Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making ART

Creating is a savior,
an engrossing path to follow.
Creating encourages me
to be mindful in the moment;
Creativity prods me
to surround myself
with objects
that urge me to react
spontaneously, bathing me in comfort.
The process of creating often has no goal
other than to observe some feeling or thing
immerge.  The work claims to be finished
only when I am pleased.
My joy is enhanced
when someone else is moved to appreciate it
but elation  surfaces
when someone else can't live without it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eliminate The Second Hour of Suffering

Everyone has something that causes them to suffer. Pain is not suffering. Pain can often be managed because it is physical, but suffering is mental.  However, when someone has chronic pain, that will cause them to suffer mentally. When some condition, or some situation, is disturbing us it will, by itself, cause us to suffer, and we have to find a way to heal and deal which is a more difficult and lengthy process if we stay focused on the issue/problem. Yet, we can begin to eliminate the second hour of suffering by saying " It is what is is." We can further eliminate what Thich Naht Hahn, a Buddhist Monk, calls "the second hour of suffering," by not asking ourselves or others the aggressive question, "Why" or  by speculating, when we  provide ourselves imagined reasons. We can go 'round and 'round over why some thing occured,or is occuring.  When we try to gain answers that way, when there simply aren't any, we are creating more delusions -imagined reasons- which will cause us to suffer for the "second hour."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Religion and Spirituality-

Yes, I believe religion is different, separate, from spirituality.  Religion is a great divider. Our religion purports this, yours does not, therefore our religion is superior to yours-we understand God better than you do!  Catholics against Baptists, Baptists against Catholics, Jews against Christianity, religions against Atheists or Agnostics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, and so on. Yet, in the heart of all of the organized religions is one, ONE God or belief in some higher power or none at all, or philosophical practices that should humble us enough to at least consider another's way may have worth. Yet, I believe we need, as logical and rationale humans, to heed the Ten Commandments, they make sense, they're good rules to live by. Why? break one (a commandment) and see what suffering or serious trouble transpires. The principles that Buddhism conveys are also practical ways to think about day to day living.  Yet, organized religion  makes stuff up as it goes along, interpreting biblical scripture as they view it; when any critical thinker knows that any piece of literature is subjective and worthy of  a completely different interpretation which may also be a valid possibility. Religious leaders convey messages to their practioners beyond the ten commandments and wise philosophy making religion subject to flawed human ideas and practices. Therefore, I see all religious practice which incorporates man made ideas and rigid biblical interpretations as absurd.
The ultimate irony is that more misery and death has happened in the name of religion than any feuding factor in history. To name a few bloody battles: the Crusades; the Inquisition; Irelands persecution of  Protestants;  the Romans killing Christians, literally feeding them to the lions; and now, radical Muslims against western religions and beliefs. Also,  Hitler and his "Christian" Germans, which led to the persecution and annilation of millions the Jews. I think Jesus was a pacifist; a believer of love not war, acceptance and forgiveness.  So how do these [above named] horrific, abominable, actions honor or represent Jesus and how he expected a true "Christian" to behave?
Let's get down to it, Spirituality emmanates from ones actions. People who are spiritual strive to be gentle.  I am not saying that some people who attend church or synagogue are not living spiritual lives; same goes for those who do not attend any organized group. If they are spiritual, they sow peace by being peaceful; they are tolerant; and strive to be non-judgemental. They are, at the core, inclusive and helpful and supportive. Yes, spiritual people would support gays rights, standing up so the gay population can have all the rights of anyone else in this world. Spiritual people hold their religious beliefs quietly. Being a spiritual person requires one not to shove what they believe down someone else's throat. Spiritual people lead other people to love by living their life as an example so people might evaluate seeking God or Christ or Buddha or Allah in their lives. Spiritual people draw others to the possibility that their lives could be affected positively by a belief in acceptance and not-judgment and then one may see that spirituality has affected the life of that [spiritual] person and the lives of others, positively. Let's face it not one of us, not even I, know which belief is absolutely RIGHT until the day we die--and maybe not even then! Perhaps none of us have it "right." We all need to have humility enough to consider that we may not be right. Yet, I feel one thing is certain: being plain old mean and rotten, excluding others and behaving self-righteously while we are here can't be right, not here in the realm of our earthly existence where we are all flawed; yet all need love. We all know that love is the message of Christmas and we should strive to remember that love should be the message we convey every day of our lives.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice

Putting old things behind us because this is the turning point of the year; that's what the Winter Solstice represents. I know what I need to put behind me and I focus on moments, not days, to accomplish it.
Since the Winter Solstice occurs during the Christmas season I was thinking about its association to the holiday.
I read that mistletoe, which was sacred because it mysteriously grew on the most sacred tree, the oak, was ceremoniously cut and a spray given to each family, to be hung in the doorways as good luck. The celtic Druids also regarded mistletoe as sacred. Druid priests cut it from the tree on which it grew with a golden sickle and handed it to the people, calling it All-Heal. To hang it over a doorway or in a room was to offer goodwill to visitors. Kissing under the mistletoe was a pledge of friendship. Mistletoe is still forbidden in most Christian churches because of its Pagan associations, but it has continued to have a special place in home celebrations.  I have mistletoe in my doorway to the den, an often visited room because that's where the Christmas tree is. The only association I had for mistletoe was people who pass under hanging mistletoe are suppossed to kiss; nothing about friendship--but let's hope the kissers are friends!  I like the idea of offering Goodwill to visitors too and the idea that it has good luck and healing connotations connected to it is also pleasing .  Ah, here's an idea for the day's moments: In order to put the the things behind me, that need to be left behind me, I will focus moment to moment on the dear, loving friendships and the caring love I have from my children and husband. These are healing and centering thoughts and any thoughts like these, any blessings dwelled upon, kept in my heart and mind, will help me start anew.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homecoming and Going

My son-in-law will be arriving soon.  My daughter and their 6 month old son have been without him since their baby was 4 weeks old.  When we think about someone coming home after some time away it is always heartwarming; but when a dad has been away from his wife and baby boy (he refers to him as "little man") for this long its heartwrenching.  I watched as my daughter went through her days assuming every daily task, as a single mom, and homemaker and I have been so lucky to witness my grandson's growth.  Each time I saw a "first" smile or new behavior I thought about how much my son-in-law was missing.  Soon, though, he will embrace them both and be able to bask, for a time, in the company of those he loves and have his "firsts."  I, for one, can't wait to give my son-in-law the biggest, tightest hug; I hope I don't cry. As fantastic as it is to have him home for the holidays, as elated as we all are,  it will be, I think, more difficult to watch him go again to assume his role as an American soldier in Afghanistan.  We thank God for this time together. We'll be envisioning and praying for his return to the states the end of next summer. Those of you who read this, please, if you do pray, pray with us, for every family who experiences the emptiness that comes with their loved ones time away, and the chaotic onslaught of emotions that one battles when seeking personal peace while they have a loved one at war. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Soon after Thanksgiving I begin to think about the things I'll make as gifts for friends. I wonder, should make some decorated cookies, homemade breads, or my "Comfort and Joy," granola with every grain and nut and fruit possible? I make it a ritual to go to and look for something new to bake; yet I always seem to gravitate toward my old favorites. Whatever I make I like it to be something time consuming. I like what I'm making to take time for a few reasons. I like the aroma wafting through my home, I like tasting the results; because I can't give a gift that isn't any good--lol. I also like the idea of taking time to please my friends and that they are unaware that I'm taking time for them; until they receive their goodies. I also love when my daughter(s) or a friend bakes with me. It is such a wonderfully cozy experience. It includes laughing; tasting; and maybe a glass or two of Wine, all while arranging the baked goods in some way to present it beautifully---all Christmas Goodies! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Energy

I have been in a total cleansing mode for days now. Photos, or any object or piece of furniture, that I do not need or haven't used is making its way to be sold, donated or tossed.  This action has caused me to feel a new energy within my home; It seems I am unburdening myself as this process unfolds.  Now, some things that are tossed or sold need replacing; such as my dining room table. Our family has fed many, many people at this table, shared many laughs, and has engaged in some great conversations sitting around this table. So, of course I have used this table, quite sufficiently, and  every family needs somewhere to sit to eat. My reason for wanting to shed the table is to have new memories around a new one. My mom passed away recently and every time I passed the table I vividly pictured her sitting in her favorite spot with her little pocketbook hanging on the back of the chair. Looking at a new table I don't have the same energy affixed to it--its new energy. Yet, I didn't want to purchase a brand new table. I looked for weeks for the perfect table. To be perfect I had criteria in mind: right design/color, yes, but most importantly it had to come from a home with great life energy. My husband came with me to look at the table and when I told him we wouldn't buy it if the house smelled, he laughed, and I continued; if the people were lacking the right energy. He laughed and said "How will you know that?!?" I assured him I would know. When we arrived at the house a smiling man approached us,  he looked very familiar, and extended a firm handshake to us both. His wife, followed by a white, large, friendly, curly Golden-Doodle and her son, in his PJ's who was meeting dad in the backyard to give the dog a bath. We looked the table over, sat in the chairs and really liked it. His wife and I spoke and during the course of our conversation discovered that her husband was an M.D. who was also a Bass player. Ding! The light went on! I said, Oh! did he play Bass with Steve Luongo at the John Entwhistle benefit (this was the only time my husband went out this year and we had a ball!). Yes, that's him, she said.  I looked at my husband and said: This is how you recognize right energy. He smiled. We have the table in our home now and it has new energy. Tonight we will sit and eat our first meal at this table; hmmm, what's for dinner?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sketchbook Challenge

I have joined up with a wonderfully creative group of women to take a challenge to sketch everyday based on a predetermined theme.  It starts 1.1.2011  keep following to see my sketches that I'll post! Fun, fun, fun and a committment to play and improve my art!!  Check out the details in the link provided below--maybe you'll join us?

Today is Bodhi Day

A friend and I planned to spend Bodhi Day together; this is the day of Buddha's enlightenment. These plans were squelched because she became incapasitated by a cold. I celebrated solo (Get well, friend).  Bodhi Day is celebrated because Buddha, under a Bodhi tree, touched the earth and knew that all of our suffering could end; all of it gone, poof, simply by continually training the mind. Pain, you see, is a physical state and may not end, but our suffering is caused by the tormenting thoughts such as desire, attachment, or ruminations of the mind. By focusing on the breath, in and out, living in the very present moment humans can stop their suffering. Yet, this is a practice. Today, in the very present moment, I decided to continue my cleansing process by going into the New Year by ridding my home of anything that is unneeded, unused or in my estimation held negative energy. I am truly getting somewhere in this process; but there's more to accomplish. One huge project that I usually suffer through is going through my old photos. Generally, I play an internal tape that is too nostalgic. Today, in the spirit of Bodhi Day, I ended my suffering about ridding myself of these old photos, without deeply thinking about them;  I didn't stop and reflect. It was all about picture content or quality. It went like this: My sister isn't married to this guy anymore-toss;  oh, this is a picture of so and so, I haven't seen them and we don't keep in touch--toss. This is a blurry picture--no good ,toss. Pictures of a park where I used to live, lovely but unnecessary--good-bye! Look how young and thin I was here--keep! I have 1/3 of the pictures I used to have!  Fantastically enlightened regarding what I don't need in my life!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Self Promise

I haven't ever made news years resolutions. I don't bother because I'm terrible about keeping my word to myself. I'll walk miles to keep my word to anyone else. If I tell someone I will, I do.  In the past,  instead of personal resolutions, I only reflect upon what transpired in the past year and how the new year will be full of more surprises; some good, some bad. Yet, this year, during the first week of December, I can't stop thinking about how I will change my behavior toward myself.  This year; I'm going to dedicate it fully to my happiness, not my obligations, not reletives that are scientifically related, by blood, but only to those, related or otherwise, connected to my heart. I am on the road to discovering what being loving and kind to myself is all about. Stay tuned to see if I do keep my word to myself, I know I will, you'll see! IF you have ways that you practice to show yourself loving kindness, please share them!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What does it mean to have the Christmas Spirit?

I asked my daughter what it means to have the Christmas Spirit and she said, "I think its more of a Holiday Spirit that begins with Thanksgiving and rolls into Christmas and ends with a brand new year beginning; which is exciting."  I agree that is part of the "Christmas spirit" but I actually feel my whole way of seeing and thinking becomes more spiritually centered. I experience this peaceful internal shift the moment I begin planning my Thanksgiving menu. Then once I begin to listen my Christmas CD's as I unbox all the decorations and decorate the house I'm thinking more about God. I think about what Jesus asked us: to love one another. I think about how Buddha showed us how to end our suffering by considering our delusions and freeing ourselves of attachments. I wondered do I have to live in a decorated home all year to keep this focus?!? Maybe, but, of course, I won't. Then I think about the spirit of now: I will express my love during the season for those who I love and how I won't stress about gifts. I usually buy something purposeful and thoughtful for my family members; I make mental notes through the year of things they say they like or need.  Many times I just spend special time with family or friends I love; no gifts to unwrap but a sweet memory to keep.  Money is never plentiful for the people I love the most so giving anything isn't possible. Before anyone feels even a tiny bit of discomfort, due to their inability to exchange gifts, it is important to pick up the phone and make holiday time with someone as simple as sharing time. We sip tea or drink wine, have lunch or supper at one of our homes; together. If anyone you love is far away its easy and thoughtful to pick up the phone and share a few laughs and catch up with someone.  I truly believe we should bask in the love and comfort and blessings of our relationships and then the Christmas Spirit is defined perfectly...and can continue through the year. Hmm, maybe I don't have to keep decorations up all year (That would be really tacky anyway, lol, but I've seen people do it!!) I only have to live in love, and think each time I consider a friend or someone in my family that God and this spirit is alive--I just need to mindfully focus on how I express love all year.  Happy Holidays and I'm sending my sincere wishes for the most love-filled healthy and satisfying New Year for each of you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Art Heart

I art-sit at daas gallery and today I was surrounded by the work of Matthew Davis; if you're in Fort Myers you should check his exhibit out! Some of it is what I call Retro Mixed media. He incorporates old newspaper and magazine pieces as a background and lays his subject carefully on top.  The colors are soft yet strongly placed.  Some of his work is done with a free spirit a cool pallette and a heavy black sharpie. Some mirror his faith. As I studied his work moving  from picture to picture I sensed that this artist is a happy, balanced person at least in his "art heart, " my personal phrase for what is true in your soul that comes out in one's art, these qualities resonate! I truly believe that bringing his work into ones home would cast a spell of lightheartedness upon all who reside within.
Most of all it made me want to pull my paints out... bye.

Meditation Door-hanger

Meditation Door-hanger

Making handpainted, jewelry

Making handpainted, jewelry
resin pour over all.

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA
Me, standing there, in my meditation image.

Tick tock

Tick tock
"Time flys, catches fire, and sinks." p. malafronte (2010)

My Blog List

All Art and text entries are the registered works of Pam Malafronte. Do not copy, distribute, or use any text or art on this blog without expressed permission.

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

Peaceful Buddha

Peaceful Buddha
Be compassionate toward yourself

Start a true Rebirth on Earth

Start a true Rebirth on Earth
SOLD 8/13/11

Birds of What Feather?

Birds of What Feather?
Not Available

Time is KING---SOLD

Time is KING---SOLD
Longevity and Joy within

In Kinder Garden

In Kinder Garden
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge