Monday, July 30, 2012

Mystical Mondays ~ Kabir on why to be silent

The other week I was listening to a wise man, Dr. Dan Gottlieb, speak on how it is important to give our brains extended breaks. Near the end of the segment he spoke of going on silent retreats. Within a few days, I had booked myself five days of self-directed retreat time at the Jesuit Center.

Kabir tells another reason why it is a fine thing to provide our brain some silence ~

A Great Pilgrimage

I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three

and God came
to me

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7 Thoughts on the Word, Moment

  • I have been revisiting the music of Victoria Williams while spending moments in my studio, one song in particular has been resonating:  "This moment will never come again, I know it because it has never come before..."

  • Today is Mosaic Woman's birthday, along with my father-in-law's, along with three of my friends.  Is there a moment in your life that deserves more celebration?  It took me many years to see it this way.  In two days I will celebrate that there has been another full year of moments in my life. 

  • It is connected to .... 
    Latin mmentummovement, from *movimentum, from movreto move...       
    And thus moments have dimensions of motion and time and mass and direction.  Moments drive our lives to new places and various speeds depending upon the largeness (or smallness) of these factors.

  • I am reminded of something Ani Difranco once said that went something like this... Records are called records because they used to be recorded moments in time.  That was before technology meant a tune we are listening to may have been recorded over many days and molded into one.

  • "We do not remember days; we remember moments."  Cesare Pavese

  • May we imagine life as time and space unfolding.  You and I are blessed to be there for the moments.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Pug Commission

I met the Guardian of the pugs many years ago when I first entered the realm of group spiritual direction and was thrilled when she bought one of our Jazz signs, which resonated in both her love of the music and the name of her elder pug.  When I delivered that Jazz sign, we spoke of a pug mosaic.  

I surely did not move quickly on it and when I did finally face the idea of putting Jazz the pug on a mosaic, I had some second thoughts.  I sent an e-mail suggesting that mosaic may not be the best way to go, but my friend had faith in me.  And I ventured into the project.  Yes, dear friends and clients it is your faith in our ability that helps us take on commissions.  There are artists who refuse to do them, but for now we love being pushed into new realms by the desires of our clients.  Even realism (Di's Hawk and Snowcatcher's lizard paved the way)

When Mosaic Woman grouted the mosaic, I thought that I had some how pulled it off.  

So it came to the time to take another mosaic over to our friend's house.  She loved it.  And if you can trust her ability to get Jazz's thoughts down in writing, this blog post shows Jazz is OK with it, even if humans still baffle her.  By the way, a bonus for checking out the blog post is to see me hanging out with Jazz, whose head is tilted as she ponders us humans.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mystical Mondays: Kabir on Wealth

I own more than these flowers. The dilemma is this, who do I compare myself to when I look at myself and my wealth? I look one way and see the mega-rich, I look the other and I see those who are hungry.

An Intelligent Rich Person

I don't think there is such a thing as
an intelligent mega-rich

For who with a fine mind can look
out upon this world and

what can nourish
a thousand


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Autumn Leaves, a jazz improvised mosaic inspired by Patricia Barber

Years ago I came across a jazz CD while browsing a local library, Patricia Barber's Night Club.  It quickly became a favorite.  Ms Barber plays piano, sings, arranges old and new songs, composes, and awes me with her talents.  She is on my list of highly favored musicians to see in concert one day.  In the spring time, I listened to her tunes while I designed a mandala while I was in the midst of a silent moment at Wernersville.

When it came time to name the piece I remembered her splendid version of Joseph Kosma's tune that first appeared in a French movie.  And it seemed right.  Johnny Mercer translated the lyrics to English.

This evening I made a deal with Mosaic Woman, I would take on dinner if she posted a piece of our art to our ETSY shop.  My was pleased when I found out she chose my version of the tune, which is now in our mandala section.

as for the tune and musician who inspired it, please take a listen...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mystical Monday: welcome to Kabir why he laughs

Kabir wrote...


If I told you the truth about God,
you might think I was an

If I lied to you about the Beautiful One
you might parade me through the streets shouting,
"This guy is a genius!"

This world has its pants on backwards.
Most carry their values and knowledge in a jug
that has a big hole in it

Thus having a clear grasp on the situation
if I am asked anything these days

I just laugh!


I have to wonder. There are those, who I think are a genius. There are others that disagree and feel others are geniuses. I am wondering if it would be better if we hung out with pugs and laughed. The pug is not Kabir, she is Jazz.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mystical Mondays: on Sanctuaries by St. Catherine of Siena

I will not argue the point which is about to be made. All is sanctuary. But there are places my feet know the land, my eyes swim in light, and my soul finds peace and hope. Maybe one day I will find this everywhere.


It could be said that God's foot is so vast
that this entire earth is but a
field on His

and all the forests in this world
came from the same root of just
a single hair
Of His.

What then is not a sanctuary?
Where then can I not kneel
and pray at a shrine
made holy by His

St. Catherine of Siena

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The jolt of transitions ~ storms, realism, and work

I was standing in the kitchen with visions of a simple dinner (tomato, kidney beans, basil, oil, vinegar) as tree branches flew into my yard. Cold air was pushing under the 100 degree air that had inspired the bean salad. Changes can jolt not only the atmosphere but us as well.

This break I have created five sun catchers that had no set design. Listen to jazz, cut pieces, solder into a pleasing shape. Add light...

And then I designed a mosaic to honor a cool pug, named Jazz of course. Now the pieces need to be exact. There is no random choosing of colors. It has been a bit of a jolt, but two things have helped. A piece of grey glass that has a myriad of shades and the enthusiasm of the client. The jazz pieces were done with the hope that someone out there would find it worthy of their house. This piece is fueled by the woman who loves Jazz.

And then there is this. On Monday my longest break from teaching in years is coming to an end. I am not quite ready for that transition. A storm may gather when the alarm goes off, but it is a good thing that I enjoy teaching.

What has jolted you?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mystical Monday: a day late ... Changing times or not

More and more churches are accepting of jazz these days, which was once considered the devil's music.

I wonder if the men at the Vatican have shunned Nuns in the US for digging a righteous riff as they have been shunning them for their thoughts recently.

so things have not changed as far as Catholic women being brave in expressing themselves ...


All have been consecrated.
The creatures in the forest know this,

the earth does, the seas do, the clouds know
as does the heart full of

Strange a priest would rob us of this

and then empower himself
with the ability

to make holy what
already was.

St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jazz Poetry: William Matthews mourns Coltrane

Church of John Coltrane
Church of the Coltrane from the Flickr set of Damian The Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church (now at 1286 Fillmore St. San Francisco)
Photographer: Damian Rafferty

Musicians connect to us and their passing can shake us. One of the first I was introduced to was Johnny Cash and I remember the waves traveling through my car the day I found out he had died...  I should have pulled over.

Blues for John Coltrane, Dead at 41

Although my house floats on a lawn
as plush as a starlet’s body
and my sons sleep easily,
I think of death’s salmon breath
leaping back up the saxophone
with its wet kiss.

Hearing him dead,
I feel it in my feet
as if the house were rocked
by waves from a soundless speedboat
planing by, full throttle.

By William Matthews

... then there is the joy of stumbling into videos for a blog post.  Coltrane playing an appropriate tune & the video was posted by a lover of Cash and Coltrane