Lao Tzu

A recent FB entry came to me.  Lao Tzu, “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.  Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
That is so beautiful.  And there are so many people actually trying to do this in so many different ways.  Perhaps that is why I have my studio out in the rain forest on the west end of St. Croix.  It is beautiful.  It is above the Mt. Washington Nature Preserve and Labyrinth. It is peaceful.  Perhaps that is why I have practiced yoga for so many years.  Art and Yoga bring me peace of mind.  Art and Yoga take me to that place deep inside of me where there is a world that is better than me.  There is a world that is inspirational. It is my desire to share this inspiration.
Over the past seventy years, America has slowly integrated ART into school curricula.  This has been accomplished through research, financial support, and promotion.
     Over the past 30,000 years the human brain has developed and evolved into the cerebrum / cerebellum as we know it. It is important to keep in mind that this evolution is in a constant state of flux, and historically, we have developed new brain power to support our new lifestyles.
     Over the past five centuries, the Caribbean has experienced Diaspora from every corner of the world.  Our people have been exposed to multiple behaviors, beliefs, and customs far longer than many other areas can boast. We truly are an integrated people from all over the world.
Today our extra ordinary interracial young people with multi-cultural gifts bring us talents that cross left brain technology and right brain intuitive power. They are powerfully physical and intellectually curious.  Hopefully our efforts towards self-transformation will create an environment rich for the cultivation of their talents towards peace.  I believe our world IS in a state of transformation and that our efforts, one at a time, will bring peace and prosperity to those who seek it. And more and more every day, one at a time, we become enlightened as to what that really means and how to manifest it in our community.   

Believe

Stop The Bleeding, a non profit in the Virgin Islands, is in the process of completing a music video entitled, “Believe”.   Padric Coursey is editing and producing and Michael Nissman worked the camera.  It was shot at various places on the island including Tutu’s and The Guadeloupe Projects across from Alfredo Andrews.  The concept is to believe in yourself, the opportunities that are available to you,  the options you have in your life, and not to let anything keep you down.,,especially a closed mind.  Open your mind to the possibilities that are right there in front of you.  It is an excellent venture and I am so pleased that Stop The Bleeding put forth the time and effort to involve teens in this project.

This is one step the government has taken that shows the vision necessary to perceive this same concept for the collective VI mind, the Virgin Islands community.  To open one’s mind, or in this case, a group of minds, means to deliver it from all that keeps it restricted.  It means to make every effort to eliminate ignorance and all false perceptions and prejudice projections. Look at the facts.  The Caribbean has what the world needs.

First:  A hodgepodge of people from all over the world that has for more than five hundred years been living together and, by the necessity of limited space and hard decisions, had to work together.
Second:  A regenerative energy within nature that heals and cleanses.
Third:  A year round climate that offers its gifts 24/7/360.
Fourth:  The ability to be self sufficient in terms of green energy and food production.  So much we have to learn.  How exciting it is.  And so much we could have to teach.

So, then, what holds us back?  Selfish ego, negative attitude, and non-cooperation.  Who better to lead in this region’s growth than the US Virgin Islands?   Is not the larger picture of productivity and peace a more important picture than the image of the past.  A new paradigm for our world is being made.  Are you in or are you out ?  Are you on the bus or are you off ?  As Bob Dylan said many years ago, If you can’t lend a helping hand, get out of the way”.

Being an artist means reaching beyond earthly environment to touch the Golden Gifts (Robert Bly, “Iron John”) that teach us to know our Most High Selves.  We are all artists here to create, and through our creativity we do our Best Work.  Get to know and love your artist self.    BELIEVE and CREATE.

Who is Your Hero?

Who is your hero?  There are so many personas one can emulate, that it is not even necessary to enter into a relationship with the Self.   It is easy to assume the posture of another, even if  it guides you so far from love that there is a constant coming and going of loneliness and depression.  One forgets that there is more to life than survival.  How to begin to find happiness?  Take a minute to check yourself.  What would bring joy to your life?  Really?
“Be still and know that I am God”.  Be still and listen.
Robin Thomas has given many in the St. Croix prison the opportunity to listen, to find, and to express their voices in a way that can be heard loud and CLEAR.  Through poetry and applied arts projects, inmates have brought forth beautiful, meaningful, complex, and truthful words and images.  One nearly completed project, sponsored in part by the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, is a mural painted on the water tower by The Manor School.  I am sure Manor student, Stephen Smith, will never forget the community service hours he has earned helping with this endeavor.  In the majestic suspension of time within the act of making a truly CREATIVE mural, many secrets are whispered into the ear of those immersed in their process.  Self discovery and growth are a result of such endeavors.  Not to mention self worth.
There was much work done to ready these men for their contribution to their community, a contribution above the act of self expression.   “I Wish I Would Have Listened” is the type of contribution that requires understanding of what was and what is and what could have been.  There is much work yet to be done to make sure this program that Robin has begun will continue.
The next time you are headed to Christiansted by way of Five Corners, take a detour.  See the LOVE for yourself.
Robin, you are my hero.

Inspiration

It does not take much to inspire me. Last night as I flew from Miami towards Savannah, the full moon was reflected in the water with Miami’s lights behind and faint gray pink cumulus clouds at the top of the mind’s canvas. Always there is a canvas. Perhaps that is why I like the kimono. It is a Great Coat canvas. Today, visiting with my friend Laurie Linen Lovell, I went to a new art store in downtown Savannah. New types of pencils, paints, huge papers, tiny canvases. So much with which to experiment. Then we came back to Laurie’s place and we checked out her new studies and ideas and the things she has collected from which she sees potential for art making. Her house is full of natural found objects that she manipulates as college, weaves into hangings, presses into clay, spins into fibers. Wow! Tomorrow we visit my first mentor, Nancy Terry Hooten. Nancy creates sculpture from beads. Laurie and I can’t wait to see her new work. There is inspiration every where. Once it gets inside of your being, it is found in the smallest of things and the bigness of things and in the everyday-ness of things.

Bring it back

I watch my six year old grandson enter into a blank sheet of paper or a computer PhotoShop screen with his whole mind and his whole heart.  No FEAR!  I watch my high school students resist the opportunity of expression every day.  But, they can fill in the blanks and do short answers out of a book-no problem!  How can I get them to understand that it is important to exercise that part of themselves that separates an individual from those around him/her?  That it is important to exercise that part of themselves that unites with God, the group consciousness, and creative force field.  It seems that sorta thing would be so interesting even if just experimental.   The Hundredth Monkey, that enchanting number that will set us free.  Enter, Stacey.  Would love for you to tell us what you learn from your photographs.  !