painting meditation

Painting Meditation

The feeling of brush in paint, on paper, is calming and therapeutic.

Then, Prisma app makes the image shareable, muting some colors that were too bright or didn’t mix quite as well, highlighting the stroke detail… even imposing a few things I might have added with greater skill, or if I’d be using my preferred medium of oil. Acrylics dry so fast!

I never know what I am thinking until I see it out in the world. My mind is full of trees, dancers, angels, women in elegant rags…




Today began with wishing a friend Happy Birthday – two days early. It was embarrassing yet weirdly appropriate with this friend. We’ve been out of sync, without ever falling out of love. How puzzling it seems that there can be relationships so meaningful as to reorder the universe, yet for only in their time.

Come to think of it, this is the first I’ve written about this phenomenon that has preoccupied me for quite a while now… nearly each email exchanged, every intersection of mind or appearance in conversation. What is the nature of this distance? 

If I were to try to speak with another friend about it, we might be relegated to a realm in which personalities take precedence… in which there is a pivot point or disillusionment or activity. Rather than what there is, which is the simple reality of change. Of life doing something different, and the strangeness of the time it takes, the grace that is given, to catch up.


Already Been Gone

I’m on a treadmill – the working one next to the broken one, in the small complex gym. A plastic garden chair, gray, sits in view behind a pool that seems painted on the ground, or like a sticker pressed onto a Colorform book. Forbidden. The sun is bright today.

Legs move, attention leans back. Layers of impressions synchronize… all is, okay. I go somewhere, which I see only in retrospect when fragments begin to stir. A thousand eyes are darting about, seeking points of concentration.

“I guess we are it!” I think, to the chair, projecting attention as if swooping over to an approachable soul at a party.

Attentions are split, going as if (with?) the chair and staying as if (with?) the me. A million years pass, tumbleweeds roll by, before I wonder if it is okay to be this vague. Pointless.

It is not distance, not floating from above or disappearing ‘me’ again. Are we grounding each other? I feel the posture of the chair; my own changes. Imagination is something to do, but what pops up on its own, quite different. Slightly other.

Whether to stay in the connection with the chair, or to write down the thoughts, which do after all seem unintrusive, trustworthy of this restful oasis. But I reach for the phone amidst the gentle percolating of creative affirming thoughts, to find the moment already been gone, before I thought so.


What is Reality? An icicle forming in fire.

– Dogen


It struck me today… just how long it has been since I’ve written anything that surprised myself. I’ve allowed social media to crowd out the space, and need to reframe my commitments.

The Taoist ox-herding pictures/story is vivid in describing ‘awakening’ … transcending in embracing the mundane 10,000 things.


At the bookstore cafe’, moving through the line, when the feeling of someone noticing me presents itself. Not looking, but I see – he is dressed far too well for the bookstore. I am disheveled. He lingers, asks about the book I’d purchased … a children’s book, delightful, titled Goodnight Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story. I think too much and look away, but he draws me back, saying he has a son, 6 years old… wonders whether he might like the book.


I show him the illustration on the cover: girl in playful yoga pose, whimsical. I think my son would scoff at it, but he is 17, and calls his mother “hippy dippy.” So I say, “Well, it is yoga.” His son lives in Hawaii, he tells me. He would like him to do more for himself… everyone dotes on him too much. I think aloud. “He must be charming, and what a nice life in Hawaii.” He laughs, “Unlike me he is handsome, charming with ladies, and smart.”
That was the perfect time to emote but I missed it. I hear myself say, “Good luck!”

Alone in my car later, I revisit the conversation. Emerging from a long marriage, I have no idea how to function in a much changed singles’ world, only the wish to be a more attentive partner should a ‘next time’ come around. Even in this small interaction, I missed so much about this man… the way he worried about his son far away … the gentle, reflective way he looked back upon years that he sees as less aware. He was thoughtful, interesting, and I liked him, but was too wrapped up in my own trip.