Chop Wood, Carry Water

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Stix“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” ~~Zen saying

On the journey

to wellness-wholeness

all good paths

lead us

to tend to the daily chores

that sustain

our Peaceful Environment

sweeping

carrying

chopping

making

cleaning.

tending to Inner Peace

starts with Outer Action.

Efficiency of Action

reflects

Efficiency of Thought.

Doing what you can

with what you have

where you are.

One step

One change

One moment.

This is the Way

Revolution Begins.

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Crazy Annie, Queen of Reality

let freedom ring…

Truth, Justice, and a Pledge

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Leaning Tower

“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”  ~~M. Scott Peck

Honesty is one of my favorite words. I’ve loved it since childhood. It smells like trees in a summer wind, looks like a clear blue sky at noon, and tastes like honey. To me it means the intimate comfort of telling a secret story to my best friend…warm, delicate, and sweet. How lovely to live in that place.

Life taught me that honesty is not the same thing as Truth. Truth is like a brick. It’s essential to building a lasting “real” foundation for your life, it’s shape & texture can vary, and it sometimes hits you painfully hard. There are more axioms about truth than you’d care to count… Truth is stranger than fiction… the Truth will out… the Truth is rarely pure & never simple (Oscar Wilde). We claim to love the truth, but truthfully prefer a pretty lie.

There are degrees of truth. Layers. How much of my “Truth” should I share? If I do not share every detail, am I withholding the truth? No. In fact, Truth often hides in the shadows, just behind what you think you see. We insist we must face The Truth, but sometimes the Truth doesn’t come right out to be faced. Sometimes all we can do is be honest about what we experience.

Truth & Justice are thought to travel together. We believe Truth, when fully understood, naturally leads to Justice. Fairness. Harmony. Right-being. Superman is characterized as the champion of Truth, Justice, and the American Way… but what, exactly, does that mean? The American Way includes things that don’t align with either one. And it all depends on who tells the story.

And Storytelling is what life is all about. More than telling the stories of our experiences, we humans tell the stories of what our experiences mean to us in our search for Truth, Justice, Love, Acceptance,… and in sharing our stories honestly, we bring out into the open our own honest slices of Truth. We are often inspired by the honest stories shared by others.

It is in the spirit of Honest Storytelling that I make the following pledge:

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma. 

Blog for Mental Health 2014

This project, sponsored by A Canvas of the Minds, brings together blogs from around the web that address the experiences, successes, and challenges of people who live with mental illness– whether their own or that of someone they love. Awareness obliterates the stigma. Mental health issues affect us all, whether we’re consciously aware or not.

I live with depression. I was first diagnosed when I was in my mid-thirties, but have experienced the symptoms of severe depression since I was an adolescent. Of course, I’ve experienced joyful times, unhappy times, successes & failures,… just like everyone. It’s just that sometimes the filter through which I experience life is fogged. There is a history of depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, and other mental illnesses in my family. It’s not their fault any more than it is mine. This is a curse visited upon the generations of my family. We treat it the best ways we can, based on the understanding we have at the time.

I also recognize the symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Disorder in my life, though this is not an “official” diagnosis. I’m still finding the ability to tell the story of my experiences with this. Honesty is the best policy, but looking the Gorgon in the face has dire consequences.

While I won’t be blogging exclusively on the topic of mental health, it is the foundation of everything I share on the Cosmic Carousel. It underscores my art, my writing, & my volunteer work. Wellness of mind & emotion is as important as wellness of the body. If what I share inspires you, I invite you to share your own stories, images, links to your own explorations… I appreciate your honesty. It’s like a letter from a childhood friend…

What Am I Doing Here… (Let’s Try This Again)?

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Stairway to Heaven

“It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.”    ~~Henry David Thoreau

Let’s try this again, shall we?

Frigid dark January

Orbits the hot sun of Re-evaluation.

We Contemplate

New Horizons

Rendering the Past

Imperfect.

I am not immune. Nor are You.

Scoff. Yes. Huff-puff-McGruff. Take a bite.

From whence come I?

Where go I?

How do I change what I’m doing

So that I get what I’m wanting?

Resolution.

Bah.

Silence. Listen.

The Universe offers guidance on the path

Lessons

Signposts

Kicks in the ass

Serendipity is a will ‘o the wisp

ectoplasm of the Divine

If you sneeze, you’ll blow it

Revisiting old ghosts

only Resurrects them.

Tend to the Living.

Let the dead bury their own.

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Crazy Annie

Let freedom ring…

My previous post, since deleted, addressed the topic of bullying. Workplace bullying, to be specific. The long-term repercussions are painful, persistent, and real. My studies in psychology taught me that. My up-close & personal experience reverberates with it. I’m learning more & more how to release it.

I am inspired by a project at the high school where my husband teaches photography. Students in all art classes are addressing the topic of bullying, with an emphasis on how art is a modality through which the victims of bullying can find hope, strength, & courage. The work I’ve seen so far is powerful. The stories my husband shares about how this project has sparked a palpable positive energy amongst these ordinarily obstinate adolescents…it’s almost a miracle.

Art inspires. That’s why we love to surround ourselves with it. In addition to fine art, music, performance arts (dance, theatre), we find art in our fashions, our home decor, our cities, & our entertainments. We’re always being inspired by the wonderful creations of artists, designer, architects, & engineers. But it’s unsatisfying to merely accumulate the creativity of others. We have an innate need to create something of our own.

Creativity and imaginative engagement are powerful tools in negotiating our way through the inevitable challenges we faces in life. Most of our best ideas stray somewhat off the beaten path. Our best “aha moments” are steeped in our own way of perceiving things. This is the seat of your creativity– your unique perspective. No one else can see the world through your eyes without your creative self-expression.

What I am doing here, on this blog, my creative outlet, is being transparent with my creative process, with my various explorations in this modality of personal expression, alchemy, healing, hoping. Sharing it here is like sonar…your feedback is important. It shows me the lay of the land in these waters, so to speak. (though, if I’m not careful, I could run aground!) My navigational skills are improving as I grow in this process & I appreciate your assistance.

 Here’s to a New Year filled with opportunities to engage creatively & imaginatively!