Bruce Lee and the Creative Life

Bruce Lee was highly ranked in our childhood home. Between Kung Fu and Bruce Lee tv episodes, my brother Eric became a 12 year old, karate-chopping wonder, who dazzled us with his whipping chock-o sticks. This quote takes Bruce Lee a mile higher in my mind:

“Research your own experiences for the truth…Absorb what is useful…Add what is specifically your own…The creating individual is more than any style or system.”

Every decade produces its molds, but its reassuring that every decade produces the mold-breakers. The original thinkers. My brother Eric is one of those. “The creating individual is more than any style or system” points to our endless capacity for using the creative forces of the universe inside and outside our brains….to form and live a personal truth.

It seems I am always searching for the path toward a deeper authentic life. Sometimes I touch in on it, and feel electrified. Everything opens up. Other times, the old roles, the stale traffic patterns, the recycling dumb thoughts slowly closes me up into the trance of day to day. Yawn.

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.” ~Shakti Gawain.

I’ve been listening to Sigur Ross for a touch of brilliant, near-angelic tones to paint by.

Here’s a piece that went one way, and then the other:
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Happy Rosh Hashana: Burning the Old Year

For my incredible Jewish friends and family. Happy Rosh Hashana. Here’s a recent painting and a Happy New Year poem, of sorts. It’s written by Naomi Shihab Nye, a Palestinian-Arab American.

“Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.”

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The Layers

I was listening to a great line-up of readings by New England poets recently. It’s very moving to listen to poetry being read by the poet them self, or someone who loves their poem. Poetry can be so left-brained. But, when the poet reads it, there’s a vibration and vulnerability that melts me. So beautiful.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.”

-Stanley Kunitz

Here’s some of my own layers on a recent painting.