We Birth Our Future

Cloud Atlas, the remarkable book by David Michell and cinematic  gift from Lana and Andy Wachowski (creators of The Matrix), didn’t last long in the cinema, the ideas it raises will carry it on. This post from Ekostories highlights important themes, including Change Through Connection, Music and Storytelling, and the Unpredictable Power of Stories. Even if you have no interest in the film, please have a read, because the story of stories within the project are rich and beautiful.

“Our lives are not our own.

From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

– Sonmi 451

Thus sums up the core premise of Cloud Atlas, one of the more polarizing movies in recent memory and my personal favourite film for 2012. Spanning six stories over five centuries, many people found the movie slow, jarring, and difficult to follow. While I understand and accept some of these criticisms, they in no way diminish the sheer vision and ambition of this sprawling and profoundly human epic. If there ever was a film where the sum experience becomes more than its parts, Cloud Atlas is it.

Keep reading Change, Choice and Cloud Atlas

Reblog: We Are All Creators Living in our Prime


Poet and scholar Uhuru Waga Phalafala wrote this wonderful post on our creative birthright, saving me the time and trouble.

Her blog is amazing, brimming with cogent observations as an artist and participant in global culture. This post speaks to my soul about how we are made for creative work, gifted with our senses, our ability to compare, combine and create, and our desire to share.

She talks about how all of our experience is fodder:

“You see, it’s all about appropriation. Creativity that is. It knows no bounds. What you see with your eye, hear with your ear, taste with your tongue, touch with your fingers, and smell with your nose, all interpret into a creation. It is a continuous flow of ideas, smells, tastes, and feelings; it is a mating of sensations secreting creative juices that give birth to what we refer to as ‘fresh’ and ‘new’—creation is an offspring of inspiration.”

READ We Are Creators, Living in Our Prime

All the Way

“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

Monday  our writing group  held a discussion on “why we write,” someone offered this quote. Of course we laughed,but went on to share the ways writing has made our lives bearable and grown our souls  It was a powerful and moving conversation.

For years I’ve felt almost handicapped by being an artist. If I had a “real job” I could never give it my all, because my heart was in my creative work. In order to put my artist self first, If I don’t pursue my creative work, by soul shrivels. I’ve simplified my life,  lowered my material needs and expectations, in order to live the hours and days of my life as I choose: absorbing, reflecting, creating, sharing the wonder, beauty and terror of being alive.

alltheway_web_300x450_2The more committed I become more to living my artist life, the more old negative ideas slip away.  The quote made clear what is already happening: by honoring the Muse, by allowing the creativity to flow in and out, all my work is enhanced. Things I used to think were escapist, like watching television or reading, aren’t  ‘guilty pleasures,’ they’re sources of inspiration and understanding.

Last weekend I was in Boston for two days of mastermind meetings with one of my business teams. We shared challenges and  successes, and asked for solutions and support. I felt completely in my confident business self, not holding back, not afraid.

While I was there I learned that Bryan Cranston was on stage at Harvard’s American Reperatory Theater in a play called All the Way.

If I weren’t such a Breaking Bad fanatic  I never would have seen this amazing play. I I thought it was in NY. When I realized I was right there, I skipped lunch and got nearly the 17th of 20 standing room tickets. Bad knees or no, I was going to see Cranston on stage!

He plays Lyndon Johnson in his first year in the White House. Calling himself an accidental president, Johnson is challenged to carry on the bold civil rights mission of his predecessor, but also run for election. The play opens on the flight home from Dallas in November of 1963, and uses the countdown to Election Day 1964 to frame the turbulent drama of the times. Rev. Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, Hubert Humphrey, Stokely Carmichael, George Wallace, Robert McNamara make for a potent mix of characters.


The challenge of moving forward while keeping the congress and the party together are remarkably pertinent today.

Of course, Cranston was incredible. I kept trying to see him behind the character, found him only in his animated face, and certain ways he throws up his hands. His LBJ was stubborn, foul-mouthed but funny, a Texan who both charmed and bullied his way toward his destiny. Having recently seen the very moving Lee Daniel’s The Butler, it was terrific to see the story from another angle.

It was thrilling to be there.

I’m just a painter of landscapes, a writer of little essays and stories, a marketing consultant. But the passions that flow through me are fueled by the media and art I consume, as well as the history I’ve lived through. My work with my art and blogging students makes me a better, wiser business woman. My fannish joy leads me to places I would never have discovered if I hadn’t been open to the stories, the colors, the people, the art.

Go into the arts. Seriously! You will have created your life.

Art & Angels

Lat week I received this remarkable horoscope in Rob Brezhny’s enews:

Mystic poets find the divine presence everywhere. The wind carries God’s love, bestowing tender caresses. The scent of a lily is an intimate message from the Holy Beloved, provoking bliss.

This is my world as an earth-centered pagan: the body of my god is is in and all around me. When I allow myself to open, the brilliance of life is indeed divine. There are days that a tiny insect or single fallen leaf can bring me to grateful tears. May I be ever open to this magic. There are miracles within reach at every moment.

oatmealEven a bowl of oatmeal contains the essence of the Creator; to eat it is to receive an ecstatic blessing. But those of us who aren’t mystic poets are not necessarily attuned to all this sweetness. We may even refuse to make ourselves receptive to the ceaseless offerings.

I’m making this  a prayer: Let me taste the sweetness. I take you in though my eyes and ears, filling with joy and love via music and natural beauty. Allow me to taste on my tongue and take within the sweetness of food, know it is Thy nourishment, Thy blessing, and know within that there is enough.

sea spongesTo the mystic poets, we are like sponges floating in the ocean but trying very hard not to get wet. Don’t do that this week; Scorpio. Be like a sponge floating in the ocean and allowing yourself to get totally soaked.

I took the plunge as advised and signed up for a writer’s one-day Storyweaving retreat for last Saturday. I’ve worked with this leader before, and it’s always good. I’ve even done some of the exercises before. But this day, this day was transcendent. Perfect day, we spent it in the garden, sharing writers’ issues, drinking tea, expunging our inner critic.

Now, I have a well developed inner demon critic. So this devil showed up, mean and sarcastic as always. I’m pretty good at telling him to shut up now, but still, a skillful adversary. But we were called to invite our inner helper, and look who showed up:

Rainbow Crow!

Rainbow Crow! Fierce, colorful, alive and able to fly above, see the big picture. Now THAT’s an ally I can work with!  Thanks to helpers like Carol of Storyweaving and Brezhny, I’ve got lots of angels on my shoulder.

May you soak up all the goodness available to you today, like a thirsty sponge.

The Speckless Sky

Have you ever been re-united with a piece of music, after such a long time that it makes you feeeel things?

Wednesday night I went to hear two musical heros (both Canadian!) at Wolf Trap, the splendid outdoor performance venue in Virginia. We sprawled under a clear blue sky (while it poured down rain at home!)

k.d.lang and Jane Siberry played to an enthusiastic crowd of fans. We had lawn tickets, so sprawled out and wined and dined as the shadows grew long.

k.d. will always have a place in my heart. Her disc Ingenue kept me going during the last weeks of my mothers life, and the first months without her. “Constant Craving” revived my longing for life  in that darkening October. When all went gray and cold her voice stirred something wild and deep in my blood. She called me back to life.

Maybe a great magnet pulls all souls toward truth
or maybe it is life itself gives wisdom to its youth
Constant craving, has always been, has always been.

I loved watching her cavort with her band and flirt with the front row fangirls. She can croon, she can belt it out, and man can she hold a note! The rockin’ version of Craving was worth the price of admission, I was dancing on the grass.

Play Inglewood

Jane’s music takes me back even further. I can’t remember remember how I found her, through my ex, maybe, or on WICB Ithaca College radio, but I had Speckless Sky on vinyl, and over the years as I’ve purged the record collection, hoping to get them digitized, I’v ehung onto that one, seeing as it was never on iTunes or CD as far as I could tell. Now, you can download Jane’s early works for free, or make a love offering if you like.

I want to write something down
I want to sing a song
or paint something
lie down and fade away
or get up and get away

Play One More Colour

Something about her wandering, peculiar songs touches the right nerve. I remember The Taxi Ride just completely broke me when I’d listen to it.

Did you call me? It’s only the trees outside flailing. It’s only the sirens that are wailing.

Jane played a very short set and we were disappointed, because she was wonderfully quirky and elegant and sweet, wearing a beautiful gown. But she came back in mid-show to duet with k.d. on Calling All Angels. That song, that song.

Everyday I gaze upon the sunset with such love, and intensity
Its almost as if you could finally crack the code and finally understand what this all means

Play Calling All Angels

My dear, dear friend Grace recorded this song on her album My Life, at a time when her brother was was dying from Parkinson’s, a disease she shares with him. This is music that cracks open your heart and heals you.

I am thrilled I got to hear these angels sing.

Food Revolution Day May 19!

Food Revolution Day is a chance for people who love food to come together to share information, talents and resources; to pass on their knowledge and highlight the world’s food issues.

Jamie Oliver’s foundation has created this event to inspire us all to take action to improve our food situation.

All around the globe, people will work together to make a difference. Food Revolution Day is about connecting with your community through events at schools, restaurants, local businesses, dinner parties and farmers’ markets. We want to inspire change in people’s food habits and to promote the mission for better food and education for everyone. read more at foodrevolutionday.org

Celebrate the Bounty of the Garden!

Alas, I am busy all day on the 19th, but I’ll keep celebrating in May AND June while the garden is lush and bountiful. My particular passion is to share my love of vegetables and how to enjoy them.

We all “know” in our heads that we “should” eat more vegetables and less foods of the type that cause illness and obesity. Yet how much have we really changed our behavior? What if you were excited about vegetables, and knew you could prepare them in meals that you looked forward to?

I meet people who don’t really enjoy cooking, or who haven’t developed some of the important skills you need to prepare fresh food well. I would love to share  some ideas and recipes and inspiration to help everyone make eating healthful vegetables a central part of their diet.

So, tell me what you love, and hate, about veggies! And I’ll do my best to inspire you to try something new.


Viva la Revolution!