Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Perfect Christmas Eve Gift

The Bird of Peace came to visit

Last night my friend Vandana and I came back late from dinner. Jasper was waiting. We got out of the car and, as I went to lock the gate, I heard V call out: "Jasper has something!" I looked in time to see him standing over a small form against the wall on the ground.

I went quickly to what looked like a dead dove. Jasper was sniffing at it but, surprisingly, not grabbing at it as he normally would. I reached to take it up and realised that it was still alive, just sitting quietly.

"How odd," I thought, for a few reasons:
(i) It was alive but Jasper was not attacking it
(ii) It was not exhibiting the slightest hint of fear when I picked it up and held it
(iii) I checked the wings, legs and body and there were no injuries and no blood - yet it was not flying

A part of me thought maybe it was traumatised and stunned. But it seemed to just be at peace, sitting quietly in my hands, as though sitting on eggs in a nest. We took it upstairs and put it in a basket out in the verandah, so Jas would not get at it during the night. It sat quietly in the basket, not moving, just blinking its eyes.

In the morning I went onto the verandah before dawn to do yoga. The dove was still in the basket, sitting quietly. I picked it up, once again observing that it didn't even flinch with the slightest indication of fear or struggle.

As yoga finished, there was a flutter and the bird jumped up to the edge of the basket, then down to the floor.

I went to get it and held it in my hands as I spoke with one of my fellow yoginis in Toronto via Skype. The bird sat in my hands and, at times, perched on my finger, looking content.

As soon as we hung up the Skype call, the dove looked at me, flapped strongly and took off.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick post

Been busy.
Time flies.
Friend coming to spend a few weeks for Christmas. She arrives on 22 December. Tomorrow!
Going to malls, etc is draining ... hence only went once and bought nothing.
Only buying "big" gifts for immediate family.
Simple, meaningful tokens and/or intangibles (hug, kiss & well-wishes) for friends.
Work I want to finish before end of 2009: complete editing music video for Mawasi.
Working on new music - exploring.
Doing yoga.
Can't believe this year is almost done!
Looking forward to 2010.
Goal of making money money money to manifest my goals.

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the hour

Today instead of writing a blog post (although that's what I'm doing now) I'm going to use Twitter. So far I've just written one thing a day.

For today only, once I'm home (and once I remember), I'll write something there on the hour.

Will be out for a few hours this morning, though.

Coming to nine a.m. (TT time) soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gift of Life


Find more photos like this on Give it to me Raw

Some of my raw creations
*
Yesterday I started putting together the gift I'll be giving my godson Luc (age 8) for Christmas. He doesn't read this blog, so mentioning the gift won't spoil the surprise. I'm sharing this because someone out there may be wracking their brain, trying to figure out what to give someone (child or adult) ... and this blog post may come to the rescue.

This is a gift for all ages. It's also ideal because, once taken care of and attended to, it will continue to give to the recipient and loved ones all through the year(s).

The gift will also get the recipient into activities that are necessary in today's world:
(1) reducing, reusing and recycling
(2) planting our own organic food

I'm giving Luc three troughs, each containing rich, moist, fertile, dark brown, earth from Santa Cruz. The troughs are apple crates (crates that apples came packed in - available for free from any fruit vendor). This is an example of 'reusing', rather than purchasing expensive plastic crates from plant stores. The apple crates are perfectly good vessels that would otherwise have been tossed into some landfill.

Trough #1 contains basic seasoning: chadon beni and chive (will add other herbs too)
Trough #2 contains 4 green cabbages and two melongene plants
Trough #3 contains 4 lettuce plants and some more chadon beni

Maybe I'll buy a child's watering can to go with it.

This is a good start. Pretty soon he will be able to harvest his own crops ... although, these are the kinds of foods that children generally don't like.

But maybe he'll start to like greens because he's growing them.

Based on my own experience as a child, I'm assuming he'll enjoy having his own kitchen garden. I used to have a few beds in the back yard where I grew every imaginable seed or growable item that passed through the kitchen: pigeon peas, corn, pumpkin, watermelon, potato, etc.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bit by bit

Original Twitterer

Bit by bit I'm learning little things about Twitter.

Last night I was going to twit about the Edirol R-09HR recorder I want to get, but the link was so long: http://www.amazon.com/Edirol-R-09HR-High-Resolution-WAVE-Recorder/dp/B0016MLUKU/ref=reg_hu-wl_item-added

Then, reading the Twitter Help section, I came across http://bit.ly/, which allows you to shorten long links.

Insert the long link into bit.ly and it's reduced to something like this http://bit.ly/82inxE

Quite handy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Twitter or not to Twitter and why?


The other day I overheard a conversation in the stationery store. It was between a woman who was standing in line to cash her items and a man who was hurriedly heading out of the door in that self-important I'm-a-modern-man-on-the-go kind of way.

Woman: Okay, we go meet again soon.
Man: Yeah, you can catch me on Facebook or Twitter.
Woman: What?
Man: I'm on Facebook and Twitter.
Woman: Twitter? I eh know dat one nah.

I was standing near the envelopes chuckling to myself. The man came across as feeling he was a celebrity, shouting for the whole stationery store to hear that he was "on Facebook and Twitter". Better yet that the woman didn't know what Twitter was. Before slipping back into the world, he was able to shout for the whole store to hear: "Twitter is the thing, man! You should try it!"

Facebook and Twitter make mundane things become worthy of being headlines:

Update: I am drinking water.

I've always resisted Twitter, but this weekend I signed up out of curiosity (see widget in sidebar) - perhaps inspired by the man in the stationery store. I don't even understand what I would use it for, how to use it or what it means to have followers or be a follower.

Does being a follower mean you are alerted whenever the other person writes something?

What if one has no followers? Will it be like that question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, then did it really fall?

Who knows. It might become useful. In the same way that I once wondered why people bother to blog. Maybe it will be like a little sub blog within a main blog. If something happens but I don't feel like doing a whole new blog post for the day ... or if I have a particular thought or bit of info that I feel like sharing ... I can just "Twit" it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do I charge for window lamps?

One of four panes on Dreaming God - one of the early window lamps


In the comments on yesterday's post, Tammy-Jade asked (in reference to window lamps): "Do you sell these? Or is it a hobby?"

In the very early stages (1998) I used to make them as gifts, but over the years as people became aware that I made window lamps, they started to commission them. So the answer is yes, I sell them.

Each one is unique, intuitively and specifically designed for the person commissioning it. They are metaphysical art pieces, three dimensional prayers, physical affirmations fuelled by Light.

I love creating them because each one is a new journey and adventure through which I learn and experience transformation on various levels.

When handing the lamp over to the new owner, I do so at a lamp launch which I create and organise in keeping with the symbolism of the lamp. Each launch is interactive, merging the spiritual and creative into a unique experience for each person who attends. I love having these launches: from coming up with the idea, to inviting the people, to organising the actual event, to experiencing it and hearing/seeing/feeling what others get from it as well.

What I love most about making window lamps is that
a) I never know where I will find the window or who will give it to me but they always appear just when I need them
b) I never really know what the lamp will be. It dictates itself along the way
c) They are an excellent vehicle for the upliftment and "lighting up" of self and others - both process and product.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Window


Driving home with one of the new windows (for making window lamps) in the passenger seat. I don't know yet who this new lamp will be for or what it will be about, but maybe the answers are in the video.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Little Bird

Photo taken with laptop camera

Sitting here working on my laptop, I heard that dreaded little thud of yet another bird slamming into the glass on the door. It was a little bird similar to the one from last week which was stunned, but eventually revived and took flight from my hands.

Today's story ends differently. I went quickly to pick up the bird as it fell. As I held it in my hands, it opened its beak a few times, extending its tongue before falling completely still. At least it got to be held before it died.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In to me see

Just realised I haven't reported on the Launch of INTIMACY, which took place on Sunday 6th December.

Everyone was excited to come and we ended up with exactly the right people and the right amount in the right place with right timing.

To go into details of what it was and what happened wouldn't make sense because it goes beyond mere verbal or written explanation. It was one of those "you had to be there" events. I don't even have photos to show - of lamp or event.

Everyone had the experience they were meant to have - and no two were the same.

Suffice it to say, we all had a great time, left feeling awakened and transformed and looking forward to the next lamp launch.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Little Bird



On Friday a little bird crashed into the door glass and fell to the ground. At first I thought it had broken its neck. It looked like it was about to die. I held it in my hands for a while since it couldn't stand. Its eyes were closed and every now and then it would open its beak (as if gasping). There appeared to be something like blood (a red spot) at the tip of the beak. Eventually it revived enough to stand on my finger ... still stunned, eyes still closed.

This video shows less than 2 mins worth of clips from a nine minute period. See what happens at the end. I added slow motion to those last few seconds for emphasis.

This story reminded me of this one.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Launch of INTIMACY

Invitation to INTIMACY

Today is the launch of INTIMACY.

It is by invitation only.

There were spaces for twenty people but only 12 are coming.

These twelve were either people who indicated they wanted to come or people who were directly asked by me because I felt they would enjoy and benefit. Clearly this is the number meant to be.

A friend in Toronto who was following up on the lamp may have a parallel event, in order to experience the launch 'vicariously'.

Those who are coming are excited. Many have gone out to purchase a scarf. Those without a scarf will not be allowed to enter the venue (Moksha Yoga Studio).

No one knows what they will be required to do until they arrive.

During the week I will give a summary of the event.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prep's Garden


7:24 mins
Food security in Trinidad and Tobago - a national priority

I completed the above video this week (7:24 mins). It features 6 year old students of the primary school I went to as a child (The University School).

Hopefully after viewing this you will be inspired to plant your own organic garden (i.e. if you don't have one already).

As a thank you for making this video with them, the children gave me some of their delicious organic ochros.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beware of the Chicken (to those who have dogs and eat chicken)

Hindi's nose sniffing at the camera on the drive to the vet


I'm sharing this story just in case:
(i) your dog has similar symptoms and you don't know what's causing it
(ii) you have a dog and you're feeding him/her a chicken-based dog food

For a long time my dog Hindi has had very itchy skin, causing her to constantly scratch. This results in her skin bleeding in the aggravated areas and her hair being lost in patches. It looks like mange, but it's not. The vet tested her for mites. Negative. It turned out to be an allergy. She (vet) put her on a course of steroids (twice). Both times it helped relieve her discomfort and the hair grew back, but once the course is over ... back to square one.

Yesterday I took her to another vet nearby to seek an alternative to steroids, which (as this vet said) make the issue worse after each course. She said her dog had had the same thing and is now looking and feeling great. Hindi received three injections - one for worms, one antibiotic and one was vitamins. I have to bathe her twice a week for about a month (the vet told me to use Head & Shoulders Shampoo, but the people in the pet store gave me "Neeles" sulphur shampoo for dogs, cats and horses). After the bath, I wash her down with a solution of Ecotraz 125 and allow it to dry naturally. Once dry, I then rub her down with a cream called Endovet Cream. I've also changed her diet to Lamb & Rice dog food.

Many (not all) dogs are allergic to dog food that has chicken in it. It is advisable for them to eat dog food with lamb or beef. The adverse reaction to chicken is as a result of the hormones and chemicals being used to 'grow' chickens. So whether or not the dog is allergic, best to give him/her beef or lamb-based food.

Imagine what eating this chicken is also doing to humans. Another reason to be vegetarian or vegan.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gay Rights and the Wrongs that go with it



Yesterday morning a friend and I attended a Global Rights seminar on the University campus. It was: "A Conversation on the Commonwealth and LGBTI advocacy: sharing experiences and discussing strategies." It was part of the CHOGM agenda. The audience was small and consisted mainly of foreign delegates.

It was advertised as starting at nine a.m. Of course, being Trinidad, nothing started until about 10-ish. My friend and I were there before nine. Just after we arrived, an older man came up to where we were sitting. He was looking for the seminar. He told us he was from the media and the newsroom had sent him on assignment to cover "the talk about sex".

"If it's the same seminar we're going to, then it's not about sex," I said. "It's about Gay Rights."

"Well, same thing," he replied flippantly.

"No, it's not the same thing," I told him. "People think that all gay people do is have sex. This is about the rights of normal, everyday people living everyday lives."

Although, unfortunately, not so 'everyday' in various ways. Take the extreme example of the abominable situation in Uganda:

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, introduced in October, would expand punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment and in some cases would exact capital punishment. The letter is signed by Alan Chambers, president of the Orlando-based Exodus International; Randy Thomas, the group's executive vice president; Christopher Yuan, professor at Moody Bible Institute; and Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Homosexuality already is illegal in Uganda, punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. Gay men and women who have HIV would receive the death penalty under the new legislation.

Our Prime Minister's response to the above-mentioned modernday witch hunt leaves much to be desired:

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago, who plays host to a meeting of Commonwealth leader beginning here Friday, drew furious criticism Thursday when he dismissed human rights as domestic issues that have no place on the summit agenda.

At meetings ahead of the summit, human rights groups have been urging the leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to pressure Uganda to drop proposed legislation that calls for the execution of HIV-infected gays and lesbians and to sanction President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia for threatening to kill human-rights activists in his country.

"Individual countries have their own positions on these matters," Manning said, "but it doesn't form part of our agenda. It need not detain us."

Human Wrongs with no interest in Human Rights. Or rather, with no interest in Humans other than themselves.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Are you in for INTIMACY?

A gentle touch

The Launch of INTIMACY (window lamp) is on Sunday 6th Dec from 6 - 7 p.m. at Moksha Yoga Studio, POS. Thank you, Karen (Blackman) for use of the space. I chose this venue because it is peaceful, quiet and intimate ... just what we will need to have the experience.

I'm inviting 20 people. So far, ten slots are filled. Ten open. First come, first served.

If you are interested in being a part of the experience, write me or leave your name here by Saturday 28th November ... only if you are serious about coming. Accepting this invitation requires being open to interacting as requested.

Since you won't know what is being requested until you get there, you'll just have to trust me.

Invites go out on Monday with some details. The inter-activity will be revealed on the night. Simple and intimate. Nothing to fear ... only to discover.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Canada

Yesterday I was wearing one of my Canada t-shirts when I went to the cinema. A tall man heading in my direction stopped me and said pleasantly: "Hi! Are you Canadian or are you just wearing the t-shirt?"

I sincerely felt my heart say 'yes' (to the first part of his question), but since it's not 'true' in a factual nationality sense (i.e. where I was born/citizenship), I said "I love Canada."

His face immediately lit up: "I'm from Calgary!"

My face also lit up. "Canada is my favourite place." (At least as far as I know right now)

"Thank you!" he said and we nodded and went our separate ways.

Just as I walked off, a friend called me on my cellular. We spoke for a while. As we were closing the conversation, she said to me "So what time are you leaving tomorrow for Cana ..." then she stopped and said "I mean, Tobago?" (I had told her earlier that day that I wouldn't be able to attend a play she's in tonight because I'll be in Tobago - working, not playing). "Why would I be thinking Canada?" she laughed.

I told her about the Canadian man I'd encountered just two minutes before.

"Sun, that's a sign," she said. ("Sun" is her nickname for me).

About five minutes later, another friend (the travel agent who booked my ticket to Canada this summer and extended it when I decided to stay on) came up to me. As we walked into the cinema, she said "So you're not going to Canada for Christmas?"

I said to her: "You're the third person in about 5 - 10 minutes who has mentioned Canada to me!"

"Something there is calling you," she said matter-of-factly.

As always.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Light of Intimacy

Outdoors working on the lamp this evening. Note the Braille words "written" by the light rays of sunset, through the lamp and onto the wall of the house.
*
As of this evening, the window lamp Nicole H. ordered is almost completely finished. All that's left is to add the actual light fixture.

In other news:

1. I changed my mind and ended up using the actual window after all. However I did make a few minor adjustments and a simple addition.
I noticed this little heart today on the right side of the lamp.

2. Just before working on the lamp this afternoon, I heard a phrase in my head: "In to me see" ... which alerted me. You may have already heard "in to me see" as another way of saying "Intimacy". The name of this lamp is therefore INTIMACY.

"Intimacy/In to me see" fits perfectly with the Braille theme ... sensing more than what is ... trusting enough to venture beyond the surface and explore new depths (and heights). The light of INTIMACY guides, gently illuminating and enlightening.

The launch of INTIMACY will be a simple, intimate gathering ... with some unexpected touches.

Date/time/venue will be announced once the lamp is complete and I have worked out specifics.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Memories of being chased by an angry, toothless monk


This is my second post for today. Upon finding the above photo which I featured in my other post, it brought back some monastery memories. Mount St. Benedict (monastery) is up the mountain, a few minutes from where I live. I don't go there often now, but years ago I used to go almost daily to breeze out, relax, think, etc.

Years ago one of the monks (Bro. Tony) asked me to come and help him develop ideas for turning a house of interesting monastery artifacts into a museum. While perusing the items I saw the wooden chair (seen in above photo). I was drawn to its simplicity and presence. I saw myself driving around with it in the car, taking photos of it in different places, either empty or with people sitting in it, interviewing them. When the monk (Brother Tony) saw my interest in it, he told me I could have it. It had been made ages ago by an old monk and no one was using it.

It did end up being a part of some of my projects - the most recent being "Out of the Box" (2008) - a short documentary created by teen schoolgirls, an HIV positive woman and myself.
But ... the classic memory that this chair brings back ironically occurred on the premises of that same building that Bro Tony was turning into a museum. Years before, it was lived in by an old Monk - Brother Cornelius (as a friend and I discovered later). My friend Salim had come to visit me on this particular day and we had gone traipsing up to the Mount to explore. Upon reaching the building, we spotted many fruit trees in the bushes below. We clambered down the steep incline, and, "trespassing", proceeded to climb trees, picking fruit - limes, plums and if I remember correctly, one or two mangoes. Praedial larceny.

We sat in the trees, eating fruit, talking and, when finished, we clambered back up the hill, our hands full of 'produce'. As Salim was coming up, he stopped (I think to hand something to me). All of a sudden a hand shot out of a nearby window and grabbed him - I think by his shoe. A dark, grimacing, twisted toothless face with red eyes was at the other end of the arm. Salim managed to twist his way free and the two of us pelted down the hill with our limes in our hands.

"Pelt the limes away! Pelt the limes away!" Salim shouted as we ran.

As we pelted them into the bushes we became aware of the sound of a vehicle speeding up behind us. We looked back to see the dark toothless man, pursuing us in a white pick up truck. We ran into a bushy track at the side of the road and, thinking we were safe from him, stopped, breathing sighs of relief and exhaustion.

Too soon! He had parked his pick up truck at the other end of the track and was advancing towards us brandishing a large piece of wood. We stood there as he neared us, mainly grimacing at Salim. He said: "Gimme de limes! Gimme de limes!"

"Turn out yuh pockets!" he shouted at us.

We turned out our empty pockets.

With one last grimace, he told Salim: "If you wasn't wit a woman ah woulda beat yuh here today!"

I had forgotten about that until I saw this old photo of the chair today. Apart from a few small details (like which part of Salim was grabbed by the hand), I remember the day vividly.

I saw Brother Cornelius years later. He was older, in a wheelchair and didn't look as terrifying. I don't think he remembered me.

Toco

A fitting sign to see on the drive back from Toco

How ironic! I typed Toco, Trinidad into Google to put a link for those who don't know what & where Toco is. I found the series of images you'll see when you click on the Toco link in the above caption. Lo and behold, one of the images I spotted immediately was one I took years ago at Mission Bay, which is exactly where I ended up when I went on the recent drive mentioned in the above caption. See the image (Beach chair) below.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Had I not gone to Toronto this summer ...

Leaf under pine tree near driveway

Yesterday, dropping my nephew Liu (age 10) to school, he asked me out of the blue if I knew a particular little girl in his class.

Me: No. Is she your best friend?
Liu: No. But she's my good friend.
Me: What's the difference between a good friend and a best friend?
Liu (long pause as he tries to figure it out ... and then a shrug): I dunno.

Maybe he's right. We dunno. I don't have one best friend. But I have good friends whom I could also refer to as 'some of my best friends'.

Two of my 'best friends' live about 5 - 10 minutes walk from each other. Even though they've lived in such proximity for many years and knew each other on a "Hi, how are you?" and casual conversation basis , they had never spent time together on their own and didn't know each other in a deeply personal way. G saw N as "Spec's good friend, N" and she saw him as "Spec's good friend, G".

When I went to Canada, they were both missing me - since we talk almost daily, see each other fairly often and, if either of them has something personal they need to discuss, they come to me (and vice versa). One day, in my absence, N called G to find out (in her words): "How he was managing without his best friend" ...

The rest is history. To cut a long (but rapid) and previously-unimagined-by-all-parties story short, they are now happily engaged! Within 5 weeks. They had struggled to keep their excitement and their news a secret from me while I was away. I found out on the night I returned, when they both came to pick me up from the airport.

To this day, in a way, the three of us still can't believe it. We keep marveling at the fact that had I not gone to Toronto and extended my stay, the two of them may never have come together as life partners. Everything happens for a reason and in its own perfect way and timing.

Why I'm mentioning this today (to use my nephew's phrase), I dunno. Maybe just to say that when it comes to the love of your life, you just dunno ... who, when, where and how.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What the Lamp is


Today you will understand the main concept behind this current 'window' lamp.

According to this dictionary, a lamp is:
1.a. A device that generates light, heat, or therapeutic radiation.
1.b. A vessel containing oil or alcohol burned through a wick for illumination.
2. A celestial body that gives off or reflects light.

3. Something that illumines the mind or soul.


Based on this definition, Nicole's lamp is (among other things):
#1 a. Therapeutic radiation
#3. Something that illumines the mind or soul


It is not meant to be a reading lamp.

A friend of mine was spot on in a comment she wrote for me about the last lamp update:

"Spec, the fragments of light look like braille, kinda in sync with having to feel what the lamp may be trying to say at this point. Lovely!"

Exactly.

How blind are we all in the darkness of mind or soul, prior to illumination (enlightenment)? In requesting this lamp, Nicole wanted to consciously see her way regarding the 20 things she listed as wanting to change/incorporate in her life. As you will remember, I wrote 20 words in response to Nicole's list of 20 'needs'.

I made contact with Steve, a blind man. I asked him to type out the 20 words for me in Braille. Inspired and excited by the words, he wholeheartedly did so.
Clarity and Self Love

On Thursday 12 November I went to the Blind School in Santa Cruz to collect the words from him. Then, using a hammer and instrument for making holes, I transcribed each of the Braille words onto a thin sheet of metal. Light passing through these holes inscribes the essence of the words in the atmosphere and on the person/people who are present.

I'm sure you are beginning to understand that this lamp (like all the others) is about intention, vibrations and essence.

As with every lamp. there will be a launch. Anyone reading this (who would like to attend) is invited to have the experience when it is time. Those who live abroad and would like to have the experience, I will find a way for you to do so.

This will be the last update on this particular Lamp until further notice. Thank you for keeping up thus far.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Evolution of the Window Lamp

Sunlight (passing through the 'filter' of the part of the lamp I worked on today) writes on the floor


This current window lamp is taking shape quickly. As of today, all 20 words are complete. The process required a lot of hammering, some flexibility, sweating and took me at least two hours.

Because these windows are so old, some of them are damaged and in need of repairs. Mending them feels like performing surgery. Working on the physical window is like intuitively working on aspects of the new owner's energy/essence (... and, by extension, mine and that of whoever encounters the lamp).

Today I made a major physical adjustment to the window. I removed its shaky central cross, resulting in it becoming a large, open frame. This was the removal of an inner blockage, something that was not in alignment, thereby allowing energy to flow (in and out) through a clearer channel.

As soon as I removed the 'blockage', I realised that the window had already served its purpose in this process and is not meant to be an actual part of the finished lamp.

Even without the actual physical window, can it still be called a "window lamp"? Yes, it still has the essence of a window. The main part of the lamp (which I worked on today and which is made of a different material) is the portal for the light,

(To be continued ...)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Simple New Window Lamp

Look through the top right portion of the window and you will see a baptism taking place in the sea.


I refer to the window lamps I make as Three Dimensional Prayers. For those of you who don't know, I've been making window lamps for over a decade. I make one when someone orders it. The process is not just about the physical lamp. It is also about the symbolism, the interactive concept and the essence that the lamp brings to the owner (and others and me) through its light. Their purpose is healing. Just as you would go to a doctor to cure a sore throat, you can commission a lamp to help heal a particular area of your life and generate intangible gifts.

Nicole H,, who commissioned this current lamp, is willing to have it documented, to share the process with others.

STEP 1
The first question I asked Nicole was: What do you want this lamp to be about? What do you want it to give you?

Her answer was: SIMPLICITY

This will therefore be a very simple lamp. As you can see in the above photo, it is a small one (the smallest to date).

STEP 2
I asked Nicole to write a list of 20 things in her life that she would like to simplify ... things that would make her life easier. Her answers included:
- To be able to express myself in a clear manner (verbally and in writing)
- To always be able to do the thing I love the most - help others in need
- To let go of the mistakes I have made

... and other more personal things.

For each sentence she wrote, I chose a single word that 'answered it' - providing what she would need to achieve her desire of simplicity and lightness in relation to the particular issue.

E.g.
- To be able to express myself in a clear manner (verbally and in writing) = CLARITY
- To always be able to do the thing I love the most - help others in need = SERVICE

All 20 words are the gifts that this lamp will bring to Nicole and others who encounter it:
CLARITY, SELF LOVE, FREEDOM, ACCEPTANCE, PATIENCE, COURAGE, HAPPINESS, FORGIVENESS, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, SERVICE, TRUST, HUMILITY, CELEBRATION, UNDERSTANDING, SELF WORTH, RECEPTIVITY, STRENGTH, SURRENDER, FLEXIBILITY, DIVINITY

STEP 3
How I took these words to the next level in order to incorporate them as part of the lamp will be revealed shortly.

***
See this Window Lamp Retrospective for examples of a few of the many from way back when. The lamps have changed since then, becoming more simple, conceptual and interactive.

Names of some of the lamps thus far:
MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE
TWILIGHT DOOR
SOMNIUM
LOVE WINDOW
DREAMING GOD
SERENDIPITY
BELOVED
LEVITY FOR GRAVITY
I AM
AS I AM, YOU ARE
DIVA
ENCHANTED FOREST

This current lamp has not yet been named. The name will come during the process.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Facing Life

For the past few years I have been one of the judges at the Rebirth House "Facing Life" film competition for secondary schools. This year I've been asked to be Head Judge for the event (Facing Life Nine).

Date: Friday 6th November 2009
Time: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Venue: Andre Kamperveen Hall, Centre of Excellence, Macoya
All are invited.
Admission: donations welcome.

Rebirth House is a centre for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of drug abuse. Themes therefore always revolve around substance abuse and its impact on our lives. Tomorrow, 10-minute awareness-raising films produced by students of 12 national secondary schools will explore the issue through this year's theme: "Highs and Lows".

Also on the day:
- Entertainment
- Motivational speakers
- Lunch
- Refreshments.

An interesting, entertaining and educational experience for those who have the time to attend (some or all of the event).

All are welcome.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Full Moon Prize for J & K


I said I would create a piece of music for whoever chose the winning name for my new EMU midi controller. The keyboard is now called Clé Raga thanks to dual winners Kathryn in Trinidad and Jayme in Toronto. Congratulations.

The resulting piece of music (I decided to go with whatever I created upon first trying out the new keyboard) accompanies the above video which I shot last night on the way home from a yoga reunion.

Dev is driving. The motion of the car as I point my camera up causes the moon to bounce. Note how the upcoming streetlights give the feeling of zooming through planets.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fire Heart


In the garden at night with my nephew playing with sparklers. Note the heart that appears in this one. (Soft background panting courtesy Pippa the dog).

I seem to have a thing for Fire Hearts.
1. This one in the fire on Old Year's Night 2008
2. And this, the hoop I ordered from Toronto and named Fire Heart

Monday, October 26, 2009

More vegetarians needed

Helpless chickens crammed into crates ... will soon lie dead on humans' plates.

On Saturday, heading back to civilization (after my spontaneous drive to Salybia), I ended up at a red light. As I sat there waiting for green, a foul stench wafted into my car. I looked to the vehicle at my right and saw a horrendous sight - one that I always dread seeing on the roadways: hundreds of chickens crammed into crates on the back of a truck in the hot sun. I had never been this close to crated chickens before. The poor creatures were terrified. Some were heaving, with their beaks frozen wide open. Some were making whimpering noises, sounding like frightened puppies. Some just looked like stunned statues. They all appeared wet and bedraggled, as though sweating with fear. I sensed that the foul odour was more as a result of terror than 'poor hygiene'.

Is this how 'being chicken' came to mean 'being afraid'?

There were two men sitting in the front of the truck, looking casual and unconcerned. How did they feel, transporting these animals to their fate? Perhaps, being used to this, they felt nothing. To them, the chickens were probably just 'birds' who don't have feelings and don't know any better.

Au contraire ...

When in Toronto over the summer, I was impressed by a series of ads on the subway promoting vegetarianism (from chooseveg.ca): "Why love one and eat the other?" One poster, dealing with chickens, stated the following facts about these underestimated animals:

Like the animals we cherish as our companions, chickens by nature are inquisitive, affectionate, and personable.

Chickens are intelligent problem-solvers who possess some cognitive abilities more advanced
than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates.

Chickens have close family ties. They will fight foxes and eagles to protect their family members and they mourn the loss of a loved one.

A mother hen begins bonding with her chicks before they even hatch by softly clucking to her
unborn, who chirp back to her from inside their shells.

Think of the terror these sensitive and intelligent animals must go through to become KFC or the next barbeque.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Follow Your Heart

Standing in the river

This morning I was up early as usual and headed out to buy some fruits and vegetables. However, instead of just going to the fruit stall around the corner, something told me to go further. It was a lovely clear morning and because it was early, heat was not a deterrent.

The roads were quiet. I found myself heading into more rural distructs, enjoying the breezy quality time with myself.

I ended up at Salybia (at least one hour from home, for those who don't know it), where the river meets the sea. There were enough people on the beach for it to not be 'deserted' - a small family of what looked like three tourists, an elderly man bathing in the river, two men at the fishing depot, a woman in the refurbished building with toilets and changing rooms, a man selling fruit at the corner of the road. (I bought a coconut, watermelon and paw paw from him after).

I got out and walked along the beach. I have a knack for seeing rainbows before they appear and knowing when there are heart shapes in the area. My heart radar was strongly telling me that I would find a special one, so I kept my eyes to the ground. I saw nothing in the sand. But when I got to the river, I found this (see below video). As I saw it, I couldn't help but say "Thank You!" aloud. It made my day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jasper in concert ... and the winning name

Those who own cats will know how they love to monopolize everything. Jasper has a knack for spreading out exactly on the part of whatever book or document I'm reading; coming to lounge precisely on the piece of the page where I'm writing; stretching his body horizontally across the bed, leaving me enough space to perch precariously at the edge. It comes as no surprise that he has also taken possession of the new keyboard. Clearly it belongs to him.
The first notes of his new composition
Belting out the lyricsHeadbanging
After all that music making, time for a cat nap.

Jasper and I thank all of you who took the time to think up and submit such meaningful names (for the new keyboard). While we feel that each one had its own beauty, we particularly liked Clé ... the idea of a key to open new doors. Plus piano keys and musical keys are all inherent in that name. If we were being really strict about it, that name would actually be disqualified for not being put in the comments section (as requested). But ... we'll ease up this time.

We also liked the meaning of 'Raga' ... "Raag, in the Sanskrit dictionary, is defined as "the act of coloring or dyeing" (the mind in this context) and "any feeling or passion especially love, affection, sympathy, vehement desire, interest, joy, or delight"

The keyboard's name is Clé Raga: the key that opens doors to love, affection, interest, joy and delight.
Congratulations to Kathryn and Jayme. Your mp3 prize will be delivered to you some time soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am live from Copenhagen (update)

Have a look at this whole video ... you'll get a surprise!

And try it too.

*****

Update (24-10-09)
Today, 24 October 2009 is International Day of Climate Action

P.S. A quick note: some people thought that I really was in Copenhagen doing this. No ... it is an online Greenpeace thing (Action-Pact: demand a pact to act on climate change) which you can do from wherever you are in the world. Your name and photo will appear on the 'news report' once you have submitted your slogan, etc. It's to raise awareness about the 350ppm (read about what that is here)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thank you for the names so far


Yesterday I received four suggested names for my new keyboard/MIDI controller. I will announce the selected name at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the doors are still open for names if anyone wants to offer more.

Two names, as requested, were left in the comments section of the blog.

From Celsa:
"Sakura" (the cherry blossom) - since she is most likely a keyboard of Asian birth.

Ironically I went to see a German film last night, part of which was set in Japan. Cherry blossoms featured prominently. They are a symbol of the female principle (beauty and sexuality) and impermanence.

From Jayme:
Two ideas, both from Sanskrit: Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and the arts
or

Raga
, a word which means harmony, melody and feeling. It is one of the three pillars of Indian Classical Music and has deep meaning in that context (explanation of meaning here)



*******

Other names sent to me by other means (i.e. not left in comments on blog) were:

From Kathryn:
Call it "Clavier" - French for keyboard (musical as well as computer) - or "Clav" for short or maybe Clé" which means "key" as in key for the door but may be symbolic as the new keyboard is the "key" to something new - new music - new vibes or something...

From Navid:
1. Azar (Persian for Fire)
2. Farah (Persian for Joy, Happiness, Cheerfulness.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help me name my new keyboard

Time for some new music with my new EMU

I'm happy with my EMU Xboard 25 key MIDI controller which I got last night (in perfect condition, purchased second hand from Coreysan). I can already feel that fun times and great music will come of it. It's big enough to not feel like a toy and small enough to be mobile and go traveling with.

My other keyboard, Haniel, died quite a while ago. Haniel had hundreds of great sound banks and patches (i.e. musical samples/tones for different instruments) stored in her and I would do everything (sequencing/composing/recording) right there in the keyboard. If you click on my Reverbnation page and listen to the music there, all of it (except the songs with acoustic guitar and 'Raindrops on Skin' which is a combo of Garageband and Ableton Live) was created with Haniel.

The EMU is a MIDI keyboard, used to trigger the sound samples in computer-based music programmes. i.e. I can't create music within (or using just) the keyboard itself as with Haniel.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that I give my pieces of equipment meaningful names:
Karishma (video camera)
Dandelion (drum)
The camera formerly known as Synchronicity (now renamed Phoenix because she fell on Valentine's Day and rose from the ashes)
Supernova (little go-everywhere-with-it camera).

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Instead of me coming up with the name for the new keyboard, I'm throwing out the opportunity for you all. You can leave your suggestion in the Now is Wow Too comments section along with a brief rationale (i.e. why you gave it that name). I'll go with the name/rationale that resonates most with me. As a prize, I will compose a short piece of music for the winner.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enjoy your Divali

Om made by my friend Glen, in his front garden

Truth over untruth, Light over darkness

Friday, October 16, 2009

Worth watching ... and doing


Toward the end, check the question on the t-shirt of one of the megaphone men.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do you ...?

The Mirror reflecting white roses that one of my friends gave me at the ceremony

For the wedding, I and those of my friends who were present in person (local) and spirit (international) each wrote a vow ... something to which we would each say "I do" ... knowing that even though we may not be able to suddenly do it overnight, we are making the effort. The first step is the beginning of the journey.

Each vow was read to me by 'the officiator' (one of my friends, Deidre). While looking into my eyes in the hand mirror I had bought for the occasion, I said "I do" to each. There were some where the wording didn't resonate with me 100% ... so I said "I do, but ..." (and amended accordingly).

Afterwards, I passed the mirror to the friend next to me and he to the one next to him, etc. All around the circle, each of my friends looked into their own eyes and silently made a vow to themselves.

A few days later, another friend and I read and burned each vow one by one outdoors. The rationale for this is:
fire = transformation and purification; the smoke = a vehicle to carry the written sentiments up to the heavens to be blessed. There is no need to keep the written vows. They are within.

Below are the vows we all contributed. They are open to all. You may or may not say "I do" to all (or none) and you may or may not feel like amending some of the wording to resonate with you specifically.

Do you _____________________ vow

1. ... to honor your divine calling by courageously probing deeply into self-awareness, stepping out of comfortable patterns and into the great unknown of positive change, to uncover all of the glory that YOU are, and above all, do you vow to uphold & maintain acts of highest SELF-LOVE
for your highest
good and the highest good of all concerned ____? And do you vow to strive to discover the JOY in EACH "now" moment?

2. ... to forgive often and always?

3. ... to behold the Beloved in self and others, to be tender hearted and kind and to see beauty in all?


4. ... to give each other your attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowance. (from a couple)


5. ... to taking your own soul as your soul mate and
learning to love yourself in life, whatever that may require of you?

6. ....
to strive to be gentle to yourself no matter what?

7. ....
to take care of yourself lovingly every day for the rest of your life?

8. ... to strive to believe in yourself ... and in striving, to actually believe more and more until you fully do?

9. ...
to BE YOU. Boldly and Proudly and Truly.

10 ... observe your thoughts and gently return to your still centre of Love in each moment of recognition?

11. ... to honour yourself always?

12. ... to be honest in all you say and do?

13 ... that from this day forward you shall remember that you never walk alone. May your heart be a shelter for the fearless princess living inside you. May you walk together through all things. May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are. May you always see your innocence ...

14. ... to always be true to yourself?

15 ... to continue to seek your own twin soul and weave a tapestry of love, bliss and service to others while embracing the will of the love of those in whom other parts of your soul reside, for a time?

16 ... to be true to yourself with breath and peace?

17 ... to be more confident in yourself as a creative being?

18 ... to open to Love and Healing?

19 ... to be your own best friend and open your arms and heart gently for love to enter. To never chase love. If it is for you it is already waiting with open arms and heart. If it isn't, you wish it safely home. May the blessings be.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Thine Own Self

Heart shape on stone at Maracas Bay

I do something symbolic and interactive for my birthday (7 October) every year. I didn't go into detail in my last post, but for this year's birthday, I got married to myself. It was a beautiful late-afternoon-into-evening outdoor ceremony under a large tree in Wildflower Park. This "Oneness Celebration" (which is what I called it) was attended by about 12 friends (locally) and some international ones (in spirit). The dress code was white. The weather was fantastic.

After the ceremony and the vows, as night fell, we picnicked on a large piece of tarpaulin, under the stars and moon amidst many fireflies. Even though it was my 'wedding'/Oneness Celebration (becoming one, True Self) it was also everyone else's. We all married our True Selves that evening ... or at least acknowledged and embraced the importance and magnitude of it.

Without this acknowledgment and effort, how easily "Self" can unwittingly be forgotten, ignored or avoided as we habitually focus, depend on and give our energy away to externals.

No matter who or what comes or goes, I will be with myself for the rest of my life. I intend to get to really know, love and respect her, seek her best interests, enjoy being her and make a great life of it.

In my next post I will share the vows from the ceremony.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One for my Birthday

My birthday gift to myself is "Oneness".

The above photograph is of my feet and my footprints on the beach sand. It symbolizes me standing face to face with the Self and committing to the process of becoming One. The "empty" footprints are not really empty. They are full of every aspect of myself that I am consciously welcoming, embracing, merging with in my True Self.

By extension, the 'empty' footprints also represent standing face to face with and seeing/reflecting the external other (i.e. the various reflections we encounter around us in our daily interactions). The intention is to see, be and reflect our True Selves, from a place of Love = Divinity (non-duality) within and without.

Using this photograph as a template, I invite you to create (as a personal meditation for yourself) a symbolic photograph of your own bare feet and your footprints. If you don't have sand, you can use your empty shoes, chalk marks drawn around your bare feet, impressions on the ground made by your bare wet feet ... or anything else you can think of. In your own time and space, stand face to face with your Self and recognize, welcome, embrace, merge with all that enables you to be the full and true "You".

Sat nam

I will close with the words in the birthday card that Daddy made for me:

You deserve the best birthday on Earth ... not to mention the Moon, the Stars and the Universe.

... and yes, it already is the best.

Elspeth




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Object of feline attention

Jasper the hunk

Lately a large orange Tom cat has been coming into the garden at night. Sometimes blood curdling battle cries pierce the middle of the night or early morning, awakening me. Some of you may know the horrible sound of fighting cats (defending territory). When I go out to chase the orange cat away, Jasper runs inside, sometimes looking victorious, sometimes with his tail and fur along the spine all bushed out.

The night before last I was awakened by soft cries, like those of a persistent kitten, coming from just under my window. At the same time, Jasper jumped inside. Thinking he was escaping from the large orange Tom, I got up and looked out, but saw nothing. I closed the window and went back to sleep.

Then last night, Jasper awakened me when he jumped through the window. He sat gazing out at something and, as I looked up, I saw the silhouette of a cat against the curtains. Thinking it was the orange Tom, I chased it away and closed the window. A short while later I heard the same persistent kittenish mewing and observed that Jasper was looking alert, but unafraid. When I looked out, I saw a smaller ginger cat sitting in the moonlight, gazing up at my bedroom window, gently mewing.

In the dark I couldn't be sure. Was this the large Tom cat (just looking smaller because I was seeing it from a different angle)? And is it that he looks big and bad but really has a high pitched squeak of a meow? Or was it a smaller, ginger female, calling lovingly to Jasper, the neighbourhood hunk?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Does your path have a heart?

Wearing my heart on my (yoga) pants

This heart was on my path this morning as I walked around the Savannah with a friend before a yoga class.

Then found this on Youtube:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

With gifts from the Gods, I am a millionaire

My purchases for the morning: coconut, watermelon, avocado

This morning as I stood drinking a jelly coconut, the coconut vendor (the one by UWI Doubles) launched into one of his little stories:

"I does wuk for recreation. I does wuk for recreation! I is 87 years old! I have property for $3 million dollars." (Here he scrunched up his mouth and waved his hands dismissively). "I give dat to meh chirren. I ent know A from B. I could speak Hindi, I could speak English, but in school I couldn't spell meh name. A and B?!"

I understand what he means by 'working for recreation'. He doesn't need to work anymore, but he wants to.

Work for some is not about the work itself. It's about routinely performing an action to get money to pay bills and 'live'.

Over the past month or so, I've been gradually cleaning, clearing and giving away things that I no longer want, need or use. The most recent things that I chose to give were some framed original photographs of mine. Those who expressed the desire to own them agreed that they would get the photograph of their choice in exchange for raw fruits, vegetables and/or nuts of their choosing.

Last night was the first exchange. Two individuals each received their framed photos. In return I received portugals, mango and two bags of assorted nuts (walnuts, etc) in their shells.

Today I will deliver another photo and the recipient says she'll take me to the fruit/vegetable stall for produce and/or to The Little Store for dried fruit and/or nuts.

On Saturday I'll be exchanging the final two framed photographs for more raw goods. One recipient said she will meet me after she goes to the market. The other mentioned 'a box' of supplies. In total, this is my food for a week or more.

In order to have and experience some things in this world, we need money. Right now I can't pay my TSTT bill with two avocados and a slab of watermelon, buy a house by the river/sea with bananas and nuts or travel the world in exchange for two large pumpkins.

But it feels special and exciting to receive raw edibles in return for these framed photographs. Symbolically, it is very meaningful to me.

The recipients genuinely wanted the images they chose and, in return, they spent time thinking about me, about what raw produce I would like and then going and getting it. They didn't just push their hands into their pockets and pull out a wad of bills or hurriedly write a cheque.

From this little experience I'm inspired to think of money differently.

Money is a special, natural and nourishing gift from the Gods. It grows with ongoing, plentiful abundance all around me. It's my joy to grow it, nurture it, harvest it, share it and exchange it in the process of making life richer for myself and those around me.

Thinking like this, the next time I write a cheque or give money to someone in exchange for something, it could be an entirely different experience for both of us (giver and receiver):

(When paying phonebill): I exchange rich, healthy organically-grown produce from my abundant harvest with TSTT in return for crystal clear, enjoyable, meaningful, life-affirming communication.

(Paying internet bill): I exchange full, ripe fruits from my flourishing financial garden with Flow in return for an ever-enriching network of meaningful global connections, increased knowledge and pleasure and the ability to spread my wings and soar with effortless grace to wherever I want and need to go.

(When buying new clothes): My fertile, freshly flowering finances are a special delivery to this woman behind the cash register who is handing me a bag full of places-to-go-people-to-meet-feeling-and-looking-great. And the beautiful scent of my flowering finances wafts with gratitude to the old woman in India who sat for hours weaving the cotton that made it possible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Go with the flow

Victoria Trestrail: Johnny's Fool
Photo: Elspeth Duncan


Went filming yesterday for my friend Victoria Trestrail who recently released her new song "Johnny's Fool" (free download available here for a limited time) and wants to make a video for it.

The above image shows Vic in the field we ended up in yesterday afternoon. In a spontaneous moment we went looking for "tall grass" and found it ... long, slender and gently illuminated by the sun, which was in the process of descending for the evening. It was where we got footage that felt like "it".

Being open to the flow is the way to go.