The Only Point . . .

Is Love . . . love as specifically, radically, honouring, gifting, facilitating, cultivating authentic, grace-centered wholeness of self . . . one bit, dot, spit, spot, drop, speck of living at a time.

jRuth Kelly Copyright 2011

First Exhibit

There’s always a first exhibit. Mine was this past Thursday evening and Friday during the day at my daughter’s high school along with local artists. The main attraction ran through the center of the gym with hundreds of works exhibited from the past 9 months of art classes. Students had contributed everything from mixed media to photography to watercolors and pottery.  Local artists displayed their own work along the edges of the main attraction. I can’t decide what I enjoyed more, talking with the artists or looking at the amazing talent singing through the center of the gym. Or hearing for the umpteenth time in reaction to my dots: “patience…wow…such patience…” I confessed at one point that I’m not sure it isn’t just my more intense, slightly suppressed control freak streaks coming out in these lil dots of exuberance, whispering passionate and somewhat heated thanks for being allowed an outlet truly worthwhile. HERE is where control-freakishness is WELCOME. Life has insisted I let go on so many levels, this sense of control dot dot dotting along can be quite satisfying. Patience? Nah. (Yes, I supposedly have epic patience but I think I’m more strategic than patient.) Uber focused flowing exuberance blurring into trance without actually losing track. (Some psych masters might be a bit concerned!)

This was no fancy display for any of us. A high school gym is make-shift at best but I was touched my daughter’s art teacher remembered my dots and asked if I’d be a part of the fun. Me? Cool. Now what? I’ve got NOTHING matted or framed or…no worries, we can improvise…a humble start…

artist sister, Caroline, takes phone photo...

Apparently several classes had been instructed to identify local artists and interview them. Oh my. I don’t think of myself as an artist since I can’t even draw without major assistance (verbal coaching from my multi-talented daughter who is truly patient) and long lines of paint evoke a desire to stick my fingers in and go for the total hand contact-painting smear across a canvas asking for a bit more regard. Or they make me come unglued with frustration for having to let go the lil bitty specs and dots of color that could’ve piled up…I’m one extreme or the other and dots are the order for me, apparently. But, artist? What? Isn’t that what happens after you’ve mastered drawing, watercolors and can work with acrylics and oils and? Hey, I’m dead serious. I don’t yet qualify! Give me time! But, do I? So, there was one question that rankled. Besides the whole “artist” bit, it just didn’t make any sense to me. The question:

“When did you decide to become an artist?”

I balked and laughed. “Does anyone decide such?!” Then I realized I had just been my usual blunt self without thought. Ohhhh…this is serious. But I was struck. It’s that Tao of Art thing, I suppose. Capitalization essential? Are we not all artists of some kind? If we “decide” to be artists, does it make us more legitimate? More truly artistic? How do you answer that kind of question when you’re a dotty control freak uber focused on the layers of meaning in one petal and one question? I wouldn’t want to interview me. So I pulled out the hands covered with paint and said “It was always something calling me. I would try this and that and finally landed on dots. That was 7 years ago.” But I was dotting here and there in the middle of “paintings” over 20 years ago and didn’t realize it at the time. In fact, in a quest for more of my art scattered in my attic bedroom I came across old works and there they were…dots and stipling and. I laughed. Had never seen it before. Dispersion techniques trail through almost all the “stuff” of my past before I “decided” to “become” an “artist.” But I didn’t notice the decision. So, did I decide? Does it matter? Sometimes it does. We have points and bits of moments when we face something growing and we say “I am this and what am I going to do with the expression?” Ah ha. A decision to acknowledge what one is becoming…but…

You either is or you isn’t manifesting the artistry of soul in some form or fashion. And it isn’t always as obvious as “artist.” There’s the artistry of counseling, of teaching, of leading, of gardening, of managing a home and parenting and. I’m not much for labels in spite of their highly useful and sometimes liberating bonds. So, first exhibit come and gone. Next one in September and this time I’ll not balk if someone asks me such a question. I’ll smile and say “Over 40 years ago but especially when I sat down at the age of 9 and lost myself in the finger paint…” In the meantime, there’s such joy in seeing my daughter’s artistry unfold…

mrk, copyright 2011

The Dead Cat’s Head – A Point for Pointlessness

The Altered Point

The Altered Point

From Alan Watts’ book, Nature, Man and Woman pg. 120 in the chapter titled: The World As Non-Sense

“A Zen master was once asked, ‘What is the most valuable thing in the world?’ He answered, ‘The head of a deadcat!’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because no one can put a price on it.’ The realization of the unity of the world is like this dead cat’s head. It is the most priceless, the most inconsequential thing of all. It has no results, no implications, and no logical meaning…The whole notion of gain, whether it be the gain of wealth or the gain of knowledge and virtue, is like stopping the pangs of hunger by gobbling oneself up rom the toes. Yet we do it anyhow, for it really makes no difference whether it is one’s own toes or roast duck: the satisfaction is momentary…This is why the Buddha said to his disciple Subhuti, ‘I gained absolutely nothing from unsurpassed and perfect Awakening.’ On the other hand, when there is no expectation, no looking for a result, and nothing gained by this ‘head of  dead cat,’ there is quite suddenly and gratuitously, quite miraculously and unreasonably, more than one ever had sought.

This is not a matter of renunciation and repressing desire–those traps which the clever and cunning lay for God. One cannot renounce life for the same reason that one cannot gain from it…There simply is no wrong attitude to the Tao because, again, there is no point outside it from which to take an attitude.”

So, we can take our stances or get stuck in apathy just as much as in zeal. Or. And. We can strive or surrender our way towards enlightenment, gain it and come “away” from the quest or arrival of “knowing/not-knowing”  knowing we are always left with one thing and one thing only. And it sustains without making even the slightest bit of logical sense: Presence. Being. Love-ness.

We fight only those battles that threaten our being-ness, our very well-being, our heartbeat living pulsing organism self. We stand aside and away from those battles that wage war against a peace that never dies. We retreat. We accept defeat. We await another chance to gain broader fields of play for presence, for feastings of simple beingness. We find, in all these things, that simply being is a rich resonance within and with the great all, with nature, with universe, with ancient soul and that it is and always will be the grandest, simplest wonder of sustenance. Ever.