You Know What I Think?

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Above photo of this giant prayer wheel was taken at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore, 2016

Wow, it has been a long time since I woke up in the morning not worrying about what might have happened overnight. These days I am already agitated about what I missed overnight as I am reaching  for the TV remote, bracing for what will be rolling across the bottom of the screen and the images I will see… More often than not it is disturbing news that starts the day which is repeated endlessly for the next 24 hours, only to begin again  the next morning with a fresh batch of reasons to feed my anxiety. Some people used to say that I – we – should just let it roll off our backs and have faith that all will work itself out and be fine in the end – there is nothing we can do about it anyway. Who says that anymore? Better in what end? When? Will things be better in our lifetimes or our children’s? I am a positive-thinking person, optimistic even, but certainly no pollyanna, and because we are all family now with the proverbial loose canons who are allowed to undermine rational thought, we take two steps back for every one forward. There is no longer any “your people” and “my people”. There is less than 6 degrees separating us, more like 2, since the onset of the internet and the speed of traveling. I know what happens in some remote areas faster than the residents who actually live there do in many situations because news travels at the speed of light. I breathe and I cry and I bleed for everyone. It is one common planet that unites us, and the domino effect is in full swing all the time. What knocks you down comes back around and eventually takes me down too.

Unless you are numb or dumb with misinformation, in denial, simply uncaring and/or too lazy to read and inform yourself properly you have no escape from the constant noise of the news and as much as I like to think that the good news out-numbers the bad, there is still an unusually large tidal wave of bad news now. If you believe, as I do, that the earth is a living breathing organism that depends upon our ecological maintenance and our so-called intelligent expertise to keep it healthy then you know we have let Mother Earth down quite miserably. The health of Big Blue and all of her inhabitants (in every category; botanical and animal) is not only dependent on our efforts for being ecologically responsible, but I believe that the collective mental health of us all carries tremendous clout toward the well-being of the planet. Right now it seems the world has lost its mind and we are giving almost all of our attention to wackos in high places. Why don’t we stop this adolescent behavior? Why is it taking so long to rid ourselves of this ominous influence? Is it because we thrive on chaos? Are we just that bored?

We must bring a whole body wellness to the table in order to evolve and flourish. We must learn to effectively filter our thoughts and allow less time for the daily drivel we are fed. We are one with this planet and we are not holding up our end of the universal plan. Some other societies and indigenous people seem to understand this symbiotic relationship far more deeply than we do, unfortunately with far fewer resources than we have to use toward their dreams for a better earth. In spite of our resources we are not such an enlightened country in comparison with others. In many ways we are our own worst enemy.

I for one feel powerless to make change happen…and that is the sad truth.

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Waiting on the World to Change

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The lyrics of this John Mayer song ( from his 2 CD album titled “Where the Light Is” ) keep monopolizing my mind space, underlying every daily routine, haunting my thoughts like a benevolent ghost reciting a mantra. Other lyrics included in this selection of songs are also meaningful to me and play significantly in my mind – “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” for instance. I doubt Mayer, in 2008, could have foreseen the state of the world and its rapid dissent into the chaos in which we now find ourselves, but you never know. The artists, the musicians, the writers, the poets, the dancers, the dreamers and the writers of songs are often the canaries in the gold mines of our minds and our world, are they not?

It is difficult to sustain creativity under and against the weight of such difficult times as these, but we must. It takes more work but we must express our recognition of current events whether that means being a brilliant light in the darkness or recording your misery from your unique place inside the darkness. If you prefer to paint in direct denial of the times, then by all means do that, and your enlightened, uplifting  images will offer people refuge in the storm. If you prefer to paint in direct opposition to what is happening in the world, screaming and capturing the chaos and the mayhem then by all means do that as well. You might feel one way on Monday and a totally different way by Friday morning. There is room for white or black and all points in between. Life is way more than 50 shades of gray, by the way. Whether you are a painter, a writer or a photographer – express yourself in the authentic voice of who you are at any given moment in time. You just have to do that, even if it shocks and stuns. You are the barometer of the weather you are experiencing;  what you record is a journal of your personal progress and your ability to cope in the complex world surrounding you. Express it; just bleed it out. It is all a part of the universal picture.

http://www.thecreativeepiphany.com    acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

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Summer 2016

The photos above are my own – the first one is the vista taken from Mt. Lindo (the mountain with the enormous lighted cross) looking east toward the distant Denver skyline, with highway #285 winding its way west toward Conifer – a weekend journey for me, up that canyon to the place in the pines that I love best. (referenced in my new novel, A CANARY FLIES THE CANYON – AMAZON & KINDLE).

The second view is Evergreen lake, the third is the meadow across from Meyers Ranch in Conifer near where we hike, and the last is our little doe making herself at home in the sheltered spot surrounded by rocks just outside the studio window.

Summer 2016, from the ridiculously funny to the sublime and everything in between, is about half over and has already been logged as one of my personal best. I find my peace in the mountains. And yes, my blogs have been few this summer, but that does not mean I am uncommunicative. I am incubating new ideas. I am on fire to write another book (I have no control over this urge to write – it is an animal that needs constant feeding) but so far I am just making notes. I am also painting, which is quite similar to writing…requiring color, pattern and texture in the composition…focal point, sub-plots and sub-areas,  interesting detail and dialogue. The process for each creative endeavor uses much the same principles, and of course you must also open yourself up and bleed it all out. You have to be unselfconscious in your desire to share.

We are attending summer concerts, art festivals and galleries, having friends visit us, painting both in the studio and plein air, checking out the Little Bear Saloon to make sure it still rocks (it does), the Lavender Festival and exploring back roads on the Harley. We have had a Colorado, stay-at-home kind of summer, but we have big plans for Fall. Every breath I take I am reminded that these are my Halcyon years, now in the final chapter of my life. I cannot ask for more than this, nor would I want to. My extended world is not perfect – people I love dearly are battling cancer, friends have painful family issues to deal with and the world here and abroad seems to have lost its fucking mind. Chaos and unpredictability rule the day. But somehow I have found a degree of peace, relieved of most of the stress…and removed…to a place both mental and geographic…that I love. I recommend that you do the same. Cheer Up! Do what you can with what you have got, and make yourself some happy.

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Your Life’s Collage

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Mixed Media Collage by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

I have always enjoyed mixing it up. I find it nearly impossible to swallow things whole without tweaking some little aspect here or there to achieve a unique recipe that appeals to my own particular sense of intellectual or aesthetic “rightness”. And we are not talking about food here folks.

I am hardly 100% anything.

My religion, if you can call it that, is a spiritual soup of many doctrines and beliefs. I am not strongly spouting off any hard and fast doctrines – there are aspects of Christianity, Buddhism, the Jewish faith and several others that when combined into one whole all work together quite nicely for me. I am a child of the universe. I believe the earth is alive – our hostess – breathing and in need of constant nurturing. We serve at the pleasure of the planet. And we are so disrespectful.

My art (my life-long passion) and the art of living my life are a collage of experiences which I stitch together as I go, adding new pieces of knowledge to the whole. Whenever a new snippet is added to the fabric I am weaving, everything that has gone before is slightly moved and adjusted and changed by the arrival of new information. Edges of things, sometimes cut and sometimes torn,  are overlapped and meticulously arranged; texture here – color there – lines naturally formed with paths of information and achievement and failure and loss and joy and wonder and discovery take my attention forward to the next thing. Texture, pattern and color are my  life’s manifestation of events – whether those events be happy, sad or somewhere in between. I see my experiences  in those artistic tactile dimensions.

Every single thing is of value to me. I do not miss much. I notice, I am aware. And I am often, daily and hourly and even minute by minute – AMAZED. Life is an ever-evolving tapestry – a blanket of layers – a textile of humankind. I am but one, but I am mighty.

Your life is the same. We all question things. Most of us  live in the space between the extremes of knowing absolutely and not knowing. I truly doubt that you are 100% anything at all, unless it is human. But there is great value in simply that.

Here is a quote from me, found at the PREFACE in my new novel A CANARY FLIES THE CANYON, available on Amazon and Kindle.  http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

 

Mankind is on an eternal march;

a trail of humanity driven by instinct

and perhaps divine inspiration.

Although we are at time directionless,

straying randomly from the path

an internal compass guides our way

and we are actually at one with the stars,

purposely aligned and aware

of our place in the universe.

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Artistic Expression

 photo courtesy of nationmultimedia.com

Ai Weiwei's latest installation has 14,000 life vests tied to the columns of a Berlin concert house.photo courtesy of CNN

“Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity? Why would you refuse to give this joy to anyone?”

Quote by  RUMI, born 1207 in Afghanistan, whose family fled the threat of the Mongol armies and emigrated to Turkey between 1215 and 1220.

The relevance of artistic expression in today’s world is seldom more explicitly displayed than in this recent installation by the most prominent of Chinese dissident artists, Al Weiwei, on the pillars of the Konzerthaus Concert Hall in Berlin.

This artist has wrapped 14,000 life jackets around the pillars of this landmark building to bring attention to the urgency of the tide of refugees arriving on the shores of  European nations and around the world. These particular life jackets were worn by  migrants who braved the seas in flight from the Island of Lesbos in Greece.

With thanks to this artist and others who feel the pain and misery of the refugee population, who at this very moment are enduring all manner of human suffering in their attempt to simply find a better life for their children, I humbly and simply post this blog.

Have You Found Your Place?

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Not to get all philosophical or anything heavy like that, but I would like to ask you one simple question.

Have you found your place? A place that fits you as securely and tightly and perfectly as that small round stone in the larger lava rock pictured above.

Not necessarily your place in life….you might call it your place in the universe; a place where you can go to feel whole. The place that feeds your soul, yes, with healthy soul food. The place that feeds your imagination, your sense of wonder, your artistic visions, your comfort, your need for adventure, your peaceful spiritual wanderings and your core beliefs about wanting what the good life here on Planet Earth has to offer.

If you have discovered the place or places that can do this for you then you are indeed fortunate to be blessed with a sanctuary. A priceless place of renewal and safety where you can go for spiritual reward. Hopefully you can visit it often – and maybe it is a place in your own backyard….I hope it is close enough so that you can be there as often as you might like. Perhaps you have a selection of places; a handful would be awesome.

Here are mine:

  • The Big Sur coastline of California, ending with a visit to NEPENTHE, perched at the top of the world, where you know. You just know things… For new awakenings.
  • The Big Island of Hawaii, on a selection of beaches along the Kona coast of my Specific Ocean. The vastness of it all. The sanctuary of the waves.
  • The Rocky Mountains, and a particular weekend retreat of renewal and refuge from the hectic life, located in the Conifer-Evergreen woods and canyons, elevation about 8300 ft. for the height and breadth and depth of it all.
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral in London for the enormous sense of time and faith it offers. Dust particles dancing in the sunlight, high up; having been there for centuries.
  • Santa Croce in Rome, housing the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and other remarkable men, for respect of those who knew so much about life.
  • Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia for its sense of wonder and mystery. How could it have been undiscovered for so long? What was life there like?
  • The Buddha Tooth Temple in Singapore because it is one of the most fascinating peaceful places I have ever been.

I love to talk to people who have found their places. They are usually people anchored in knowing. They see things differently; more deeply. They are not necessarily religious, but they are wise in the ways of the universe. They know their way around and they know how to find serenity when they need it.

I hope you are one of those who knows.

New Novel – http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

Google Chrome – http://joannbrownscottauthor.com

Art – http://joann-brown-scott.fineartamerica.com

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Merry Christmas

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My photo was taken in the countryside around Siem Reap, Cambodia; where clean water is scarce and children have peace on their minds. 2015

This is a call to the living,
to those who refuse to make peace with evil
with the suffering and waste of the world.
This is a call to the human, not the perfect,
to those who know their own prejudices,
but who have no intention of becoming prisoners of their own limitations.
This is a call to those who remember the dreams of their youth,
who know what it means to share food and shelter,
who care for children and those who are troubled,
to reach beyond barriers of the past
bringing people to communion.
This is a call to the never ending spirit
of the common man, his essential decency and integrity,
his unending capacity to suffer and endure,
to face death and destruction and to rise again
and build from the ruins of life.
This is the greatest call of all
the call to a faith in people.
Algernon D. Black, former senior leader, The New York Society for Ethical Culture