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

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 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Being Blind and Seeing Deeply

Summer Thoughts And Love

I have spoken often of my blind friend on this blog. He is a lad I love spending time with because he helps me to see the world like nobody else does. Knowing him has helped me to look at things and really see them, and to appreciate with all my heart what it is I am seeing.

But another lesson he has reinforced for me is also the art of listening. When you cannot see the need to use the ears and become a good listener becomes even more important.  It is not just what is said that is important, but the manner in which it is said. One of the greatest compliments paid to be was paid by Andy when he said to be, I do not really know what you look like but I can hear you are an honest man.

I was thinking of this yesterday as I walked along  coastal path, and I remembered the story I would like to share with you now.

After Bankei, a famous wise man, had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.
“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

On reflection I feel that the greatest lesson we can learn is always ever to only say what we mean and to only ever mean what we say. 

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of the artwork used.  Thoughts of Summer and Love.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

It All Depends On How You See Life.

Early Morning North Beach Iona

I was out running this morning, the sun shining although still the early morning chill was in the air. Feeling good I had decided to run my hilly route which climbs steadily until at last I find myself on the little path that runs through the woods high up on a ridge along the coast.  During the winter a number of trees have been blown over and lie fallen across the track. The person running with me saw these  as a spoiling of the route, having to find a way round  them. I saw them as a challenge something to hurdle over.

As I approached them two deer ran in front of me and it was as if the trees were not even there they soared through the air  and onward ran.  So there was  us and the deer and we each saw the fallen trees in a different way.

There is a lovely story of the new convert to religion.

He was sitting at the side of a track very interestedly reading the Bible while waiting for transportation and every now and then would exclaim, “Alleluia, Praise the Lord, Amen” and on and on as he read on.

A skeptic heard him and came and asked what he was reading.
He answered” I am reading how God parted the Red Sea and let the Israelites go through–- that is a miracle!”
The skeptic explained “Do not believe everything the Bible tells you. The truth of the matter is that that body of water was only really 6 inches deep–- so it was not miracle.”
The hippie nodded in disappointment but kept on reading as the skeptic was walking away feeling proud that he had set the hippie straight. All of a sudden the skeptic heard the hippie let out a big “Alleluia, Praise the Lord!”
At this the skeptic came back to him and asked, “What is it this time?”
The hippie said excitedly in one breath, “This one is a real miracle, God drowned the whole Egyptian army in 6 inches of water!!!”

Yes it all depends on how you look at it. Is it a hurdle or something to see as a challenge?  Is it something that makes life difficult  or something that  brings a new dimension to life? 

This blog is linked to my other: Early Morning North Beach Iona.