Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Descending Yo-Yo


Thursday, October 25, 2007


The final set arrived today - and as you can see, they were well worth the wait. Shari had completely forgotten about this project but rose to the occasion sometime in August and didn't let the group down! This last set literally crawled from Chicago taking 14 days to arrive. Thanks Shari!


e - Hayley, Jillian and Matt - Jilli

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Horse Whispers


Monday, October 15, 2007

"Money Can't Buy It" - for Holly

This collage started with the antique optometrist lens, the Bahamian one cent coin that was in part of a box of antique items I purchased in the antique shop area in Victoria. I had been reflecting about my personal values during a brilliant conversation with my wonderful partner and a good friend . I was considering the value of money versus time, thus the clock face on the optometry lens. The stamps were also part of that 'box' and represent both the value I have for nature and for freedom through being able to fly to destinations like Victoria or my end destination - Salt Spring Island to be further charmed by spending another weekend at Nick Bantock's "Forgetting Room" - the workshop focusing on the marriage of words and images. During my stay on Salt Spring, I was reconnected to my childhood in several powerful ways.... through a morning I spent on the beach, combing for sea shells and treasures....something I'd not done since a week spent in Clayquot kayaking, precisely one decade earlier. I read for the third time one of my favorite novels written by by Anne Lindberg - Gifts from the Sea.....to be continued.....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gothic Arch 10 x 3.5 Mixed Media/Beeswax

Father and Son - Cat Stevens Its not time to make a change, Just relax, take it easy. Youre still young, thats your fault, Theres so much you have to know. Find a girl, settle down, If you want you can marry. Look at me, I am old, but Im happy. I was once like you are now, and I know that its not easy, To be calm when youve found something going on. But take your time, think a lot, Why, think of everything youve got. For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Son How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again. Its always been the same, same old story. From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen. Now theres a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to Go. Father Its not time to make a change, Just sit down, take it slowly. Youre still young, thats your fault, Theres so much you have to go through. Find a girl, settle down, If you want you can marry. Look at me, I am old, but Im happy. (son-- away away away, I know I have to Make this decision alone - no) Son All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, Its hard, but its harder to ignore it. If they were right, Id agree, but its them you know not me. Now theres a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to go. (father-- stay stay stay, why must you go and Make this decision alone? )

Saturday, October 13, 2007



Friday, October 12, 2007

No. 1 Mixed Media Collage


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thanksgiving Day - Revisiting - Canadian Forecast Oct 15, 2006: " Minus 42 in the Sons"

On Oct 15, 2006 I looked at the front page of the National Post and this is what resulted. I was so saddened by the news of two more casualties in Afghanistan. I recall not too long ago and soon after Stephen Harper was elected, there was media attention over whether or not we should pay tribute as a nation to our fallen soldiers individually. I decided then I would, and that each deserved to be honored and believe it important that each Canadian at home have the opportunity to know the price of freedom . I decided to created this collage to pay tribute to these soldiers personally. I pray my next piece of war related art will be one of celebrating the end of violence globally. A lofty goal. The collage has several symbols represented and I decided to detail them individually as this relief collage didn't photograph well. 1) the torn fabric of our world where wars have become commonplace. 2) There are 42 hearts contained within the piece - one for each soldier who has given their life. 3) At the top right there are two faces representing female/male soldiers, mothers and sisters of male soldiers, fathers and brothers of female soldiers, and representative of all Canadians who mourn our troops. These are situated above the neck and body depicted indicating their souls are in heaven as their family and friends and fellow Canadians grieve for their loss. They have risen above the samsara body below. 4) In the center of the collage there is the number 42 and the Asian symbol for dream, both upside down representing lost dreams. 5) Below the dream symbol is the original newspaper clipping noting the latest toll. 6) Next to the hand which holds the hearts of all, is a woman in a Burka, symbolizing our empathy for the suppression of our global sisters in Afghanistan and their split eye representing how difficult it is for a woman to be herself in her homeland under the present circumstances - divided loyalties to her gender and her country.

Friday, October 05, 2007


What is Bodhisattva?

In Tibetan Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by compassion and seeks enlightenment not only for him/herself but also for everyone...

Becoming a Bodhisattva is a huge step in helping not only yourself, but also every other sentient being, both seen and unseen. Most people are self-motivated and work primarily to solve their own problems, keeping others a distant second. Should someone do an act of kindness, repayment is generally expected whether in the form of a thank you and/or further praise.

A Bodhisattva is motivated by pure compassion and love. Their goal is to achieve the highest level of being: that of a buddha . Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit term which translates as: Bodhi [enlightenment] and sattva [being]. And their reason for becoming a Buddha is to help others. The Bodhisattva will undergo any type of suffering to help another sentient being, whether a tiny insect or a huge mammal. In Shakyamuni Buddha’s 'Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines' it states: “I will become a savior to all those beings, I will release them from all their sufferings.” If this sounds familiar to anyone not acquainted with buddhism then you only need to think of the example of Jesus Christ, a true Bodhisattva.

When someone first enters the way of the Bodhisattva, they develop Bodhicitta, or, mind of enlightenment. Even as a person strives towards such an exalted goal, they feel as though they are limited by the fact that they, too, are suffering. So that they can be of aid to others, they decide to become Buddhas for a Buddha is capable of unlimited compassion and wisdom. Also, Buddhas are able to relate to all others at whatever level is needed. To those of lesser intelligence, a Buddha will use simpler words; and to those of great intelligence, a Buddha can explain answers in a more exalted language.

By entering the Bodhisattva way, the mind must become enlightened. And so the training begins by generating the 6 Perfections.

The 6 perfections are:

The 6 Perfections are: 1] generosity, 2] ethics, 3] patience, 4] effort, 5] concentration, and 6] wisdom.

Generosity – How does one become more generous? Is it possible to rid oneself of materialistic tendencies, selfishness and a desire to want to be kind to others and give to those who lack? Being able to provide for people by starting a business and then hiring those who need jobs would be profitable not only for yourself but for those who were previously unemployed. Volunteering your time and talents to those who need them is also a way of cultivating generosity. To share buddhist teachings so people are able to help themselves and in turn, others, is the finest gift you can offer. You have created a positive ripple effect. The ripples of the teachings will travel far and wide to allow many to be assisted.

The attitude behind your generosity is of the utmost importance; giving with anger or the desire for payment isn’t a good motivation. But if you have a humble motivation to help, then you’re on your way to become a Bodhisattva.

Ethics – Knowing the basic difference between right and wrong is imperative to generating the 6 Perfections. To practice the perfection of ethics means to refrain from doing harm to yourself and all those around you. Killing, sexual misconduct, consuming harmful substances such as alcohol or drugs, being deceitful, and using abusive language must be avoided. All harmful actions are caused by a mind that harbors them, therefore it’s highly important to be mindful of all your thoughts.

Patience – A lack of patience is prevalent in today’s society and this will change if we want to evolve into a Bodhisattva. Patience is the antidote to anger. In Chandrakirti’s 'Supplement to the Middle Way' he writes: “It makes us ugly, leads to the unholy, and robs us of discernment to know right from wrong.” When we become angry, our body stiffens, our blood pressure rises, our breathing is impaired, as is our reason. Far too many people languish in prisons due to a few seconds when they went out of control and their anger harmed someone. Anger directed at oneself can result in suicide. Anger causes wars of all sizes.

Patience creates a joyousness within us. Our features become relaxed and we can look many years younger. We are then tolerant and happy and much further along the path of becoming a Bodhisattva.

Effort – Enthusiastic effort is necessary if you want to achieve anything, but for something as noble and challenging as joining the ranks of the Bodhisattvas, effort is definitely a requirement. Who doesn’t want their efforts repaid instantly? However, the way of the Bodhisattva is arduous and requires virtues that many of us currently lack. Laziness is a huge fault that curtails effort. Tomorrow never comes so your effort is needed NOW!

Concentration – Developing a calm mind through meditation will sharpen our concentration. Being able to focus single-pointedly on one object with a non-wavering mind will be a great advantage. The calm-abiding mind develops clairvoyance and abilities to heal ourselves and others. When radiating inward and outward calm, you’ll become like a lighthouse in a stormy night. You’ll inspire others with your strong mental capabilities and they in turn will want the inner peace that you have found for yourself. Concentration is a form of mindfulness. This means that when you pay unwavering attention to what you’re doing, you avoid many frustrations. Lack of mindfulness in the kitchen might result in burning a casserole, which not only wasting the ingredients, but twice as much time will be spent cleaning up the mess. Not practicing mindfulness when driving causes accidents. As Lama Tsong Khapa writes in his 'Summary of the Stages of the Path': “Concentration is a king with dominion over the mind, once placed, immovable like the king of mountains.”

Wisdom – Wisdom is the root of all great qualities we can cultivate in this life. As the Sixth Perfection, it is the total of the other five. Meditation on wisdom is essential for entering into the stages of being a Bodhisattva. Buddhist texts emphasize two vital subjects when it comes to knowledge—selflessness and impermanence. Everything changes constantly. One day you leave work at 5:30, the next day it’s 5:45. Nothing is fixed; it’s variable. As for selflessness, we must first discover the location of the self. Is it in the body? If so, where—the mind? The physical world and all living beings are created by the mind. As we are the results of our past actions, so is the world we live in. Since there are places on earth that are like heaven, those areas where so much virtue has settled that people travel great distances to see such wonderful locations. Conversely, the hellish regions are dense accumulations of non-virtue and evil thrives there, keeping people captive to the negative states of consciousness.

To become a Bodhisattva is to be fearless. There is no aversion for those who are hostile and there is no obsessive clinging to those who are closest to us. There is no possessiveness, only love, compassion and discernment into the nature of reality.

Santideva, the 8th century Bodhisattva wrote a book entitled 'Bodhisattvacharyavatara,' which is one of the most important texts that students of Tibetan Buddhism study. The title has been translated into 'A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life' and is written in verse form. While there are only 10 chapters, dealing with the 6 perfections as well as developing the spirit of awakening, in chapter 10, verse 55 the entire essence of the meaning of Bodhisattva is beautifully expressed:

“For as long as space endures

And for as long as living beings remain,

Until then may I too abide

To dispel the misery of the world.”

What the Beatles Gave Science - Newsweek

Their visit popularized the notion that the spiritual East has something to teach the rational West. Nov 19, 2007 Issue - Newsweek: Like millions of others who believed there must be more to life than the libertine exuberance of the '60s, the Beatles hoped that the Hindu teacher Mahesh Yogi—known as the Maharishi, or "great saint"—would help them "fill some kind of hole," as Paul McCartney put it years later. So in the spring of 1968, the Fab Four traveled to the Maharishi's ashram overlooking the Ganges River in northern India, where they meditated for hours each day in search of enlightenment, as Bob Spitz recounts in his exhaustive 2005 biography, "The Beatles." The high-profile visit still echoes 40 years later—in, of all places, science, for the trip popularized the notion that the spiritual East has something to teach the rational West. Soon the Maharishi was on Time magazine next to the line "Meditation: The Answer to All Your Problems?" It wasn't. But in the late 1960s a few intrepid scientists began dipping their toes into the exotic new waters to study the effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM), which the Maharishi developed, and other forms of mental training. Most of that early research "was just not of high caliber," says B. Alan Wallace, president of the Santa Barbara Institute of Consciousness Studies. "Reputable scientists were told, 'We can't study that; we'll be tarred and feathered'." But just as meditation has become as mainstream as aerobics, research on it has achieved a respectability that astonishes those who remember the early floundering. With neuroscientists at the University of California, Davis, Wallace is leading a $1.4 million study of the effects of intensive meditation on attention, cognitive function and emotion regulation. Prestigious institutions such as the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center conduct studies on how Tibetan yoga improves sleep in patients with lymphoma, and top journals publish research on the brain waves of Buddhist monks. Studies of meditation are more than mainstream. They're expanding beyond the predictable—I mean, how surprising is it that meditating lowers stress?—into uncharted terrain, such as how different forms of meditation alter brain circuits in an enduring way. In large part, that research is making headway because it's much more rigorous than in the early days. Then, few studies accounted for the annoying little fact that meditators' low levels of stress might reflect self-selection (maybe only mellow people chose to meditate and stuck with it) rather than the practice itself. Nor did they consider that the reduction in stress, blood pressure, heart rate and other measures between the beginning and the end of a meditation course might reflect the placebo effect: you expect something good to happen, and it does. "You can't really control for that," says Robert Schneider of Marahishi University in Iowa, a center of research on TM, "but new studies come close." Although relaxation techniques and TM both lower blood pressure, for instance, the effect of TM is twice as big. Top hospitals from Stanford to Duke are convinced: they have instituted meditation programs for patients suffering chronic pain and other ailments. Afraid to sully their reputations, it took three decades for scientists to ask the obvious: does meditation change the brain? But in the 1990s British psychiatrist John Teasdale became intrigued with mindfulness meditation, a Buddhist practice in which you sit quietly and observe whatever thoughts and perceptions arise in your consciousness, but without judging them. He and colleagues showed that mindfulness training halves the rate at which people treated for depression relapse. That set the stage of studies showing that mere thought can alter brain activity in a long-lasting way that benefits other forms of mental illness. Neuropsychologist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin had practiced meditation since the 1970s but didn't dare study it. Only in the 1990s did he "come out of the closet," he says. Now Buddhist monks and yogis trek to his lab to have their brains scanned. They look different from the brains of undergraduates (but then, whose doesn't?), having stronger electrical waves of the kind that knit together disparate thoughts into the grand enterprise of consciousness. Even in novices, meditation leaves its mark. An eight-week course in compassion meditation, in which volunteers focus on the wish that all beings be free from suffering, shifted brain activity from the right prefrontal cortex to the left, a pattern associated with a greater sense of well-being. And three months of intensive training (10 to 12 hours a day) in mindfulness meditation had a remarkable effect on attention. Usually, when something attracts your attention—in this study, a number interrupting a stream of letters on a screen—it takes the brain's attention machinery time to reset. If two numbers flash less than 0.5 seconds apart, most people don't see the second one. But after mindfulness meditation, with its focus on sharpening attention, volunteers detected many more numbers, Davidson's team reported this year. What happened was that the meditators used fewer attention circuits to perceive the first number and therefore had enough left over to detect the second. Meditation is still not "the answer to all your problems," but it's having a good run unveiling the brain's secrets.