I was solitary young master of the mansion, secluded on 40-acres in the remote countryside, and raised the Aries-born only-child of lovingly authoritative, Type-A, God-like Leos – with high standards and eccentric hobbies keeping them away or distracted. My response to isolation, loneliness, and feeling different was to escape using imagination to fabricate adventure and companionship. Living daily exploits outside the house and myself, avoiding the uncomfortable confinement I felt within those other realms, I roamed the acres turning chatty squirrels, creaking trees, and babbling brooks into imaginary companions. Misplaced in parochial school, when not acting-out being overly excited around others, I was isolated in detention for being that way – watching the world outside play. Other days, waiting alone long after last bell for my ride, I was beaten up by boredom or bored bullies. Except when alone in Nature or a place of safe isolation, I was an insecure little boy under dominating authority doctrines, edging on emotional breakdown – experiencing my first duality of having everything and nothing!
Authority structures shifted, yet misfit patterns changed little through education and military, into adulthood and career. Told by overbearing authority figures how to act, think, and feel, with muted expression punctuated by unfulfilled fairness and acceptance, I struggled with resentment, feeling under-valued and inherently different at my roots. Through scouting, outdoorsmanship and survival training, I found unconscious escape expanding skills to be solitary within Nature, else be needed by others to survive it – a duality of dependencies; a pattern repeated in career roles too. Then years after my parent’s deaths, discovering I was adopted and was deceived about it when I had wondered, my rooted core of identity and reality broke – finding distrust overbearing and happiness ever-elusive – with others and myself!
Polarized, I saw my worlds as black or white, right or wrong, ignorant or apathetic, tolerant or intolerant, all or nothing; standing for something or falling for everything – with little trust of things in-between. Hustling through life for mostly meaningless things, selfish yet detached from self-needs, I forgot about escapes with Nature; disconnected from what it provides. I built an emotional stockade, sentencing myself to life like an outlawed and out-loved desperado riding the trapped patterned fence-lines I post-holed. In these isolations, triggered by the outer world or convicted by my inner, I experienced unintelligible dualities: seen and unheard; lonely and not alone; questioned and unanswered; humorous and ill-humored; entertaining and bored; hopeful and disappointed; alive and not living; following rules and doing the right thing, while finishing last – cumulating still to having everything and nothing! Needing to become present and connected to my world, I struggled to break out of my prison until I picked up the camera during a peak African experience, discovering rare happiness and connection with myself through expression in photography and writing!
Through my evolving compositions and introspective narratives, I captured dualities experienced and felt with fair and accepting natural balance – without inner-polarization! In this footing, I realized through contemplation and self-discovery the grounding qualities of Self that I was unaware of, or so often alluded me – providing healing access to my wounds, and other’s. Qualities of: compassion with perspective, creativity with playfulness, curiosity with patience, calmness with clarity, along with confidence, courage and persistence; enabling strong footing and freeing myself through presence and connectedness – with gratitude! In places of comfortable solitude, with perspectives and intentionality to bring parity to the fractal-like symmetry I find between my inner and outer landscapes – and the arch-type-like wild characters roaming therein – I explore the balance between the miraculous and the trivial, loveliness and harshness, peace and upheaval, expansion and collapse, renewal and decay, permanence and impermanence, with connection, wholeness, and unity coupling separation, fragmentation, and displacement – allowing myself and our worlds healing access!
In my mending liberation, I recognize others confined, stuck, or avoiding their inner conflicts and personas; ones that were once my only company. I want you to slow down, taking it all in towards deeper levels-of-thought, permitting your own mindful sides to stir with your own vulnerable lives in mind, letting the soul reconnect. To look within, and at, the colors of the sky and how the light falls upon your landscape inside and out. To feel how the earth under your barefoot and bare-heart is soft and breathing, while life-giving waters whisper by with worldly wisdoms only you could whet. To know in the soul how every moment and step matters just as much as where the path may lead through Nature’s humbling and spiritual conduit to Self.
I intend my art as a safe refuge, leading myself and our world back into reflective moments of equilibrium with our dualities, intelligible or otherwise, while raising awareness of the need to live with mindful presence and stewardship of all that is within and around us. My latest works curate this Spirit of my realizations of contemplation and self-discovery; asking myself with each “Is this truly my art? If so, what presence is required to create the cohesion, balance, and connection I wish for in an often-polarized world?”
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