Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Cookie Toll Bridge

Yuki, our 95 pound Japanese Akita has, after all these years, figured out how to extract 'cookies' from visitors. (She already has us nailed.)

Here's the routine; when you come to the door, she will bark at you like crazy, follow you in and actually 'lead' you to the cookie jar, barking all the way. Once you're in the proper position you'll get slightly mauled as she continues to bark until the desired end is accomplished. You can see why she's now called THE COOKIE TOLL BRIDGE.

In deference to all who enter in, we're trying to break her of this and give instructions to all ... ignore her and in no case give her a cookie.
The other day, sweet, kind and most gentle Lynne Sims came by to pick up her new best, Best Brush. At the door and in her hands was the cookie of all cookies, TWO GREENIES! Where is the camera when you desperately need it? Yuki gave Lynne her very best sit (actually what we call her best beg) and PATIENTLY, GENTLY waited for Lynne to dispense the treats. I couldn't believe it ... it was as if Yuki had just returned from The Dog Whisperer's training camp. A sense of Cesar Millan was in the Air!

What did I learn? That dogs indeed are the best judge of people and know a gentle soul when they encounter one. May we all be so sensitive.


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.