One of the best parts of spontaneous travel is that you stumble into incredible places where you learn things about yourself you never knew, or you forgot. All that wandering means leaving behind the things you’re done with too. Today is my first day waking up in my own bed in months and it feels so good. I’ll never forget where I’ve been, from the ships of Copenhagen to the spice markets of Istanbul, but being surrounded by my books and quilts and paints in my own little corner is just blissful. Thank you Europe, for taking the cold of the longest winter I’ve ever felt and sending me back refreshed, sun-kissed and at peace with the world.
Feeling lots of compassion, thankfulness, forgiveness, and love (for myself as well as others.)

RAVAGE: art and culture in times of conflict



I spent the afternoon at M (Museum of Leuven) at an exhibit called RAVAGE: art and culture in times of conflict. It was an incredible blend of art and history. Although it featured representations of the city of Leuven itself, ancient Troy, Hiroshima, and Beirut, disparate times and geographies, the exhibit was exceptionally well synchronized.
A key theme of the exhibit as a whole was art created to capture the destruction of cities, both to record and document, and for the sake of art itself.  Paintings of every medium, drawings and sculpture demonstrated a relationship between horror and aesthetic.   The rich diversity of formats was wonderful– maps of reconstruction projects, illuminated medieval manuscripts depicting conquerors slaying entire populations and burning their cities to the ground, ancient reliefs, scribbled notes, video footage and more.
Exceptional care was taken to describe the repeated destructions of Leuven by plague, accidental burning and of course war after war. It was fascinating to see the very squares and markets I had just hours before been strolling through in paintings filled with soldiers and flames. Europe is always interesting that way.
Daniel van Heil, ‘De brand van Antwerpen met het paard van Troje’, oil on canvas, 1700.
Lamia Joreige‘s feature on Beirut was my favourite. She created an elaborate map of mixed media materials (photos, video, poetry, historical texts) with a system of capital letters for hard dates, lowercase letters for soft data and numbers for her own reflections.
It was raw and informative.
Also featured was a project where shrouds with the grey-black impressions of forms evoked the people shadows of Hiroshima.  Instead of human forms the shrouds captured fireworks– gunpowder used for entertainment, evoking screams of joy.  Televisions beside the shrouds displayed the process, where artist Cai Guo-Qiang set off 1200 black fireworks in the place where the atom bomb fell August 6, 1945.  This project exactly captured the mess of emotions of horror-aesthetic and fit perfectly with RAVAGE the exhibit as a whole.
Certainly an exhibit well worth visiting, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Compassion. Thankfulness. Forgiveness.

My mantra for summer 2014 is Compassion. Thankfulness. Forgiveness.

Compassion for others, compassion for myself.  Thankfulness for others, thankfulness for myself.  Forgiveness for others, forgiveness for myself.

Each morning I find a calm space, sit with my eyes closed, and repeat it slowly several times.  Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud.

Then I do ten push-ups and carry on with my day!

I saw a beautiful ‘gratitude’ tattoo and considered it as a mantra.


Gratitude tattoo by Love Hawk.

Also Melanie Klein‘s definition of mental health is “the ability to feel gratitude”.  I went with ‘Thankfulness’ because it seems more like the action of being thankful instead of the idea of gratitude.  I like my mantras to have movement.

Okay that’s all! :)

Dangers of art


My friend Shea posted an article (Comorbid: Finding Stability on Shifting Ground) on Facebook.

“About a year after getting clean, I was sitting in my therapist’s office, and I decided, with her encouragement, to start a website and forge the career I really wanted. I poured myself into it as I’d previously poured myself into my own dissolution. A lot of my weaknesses are also my strengths; that’s how it goes, I think. I liken it to nuclear fission—it can either power cities or destroy them.” -Beth Kirby

Oh how this quote spoke to me.  There are times I feel that being an artist is the greatest gift and others that it’s the greatest curse.   Creativity makes you see the world in strange and unique ways, and this can be either incredibly exciting or incredibly lonely, depending on the people around you.

I am grateful to have the state of mind to build a life around myself.  I have my head in a swirl of colours and sounds, with one foot firmly planted on the ground.  I thank my loving family for that.


Starhawk: A Story of Masks

Brilliant and inspiring eco-feminist Starhawk wrote this poem in her work on ecstatic consciousness.  For me, it’s a reminder about re-evaluating my core beliefs and giving my desires a voice.  


A Story of Masks

What has been done to the earth
has been done to you
as to us all
Every murder, every rape, every act or torture
leaves its scar on the landscape of the self
and the outer bars
cast shadows in our mind

Feel them
they are your wounds
they are all you might have been
and will not be
Cry for it mourn rage
There are toxins in your blood
Your dismembered parts
lie scattered around you
You prowl your own borders
looking for escape
The wall is invisible
like glass, but stronger
you can’t get over it
you can’t get under it
you can’t get around it

So you put on the mask
that hides you
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?
How does your body feel?
The mask covers you
It hides the barrier
And suddenly you can’t remember
where you were going or why
and none of it seems very important
so you stop and sit
And there you remain
Or you can take the mask off

And put on the tricky mask
the deceiving mask
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?

How does your body feel?
And the barrier disappears
and you walk through
and the path is clear and green and pleasant
and you know it’s the right way
although from time to time
you suspect
that you really haven’t gone anywhere
that you are back where you started from
And there you can remain
Or you can take the mask off

And you put on the mask
that pleases
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?
How does your body feel?
And everyone at the barrier is charming
they make polite conversation
they serve tea
they sympathize with your difficulties
with how hard it is to break through
and you wouldn’t want to offend them
so you stay where you are
And there you can remain
Or you can take the mask off

And you can put on the ugly mask
and try to smash through
How do you walk in this mask?
how does your body feel?
You don’t care who you offend, or what you break
the pleasant people scatter
the teacups shatter
and you bash into the barrier
again and again
your flesh becomes pulp
our own bones break
and there you can remain
Or you can take the mask off


Turn your naked face
to the fire
that remains
An ember in the center
juice of the earth’s living heart
The fire survives
as you survive
and all may yet survive in you
Beside the fire
She is still sitting
the story woman
Her whisper makes
a dry sound
like the sliding of snakes
coupling and uncoupling
at the cell’s core
Like the memory of being alive
with all life living in you

She says
There is another way
You knew it once

Memory sleeps coiled
like a snake in a basket
of grain
deep in the storehouse
Breathe deep
Let your breath take you down

Find the way there
And you will find the way out



Quirky Mary Ocher, Artist to Watch

This fine brassy lady is the singer, poet, artist, director who organized The Queens and The Rebels (of Unpopular Culture) Festival for theatrical music/performance art and multimedia in 2009.
I honestly think that performance art is the future of music– real music, not the garbage churned out by the auto-tune auto-pop auto-fake music industry… Maybe Mary Ocher isn’t your taste, but the work she’s doing is making a space for creative people, and all I can say to that is YES PLEASE.

wĭl′fəl: Persists in doing as she pleases, habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition. Headstrong, self-willed- not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority. ˈwāwərd/: Given to perverse deviation from what is desired, expected, or required. Swayed or prompted by caprice; unpredictable.


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