishes that need doing. No I am referring to piles of papers, clothes laying around, and junk that needs sorting and put out for waste pick up. It can be very overwhelming. So I have to break it down bit by bit.

I found a neat blog called Art Before House Work  by Andrea Baumert Howard. After reading her post about procrastination, house work and procrastination it is reassuring to know other artists struggle with this matter.

I can quite comfortably sit in front of the computer for diversion, and write for hours, but I need to get painting. I suspect many people sit in front of a computer neglecting the things they need to get done, like house work and art.

 There are a myriad of reasons I can get my house in a mess. The long and the short of it is I don't much like house work and so I can procrastinate and put it off until it gets to be a complete distraction and makes me feel worse that the daughter of a Stygian Cur. What's that you ask? Well it's bad, real bad. Ask Conan the Barbarian. And so I've enough of that. and  spent the past two days cleaning up my accumulative messes I have made over the Winter and then some. I tackled two rooms, did a big wash, and put out eight bags for garbage pick up.

In the late afternoon, I thought well, I could go to the meeting I attend every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., but I was determined to finish the second room I started this afternoon. I thought if I stopped, my momentum would be halted, and I might not get at it again. I wasn't going to fight the feeling. It felt good to have finished getting the first room organized and cleaned yesterday, and I wanted to continue.

 I finished the second room just a few minutes ago. Oh boy I feel great! I feel like I have my house back and my mind!

Tomorrow afternoon I will vacuum and straighten up the hallway, my music room, and the upstairs bathroom. It helps to write all this down, what it is I am going to do, as it enables me to actualize it.

What I have learned is, is that I can't not make art when my house is a mess. My messes directly effect my state of mind, and often are a reflection of my state of mind. This state of mind affects my creative process. Perhaps it really isn't house work that is the problem but the messes.

I can't say I am any fonder of housework, but I can say that is makes me feel better and even good, when I get my house back in order. I can even say I like housework...almost. Now for me, that's saying something.


.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wildies



Over the past few months, I have become very interested n Alberta's free roaming wild horses, affectionately called Wildies because of the recent cull of these beautiful creatures. This lead me to finding Heather Clemenceau's excellent blog. She is a great animal lover and advocates for their protection.

On Heather's blog, I found out about Melody Perez who is an Artist/ Painter/ Singer/ Songwriter. Melody is also a very blessed and fortunate woman, and has dedicated herself to horses through her art and has spent much of her time around American Wild Mustangs.

Melody has a real funky 1968 vintage RV she calls, The Mustang Mansion where she lives, while traveling and sets up her beautiful paintings for people to come and view her art work.

Here is something I found today about the reasons horses are so loved, and why they bless and enrich our lives.

   Why Horses?

To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a young girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life. Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any child. For that, we can be grateful.

Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle or a computer, a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily; we know we've made the right choice.

Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves.

If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it.

Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are people- which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.

If you've never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday, but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the car or tractor in "drive."

In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he' fed up with how slowly you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences - if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.

If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn.

And, while some people think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven.

You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.

If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our over saturated schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.

If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals. Some of us need these reminders.

When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken limb, a case of colic, a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow.

We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.

To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.

Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges we set before them, asking little in return.

Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.

In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses--or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.

Author Unknown

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Home Town Battle Field


I have never seen war, and I am very grateful for that. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to experience war. Those individuals that do, are changed forever, in innumerable ways that for the average person are absolutely unimaginable. Our daily " problems " pale greatly, and seem insignificant in comparison to the affects of war on the individuals that have been on the front lines.

We don't have to look far to see that war, civil unrest, and human rights abuses exist throughout the world.

I became motivated to learn more about the affects of war when I was in University. The main reason was because of Christopher Hedges book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.



This week I saw two extremely compelling items, that coincided in relation to one another. They both moved me deeply. The first was a photography project about the genocide in Rwanda. Most people are very aware of this event, that lead to 800,000 deaths of Rwandans. Pieter Hugo's riveting and powerful photography about the Rwanda genocide and forgiveness, is entitled Portraits of Reconciliation   that is very poignant.
You can listen to the interview on CBC Radio Q program, Portraits of Forgiveness 20 years after the Rwandan genocide.

The now retired Lieutenant-General, and Canadian Senator, Roméo Dallaire, was appointed Force Commander for the United Nations for Rwanda in 1993, where he was witness to this genocide, which later lead him to become a dedicated, and outspoken advocate, for mental health, genocide prevention, human rights and war-affected children. Roméo Dallaire suffers from PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome a direct result of the atrocities he witnessed in Rwanda.

The second item I saw was the singer song writer J. P. Cormier's new and powerful song, Hometown Battlefield go viral, about Veterans and PTSD, what they experience when they go to war, and return home.
J.P.'s song is deeply heart felt, a beautiful expression to honouring our soldiers, and that has now touched thousands of Veterans, soldiers, and their families.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Power of Vulnerability




My close friend from University sent this YouTube link to me today. Brene Brown encapsulates so much insight, wisdom, and truth in her TED talk, on the power of vulnerability, that I had to share it. She talks about the importance of connection, a topic that is pertinent to everyone, regardless of who you are or whatever your vocation. I hope you take the time to watch. I'm certain you will find it to be very worthwhile, enlightening and maybe even life changing.

 " Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness. " - Brene Brown

Vulnerability and Being Whole Hearted At Work

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Gentleman of Leisure



When I think of Jesse Winchester, I think of my youth, and my late brother who died when he was Jesse's age now, 69.
My brother Ralph and I shared a huge deep love for music, and a great big, the biggest love, and appreciation for Jesse.
I think Jesse is one of those wonderful musicians, and song writers, that helped to bridge the communication gap, and ten year age difference between my brother and myself. Jesse taught us about life, love, and what really mattered, our relationships.

Jesse's tenderhearted personality comes shining through in his lyrics and music. It's not much wonder people feel they know him personally.
I always felt, and got the distinct, and strong impression he is such a humble, gentle soul, and as genuine as a person could ever be. I think this is one of the main reasons so many folks love him.

His writing makes it apparent and obvious what he loves, appreciates about life, and about the world, particularly in his own personal life. His values and convictions are so greatly admired by his fans, and are a big part of his legacy, along with his music, and tender sweet voice, deportment, and songs. Of this I am  certain, it is what touches people so very deeply. He certainly always poignantly touches my heart, in more ways than I express and count. I will always, and forever be his biggest fan, besides my brother Ralph of course.

There have been conflicting reports this morning about Jesse's death though I know he is gravely ill. My heart aches with sadness and sorrow.
Confident in knowing Jesse will be most welcomed in Glory, and Heaven will rejoice with angel choirs eternally.

Jesse Winchester is and always will be greatly loved by all who had the privilege to know and love him. He truly is a country Gentleman of  Leisure. Rest easy Jesse.


Gentleman Of Leisure

I want a job that's not too demanding
Like where you do a lot of standing
No way to be an elevator operator
No way a salesman, no way a waiter
Cause I'm a gentleman, gentleman of leisure
The classified ads got nothing too appealing
I don't know, but I just got the feeling
I might take a while to find a position
With a pretty secretary, time to do some fishing
Cause I'm a gentleman, gentleman of leisure
I'm a gentleman
Gentleman of leisure
Set me in the sun
Gentleman of leisure
Let me take my time
Bet you I can please you
Forty-hour week - can't you make it thirty
No heavy lifting - you get yourself dirty
Beautiful office - thirty-seven floors
Paintings on the wall
Title on the door says,
Gentleman of Leisure
I look nice in a clean white collar
Take-home pay, O say a million dollars
I'll keep looking, never say die
Somebody, somewhere is looking for a guy
Who's a gentleman, gentleman of leisure
© Jesse Winchester


I Wave Bye Bye

Just out in the harbor
All the ships asleep
Maybe one cold watchman
Walks a lonely beat
Way out on the water
A ship is under sail
Leaving wavy starlight
And a dreamer in her trail
I wave bye bye
I pray God speed
I wish lovely weather
More luck than you need
You'll only sail in circles
So there's no need to cry
No, I'll see you again one day
And then I waved bye bye
The sailing ship reminds me
Of a certain girl
Who left a certain dreamer
To sail into the world
I've very friendly post-cards
From very far away
But they just remind me
Of a certain day
I wave bye bye
I pray God speed
I wish lovely weather
And all the luck that you need
You'll only sail in circles
So there's no need to cry
No, I'll see you again one day
And then I waved bye bye
© Jesse Winchester

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Monkey Brain and The Confessional Box of Paints



I have been feeling a little burdened for a variety of reasons lately. I can pretty much pinpoint all of the reasons why. But I found out I am being burdened by my monkey brain, and this is primarily what my blog post is about today.

Confession is good for the soul. I haven't anything I want to confess necessarily, but do want to honestly express my thoughts on something I have been dealing with this past week especially. It helps to resolve issues we are struggling with, when we openly talk about them, as it enables clarity, and especially for women, talking helps us makes sense of our world.

So I went searching on line about the topic of loneliness, and how this effects artists. It's a topic I think some of us are often in denial about. It is something we know we have to face and accept, as does everyone in this life at some point. We can't deny it. However, for artists we are often alone, as our work is solitary and we know that, prior to taking up the profession. Occasionally  I think we can be living too much in our heads, and we can loose perspective, especially if we live alone.

 I believe for many artists, art becomes our therapy of sorts, and it enables us to cope with being alone or lonely. Perhaps more often than not, we are might be stressed by something, or troubled in one way or another. We get used to being alone, even in a crowd, but it can become problematic, and something we need to be mindful of as artists.

I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin, especially being 60 years of age, and often prefer solitude and being alone although I do love people. I would be lying if I said I don't ever get lonely. I do, and lately have been feeling this loneliness especially after a long rough Winter. I attribute it to a number of reasons but primarily, I believe I am mostly frustrated with the feeling of being overwhelmed with chores I have to do around the house. I can get lured into talking myself into to simply avoiding what I need to do, as I am only answerable and accountable to no one but myself. I think the fact is, I don't much  even like my own company lately. I am the only one that can change that.

I found a great blog by the an artist Chris Palbicki, called 5 Ways To Whip The Crap Outta Loneliness.

The second blog, Wait But Why, with this great post, Why Procrastinators Procrastinate.  I am not a huge procrastinator. Oh don't get me wrong, I have had some " finer " moments that have gotten me into some mega problems, but I have definitely gotten better over the years. I still do have my moments with that monkey brain freak, and it is still problematic. But I certainly am grateful to learn more about it and understand how it works.

I must say, I do feel better for having talked about this and ' purged ' myself. I have decided I am now going to brake it on down into steps, what I want to accomplish, so I don't feel so overwhelmed and whip the crap out of my monkey brain!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life Animated



I don't have a lot to say about this post, other than it's about living with Autism and touches me deeply.

http://ronsuskind.com/books/life-animated/life-animated-excerpt/

The Suskind's story makes me think of  L'Arche and Jean Vanier.

Searching for Meaning

What meaning can be found in life in the modern world? So many people today are searching, so many seem lost and no longer have any kind of ethical reference points; so many are dissatisfied with a purely materialistic life, with ephemeral pleasures or with a quest for power and success.

Through my experiences both before and in L'Arche I have discovered the importance of two essential elements in human life that can give it meaning both for people of goodwill who have no religion, and for people who are searching for God, whatever their religion: being, and being open, having a clear identity and being open to others. We establish an identity through the place where we live, our family, culture, education and physical and psychological state. But we establish it too through our choice of profession, our gifts and abilities, our values and fundamental motivations in life, through friends, through the commitments we make and through searching for truth in ourselves and in life. Being open to others, especially to those who are different from ourselves, is to see them not as rivals and enemies but as brothers and sisters in humanity, capable of bringing light and truth into our lives, and of living in communion with us.

Openness does not imply weakness, nor a tolerance which ignores truth and justice. Being open does not mean adhering to others' ideologies. It means being truly sympathetic and welcoming to people, listening to them, and in particular to people who are weak or poor or oppressed, so as to live in communion with them.

Jean Vanier, Our Journey Home, p 145



Friday, April 4, 2014

Wounded Warriors - Can Praxis




Animals have always greatly contributed to my happiness. As a kid I always had a dog, cat, hamster, guinea pig, bird, we even had a pig once. Each one provided me with hours of companionship, unconditional love, and I think above all, they all gave me a profound comfort when I was sad, brokenhearted, and lonely. They always seemed to understand me, and helped me to understand myself. They continue to do so, to this day. I'd be lost without my animals.

Growing up, I lived vicariously through my friends, or others who had horses, because I was so drawn to them for as long as I can remember, for a myriad of reasons. We could never afford a horse, and though my father always promised we would some day have a horse, I knew this was an empty promise in spite of my father's good intentions.

As a Youth Care Worker, I directly got the opportunity to see how healing horses could be, after I had the privilege of fulfilling a life long dream to be around horses on a daily basis, in every capacity, for over a period of two years. These youth became increasingly confident, happy, trusting, and less fearful.
Kobe and Skyler
Creativity, animals and kids go hand in hand I believe.
Horses in particular are so able to acutely attune themselves to human beings, and have so much to teach us.

Recently there has been so much in the media about PTSD, especially in regards to our War Veterans. I learned about a powerful program that provides therapy for Vets and their families, through horse therapy called Can Praxis. This program gives very tangible hope. God only knows, we live in a world that is in desperate need of hope.

If you, or someone you know could benefit from such a program contact:

WOUNDED WARRIORS CANADA


MAIL:

310 Byron Street South, Suite 4
Whitby, Ontario
L1N 4P8

EMAIL:
For General Inquiries: info@woundedwarriors.ca
For Media Requests: scott@woundedwarriors.ca / 289-388-6181


PHONE: 


1-888-706-4808


Fax:

 1-905-430-9419