Blogland Lane Logo by our own Tessa Edwards

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Perception on Lot 70

Oasis Exploration: Relationships in Color and Time

One recent Saturday at the Esquela Artes Placticas in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, I encountered the concept of color gradation. The painting exercise we practiced was to take a color and mix it with white or black until an ever lightening or deepening shade results. While mixing and studying the color change, I reflected on how color represents time and that the subtle color variations are like moments in life. Most of the time we are not aware of subtle shifts in color. Green is green. Red is red. Blue is blue. Time is like that too because we notice that it's the morning, afternoon, and night. However, when a color is mixed with white or black in varying degrees subtle shades become visible. It is clear that green is a myriad of possible greens. Red and blue are potentials of color in which to dive! Our awareness of time is similar to our awareness of color in that we don't usually remember the moment. Anyone who has practiced present moment awareness knows this shift in perception. If you've gone on a mindfulness retreat, you know what I mean. Even the slogan Just Breath is a focusing practice that brings you into yourself so that you become aware of the real moment.

I remember a practice that I learned from reading G. I. Gurdjieff that is called (self) remembering, which is at any moment you turn your attention back on yourself and realize something such as, "Hey, I'm here. I'm alive." It's a practice of noticing that you are in existence. This self-remembering changes your daily experience of time.  I have practiced this technique on and off for years but at one time I consciously dedicated my focus to self-remembering for many daily moments for several months. What I discovered is that it altered my perception of time and my feeling of a solid boundary between my body and the space around it. Most of us experience time and life in chunky ways that are carefully divided by daily (and seasonal) routine.  We break it up every day into pieces such as waking up, eating, going to work, exercising, and  sleeping. The routine defines how we experience time.

For most of us, it is only when an event occurs that breaks our daily pattern do we shift in our awareness of time. Consider an unexpected event to your normal routine; for example, the arrival of an out of town guest. Suddenly you find yourself actively engaged in lively conversation at a restaurant well into the evening. It's past your bedtime!  You're so engaged in the moment that you forget all about your routine and your strategy of life management that organizes life into predictable chunks of experience. These occurrences let you know that time and pattern are constructs that make your life manageable but also invisible.  Unconscious routine can obscure gradations of color. However, a person's ordinary engagement with time can shift by consciously practicing various techniques. To illustrate, the method of periodically focusing on your breath can help you become aware of time and thereby, shift your ability to see, know and engage in more subtle ways. Try the self-awareness exercise below and pace it to your ever slowing and deepening breath.

I am here. I breathe. I am filled. I am empty. Inhale. Exhale. A moment. A string of moments. I am in life. I am life. Breathe.

Certainly the experience of breathing is ordinary but the awareness of breathing is another thing altogether. Conscious breathing can deepen your contact with a non-ordinary experience of life. Just as color has degrees and shades within what is normally classified as GREEN; time has degrees and shades that are made visible by strategies of consciously remembering.

Each moment is a prism of quiet vibrancy.

People have asked me that [what is the experience of inner awareness]
before, and I always feel that they expect to hear the dramatic account
of some sudden miracle through which I suddenly became one with the
universe. Of course nothing of the sort happened. My inner awareness was
 always there; though it took me time to feel it more and more clearly;
and it equally took time to find words that would at all describe it.

~~ Krishnamurti.

Color Gradations with 20 steps:  Complementary, Monochromatic, and Analogous Demonstrations

Also published in Oasis Writing Link (TM)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013



I had my first painting class last Saturday at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico

It was a class on color theory. I arrived for the first class two weeks ago and the start date was postponed until the next Saturday. I arrived on the next Saturday and discovered that the professor was absent. By the third class, I expected that we might not have class or maybe some other changes could occur. Perhaps the room location would be changed? (Ah, life in Puerto Rico!) It's okay though. I did not mind the changes because they gave me more time to become accustomed to the routine of driving to Old San Juan, which involves finding parking, figuring out how long it takes to walk to the classroom and of course (for me the essential information),  locating the nearest place to have a cup of coffee. More importantly, I had time to deal with the stress of revisiting the old dream of studying art. 

I'm in a period of life called "the redo" as in the common expression, "I want a do-over!" This "redo" does not include everything done in life (meaning regrets) but rather what was not done, which could also, but not necessarily, mean regrets. This understanding signifies that I realize that it's hard (if not impossible) to do everything in one life.

I highly recommend that you revisit your early dreams. At some point in life, I think everyone should take a look at the remaining memory-bits of their earlier choices (and their consequences) and try to re-construct them. Asking questions such as:

What did I decide? What were the consequences? What choices led to the life I am living now?  How would I like to shift the current direction of my life?

Periodically, we should give ourselves permission start again. In order to have a happy and satisifying life, it's essential to avoid heavy regrets about life decisions. It's so easy to say, "It's too late."  How many people look back and say, "I wanted to be an/a __________(artist, singer, dancer, musician, pilot, actor or?) and my __________ (parents, husband, school counselor, children, fear, logic, or?) made me choose _______(business, teaching, homemaking, and so on). We all make decisions that blame circumstances (such as the preceding) or ourselves and we accept that their direct consequences; however, we don't always know that, in fact, many times we did not decide. We delayed our decision so long that the choice no longer was visible.

We don't realize that not deciding is also a decision.

On a personal note, I don't think I'm alone when I say that many artistic people find themselves in non-artistic fields just because they did not choose. Certainly, we can argue that our creativity has been put to use in another "more practical" career; nevertheless, that earlier desire often demands our attention. It can still push retired people, for example, to take dance, voice, pottery, modeling class or to show up for an audition at the local community theater. What I'm suggesting is that this "foolish" behavior is worth it and nudging you to start now. Don't wait until you have the time. Further, this choice to actively engage the remnants of the earlier less encumbered  you, can awaken the memory of wonder, i.e., the ability to appreciate and experience unencumbered joy.

Be warned! Making the choice to revisit your lost dreams causes mental and emotional turmoil. For example, for the last few weeks  my nighttime dreams have been influenced by symbols of that earlier time in life (and the earlier me) where I changed from being a carefree idealist to a "poser" pragmatist. I choose the word "poser" because those who genuinely know me realize that I remain an idealist. You might say that I suffer from  a Pollyanna-ish optimism and try my hardest to keep her under cover. I'm a look for the silver-lining kind of person. Indeed, I force myself to squarely deal with the dreaded practical problems all of us encounter in ordinary life. It's fine. I have no problem with keeping my feet on the ground. However, I know that a real emotional/psychological breakthrough can be made by jumping out of an airplane- of course wearing a parachute! (I did that!) And if that experience was one of your early dreams, you don't actually have to jump out of an airplane but just engage the dream  and at least (below) play with a parachute (photo credit). Or maybe go zip-lining? (I want to do that!)


My homework assignment is met with some anxiety. Recreate (with acrylic paints) the color wheel using the three primary colors yellow, red, and blue (photo credit).

It has to be exactly 15 inches in diameter and "look pretty." How do I do that? Below is what the homework assignment should look like...

Only, a reasoning and/or creative person must be aware that the brushed in and home-mixed colors might not behave! I am a novice but at least I'm choosing how to spin my wheels. I wonder what kind of dreams I will have tonight? 

"Spinning Wheels" by Blood, Sweat and Tears

What goes up must come down
spinning wheel got to go round
Talking about your troubles it's a crying sin
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel spin...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

#70 Walks through Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 Cats are everywhere!

Taking an early morning walk in Old San Juan last Saturday,  I noticed the cats on the sidewalk grooming and gently curious. I fell in love with a little kitten who wanted to chew on my big toe! When I reached down to play with her, she reached up and with two paws together, she grabbed hold of my glasses. Such a friendly kitten and so much trust towards a complete stranger! I worried about her safety. 

However, I discovered that caring local community has come together to help these cats. If you would like to read more I've posted two links below, which provide information about the cats in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cats in Old San Juan

"The cats are a part of the Old San Juan experience, much like the cats and chickens that are a part of the Key West experience. Some of these cats are said to be descendants from the original cats that arrived on the ships when the first Spanish settlers came to the island. But the cats need help to stay healthy and alive. That is where the Save a Gato (Gato means cat in Spanish) organization comes into play."

Feral Cats in Old San Juan

"The problem is that cat populations will explode without intervention. Save a Gato  is a volunteer organization that manages the feral cats in Old San Juan by providing food and water. They also have a trap, neuter, and return (TNR) program, during which they also give necessary vaccinations." (Read more here.)

(Click on the title for more about this organization and how you can contribute.)

I'm Only a Cat

I'm only a cat,
and I stay in my place...
Up there on your chair,
on your bed or your face!

I'm only a cat,
and I don't finick much...
I'm happy with cream
and anchovies and such!

I'm only a cat,
and we'll get along fine...
As long as you know
I'm not yours... you're all mine!

Author Unknown

Also published in Oasis Writing Link

Sunday, June 16, 2013


It has been very wet and cool recently in River City, so I decided to shun the foul weather. My best option: Blogland Lane (of course).

I decided to kick back, and smell the flowers, and lie on the grass in the beautiful, warm, sunshine. Ah, a Bear's true life indeed!

I was wondering who might spend some time here this summer. It does become very lonely when I walk through town, staring at closed up cottages and shops. We could have a Lawn Bowling tournament, or a Water Polo tournament, or something in between. Bar-b-q lunch; fishing derby — you name it and we can try it!

Blessings and Bear hugs to all!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I might not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. Geese! Canada Geese! On the Blogland Lane Common! 

Unfortunately, they were a bit surprised by the presence of a Bear. They kept a watchful distance, and I could get a picture of only one. Sigh! We could be such good friends if we got to know each other a bit better. 

Having more humans here would also help, I think. I don't think
. . . but then, . . . well, there might be problems. I know that Humans are pretty shy about making friends with Bears. (My friend, Joanne, tried it once, before she met me, and I think she and the Bear managed to terrify each other.) Anyhow, when Humans see I have a tent and a campfire, they might not be so paralyzed or transfixed. That might help them accept the fact that Bears can be reasonable citizens of such a lovely place as Blogland Lane! Or, at least, this one can.

I'll see you when you get here, folks.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I know; I had promised to put up a picture weekly. But, well, life got in the way of my plans.

So, to make up for my neglectfulness, three pictures of snow in River City (or lack thereof). We went through these in the space of about a week, or so.

Today, temperature reached almost 30 degrees again (which is 86 °F). That is way too hot for a Bear in his right mind (or not). 

I'm going to try to relax a bit more this summer, spend more time at the lake, here at Blogland Lane. I like to swim, so I'll probably be doing a lot of that. But I'll try to be discreet and not scare off you Humans. Imagine, for example, you're out having a wonderful, relaxing swim, and a Brown Bear pops up out of the water beside you. If you know me, your going to pat me on the head or shoulder, and say, "Hi, Bear; great to see you!"  But if you don't know me, you might pass out. Then I'd have to carry you to shore and find some smelling salts. So this is just an advanced advisory: there will be a Bear swimming in the lake, but he is not dangerous. (Only his jokes are.)

Anyhow, I found my tent had survived well over the winter.

These big, sturdy tents made by Woods Canada will stand up to just about anything. Why is why I like them. As did my daddy before me. (And I got a great picture with the sun setting.)

Anyhow, I've found my campfire ring, and I'm going to light up a good fire on, bake up some bannock and some sweet fry bread, and treat you royally when you come by. And if you're a little skitterish around the Bear, just relax. Come up slowly the first time or two, stick you your paw (I mean hand), and if you seem decent, I'll give it a good shake (but not too enthusiastic; I know Humans are more fragile than Bears) and sit you down. 

And if nobody comes around, I'll just sit here and write some poetry. 

Blessings and Bear hugs. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Hello, again! 

Things have not been going as I hoped. After I posted that snowy picture, I got so tired that I started hibernating. (That's a thing we Bears do in the winter.) Winter started the day of that snow storm, in mid-October. It's now past mid-April, and there's still snow on the ground and ice on the river. A long winter. Sigh!

I've have just recently come out of hibernation and immediately got involved in the A-Z Challenge blog hop. (I think that's close to being the official title.) Sunday is our off day — or is that day off? Anyhow, I got this picture, of a couple of Geese. Can you believe Geese showed up last week, winter or not? They were on the river just outside my den.

The temperature tried very hard to get above freezing yesterday, meaning we may yet have spring this month. And if we do have spring, that will make it easier for me to travel from home to Blogland Lane, and back. In fact, I'm thinking I might spend some of my summer here. (Promises, promises; yeah, I know.)

Anyhow, I've decided to keep my promise and post a picture a week over here, to prove to the world there is life on Blogland Lane.

Happy Sunday, everyone. Blessings and Bear hugs!


Zoe, of you're awake, please send me an e-mail at rbcomm(at)sasktel(dot)net. I'd like to have your e-mail address so I can chat with you. Pls. & thnx.