DAD and the Quest for Beauty

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I wrote this piece the morning of the afternoon that I received a call from Nana, my stepmother, letting me know that Dad’s health had taken a turn for the worse, and that I better get to Canada to see him right away. I had reservations to go in 2 weeks. Thankfully I boarded a plane the next morning and had five days of heart-wrenching, tender, sweet, blessed, and at times hilarious, moments with my beloved father. This past Monday, July 23, 2018, my dad took flight and left the body that housed the beautiful Soul of my Dad. I share this in honor of him, with deep gratitude and love, and a heartbroken . . . Wide OPEN.

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Dad loves to walk through nature with binoculars, not just as he climbs mountains to see far off vistas. But also, he takes them on walks through his own neighborhood, so that he can see a perspective of beauty that cannot be seen with his bare eyes. He reaches for the beauty beneath the surface of an emblazoned Fall leaf, fallen to the ground, the varied tones of color on lilies lining his house, a bee crawling deep into a bloom, the reflections of trees in the serene waves of a lake. He would be in awe at this deeper beauty that many of us pass by, unaware of what lies beneath the surface of what we see. Dad enthusiastically shares his appreciation, handing over the binoculars so I can see what he sees.

I am a visual artist, who uses paint to express a world beyond sight. I interpret the beauty of the Divine, Souls, Spirit that vibrates within and beyond this tangible world, we behold. I reach beyond what I see and I feeeeeeel this dimension of boundless Love and infinite possibilities, and I use color, shape, movement, and insight, inner sight, to express the beauty beneath and beyond the surface. I paint the essence beyond the form, of flowers and fauna. I paint the Soul, embodied by humanity, and the human enlivened by the soul.

My dad’s love of beauty, his appreciation for the deliciousness of life and his passion for the wellbeing of all people and this beloved planet, undoubtedly inspired this deep passion within me as well. This passion has blossomed into my own unique expression, through art, vibrational healing and sacred activism that aims to uncover the buried parts of another, so they can be revealed to their own bare beauty, their unique genius and gift to us all. I peer through my metaphorical binoculars and enthusiastically tell them what I see, that they cannot see, about the beauty and perfection of them.

My Dad is a passionate lover of Beauty, of Life, of humanity, of family, of the great Mother Earth. His activism is fueled by this Love. This is the way God lives and expresses Itself through my father. Through his love, felt and expressed in his own unique way, he has changed the world. He has brought more Beauty to the surface, so more of us can see and feel it with bare eyes. Dad has tirelessly toiled to raise consciousness and offer solutions to raise humanity to a place where poverty and hunger no longer hinder us from knowing the Beauty of being human.

By first seeing the pain and injustice, the flaws in the systems of society, he reaches, as I do, to unearth the Beauty of humanity and the absolute brilliance of the planet we inhabit, to inspire a deep desire for change. How can we make this world a better place for all humans, for all sentient beings, honoring the earth and recognizing the interconnection of all life?

My father, in his own unique way, has shown me this truth. The truth of Beauty beyond our wildest imagination, and the sobering reality that too many of us can’t see it. So in honor of my Dad and his beautiful, bold and brilliant spirit, let’s all get out our binoculars and commit to seeing the Beauty above and beyond, and live our lives in sacred service to sustaining and honoring this Bare Beauty in ourselves, others and in the beloved Mother that sustains us all!

 

BEAUTY that Lies Beneath the Surface
Reach into the truth of Beauty and you will
see and feel
the beauty that lies at the core of EVERYTHING

The cleansing waters within the tears of anguish
The joy underneath the sorrow
The love at the core of grief

The wisdom born of failure
The baby born from pain
Compassion felt from knowing suffering

Deep rest inspired by a sick body
Passion and purpose awakened
in the midst of the unacceptable

Liberation and reunion within the dying body
Life at the core of death.
Eternal life beyond the physical

Peace in the center of the storm
Joy in the midst of sorrow
Laughter in the middle of loss.

Wholeness at the deepest core of the most wounded and broken of us
Oneness in a world of individuals

Beauty is everywhere
Within everything and engulfing it ALL
It takes faith
Imagination
and vision to know the Truth of the
Beauty you cannot see

But if you have the desire and the intention
I promise you,
the miracle of Beauty
will reveal itself to you
and your inner sight will be reflected in your outer vision
and together we will transform the world!

I love you, Daddy! Fly high!

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The Inner Hurricane

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‘Eye of the Storm” oil on canvas, Beki

This has week has been utterly exhausting emotionally and mentally, as we and many more in the Caribbean, Florida and the South Eastern US have been watching the strongest biggest storm on record to plough its way through the waters crushing islands and threatening our safety, stuff and peace of mind.

Peace of mind is what I really want to address here. How do we cultivate an aptitude to inner peace, so that when life’s hurricanes, literally or figuratively, threaten our wellbeing, we are able to respond from peace rather than fear? Today is 9/11, an infamous day here in the US when the Twin Towers in New York City were reduced to rubble after 2 planes intentionally flew into them. It was shocking and devastating and rocked the sense of security Americans had felt in regards to such attacks. It shattered a collective sense of comfort and maybe a false peace of mind. 911 are the number we dial to call for HELP.

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How can we dial directly to the help that taps into the peace of mind that allows us to weather any storm that life delivers to us? Yesterday, in the midst of this whole experience of preparing for Hurricane Irma that was slowly turning west away from us, revealing that the personal threat to our town and home would be minimal, I grappled with my own inner storm. I woke up at 3 am to find my two sons and nephew ‘mesmerized’ in playing computer games together. It triggered a mini storm in my head that I seemed incapable of quelling. My initial internal venting entailed feelings of anger, indignation, irritation, hopelessness for humanity and the obsession with these glowing screens that give us this false sense of connection with each other, but actually rob us of the connection with the organic world of human contact and the beautiful earth we inhabit. Yes I went there! As a mother of 3 sons I have grappled with this feeling of frustration around the whole issue of video games and such for 20 years. It has definitely been one of those reoccurring concerns/thorns that has contributed to taking away my Inner Peace, uncountable times. Needless to say, the inner storm amidst the outer storm robbed me of much needed sleep.

I don’t want to focus so much on the issue of glowing screens here. What I am really interested in is the inner storms that can be triggered by thousands of stressful thoughts. Usually the thought is aligned with fear. Certainly the discomfort felt in preparing for a hurricane and watching the media coverage around the storm has the potential to cause as much angst as riding out the storm itself. It is the projection of a devastating future, fear future, that grips us. With the modern conveniences of glowing screens 24 hours a day, we have this thought that somehow we can control the outcomes by listening to the confusing, mixed messages offered, whether it is about the weather or diseases or politics. We cling to the messages hoping they will provide us with the guidance that will solve the problems that face humanity. Secretly we wish for the guidance to quell the storm in our mind, possibly even more than the condition that is causing it. Of course the true guidance we seek can only be found in the silencing of the fear-based chatter and to go to the True Source of all solutions.

Suffering stems from the thoughts, not the reality. I have suffered on and off this past week as we navigated the information about this outer storm. There were times I was able to consciously focus on peace and stayed away from the media as much as possible, but still would catch wind of fearful frequencies. Well, how could I miss them. The frequencies of the fear blew as strong as Irma’s winds. We are challenged to find a way to the inner peace, the ‘I’ of the storm, that is serene amongst the mayhem of life. This is the greatest challenge of the times, I feel. The distractions are unbelievable! How can we cultivate this Inner Peace instead of feed the fire of the Inner Storm?

While I do not know what the ultimate answer is for that question, I do know that I am on a journey of answering that for myself. Each of us needs to find our own way. It is the awareness and intention that is the first step. As we become aware of the source of our inner storm as the thoughts we think, then we realize that we can intentionally redirect the thoughts. What activity or practice can support you in redirecting thoughts? I walk in nature. I write, I paint. Sometimes meditation helps. Going to sleep is miraculous. What calms your storm? What nurtures the scared inner child? What soothes you back into alignment with the Source of your True Self?

peacePeace’, oil on canvas, by Beki

When I align with Love, with the Divine, with my Inner Being, the unlimited, eternal Self I feel a deep joyful peace. When I feel this peace, I do not feel fear. The two emotions cannot abide together. I recently heard a zen monk say, ” To be fearless really is actually being peaceful.” Unconditional Love is really being able to stay aligned with Love regardless of the conditions. Unconditional Peace, Joy, Love. This is the practice that brings freedom.

When I am able to live more and more from this cultivated, intentional place of unconditional Love, Peace and Joy then not only do I benefit from this freedom, but I have a chance to affect Peace in the world around me, one person at a time. My very presence will then have the potential to quell the storm within another, and another and another.