Reflections on Sesshin

Posted Monday, February 20th, 2017 @ 12:41 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Aenigmas (My Poems), Buddhism, Journal, Meditation, Spirit

Almost six years ago I sat my first sesshin at Hazy Moon Zen Center. I did not return, for many reasons and rationalizations. But when my teacher put a winter weekend sesshin on the calendar, I committed to come. It was wonderful sitting with so many people and creating community. These are some small reflections on my experience. A huge rainstorm visited LA, unusual and impressive for California, and a gesture from nature that we might be worthy of deliverance from drought.

Practice has become a priority. Six years will not pass before I sit again.

Rain strikes the city
Like a keisaku startling
dusty streets awake.

The rain converses
with the windows
while water gushing
through gutters holds
a debate with the sidewalk.

Nearly six whole years past
the rooster still crows at dawn
in downtown L.A.

I met my match
outwaited her impatience
Wrestled her on the mat
until she cried
not my way, the Way
then bowed
and walked into the day.


Posted Friday, January 27th, 2017 @ 12:18 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal

I’ve learned I have some technical difficulties with comments here. I tried to fix the settings, but not all posts seem to allow comments without registering and logging in. No wonder I never seem to get comments any more! If you are participating in the Bloggy Bloggy swap, and the comments don’t work, please send your comments by private message on Swap-bot.

Women’s March San Jose

Posted Saturday, January 21st, 2017 @ 10:41 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Journal, Regional

It’s late, and I’m exhausted. I volunteered as a Peace Ambassador at the San Jose march. The march was vibrant with loving and festive energy, creative and clever messages, and a wide diversity of people. About 25,000 activists attended. The Resistance has begun. At the end of the march were speeches, and there were many non-profit booths there. Because after the march comes the nitty gritty work.

Women's March - San Jose, CA - 2017

If my album doesn’t show above, here’s a link: Women’s March – San Jose

And here is a link to the attending and supporting organizations for the Bay Area marches. Scroll down for San Jose.

Latest Work

Posted Monday, January 9th, 2017 @ 12:10 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal, Motherhood, Nature, Spirit

For the last few weeks I have been working on a painting using a new type of canvas (to me) made of Belgian linen. It is incredibly smooth, and the paint glides on and blends beautifully. So I chose a palette and began to see what emerged. Two nights ago, I dreamt that I was pregnant. Most of the time I don’t recall dreams, so when I do, it has import. This dream felt so real. When I awoke, I was holding my stomach the way I did when I carried my daughter, feeling it taut and firm with life.

I finished the painting today. Sometimes when I paint I have an idea. Other times, as with this one, I start without an idea and work intuitively, without thinking and analyzing. Then I step back and see what I see.

This painting reflects a deep, intuitive exploration of the divine feminine within me and the earth. It makes me think of molten earth, the core of our existence. I also see a womb with an embryo, and an ovary, and the blood that makes the ground from which we arise.

I have gone through menopause in the past year, and now I am a crone. But while my physical body cannot create a human life anymore, I have graduated to creating life on a larger scale.

I want to thank my father for his recent gift that enabled me to purchase larger canvases!

praise her from whom all being flows / 24" x 36" acrylic on linen canvas

Praise Her From Whom All Being Flows / 24″ x 36″ acrylic paint on linen canvas

The Kind of Mystery

Posted Tuesday, December 27th, 2016 @ 10:45 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Meditation, Nature, Quotes

“This old Chippewa I know – he’s about seventy-five years old – said to me, “Did you know that there are people who don’t know that every tree is different from every other tree?” This amazed him. Or don’t know that a nation has a soul as well as a history, or that the ground has ghosts that stay in one area. All this is true, but why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached?”

– Jim Harrison
the hammock papers

via WhiskeyRiver

Santa Revelations

Posted Saturday, December 24th, 2016 @ 10:23 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Motherhood, Spirit

We knew this day would come. We didn’t think it would be Christmas Eve. Claire began articulating suspicions a year ago. This year her friend in class has been arguing for weeks that Santa isn’t real. So, she began asking pointed questions. But she would ask the question and immediately follow with a rationale for why it couldn’t be us, before I could answer. Knowing it was coming, I cribbed this letter from someone else. Today she told her dad, “Please tell me, I really have to know.” So the letter was given, and we talked after. There can be a relief in knowing, even though there is sadness. (Possibly more for me than her!) Claire took it all in stride, with a maturity that I see evolving.

However, she says she still believes in the Easter Bunny (because she has the proof of a letter from him) and Tooth Fairy (because what parent would want to handle a bloody tooth, and keep them?), and that dragons are real.

Baby steps.

santa revelations

No Longer Believing in Santa

Mom Tells Son the Meaning of Santa

The Feel of the World

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 @ 9:08 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Buddhism, Journal, Meditation, Nature, Quotes, Spirit

“Sensations, from the beginning, involve a sort of doing. This means that, in an important sense, it is your doing self that brings your core self into being. You are responsible at the very deepest level for what it feels like to be you. But then, for your next trick, well, how about spreading some of that soul dust onto the things around you? Remember, too, that it is your mind that projects phenomenal qualities onto external objects. If you only knew it, you yourself are responsible for the feel of the world.”

– Nicholas Humphrey
Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Meet Skittles

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 @ 8:22 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Motherhood, Nature, Quotes
skittles the christmas spider

Skittles the Christmas Spider

And now, the Legend of the Christmas Spider

On Christmas eve, a long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year… Christmas day, the day on which the little Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling. They had fled to the farthest corner of the attic.

The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the little Christ child’s visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look.

When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. When they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted with the beauty of it. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every one of the pretty things.

The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. In the morning, when the little Christ child came to bless the house, he was dismayed! He loved the little spiders for they were God’s creatures, but he knew the mother, who had worked so hard to make everything perfect, would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done.

With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the little Christ child reached out and gently touched the spider webs. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold.

According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the Christmas tree.

From My Backyard

Posted Friday, December 16th, 2016 @ 8:27 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Buddhism, Journal, Meditation, Nature, Poetry

Tis the season…

backyard bounty

“Once you taste the living truth, you are never again fooled by the imitation drink in the carton.”

–Karen Maezen Miller

Indivisible: Resisting Trump

Posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 @ 10:38 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Social Science

This is making the rounds.

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda

We wrote this guide because we believe that the coming years will see an unprecedented movement of Americans rising up across the country to protect our values and our neighbors. Our goal is to provide practical understanding of how your MoCs think, and how you can demonstrate to them the depth and power of the opposition to Donald Trump and Republican congressional overreach. This is not a panacea, nor is it intended to stand alone. We strongly urge you to marry the strategy in this guide with a broader commitment to creating a more just society, building local power, and addressing systemic injustice and racism.

Water Form

Posted Thursday, December 8th, 2016 @ 1:24 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal, Nature

The latest.

plankton / 16" x 20" canvas with acrylic

Plankton / 16″ x 20″ canvas with acrylic

bruised ocean / 11" x 14" canvas with acrylic

Bruised Ocean / 11″ x 14″ canvas with acrylic

New Work

Posted Thursday, December 1st, 2016 @ 1:25 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal

The last painting had a water theme. This one ended up feeling like what an experience in a desert would be if one were on very hallucinatory drugs.

psychedelic desert / 18" x 24" canvas with acrylic

Psychedelic Desert / 18″ x 24″ canvas with acrylic

Born of Water

Posted Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 @ 12:25 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal, Nature

If you see only a square, click the image to see the entire painting.

Aphrodite's Birthplace / 12" x 36" canvas with acrylic $35/$50/$80

Aphrodite’s Birthplace / 12″ x 36″ canvas with acrylic

There are two Aphrodites. In one version, she is born of Zeus and Dione, and is known as Aphrodite Urania. This goddess was considered more spiritual, more celestial or heavenly, or pure. The other goddess is Aphrodite Pandemos (of the people). She was associated with sensual pleasure of the body. She was born when Cronus cut off Uranus’s genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam (aphros). She was also worshipped as a being uniting all the inhabitants of a country into one social or political body.

So love, erotic energy, desire arise from a place of chaos and violence. This feels fitting to me in light of the recent presidential election.

Dot to Dot

Posted Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 @ 12:14 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal

Playing with dot painting lately.

dot painting / 6" x 6" wood panel with acrylic

6″ x 6″ wood panel with acrylic

camouflage fish / 6" x 6" wood panel with acrylic

Camouflage Fish / 6″ x 6″ wood panel with acrylic

The Plan Behind the Safety Pin

Posted Sunday, November 13th, 2016 @ 10:51 am by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Journal, Social Science

While the idea of wearing a safety pin as a symbol to the marginalized that one is a safe person, it’s more than a symbol. This article provides excellent guidance about the intention behind it and how to act. Such as:

  • Are you willing to help all marginalized groups? You don’t get to pick and choose.
  • Do you have a plan? Who will engage with people, and who will film what’s happening?
  • Do you know how to de-escalate situations?
  • Are you willing to be beaten defending another person?
  • If you have children with you, are you willing to risk their safety?

The author says, “…the safety pin is a good idea but if you are going to wear it, you need to know that it is more than an idea. It is a visible, tangible announcement of your commitment to defend the rights and dignity of your fellow human. If you are not willing to follow that announcement up with action, rethink making the announcement.”

So You Want to Wear a Safety Pin