Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Well maybe not stormy but freezing cold for CA and pitch black when Kita whined for me to take her out.  Trying to be joyful (ha) I bundled up in a down vest and piled on a down jacket on top of that. Armed with a flashlight, we walked out into the dark night.
All was well, a little business was done and then as we headed back home, Kita decided to go no further and as I pulled on her leash ….. you know the rest.  She managed to slip out of her collar as I had mistakenly fastened the leash to the collar and not to her halter.

Lesson #1. It’s important to ALWAYS be mindful.

In a flash that rascal had totally disappeared from sight.  I immediately went into panic mode thinking oh no, first mom, then Charles and now….

Lesson #2. Don’t project scenario's.

I walked down the hill about a block then back to the house to get a high value treat.  Also, I backed my car out of the garage leaving the motor running, the door open in the hope of her thinking she could go for a ride.  Off I went.  Car running, garage/house open, front door open...
Lesson#3. Eeee gads, don't forget your common sense.

Meantime I had phoned Nikka to drive back and help in the search and also Trudy, my wonderful neighbor who takes puppy to the park every morning.

Lesson #4.  Take a deep breath and decide if it's really necessary to call in the troops.

This time I decided to walk up the hill.

Lesson #5.  Make Sure you're headed in the right direction.

As I rounded the crest of the hill I saw a bunch of people standing in the middle of the road.  'Hey' shouted I, 'Have you seen my dog?'  'She's with us' came the reply.  Well of course, I should have known, my dog would go home with anyone and she especially loves to try and torment Tulip, my next door neighbor's rescued pit bull.

Lesson #6. The answer is usually right in front of us.

So, gushing profusely with gratitude and so relieved I approached Kita to fasten the leash onto her collar.  Well, she immediately bolted to the driveway of the other neighbors as three of them were willing victims of her charm.  Somehow, using that treat, we got her to be still long enough to fasten her and all was well just as Nikka and Trudy drove up! Neighbor Steven kindly walked me home and all was well.

Lesson #7.  Try not to get a dog that's smarter than you are.  My 200 lb. plus Saint Bernard Boswell would never even think of budging from his comfy spot on the cool floor.  He thought his only job was to drool and eat bananas!

For me, the biggest lesson came the next morning when I realized that the whole incident was one big metaphor for life.  We are loved and cared for more than we could ever imagine and everything we will ever need is waiting for us.  When we forget this we go running off to sniff every tree and blade of grass thinking to find fresh adventure unaware of the danger that could possibly lie before us.

Safe and sound, here's Kita, trying to get at Tulip yet again.

Kita's name has been changed to "No No Bad Dog'.

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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.