Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mysterious Circumstance

North coast of Sicily, and the Tyrrhenian Sea
This time five years ago, while on the island of Sicily, I experienced a luxurious solitude. (see my earlier blog) Abandoning the rigid dictates that my mind commanded I “should” be doing and the path I "must" stay upon, instead I wandered freely, letting mysterious circumstance unfold and lead me into surprise. I enjoyed being lost and feeling life without boundary. I had a car, a little house in Bonagia, a fishing village on the west coast, my art supplies, laptop, camera, and a change of clothes.
The little fishing village of San Maria
Mt. Corfanu on the northwest coast. The view is from where I lived.

After I adjusted to the time change and recovered from jet-lag, I eagerly breathed in the Mediterranean air, soaked up the sunlight, felt the rocky earth under my feet, listened to the birds and sound of bells tied to the sheep that wandered grazing along the hills nearby, and enjoyed quietude. If I wanted to paint, I took my easel out and discovered a view to my liking, then stood still, observing and working in silence. Some days I awoke with a plan, but if the day beckoned me in a different direction, then I might simply follow spirit into the unknown. Over the course of a month I explored the entire Sicilian coast, traveling in all directions, and into the interior, finding ancient Roman temples, and climbing Mt. Etna, a volcano.
Ancient Roman temple, standing at Segesta.

I began to sense what it is to live in THE DREAM. Now, years later, I often experience living in THE DREAM. It is a practice.
At the Roman amphitheater at Segesta.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Fairy Tale

It is interesting how sometimes when we are looking for one thing, we find another that is more important. In Bavaria recently, Erki Eichenseer, a cultural curator, was looking through some old, forgotten archives searching for original texts in an old castle and discovered a treasure trove of over 500 unpublished fairytales from past ages.  (See BBC article)There is a word for such an occurrence: serendipity.

I call this blog, My Fairy-Tale Life, because I view my conscious existence through the prism of dream thought, mystery and spirit. I call our world, THE DREAM. The essence of this perception came to me when my oldest daughter and I were in a doctor’s office, waiting the results of an exam and when he came into the room his face was ashen. He looked at us, and spoke, saying to Naomi, “You have cancer, and the tumor in your hip is very large.” He then held his hands together to make a circle the shape of a grapefruit. In that instant it was as if an arrow pierced my heart, opening for one second a door of perception that then just as suddenly, shut. I felt we must be dreaming, that this sudden turn off of a cliff could not be reality. Life changed drastically in just a few moments and I knew the world is made of sand. Yet, there we sat together, numb and wondering what to do next. The experience has stayed with me as a seminal event that has permanently altered my consciousness.

What is a fairy-tale? “A fairy tale, or wonder tale, is a kind of folktale or fable. In these stories we meet witches and queens, giants and elves, princes, dragons, talking animals, ogres, princesses, and sometimes even fairies. Marvelous and magical things happen to characters in fairy tales. A boy may become a bird. A princess may sleep for a hundred years. A seal may become a girl. Objects too can be enchanted — mirrors talk, pumpkins become carriages, and a lamp may be home to a genie.” (See: Fairytales ) Usually, a fairy tale has a plot with twists and turns, shades of light and dark, and there is an object to the story.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Over The Rainbow

Children in Kashmir, India
Recently I have been posting daily from my profile on Facebook, in a series I call “Over The Rainbow.” I select photos of simple, honest people from across the globe from my archive of travel pictures, and add a caption. Furthermore, I introduce the picture with a note of disgust about American politics—so that the picture is “over the rainbow” and far away from the divisiveness that we so often see in politics.
Masai mother and child, Tanzania

For the last thirty years, American politics has become uglier and uglier. Now, it is almost a given that political aspirants will spend vast amounts of money to pump up their own image and at the same time, try and make an opponent from another party look bad in comparison. This technique uses the media to spread its message and is called “attack advertising.”  Meanwhile, American elected officials’ carry this mentality into the halls of government and then agree to disagree, continuing to quarrel and fight. Government almost grinds to a halt and people’s needs are not met. These days, politicians are held in very low esteem.
Woman at a fish market, Hoi An, Vietnam

While I travel, all this drama is far behind me, somewhere in the distance on the other side of the rainbow. I bask in the light of unity when I meet common people in strange lands. People everywhere want peace and prosperity. Masses of the world’s citizens strive under corrupt and dysfunctional governments. Somehow, they create a pattern and rhythm of life that sustains them and that they can smile about, even under the dark clouds of politics and greed.

Mayan vendor, Belize
Click to see more artistic photography by Steven Boone.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Fast

Buddhist monks outside of a temple in Bodghaya, India
The time of fasting for me has begun. I am in my third day of the Baha'i fast which each year is for nineteen days: March 2-21. The fast is similar to the Moslem practice of Ramadan, in that no food or water is taken between sunrise and sunset. This year, my wife, Heidi Of The Mountains is a Baha'i, and is joining me in the practice.

Here is a sacred poem from the writings of Jelaluddin Rumi:


There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you're full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus' table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.