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Posts Tagged ‘walking your talk’

AND THEN...

And Then, last page of The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage, 1979, Doubleday, from artist & writer Judy Chicago, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
and then both men and women will be gentle
and then both women and men will be strong
and then no person will be subject to another's will
and then all will be rich and free and varied
and then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
and then all will share equally in the earth's abundance
and then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
and then all will nourish the young
and then all will cherish life's creatures
and then all will live in harmony with each other and the earth
and then everywhere will be called eden once again


—artist & writer Judy Chicago, from The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage, 1979, Doubleday


-posted on red Ravine Monday, September 12th, 2011

-related to posts: A Moment Of Silence – September 11th, 2011, 9:02am, Remembering – September 11th, 2008

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By Lesley A. Goddin



Spirit walkers. Moving slowly leaves an energy impression on the path. December 2008 © photo 2008-2009 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.

Spirit walkers, moving slowly leaves an energy impression on the path, December 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.





Slow or fast.

This is suddenly the question of the century for me.

I was born slow. A brown-eyed, curly-haired Taurus—stubborn, plodding (yes, it really says that in horoscope descriptions). Maybe lingering and savoring, which is why we like food so much.

My childhood was given to many daydreams and meanderings, and walks in the woods, among the poison ivy and honeysuckles and magic of light falling through green leaves. Looking and sketching. Slow thinking. One thought cascading down upon another like water tripping down levels of a rock fountain. Nourishing.

But as time went on, slow fell out of style. It was FAST! FAST! FAST! Multitask—no time for lingering or even being present. In my 30s, I actually remember sitting in my corner office on the 35th floor of a building at 52nd and Broadway in Manhattan, thinking, “I am like a well-oiled machine.” I was proud of that, proud of being able to zing from one activity to another; excited by life, excited by my ability; buzzing with importance.




Golden nuggets. As I linger in the fading light, the rocks around me turn to gold. December 2007 © photo 2007-2009 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.

Golden nuggets, as I linger in the fading light, the
rocks around me turn to gold, December 2007, photo
© 2007-2009 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.






Now I am 51. And the fast life is losing its appeal. I moved to New Mexico 14 years ago, but kept up the pace. Except now fast includes email and texting and cell phones and being online with two email accounts and several social networking sites opened at once, as I sit in my home office and work remotely editing an industry trade magazine. Fast means keeping up with it all—answering emails the second they arrive; keeping my train of thought; not finding time to declutter my house or compound the oxidation that has formed on my 14-year old car hood.

This weekend, my body rebelled. It put a knot in my chest and a gasp in my breath and jelly into my legs. I know this syndrome—overloading my nervous system with stress and busyness and then trying to clear it out with intense exercise. My wise body wasn’t having any of it. Dreams of walking and yoga and deep breathing filled my head and my online research confirmed that was just what I needed. A return to the slow.




Solar lit labyrinth. The labyrinth awaits my slow, meandering pace. July 2007 © photo 2007-2007 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.

Solar lit labyrinth, the labyrinth awaits my slow,
meandering pace, July 2007 photo © 2007-2009
by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.






So, this is my mission now. To live in the slow. To BE slow. To BE. To savor and linger and walk just a touch slower than I know I can; to do one thing at a time; to give up worry and hurry for Lent. I am remembering who I am; I am snorting through my Taurus nostrils and stamping my bull hooves and pawing the ground in stubborn slowness and defiance of the world’s ever-increasing pace.

I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more—except I am not mad. I am sane. I am wise. I will meander through the cobblestone-and-gravel labyrinth I helped build at a local church and let God talk to me.

Tonight, out for my slow walk at dusk, I asked for Divine direction. Across the street and up in the brown foothills, movement along the trail caught my eye. A huge deer, chocolate brown against the mocha dusty trail moved with grace, white rump flashing. Then another and another—seven in all. I stopped, stood smiling, watching their meandering climb, joined by a bicyclist to witness the miracle and share small words, all a gift of choosing to be slow. And I got my answer.




Pronghorns. Not the deer I saw in the foothills, but slow walking got me close to these pronghorn antelope in the Petrified Forest in Arizona earlier this year. January 2009, photo © 2009 by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.

Pronghorns, slow walking got me close to these
pronghorn antelope in the Petrified Forest in Arizona
earlier this year, January 2009, photo © 2009
by Lesley Goddin. All rights reserved.






Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11, and drawing and sketching since she could hold a pencil. Her penchant for observation led to her becoming a paid professional as a trade journalist, publicist and currently as an editor for TileLetter, a trade magazine for tile contractors. She has also written for Guideposts, Walls, Windows and Floors, Floor Covering Weekly, and Low Carb Energy.

Her inspired writing life centers around topics of Spirit, including several sermons and an ongoing e-newsletter called Footsteps, for members of the labyrinth community in Albuquerque, an ancient walking meditation. She is currently working on a book of labyrinth-inspired essays called Letters from the Labyrinth.




-related to Topic post WRITING TOPIC – SLOW OR FAST?

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The Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of
Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



A few weeks ago, Liz and I and a studio mate visited the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to attend a panel discussion addressing the question — What Is the Current State of the Arts in Minnesota? There are differing opinions; it depends on who you are.

Though Minnesota has traditionally been one of the most well-funded and supportive states in the U.S. for the Arts (and Minneapolis one of the most literate cities), many writers and artists will tell you that over the last 10 years, funding at the state, community, and individual levels has begun to dry up.

Before the talk, we glanced around the room and wondered why the discussion was not better attended. Where was the community? Where were all the artists and writers? Where was everybody?

Opening remarks were from Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson, and we listened to representatives of the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minnesota Orchestra, Loft Literary Center, Guthrie Theater, and McKnight Foundation frame the discussion through a rose-colored prism. It soon became apparent that the institutions and well-oiled machines that house and fund our arts and creative programs had a totally different take than many artists I know. With few exceptions, nearly every person on the panel thought the Arts in Minnesota were doing well.

One exception was program director for the arts at the McKnight Foundation, Vickie Benson who made a reference to how we can’t forget artists who live with poverty, have no health insurance, and face a lack of retirement money. And Fox 9 news anchor and moderator, Robyne Robinson, stepped in with a personal experience about how a Fox 9 news segment on the Arts she once hosted had been cut from the local news. It took courage for her to go out on that limb.

You can read more about dissenting opinions at mnartists.org’s Commentary: What is the State of the Arts in Minneapolis? by Michael Fallon. Everything is conflicted. I’m an artist and writer. I attend events at the Guthrie, the Loft, the MIA. I’m a member of the Walker. Yesterday I heard an MPR piece about how funding is drying up for a local history museum in a rural Minnesota town (many museums receive Arts funding). Staff has been cut. Volunteers can’t afford the gas to get there and are asking for reimbursement.



          Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



What is the state of the Arts in your hometown, state, province, or country? Are you experiencing differing opinions between Arts institutions and the writers and artists who create the work? One will not survive without the other. It is a reciprocal relationship. There is room for debate; there is always room for healthy discourse.

For the time being, I’m choosing to focus on the compassion of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. After the panel discussion, we attended an art opening downstairs, Smoke and Mirrors by photographer Vance Gellert, and strolled through a few floors of the MIA permanent collection. Kuan-yin had a window seat next to a series of ten to fifteen Buddhas and Bodhisattvas spanning thousands of years.

Bodhisattvas are Buddhist deities who have forgone entrance into Nirvana until all beings have attained enlightenment. In China, Kuan-yin became the most popular bodhisattva and was widely worshipped as the deity of mercy and compassion. She is often depicted as female or androgynous, even though she sometimes has a mustache.

According to the MIA, the Kuan-yin in these photographs is seated cross-legged in the lotus position (vajrasana), and is from the Sung dynasty (960 to 1279) noted for its art, literature and philosophy. The bodhisattva is carved from movable sections of wood; the eyes are inlaid crystal, and the robes of gold leaf. Both hands are turned up with thumbs touching the middle fingers in the gesture of discourse or argumentation (varada mudra). The hair was originally encased by a gilt metal crown that is now missing.




Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Kuan-Yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

haiku for Kuan-yin, June 2008, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photo
© 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





love disguised as art
mercy steeped in compassion
cracks open the door





-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

-related to posts: haiku (one-a-day) , Walking Your Talk (Do The Arts Matter?), Does Money Soil Art?

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Burning, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Burning, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



How do you walk your talk? I’ve been thinking about what that means. I can write, paint, draw until I’m blue in the face. How does it change anything? How is it making a difference in the way I live my life?

A wise person once told me, it doesn’t matter what a person says — pay attention to what they do. The true measure of a person is in their actions. If someone shows you who they are – believe them.

Choosing to become a writer and artist has changed the way I look at the world. I dive for details; I poke at the underbelly; I take risks; I notice things that are tossed aside, hidden, secret. Other writers and artists are doing the same.

I have the greatest respect for those who form community, who give back what they’ve learned. I’m sitting here writing my butt off everyday, but who cares? How am I giving to the local community, my neighborhood, to family and friends.

It doesn’t matter what I learn, how educated I am, how many degrees I’ve earned, how much money I make. What matters is how I apply what I’ve learned to my daily life – how I walk the talk.

Does my word mean anything? Does the art mean anything? Do I show up to honor my commitments? If I make a mistake, do I admit it, offer apology? If I slip away for a while, disappear, do I come back? Or do I abandon.



Walking The Talk, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Walking The Talk, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Walking The Talk, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



What about my commitments to myself? I can put a structure together on paper – time to do my art, to work on my book, to read other writers. If I don’t follow through, live the structure, it’s not worth the weight of the paper it’s written on.

I can get out and teach other people about writing. And about the value of the Arts to a community. But if I’m not living what I am teaching, who’s going to listen? Who’s going to believe me?

How do you show up for others. Has writing changed the way you interact with your family, friends, students. Do you share knowledge and credit, model what you’ve learned? Or hoard information for yourself.

There are those who go to the opposite extreme — giving themselves away, until there is nothing left. Do you overgive or caretake? Do you know when you are depleted, exhausted, need time alone, downtime to replenish the well.

How do you walk the talk? Is it by going to writing retreats, taking risks with your art or writing, writing in a group, submitting your work? Do you support libraries, rally public funding for the Arts, frequent museums, encourage your kids to do art. Or is it as simple as showing up to the page, at the canvas, or with your camera, burning to create.

So many questions. I’m not looking for answers, only the sharing of ideas. Why do the Arts matter in this world. What does it mean to walk your talk?



…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1934

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

-related to post, W. H. Murray – Providence Moves Too

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