How to be a Poet, or paint like a poet

This is a poem by Wendell Berry, an all-time favorite, folksy, americana, heart-poet. This poem reminds me of how I want to paint.

How to Be a Poet


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


*      *           *

Its been a weird, hard Winter. There’s been so many challenging experiences, relationships, daily disappointments, disillusionments. Everything is in flux.

Suddenly, a sunny day arrives, some sweet moments with a friend, a piece of art that lifts me up, a good poem, a good belly laugh. Then. Another wave of challenges, hopelessness, frustration. Up & down. Up & down.

I’ve enjoyed the distraction and energy of Instagram….but spend far too much time perusing and learning…and should turn to my own artwork. But. I have been painting all through this Wintery time. What comes through are these flesh & bony portraits. I love Egon Schiele’s work as it helps me find my own expression of struggle and passion.





Her eyes were originally open, stark and piercing. But its better to take all that energy inside for transformation:




Them bones. Them bones. Them bag a bones.















I’ve returned to some roots recently, and found some grounding and renewed energy and zest! The sun has been shining every day.


The Power of the Yawn

Yawning: every creature that has a spine yawns. It’s a built in repair circuit which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms everything down in your body.


Yawning is particularly useful when your body is stressed, injured, or ill. If you’ve got a head ache, try yawn “surfing”– where you literally try to yawn over and over–in most situations, your headache will ease up.


Yawning is very good when you’re scared or upset. Try for at least three minutes of non-stop yawns, including gentle stretching, making little noises, gently rubbing your face or eyes. If you’re doing it well, your eyes should be watering.


If you’re able to yawn for 10-15 minutes, your stomach may growl. By now, you’ve probably already yawned once?

images-4Twenty to forty minutes of non-stop yawning can also decommission stagefright. Do it until just before you walk out on stage, or in front of the camera.


Humans have been yawning since the beginning of time, often as a stress response, sort of like dogs. Have you ever noticed when your dog is stressed they stretch, yawn and shake it off? We’re the same. My mom used to work at a community mental health clinic and would no sooner get in the car to drive home….and her body would begin yawning….all the way home. She never understood it– until she learned about yawning as discharging stress from the body.

Babies and kids are masterful yawners.



Yawning is contagious. Try yawning at a meeting with others. Many others around you will involuntarily yawn. Like laughter and even tears, humans discharge built up tensions through these emotional releases. Discharging is a powerful. natural way back to feeling good again.

Even the Dali Llama yawns.


(I was yawn surfing the whole time I was trying to write this! So funny!)