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#1665 - Friday, January 2, 2004 - Editor: Gloria

Change is the basis of life.

    Opposites are interconnected polarities,
       not irreconcilables over which we have 
       to make a choice.

                                            - Ramesh S. Balsekar


Wage Peace  

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.

~ Mary Oliver ~    

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"The challenge is to do the thing you have to do because you're in love with it and can't do anything else.  

Not because you want to become famous or rich, but because you will be unhappy if you can't do it.  It is not something you can turn on and off." - Warren MacKenzie

Lee Love - from Live Journal  

Thursday, November 27th, 2003
9:53a - Me, I am a Craftsman Potter.

I think a person's attitude is very important, both about themselves and their work. It really frames your creative life.

I remember when I first met my late Zen teacher. When somebody tried to call him a "Zen Master", he replied, "I am just a simple monk."

When I made my first trip back to Japan in '93, I recall coming back to my late Uncle's home and being served a spectacular dinner that he prepared himself. (My Uncle was an unusual Japanese man for his age, he did all the cooking in his home.) My wife Jean and I told him what a wonderful cook he was and he replied, "I'm not a very good cook. I am just a simple shopkeeper." Immediately, we both recalled our Zen teacher's words.

This also is reflected in Hamada saying that he was not an artist, but a craftsman. And that the craftsman only has his character. This parallels Einstein's comment: "Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value."

The concept of "artist" is pretty new, developed during the Renaissance, along side the development of the merchant class. These two things are inseparable and are bound together by money. I think many people quit creative endeavors because they have false expectations related to money and success. It is much like a kid going into basketball so they can be a rich as Michael Jordan. Very few people are going to be able to match these expectations.

But, to be a potter, you only have to make good pots. There is no need to worry about wealth and celebrity status. And hopefully, some of the pots you make will be good enough to be considered art. Frankly, in the realm of functional pottery, viewed over the span of 15,000 years of its existence, 99.9% of the makers who made what I would call pots of artistic value did not know the concept of Artist.  

Blue-grey MacKenzie teabowl.  


Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003
I thought of something while I was throwing pitchers this morning.
There is an aspect here in Japan that helps bring functional craft,
especially pottery, more into "the realm of necessity," and that is tea
ceremony. Things like tea here are studied not as a luxury, but
traditionally, as something that educated people learned to improve the
quality of their lives. This is true of flower arranging, bonsai,
calligraphy, painting and woodblock printing. There is an aspect of this
and the arts in the West, but I think we can see it developed to its highest
level in tea.

Currently, with a large educated middle class, it isn't necessarily
just wealthy people who buy expensive tea related craft. Your post man,
truck driver or gas station attendant just might be a connoisseur. It is
interesting, but here in Japan, it is very possible to find someone making
$7.00 to $10.00 an hour who might spend several hundred dollars on a piece
of pottery, whereas, back home, in the States, your mechanic or plumber
making almost 10 times more an hour is very unlikely to do the same.

I don't know if we can ever make tea ceremony mainstream in N.
America, but I do think we can promote the making and use of hand-crafted
things for their ability to enrich our everyday lives. We could even
promote art this way. But for art to be "every day", we might expect the
makers to make the wages of mechanics or plumbers rather than that of movie
or sports stars. Of course, the "best of the best" might, but more modest
gains would be a more realistic goal for your average craftsperson.


Monday, December 29th, 2003
Actually, the oldest known art is "narrative" so narrative in no way has to
be "short term." Check out the Lascaux Cave paintings:

Awesome! Something to measure against! Makes you think twice about our
modern ideas about "progress."

If I want to paint, I have to look back at the first paintings in Lascaux.
If I am making pots, I have to look back at the first pots made by the Jomon
people. Both works were done about 17,000 years ago.

When I heard on the radio that Mars was at its closest to the earth
on August 27, 2003, closest it has been in 60,000 years, I was throwing on
my zelkova kickwheel. They said it was its exact closest at that
moment. I had the urge to jump up and run out and go see it, but then I
thought, "60,000 years ago, there were no potters! I will just sit here
and throw my pots. I am the first human being to be doing this so close
to Mars." :^) Later that night, during my walk with my dog Taiko, I did
see Mars. I saw it in a different light...

Lee In Mashiko, Japan  

[Editors Note: Lee has recently made some of his pottery available for sale at his website below.]  narrative  

Jerry Katz - NDSN  

Web inventor is knighted.

In the 1980s, while a researcher at a nuclear lab in Geneva, Mr. Berners-Lee came up with an idea that ushered the world into a new information age: the World Wide Web. Furthermore, although he could have become fabulously wealthy from his invention, he kept it in the public domain and eschewed the lures of the private sector. He remains instead a spiritual guru of the high-tech world, promoting a vision of the Internet as an open and universal forum to exchange ideas freely. -more-

Gill Eardly - Allspirit

               First Step

            are sometimes foggy.
            The path is not always clear.
            The end of one begets another.

            To begin, put one foot
            in front of the other.
            Your foot knows where to land,
            the one that moves forward first.
            Forget about the best foot.

            Just put it out there.
            Stop traffic if you have to.
            Go home if that is where it leads you.
            Go back to work
            if that is where your foot falls.

            You don't have to
            go anywhere
            Just rest.
            After you step,
            take another.
            Forget about the weather.
            Step again.

            ~Robin Heerens Lysne

Sshomi - Along the Way  

The world of the waking state and the dream world

How can the mind which has itself created
the world accept it as unreal? That is the
significance of the comparison made between
the world of the waking state and the dream
world. Both are creations of the mind and,
so long as the mind is engrossed in either,
it finds itself unable to deny their reality.
It cannot deny the reality of the dream world
while it is dreaming and it cannot deny the
reality of the waking world while it is awake.
If, on the contrary, you withdraw your mind
completely from the world and turn it
within and abide there, that is, if you keep
awake always to the Self which is the sub-
stratum of all experiences, you will find the
world of which you are now aware is just as
unreal as the world in which you lived your

- Sri Ramana Maharshi

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
"Be As You Are"
The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Wdited by David Godman
Arkana, 1985

Dreams - NDS  


It seems to be within the nature of dreams to never let the dreamer
and the objects in the dream have intimate access to each other.....

One wonders what would happen to the people in your dream last night
if they actually saw you.


Anyone can dream lucidly if they want to and if they work at it. In the
course of such dreams -- this was many years ago -- I would stare at a dream
character face to face and ask him, "What are you doing after this dream?"
I'd arrange a time and place in L.A. to meet.

I never actually had a normal conversation with such a character. Once a
red-haired guy looked shocked, violated and offended and said one word to me
that he could barely get out: "Dangerous." And he faded away. I laughed. On
other occasions people simply faded away when asked what they were doing
after the dream.

If this interaction now is a dream and I ask the reader what he or she is
doing after this dream, then I suppose it is a nonsensical question. But you
could pretend there's the end of the dream and we could meet at a coffee
shop anyway.

Zen Oleary - TrueVision  


I saw the albatross and I didn’t,
I saw the remains of what
was once an albatross,
the bones that were no more
the spirit of the great soaring bird
than any lost note from a violin
is a symphony,

these bones lay splayed on
a remote beach,
the great bird on his back
with his head turned,
his wings spread out at his sides,
the long wing bones like arms,
he lay surrounded by a bed
of his own scattered feathers,
as if they were a soft welcoming
into eternity,

but it’s what was inside
the great body cavity,
what lay in that hollow
under the soaring rib cage,
that space like a cathedral
that held the beating heart
of this feathered wanderer,
this bird that danced with the sun,
it was what lay inside
that so shocked,

his body was filled with
what doesn’t die,
what doesn’t become
the soft cells of new life,
his body was filled with
plastic bottle caps,
small orange action toys,
more bottle caps,
pieces of blue plastic
I couldn’t identify,
rings from six packs of drink cans,
more shreds and shards
of our plastic detritus,
this magnificent body
had become a flying landfill,

the weight of all this
must have finally grounded him,
left him too heavy to fly,
his organs painfully pushed aside,
bits of sharp plastic scraping
the soft flesh of his stomach
like splinters from the inside,
he must have died slowly
from starvation and the pain
of this alien shifting and
tearing mass, this manmade
malignancy he couldn’t comprehend,

I felt guilt and sorrow looking
at this desecration of a life,
of all life on this home of ours,
this beautiful blue sphere
orbiting in space that we are
torturing beyond imagining,
are choking in our ignorance and greed,
I said a prayer of repentance,
asking for forgiveness,
but the great albatross,
his spirit long fled, couldn’t answer.

Zen Oleary
January 2, 2004

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