WHAT IF

Having spent the last 12 plus months witnessing how people have reacted to the Covid pandemic, I am saddened, perplexed, and amazed. I surely am not the only one who has witnessed the hoarding of toilet paper and basic home supplies in the rush of making sure I get all mine before it’s all gone. I have witnessed the simple act of wearing a face mask to protect myself and others, turned into a narrative that our civil liberties are being taken from us. This past week, once again, I witness the hoarding and panic because much of North Carolina and the Southeast is dealing with a fuel shortage due to a pipeline being shut down.

I am not lost on the fact that gasoline is a precious commodity, but so is courtesy and kindness, respect for others. How did we get here? How did we get to a point where the only thing that matters is how much we can get and to hell with everyone else?

I see much more than that in my world. I see the seeds of awareness and awakening, albeit slower than I would like, it is still happening. The world is in chaos and change to be sure, embroiled within this chaos and change are birth pains of a higher frequency. The soul cries out to be heard, the pangs of old illusions and limitations are real and in the throes of their own death spiral.

When you arrive at the crossroads of change with tears streaming down your face, consider what the tears represent. Are they for sadness or joy? Or are they the realization that you have been unable or unwilling to walk the path your soul has chosen? Perhaps your tears are for the relationships you have had to sever in your desire to live truthfully, and for those who have turned away from you because they are not yet ready to see the truth within their hearts. Your tears may very well be for those times the truth revealed itself only to have you turn your gaze away, fearing even greater loss. Why do we give more power to our fears of the truth when our hearts yearn deeply to live it?

I believe it is because opening ourselves to the truth means those parts of us living in the shadows must either come to the light or die. Something greater beckons us forward, calling for the ultimate truth to reveal itself.

WHAT IF, we could all embrace the precept that each individual is unique and divine by nature, and that we refer to this divinity as the Christ within?

WHAT IF, we could embrace the knowing that there is a creative universal law that begins in the mind and ends in manifestation? If we want to change our world, we must change our beliefs.

WHAT IF, through prayer, meditation, respect, and courtesy, we can experience our individual and collective divinity and guidance?

WHAT IF, we stopped believing in the illusion that we live in a world of lack and limitation and that there is MORE THAN ENOUGH for all of us?

WHAT IF, we live our truth, acknowledge our connection to each other and transform the world?

James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

On Saturday April 10, 2021, we visited the James Museum to view a traveling exhibit “Go Artfully Wild.” The exhibit showcases Artist for Conservation (AFC)’s International “Nature in Art” exhibit. The exhibit features “60 paintings and sculptures that awaken our responsibility to conserve the diversity and wonder of our natural world.” The exhibit is on view from March 13 to May 23, 2021.

Patsy Lindamood – Jaguar with a Twist 2019. Colored pencil and pastel
Michelle McCune – Shake. 2020 Oil on Canvas

AFC is a non-profit Canadian-based organization, founded in 1997. The work of John Seerey-Lester, a signature member of AFC, is included in the exhibit as a special tribute. John Seerey-Lester (1945-2020) was a British-born painter who became a citizen of the United States of America in May 2011.

Rachel Ivanyi – A Delicate Balance. 2018. Watercolor and gouche on handmade paper. Shows importance of one lttle bird (Clark’s nutcracker) spreading seeds of the endangered whitebark pine that are more resistent to forest destructive bark bettles and blister rust. The whitebark pine is crititical to regulating snowpak retention/melting and thus critical to regulating the water supply downslop

AFC is the world’s leading artist organization whoses mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation and to promote environmental education. They have hundreds of members from five continents and thirty countries. Each work of art in the “Go Artfully Wild” exhibition is dedicated to their mission.

Laurie Riley – Green Iguana 2018 Scratchboard and acrylic. NN note: The artists depicts less cuddly animals with an “aim to bring their true beauty to the eye of the beholder.”
Dorset Norwich-Young – Ancient in Time. 2020. Acrylic on canvas. “Forest bathing is a Japanese healing art known as “Shinrin -yuku”. The practice is based upon reconnecting with nature through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The essence is to bathe yourself in the forest atmosphere, to feel the spirit of the trees, to learn to carry the forest within you. …Worldwide, forest wisdom has been passed down by the elders and Indigenous peoples througout history. It is as ‘Ancient as Time.'”
Kathy Kleinsteiber – Please Don”t Let This be All That”s Left. 2017. Morning Dove feather. Oil on panel. NN note: I am always amazed when an artist can provide a 3 dimensional look to a painting. The dove feather looked as if it were a feather floating in air from a nail in a piece of wood.

The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art is located at 150 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Founded by businessman Thomas James (https://www.raymondjames.com/about-us/art-collection), the museum opened in April 2018. The 26,000 square feet museum gallery space houses contemporary and traditional premiere works of art (sculpture, paintings and jewelry).

sculpture outside museum
Robert Griffing – Another Broken Treaty 2013. Oil on canvas.

“The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art provides experiences that inspire human connection and transformation through art depicting the peoples, landscapes, and history of the American West, and wildlife of the world… The museum engages the community through programs and educational opportunities, for all ages, that bring our history to life and amplify voices that are not often at the forefront of mainstream western art”. For more information on The James’ Mission/Vision go to https://thejamesmuseum.org/mission-vision-values/.

Friday night at the Blue Rooster

We had a front row seat to hear Ariella at the Blue Rooster and I mean right up front next to the extra mics and equipment cases.

We could almost reach out and touch the fabulous Ariella McManus, who was so kind to sing my favorite song, McGinn, in honor of my favorite Irish lass who has a birthday this month.

If you missed it, they’ll be back on April 30!

The food at the Blue Rooster, on 4th St. in Sarasota, is modern Americana, with updated versions of fried chicken, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Their fried green tomatoes are exceptional. We couldn’t resist the pecan pie served with a little whipped cream.

The only issue with sitting so close to the stage are the dancers. It’s fun people watching, but you risk some of their antics landing in your lap.

Stomping at the Blue Rooster
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OUR OWN RESURRECTION

For most Christians, Easter is a celebration of the ascension of a man named Jesus Christ. The interesting thing about this is that Christ is not the last name of the man named Jesus. Christ is in truth, a level of consciousness that this man Jesus ascended to. For those of you I have not yet offended, and are still reading, I hope you will follow me through here.

Easter, the Spring Equinox, is indeed a day of ascension, a culmination of a journey that happens every single year of our existence and in the existence of everything in nature. From birth, to living our lives, to death, and renewal. It is indeed a cycle of life to be celebrated.

I believe the man Jesus was born, lived, worked his ministry and walked his path to his personal ascension of the Christ consciousness, all the while preaching to anyone who would listen, that we too are capable of the same exact thing. For many of us it is much easier to ascribe that “responsibility” upon someone else and make ourselves unworthy or incapable of our own personal ascension.

There is no one group, no one religion that owns the franchise of ascension, of renewal. It is inherent in all things of nature, the very core of existence.

As a creation of God, of nature as whatever the God of your understanding is, what is the resurrection going to be for you? How will you make it experiential for YOU?

I believe the resurrection message is powerful, but not for the usual reasons. It is not rooted in the message of the cross, it is rooted in the demonstration by Jesus that death has no real power. While fundamental religion would have you focus on the shedding of blood, the sacrifice, the agony of crucifixion, or perhaps we can see a deeper message that the cross, is a crossing out of all our negative, limiting thoughts of lack and limitation. I submit that the cross represents a state of consciousness turned to the mortal mind. It is the thoughts of mortal mind that burden the body with its’ erroneous beliefs. All the stuff we do to ourselves every day. I believe metaphysically that the symbolism of the crucifixion is the crossing out of the consciousness of error. How can we claim we are one with God and then immediately call ourselves unworthy, and stupid, and being of sin? How can you exist in both realms?

It is the consciousness of lack and limitation that have become a fixed state of mind. The crucifixion is the surrender, the death of the whole personality in order to attain the Christ mind, and for that Christ mind to be fully expressed in us. Just as Jesus did, we must sacrifice our mortal mind. We dissolve the thought of the physical body so we may realize the spiritual body.

We have a choice to keep ourselves on the cross, in lack, limitation, agony, pain, sorrow, and shame. Or we can choose to take ourselves down from that cross and go into the darkness, into the silence, into the tomb. Metaphysically the tomb is an elevated state of consciousness. Like the bulb of a flower, planted deep into the darkness of the soil, quietly building energy, gathering life and strength to burst through the ground and reach for the light. We take our own place in the darkness, in our tomb of introspection and silence, to grow, to re-energize, to rebirth ourselves.

Whatever you celebrate at this time, whether it be Easter, the Spring Equinox, or the Easter Bunny, I wish for you peace, happiness and your own personal ascension.