Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Love Is All Around

I am home after a week and a bit of walking and running in the mountains. I did nothing like the mileage I used to do on these holidays but I feel pleased with the week I had. It is the lambing season and I watched many lambs come into this world over the course of the week, and watched how fast they get to their feet and feed. I saw many birds in all their spring glory and enjoyed running in the early morning when I had time to be alone with the noises of love in the air. Running the paths I do I have to constantly be aware of where I am putting my feet and watching the rocks and boulders ahead of me, but there is still time to think and measure the meaning of life. I needed this time to gather my thoughts and to try and see the way ahead. To make sure that precious time is not wasted on negative thinking. Let me tell you a story.

There was once a guy who suffered from cancer... a cancer that can't be treated. He was 18 years old and he could die anytime. All his life, he was stuck in his house being taken cared by his mother. He never went outside but he was sick of staying home and wanted to go out for once. So he asked his mother and she gave him permission.
He walked down his block and found a lot of stores. He passed a CD store and looked through the front door for a second as he walked. He stopped and went back to look into the store. He saw a young girl about his age and he knew it was love at first sight. He opened the door and walked in, not looking at anything else but her. He walked closer and closer until he was finally at the front desk where she sat.
She looked up and asked, "Can I help you?"
She smiled and he thought it was the most beautiful smile he has ever seen before and wanted to kiss her right there.
He said, "Uh... Yeah... Umm... I would like to buy a CD."
He picked one out and gave her money for it.
"Would you like me to wrap it for you?" she asked, smiling her cute smile again.
He nodded and she went to the back.
She came back with the wrapped CD and gave it to him. He took it and walked out of the store. He went home and from then on, he went to that store everyday and bought a CD, and she wrapped it for him. He took the CD home and put it in his closet. He was still too shy to ask her out and he really wanted to but he couldn't. His mother found out about this and told him to just ask her.
So the next day, he took all his courage and went to the store. He bought a CD like he did everyday and once again she went to the back of the store and came back with it wrapped. He took it and when she wasn't looking, he left his phone number on the desk and ran out...
The mother picked up the phone and said, "Hello?"
It was the girl!!! She asked for the boy and the mother started to cry and said, "You don't know? He passed away yesterday..."
The line was quiet except for the cries of the boy's mother. Later in the day. The mother went into the boy's room because she wanted to remember him. She thought she would start by looking at his clothes. So she opened the closet. She was face to face with piles and piles and piles of unopened CDs. She was surprised to find all those CDs and she picked one up and sat down on the bed and she started to open one.
Inside, there was a CD and as she took it out of the wrapper, out fell a piece of paper. The mother picked it up and started to read it.
It said: Hi... I think U R really cute. Do u want to go out with me? Love, Jacelyn
The mother opened another CD...
Again there was a piece of paper. It said: Hi... I think U R really cute. Do u want to go out with me? Love, Jacelyn
Love is... when you've had a huge fight but then decide to put aside your egos, hold hands and say, "I Love You" Love is so precious it should be grasped at every opportunity. Life is full of moments when love can touch our lives but often we let it slip from our grasp.

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of the chosen art. The Things That Make Memories

Thursday, 12 April 2012

You Cannot Just Blame The World.

The Warrior Watches

I really hope that I did not give the impression that  I was being picked on because that was not my intention. I am sure that every artist I have ever talked to has had the same experience of people pointing out the little errors rather than concentrating on the good aspects.

I was always aware that if I was to be a good teacher then I would be if I always aimed to make sure that every student who ever left my desk left feeling good about themselves and the work that they produced. I also hoped that in that process they learned what could be sorted and some of the things that they needed to look at.

I learned this from my mother and father. No matter what I ever achieved my mother always asked why I had not done better.  I remember getting my annual report card which stated that I was the second top pupil in the class of 32, I was so proud. On taking the report card home my mother asked who was top and why had I not beaten her. My father on the other hand was always ready with the praise, he was the one who said, “well done.”

This reminded me of the story of the king who went on a journey round his realm. After weeks of walking  he returned to his palace. When asked by his counsellor about his journey all he could talk about was his painful feet caused by the long journey and the terrible roads of his kingdom.

He gathered together his court and ordered that all the roads of the kingdom be covered in leather, this he said would make them easier to walk and travel on. The court began immediately to work out what the cost of this would be and how many cows would have to be slaughtered to make it possible.

It was at this stage that the wise man came to the king and suggested that rather than that would it not be better to cut two pieces of leather and put them on his feet.  A wise thought and a much simpler task and easily achievable.

If we are going to change the world the best place to begin is with ourselves.  

This blog is linked to my other.The Warrior Watches

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My Bucket Does Not Need Emptying.

The Warrior Prepares

I am sure that I have spoken in the past about the bucket of emotions.  I will therefore not labour this tale today just refresh my memory and maybe the memory of others.

I see my life a bit like an emotional bucket, when things are going well it overflows with joy and happiness and this overflow can so easily brighten up the lives of those around. Sadly there are so many people who carry with them the nails of despair. These a re the people who are always ready to create a leak in our buckets and bring us to a state of unhappiness and in some cases even worse, total despair.

Often those people are not aware that they are doing it, other times they know for sure that they are. The people who are always quick to point out when you have made a mistake, even though it was obvious and knew you had made the mistake.

Artists face it all the time. There are always those who are quick to point out small things in a painting they do not like. The painting may well have a million things right but it is the one small thing that is wrong that is pointed out.

More of this on my other blog.

My own bucket has been very empty these last few weeks. It has been leaking badly and I have in the process been difficult to live with I am sure. Slowly it is beginning to fill, as I find ways of trying to bring joy to those around me. I am carrying with my repair patches so that when someone brings along a nail of despair I will quickly patch it over and try to give them happiness in return.

This blog is linked to my other. The Warrior Prepares

Monday, 9 April 2012

Who Is My Neighbour?

The Sound Of A Distant Drum

On Saturday evening as I returned from my walk I noticed one of my neighbours struggling to turn over the soil in a new made border of her front garden. To make life easier they had changed the design of the front garden and had a raised border installed. The people who had built the wall had left without digging the compacted soil and she was finding it very difficult. Knowing her husband is unable to dig due to arthritis, I decided to get up very early on Easter morning and pop round and turn it over for her. By the time she rose and came out to walk her little dog it was finished. Happy Easter. 

But that is what being a neighbour is about, is it not?  It seems not. This morning on the news I heard the results of a survey taken in the UK. 35% of the people in the uk it seems to do not know who their neighbours are. Of the other 65% more than half hardly, if ever talk to their neighbours.

So I thought I would share this list of friendship. I know it is a bit contrived and could do with improving so please feel free to change it.

A Friend (Neighbour)


Accepts you as you are

Believes in "you"

Calls you just to say "HI"

Doesn't give up on you

Envisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)

Forgives your mistakes

Gives unconditionally

Helps you

Invites you over

Just "be" with you

Keeps you close at heart

Loves you for who you are

Makes a difference in your life

Never Judges

Offers support

Picks you up

Quiets your fears

Raises your spirits

Says nice things about you

Tells you the truth when you need to hear it

Understands you

Values you

Walks beside you

X-plains thing you don't understand

Yells when you won't listen and

Zaps you back to reality

I suppose it comes back to the age old question. Who is my neighbour?

This blog is linked to my other.The Sound Of A Distant Drum

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Magic Chalkboard.

The Coatal Path, May Blossom.

I have no new artwork so today I am only posting on this one blog.  We have a saying in Scotland, “Ne’r cast a clout till Mays oot,”  translated it means do not cast off winter clothes until the  may blossom is in bloom. There has always been an argument that the May refers to the to the month of May , but I feel strongly that it means the blossom of the hawthorn bush called may blossom.

The other day there I walked along the coastal path. There is a part just at the end of the beach where the path winds up through bushes, at one point making an arch over the track. The bushes are hawthorn and were in full bloom. As I walked under , and again ran under it the next morning the aroma of blossom was amazing. Such a joy after the heartache of seeing that the group of young people I had seen pitching a tent on the edge of the beach had gone leaving all the empty booze bottles and other rubbish on the beach for others like myself to gather and deposit in the nearby bin.

Thus reminded me of the simple story of the magic chalkboard.

Once upon a time a boy was walking through a little forest when he found a big chalkboard hanging on an old tree trunk. It came complete with a box of chalk pieces, and bright sparks were flying from the tips of every piece of chalk. The boy took a piece of chalk and started to draw on the board: first a tree, then a rabbit, then a flower...
Magically, whenever he finished a figure it came to life and jumped out of the board. Before long, the place had become a wonderfully green and fertile forest, full of animals happily playing.
Excited, the boy also drew his parents and brothers and sisters enjoying a picnic, with their sandwiches and cold meats. He also drew the paper plates and the empty tins of sardines left on the ground, which always happened on their picnics. But when these bits of litter came to life something awful happened: around every paper plate and every empty tin, the forest turned grey, and this greyness started quickly spreading everywhere: to the grass, to the flowers, to the animals... The boy realised the litter was to blame for all the greyness, so he ran through the forest with the chalkboard rubber in his hand to rub them out wherever they had landed.
He was lucky. He was quick, and didn't leave a single piece of litter. The forest and its animals managed to recover, and they played together for the rest of the day.
The boy never again saw that chalkboard, but now, every time he goes to the countryside with his family, he remembers that adventure and is the first to pick up any litter. And he is sure to remind the others that anything left lying in the woods can do more damage to the animals than they ever would have suspected.

It never fails to amaze me that an empty bottle that was carried to a place full is too heavy to carry back. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

It Is Amazing How Many Friends I Have

And The Earth Said Peace

I could not believe that this morning I heard a newscaster say that she was  a very popular person. On asked how she knew this she quoted the number of friends she had on facebook . Now I have to ask you, would you consider these your real friends? I have some very dear friends facebook but I also seem to have gathered a number who I would find it hard to even list as acquaintances. Here on blogging it could be so easy to have lists of followers, people we know not a bit.

This reminded me of the story of the young boy and his chair.

There was once a boy called Mario who loved to have loads of friends. He showed off a lot, always talking about how many friends he had at school, and how he was so friendly with everyone.
One day his grandfather said to him,
"Mario, I bet you a big bag of popcorn you don't have as many friends as you think. I'm sure many of them are nothing more than companions, acquaintances, or partners in crime."
Mario accepted the bet without hesitation. However, he wasn't sure how he could test whether or not his schoolmates were real friends, so he asked his grandpa. The old man answered,
"I have just exactly what you need, it's in the attic. Wait here a minute."
Grandpa left, soon returning as though carrying something in his hand, but Mario could see nothing there.
"Take it. It's a very special chair. Because it's invisible it's rather tricky to sit on, but if you take it to school and you manage to sit on it, you'll activate its magic and you'll be able to tell who your real friends are.”
Mario, brave and determined, took the strange invisible chair and set off for school. At break time he asked everyone to form a circle, and he put himself in the middle, with his chair.
"Nobody move. You're about to see something amazing."
And Mario attempted sitting on the chair. Having difficulty seeing it, he missed and fell straight onto his backside. Everyone had a pretty good laugh.
"Wait, wait, just a slight technical problem," he said, making another attempt. But again he missed the seat, causing more surprised looks, and a few cat calls. Mario wouldn't be beaten. He kept trying to sit on the magic chair, and kept falling to the ground... until, suddenly, he tried again and didn't fall. This time he sat, hovering in mid-air...
Then it was that he finally experienced the magic that his grandfather had been talking about. Looking around, Mario saw George, Lucas, and Diana - three of his best friends - holding him up, so he wouldn't fall. Meanwhile, many others he had thought of as friends had done nothing but make fun of him, enjoying each and every fall.
And there the show came to an end. Leaving with his three friends, he explained to them how his grandfather had so cleverly thought of a way to show him that true friends are those who care for us, and not just any acquaintance who happens to be passing by. Even less would a friend be someone who takes joy in our misfortunes.
That evening the four children went to see Mario's grandpa to pay out the bet. They had a great time listening to stories, and eating popcorn until fit to burst. And, from then on, they used the magic chair test on quite a few occasions. And whoever passed it became friends for life.

I have been amazed at the number of people who have taken time to be in touch while I have not been blogging and those of you whom have stuck around and are still here on my return. Thank you all dear friends. 

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of the artwork here.  And The Earth Said Peace 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

We Should All Get An Art Wall


Being the smallest boy in my class at school meant that I was frequently the butt of bullying and what others saw as fun. I went through my whole school life known as titch. To add to the problems I had bright red hair. The fact that my parents were not financially well off did not help, although this must have been worse for my younger brother, because I would get the new clothes first. 

These and other factors meant that I kept myself to myself a great deal of the time. I never allowed myself to get close to people because in the end it usually meant I ended up getting hurt. I still have problems with this, but now I allow people into my space and mostly I can live with any rejection or hurt.

Recently though, I have been reminded again of the lessons of youth and how my father helped me to cope with anger and hurt, and having to find ways to dispel hurt and bad feelings.

I have been reading again the story of the art wall, let me share it with you.

Tony was a nice, cheerful, optimistic boy. No one could remember ever having seen him angry; he didn't mind whatever people said to him. He seemed incapable of insulting anyone. Even his teachers admired his good disposition, which was so unusual that a rumour was going round that Tony´s goodness must be due to some special secret. The fact that there was a supposed secret meant that no one could think about anything else. They interrogated Tony so much that, one afternoon, he invited his favourite teacher, Mrs. Anthony, to tea. When they had finished, Tony showed Mrs. Anthony around the house. When Tony opened his bedroom door, the teacher froze, and a big smile spread across his face.
The huge far wall was a unique collage of thousands of colours and shapes! It was the loveliest decoration Mrs. Anthony had ever seen.
"Some people at school think I never think badly of anyone," Tony started to explain, "and that nothing at all bothers me, and that I never want to insult anyone, but that's not true at all. I'm just like anyone else. I used to get angrier than all the other kids. But years ago, with the help of my parents, I started a small collage. I could use any kind of material and colour for it. With every little piece I stuck on I added some bad thought or act.”
It was true. The teacher looked closely at the wall. In each one of the small pieces he could read, in tiny letters, 'fool', 'idiot', 'pain', 'bore', and a thousand other negative things.
"This is how I started turning all my bad times into an opportunity to add to my collage. Now I like the collage so much that, each time someone makes me angry, I couldn't be happier. They've given me a new piece for my work of art."
That day they discussed many things, but what the teacher never forgot was how an ordinary boy had shown him that the secret to having a cheerful and optimistic character is to convert the bad times into a chance to smile.
Without telling anyone, on that very day, Mrs. Anthony began her own collage. She would recommend it so often to her students that, years later, they called that neighbourhood 'Art Town'. Each house contained its own magnificent works of art, made by those cheerful and optimistic children.

On my other blog I explain the painting used here and the words in the collage. Crosswords