full up

silhouette of man filled with crossesOctober 24, 2015

Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities. -D.T. Suzuki

I said nothing for a time, just ran my fingertips along the edge of the human-shaped emptiness that had been left inside me. -Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. -Simone Weil

In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other. -Carl Sagan

The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. -Eden Phillpotts

Where once there was a void,
Now at least there are
Seeds of splendour,
Becalmed belief for another time. 
-Scott Hastie

in receipt of

receiptspolaroidSMAOctober 23, 2015

Shown here, just a fraction of my receipts for art supplies.

Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day’s receipts. –Sheri S. Tepper

Ah, words are poor receipts for what time hath stole away. -John Clare

Yr crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on yr head. -James Baldwin

You must pay for your sins. If you have already paid, please ignore this notice. -Sam Levenson

When You Do a Good Deed, Get a Receipt, in Case Heaven Is Like the IRS. -bumper sticker

threads

vintage sepia photos of people, cut into cross shapes and threaded with turquoise threadsOctober 22, 2015

For every worm beneath the moon
Draws different threads, and late and soon
Spins, toiling out his own cocoon.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Who cannot but see oftentimes how strange the threads of our destiny run? Oft it is only for a moment the favorable instant is presented. -Johann Ludwig Tieck

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. -Chief Seattle

People are tied together and yet isolated from each other by invisible threads of rhythm and hidden walls of time. -Edward T. Hall

On what slender threads do life and fortune hang. -Alexandre Dumas

Begin to weave and God will give you the thread. -German Proverb

non-essentials and “sinful colors”

nailpolMutdbluishSMAOctober 21, 2015

It’s time for a fall clean-out, reassessing what’s essential and what’s not. Part of that includes ruthlessly tossing stuff out, including at least ten bottles of bright red nail polish (how did that happen?). One brand is indeed called “Sinful Colors,” by the way! Lightening my load feels simply divine. And there’s a nail salon on every corner of town with plenty of reds and other “sinful colors” of their own, should I choose to partake.

But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. -Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. -Hans Hofmann

It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials. -Bruce Lee

We learn the process of emptying out, cleaning house, both within and without. -Brenda Shoshanna

Your physical self is inspired by a divine force that beats its heart, digests its food and grows its fingernails… -Wayne Dyer

I’m living to the edges of my fingernails, using everything I have. -Arundhati Roy

quiet movement

three goldfish depicted as sideways crosses with finsOctober 20, 2015

I’ve been thinking of getting an aquarium and some colorful fish to bring more beauty, life, quiet movement and serenity to my home.

A goldfish is reason enough for living, if someone needs a reason. -Mason Cooley

Movement provides life’s questions and life’s answers simultaneously. -Gus Van Sant, Pink

No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish. -John Ruskin

Fish cannot drown in water…This has God given to all creatures, to foster and seek their own nature. -Mechthild of Magdeburg

There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish. -Walt Disney

a toothy grin

lips and teeth with empty space forming a crossOctober 19, 2015

Today is Day 335 of my 365-day cross project. I’m sure you can do the math: only thirty more days–and crosses–until I complete my year-long exploration (and celebrate my birthday)! That’s cause for a toothy grin, no?

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway. -Dr. Kent M. Keith

A wise person speaks carefully and with truth, for every word that passes between one’s teeth is meant for something. -Molefi Kete Asante

A man loses his illusions first, his teeth second, and his follies last. -Helen Rowland

Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth. -Mallory Hopkins

disappearing act (a la Magritte)

cross design in the style of Magritte, with cloudy blue sky and red curtainOctober 18, 2015

Today, a cross inspired by another one of my favorite Surrealist painters, Rene Magritte (1898-1967), known for his witty and thought-provoking images. His aim was to challenge observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. Several of his paintings feature a theatrical red curtain and/or a blue sky with clouds.

We are surrounded by curtains. We only perceive the world behind a curtain of semblance. -René Magritte

Will the day tell its secret
Before it disappears,
Becomes timeless night.
-Dejan Stojanovic

Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. -Desiderius Erasmus

people will talk

silhouettes of people talking in shape of crossOctober 17, 2015

Alone, lonely people talk to themselves. In company, they often continue. -Mason Cooley

When deeds speak, words are nothing. -Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words. -William Faulkner, Mosquitoes

I love to hear myself talk, because I get so much instruction and moral upheaval out of it. -Mark Twain

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. -1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV

building plan

house plans laid out in cross shapeOctober 16, 2015

The spaces we live and work in affect us, consciously and subconsciously. How does your space flow? Is it expansive, open, full of possibility, easy to navigate, free of obstruction? Happy free-flowing Friday, everyone!

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. -Gilbert K. Chesterton

All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space. -Philip Johnson

Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul. -Ernest Dimnet

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. -1 Corinthians 3:10 NIV

moon on my mind

moon in cross shape with mars in backgroundOctober 15, 2015

I’ve got the moon on my mind lately. Maybe it’s due to the recent total lunar eclipse of the Supermoon, or the fact that, for the first time ever, NASA uploaded the entire catalogue of 8,400 Apollo mission photos to Flickr (spanning Apollo 7 through Apollo 17, the final lunar mission in 1972). Or maybe it’s because I saw The Martian (great movie!) last week. I must have the moon on my mind…I just remembered that the last two bottles of red wine I bought have the name “moon” in them!

The Moon is a white strange world, great, white, soft-seeming globe in the night sky, and what she actually communicates to me across space I shall never fully know. But the Moon…is not the mere dead lump of the astronomist. . . When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness. -D. H. Lawrence

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Words are not truth. Truth is like the moon, and words are like my finger. I can point to the moon with my finger, but my finger is not the moon. Do you need my finger to see the moon? -Huineng

The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to. -Carl Sandburg

The waters are in motion, but the moon retains its serenity. -D.T. Suzuki

living things

watercolor animal shapes in cross shapeOctober 14, 2015

Practicing drawing some four-legged creatures today (except for the two-legged pigeon!). No animals were harmed in the process.

Now may every living thing, young or old,
weak or strong, living near or far, known or
unknown, living or departed or yet unborn,
may every living thing be full of bliss. 
-Anonymous, The Dhammapada

How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul. -Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess

Love all creatures! Love everything that has life! -Osamu Tezuka

May all that have life be delivered from suffering. -Gautama Buddha

shiny and tinny

tinfoil crossOctober 13, 2015

‘I shall take the heart,’ returned the Tin Woodman; ‘for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.’  -Frank L. Baum, The Wizard of Oz

Forget your harps, your tin-foil angels—the only heaven worth having would be the heaven of answers. -Mark Slouka

Today I accidentally stepped on a snail on the sidewalk…I too am like that snail. I build a defensive wall around myself, a “shell” if you will. But my shell…is made out of tinfoil and paper bags. -Jack Handey

Sometimes, too, I dream of the indecipherable language of tin... -Oliver Sacks

When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens. -Anne Lamott

surreal love above

Man Ray's "The Observatory" painting of lips with pixelated cross superimposed upon itOctober 12, 2015

I’m a big fan of Dada/Surrealist artist Man Ray, who, though best known for his photography, also produced major works in a variety of media. Of those, I’m smitten with “Observatory Time,” an oil painting from 1934 which features a giant pair of lips (apparently, those of his ex-lover) floating in a cloud-filled sky above the woods. Talk about big love from up above! I’ve taken the liberty of manipulating and adapting the image for the purposes of this post, and from what I’ve read about Man Ray, he wouldn’t mind in the least.

Hail, Holy Day! the blessing from above
Brightens thy presence like a smile of love…
-Sarah Josepha Hale

Gather up
In the arms of your love–
Those who expect
No love from above.

-Langston Hughes

Sacred spirit of love, fall down on me from above. -Bootsy Collins

Make me immortal with a kiss. -Christopher Marlowe

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. -Colossians 3:2 NIV

random objects

random colored shapes laid out to form cross shapeOctober 11, 2015

For today, random shapes and forms and colors held together only by space.

We would not know space if there were no objects in space, and in the same way the outer-world requires the inner-essence to exist. We need the outer world of space-time, the illusion, so to know the inner-world, the enlightenment. The purpose of the external world is to enable the inner-world. We are here to enable the universe to unfold – the universe essence within us…-Eckhart Tolle

It is only in the world of objects that we have time and space and selves. -T. S. Eliot

discarded (?)

black and white snapshots of crosses found at the thrift storeOctober 10, 2015

I’m not much of an accumulator of “stuff,” but every once in a while I like to roam the thrift store for the thrill of the hunt. On one recent visit, it was sort of fun– and definitely interesting–to see how many gently used and discarded crosses I could find and photograph.

Art is the production of objects for consumption, to be used and discarded while waiting for a new world in which man will have succeeded in freeing himself of everything, even of his own consciousness. -Eugenio Montale

There are two objectionable types of believers: those who believe the incredible and those who believe that ‘belief’ must be discarded and replaced by ‘the scientific method. -Max Born

Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water. -Swedish Proverb

Un-thread the rude eye of rebellion, and welcome home again discarded faith. -William Shakespeare

A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away… -Ecclesiastes 3:6 NIV

the core of things

applecoreSMOctober 9, 2015

I wanted to be born at the farthest limit of the world. I’ll explore it, I said to myself, biting big chunks from it. And when I want, I’ll go straight to the core….round and around the layers of peel until the taste becomes certain. -Abba Kovner

Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing…not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place…The hub of calmness–that’s where God lives… keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace. -Elizabeth Gilbert

To get at the core of God at his greatest, one must first get to the core of himself at his least, for no one can know God who has not first known himself. This core is a simple stillness… -Meister Eckhart

I know why the caged bird sings…
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core…

-Paul Laurence Dunbar

Sing then the core of dark and absolute oblivion where the soul at last is lost in utter peace. -D.H. Lawrence

not your ordinary house of cards

cross shape made with Eames House of Cards deckOctober 8, 2015

Today’s cross is constructed from a “House of Cards” deck designed by Charles and Ray Eames, my favorite mid-century modern design duo. Each card includes six slits to provide a bit of an assist.

Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts…Never consider yourself defeated again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life’s blueprint. -Og Mandino

We seem to feel as though the life our children have–that we have built for them–is just a delicate house of cards, held together by the most intricate balancing of all its carefully selected components, and that the slightest shock, the slightest jar to all our perfect orchestration, will bring the whole edifice crashing down. -Judith Warner

If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which ‘took these things into account’ was not faith but imagination. -C. S. Lewis

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. -Matthew 7:25 NIV

deer cross(ing)

photo of deer in snowy backyard, cut in cross shapeOctober 7, 2015

While slogging and sorting through endless piles of old family photos yesterday, I found this rather out of place, faded photo, taken many years ago in my parents’ snowy backyard. Seeing deer emerge from the woods was not an uncommon sight there, but this particular print had an ethereal quality to it.

Like a deer that finds
A quiet place to graze,
Seek Seclusion to digest
All you have gathered. . .
-Mamkhai Norbu Rinpoche

My heart ‘s in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart ‘s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer. -Robert Burns

My heart can be pasture for deer and a convent for monks…Love is my law. Love is my faith. -Ibn Arabi

There is a poignancy in all things clear, In the stare of the deer, in the ring of a hammer in the morning…-Richard Wilbur

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. -Psalm 18:33 NIV

fascinated by facets

wood blocks in cross shapeOctober 6, 2015

I’ve always loved how light affects the different facets of an object. Lately, I am taken with studies and theories regarding the facets of one’s own mind. So when I came across the Jack Kornfield quote below, I was particularly intrigued.

Every facet, every department of your mind, is to be programmed by you. And unless you assume your rightful responsibility, and begin to program your own mind, the world will program it for you. -Jack Kornfield

Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors. -William P. Young

Every name [of God] is but a facet, a part, a ray of the Supreme. -Sri Sathya Sai Baba

There is no Them. There are only facets of Us. -John Green

Kindness, as we will see, has many facets. But its essence is as simple as can be. -Piero Ferrucci

denim blue

blue jean legs in cross shapeOctober 5, 2015

Hallelujah. It’s denim season again, and I’m eager to don those mottled, faded blues for days and weeks and months on end.

The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure…-Wassily Kandinsky

Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight. -John Ruskin

I want to die with my blue jeans on. -Andy Warhol

something beautiful

ink drawing of woman's face over cross painting, inspired by Fernand LegerOctober 4, 2015

Today’s cross is inspired by the work of French artist Fernand Leger (1881-1955).

The Beautiful is everywhere; perhaps more in the arrangement of your saucepans on the white walls of your kitchen than in your eighteenth-century living room or in the official museums. -Fernand Leger

I kept falling over
I kept looking backward
I went broke believing
That the simple should be hard
All we are we are
All we are we are
And every day is a start of something beautiful
-Lyrics to “All We Are,” by Matt Nathanson

do cross the line

cross wrapped in fire line do not cross yellow tapeOctober 3, 2015

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous. -Thomas Merton

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. -Rabindranath Tagore

Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. -William Penn

I like to find out where the line might be and then cross it deliberately, and then make the audience happy about crossing the line with me. -George Carlin

stormy seas

oil pastel art with crosses and cloudsOctober 2, 2015

Life is full of stormy seas. It’s how you build your boat that matters.

Great people are not affected by each puff of wind that blows ill. Like great ships, they sail serenely on, in a calm sea or a great tempest. -George Washington

God bless this tiny little boat 
And me who travels in it.
It stays afloat for years and years
And sinks within a minute.
And so the soul in which we sail,
Unknown by years of thinking,
Is deeply felt and understood 
The minute that it’s sinking.
-Michael Leunig

As o’er the stormy sea of human Life
We sail, until our anchor’d spirits rest
In the far haven of Eternity…
-Robert Montgomery

If the vessel of our soul is still tossed with winds and storms, let us awake [God], who reposes in it, and He will quickly calm the sea. -Brother Lawrence

spider love

spiders arranged in cross shape on orange background October 1, 2015

Sure, this might be a better post for Halloween day, but hey, it’s October 1st already, so why not get into the spirit? I know that many people detest and fear spiders (it’s roaches that really freak me out), but they have long been a symbol of one’s inherent power to create from deep within.

The self is the source of spider’s web. -Rinon Hoxha

‘Marvelous,’ she said. ‘Tell me about this tapestry.’
Arachne’s* lips curled over her mandibles. ‘Why do you care? You’re about to die.’
‘Well, yes,’ Annabeth said. ‘But the way you captured the light is amazing. Did you use real gold thread for the sunbeams?’
-Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena
*In Greco-Roman mythology, Arachne was a mortal woman and talented weaver who challenged Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, and was thus transformed into a spider.

With six small diamonds for his eyes
He walks upon the Summer skies,
Drawing from his silken blouse
The lacework of his dwelling house.

-Robert P. Tristram Coffin

The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes. -Leo Tolstoy

mend

two needles in fabric creating cross shapeSeptember 30, 2015

Isn’t it amazing how such a simple, small and seemingly insignificant tool can work so many wonders?

Forgiveness is the needle that knows how to mend. -Jewel

Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are ‘within your reach.’ -Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue. -Eugene O’Neill

God never made his work for man to mend -John Dryden

A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak -Ecclesiastes 3:7 NIV