Archive for the ‘challenges’ Category

dear friend,

 here is an excerpt from “More Than Dust,” the book i’m writing. enjoy!

brunfelsia, "yesterday, today, and tomorrow"

brunfelsia, "yesterday, today, and tomorrow"

 

Timote and I traveled to Jamaica, our trip funded by a grant to discover a feared-extinct medicinal plant that researchers desperately needed, for a possible cancer-killing alkaloid they’d isolated from an old specimen, in a lab. Tim and I arrived in the blue-green island and drove to a mountainous region, a tiny hamlet called Bamboo. From there we made day trips all over the region, scouring the land around the site of the last known sighting of Brunfelsia Americana. In the 40s specimens had been collected from there, and none from any other location on earth ever since. Because of botanical information-gathering sources, called herbariums, dried and pickled specimens of every plant gathered by botanists are available for research, and that is how the cancer-experts discovered a near-magical ingredient found only in this particular species, that Tim and I were now hunting for.

Brunfelsia americana...the near-extinct species

Brunfelsia americana...the near-extinct species

Extreme strip mining, for the mineral bauxite, had changed the lay of the land in that part of Jamaica, drastically affecting the natural plantings. Still, Timote was not discouraged, because as we talked to native people we found that some old-timers remembered seeing the plant, called by various local, patois names. After a week of bush whacking our way through one red-herring lead after the next, we climbed an isolated plateau of land we were directed to, in a hidden valley, of sorts, a place where one small bit of land rose above the desolation below like a living altar, which had miraculously survived decades of destructive bulldozing by bauxite miners. We were elated to find one lone stand of this rare species of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, brunfelsia’s common name, and even more thrilled to find seeds and seedlings among the shriveled, deformed, last remaining group, anywhere, of this precious plant.

Live and love and laugh a lot, today and everyday,

we are All One on planet Earth

moon flower: plants, minerals, humanity: we are All One on planet Earth

your pal, lordflea

Friends,

the importance of what i spend my time doing the most of has been central in my thinking of late. y’know: you are what you eat, and you certainly become what you think. that’s why i haven’t been bloggin’ as of late. wanted to keep centered in my heart, and not just spew, at least for the sake of spewing.

i do this occasionally. withdraw and feel life living me, instead of trying to be so active, so concerned, so consumed with “other” that i forget this experience of life itself. here’s another way of looking at it:

the interconnectedness of All

the interconnectedness of All

all i have is my self, and my Self–the little me that squirms with responsibilities and worries, and the big Me that knows there is more to this life than i’ll ever know…and to feel the majesty, the magic, the wonder of it all is more than enough for me to be concerned about. certainly enough upon which to base my creative energies’ pursuits–my arting, as i call it, whether i paint, draw, make a garden, a cake, or sew a sail, write a book–or blog.

this feeling of being connected to all came to me as a child. then i lost it. then i rediscovered it later, mostly through working on getting rid of the garbage that my mind collected over the years. now i have trained myself to stay as much as possible in that simple place, that inner place, where the breath connects with even the movement of faraway galaxies, and the knowledge, the Truth of feeling connected is real–this is my daily experience.

the drawing i use as an example shows us all in our “Higher Self”… our so-called “angelic” bodies…that part of our nature that is connected to the Highest good for all. yes–we all have that in our nature, whether you are aware of it or not, whether you exercise that birthright, that ownership of your highest nature, or not.

living in the moment; accepting our sacredness, our divine nature–our Higher Self: this is the way of living i want to share with you, not because of any other reason but my humble offering to help make the world a better place to live in.

we are not all just scrambling around trying to get something to eat, or make happen, or elect, or conquer, or succeed, or even be good at. but yes, we all exisit as individual cells within the larger “thing” that makes up this known reality…what is called the Universe (and some call, simply, “God”).

we're all a part of a whole

we are all One, breathe, and feel: Truth

many other things have passed my mind, and of course i’ve been doing many (many!) other things since my last entry here. don’t worry. some of you who read my blog might think i’m just a holy-roller who only sits around contemplating my navel. but no—-i have a family, a job, lots of social duties, and creatively i’m consumed by writing a nonfiction narrative, illustrated, naturally, which i am debating about uploading here, so i can let you, friends on my web, read as i write, day by day. but…i haven’t decided to or not. ha ha! all i can say for now is…writing this book is certainly my immediate, and main creative focus, not this blog.

my garden has been covered with an entire truckload of mulch, delivered free by a tree-man who took down a big One over at my mother’s place. Carter and i’ve been doing lots of HOT HOT yoga, in our little yoga shed, which i call the santosa shack (santosa being contentment in Sanskrit). we chant, we meditate, we even attend his church, ahhweeee, diversity in God-liness! lots of cooking (made dosas twice this past couple weeks…a lentil and rice fermented east Indian flat bread, terribly exotic tasting, and terribly nutritious because of the legume and grain mixture). what else? oh so much biking, hiking, rehabing my knee, still injured from dancing too fiercely at daughter’s wedding way back in June. injuries take energy. life takes care. time is precious. do i use it wisely? i try to. when i lay my head down on my pillow, i feel rewarded by deep, comforting, beautiful sleep. what a gift, life is.

i will do a page next, i promise, on a subject i’ve been thinking a lot about: what to say to someone who is really, truly, either physically, spiritually, or mentally suffering.  because recently i ran into an old acquaintance, who has all the world at her feet: she’s rich, successful, socially powerful and consciously humanitarian beyond measure—but—she’s absolutely miserable.  the only outer proof, however, is that of her uncontrollable, mind-numbing, self-pitying drinking.  of course she’s in denial about having a drinking problem. and i simply can’t share with her my own experience in that matter (being in alcohol and drug addiction recovery now for my third decade)…but i can post a page here. perhaps one day a chink will open in her tightly-bricked-up facade, and what a person formerly-miserable (me) has to share with another who still is (her), will make a difference.

a little light in the well of darkness, that’s all i attempt to do…with my art, with my words, and now with this public web-spew.

so look on the right hand side in a day or say and you’ll see a new page. those pages stay up, where this post side changes when i enter a new one.

whew! i finally figured that out! now, if only i can find my beautiful color paintings. let me see, let me try again. a treat for you, perhaps?

plants, animals, mineral--we are all One

plants, animals, mineral--we are all One

i love each and every one of you, truly! lord flea

excuse me while i chuckle.

just got an email from my friend terry, who has just moved to moloki, hawaii, to caretake a 2,000 acre health/wellness/meditation complex with her hub, om-tom. she was writing me how hard it is, how things are just not running right, equipment breaking down, computer stolen when they went in a rented car to the main island–oh, what else, oh yeah, the makeshift computer doesn’t work, and on top of that, there’s no phone reception.

life is rough.

my partner is having a hard time, too–life is challenging these days. it seems to me we’re having not just an economic crisis, but a spiritual one as well. here’s one way of looking at it, a la art:

keeping mind-ful in the midst of hell

keeping mind-ful in the midst of hell

after a decade of living on islands in the “third-world” i can empathize  with you, terry, perhaps more than others…and know that you are just living the life that happens, when you’re not on “the continent.” it’s just the way it is on islands. but the “pros” you will experience, and have, and continue to, will FAR outway the “cons”… believe me. living separate from “all that is” is sooooo spiritually fulfilling, and fun! just write me whenever you get down, and i’ll jump up and dance with you, my friend, and share with you my experience of developing patience, tolerance, and … quite a snotty attitude, actually, that “i’ve learned to do better” than ordinary continentals, as we call them. Because once you get used to adversity being the way it is, always! and learn to adapt to “what is,” … a person changes. we become so much more an “in the flow” kind of person. and that’s really where the Self resides. being in constant contact with true Inner Peace takes hard work. but the rewards? living a good life, even in the midst of unprecedented adversity.
 
who needs things to flow smoothly all the time? that’s so…predictable! ha ha! look at me, miss positive. but i’m not there, where you are, terry, right? but … if i wasn’t here, taking care of mom, you bet that’s where i’d be. i can’t wait to pack my bags and leave “ever-reliable, oh so abundantly efficient” america (or any continental place)…and go to live with the simpler, more “don’t care” kind of folks—the islanders.
 
sorry about losing your mac, though. that’s a bummer. we get spoiled, don’t we? i still use a dinosaur p.c., but i’m happy.

here’s a little cheer-up for my pals terry and om-tom out there in molokai. when life gets tough, when our nerves start to shout! ouch! here’s one solution—retreat into your ever-abundant imagination…yes, just float away in a story. even if you haven’t got bread to eat, you still have your imagination and you that can fill a person right up to the top!

this character sitting in the middle is my good pal Cleozed. he’s a composite, as you can see: man, plant, fish, and –what else?

Cleozed and Hummin'womb-an

Cleozed and Hummin

walk in the unlimited-ness of your being…expand your possibilities, and come fly with me! how, you ask? just breathe…long breath in…long breath out…ahhhhhh-men, and ahhhhhhh-women, too!

in the Light, lord flea

Hi friend,

what can i do to make my life more filled with that energy that excites me? that gets me out of the bed in the morning with a bounce and a purpose? for each of us it’s a different thing. i’ve been contemplating what makes ME filled with life’s exciting call to living at the maximum fullness. rather than write it, here’s one of my paintings to interpret it for me.

the Source of All

the Source of All

 it is so thrilling to think how we, the United States, has now chosen to show the world, by electing Barack, that we truly embrace tolerance, love of all, and are ready for this next exciting chapter in our great country’s history.

i know i am, and many of you, are happy beyond measure that we’ve broken through a major barrier that separates we humans from each other: thinking we’re so different because of our skin color, or our religion, or even where we’re from. this is a moment time in human history. i’m beyond excited: i simply glow and await what happens next.

accepting our differences, and soaring

accepting our differences, and soaring

who’s to say where the journey will be going? all i know is that change is afoot, and change is GOOD. the only constant in life is change, and a relationship with one’s Truth, one’s Higher Power. everything else falls by the wayside, sooner or later.

that’s my thought for the day.

i must tell you readers of my blog that i’m having a lot of trouble figuing out how to adjust the new drawings i want to share with you. but…in time and with effort, i’ll figure it out. just like all of you with your various challenges. where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? just persevere, and all that is to be will be yours, and ours.

in the Light, your pal lordflea

i’m off to cambridge, mass for a fun-filled, information-packed reunion at the revered alma mater of my spouse, and to celebrate life and all its changes with our good friends of many years.

change…the only thing you can count on …

the cycle of life ... consistently changing

the cycle of life ... consistently changing

i’m thinking how i change … my body … where i am … my moods

and i’m thinking of how the world changes … seemingly so unstable, so vulnerable to outside influences.

and then i think of the one constant, besides change, that i’ve found that gives me great comfort in my journey here:

my deep contact with the Oneness of All — that force some call God, but i prefer Great Spirit.

i am a big fan of the I Ching, called the Book of Change, and written down by Confucious about 4,000 yrs. ago.  change has been a familiar comforting essence in my search for Truth.  i trust change.  i honor change.  but i also know that if i’m not flexible, like a young bamboo shoot, and allow change to happen, naturally — i am doomed for diaster.

i don’t know, i just felt like sharing that today.

mom is having a hard time adapting to the change that’s affecting her body.  her state of thinking has been altered by this tiny tiny TIA that hasn’t even registered in a CAT Scan.  but…change is not her comfort zone.

many people are freaking because of the unprecedently change in our financial world.  this is the time for all good people to rely upon nothing but their own Higher Selves.  that is the change we’re all challenged to accept.

the steadiness of eternity's change ... you and i, we are One

the steadiness of eternity

in case you’re wondering, this “down-ward dog” person i’m representing here, in sculpture and in black and white penstrokes, is the ancient egyptian goddess named Nut.  she represented the passage of the sun across the sky.  like the sun, Nut is symbolic of eternal life.  always changing, but always constant, and never ending.

i am here with you, and i wish you all a pleasant change, each and every moment of your lives.

now i change places, from st. augustine to boston!  always something.

in the Light, lordflea

hi friend,

why does it seems like there’s never enough time to do the things we want?  instead, there are so many things we have to do that just fill up the hours of each day.  i’m starting a new club:

make time for the things we need to do,

find time for the things we want to do!

wanna join?  just follow the spirals, and come on in!

fly with me from here ...

fly with me from here ...

to here …

earth energy with you-and-you-and all of we too R 1

earth energy with you-and-you-and all of we too R 1

how? you ask.

breathe.  deep and long in, long and slow out.  breathe from the belly.  learn to be a buddha belly, breathing from the belly (belly pushes out gently when you take air in, and as you breathe out the belly contracts and tightens, going flat).

have fun, make time for you!

in the Light, much love, lordflea

friends,

last weekend i attended the savannah jazz festival up in savannah, to honor and support our good friend and world renown congo player, mr. Big Black.

in case you’re wondering, Big Black is very big, and yes, he’s very black.

big black calming for the storm ahead, on his congas

big black calming for the storm ahead, on his congas

Black, as he’s known to his friends, has played with most of the “old guard” jazz greats, including Miles, Dizzy, and my personal favorite keyboard artist, McCoy Tyner.  Black’s brother, an eclectic musician (gone for some years now) named Fish Ray, who played a home-made instrument that looked like a cross between a tin washtub and a broomstick-neck bass fiddle, which he jubilantly played with the original Lord Flea’s band, back in the day when calypso was the true voice of the people.  the people i’m speaking of were mostly island-types, but also from all other walks of life (and all races) where, just as today, movement and dance are just as integral with human expression as the sound of instruments, including the soulful one of the human voice, singing the joys of life, as well as its pains.  yet when Lord Flea chose to sing about the pain of life, he sang with great joy, still. 

the dance and the sound of life's celebration...carnival!

the sound of life's joy, life's gratitude...life's dance

Big Black is  practically the only one left of that era, when Lord Flea rocked people’s hearts, and Fish Ray made everyone want to jump up and shout, and Big and Fish’s sister, Becka, that gorgeous nubian princess, caused a sensation with her rendition of the “sand dance,” an erotic slice of rhythm and physical stamina performed, on a patch of sand placed on a shiny stage, to the blood-current-tingling sounds of Lord Flea’s calypso band.

check out you tube’s Lord Flea clip.  you’ll know what i mean when you see it.  the early ones who knew that music was to celebrate the spirit, and uplift the soul.

we're all in it, whether we know IT or not, so enjoy!

the dance of life: we

 black invited us to come and help him celebrate being inducted into the jazz All-Stars, the veritable Hall of Fame for the greats, featured at the savannah jazz festival.  we enjoyed hearing him and all the All Stars Band play, and all the other fabulous musicians, including the jazz band of the university of florida, and simone, nina simone’s sensational daughter (oooh, love those neat coppery coily-dreads!), whose lusty voice was strong and will be heard a lot more, i dare say.

jazz festival attendee...with lots of interesting features

jazz festival attendee...with lots of interesting features

meanwhile, back at the flea ranch, mom has suffered a slight set-back.  i’ve been busy rushing back and forth to doctor and hospital, and we finally determined she’s had a TIA, a transcient ischemic attack, which is sort of like a “mini stroke” but much less severe than that implies.  all of a sudden she couldn’t finish her sentences, was confused, and grew increasingly scared about what was happening to her.  terror set in when she tried to pay her bills and numbers just swam in front of her eyes.

the life of the party at her surprise 90th, mom just two weeks ago

the life of the party at her surprise 90th, mom just two weeks ago

life can change…for all of us…in just the blink of an eye.

mom is fine now, thanks, but … she’s been given a clear warning sign from the Great Beyond, that she has to make some major changes (diet, exercise, mindfulness, calming herSelf into let-go-let-God-ness) if she wants to live to her 91st birthday.  which we’re all sure she will.

she’s a strong, incredibly self-reliant person, and i’m very sure i wouldn’t be half the artist, writer, and spiritual warrior that i am today, if i hadn’t been raised by this particularly unique, lithuanian-descent woman (well versed in all the pagan-catholic fairytales that that culture embraces)–my mom.  i don’t want to lose her, now that i’ve finally found, and accepted her.

thanks, mom.  it’s a pleasure and a delight to be able to give you some loving support in your time of need.  for years, i couldn’t.  now i’m strong enough, well enough, and self-reliant enough, like you, to pay back just a small portion of what you’ve given me all these years.  i love you and i accept that i had to be raised by someone so different from me, in order for me to find out who i really was.

ancestry, from embroynic to the highest possible...and everything in between

a mother-daughter kind of thing: ancestry, from embryonic to the highest possible...and everything in between

i send love and Light, healing and invigorating, and filled with joy…to each and every one of us,

lord flea, your pal