The Artist’s Way

It took me a long while to get to it. I first looked at a friend’s copy years ago. He recommended it highly, though he hadn’t done the program, just dabbled in it. Same as a lot of other people i talked to over the next few years — people who owned the book, intended (some day) to follow through its 12 weeks, but hadn’t — yet.

I’ve been a blocked, underproducing artist for some years now, sinking slowly into frustration, bitterness and a general rut. My artistic life consisted of mostly attempts to finish up things begun months or years ago, a backlog of seemingly good ideas that i couldn’t let go of and really should finish up so i could move on to the new stuff. It wasn’t crippling — i have managed to throw together a quite a few good poems and pieces — but there’s no doubt the energy and the fun was draining out of my writing, and out of life too. Continue reading

Req. rdg. for the depressed

Ostensibly about boats and cruising, this wonderful article by Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) offers a perhaps even fresher perspective on the most pervasive plague of modern life than when it was originally published in Esquire, May 1977.

Cruising Blues and Their Cure

by Robert Pirsig

Their case was typical. After four years of hard labor their ocean-size trimaran was launched in Minneapolis at the head of Mississippi navigation. Six and one half months later they had brought it down the river and across the gulf to Florida to finish up final details. Then at last they were off to sail the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles and South America.

Only it didn’t work out that way. Within six weeks they were through. The boat was back in Florida up for sale. Continue reading

Vitamin DREAM

This seems incredible, but who knows, there might be a correlation.

i recently started taking my daily dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. I take 1000 IU a day, just before bedtime, from about fall equinox (Sep. 21) to spring equinox (Mar. 21), because there’s mounting evidence that we northerners don’t get near enough of the stuff (generated by exposure to sunshine) during the winter months.The corresponding health risks include multiple sclerosis, bone strength, various cancers and autoimmune disorders — no thanks!

Anyway, i’ve been having incredibly vivid dreams for the past week. More unusual still, i’ve been remembering them (more or less), which rarely happens. Last night’s involved my father in his younger days, a job that i liked but was ducking, and some kind of tropical watersport that made me feel really happy.

I just made the coincidence today between my enhanced dream life and starting to take the vitamin D. Thing is, i also just remembered that my Victoria friend Fil told me a couple of weeks ago that he had to start taking his vitamin D pill in the afternoon, because he was losing sleep over all the dreams he was having — so wild they kept waking him up. I was skeptical at the time, but now….

So maybe there IS a correlation. I googled up “vitamin D dreams” on the World Wide Web and found almost zero references linking vitamin D and nighttime dreams. So, all you vitamin D users out there … let’s do some SCIENCE. Has there been any change in your dream life?

Elder worth hearing

This came out at the Men & the Environment — the next heroic journey conference (Nov. 18 in Victoria). I find it hugely inspiring, and i’ve been carrying a copy around with me since. There are various versions on the net.

A Hopi Elder Speaks

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour. And there are things to be considered:

“Where are you living?

“What are you doing?

“What are your relationships?

“Are you in right relation?

“Where is your water?

“Know your garden.

“It is time to speak your Truth.

“Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.”

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time!”

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

“Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate.

“At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

–attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona

FEY DREAMS

Odd dreams last night, involving organized gangs. The gang leader, a courteous, grey-haired gentleman, wanted me to do some work for him, but i played coy because i was already working in some unspecified but shady capacity with a competing gang. He was starting to put pressure on me, though nobody actually said “drive-by shooting” out loud….

In the dream i prided myself on my transparency — no hidden agenda. (I think that’s a good thing in real life, too.) So I did something incredibly foolish: in the gang leader’s living room, on the gang leader’s giant-screen TV, i composed an email to my own gang, hinting that we might want to see to it that the gang leader “have an accident.”

One of the GL’s henchmen — played in the dream by Dan Ackroyd — accidentally saw the email, of course, and i spent the rest of the dream (and the night) nervously concocting explanations for the GL, most along the lines of “Maybe good, maybe bad” — the Buddhist tenet of nonjudgment that says we can never really know the true consequences of our actions in this infinitely interconnected world. But i was looking over my shoulder the whole time.

Gangs? Violence? Is the zeitgeist of the city seeping into me already? Funny how a dream like that can taint the whole next day.

I note with judgmental dismay that my nagging cough is still with me. Maybe good, maybe bad.

[Postscript: Trenchant and amusing dream interpretation in comments below.]