Saturday, June 09, 2012

Somewhere along the crazy winding path of living

I realized we make our own destiny.

In every word,
with each step,
in every thought
our past is manifest,
birthed into the present
to become our future.

This is not to say
that our choices,
steps taken
or thoughts
ever come from an easy place...
we are the sum total of our stories.
Where we come from is a sorted tale.
A journey that has many peaks and valleys.

There are as many moments of illumination
as there are hours of darkness.
Our shadows
as well as our light
are always walking with us
guiding every rise and fall.

Where this track ends and a new one begins

There is wisdom in all things and all around us.

"In almost every bad situation," Buddhist monk, Nyanaponika Thera says "there is the possibility of a transformation by which the undesirable may be changed into the desirable."

Paulo Coelho once wrote "Each thing has to transform itself into something better, and acquire a new destiny."

I’d like to humbly suggest, standing on the shoulders of all my ancestors, that all of humanity stands at a precipice with at least two distinct options for it’s future.

One is to continue on with the current infinite “economic” greed, imperialistic expansion, war, disparity, inequity, and cultural genocide – backing away in stunned denial of the crumbling foundations upon which we stand. Global ecological and social collapse, tangible realities on this path.

The other is as a species, we take the plunge and open ourselves up to redefining what it means to be a human being on this planet. Transforming our relations, to each other, to the earth and to ourselves - (re)imagining together a new destiny.

Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, predicted that the onset of the 21st century would usher humanity into the most transforming and thrilling period in human history. “It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged.”

Indeed, enriched with the colliding of languages, cultures, creativity, innovations, philosophies, economies and perspectives of billions the world over. For the first time ever, our once isolated (and at times persecuted) histories/herstories are reaching out and grasping at new horizons like curious finger-tips. What will be created by this meeting of minds from all directions – even the most hairy of visionaries can only scarcely scratch at the surface of what is to come.

We are all challenged in the sense that where once we were met with the might, constraints and power of the cycles of life on earth – we humans are now our biggest threat to our own survival. If we cannot sustain meaningful transformation of our relationship to our home, communities and selves. It may be humans alone that are responsible for ending our (relatively short) collective stint on this earth. (Image caption: The devastation of one species devastates others.)

I believe our survival as a species depends on our ability to pull off this transformation. Restoring balance within ourselves and among all other life on earth.

What might this opening up look like? What will this transformation require of us?

The following is merely a poetic guess from an inquisitive mind:

Communication and mountains of healing.
Over-coming the fears that paralyse us...
the fears that separated us...
the fears that keep us silenced...
and the fears that keep our tongues formulating words of hatred, rather than annunciating curiousity, invoking love, and inspiring warmth.

Dedication according to the dictionary means the act of binding oneself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action. By dedication I mean seeking understanding, seeking healing for each other, to support life, to strive for balance, to making peace, to seeking reconciliation, to resolving conflict harmoniously.

By commitment I mean, to each other’s well being, to learning what we have to transform our relations, to our own healing, to facing change fearlessly.

By communication, I mean by all means necessary.

What would it take to embrace all experience as part of a transformative path? 

A friend asked once, “What if there was nothing and no one to blame just work to be done?” What if instead of viewing, disturbance, turmoil, and destruction as burdens, sites of conflict or distraction, we viewed such circumstances as sites where we need be mindful? Conflicts being places where we focus keen attention? Places where we apply the depths our empathy and search for the bridges and common ground upon which we all stand.

“In that way,” Nyanaponika writes, “ enemies are turned into friends, because all these disturbances and antagonistic forces have become our teachers.”

What if all problems where to become opportunities to learn from rather than threats to avoid?

Buddhist Psychology holds one of the more refreshingly positive perspectives on human thought, emotion and action. Problems are seen as temporary and superficial. Western psychology in contrast tends to focuse on “what’s wrong” with us. Buddhist psychology as Tara Bennett-Goleman writes, “acknowledges our disturbing emotions but sees them as covering over our essential goodness like clouds covering the sun.” In our cloudier moments, even our most upsetting feelings are opportunities for uncovering our natural wisdom, if and only if, we choose to use them that way.

Just as the warmth of sunlight dissolves the moisture of clouds, the warm fires of mindfulness melt the emotional clouds, icy interactions and frozenness covering ourselves and relations.

What if all life was met and greeted with dignity and respect? What then would happen to our freeways and office towers? Would there be any use for schools and prisons? Would we perhaps ask more questions or listen more?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A revolutionary encourages life to thrive...

plants seeds,
grows trees,
cares for other creatures,
raises smart kids,
honours earth, air, fire, water, and spirit
fights for ideas that support love of life,
resists that which does not support the thriving of life.

To speak of  revolution in terms of violence or beyond care for every day life is to speak with a corpse in one's mouth. In a human civilization built on violence, we all must first consider ourselves revolutionaries before we can consider ourselves pacifists.
Life requires our action, our consciousness, our passion, our love. Probably now more than ever. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Aldus Huxley Vs. George Orwell

There ought to be a rather fantastic commentary comparing differing visions of Aldus Huxley and George Orwell's respective novels "Brave New World" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four" here.

Something noting the characteristics and parallel fears of the "not too distant future", that we are living today. A thoughtful piece asking questions something along the lines of "are we amusing ourselves to death with modern information technology?" or are we "living in a time of deceit, and deprivation of true information and meaning?"A pondering of whether our intellectuals and wage slaves alike are becoming reduced to passivity and egotism, amidst facebooks, iphones, twitters, and xboxes, or are we just subject to the illusions of truths concealed from us by corrupt media, fearful governments and scheming elite.

Is truth drowning in a sea of irrelevance?*

Are we held captivated by the complex of fears strangling human civilization?

Are we nawing off our own capacity for action at the most perilous hour of our existence, with paranoia or frivolity?

Are the numerous distractions, entertainments, and flashing lights a death knell or the sign of a society having an anxiety attack about its future, while attempting to rub out the fears of our impending doom?

They say monkeys have a lot of sex when their afraid. Is this a warped and strangely analogous explanation for why the internet is mostly porn, and chatroulette a global forum for masturbators and flashers?

Are we in pain or compelled by pleasure?

Suffering or in the throws of elation and enlightenment?


Will it be the things that we love that destroy us or our hatreds that drive us to our ends? Is there something beyond the dichotomies of loves and fears?

Can it be just that black and white? Can it be shades of grey? ...Perhaps just maybe existence and what we are dealing with here at the end of the first decade, at the start of this new century is far more colourful and complex than that, and comprehension requires letting go.

Anyway, there was supposed to be a commentary contrasting the dystopian world visions of Aldus Huxley and George Orwell here...but there isn't.

I'm too distracted by fear, love, passion, anger and anxiety to write, all I have are questions.

*Image excerpted from Amusing Ourselves to Death by Stuart McMillen

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Truth leaks

Like oil in the Gulf of Mexico. 
It's the pained gasp of revelation that we need clean air to breathe. 
Truth rumbles like hunger of knowing,
We feed upon the fruits of seeds, 
Not the fruits of our labours, 
Nor values printed upon dead trees. 
The cracks in our illusions are all around us. 

Do you see?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Long lost poetry...

I'm sitting in silent awe. Unsure of what, if anything I could write. 
This captures so succinctly something I've seemingly felt for centuries. A sense I've once seen, wrote about, could have reached out and tasted...and yet here has been perfectly articulated by someone else.  

Much love to all of us. Each and every piece of cloudlight and sky.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"The Litany"

"A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet." ~ Carl Sagan

"The Litany" comes at you from the Armageddon Prevention Team & Kontrabrand. Concieved, scored, and edited by: chris sia, eugene steele, and dylan lane. Broadcast quality of this piece is available upon request at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quit with the fear & post-911 panic attacks already!

All of us. 

Every human. 

Every citizen. 

Each and every single one us, regardless of border or homeland has by virtue of being alive the right to protest against the circumstances of our existence. 

If we have vocal chords, arms, legs, it is in our inherent dignity to scream, sing, cry out in pain, build, resist, and walk against the realties we know. It is our right to celebrate the world we'd like to bring into being. 

Protest is not criminal. Protest is not terrorism.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weapons of Terrorism

Heather Corinna discovered traveling that it was safe to speculate instruments widely used in and on women's bodies might be considered implements of torture and terror.

Monday, April 19, 2010

There Is XXXX Within My Heart

Feeling quite affected by the passing of Devon Clifford the last few days. This song by his band You Say Party ! We Say Die! has been on repeat thinking about the rhythm of life and the fragility of our existence. Shit. Life as we know it is so finite and fleeting. So fragile. I know this in myself and am learning to see this in everyone in my midst. The living are left heavy with the weight of life's uncertainties...we all need so much more love, compassion, and patience in our lives.   

Friday, March 19, 2010

The art of data expression & design

A fascinating web developer, artist and modern anthropologist, Johnathan Harris' has made some profoundly innovative and artistic tools for exploring human cultural data, knowledge and creativity on the web.

The following are some examples of projects he's been apart of:

1. We Feel Fine  a global compendium exploring human emotion as it unfolds on blog posts across the web. 'Murmers' is how I like to check the online emotion pulse of the planet. Some of the 'Montages' will leave you breathless in the presence of their visual poetry.

2. Just Curious a place of anonymous questions and answers - where seemingly anythings goes. Despite the stated intention of 'strangers helping strangers'.

3. Word Count a listing of the most popular words in the English language. Genius for us writer types.

4. 10 x 10 a news discovery tool scans leading international news sources, performs weighted linguistic analysis of the terms, language and stories that are emerging.

5. Phylotaxis a scientific discovery tool exploring the space where science meets culture. Phylotaxis scours the web for recent updates, discoveries and innovation through out the scientific, cultural landscapes.

6. The universe of modern myth, the constellations, stars and stories of our time ~ as they unfold across contemporary culture.

7. The time capsule  a glimpse of the world that will be re-opened in March 2, 2020.

8. Oh! I almost forgot Love Lines explores desire as expressed through textual imprints of 'love' & 'hate'.

Overall Johnathan's work is elegant linguistic analysis mixed with artistic management of large amounts of web data. It should give ethnographers, linguists, communicators and web folks plenty of juicy ideas for understanding human relationships, knowledge, emotion and mythos as it grows across the net.

Critics might point to the obvious privacy concerns and long term implications of  systems designed for such dynamic data analysis. Personally the potential for these sorts of projects to inform art, change, science and social understanding seem immense and I hope they are tools and inspirations that remain in the public domain for years to come.
Johnathan Harris' colleague Sep Kamvar, professor of computational mathematics and data mining at Stanford University is another innovator to watch out for.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"The best test of a civilized society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable and weakest members." 

~Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Music & Passion

This piece was composed while listening to the album Caesura. As has been happening lately, I couldn't tell you the name of the song. I was lost somewhere beyond words in my mind while painting and rendering this image. I started out painting the colour and shape of sound and have since been slowly drifting into painting over all impressions, emotive tones of songs lately. It's taking some discipline to stay focused and present in the process, as I'm trailing off to memories and far away places while listening and painting.

Benjamin Zander's TED Talk on Music and Passion is one of the most marvelous and funny discussions of music and passion I've ever heard. In it he describes the power of classical music to evoke memory and transformation. It's quite beautiful and inspiring, I'd recommend checking it out.

Will be making some prints of more recent works and then moving on to other projects. Looking forward to doing some sort of live, performance painting soon. Will post updates on that front.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


If water is the blood of mother Earth and soil the placenta, river courses are veins, oceans are compartments of the heart and the atmosphere is a giant aorta...comparing Earth beats to human heart beats, the life expectancies of rivers would range from millions to billions depending on whether Earth beats were measured in days or years.  ~Jack Vallentyne, Aquatic Ecologist

Heartbeat was composed while listening to the song "Me & I" by Tiger Stripes New Years Eve 2009.

To another year, another day in the life...

May you feel the Earth's heartbeat beneath your feet, the wind's sweet whisper in your ear; the kiss of sunbeams on your cheeks; the water coursing through the river systems of your veins, living to dance another day amid the elements. To the rhythm of existence, may you always feel the pulse of potential at your finger tips.

May 2010 bring many great and wonderous dreams, awakenings and manifestations...and some kind of recognition of the sacred rhythm(s) we are all playing within.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

electric ice bloom - is not exactly a sound painting - though it arose while listening to music, and contemplating life, evolution, and the make up of all things.

Hollie and Mountain of Ice are the two pieces of music I see when I think about this piece. Was quite frankly so lost in thought envisioning 10,000 years of plant vegetation going to seed, becoming fertile, sprouting, growing, blooming, wilting and fading away... imagining season after season, year after year; how each cycle of the sun enabled plants to create all other living things...that when I paused to look up I was a bit surprised by the result. I'd been imagining the struggle against the ice, the cold, the wind, the trickle of water in the spring - to the flourishing under the sun in spring and summer. Never say art imitates is art. Living is a creative act.

water bloom - seemed to follow the above quite naturally.

Consciousness is an ocean...

There are as many storms as there are seas of calm.
For every brilliant streaking dolphin of genius there are creatures of the deep that might haunt one's dreams, cause paralytic fear or inspire glowing awe. Respect it. That ocean, that intergalactic sea, behind your minds eye is as deep as it is vastly uncharted.

This was painted while listening to the songs Red Truth & Hope Valley Hill by Helios from the album Caesura. I photographed and then digitally edited the image. Stoked to see what emerges next.

Recently returned to painting what I hear. The abstractions are beautiful.  At the moment I am experimenting, and looking forward to collaborating on future projects. Would love to live performance paint to a musical composition. Contact me if you want to see more of my graphic portfolio.